CTT | Trey Pearson and CCM

Last week, I saw the following headline from theBlaze pop up on my Facebook feed:

Christian Rocker Comes Out as Gay:
‘I’ve Tried My Whole Life to Be Straight’

Naturally, I was curious as to who this “Christian Rocker” was and wanted to know how the CCM Industry would spin it. After some searching, I realized that this poor young man’s crisis of faith had already published previously, and the community should have picked up on several warning signs. What we have here isn’t a sound Christian suddenly performing a 180º turn, merely the revealing of an unbeliever’s unrepentance.  Today, I want to focus your attention more on the Contemporary “Christian” Music (CCM) industry than on the man, Trey Pearson and his rebellion.

That article from the Blaze is mostly a rehash of the original interview posted here. The interview’s title is “A Modern Gospel”, but it isn’t a modern gospel, it’s a false one. Some heartbreaking quotes:

…“I’m gay, and one of the only people who knows is my wife.”…

…“Most of us reach at least one pivotal moment in our lives that better defines who we are. These last several months have been the hardest—but also have ended up being the most freeing months—of my life. To make an extremely long story short, I have come to be able to admit to myself, and to my family, that I am gay.”…

…“There is a weight that has been lifted, and I have never felt so free. I cannot even believe the joy and lightness I feel from being able to accept myself, and love myself, for who I truly am … but I have also lost some of the closest people in my life. I have felt betrayal by people I loved a lot, and cared so much about.”…

…“I’m starting over in so many ways. It is freeing, but it’s also starting out lonely”…

In the article, we see Trey fully fixated on himself while taking shots at Christians for not treating him the way he thinks he should be treated. Really, Trey? You’re leaving your wife. Your wife is no longer your wife, you’ve made her out to be merely part of what you’ve now decided isn’t the real you. Rather than resist sin, you’ve decided to identify by it, and expect others to accept your sin as something that should be embraced, celebrated, and even loved. The “joy and lightness” you’re describing now is no more substantial than the adrenaline high most get from doing something they know is wrong. This isn’t freedom, it is bondage to sin. This hedonistic gospel is no gospel at all. There is no life in it, only death. Let’s turn quickly to Paul’s comments regarding sin in his letter to the Romans, a rather hedonistic society in its day even by modern standards.

Romans 6:15-23 (ESV) | Slaves to Righteousness

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So you see, Paul points out the hard truth of the so-called “freedom” trey is currently experiencing… it’s a freedom in regards to righteousness, meaning that giving yourself over into slavery of sin is to rid yourself of all righteousness. We have no righteousness of our own, so we must become slaves to righteousness by faith in the Righteous One, Our LORD Jesus Christ. In denying the Law of God (specifically that sexual immorality is sin), he’s cut himself off from the very Gospel of God, forgiveness from the sin he refuses to acknowledge as sin. What we see here is a man who is still firmly planted in Romans 1.

Romans 1:18-32 (ESV) | God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

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 became 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 creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Which leads us to the focus of this discussion here. Yes, Trey is in unbelief and I pray the Holy Spirit open his eyes to the Truth, that Trey’s hardened heart and stiffened neck against the Truth of God be softened. But Trey has a platform that the CCM Industry has built for him, and that our godless society is capitalizing on. Check out this troubling segment of the View.

A wife and two children, and all he can think about is himself and his passions. He put all of his faith into his ability to “be something he wasn’t”. Folks, that isn’t the Gospel. The Object of saving faith is NOT our ability to uphold the Law. The Object of our faith is Christ Jesus.

I will concede one point… in part. If the visible church keeps preaching sanctification as a choice we make, it’s teaching the wrong thing. The Law clearly pronounces homosexuality as sin. Abominable sin. As sinful human being, sinless perfection is outside of our reach and beyond our strength to attain in this life on our own. Repentance is a daily act of faith, not a one-time contract that relies on your sanctified perfection to maintain. We must encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with same-sex attraction to continue bearing the fruit of repentance, just as we who struggle with heterosexually immoral temptations need to. Your secret addition to pornography is no less abominable than their same-sex attraction, in the eyes of God they are both sexual immorality, sexual sin, on par with Idolatry, and punishable by death. And they are both covered, paid in full, by the Perfect atoning sacrifice of our LORD Jesus Christ on the cross. Repent, and be forgiven in Jesus’ Name. Take up your cross, die to self, and follow Christ daily. There will come a day when at last we will be free of this sinful, fallen flesh, and we will be given new bodies in the Resurrection. Until then, the righteous live by Faith, not by their own works.

The CCM Problem

As I mentioned earlier, I found an older article from 2013 (Sojourners link) that should have raised several warning flags concerning Trey Pearson and the CCM Industry. That it didn’t indicates that the majority of the Visible church is sleeping or flat-out derelict in their duty to preach sound doctrine and to hold CCM (and themselves) accountable. If you have some time, read through the interview… it is quite telling of the problems within the CCM Industry and with Trey’s theology. These issues, even if Trey can’t speak for the entire industry perfectly, are clearly driving forces behind why so many of our DiM posts end up in disapprovals and warnings. The industry is deeply flawed, and the Church is blindly eating it all up. Let’s look at some of the more damning quotes in the SOJO article:

SOJO: What about the industry surprised you?

Trey: I have been in the industry for 11 years full time, so that’s a bit of a loaded question! I was pretty naive coming into the industry. I assumed everyone there was just trying to make great art, to glorify God. But it was more than that. I thought that what these musicians were doing was somehow sacred, distinct from the “secular” music that other artists were producing. That is what I had been taught as a teenager, by people that were really influential in my life.

I didn’t realize how much the industry was geared toward soccer moms, who support Christian radio. I didn’t realize how many people in the industry had really different views on what it meant to follow God, or just flat out didn’t seem to care. The Christian music industry has the same struggles with drugs, sex and power as the secular music business.  [emphasis mine]

The Christian Radio stations are inextricably linked to the Industry machine. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be lulled into the lie that they are simply dealing with the hand they are dealt from the recording studios. It matters who they target with their marketing for “business partners”, it matters that they claim to proclaim the Gospel while promoting and playing mostly ear-tickling pablum. Trey goes on to lament the art that is lacking in the CCM Industry.

The formula of CCM started with them knowing how to sell to the adult contemporary (AC) format. About a decade ago, worship music became really popular, and it has pretty much melded with that AC format. There are some slight differences at times, but it is all geared to be cool enough to make a soccer mom think that it’s edgy, and yet not be too controversial. What is intriguing to me is that you will almost never find someone making art in the rest of the music industry, trying to become an “adult contemporary” artist. You will see Top 40 [pop artists] cross over some of their songs to AC, but all the artists at the top of those mainstream AC charts right now are Rihanna, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, and Justin Timberlake. That’s a far cry from an industry that pushes young people into trying to make Christian AC music, that never ends up being about the art, but just fitting in the right formulaic words like “grace,” “saved,” “Jesus,” and trust me, they have them. And it never leads to good art. No offense to the artists that are ruling Christian music, but it’s just not at the peak of the creative music spectrum…

…Generally, only messages of certainty and positivity are promoted and accepted within Christian AC and worship music communities. It is next to impossible to create art that has transparency and honesty, expressing doubt, and vulnerability. You can see those things all throughout Scripture, but the system in place to sell albums has a very narrow view of belief that they want to promote to their consumers.

So, in these answers we are starting to see more of Trey’s theology, but we are also seeing that the CCM formula is centered on entertaining the Adult Contemporary market rather than on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The standard isn’t God’s Word, it’s what they think they can get away with to be comfortably edgy and at least nominally orthodox (using the formulaic words he cited). Seriously though, Trey just included the Name that is above all Names in his list of “formulaic words” as a bad thing because it hinders art.

Do you see Trey’s theology emerging a bit here? Might you be inclined to guess at who he’s been listening to, and learning from? Any chance it’s a faithful exegete?

SOJO: Talk about the authors and others who started opening your eyes to other ways of thinking about God.

Trey: The biggest influence that made an impact on making me rethink the sacred vs. secular divide, and on understanding that everything is spiritual, was Rob Bell. He helped me realize again that everything that is good is from God. I stopped believing in Christian music or Christian events or anything else described as a “Christian” that didn’t seem intent on following Jesus.

I’m all for a group of Christians coming together to try to make an impact in people’s lives for the Kingdom of God. I just believe there are better ways to go about it. If you believe that everything that is good is from God, it starts to really change your perspective on how all of this works. Rob was sort of a gateway for me to other authors that have had huge impacts on me like Dallas Willard, N.T. Wright, Jurgen Moltmann, Walter Brueggemann, and many more. [emphasis mine]

There is a reason we call out these false teachers. There is a reason we need the ministries of Pirate Christian Radio, the Pulpit and Pen, the Berean Research, Wretched Radio, et al. The visible church is derelect in its duty to exercise Biblical Discernment, to mark false teachers, and guard the flock against the wolves.

Conclusion

I pray the LORD soften Trey’s heart and grant him saving faith and repentance. I pray for his wife and children, for that they might find Faith, Hope, and Restoration in Christ alone. I pray that the Church wake up and start taking their charge to keep the Faith, to keep the Word of God. Dear Christian, do the work of a Berean. Examine your doctrine with an open Bible, to see if it is good. Ensure that your local church faithfully preaches the Word of God, both Law and Gospel unapologetically. Exercise Biblical discernment in what you are listening to, purchasing online, and reading.. particularly those things that claim to be “Christian”. Hold your local CCM Radio stations accountable. They raise funds claiming to be a Christian ministry… is it true? Do they proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ? or are they merely an entertainment platform for a CCM industry looking to make a buck.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) | Preach the Word

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

CTT | The Pregnancy isn’t the sin…

pregnancyNormally, I like to introduce a CTT post by sharing something I’ve heard and then exploring what Scripture says. Today, we’ll be doing it in reverse order. I want to examine a passage of scripture and then discuss the point made in the title as it pertains to the Church today.

Galatians 6:1-10 (ESV)

Galatians 6:1-10 (ESV) | Bear One Another’s Burdens

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Paul is talking to the Church, to Christians, about the need to restore fellow Christians who are caught in a transgression… in any transgression. With all that is going on in the media today, one might expect this post to be about the Ashley Madison hack where some 37 Million people were exposed as adulterers. While that is horrible and needs to be addressed, that is not what I am most concerned about today. My concern today goes to a young woman who discovers she is pregnant as the result of sin.

The Pregnancy is not the Sin

Whether we are dealing with pre-martial sex, extra-marital sex, incest, or even rape, it is critically important that we, the Body of Christ, do not get sloppy in identifying the sin. We must ever preach the Law, properly identifying sin and trusting in God the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin… but we must not leave it there, for we must also preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. But we must guard against the evil lies of the enemy that seek to shame the young mother into sacrificing her baby to Molech (Lev 20:1-3) in hopes of being forgiven for the sin… adding the sin of murder (abortion) improves nothing.

To the young lady who just discovered she is now pregnant before her wedding… the sex is the sin… not the baby.

To the married woman who is found to be with child from someone other than her husband… the adultery is the sin… not the baby.

To the young man who just discovered he was responsible for the conception of a baby as a direct result of his sin… the sexual immorality is the sin… not the baby.

To the church, whenever someone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 

The Law is unchanged by circumstance or emotion… the wages of sin is still death. Dear Christian, we do not seek to soften the Law; rather, to be clear and precise in application of the Law to expose sin and transgression. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict the individual of sin unto repentance. As Christians, we are called to bear on another’s burdens, to restore in a spirit of gentleness while keeping watch over ourselves. The pre-marital sex is sin, and must cease. The adultery is sin and must cease. Repentance is required and by faith forgiveness is assured. For some clarity, let us look one of the pastoral epistles, that of 2 Timothy.

2 Timothy 2 (ESV) | A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

A Worker Approved by God

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Now let us be clear, that we are not talking about a cleansing of the self by the works of your human hands; rather, we are talking about the working of faith in repentance granted by God the Holy Spirit through hearing the word of Christ. This isn’t a call for penance, or self-punishment, and we are definitely not talking about taking the life of your baby to make the sin go away. This is a call to repentance for the sin, and to trust in God for provision for you and the baby. The baby is a gift from God sent for His glory. Let’s look now at Paul’s instructions to the Colossians.

Colossians 3 (ESV) | Put On the New Self

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity,passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Rules for Christian Households

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

So, we have our Law and Gospel… that the sexual immorality is sin, but the pregnancy, the baby, the conception is not. That doesn’t make anything easy… and I truly hope no one thinks I’m suggesting any of this is easy. While I cannot speak to all possible scenarios, I will say that God is Sovereign and that He is the Good Shepherd. He takes care of us in ways we simply cannot comprehend. In closing, let us turn to James 1 for proper encouragement in these days. Whether you are the one found pregnant, or the brother or sister helping to bear the burden of another… let us find comfort in these words.

James 1:1-18 (ESV)

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

1Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Each man/woman is tempted when he/she is lured and enticed by his/her own desire. The birthing in this passage is actually referring to the transition from temptation into sin, for the sake of this discussion that sin is the sexual immorality that led to pregnancy.

To the victim of rape, both you and your baby are victims of the sin of a third-party. Don’t let the enemy lie to you and somehow convince you that you are in any way a victim of the baby. That the baby’s conception came as a consequence of sin does not make the pregnancy a sin. Let the church share your pain, and the burden of the cares of this world. Let the Church encourage you to cast your cares upon Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday Sermon | The Allure and the Agony of Adultery by Bert Daniel

BereaToday, I’d like to share the sermon my pastor, Bert Daniel, preached this past Sunday (8/9/15). We’ve been working through the book of Proverbs, and this sermon was on Proverbs Chapter 7. This sermon is a good example of how expository preaching, working through God’s word and examining what it says, is always relevant… because despite all of our trappings, mankind has not changed. We are still sinners, bent in on ourselves as wretches, in desperate need of a Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who by God’s Grace, was born of a virgin, lived the perfect life of righteousness we couldn’t live, and laid down His own Life as the perfect, spotless sacrifice to atone for our sins. He who knew no sin, became sin in our place to pay the price we couldn’t pay… so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God, by faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.

Bert has served as Berea’s pastor since 2002. He and his wife Nikki have two sons (Noah and Isaiah) and one daughter (Tatom). Bert has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia International University and a Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He enjoys spending time with his family, reading, working out, and watching Georgia Tech football.

Sermon Text

Proverbs 7 (ESV) | Warning Against the Adulteress

My son, keep my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live;
    keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and call insight your intimate friend,
to keep you from the forbidden woman,
    from the adulteress with her smooth words.

For at the window of my house
    I have looked out through my lattice,
and I have seen among the simple,
    I have perceived among the youths,
    a young man lacking sense,
passing along the street near her corner,
    taking the road to her house
in the twilight, in the evening,
    at the time of night and darkness.

10 And behold, the woman meets him,
    dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.
11 She is loud and wayward;
    her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the market,
    and at every corner she lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
    and with bold face she says to him,
14 “I had to offer sacrifices,
    and today I have paid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
    to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16 I have spread my couch with coverings,
    colored linens from Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
    aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
    let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For my husband is not at home;
    he has gone on a long journey;
20 he took a bag of money with him;
    at full moon he will come home.”

21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
    with her smooth talk she compels him.
22 All at once he follows her,
    as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast
23     till an arrow pierces its liver;
as a bird rushes into a snare;
    he does not know that it will cost him his life.

24 And now, O sons, listen to me,
    and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
    do not stray into her paths,
26 for many a victim has she laid low,
    and all her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol,
    going down to the chambers of death.

Sermon Audio

One final thought… as you ponder the call of Proverbs 7 to seek Wisdom and abstain from sexual immorality, know that it is by faith that we serve a Gracious and Merciful God, who knows our weakness. When you fall, when you struggle, confess, repent, and be forgiven in Jesus’ Name.

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (ESV) | Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Amen, Indeed.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

CTT | Male and Female He Created Them

Genesis 1:26-28 (ESV)

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:23-24 (ESV)

23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

We are living in a time of great confusion, a strong delusion where man thinks that they can unmake or remake God’s design to suit their will. Some even go so far as to claim that they are correcting God’s mistakes. May God have mercy. With such an introduction, you might think today’s post is about homosexuality and man-made “gay-marriage”, but we already addressed that to some extent in CTT | Born That Way? Yes.

Transgenderism… is that even a thing?

It’s a mental/emotional disorder with no physical markers. None. Why all the fuss about it now? The normalizing of LGBTQ+ into mainstream society has opened the floodgates of Liberal Progressives thinking they can change reality by inventing new terms, categories, and labels to suit their desires. God created man, and He created them male and female. When sin entered (through Adam) our flesh and all of creation was cursed. God’s good creation was defiled by sin. We have death, sickness, and mutations as a direct result of sin. However, no mutation has ever changed the substance of what God created into something else. Progressive evolution is a lie. Natural Selection and Man-made selection are valid concepts (breeding), but the idea that mutations lead to substantive changes to any living organism is fantasy that comes from a decidedly anti-Biblical framework. God created male and female differently. Archeology and Forensics can identify gender from bits of bone and drops of body fluid. That is how extensive our physical differences are. Transgenderism is at-best a mental disorder that for some may be started at birth (who’s to say how sin has affected the mind of each person born in sin?) and for others it was encouraged or brought on by the environment. Mental illnesses are real sicknesses brought about by the curse of sin in a fallen world.

Our Secular society has struggled to deal with the sin of homosexuality for a long time. While the sexual revolution has pushed, and pushed for normalizing homosexuality, we’ve also had a weird fascination with drag queens.  I believe the big shift in now comes from man’s pride in their technological advancements in body mutilation. They’ve found ways of making the drag costume more and more permanent. They’ve now decided that their technology is so advanced, that their manipulation of cosmetic appearance, to the very mutilation of the “less honorable” members of our physical bodies. If a man claims to be a bear, psychologically, what does his biology say? He is a man. If a man claims to be a woman, psychologically, what does his biology say? He is a man. And it says so at the genetic level. Sure you can cut him up, implant foreign material in specific places, and throw off his biochemistry in some ways via drugs, but he is still a man… though the hormonal treatment will eventually make him a less physically capable man than he was created to be. But society wants its Tower of Babel. An evil and adulterous generation seeks to make a name for himself in the heavens, they want the power to determine what is or is not a man or a woman, by their will, their choice, and by the work of their hands.

Romans 1:18-32 (ESV) | God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 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. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

And in this culture, many who do not struggle with homosexuality are now included their sin by advocating for their acceptance as transgenders… men and women who’ve rejected God’s design and decided to mutilate their bodies in their defiance. They demand that you bend the knee to their rule over their identity, their biology, even their very existence. The idolatry varies a bit, either they demand you worship their self-made identity or their technology, they’ve rejected the Creator and insist that you do, too.

Strong Delusion

I’ve seen several blogs and Facebook posts of Christians freaking out over this garbage, though. That needs to stop. Stop being surprised by the lawlessness of a world that Hates God. Many who have not been paying attention to false teachers, wolves, who’ve infiltrated the Church are suddenly being shocked and surprised by Apostate churches… stop. It is not like we haven’t been warned in the New Testament, time and time again.

2 Thessalonians 2 (ESV) | The Man of Lawlessness

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Stand Firm

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

We do not need to adopt a new language or new paradigm for dealing with sexual immorality, idolatry of self, transgenderism, or open defiance of the Lord God. We have the Truth of God’s Word, both Law and Gospel. Stand firmly on that, and keep preaching the Word of God.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

CTT | Church Discipline

We are living in a time when the visible Church in our day has wandered off-mission in many ways. We have Pastors who think they need to run Christ’s Church as though it were a business with themselves as CEO, we have churches whose sole aim is to entertain unbelievers without preaching Law and Gospel, and we have other churches re-writing the Law as they (or our pagan culture) sees fit, and much, much more. There are many discernment ministries popping up, calling Celebrity pastors and church communities to repentance and a return to Biblical Christianity. There are so many churches that are put together by man’s ideas rather than what is clearly written in the scriptures, that when most people talk about “Church Discipline” we immediately think of Spiritual Abuse like what we saw with Mark Driscol at Mars Hill. It is important to remember, however, that these men abused Church Discipline, they didn’t invent it. Discipline comes from the Lord God. So, let us look first at the purpose of Discipline in our Christian walk.

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

We are going to begin in Hebrews, Chapter 12. A very interesting thing about the first portion of this chapter, is that it is almost always used in the “feel-good encouragement” that tells the Christian, “hey, it isn’t up to you and your works to perfect your faith”. That is absolutely, true, but it isn’t the whole message Paul was conveying. You see, He perfects our faith but it isn’t always a feel-good process.

Hebrews 12:1-17 (ESV) | Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
    nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

So  you see, the writer of Hebrews is treating the Discipline of the Lord God as a form of Grace. Lack of discipline is a sign of illegitimacy. There is grace in discipline, for its purpose is to bring the son into repentance so that he might be spared final judgement. God’s word has very strong warning against leaders who abuse their position, but see here that lack of discipline condemns the sinner to judgement. The examples of the sexually immoral and Esau are powerful examples that carry much weight. The sexually immoral being left to their own demise is an easier concept to grasp for most than the unholiness of Esau, especially for those of us today who don’t have an understanding of birthright.

We’ll focus on the sexually immoral by looking at a sub plot that takes place between Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. But first, let us begin with what Jesus taught regarding rebuking a brother who has sinned against you.

Correcting a Brother in Christ

Matthew 18:15-20 (ESV) | If Your Brother Sins Against You

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Jesus made a clear progression of escalation (I tried to highlight it using color of text). What we see in many present-day accounts of spiritual abuse, church leadership pronouncing public judgement on individuals who sought to follow this prescribed progression. A concerned member of the congregation goes to the pastor to point out questionable teaching in private, and then the pastor and his staff shun and isolate the one who dared question the visionary leader. Such actions serve only to protect the CEO’s reputation rather than the health of the Church or of the congregation. On the other hand, if the church fails to do its part to address open sin within the congregation, the entire body is defiled, as we see in 1 Corinthians 5.

Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

1 Corinthians 5 (ESV)

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

What is happening in today’s progressive-liberal churches is not new… it happened in Corinth. A man had his father’s wife, and the church was arrogant in their tolerance of this fact. Paul was furious. He demanded that the individual be removed from the local church. This is upper limit of Church Discipline (though some theonomists seem to think otherwise, they are confusing the covenants).

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Paul wastes no time instructing how the discipline is to be delivered. It was to be in the assembly. The time for private rebuke was long passed. The sin was public and it was tolerated. It was then reported to Paul who pronounced judgement against the sin and the rebel.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

And this is absolutely important to understand, brothers and sisters. It is not for us to judge the outsiders, the unbelievers, those who are still dead in their sins and tresspasses, condemned by their unbelief. God judges them. Paul even said something to the effect of, “hey, when I told you not to associate with sexually immoral people, I meant among those who call themselves Christians”. We preach the gospel to the lost in the world, calling them out of their sin by the Grace of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For those who have been born again yet give themselves over to the desires of the flesh, knowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are to be corrected (Galatians 6:1 (ESV) Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted) but as long as they remain unrepentant we are not to associate with them. Why? So that they might come to repentance, and that their sin might not leaven the whole congregation.

Paul is telling the Corinthians, that they were all in sin for allowing this public sin to go unchallenged, undisciplined, and possibly even celebrated in some twisted sense (I’m speculating on the brand of arrogance Paul points out twice). The individual was to be turned over to Satan. Was that because Satan is in charge? No. God is sovereign over His sons and daughters. Discipline comes from God. We live by His Grace. Therefore, when our rebellion requires discipline, He allows the enemy to take shots at us that are less restrained, so that we might repent. The goal of the excommunication isn’t to condemn the man, but to save his soul in the long-run, even if his flesh suffers damage from the enemy (See also Matthew 5:29-30 (ESV)).

Forgiveness Must Quickly Accompany Repentance

The goal of Church Discipline is not condemnation, but conviction unto repentance. We (as individuals and as a Church) must be ready to forgive, quick to love, and faithful to restore a brother who has repented of sin. Such was the case for the unnamed individual in Paul’s letters.

2 Corinthians 2:3-11 (ESV) | Forgive the Sinner

And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all.For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

This is the goal of Church Discipline. It is not loving to interfere or undermine Discipline that is just. As a father, there are few things more frustrating than to have someone interrupt my correction of my children’s behavior to “spare them” from my discipline. My children are to follow my rules, because I love them and I know what is best for them. Similarly, when the Church is exercising just, biblical discipline, the congregation must honor the purpose of Biblical discipline and resist the desire to coddle sinners. Remember what we saw in Hebrews 12, the Discipline of the Lord is a form of grace.

WWUTT | Have Nothing to Do With Them? (Church Discipline)

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In Christ Jesus,
Jorge