Monday, November 12, 2012

Self-Love or Selfless Love

How important is it to have our own feelings and desires met? Is it not better, rather, to give ourselves and our time to God and to the service of other people?

When we spurn the idea of worshipping God and helping others, we naturally default to our own needs, desires and wants — to get a lasting sense of self-fulfillment and satisfaction. After all, our feelings and desires live in that big, overly expansive room, in our thinking, that takes up so much space we have no room for thoughts of other people’s needs. The greater the ego, the more we banish the thoughts of spending our time with God, or on the poor, the downtrodden, the elderly, the homeless, the sick and the widows.

Gratification of our own needs, pleasures and desires builds our sole habitat; a very lonely place to dwell. Left to our own selfish devices, we actually inhabit and move with our feelings and dreams of self- fulfillment, in idle, egotistical daydreams– never meant by God to be any kind of virtual reality. True reality exists on an objective plane, and true reality becomes perverted only when the individual, autonomous ego takes over and raises itself to self-aggrandizement and unbelief by denying the existence of a Supreme Being and an objective truth.

We have to remember: true, agape love always has an object and an objective: to love and care and assist our fellow human beings. And agape love for God enjoins worshipful adoration and active obedience as a cornerstone to a real, lively faith.

Self-love (and I am referring to total absorption, here, not a reasonable regard for our own needs and Christian attributes, in proper perspective) is the antithesis of loving God first and foremost. When our feelings and desires become our sole focus, we always supplant the needs of others and do not honor God as supreme Lord. We cannot serve two masters.

And this goes back to what we, as human beings, were created for. We are finite beings (death pretty much takes away any objections to the contrary) and we were designed to worship an infinite being of great worth, truth, majesty and holiness. Any other worship, especially of self, is idolatry. We need to get this through our thick heads—God/Jesus Christ is the epicenter of *HIS* Universe, and we ain’t. But, oh, how this offends so many people’s egos and sensibilities.

Having said all that, here is one of my favorite verses in the Bible: “Not to US, O LORD, not to US, But to YOUR NAME give glory. Because of Your loving kindness, because of Your truth (Psa 115:1).”

Mary Elizabeth Palshan

Monday, October 29, 2012

Martin Luther Revisited

Martin Luther was one of the most polarizing figures in all of Reformation history; and a man full of complexities (I often refer to him as the “ever mercurial” Luther). But the more you read this theologian’s thoughts (which were very avant-garde for the hostile times in which he lived), and also the impressions and opinions of his detractors, a full orbed view of this larger than life person starts to materialize. One thing is for sure: one would never find Martin Luther commonplace. Although, I suspect, that is how he found himself best suited.
A free biography of Martin Luther is available at:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Good article by Justin Taylor

Is the God of Calvinism a Moral Monster?

My comments on Facebook concerning Justin's article.

Most all these type questions stem from a faulty concept of God’s sovereignty.  We count our rights, as people, as being a part of who we are. We can make choices based on our likes and dislikes, and turn out or cast aside anything that we find repugnant or objectionable.  But with God, we expect something along the lines of extreme toleration. Always forgetting that He has every right to like, accept, and endear Himself to anyone He so chooses to. Remember, He is the one who is holy, righteous and good, and is THE Supreme Being and Creator of all things great and small that is being maligned and sinned against by evil and totally corrupted sinners. 

I am reminded that God’s attribute of wrath was with Him from all eternity past, along with all His other glorious attributes. So in a very real sense, knowing God had/has this attribute from eternity past, it was/is very evident that He would create human beings that would sin against His glory. What other reason would this attribute of wrath be necessary for from eternity past? If we can imagine a God without likes/dislikes/preferences, and without the freedom to do as He so pleases, then we would surely have a God without the attribute of wrath. Why, if we give ourselves the right to make choices, do we deny the Creator of the Universe the very same rights? 

God’s freedom to choose whosoever He will is His divine, prerogative: and none can stay His hand or say to Him, what doest thou?  We need to get a real dose of our creatureliness; we are in the hands of a sovereign Creator, who makes some vessels for honor and other vessels for dishonor.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

C. H. Spurgeon comments on Arminianism.

"I do not serve the god of the Arminians at all; I have nothing to do with him, and I do not bow down before the Baal they have set up; he is not my God, nor shall he ever be; I fear him not, nor tremble at his presence...The God that saith today and denieth tomorrow, that justifieth today and condemns the no relation to my God in the least degree. He may be a relation of Ashtaroth or Baal, but Jehovah never was or can be his name." - C.H.Spurgeon

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More of my writing on facebook.

Tolerance for sin takes root by degrees. First of all, it usually starts with mushy sentimentalism, and a proclivity to put “love” as a supreme virtue with little regard for God’s truth and His justice. Love, without ANY foundation in God’s truth, has been the greatest form of evil to enter our sacred sanctuaries. Sentimentalism, and that ‘ah, shucks, he’s just a great guy/gal, give em a break, kind of attitude,’ will soon rip the very moorings from our churches. Tolerance for the smallest of sins, even, is simply a foolhardy way to live ones life. It always has devastating consequences, and rightly so.

I am reminded of an article I read concerning the building of the Great Wall of China. It was said that the slaves who worked to build this monumental fortress, had to sift every ounce of dirt by hand, because if ONE SEED were to be found among the dirt, and if it germinated within the wall, the integrity of the entire structure would be at risk. I thought this was a great illustration of how ONE SEED of sin can totally compromise and put our footing on shaky ground. This was certainly indicative of Adam’s fall into sin, and the resultant change of our natures.

God’s absolutes and non-negotiable truths are the very rocks we have to stand on; unlike the shifting sand of those who makeup the “moral” majority, who will always cry foul if you squeeze them a bit too hard, while they play in the vomit of their pet sins. If we have the mind of Christ, we not only cannot stand the stench of our own sins, but we HATE the very sins of others, which are responsible for leading “them” (precious souls that they are) into a pit that has no egress. That is why hating sin has such virtue and promise, and has the potential of such great reward. If we care enough to sound the alarm and be the watchman on the wall, we help alert others to the grave truth about damnation and eternal hell fire. The MOST LOVING THING that we can do is tell someone that God ABHORS sin; that sin is a stench in His nostrils, and that the unrighteous will NOT inherit His kingdom. But the good news is God has made a way of escape through His precious Son, Jesus Christ.

Should we let the idolater/liar/drunkard/fornicator etc, continue to believe that it is fine to daily practice their pet sins? That God has got their backs in spite of their stubborn, relentless rebellion. I believe that the faith that justifies is also the same faith that sanctifies (a quick summation of Lordship Salvation, eh?). This is the TRUE and acceptable doctrine of the Reformed Theology. And if we enter a church thinking that God winks and looks askance at our sins, and it is fine to straddle the fence and frolic in the playground of evil, without any thought of repentance, we’ve entered by the wrong gate, folks. That would be the wide gate that leads to destruction.

People honestly need a good dose of the total depravity of man, and the ABSOLUTE purity and holiness of God; this is where the light begins to shine in the dark recesses of our depraved hearts. And since God is righteous, all His dealings with man are done in righteousness. Man does not get to decide what is fair and just, only God has a right to do that, because He is holy, good, pure, and without spot or blemish. Only a being such as this can fairly and equitably dispense justice. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right (Gen 18:25)?” We are fallen creatures, who deserve only God’s wrath, we have no claim to our next meal, our next breath, or our next sentence, and we deserve and are owed nothing good in this life or the eternal life to come.

The reason I came across strong with my language concerning this woman priest, is because she misrepresents a holy and just God, who will not be mocked. (As a woman she should not even be in the pulpit in the first place) She has no reverence for the holy God of the Bible, or respect for His perfect Word, which denounces her rebellion in NO uncertain terms. People like her have not peered deep into the dark, bottomless pit, of their own depravity; they have not believed in, or trusted in, a God of “purer” eyes, who CANNOT behold evil; they have not savored the sweetness of the Lord’s tender mercies, or cried with the seraphim’s, singing “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory (Isa 6:3).”

If you love God’s holiness and purity—you WILL be transformed into His likeness.
Sexual perversions are a particularly grievous sin to God, as it defiles our bodies, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I make no apologies for any of my statements. Sexual perversions are an abomination to the Lord, just like lying, stealing, cheating and many other sins are. May God have mercy on all of us.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Two Purposes of Evil by Mary E. Palshan

The evil that falls upon believers is ordained by a holy and wise God for our own good, remember, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose
 (Rom 8:28).”  And the evil that falls upon unbelievers in this lifetime is well-deserved punishment.  So God’s permitting evil is for two specific purposes 1) to use evil to sanctify the righteous and 2) to punish (in this life) the wicked.  No one deserves mercy at the hand of God; we all deserve evil.  So the unjust are getting their just desserts and the righteous are getting God’s favor of sanctification to make us fit for heaven. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Discussing Dave Hunt on facebook

As Calvinists, we all know that God wants to be known for who He is. God is not secretive about displaying His glory to us, in fact, if Dave Hunt did a proper exegesis of Exodus 33:18-19, he would have discovered who God TRULY is. When Moses asks God to show him His glory, God shows us a unique manifestation of His “name” and who He is, by answering Moses: "… I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the “NAME” of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy (Exo 33:19).” This freedom of choice is synonymous with sovereignty. And the very name “LORD” here, is used to show God’s divine prerogative to choose whom He will. God is telling us that freedom is essential to His name, and that He is not constrained or influenced by any outside force, but can, and will do, as He so pleases.

So, here’s my question: If someone gets the nature, attributes, and the practical outworkings of the character of God wrong, are they teaching a false gospel? This is the sixty-four-thousand-dollar-question, to me at least. And I ask myself this all the time. Are there Christians who are guilty of teaching a false God/gospel, in spite of the fact that they do get the Apostles Creed correct? Remember, a false God can only lead to a false Jesus/gospel, because God insists on being worshipped in Spirit and in TRUTH; and Scripture is replete with God condemning all the false icons and Golden Calves we human’s bow our knees to.

I believe God’s glory (His name) and all that that entails, should be the unambiguous, categorical construct that NEEDS to be grasped at some pivotal point in any Christian’s life. Not only does the Holy Spirit prod us to ask questions like: what must we do to be saved, but also, who IS this God with whom we have to do? If we don’t undertake that question with all gravity and seriousness, and invest our time, minds, and hearts in discovering the true qualities of God, we simply will be guilty of a creating a fill-in-the-blank Deity. Faith is ALWAYS predicated on the character and the knowledge of God.

So, at what critical point does Dave Hunt’s loosely gathered, tidbits and morsels, of God’s character and outworkings, become real, flat-out heresy? I personally think he has crossed that line. Dave Hunt resists the God of Scripture. He hates the God of Scripture. He mocks the doctrines of grace, and in vain, attempts to dethrone the sovereign God of the Universe; and he knows an infinitesimal, miniscule, and negligible amount about the outworkings of the true and living God.

Election, God’s right to choose whom He will (from the same lump of clay, btw) is no evil fabrication that is foisted upon its victims, as Dave Hunt would have others believe, but is seen by those who truly love and cherish this doctrine, as being the only true way in which God has chosen to reveal Himself to sinful mankind.

God has invested so much in His name, so that those who are truly born again can understand His true nature. “Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His NAME or His son's NAME? SURELY YOU KNOW (Pro 30:4).” The question we are left with, does Dave Hunt really know the God with whom we have to do?

Note: I do believe that many Arminians are true Christians, but those who are so rabid and hateful of the true, sovereign God of Scripture, are clearly a horse of a different color.

I thank God that James White takes it upon himself to refute this man and others like him. It is a time consuming venture, but Dr. White, I’m sure, treasures every minute of it.

***Added note: I was hoping my question would engender more of a response, here. It boils down to this: If we HATE the way in which God has represented Himself to us in Scripture, even though we say we believe in Jesus Christ, does this pose any real problem?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

I think the problem that lies behind the average thinking Arminian as to the ordo salutis, is that they give little credence to the tension between God’s Sovereignty and human responsibility. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even enter the equation for them. How many Arminians have you heard say, “Well, we believe that God IS sovereign, but we believe that in his sovereignty he allows or gives man the right/permission to exercise his free will.”

This deception IS the underpinning of their soteriology, which simply blinds them to any real truth concerning a monergistic approach to salvation. Arminians simply enact the right to make a choice they feel was granted to them by God. In other words, their autonomy gives them the right to make choices that God never endowed them with in the first place. Human responsibility to them is in the exercising of their **right** to believe, and by extension of that right, they exercise their **faith** accordingly.

When you discuss faith as being a gift from God (Eph 2:8), as any good Calvinist worth his salt believes, Arminians will flatly deny it AS a gift. So from that point forward they cannot properly exegete any passages from Scripture that admits of election. Man’s autonomous nature has trumped God’s divine right to choose whom He so chooses to.

I firmly believe unless someone can build a bridge between God’s Sovereignty and human responsibility for Arminians, which is impossible for us this side of heaven, we may never be able to, by way of reason, convert them to these precious truths. Yes, I know, we plant and God gives the increase. Knowing that as we do, we can all rest and let God be glorified in the work that He first started. After all, God tells us: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phl 1:6).”

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Multi-Site Churches

My thoughts on multi-site churches.  I initially wrote this for John MacArthur's blog. 

Pastors and elders, who stand before us every time we gather together to worship, are unique people. They represent a holy God and His standards of righteousness, all the while being sinners like all the rest of us pew sitters. They’re not some beamed in by satellite, giant sized, figureheads, who cannot reach out and touch someone personally. They’re physically real. They’re physically present. They’re equally sinners. All their warts and failings, as well as their good fruits are present for all to be a witness to. When we "super size" the leaders of our churches (on big screens), they become larger than life itself; they become unreachable, unattainable, remote, untouchable and virtually unknowable. This creates a mystique and a warped curiosity about them, not to mention a fawning type allegiance to someone who seems all-vainglorious.

Mutli-site churches are for the pastor’s glory only. Their passion is not in shepherding their sheep with firm handshakes, bedside hospital visits, reaffirming hugs and encouraging, godly words, or heart-felt sympathies for one's personal circumstances and tragedies; but their concerns are for building names and reputations for themselves. Shepherding simply gets too involved, complicated and messy; better left to an underling.

We need to see our leaders (pastors and elders) fail before our eyes, as well as “witness” their personal victories, and to realize that they are sinners in desperate need of a holy Savior like all the rest of us, which also reminds us that ONLY Christ lived a perfect, sinless life. These failings eliminate any possibility of hero worship, and any possible feelings that only THEY can be trusted with our very souls. Likewise, their personal victories and testimonies stir us on to greater depths of holiness.

The responsibility to preach the gospel to all the world was never given to a “few good men,” who for whatever reasons, believe that only they have unique communication skills, or some extra extraordinary visions, or special words from on high (such as Mark Driscoll has fantasized about). God has endowed and gifted “many good men,” in the body of Christ, so as not to create a hierarchy system similar to the Roman Catholic Church. No one man, or group of men, should have a monopoly on God’s Word. Martin Luther fought and died believing this, as did many of the Reformers.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Love is the key!

This is what God does for sinful mankind.  He picks us up out of the trash heap of life, cleanses us, causes us to see, then graciously gives us a permanent home.  I LOVE my Master!

Friday, January 27, 2012

My final farewell to the Grace to You blog. They are closing up shop.

I have felt very privileged to be a part of this great ministry, even if it was from the outside looking in. When I first started posting here, Gabriel Powell assured me that John MacArthur welcomed women as contributors. It was very good news for many Christian women, who love the Lord and love to discuss His Word.

The levels of professionalism from the administrators of this blog, like Tommy Clayton, Fred Butler, Gabriel Powell, and Travis Allen, have been absolutely stellar. Their writing has been inspirational, and the level of teaching, par excellence. They have, after all, learned from a master shepherd, John MacArthur, whose love for the truth is boundless and knows no end.

We were all brought here together because of our love for one book and one Lord; but not just any book, but a book that has eternal significance: the Bible. Words have meaning and consequences, and no other book written throughout our history teaches that with such clarity and force. There have been eloquent men and women who wrote poetry, prose, and great literature, over the centuries, who felt their works of art, was their way of touching eternity. Chaucer was one such man; at the end of Troilus and Criseyde, he wrote, “Go, litel book!” Hoping that his words would take flight, like the seeds of a dandelion on the tail of a wind, and disseminate for all future generations to tarry over and adore. But who remembers Troilus and Criseyde? Who could even spell it? And how “litel” a book it must have been. But alas, we know that all is pure vanity. Only one book has conquered all others, and continues to vanquish its enemies.

God reminds us here: “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity. Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Ecc 12:8-13).”

Lastly, this was Carol Burnett’s theme song (I took the liberties of rearranging it a bit). I'm so glad we had this time together, just to have a prayer, or share a Bible verse or two. Seems we just get started and before you know it comes the time we have to say, "So long."

Waiting for the return of our precious Lord, Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men?

Written by Mary Elizabeth Palshan (Tyler)
January 18, 2012

We’ve all read the reports of the Marines who were involved in the scandal of urinating on the dead corpses of the Afghan soldiers. It is the current fodder from a war-torn part of our world that is under the iron grip of a false religion and a false god. The attempt by the Taliban is to cut a swath (make a pretentious display of) and put not only our men in uniform, but also our nation as a whole in a bad light. Not to say that it didn’t happen, or that it is befitting behavior coming from our soldiers. We, as Americans, do hold to a moral code of conduct, and we should do everything possible to uphold these standards.

However, war is ugly, brutal, and subject to unpredictability’s. Holding to a standard of ethics is difficult when you see your comrades bodies treated like cadavers made ready for the slaughterhouse. The beheadings of American soldiers and journalists by this evil group of godless men, causes us to rally around our boys, who love our flag and maintain our freedoms with their young, precious lives. We come to their aid and defense, in spite of their alleged crimes. It is, after all, a thing called patriotism. But then war itself has its many incalculable, fundamental, and inherent problems; how do we in fact justify killing anyone, or urinating on dead men, or stomach and forgive those men who beheaded our own people? It is far too mind-boggling for even the most ardent theologians, philosophers, and politicians to wrap their minds around. When war takes a turn from a clean kill, to one of brutal butchery from an evil heart that enjoys killing for the sick thrill of it, we know we are in for the long haul of trying to explain evil and all its manifestations and aberrations.

If we intend to keep things simple, in an age of notable complexities, the old adage is worth repeating here, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” This can provide some moorings to which one can be directed by. But platitudes quickly get lost in the blood, sweat, guts and gun smoke of real flesh-to-flesh battle; and young men can, and do, loose their compass. So to blame our Marines for their offense is a hard sell we Americans are not willing to buy. Sadly, though, there are simply no quaint or enchanting war stories of complete innocence on either side of the fence to be passed around the picnic tables. Or discussed at fire-side-chats at camp Grenada, where frivolities and mirth keep us giddy, dazed and safe from harm. War does not make for pleasant conversation anywhere. So our men of war, regrettably, brood all alone, like the few lost and lingering souls who survived the horrors of the gas chambers at Auschwitz. The average non-military person cannot understand and comprehend the extreme depths of evil that lurks in the hearts of men. Even eye witnesses loath to give it description.

The American idiom, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows," was coined by Walter B. Gibson for the famed radio program known as the Shadow. At the close of each episode, the Shadow would remind its listeners, “"The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay.... The Shadow knows!" As prophetic and full of wisdom as these two phrases may well be, and as perceptive as the Shadow was, we know that the author took his cues directly from a panoramic view of our corrupt world. Not that I pay homage to the author of the Shadow; but the Shadow was a predictable “light,” ironically. Casting not a shadow, but a light, into the dark recesses of all mankinds disturbed misdeeds. But the Shadow pales in comparison to a greater light that is capable of a much deeper penetration, into the long and winding caverns of our wicked hearts. We all know that the human heart (but for the grace of God) is capable of much evil. There but for the grace of God go all of us.

That illumination and light is the Word of God. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12).” God knows what lies in the shadows and secret chambers of our hearts. “They (we) have all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psa 14:3).”

Hard truths are often hard to swallow. No one wants to admit we could be far worse than what we are, or as bad as God describes in such pointed detail. Our very minds bristle at such a thought; most  love their autonomy and their (lite) form of sin. God is referring not just to the evil butchers in this world, here, but also to all men who have fallen since Adam. “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way (Isa 53:6).” We have all trampled the holiness and purity of God underfoot. And unless we repent of our sins and turn to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will pay the hefty price for our rebellion against a Holy and just God, who desires that all men come to the knowledge of His Son to be saved.

We are only who we are because of God’s grace. If God so chooses, He can make an evil tax collector into an honest citizen; a murderer like the Apostle Paul, into one who weeps sincerely over the fate of the lost sheep of Israel; a coward like Abraham, into a saint, whose progeny God promised to multiply like the glittering stars of the heavens, and a Christ denier like Peter, who denied the Lord three times, into a faithful servant.

The converse to this is God’s ability to raise up evil men like Pharoah, so that by comparison, He can put His glory on display for the entire world to witness. Evil has its purpose in this dark, sin-infested world. To make God’s holiness shine in all its resplendent glory. The evil deeds of men will condemn those who choose to brandish their form of wickedness and butchery over and above God’s righteousness. But be not deceived, God is not mocked, what we sow, we will also reap. “..For it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Rom 12:19).”

If God lifted His powerful hand and decided not to restrain most all evil, this world would spiral out of control, and debauchery and malfeasance of every manifestation and stripe would consume all of us. We owe every breath and blessing to our Creator, whether we acknowledge Him as such, or not.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? That should be a no brainer! God knows. He says this is His Word: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jer 17:9-10).”

But the GOOD NEWS IS: “The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. The LORD is **NIGH** unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that FEAR him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will He destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his Holy name for ever and ever (Psa 145:17-21).”

One day soon, the Beatific Vision will appear before us, and we “Shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2).” “So that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phl 2:10-11).”