“Documentiasis: A Manifesto against Manifestos” by Phil Johnson (….on the Latest Ecumenical Manifesto)

Phil Johnson on the latest, in a long line of ridiculous, and unbiblical ecumenical manifestos,

Another silly manifesto has been issued by some “top evangelical, Catholic, and mainline” officials, outlining new rules of engagement for missionary and evangelistic work. The document is full of ecumenical argot and liberal gobbledegook. It employs the most passionate special pleading for pluralistic, postmodern, and politically correct values—urging Christians to “cooperate with other religious communities engaging in interreligious advocacy towards justice and the common good and, wherever possible, standing together in solidarity with people who are in situations of conflict.”

But the document never once shows the slightest concern for getting the content of the gospel message correct. It is, in fact, a denunciation of evangelical principles; it is by no means a valid statement of evangelical mission.

Why are front-row evangelical leaders so enthralled with drafting formal statements and grandiose-sounding declarations? Virtually every year since the release of the first “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” statement in 1994, some group or another (usually consisting of self-appointed “evangelical” strategists and Christianity Today contributing editors) gets together to repudiate evangelical principles and discuss post-evangelical strategies—while pretentiously laying claim to leadership in the amorphous evangelical movement.

In the end, with great fanfare, they invariably issue “a historic manifesto.” The profound historic significance of their work is typically declared by the drafters themselves in the lead sentence of all their press releases. And for some reason or another, Chuck Colson’s name is prominent in most of the groups drafting these documents.….[continue reading here]

(HT: Tony Zabala)

“Unsportsmanlike Conduct? Did we really blow the Rob Bell situation?” by Phil Johnson

This is excellent. Be sure to click on link to read the entire article.

Phil Johnson,

Last week on Tim Challies’ podcast, the guest was Kenneth J. Stewart, author of IVP’s Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition. Among other things, he claimed that the “uncoordinated . . . response of the conservative Reformed world” to Rob Bell’s Love Wins constituted “a display of our disunity. . . a display of our failure to coordinate.”

In Professor Stewart’s words:

What I think our constituency was guilty of in that case is overkill. There might have been select spokesmen put forward from within our constituency, and they would be told to go to it. But we had too many people on the attack; too many people going for the jugular, and our movement displayed its unlovely side.

Challies’ co-host, David Murray, quickly agreed, suggesting that once Challies and Kevin DeYoung had posted their reviews of the book, “all that needed to be said had been said.”…..[continue reading entire article at the Pyromaniacs blog]

Phil Johnson: On the Primacy of TRUTH In True Worship

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” – John 4:24

Phil Johnson,

Authentic worship is concerned with truth, not bare passion.

It’s a common misconception today that worship in the spirit requires us to empty the mind of anything rational. I visited a charismatic church a few years ago where the worship leader said that very thing: He encouraged people to “sing in the spirit”—and in order to do that, he said, “you need to empty your mind and let the spirit take over your voice. Close your eyes and forget where you are, and just feel the worship.”

A lot of contemporary worship is just like that. We use music and atmosphere to build raw passion to a crescendo. And lots of people think that’s the purest form of worship—when you are basically so overwhelmed with emotion that your mind is unattached and unengaged in any kind of rational thought. [read entire post here]

Has There Ever Been an Orthodox Christianity? — Phil Johnson [VIDEO]

A great interview with Phil Johnson by the folks at Jesus.org

“The standard of whether we’re right or not is not what any church body says, or what any confession of faith says, but what does the Bible say.” – Phil Johnson

Click on link below to watch this short video:

Has There Ever Been an Orthodox Christianity?

(HT: Thabiti Anyabwile)

What is Justification by Faith? — Phil Johnson [VIDEO]

“Justification deals with the question of our standing before God. How can I be right with God? That’s the question the Doctrine of Justification answers.” – Phil Johnson

Click on link below to watch this short video.
What is Justification by Faith?

Theology and Ministry: An Interview with John MacArthur (1/16/2011)

On Sunday, Phil Johnson interviewed John MacArthur. Last night he posted that interview at the Grace To You Website. Yes, I know. I wasn’t going to do any blogging during my 3 day mini-vacation. Nevertheless, here I am. I enjoyed this interview enough to interrupt my vacation, and frankly, the issues are that important. As the church today slides deeper into strange ideas on how it should look, and grow, and how it should impact the world around it. John MacArthur seems to be a lone voice on many issues. He is not. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.Theology and Ministry: An Interview with John MacArthur (1/16/2011).

John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, And Tabletalk On N.T. Wright.

This compiles different pastors and theologians critiquing N.T. Wright, and his New Perspective on Paul. Reading these essays makes clear that N.T. Wright is teaching a false gospel.

John MacArthur’s – (link here)

Phil Johnson – (link here)

R.C. Sproul and a host of other pastors and theologians – (link here)

“Loving God’s Image in Our Neighbors” by Phil Johnson

Phil Johnson

When some Pharisees put Jesus to the test concerning the greatest of all God’s commandments, He answered with a quotation from Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

“This is the first and great commandment,” He told them. “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:38-39).

What did He mean when He said the two commandments are alike? Well, obviously, they both deal with love. The first calls for wholehearted love toward God—a love that consumes every human faculty. The second calls for charitable love toward one’s neighbor—a humble, sacrificial, serving love. Jesus said all the law and the prophets hang on those two commandments, so the whole law is summed up in the principle of love. “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). Both commandments make that point.

But there’s another sense in which the second great commandment is just like the first. Loving one’s neighbor is simply the natural and necessary extension of true, wholehearted love for God, because your neighbor is made in the image of God.

Made in the image of God

God’s image in every person is the moral and ethical foundation for every commandment that governs how we ought to treat our fellow humans. Scripture repeatedly makes this clear. Why is murder deemed such an especially heinous sin? Because killing a fellow human being is the ultimate desecration of God’s image (Genesis 9:6).

In the New Testament, James points to the image of God in men and women as an argument for allowing even our speech to be seasoned with grace and kindness. It is utterly irrational, he says, to bless God while cursing people who are made in God’s own likeness (James 3:9-12).

That same principle is an effective argument against every kind of disrespect or unkindness one person might show to another. For example, to ignore the needs of suffering people is to treat the image of God in them with outright contempt. Proverbs 17:5 says, “He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker.” Neglecting the needs of a person who is “hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison” is tantamount to scorning the Lord Himself. That’s exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 25:44-45: “Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”

Neighbor? Who’s that?

Who is our neighbor? That’s the question a lawyer asked Jesus when He affirmed the priority of the first and second commandments (Luke 10:29). In response, Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, poignantly making the point that anyone and everyone who crosses our path is our neighbor—and truly loving them as ourselves means seeking to meet whatever needs they might have.

One of Jesus’ main points in that parable was this: we’re not to love our own brethren and fellow believers to the exclusion of strangers and unbelievers. God’s image was placed in humanity at creation, not redemption. Although the image of God was seriously marred by Adam’s fall, it was not utterly obliterated. The divine likeness is still part of fallen humanity; in fact, it is essential to the very definition of humanity. Therefore every human being, whether a derelict in the gutter or a deacon in the church, ought to be treated with dignity and compassionate love, out of respect for the image of God in him.

The image restored

The restoration of God’s image in fallen humanity is one of the ultimate goals of redemption, of course. God’s paramount purpose for every Christian involves perfect Christlikeness (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2). That will consummate the complete restoration and utter perfection of God’s image in all believers, because Christ himself is the supreme flesh-and-blood image of God (Colossians 1:15).

But if you’re a believer, your conformation to Christ’s likeness is gradually being accomplished even now by the process of your sanctification (2 Corinthians 3:18). In the meantime, Jesus taught that one of the best ways to be like God is to love even your enemies. Not only do they bear God’s image, but (more to Jesus’ point), loving them is the best way for us to be like God, because God Himself loves even those who hate Him.

Loving even our enemies

Of course, the prevailing rabbinical tradition in Jesus’ day claimed that “enemies” are not really “neighbors.” In effect, that nullified the second great commandment. It was like saying you don’t really have to love anyone whom you hate. All kinds of disrespect and unkindness became impervious to the law’s correction.

Jesus confronted the error head on:

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Your enemy is made in God’s image and therefore deserving of your respect and kindness. More important, Jesus said, if you want to be more like God—if you want the image of God to shine more visibly in your life and behavior—here’s the way to do it: love even your enemies.

Remember, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16). Such love—expressed even toward our enemies—is the mark of the true Christian, because it is the most vivid expression of God’s image in His own people. “As He is, so are we in this world” (v. 17).

© 2008 by Phil Johnson
Executive Director
Grace to You

This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. www.gty.org