Monday, October 30, 2006

Preparing for Reformation Day

OK, I can't say I am in the mood for anything much. Thanks to my ultra-busy schedule especially at this time of the year (see the entry for today on my personal blog), my brain is not functioning as it should. I really do need to get some sleep soon...

Anyway, tomorrow 31st October is Reformation Day which celebrates the beginning of the Great Protestant Reformation which broke the chains of the Roman church-state who has taken the true Church of our Lord Jesus Christ captive and free her to once again worship God and to be able to be used as God's instrument to bring about the salvation of countless sinners throughout the world. As children of the Reformation, we are indebted to the countless sacrifices that especially the early Reformers paid to secure for us the availability of the Word of God and to rediscover the great truths of the Gospel which was obscured for hundreds of years.

Now, even as we relish in the freedom we have in Christ, let us not forget the Gospel truths which were rediscovered for us by the ealy Reformers, lest we as the Body of Christ sink back into our former ignorance and return back to captivity (2 Peter 2:22). Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1), let us lay aside every weight and run the race set before us, ever following our Lord Jesus Christ who is the embodiment of all these precious truths which were recovered in the Reformation.

So what are the truths that are recovered in the Reformation? The truths can be mainly summed up in the 5 Solas of the Reformation: Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura & Soli Deo Gloria. Or rather, in English: Faith alone, Grace alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone and For God's glory alone.

Faith alone basically that we are saved by believing in Christ, not on account of our works or our 'goodness', but solely because we believe in Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. This doctrine of salvation by faith alone thus go against any works-based system and tell us that we can never save ourselves, but salvation is a free gift which is to be received by people who are broken before the Lord; who despair of salvation as it is humanly unattainable and thus all Man justly deserve the punishment of God in condemnation to eternal hellfire. Thus sorrowful of their sins, they come to the Lord on HIS terms and receive the free gift of salvation which Christ has purchased for them.

Grace alone is the doctrine that the salvation of men is by grace from the beginning to the end. Salvation is thus not dependent on anything anyone has done, but it is based on God's own pleasure to give grace to some unto salvation. As an extension of faith alone, it totally shatters the pride of Man by removing any ground whatsoever to boast, since the determining reason why one person is saved and the other person is not due to good works or the person being smarter in choosing Christ, but is due to God's own good pleasure in choosing His elect unto salvation and leaving the reprobates unto damnation as they willingly continue in their path of disobedience. Since though we are once like the world in its decadence and rebellion, but now am saved by the exceeding mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His great mercy (Eph. 2:1-9) draw us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9), let us in humility praise God and give Him all the glory for the salvation that He has purchased on our behalf which we do not even deserve to partake of even one small bit.

Christ alone. This doctrine of salvation in Christ alone recovered the proper object of worship from the Roman church-state, who added statues of saints and of Mary to be 'venerated', which is in actual fact little different from idolatry except in the semantic realm. Our focus should thus be on Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the Cross which paid the full price for our sins, having made full satisfaction for all of them. We are to worship Christ alone, and not idols made up of our own imagination or by our own sinful desires (i.e. Mammon), and definitely not departed saints like what apostate Rome does and commands.

Scripture alone is the doctine that only Scripture has primary authority in the lives and beliefs of Christians, and thus everything we do and believe must be subject to Scripture. It is the doctrine which we in this present age have witnessed being savagely attacked and derided, even from professing Christians. From the out and out heretics like the liberals who deny the deity of Christ and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ our Lord; to the Neo-Orthodox heretics like Karl Barth who turned the Bible into a subjective, errant text; to the Word Faith Charismatic movement with its adherents like Benny Hinn who play fast and loose with the Word of God under the pretext of 'receiving direct revelation from the Holy Spirit', and sometimes even contradicting Scripture; and lastly to the Emerging Church Movement with its postmodernism and its denial of certain, objective truth (and don't ask me how they can be certain of the 'correctness' of their denial), this foundational doctrine of authentic, biblical, evangelical Christianity is under heavy attack. Satan definitely knows the epistemological foundation of our entire Christian faith is the Word of God, and thus he expands huge amounts of energy in trying to remove it from the lives of Christians so that they could be rendered weak and ineffective and thus bring disgrace to the cause of Christ. It is thus a most pressing need of the moment for us to cling on to this precious doctrine again as in the days of the Reformation, as our entire faith epistemologically depends on it, and our growth and our effectiveness in ministry also depends on it.

Finally in all things, we do them for the glory of God alone. Since God is God, who is our Creator and our Redeemer, He demands our total obedience and worship. For His mercy towards us in our salvation which is all of grace, he deserves ALL our praises, ALL our thanks, ALL our worship, and ALL the glory. Therefore, in whatever we do, we ought to do it for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) and that alone should be our primary motive in everything we did and ever will do

With this short exposition of these Reformation slogans, let us meditate on these precious truths of the Reformation especially as Reformation Day approaches and truly once again return back to God to worship Him in reverence and in awe. Also, may we embrace these truths in our hearts (NOTE: NOT head knowledge) and let them transform us in our walk with Him, our service towards Him and our witness for Him, in order to bring glory to His marvelous name.

Now to Him who is able to strenghten us according to the Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the mystery that has now been disclosed to bring about the obedience of faith — to the only wise God, be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Rom. 16:25-27)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reformation Day Conference 2006

Here is a link to the Reformation Day Conference 2006 organized by the Evnagelical Reformed Churches of Singapore (ERCS). The message will be Confessing the Faith: The Biblical Basis and Historical Rationale for Confessions. Do come for it if you can.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Liberals in Singapore...

This comes from the Straits Times of Singapore under the Singapore Insight! section (Saturday, Oct 21st 2006):

This increase in religious fervour ... has the Reverend Yap Kim Hao worried.

The former Methodist bishop of Singapore speaks of the rise of what he calls "evangelical Christianity" in Singapore since the 1970s.

"There is the prevailing conservative theology which calls for conversion of people of other faiths and the claim that they have the one true way to salvation," says the Rev. Yap, a member of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO).

"But no one religion has the monopoly on absolute truth. Each religion can claim to be the true faith, but we don't have the complete understanding, therefore we need to have a dialogue with one another in continuously seeking the full truth."

Hmm... perhaps some verses that 'Reverend' Yap should seriously consider:

Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to [God] the Father except through me." (Jn. 14:6)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they become futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles (Rom. 1:18-23)

as it is written:

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one (Rom. 3:10-12)

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. (Rom. 3:19)

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:22ff-23)

When the Spirit comes, he will guide you (believers) into ALL the truth. (Jn. 16:13a)

And there is salvation in NO ONE ELSE, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

So what does the Bible say about those who do not acknowledge the truth of God, of which 'reverend' Yap belong to that category?

So Jesus said... "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (Jn. 8:31-32)

If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. (Jn. 15:6)

If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be anathema. Maranatha! (1 Cor. 16:22)

And finally, especially since he was a former bishop:

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they are not of us. (1 Jn. 2:18-19)

Enough said about this liberal heretic and unbeliever! 'Reverend' Yap, repent or face the wrath of God and the fires of hell in eternal damnation! Anathema sit!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Review of Dan Southerland's book Transitioning

OK, I have finally managed to finish the book review of Dan Southerland's book Transitioning: Leading Your Church through Change. It is found here. Do read this book if you want to know the depths of deception that the Purpose Driven paradigm is willing to sink to to implement its plan.

Praying for today's desolate church

Here is the article by John Piper regarding how to pray for a desolate church, which is what today's Church has by and large become. We have become a reproach among the unbelievers no thanks to our hypocrisy, and the huge amount of false teachings and heresies that we as Christians have imbibed, and the compromises that we make. (And then we wonder why there is no revival!) May God have mercy on us.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Article: The Awful Judgement of False Teachers

Here is an excellent sermon (transcript) by Gil Rugh regarding the awful judgment awaiting false teachers who mislead people by teaching damnable doctrines. The gloves are now off concerning the false teacher Rick Warren, and therefore it is long since due that all of us should treat him as such and if possible, warn Warren that he is in danger of hellfire should he persist in preaching his false social works-gospel.

Note: Ignore the Dispensationalist jargon in the sermon; it doesn't really impact the sermon though.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Soteriological concerns: Clarification

I would just like to make some clarification of certain sentences which Jenson has pointed out from my up and coming book Driven Away by Purpose regarding soteriology in this post. So here goes:

"Arminianism in a diluted form caught hold of the evangelist John Wesley."

Well, the Wesley brothers as you know are largely Arminian in their outlook. They reject predestination and election and most of the points of the Doctrines of Grace. The only point which they didn't exactly reject was Total Depravity. However, they were not consistent with true blue Arminianism as they practically depended on the Sovereignty of God in whatever they do, which Arminianism (the Remonstrant variety) would not do. In fact, I have read somewhere that the Wesley brothers are confused Calvinists (don't ask me where though, I can't remember)

"There is NO such thing as a 3-point Calvinist; you are either 5 or 0, anything other than that either implies inconsistency or redefinition of the terms"

And the question is? The sentence is straightforward; it means what it says.

"Sometimes I wonder whether people really know what Arminianism actually is, both the classical and modern varieties."

Well, you can just read articles writeen by modern-day so-called 'biblicists' like the Caner brothers to see the number of strawmen created by them. Read Norman Geisler's book Chosen But Free to see the redefinition of the terms Arminianism and Calvinism and the strawmen positions he has created of both and caricatured and argued against. These modern-day Arminians embrace the first 4 points of Arminianism (Partial Depravity, Conditional Election, Universal Atonement, Resistable Grace) and therefore I call them the modern day variety of Arminianism.

Oh, for a demonstration of their belief in conditional election, check out Ergun Caner's quote 'Elected because I selected'.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Purpose-driven testimony

Nope, this is not a testimony of how much I have grown by becoming purpose-driven. On the contrary, this is my testimony of what I have gone through so far in my encounter with the purpose driven paradigm. Before analyzing the book on transitioning by Dan Southerland, which shows us the methods used in transforming a church into a Purpose Driven® Church (Note: the registered trademark symbol is not there for no reason), I would like to share my personal testimony regarding this issue first. I have since left my former church and therefore am now not under their leadership, and am thus free to call them publicly to account for their blatant compromise and even (dare I say it?) apostasy. Here goes:

Since the start of the Purpose Driven episode in my life, which started with my former church’s (Covenant Presbyterian Church) promotion of the 40 Days of Purpose to the publication of my e-book dealing with this issue; it has been a hard time of testing for me. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I was severely tested and tried as I struggled with the feeling of hurt and betrayal by those whom I had placed my trust in, and the scarcity of friends who can share my struggles did not help matters either. In fact, I suffered from systemic depression throughout the entire period from April 2004 (when the former episode revolving the promotion of a Catholic booklet by the leadership erupted) to December 2005. It was only the fellowship of my Christian friends in NUS Campus Crusade at that time (though they did not know what was going on) and a few other close friends at that time that my emotional state did not worsen further.

During this particular trying period of mine, God provided me with a needed period of resting and feeding on His Word away from the battlefield that was my former compromised church through the 6 months of my Student Exchange Program in London. It was during the time I was there that I was ministered to while attending Metropolitan Tabernacle, a Reformed Baptist church and Spurgeon’s former church. After returning back to Singapore, it was only after the publishing of the e-book, followed by attending the Metamorphosis student conference in December 2005 that God finally healed me of the hurts sustained from the episode and what I termed the ‘Romanist’ episode before that.

Through this painful period, God has taught me certain things, and for that I am thankful. ‘For we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose’. (Rom. 8:28 – ESV). Therefore, I will praise God for this time of testing, that He has sovereignly ordained so that I may be conformed more and more to Him who is the author and finisher of my faith.

Before I share these things, I would like to say that I still stick to my former position regarding the dangerous errors found in the Purpose Driven® Life and the Purpose Driven phenomenon as a whole. I will never compromise the Gospel as it is the faith once for all delivered to the Saints (Jude 1:3), God willing even under the threat of death. For to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). I will never cease warning people about the dangerous errors and even heresies found in that error-ridden book and even more so as manifested in the movement itself, even until my last breath. I want to be clear that I will never support nor give assent to this heretical and schismatic movement within the visible body of Christ, which is splitting churches apart, promoting aberrant doctrine and teaching people to play fast and loose with the Word of God. Lord willing, I will continue to abide in Christ as He gives me the will and ability to persevere in the faith.

Now, with regards to the lessons God has taught me, the first lesson is the cost of following Jesus. I’m sure most of us knows the classic verse Matthew 16:24 where Jesus said that anyone who wants to follow Him (be a Christian) must take up his cross and follow Him. Most of us who are living in the free world do not experience much persecution and enjoy the freedom to worship, pray and to evangelize. Probably the only persecution most of us Singaporean Christians face is the laziness to even go to church; or for those of us who are actively witnessing for Christ, rejection by people. We simply cannot even begin to fathom the sufferings of the saints in countries such as China, Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Through this episode, I learned and was given a small taste of what it means to follow Jesus, as I was shunned by people from the church I was formerly in, was unfairly judged by the leaders and condemned because of my stand against their blatant doctrinal compromise and felt the heartaches knowing full well the number of people who are being led astray. Even my then Young Adult cell leader who was rather kind to me initially when the controversy erupted did not exhibit the same attitude when I talked to him about his own departure from sound doctrine, where he basically denied the doctrine of justification by faith alone and advocates the heresy of Christian contextualized postmodern relativism (This is your interpretation; that is your interpretation, [you have no right to say my interpretation is wrong and yours is right]). I was for the most part alone in my struggles, as I oftentimes felt depressed as the words I say and my warnings from the Word of God fell on the hardened grounds of my hearers.

Another thing that I have to learn the hard way is to trust in God alone. Theoretically, at least most of us know that we are to trust in God alone in everything. Putting it into practice is another thing altogether, however. A lot of my depressions during this period were due to the fact that I wanted people to change and of course, they didn’t. I wanted my senior pastor to preach the pure Word of Christ; instead he quotes from the heretic Henri Nouwen and uses the Message pervasion. I wanted people to wake up and discern the times, to see the rotten root and fruit of the Purpose Driven phenomenon; instead, they continue supporting the pastor without checking the Scriptures for themselves, blindly following authority, as Singaporeans are rather famous for doing. I have to learn through many rejections and hurts that changing people is NOT my job. I can only proclaim the message, but it is the Holy Spirit who changes and transforms people. I have came to see the ugly fruit of depraved Man, even among professing Christians and Christian leaders as they reject the words of God and follow the counsel of Man, which is partially manifested in their pride as they reject the words of God in favor of what they think is best and not listening to the warnings from Scripture. Indeed, the Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to see the practical outworkings of the truth of both Total depravity and monergistic grace through this episode.

Thirdly, I have personally learned about the church and the body of believers in Christ, by means of the negative example shown by Rick Warren and company. Rick Warren treats the church as a company, where people are judged on the basis of being an asset or a liability. Indeed, the entire seeker-sensitive, church growth movement is based on this one principle of pragmatism. Though different people may take it to different levels, churches who subscribe to these principles tend to treat people more as human resources than as humans born in the image of God (Imago Dei). They may try to clothed the process by biblical terminology all they can, even talking about people not catching the vision that ‘God has given to them’ as being resisting God[1], but the fact of the matter is that they are treating people as human capital to be used to fulfill their own earthly, unbiblical agenda. Thus, if certain members have proven or are proving to be a liability, they are to be removed so that the church can remain healthy (Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church, p.16). Dissenters are to be removed from the church as they obstruct the church’s vision, and shamed and shunned if needed to force them to leave or change[2]. Because of this negative example, I have learned to treasure the communion of saints more and also to learn to treat the church as an organism, not an organization. Also, I have become more sensitive towards the tactics people use in treating their fellow Christians as human resources rather than as valuable people bought by the precious blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

In conclusion, I would like to thank God for bringing me through all this, for the things that he has thought me, to prune me for better service in Him and through Him; to bear fruit that will last for Him.

As for my former church, the Lord commands you to repent of your sins and compromises; otherwise He has promised in His Word that He will spit you out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16). And for the members who remain, the Lord Almighty commands you to separate from the church (2 John 1: 10-11) for your own good, since whoever remains in there is doing so in clear defiance of Scripture and would be susceptible to corruption just as a little leaven (which symbolizes sinful compromise) would leaven the whole loaf (cf. Gal. 5:9). This is especially so since the Purpose-driven paradigm and other similar pseudo-Evangelical paradigm uses the process of dialetics[3] to slowly force changes on the unsuspecting person. In the end, the person would become exactly just like the proverbial frog which was unknowingly cooked in a pot of water by ever so slowly increasing the temperature until the frog is dead. Therefore, do leave and seperate from them before whatever spiritual life which remains in you is destroyed by the Purpose-driven paradigm.

[1] Dan Southerland (1999), Transitioning: Leading your church through change, Chapter 6 Dealing with Opposition, published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

[2] Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven? Part 4: Dealing with dissenters (

[3] More specifically, they are using Socialist Hegelian dialetics which is explained more in detail here. Also, it can be seen in Southerland's book Transitioning, which I will mention again in my book review of it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Newspaper report: Rick Warren moving the message

Well, another secular report on Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven phenomenon has issued forth from the Orange County Register. Somehow, this just bites the cake for me:

He [Warren] said Nichols' conversion stemmed more from necessity – "You gotta convert to Islam if you're in a prison" – than belief.

Does this give anyone the idea here that somehow Rick Warren is saying that converting to Islam if you go to a prison is something that a person who has been changed by Christ is supposed to do? Oh wait, he didn't accept Christ; he just became 'purpose-driven' ... Hmmm....

Article: The danger of growing battle-weary

Here is a good article from Maurice Roberts of the Banner of Truth Magazine on tha danger of becoming battle-weary, of which all of us are always in danger of succumbing. I think this would be especially so for pastors and elders who are fulfilling their God-given duties for us the flock, so do send them the link if you think they would be encouraged by it.

Pseudo-intellectual nonsense from the Emerging 'church' ...

Here is one big piece of pseudo-intellectual nonsense, courtesy of the Emerging 'church' heresy. No need to prove anything; they just expose themselves as the heretics they are.

[HT: Slice of Laodicea]

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Transitioning to a purpose-driven church?

I would be reading the book by Dan Southerland entitled Transitioning sometime later and then doing a review of it. Dan Southerland is the pastor of a purpose-driven church in Florida, US and his book Transitioning, which is endorsed by Rick Warren, is supposed to teach pastors how to lead a church from being a bible-based, so-called 'program-driven' church to a 'purpose driven' church. He is perhaps most notorious for his chapter on how to deal with resistors. I will not mention anything more for the moment, but here is a good article on how churches are transformed, as translated from Warrenese to plain English.