Indisputable Insights Excellent message that diagnosis the cancer on American Christianity. So many mega churches with their rock n' roll bands and pastors in jeans and t-shirts have so lowered the bar that their brand of Christianity-lite requires no commitment to Christ, no evidence of sanctification, and no lifestyle changes. I see it in the young professing Christians I work with. They enjoy Hollywood movies and TV programs glamorizing homosexuality, use profanity, and see no great harm in drinking or premarital sex. To speak out against such things in favor of holiness is to be branded a "legalist." Yes, as you correctly observed, when the church abandoned Lordship and reduced Christ down to a friend who'll turn a blind eye to the frailties of our flesh the church was assimilated into the world. Perhaps this is the great apostasy the Scriptures foretold--less a mass exodus out of the faith more a slow, steady erosion brought about by compromise upon compromise. Thank you for a sobering message that inspired me to be more intentional in evangelizing.
Sobering Message! An outstanding message that made a compelling, incontrovertible argument against Christians drinking that also dealt fairly with the Scriptures. Too many have made themselves look foolish by saying the "wine" of the Bible was grape juice. Dr. Mazak's breadth of knowledge--history, theology, and the ways of our fallen world--lend his message an authority few other fundamentalist preachers can claim. This would be a good sermon to share with young Christians, especially emergents and the "young, restless, reformed" neo-Calvinists for whom drinking is overtly embraced as "Christian liberty." Dr. Mazak's proving the alcohol consumed in the Bible was closer to "near-beer" than to the potent brews and distilled spirits of today would "harsh the buzz" of many a tattooed hipster "Christ-follower" hoisting a pint at his local Theology on Tap event.
Everything Ain't Ducky with Duck Dynasty Outstanding teaching, Pastor Reed! I have never seen this show, but have heard many Christians I respect praising it (invariably citing the prayer at the end as a sign of its orthodoxy). I didn't think much about it until I was in Wal-Mart yesterday and saw a gaudy display for Duck Commander Wine. I was stunned. Any credibility they had as Christians--especially as Christians in the media that could potentially reach the slack-jawed and glazed-eyed multitudes who waste hours watching the idiot box--was irretrievably lost. Professing Christians making and profiting from selling booze? They will have much to answer for when confronted with all those whom they ensnared and caused to stumble. You made many excellent and insightful points and your research into these pop culture subjects was thorough as always. I will ask some pointed questions and share what I learned from you the next time a Christian acquaintance starts trying to tell me some supposedly hilarious line that Si or Phil said on the show last night. Thank you, Pastor Reed, for your willingness to be a watchman on the wall and to warn Christians against deceptive ungodliness (your warnings will likely ruffle the feathers of fools who flock together and who like their worldliness with a thin veneer of religion).
Boldly Going Where No Preacher Has Gone Before! Outstanding series, Pastor Cooley! Informative, edifying, and convicting. I listened to all nine sermons and yes, you stomped on my toes and cranked the thumbscrews. I did a lot of wincing while listening.
You're right that there is no biblical rebuttal or refutation of the truths you've brought out in your Hollywood Series. I admire you for speaking out boldly against television, movies, and comics, even calling out Christian and "family-friendly" icons like Michael Landon, Walt Disney, C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Disney is wicked and has a dangerous agenda, and now they own Star Wars and the Marvel Comics pantheon (a term people use not realizing just how sadly true it is). Their influence is staggering and pernicious and the alarm needs to be sounded.
What hit me hard was your asking in several sermons whether listeners knew more about TV and movie stars and characters than they do the Bible. I am second to few in Star Trek and Twilight Zone trivia, but admit I flip and flop around my Bible to find Habakkuk and am often at a loss on where to find key passages. It's a shortcoming I aim to correct.
You boldly go where no preacher has gone before. My prayer is that many other pastors will be stirred from their complacency and follow in the trail you've blazed.
A Decent Primer on the JWs Pastor White provides a wide-ranging survey of the Jehovah's Witnesses and their thought and practice. He touches on a number of topics rarely mentioned in talks by his fellow popular apologists, who often focus solely on the JW denial of the Trinity. His extensive research and especially his first-hand experiences debating JWs lends his teaching credibility (and he'll be the first to tell you this--White's robust ego characteristically occupies center stage here!). I appreciated White's acknowledging that JWs are diligent and dedicated Bible students, even if their arguments are often canned and boilerplate rebuttals memorized from Watchtower publications that can be upended by a believer well-versed in his or her Bible. Conversely, I didn't care for White's caricature of JWs as fearful, whether packing their bookbags when challenged or scared to visit an evangelical church because of three-headed monsters. As White acknowledged, many JWs are former Catholics and Protestants all too familiar with what goes on in our churches. (On the flip side, many evangelicals would likely be skittish to visit a Kingdom Hall.) For a follow-up teaching, I'd be eager to hear White address the unwritten JW prohibitions on children and college (as well as against beards!).
Good Sermon! Pastor Roberson passed on to heaven in April 2007 at the age of 97. In this sermon he mentions being 85, which would place this sermon around 1994. For a man of 85, he still has a lot of power in his preaching, though longtime listeners familiar with Pastor Roberson may find he has mellowed (not to be confused with compromised!). His sermon calling for compassion is a welcome one. This was the sole sermon by Lee Roberson I could find on SermonAudio, a shame because Roberson's brand of biblical preaching is needed now more than ever.
Out of Hollywood Babylon An outstanding sermon that 99% of pastors would never preach because they themselves have large-screen televisions and DVD libraries filled with worldly movies. I especially appreciated your exposing the "good, clean" movies and TV shows of yesteryear as shot through with humanism and new age ideologies. I myself am a former Trekkie and fan of retro-television who has renounced it as a spirit-eroding time waster. Yes, we are in a battle, and the enemy delights to see God's professed people sidelined into inactivity by Hollywood's bread and circuses. I would enjoy hearing your critique of television news, which has degenerated into info-tainment with soap opera elements. Instead of facts and information, it's focused on "celebrity" personalities, tawdry sex scandals and tantalizing cliffhangers to keep the viewers hanging on through the crass commercials and tuning in tomorrow. News addiction and the idolizing of newscasters like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly et al. is a problem plaguing Christians, but one seen as a civic virtue. Thanks you again, Pastor Reed, for another uncompromised teaching. May it find ears that will hear.
A Countercultural Message Christians Need to Hear! Amen to all you've said, Pastor Reed, and you said so much in a short span of time. An incontrovertible challenge to professing Christians. I can't imagine anyone refuting the truths you've brought to light here. I attend an otherwise sound IFBaptist church that sadly does just as you said--canceled the evenings service and instead offers an after-service potluck followed by a short afternoon service (with assurances that everyone will be home in time for kickoff). Sports is a secular religion, rooted in paganism and a catalyst to coarse and crude behavior. I stand amazed that so many seemingly strong believers are as swept up and away by sports mania as the worldlings swigging beer at Hooters. I believe most of our fellow saints are simply ignorant and not rebellious. As Hjalmar posted earlier, yours is a "lonely message" that few preachers have the courage to preach. As a result, most pew warmers are unaware they're sinning and shaming the gospel by feasting their eyes on this hedonistic bacchanalia held in a coliseum modeled on the Colosseum where our earliest Christian brothers were killed. Here's praying that your courageous and countercultural call for holiness and obedience finds many ears willing to hear uncomfortable but undeniable biblical truths. Press on, my brother.
Great Sermon! I especially appreciated Kevin's describing homosexuality as the "dry rot" of society--very well put. I did think you brothers were holding back in your calling to account Philip Yancey, who has now gone the way of Tony Campolo. Whatever salt there was in their works has long since been squandered. Evangelicals need to distance themselves from Yancey and Campolo. Yancey has been drifting for a long time, as any reader of his Christianity Today column can testify (and his left-leaning and modernist compromises were among the reasons I let my sub to that rag lapse). Insightful remarks on pornography, too.
Encouraging New Year's Eve Message A good, wide-ranging message from Dr. Tozer, which despite the 1960 date was by Tozer's internal references preached on Sunday, December 31, 1961 looking ahead to 1962. Still timely and relevant after almost 50 years.
Signs of the Times This was one of Kevin's most substantive shows in a long time. So much great information coming so fast, Kevin was uncharacteristically quiet. I think he was as intriqued by Gordon's information as I was. Gordon is a Christian media ecologist and is exposing the agenda of our consumerist, media-driven and media-shaped society in the tradition of Marshall McLuhan ans Neil Postman. What he exposes here is how Christians are as duped by the world's infantilizing agenda as are non-Christians, buying the latest CCM CD and wanting their churches to entertain them with the latest ear-tickling sounds. Even bigger than the music issue and sad loss of hymns is Gordon's discussion of adults who refuse to put childish things away and grow up.
Tempest in a Teapot Yes, I had to read Arthur Miller's play THE CRUCIBLE in high school and it was an overtly anti-Christian work that perpetuated many of the myths of the Salem Witch Trials. The nadir was reading the play INHERIT THE WIND (and then watching the movie), a work that viciously mocks fundamentalist Christians and dismisses as hopelessly ignorant a literal reading of Genesis. Those are two examples that spring to mind, BUT what I remember most from high school English is being introduced to Shakespeare and Dickens and many other wonderful works of literature. As Christians it's tempting to become paranoid and suspect a cabal of publishers and teachers are crafting anti-Christian textbooks and syllabi. Such is not the case, and I speak as a certified secondary English schoolteacher. The books don't set out to undermine faith, even if not promoting it. Chaucer, Milton, Blake, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and a host of other Christian authors still enjoy a place in the canon for upper-level courses. For the majority of students in the dumbed-down "Language Arts" classes, studying thoughtful works of substance has been replaced with reading popular young adult fiction and drawing pictures afterwards. Trivialization is more the threat and reality than the anti-Christian agenda Kevin suggests here.
Life Imitates Art The Twilight Zone episode "People Are Alike All Over" featured a premise similar to the one Ken Ham discusses here with human beings placed on display in a zoo. It's interesting if not distressiong to see reality imitating (aping, if you will) the fantasy and science fiction of yesteryear. I appreciate Ken Ham for bringing to light these disturbing trends and for drawing our attention to the truth of Genesis. This is an area where professing Christians need to be evangelized and educated because so many are still carrying around the baggage they were weighed down with in high school biology class and that has been reinforced by the popular culture. I trust God to give Ken Ham a wide audience with ears to hear.
Good Points / Unfair Caricature of Fundamentalism Alan Cairns opens his show with a segment rightly criticizing the actions of Fred Phelps and his family, which comprise the congregation of Westboro Baptist Church, those hate-mongers on a crusade against homosexuals and America in general that appear protesting at military funerals. while in full support of Cairn's reasoned evaluation, I do object to the sermon's title, "Fundamentalism's Lunatic Fringe," because Phelps & Co. are NOT Fundamentalists like John R. Rice, Jack Hyles, Lester Roloff, et al. It's frustrating to see the technical definition of a fundamentalist (one who holds to the fundamentals of the faith) being superseded by the Martin Marty and popular media re-definition of fundamentalism as describing wild-eyed, frothing believers. Good teaching, that quibble aside.
A Hard Message Full of Truth An outstanding message. We need such unflinching, counter-cultural preaching in America, where entertainment is the obsession of so many professing Christians. Instead, churches (especially "seeker sensitive") give approval to Hollywood by promoting its poluution within the walls of the churches. I recently attended a men's meeting where a 10-minute clip from the film Gladiator was shown. The John Eldredge-influenced leader also encouraged dads to watch the movie 300 with their sons. I was stunned. Each of these movies is Rated R and neither pictures biblical manhood. Another church I visited a couple years ago played a clip from The Shawshank Redemption right in the middle of the sermon. I pray that Brother Murray is not long a voice crying in the wilderness and that his message is heard and taken to heart by those with ears to hear.
Timely Call To Take Our Eyes Off Sin-Enslaved Men Thank you for this insightful message. I am a former Dittohead, a once-loyal listener to El Rushbo back in the Clinton years. I ignored several pastors who warned against Limbaugh as no friend of Christianity. The scales fell from my eyes eventually, as his tremendous ego, girth and addiction to creature comforts like cigars revealed him to be a worldly hedonist only playing the role of a conservative. Rush's inviting Elton John to sing at his sham wedding should be incontrovertible proof to any remaining Christian Dittoheads (an oxymoron?) that Rush is a con man playing them for suckers. The Gores separating is another symptom of the sickness spreading through our culture. I see the sins of the father were visited upon the children as now the Gores' daughter decided to end her own marriage on the heels of her parents'. Elton John reminds me of the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Emperor's New Clothes." Don't people see in him a vile Sodomite? He flaunts his homosexuality, yet he's invited to sing at events like Princess Diana's funeral and to provide music for the Disney children's New age-infused film The Lion King. The lines are being drawn. The Lost are understandably blind to these things, but believing Christians?? May the Lord use your message to awaken the sleeping.
Sobering Information and Wise Counsel A strong, informative message, Brother Larry. In this day when the media fails to meet its mandate of informiong the people, we need alternative news reporters and individuals sharing information. and men like yourself to bring it to a wider listenership. I also appreciate your wise advice to be prepared. Too many Christians are addicted to their idle/idol entertainments and are failing to discern the signs of the times, which plays right into the agenda of Obama & Co.
Great Sermon! Another message addressing a difficult topic, especially timely coming at the start of summer when people traditionally travel and visit with family, whether by choice or, as you implied, out of a sense of obligation. For me the struggle with visiting unsaved relatives is my hope I can be a witness to them, but I often leave being reminded that even Jesus was not received as a prophet among his own. You left me with much to mull over on this Memorial Day.
A Solid, Substantive Sermon, Full of Truth What a wonderful sermon, so full of sound biblical truth that stirred me to appreciate anew my Saviour and Lord Jesus. Rare are the sermons that do not sidetrack into stories, jokes and humorous anecdotes cribbed from the Reader's Digest. Elder Rhodes had a set purpose and strove unwaveringly towards it, piling precious truth upon incontrovertible truth. The Scriptures tripping off his tongue testify of a man who dedicates time to Bible reading and memorization. This sermon blessed me this Lord's Day afternoon, and has spurred me on to study and know my Bible as well as Elder Rhodes so that I too can so ably contend for and share with the lost the hope that lies within me.
Encouraging and Edifying Thank you, Larry and Mark, for another encouraging message, especially when given as you face a mountain. I share your disdain for the unbiblical "put on a happy face" positive thinking of Robert Schuller and his ilk. I recall when all the rage was Schuller's book "The Be-Happy Attitudes" (a corruption of the Beatitudes). Yechh! I shudder to think how many poor souls bought into that deceptive message and then lost their faith (which wasn't true faith at all) when the going got tough and struggles and hardships arose on the primrose path they were promised. The Bible testifies to and warns us the Christian life will be difficult, but too few baby Christians read the Bible, choosing instead to have their ears tickled by the "blab it n' grab it" positive confession prosperity preachers. As always, you men faithfully bring God's Word to bear on the topic at hand and it was edifying to hear again how God is with us in the midst of struggles as he was with Peter, Paul, et al. Yes, FOXE'S BOOK OF MARTYRS wakes me up when I lose perspective and start wallowing, reminding me how much worse the believers before me have suffered. The Anabaptists have a similar book called THE MARTYRS' MIRROR that also makes for sobering, soul-stirring reading. Blessings to you men and your ministry.