Proverbs
Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.

Proverbs 4:14

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“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

Matthew 7:13-14

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 A Front Row View Of The Church

Much More Than a Lump of Clay… - Tue, 21 Oct 2014
Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NKJV) 1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel […]

If Jesus Built This Church on Love……. - Sun, 12 Oct 2014
I’ve been thinking about a gospel song from many years ago entitled “Jesus built this church on love”. In case you’ve never heard the song here is a sample of the lyrics: “Do you ever just get to wonderin’/ ‘bout the way things are today?/ So many on board this gospel ship/ Trying to row […]

An Affront To A Holy God - Tue, 07 Oct 2014
OK, let’s get one thing out of the way up right front,can we? I know that I am considered a throwback to an era that has long since faded away from the church.Many probably consider me to be some sort of relic,or dinosaur because I utterly reject the path the church has taken in it’s […]


Defending Contending

Is Same Sex Attraction Sinful? - Fri, 17 Oct 2014
In light of the current events taking place in Houston, Texas, we will be addressing the issue of homosexuality. One of the overarching issues is that Houston is under the leadership of a woman, who is openly living in sin as a lesbian. Regardless of what laws are passed, the laws of man will NEVER […]

Apocity: The Greatest Omission - Thu, 16 Oct 2014
In my book Apocity: The Greatest Omission I coin a word (apocity – pronounced uh-pa-city) to describe the sin of not evangelizing. This book not only coins a word, but it reveals the pandemic apparent within western Christianity. Moreover, this book not only diagnosis this sin (thoroughly), but it also provides a gospel centered remedy. Sneak […]

Curing “Oh My Goodness!” - Wed, 15 Oct 2014
We are appreciative to Pastor Jon Gleason for writing the following article which is a follow-on to a previous post on taking the Lord’s name in vain. May this be a profit to you in your life. Jon has graciously given us permission to use his articles here at Defending Contending and this one is […]


Do Not Be Surprised

Hillsong 'Clarifies' Stance on Homosexuality

Sunday Morning Praise

Hillsong's 'Journey' Down the Broad Path


GTY Blog

The End of an Era - Tue, 21 Oct 2014

From time to time at Grace to You we have the bittersweet duty to bid farewell to a faithful servant whom the Lord has called to another ministry. We recently said goodbye to Travis Allen, who has been called to pastor Grace Church in Greeley, Colorado. And after fourteen years of faithful service at Grace to You, it’s appropriate to recognize how the Lord has used Travis for the sake of His kingdom.

Since he started at Grace to You in September of 2000, Travis has worked at virtually every level of the ministry. He was first responsible for producing the physical cassette tapes and CDs of John MacArthur’s sermons. He then moved into the critical role of broadcast editor, preparing John MacArthur’s sermons for radio. In 2004, when the ministry recognized the need to give greater attention to its Internet ministry, Travis was tapped to lead and oversee that newly-formed department. The ensuing years revealed the quality of his character and leadership, and in 2012 Travis was promoted to Managing Director, leading the day-to-day operations of the entire ministry.

While you might not be familiar with Travis’s name, you have certainly benefited from his ministry at Grace to You. The blog you’re currently reading is just one example of how he has worked tirelessly to extend the reach of John MacArthur’s teaching online. He led the development of our website’s first major redesign, which amounted to a colossal upgrade. That upgrade became the foundation for what the world knows today as gty.org. And in 2008, he played a pivotal role in the decision to open the Grace to You sermon vault, making over forty years of John MacArthur’s Bible teaching available free of charge.

In short, Travis’s fingerprints are all over Grace to You, particularly our Internet ministry. And because his faithfulness continues to bear fruit in so many lives around the world, we wanted to publicly thank him for his service to the Lord, and offer you an opportunity to do the same in the comments below.

We love you, Travis, and we’ll be forever grateful for your friendship, leadership, and for all the Lord has accomplished through you in your time with us. God’s richest blessings to you and your dear family.

GTY Staff

Strange Fire Redux, Part 3 - Fri, 17 Oct 2014

by John MacArthur

Editor’s Note: To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Strange Fire Conference, we are posting an article by John MacArthur which will appear in the next issue of theTMS Journal. For the purposes of this blog, the article is posted in three parts.Click here to read Part 1and Part 2.

A Departure from the Inerrant Word

A final point to consider, specifically with reference to modern prophecy, is that by eliminating the simple biblical standard by which false prophets may be identified, modern charismatics have opened the door for chaos and doctrinal confusion in the church. Fake healings and false tongues are bad enough, but when someone claims to have private revelation from God, the sufficiency and singularity of Scripture is instantly clouded, and the authority of Scripture is undermined. It is a terribly dangerous breach of a fundamental principle of evangelical Protestant and biblical conviction.

The Bible is authoritative revelation. It sets forth truth in words and propositions. The authors of Scripture wrote down those words exactly as God ordained—“not . . . words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:13). That’s why a prophet was judged by the accuracy of what he said. If he said, “Thus said the Lord,” and the Lord didn’t really say that, he was to be stoned.

When someone claims to have received an “impression” from God—a non-verbal revelation—the door is opened wide for all kinds of confusion. Personal impressions are inherently enigmatic, vague, and frankly dubious. Non-verbal sensations cannot articulate truth. But charismatics are taught to accept their impressions and hope that somehow this legitimate revelation of God doesn’t get messed up when we try to verbalize it. Frequently, when they verbalize or act on what they believe God has told them, it is absurd—sometimes even reckless in the extreme. But a strong impression is never to be doubted on those grounds, they insist, because God moves in mysterious ways. That is why charismatics are so prone to embrace rather than question all kinds of strange and innately irrational phenomena like drunken behavior and uncontrollable laughter.

When you believe God is trying to communicate through some non-verbal, intellectually vacant means, all meaning inevitably gets lost in translation. This is not how God reveals truth. Seeking messages from God in one’s own feelings and imagination is a practice rooted in pagan superstition, and it wreaks havoc in the lives of anyone who thinks that impression in his mind or feeling in his gut is a message from God. Scripture says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26).

True believers in Jesus Christ must return to the basic truths of the sufficiency, authority, verbal inspiration, and inerrancy of God’s Word. Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God is true. That is the principle of biblical inerrancy. The charismatic notion of “fallible prophecy” directly undermines it. The more casual the church becomes in these categories, the more her people will falter, and the weaker her testimony will be. The evidence of this is already all too obvious across the entire evangelical movement.

The Shepherds Conference next March will be a major summit on the topic of inerrancy. Ten keynote speakers have been invited to address the issue. Our commitment to biblical inerrancy is the core principle that defines and delimits everything else we confess and teach at The Master’s Seminary. This is what we want to be known for. We affirm without reservation the authority, sufficiency, and reliability of Scripture, and we believe the Bible supersedes and stands in judgment over all other truth claims, all other worldviews, and all beliefs that are rooted only in general revelation or natural theology. For the honor of the Lord and the safety of His people we must hold settled, biblically sound views on these issues, and we must be able to proclaim the truth with clarity and genuine conviction. That means no matter how popular and widespread an erroneous doctrine may be, we nevertheless must point it out and offer biblical correction.

Listen to some of the pundits and trend-setters among the evangelical elite, and you might think the only options left for conservative evangelicals are to fall in line with the prevailing evangelical drift or else become a pariah because you represent a threat to peace and unity. Scripture points us in a totally different direction: “Be steadfast, immovable” (1 Corinthians 15:58)—“ holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). “Retain the standard of sound words [and] guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:13-14). “Preach the word . . . in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction”—even when people just want to have their ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:2-3). And “be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).

Strange Fire Redux, Part 2 - Wed, 15 Oct 2014

by John MacArthur

Editor’s Note: To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Strange Fire Conference, we are posting an article by John MacArthur which will appear in the next issue of theTMS Journal. For the purposes of this blog, the article will be posted in three parts throughout the week. Click here to read Part 1.

Cessationism through Church History

Looking back over the history of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, it is significant to note that Pentecostalism’s distinctive teachings have always been outside the historic mainstream of Protestant and Reformed conviction. All the Reformers and their heirs were cessationists. They believed and taught emphatically that God is intimately involved and providentially in control of every detail of everything that happens in the universe. They also held the firm conviction that apostolic sign-gifts ceased when the apostolic era passed. They saw no conflict between those two articles of faith. Nor did any cessationist imagine a conflict there until three pernicious trends began to turn the tide of twentieth-century evangelicalism.

One was the rise of a utilitarian approach to church growth, paired with the false notion that numerical increase is the best gauge of God’s blessing. Evangelicals intentionally set doctrine aside in favor of pragmatic and populist ideals. Theology gave way to entertainment. Bible teaching was deemed insufficiently “seeker-sensitive,” and evangelicalism gradually moved further and further away from historic evangelical doctrine. Within a generation, evangelical churches were filled with people who were largely untaught, biblically illiterate, and unprepared to resist false teaching.

A second factor was the increasing aggressiveness with which charismatic phenomena are promoted in evangelical circles. Dennis Bennett’s Easter Sunday bombshell seemed incredibly bold at the time. Such an announcement would pass without much notice in the typical evangelical church today. Nowadays, what is unusual (to the point of seeming freakish) is anyone who openly challenges charismatic claims. The public backlash against the Strange Fire Conference demonstrated that.

A third trend (the most troubling of all) is the escalating outlandishness of charismatic exhibitionism. Around the late 1980s speaking in tongues was supplanted as the chief sign-gift. In some circles, tongues were no longer even deemed a necessary sign of Holy Spirit baptism. Instead, it seemed the whole charismatic world was suddenly touting private prophecies and being “slain in the Spirit.” That shift was soon followed by the so-called Toronto Blessing, which in turn gave way to unbridled orgies of ersatz drunkenness under the direction of Rodney Howard-Browne as the self-styled “Holy Ghost Bartender.” Charismatics today seem enthralled with activities like “grave sucking” (visiting the graves of early charismatic heroes in order to soak up an anointing); “toking the Ghost” (inhaling an imaginary reefer and pretending to be high on the Holy Spirit); and ridiculous experiments with walking on water, raising the dead, or even old-school occult phenomena. Meanwhile, prophecies, false claims, and novel doctrines are steadily becoming more and more grotesque—but they are rarely challenged.

None of this comes out of our Protestant and Reformed heritage. Indeed, extrabiblical prophecies, fanciful claims about miracles, and other supernatural phenomena were features of medieval Roman Catholic superstition that the Reformers emphatically rejected. The only other doctrinaire continuationists in church history belonged to fringe groups, such as the Montanists in the second century and the Zwickau prophets (and other radicals) in the early sixteenth century. One of the main reasons the magisterial Reformers held Anabaptist groups in high suspicion was the prevalence of new revelations and other charismatic-style beliefs among the Radical Reformers. Moreover, those radical groups that placed the most emphasis on extrabiblical revelation were basically fruitless and short-lived. There is no clear line of continuity between the miraculous phenomena touted by the early Radical Reformers and the charismatic practices of the twentieth century.

In other words, continuationism is a contemporary (twentieth-century) phenomenon, and it embraces a point of view that until sometime after 1960 was universally rejected by the historic Protestant and evangelical mainstream.

Cessationism from Scripture

There is, however, a much stronger reason to reject charismatic teaching. In order to affirm the continuation of sign gifts, it is necessary to invent novel, fanciful, or whimsical interpretations of certain biblical texts. Passages that have never been in question must now be reinterpreted. For example, until the charismatic movement found it necessary to explain why modern glossolalia bears no relationship to any known language, no one ever suggested that the language spoken by angels might lack structure or sense. No credible commentator ever thought the “groanings which cannot be uttered” spoken of in Romans 8:26 can actually be uttered in repetitive nonsense syllables. No student of Scripture would ever have concluded that the known, translatable languages manifested at Pentecost would ultimately be superseded with unintelligible gibberish.

The tongues that were spoken on the Day of Pentecost, as well as the gift of tongues in the early church had a specific purpose. The phenomenon was a fulfillment of Isaiah 28:11-12. That prophecy is closely paraphrased by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:21: “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people.” In other words, tongues were given to show Israel that God was turning his attention to the Gentiles. People from all nations would now be embraced under a New Covenant. The languages spoken at Pentecost are listed in Acts 2:9-11. Without exception, they were Gentile languages. Jews from all over the world were present in the city of Jerusalem. They had never heard God being praised in a Gentile language. The language of worship was Hebrew, exclusively. Even in the dispersion, praise to YHWH was always offered in the sacred language. So when the Apostles began speaking Gentile languages, the people of Jerusalem were hearing something completely new and shocking. The meaning was unmistakable: this was a declaration that God was turning from an apostate, Christ-rejecting nation to open the way of salvation for the wider world. Speaking in tongues signified that “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) had begun.

What do the tongues of today signify? To what does this phenomenon point? There is no answer to that question. Modern tongues have no meaning, no significance. They are in every sense incomprehensible.

In short, the continuationist position requires a complete redefinition of the apostolic gifts. Modern charismatics depart from a biblical definition of the gifts in order to accommodate a far-fetched explanation for what we see happening today.

Continuationist claims are self-refuting for anyone who takes Scripture at face value. Consider, for example, the multitude of failed prophecies and words of knowledge spun out constantly by modern charismatics. Deuteronomy 18:22 and Jeremiah 29:8-9 clearly teach that if someone speaks in the Lord’s name and his prophecy does not come to pass, that person is not to be regarded as a true prophet. Modern charismatics who are honest will freely admit that all their prophets are more often wrong than right. In order to get around the Bible’s clear, emphatic instructions regarding false prophets, they have concocted a dogma, nowhere taught in the Bible, that the New Testament gift of prophecy is supposed to be fallible. New Testament Prophecy is a lesser form of revelation than Old Testament prophecy, they say. The standard has been lowered (or more precisely, eliminated) so even a long string of false prophecies would not necessarily make someone a false prophet.

The silliness of that idea and the dangers it invites ought to be obvious to anyone with common sense. What is the point of fallible prophecy? Is God mumbling? Why would God, who gave us a more sure word of prophecy, confuse His people by appending His revelation with something so indefinite? But modern charismatics build their whole case for modern prophecy on that foundation of sand. They simply have not met the burden of biblical proof.

The truth is that those who call themselves continuationists don’t really believe in the continuation of the gifts. The gifts they embrace are different, lesser-quality phenomena than the apostolic outpouring of miracles. Honest charismatics must face and own up to that fact.

The charismata were, after all, apostolic gifts. Paul expressly classifies signs, wonders, and mighty works as “the signs of a true apostle” (2 Corinthians 12:12). Every miracle, healing, and supernatural phenomenon ever manifested in the early church was done by someone closely related to an apostle. The apostles and prophets themselves served a foundational purpose (Ephesians 2:20). In other words, those roles pertained to the founding of the church, and once the church was fully established, the apostolic era began to draw to a close. Miracles play a diminishing role even in the biblical record of the early church. The church grew and spread while the New Testament was being written and circulated. Gradually and by God’s own design, biblical authority eclipsed apostolic authority, ultimately eliminating any need for either the apostolic office or further revelation. By the end of the first century, the apostles and prophets had fulfilled their foundational purpose and passed from the scene. Likewise the gifts and phenomena that served as “signs of a true apostle” faded from the record. Those are simple facts of history, starting with the biblical record of the early church.

So the scriptural basis for the cessation of the gifts as they were seen in the New Testament is robust. Without completely ignoring historic theology, reinterpreting passages of Scripture, and redefining the Pentecostal gift of tongues, there is no way to maintain a continuationist position.

The Absence of Miracles

One cannot honestly evaluate the modern charismatic movement without noticing the absence of any true miracles today. God can heal. He does answer our prayers. He is of course free to do whatever He chooses. But it is a rather obvious fact (true by definition) that miracles are not the normal means by which He works. Paraplegics do not get out of wheelchairs and walk. Dead people are not being raised to life again at funerals. People in the final stages of terminal cancer don’t experience instant healing. Miracles are simply not normative, even in the most devoted charismatic communities. No one today, including the most revered charismatic celebrities, has the power to summon miracles by a simple command the way the apostles did in Acts 3:6 or 9:34.

For more information onStrange Fire, click here for all the conference media, as well as articles and book reviews.


Ligonier Ministries Blog

In Secret

Zurich Revolutionary: Ulrich Zwingli

Social Media Highlights (10/19/14)


m’Kayla’s Corner

Prayer Needed - Sun, 12 Oct 2014
Originally posted on Possessing the Treasure:
I received the following email from my brother-in-law this morning. 10/09/14 Thursday 6:39 P.M. Prayer Request from Dan and Marilyn Wilson Missionaries who are in the areas that are being attacked by ISIS are…

1 John 4 How Well Are We Learning? – - Sat, 16 Aug 2014
Have you ever read another person’s words and thought to yourself “I could have written that”? Well, here we are… This is all very reminiscent of when I was in the open, honest and upfront titled “new age ‘christian’ church”. … Continue reading

The Truth and The Lie Are Set Up Side by Side - Sun, 27 Jul 2014
I’ve been writing for several years now, exposing the false signs and wonders of Charismania that has taken over the church. This movement has come from many sources, mine were the International Association of Healing Rooms, heavily influenced by Bill … Continue reading


Moriel Ministries

Blood Moons for the Second Time Proven to be a Baseless Hoax - Sun, 12 Oct 2014
By James Jacob Prasch Oct 12, 2014 The Boy Cries Wolf Yet Again  I happened to be in Israel for Sukkoth, the second of the supposedly festal Blood Moons concocted by Mark Biltz, whom given his abysmal track record – many now can only consider to be a religious con artist out to sell books about the ‘Blood Moon’ hoax that he [...]

Using Illustrations from Culture To Help People Understand Jesus Christ Can Be A Good Idea … Getting People to Worship False Gods Is Not - Mon, 06 Oct 2014
by Sandy Simpson 5/29/14 Deception in the Church  Cultural illustrations can be helpful but only if taught in the light of the true accounts in the written Word.  Putting cultural accounts on the same par as Scripture by using the mythology of pagan nations to replace what needs to be taught about Jesus Christ and [...]

The Son of Judas Whose Religious Hypocrisy Knows no Limits - Sun, 05 Oct 2014
Oct 5, 2014 James Jacob Prash After murdering nearly all of Iran’s Evangelical pastors, an American Iranian pastor remains in an Iranian prison under harsh conditions for the crime of being a Christian. At the same time a young woman awaits hanging courtesy of an Islamic decree. Meanwhile, next door in Iraq, ISIS continues to [...]


Pyromaniacs

Killing and healing - Sun, 19 Oct 2014
Your weekly dose of Spurgeon

ThePyroManiacsdevote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The following excerpt is from Teachings of Nature in the Kingdom of Grace, pages 223-224, Pilgrim Publications.

Jesus Christ had spoken certain truths which were highly objectionable to the Pharisees. Some of His loving disciples were in great fright, and they came to Him and said, “Knowest Thou not that the Pharisees are offended?”

Now our Saviour, instead of making any apology for having offended the Pharisees, took it as a matter of course, and replied in a sentence which is well worthy to be called a proverb,—“Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.”

Now we have oftentimes, as Matthew Henry very tritely remarks, a number of good and affectionate but very weak hearers. They are always afraid that we shall offend other hearers. Hence, if the truth be spoken in a plain and pointed manner, and seems to come close home to the conscience, they think that surely it ought not to have been spoken, because So-and-so, and So-and-so, and So-and-so took offence at it.

If we never offended, it would be proof positive that we did not preach the Gospel. They who can please man will find it quite another thing to have pleased God.

Do you suppose that men will love those who faithfully rebuke them? If you make the sinner's heart to groan, and waken his conscience, do you think he will pay you court and thank you for it? Nay, not so; in fact, this ought to be one aim of our ministry, not to offend, but to test men and make them offended with themselves, so that their hearts may be exposed to their own inspection. Their being offended will discover of what sort they are.

A ministry that never uproots will never water; a ministry that does not pull down will never build up. He who knoweth not how to pluck up the plants which God hath not planted, scarcely understandeth how to be a worker of God in His vineyard.

Our ministry ought always to be a killing as well as a healing one,—a ministry which kills all false hopes, blights all wrong confidences, and weeds out all foolish trusts, while at the same time it trains up the feeblest shoot of real hope, and tenders comfort and encouragement even to the weakest of the sincere followers of Christ.


Slaughter of the Sheep

Mark Driscoll: Plagiarism – Thou Shalt Not Steal! - Thu, 05 Dec 2013
Recently, Janet Mefferd, host of the syndicated radio show, The Janet Mefferd Show, interviewed Mark Driscoll on her broadcast.  On the November 21st show, she expressed deep concern that parts of Driscoll’s new book, A Call to Resurgence (14 pages to be … Continue reading

Paul Crouch, Founder of TBN, Dies - Sat, 30 Nov 2013
Paul Crouch, founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, has passed away.  Remember the Crouch family in your prayers, more specifically, that they would come to repentance. It’s still too soon to tell, but all indications are that Matt Crouch will be … Continue reading

Spin Control: Sorry for the Hassle - Wed, 30 Oct 2013
In responding to the news article exposing his new mansion, Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC, apologized to his congregation for all the hassle they have gone through because of his taste for fine things. It sounds … Continue reading


Sola Dei Gloria

Joining Islamic State is about ‘sex and aggression,’ not religion - Mon, 20 Oct 2014
God has a way of confirming things He reveals. From the moment I saw the first photos depicting members of this newest terrorist group and began to read reports of young girls leaving home and country in order to “join up” with ISIS (or Islamic State) I sensed this group was a “different type” of […]

The Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Quotes from A.W. Tozer - Sun, 19 Oct 2014
“The Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy” – (From the compiled unpublished works of A.W. Tozer – April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963) “The Bible has no compromise whatsoever with the world. The Bible has a message for the evangelical church, calling it back home. The Bible always send us out into the world, […]

The Destruction of Jerusalem – By George Peter Holford (1805) - Thu, 16 Oct 2014
Under the section inside the dashboard we’re able to see the most viewed posts of the day. Over the years I’ve noticed one of the most viewed posts has been one concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. It’s understandable as I too find it an interesting topic: not only because of the facts surrounding […]


The Cripplegate


The Watchman’s Bagpipes

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Total Apostasy? Joseph Smith’s First Vision

My Evening Prayer