Thursday, December 22, 2011

Resources for the meat-eating Christian (Updated)

Update to include one more preacher I'd forgotten to mention.

Regular readers of this blog know that I quote and refer to pastor-teacher Dr. John MacArthur quite a bit. That is for several reasons. First, he preaches the Word and the word alone, in true expository style. That means he goes verse by verse, explaining the verse in historical and cultural context all the while keeping Jesus as the central focus. He has never succumbed to fads or gimmicks or promoting anything else from his pulpit besides Christ and Him crucified. Secondly, he has been doing this steadily from the same church for 42 years. Third, his website has a wealth of material on it, including sermons listed by topic or verse, and its transcriptions so you can read them as well as listen to them. There are devotionals, a blog, and books and resources. It is all doctrinally solid. And in this apostate age, that is quite a testament!

Each generation has its standout preachers. I believe that this century's standout is John MacArthur. Preaching and teaching at Grace Community Church through the New Testament verse by verse for over four decades is an accomplishment of submission to the Spirit. But what other good preachers are there? Even if their archives are not as full or available, their sermons can be watched or listened to, and their books can be bought. I also enjoy:

Dr. Steve Lawson of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile Alabama. Dr Lawson preaches meat in a wonderful and clear way. He preaches God-exalting truth in a humble but truthful way. In a recent interview, Dr Lawson answered the question as to what he believes is the most foundational doctrine of the church, "I believe that the most foundational truth for the church today, as well as in any generation, is the sovereignty and holiness of God. As one’s view of God goes, so goes the entire church. A high view of God inevitably leads to high and holy living. But a low view of God leads unmistakably to low living. A towering view of God in which He is seen in His unrivaled sovereignty and absolute holiness has the most dramatic and profound effect upon the church. Such a vision of God inspires transcendent worship, induces godly living, empowers tireless service, deepens spiritual fellowship, imparts supernatural joy, breathes abundant life, and motivates global outreach. The church will never rise any higher than her lofty view of God."

As a matter of fact, all the men (and one woman) I mention here have the highest view of God as holy and sovereign. It seems that it would be a given that good preachers and teachers would have this view, but in today's world it is not so.

Don Green is part of the MacArthur church, leading a small group (of 600, lol!). Mr Green "was a litigation attorney in Chicago for several years before leaving his law practice to attend The Master's Seminary, where he completed his M.Div. and Th.M. degrees with highest honors. He is an ordained elder at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, Don pastors GraceLife, a group of more than 600 adults. He has published several articles on biblical themes. He is also the Managing Director of Grace to You, where he oversees the daily operations of John MacArthur’s international media and radio ministry. Don and his wife, Nancy, have six children."

Justin Peters is known for his discernment ministries, an important calling in this day and age. As with all good pastors, he is humble, clear, and Jesus-centered. The link on his name brings you to his website so you can read about him and his positionsbut you can also watch him on Youtube. This link brings you to part one of his seminar titled "A Call to Discernment".

Phil Johnson is another Grace Community church pastor I listen to. Phil is the Executive Director of Grace to You. "He has been closely associated with John MacArthur since 1981 and edits most of John's major books. But he may be best known for several popular Web sites he maintains, including The Spurgeon Archive and The Hall of Church History. Phil has a bachelor's degree in theology from Moody Bible Institute (class of 1975) and was an editor at Moody Press before coming to Grace Community Church. He is an elder at Grace Community Church and pastors the GraceLife fellowship group. Phil and his wife, Darlene, have three adult sons, Jeremiah, Jedidiah, and Jonathan." Where MacArthur is scholarly and Green is fatherly, Johnson is fiery.

If you really want some fire, listen to Paul Washer. Washer does not thunder, rather, he has a soft demeanor and a gentle voice, but his words are devastating. His website is called HeartCry Missionary Society and that is Washer's primary focus: bringing the Gospel to the lost all around the world. He is also a Southern Baptist itinerant preacher. His sermons often focus on the character of Christ and how a person is saved from hell. He also preaches against decisional regeneration and corporate approaches to church growth.

Steve Hadley is younger (lol, 40ish) and a bit more casual than the others I'd mentioned. In other words, he sits down to preach and he doesn't wear a suit. He also laughs and jokes a bit while he preaches and is really funny. But his sermons are not a comedy routine and the value he places on God's sovereignty is HIGH. He preaches verse by verse with occasional meanderings into a topical sermon such as at Christmas time or when prophecy seems to warrant. He is solid on doctrine. I recommend him highly for those who want a slightly hipster approach (and I mean slightly) but is not oft-putting as some of the elder preachers are to the younger.

So I recommend the above four pastor/teachers, a missionary preacher and a discernment preacher, a nice variety. In addition, the following below can be relied upon for good handling of the Word:

I like Kay Arthur's biblical-educational tv program "Precepts for Life" and I watch it when I am home at that time. I enjoy her books too. David Wilkerson, Dr David Jeremiah and Adrian Rogers are all good as well. (Yes I know that Wilkerson and Rogers have passed on but their archives are still alive). They tend to preach topically, which is OK. Charles Spurgeon of course, has a wealth of materials still archived online to read and enjoy.

It is up to every believer to seek truth that is unadulterated. We are all responsible for the decisions we make and the actions we take in His name, as well as what we allow in His name. It behooves us to know, then, what He has said and what He expects. Read the Word yourself, and the more you read it yourself the more you will find that when a good bible preaching sermon comes along the Spirit will have prepared your heart for deeper understandings. And vice versa- when you listen to a sermon and then go to read the Word there will be connections made in your heart. That is because the Holy Spirit is the common thread. The Spirit reveals all things Jesus came to preach and all things the Creator has made.

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

8 comments:

  1. What do you think of Carter Conlon and Skip Heitzig?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Anonymous,

    I only know of Conlon that he is the pastor at Wilkerson's church, and of Skip Heitzig I know nothing other than he was/is pastor of Calvary Alb. which at one time was considered the fastest growing churches in the US.

    Of discernment in determining a good pastor, here is "12 Marks of Excellent Pastoral Ministry" sermon for your consideration
    http://www.gty.org/resources/Sermons/80-307

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd really like you to cover Joseph Prince. I believe he is a prosperity preacher, and have discovered he has contradicted himself, and from what I've read from others more learned in interpreting The Word, Joseph Prince has apparently twisted scripture. I was made aware of him through a brother and his wife who are completely enamored with him. They spend more time talking about Joseph Prince and how awesome he is, than they do Jesus Christ! They think Joseph Prince is the best Grace preacher to date, and that there is no error in him. When I first listened to him preach, he seemed sound. He provided what I took were honest revelations of scripture, some that were new to me. Particularly those from the old testament. However, the more I watched him, the more uneasy a feeling I believe I got from Holy Spirit. And when I saw my brother's hypocritical behavior increase, when I saw he began to have no shame in his sins, to even deny certain sins as even being sins, and that it didn't matter, that he was under Grace, I really became concerned. So, I searched online, to see if anyone else had the same misgivings abotu Joseph Prince, and after reading others who've investigated him, and back up with scripture, how he is a word of faith/prosperity preacher, and after reading his book Destined To Reign (given to me by my brother and his wife, as they have several copies since they are regular, large sowers into his ministry) I am not convinvced Joseph Prince is a false teacher, one to be greatly wary of, for he is one of the best false teachers I've ever come across. He preaches so much truth, which reels you in. Yet, I now know how he is misleading. My brother has developed this perception that because we are under Grace, we not only shouldn't ever feel any guilt anymore, for sinning, we also don't have to confuess our sins, because Jesus already died for all their sins, past, present and future, so we also don't have to ask for forgiveness for our sins anymore, because God already forgave us for all of them, past/present/future, when we accepted Jesus as The Son, and our Savior. My brother and his wife, due to listening to Joseph Prince, believe that through Jesus you are the righteousness of God (which I agree with) and that it means that you will reign in life, that you will prosper, in all ways, that as long as you fellowship with God, you will always be protected, no bad will ever harm you, no evil will come against you, you will never be sick, you will prosper, in everything, for God's favor is on you, because of the righteousness you receive and have, through Jesus.

    J.L.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Word of faith preachers nullify God's Word and Truth !
      Jp has been twisting Scriptures and selectively picked verses that support his claims and justify his greed!

      Be like the bereans..examine the Scriptures daily to know whether preachers are speaking via the Holy Spirit and from God's perspectives!

      Delete
  4. Hi JL,

    I am not familiar with Joseph Prince. A cursory search yielded a few concerns. I can't go deeper than that because I am not familiar enough.

    According to Wikipedia, Prince's second most recent book is titled "Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living". If you believe Christianity is effortless success, then we must take out every NT verse that Paul reminds us is a fight, a battle, a race, something to be endured, persevered, won, and so on.

    Prince was recently invited to speak at Joel Osteen's church at Lakewood. We can't condemn people by their friends but in my opinion that is not a good sign.

    According to this article on Charisma Magazine, Prince is pastor of the fastest growing churches. The impetus for this growth occurred after Prince heard an *actual voice* telling him what to preach. It was after Prince changed his approach to preaching in obedience to "the voice" that his church "began to mushroom".
    source: http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/june-/28256--prince-of-grace

    Yet the bible tells us popularity is not necessarily a good thing. "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets." Luke 6:26. We are right to become suspicious in these apostate time when someone is universally liked, because the Gospel offends! The bible convicts!

    Prince has not had any formal training, He was saved at 12, began serving at church on staff and then became pastor.

    His television evangelism on TBN was prompted by Prince's aversion to hell and brimstone preachers, and he considers himself an antidote to 'that kind of preacher'.(Source as above).

    There are issues in Singapore with his salary. http://thechurchofjesuschrist.us/2009/03/income-fit-for-a-king-joseph-prince-and-the-pastors-pay/

    So what you have in Prince is an untrained man preaching prosperity, at the behest of audible voices, in aversion to solid Gospel, is universally popular because he writes books that are titled Effortless Victory and makes millions. These things should give us a clue

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks much for that. You found out things I hadn't yet, and you pointed out things I hadn't thought of yet. I think combined with what I have already, the points you've shown me, hopefully will be enough to get my brother and his wife to at least consider they could be being misled.

    J.L.

    ReplyDelete
  6. My parents used to watch TBN all the time (thankfully they only really watch John Hagee and David Jeremiah these days) so I'd spent years listening to Benny Hinn, TD Jakes, Jesse Duplantis...etc..but as soon as I got saved I zoned in on Charles Stanley and Adrian Rogers through the radio. They are great for baby and mature christians IMO. I knew about them before but thought they weren't interesting and too preachy. I remember thinking that something had definitely changed in me because of this. I now pretty much ignore most of the preachers on TBN except for Dr. Youssef, Charles Stanley and David Jeremiah. Anyway, thanks for these recommendations, I'm beginning to yearn for meat. I love hearing preachers that just preach The Word of God.

    Also wanted to add that I got such a heaviness for the people of Syria just a bit ago. I just had to pray for the saved and unsaved. I don't know if it was just emotion and I don't want to be just emotional. I was wondering if The Holy Spirit is leading anyone to pray for Syrians...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good for you Debbie for noticing the change in you. Isn't it fun when we look back and notice something in our past as a benchmark and see how far we have gone away from it? I am going to make an update to the blog entry, I forgot to mention Steve Hadley.

    The news today out of Syria isn't good. Two large explosions rocked Damascus and over 40 were killed and over 100 wounded. Thank you for the Godly reminder to pray for the saved and the lost in that place.

    ReplyDelete

Movie Review: The Great Gilly Hopkins

Summer time means movie time, but for the discerning Christian that often means spending more time looking for a suitable movie to view than...