Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Case For Apostolic Evangelism...

The Lord has been working on my heart this past year concerning the way in which I preach the Gospel.

When I first began my street ministry in earnest, I would use terms like "God doesn't want you to go to hell" when talking with people personally and when open-air preaching.

I would also say phrases like...

"Jesus died for YOUR sins..." (again, when talking to those on the streets and when open-air preaching)

"Your sins have been paid for IN FULL..."

To be honest, I was using those terms because I initially heard other preachers using them, and then using the same faulty interpretations these preachers were using to justify saying phrases like these.

Verse such as this one...

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9)

...would be cited to explain why evangelists should tell all sinners that "God doesn't want them to go to hell" or "it's not God's will that you go to hell."

Then I read the entirety of 2 Peter and realized that Peter was writing to the church. This was an epistle written to churches, and his use of the word "you" in verse 9 indicates that Peter knew who his audience was--generally speaking. The "you" in 2 Peter 3:9 is not mankind in general, but the church (the elect) specifically.

So, would it then be Biblically accurate to tell everybody that "God doesn't want you to go to hell" based upon that verse?


I also heard this verse used to explain that it is not God's will that anybody to go hell...

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:3-4)

So we see that God does indeed desire people to be saved, but again, is it Biblically warranted to then "take a leap" and proclaim that it's not God's will for anybody to go to hell?


We need to realize what it is we're actually saying when we use terms like "it's not God's will that anybody go to hell."

The most fundamental problem with such a statement/sentiment is that presents a god that punishes sin against his own will.

Hell is a place of eternal punishment for sin (Rev 21:8). God considers lawbreaking to be sin (1 John 3:4) and He punishes lawbreakers JUSTLY (Romans 6:23). Does it make any Biblical sense to proclaim the God of the Bible as a God who executes justice AGAINST His own will?

Not at all.

The same logic would apply to the phrase "God doesn't want you to go to hell."

Now, it is not unreasonable to believe that a holy, righteous, all-powerful God can accomplish exactly what He wants. So if a sinner is in hell, it would be because God WANTS the sinner to be there, right?

Now, He obviously doesn't derive any kind of sadistic pleasure in meting out eternal punishment.

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
(Ezekiel 18:23)

I am not saying that God is some sort of sadist. Scripture is clear that God doesn't take pleasure in the death of the wicked (and their corresponding judgment).

However, does that then mean that God doesn't "WANT people to go to hell?"

Does a judge not "WANT" to execute justice? Of course a judge should WANT to execute justice. That doesn't mean he takes any pleasure in it, nor does it mean he gets his kicks by handing down punishment.

But if the God of the Bible is a God of JUSTICE (Psalm 7:11; Prov 16:11), then He indeed WANTS justice to be done and the guilty to be punished.

At this point, you might be asking..."Mr. Blogger, what is the point of all of this, anyway?"

Good question. My point is that we as street evangelists (and all Christians who preach the Gospel) need to be more apostolic in our gospel preaching. By "apostolic" I mean that we should--simply--preach the Gospels as the apostles preached the Gospel.

Thankfully, conservative Christianity has publicly criticized the "modern-day revivalism" mentality of evangelism which teaches--among other things--that we as Christians should invite sinners to "pray a prayer" and "ask Jesus into their hearts."

The Biblical response to such teaching is..."where in the Bible does it teach that we are to ask sinners to pray a sinner's prayer or invite Jesus into their heart?"

The obvious answer is...there is no such teaching in the Bible.

I would submit to you that there is so such Biblical precedent for Christians to tell sinners that "God doesn't want anybody to go to hell" and "Jesus died for you."

Of course, many Christians would argue that they are justified in telling all people that Jesus died for them because of John 3:16...

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16)

And 1 John 2:2...

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
(1 John 2:2)

Now, God DOES have a specific, electing love for certain people ALL OVER the world.

That being said, look at the term "propitiation" in 1 John 2:2. That word means "a complete satisfaction" or "appeasement" with the idea of a "complete turning away of wrath" (specifically in the case of Christ's atonement).

So, if Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and the term "propitiation" means "a complete satisfaction of payment" and "appeasement", and the "whole world" means "everybody who ever lived and who will ever live on planet Earth,"

...then universalism is the ONLY conclusion to draw from this.

If Christ died for everybody, and His death FULLY PAID for everybody's sin and actually had the effect of TURNING AWAY God's wrath for everybody's sin (if we are going to be accurate as to what the term "propitiation" really means)...

...then EVERYBODY is saved because everybody's sins are paid for and God's wrath has been turned away.

If we continue telling all sinners that "Jesus died for them," then it makes no sense at all to think that anybody would go to hell.

How could somebody have their sin FULLY paid for at could somebody have God's wrath turned away COMPLETELY from them at Calvary...

...and yet STILL spend an eternity in hell for sin that has already been paid for?

Talk about double jeopardy!

Of course, the apostles never preached to anybody that "Jesus died for you!"

This is how Paul preached...

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
(1 Timothy 1:15)

Must we tell everybody that "Jesus died for you?"

Isn't it enough to preach that Jesus died for SINNERS? After all, NOBODY is saved unless they first personally acknowledge that they're a sinner..,.

And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
(Luke 5:31-32)

Jesus gave up His life for His sheep, NOT the goats.

just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:15)

We know the fate of the goats.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
(Matt 25:31-46)

The fate of the goats is the "eternal fire" or "eternal punishment." Again, if the goats sins were paid for at Calvary by Jesus Christ, exactly WHY is this goat paying for his/her sins AGAIN in the lake of fire?

Let us preach the law.

Let us preach sin, judgment, hell.

Let us preach the holiness of God.

Let us preach the excellencies of Christ.

Let us preach His love that was shown on the cross.

Let us preach His mercies in commanding ALL PEOPLE to repent.

And let us preach as the APOSTLES DID.

I conclude with an encouargement to you the reader who might be grappling or struggling with this issue (as I did for a long time)...

Search the Scriptures.

Just consider what I have written. Don't believe me because I'm writing in a blog. Measure what I am saying against God's word.

The Gospel is a weighty doctrine and the call of the preacher is SERIOUS business. I know we all want to make certain we are doing what we are doing in accordance with the Scriptures.

And I thank God for all of you who faithfully preach the Gospel on the streets...on your jobs...during your errands...and in your own homes.

Solus Christus!

- Shane

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mark Cahill's Calvinism Critique Weighed and Found Wanting (Part 2)

I hope that one aspect of Mr. Cahill's beliefs that you picked up on from reading his statement on Calvinism is a decidedly "man-centered" bias.

Now, I do realize that Mr. Cahill would most likely deny that his theology is man-centered, and in many ways, I'm sure it is not.

However, pay particular attention to his arguments. He begins with the premise that
man is able to repent. He weaves this idea throughout his entire statement. Note these quotes (remember, I am assuming that you have read his entire statement before reading my take on it...if you haven't yet read it all, please do so) from Mr. Cahill...

"Man is separated from God by his sins, but that in no way means that he cannot repent and believe."

"Remember the Bible says it is the fool that has said in his heart that there is no God. It is a choice to come to that conclusion. It wasn’t that he couldn’t come to the conclusion that there is a God, but he chose to make that decision; and because of that, there is no good thing in him."

"How can God judge people that had no ability to repent and believe in Him?"

"Men loved the darkness and not the light. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t repent and go towards the light."

"Because everyone has the ability to repent: the only question is will they do it or not?"

"People can choose."

It is said that one will not understand Calvinism (or the so-called "doctrines of grace") if one does not understand the "T" in "TULIP"...

Total depravity.

Based upon the arguments contained in his statement, Mark Cahill doesn't understand total depravity. He begins his arguments with man.

He's primarily concerned with man's ability.

He's primarily concerned with man's choice.

He's primarily concerned with man's will.

Brothers and sisters, if we are going to even begin to understand what it means to be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we absolutely must begin with GOD.

GOD'S ability.

GOD'S will.

GOD'S purpose.

It is by no accident that the Bible begins with these words...

"In the beginning, GOD...."

Mr. Cahill wants us first to consider what man can do. He wants us to first understand that man has a sovereign will. He wants us to first understand that man has a sovereign choice. He wants us first to understand that man has the ability to repent.

But we always must in all things begin with GOD when pondering salvation.

That is why I say Mr. Cahill shows a "man-centered" bias in his arguments.

Look at his explanation of Acts 17:32...

"This is just one more verse that makes it easy to
disprove the idea of total depravity, because these folks wanted to hear more about the things of God. I
thought man had no desire for those things? The truth of the matter is that I meet people all the time who
have questions about God and eternity. Why? God has placed that curiosity in us and the creation
around us speaks of this wonderful Creator!!"

Now wait a second. Mr. Cahill--so much the proponent of man's "free will"--tells us that "God has placed curiosity in us." What if folks didn't want to be curious? Would that not violate our free will as Mr. Cahill has structured his argument? But I digress...

Having questions about God and eternity doesn't mean that man is not totally depraved in mind, heart, and deed. Demons believe in God (James 2:19)! Did Mr. Cahill consider that the fact that some people who have genuine curiosity about God and eternity just might be those of the elect of whom God is drawing to Himself? Or maybe they're just people who simply have curiosity about God and eternity.

In either case, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that no one comes to Him unless God the Father draws (a word that literally means "to drag") him.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
(Joh 6:44 ESV)

So, whether somebody is curious about God, the Bible, Heaven, Hell, salvation, baptism, or anything contained in the Bible, or whether they could care less about those things, one thing is clear...

They will NOT come to Jesus Christ unless they are drawn to Him by God the Father.

So--ultimately--whose "choice" is it that a sinner come to Christ?


And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
(Joh 6:65 ESV)

Please note that Mr. Cahill--in his explanation of man's sovereignty--never mentions what Jesus taught in John 6. Honestly, how can anybody who believes that man is ultimately sovereign over his salvation offer an explanation of John 6?

If the words of Christ contradict our beliefs, it's time to change our beliefs.

Continuing on with Mr. Cahill's statment, pay attention to how he describes divine election...

"Calvinism teaches that God has unconditionally elected certain people to go to heaven. It has nothing to do with that person. Nothing they believe comes into play. God has decided in eternity past to regenerate certain people who are dead in their sins and therefore want nothing to do with Him, and make them born again. But in order to hold that position, you also have to hold that God has unconditionally rejected certain people to go to hell and there is nothing they can do about it. The interesting thing is though that there is something God can do about it! But He chose not to. Does that sound like the loving God that we read about in the Bible?"

Well...NO, Mr. Cahill. That doesn't sound like the God of the Bible. Of course, his arguments above are "straw men" fallacies. Mr. Cahill doesn't understand Calvinism.

"It has nothing to do with that person." This is GRACE, Mr. Cahill. Of course my salvation has nothing to with me as a person. If I could do anything to merit my own salvation, then I couldn't honestly say I saved by the grace of God, could I?

This is not to say that repentance is not still commanded (Acts 17:30), but the faith in Christ we exercise is itself a gift.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(Eph 2:8-9 NASB)

Contrary to what Mr. Cahill seems to be saying, salvation is purely and solely by grace (shown by God) through faith (given by God) in Jesus Christ (the sole object of faith).

He continues...

"But in order to hold that position, you also have to hold that God has
unconditionally rejected certain people to go to hell and there is nothing they can do about it."

"There is nothing they can do about it?" Again, we're back to total depravity. There is nothing they WANT to do about it. They are dead (Ephesians 2:1). They are hostile to God through their wicked works (Colossians 1:21). They are God's enemies (Romans 5:10). Does this sound like people who want to have a covenant relationship with God?

Here is one of the more troubling statements made by Mr. Cahill. He quotes Ezekiel 33:11 and then writes the following...

"God does not want wicked people to die and go to hell. That is why He provided a way out for all people through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ!"

There are several errors in these few sentences that need to be addressed.

"God does not want wicked people to die and go to hell." Before I go any further, I should say that this is a common phrase used by street preachers. I have to admit that I have used it myself. However, upon prayerfully studying the Scriptures and using both His word and sound reason, I have to say that such a statement is profoundly inaccurate.

Does God take some sort of sick pleasure in the destruction of the wicked? Of course not, as Ezekiel 33:11 clearly states. "God is no sadist," R.C. Sproul has said.

A judge is bound by law to see that justice is done. Does that mean he takes pleasure in sending people to prison for life? Does he get his kicks from upholding death sentences for murderers? I would hope not! However, does he "want" to uphold the law and see to it that justice is carried out? I would hope so!

So, in that sense, God certainly does "want" the wicked to be punished. The God of the Bible is a God of justice (Genesis 18:19; Deut 32:4; Job 34:12; Job 36:6; Psalm 7:11; Psalm 10:18). While God doesn't get any sort of sadistic pleasure out of destroying the wicked, He does want to carry out justice and thus bring glory to His name.

Then from Mr. Cahill...

"That is why He provided a way out for all people through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ!"

Is this how he sees the cross of Christ? Did Jesus Christ die for a possibility? This is a fundamental flaw in Arminian theology. Mr. Cahill is saying that--through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ--God provided a POSSIBLE way of salvation. It is "possible" in the sense that some will accept this atonement, and some will reject this atonement. Even if one buys the notion that God did indeed passively "foreknow" who would accept Him and who would reject Him, the Arminian position is still that He died for all people, both the receivers and the deniers.

The real question is this: Did Christ die for a PEOPLE, or did Christ die for a POSSIBILITY?

If Mr. Cahill is correct and Christ died for "all people," then Christ really died for a possibility, since--obviously--not everyone is saved (universalism is the logical end of this particular Arminian doctrine).

I've asked this question before, but I'll ask it again.

Let us suppose that everyone who ever lived and who will ever live in the world actually REJECTED the payment that Jesus made on the cross.

This is certainly a possibility using Mr. Cahill's reasoning. Everybody has "free will," thus everybody is free to either accept or reject. As Mr. Cahill wrote many times, everybody has the ability to repent or reject.

So what if everybody rejected the payment of Christ?

Then exactly who or what did Jesus Christ die for?


His death? Meaningless. His resurrection? Useless.

Of course, the truth of the Bible is that Jesus Christ died for His sheep.

just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:15 ESV)

The truth of the Bible is that Christ gave His life for His bride. His church.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
(Eph 5:25 ESV)

If Christ gave Himself up for everybody, then the above verse would be completely robbed of its meaning.

Mr. Cahill uses the usual proof-texts to make a case that Jesus Christ died for everybody in the world...

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
(1Jn 2:2 ESV)

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
(Joh 1:29 ESV)

Of course, "the world" as used in these verses (not limited to just these, however) doesn't mean the whole of creation. Nor does it mean every person who has ever lived and who will ever live in the entire world. Look at these verses...

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
(Luk 2:1 ESV)

Did this decree go out to every erson who has ever lived and who will ever live in the entire world? We can all agree that is obviously not the case.

because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing--as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
(Col 1:5-6 ESV)

Was Paul referring to the Gospel bearing fruit in every person who has ever lived and who ever will live in the entire world? The Gospel had not traveled across the globe at that point. Paul could not have meant "the world" in the sense of "every person who will ever live and who will ever live in the entire world."

So, why is it always assumed that when it speaks of Christ's vicarious atonement for sins, it must be for everybody who has ever lived and everybody who will ever live in the entire world?

What we DO know from Scripture is that God will draw His elect from "every tribe,"every tongue" and "every nation" (Revelation 5:9). Salvation isn't limited to the Jews. Gentiles from all across the world will share in God's effectual grace.

This is a GLORIOUS truth from Scripture (Revelation 7:9), and it is completely gutted and diminished when one ascribes to the Arminian doctrine of universal atonement.

Later in his statement, Mr. Cahill shares with us a fairly bizarre scenario...

"Can you imagine having to preach, “Ladies & gentlemen we are here to tell you that Jesus only died for some of you!” That is totally absurd! But that is what you would have to preach as a true Calvinist, because to them, Jesus did not die for all people. His blood was only shed for the elect."

The "good news" to be preached to sinners is this...

Jesus Christ died for sinners!

I personally do not believe that I should tell everybody I run into that "Jesus died for you" because--quite simply--the Bible doesn't teach that. The apostles never preached in that way, and we who are bringing the apostolic message shouldn't preach in that way, either.

We are to preach this...

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
(1Ti 1:15 ESV)

If people do not believe themselves to be sinners, then that message would be foolish. And--not surprisingly--God reminds us that the message we preach will be looked upon many as foolish.

but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
(1Co 1:23 ESV)

Mr. Cahill would also have Christianity redefine the word "election." Those who hold to Arminian theology--apparently--are unsure of what to do with the many instances of the term "elect" (used to describe God's people) used through the New Testament. One cannot simply ignore the word, but I suppose one can certainly try and change its meaning. Case in point...

"Election does not mean that God elected some and rejected others. The word election, according to 1
Peter, simply means that God, since He is omniscient, knew who would believe in Him and it is those
people He calls the elect. It is really that simple. We mustn’t change the definition of a word!"

I wonder, was Mr. Cahill referring to this from 1 Peter...

and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." They stumble because they disobey the word,
as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
(1Pe 2:8-9 ESV) (emphasis mine)

Well, that probably wasn't what he was referring to. To be honest, I'm not sure exactly what it is in 1 Peter that Mr. Cahill was referring to.

The dictionary defines the word "elect"--in the Christian sense--as this:

"To select by divine will for salvation. Used of God."

So He selected those who are His elect. He chose those who are His elect. That is why we are called "His elect." Now who is it that is attempting to change the definition of a word?

There are a few more instances of misrepresentations and flawed reasoning via Mr. Cahill in his statement, but to continue would--in my estimation--be getting repetitive.

In conclusion, I would to correct Mark Cahill one last time. I'm not sure who he's speaking to/about when he states this...

"One of the amazing things I have found when I talk to both Calvinists and people who have left Calvinism is that they never tell me they found Calvinistic teachings reading their Bibles. They always tell me they found them reading someone’s book or listening
to someone’s teaching tapes!"

Let me assure you, Mr. is one Calvinist who sees total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement (or particular redemption), irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints throughout the Bible.

And so we arrive at Mr. Cahill's final point...the point about which this latest controversy began brewing in the first place. Given that he believes such a radical thing, notice how flimsily he makes his point...

"I just got this statement from a Pastor: “These REFORMED THEOLOGY people are preaching another Jesus and another gospel and are under the ‘accursed’ terminology as God wrote in Galatians 1:8-9 that I quoted today in my morning message. I believe God's Word is totally against any part of ‘reformed theology.’ As such, we must be careful to avoid CLOSE fellowship with them lest we are swayed by their false philosophy. One thing is sure. They MAJOR in this one thing and won't quit talking about it.”

If you believe in the god and jesus of Calvinism, you are either in Galatians 1 territory, or you are heading straight toward it."

I don't mean to sound as though I'm taking this lightly, but...

That's IT????

I don't deny the substance of the warning Paul gives in Galatians 1. However, Mark Cahill has not made his case that Calvinism is "another gospel."

The Jesus I believe is the Jesus of John 6. Mr. Cahill, explain how we are not drawn (literally, dragged) by the Father toward Christ Jesus. Jesus said that nobody can come to Him unless the Father draws him. Should I believe this Pastor or you, Mr. Cahill? Or should I believe the words of Christ?

The God I believe in is the God of Romans 9. Mr. Cahill, explain that chapter and how election is not really God's final decision. The objections that Mr. Cahill raises in his arguments against Calvinism are really arguments against the doctrine explained by Paul in Romans 9.

Having said that, my response to Mark Cahill's objections is really Paul's response...

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
(Rom 9:20-24 ESV)

Although the writings of other theologians have certain been helpful and it the entire concept of godly men teaching other Christians for the purposes of building up the body is Chrsit is BIBLICAL (2 Timothy 2:2), I can clearly see the teaching of election shown throughout Scripture.

If Mark Cahill honestly believes that Reformed theology is heretical, then he should be willing to sit down with a Calvinist and a Bible and discuss it.


Ever since it became public that Mr. Cahill holds the views he does, I have noticed--in various blogs/forums/Facebook--many comments from Christians that seem to reappear again and again. I would like to answer a few of these concerns/objections that have spawned out of this controversy. Please note that I'm not quoting anybody specifically (at least not consciously); these are paraphrases.

"Ultimately, this issue doesn't matter."

I must directly take issue with the attitude that "doctrine doesn't matter."

We can take it from Paul, who had his fair share of doctrinal battles...

Sound doctrine does matter.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and
whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
(1 Timothy 1:8-11 ESV) (emphasis mine)

If anyone teaches
a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
(1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV)
(emphasis mine)

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
(2 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV)

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
(Titus 1:9 ESV)
(emphasis mine)
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
(Titus 2:1 ESV) (emphasis mine)

Those who would deny the vital importance of sound Biblical doctrine are in continual danger of falling into error.

"We'll never get this issue resolved in this life."

I'm not one to say that we--as fallen, depraved individuals--are ever going to come to a perfect understanding of every doctrine contained in the Bible, but using that fact to downplay the importance of contending for the faith is unwise.

Remember the words of our Lord, speaking through Jude...

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
(Jude 1:3 ESV)

Let us contend, Christian.

Let us be loving...

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
(1Co 13:1 ESV)

Let us be patient...

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
(Ecc 7:8 ESV)

Let us be overflowing with grace...

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
(Col 4:6 ESV)

But let us contend nonetheless! Let us struggle to come into unity in our doctrine, recognizing that all Christians are being sanctified.

Brothers and sisters, I would not be responding to what Mark Cahill wrote if I didn't care about doctrine. Those who think it better to remain silent as well-known ministers of the Gospel make public statements that condemn not only Biblical teaching, but also those who follow such teaching, I would vehemently disagree. Mark Cahill is not benefited by our silence. Yes, I recognize and trust that the Lord can open the eyes of Mr. Cahill to see the truth of His word. We as Reformed street preachers also know this very well: God uses preaching to change lives.

And God can use His word delivered by other Christians to open Mr. Cahill's eyes.

So pray for Mark Cahill.

And let us watch our own lives, our own walk, and our own doctrine.

That is one lesson we all can learn from this controversy.

Keep on proclaiming...

- Shane

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mark Cahill's Calvinism Critique Weighed And Found Wanting (Part 1)

A "straw man" fallacy is best described in this way (from Wikipedia)...

1.) Person A has position X
2.) Person B disregards certain key points of X and instead presents the superficially-similar position Y
3.) Person B attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed

With that in mind...

Well, Mark Cahill has released his "statement" on Calvinism. Mr. Cahill has come under criticism in Reformed street evangelism circles over his behavior regarding his beliefs about Calvinism, which he has--at least up to this point--made clear in private circles but has neglected to share his views publicly.

More information on the consequences of his behavior can be found HERE.

I have blogged about his behavior previously. However, this particular blog will concentrate on Mr. Cahill's statement, which can be found HERE (please read his entire statement before you continue reading this blog).

On a side note, you will notice that this "statement" appears no where on his own website. Why that is is anybody's guess. Feel free to search his SITE and if you find it, let me know so I can correct this blog.

Let me say at the outset that if this "statement" were written by anybody other than a respected leader/teacher in the body of Christ, I wouldn't be responding to this. However, Mark Cahill is a very active teacher/preacher who currently travels cross-country and speaks to churches and church organizations about evangelism. Those who would call themselves "teachers" are duly warned about being judged with "greater strictness" (James 3:1).

Simply put, when Mark Cahill speaks, people listen.

So I am responding to some very serious charges he makes in his statement. I'll stick with the broad strokes as I explain what he has said (you can read his statement in full to get all of the specifics).

To begin with...Mark Cahill is definitely not a Calvinist. He begins his statements with this astute observation...

"Similarly, if you can prove any of the points of Calvinism wrong, than the whole belief system comes tumbling down like a house of cards."

This is true. That being said, the entire doctrine of Calvinism really hinges upon the Biblical teaching of "total depravity," which can be summed up in this verse...

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
(Eph 2:1 ESV)

We are dead in our sins. Every aspect of our lives is tainted with sin/rebellion toward God. This would include our will. Paul is referring to "dead" in the spiritual sense. We are not sick men. We are not blind men. We are not deaf men. We are not spiritually disabled. We are dead men.

But Mark Cahill takes exception to this label of "dead" (a label Paul chooses to describe our spiritual condition)....

"Man is separated from God by his sins, but that in no way means that he cannot repent and believe."

He CAN repent and believe, Mr. Cahill. But he cannot do so without God's work of regeneration. Of course, Mr. Cahill is talking about man in his own natural state.

In Mr. Cahill's paradigm, man is free to either embrace Christ or reject Him. This fact will come back to haunt Mr. Cahill's doctrine (more on that in a bit).

Mark's flawed reasoning rears its ugly head when he makes this statement...

"Men are required to make a choice for God in this lifetime. That is why we are here. Period."

Men DO make a choice concerning God, Mr. Cahill. We have chosen to make Him our enemy through our wicked works (Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:21).

Why are we here? Ultimately, not to "make a choice for God," but rather to glorify Him, either through our humble confession of Him as Lord, Savior, and King...or through our rejection of Him unto eternal damnation. God is worshipped and glorified as a "just judge" (Psalm 7:11).

Another curious statement from Mr. Cahill....

"How can God judge people that had no ability to repent and believe in Him? The very thought is preposterous."

God's judgment of people has nothing to do with whether they have an "ability to repent and believe or not." This is a major problem of Arminianism; professing Christians who are--perhaps unknowingly--exalting man above God by considering man's innate abilities (whether or not these abilties even exist) over God's sovereign reign over ALL.

Simply put, God's judgment of people has everything to do with our sin. It has everything to do with our lawlessness. God is JUST because God punishes lawbreaking.

"...the soul that sins shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Rom 6:23 ESV)

What are "wages" but that which is given to people who have
rightly earned which is given? What are our "wages?" What have we "rightly earned?"

DEATH, Mr. Cahill. We have earned death for ourselves because of our sin.

And this is what makes God's sovereign choice in election so amazing.

Even though we have rightly earned for ourselves spiritual death, He still reaches down and chooses some to save.

Now we get to a particularly egregious error on the part of Mr. Cahill. He offers this quote from R.C. Sproul (which appears in Sproul's book "Chosen by God")....

“It was certainly loving of God to predestine the salvation of His people, those the Bible calls the 'elect or chosen ones.' It is the non-elect that are the problem. If some people are not elected unto salvation then it would seem that God is not all that loving toward them. For them it seems that it would have been more loving of God not to have allowed them to be born. That may indeed be the case.”
(, citing; R.C. Sproul, Chosen by God, 32.)

Then, based upon this (incomplete) quotation, Mr. Cahill makes the following accusation against Dr. Sproul...

"Even Mr. Sproul knew something isn’t right here. His false view of election then makes him wonder why a loving God would create people that He purposefully damned to hell. It doesn’t make any logical sense. His conscience is getting to him."

(As an aside, whenever you read/hear somebody begin their thought with "why would a loving God....," please remember that their primary concern is their own personal feelings and not the inspired, inerrant word of God...just something to bear in mind)

But wait...let's quote a little more of Dr. Sproul and we will see that Mr. Cahill's characterization of Sproul is fallacious. Indeed, it's so fallacious that one wonders if Mr. Cahill has read anymore of the book than what he has chosen to quote. I will put in bold more of the quote (which Mr. Cahill--quite conveniently--chose to leave out).

"It was certainly loving of God to predestine the salvation of his people, those the Bible calls his 'elect' or chosen ones. It is the non-elect that are the problem. If some people are not elected unto salvation, then it would seem that God is not all that loving toward them. For them it seems that it would have been more loving of God not to have allowed them to be born. That may indeed be the case.
But we must ask the really tough question: Is there any reason that a righteous God ought to be loving toward a creature who hates him and rebels constantly against his divine authority and holiness? The objection raised by the philosopher implies that God owes his love to sinful creatures."

Now, does that in any way sound like Dr. Sproul knows "something isn't right here?" Does that still sound as though Dr. Sproul's "conscience was getting to him?" It's amazing what a few extra sentences will do.

Sadly, Mr. Cahill is as dangerous in quoting the Holy Scriptures as he is in quoting R.C. Sproul.

He quotes Jesus's preaching in Matthew 4:17 to "repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

He follows that quote with this...

"Who was Jesus talking to here? He was talking to everyone in front of him. Not just the elect, but everybody that was there. Why? Because everyone has the ability to repent: the only question is will they do it or not?"

Mr. Cahill seems to think that we are to preach the Gospel to everybody because "everybody has the ability to repent."

Let me make this clear: The ability of people to repent or not repent has NOTHING to do with why we as Christians are to preach the Gospel.

So why are we as Christians supposed to preach the Gospel?

Because Jesus commanded us to.

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
(Mat 28:18-19 ESV)

And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
(Mark 16:15 ESV)

So the reason that we preach the Gospel to everybody is because Jesus commanded us to preach it to everybody. And God will be glorified either through the acceptance of His message or through the rejection of His message.

What is Mark Cahill's primary reason for preaching the Gospel? Because he thinks that every person has the ability to repent and believe?

Isn't the fact that Jesus commanded us to preach enough of a reason?


Monday, October 4, 2010

An Issue Worth Blogging About, Part 2


The following views are mine and are not meant to reflect the views of anybody else involved in Bezeugen Ministries.

To sum up my thoughts on this whole Mark Cahill "situation"...

Should Jon Speed have posted "an open letter to Mark Cahill" in which he urged Mr. Cahill to repent of his sowing of discord among the brothers?

Yes, he should have. It's a good thing.

For those who disagree with how Mr. Speed handled this situation, let me ask you this...

Suppose that you and I are friends as well as being brothers in Christ. When I'm around you, I'm quite the jovial chap and I always try to be positive and encouraging to you (just like K-LOVE!). You always appreciate how I treat you when we're around each other.

Then, one day, you learn that--privately--I have been telling other Christians that you worship a false god and you preach a different Jesus than the one in the Bible. You find out that I have been doing this for a period of time. You are stunned upon finding this out because I never--to your face--told you that I believed such things.

Wouldn't you want to know if I was doing such a thing to you behind your back? And when you found out, wouldn't you be Biblically justified in confronting me about it? And shouldn't you warn your brothers and sisters in Christ about me if I were behaving in such a manner? And wouldn't it be especially important to make my behavior public if I was involved in a very public ministry?

Proverbs 6:19 tells us that the LORD hates the sowing of discord among brothers. Mark Cahill's behavior is doing damage to the body of Christ. It gives me no pleasure to state this. I have been an admirer of Mr. Cahill for quite some time, having read "One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven" and recommended it to many of my Christian friends. One strange aspect of this entire story is the fact that Mr. Cahill uses many quotes by Charles Spurgeon in his book, and Spurgeon is well-known as a staunch Calvinist! It wouldn't take but some surface-level research to learn that Pastor Spurgeon was a "5-pointer."

So for those who disagree with what Mr. Speed did in posting his open letter and cutting ties with Mark Cahill, I can only wonder what you would do in the same situation.

Contrary to how this entire affair is being constructed, this is not just another Calvinism/Arminian debate.

We can have that debate. In fact, might I humbly suggest that we absolutely MUST have that debate.

This is not a tertiary issue like whether or not we should sprinkle water on babies. Nor is it a third-tier issue like whether or not the 1000 years is literal or not (it's not literal, by the way ; )).

This is about the GOSPEL. And we definitely should have this debate. For those who don't like the word "debate," then call it a "discussion." Call it whatever you like, but we need to determine what the Bible teaches about the sovereignty of God in salvation and then GO WITH IT.

We need to preach the Gospel APOSTOLICALLY. If our gospel preaching doesn't line up with the teaching of the apostles, then we need to drop it.

I am speaking first and foremost to myself here. I have been convicted of some sloppy preaching myself in the past.

The unashamed worker is the worker who RIGHTLY handles the word of truth. The major problem I have with Arminianism is that those particular doctrines simply do not rightly handle God's word.

The challenge I would put forth to those who find terms like "election" and "irreistable grace" distasteful is this:

Search the Scriptures, and if these teachings are plainly spelled out in Scripture, then change your tastes.

Personally, I don't think that all Arminians worship another god and a different Jesus. Some certainly do, and those who have slipped entirely into the heresy of Pelagianism are indeed believing in the "contrary gospel" of Galatians 1.

So, if you're Arminian and you're reading this, I'm not automatically assuming that you're an idolater.

And if you're reading this and you find youself disgusted with the entire concept of labels such as "Calvinism" and "Arminianism," let me explaint to you why I have no problem calling myself a Calvinist.

I consider it a "shout-out," if you will, to our church fathers. To call myself a Calvinist simply means that I want to acknowledge those early theologians who worked so tirelessly and devoted their lives (some even unto a painful death) to the advancement of sound doctrine and the preservation of God's word.

Sound Biblical doctrine is not something to be downplayed, discounted, or distanced from.

In fact, those who refuse to learn and practice sound doctrine need the Law in order to show them their sinfulness.

"Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and
whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
(1Ti 1:8-11 ESV)

Those who persist in teaching false doctrine should take note that the Scriptures describe them in graphic terms...

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
(1Ti 6:3-5 ESV)

The qualifications of an elder--qualifications that every Christian man should strive to live up to--includes this...

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
(Tit 1:9 ESV)

As Paul instructed Titus, so we in ministry should take heed to this instruction...

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
(Tit 2:1 ESV)

That is why we need to keep discussing Calvinism/Arminianism. Through this discussion, we can clarify our doctrine. We can explain our positions and make them known. We can hold each other accountable for what we are learning and what we are then teaching to others.

May God grant me the grace to be teachable.

Pray for Mark Cahill. Pray for all of those who are so quick to dismiss the importance of sound doctrine. Pray for those who hold to a "love at all costs" mentality in the Christian community.

We are taught that we need to love sinners enough to tell them the truth, and that is true.

We also need to love our brothers enough to hold each other accountable to a Biblical standard.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Keep on proclaiming...

- Shane

Sunday, October 3, 2010

An Issue Worth Blogging About, Part 1


The following views are mine and are not meant to reflect the views of anybody else involved in Bezeugen Ministries.

Okay...I admit it. I am not a natural "blogger." I began this website in hopes of getting the word out about our local evangelism efforts. I also wanted to use this blog as a springboard from which to launch my opinions onto the internet because, y'know, the internet
needs yet another opinion posted somewhere (rolls eyes).

But, alas, I have not been doing a very good job of keeping the blog updated. Our street evangelism is a regular, weekly occurrence (most of the time we're at Bricktown, occassionally we'll make it over to Campus Corner at OU), and--as always--local Christians are more than welcome to join us as we preach the Gospel on the streets.

I have--finally--updated this blog because there is an issue currently swirling about in "street evangelism" circles. Other men whom I respect as mature brothers in Christ have addressed this issue and--while I do desire to make my thoughts known--I fully realize that my voice is but one of many. Either agree or disagree at your own leisure.

The "issue" has to do with what is quickly becoming a dirty word in evangelicalism. Let's face it, this word has always carried with it major baggage and has given well-meaning Christians fits for a long time.

The "issue" is Calvinism.

Already I can only imagine many eyes are simultaneously rolling at the mention of the dreaded "C" word. "Not THIS topic again," many may bemoan.

Trust me, I feel your pain.

However, I am going to charge ahead where angels fear to tread and address this issue because I am noticing that there is some possible "muddying of the waters" of doctrine afoot here (note that I said "
possible"), and I want to make it clear where this particular street evangelist stands.

In short...I am a Calvinist.

It's even worse. I'm an unapologetic Calvinist.

When I say "unapologetic," I'm not just referring to the substance of the five points of Calvinism (total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistable grace, perseverance of the saints); I am referring to the use of the label itself.

"So what's the big deal," you may ask. Why would I come out and actually bother to update my blog in order to share with you the fact that I am an unapologetic Calvinist? Is this supposed to be news that somebody should care about?

Well, I think so, but you'll have to make the final call on that one.

I bring this entire topic because of this...


Click on the link, and you'll see that a highly respected evangelist believes that the Reformed doctrines of Calvinism are totally and completely untrue.

So somebody disagrees with Calvinism. Now that is definitely not news.

But Mr. Cahill goes further than simple disagreement. Mr. Cahill has been telling people that Calvinists worship a different god and different Jesus. You know, like Mormons. Or Jehovah's Witnesses. Or Muslims.

So...apparently, to believe in the Jesus of John 6 is to worship a different Jesus.

Apparently, to believe in the God that Paul teaches about in Romans 8 is to believe in a different god other than the God of the Bible.

Okay, then. That nonsense aside, I wanted to address some misconceptions that Mr. Cahill mentions in his email (the email that Jon Speed has been getting so much grief for posting publicly, but more on that in Part Two).

Here is how Mr. Cahill views Calvinism and--probably not a surprise to Christians who call themselves Reformed--he misrepresents what the doctrines of Calvinism actually are.

"If you believe that God has in eternity past unconditionally elected certain people to go to heaven and unconditionally rejected certain people to go to hell; if you believe that Jesus died only for the sins of the elect and not the sins of the world; if you believe that man cannot choose this day whom he will serve; then yes, you and anyone else is believing in a different god and a different jesus [emphasis ours]. You are entering into Galatians 1 territory."

Misrepresentation - God "unconditionally rejected certain to go to hell." God has elected certain individuals unto salvation (beginning with the nation of Israel, then read through to Romans 9, paying particular attention to how Paul makes the case for election). However, if it is true that "the soul that sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4) and that the "wages of sin are death" (Romans 6:23) then how exactly would it be that God "rejects certain people to go to hell?" If truly "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23) then people are going to hell because they have broken God's law, not because they were "certain people rejected" by God "to go to hell."

We as evangelists know the "bad news" that is inherent in the "good news" of the Gospel. We preach to people on the streets every different different langauges.

The "bad news" is that "all have sinned." The bad news is that "the soul that sins shall die." A person's sins (culminating in the sin of unbelief, which the condemned die committing) is what consigns them to the lake of fire.

Is it a "different god" that teaches that sin is deserving of death?

"if you believe that Jesus died only for the sins of the elect and not the sins of the world..."

Okay, Mr. Cahill does state this accurately; this is not a misrepresentation, per se. However, this position needs an explanation and there is a explanation to be had.

We know that when the term "world" is used in the New Testament, it doesn't always mean "every person who ever lived in the entire world."

See Luke 2:1. Also Acts 17:6. Also Colossians 1:6.

Notice 2 Corinthians 5:19...

"that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation."

If God was "reconciling the world to himself" and "the world" always means "every person who ever lived in the entire world," then God would be reconciling every person who ever lived in the entire world to Himself.

So that would mean every person who ever lived in the entire world would be saved, correct?


The Calvinist believes that when the term "world" is used in relation to God's saving power, it carries the meaning of not all people everywhere, but a people made up of people from every tongue, tribe, and nation.

Another interesting point to consider...

Mr. Cahill seems to believe that Jesus died for the sins of everybody who ever has been and who ever will be in the world. Yet I know that Mr. Cahill doesn't believe in universalism, and yet universalism is the natural conclusion one should reach if one believes in a "universal atonement."

Simply put, if Jesus died for everybody, then everybody will be saved.

But the "universal atonement" advocate would say "ah, but those who reject Christ will keep himself/herself from appropriating the blood of Christ that was shed for everybody."

So--in effect--the "universal atonement" advocate believes that Jesus Christ died for the possibility of salvation. His atonement didn't secure any particular souls; His atonement only provided the possibility that all souls might be saved. The final choice, they say, would be the individual's.

The huge problem with this belief is this...

Let us assume that this is correct, and Jesus died for the possibility of salvation.

What if everybody who ever lived and everybody who will ever live actually rejected the offer of salvation?

If everybody who ever lived and everybody who will ever live rejected this offer, then exactly who did Jesus die for?

Nobody. His atonement would be completely and utterly ineffectual for

Think about this for a moment. It is quite possible--given the "universal atonement" advocate's paradigm--that the individual can freely reject God's offer of salvation even though Jesus Christ supposedly died for sinners.

And yet if every sinner were to reject God's offer, then how could it be said that Jesus Christ died for

Christ said in John 10:15 that He lays down His life for the sheep. Is the entire world the "sheep?"

If that's that case, then who are the goats (Matthew 25:32-33)?

Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:25 that Christ gave Himself up for the church. Is the entire world the "church?"

Christ died for His people. And His people are from every corner of the world.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Blessings in Bricktown...

Last Saturday evening in our fishing hole--Bricktown--was an evening of blessings. Brady, Trisha (his wife), and Roger joined me and the crowds seemed smaller than usual. I had bought the new "Einstein" sign from Living Waters, so I decided that this night would be a good time to break it out and make use of it.

Trisha informed me that she had invited her best friend from high school to Bricktown that night. This friend was married to a Pastor, and they were actually bringing their entire youth group to Bricktown to observe us and help us hand out tracts. This group had just attended the local Youth Evangelism Conference in Norman, and--apparently--they were ready to actually do some evangelism. Praise the Lord!

The Pastor and his youth group were unfamiliar with The Way of the Master, which is where Brady and I got our training to do street evangelism. They had never seen the use of the Law in evangelism, nor did they have any first-hand experience with open-air preaching. Those kids were extremely helpful in handing out Gospel tracts, and they also provided us with a good audience as Brady and I took turns preaching the Gospel by the fountain.

I have to admit, I was experiencing some disappointment that night. I had invited several Facebook friends to join us for Bricktown evangelism, and nobody was interested and/or able. Still, I was grateful that we were still able to meet in our usual spot. When that large youth group arrived and was ready to help, I was GREATLY encouraged. To see young people flooding the streets, gospel tracts in hand, was a wonderful sight to behold.

Another encouraging fact was that we were able to preach up by the fountain that night and didn't meet with ANY resistance from the local police/security. Even better, the fountains were TURNED OFF that night, so--with our amp--we could actually be heard all the way around the fountain.

Finally, I was very much encouraged by the presence of Roger Pigg. He attends Graceway Baptist church (my former church). He is a retired school teacher and is wanting to redeem the years of his retirement. He has joined us several times out on the streets. He always keeps a stack of tracts in his shirt pocket, and he's always looking for the next conversation to have with people. What a joy to see an older man of God wanting to use his free time to further God's kingdom and to obey His Great Commission.

Please pray for me specifically as I ponder how exactly I will establish a regular presence on the University of Oklahoma campus this fall. There are prime times to do open-air preaching, and I would need to get off work for those times. I would appreciate prayer for wisdom and discernment as I make preparations.

My family and I have recently started attending GracePointe Baptist Church. We are very excited to have found a church that is 100% Reformed and 100% evangelistic. The Lord is moving in a mighty way in that church. Please add GracePointe to your prayer list! The Pastor's name is Jeff Brown.

Until next time, keep on proclaiming...

- Shane

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bricktown Update

Another night in Bricktown.

We currently have an active evangelism ministry in Bricktown. We meet every Saturday evening for the purposes of handing out tracts, having conversations with individuals/small groups, and preaching the Gospel in the open air.

I am going to attempt to write up a short blog summarizing each Saturday night outreach.

Tonight, our team was able to pass out many tracts (which contain the word of God, which will NEVER return void--Isaiah 55:11). Many people take them. Some people don't. God decides which ones will receive one and which ones will brush them off. To God be the glory.

We were also able to have quite a few conversations with folks. These conversations ranged from good (Marcos and Daniel, two young men who listened intently and then shared their concerns) to altogether hostile (Brady had a conversation with an angry man who thought street evangelists were wasting their time in Bricktown because "Jesus died for everybody therefore everybody is saved"--he might want to read the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:13).

We were also quite excited because we found a new preaching spot. The local bar across the canal had a live band playing which--for the most part--drowned out our preaching (even with our amp) in our usual spot. We walked a little further down and found a great little spot where our voice echoed off the walls on either side of the canal. We were told that we could be heard on the upper levels by the fountain (which--if you're familiar with the layout of the fountain/canal area--is most impressive). Some stopped and listened. Some mocked. Some jeered. But God's word went forth. He uses the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:21). To God be the glory.

All in all, a good night. We were greatly encouraged by the words of believers who stopped to talk to us. A few young people told us they were looking to join an evangelism team, and we exchanged contact information. When I told the girl that the ministry I belong to--Bezeugen--offers evangelism training in churches--her face lit up. Pray that we would be able to train up laborers in the local church to do the work of the church.

Please pray for our small but dedicated group of street evangelists. Please pray that we would not grow weary, but press forward (2 Thessalonians 3:13). And pray that our focus would not become ourselves, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).

Until next time, keep on proclaiming.

- Shane

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Gospel, the Media, and Lady Gaga...

For the first time in my life, I can say that I have gone to a Lady Gaga concert.

Okay...I never actually PAID for a ticket for her concert. Oh, and I never actually went INSIDE the concert venue and watched her perform.

But, this past Tuesday night, my friend Chris and myself drove to downtown Oklahoma City where Lady Gaga was set to perform at the Ford Center at 8pm.

Our plans? To hand out tracts and--possibly--do some open-air preaching.

After our four-man evangelism team shrunk to a two-man evangelism team (one needed to finish a school assignment; the other couldn't get off of work in time), I began to get a little discouraged. With just two people, it's rather difficult to hand out tracts, have one-on-one conversations AND open-air preach (especially since I'm a firm believer of having a person by you at all times while preaching in the open air--for any potential safety or legal issue that may result). Still, it's a Lady Gaga concert, for crying out loud! The pagans will be out in full force to worship their queen. We simply CAN'T pass up this opportunity!

So, as Chris and I walk up to the Ford Center, we see the circus start to appear all around us. We see HUGE lines outside of the front door of the Ford Center. So far, so good.

But wait...there's a problem.

Right next to the front door--and right next to the huge crowd of people--a local radio station has set up a tent with loud speakers blaring Lady Gaga's biggest hits. We have amplification (our trusty little 40-watt portable pa system that has served us well), but we simply cannot compete with the warbling of Lady Gaga that permeates the air around the front door.

However, all is not lost!

As we walk further down, the music fades away a bit. We find a nice spot right by the OTHER big front door with a long line outside. So, we breathe a sigh of relief, find a nice spot, and park the box (our trusty preaching box that--like the amp--has served us well).

As I'm talking the amp out of the storage compartment, Chris notifies me that the long line is starting to move inside the building. The doors were supposed to open at 6:30. My watch indicates that they've jumped the gun and are letting them in early. quickly as I can, I prepare the amp and hop up on the box.

I forgot to mention that from the moment I saw the hugeness of the crowd to the time we started preaching, I was having a MASSIVE "fear of man" attack. Fear gripped me as I began to realize how many people were around us.

I've learned that there is an effective two-pronged process of combating the fear of man before street preaching.

The two steps to effectively fight fear are:

1.) open your mouth

2.) speak

So, I opened my mouth and started speaking and, as is always the case, the fear started melting away. Considering the fact that this WAS a Lady Gaga concert, and there were wild-looking pagans all over the place, I was surprised when my first open-air preaching session went by heckler-free.

Well...ALMOST heckler-free.

I did get approached by an angry woman. But she didn't appear to be a dressed-to-the-hilt Gaga fan. As it turns out, she was a well-dressed middle-aged woman from Iran who didn't like me saying that Jesus was the "only way." I tried to engage her more on the subject, but she decided that she had had enough and walked away in a huff. Okay.

Next up: Chris. Chris got up on the box and started preaching. As I standing close by watching and recording, I noticed that a news crew had set up just behind Chris. A lady reporter walked up to Chris and pointed her microphone in his general direction. The cameraman pointed his camera at Chris and they remained there for a few minutes. Shortly afterward, they walked away. I didn't think anything of it at the time.

Chris's open-air session went completely heckler-free. I did hear many sneers from Gaga fans who were walking by, but they all lacked the courage of their convictions to actually engage Chris about his message (the Gospel).

We decided to do some tracting for a while. After this, I decided to get up on the box again. This time, my open-air session was most definitely NOT heckler-free.

Quite the opposite.

I struggled to get out the full Law and the Gospel as I was bombared with all kinds of comments. MOST of the comments fell into the following three catagories:

1.) "Don't judge me!"

2.) "You're being judgmental!"

3.) "Stop judging me!"

Yes, the hecklers pretty much stuck to the same objection for about 25 minutes. During this time, one nice young lady asked me if I "was with the Westboro people." Not having yet made the connection to Westboro Baptist Church, I responded to her with "what is Westboro?" She took that to mean "no" and went on her way.

After I was done with the open-air, Chris told me that he had heard that Westboro Baptist Church had people there at that time who were protesting Lady Gaga. If you want to know who the Westboro Baptist Church people are...simply type "Westboro Baptist" into Google and prepare to be disgusted.

In short, they preach hatred and vitriol. They live for media attention, and--of course--the local media was more than willing to give them ALL the attention they desired.

One VERY NICE bit of encouragement during the evening. One believer--his name is Rex--was sitting and watching us preach. While I was still preaching, I noticed that he started talking to a couple of ladies who were standing next to him watching us. After I stepped off the box, Chris asked me if I had any tracts. He said that Rex was witnessing to these ladies and wanted to give them tracts. After he was done talking to the ladies, he came over and visited with us. Rex told us that he was so encouraged after watching us that he decided to strike up a conversation with those complete strangers and give them the Gospel. That was the first time he had shared his faith with strangers in the many years he had been born again. What a blessing and encouragement!

After some more tracting and open-air, we called it quits for the evening. It was about 8:15 and most everyone had gone inside for the concert. Chris and I were also EXTREMELY thirsty having stood out in the 100-degree heat/humidity for about 2 hours.

After I got home and was winding down. Chris texts me and informs me that he appeared on the local newscast at 10:00. I remembered that he was recorded by the camera crew.

Well...THIS is how the local media used the footage of Chris (he is the one wearing a red T-shirt standing on the box holding an amp)...


So...according to KFOR's report, we were there to protest Lady Gaga.

Yes...that's right...we are "anti-Gaga."

Well, contrary to what was presented in that sloppy piece of reporting, we were there to warn sinners of the reality of God's Law, His coming judgment, and were there to share with them the excellencies of Christ, the Righteous.

All in all, a good night.

Thank you, Lady Gaga, for scheduling a concert that we could stand outside of.

Thank you, Oklahoma City, for not shutting us down as we were preaching with an amp.

Thank you, "pro-Gaga" hecklers, for drawing a crowd for us to preach Jesus Christ to.

Most of all, praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by whom and through whom we have eternal salvation, and for whom we preach and exalt.

Soli Deo Gloria!

- Shane

Sunday, July 4, 2010

We Say We Want "Revival!"

I'm going through a lesson book right now--and this week's lesson the writer says that the Christian church "needs revival."

Once again...the mantra of "we NEED revival!"

It's not that I disagree with the sentiment; I agree wholeheartedly. However, the simple fact of the matter is...

We don't want revival.

"P'shaw!" you may say. "OF COURSE we want revival!"

If the church really DID want revival, then we wouldn't need it.

To the church, I would suggest reading Acts 2. That is what a vitalized church looks like. So if you want to be RE-vitalized, then read Acts 2 and implement what is written.

And then we'll stop hearing these cries of "we WANT revival!"

Because then...we won't need it.

"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."

Sounds positively radical. All "revival-seekers" need look no further than that passage.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Visit to the Carnality Ball...

On May 8th, Carl, Brady, Adam, Jamie and myself descended upon the annual Carnality Ball in downtown Oklahoma City. Thankfully, we were there because we were invited.

Let me back up and offer a brief explanation. About a month prior to May 8th, we were preaching in Bricktown when Brady was approached by a middle-aged man who handed him a pamphlet as he was preaching. Without looking at it, he handed it to me. It was a invitation to something called "the Carnality Ball." I looked at it...smiled...waited until Brady was done with his open-air, and told him "I know where we will be going on May 8th."

Cut to a month later. It just so happens (okay...NOTHING "just so happens") that Carl is in town for Mother's Day, and he joins us for this outreach event. This is what happened when Carl stepped up on the preaching box.

It didn't take very long before our preaching gathered some attention. Of course, these people hated God. They hated the Gospel. But that was all the more reason to preach the Gospel Biblically, boldly, and compassionately.

The revelers began to attempt to drown out the Gospel with their "music." They didn't succeed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How To "Do" Spiritual Warfare, Part II

In the previous post, I wrote about what spiritual warfare is NOT (rebuking/binding demonic forces, "pleading the blood" of Jesus over objects/ground/people). Now for some reasons as what makes this particular brand of "spiritual warfare" teaching "BAD."


In various discussions with those who currently practice such forms of "warfare," I keep getting the same proof-texts over and over again used by those who would attempt to justify this practice.

To the question "where are the specific instructions to bind/rebuke demons given in Scripture"...the answer--which is really no answer at all to the actual question--is...

"Jesus commanded his disciples to drive out demons."

There are many problems that arise from such an answer. The first and most obvious response to that answer is that Jesus told his disciples they would not only have authority to cast demons out of people, but they would also have the same authority to heal various diseases, to handle poisonous snakes, and to be miraculously delivered from the effects of poison. Even if one is determined to believe that Mark 16:9-20 is the inspired word of God (which I am not inclined to believe, but that's another topic for another discussion), then exactly on what grounds do we "pick and choose" what apostolic signs we can show forth? Jesus did indeed grant His authority to His apostles to drive demons out of people (again...PEOPLE, not real or imagined spirits on property or inanimate objects), that much is evident from Matthew 10:1, Mark 9:38, and Acts 5:16 to name a few references.

If one is to claim that he/she can bind/rebuke demons based upon a reading of Mark 16:17, I would ask them if they stop there, or if they also pick up rattlesnakes in order to show forth an apostolic sign, or if they drink poison in order to show forth an apostolic sign. What about miraculous healing? If a person claims to me that are able to bind/rebuke demons based upon Mark 16:17, I would advise them to start making regular, daily hospital visits and begin laying hands of children who have terminal diseases with the intent of healing them.

So the real question here is....was Jesus speaking directly to his apostles and giving them that charge? Or was he also giving ALL BELIEVERS that same exact charge? If the answer is "yes" to the latter question, then why stop at binding/rebuking demons?


There is also a common belief among those who practice "warfare praying," which is that born-again Christians can be "demonized"...i.e., under the control of a demon. A "deliverance" is a ritual in which the born-again Christian has an exorcism performed upon him/her and the demon(s) expelled from their body.

"So are you saying that people actually believe that Christians can be demon-possessed?"

"Of course not," the warfare-praying Christian would respond. "Christians cannot be demon-possessed, but they CAN be "demonized," which is to mean "demon-OPPRESSED."

The New Testament contains NO such distinction between "demon-possessed" and "demonized" or "demon-OPPRESSED." This person would be drawing a distinction where NO DISTINCTION exists in the word of God. That is a dangerous thing to do.

"Demonized" and "demon-possessed" mean the same thing. When Scripture speaks of a person being possessed by a demon, Scripture means that person is being possessed by a demon. Period. And NOWHERE in Scripture is it specifically stated as a matter of practice or a matter of example that ANY born-again follower of Jesus Christ can be indwelt or controlled by a demon.


Scripture DOES teach that believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 John 4:4). If "he who is in you in greater than he who is in the world" (the latter "he" being Satan) then how exactly can a Christian have BOTH a demon and the Holy Spirit battling WITHIN the his body?

Colossians 1:13 tells us "he has delivered us from the domain of darkness." To what degree of effectiveness is this deliverance if more "deliverings" must be performed over and over again in the life of Christian?

Another bit of rotten fruit from these foul "warfare" teachings is the nonsensical, occultic teachings on "deliverance."


Whenever these bad "spiritual warfare" teachings come up, there is SURE to be at least one good story to accompany it. In fact, in one book I read on these "spiritual warfare" teachings (wrongly titled "Spiritual Warfare") I read, the author actually BEGINS the book not with a sound exegesis of Scripture, but with a PERSONAL STORY from his background in the pastorate. He tells the story of how God supposedly opened his eyes to the "reality" of what he considered "spiritual warfare." It wasn't through Scripture, though...which is God's ONLY means of direct communication with His elect. It was through the dangerous deception of PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

Now, please don't think I am downplaying the importance of EXPERIENCE. After all, I could read all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ as contained in God's word until I was blue in the face, but it wouldn't be until I PERSONALLY EXPERIENCED it that the Gospel would have any value for me. However, the Gospel is the Gospel whether I personally experience it or not. I have confessed Jesus as Lord, but His Lordship isn't dependent upon my confession of it; He is Lord because HIS WORD TELLS US HE IS LORD (Philippians 2:11-12).

So, when we're referring to matters of Biblical doctrine; we should understand that doctrine is not made true by our EXPERIENCE of it...but it is true because God has revealed it as true in his word.

Experience is a horrible guide because experience is WIDELY varied. If one person claims that their "binding/rebuking" prayer caused his infant son to stop crying at night and another person claims that their "binding/rebuking" prayer to have NO effect on his crying infant son...exactly who am I to believe?

If it is your contention that "binding/rebuking demons works because I have personally seen it and felt it work," then might I respectfully suggest that you find a new source of truth.

God's word.

If you cannot find a command contained in God's word in which He specifically commands all believers to bind/rebuke demons, then do not do it.

"But it works," you might say. If "whatever works" is the idol to which we bow down to, then should we also affirm the claim of that person who says "every time I rub the belly of my Buddha statue, my infant baby stops crying!" After all, if we're guided by the principle of "it works," then we should tell the Buddha-belly-rubber to keep on rubbing, no?


Personal experience can never trump Holy Scripture.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How To "Do" Spiritual Warfare, Part I

There are few Biblical doctrines more vital to the Christian walk than the doctrine of spiritual warfare. Unfortunately, some preachers/teachers have--perhaps with the best of intentions--clouded this doctrine with false teachings that end up doing more harm than good--spiritually speaking.

When I speak of "spiritual warfare" I am speaking of the reality that a born-again Christian is engaged in a battle with demonic forces. In the New Testament, the Gospels are replete with accounts of Jesus openly casting demons out of people using verbal rebukes. His disciples were commissioned with the similar ability--that is, to cast demons out of people. We know that the Apostle Paul himself was harassed by some sort of Satanic force (2 Corinthians 12:7). Christians are taught--again by Paul--that our real enemies are not humans but rather Satan and his evil forces at work in the spiritual realm (Ephesians 6:12). So we know who our REAL enemy is, and we know that we are engaged in a continual battle with this enemy, and we know that we have spiritual (and practical) weapons at our disposal to fight this enemy (Ephesians 6:12-19).

As with all Biblical doctrine, there is always a possibility that Christians will misunderstand the teaching of Scripture and then--unfortunately--perpetuate such misunderstandings throughout the church. The spiritual effect of this perpetuation of false doctrine--ironically--actually ends up benefiting the work of the enemy, who works through falsehoods to achieve his perverted goals (John 8:44). A practical effect of this perpetuation of false doctrine is that (in most cases) well-meaning Christians are hamstrung by engaging in a un-Biblical practice and--at best--waste their precious time and--at worst--engage is overt superstition dressed up as "spiritual warfare."

There are 2 main questions that concern me for the purposes of this article...

1.) What "spiritual warfare" is
2.) What "spiritual warfare" is not

For my own purposes, I'm going to answer both questions in reverse order, prayerfully hoping that the Biblical directives for the Christian to "wage the good warfare" will be fresh in the mind of the reader.


I have some personal experience with some false teachings on spiritual warfare, having sat under some bad teaching on the subject and then perpetuating it in my own personal life. All doctrine eventually is practiced in the day-to-day practice of LIVING, and that includes both GOOD doctrine and BAD doctrine. So, for any who may question why I am addressing this subject, it is because--somewhere, somehow--somebody is applying false doctrine in their lives. And the results of that could definitely be problematic.

Here's the progression of the teaching that eventually leads us into un-Biblical territory. It always BEGINS with sound Biblical truth and then takes a detour into worldliness (more on that later)...

- Satan is REAL and demons are REAL (Okay...I agree 100%)

- Satan hates God and the people of God (Again, I'm totally with ya)

- Satan and his demonic angels try to destroy/sabotage the work of God (Still totally agreeing with ya)

- Christians can--in fact--be "demonized"...i.e., under the oppressing control of a demonic spirit (Wait...isn't "demonized" just a word substitute for "demon-possessed" and doesn't the Bible teach that Christians are indwelt with the Spirit? How can a demon and the Holy Spirit share the same space like that?)

- It is the responsibility of every Christian to rebuke Satan and/or his demons (Ehhhh... Huh?)

- Certain demons are assigned to certain sins...i.e., "demons of alcoholism"...."demons of lust"..."demons of pride", etc. (Whaaaaat are you talking about?)

- Demons can invade certain territories and must be driven out by the power of speaking the name of Jesus (Say again? Did we wander into a charismatic congregation?)

- Christians need to "plead the blood of Jesus" over people, buildings, sanctuaries, electronic equipment, etc. ( where is that in the Bible?)

As it goes, we begin with SOUND Biblical truth, and "wander off into myths" (2 Timothy 4:4). We know that the text of Scripture is clear on the reality of Satan and demons. We know that Christians are engaged in a battle against Satan, demons, and the lies they use. From that, how did we arrive at the conclusion that ALL Christians can--and SHOULD--verbally rebuke demons out of people, buildings, properties, etc.? How did folks arrive at the conclusion that demons can indwell born-again believers of Jesus Christ?

As you will notice, these teachings have no basis in Scripture, but rather in a movement. In the next blog...we will address specifically the false teachings and how these teachers justify the perpetuation of these false teachings.

May God be glorified by it all.

- Shane

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Good Friday in Bricktown

Our evangelism team (Brady Brewer, Adam Evans, and myself) met in Bricktown in downtown Oklahoma City last night. This time, we were joined by several others (Darryl, Chase, Andrew, Chris and Tom). Between us and the other team that was out in full force last night, there were no short supply of "fishermen." Needless to say, the large crowd all got tracts (some of them got several offers for tracts, but that's okay).

I have been burdened lately about doing more in the area of open-air preaching. To that end, we labored for a few hours in preaching the Gospel in the open air. We took turns "on the box," and there were many who heard...and quite a few that actually stopped and listened.

Please pray for one young man in particular named Joseph. Brady spoke with Joseph, who claimed that he is a Christian because he was "baptized." He had the Law and the Gospel explained to him, and once he heard the TRUTH of the Biblical plan of salvation, he was visibly shaken. We left him with a copy of Living Waters' "Why Christianity?" on DVD (an EXCELLENT evangelical tool).

I was very encouraged by those from our churches who were there to help us and support us for the cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They stepped out of their comfort zone and I am grateful for their service.

If you're a born-again Christian who lives in the Oklahoma City metro area (OKC/Moore/Norman) and if you desire to step out of your comfort zone for the cause of Christ...please email me.

We covet your prayers always. Specifically for us, please pray for....

- BOLDNESS (Ephesians 6:19-20)


- PERSONAL SANCTIFICATION FOR EACH OF US (that we would be sensitive to sin in our own lives) (2 Peter 3:18)


Thank you.

Soli Deo Gloria!

- Shane