If You Had an Abortion…


I used to attend Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie when I was younger, and during the altar call he would frequently mention this particular sin. Among listing other sins he would say “maybe you had an abortion… maybe you feel tremendous guilt about it…” It always struck me as a very profound statement because I was raised with a biblical worldview respecting the sanctity of life for the born and the unborn.

But Laurie’s call was profound because as depraved as the act of taking a baby’s life is, God’s grace is infinitely larger and is able to cover such a sin through repentance.

The latest statistics indicate that about 28% of American women under the age of 65 have had at least one abortion. I have met patients who have had as many as 8 abortions. It is a common procedure, and it used to be much more frequent back in the 1990s.

If you read these few words and have gone through an abortion, I would like to assure you that God can forgive you of this sin. The passing of time will not make this event disappear from history. It is always going to be there in your spiritual record and it must be dealt with. If you acknowledge that you have sinned against God, the Author of Life , if your repent of this sin and your other sins and trust Christ as your only way to heaven, you will be saved.

I invite you to trust what the Bible says about Christ:

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

Jesus Christ took our sins, including the sin of abortion upon Himself to make us righteous in God’s eyes, but only if we repent and trust Him. If you do that, your case can be legally dismissed before God.

The guilt of abortion will dissipate. You will be a new person, and you will live a new life glorifying God. Christ is our only hope.

image: churchleaders.com

Chuck Smith Evangelized to the End

Pastor Chuck Smith announces he has lung cancer!

Chuck Smith went to be with the Lord.

My physician friend who is not  a believer (a non-practicing Catholic) had the opportunity to take care of Chuck during one of his surgeries. My friend had been to a Harvest crusade in the early 90’s and remembered Chuck from there and told Chuck about it.  He asked Chuck why he became a pastor.

The pastor seized the opportunity to tell him about Christ. A few minutes before surgery Chuck was preaching. For some it is with great restraint that they will muster up the courage to tell an unbeliever about Christ. But not for Chuck Smith.

The dying pastor told the physician that he too wanted to become a physician.  It was a dream of his when he was young.  A neurosurgeon to be precise. He wanted to be able to perform the most complicated and heroic of surgeries and to save a life in the process.

But then something happened.

He realized there was a much better way of saving people.

There was a way in which he could help save lots and lots of people at once, as opposed to one person, one surgery at a time. So he became a pastor and brought people into the kingdom of God by spreading the gospel. He founded one of the largest system of churches in the world, the Calvary Chapel system. He also mentored Greg Laurie and was intimately involved in building up the Harvest Crusades in the early years.

He continued to preach using an oxygen nasal cannula until the very last week.

He ran the race until the very end. My friend was deeply touched by Chuck’s testimony and I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict him.

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”” Rev 14:13

photo: cn.com

What is the Most Popular Verse in the Bible?

Holy Bible

Growing up in my church, John 3:16 was considered the “golden” verse of the Bible for good reason.  It contains an excellent synopsis of the Gospel.

However, I found interesting data on the most commonly searched Bible verses, and John 3:16 was not at the top of the list.

For example, King James Bible Online received 7 million visits in 2012, and their top searched verse was Psalm 23:4

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

The next most popular verse was Philippians 4:13:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

John 3:16 came in third place.

It is interesting that even Christians try to focus on themselves, on the old “I,” and attempt to search for verses that will build up self-confidence.  Hopefully the result is confidence in Christ and not the self.

Recently pastor Greg Laurie addressed the issue of the changing popularity of Bible verses, and how John 3:16 is no longer the most popular verse.  In his opinion the most popular verse, even known and used widely by non-Christians, is Matthew 7:1-2:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”  

Greg Laurie was labeled as judgemental for speaking out against gay marriage and the gay social agenda, and these people used the Bible to get back at him.  Ironic how those who do not believe the Bible, will use the Bible when it suits their mood to excuse the sin in their life.

Laurie responded correctly by saying that this verse calls us to not condemn, and that in fact, we are allowed to make a judgement:

“But I am to make judgments in life. Every day, I make judgments. If I am stepping into the street, I look both ways to make sure it is safe. That is a judgment. If I see a dog and decide to pet it, only to change my mind when he suddenly bares his teeth and growls, then that is a judgment.  So I am to make judgments and evaluations as a follower of Jesus Christ. We must make judgments. But we must not condemn.”

The popularity of Bible verses changes with the agenda of men.  Men will use the Bible to accomplish their own goals, and they will use specific verses even to justify their sin.

But the Word of God never changes.

He stays the same yesterday, today  and tomorrow, regardless of His popularity.

Greg Laurie Standing up for Truth!

Greg Laurie the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA spoke and prayed at the National Day of Prayer event in Washington, DC and followed through on his promise: “I won’t back down!”

He received tremendous criticism last week from LGBT and progressive outlets for being chosen to pray and speak at the event because he believes the Bible when it says that the LGBT lifestyle is a sin, and he will not endorse same-sex marriage.

His prayer:

“Lord, we need Your help in America.  In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have ‘forgotten God.’ But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.”

“Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape.”

“That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land.”

“Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much…” 

There are hundreds of thousands and I am hoping millions of true Christians in this country who hold true to biblical teaching and who have the Holy Spirit in them.

May I be so bold to ask this question:  If God would have spared Sodom if it had 10 righteous people in it, would He perhaps spare America for the sake of its believers and its roots?  I believe He has thus far…

But I also believe the ultimate answer lies in the prayer above.  If all the Christians would unite in prayer perhaps we will see one last great revival in this country before the END.

Greg Laurie photo credit

Theology 101: Is Decision Theology Biblical?


I used to attend Monday nights with Greg Laurie at Calvary Chapel when I was a kid. At the end of every service Greg used to invite people in the front to make a decision to accept Christ and become born-again after repeating a one minute “sinner’s prayer.”

This practice became more pompous at the yearly Harvest Crusades when after reciting the sinner’s prayer, fireworks went off and Greg would declare: “welcome to the family of God.

Is the personal decision to become born again unto eternal life grounded in the Bible? And is it ok to label a person born again after reciting the sinner’s prayer?

Billy Graham has been applying decision theology throughout his evangelistic career, and he famously declared that only 5% or less of those making a profession of faith at his crusades eventually make their way into the Body of Christ by joining a church.

It then follows that a huge number of people who make a decision to believe, make a profession that is NOT of faith. That is just the tip of a nefarious iceberg. These folks leave the crusade thinking they are saved and they continue to live unchanged lives. They are left with an empty decision, a profession, and a false declaration of salvation by a celebrity evangelist.

This problem invariably gets into the monergism vs synergism debate. Monergism holds to the supreme sovereignty of God in matters of salvation, and states that a human decision is not involved in becoming born again, while synergism claims that a human decision for salvation is necessary and synergistic with the work of the Holy Spirit.

But I argue that when it comes to conversion, philosophy can muddy the waters. Let us go to the Scriptures to highlight the fact that salvation belongs to God and it is the work of the Holy Spirit. The only thing that humans can do is abandon salvation.

First, a confession of true faith stems in the gift of faith given by God, NOT in a human decision:

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

Second, this faith cannot be activated by a human decision because such an action is contrary to fallen human nature:

1 Corinthians 2:14 “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

It becomes clear that in order to make an authentic confession of faith one has to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit because the unregenerated natural man is not able to do this.

Even repentance is not the result of human decision but something that is granted by God:

Acts 11:18 “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.””

I need to stress that human participation in salvation is not robotic. But also, it is not a man initiated event by decisions and sinner’s prayers. It is the result of the quickening of the Holy Spirit.

An appropriate altar call should include the presentation of gospel facts and gospel terms followed by an invitation to repent and surrender to God. Decisions to become born again have no place in a biblical understanding of salvation. Neither do declarations of eternal salvation for those who make professions of faith.

How Greg Laurie Explains 666

Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest (mega)Church in Riverside, is currently teaching on Revelation subjects.

In explaining the mark of the beast he says that everything will be centered on Satanic worship (excerpt from a Christian Post article on Laurie’s teaching):

“The Antichrist is going to introduce a cashless society… The endgame of this is to cause people to engage in devil worship.”

About the changing global economy, the pastor quoted a financial expert as telling Fox News, “The real reform is some kind of a banking union where everyone signs on board, that there’s going to be some kind of a banking overlord, a banking union that everyone’s gonna have to bow down to.” Can this actually happen? Actually, it can, Laurie said. “And the leader of it will be the antichrist, and he will have his mark.”

Laurie added, “The antichrist’s economic policy will be very simple. Take my mark and worship me, or starve to death… No mark, no merchandize… No seal, no sale.”

The technology to do this is already here, the pastor said. A June 1, 2012 headline from New York Daily News read, “‘Human bar code’ could make society more organized.” The article said, “Microchip implants have become standard practice for our pets, but have been a tougher sell when it comes to the idea of putting them in people.”

“Am I saying that this technology will be the mark of the beast? No, I’m not,” Laurie cautioned. “I’m just saying the ability to technically pull this off exists.”

We don’t know when the tribulation period will begin, five or 20 years from now, Laurie said. But with the technology today, we know all this is “totally plausible.” But let’s not overreact, Laurie advised. Not every stamp put on someone’s hand by some authority is the mark of the beast. Or, if an office building’s number is 666, that’s not the mark of the beast.

While we do not know exactly when the mark of the beast will appear, we know this though that a great delusion will come upon the world and many will believe the lie leading to their destruction, as 2 Thessalonians 2:9 warns. Destruction will happen “because they refused to believe the truth that would save them.” At the time of the tribulation, they will choose to believe in a lie that the antichrist is “God,” Laurie said.


I have never taken a particular interest in speculating about the mark of the beast, but I am inclined to think it will not necessarily be a physical item.  It might be something like a membership, a citizenship, an ideological affiliation, a participatory involvement in worshiping the system.  It will probably be mandatory, but people will do it based on their own volition in order to participate in the global market.

In a post-trib or mid-trib rapture scenario, how will Christians react to this system?  Will they be required to make a confession against their faith and participate in satanic worship, therefore declaring apostasy?  Will they be able to still participate in the global market as an “underground” Church?  What happens if they repent after being marked by the beast?  Is that repentance even possible?

These are just some of the issues that make this subject difficult.  One thing is certain.  If the Church is still here when the Antichrist and his false prophet come on the scene, authentic believers who belong to God will not join them.

The children of God are set apart by God and the Spirit that is in them will testify that they belong to God.  The end will be near for them.  Their glorification will be at hand.

Evangelism at the End of Life

What are the odds that someone who has rejected Christ their entire life will be quickened by the Holy Spirit to accept Him in the last few weeks or days of their life when the finality of death becomes evident?

The honest answer is I do not know, but I do know that God works in mysterious ways for the conversion of the sinner.  Here is an example from my own experience.

During my Critical Care clerkship in med school I had the opportunity to observe an extremely puzzling sight.  In an ICU full of critically ill, sedated, intubated, ventilated, continuous-dialysis patients, I came across a patient in his 60’s who was fully awake and coherent.  He was sitting up with an oxygen mask on his face, a stark contrast when compared to the other patients.

Great was my shock when I heard the team talking about placing this man on comfort care to ease his respiratory difficulties stemming from his weak heart.

It turns out he was suffering from end-stage heart failure and was a “frequent-flier” in that particular ICU. He was not a heart transplant candidate, so his life was spent in the hospital with frequent decompensations and ICU admissions.  His heart failure was so severe that getting out of bed and walking was out of the question.

That day, after a conference with him, we agreed to place him in a comfort care suite aimed at relieving his “air-hunger” and allowing the disease to take its course.

My immediate concern was whether this man came to know Christ or not.  I knew that in a matter of days or sooner he will die.

I found the opportunity to speak to him privately that day.

“What do you think will happen to you when you get comfortable and pass away?” I asked.

“I don’t know” he said.

When I pressed him on the concept of life after death he labored to say that he believes he will go to heaven because he was a “good person” and because he was born Catholic. It became clear that he was not a born-again Christian.

I now was faced with a critical decision.

Should I evangelize him in this coherent but vulnerable emotional and physical state?  Should I tell him about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus?

I probably could have gotten in trouble if caught “taking advantage” of a dying man and sharing my faith, but I decided to give him a synopsis of the Gospel.  I did not know too much theology back then… but I presented the depravity of man as best I could, and told him how Jesus was the only solution as a substitutionary atonement for his sins.

He confessed he believed in Jesus.

Unaware of the problems of “decision theology” back then, I did what I saw Greg Laurie do at the Harvest Crusades when I used to attend as a kid.  I had him recite the sinner’s prayer after me and told him to thank God for saving him.

I had to cut our meeting short because my pager which had been silent the whole day rang three times in three minutes.  I told him to pray to God and thank him for Jesus, and I will visit him in the upcoming days to talk to him.

The next time I went to see him, he had passed away.

Was my approach the correct one?  Did I take advantage of a vulnerable person to get a “decision” out of him?

I think ultimately we are responsible to spread the good news no matter what the circumstance.  However, we are not responsible to worry about the work of conversion of the Holy Spirit.  God can and will save souls if He so desires, even at the end of life after a lifetime of sin and depravity.  Our duty is to preach the message of salvation because it is “the Son of Man [who] came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10