Friday, July 16, 2010

"Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." - William Carey


William Carey (1761-1834), known as the "Father and Founder of Modern Missions," was the first missionary to India sent out by the Baptist Missionary Society, which he helped found. I've been intrigued and inspired by what I've read and heard about Carey, and I hope to read more on this great man of faith in the future.


One of his most famous quotes was:
"Expect great things from God.
Attempt great things for God."
The story is told that while Carey lay on his death bed after about 41 years in India, he was visited by Alexander Duff, a young 24 year old Scottish Highlander preparing to set out on his own life’s missionary work in India, who is sometimes referred to as Carey's successor. Duff spoke to him about Carey’s life’s work until...
Carey whispered “Pray!”
Duff prayed and then started to leave the room.
Carey’s feeble voice called him back and then said to him
“Mr. Duff, you have been speaking about Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey;
When I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey – speak about Dr. Carey’s Savior.”

On the morning of June 9, 1834, William Carey’s earthly life ended. His epitaph (written by himself) simply states:
William Carey
Born, August 17, 1761
Died, June 9, 1834
“A wretched, poor, and helpless worm,
On Thy kind arms I fall.”
Additional Scriptures:
Psalm 22:6(ESV) But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
Isaiah 41:14(ESV)Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
John 3:30(ESV)He must increase, but I must decrease.

William Carey, the man known as the "Father and Founder of Modern Missions" believed and held to the truths taught in Scripture commonly called the Doctrines of Grace. He knew that God's plan was and is to save people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, including India, and was compelled by the Holy Spirit to go. He knew that God uses men to preach His Gospel, and he knew that all the Glory goes to God alone when sinners are saved!

A proper understanding of God's absolute Sovereignty in all things including Salvation, as missionaries such as William Carey, Andrew Fuller, David Brainard, Robert Moffat & his son-in-law David Livingstone (just to name a few) had, leads to a greater sense of evangelistic responsibility, fervor, and more mission-minded endeavors in the life of the believer.

A few other historic Christians who believed in the absolute Sovereignty of God in all things include Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Owen, John Bunyan, the Reformers, the Puritans, and for us Southern Baptists, James Petigru Boyce, the Founder & First President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

some info on Carey taken from http://www.wholesomewords.org/devotion6.html

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Free-Will Prayer? Never heard one yet!

Now before I lose you, this is not about the choices we make every day. Of course we make choices all throughout the day. What to wear, what to eat, which route to take. We choose to sin, to obey, etc...There is much disagreement on how much of that God is actually involved in, and we know that we are totally responsible for our actions. The whole discussion on Free-Will vs. Sovereignty of God is not my point on this blog at this time. I can refer you to Martin Luther's "The Bondage of the Will", or Jonathan Edward's "The Freedom of the Will" for a much better explanation than I could ever attempt to give.

I'm talking about prayer. How many of you have ever prayed for (or are still praying for) the salvation of a lost loved one such as a child, a parent, a sibling, etc.? How do you pray? Even if you reject some of the "Doctrines of Grace", when it gets down to serious prayer, you pray for Sovereign God to move in a mighty way!

DO YOU PRAY SOMETHING LIKE:
"Lord, I pray that so-and-so will of their own free-will somehow turn to You and will choose You, but don't You force them against their will, Lord, for that would not be fair, and that would make them no more than a "robot". It's a choice they've got to make, being a free-will creature, and they've got to do it on their own, without you exerting Your Sovereignty over them. I know You don't really want anyone to love You if you have to coerce them, Lord, I'm just hoping they will somehow change of their own free-will, abandon their evil desires and evil ways on their own, and begin to love You, desire you, and seek you, although for these many years they have been running from You. I don't know how, but I just pray they will do it."
OF COURSE NOT! NO ONE PRAYS A PRAYER LIKE THAT!
You ask the Sovereign God of the Universe to show up and do a miracle! You ask Him to call that person to Himself, draw them, change them, and remove the person's heart of stone and give them a new heart! You ask Him to take that person who is dead in their sins and trespasses and quicken, or make them alive in Christ! You ask God to graciously save them! Right? You believe in Sovereign Grace more than you think you do! Think about it! If God doesn't do a work in our wicked heart, we will NEVER choose Him.

As one verse of the old hymn "Breathe on Me, Breath of God" said,
Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
my stubborn will subdue;
teach me in words of living flame
what Christ would have me do.
Here's the whole hymn:
Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
until my heart is clean;
let sunshine fill its inmost part,
with not a cloud between.

Chorus
Breathe on me, breathe on me
Holy Spirit, breathe on me;
Take Thou my heart, cleanse every part,
Holy Spirit breathe on me.

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
my stubborn will subdue;
teach me in words of living flame
what Christ would have me do.

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
fill me with pow'r divine;
kindle a flame of love and zeal
within this heart of mine.

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
till I am all Thine own,
until my will is lost in Thine,
to live for Thee alone.
Words by Edwin Hatch 1835-1889
As many of you have already figured out, my above blog was inspired by reading C.H. Spurgeon, whom I highly esteem and highly recommend.

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon at the link below"
http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0052.htm

You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say; but you never heard an Arminian prayer—for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free-will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying,
"Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not—that is the difference between me and them."
That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that. Ah! when they are preaching and talking very slowly, there may be wrong doctrine; but when they come to pray, the true thing slips out; they cannot help it. If a man talks very slowly, he may speak in a fine manner; but when he comes to talk fast, the old brogue of his country, where he was born, slips out. I ask you again, did you ever meet a Christian man who said, "I came to Christ without the power of the Spirit?" If you ever did meet such a man, you need have no hesitation in saying, "My dear sir, I quite believe it—and I believe you went away again without the power of the Spirit, and that you know nothing about the matter, and are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity." Do I hear one Christian man saying, "I sought Jesus before he sought me; I went to the Spirit, and the Spirit did not come to me"? No, beloved; we are obliged, each one of us, to put our hands to our hearts and say—

"Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes to o'erflow;
'Twas grace that kept me to this day,
And will not let me go."

Is there one here—a solitary one—man or woman, young or old, who can say, "I sought God before he sought me?" No; even you who are a little Arminian, will sing—

"O yes! I do love Jesus—
Because he first loved me."
http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0052.htm

Monday, July 12, 2010

"The Future is as Bright as the Promises of God"-Adoniram Judson



Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) was the son of a Congregational Minister, raised in a Christian home. As a 3 year old boy, Adoniram was reportedly reading chapters from his father's Bible. As a teenager in college, Adoniram went astray, engaged in all sorts of immorality, and was influenced by a fellow student and friend named Jacob Eames, a Deist and Skeptic (some sources say Atheist). Either way, Judson was lured away from the faith passed down from his father and became a non-believer as well.

However, unknown to Judson, God in His Divine Providence had great plans in store for him. One evening while traveling, Adoniram stayed at an Inn, and the only room available was next to a dying sick man's room, with less-than-soundproof partitions between the rooms. He told the innkeeper that room would be fine because he was an unbeliever and had no fear of death. All throughout the night, he heard the wailing, moaning, helpless and hopeless cries of desperation of this dying man. It had such an impact on him, that he almost went to try to offer some words of comfort, but having renounced his faith, he had none. Judson pulled the covers over his head to try to sleep and drowned out the eerie sounds of this dying man, but he couldn't. He couldn't help but wonder where this man would go if he died, and where Judson himself would go if he died. After a sleepless miserable night, the next morning Adoniram asked the innkeeper more about the man, and was informed that he died during the night. To his surprise and dismay, the miserable dying man's name was Jacob Eames. This same friend who was by Judson's side in college and had let him into unbelief, had died by his side that night. And he was dead, and lost. Lost, lost, lost. For days this thought raced through Judson's mind. The Holy Spirit of God began drawing Judson back to Himself and Faith in Jesus Christ over a period of time.

Coincidence? Not hardly! What seems to us like a coincidence is really just an act of God's Divine Providence where God chooses to remain anonymous! There are no "chance happenings", nor "luck". God is in control of all things. It seems the same man who was used to lead Judson into unbelief, was used by God to bring him to true Faith. This was the turning point in the life of Adoniram Judson, brought about by the Divine Providence of God. He went on to enroll in Seminary, and later gave his life to Foreign Missions, and translated the Bible into Burmese, the language of the people where he served. He also wrote an English-Burmese dictionary which along with his Burmese Bible, were used by missionaries who came along for years after he died.

On February 19, 1812, only days after getting married, the Congregationalist Christian couple from America, Adoniram Judson and his wife Ann Hasseltine-Judson, (also called Nancy) later known as "Ann of Ava", set sail for Calcutta to join the Baptist Missionary William Carey of England, who was already in India. They studied the doctrine of Baptism in the original Greek in Scripture on their 4-month journey to India, in an effort to be able to work together with Carey on their doctrinal differences, being of "Covenant Theology" themselves. The Judsons became convinced that "Believer's Baptism" was scriptural, and were Baptized by immersion in India, changing their denominational affiliation. They are counted among the group of the first Baptist Foreign Missionaries.

They were forced to leave India by the British East India Company, and eventually settled in Burma. Even William Carey himself warned the Judsons of the hostility and savagery of Burma, and advised them not to go there. On their journey, their ship was tossed about in a 3-week monsoon, Ann became very sick, and had a baby that died and was buried at sea.

It was 6 years after landing there before they saw the first Burmese convert to Christianity. Judson was once driven in chains across burning sands, until his back bled and his feet were full of blisters. Adoniram spent many years in jail, in chains and stocks in a filthy infested prison cell. He was sustained only by God through his wife, who by then was very ill, bringing him food under the cover of night in prison. She had another baby while he was in prison, and unable to produce milk to nurse her child due to illness, weight loss, etc., had to go through the streets begging for nursing mothers to help feed her child. Burma was a constant battle for the Judsons, with 108 degree heat, cholera, malaria, dysentary, filth, etc.

They had arrived in Burma 17 months after their marriage, when Adoniram was 24, and Ann was 23 years old. In less than 14 years since their arrival in Burma, Judson had buried his dear wife Ann, and all of their children. Eventually, 2 of Judson's wives (he remarried) and 7 of his 13 children, along with several colleagues died there.

But at Judson's death, when he was 61, Burma had 63 Christian churches, and 7000 converts to faith in Jesus Christ.
Patrick Johnstone, in "Operation World", p 462, estimates that Myanmar (Burma's new name)Baptist Convention has 3700 congregations today, with estimates of 617,781 members and 1,900,000 affiliates.

Adoniram Judson died in 1850, and during his last days he reportedly said:
"I have had such views of the loving condescension of Christ and the glories of Heaven, as I believe are seldom granted to mortal men. Oh the Love of Christ! It is the secret of life's inspiration and the source of Heaven's bliss. Oh, the love of Jesus! We cannot understand it now, but what a beautiful study of eternity!"
Adoniram Judson once said"
"The Future is as bright as the Promises of God",
or as another source quoted him,
"The Prospects are as bright as the Promises of God"

Adoniram Judson, as well as the great majority of historic Christian missionaries had a deep belief in the Sovereignty of God, and held to the historic "Doctrines of Grace", as is evident in this quote:
"If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings."

God is Sovereign, and God is Good! All the time! Amen?



Some info paraphrased and condensed from:
http://www.reformedreader.org/rbb/judson/christtoburma.htm

update 7/12/10...The latest "Rambo" movie was on television last night, and I had read where the plot has to do with missionaries to Burma. I do not in any way endorse the movie, due to foul language and graphic violence with grotesque blood and guts, which were both "over the top"...However, it was interesting because the plot involved American Missionaries wanting Rambo to take them up-river into Burma, which Rambo told them was a war zone.
I looked on Wikipedia this morning, and saw these estimates on the religion of Burma (Myanmar) today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Burma

In summary 2008 estimates of the population's religious affiliation from wikipedia article,
Buddhism is about 90 %
Christianity is about 4%
Baptist about 3%
Roman Catholic 1%
Islam is about 5%
All other is about 1%



























Thursday, July 1, 2010

My perspective on ERGUN CANER.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)

Most of you likely have no idea who Ergun Caner is, or what I'm talking about. If that's the case, I suggest you don't worry about this blog. Ignore it.

I just heard about the scandal with Ergun Caner. Sadly, this came as no surprise to me at all. A few years ago, the church we were at took our youth to hear him speak at a youth rally in Tennessee. The "acting youth leader" (we were without a staff youth leader at the time) was promoting Caner as some sort of larger-than-life spiritual giant, and said Caner was his favorite speaker/preacher at the time, which made me suspicious. I went home and began researching him, because I have kids in the youth, and was teaching youth boys at the time. There was a popular video of Ergun Caner getting tazed at a youth rally, and the discernment of the Holy Spirit immediately bared witness with my spirit that this man "wasn't right". The arrogant, prideful attitude of this man was evident, and I told my son that I had reservations about Caner, as well as other speakers at this conference, so we didn't go on the trip.

I later read of his interactions with those who hold to the "Doctrines of Grace". Caner made several disturbing statements such as:
I'm "Elected BECAUSE I selected". (sounds like works salvation to me). And
"Calvinists are worse than Muslims"
. Hmmm. Most Calvinists I know would certainly never say the same about an Arminian brother. Caner and his brother also ran from engaging in formal public debates with Dr. James White to address his disdain for anyone holding to the historic "Doctrines of Grace".
Take a look at this blog with some of Caner's disturbing statements from 2006. I can't confirm the validity of this site and I haven't verified the accuracy of the quotes, but I have seen the same ones elsewhere.
http://www.oldtruth.com/blog.cfm/id.2.pid.503

Ergun Caner's recent demotion and removal from his leadership position at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary is due to an "alleged" history of lies to apparently embellish his testimony, as if the Gospel is not enough! (oops, is the word "lies" too strong?)
Liberty Seminary chooses to call it "factual statements that are self-contradictory", and "discrepancies". (see the link to Christianity Today website below)
(Hmmmm).

I'm not directly involved in Caner's situation, and it's in Liberty Seminary's hands to handle it as they deem best, but this got me to thinking on this subject...

So if you will, please permit me to deviate from the subject at hand for a while...
Today we seem to like to down-play and sugar-coat sin and call it by many softer, less offensive, more politically correct names.
  • A Lie is called an "embellishment, white-washing, exaggeration, fib, etc... and Liberty University is now adding one, "factual statements that are self-contradictory", and "discrepancies"
  • Drunkenness is called an "addiction", "alcoholism", a "drinking problem", etc.. You can go to A.A. Meetings in nice little groups and talk about your "problems", talk about a "higher power", & now you can even get involved in your local church in Rick Warren's program to "Celebrate Recovery" from your "addiction, but don't you dare say you've been delivered from sin by the power of the Holy Spirit! No, they tell you you're "always an alcoholic"... Whatever happened to becoming a "new creature in Christ", "old things have passed away", according to the Scriptures? Whatever happened to Paul's words in Romans that "sin shall not have dominion over you", or being "more than conquerors"
  • Adultery is called "an extra-marital affair", "a relationship", "a fling", "sexual addiction", etc... How quaint and charming!

  • Homosexuality is called "gay", and an "alternative lifestyle". And rather than an "abomination", they're now condoning "same-sex marriages"
  • Rebellion and disobedience in children is often called ADD, ADHD, Conduct Disorder (that's right, its a real diagnosis), or even ODD, which is Oppositional Defiant Disorder", and Dr.'s write a prescription (drug) for it. (I'm a medical professional, and yes, these are actual psychiatric diagnoses)
  • And the list goes on and on and on.

  • And, by the way, it seems to me that when people are involved in or caught in any kind of sin today they want to be portrayed as a "poor victim", and say they have some sort of "disorder", "disease", "addiction", "condition", etc. instead of facing up to the fact that they are a "guilty sinner" in need of God's deliverance, forgiveness, reconciliation, etc...(please don't misunderstand, I also am, as you are, a "sinner saved by grace" but once we're saved, we're instructed to "put off" those things which we once walked in, and "put on" the things of the Spirit, not wallow in worldly sinful deeds and parade them around like we're proud of them. And when we do fall back into sin on occasion, it should grieve us as a sheep in a mud puddle, and as a dirty sheep, long to be cleansed, rather than a pig in a mud puddle who loves it there and wants to stay there...)
Now, back to the Caner issue. I realize I deviated from the topic at hand, but that's ok, it's my blog-lol.

Below is a link to Justin Taylor's blog, which I'm in full agreement with most of the time.
Here's his blog on the Ergun Caner issue.
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2010/06/29/just-one-question-for-the-trustees-of-liberty-university/

Taylor has written books with John Piper that are most excellent, such as this one I highly recommend on the heresy of Open Theism.
Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the undermining of Biblical Christianity

And here's a summary article which I think is biased in Caner's favor, painting him as a "poor victim" rather than a "guilty sinner", with comments by Geisler and Ankerberg. (Although I occasionally read it, I don't endorse the views or opinions of "Christianity Today", as it seems to lean liberal on a lot of issues)
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/julyweb-only/36-51.0.html

On one hand, a part of me wants to say to those who couldn't see through Caner "I told you so".

On the other hand, I need to make sure I'm not blogging from a prideful perspective myself.
1 Cor 10:12 (ESV) Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
Therefore, I'm going stop here for the day, and seek the Lord's guidance on anything further on the subject, though there is much more on my mind.

Meanwhile, I would love to hear your views on Caner, and any comments or perspectives are welcome.

7/13/2010 Update from Don
I have reviewed and prayed about this topic, and have concluded that there's enough out there on Ergun Caner without my further input. Meanwhile, I'll pray for Dr. Caner, and discuss the subject if and when I'm led by the Holy Spirit to do so, to friends, family, church members, etc. who are interested, but leave the rest to the more "seasoned" bloggers in cyberspace.

I think I got off-track from my usual style of blogging with this Caner issue, and need to return to where I started.
Thanks for reading, and have a blessed day!

Even as I close, the LORD just brought this scripture to my mind, and I, you, and every one of us all will do well to remember:
Num 32:23 (ESV) But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.