Christian Research Network http://christianresearchnetwork.org Current issues in the church Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:57:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bearing much fruit http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/24/bearing-much-fruit/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/24/bearing-much-fruit/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:57:45 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57253 Continue reading ]]>

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:1–8, NASB

Are Christians commanded to be fruitful? Are we to be productive in the Kingdom of God? Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post. In v. 1 our Lord Jesus tells us that He is the vine and that His Father is the vinedresser. In v. 2 He makes it clear that there will always be professing Christians who are not genuine. How do we know this? They bear no fruit at all. They are lifeless branches that are taken away and burned. A person who does not bear fruit is not a true believer and will one day be taken away to an eternity in Hell. Here is v. 2 from the Greek: πᾶν κλῆμα ἐν ἐμοὶ μὴ φέρον καρπόν, αἴρει αὐτό, καὶ πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον, καθαίρει αὐτὸ, ἵνα πλείονα καρπὸν φέρῃ. The word used here that is translated as “bear” is φέρον the present active participle version of φέρω or pherō. In other words, this is talking about continuous or repeated action. Branches who bear no fruit (μὴ φέρον καρπόν), are so as a way of life. On the other hand, our Lord says that genuine branches in the vine who do bear fruit (καρπὸν φέρον) do so as a way of life and he adds that the Father prunes them in order to make them even more fruitful. Then, in vv. 5 and 8 we read that some branches will bear “much fruit.” In other words, some believers will be exceptionally more fruitful than others, but all genuine believers will be fruitful. How can we reach this “much more fruitful” level?

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Post tenebras lux http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/23/post-tenebras-lux/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/23/post-tenebras-lux/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:15:55 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57249 Continue reading ]]> The Doctrine of Justification by Faith alone, or sola fide, was the key of the Protestant Reformation. Its recovery was from the darkness created by the dominance of man-made religiosity, which held that justification was accomplished through faith plus good works. This grew into people being required to do religious acts in order to be considered righteous. The driving force of the Reformation was captured by the Latin phrase post tenebras lux (after darkness, light).

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Fellowship/koinōnia http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/22/fellowship-koinonia/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/22/fellowship-koinonia/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:01:24 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57244 Continue reading ]]>

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42, NASB

Most of the churches I attended in my life had something called “fellowship” and some even had space dedicated to it called “fellowship hall” or something similar. We had time after “church” that was called “fellowship time” that always seemed to be a relaxed time of visiting together and just being friendly with each other outside of normal “church stuff.” In the New Testament the word that is translated as “fellowship” as in Acts 2:42 (above) is κοινωνια or koinōnia, which Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest has defined as, “joint participation in a common interest or activity.” Instead of simply a friendly time of visiting together or a coming together for relaxation, κοινωνια, then, is a partnership, a sharing of something in common.

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Preaching error and making confident assertions with seemingly full assurance http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/21/preaching-error-and-making-confident-assertions-with-seemingly-full-assurance/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/21/preaching-error-and-making-confident-assertions-with-seemingly-full-assurance/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:01:10 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57241 Continue reading ]]>

For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 1 Timothy 1:6–7, NASB

God is not the author of confusion. His truth is clear and discernable by the regenerate heart. On the other hand, our enemy, being the source of lies and deception, must create a climate in which what his false teachers expound is disguised as the truth and there will be attempts by those defending these false teachings to demand tolerance so that their error will not be open to detailed scrutiny. It is all a paradigm of smoke and mirrors. Rob Bell has taught, for instance, that it is wrong to use the Bible as our plumb line, our standard of truth. Whenever any of us address these things he says, out come his defenders with their smoke and mirrors attempting to redirect the focus from Bell to those demanding that he be held to account as a false teacher. They call us divisive and all sorts of other things in their attempt to deflect our scrutiny. The Church must withstand false teachers. Just because they preach with assurance does not mean they are right and that the source of what they are teaching is from God.

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The depths of God http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/20/the-depths-of-god/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/20/the-depths-of-god/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 03:46:38 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57237 Continue reading ]]>

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 1 Corinthians 2:6–10, NASB

I’m sure the title of this post struck some of you in a way hard to explain. When I first started this study, I could not help but think back on an investigation I did many years ago into some false teachings by a man who claimed that his ministry was based entirely “in the deep things of God.” That mysterious statement seemed to be used by him as a smokescreen to hide the fact that he was teaching rank heresy and that heresy was claimed by him to be coming to him as a direct revelation from God. Well, if that were true then it would indeed be “the deep things of God,” but what he was teaching was very shallow spiritually and really called for people to become submissive to him as a prophet based on one thing; he said so. This is not what the depths of God (the deeps things of God) are. Let us take a closer look.

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Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord … but suffer together in the Gospel by the power of God http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/17/therefore-do-not-be-ashamed-of-the-testimony-of-our-lord-nor-of-me-his-prisoner-but-suffer-together-in-the-gospel-by-the-power-of-god/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/17/therefore-do-not-be-ashamed-of-the-testimony-of-our-lord-nor-of-me-his-prisoner-but-suffer-together-in-the-gospel-by-the-power-of-god/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 03:14:04 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57228 Continue reading ]]>

μὴ οὖν ἐπαισχυνθῇς τὸ μαρτύριον τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν μηδὲ ἐμὲ τὸν δέσμιον αὐτοῦ, ἀλλὰ συγκακοπάθησον τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ κατὰ δύναμιν θεοῦ, τοῦ σώσαντος ἡμᾶς καὶ καλέσαντος κλήσει ἁγίᾳ, οὐ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα ἡμῶν ἀλλὰ κατὰ ἰδίαν πρόθεσιν καὶ χάριν, τὴν δοθεῖσαν ἡμῖν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων 2 Timothy 1:8–9, NA28

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 2 Timothy 1:8–9, NASB

The Apostle Paul’s understanding of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and that of most of what we refer to as the visible church in our time is quite different. I’m not talking about Reformed theology as opposed to Arminianism or semi-Pelagianism or even Pelagianism here. No, I am talking about the Good News itself and its impact on the believer and all those whom God touches through it as it preached and shared by obedient disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, the real, un-doctored Gospel must contain the offense of the cross. It must be offensive in that it addresses the fact that each and every one of us is hopelessly lost and and on our way to an eternity separated from God in judgment because we are sinners who can do nothing to save ourselves from God’s Wrath which must come upon on all sin with no exceptions. That is why the Gospel is “Good News” and glorious, my brethren.

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Mars Hill “Global Fund” contributors with concerns invited to contact Washington State Attorney General’s office http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/17/mars-hill-global-fund-contributors-with-concerns-invited-to-contact-washington-state-attorney-generals-office/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/17/mars-hill-global-fund-contributors-with-concerns-invited-to-contact-washington-state-attorney-generals-office/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 03:10:27 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57225 Continue reading ]]> Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, who was first introduced to the world by being featured as a keynote speaker at John Piper’s 2006 Desiring God conference, and who quickly gathered a large following along with a “bad boy” reputation, has now resigned. However, questions still remain about alleged improprieties having to do with the handling of some of the finances while he was the lead pastor at his church, particularly with respect to the Mars Hill Global Fund, a fund to which Mars Hill attendees were encouraged to contribute, and which was positioned as being for missions.  View article →

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Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll resigns, claims he is not “disqualified from future ministry” http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/17/mars-hill-pastor-mark-driscoll-resigns-claims-he-is-not-disqualified-from-future-ministry/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/17/mars-hill-pastor-mark-driscoll-resigns-claims-he-is-not-disqualified-from-future-ministry/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 03:01:26 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57223 Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, who was first introduced to the world by being featured as a keynote speaker at John Piper’s 2006 Desiring God conference, and who quickly gathered a large following along with a “bad boy” reputation, has now resigned. However, in his resignation letter, Driscoll appeared to leave open the possibility of his return to public ministry by stating that he was thankful to the Mars Hill church oversight committee for making it clear that he (Driscoll) has not been disqualified from future ministry. His basis for making such a claim seems to rest on the fact that the oversight committee had stated that Driscoll had not been charged with “criminal activity, immorality or heresy.” It should be noted, however, that these things, while important, are not the entire standard against which a pastor is to be held. View article →

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How the inspiration of sacred Scripture benefits the Church http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/16/how-the-inspiration-of-sacred-scripture-benefits-the-church/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/16/how-the-inspiration-of-sacred-scripture-benefits-the-church/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:59:32 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57217 Continue reading ]]>

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16–17, NASB

If you pay close attention to the enemies of the truth, apostates, heretics, and pagans, they all attack the doctrine of the inspiration of sacred Scripture. In this post we will take a closer look at the five things that, since Scripture is inspired, for which it is profitable or useful or helpful. Of course, the enemies of God’s truth reject all of this because they insist on things being man-centered while the deeper we dig into these truths there is no way we can come away from what we find without the understanding that God is sovereign and those who belong to Him do so for His glory not theirs.

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For many are called, but few are chosen http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/15/for-many-are-called-but-few-are-chosen/ http://christianresearchnetwork.org/2014/10/15/for-many-are-called-but-few-are-chosen/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:33:23 +0000 http://christianresearchnetwork.org/?p=57213 Continue reading ]]>

The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful. Revelation 17:11–14, NASB

There are three attributes of those who belong to Christ. No one else has these attributes. We see them in Revelation 17:14. Those with Christ, the Lamb who will conquer all His enemies for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, are called and chosen and faithful. In Matthew 22:1–14, our Lord tells a parable called “The Parable of the Wedding Feast.” In it our Lord describes the consequences that will befall those who believe their religiosity or position in the visible church is what earns them a place in the Kingdom, but who, in reality, are not among the chosen.

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