Wednesday, June 29, 2016

False teachers dishonor the mighty name of God


"The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity." Leonard Ravenhill.

We are living in a plague now. It is a plague of false teachers. False teachers bring a different Gospel, or meld the true Gospel with a false one, and they try to make the people forget the True and Living God. Jeremiah had complained to God about the false prophets and their message.

"But I said, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” (Jeremiah 14:13)

He was concerned that the falsely positive messages would dampen their fervor and alertness of the people. Any message that a person accepts that is not from God is inherently damaging. Paul referred to this process as gangrene. (2 Timothy 1:7). This is why we must insist on proper interpretation of biblical messages from our pulpits, read books that have proper representations of the Gospel and God, it is why we must study for ourselves so when a TRUE message of peace does come, we can rely on it.

Later, God answered Jeremiah,

"They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship." (Jeremiah 23:27).

Jeremiah was broken by the false prophets' falsehoods and treachery upon the people and against our Holy God. Do we have that same attitude today? Do we simply say, "Meh" when learning this one or that one is a false teacher, and do we say say, "Well, let's be loving and not say anything negative about it" ?

Matthew Henry's explanation of Jeremiah's concern:
Because of the prophets and their sin, the false doctrine they preached, the wicked lives they lived; especially it filled him with horror to hear them making use of God's name and pretending to have their instruction from him. Never was the Lord so abused, and the words of his holiness, as by these men. Note, The dishonour done to God's name, and the profanation of his holy word, are the greatest grief imaginable to a gracious soul.
Do not forget the Lord's name. It is holy and perfect and exalted. It is not a tool to get money. It is not a cover to use for your sin. It is not a tennis ball to be bandied about by false teachers. Do not seek after false messages brought in another's name. DO ignore messages that the false ones bring. Don't listen even a little bit. The false ones dishonor the name of God, Our Mighty Jehovah to misuse His name.

Matthew Henry continues:
"He charges it all upon the prophets and priests, especially the prophets. They are both profane (v. 11); the priests profane the ordinances of God they pretend to administer; the prophets profane the word of God they pretend to deliver;" ... "God threatens to punish these prophets for their wickedness. They promised the people peace; and to show them the folly of that God tells them that they should have no peace themselves. They were very unfit to warrant the people, and pass their word to them that no evil shall come upon them, when all evil is coming upon themselves and they are not aware of it,"
Honor God's name by studying His word. Speak highly of Him and lift up fellow Christians, encouraging each other. Reject even the smallest amount of leaven, for it is dishonoring to His mighty name. Most importantly, do not let false messages creep in, for their design is to make you forget the name of God. Instead, say, "I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise." (Heb 2:12).



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Language of Death: Obituaries

Death, the final frontier. These are the lives of the starbaby Humans. Their 7000-year mission: to explore strange new hearts, to seek out new life and new religion, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
OK, a thousand pardons for re-writing that famous opening line from the original Star Trek television series.

Death IS the final frontier. All humans are eternal, death is just a passing over of the line between this life and the next. However, the life in the next is permanently and eternally fixed. One will either pass over the boundary into the final frontier into hell, or into heaven.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)




For the Christian, the anticipation of the next life is real and exciting. We believers are not so thrilled about the process of death, whether we drown or are in a car wreck or a tornado takes us or any of the other imaginative means under which our body expires and we're launched into glory. But the anticipation of being forever with Jesus, in His New Jerusalem, in glory...ahhh, it is a balm for the troubled soul dwelling in this strange land.

For the non-believer, death is terrifying. They do not know what the next life holds for them. They all do suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (Romans 1:18) and thus deny themselves certain knowledge about what lies beyond the veil.

I like reading historical papers from my area. It's fun to read an old newspaper from late 1800s to early 1900s about the town I live in. It gives me perspective and a peek into a way of life that is gone by. One thing that has passed into history is the flowery, poetic obituary. The History of the Obit is presented in short, bullet point form, and it's pretty interesting.

The difference in a Christians' obituary language and a non-Christian's obituary language is stark. Here are a few examples of Christian obits.

1911
At the home of Dr. B.W. Hall at 7 a.m. September 7, 1911, the spirit of Mrs. Teresa Ann Hall passed peacefully to that undiscovered land from which no traveler ever returns.

1895
Mr. Grimes Dead
News has just reached us that Mr. Gabriel Grimes, of Jackson county, formerly an honored citizen of Madison, has passed over the dark river into the great beyond. It is customary, whether deserving or not, to say, of this good man would be enough that he lived the life of an honest, Christian citizen, is known by all who knew him. A devoted father and husband, a man who believed in the religion of the blessed Savior, his death will be regretted by all who knew him.

1920
Sad indeed were the hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Hardman Thursday July 1, when they realized that little Aubrey, their only child, had left them in the world of trials and care to be at rest with the angels above.

1922
DEATH OF MRS. J.B. HENDRIKS
When God in his infinite wisdom called from this world to that celestial City above. Mrs. J.B. Hendriks of Danielsville a beautiful and useful life was ended. Yet we know that God knoweth and doeth all things for the best therefore we say his will and not ours be done.

1922
IN MEMORIAM OF M.A. JOHNSON
On Sunday morning March 12, his spirit took its flight to God, who gave it. A good man has gone. He was never heard to speak ill of any one, which was a good trait that we all would do well to follow.

1899
Felicia, daughter of Mr. James and Mrs. M. H. Jaenkins, died of fever Nov. 4th 1989, aged about 30 years. Felicia was a pure, noble Christian, and has passed over the cold stream and joined the might host, the redeemed of the Lord.

1923
Mary Boggs
Mary was a sweet bright baby, so affectionate that every one loved her. In the death of her another cradle has been emptied, another little angel has been added to God's great white throne. She was the joy and the light of the home which she was permitted to cheer for only a short period.

1893
DEATH MAKES ANOTHER CLAIM
Mrs Ruth Berryman
Her remains were interred near her home in Madison county, beside five of her little sleeping children, and her husband's mother, who only a
short while preceded her, there to remain a little while we think, until the "trump of God shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise first."

The language is beautiful and reflects an assurance from those who lived under the commands of Jesus in redeemed, holy lives of the place to which the departed would be soon met. The Savior is mentioned. There is acknowledgement of who gave us our spirit. There is understanding of where the saved dead go upon death. They reference the throne, and show the contrasts of life on this earth with the peace that is coming in the next.

Death, the final frontier
The Bible makes reference to death as sleep over 50 times, which the final obituary in my list above makes note of. When a Christian passes from enemy to friend of God, death is no longer the person's enemy, either. In Jesus' resurrection, death was conquered by death. We know this. This is the hope we have, that our sins are forgiven and we are now in right standing before a holy God, and He will bring us to His home in heaven when we die for an eternal life of peace and joy. We are no longer separated from Him in this life due to our sin, nor will we be separated from Him in the next, where His wrath is unleashed in hell upon those die still in their sin.

The unsaved wonder. They seek knowledge of "the other side". They try seances, gobble up books about near death experiences, elevate any person they think has the answer. They ask burning questions about whether life goes on, or if we return to dust as we came from dust. When death approaches them they are forced to contemplate their own mortality, and it is uncomfortable.

The obituaries of the old timers were saturated with sadness, of course. We all miss someone who dies. Even Jesus wept for Lazarus though He knew He was going to resurrect him momentarily. Death causes tears. But death does not bring fears, not for us. Death comes to everyone, and when it strikes the saved family, it causes us to re-evaluate our lives. It does the same for the unsaved.  But you can see the difference in the attitude toward death in the old time obituaries. Death for the saved is a passage, and a hope. Death for the unsaved is not. This verse is so perplexing to them!

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

Our life is as nothing to us? How can that be? It is because of the surpassing treasure of infinite and eternal value. The exchange has been made: Jesus is our life now.

In one sense, we are all dying. My body is dying and it will die and it will disintegrate in the ground,or wherever these old bones happen to fall. We are called to preach life to the dying, both saved and unsaved. For us it is a glory to hear and re-hear the work of Christ and His cross. For the truly dying in flesh and in spirit, they agonize over their mortality. However, preaching life also brings life. For those who are going to be in the Lamb's Book of Life, we know not when our preaching to a sure election and calling will ignite the dead heart and hope will enter in.

As Ian Rush said in his The Master's Seminary article, London is Burning
All men are spiritually dead apart from this gospel, they stand teetering on the precipice of eternal fire and torment with no hope of rescue but Christ, and we are commanded to preach to them this rescue. Natural disasters and national tragedies (like the Great Fire of London) serve as powerful reminders of the brevity of life and the impending reality of eternity.
The memory of such events ought to motivate us, as believers, to live with eternity in our hearts and on our tongues (Rom. 10:13–15, 2 Tim. 4:1–5).




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Obituaries courtesy of the following site with its notice. Also fair use & public domain since pre-1923.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

It was an ordinary day, and the woman was thirsty

The woman was a harlot. There was a moral code and the woman fell far below it. So far below that she couldn't even see the underside of it anymore. Jumping from husband to husband, bed to bed, with or without benefit of divorce, man after man. She was a slut. Her sins were monumental, public, known to all, and she was regarded with disgust and hatred. She knew it. She didn't care. She did care.

She was loathed, and also lonely, marginalized, and excluded. The other women in town didn't talk to her, so that her taint wouldn't infect them. There were cliques, all right, and she was definitely not part of any of them. She wasn't invited to baby showers or to weddings or to sewing circles. She wasn't even welcome at the well, at dusk when the other women went to draw in the cool of the day. The looks...the turned backs... the whispers. Once, even that fight when they said those nasty things. She never went back.

She'd rather walk the extra half mile to the further well, at noon, in the heat, than face those women again. Sometimes she hated them for their calling out of her sin, other times she just felt ashamed. My life will always be like this, she thought. Her reputation preceded her. She was known as a harlot and she always would be. Harlot, whore,  prostitute, she'd heard them all. She was trapped in her town, in bondage to her sin, encased in her reputation, living out her days with a man she could barely tolerate, in an ever tightening circle of despair and self-loathing, no hope.

Shifting her water jug to the other shoulder, she shrugged. To hell with them, she thought. I don't care about them. At least I've got my man. He's no prize, either, but he's all I've got. What else is there? I can't go to synagogue, I've got no friends, except a few of the other loose women like me. She laughed bitterly.

The well was coming into view. Good, the woman was dusty and hot. It was so hot at noon, but she would rather walk the extra during the height of the day than to see those self-righteous harpies again. Sweat was trickling down her back, mixing with the dust on her neck where she held the jug. Dirt, dirt, dirt...she felt dirty both inside and out.

There was a man sitting there, against the well. He looked hot and dusty too. And tired. He didn't look familiar. Ah, he was was dressed as a Jew, that's why. Strange, Jewish men never walked into Samaria. He was all alone, no servants or anything. As the woman approached the well, the man spoke to her.

"Give me a drink"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Just like that, on a day like all the others, a dull, dreary, regular day, Jesus broke into the woman's life. SALVATION came to a women who had not expected it. Jesus burst in from beyond the veil to pierce the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Going toward the well, she was encased in sin. Sin defined her. Her reputation dripped with depravity and seeped in the very shadows on the stark and dusty road ahead of her. Though the day at noon was bright, her path was dark and hopeless. All she could see for her entire rest of her life were those shadows preceding her feet, one plodding shadow after another, dirt and dust and darkness.

Waterpots. The International
Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Her joy and surprise caused her to leave her waterpot behind. This is a valuable possession. If you don't have a pot to draw water with, you don't have water in your house. Water of course is a necessity, for cooking washing, drinking. Yet the shamed woman approaching the well was no more, she left the well full of living water coursing through her veins, cleansing every spot and wrinkle. Each step back toward the village was a step away from her dark and haunted past and toward a clean and bright renewal. She'd left the pot behind. She left her shame behind, too.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jesus does that today. He doesn't appear in body to us but He pierces an ordinary day with suddenness, speaking words of life. Salvation could come like that to any person you have been praying for, at any time. Jesus had an appointment with her. He had to go through Samaria. (John 4:4). The woman's sin was not too much for Jesus. After all, His purpose was to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10). He had a divine appointment with her since before the foundation of the world, because Jesus loves sinners. He loves to redeem. He loves to make a new creation for His glory and worship.

Any ordinary day could be like it was for the Woman at the Well (John 4:1-43). Your mother or husband or boss or friend could walk away from your conversation or head out the driveway or go into the living room and suddenly return a new creation. The walls of their heart holding in sin like the walls of Jericho, tumble down in an instant. Jesus has that power. When He creates a new creation in us sin is flushed away and His righteousness comes. It did for the woman at the well, it has for millions of people ever since.

Pray for the ordinary day to become extraordinary. Pray for the natural woman to become supernatural. Pray for the walls of her or his heart to tumble down and the conscience breached with righteousness. Pray for a gush of His living water to flood your loved one.

"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did." (John 4:29a)
[And He loves me anyway]

"Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:29b)
[It certainly is.]

The ordinary day was suddenly saturated with joy. Because Jesus came.




Sunday, June 26, 2016

Truth is the inseparable ally of love



Have you noticed that satan has co-opted another word from our Biblical culture and twisted it to suit his own ends. We lost gay, rainbow, hate, tolerance, judge, and now love.
  • Orlando vigils: 'We will conquer that hate with love'
  • US Attorney General Loretta Lynch calls for 'love' in aftermath of Orlando massacre
  • Social media shows outpouring of love for Orlando massacre victims
  • Thousands Attend Orlando Vigil To Prove That Love Wins
  • After Orlando: Love Wins, But When?
The last one on the list is a 'Religion Dispatch' from Huffington Post, whereupon the author asks aloud how God could let such evil happen, and calls those who had been killed inside the homosexual nightclub martyrs of freedom. The inference is that they died for the cause of freedom, but it's only the world's definition of freedom... he meant freedom to live in sexual sin, which is abominable before the Lord.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The end is still near, still sharing the Light

I can't wait to see what you all look like when you are glorified! I can't wait to see the glassy sea, the angels who have helped me, the face of Jesus! I can't wait to be free from pain and shed of my sin nature. I can't wait to be in eternity! However, I will await His timing. We all must await the number of our days to be up and His determination of when we enter glory.

For now though, the Tribulation is still to come according to the Divine schedule.

The Tribulation is prophesied to be a period where many things will happen. One of them is that the earth and heavens themselves will be wildly disrupted. Landforms disappear. Weather patterns evaporate. Orbits cease. And more.

The outline of what Jesus will be doing at that time is presented to us in Daniel 9:24. The Lord will do 6 things:

Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city,
1. To finish the transgression,
2. To make an end of sins,
3. To make reconciliation for iniquity,
4. To bring in everlasting righteousness,
5. To seal up vision and prophecy,
6. And to anoint the Most Holy.

Notice several items. First, it is a period where though the times seem chaotic, it is actually orderly. It is all in control of God. The three series of 7-judgments apiece (Seals, Trumpets, Bowls; perhaps four sets if you consider the Seven Thunders of Rev. 10:3-4)  will be delivered in orderly fashion. The judgments unleash chaos, but their deliverance is orderly and controlled.

Another orderly aspect of the entire period, not just the Tribulation, is that He said it will take 70 weeks (70 bundles of 7 years, called shavua in Hebrew). This adds up to 490 years total for Him to perform the 6 things. The Tribulation is the time for it all to come to the conclusion and so it is a time of demonstrable wrath and the conclusion of the 6 things. In further orderliness, He stopped the clock at 483 years. Nowhere was it promised to be 490 consecutive years! But they should have had a slight clue, because the interruption was stated. In Daniel 9:25-26, a mere verse later, the angel told Daniel that after seven sevens and 62 sevens, Messiah will be cut off (vernacular for died) and the people of the prince who is to come (antichrist) shall destroy the city.

The Western Wall, Jerusalem. Free wallpaper
Jesus's entry into Jerusalem was 483 years to the day and then the clock stopped. Then Jesus took 2000 years to build His church, and when it reaches His quota of building the church with the exact number of believers in it, (Romans 11:25) He will snatch us away from this earth, and He will finish that last 7 years of the prophesied 70 weeks and accomplish the promised 6 things.

The angel also explained to Daniel that it is a time when God directs His attention to "your people" and "your holy city (Jerusalem). That does not mean He isn't paying attention to non-believers or non-Jews during the Tribulation, or that nothing will happen to them during the Tribulation. Not at all. Jeremiah 30:7 calls it the Time of Jacob's Trouble, though, and its point is for the LORD to finish His promises to His people. #1 is to finish the transgression, and #2 says He will make an end to sins. This making an end to sins is an event that will affect everyone on the planet. God always sees the world through the lens of His people the Jews and through the central location of the Holy City. But all the world will be affected.

Secondly, note the progression of the 6 things. At the beginning, He allows the transgression to have its full expression. By the end, the Most Holy is anointed. The Most Holy is Jesus. Ahhh, what a day that will be! The Tribulation is the cap-stone to the final age of man where He allows the total outcome of rejection of the Holy Spirit to have its course. Like in Noah's day, where all of man's thoughts were only evil continually, (Gen 6:5) so it shall be again at the end of days (Matthew 24:37).

The Daniel 9:26 verse also promises that the end will come like a flood. This does not mean that there will be a flood of actual waters as in the first global judgment. He promised Noah that he would never drown the world again. (Gen 9:13). However, as part of the cataclysmic geo-physical upheavals during the Tribulation there will be floods and tides and hurricanes and tsunamis. However, the verse uses figurative language. The Hebrew word in Dan 9:26 is "sheteph; from shataph; a deluge (literally or figuratively) -- flood, outrageous, overflowing." He means that SIN will have its outrageous overflowing.



This flood language mirrors the language in Revelation 12:15. Midway through the Tribulation, the antichrist tears up the peace treaty he had confirmed with the Jews at the beginning of the Tribulation. He then persecutes them with all unholiness and evil. He goes after the Jews with an evil vengeance that makes the WWII Holocaust look like a picnic. "And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood." Satan pours out his evil and sin flows over the world like a flood.

Floods have waters that rise, and rise and rise, eventually washing away all that is in its path. Even tsunamis which travel at jet speeds have waters that flow and rise accordingly. The end time began when Jesus ascended, but it has been 2000 years and we can see that the flood waters of sin are not lapping at our toes...are not sweeping against our waists...but the flood waters of sin seem like they are actually crashing over our heads by this point in time. It seems the flood of sin in the world since the beginning is rising and rising, and now even crashing over our heads. It is like the famous photo of the lighthouse and its keeper


But we are not destined for wrath! (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Though sin tries to engulf us, it will not prevail against His church! (Matthew 16:18). Notice where the keeper is: INSIDE the Lighthouse. Would you want to be anywhere else when the wages of sin try to engulf you? No. You would not survive that wave. Being in the Lighthouse is the only safe place to be, in ages past and in this present age.

What of us, individually? His word says that Hades will not prevail against His church, but what of each of us in the daily struggle against sin? Some days it truly feels like it will engulf me. Here is the remedy: 

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).

We are Light keepers, and our job is never more important than during the storm! We are in Christ as THE Light, but we keep His word hidden in our hearts. We are ambassadors of His glory and His truths. We keep His commands. We keep His flame alive on earth by staying in Him and close to Him. It is important to be brighter during the storm and so let us be bright, by being full of peace and joy in these stormy times. Let the waves crash! We have the eternal Strength of the Light in the Strong Tower. Let others see, and come to Him.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Encouragement: How many will be in heaven?

I've looked at the numbers and have been discouraged by the seeming few that will be in heaven. The proportions of saved to lost seems wide. All the world died in the flood...except for 8. All four cities of the plain were smote ...  only four people escaped ... and one of them turned out to be false. The road is broad and many are on it, while the path is narrow and few find it.

I've written about that proportion here

I'm looking at the numbers and they don't look good

and here

Many 'Christians' will be left out of heaven

I've also been discouraged by the lack of solid churches and the difficulty in finding them. Many of you have written to me about the same thing.

In listening to Justin Peters last night teach about child conversions, he said the encouraging regarding both topics. In his lesson he also named off a list of many solid churches he is personally familiar with.
It is easy to get discouraged when looking at the broad swathe of Christianity, and it is easy when we see so much heresy, so much compromise even from the supposedly good guys. It's rampant. But there are good churches out there God does have His people everywhere. They're not in the limelight, they're not in the spotlight.  ... There are good churches, it's just that they're in small places. They're hard to find, but they're out there.
He said this about numbers in heaven. I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one who gets discouraged. I'am also glad to know that I overlooked something. Children who have died will massively add to the number in heaven-
I believe that the best understanding of scripture holds that when a baby, toddler, young child dies, that little one goes to heaven. ... Have you ever thought about this? have you ever been discouraged at how few people go to heaven? When you look around the world, there's 7 billion people on this planet and I think it is safe to say that well under and only probably less than 1% of truly born again, there's a lot of people who say they're Christians but they're not. It can get kind of discouraging can't it? But you know what? Have you ever thought about how many hundreds of millions or billions of children have died? In a miscarriage, before they were even born? Or how many children have been killed in abortions? Or how many children have died at early ages? Do you know where all those young ones are? They're in heaven. There's going to be a lot of folks in heaven! It's going to be a busy place, with a lot of people in it! (Source)
In the lesson, Peters had previously explained from scripture why he and most others believe that infants, toddlers, and children will be in heaven. There was a biblical context for his statement.

In the United states alone, there have been 60 million abortions in the last 40 years. All those aborted children are in heaven. The worldwide infant mortality rate due to natural causes is also very high. It always has been.
The infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country. The infant mortality rate of the world is 49.4 according to the United Nations and 42.09 according to the CIA World Factbook. The under-5 mortality rate of the world is 73.7 according to the United Nations. (Source)
Praise the Lord, the numbers of departed children I'd overlooked when thinking of heaven massively increases the number that will be there. Bless the Lord, and bless the children waiting for us there (whatever age they will be upon heavenly entry).




Thursday, June 23, 2016

VBS season, Child Conversion, and Baptisms

The visible church today is seeing a flood of false Christian adults. They profess Christ, but either by lack of fruit, a sinful walk, or outright eventual repudiation, in many sad cases it becomes obvious they never possessed Him.

One place that false conversions caneasily happen is with children. And VBS is the most dangerous season of all. Wikipedia gives a history of VBS, known as Vacation Bible School:
Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a specialized form of religious education which focuses on children. Churches usually hold the week-long events during the summer, though the lengths of such programs may vary, and they are sometimes held during other times of the year. he origins of Vacation Bible School can be traced back to Hopedale, Illinois in 1894. Sunday school teacher D. T. Miles, who also was a public school teacher, felt she was limited by time constraints in teaching the Bible to children. So, she started a daily Bible school to teach children during the summer. The first Bible school enrolled forty students and lasted four weeks. ...  
Today, many churches run their own Vacation Bible School programs without being under the umbrella of a national organization. Some churches opt to use themed curriculum programs from their respective denominations or independent publishing houses which provide easy preparation and include marketing tools. Modern programs usually consist of a week-long program of religious education which may employ Bible stories, religious song, arts and crafts, skits, or puppet shows which cater toward elementary school-aged children.
However either in sincere love for Christ and a desire to see people saved, or due to outright deception due to worldly church growth strategies, some churches are quick to accept a child's profession in Christ and they quickly baptize them thereafter- declaring them saved. Many VBS volunteers, without knowing the devastating consequences of a false profession, at the end of a VBS session with children, simply ask a few superficial questions such as "Do you want to go to heaven when you die?" or "Do you accept Jesus into your heart?" and then declare the child converted and even write the date into the Bible. Baptisms quickly follow, with pastors trumpeting the "success" on social media such as Facebook with lots of Woo-hoos, PTL's, and exclamation marks.

These children grow up believing they are truly saved, yet by the time they are adults, have not borne fruit, aren't growing in knowledge of the grace of Jesus Christ, have no godly sorrow over sin, care not for personal holiness etc. Some of them go away from the faith when they become teens or young adults, only to come back in their late 20s or early 30s to "rededicate their lives to Christ." As Peters says in his new teaching, he believes for most of these people, the rededication is actually the conversion.

Here is a wonderful teaching from Justin Peters on the "A Biblical and Theological Understanding of Childhood Conversion". He admits that the teaching goes against the grain of common practice. However, when he shows from scripture why it's wise to wait in declaring a person saved, especially children, the clarity of the teaching becomes apparent and foundationally attractive.

Many of you have sent me messages and emails concerning your children, asking questions about baptism, home devotionals, and VBS. I'm grateful that the Lord led me to this wonderful resource and I happily pass it along to you.

Do Not Hinder Them: A Biblical and Theological Understanding of Childhood Conversion

The link is the first time Pastor Peters delivered this teaching, he said, and he has since honed it into a book, upcoming for publication. Be on the lookout for the book. The link brings you to an hour and 21 minutes' teaching, but the first few minutes are recommendations of other books and the end is a Q&A. Peters as always is humble, kind, and delivers his teaching in a quiet but scripturally persuasive manner. If you as a parent have questions about the credibility of your child's conversion, especially during this energetic VBS season when child conversion is at the forefront of church activity, then by all means please check it out.