Wednesday, May 6, 2015

6 May 2015

“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]

Presbyterians Week Headlines


New Christian Observer articles for May 2015 include:

-- Not between Two Golden Candlesticks - by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Brand - Why the cross of Christ should be raised again at the center of the marketplace and the steeple of the church;

-- Educating to the Conversion from Homosexual Lifestyles - by Christian Observer Contributing Editor Dr. Joe Renfro - The progressive agenda in the public schools of normalizing homosexuality and opposing “conversion therapy’ vs. the realities of homosexuality;

-- As Opposed to Possible Gay Ruling, ‘Good Faith and the County Clerk’ - by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Tullis – In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s possible ‘legalization’ of homosexual marriage, the county clerk and his fidelity to his oath of office as a remedy to federal usurpation of the state constitution;

Plus, Daily Devotionals by Christian Observer Contributing Editor T.M. Moore, dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe.

By the Rev. Dr. Chuck Wilson

The backdrop of the new policy on human sexuality at Erskine College & Seminary and the resulting outrage among the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Questioning-Intersex community (LGBTQI) in Due West, among the secular Erskine alums, and among other secularists across the United States sets the stage for this article. This reaction by those who are unwilling to tolerate people of orthodox Christian faith and practice spotlights the need for clarification of terms. In an e-mail from an old friend, he observed that one of the reasons people often talk past each other on sexual matters is because we define words differently. Therefore, it is important that we in the ARP Church define and state unambiguously what we mean by our words.

For example, sadly, in many places (and one of those places is the Erskine campus), the word “Christian” has lost its historical context. When I say “I am an evangelical Christian” and someone else who is a member of the LGBTQI community says “I am a Christian lesbian,” “Christian” does not have the same meaning for both of us.

The word “Christian” has a historical context. To begin with, the only way one can legitimately find the meaning of “Christian” is to ask what did “Christian” mean in the Bible and how did the early church leaders define “Christian” in the historic creeds. Acts 11.19-26 informs us as to the first use of “Christian” in the Bible, and the passage reads in this manner:

“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (ESV)”

In review, after the martyrdom of Stephen at the hands of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and the persecution that followed, believers in Christ fled to Antioch. Some of them were so bold as to preach Christ to Gentiles who heard them gladly and believed. The number of Gentile converts to Christ was so large that the leaders of the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to teach and organize the Gentile church. The work for Barnabas was so great that he went to Tarsus and asked for the help of Saul (aka, the Apostle Paul). For a year, Barnabas and Paul worked with the Gentile believers at Antioch, and these believers in Christ were called “Christians” because they followed Christ as they received Christ from Barnabas and Paul.

What did Barnabas and Paul teach?

Paul is not secretive about his method. He says that his mission, as given to him by the Lord Jesus, was to go to the Gentle world and to deliver a message that would “open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in [the Lord Jesus Christ].” (Acts 26.18, ESV)

What did that turning “from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God” look like?

In 1 Corinthians 6.9-11, Paul describes the turning “from darkness” to Christian faith and Christian lifestyle in these words:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (NET Bible)”

In other words, those who are Christians are people who have been washed, sanctified, and justified “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” and are disabusing themselves of the lifestyles of heterosexual and homosexual immorality, idolatry, theft, greed, drunkenness, reviling, and robbery.

Indeed, faith in Christ that saves a person from the wrath of God is also faith in Christ that renews a person to live a life that reflects the virtues of the Bible and rejects what the Bible deems sin. And sexual immorality of any kind is never a virtue.

Those religious individuals in the LGBTQI community who desire to profess faith in Christ and to hold on to sexual lifestyles that are clearly forbidden by the Biblical witness are not Biblically “Christian.” They cannot be! Rather, they are idolatrous followers of an anti-christ of their own imagining.

Tragically, in apostasy, some of the mainline denominations (for example, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America) have rejected both the witness and authority of the of the Bible and the God of the Bible for the reimagining of God into a hideous form of self-idolatry. They now exalt narcissism and sexual license as the highest virtues, as they champion and promote the LGBTQI community. These so-called Christian leaders and theologians deconstruct Christian morality in order to call normal and acceptable what the Bible terms sexual sin, and, without fear of the God for which they claim to speak, these leaders and theologians embrace sexual sin and same-sex marriage as though the wrath of God is not set against sexually immoral lifestyles — and them as false teachers and liars. Biblically and historically, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church in United States of America are no longer Christian denominations, and, to use Biblical language, they have become “synagogues of Satan.” Nowadays, no wonder there is confusion about the meaning of the word “Christian.” For the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the word “Christian” has no intrinsic meaning, but means whatever an individual wants it to mean. It is like an atheist who wants to hold on to the Christmas celebration while rejecting the Christ of Christmas.

Out of a milieu of confusion that is marked by unbelief and rejection of the God of the Bible on the part of some denominations, some religious persons in the LGBTQI community feel a need for the affirmation that comes from being called “Christian.” Like Thomas Jefferson who cut out of his Bible the passages with which he disagreed, they ignore and edit out the passages in the Bible which condemn homosexuality as sin. They truncate Jesus’ teaching and invent a permissive Jesus who in the name of love accepts immoral behavior as righteous and rejects no behavior as sin. In the words of the Paul, they worship and serve a lie. (Romans 1.25)

The witness of the historic creeds (the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed) are silent on the issues of sexual sin. Instead, they codify the Scriptures with regard to the Christian conceptualization of God as Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, since Jesus is God the Son, it is unwise not to heed what Jesus says.

In regard to our sexuality, Jesus (who is God the Son) declares that He did not come to set aside the teaching of the law of the Old Testament, but to expand and fulfill it (Matthew 5.17-20). Presently, the historical and Biblical understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman is under attack, and attempts by members in the LGBTQI community are being made to redefine marriage so as to include homosexual unions — and, politically, to impose this on everyone. For different reasons, marriage was also under attack in Jesus’ day. Interestingly, most of Jesus’ teachings about sexuality are in defense of the institution of marriage as it was given by God. (Matthew 19.1-12 and Mark 10.1-12) The key to Jesus’ teaching is that God made mankind male and female, and a “man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matthew 19.4-5, ESV)

The full expression of the teaching of Jesus (who is God the Son) is found in the words of His disciples who wrote the other parts of the New Testament. In John 14.26, Jesus (God the Son) says that the “Helper” (God the Holy Spirit) would be sent by God the Father in Jesus’ name and God the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance all the things Jesus (God the Son) had taught them. That is, for example, things about salvation, love, sin, the church, sexual conduct, and marriage.

Those who attempt to create a division between the words of Jesus and the words of His disciples are building an obstacle out of air. They ignore the context of the Biblical text and cherry pick the Bible in order to achieve a predetermined agenda that is in opposition to the clear teaching of the Bible and the historic practice of the church. Those who cherry pick the Bible in order to find permission for a homosexual lifestyle and same-sex marriage have founded a new religion of sexual self-indulgence that they wrongly and falsely call “Christian.” This they do in defiance of the Jesus of the Bible. They reject the deity of the Son of God. They reject the historic creeds. They reject the Jesus who by His Lordship determines the grounds for salvation and the parameters for obedient living.

Words are important. Words determine who we are, affirm what we are, and give direction to what we become.

In the ARP Church, how we define the word “Christian” is important. If we are to maintain our orthodox faith, we cannot allow the word “Christian” to coexist with and countenance the homosexual lifestyle — or, for that matter, any sexually immoral lifestyle. In this context, we must say that in order to be a Christian it is not enough to simply say “I believe in Jesus.” There must be an acid test to one’s confession of faith. The acid test is a lifestyle that demonstrates repentance and obedience to Christ and that conforms to the teachings of the Jesus of the Bible. Also, let us be clear that the parameters of one’s profession to be a Christian are not set by an individual’s whims but by the God of the Bible who has spoken to us in the pages of the Bible.

The word “Christian” has a specific meaning. In our discussions about sexual behavior, “Christian” can never be defined in order for it to embrace what the Bible excludes. If we do, then the word “Christian” is a meaningless term — and Christianity ceases to exist.

+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1 Cleveland Street Suite 110, Greenville, South Carolina, 29601, 864-232-8297, Fax: 864-271-3729

+ Erskine College and Theological Seminary, 2 Washington Street, Due West, South Carolina 29639, 864-379-2131, Fax: 864-379-2167,

A 28 April 2015 Scottish Legal News article titled “Church Warns Its Ministers They May Be Sued for Refusing to Wed Gay Couples” reports that the Church of Scotland the 2015 Kirk General Assembly will hear a report from its legal questions committee warning that Kirk ministers may be “vulnerable to legal challenge” if they violate provisions on homosexual rights in the European Convention on Human Rights by refusing to perform homosexual marriages.

+ Scottish Legal News, Kinburn Castle, Double Dykes Road, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9DR, Scotland, 01334-464610,

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN, Scotland, 0131-225-5722

Exhaustive margin notes for the 1611 King James (Authorized) Version of the Bible are available on the Literatura Bautista website:

The Institute for Expository Preaching of Ligonier Ministries and OnePassion Ministries will present in suburban Washington DC (Springfield, Virginia) the conference “Preaching with Precision & Power” on 1-3 June 2015 with Dr. Steven Lawson instructing on the meaning, marks, models, mechanics, and motivation of expository preaching.

Registration information is available at:

+ Ligonier Ministries, 400 Technology Park, Lake Mary, Florida 32746, 407-333-4244, Fax: 407-333-4233

+ OnePassion Ministries, Post Office Box 601649, Dallas, Texas 75360, 214-269-1819,