Articles and essays for the interested reader.

Spiritual Warfare #1 by Phillip Kayser

Kayser’s article reveals how many things we deal with (persecution, slander, false teaching, etc.) are not only spiritual issues. Demons often influence them. I found two categories of spiritual warfare that Mr. Kayser brought up as very encouraging. First, he brings up the fact that demonic influence can be the source of lies. The kind of lies that Ananias and Saphira told in Acts: no benefit and unneeded. Kayser wrote,

Often this demonic lying has an irrational component that makes no sense because there is no good reason for the lies. I have seen Christians so deceived by Satan that they can’t tell when they are lying and when they are telling the truth.

When you see over-the-top irrationality in lying (such as lying when there is no benefit gained; lying without realizing they are lying; inability to conquer lying; etc), there is probably the demonic behind it.

I remember there being a tough year. I would start thinking through a conversation I just had, and be flooded with the recognition of a host of lies I told. They were small, and with little effect, that they made no sense. After reading this article, I realized that God did not only deliver me from my sin during that time but in all probability delivered me from demonic influence.

Second, he brings up that discouragement in churches can be from satanic influence. He writes,

1 Peter 5:6-10 speaks of Satan seeking whom he may devour, and in context he seems to be devouring people by discouragement. And Peter tells us how to resist that by being steadfast in the Lord.

It is no wonder we are told, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

Christ-centered Preaching Evaluated

I can’t remember how I found this series of articles, but I blew through them in a weekend. Pastor Mathis is critiquing a 3 part series called “Covenant Preaching” hosted by the OPC. The OPC articles make or, approve of, some grandiose statements regarding the requirement for teaching:

Bryan Chapell say that a sermon without the saving work of Christ is not just ‘a neutral, non-Christian sermon.’ Chapell went so far as to say, ‘It is an anti-Christian sermon.’”

Many other statements were made in this article under scrutiny. Some are saying the saving work of Christ must be the climax, or the integral part, of the sermon for it to be a Christian sermon. This formulation of “Christ-centered” preaching lead the proponents of it to develop a bifurcation in preaching; Truth Teaching and Gospel Teaching.

What’s the problem?

Truth preaching, according to the author, is “a sermon that presents the truth from Scripture, but never takes us to the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Truth sermons present doctrine or morality or apply the truth of God’s word. But the listeners “never get to Christ” through such preaching. To leave a sermon thinking about our work is to leave a “truth preaching” sermon.

In contrast, Gospel preaching is a sermon that “makes sure that people hear the good news in Jesus Christ…as an integral part of the message. It gets to what Christ has done for us and he is continuing to do in us.”

Most of the above quotations are in the first article in the series critiquing this view of preaching. Throughout the series, Pastor Mathis shows how this standard would rule out Jesus, various genres and books of scripture (Ten Commandments, Sermon on the Mount, James, etc.), John Calvin, the ministers behind the Westminster Confession of Faith and Public Directory of Worship, Geerhardus Vos, Walter C. Kaiser Jr., and Carl Trueman would not be Christian preachers.

I would recommend this series of article those hooked on The Gospel Coalition, New Covenant Theology, and modern Presbyterians coming out of mainline seminaries in recent years. I have some caveats, but I plan to write an article on hermeneutics in the future.

8-part series on vaccines

The above link is to the first article in a series on vaccines. It goes through the origin of inoculations (an ancient pagan ritual in India), the historical damage of vaccines to the Church (the death of Jonathan Edwards), dissenting voices in medicine both past and present, the deceptive tactics in vaccine statistics, and many other issues.

The most impactful point in the series was in the first installment. Stephen C. Halbrook refers back to the then general rejection of inoculation by Christians leaders and congregants. What was the reason? The lack of brotherly love. Halbrook quotes Reverend John Williams, calling out Cotton Mather for supporting the smallpox vaccination which caused a miny outbreak, as saying, 

They are guilty of the Breach of the Moral and the Evangelical Law of God; for they have not done by their Neighbour as they would that their Neighbour should do to them, and that in a Case of great Moment; not only to the hazard of Life, but the Loss of many a Life; how many God knows. Math. 7.12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that Men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.

If we are commanded to love our Neighbour as our selves, then they that voluntarily bring in the Small Pox into their House, and not only endanger their Neighbours Health and Life, but eventually take both away, do transgress the Law and the Prophets, Matt, 22, 35, 36, 27 [37?], 38, 39, 40. And, Oh! What a Fountain of Blood are the Promoters guilty of! God grant them repentance unto life. May it not be said of you, You lay aside the Commandments [of] God, and ye have learned the Traditions of Men. Mark. 7. 9. And he said unto them, Fulwell ye reject the Commandment of God, that ye may keep your own Tradition.[7] 

What of the Westminster?

One thing I wish the first article addressed were the 6th commandment, “You shall not murder.” In what is forbidden here, we also learn other applications for God’s people. This what the Westminster Confession of Faith explains as far as requirements go:

The duties required in the sixth commandment are all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defence thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labour, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behaviour; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succouring the distressed and protecting and defending the innocent.

  • Answer 135

Regarding what is prohibited:

The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defence; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.

  • Answer 136

If you consider the duties and prohibitions found, in principle, in the 6th Commandment, vaccines fall under self-harm and endangerment of neighbor.

I heartily recommend digging into this series.

See you next time!