Back in the States

For the last few years I felt alone in our association of churches as I stood against the false teaching that was creeping in. I strongly hold to the inerrancy and the sufficiency of Scripture. No doubt, the greatest danger is from within “the church” and not from without.

Who is more dangerous to the children of God? The Dalai Lama or Rick Warren? Rosie O’Donnell or Joel Osteen? Bernie Sanders or Bethel Redding?

I was deeply troubled after hearing from those who stood in the same pulpit I did that it didn’t matter if Jonah was a true historical account and that Adam and Eve may not have been real historical figures, that females could occupy the role of an elder, that Paul’s pastoral letters are not for all churches, etc.

Instead of joining another church and taking another ministry position in Southeast Asia, we moved back to America for numerous reasons. We’re now in a Bible-teaching Confessional church and I can say with so many others that it is one of the greatest blessings to be in a room with people on the Lord’s Day who believe the same way you do. One church member drives 90 miles to attend and they come to the prayer meetings on Wednesday as well. They too say it is SO worth it. If I were to die suddenly, these are the people I’d want to surround my family.

God has given me a job in which I may put in lots of hours and I’m so thankful for that. I am no longer dependent on support so I have taken down the “GIVE” link. There are pastors who need the money more than I.

We’re thankful for the years in Asia and the growth that took place during that time. We’re looking forward to sharing His Truth with many in this new area we’ve chosen to move to.

 

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No More Hillsong

A fitting title would be, “Houston, we have a problem.” but someone already used it. During family worship time we have often used songs from Hillsong. There are a few songs by them that are good. There are a lot of songs that are really good if you change a lyric or two. What my wife and I can’t get over is Brian Houston. We’ve decided it’s for the best to cut anything that links back to him (until he repents). Why?

So many think Brian Houston is a leadership guru. Without integrity, there is no biblical leadership to be found.

“This is the kind of leadership that crucified Jesus.” – Chris Rosebrough

Pulpit & Pen Hillsong Search

Pirate Christian Hillsong Search

Article: Hillsong believes in the Bible…when it suits them

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.  Romans 16:17

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Hospital Visits

On Thanksgiving Day I had the opportunity to visit someone in ICU and to share the gospel briefly with them. They died a few weeks later. Hospital visitation is something you want to be prepared for. Don’t be caught off guard. It is one of the best moments to point people to the Perfect Savior.

NoCo Radio – Hospital Visitation pt 1

NoCo Radio – Hospital Visitation pt 2

 

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Family Worship / Family Devotions

Having regular times of family devo (daily) has changed my family in many ways. We think of God more. We treat each other better. My children behave better. We feel that God is with us. I am challenged to be in God’s Word more because I’m actually feeding my family in a spiritual sense and if I’m not fed then I cannot feed them. I highly recommend reading these two articles:

On Family Worship & Family Worship and Family Harmony

This is our evening order of family devo:

Intro Prayer (committing the time to God and seeking His blessing on it)

Hymn A Mighty Fortress (yes, every day because I love this hymn)

3 Songs – we have a different song list for each day of the week. I do not sing well so I play guitar and it helps greatly! We use a mixture of older hymns, modern songs, and children songs. The variety really helps my children enjoy this time.

Catechism – This is a question and answer time. It is like completing the edge pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle. It is easier to fit in the other pieces when the edge pieces are all in place. My children will know where to fit in biblical truths when they hear them because their worldview is being formed through the daily catechism questions. After I preach on the Lord’s Day I will ask my oldest child some questions based on what I preached. Sometimes she will ask me questions as well and I use her catechism questions as a reference for her. She asked why she can’t see God and I asked her, “Who is God?”. She responded, “God is a Spirit and does not have a body like man.” Then I was able to have a discussion with her based on her answer (which comes from her catechism) and talk about God as a spiritual Being and what that entails as well as pointing her to Christ as the second person of the Trinity who willingly entered His own creation and put on flesh. I use a catechism that I put together and several questions were drawn from A Catechism for Boys and Girls.

Scripture reading – not lengthy, but enough to direct our thoughts towards Christ.

Prayer – prayer for all pressing needs and concerns

Closing – Doxology

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A Wedding

I’ll be attending a wedding ceremony this Saturday so Ephesians 5:31-32 is on my mind. Every marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. My desire is that my marriage would be a clear picture of that great reality.

As married couples, I think its important to make marriage look fun and desirable. Marriage shouldn’t be perceived as a ball and chain tied around our ankle that limits us and holds us down all the time. Marriage is something to look forward to. The enemy’s attack on the institution of marriage is very clear. Egalitarianism and Modern Feminism are great evils that have a strong presence in many cultures today.

The family unit has a large effect on the local church. God has chosen the family as the training ground for church leaders. The local church is instructed to look for its leaders in Biblically functioning families. 1 Timothy 3:2-5, Titus 1:5-6

Many churches today look through resumes for potential pastors. The N.T. church looked at homes.

Voddie Baucham said that if a young man asks him, “What can I do to prepare for ministry?” that he replies, “Take a wife, start a family, and see if you qualify.”

So if you want to teach the world the love of God, become a husband who loves his wife as Christ loves the church. Ephesians 5:25

If you want to teach the world how the church submits to the Lord, become a wife who submits to her husband. Ephesians 5:22-24

 

*As best as I recall, many of these thoughts come from a book titled “Family Driven Faith”

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Peter Pan

There was a church that had a woman preach one to three Sunday’s a month. Very few men attended but you could count on many women and a few kids being present. Then, being led by Scripture, the church began to have men preach every week. All of the women were still there along with the children but over the next few weeks and months a noticeable change occurred. Men started to come and whole families started attending together. God’s order is best. The Bible applies to all of life. To reject His blueprint is foolish. His ways are perfect.

I was teaching in a Bible school and told the young men to grow up and take a wife. Marriage isn’t for men who are not ready financially. If a man is ready financially then I think a man needs a Biblical reason for delaying marriage.

There are several reasons men delay marriage. “Prosperity”. Work. The sexual revolution – free sex without marriage and commitment. What is the biggest and all-encompassing reason men delay marriage? It’s the Peter Pan Syndrome. They don’t want to grow up. They don’t want to take responsibility. They want to spend their money on video games and live as if their personal happiness is the highest goal in life. Don’t be a Peter Pan.

I know a ton of female single missionaries that are waiting for a man to step up. A ton. These women want to be married but they’re surrounded by boys.

A rejection of God’s design results in that which is unnatural. A passive male is a sad and pitiful shell of what he was created to be. I heard a quote attributed to Paul Washer. He said, “You were born for greater things.”

Several of those men I spoke to in the Bible school weren’t planning on getting married for another 5 years or so. But within months after graduation, they got married and are now fathers. I assure you, they don’t regret it. Those 5 years were not lost but gained. Being a man is about taking responsibility. Don’t shrink back but rise up o’ men of God. If you’re being a Peter Pan, stop it!

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Miss Behaving

The enemy’s attack upon the people of God is seen in many areas. One particular battle in our current time is over the issue of gender roles. Men who are called to function as a priest, prophet, provider, and protector in their family are tempted to be passive. This is seen worldwide as women and children fill the majority of Christian churches giving the impression to unbelievers that Christianity is a religion for women alone. Women who are called to be submissive to their husbands are tempted to wear the pants in the family and usurp their husband’s authority. This is a result of the Fall that happened in the garden. See Genesis 3:16; Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18,19; 1 Peter 3:1-7; Titus 2:5; 1 Corinthians 11:3

The rejection of God’s order is seen in women preaching in God’s churches on the Lord’s Day.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” 1 Corinthians 14:33-35

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” 1 Timothy 2:11-14

If a woman is preaching when God’s people are gathered together on the Lord’s Day then she is misbehaving. 1 Timothy 3:15 (coming right after 1 Tim. 2, see how it all fits together?)

Special note: There may be a time when the only one present in a church who knows God’s word or who knows how to read is a woman. There are churches in the hills around me that have no pastor. In the church here half the people cannot read. If qualified male leadership is lacking, like in these very particular cases, I feel God’s Word should go forth! But even in this scenario a woman is not an elder. She would be functioning as a teacher until God provided qualified leadership for that church, and it may take a long time! This is the desired end (plural-elder-congregationalism) and I wouldn’t see it as incompatible with Scripture for this to take place if there was no other way for God’s word to go forth. In such an instance, a godly woman would never take on the title of “elder”.

If a woman wants to be called a pastor then she is asking others to lie. It is like Bruce Jenner wanting to be called Caitlyn. I can’t call him that. It would be a violation of the 9th commandment.

A synonym for pastor in the NT is overseer, shepherd and elder. All of these words refer to the same office. Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Peter 5:2; 1 Timothy 3:2; Ephesians 4:11

There is no distinction between pastors and elders. Elders are to shepherd/pastor the church. Elders must be able to teach. Pastor-teachers in Ephesians 4:11 are simply elders. *

We must be aware that in many churches the terms “pastor” and “elder” are not synonymous. We should be gentle with individuals that believe they are different positions and point them to the overwhelming support in Scripture to show that it is the same office. Someone may think that the term “pastor” just means a leader in some way and that would not be the same violation of Scripture as holding to female eldership. That individual would just be in need of a more Biblical term. It is better to stick with Biblical terminology.

One of the qualifications for being an elder/pastor is that one be a man.

“This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you-if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife…” Titus 1:5-7

“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife…” 1 Timothy 3:2

If a woman is the husband of one wife…then that is a whole other blog post. Men and women are made differently. It is not the make-up on the outside that causes one to be a woman, but who she is inside. It would be insulting to women if I claimed I can do everything they can. I can’t. And neither can women do everything I can. A woman speaking at a conference is great. A woman teaching a Bible study or a Sunday school class may be just fine. But a woman preaching on the Lord’s Day in a church service is clearly forbidden all throughout Scripture.

Feel welcome to send an email if you’d like any clarification on anything I’ve said. matt@beardedberean.com

 

*Much of this is drawn from Sam Waldron’s exposition of the 1689 LBC

 

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Forgiveness

How can we forgive someone who has sinned against us?

First, whether someone sins against you when you are a child or when you are an adult (like in the context of marriage), that action should be called a “sin” and not a “mistake”. The Biblical term is “sin”. Don’t minimize an action by refusing to call it what it is.

Secondly, the gospel is absolutely key. It is our only hope. Without the gospel, there is no solution. Think about how God deals with you. Regardless of the sins committed against you, the truth is that your sin against God is far worse. And still, God doesn’t say “I’m done with you.” Love is an action. And God has chosen to love. Aren’t you thankful that God doesn’t lash out at you in anger every time you break His law?

Paul was given a thorn in the flesh and God’s grace was sufficient for him. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

Is not God’s grace sufficient for you as well? You will sin today. And you will sin tomorrow. God knew this and Jesus laid down His life anyway for all of those who will come to Him in repentance and faith.

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Foreign Language

We were ministering alongside a short-term team and they asked how they could pray for us. I asked for prayer concerning our family and for prayer regarding our acquisition of the local language. As a matter of priority, our families come before ministry. What good would it be to neglect the very role God has placed us in so that we might accomplish something for the kingdom – all the while neglecting the very thing handed to us by God? That would be very foolish. It could also be said that ministry should not be separated from family because family is ministry.

With that being said, our effectiveness as missionaries is in large part dependent upon our ability to communicate. The power isn’t in our good deeds that are seen by others, although good deeds are important. The power isn’t in our parenting, although good parenting is important. Our good works don’t change the sinner’s heart and our parenting doesn’t proclaim the good news.

The gospel is news and that’s where the power is. You have to proclaim it. You cannot live the news but you can live in light of it. The unbeliever needs to receive the good news. News is verbal. Unbelievers must read the good news, hear it on the radio, or hear it from a friend. Our responsibility is not to see sinners come to faith. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to accomplish such a thing. Our task is to share the gospel. Let’s continue to open our mouths and share the best news ever.

For those going into foreign missions and for those supporting mission work, you may find the following posts (part 1, part 2, part 3) to be an informative read regarding ministry through interpretation.

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