Game of Thrones or Game of Lust?

What is the most popular show on TV/Cable these days?

It is a show called Game of Thrones on HBO.  I do not have HBO so I was not aware that for 4 years this show has been rising in popularity to its current pinnacle.  We are talking about the kind of popularity that trumps everything else on TV. I even hear people at work talking about Game of Thrones parties, where they get together to celebrate by watching the episodes together.

Why is Delight in Truth writing about this?

Because I looked into what the fuss is all about, and I must share with you the disturbing results of my research.

The show is a medieval type fantasy laced with graphic violence and graphic sexual deviancy. Pastor and theologian John Piper was asked about whether a Christian has any business watching something like this. His answer was a bit shocking, but I agree with it. He said that the Christian who indulges in watching this level of violence and nudity and actually enjoys it, needs to ask whether he/she is re-crucifying Christ again!

But the producers push this show beyond nudity and violence. How about repeated rape scenes mixed with murder? How about graphic incest?

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) describes it this way: “The sexual content on this show is very consistent and graphic.”

And our society loves it! Look at the ratings! I had no idea that in a difficult economy people had the money to spend on premium cable channels…

I said this in a prior sermon at some point… If a person is a Christian by name, but delights in the nudity, foul language, violence and sexual deviancy of today’s movies and shows, that person might not be a born-again Christian. It is not consistent with a holy character given by the new birth to LIKE or LOVE depravity. On the contrary, the child of God is repulsed by such depiction of depravity.

Here are some powerful Scripture references to set our priorities right:

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. Matt 5:29

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Strange Fire Was… Strange

Strange Fire

The Strange Fire conference led by John MacArthur at Grace Community Church has concluded.

And it was a bit strange.

Pentecostal and Charismatic indictment was in order.  Any manifestation of the miraculous spiritual gifts (even biblical) was put in the same category as mysticism.  That’s too bad.

The conference had its lighter moments too, especially when neo-Calvinist charismatic and controversial pastor Mark Driscoll showed up and set up shop on campus with a bunch of his new books.  He was kicked (ahem, gently asked) out.  Todd Friel of Wretched also had a great line in one of the sessions: “This conference is called Strange Fire, maybe next year’s conference will be called Strange Water, about that infant baptism stuff…” 🙂 That was a jab at MacArthur who was joined by the cessationist infant baptizing crowd in this endeavor.

On a more serious note, the conference did nothing but drive a wider wedge between people who love the Lord. Initially, MacArthur asked the “faithful Pentecostals” to join him and denounce Word of Faith, Toronto Blessing, New Apostolic Reformation and Bill Johnson type of charismatism, but then he turned around and slammed anyone who is not a cessationist with respect to spiritual gifts and miracles in the strongest possible terms.

So the conference failed on that front. Instead of winning over on his side those of us who continue to believe in the miraculous gifts as described in 1 Corinthians 14 and practiced biblically, MacArthur slammed us as demonic and mystic. Typical cessationist approach.

Well balanced and well-respected pastors and theologians like John Piper and Sam Storms were criticized from the pulpit. Again, for something that is black on white in the Bible.

There was however, a bright spot in the conference: Conrad Mbewe, the so-called Spurgeon of Africa. He is a reformed preacher used by God in a mighty way in Africa to denounce the prosperity gospel and charismatic abuses. He was the only speaker who actually differentiated between those involved in charismatic abuses and continuationists who are grounded in Scripture. He made the point that the latter are fewer and fewer in Africa.  He used to have university colleagues in Pentecostal circles, and they would exchange doctrinal points and Bible study experience.

That’s right, Bible study among Pentecostals and Charismatics.  It is sad that such a concept is rare now-a-days.

That is where the baby is found in the murky bath water.  There are still those of us who study the Word of God and are committed to its prescriptions, and continue to believe in the gifts of tongues and prophecy.

The Body of Christ should not be divided over secondary issues like continuation of spiritual gifts.  We should denounce heretical theology and manifestations found in some charismatic circles, but accept those believers who are grounded in the Bible and have experienced the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.

photo: the Christian Post

Desiring God’s “Love Letter to a Lesbian” Disappoints


John Piper’s Desiring God ministry put the story of a young Christian who struggles with lesbianism in a place where it does not belong.  The Front Page (here).

Delight in Truth’s disappointment is not with the story of conversion, and her declarations about God and His redemption.

Also, there is no disappointment in the correct theology described in this well written article.

I am also not disappointed with the attempt at evangelizing those who are in open rebellion toward God, and who practice lesbianism.

I am disappointed with the fact that Desiring God is promoting a person who apparently came to Christ, but who has not yet mortified her desires for the same-sex as prescribed by Romans 8:13.

“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

She provides Scripture supporting the idea that homosexuality is wrong, sinful and abominable, but admits a struggle with it.  This young woman has not yet been completely set free, while the possibility of being set free exists! Quote:

“There was a time in my walk with Christ where I experienced a lot of temptation about falling back into lesbianism. These temptations caused me to doubt God’s word. My temptations and desires began to become more real to me than the truth of the Bible. As I was praying and meditating on these things, God put this impression on my heart: “Jackie, you have to believe that my word is true even if it contradicts how you feel.” Wow! This is right. Either I trust in his word or I trust my own feelings. Either I look to him for the pleasure my soul craves or I search for it in lesser things. Either I walk in obedience to what he says or I reject his truth as if it were a lie.

The struggle with homosexuality is a battle of faith.”

She continues to struggle with these “lesser things” and feelings while she understands that they contradict God’s word.

Mortification of the flesh is not easy.  Anyone who struggles with this level of flesh desire should not be promoted as an example in what is otherwise an exemplary ministry by John Piper.

When a compulsive liar who lies and exaggerates everyday, one who cheats every year on his income taxes, one who lives a continuous lie experiences the new birth, he will put to death the old tendencies of his nature and not want to commit them again.

When a heavy smoker quits smoking after Christ becomes the center of his life, he no longer desires the old cravings.  Same with drug and alcohol addicts.

The solution for mortification of homosexual desire is found in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. There are many examples of those who have achieved this, not on their own, but through God’s supernatural work in their lives.

These are the ones who should be promoted as examples of the complete work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

John Piper on “Once Saved Always Saved”

“Once saved, always saved” has become an evangelical cliché which grossly misrepresents the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. It has unfortunately been used by immature Christians and perhaps even unsaved “Christians” as a license to sin.

Here’s what John Piper has to say about the subject in his book Future Grace (via Delight in Truth friend Gabe Bogdan):

“A few years ago I spoke to a high school student body on how to fight lust. One of my points was called, “Ponder the eternal danger of lust.” I quoted the words of Jesus–that it’s better to go to heaven with one eye than to hell with two–and said to the students that their eternal destiny was at stake in what they did with their eyes and with the thoughts of their imagination…

After my message… one of the students… asked, “Are you saying then that a person can lose his salvation?”

…This is exactly the same response I got a few years ago when I confronted a man about the adultery he was living in…

I pled with him to return to his wife. Then I said, “You know, Jesus says that if you don’t fight this sin with the kind of seriousness that is willing to gouge out your own eye, you will go to hell”…

As a professing Christian he looked at me in utter disbelief, as though he had never heard anything like this in his life, and said, “You mean you think a person can lose his salvation?”

…So I have learned again and again from firsthand experience that there are many professing Christians who have a view of salvation that disconnects it from real life, and that nullifies the threats of the Bible, and puts the sinning person who claims to be a Christian beyond the reach of biblical warnings.

I believe this view of the Christian life is comforting thousands who are on the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13)…

The main concern of this book is to show that the battle against sin is a battle against unbelief. Or: the fight for purity is a fight for faith in future grace.

The great error that I am trying to explode is the error that says, “Faith in God is one thing and the fight for holiness is another thing… The battle for obedience is optional because only faith is necessary for final salvation.” (John Piper, Future Grace pg. 330-331 and 333)

It is a grave error to separate obedience to the Word from an initial conversion type event. Disobedience, lack of striving for holiness, and lack of perseverance in the faith may be indicative that the professing Christian is not saved.

15 Truths About Abortion

1. Existing fetal homicide laws make a man guilty of manslaughter if he kills the baby in a mother’s womb (except in the case of abortion).

2. Fetal surgery is performed on babies in the womb to save them while another child the same age is being legally destroyed.

3. Babies can sometimes survive on their own at 23 or 24 weeks, but abortion is legal beyond this limit.

4. Living on its own is not the criterion of human personhood, as we know from the use of respirators and dialysis.

5. Size is irrelevant to human personhood, as we know from the difference between a one-week-old and a six-year-old.

6. Developed reasoning powers are not the criterion of personhood, as we know from the capacities of three-month-old babies.

7. Infants in the womb are human beings scientifically by virtue of their genetic make up.

8. Ultrasound has given a stunning window on the womb that shows the unborn at eight weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. All the organs are present, the brain is functioning, the heart is pumping, the liver is making blood cells, the kidneys are cleaning fluids, and there is a fingerprint. Virtually all abortions happen later than this date.

9. Justice dictates that when two legitimate rights conflict, the limitation of rights that does the least harm is the most just. Bearing a child for adoption does less harm than killing him.

10. Justice dictates that when either of two people must be inconvenienced or hurt to alleviate their united predicament, the one who bore the greater responsibility for the predicament should bear more of the inconvenience or hurt to alleviate it.

11. Justice dictates that a person may not coerce harm on another person by threatening voluntary harm on themselves.

12. The outcast and the disadvantaged and exploited are to be cared for in a special way, especially those with no voice of their own.

13. What is happening in the womb is the unique person-nurturing work of God, who alone has the right to give and take life.

14. There are countless clinics that offer life and hope to both mother and child (and father and parents), with care of every kind lovingly provided by people who will meet every need they can.

15.Jesus Christ can forgive all sins, and will give all who trusts him the help they need to do everything that life requires.

by John Piper via DesiringGod via TheResurgence

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How to Overcome Lustful Temptations

The primordial sin of the flesh according to apostle Paul in Galatians 5 is lust and the sexual sins associated with it.

It is the number one struggle of young men and women, and it is magnified in the information age when they are bombarded by all sort of immoral digital data.

After a long and admired pastoral career, John Piper offers relief for young believers who struggle with this problem in an interview transcribed by the Christian Post.

“Why does lust, I’m thinking mainly men but not just men, why does seeing have such a force to draw us to click on pornography or linger over some bathing suit issue of Sports Illustrated or to linger over some ad for a movie. What is it about us?” asked Piper.

“And my answer? It’s like drunkenness,” he said.

“In the same way drunks need designated drivers to help them out when they are too inebriated to function, Christians should have friends in their life whom they can count on to help them through lustful addictions.”

“My question is, is there something like that that we should do for each other? If ‘psycho-erotic euphoria’ is as powerful as drunkenness and I think it is, then we need people in our lives who will break our arm. Paul says I pummel my own body; you should pummel me,” said Piper.

“Look, if you’re drunk and you’re about to kill yourself, you better be glad there is somebody in your life to throw you in the backseat of the car,” says Piper.

“But this lust thing is much more like drunkenness than it is like anything else and so we may need this kind of personal accountability.”

Piper endorses accountability partners and relationships within a very close circle of friends (2-3 people) who can keep each other accountable by close monitoring from many aspects.  This is a physical and emotional approach.

To this I would add that fighting lust and its derivatives (such as pornography) must be done “BY THE SPIRIT” as commanded in Romans 8:13

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

BY THE SPIRIT means by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life:

  • The believer must allow the Holy Spirit to continually point him to Christ and to the cross when temptation comes.  Looking at the precious sacrifice of Christ will help the believer realize the suffering that Christ endured for him and for his sin.  Such an approach will make the believer realize the importance avoiding the trap of sin, and ask “will I crucify my Savior willingly again by indulging in sin?”
  • The believer must allow the Holy Spirit to remind him of Scripture.  Just like Jesus fought the devil using Scripture while tempted in the desert, so must the believer fight using “It is written” Luke 4:8
  • The believer must be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to receive power for witnessing to the world (Acts 1:8) which will inherently shift focus away from lust and unto the Kingdom of God.

image credit: TGC

Farewell, Rob Bell

Following the release of Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” back in 2011, pastor and theologian John Piper apparently foresaw the spiritual downward spiral that the popular pastor was about to undertake.

At the time, to the surprise of some, Piper tweeted this phrase: “Farewell, Rob Bell.

Two years later we realize that perhaps Piper prophesied, or at least made a very well-educated guess with respect to Bell’s future.

Bell made the talk show rounds denying all accusations of universalism (the doctrine claiming that all people will eventually end up in heaven), despite the questions and statements he made in his book.  But everything he has done since then shows that he believes in this false doctrine.

What happened to Bell in these past two years is a sad testimony to his fall.  He went from the pinnacle, that is the TIME magazine cover proclaiming him one of the most popular pastors in America, to loosing his Mars Hill pastorship (he claims he left at his own initiative) and toward failed attempts at putting together a TV show in Los Angeles.

But more sad is the fact that his true colors, perhaps rainbow colors, became evident this week.  He now fully affirms the love between homosexual couples and supports gay marriage.

Said Bell: “Yes, I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think that the church needs to just … this is the world that we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”

Taken in the context of “other ways of knowing God” described in his YouTube ad for his brand new book, we now have a totally different gospel, and likely a totally different religion than Christianity.

Rob Bell had time to repent and come to the cross and affirm Christ as the only possible means to the Father and to eternal life.  He chose instead to spiral further into heresy.  I still hope he comes to the cross and receives Jesus as Lord of his life, and recognizes Jesus as the only Mediator between man and God.

Until then… Farewell, Rob Bell…

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The Importance of Jesus’s Predictions

› He foresaw that his death would be by crucifixion (John 3:14, 12:32).

› He predicted that the disciples would find a unridden colt when they entered the town (Luke 19:30).

› When the disciples entered Jerusalem that last Thursday, he predicted they would meet a man with the water pitcher who would have a room for them to
meet in (Luke 22:10).

› After three years of waiting, he knew the exact hour of his departure out of the world (John 13:1).

› Jesus knew that he would be betrayed, and who would betray him, and when it would happen (John 6:64, 13:1; Matthew 26:2, 21).

› He knew and predicted the fact and the time of Peter’s three denials (Matthew 26:34).

› Jesus predicted that the disciples would all fall away and be scattered (Matthew 26:31; John 16:32; Zechariah 13:7).

› Jesus prophesied that he would be “lifted up from the earth” (John 12:32). That is, he would not be stoned but crucified—not by Jews but by Romans.

So the decisions of Pilate and the Jews of how to dispose of him were a fulfillment of his prediction.  He makes all these predictions, according to John 13:19, so that we would believe he is God, that what he says about himself is true.

In other words, Jesus is saying, “If you are struggling to believe that I am the promised Messiah, that I am the one who was in the beginning with God and was God (John 1:1), that I am the divine Son of God, who can forgive all your sins and give you eternal life and guide you on the path to heaven, then I want to help you believe. And one of the ways I am going to help you have well grounded faith is by telling you what is going to happen to me before it happens, so that when it happens, you will have good reason to believe in me.”

from Love to the Uttermost by John Piper

The Gospel in One Minute

Reformed (and slightly charismatic?) ministry Desiring God led by John Piper put this video on their front page under the heading “The Gospel In One Minute.” I think the message is theologically correct overall but a bit skewed.  While there is an overemphasis on God’s love… repentance, obedience and sanctification are notably absent.  To Lecrae’s defense, this may have been a spontaneous recital. 🙂

What do Delight in Truth readers think?  Does rap have a place in spreading the gospel?