Friday, April 29, 2011

David Wilkerson my father by Gary Wilkerson

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2011

by Gary Wilkerson

“David served the purposes of God in his generation, then he died” (Acts

On Wednesday afternoon my father, David Wilkerson, passed away in a car
accident. We grieve the loss of a beloved father, a faithful husband and a holy man of God. My mother, Gwen, his wife of 57 years, was in the car also, but we are told she will recover fully.

Dad’s 60-plus years of ministry have impacted the lives of those closest to
him and extended to millions around the world. Today we feel a personal loss, but at the same time we rejoice knowing Dad lived life to the fullest, obeying God with devotion and loving Jesus radically.

He was known for his unlimited faith. He believed God could change the lives of gang members and transform the most desperate drug addicts. He believed that a dynamic church could be launched in the heart of Times Square, New York City. He believed he could be a man who loved his wife and children well. And he did.

Dad was not one for fanfare, acclaim or ceremony. He turned down invitations to meet with world leaders yet would give everything he owned to support a poor orphan or a widow in distress.

Like King David of old, Dad served God’s purposes in his generation. He
preached with uncompromising passion and relentless grace. He wrote with
amazing insight, clarity and conviction. He ran his race well and when his work was done, he was called home.

I don’t think my father would have retired well. I don’t think he was one
to sit in a rocking chair and reminisce about times past. I believe that Jesus, knowing this, graciously called him home.

Dad’s last mission on earth was to be an advocate for the poorest of the
poor—to provide relief and support for hungry children and widows and
orphans. After founding Teen Challenge, World Challenge and Times Square
Church, he sought to feed starving children in the most impoverished countries in the world. Today, Please Pass the Bread is saving the lives of thousands of children, through 56 outreaches in 8 countries.

Like King David of old, after having served God’s purpose, he died. I know if my father were able to encourage you with his words today, he would invite you to give your all to Jesus, to love God deeply and to give yourself away to the needs of others.

The works he began outlive him. We can all attest to his impacting us—not
only in his preaching, writing and founding of world-changing ministries, but in his love, devotion, compassion and ability to stir our faith for greater works.

Buddhist Priest

by CRASH Japan

“Maybe I Should Become a Pastor,” Said the Buddhist Priest

When Tim Cole, who grew up as a missionary kid in Japan, first found 100 people evacuated to a Buddhist temple in Onagawa on a CRASH needs assessment trip, the priest was hesitant to receive any help. But as they talked, they realized the priest had gone to the same kindergarten Cole had attended as a child.

When the priest's wife heard that Cole and the others with him were Christian pastors, she told her husband, "You should have them teach you how to give effective sermons." After commiserating a little about the difficulty of preparing interesting talks week after week, one person in Cole’s team suggested, "If you speak from the Bible, that will make a big difference." The priest thought that was an interesting suggestion.

Because of the connection they were beginning to build, Cole's team was able to leave food and jackets and ask what else was needed. Cole gave one man his duffle bag because he really seemed to want it. The evacuees especially asked for rubber boots.

On Cole's next trip to Onagawa, he made sure he had a good supply of duffle bags and rubber boots. His wife, Katie, also brought boxes of homemade bread and cookies, and while passing them out, the priest's wife came up and introduced herself.

In Katie's own words:

She got animated when I told her that Tim and I had met in Karuizawa. She told me that she has lots of good memories of Karuizawa because her grandparents are Christians and used to take her to summer camps at Megumi Chalet [Christian Conference Center]. Of course words flowed easily from then on and among other things she said, "Maybe I need to get my Bible out and start reading it again."'

I asked if life was a lot different having more than 80 people in her "family" instead of five. She laughed and said it was good—something her husband had actually hoped could happen someday. He's told her he wished he could run some sort of program to get people to come to the temple… but wasn't thinking an earthquake and tsunami would be the reason it would happen. He even jokingly said, "Maybe I should become a pastor." I can't help but wonder what God is doing there and will do in the future. Is it possible to hope that God might bring that whole little "flock" of people who are camping out at a Buddhist temple to salvation in Him?

Japan: Christian Group Putting Down Stakes in Earthquake Area

Trevor Persaud (Christianity Today)
CRASH asks for funding as they prepare to fan out across the affected parts of the country.

The group Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope (CRASH) is setting up a forward base in Sendai, Japan to coordinate efforts to relieve the damage and hardship that Friday's 8.9/9.0-magnitude earthquake left behind in a large swath of the island nation.

"We just confirmed that we have a location and trucks of goods will start moving there today," CRASH spokesman Paul Nethercott told CT a few hours ago. "We will set up five more bases as soon as possible. We are doing this so we can send thousands of volunteers out where they are needed most."

Nethercott said CRASH, who calls their relief initiative "Love on Japan," sees it as a chance to "fill gaps" that the Japanese government cannot address and to "share the love of God with the people in Japan."

Japan's church is very much a minority. Less than 0.2% of the population identifies as Christian, and while some Christian cultural artifacts like Christmas and Valentine's Day have made it into the larger population, much of Japan practices a mix of Buddhism and traditional Shinto beliefs and a large number profess no religion at all.

"The church is small here but it is full of courageous and committed people who are brave enough to take a stand for Christ in spite of pressure from family and friends not to," Nethercott told CT. "We are closely connected with a very large network of Christians in Japan."

CRASH has been part of Japan's Christian community for a while, having built strong relationships with the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association and the Japan Evangelical Association.

"Many of the people I am working with I have known for over ten years," Nethercott said. "Some a lot longer. We care about each other and we care about Japan."

One of CRASH's greatest needs, Nethercott said, is funding to "deliver water and other essentials ASAP." Many older people in the earthquake-damaged area will not be able to clean up their own homes, he said.

CRASH is accepting donations through Many other Christian groups are working to flood Japan with assistance and providing opportunities to help—among them Samaritan's Purse, World Vision, World Relief, Saddleback Peace Relief, Asian Access, and Redeemer City to City.

"Pray that God will bless the nation of Japan greatly as this great nation deals with a major crises," asked Nethercott.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Utilitarian Christ by A W Tozer

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:5-6

Within the past few years, for instance, Christ has been popularized by some so-called evangelicals as one who, if a proper amount of prayer were made, would help the pious prize fighter to knock another fighter unconscious in the ring. Christ is also said to help the big league pitcher to get the proper hook on his curve. In another instance He assists an athletically-minded parson to win the high jump, and still another not only to come in first in a track meet but to set a new record in the bargain. He is said also to have helped a praying businessman to beat out a competitor in a deal, to underbid a rival and to secure a coveted contract to the discomfiture of someone else who was trying to get it. He is even thought to lend succor to a praying movie actress while she plays a role so lewd as to bring the blood to the face of a professional prostitute.

Thus our Lord becomes the Christ of utility, a kind of Aladdin's lamp to do minor miracles in behalf of anyone who summons Him to do his bidding. The Root of the Righteous, p.24

"Lord, help me not to demean the person of Christ or the sovereignty of God with this cheap sham of prayer. Amen."

The last words of David Wilkerson: WHEN ALL MEANS FAIL


To believe when all means fail is exceedingly pleasing to God and is most acceptable. Jesus said to Thomas, “You have believed because you have seen, but blessed are those that do believe and have not seen” (John 20:29).

Blessed are those who believe when there is no evidence of an answer to prayer—who trust beyond hope when all means have failed.

Someone has come to the place of hopelessness—the end of hope—the end of all means. A loved one is facing death and doctors give no hope. Death seems inevitable. Hope is gone. The miracle prayed for is not happening.

That is when Satan’s hordes come to attack your mind with fear, anger, overwhelming questions: “Where is your God now? You prayed until you had no tears left. You fasted. You stood on promises. You trusted.”

Blasphemous thoughts will be injected into your mind: “Prayer failed. Faith failed. Don’t quit on God -just do not trust him anymore. It doesn’t pay!”

Even questioning God’s existence will be injected into your mind. These have been the devices of Satan for centuries. Some of the godliest men and women who ever lived were under such demonic attacks.

To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights—and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, “I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident. It was no failure on your part. Hold fast. Let me embrace you in your hour of pain.”

Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.

Read this devotion online:

Demise of a Giant of the Faith - David Wilkerson

Rev. David Wilkerson, founding pastor of Times Square Church in New York City and author of the well-known book The Cross and the Switchblade, was killed Wednesday in a head-on collision in Texas. He was 79.

"It is with deepest of sadness that we have to inform you of the sudden passing of Reverend David Wilkerson, our founding pastor," Times Square Church Senior Pastor Carter Conlon said in a statement on the church website.

Conlon added that details of the family's wishes and a memorial service would be provided as information became available.

How did Pastor David Wilkerson's ministry and life impact you?

Crash Details

Wilkerson was driving east on U.S. 175 in Texas Wednesday afternoon, and moved into the opposite lane where a tractor trailer was driving westbound. The truck driver saw the car and tried to move out of the way, but still collided with the pastor's car head on, according to Public Safety Trooper Eric Long.

It's unclear what caused Wilkerson to veer into the other lane. His wife Gwen was also involved in the crash and rushed to the hospital, along with the truck driver.

Wilkerson was pronounced dead on the scene.

Stay with CBN News for more on this developing story. Also, check local listings to watch Thursday's edition of "The 700 Club" for continued coverage.

Last Words

Wilkerson posted a blog dated April 27 -- the day of his death. In the post, titled "When All Means Fail," he encouraged those facing difficulty to "hold fast" and stand strong in faith.

"To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights, and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, "I am with you,'" Wilkerson wrote. "Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail-his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world."

Read all of Wilkerson's final blog here.

Word of the accident began to spread Wednesday night on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Christians urged prayer for Mrs. Wilkerson, who's in critical condition.

Rev. Wilkerson's Impact

Wilkerson's cousin Rich Wilkerson confirmed the death on Twitter.

"It is confirmed my dear cousin David Wilkerson lost his life in a tragic car accident this afternoon..Prayers r needed at this time," he tweeted.

Rev. Wilkerson spent the early part of his ministry reaching out to gang members and drug addicts in New York, as told in his bestselling book The Cross and the Switchblade.

"The term LEGEND is often used to describe a person of extreme influence but what about a man that supersedes superlatives..david wilkerson," his cousin tweeted right after confirming his death.

In 1971, he started World Challenge, Inc. as an umbrella for his crusades, conferences, evangelism and other ministry. The Times Square Church was founded under the group in 1987.

The church is now led by Pastor Carter Conlon and has more than 8,000 members.

Wilkerson also founded Teen Challenge, a Christian outreach program for troubled young people.

"Please remember the Wilkerson family in your prayers as our founder, Rev. David Wilkerson, went to be with the Lord this evening," Teen Challenge told Twitter followers.

He is survived by his wife, four children and 11 grandchildren.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rob Bell: "You're Amending The Gospel So That It's Palatable!"

HELL IN THE BIBLE (Strong Dictionary)

HELL: Hebrew SHEOL: Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates: - grave, hell, pit.
Deu 32:22 for a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

2Sam 22:6-7 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.

Psalm 9:17 the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Psalm 16:8-11 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiced: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psa 55:15-16 let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.

Pro 9:13-18 A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knowest nothing. For she sit at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanted understanding, she said to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knowest not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

Pro 15:9-11 the way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loved him that followed after righteousness. Correction is grievous unto him that forsakes the way: and he that hated reproof shall die. Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men? Destruction in Hebrew abaddon: abstractly a perishing; concretely Hades: - destruction.

Pro 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beat him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Isa 5:11-14 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands. Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiced, shall descend into it.

HELL in Greek GEENNA: Of Hebrew origin ([H1516] and [H2011]); valley of (the son of) Hinnom; gehenna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: - hell.

The scriptures that used the word Geenna:

Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Mat 5:30 and if thy right hand offends thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Mat 10:28 and fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Mat 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

HELL G86 HADES: From G1 (as a negative particle) and G1492; properly unseen, that is, “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls: - grave, hell.

Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Act 2:27 because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. v28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. v31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. v32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Rev 6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Rev 20:13-15 and the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

HELL: TARTAROO (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment: - cast down to hell.

2 Peter 2:3 these false teachers only want your money. So they will use you by telling you things that are not true. But the judgment against these false teachers has been ready for a long time. And they will not escape God who will destroy them. v4 when angels sinned, God did not let them go free without punishment. He sent them to hell. He put those angels in caves of darkness, where they are being held until the time when God will judge them. v5 And God punished the evil people who lived long ago. He brought a flood to the world that was full of people who were against God. But he saved Noah and seven other people with him. Noah was a man who told people about living right. v6 God also punished the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He burned them until there was nothing left but ashes. He used those cities as an example of what will happen to people who are against God. v7 But he saved Lot, a good man who lived there. Lot was greatly troubled by the morally bad lives of those evil people. v8 this good man lived with those evil people every day, and his good heart was hurt by the evil things he saw and heard.

2 Pe 2:9 so you see that the Lord God knows how to save those who are devoted to him. He will save them when troubles come. And the Lord will hold evil people to punish them on the Day of Judgment. v10 that punishment is for those who are always doing the evil that their sinful selves want to do. It is for those who hate the Lord's authority. These false teachers do whatever they want, and they are so proud of themselves. They are not afraid even to say bad things against the glorious ones. v11 the angels are much stronger and more powerful than these beings. But even the angels don't accuse them and say bad things about them to the Lord. v12 But these false teachers speak evil against what they don't understand. They are like animals that do things without really thinking -like wild animals that are born to be caught and killed. And, like wild animals, they will be destroyed. v13 they have made many people suffer. So they themselves will suffer. That is their pay for what they have done. They think it is fun to do evil where everyone can see them. They enjoy the evil things that please them. So they are like dirty spots and stains among you-they bring shame to you in the meals you eat together. v14 Every time they look at a woman, they want her. They are always sinning this way. And they lead weaker people into the trap of sin. They have taught themselves well to be greedy. They are under a curse. v15 these false teachers left the right way and went the wrong way. They followed the same way that the prophet Balaam went. He was the son of Beor, who loved being paid for doing wrong. v16 But a donkey told him that he was doing wrong. A donkey cannot talk, of course, but that donkey spoke with a man's voice and stopped the prophet from acting so crazy. v17 these false teachers are like springs that have no water. They are like clouds that are blown by a storm. A place in the deepest darkness has been kept for them. v18 they boast with words that mean nothing. They lead people into the trap of sin. They find people who have just escaped from a wrong way of life and lead them back into sin. They do this by using the evil things people want to do in their human weakness. v19 these false teachers promise those people freedom, but they themselves are not free. They are slaves to a mind that has been ruined by sin. Yes, people are slaves to anything that controls them. v20 People can be made free from the evil in the world. They can be made free by knowing our Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ. But if they go back into those evil things and are controlled by them, then it is worse for them than it was before. v21 Yes, it would be better for them to have never known the right way. That would be better than to know the right way and then to turn away from the holy teaching that was given to them. v22 what they did is like these true sayings: "A dog vomits and goes back to what it threw up." And, "After a pig is washed, it goes back and rolls in the mud again."


1Cor 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The word grave here is translated in Greek as hades.

John 11:17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

The word grave translated in Greek as mnemeion: remembrance, that is, cenotaph (place of interment): - grave, sepulchre, tomb. It uses the same word (in English) but different meaning in Greek in describing the word grave.


Related: "Do What You Want"..? (Exposing Satanism in Society) [1of3]

Lady Gaga Preaching in Nashville, TN (Kerrigan Skelly)

It Will Cost You Everything

According to the Power - Political or Spiritual?

Ray C. Stedman

Read the Scripture: Ephesians 4:7-10

Pastor Johnson leaned against the fender of the fire-truck, watching helplessly as the church building burned to the ground. The firemen continued battling the flames, but it was clear that the flames were winning. Just then, Mrs. Wimple, one of Pastor Johnson's Easter-only parishioners, came up to him, shaking her head sadly. "Oh, Pastor Johnson," she said sympathetically, "it's just awful! It doesn't look like they'll be able to save any of it!"

"No," Pastor Johnson sighed. "It's a total loss for sure. By the way, Mrs. Wimple, I usually only see you at church once a year! What brings you out here tonight?"

"Well," she said, spreading her hands, "this is the first time I've ever seen the church on fire!"

In this chapter, we will look at how to set a church "on fire" all year round, so that it will illuminate the world, drawing people out of their darkness and toward the light of Jesus Christ. An "on-fire" church is a church that is plugged into a source of power. What is that power source? And how does an "on fire," fully powered church function?

Is it a place where dramatic miracles happen every Sunday? Is it a center of political pressure, changing society by the power of its numbers, marching in lock step? Is it a center of political activism, demanding change through protests and marches? Is it a religious think-tank, performing studies and issuing papers and resolutions in the hope that society will listen and change?

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians talks a lot about the power which resides in the church-yet he never mentions any of these activities. Instead, he reminds us that the fundamental secret of the operation of the church is that each true Christian has a gift and is expected to operate that gift or cluster of gifts in the power provided by Jesus Christ. This is the way he puts it:

"But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said, 'When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.' (In saying, 'He ascended,' what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things)." (Ephesians. 4:7 10).

Now, there are two kinds of gifts mentioned in verse 7. One, Paul calls the measure of the other: "But grace (that is the first gift) was given to each of us, according to the measure of Christ's gift" (or more literally, the gift of Christ-the second gift). This "gift of Christ" is the more basic gift of the two and refers to Christ himself. That is, Paul is not talking here about something which Christ gives to us, but something God has given us, which is Christ. The gift is Christ himself. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:15, "Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!"

Because Christ is made known to us by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it is equally proper to call this the gift of the Holy Spirit, as the apostle Peter does in Acts 2:38: "And Peter said to them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"

So the basic gift is the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ within each believer. That is what makes anyone a Christian. Paul says to the Romans, "Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him" (Romans. 8:9). He may be religious and a member of church, faithfully attending all meetings and fulfilling all obligations, but if he does not have the Spirit living within he is not one of Christ's. That is the essential requirement.

There is also the special "grace" mentioned here which is the gift of the Spirit to each Christian as a special ability or capacity for service. We have examined these in detail. It is this gift (or cluster of gifts) which must be exercised "according to the measure of Christ's gift."

Continue to read here.

"Hallelujah" - Leonard Cohen


I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in with you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Sunday, April 24, 2011

So sad........For what will it profit a man! Elvis Presley

Mat 16:24-28 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

Saturday, April 23, 2011


David Wilkerson Today

FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2011

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and
which entereth into that within the veil” (Hebrews 6:19).

The anchor referred to in this passage of Scripture is hope. Not the hope of
this wicked world, but the hope founded on God’s oath to keep, bless, govern
those who trust him.

This hope alone is our anchor in the storm falling on the earth at this present time. The writer of Hebrews admonished, “Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (6:12).

God made an oath to the “heirs of promise” who are all those who are in
Christ. He made an oath in order to end all strive—all doubts—so that
“…we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold
upon the hope set before us” (6:18).


He kept his word to Abraham—he will keep his word to you as you trust him. We need strong consolation in these times.

After all is said and done—and all the sermons have been preached on
hope—it comes down to this: Are we willing to commit all into his hands—rest in his Word—and stand without wavering in the love of God, fully
convinced his promises to you will be fulfilled?

You can take that kind of faith beyond the veil into the holiest!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


David Wilkerson

Martin Luther, at the height of all his trials, testified, “Lord, now that
you have forgiven me all, do with me as you please.” Luther was convinced
that a God who could wipe away all his sins and save his soul could certainly care for his physical body and material needs.

In essence, Luther was saying, “Why should I fear what man can do to me? I
serve a God who can cleanse me of my iniquity and bring peace to my soul. It
doesn’t matter if everything around me collapses. If my God is able to save
me and keep my soul for eternity, why wouldn’t he be able to care for my
physical body while I’m on this earth?”

“Oh, Lord, now that I’m pardoned, forgiven and able to stand before you on
Judgment Day with exceeding great joy—do with me as you please.”

Brother, sister—rejoice! This present life is not reality. Our reality is
eternal life in the presence of our blessed Lord.

So keep the faith! Things are winding down—but we are going up!


David Wilkerson Today

God’s concern is that his people are being shaken in their faith—that they
won’t trust him in their crises. Beloved, our worst sin is our unwillingness
to believe he will do what he promised. And that offends him more than
adultery, fornication, drug and alcohol abuse or any other sin of the flesh.

His Word says, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of
temptations” (2 Peter 2:9). “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

These verses are either the gospel or they are lies. But if they’re the
gospel, then we must stand on them. God wants us to be able to say, “Lord, if I die standing here, trusting you to see me through, then let me die in faith. Live or die, I’m yours.”

Let all the winds and waves of hell come at you. Let everything come at you.
Our God said he is able—and he knows how to deliver you.

He intended that you and I have all joy, peace, victory and rest in our walk. He is looking for men and women who will stand up against what’s coming in this dark age—servants who will stand with a calm and a peace because Christ abides in them.

God so desires for you to come into such a place of trust. He wants you never again to fear, but to truly rest in his power and ability. He knows how to deliver you from all snares, trials and temptations—if you will but trust him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Endtime Apostasy: Is Hell Dead?

By Jon Meacham (Time Magazine)
As part of a series on peacemaking, in late 2007, Pastor Rob Bell's Mars Hill Bible Church put on an art exhibit about the search for peace in a broken world. It was just the kind of avant-garde project that had helped power Mars Hill's growth (the Michigan church attracts 7,000 people each Sunday) as a nontraditional congregation that emphasizes discussion rather than dogmatic teaching. An artist in the show had included a quotation from Mohandas Gandhi. Hardly a controversial touch, one would have thought. But one would have been wrong.

A visitor to the exhibit had stuck a note next to the Gandhi quotation: "Reality check: He's in hell." Bell was struck. (Vote on Rob Bell's influence in the 2011 TIME 100 poll.)

Really? he recalls thinking.

Gandhi's in hell?

He is?

We have confirmation of this?

Somebody knows this?

Without a doubt?

And that somebody decided to take on the responsibility of letting the rest of us know?

So begins Bell's controversial new best seller, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Works by Evangelical Christian pastors tend to be pious or at least on theological message. The standard Christian view of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is summed up in the Gospel of John, which promises "eternal life" to "whosoever believeth in Him." Traditionally, the key is the acknowledgment that Jesus is the Son of God, who, in the words of the ancient creed, "for us and for our salvation came down from heaven.. and was made man." In the Evangelical ethos, one either accepts this and goes to heaven or refuses and goes to hell.
(See 10 surprising facts about the world's oldest Bible.)

Bell, a tall, 40-year-old son of a Michigan federal judge, begs to differ. He suggests that the redemptive work of Jesus may be universal — meaning that, as his book's subtitle puts it, "every person who ever lived" could have a place in heaven, whatever that turns out to be. Such a simple premise, but with Easter at hand, this slim, lively book has ignited a new holy war in Christian circles and beyond. When word of Love Wins reached the Internet, one conservative Evangelical pastor, John Piper, tweeted,
"Farewell Rob Bell," unilaterally attempting to evict Bell from the Evangelical community. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says Bell's book is "theologically disastrous. Any of us should be concerned when a matter of theological importance is played with in a subversive way." In North Carolina, a young pastor was fired by his church for endorsing the book.
(See TIME's photo essay "A Brief History of Hell.")

The traditionalist reaction is understandable, for Bell's arguments about heaven and hell raise doubts about the core of the Evangelical worldview, changing the common understanding of salvation so much that Christianity becomes more of an ethical habit of mind than a faith based on divine revelation. "When you adopt universalism and erase the distinction between the church and the world," says Mohler, "then you don't need the church, and you don't need Christ, and you don't need the cross. This is the tragedy of nonjudgmental mainline liberalism, and it's Rob Bell's tragedy in this book too."

Particularly galling to conservative Christian critics is that Love Wins is not an attack from outside the walls of the Evangelical city but a mutiny from within — a rebellion led by a charismatic, popular and savvy pastor with a following. Is Bell's Christianity — less judgmental, more fluid, open to questioning the most ancient of assumptions — on an inexorable rise? "I have long wondered if there is a massive shift coming in what it means to be a Christian," Bell says. "Something new is in the air."

Which is what has many traditional Evangelicals worried. Bell's book sheds light not only on enduring questions of theology and fate but also on a shift within American Christianity. More indie rock than "Rock of Ages," with its videos and comfort with irony (Bell sometimes seems an odd combination of Billy Graham and Conan O'Brien), his style of doctrine and worship is clearly playing a larger role in religious life, and the ferocity of the reaction suggests that he is a force to be reckoned with.

Otherwise, why reckon with him at all? A similar work by a pastor from one of the declining mainline Protestant denominations might have merited a hostile blog post or two — bloggers, like preachers, always need material — but it is difficult to imagine that an Episcopal priest's eschatological musings would have provoked the volume of criticism directed at Bell, whose reach threatens prevailing Evangelical theology. (From TIME's archives: "Is God Dead?")

Bell insists he is only raising the possibility that theological rigidity — and thus a faith of exclusion — is a dangerous thing. He believes in Jesus' atonement; he says he is just unclear on whether the redemption promised in Christian tradition is limited to those who meet the tests of the church. It is a case for living with mystery rather than demanding certitude.

From a traditionalist perspective, though, to take away hell is to leave the church without its most powerful sanction. If heaven, however defined, is everyone's ultimate destination in any event, then what's the incentive to confess Jesus as Lord in this life? If, in other words, Gandhi is in heaven, then why bother with accepting Christ? If you say the Bible doesn't really say what a lot of people have said it says, then where does that stop? If the verses about hell and judgment aren't literal, what about the ones on adultery, say, or homosexuality? Taken to their logical conclusions, such questions could undermine much of conservative Christianity. (From TIME's archives: "Does Heaven Exist?")

What the Hell?

From the Apostle Paul to John Paul II, from Augustine to Calvin, Christians have debated atonement and judgment for nearly 2,000 years. Early in the 20th century, Harry Emerson Fosdick came to represent theological liberalism, arguing against the literal truth of the Bible and the existence of hell. It was time, progressives argued, for the faith to surrender its supernatural claims.
(See pictures of Pope Benedict XVI visiting America.)

Bell is more at home with this expansive liberal tradition than he is with the old-time believers of Inherit the Wind. He believes that Jesus, the Son of God, was sacrificed for the sins of humanity and that the prospect of a place of eternal torment seems irreconcilable with the God of love. Belief in Jesus, he says, should lead human beings to work for the good of this world. What comes next has to wait. "When we get to what happens when we die, we don't have any video footage," says Bell. "So let's at least be honest that we are speculating, because we are." He is quick to note, though, that his own speculation, while unconventional, is not unprecedented. "At the center of the Christian tradition since the first church," Bell writes, "have been a number who insist that history is not tragic, hell is not forever, and love, in the end, wins and all will be reconciled to God."

It is also true that the Christian tradition since the first church has insisted that history is tragic for those who do not believe in Jesus; that hell is, for them, forever; and that love, in the end, will envelop those who profess Jesus as Lord, and they — and they alone — will be reconciled to God. Such views cannot be dismissed because they are inconvenient or uncomfortable: they are based on the same Bible that liberals use to make the opposite case. This is one reason religious debate can seem a wilderness of mirrors, an old CIA phrase describing the bewildering world of counterintelligence.

Still, the dominant view of the righteous in heaven and the damned in hell owes more to the artistic legacy of the West, from Michelangelo to Dante to Blake, than it does to history or to unambiguous biblical teaching. Neither pagan nor Jewish tradition offered a truly equivalent vision of a place of eternal torment; the Greek and Roman underworlds tended to be morally neutral, as did much of the Hebraic tradition concerning Sheol, the realm of the dead.

Read more: here

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Authority of the Word by Ray Stedman

Read the Scripture: 2 Tim 3:1-17

In these last few weeks I have learned of five cases of Christians, some of whom were rather prominent Christian leaders, who have suffered total moral collapse, having made shipwrecks of their lives and marriages. In each case the first sign of impending disaster, the first outward mark of inward deterioration, was a shift in their view of the authority of the Word of God. There is a very definite link between moral decline and the authority of Scripture, and I would like to begin this message with a passage which underscores that line.

Reading from Paul's second letter to Timothy, chapter three, the first five verses, the apostle says,

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. {2 Timothy 3:1 RSV}

Now, do not regard this as a prophecy to be fulfilled only in the end of the age. "The last days," as Scripture uses this term, encompasses the whole period from the first coming of Christ to the second, that is, the present age in which we live. Paul is simply saying here that during the whole time of the last days there shall come recurring cycles of distress. He continues:

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. {2 Timothy 3:2-5 RSV}

In the remainder of the chapter he goes on to specify two individuals who fit this pattern and to give us by contrast his own way of life. Then he closes the whole section with a personal exhortation to Timothy, beginning in Verse 12:

Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. {2 Timothy 3:12-17 RSV}

Notice how he moves from the theme of deterioration of faith and moral collapse to the one remedy and cure for the believer, an adherence to the written word of God. As Paul outlines it here, the defense of a Christian in a day of moral decline is a thorough acquaintanceship with the written Scriptures, while any defection from faith which may occur is made possible only by an abandonment of these writings, in attitude, at least, if not in act.

Now, you know well that the Word of God has been under attack for many centuries. Like an ancient castle it has withstood many assaults. Up to and through the 17th century these attacks were primarily outward. That is, they were an assault from without by men who tried to destroy the Scriptures by rather direct methods. History is full of accounts of book burnings, papal interdicts, and even the murder of translators of the Word of God. But these outward attacks against the Bible utterly failed. In the 18th century a new approach was made by the enemies of Scripture. Instead of sending soldiers to attack the castle (to revert to my figure), the enemies of the Bible sent workmen -- carpenters, bricklayers and masons - who came offering to remodel the whole structure. They said, in effect,
"This is a good, strong building. It simply needs a bit of renovation here and there." They began to rearrange the structure of the castle of God's Word. They drained the moat, tore down the wall, removed the doors, and when they were through everything was quite different than it was before. There was no longer any castle there and no longer any defense for those who would seek a refuge.

As to any permanent or lasting effect on the church as a whole, this attack from those who stand in pulpits and those who sit in theological chairs in seminaries will, and has, utterly failed. For Jesus said, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," {Matthew 16:18b KJV}. No force will really overthrow the Word of God; we never need to fear that. But as far as individuals are concerned, it is possible for these attacks against the Scripture to upset their faith, and it is this that Paul warns about as he writes to his son in the faith from his prison in Rome.

Without attempting an exposition of this passage, I would like to declare to you four propositions which I feel must govern our thinking as we approach the subject of the authority of the Scriptures in this 20th century. The first of these propositions is this:

As Christians (and I am speaking now only to Christians), we have no right to hold a different view of Scripture than that held by Jesus himself.

That is the first fact we must hold in mind as we come to this subject of the authority of the Word. To put it another way, the authority of the Bible rests squarely upon the authority of Jesus Christ himself. To be a Christian at all means that we have fully accepted the authority of Jesus. If we have not, we are not Christians -- except in name only. It is an utter inconsistency to say that we accept what the Bible says about Christ and reject what he says about Scripture. We cannot say of Jesus that he is the image of the invisible God, the bodily expression of the fullness of God, that in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and that he is before all things and by him all things hold together -- but he is quite wrong about Adam and Noah and Jonah and the rest of the Old Testament. You see the utter inconsistency of that position? We cannot call him Lord, and say he has the right to choose our mates, and to pick our line of work, and to govern our life in all its attitudes and ways -- even to trust our eternal destiny into his hands -- but we cannot believe him when he speaks of the creation of man, or the sanctity of marriage, or the sinfulness of certain sexual acts. We are utterly inconsistent if we do.

We need only to read the New Testament to see that the Lord Jesus casts the mantle of his authority over all of the Old Testament, and, by anticipation, over all of the New. Remember he said, speaking of the Old Testament, "the scripture cannot be broken," {John 10:35b}. Over and over again he quotes from the Old Testament, usually the very books and passages which the scholars say are in dispute. But our Lord receives them, quotes freely from them, uses them as authority. In his own ministry, you remember, it was with the written Word of God (incidentally from the Book of Deuteronomy, which is often under attack) that our Lord turned the tables on the enemy when he came to tempt him in the wilderness and utterly defeated Satan in his attack upon him.

Then there is that remarkable passage in Luke, the 24th chapter, when the Lord Jesus is speaking to his disciples after his resurrection and he takes them to task for their failure to believe the Scriptures. He says (Verse 25):

"O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. {Luke 24:25-27 RSV}

Now, if we were to read that from the viewpoint and in the language of those who are attempting to tell us today that the Scriptures are no longer authoritative, we would read, I am afraid, something like this:

And beginning with Moses, he demythologized all the legends to unveil to his disciples epistemological concepts of inauthentic being.

But this kind of language, so frequently employed today, does not illuminate the gospel - it destroys it. It substitutes an incomprehensible jargon for the clear word of Scripture.

Imagine, for instance, sitting down beside a naked savage in some South American jungle and trying to explain existential concepts to him. You would simply have no gospel to preach. Yet it is this that is being widely touted today as a necessary requisite to the proper understanding of the Scriptures. But it is utter nonsense.

It completely destroys the essential message of the gospel in its simplicity. You may be an old and experienced Christian with a thorough knowledge of the Bible, or you may be a brand-new Christian who hardly has any knowledge at all of what it says, and have many questions about various aspects of it, but if you are a Christian at all, and have received eternal life through believing on Jesus of Nazareth, you must, by that very act, also be subject to his authority in this matter of accepting or rejecting the Scriptures. That is the first proposition.

The second one is somewhat similar and grows out of it. It is this:

As Christians, we have no right to views of Scripture which are different from the apostles' view of Scripture.

The apostles, like our Lord, are our teachers. We are not theirs. It is Karl Barth who says, "We cannot stand and look over the apostles' shoulders, correcting their work. It is they who stand looking over our shoulders, correcting our work." The apostles, in writing the New Testament, everywhere declare that their authority is simply the Lord's authority. They, too, rest the authority of their words squarely upon the authority of the Lord Jesus. Paul says repeatedly, "I have declared unto you only that which I have received," {cf, 1 Cor 15:3}. In other words, this is not a fabricated message. It is not something borrowed from this philosophy, and that authority, and this way of thinking. It is not, Paul says, received from men at all. He specifically and clearly declares that he did not in any way receive his message from men, or even from the other apostles, but from the Lord Jesus Christ directly {cf, Gal 1:12}.

The apostles, as they write, are very conscious that the words of the message they preach are the words of God. Listen to Paul as he is writing to the Thessalonians, in his first letter, Chapter 2, Verse 13:

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God... {1 Thessalonians 2:13 RSV}

There is a clear declaration that he was conscious of speaking more than his own thoughts, more than his own ideas, more than his own theological concepts. The apostles regarded each other's words in this same light. There is that striking passage in Second Peter 3:15 where Peter says,

And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. {2 Peter 3:15-16 RSV}

Peter makes very clear that he accepted Paul's writings as Scripture, and the early church accepted these apostolic writings as the very words of the Lord Jesus right from the beginning. In view of this, when a professor behind a desk in Chicago or New York or London makes a pronouncement that differs from what Paul or Peter or James or John has said, then reject it, for that professor is some thousands of miles and some two thousand years too far away to make an adequate and proper judgment. These men who lived in the 1st century and associated with the Lord Jesus, who heard his words, and who so ministered in power throughout the world of their day as to transform the generation in which they lived, knew far more about what God thought and said than any man studying theology today. So our second proposition is that, in thinking about the authority of the Word, we must remember that, as Christians, we have no right to a different view of Scripture than that held by the apostles, or we cannot consistently call ourselves Christians.

Here is the third proposition:

We can never discover the depths of Scripture's insights into life without first accepting it as true and authoritative.

What I am saying is that we must first believe Scripture before we can understand it. As long as we keep asking,

"Should this passage be here? Is it genuine, is it real? Has it been inserted? Is it a legend? Is it a fairy tale? Is it something that is merely the thinking of the apostles and was never in the mind of Christ?"

- if this is our constant approach then we can never get around to asking, "What does this say to me? What does it mean? Where is the wisdom hidden in this that I need so desperately in my life?" Those students and pseudo-scholars who feel they are a final authority on what ought to be here, and what ought not to be here, never seem to be able to understand what is written. They never seem able to say anything about the depths of Scripture or the teaching of it, for they exclude themselves from understanding by their attitude of judgment over it.

Let me clarify myself: There is, of course, a legitimate place for what is called "textual criticism." We do not have the original documents of the Scriptures available and, because we do not, we must reproduce them as nearly as possible by a painstaking, careful comparison of one document with another. We must compare and decide what is the proper text. We are deeply indebted to scholars for the incredibly painstaking work that has been done in this area. The entire Bible has been examined like no other book ever written, word by word, letter by letter, by the greatest body of scholars that has ever concentrated its knowledge upon one subject. The task has been done, and it has been well done, and we can trust our scholarly Greek texts and the careful English versions that are based upon them. There are paraphrases today that are helpful for reading but not necessarily trustworthy in the actual communication of truth, because they are only paraphrases. But a scholarly version, such as the King James or the Revised Standard Version or some of the later ones, can certainly be trusted.

Of course, there are problems. There are certain minor inconsistencies in our texts today. There are difficulties in reconciling certain passages with other passages and certain accounts with parallel accounts, but these are simply the normal difficulties that obtain when you have more than one witness to an event, and they are differences of observation rather than differences of fact. Or they are failures in transmission of the text, scratches and stains which time puts upon any object, which neither impairs its beauty nor affects its utility. The texts that we have, therefore, can be trusted.

But my point is this: We can never understand the Scripture until we believe it first. You cannot understand nuclear physics unless you first believe the underlying axioms that have to do with this realm of human knowledge. You cannot understand chemistry unless you are willing to accept certain of the chemical formulas that have been proposed. You cannot believe anything until you accept it as genuine and put it to the test of experience, and this is true of the Word. When you believe that this book is from God and, as Proverbs says, "Cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures" {Proverbs 2:3:4 RSV}, then this book will reveal to you the marvels of a deliberately patterned structure that can only be of God's making, and reveal to you astounding grasps of life and explanations of how the human heart operates.

Many of you may have read Billy Graham's testimony in this regard. He says that as a young man, early in his ministry, there came into his life a time of doubt as to the authority of the Scriptures. There came questions as to whether the text as we have it could be trusted, whether this was the Word of God or merely the ideas of men about Jesus. He was troubled by the questions that occur so frequently in these days. He went away by himself up into the mountains, taking his Bible with him, and there began to read it, and read it, and read it. He came at last to the place where he said to God,

"I have seen enough of the transforming ability of this word to know that you are behind it. I know, Lord, there are many questions, many areas that I do not understand about this book, and take it by faith that it is your word and believe it and preach it as your word and trust that you will make clear to me what it means."

It was from that time that Billy Graham's world-wide ministry of evangelism began. You well know that his favorite expression is, "The Bible says." He does not debate it with anyone; he does not question it; he simply declares it.

Which brings me to my fourth, and last, proposition concerning the Word. It is simply:

Scripture does not need to be defended, but simply declared.

Charles Spurgeon's classic maxim puts it very forcefully. He said, "The Bible is like a lion. Who ever heard of defending a lion? Just turn it loose, it will defend itself." And so will Scripture!

I must confess that I have totally changed my view on the place of apologetics in the defense of faith. I once thought that apologetics, the science of the defense of Scripture, was especially needed to answer the skeptic and the agnostic. I remember how I would turn to archaeology, to logic, or to some of the scientific confirmations of Scripture to try and convince a skeptic that the Word was true. But I have learned to do differently. I know now that apologetics may be very helpful for a Christian who is confronted with honest problems, but it is almost totally useless in appealing to a skeptic, or to an honest agnostic. I once would approach such people with the question, "Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God?" Of course, they would say, "Yes I do," I was on solid ground. I knew where to go from there. But when they said to me, as they so frequently did, "No, I don't," I did not know what to say next. Where do you go if people reject what you must use as your authority?

But I know now that it was a mistake to ask the question in the first place. Why should I ask whether they believe the Bible is the Word of God? How could I expect them to believe it? It is only the Christian who can have the necessary proof that this is the Word of God for he has believed it enough to put it to the test. Therefore, to make this whole matter of the inspiration of the Scriptures a fundamental of the faith that someone must agree to before he can become a Christian is absolutely wrong. It is putting the cart before the horse. No, all that is necessary is to use the Scriptures. If it is the word of God it will confirm itself. It will have in itself inherent authority. For after all, a word has power only because of who utters it. The word itself is useless.

If a man who is a congenital liar utters a statement, it may be very true but it is of no effect because he is a known liar. Mark Twain tells, in one of his books, of a man who committed suicide and hung a note on himself saying he had taken his own life. But the coroner's jury declared it must be false, he must have been murdered, because he said he had killed himself and he was known to be an habitual liar, therefore it could not be true. So a word has power, any word, only by virtue of the one who utters it.

The word of Lyndon Johnson has power not because Lyndon Johnson is a man (there are a lot of other men), not because he is a Texan (that authority has diminished considerably since Alaska entered the Union), not because he is a Democrat (their hour is coming), but the word of Lyndon Johnson has power because he is the President of the United States! As long as he remains President, there is an inherent power in the word that he speaks by virtue of his office. Now if Scripture is from God, it will have inherent power. When I talk with someone who does not accept the Christian message, who challenges the Bible, I do not bother with apologetics, I go right to the Book. I quote the words of the Lord Jesus. I say "Well, Jesus said so-and-so." I confront that individual directly with the compelling truth that Jesus uttered and I find, again and again, that this has a power to go deep into the human heart, to pierce beyond all the surface objections which may be raised and to bring men face to face with the choice that they must make. I tell them of the change that this word has made in my own life, how this book has explained life to me, how it has led me from uncertainty and self-distrust into a place of certainty, into a rich awareness of life, into a place of rest and peace of heart and freedom from the fear of what is taking place on earth.

The whole testimony of this church is to the fact that it is the preaching and the exposition of the Bible that establishes its authority. We do not need to defend it, just declare it, proclaim it. Nothing explains the world situation as the Bible does. No philosophy that is current among men today ever comes to grips with international affairs like Scripture. Take even the question of the origin of the world and the nature of it, let alone matters of political and international importance. Only in the light of Scripture can one understand the total process of history. The very fact that in this ancient book, coming through such feeble and thoroughly human instruments, we have that which twenty or more centuries later is an adequate explanation of the things that are taking place in our own time, is a tremendous, powerful, compelling argument that this book is more than man's.

Now there is more I could say. There is the whole realm of the usual arguments for the inspiration of Scripture, but I do not want to go into that now. I am talking primarily to Christian hearts who, like Timothy, are attacked by a subtle and devious philosophy which is attempting to undermine the authority of the Word of God, especially in the realm of morality. Much of the moral revolution of our day, the awful collapse of moral standards in great sections of human life, is directly traceable to false concepts concerning Scripture. We need again to hear the word of the apostle to his son in the faith, "Remember the things which you have learned from childhood, these sacred writings which are able to establish you, to keep you, to thoroughly prepare you for every good work."

The choice that is left to us as Christians is very simple; it is always the same in every generation: either we accept the Bible as God's word to us, his own self-revelation, his own explanation of the affairs of life and of human history, or, as the only other alternative, we must rest our faith upon the shifting, complex, ever-changing authority of modern knowledge and human ability. It is either Christ or the critics, one or the other. One way leads to moral decline and final collapse; the other way brings us to illuminating insights into our own hearts, and into the processes of history and to the place of integrity and character.

Remember that the Son of God himself said, "I come not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me and receives not my words has one who judges him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day," {John 12:47b-48 KJV}. That is because the Word of God is truth, it is reality, and the one characteristic that marks reality is unchangeability. Truth is always truth. If it were true ten thousand years ago, it is still true today. That is why a two thousand year old book is as valid today as it ever was, for truth is simply unchangeable. And it is the final measuring stick of any civilization or any individual life.


Our Father, what a marvel this book is. How wonderful that we should have it in our hands, and what a terrible tragedy that we should let it lie unopened, unread, unstudied week after week. Wake us up Lord. Help us to realize that here, by means of the Spirit interpreting it to us, you have given adequate and full knowledge to meet every devious and subtly deceitful philosophy in our world today. Make us men and women of the Book. Bring us back to it. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

The Benefits Of Wisdom

Read the Scripture: Ecclesiastes 7:29-8:1

Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance (Ecclesiastes 8:1).

There is a marvelous, fourfold description of what happens to one who discovers the true wisdom of righteousness as a gift from God, one who walks with God in the fear of God.

First, it will make that person a unique human being. “Who is like the wise man?” One of the follies of life is to try to imitate somebody else. The media constantly bombards us with subtle invitations to look like, dress, or talk like some popular idol. If you succeed in that, of course, you will be nothing but a cheap imitation of another person. The glory of the good news is that when you become a new creature in Jesus Christ, you will be unique. You will become more and more like Christ, but unlike everyone else in personality. You will not be a copy, a cheap imitation, but an original from the Spirit of God.

Secondly, the Searcher says, godly wisdom will give you a secret knowledge: “Who knows the explanation of things”? The implication of that question is that the wise person knows. This is what Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 2: “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things” (1 Corinthians 2:15a). Spiritual people are in a position to pass moral judgment on the value of everything, not because they are so smart, but because the God who teaches them is wise.

Thirdly, such a person will experience a visible joy: “Wisdom brightens a man's face.” Grace—not grease—is what makes the face shine. Manufacturers put grease in cosmetics to make the face shine artificially, but it is grace that does it from within. Grace and the joy that results from it visibly expressed make a face shine.

Finally, it changes the inner disposition of a person: “[Wisdom] changes its hard appearance.” Have you ever watched somebody whose life was under the impact of the Spirit of God soften, mellow, and grow easier to live with? That is the work of the Spirit of God.

All of us have sung the hymns of John Newton. One in particular is a favorite of many: “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound—that saved a wretch like me!” That is John Newton's story. He was raised by a godly mother who prayed for him all his life. As soon as he came of age, he joined the slave trade, running slaves from Africa to England. He fell into wild, riotous living, involving himself in drunken brawls. He ended up at last, as he himself confesses, “a slave of slaves,” actually serving some of the escaped slaves on the African coast, wretched, miserable, and hardly even alive. Then he found voyage on a ship back to England. In the midst of a terrible storm in the Atlantic, when he feared for his life, he was converted; he remembered his mother's prayers, and he came to Christ. He became one of the great Christians of England, author of many hymns that set forth the joy, the radiance, the gladness of his life as he found it in Jesus Christ.

Here the Searcher has clearly declared what he emphasizes throughout the whole book of Ecclesiastes: that it is the man or woman who finds the living God who discovers the answer to the riddles of life.

Father, thank You that when You came into my life, You granted me wisdom from above. Teach me to listen and live by the wisdom You give through Your Word.

Life Application: Media bombardment encourages us to always imitate and copy somebody else, but God made us individually unique. Have we discovered the benefits of godly wisdom?

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Monday, April 11, 2011

A Pastor's Authority

A Pastor's Authority Series: Servant Leadership
Author: Ray C. Stedman

Mark 10:42-43a
42Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,New International VersionRather than being lords, he went on to say, disciples are to be servants of one another and the greatest is the one who is servant of all.

By these words Jesus indicates that an entirely different system of government than that employed by the world should prevail among Christians. Authority among Christians is not derived from the same source as worldly authority, nor is it to be exercised in the same manner. The world's view of authority places men over one another, as in a military command structure, a business executive hierarchy, or a governmental system. This is as it should be. Urged by the competitiveness created by the Fall, and faced with the rebelliousness and ruthlessness of sinful human nature, the world could not function without the use of command structures and executive decision.

But as Jesus carefully stated, " shall not be so among you." Disciples are always in a different relationship to one another than worldlings are. Christians are brothers and sisters, children of one Father, and members one of another. Jesus put it clearly in Matthew 23:8 (RSV): "One is your Master, and all you are brethren."

Throughout twenty centuries the church has virtually ignored these words. Probably with the best of intentions, it has nevertheless repeatedly borrowed in toto the authority structures of the world, changed the names of executives from kings, generals, captains, presidents, governors, secretaries, heads, and chiefs to popes, patriarchs, bishops, stewards, deacons, pastors, and elders, and gone merrily on its way, lording it over the brethren and thus destroying the model of servanthood which our Lord intended. Christians have so totally forgotten Jesus' words that they frequently have set up the world's pattern of government without bothering to change the names, and have operated churches, mission organizations, youth organizations, schools, colleges, and seminaries, all in the name of Jesus Christ, but with presidents, directors, managers, heads and chiefs in no way different from corresponding secular structures.

It is probably too late to do much about altering the many structures that are commonly called "para-church" or "quasichurch" organizations, but certainly Jesus' words must not be ignored in the worship and training functions of the church itself. Somewhere, surely, the words of Jesus, " shall not be so among you," must find some effect. Yet in most churches today an unthinking acceptance has been given to the idea that the pastor is the final voice of authority in both doctrine and practice, and that he is the executive officer of the church with respect to administration. But surely, if a pope over the whole church is bad, a pope in every church is no better!

It is clear from the Scriptures that the apostles were concerned about the danger of developing ecclesiastical bosses. In Second Corinthians 1:24a (RSV), Paul reminds the Corinthians concerning his own apostolic authority: "Not that we lord it over your faith; we work with you for your joy, ..." In the same letter he describes, with apparent disapproval, how the Corinthians reacted to certain leaders among themselves: "For you bear it if a man makes slaves of you, or preys upon you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face," (2 Corinthians 11:20 (RSV)). Peter, too, is careful to warn the elders (and he includes himself among them) not to govern by being "domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock," (1 Peter 5:3 RSV). And John speaks strongly against Diotrephes "who likes to put himself first, and takes it on himself to put some out of the church," (3 John 1:9-10). These first-century examples of church bosses indicate how easily churches then, as in the 20th century, ignored the words of Jesus, "it shall not be so among you."

But if the church is not to imitate the world in this matter, what is it to do? Leadership must certainly be exercised within the church, and there must be some form of authority. What is it to be? The question is answered in Jesus' words: "One is your Master," (Matthew 23:8b KJV). All too long churches have behaved as if Jesus were far away in heaven, and he has left it up to church leaders to make their own decisions, and run their own affairs. But Jesus himself had assured them in giving the Great Commission, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age," (Matthew 28:20b). And in Matthew 18:20 (RSV) he reiterated, "... where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Clearly this indicates that he is present not only in the church as a whole but in every local church as well. It is Jesus himself, therefore, who is the ultimate authority within every body of Christians, and he is quite prepared to exercise his authority through the instrument he himself has ordained -- the elderhood.

The task of the elders is not to run the church themselves, but to determine how the Lord in their midst wishes to run his church. Much of this he has already made known through the Scriptures, which describe the impartation and exercise of spiritual gifts, the availability of resurrection power, and the responsibility of believers to bear one another's burdens, confess sins to one another, teach, admonish, and reprove one another, and witness to and serve the needs of a hurting world.

In the day-to-day decisions which every church faces, elders are to seek and find the mind of the Lord through an uncoerced unanimity, reached after thorough and biblically-related discussion. Thus, ultimate authority, even in practical matters, is vested in the Lord and in no one else. This is what the book of Acts reveals in its description of the initiative actions of the Holy Spirit, who obviously planned and ordered the evangelizing strategy of the early church (Acts 8, 13, etc.). The elders sought the mind of the Spirit, and, when it was made clear to them, they acted with unity of thought and purpose. ("For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden..." (Acts 15:28a RSV). The authority, therefore, was not the authority of men, but of God, and it was expressed not through men, acting as individuals, but through the collective, united agreement of men whom the Spirit had led to eldership (see Acts 20:28).

The point is: no one man is the sole expression of the mind of the Spirit: No individual has authority from God to direct the affairs of the church. A plurality of elders is necessary as a safeguard to the all-too-human tendency to play God over other people. Even then, the authority exercised is not one of domination and arbitrary decree over anyone. The ability of a servant to influence anyone else does not lie in ordering someone around, but by obtaining their voluntary consent. This is the nature of all authority among Christians, even that of the Lord himself! He does not force our obedience, but obtains it by love, expressed either in circumstantial discipline or by awakening gratitude through the meeting of our desperate needs.

The true authority of elders and other leaders in the church, then, is that of respect, aroused by their own loving and godly example. This is the force of two verses which are often cited by those who claim a unique authority of pastors over church members. The first is found in First Thessalonians 5:12-13a (RSV), "But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work." The key phrase is "and are over you in the Lord." The Greek word in question is prohistamenous. Though this is translated "over you" in both the Revised Standard and King James versions, the word itself contains no implication of being "over" another. The New English Bible more properly renders it, "... and in the Lord's fellowship are your leaders and counselors." The thought in the word is that of "standing before" others, not of "ruling over" them. It is the common word for leadership. Leaders can lead only if they are able to persuade some to follow.

Another verse used to support command authority is Hebrews 13:17a (RSV), which the Revised Standard Version renders, "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account." The imperative translated "obey" is from the word peitho, "to persuade." In the middle voice, used here, Thayer's lexicon gives its meaning as "to suffer one's self to be persuaded." Again there is no thought of a right to command someone against his will, but the clear thrust is that leaders are persuaders whose ability to persuade arises not from a smooth tongue or a dominant personality, but from a personal walk which evokes respect.

At this point many may be tempted to say, "What difference does it make? After all, the pattern of command authority is too widely established to alter now, and, besides, many churches seem to be doing all right as it is; why try to change now?"

In response, consider the following:

The Bible indicates that any deviation from the divine plan inevitably produces weakness, division, strife, increasing fruitlessness, and, ultimately, death. The present low state of many churches is testimony to the effects of ignoring, over a long period of time, God's way of working.

A command structure of authority in the church deprives the world of any model or demonstration of a different way of life than the one it already lives by. Worldlings see no difference in the church, and can see no reason why they should change and believe.

A command authority inevitably produces resentment, repression, exploitation and, finally, rebellion. It is the law, which Scripture assures us we can never redeem or restore, but which must, by its very nature, condemn and repress.

The desire of the Lord Jesus to show to the world a wholly new form of authority which is consistent with grace, not law, is nullified by a command structure among Christians, and the gospel of dying-to-live is denied even before it is proclaimed. This means that God is robbed of his glory and distorted before the watching world. Nothing could be more serious than this!

Admittedly, a call for a change of this nature is radical, even revolutionary. But since when was the church called to be a conforming society? Is it not high time we took seriously our Lord's words: "it shall not be so among you"?


by Ray Stedman

Ephesians 4:11-13 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

God sows four foundational seeds in his New Covenant church: the Lordship of the Spirit, the authority of the Word, the ministry of the saints, and making Christ visible. Employing these truths, leaders equip the body to join with them to make God visible to a watching and needy world.

God sows and harvests four critically foundational seeds in his church. First is The Lordship of the Spirit of God, his living presence as Lord of his church. When Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel, making disciples of all nations,” he also said, “and lo, I am with you always.” He intends to direct his church through leaders who are submissive to the Holy Spirit – his New Testament, New Covenant model.

The second seed is The Ministry of the Saints. Church leaders are not the only ones who can make decisions and perform ministries in the church. Ephesians 4 clearly states that God prepares church leaders “for the equipping of the saints to do the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.” Each member is to employ the gift God has given him, under the direction and power of the Lord of the church. The saints, trained to work together in dependence on Jesus, form the core of the New Covenant church.

Third is The Authority and Centrality of the Word of God. The church sits under the judgment of the Word of God, and must never presume to shape it to fit its own needs. It is God’s spoken and prescribed instrument for governance of his church. The God-honoring New Covenant church will continually ask how the Word is to be applied throughout its ministry.

Finally, the fourth seed is Making Visible the Invisible Christ, declaring the indwelling life of the Lord Jesus. Leaders are to teach the people the power of a risen Christ within each member, alive in the midst of this fallen world. This must be the function of a New Covenant church, above everything else.

These four principles arise from the Word of God, from studying and thinking about it, and from experienced conviction that these things are true. Spread from the hearts of church leaders, this conviction takes root in the people. In this way God’s Spirit abides in richness and abundance in our midst, God’s work takes root in his church, and the body joins the leaders in making Christ visible to a watching and needy world.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Theology and Pipe Smoking: Meditations on the Queen of Sciences and the Noble Weed, in Three Parts.

by James Stambaugh

Back before fundamentalism caused much of American Christianity to go off the moral deep end and get caught in up in a fevered attempt to demonize a whole series of behaviors that are morally neutral, pipe smoking was seen as a very decent and proper thing for a theologian (and anyone else) to do. In many Christian communities which successfully fought off the tendency to condemn everything, pipe smoking has always and continues to be appreciated for the benefits it brings to moments of relaxation, conversation, and mental clarity.

In this post I will not attempt to systematize the benefits of pipe smoking. That has been done elsewhere (see below), nor will I systematically attempt to justify or defend the moderate use of tobacco against any who may criticize it either with (and wouldn’t this be cute) a biblical argument, or a health argument. I will say at this juncture that most of the research done on the negative side affects of tobacco concern cigarettes and chewing tobacco. The handful of studies which have been done on pipes and cigars suggest that moderate use (defined in one study as 10 bowls a day) increases your chance of lung cancer less than 3% (mouth cancer may be a different story, however).

Nonetheless, the primary purposes of these posts are: a) to examine the intersection between that nearly mystical ritual of lighting a bowl of good tobacco, and practicing (in my case practicing amateurly) the discipline of Christian theology; and, b) to provide the gentle reader with a few resources which may help to integrate theology and pipe smoking.

The present post will include, besides this introduction, a brief, inconclusive, and hardly researched historical sketch of Christianity’s relationship with pipe smoking (and smoking in general to some degree), and also modest list of (relatively) famous Christian pipe smokers. My second post will attempt to “pair” pipes and especially tobacco blends to the contemplation of certain theological ideas, and the reading of certain theological books, together with some other tobacco infused theological shenanigans. And my final post will list resources, both on-line and off, for the pipe smoking follower of Jesus.

It needs to be said that these posts owe much to the seminal work on the subject: Toward a Theology of Pipe Smoking by Arthur D. Yunker (see my upcoming third post [or just google it]), and I personally owe much to the man who introduced me to the quaint, curious and comforting world of pipes—a man who has travelled and is travelling that familiar path from idealistic young fundamentalist, to disgruntled bible college student, to rebellious pipe-smoker, to well-adjusted and moderate pipe-smoker, to well-adjusted and sincere Christian that many of us recognize as our own spiritual journey.

A Brief Historical Sketch

J. R. R. Tolkien
Pipe smoking and Christianity (if not Christian theology) go way back. A little over a century after Europe was introduced to that glorious weed, tobacco, one of the church’s most brilliant liturgists, and one of the world’s most brilliant musicians began to smoke enthusiastically. I am of course talking about Johann Sebastian Bach. Besides such masterpieces as “Chaconne,” and “The ‘Little’ Fugue,” Bach is responsible for what is probably the first written artifact describing the intersection of Christian faith and practice with pipe smoking—a poem in which Bach meditates on how certain aspects of smoking a pipe remind him of the transitory nature of human life, and of the sorrow of an eternity spent in hell. From a literary standpoint the poem or at least the English translation of the poem is no Paradise Lost (I’m sure the original German was better), but, like meerschaum which hasn’t been smoked too fast or too slow, it ends well because the last two lines of the poem are easily the best quote concerning Christianity and pipe smoking I’ve ever come across: On sea, on land, at home, abroad/ I smoke my pipe and worship God. What a classic (and rhythmically pleasing) statement of a truth today’s church needs badly: Our entire lives should be lived as worship to God, and anything we do, whether it be attending the Cathedral, riding our bike, drinking a beer, or smoking our pipe—if done with a heart full of thanksgiving and humility—can be an act of worship.

After Bach, the history of pipe smoking and Christianity gets hazy (much like a room when too many people are smoking without proper ventilation). Since the Church thought nothing strange about smoking a pipe for most of its history, there was very little controversy, and thus very little record of the history in question.

Then in the late 19th and early 20th century we come to the rise of fundamentalism in response to developments in biblical criticism, the so-called social gospel, and other changes in Christendom. Fundamentalists felt that what was needed to combat the forces of liberalism was a “return” to holiness and piety. As a result, campaigns against popular entertainment (movies, cards, dominoes), drinking, and smoking were launched by many early fundamentalists, and of course, the banner has been picked up by several subsequent generations on into the present day. Though, not directly about pipe smoking, a story involving Billy Sunday one of the fathers of fundamentalism will do much to illustrate, the fact however, that even within the early evangelical/fundamentalist movement there was not total consensus.

William “Billy” Sunday was a famous baseball player in the 1880s until he was converted to Christianity. He heard the call to ministry and became an evangelist. He was a charismatic preacher, a fund raising genius, and reportedly told more individuals his version of what the gospel was than any other person up to that time. By the 1910s and 20s he was America’s most famous evangelical Christian. He was outspoken about social issues of the day, and was an especially voracious supporter of prohibition.

At some point just before the turn of the 20th century, Billy Sunday was invited to visit Charles Spurgeon’s church in London. During the course of his sermon, Billy began to preach against the “evils” of drinking and smoking, and how Christians could not do it, and expect admission into heaven. It is reported that though he was polite all the way through the sermon, Spurgeon went to the pulpit at the end, looked at Billy and said, “Be that as it may, sir. I will go home to tonight and smoke a cigar to the greater glory of God!”

An Annotated List of Christian Pipe Smokers (or A Fundamentalist’s Field Guide to Pipe Smoking Heretics, And Why They’re Going to Hell)

And Charles Spurgeon was only one of the many evangelical “traitors.” What proceeds is an annotated list of some theologians, pastors, evangelists, Christian authors, and other personalities in some way connected to Christendom who smoke or have smoked (both Pipe and Cigar smokers are included). One caveat is that inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement of an individual’s theology or teachings, as some of these guys are total whack jobs, while others are modern day Fathers (if you’ll indulge me to throw that term around). And, what an edifying and uplifting theophiliac endeavour it would be to expand this list for the benefit of posterity!

Bach, Johann Sebastian - the aforementioned genius.

Barth, Karl - Do you really think he couldn’t have written all 98 volumes (I approximate, of course) of Church Dogmatics without the help of Lady Tobacco?

Chesterton, G.K - One of my favorite Christian authors. Not only did he smoke pipes and cigars, but could also allegedly write one thing with his pen sitting at a desk, while simultaneously dictating an entirely different piece of writing to his secretary. I know Tony has mentioned his Orthodoxy in one of his posts.

Colson, Chuck - owns one of C.S. Lewis’ pipes.

Erskine, Ralph - Scottish Presbyterian, what else is there to say?

Frassati, The Blessed Pier Giorgio - Italian Catholic social justice advocate and anti-fascist. Called the Man of the Eight Beatitudes by JP II (who beatified him in 1990); don’t think he was a pipe smoker? Commenter Peter gives us definitive proof: proof

Hewitt, Hugh - conservative political commentator, claims to be Christian, I suppose we’ll take him on his word; wouldn’t want to be judgmental or anything, but can a Republican be a Christian?

Lewis, C. S - probably the guy on the list with the most evangelical clout (despite being Anglican); another great piece of ammunition to use against stuffy fundies is that Lewis’ Narnia books took shape in a pub o’er many a pint. More on C.S. Lewis’ pipe smoking later.

Moltmann, Jurgen - Don’t have too much evidence for this just some off hand comment I think he made one time, and a general sense gotten by looking at the man that a pipe seems natural and fitting on him.
Ogden, Schubert- Methodist minister. Author of “May a Christian smoke?” {The Log 9, no.14 (1959): 2}, and I believe his answer (and mine) was “yes.”

Scott, Gene - ( – this dude is (was?) crazy. He charged admission into his church. He had a Bible study TV show, on which he was fond of smoking a cigar and drinking a glass of wine. Favorite Bible study passage: you guessed it, the Wedding Feast of Cana.

Spurgeon, Charles - the aforementioned Cigar aficionado—speaking of which, I once saw Chuck Norris (conspicuously missing from this list of Christians, most of whom are Christians and thinkers) on the cover of the magazine Cigar Aficionado, why not have Charles Spurgeon on there?

Tolkien, J.R.R - Catholic, as we all know.

Williams, Charles - probably the least known, and arguably the most talented (Lewis certainly thought so) of the “Inklings,” writer of speculative theological fiction; wonderful stuff, really. He was Anglican, and in fact wrote a fascinating church history called the Descent of the Dove. I did a research paper on it one time for Amos Yong’s theology class; totally B.S.ed it, but…if only I had been allowed to smoke my pipe (not that I didn’t anyway)…how much smarter I would have been!

Continue Part II and III here.