Thursday, February 15, 2007

Piper on Prosperity Preaching

I've posted several times on Joel Osteen and his false teaching. John Piper explains why this teaching is so devious. I would stronlgy encourage you to read this brief article to understand why I despise the preaching of Osteen and those like him. Read it here.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Reviving Rutherford

It's been a while since I posted on Samuel Rutherford, so let me take the time right now to commend to you again The Letters of Samuel Rutherford.

Charles Spurgeon said of them, "When we are dead and gone let the world know that Spurgeon held Rutherford’s Letters to be the nearest thing to inspiration which can be found in all the writings of mere men."
Richard Baxter also said that apart from the Bible, "such a book as Mr. Rutherford’s Letters the world never saw the like."

On November 22, 1636, writing from his exile in Aberdeen, Rutherford declares, "[Men] talk of Christ by the book and the tongue and no more; but to come nigh Christ and [clasp] him and embrace him is another thing." Rutherford knew what it meant to come near to Christ and to embrace him, and his letters show that reality.

Rutherford was radically out of step with 21st century American Christianity when he said, "I would fain learn not to idolize comfort, sense, joy, and sweet felt presence. All these are but creatures and nothing but the kingly robe, the gold ring, and the bracelets of the Bridegroom. The Bridegroom himself is better than all the ornaments that are about him."

Oh that we might learn from Samuel Rutherford to embrace the Bridegroom himself and not settle for the mere bracelets of comfort! For anyone who wants an intimate communion with "sweet, lovely Christ" I wholeheartedly commend to you The Letters of Samuel Rutherford.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Gospel Tracts

I have always been concerned about the nature of gospel tracts. I find it very disgusting to see cartoons present a weak or "scary" gospel instead of the Christ-centered good news that the New Testament presents. In addition, most tracts that I've come across have several things in common (please remember these are generalities and do not necessarily apply to all tracts):

1. Weak theology (as already mentioned) -- Salvation is presented as something less glorious than the accomplishment of the redemption of God's people at an infinite cost. Mankind is made out to be the "diamond in the rough" that God just couldn't do without instead of the biblical concept that man is born in sin and deserves nothing from God.

2. Deceptive hooks -- Many tracts use deceptive hooks to get people to read. Some are meant to be left at a restaurant and say, "Your tip is inside" (or something like that). Others say something such as, "Free gift inside." The sad thing is that people often leave these tracts on the table after their meal at a restaurant...without a decent tip!

3. Pray this prayer -- This is one of my pet peaves. Tracts almost always include a "pray this prayer section." Why is that such a big deal to me? It's not in the Bible! Sola fide, not sola prayer! My hope for eternity does not rest in a prayer I prayed. In fact, we are never even told in Scripture that we must "pray a prayer" in order to become right with God. Yet nearly every tract I've ever seen includes a "pray this prayer" section at the end.

All that to say, I have good news! Erik just posted this week over at Irish Calvinist several good free tracts. You can download the front (picture) and back (text) and have them printed at your local FedEx Kinko's (shameless plug for my employer!).

Be sure to check out these theologically sound gospel tracts. They present the gospel in terms of the crucified and risen Christ. It's not a "I'm scared of hell, so I'll pray this prayer" kind of tract. It's a "I've offended a holy God and Jesus is my only hope for a restored relationship with him" kind of tract. Christ is exalted, and faith--not merely a prayer--is the goal. These are good!