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Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship
Rev. Allen M. Baker  |  Bristol, Virginia
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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS - Are You Embarrassed By Our Doctrine?
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS

volume 12, number 38, September 19, 2013

Are you Embarrassed By Our Doctrine?

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels, Mark 8:38.

Aren't you just a little embarrassed when, at the intermission of a play or symphony performance, the discussion turns to those who actually believe in Intelligent Design or Creationism, and you are ashamed to admit that you are one of them? Aren't you a little uncomfortable when the conversation at the dinner party moves to mocking the church down the street (which, by the way, is your church) that does not have a woman pastor and which does not allow women to serve as church leaders?

As the secularization of our culture continues, seemingly unabated; as the evangelical consensus is clearly behind us in the west; and as we fall further into the ravages of a post-Christian America-it seems that many pastors and leaders (Teaching and Ruling Elders) are embarrassed by our doctrine. More and more churches are leaving the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and similar denominations for those which ordain women to the pastoral office or as Ruling Elders. We now have churches which allow women to serve the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. And while the PCA a number of years ago made way for an ancient earth view which is accepted in the denomination, I cannot help but think this is also an accommodation to the culture. When reading Reformed preachers and theologians prior to the Enlightenment, one will find they simply assumed a young earth, literal six day view of creation. If they were such good exegetes of Scripture (and I certainly think they were), then why did they miss a poetic interpretation of Genesis 1-11? Is it possible that post Enlightenment exegetes have been "tainted" by modernism? And now we have theistic evolution becoming a hot button topic in Reformed churches, and this is leading some to question the historicity of Adam and Eve. And our opposition to same sex marriage and calling homosexuality an abomination now seems quaint and outdated. I am told that many college students who were nurtured in our churches now accept same sex marriage as a viable option for those who desire it. And abortion continues to be one of those issues that many of our higher profile preachers simply will not address from the pulpit.

Why this loss of nerve? Could it be that we are embarrassed by our doctrine? Okay, picture yourself as a pastor in an Ivy League town who wants genuinely to reach the intelligentsia of his community. You know readily that the intellectual elite there are not buying heterosexual marriage as the only option, nor six day creationism, nor the wrath of God, nor the doctrine of eternal punishment. You know they think a young earth view is preposterous, that it is on par with the Ptolemaic geocentric belief that the sun revolves around the earth. And you know the cultured and educated people of your town mock the fundamental doctrines of Biblical Christianity-the sufficiency of Scripture, the virgin birth and sinless life of Jesus of Nazareth, His penal, substitutionary atonement, His resurrection, and the exclusivity of Jesus as the only means of eternal salvation. They deem these doctrines as completely untenable in today's world. So, what will you say to win them to Christ? How will you massage the message? The very question, if you are asking it, makes clear that you do not truly believe in the utter and total inability of man, in a saving fashion, to embrace the gospel. It also tells me, consequently, that you will most likely compromise the message to reach them.

I believe it was James Boice, the pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, now in glory, who said that what you win them with is what you win them to. If we are afraid uncompromisingly and unashamedly to put forth the fundamental Biblical doctrines as noted above, then we may still gain a hearing from the intelligentsia, but at what cost? Let's assume that many whom we reach in this manner (perhaps an unwarranted assumption) are truly born again-what kind of faith will they have? Will they question the authority and inerrancy of Scripture? Will they "go soft" on Biblical marriage? Will they acquiesce on women's ordination? Will they soft peddle the doctrine of eternal punishment? Will they look the other way at grievous sin within the congregation, losing their resolve to address sin directly and Biblically? And more importantly, will they sow the seeds of apostasy? Jesus said to the church at Smyrna, "Be faithful unto death," (Revelation 2:10). In other words, hold onto the true Biblical faith no matter what happens, no matter what people may do to you. "If they hated you, you know they hated Me before they hated you. If they persecute Me, they will also persecute you," (John 15:18-20).

In the midst of laying down the requirements for entering His kingdom, Jesus told His disciples, just after the "light has gone on" and they fully understand who He is and why He came to earth, that if they wished to follow Him then they must deny themselves daily, take up their cross of suffering, and follow Him unreservedly. Failure to do so would bring His horrible sentence, " . . . the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels," (Mark 8:38).

If those in the PCA and similar denominations cannot sincerely hold to our doctrine, then they ought to leave and find another denomination more in line with their own theological position. Sophistry has no place in Reformed and evangelical churches.

Here's the bottom line-don't play to the intellectual crowd in your community. Pray, pray, pray, asking the Holy Spirit to prepare people to hear the simple, straightforward gospel message. Stick to the Scriptures. They have authority to convert and sanctify. Remember what you say you know-that you cannot convert anyone, that the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame those things which are wise, the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, the base things of the world and the despised. God has chosen the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man may boast before God," (1 Corinthians 1:26-30). Don't be ashamed or embarrassed by the word of truth. "Pray at all times, asking the Father to give you an open door for the word, that you may speak forth the mysteries of Christ . . . conduct yourself with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity . . . let your speech be with grace, seasoned as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person" (Colossians 4:2-6). Get and maintain the fulness of the Spirit and then go forth, opening your mouth, trusting the Lord to fill it with power and grace.

Reverend Allen M. Baker Reverend Allen M. Baker

Pastor Baker is ordained in the PCA and has been in the ministry for over 30 years. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he received his M.Div. degree from...

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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS -The Father Damned the Son
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS volume 12, number 37, September 12, 2013 The Father Damned the Son Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree," Galatians 3:13...
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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS - Presumption Leading to Perdition
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 05, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS volume 12, number 36, September 5, 2013 Presumption Leading to Perdition Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 6:9. That...
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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS - Depression in Ministry
THURSDAY, AUGUST 29, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS volume 12, number 35, August 29, 2013 Depression in Ministry Desire fulfilled is a tree of life, Proverbs 13:12. As we all know depression is a real issue in the church of Jesus, and this includes pastors, other full...
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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS - No Power in Accommodation
THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS volume 12, number 34, August 22, 2013 No Power in Accommodation "The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,' and, 'A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,' for they stumble because...
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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS - What's Our Problem?
THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS volume 12, number 33, August 15, 2013 What's Our Problem? And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved, Acts 2:47. The great evangelistic preacher, D.L. Moody, died in 1899 and his...
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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS - Any Old Excuse Will Do
THURSDAY, AUGUST 08, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS volume 12, number 32, August 8, 2013 Any Old Excuse Will Do I am not ashamed of the gospel, Romans 1:16. Perhaps you were like me-when God graciously and sovereignly opened your eyes to see the gospel of grace,...
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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS - Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit of God
THURSDAY, AUGUST 01, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS volume 12, number 31, August 1, 2013 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30) . . . do not quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). More than ever we need God honoring, Christ exalting, Spirit anointed,...
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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS - The Necessity of the Spirit's Presence in Preaching
THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS volume 12, number 30, July 25, 2013 The Necessity of the Spirit's Presence in Preaching[1] For our gospel did not come in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with full conviction 1 Thessalonians 1:5....
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FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS - The Fall of Thebes
THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2013
Posted by: Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship | more..
FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS volume 12, number 29, July 18, 2013 The Fall of Thebes Are you no better than No-amon, which was situated by the waters of the Nile . . . yet she became an exile, she went into captivity; also her small children were...
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