Monday, June 19, 2006

What is a Christian?

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

I have before me a partial list of names that all have something in common. Let’s take a quick test. See if you, the astute listener, can figure out what all these people have in common. Are you ready?

Jacob Arminius
Remonstrant University Teacher in the 17th century

Karl Barth
Neo-liberal theologian

Billy Graham
Arminian Evangelist to millions

Harry Emerson Fosdick
Liberalism's popularizer

G.K. Chesterton
Roman Catholic essayist, poet, and writer

T.S. Eliot
Modernist poet

William Miller
The Founder 7th Day Adventism

Ignatius of Loyola
Roman Catholic Founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)

Catherine of Siena
Religious Mystic and political activist

Walter Rauschenbusch
Champion of the social gospel

Tell me, keen-eared listener, what do all these people have in common? They are, according to Christian History Magazine, of the top 131 Christian people everyone should know about. That’s right, Walter Rauschenbusch, who is the Champion of the social gospel, and T.S. Elliot modernist’s great poet, and Rome’s founder of the Jesuits – Ignatius Loyola, are among those Christians that Christian History Magazine says you should know. Shame on you if you didn’t get the answer right to this little quiz.

It seems, however, that the term “Christian” simply means someone who in Religious History has done, or accomplished something noticeable by a great many people. They wrote a book people read, or a poem, or preached a sermon, or even founded a cult. It seems that the word “Christian” has lost its biblical derivative – those that actually follow Jesus Christ and His teachings.

The 21st century modern church seems to thrive on its inclusivistic nature, where, on the other hand, Christ was always the opposite. Christ was an exclusivist. The Gospel He preached was exclusive, given to a few, given to a remnant of chosen people, chosen by God, to receive the implanted Word. Yes, many are called, but few are chosen.

The modern church of our era has it quite backwards. Christians are not simply people who write religious books, or quaint poems, or even preach to a congregation of listeners each Sunday. Doing something noticeable and drawing attention to one’s work is not the criteria for being called a Christian. Otherwise, when little 2 year old Johnny throws up on his mother’s Sunday blouse during the morning sermon, we’d have to call him a Christian too.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Christian Cliché's

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

Jingles – pithy sayings that get your limited attention in today’s sound byte technological age. Such Christian clichés go something like this –

“Just Pray No!” 16th Annual Worldwide Weekend of Prayer and Fasting organized by the “Just Pray NO!” nonprofit corporation. This is a group of crazy-matic (charismatic?) intercessory prayer warriors that pray to break bondages and to pull down the strongholds of addiction from every state in the United States and from six continents. Steven Sherman, is Founder of the jingle "Just Pray No!" I think he must have been around for Nancy Regan’s “just say no” campaign.

“Woman, Thou Art Loosed” TD Jakes continues to tout his theological moronity with these crazy-matic (charismatic?) sayings and pithy sound byte allusions to his ideas surrounding deliverance ministries.

“Expand your borders”. Bruce Wilkinson, the author who wrote “The Prayer of Jabez” now has the modern church encouraging one another to expand your borders. The book, not Jabez's actual prayer, promises rewards from God that God does not promise in the Bible. Wilkinson believes that mantraism (prayers of repetition like the Romanists) somehow unlock magical formulas for earnest believers.

Even in the realm of “pretty good theology” we find some of these pithy sayings unleashed.

“Discipline without direction is drudgery.” Donald Whitney in his book, “Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life,” uses this pithy phrase to outline the steps to Christian fulfillment in sanctification through all 249 pages.

Or how about this one:

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” John Piper’s book “Desiring God” attempts to summarize the Christian life in a pithy saying. With such a saying, the Christian has everything he needs to understand life His life before God. Piper claims the Westminster Puritans thought this way as well. That is why he used the Westminster Shorter Catechism’s first question and answer to set the stage for his entire work.

There is a problem with pithy sayings and Christian clichés that have an adverse affect on the elect’s sanctification. The problem is that 21st century Christendom is only age in the history of the church that created pithy sayings to summarize entire doctrinal strata.

Augustine has clever sentences, but no pithy sayings that summarize one of his entire works. He wrote thousands of pages on hundreds of subjects comprising the Christian life. One cannot run to Calvin, or Luther and find pithy sayings or clichés that summarize entire doctrinal ideas. Certainly, the Puritan era up and through Jonathan Edwards had no interest in trying to summarize the Christian life in a single sentence.

It’s quite the opposite.

William Jenkyn wrote 1500 pages on the single chapter of Jude. William Green wrote over 3200 pages on the book of Ezekiel. James Durham wrote over 2000 pages on Revelation. George Newton wrote 1600 pages on the 17th chapter of John. Thomas Jacob wrote 1550 pages on the 8th chapter to the book of Romans. Martin Luther has over 52 volumes in his writings. Calvin, the same.

Clever marketing jingles that allow Christians to remain ignorant and unstudied are not the message pastors and theologians need to send to the masses. Men like Jakes, Wilkinson, Osteen, Hinn, Sherman, Copeland, Hagee, and others who thrive on the inane, moronic theology that attracts the masses which infect people around the globe should be locked up and banished to some pacific island together. And the marketing strategies of even theologically sound ministers, ought to be tossed out.

Christ desired his people to know the word. Not to sum up the word in a single sentence to make it easy to remember.

Paul did not say that pithy sayings will make you wise to salvation. Rather, he said, very clearly, in 2 Timothy 3:15, “that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Learning takes a lifetime.

Just a note –

Remember, A Puritan’s Mind exists to bring people around the globe Biblical and Reformed Covenantal Theology to a church that is making little, if any ripple towards sound theological foundations in today’s society. Go to for more information on the Gospel, Christian life, the Westminster Standards, and much more that is spiritually edifying and for the glory of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Modalism Revived

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

Modalism. Have you heard about it? Modalism is not an emotional state, or a new operating system for the Macintosh. Modalism is a Trinitarian Heresy. It came into play to describe the anti-Christian teachings associated with Noetus and Praxeas in the second century, and Sabellius in the third century. The Sabellian theory (broached by Sabellius, of about A. D. 268) demonstrates that though God made the names, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, these are mere titles of three modes of action which the one God successively assumes. The term which Sabellius seems to have employed was that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three forms (schmata) or manifestations of the one Godhead, which presented real portions of His substance, extended into them, as it were, by a sort of spiritual division. He believed that God revealed Himself in three different ways – like three masks used at different times.

Now, who, in their right mind, if they have even perused the Biblical record, would believe such drivel so long after the creeds, confessions and councils of the church not only corrected the error, but also condemned Sabellius as a heretic and Modalism as Anti-Christian and damnable?

Enter TD Jakes. This popular speaker, also known as "Bishop Jakes," comes from a United Pentecostal background. He pastors The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, one of America's fastest-growing mega-churches. He is also a leader and elected bishop of the "Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies," a network of Oneness Pentecostal churches. In 1979, Pastor Jakes opened the doors of his first church located in a storefront facility in Montgomery, WV with only 10 members. To bad it didn’t simply die out. The church eventually became known as The Temple of Faith and was affiliated with Ohio-based Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies, a Pentecostal organization that governs many churches of similar doctrinal persuasion, or rather, lack of doctrinal precision. He is listed on The Church Report’s top 50 most influential Christians in America. They list him as #1.

Well, the Bible would not be as loose as to include TD Jakes as a Christian, much less the #1 influential “Christian”. He holds to the classic Oneness Pentecostal Trinitarian Heresy. If you don’t believe me, then just visit his website. His website has statements on his view of the Trinity. He says, “God--There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three Manifestations: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Interestingly, the "Ministry Beliefs" statement at the TD Jakes website does not differ from the "Doctrinal Statement for T.D. Jakes/Potter's House Ministries". At this alternate site at Potter house Ministries, he says, “We believe in one God who is eternal in His existence, Triune in His manifestation, being both Father, Son and Holy Ghost and that He is Sovereign and Absolute in His authority.” In an interview with Living by the Word radio, Jakes also describes the Trinity saying, “I’m not sure we can totally hold God to a numerical system.” In His own book, “Anointing Fall on Me” he says, “The concept of the Godhead is a mystery that has baffled Christians for years. With our limited minds we try to comprehend a limitless God. How can we explain one God but three distinct manifestations?”

If you deny the Trinity, you go to hell. If you teach doctrines that deny the Trinity, you go to hell. The Apostle John said in 2 John 1:9, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” Christ said in John 5:26, "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.”

Present day churches that hold to forms of this error are following old lies that devil spun in his web to blind people to the truth. The Devil does not want the human race believing the God of the Bible really exists. He doesn’t mind cheap imitations though.

The correct teaching of the Trinity is that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Peddle a false god and people will always come running. That’s why mega-churches exist. Give the people enough religion to satisfy them and they’ll come running and pack the house out. They’ll give money too in support of something that appeases them, and things that they like. As a result, TD Jakes is a very wealthy man. In the November 19th, 1998 issue of People magazine, the writers describe his $1.7 million dollar Dallas home, his blue BMW convertible, and his colorful expensive clothing. (He also drives a Mercedes.) He feels his financial success is a sign of growing economic empowerment for African-Americans as recorded by Pam Lambert and Michelle McCalope in their article “Soul Support.” However, the soul of a man would get more support from a Playtex Bra than listening to TD Jakes peddling a false god. Wise up America before its too late.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Gospel According to Jack

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

This just in –

Jesus said, “The Truth shall set you free.” This is true. Nothing else will set you free. But some disagree. Some think they need more than the Bible to draw in men and see them converted.

In the June Edition of the “Good News” Tabloid, one of the headlines is “Websites brings truth to Lost fans”, written by Lost Addict, Joanne Brokaw. Lost is a TV show written by Hollywood for entertaining the masses.

The show’s producers and ABC have gone to great lengths to create an elaborate ruse, and possibly one of the most addicting all-time powerful cliffhanger serials ever aired.

Even online one can visit to see what I mean. Lost fans can surf the web in order to find a host of various websites that interconnect them to clues not necessarily demonstrated on the show, or re-angled information that presses the viewer to come back for more.

You can visit a myriad of websites and keep up-to-date on clues shared by fans all over the world.

Among the websites, is, which recorded over 170,000 visitors in its first week. Joanne Brokaw reporting says, “Folks are trading passwords and codes and secret messages, theorizing on the identity of Persephone and the whereabouts of Dr. Thomas Mittelwerk.” However, behind the lie of simply creating an entertaining website on the storyline of Lost, the developers of the site have another motivation. It’s a secret from unsuspecting views. Much like the manner in which the Devil works, deception, they hook you first in the secular program, and then, they connect all of the Lost fans with Jesus Christ. There is a companion site: where personal stories that parallel the Lost characters are given in order to offer viewers a spiritual perspective on being truly lost and searching for truth.

These sites are the work of Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas, and used primarily as a deceptive means to create a new kind of outreach evangelism. Such website tools are designed to “gently introduce visitors to the message of Christ’s redemption.”

Funny, I don’t find Christ or the Apostles ever doing that.

Todd Wagner, senior pastor at Watermark says in a press release, “We believe that many of the themes found on Lost resonate with people from all walks of life, so we decided to create a website that would utilize the Lost Experience as a means of engaging with our culture about themes of faith, redemption and hope. Connecting with people via non-traditional means gives us an opportunity to share our faith in a way that is non-threatening or evasive.”

Funny, I don’t ever find Christ or the Apostles doing that.

There is no doubt that groupies of the Lost series notice a lot of spiritual content that follows an oriental mysticism pressing good against evil. Others have debated as to whether the island itself follows the Romanized teaching of purgatory. Certainly, the character Mr. Eko taking on the guise of a Roman priest adds some spiritual tone to the show. But truth? There’s none to be found, at least not in accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Brokaw comments when she says, “Outreach tools like www.TheLostExperience are great ways to explore the themes from a biblical perspective and use the pop culture phenomenon to truly reach the lost.”

Well, I disagree. Not only do these “non-traditional” means replace true evangelism, but such replaces the Gospel of Jesus Christ all together. Lost is not the Bible. Mr. Wagner of whatever church in Dallas Texas, needs to get out of the pulpit and into the pew if that is what he is teaching his congregation. And he is when he turns to the social Gospel. Traditionalism, or God’s unchanging and uncompromising character is always offensive to fallen man. It seems Wagner needs a theological lesson or two from the Scripture. Churches should be ashamed of themselves for purporting the Gospel of Jack, or of Sayid, or Letter of John of Locke to the churches in America. We don’t need the Gospel of Lost’s characters helping us out. Instead, I think, we simply need to evangelize the lost world by directing them to the Bible, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Wagner and his church are a lost bunch in more ways than one.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Controversial Movie

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

This just in –

In the June 16th issue of Entertainment Weekly Magazine, they list their picks on the secular market and the most controversial movies ever made.

If you were to choose number one, THE most controversial film ever produced and sent to the theater, what would you choose?

They chose the Passion of the Christ, by Mel Gibson. The plot – well, if you read the newspaper or an article concerning coming attractions, you know that this movie claims to portray the biblical passages concerning Christ’s last week, the passion week, into his crucifixion, death and burial. This 2004 monstrosity was directed by Mel Gibson to focus upon the betrayal, torture and crucifixion.

The controversy – Gibson’s intention (which is born of a hearty, warped and twisted understanding of the Bible) quote, “was to produce an unflinching depiction of Christ’s suffering on behalf of mankind.”

I have never seen Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ. I have no need to misplace my faith from the biblical text, which is God’s Word, to the Romanized reinterpretation of Gibson’s film.

There have been many evangelical leaders that have complimented Mr. Gibson on making this movie, and hearing from God to portray Christ in a visual manner. Hearing from God? Not really. No, not at all. This movie is simply another abomination in the sight of God in violating not only Holy Scripture (since the movie was not taken from a biblical account alone, but also in part from the 19th century diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich, and her work "The Mystical City of God" by St. Mary of Agreda) but also the first half of the second commandment which reads, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth…” (Exodus 20:4)

It is no doubt that modern 21st century Christians went to see the movie. It grossed $370 million dollars for Mel Gibson. However, with such an abominable film and its blatant disregard for God’s moral law, you would think professing Christians would send $370 million dollars to the third world, or desperately poor instead of being entertained.

Not only are evangelicals not keen enough to determine the importance behind changing the Scriptures, or violating the second commandment which is reiterated all through the Old and the New Testaments, but they also seem to have a grave problem with their Christology (i.e. their conceptions of the Biblical doctrines that answer the question - “Who is Jesus?”). Is ignorance bliss? Not in God’s eyes. The only way they can self-justify breaking the commandments of God in visually depicting Christ in any way whatsoever is to become part-time Nestorians. It’s the “Jesus was a man too” phenomena. That is exactly what well-meaning Christians are when they succumb to this kind of sly devilish twist in their Christological ideas. They need to repent, seek the forgiveness of God, and reject such things in the future as abominable sins. Evangelicals are not simply trampling on the historical orthodoxy of the Protestant Church when they see a movie like this that attempts to portray, in visual form, the man Christ, but they are precisely trampling on the last two-thousand years of Christology. They have, in fact, become Nestorians without even realizing it.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Skybox Tickets at Promise Keepers

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny SouthFlorida.

Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

This just in – Skybox – sports in the lap of luxury.

Skybox, have you ever been? Sports games are often watched in the lap of luxury with unlimited food, fun and usually debauchery of all sorts. I’ve heard the stories. It’s a keg party under the guise of class and sophistication in the skybox. It’s the “behind the door experience” for the rich, and a few lucky ones who might go along for the ride. Arenas offer first class luxury skybox tickets for a nominal fee. Miami Heat Skybox tickets run anywhere from $1000 to $1500 dollars. Boston Redsox skybox tickets run $1200 to $1750.

Promise Keeper’s is entertaining people this weekend with their “Unleashed: Releasing the raw power of your heart” conference. It’s held at the Bank Atlantic Center, the arena of the Florida Panthers.

A colleague at work said, “I’m going to the PK conference tonight. I have skybox seats. It should be a great time of fellowship.”

I have two questions for him.

1) How much were those seats? The Florida Panthers charge hundreds for skybox tickets. PK probably charges more. And

2) Will they be serving free beer and chips throughout the night?

If he comes in Monday with a hangover, I’ll already know the answer.This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Joel Osteen: False Teacher

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida.

Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

Do you know the two most popular admission tickets that Ticketmaster sells? U-2 is #1. And Joel Osteen is #2.

According to The Magazine for Church Business Administrators and Para Church Executives: The Church Report - The 50 Most Influential Christians in America has voted Joel Osteen in their #2 position.

Following the death of his father, in 1999, he took over as pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, despite having completed less than one year of college at Oral Roberts University and never having preached a sermon in his life. Who is more of the fool, the one stepping into a positionlike that, or those that allowed him to do so?

The O’Reily Factor interviewed Osteen in December 2004 where Osteen stated that while he is an ordained minister, he admitted to having no seminary training. This is not surprise. Osteen’s first book, Your Best Life Now: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, rose to number one on the New York Times “Best Sellers” list in December 2004. Hisbook is made up of principles to live by.

Principle 1) Enlarge Your Vision. He says, “In other words, God wants to make your life easier. He wants to assist you, to promote you, to give you advantages” (38). God seems to bethe great CEO in the sky.

Principle 2) is “Developing a Healthy Self-image.” Quoting the Message, a heretical twisting of the Scriptures, Osteen says, “The modern-day biblical paraphrase The Message related the story about the blind men with an interesting twist: ‘[Jesus] touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.”’…Are you believing to go higher in life, to rise above your obstacles, to live in health, abundance, healing, and victory? You will become what you believe” (76). Osteen says, “God doesn’t want you to drag through life, barely making it….It is not His preference for you to live in perpetual pain….Become a true believer, knowing that youwill become what you believe” (76).

Principle 3) “Discover the Power of Your Thoughts and Words.” “Our words become self-fulfilling prophecies. If you allow your thoughts to defeat you and then give birth to negative ideas through your words, your actions will follow suit. That’s why we need to be extremely careful about what we think and especially careful about what we say….Your words have enormous creative power. The moment you speak something out, you give birth to it” (121–22, 129). He says, “If you are facing sickness today, you should confirm God’s Word concerning healing. Say something such as, ‘Father, I thank You that You promised me in Psalms that I will live and not die and I will declare the works of the Lord.’ As you boldly declare it, you are confirming that truth in your own life” (130). If you can’t stomach these, then don’t despair, Osteen will feed you more in the other principles he has ready for unsuspecting and gullible people to feedon.

Larry King interviewed Osteen on June 20, 2005. King askedOsteen if he always believed the Gospel.

Osteen said, “Ihave always believed…I just grew up believing.”

King asked, “But you're not fire and brimstone, right? You'renot pound the decks and hell and dam nation?”

Osten said,“No. That's not me. It's never been me. I've always been an encourager at heart. I don't believe in that. I don't believe -- maybe it was for a time. But I don't have it in my heart to condemn people. I'm there to encourage them. I see myself more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has for us.”

KING: So you didn't go to seminary?

OSTEEN: No, sir, I didn't.

KING: They can just make you a minister?

OSTEEN: You can, you can.

KING: That's kind of an easy way in.

OSTEEN: Yeah, but I think it happens more than you think. But I didn't go to seminary.

KING: So the church in a sense ordained you?

OSTEEN: Right. And then you're ordained through the State of Texas.

KING: And when are you on television?

OSTEEN: We're on different times. We're in the top 25 markets on one of the network stations.

KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

Can we say anything else that would biblically condemn this man other than simply pointing out that false teachers abound, and Osteen is among the most popular? One of the most popular methods of preaching today by evangelicals is to leave out the law entirely and to present only the Gospel. Antinomians do this. However, Osteen conveniently leaves out both the Law and the Gospel in his preaching. Osteen orates about self-esteem.

He is, for all intents and purposes, a New Age guru, propagating anti-Christian philosophies of self-betterment in an arena which reflects little more than a pep rally. For Osteen, God is seen as the Cosmic Bellhop that wants you to live your best life now, and Jesus is the Cheerleader who roots for you on the sidelines as His star quarterback.

However, this kind of teaching is a mockery to God. God will not stand for it. He will allow and does allow false teachers to inflict the world with the agony of error and heresy, but God has a day of reckoning in which He will require the life of these false prophets and their children. Jeremiah 23:1, "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!" says the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: "You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings," says the LORD.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.