Michael Horton: What is the Gospel?

Dr. Michael Horton explains what the true gospel message is. This is good news, but often it is not presented that way!

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Cameron Buettel & Jeremiah Johnson: Hillsong and God

Truth matters, especially when it comes to worship. That ought to be obvious; you can’t properly praise the Lord if you don’t know who He is. Christ Himself was unequivocal on that point—He said true worshippers “must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24, emphasis added).

However, much of modern worship music seems to aim at taming the one true God. Some popular “worship songs” are nothing more than artificial praise offered to a different god altogether. In his book Worship, John MacArthur describes the fallout of the biblical illiteracy that permeates the church today.

“Worship” aims to be as casual and as relaxed as possible, reflecting an easy familiarity with God unbefitting His transcendent majesty. This type of “worship” seems to aim chiefly at making sinners comfortable with the idea of God—purging from our thoughts anything like fear, trembling, reverence, or profound biblical truth. . . .

The decline of true worship in evangelical churches is a troubling sign. It reflects a depreciation of God and a sinful apathy toward His truth among the people of God. Evangelicals have been playing a kind of pop-culture trivial pursuit for decades, and as a result, the evangelical movement has all but lost sight of the glory and grandeur of the One we worship. [1]

During our recent visits to Hillsong Los Angeles, we’ve seen that trend played out in vivid detail. Worse still, we’ve identified some unbiblical characteristics that Hillsong routinely attribute to God.

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Mohler, Nichols, Sproul, and Thomas: Questions & Answers

A questions and answers session with Drs. Albert Mohler, Stephen Nichols, R.C. Sproul, and Derek Thomas.

Questions:

“No man knows the day or the hour concerning the second coming, not even the Son of man.” Does Jesus know now? (01:01)
What does it mean when we say that Christ had a “reasonable” soul? (06:01)
“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Why does it take blood and not some other substance? (06:53)
Why was Jesus in the grave for only three days? (09:38)
Since the Reformers were fallible sinners, can we trust their view of sola Scriptura? (11:13)
Should church discipline be considered a mark of a true church? (20:31)
Was the Reformation part of the Renaissance and if so, how did it relate to the Enlightenment? (22:55)
When was the church born? (30:45)
Are we experiencing a new kind of reformation in the evangelical church worldwide? (32:18)
There is concern for the millennial generation not embracing biblical Christianity. What is the root cause of this and how should the church respond? (36:07)
What role does our holiness and personal sanctification have in our witness to this darkened world? (41:53)

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Michael Horton: The Fear Factor

In the centuries following the Enlightenment, the flood of challenges to Christianity has been ongoing, and in the last century they have increased at a rapid rate. Scientific advances have become challenges. As the world has grown smaller, encounters with other religions have also raised challenges. In this message, Dr. Michael Horton looks at the way many Christians have responded in fear rather than taking up the challenge and offering a reasoned defense of the faith

Derek Thomas: What’s in a Name?

Hallowed be your name” is what Jesus taught His disciples to say in prayer (Matt. 6:9). It expresses a desire that the Father will be revered and praised and spoken about in a manner that befits His resplendent glory and dignity. After hearing God speak and seeing a bush on fire with no apparent sign of being burned up, Moses asked, “What is your name?” In reply, God first said, “I am who I am” (or “I will be what I will be”), then shortened it to “I am,” then to “the Lord” (I AM translates the Hebrew Yahweh or YHWH, known as the tetragrammaton, a Greek term meaning “four letters.” English translations used to render it as Jehovah; Ex. 3:6, 13–16). Thus, God shows himself as the One who exists, eternally and without change, who is utterly trustworthy and dependable.

God’s name is who He is. And Yahweh or YHWH acts as a synecdoche—the part representing the whole. Thus, David sang, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (Ps. 8:1). And in the Third Commandment, God tells us very clearly that we are not to misuse His name: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Ex. 20:7). So seriously do the Jews fear misusing God’s name that they refuse to utter it at all. But that is more superstition than obedience; God wants us to use His name—but with respect and dignity.

THE FINE PRINT

Commandments have positive and negative things to teach us. First, let us consider the negative. The Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it this way: “The third commandment forbids all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God makes himself known” (A. 55). Using God’s name in a frivolous or insincere way is wrong. Take bad language, for example. Television and movies are so littered with expletives that we have almost become immune to their destructive power. The use of “Jesus,” “Christ,” or “God” as a mere expletive, vocalizing frustration or anger or disgust, is blasphemy, make no mistake about it.

Or, take promises we make. The Old Testament spoke strongly against the practice of adding God’s name to a promise to add extra assurance of its trustworthiness (Lev. 19:12; Jer. 5:2; Zech 5:4). And Jesus revealed the Pharisees’ insincerity and hypocrisy, masquerading as pompous piety, when they said promises made that excluded God’s name could be broken with impunity (Matt. 5:33–37). The statement “I give you my word” ought to mean what it says. Christians should make promises guardedly and keep them carefully.

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