Light in the Darkness
All of us are aware of the encroaching
spiritual darkness around us. Sin is no
longer “evil” in the view of many. It is
only a “mistake” or an “error of judgment.”
While sin is all those things, it is more in that, it is moral
evil. It would be foolish for us to
close our eyes as though nothing was happening, but we also should not let the
rise of immorality and sin sway us from our duty as believers. So the question is, “What is the believer’s
duty in the dark?” Our duty, our
responsibility, our opportunity is to shine the light of the glorious Gospel of
Jesus Christ. To quote a friend,
“Instead of cursing the darkness, turn on the light!”
Turning on the light will mean that we live
the type of life that reflects the glory of being a child of the King of the
Universe. Hating sinners, calling them
names, and failing to show them the love that Christ showed to sinners in His
day is not going to be productive. Sin
needs to be pointed out and preached at, but always with a view to winning the
lost. It stands to reason that people
are going to be offended when you tell them their lifestyle is sinful and
wicked. We cannot avoid that. Matthew 15:12, “Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the
Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?” Truth is more important that the feelings of
men. Simply stated, we cannot compromise
truth to avoid being in opposition to the spirit of the age in which we
live. However, we should not seek to be
harsh and confrontational and call that Christian love.
The world has lost its moral anchors. As believers we should point to the Word of
God and tell the truth about morality.
Holy living is not only just holy; it is healthy. There is something more important than
today. Eternity looms large before us
all and it is something that God has put in the heart of every man. (Ecclesiastes 3:11, “ He hath made
every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart,
so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the
end.”) Living a joy filled Christian life is a
wonder to men. It should be the norm for
us! We are to be rejoicing because
circumstances do not dictate to us. Our
God rides on the top of every situation that may arise. He is never taken by surprise. If we will look to Him instead of the events
around us, we can show the world that Jesus Christ is real. Our changed life is a testimony to His saving
grace. Many are looking for a way to escape
the sins that have them trapped, but cannot find it. We know that when the Son of God frees a man
he is free indeed.
Let’s turn our lights on and shine in the
darkness. In spite of anything that
might happen, though sin becomes the standard, though men ridicule our faith,
they cannot deny our life. Live like a
believer, a child of the King. In so
doing, your light will shine.
Pastor Freeman J. Weems III
For Whom Did Jesus Die?
One of the most discussed doctrines in theology is that of the atonement of Jesus Christ. In other words, “For Whom Did Christ Die?” There are a plethora of different positions that one can find in the pages of theology books. This is such a vital doctrine that I would say that no Christian writer can avoid revealing his position on the blood of Jesus Christ. It is not my intent to try to cover all the positions that are taken over the atonement, but to deal with just the subject at hand.
Basically, the discussion can be looked at from two perspectives. First is that Jesus only died for a limited group, hence the term, “limited atonement.” The second perspective is that Jesus Christ died for all men; i.e., “unlimited atonement.” Without trying to get overly technical, there are those who believe that Christ died for all men and so all men will be saved. This is patently false. There will be many who do not go to heaven when their earthly life is over. There are others who believe that the blood of Jesus is effective for believers and sufficient for the world. I would not fall out with those who hold to this position, but recent study has led me to hold that Jesus Christ did in fact actually, not just potentially, die for all men and the penalty for sin has been paid.
The wrath of God against sin demanded a payment. That payment had to be death for the guilty (Romans 3:23; 6:23; cp. Genesis 3). The issue at hand is that since God the Father would have to be totally satisfied for any sinner to enter into heaven; then it follows that His complete wrath would have to propitiated. It is on this basis that we can invite any sinner to come to Christ in faith for salvation. To hold that the atonement was limited to the elect, those foreknown in the mind of God to salvation, would aim the atonement at men and not at the Father. This would mean that only a part of His wrath was satisfied.
I sympathize with those who do not want to impugn the sovereignty of God. However, in trying to defend Him some have made the error of finding a problem where none exists. Only a sovereign God can say, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The price has been paid! All are invited to come to the Father through the Son (John 14:6).
Let me give you a personal illustration. As I was studying for the ministry, I was reading a book by B. B. Warfield. My son was crawling around on the floor as I read. I pondered this thing called “limited atonement.” As I thought it through, I looked at my son, and this is how I dealt with it. Could I be honest with him and with God by telling him that Jesus Christ died for him? How could I tell others that they were welcome to come to Jesus if Christ had not died for them all? I settled it in my heart by the study of the Word of God that the Father is totally satisfied with the sacrifice of Christ. His death and blood atonement is for all men. Not all will avail themselves of it, but none of it is wasted. It takes all of the Blood of Jesus Christ to save just one sinner. It was shed for all. “Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power, are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?”
Fundamentalism a Dirty Word?
The term fundamentalist as applied to any aspect of religion has come to
be very pejorative one. But, does it
really deserve to be used in such a negative way? The term “evangelical” used to be what the
fundamentalists of the day called themselves.
That was about seventy-five years or so ago. The description simply meant those who
believed the Bible in a literal interpretative manner and were active in
spreading the Gospel through both preaching and individual soul-winning. Another characteristic was their separation
from the world. It is at this exact
point, separation from the world, that so much misunderstanding has found its
There is no use denying that some fundamentalists have gone overboard on
their separation. Neither can it be
denied that the news media and others have tied the term fundamentalist to
nearly every radical, extremist, theological weirdo and cult of the day. The latest example is the polygamist group in
Texas. On the other hand, many more moderate
believers have simply quit trying to be different than the world and have
decided to be friendly or at least inoffensive to the world. Neither of these is correct. They are both equally wrong and damaging to
the cause of Christ. We are called to be
different and not to love the world. You
can read the verses for yourself, just check 1 John 2:15 and James 4:4. If you are at home in this world, you are a
poor witness for Christ.
As one who has been associated with the fundamentalist movement for the
last thirty-four years let me try to give a good picture of a balanced
fundamentalist position. We do believe
the Bible should be interpreted literally unless the context calls for an
allegorical or symbolic interpretation.
For instance, in Jeremiah 31:29, 30, when the Bible speaks of eating a
sour grape, it is readily discernible that the truth being illustrated is
personal responsibility for sin. So, a
fundamentalist is someone who believes the Bible is the Word of God and is not
subject to our correction or approval.
“If I can correct the Bible, it cannot correct me,” was the statement of
Evangelist Billy Goolesby.
Further, fundamentalists believe that it is our responsibility to take
the Gospel to those who know not the Lord. The independent Baptist segment of
fundamentalism has always been deeply committed to world-wide missions. That commitment is still fresh today. We are to be involved in the great work of
winning souls to Christ. It means that
we will occasionally run afoul of those who are not interested, but it is our
duty and privilege to obey Jesus' command to go into all the world with the
good news of salvation. Purposely
offending the lost, being obnoxious, or just downright stubborn are not signs
of a spirit-filled believer.
I have begun to wonder if we should find some other means to describe
ourselves. Instead of fundamentalist we
could say that we are biblically conservative or traditional. The term evangelical lost its significance
and fundamentalist took its place. The
issue with the one was the compromising nature of so many who called themselves
evangelical. Now it appears that the
term fundamentalist has been so splattered with the mud of innuendo that we may
have to give it up as well.
Pastor Freeman Weems