1

Theology

God-Centered Salvation & Evangelism

Some years ago I put together an updated version of the classic TULIP that is used in many reformed circles.  I changed the acronym to PRAISE which gives six points rather than five!
I included an “E” for evangelism because, while many modern Saints question whether reformers who study John Calvin believe they need to share the Good News, strong evangelism and missionary work was one of the great hallmarks of the Reformation.  I included various proof texts for further study, which in some cases are entire chapters because I believe that the reformed faith is the solid teaching of the Scriptures and would challenge all of us to be Good Bereans, taking everything that is shared back to the Scriptures to see what is true.

“All Thy works shall PRAISE Thee, O LORD!”  Psalm 145:9

[there are over 100 references to God’s praise in the Book of Psalms alone!]

 

God-Centered Salvation & Evangelism

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast. 
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”      Ephesians 2:4-10

 

P R A I S E !

 

‘P’ is for:   The Problem of Man!                                         A Reality

In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam a real choice, with real consequences:  Eternal life with God or death.  His wrong choice left mankind ‘dead in their trespasses and sin.”  Without God, man’s estate was truly hopeless with “none that seek after righteousness, no not one.”  By understanding the bad news we see the need for a gracious Savior.

Scriptures for further study:  Genesis 1-3; Romans 1:17 – 3:20; Titus 3:3-8; Galatians 3:21-23; Jeremiah 17:9; Ezekiel 37

 

‘R’ is for:  The Resolve of God!                                              A Mystery

Our Triune God from before the foundation of the world covenanted together so the Father could present His Son with a glorious Bride who would fill the earth by the power of the Spirit.  God’s eternal plan demonstrates His great mercy and love through the Salvation of His people and His justice with the punishment of the wicked.  While a full understanding of God’s purposed are beyond our understanding, we see the end of the matter:  “for of Him and thought Him and to Him are all things to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen!

Scriptures for further study:  Ephesians 1:1-14; II Corinthians 1:3-11; Romans 9-11; Colossians 1:9-13; Isaiah 53 & 55; Deuteronomy 29:29

 

‘A’ is for:  The Adequacy of Christ’s Work!                      A Wonder

God could not “wink” at the problem of sin, but had to maintain His justice while justifying those who were to be saved.  To accomplish the work of salvation God the Son became flesh, ‘to save His people from their sin.’  He lived a perfect life, took the punishment of our sins upon Himself on the cross, was raised in power and now sits at the right hand of God the Father.

Scriptures for further study:  Matthew 1:21; John 17; Romans 3:21 – 4:25; I Corinthians 1:1-11; II Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2: 1-11; Colossians 1:14-22; Hebrews [yes, the whole book!]

 

‘I’ is for:  The Insistence of the Holy Spirit!                      A Mission

God the Holy Spirit provides a new heart for God’s people and the gift of faith so that we have the power to repent of our sins, live lives of obedience and be protected from the devil, the world, and our own flesh.  The Book of Acts can be rightly called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” because it is where we learn about His great work of bringing salvation to God’s people and filling the earth with the Kingdom of Jesus!

Scriptures for further study:  The Book of Acts; John 3:1-21; Galatians 5; Ephesians 2:1-10

 

‘S’ is for:  Secure in the Hand of God!                                A Blessing

Just as we were not able to save ourselves from sin, we cannot live the Christian life without the power and protection of our gracious God and Savior.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  And Jesus promised the Father He would lose none of those given to Him, so we are safe in the hands of our loving God.

Scriptures for further study:  John 6:31-65; John:10:1-42; John 14:15-31; Romans 8; Romans 12:1-2; I Corinthians 1:1-9; Philippians 1:3-10; Colossians 2:6-10; I Peter 1 & 2

 

‘E’ is for:  Evangelism of the World!                                    A Calling

As thankful, obedient children of God, we are to take the Good News of the Gospel to all the nations of the earth, making disciples and baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  And we can share with the confidence of knowing it is God Who has the power to bring lost sinners to repentance!  “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace and bring glad tiding of good things.”

Scriptures for further study:  Genesis 12:2-3; Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 10:6-21; I Corinthians 15:20-28; Colossians 4:2-6; I Timothy 2:1-8

 

What is my only comfort in life and death?

A. That I am not my own,[1] but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death,[2] to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.[3] He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil.[5] He also preserves me in such a way[6] that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head;[7] indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.[8] Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life[9] and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.[10]

[Heidelberg Catechism question & answer #1]

[1] I Cor. 6:19, 20
[2] Rom. 14:7-9.
[3] I Cor. 3:23; Tit. 2:14.
[4] I Pet. 1:18, 19; I John 1:7; 2:2.
[5] John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14, 15; I John 3:8.
[6] John 6:39, 40; 10:27-30; II Thess. 3:3; I Pet. 1:5.
[7] Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18.
[8] Rom. 8:28.
[9] Rom. 8:15, 16; II Cor. 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13, 14.
[10] Rom. 8:14.

0

Theology

“Resolutions” and The Overhauling of Straight America

With all the news about the Federal government requiring transgender bathrooms in all schools, I thought it would be timely to dust off yet another article I wrote some years ago for The Chalcedon Report.  As I pointed out, what we are seeing today should come as no surprise if we look at what the action plan for the homosexual activists was way back in the 1980’s!

 

“Resolutions” and The Overhauling of Straight America

By John Stoos – bio

Ideally, we would have straights register differences in sexual preference the way they register different tastes for ice cream or sports games: she likes strawberry and I like vanilla; he follows baseball and I follow football. No big deal. — Guide Magazine, October 1987

A heated debate broke out in West Virginia recently when the West Virginian Family Foundation accused a new school program of being “a veiled promotional tool for homosexuality.” The school project organizers insisted that “they do not have a hidden agenda,” despite the fact that the training manual recommends that teachers wear a “LesBiGay positive” button or a T-shirt with a “Straight, But Not Narrow” slogan. They insisted that it was simply an anti-bullying program to convince kids that “bullying is wrong.” For Christians, I think it should be clear whose agenda has been moving forward in America when school officials focus on bullying being immoral but the sin of homosexuality is “an acceptable alternative lifestyle.”

In California schools, a new film is making the rounds designed to help children accept homosexual “families.” Here is how Debra Chasnott, director and producer of That’s a Family defended the film in the October 9, 2002 ABC News report: “It reflects family diversity. It acknowledges the diversity in families as opposed to promoting certain lifestyles. It’s important to make that distinction. Somehow that manages to get twisted and turned around and people think we are promoting a gay agenda.”

The Homosexual Agenda
Should unsuspecting parents take Debra at her word or be concerned that there really is some sort of homosexual agenda, hidden or otherwise, at work here? I would suggest that not only is there a homosexual agenda, but there is hardly any effort to keep the agenda hidden and a lot of resolve on the part of the homosexuals to see it accomplished!

In November of 1987, Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill published a major “call to action” for the homosexual community in Guide Magazine. The article was not so subtly entitled “The Overhauling of Straight America” and clearly laid out what they thought the “gay agenda” needed to be in the coming years.

Authors Kirk and Pill laid out the agenda right at the start of their essay, “At least in the beginning, we are seeking public desensitization and nothing more. We do not need and cannot expect a full ‘appreciation’ or ‘understanding’ of homosexuality from the average American. You can forget about trying to persuade the masses that homosexuality is a good thing. But if only you can get them to think that it is just another thing, with a shrug of their shoulders, then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won.”

The authors went on to outline the six “agenda points” that must be done for this type of campaign to succeed: As you review them, ask yourself whether the homosexuals have made any progress on this agenda in the past fifteen years [now almost thirty years with this post]. Reflect upon how dedicated, disciplined, and on message they have been in promoting something that even they admit cannot be discussed in public.

Here are the “six agenda points” suggested for the homosexuals with selected comments by the authors:

  • Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible.The principle behind this advice is simple: almost any behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it at close quarters and among your acquaintances.

    Open and frank talk makes the subject seem less furtive, alien, and sinful, more above-board.

    And when we say talk about homosexuality, we mean just that. In the early stages of any campaign to reach straight America, the masses should not be shocked and repelled by premature exposure to homosexual behavior itself.

  • Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers.In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to assume the role of protector.

    (It almost goes without saying that groups on the farthest margin of acceptability such as NAMBLA, [Ed. note — North American Man-Boy Love Association] must play no part at all in such a campaign: suspected child-molesters will never look like victims.)

  • Give protectors a just cause.A media campaign that casts gays as society’s victims and encourages straights to be their protectors must make it easier for those to respond to assert and explain their new protectiveness.

    Our campaign should not demand direct support for homosexual practices, should instead take anti-discrimination as its theme.

  • Make gays look good.In order to make a Gay Victim sympathetic to straights you have to portray him as Everyman. But an additional theme of the campaign should be more aggressive and upbeat: to offset the increasingly bad press that these times have brought to homosexual men and women, the campaign should paint gays as superior pillars of society.
  • Make the victimizers look bad.At a later stage of the media campaign for gay rights — long after other gay ads have become commonplace — it will be time to get tough with remaining opponents. To be blunt, they must be vilified… we intend to make the antigays look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.
  • Solicit funds: The buck stops here.Any massive campaign of this kind would require unprecedented expenditures for months or even years — an unprecedented fundraising drive.

The article is still available at www.parentsrightsusa.com and you can read the complete plans that authors Kirk and Pill laid out for this massive campaign. They concluded with this sober warning for the homosexuals in 1987:

And, let us repeat, time may be running out. The AIDS epidemic is sparking anger and fear in the heartland of straight America. As the virus leaks out of homosexual circles and into the rest of society, we need have no illusions about who is receiving the blame. The ten years ahead may decide for the next forty whether gays claim their liberty and equality or are driven back, once again, as America’s caste of detested untouchables. It’s more than a quip: speak now or forever hold your peace.

The homosexuals and their supporters have stayed on message and followed this agenda in almost every area of American society over the past fifteen years, including the school programs discussed above. Despite vocal protests, these programs in the schools are doing exactly what the homosexuals wanted in their agenda!

No Retreat, No Surrender
The bottom line question for Christians is this: If these sinners who desperately need the great gift of salvation in Jesus Christ can do so much in the power of the flesh to defend practices that the general public finds repulsive, then what should we as Christians be doing to advance the kingdom of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit? Should we be showing the same type of dedication and discipline as we consider what it means to pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?

As we approach the season of resolutions, it would be good if more Christians would ponder some that go a little deeper than cutting down on the number of trips to the ice cream parlors or doing a better job of keeping their tempers on the highways. Perhaps it is time for Christians to consider how we would practically put together a plan for “The Overhauling of Sinful America!” The critical question is whether we as Christians are prepared to show the same resolve and discipline and do the kind of hard work that the homosexuals have done over the past fifteen years promoting their ungodly agenda. Lord willing, in the power of the Holy Spirit we can!

For starters, our Lord and Savior left us with one perfectly good resolution that Christians can use year after year: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Have a Happy New Year, and I hope to see you on the battlefield!

John Stoos is the pastor of Church of the King, www.COTKS.org, and the director of Cherish California’s Children, a pro-life ministry that provides literature for sidewalk counselors across the county, www.CherishCA.com. John also served as Chief Consultant for State Senator Tom McClintock for ten years and continues to advise qualified candidates running or serving in public office. John and his wife, Linda, live in Sacramento where they enjoy their six children and  twenty-four grandchildren! John can be reached at (916) 451-5660 or stoos@outlook.com