Thursday, May 27, 2010

Philippine cults (01): Iglesia ni Cristo

Note: Mike Mislan, missionary to the Philippines and founder-president of San Marcelino Baptist Bible Seminary in Zambales, wrote this article. You can download his complete article in Word document format (six pages, 676 kbytes).

Jump to History of the INC; Good times but false claims; How the INC got its name; Doctrines of the INC; An example of their deceptions; A few doctrinal refutations: As God, Christ preexisted as a person and As God, Christ was not a created being.


In many ways, Iglesia ni Cristo is a “Christian” denomination. They use the Word of God as their authority, hold worship services and prayer meetings in their churches, are strict on standards and church discipline, and recognize Christ as the only Savior. But this is where it ends. In this lesson we will expose the false claims made by INC that they are the true church and will also show how their teachings are in error according to the Scriptures.

1. The history of the INC

After more than 300 years of Spanish rule and forced Catholicism, the signing of the “Treaty of Paris” in 1898, had transferred Spain’s sovereignty of the Philippines over to the United States. This liberation had resulted in a search for Filipino identity, and a love for things “American.” And it was in this setting, that “Iglesia ni Cristo” was started. . . . Felix Manalo, a Filipino, was just 12 years old when this treaty was signed. Born on May 10th, 1886, Brgy Tipas, Taguig, South East Shore of Laguna Bay, he was in the right place at the right time. Not only was he already being recognized as a leader in school, but in his subsequent search for truth, he was already familiar with the teachings of Catholism, the Methodists, Presbyterians, Christian Mission (the Church of Christ), Seventh Day Adventists (he was once a pastor there), and finally started a church of his own, with Philippine centrality. While he had a few morality problems, and a hard start, the political, social and religious climate of his times, created the perfect environment to launch his “Philippine” church and his Church’s growth confirms that this movement has been very successful.

2. Good times but false claims

As time went on, due to questions being raised about his authority (as the physical head of his church he was not sent out from any known denomination and his theology was different), Felix Manalo had to make some claims to give himself needed credibility. He projected his new church as the only true church, by using the following texts which he claimed proved (1) Christ’s church had became deceived and corrupted (he used the Catholic church as an example), (2) that there are “other sheep” that God would gather to reform the True Church, and (3) that this true church would be from “far off” and from the “east” which when placed together, is “far-east” or “the Philippines.”

“Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people... I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.. the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for whom the Lord our God will call.. I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up! and to the daughters from the ends of the earth” (Mat.24:11, Jn.10:16, Acts 2:39, Isa.43:5-6)

When a criminal writes a ransom note, sometimes he will cut words out of a newspaper or magazine and then paste them onto another paper to create his own note. He does this to avoid having his handwriting analyzed by experts who may identify him. In the same way, Iglesia ni Cristo has done this with Scripture. They have cut verses out of the Bible, placed them in a different order, and then pasted them together into their publications to create their own note. And according to this note, we still do not see any proof that INC is the “other sheep” or the true church, or that Felix Manalo is God’s prophet in the Philippines. If INC must play with the Scriptures to find their authority, they will also play with the Scriptures to create their own doctrines! But there is more....

When Manalo’s leadership was again challenged, he realized that he needed to add credibility, not just to his church, but to himself as a prophet. So he searched the Scriptures and came up with some more verses to prove that he was an “angel from the east” or the divine messenger from Philippines. And again, as you can see, these verses prove nothing.

“angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God.. Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country..(Rev.7:2, Isa.46:11)”

Finally, in a desperate attempt to seal his authority, Manalo claimed that prophecies of Revelation chapters six and seven were of the First Word War, and that He as well as four other world leaders are mentioned, (Rev.7:1-3).

And after these things I saw four angels (Lyod George of Great Britain, Clemenceau of France, Orlando of Italy, and president Thomas Woodrow Wilson of the United States) standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.. And I saw another angel ascending from the east (none other than, guess who? Manalo in the Philippines), having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice (Manalo claims he started preaching at this time).. to the four angels (he actually never met them!).. saying “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”

It is interesting to take note that FM stopped at verse three. Why three? Because verse four identifies these “sealed servants” as being from the “children of Israel” and not Asian Gentiles.

“And ... the number of them which were sealed … were …of all the tribes of the children of Israel …”

At this point, I want to make it very clear that INC DOES play with Scripture to add credibility to themselves and to their doctrines, and that proofs of this can be found in almost all their editions of “Pasugo”.

Jump to History of the INC; Good times but false claims; Doctrines of the INC; An example of their deceptions; A few doctrinal refutations: As God, Christ preexisted as a person and As God, Christ was not a created being.

How the INC got its name

NOTE: Their name, “Iglesia ni Cristo” or the “Church of Christ” was taken from Rom.16:16, which reads “..The churches of Christ salute you.” But this term did not refer to any specific NT church, was never used as a denominational name, and the word “church” was not capitalized proving it was not a Name. Instead, local NT congregations were mostly identified by their location, such as the “Church of Antioch” (Acts 11:26), “Churches of Asia” - several here (1st Cor.16:19, Rev.1:11), “The Church that is in Babylon” (1st Pet.5:13), Caearea (Acts 18:22), Cenchrea (Rom.16:1), Colosse (Col.1:2), Corinth (1st Cor.1:2), Ephesus (Acts 20:17), churches of Galatia - several more (Gal.1:2), Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), Judea (Gal 1:22), Lacodicea (Col.4:15), Macedonia (2nd Cor.8:1), Pergamos (Rev.2:12), Philadelphia (Rev.3:7), Philippi (Phil.1:1), Rome (Rom.1:17), house of Pricilla and Aquilla (Rom.16:3-5, 1st Cor.16:19), house of Philemon (Philem.1-2), house of Lydia (Acts 16:40), Sardis (Rev.3:1), Smyrna (Rev.2:8), Thyatira (Rev.2:18), Thessalonica (1st Thes.1:1), etc.

3. The doctrines of INC

While INC believes that Christ is the Savior and mediator, they also believe that as a man, He was the first one God created and therefore cannot be the creator. They also believe that before His birth, Christ did not exist as a person with the Father, but was only in existence as a “thought” or “plan” in God’s mind. Their salvation is a combination of faith, baptism, and obedience to church Teachings, which comes from their church leaders who are gifted to properly interpret the Scriptures, and of whom also publish their teachings in the Pasugo magazine and other literature. Their buildings are large and beautiful, funded by the tithes and offerings of the membership, and an annual Thanksgiving Offering, as well as from offerings of their other congregations. Church discipline is strict, faithfulness to the services is essential, and they seem sincere in their beliefs, although the leadership in my opinion is deceptive.

An example of their deceptions

Here is a perfect example of how Iglesia ni Cristo can take verses out of context to teach a false doctrine taken from their March 97 edition of “Pasugo”. While we all know that James teaches good works are the proofs of real salvation, INC wants to twist his teachings to support their “works” approach. Observe carefully how they accomplish this . . . .
“What we advocate, which is vouched by the Holy Bible, is that faith coupled with works based on God’s teachings makes one righteous before God.” “You see, then, that it by his actions that a person is put right with God, and not by faith alone. It was the same with the prostitute Rahab. She was put right with God through her actions..” (James 2:24-25)
While this text seem to support their teaching, it is very deceptive. This is because they deliberately left out the preceding verse which showed that Abraham’s FAITH had made him righteous and not his works!
“And the Scripture came true that said, Abraham believed God and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous. And so Abraham was called God's friend”

This is very typical of all INC’s publications! But unlike their ransom note where they re-arranged verses before pasting them into their Pasugo, here, they just left them out!

NOTE: Have you even noticed how INC uses different Bible Translations during their “Ang Tamang Daan” and other broadcasts on NET 25, or in their Pasugo publications? They will use whichever version best supports their views! The different versions listed were all used in one of their Pasugos!

Jump to History of the INC; Good times but false claims; How the INC got its name; Doctrines of the INC; An example of their deceptions; A few doctrinal refutations: As God, Christ preexisted as a person and As God, Christ was not a created being.

A few doctrinal refutations

While we agree with INC that Christ was a man, we disagree that He was a man only. Following are some basic Scriptural proofs that Christ existed as a Person before He was born in the flesh, and also some texts that show He was never a created being. Other proofs of His deity will be presented in future lessons.

As God, Christ preexisted as a person.

1. Christ possessed a memory of having actually lived before His birth: In John 17:5, Christ asked God to glorify him with the glory he had with His Father before the world was created. “And now O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee BEFORE THE WORD WAS.” Before the world was even created, Christ had possessed a memory that was able to remember what this glory was, the enjoyment it had brought Him, where it came from, and when He had received it. None of these things would have been possible, if Christ personally was not in existence before the world was created.

2. Christ existed as a person before Abraham: In John 8:56-58, Christ said “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus sayeth unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him..” Here, Christ was able to see Abraham, know him, observe his faith, and remember him, again proving, that Christ was actually and personally in existence during the time of Abraham and was not just in “God’s mind” or “plans.”

3. Christ as a person could think for himself before he was born: Phil.2:5-8 teaches us that before Christ became a man, that He “in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant to be made in the likeness of men.” This proves that before Christ was born, He was capable of thinking and making His own decisions. Only a real person can think for himself.

4. Christ enjoyed preincarnate riches: According to the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor.8:9, Christ was rich but “became poor for our sakes.” Since Christ was never “rich” during His earthly ministry, this is referring to the heavenly glory He had enjoyed before His birth. This again proves that Christ was in existence as a person before His birth.

5. Christ came down from heaven: Christ said in John, that He is “the Bread of Life that came down from heaven” (Jn.6:33, 35, 38, 48, 50, 51, 58). How could He come down FROM heaven if He had not already been there? Also in John 7:29, Christ says of His Father, “I KNOW Him, for I am FROM Him, and He hath SENT Me.” This proves that Christ knew His Father when His Father sent Him into this world. This would not have been possible unless Christ had a relationship with His Father, BEFORE and during the time He was sent.

Jump to History of the INC; Good times but false claims; How the INC got its name; Doctrines of the INC; An example of their deceptions; A few doctrinal refutations: As God, Christ preexisted as a person.

As God, Christ was not a created being.

1. He was from everlasting: In Mat.2:6, when the wise men were looking for the place where Christ was to be born, they looked up the Old Testament Scripture of Micah 5:2 where the Prophet Isaiah revealed that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem. The last part of Micah says that the origin of Christ has “been from the old, FROM EVERLASTING.” “From everlasting” means that Christ was always in existence and had never been created. This provides clear proof that Christ never could have been created, as He “always was.”

2. He was before all things: Another clear proof that we have that Christ could not have been created is found in Col.1:7 which says that “He is before ALL things.” This means that nothing ever had existed before Him.

3. He created all things: As the Creator who created ALL things, Christ could have never been created. “For by him (JESUS) were ALL things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth...” (Col.1:16). “And Thou, Lord (JESUS), in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” (Heb.1:10). Later in following lessons, we will see that there is abundant Scriptural evidence which proves that Christ was the creator.

4. As creator he is the everlasting God: As the “Creator” Christ also has the attributes or special characteristics that only the creator could have. According to Isa.40:28, the Creator was also the “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth..” This should not really surprise us because already we have seen in Micah 5:2 that His origin was “from everlasting.”

5. He was called God by many who knew him: God stated in Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Yet Jesus is called the “mighty God” and the “Everlasting Father” by Isaiah (Isa.9:6), “God with us” by both Matthew and Isaiah (Mat.1:23, Isa.7:14, 8:8-10) “God” who was “made flesh and dwelt among us” by John (Jn.1:1-14), “My God” by Thomas (Jn 20:28), “O God” by the Father Himself (Heb.1:8) and “Lord God Almighty” by the heavenly hosts (Rev.4:8).

6. He had no earthly father: Existing as a Person even before creation (Jn.17:5), he was taken from His former abode in heaven (Jn.6:38) delivered into the womb of Mary (Lk.6:31) by the Holy Ghost (Lk.1:31,35) to become “God in the flesh” by being born of a woman (Lk.2:6-7, Mat.1:23). While professional INC debaters try to respond that Jesus only had the Spirit of God within him, and therefore was not actually God, they cannot explain why Christians today also have the spirit of God, yet have HUMAN fathers. Of all humans born, Christ ALONE was conceived by God Himself and not Joseph or any man. Thus, historically, Biblically, and even genetically, all available evidence points to Christ being both man and God.

7. He was worshipped as God: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me ... thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them, for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God” (read Ex.20:3-5). When Peter was worshipped he responded, “stand up, I myself am only a man” (Acts 10:25-26). Yet Christ was worshipped at His birth by men who the Bible calls “wise” (Mat.2:2), during His ministry by a leper (Mat.8:2), “a certain ruler” (Mat.9:18), by His own disciples and shipmates when he calmed the sea (Mat.14:33), by a “woman of Canaan” (Mat.15:21-25), by Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" (28:1-,17) again by His disciples as He appeared to them after His resurrection (Mk.5:6) by a healed blind man (Jn.9:38), during his ascension into heaven (Lk.24:52) before His future Throne (Rev.5:12-14), will be bowed down to during the judgment (Phil.2:10), and is called God by His own Father (Heb.1:8), who commanded the angels to worship Him (Heb.1:6).

Jump to History of the INC; Good times but false claims; How the INC got its name; Doctrines of the INC; An example of their deceptions; A few doctrinal refutations: As God, Christ preexisted as a person and As God, Christ was not a created being.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Philippine cults (02): Ang Dating Daan

Note: Mike Mislan, missionary to the Philippines and founder-president of San Marcelino Baptist Bible Seminary in Zambales, wrote these articles. You can download his complete article in Word document format (six pages long, 456 kbytes).

Jump to Bro. Eli F. Soriano; their church name; Their Trinity is a different Trinity; Christ is not a personal saviour; ADD salvation resembles the Mormon Gospel; Their baptism is like that of Roman Catholics; Their salvation is like the INC; They are part of the Jerusalem church.


In several ways, Ang Dating Daan (ADD) is like any other Christian church. And according to their ‘aim’ (or purpose), “the most important goal of this religious organization is to propagate the true and everlasting Gospel of Christ, convert sinners to believe and glorify God, religiously follow righteousness as their way of life, and to be law abiding citizens recognizing the fundamental laws of the land they live in (Eph. 2:12-13; Acts 26:18; 14:15; 17:29; Roma 13: 1-7; I Pet. 2:13; Prov. 8:15-16).” Also, based upon their leader, Brother Eli F. Soriano, the Bible is their final authority for faith and practice: “Everything that we must do is contained in the Bible. The Bible will serve as our guide to salvation. We are not teaching anything which is not taught by the Bible.” But this is where the similarities end. . . . . While ADD baptizes in the Name of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, they do not believe that these three divine Persons” are equally God. They also teach a faith plus works salvation. And recently, there have been some complaints from former members, that Brother Eli F. Soriano has personal bank accounts of US dollars, illegally obtained from their church offerings.

1. Brother Eli F. Soriano

Most religions which advertise themselves, usually include the background of their pastor or founder. But on the official web page of Ang Dating Daan, we found nothing mentioned of Brother Eli F. Soriano’s background. From his TV outreaches, attitudes and debates, it appears that he may have been raised a Catholic, and then later became associated with Iglesia ni Cristo - but this is only speculation. He also was a member of the PNP-CHS but it is unknown if he only used these credentials to increase his authority, or if he actually had lectured to the PNP. Many of his former members have complained of his personal use of church money, and of his aggressive methods of collections. At least one TV network has alleged that he has personal bank accounts containing thousands of US dollars, and there are comic books that resemble “Chick” which exposes Brother Eli F. Soriano for his money secrets. Ang Dating Daan calls him the “most sensible and controversial preacher on earth” and he certainly is “controversial.” In fact, just as comedians imitate President GMA on TV, they have done the same to Bro. Eli F. Soriano!

Jump to Their Trinity is a different Trinity; Christ is not a personal saviour; ADD salvation resembles the Mormon Gospel; Their baptism is like that of Roman Catholics; Their salvation is like the INC; They are part of the Jerusalem church.

2. Their church name

According to ADD, the name that a religious group gives themselves, must be a special name that shows God’s ownership over the church. They also believe that such names as Baptist, Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, are names that indicate their rebellion against Christ’s ownership over the church. And still again, that just because a church calls themselves Iglesia ni Cristo or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is not proof that they are the True Church because any minister can start his own church and call it anything he wants.

“...God’s city and God’s people will be called by His name. In other words, the people of God … the organization that is of God … the city of God … will be called by His name. And, it is but proper that it be called by the name of God. Did God agree that His people and His city be called by His name? In II Chro. 7:14, it says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.”
According to Brother Eli F. Soriano, and also their SEC registration papers of April 21st, 1995, the true name of God’s Church is the “IGLESIA NI YHWH AT NI YHWSA HMSYH,” or THE CHURCH OF GOD IN JESUS CHRIST (literally, “the Church of God and Jesus Christ”).
“Everyone must make himself a part of the Church, which is written in the Bible – The CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS, PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH.”

Bro. Eli F. Soriano gets this name from the following passage of 1st Tim.3:15

But if I tarrry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughest behave thyself in the
house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.”
But notice. . .

1. No capitalized letters: But notice in this phrase "the church of the living God" that the letters are not capitalized. This shows that it was not actually a name of God's church, but was only a description of this church.

2. Not the name: Also it does not read The CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS - but the “church of the living God.”

3. NT churches were known by different names: NT churches were called by several names and some did not even have a name! “The church that is in their house” (Rom.16:5), “church which is at Cenchrea” (Acts 13:1), “church that was at Antioch” (Acts 13:1), and the “Church of God” followed by their location or where they met, such as “the church of God at Corinth” (Acts 20:28, 1 Cor.1:2, 10:32, 11:22, 15:9, 2 Cor.1:1, Gal.1:13, 2nd Tim.3:5). Another name mentioned once was “church of the firstborn” (Heb.12:23). But as persecutions began, some were called “ana-baptists” because they had rebaptized their converts. But nowhere do we see “IGLESIA NI YHWH AT NI YHWSA HMSYH” even in the Hebrew!

Jump to Bro. Eli F. Soriano; their church name; Christ is not a personal saviour; ADD salvation resembles the Mormon Gospel; Their baptism is like that of Roman Catholics; Their salvation is like the INC; They are part of the Jerusalem church.

3. Their Trinity is a different Trinity.

According to Brother Eli F. Soriano, Christ has a lower rank than His Father, and therefore is a lesser God. This is why in their Articles of faith, they call the Father "THE" almighty God, but the Son “A mighty God” only..
“We believe in the almighty God, the Father, the Creator of the universe, in Christ Jesus, the Father’s begotten son, a true and Mighty God, the only savior of mankind and the only way to the Kingdom of God in heaven (Acts 14:15; I Cor. 8:5-7; John 14:6; 14:1). ”
A. Christ’s lower position was voluntary because He needed to become our sacrifice: According to the Bible, Christ's subservient position was not due to Him being any less God than His Father, but was due to His willful submission in becoming our Sacrifice, when he “made Himself of no reputation” (Eph.2:7).

B. All organization requires position: In the military, each soldier is not the same rank. Some, with more responsibility are officers, while others with less responsibility are enlisted men. These ranks are needed so that individuals with specialized offices or responsibilities can function as a team. But this does not mean that a Corporal is any less human than the General. Both the General and the Corporal are both fully human. In the same way, God as Father, and Christ as Son, are both fully God. Rank, responsibility, or office has nothing to do with the essence or nature of a person. In the same way, God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are all fully God in essence and nature. Just because the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son, and the Son glorifies the Father, does not mean that the Holy Spirit is less God than the Son, and that the Son is less God that the Father.

C. Christ’s attributes confirm He is equal with the Father: In our last lesson in Major Doctrines of the Faith, we will see that Christ, as well as the Holy Spirit, are fully God in their Divine nature and essence, based upon their attributes which prove them to be fully God.

Jump to Bro. Eli F. Soriano; their church name; Their Trinity is a different Trinity; ADD salvation resembles the Mormon Gospel; Their baptism is like that of Roman Catholics; Their salvation is like the INC; They are part of the Jerusalem church.

4. Christ is not a personal saviour.

When we as Baptists refer to Christ as our “personal savior” we mean that there was a time in our life when we had personally called upon Him for salvation, that it was something we did from our hearts, and that it was a personal decision that we had made. But according to Bro. Eli F. Soriano, Christ is NOT a personal savior and does not save this way. Instead, Christ saves His Church, and the only way you can be saved is by being a member of this church. He bases this on Eph.5:23 which reads:
“For as the husband is head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the
church: and he is saviour of the body.“ Eph.5:23
NOTE: This is also a text used by INC.

A. Bible teaches calling only: Many verses teach that a person can be saved by calling upon the Lord for salvation: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom.10:13). “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom.10:9-10). There is nothing here on calling upon Christ through the church to be saved.

B. NT order: The NT order has always been, to personally receive Him as savior, and then to publicly demonstrate it through baptism.
ACTS 2:38 . . . . Repent and be baptized
ACTS 2:41 . . . . Then they that gladly received the Word were baptized
ACTS 6:12 . . . . When they believed..they were baptized
ACTS 8:37 . . . . If thou believest with all thine heart, they mayest [be baptized]
ACTS 10:47. . . These should. . . be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost.
C. Saviour of the body: This phrase of “He is the savior of the body“ does not specifically mean a local church. It can also be referring to the church as the full body of believers who have been born of the spirit.
“...for there is one body, and one Spirit... One Lord, one faith, one baptism.. the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven... for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven..then we.. shall meet the Lord in the air.... that He might present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle..... for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready...” (Eph.4:4-6, Heb.12:23,1st Thes.4:16-17, Eph.5:27, Rev.19:6-7)
D. A believer can go to hell! According to Bro. Eli F. Soriano, if a person calls upon Christ but has no church in his area, or gets into a fatal accident and dies before he can join, he is not saved and will go to hell. This contradicts many Scriptures, and makes Christ a liar when he granted salvation to the thief on the cross (Lk.23:43)! NOTE: All true believers should want to get baptized into a good church. If they have no desire to obey Him, they probably are not really saved!

Jump to Bro. Eli F. Soriano; their church name; Their Trinity is a different Trinity; Christ is not a personal saviour; Their baptism is like that of Roman Catholics; Their salvation is like the INC; They are part of the Jerusalem church.

5. ADD salvation resembles the Mormon “Gospel”.

According to their “aim” as listed in their official web page . . . . .
the most important goal of this religious organization is to propagate the true and EVERLASTING GOSPEL of Christ convert sinners to believe and glorify God, religiously follow righteousness as their way of life, and to be law abiding citizens recognizing the fundamental laws of the land they live in. (Eph.2:12-13; Acts 26:18; 14:15; 17:29; Rom. 13: 1-7; I Pet. 2:13; Prov. 8:15-16).”
And also in Section Four of their Doctrinal Statement:
Section 4: “We believe that the Gentile nations including the Philippines, are partakers of the promise, the eternal life, through belief in Christ Jesus AND THE GOSPEL. . ”
This phrase “through belief in Christ Jesus and the Gospel” shows that according to ADD theology, believing on Christ is not the same thing as believing in the gospel. It also implies that requirements can be added to this "gospel" just as the Mormons have done to their gospel. But the Bible teaches that we are not to receive a different gospel (Gal.1:8-9). And this “good news” was that Christ had became our needed sacrifice (1st Cor.15:1-22, Heb.9).

Jump to Bro. Eli F. Soriano; their church name; Their Trinity is a different Trinity; Christ is not a personal saviour; ADD salvation resembles the Mormon Gospel; Their salvation is like the INC; They are part of the Jerusalem church.

6. Their baptism is like that of Roman Catholicism.

From the writings of Bro. Eli F. Soriano....
Acts 22:16, it says, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” According to the Bible, the “washing” refers to “baptism.” Therefore, being “born again” commences with being born of water and of the spirit. And Biblically speaking, it refers to baptism. Man must be immersed into the water, and having imbibed with the words and teachings of God, he will be washed clean from his sinfulness.
However . . .
• NT baptism was closely associated with salvation: NT baptism was always closely associated with salvation. This is because only those who were really saved were willing to be publicly marked (and persecuted) through baptism.

• NT baptism is a picture of sins being washed away: When the new convert went down into the water, was submerged, and was then raised up, a re-enactment of his sins being washed away by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ was publicly demonstrated. But this picture does not mean that we can wash away our sins by baptism.

• Pauls writing proves that baptism cannot wash away sins: Paul himself said: “For Christ sent me NOT to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1st Cor.1:17). Certainly if baptism was essential for salvation, Paul would not have said this.

• Calling upon the name of the Lord is what really saved them: While Paul said “be baptized and wash away thy sins” this was only referring to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ which removes sins. It was actually the “calling upon the name of the Lord” that saved them. “For whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom.10:13).
Jump to Bro. Eli F. Soriano; their church name; Their Trinity is a different Trinity; Christ is not a personal saviour; ADD salvation resembles the Mormon Gospel; Their baptism is like that of Roman Catholics; They are part of the Jerusalem church.

7. Their salvation is like the INC.

From the writings of Bro. Eli F. Soriano....
“The Bible teaches (there is) only one church that each of us must join, for us to be saved by Jesus Christ. If there are Gentiles who want to go back to God, to be worthy of salvation which will come from our Lord Jesus Christ, they must make themselves a part of the body, or the Church. And all of those who claim that the church is no longer necessary are all liars and deceivers! Do you want to be a part of our Lord’s salvation come judgment day? The Bible teaches us how. Everyone must make himself a part of the Church, which is written in the Bible – The CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS, PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH.”
As we have seen, joining a church cannot save a person, or add to someone’s salvation. Part of the problem with ADD theology, is their failure to make distinctions between (1) the local church (such as the Church of Jerusalem, Corinth, etc.), (2) the institutionalized church (the church as an institution which can apply to all local churches) and the (3) church universal (the future assembly of all the saved during rapture). By taking a teaching of the universal church and wrongfully applying it to the local church, the wrong doctrinal conclusions are reached.

Jump to Bro. Eli F. Soriano; their church name; Their Trinity is a different Trinity; Christ is not a personal saviour; ADD salvation resembles the Mormon Gospel; Their baptism is like that of Roman Catholics; Their salvation is like the INC.

8. They are part of the Jerusalem church.

Since ADD believes that their church is originally from the Jerusalem Church which Christ has saved, Bro. Eli F. Soriano believes that all others outside themselves, are lost. And since ADD believes that baptism and church membership are essential for salvation, and that God the Father and God the Son are not equal, any church which disagrees with them, cannot be from Jerusalem. In a way, they are no different than the Mormons, INC, JW's and other groups who claim exclusive rights to salvation.

But who with Jerusalem Church authority had ordained Bro. Eli F. Soriano as a missionary? Which churches or denominations does Bro. Eli F. Soriano believe had this Jerusalem Church authority before he registered his own church in 1995? Why didn't he go and unite with them for his own salvation before he went out to organize his own church? In other words, if IGLESIA NI YHWH AT NI YHWSA HMSYH claims that they have somehow descended from this church at Jerusalem, they themselves should have united and submitted to their mother church which had this authority, before going out to establish their own. In this sense, Bro. Eli F. Soriano had actually contradicted his own teachings.
“For instance, there are pastors who established their own organizations, and then, they attached God’s name to it. It does not follow that, if an organization bears the name of God, it is already of God.... The truth is, God did not give any right to anybody to build his own church. It is indeed disgusting that today, a lot of ministers build churches of their own. They deliberately oppose and defy what the Bible said – that, the Gentiles, like us, must join or make ourselves a part of the body, or the Church, for us to be saved. ”
As a Gentile, which church did Bro. Eli F. Soriano make himself a part, before he went out and started his own church?

Jump to Bro. Eli F. Soriano; their church name; Their Trinity is a different Trinity; Christ is not a personal saviour; ADD salvation resembles the Mormon Gospel; Their baptism is like that of Roman Catholics; Their salvation is like the INC; They are part of the Jerusalem church.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Power and Authority of Preaching

“Thats My King” (play the MP3 in a popup window; download the MP3 or the PDF)

Dr. Shadrach Meshach (S.M.) Lockridge (March 7, 1913 – April 4, 2000) was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, a prominent African-American congregation located in San Diego, California, from 1953 to 1993. He was known for his preaching across the United States and around the world, especially for sermons “That’s My King” and It’s Friday but Sundays Coming.

What is preaching all about?

One resource I highly recommend to you is the book
"Preaching and Preachers" by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. In page 97, Lloyd-Jones defined preaching:

“What is preaching? Logic on fire! Eloquent reason! It is theology on fire! Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A true understanding and experience of the Truth must lead on to this. A man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsoever to be in a pulpit; and should never be allowed to enter one.

What is the chief end of preaching? It is to give men and women a sense of God and His presence.”
Perhaps A.W. Tozer said it best with regards preachers and preaching. Decades ago, Tozer declared in his essay “The Old Cross and The New” that preachers are not diplomats but prophets and their message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

Posted below are excerpts of the commencement address and charge to the graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered December 12, 2008 in Alumni Chapel by R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President. Setting aside for the moment the differences which independent Baptists have with the SBC, Mohler’s message (edited version is in his website; audio also available) defines excellently what preaching is all about.

In 1971, just six years after being invited to teach New Testament and preaching at the Graduate Seminary of Phillips University, Fred Craddock put his thoughts on preaching into a book. That book, As One Without Authority, launched something of a revolution in preaching. Craddock proposed that preaching was on trial in the contemporary church, and that it was fast becoming an anachronism.

He reflected that the church might "celebrate the memory of preaching in ways appropriate to her gratitude and to affix plaques on old pulpits as an aid to those who tour the churches." Yet, he warned, "the church cannot live on the thin diet of fond memories."

Why did Craddock see such disaster for the pulpit? Among other contributing factors, Craddock cited "the loss of certainty and the increase in tentativeness on the part of the preacher."

As he explained:

Rarely, if ever, in the history of the church have so many firm periods slumped into commas and so many triumphant exclamation marks curled into question marks. Those who speak with strong conviction on a topic are suspected of the heresy of premature finality. Permanent temples are to be abandoned as houses of idolatry; the true people of God are in tents again. It is the age of journalistic theology; even the Bible is out in paperback.

The result:

As a rule, younger ministers are keenly aware of the factors discussed above, and their preaching reflects it. Their predecessors ascended the pulpit to speak of the eternal certainties, truths etched forever in the granite of absolute reality, matters framed for proclamation, not for discussion. But where have all the absolutes gone? The old thunderbolts rust in the attic while the minister tries to lead his people through the morass of relativities and proximate possibilities, and the difficulties involved in finding and articulating a faith are not the congregation's alone; they are the minister's as well. How can he preach with a changing mind? How can he, facing new situations by the hour, speak the approximate word? He wants to speak and yet he needs more time for more certainty before speaking. His is often the misery of one who is always pregnant but never ready to give birth.

Craddock's eloquent way of describing this looming disaster in the pulpit still impresses. Periods turned to commas and exclamation points curled into question marks; thunderbolts left in the attic as the preacher suffers as one pregnant but never able to give birth. This is an eloquent warning, but it is a seductive eloquence.

Professor Craddock's warning retains the ring of the contemporary almost four decades after it was sounded. His description of the pulpit's problem remains cogent and even prophetic when we observe the emaciated state of preaching in far too many churches. The last thing one expects to hear from many pulpits is a thunderbolt.

The title of Craddock's book says it all -- As One Without Authority. The biblical reference is all too clear. In Matthew 7:28-29 we read: "And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes."

Thus concludes the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew has just taken us through the Sermon and we have heard Jesus set forth a vision of life in the Kingdom of God that transcends our moral imagination and explodes our theological comforts. We thought we knew what God required of us. No murder and no adultery, for example. But Jesus now demands no anger and no lust. "You have heard it was said," he begins, "but I say to you," he concludes.

Jesus refused to act like an argumentative theologian or a speculative moralist. He rejected rabbinical reasoning and moral casuistry. He warns of hell and commands that we love our enemies. He warns us not to trust our bank accounts or retirement plans but to lay up treasures in heaven. He reminds us that we cannot add a day to our lives nor an inch to our height, but assures us that our heavenly Father will clothe us in more glory than the lilies of the field and care for us even more than he cares for the birds of the air.

He tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and promises that all these things will be added to us. We are instructed to judge a tree by its fruit, even as we shall be judged. We are to build our house upon a rock and not upon the sand, for the house on the rock stands while the house on the sand falls, "and great was the fall of it."

Jesus has turned our world upside down. The ones we thought were blessed are now cursed, and the ones we saw as cursed are promised to be blessed. We hear Jesus warn that some who sure look like prophets are false, and hear him say that his judgment will be definitive -- "I never knew you."

Then we hear from the crowd: "And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes."

The radical nature of Jesus' ministry and teaching is on full display here -- and it is all established upon his own authority. When Jesus teaches, he does not cite human authorities, enter into irrelevant debates, or cushion his words. He speaks on his own authority. He will make that authority clear by healing the sick, casting our demons, staring down the religious authorities, and, most clearly, by forgiving sins. At the end of Matthew's gospel, he will announce that all authority in heaven and on earth has been granted him, and he will send his disciples out into the world as ambassadors of the Gospel.

This is all about authority. There would be no Gospel but for the display of this authority. There would be no church, no salvation, no forgiveness of sins, no hope.

Matthew tells us that the crowds were astonished at his teaching -- astonished. They had never seen or heard anything like this. Every teacher they had ever heard cited other teachers as authorities. Their teachers hemmed and hawed, proposed and retracted, pitted one interpretation against another, and left themselves room for qualification.

The crowds recognized that Jesus teaches with an authority that is unprecedented and singular. He was teaching "as one who had authority, and not as their scribes."

The scribes were the licensed teachers of the law. They interpreted the law by investigating precedent and tradition. Their rulings were approximate and carefully hedged. Nothing was conclusive. Tradition was placed upon tradition; interpretation laid alongside interpretation.

Jesus has already told the crowd that their righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees. Now, the crowd sees that the scribes' authority is also just not enough. Once they have heard Jesus, they will never again listen to one without authority -- nor should they.

The situation Fred Craddock described still defines far too many pulpits today. His prescription was inductive preaching -- preaching that leaves the big questions unanswered; that lets the congregation come to its own conclusion. This is not the method of Jesus. Jesus uses induction in his teaching, but he never leaves the big questions unanswered, nor can we. He speaks as God. We speak as His preachers.

The preacher's authority is a delegated authority, but a real authority. We are assigned the task of feeding the flock of God, of teaching the church, of preaching the Word. We do not speak as one who possesses authority, but as one who is called to serve the church by proclaiming, expounding, applying, and declaring the Word of God. We are those who have been called to a task and set apart for mission; as vessels who hold a saving message even as earthen vessels hold water.

Our authority is not our own. We are called to the task of preaching the Bible, in season and out of season. We are rightly to divide the Word of truth, and to teach the infinite riches of the Word of God. There are no certainties without the authority of the Scripture. We have nothing but commas and question marks to offer if we lose confidence in the inerrant and infallible Word of God. There are no thunderbolts where the Word of God is subverted, mistrusted, or ignored.

The crowds were astonished when they heard Jesus, "for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes." Congregations are starving for the astonishment of hearing the preacher teach and preach on the authority of the Word of God. If there is a crisis in preaching, it is a crisis of confidence in the Word. If there is a road to recovery, it will be mapped by a return to biblical preaching.

Our hope and prayer is that you will go forth from here to fulfill a ministry of astonishment. To preach and teach and minister so that commas are turned back to periods, and question marks into exclamation points. Congregations long to have the thunderbolts brought down from the attic and loosed in their midst. They are starving for a word from God.

Go and astonish a church. Go and astonish the nations. Go and astonish sinners and saints alike. Go and astonish your generation. Go and astonish those who no longer even believe that they can be astonished.

Go and preach as one who has authority. Just remember always that the only true authority for ministry is biblical authority. May we always be mindful that the only authority that matters is God's authority, and that God's thunderbolts are what we must fear . . . and what we must seek.

If you go out and preach as one who has authority, you will be constantly amazed by what God does through the preaching of his Word. You will see those who hear you astonished -- and no one will be more astonished than yourself.

Further reading (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Complete text of Craddock’s book “As One Without Authority”

[2] Evaluation of Craddock’s book, by Pastor Sam Horn, Brookside Baptist Church, Milwaukee, USA

[3] “No Authority in the New Homiletic” by Dr. Jim Smyrl, Loyal Heart Ministries (Executive Pastor of Education, First Baptist Church Jacksonville, Florida; Adjunct Instructor of Preaching, Liberty University)
Fred Craddock’s theory of preaching undermines any remnant of a conservative view of scriptural authority, but accomplishes such in a manner that often bears the appearance of a less intrusive force on propositional truth. Craddock suggests that every preacher should pose the question, How does Scripture function in a sermon?

To the novice expositor this question appears foundational in preaching theory. But Craddock’s question leads, when combined with the totality of his theory, to a realignment of the process of sermon development. His theory moves away from a truly authoritative text as a starting point in preaching, and causes the preacher to begin with the sermon in mind rather than the text. This divergence is detrimental because it results in the text serving the sermon rather than the sermon serving the text.
[4] What’s Wrong with Contemporary Preaching? by Dr Johnson Lim Teng Kok, Trinity Theological College, Singapore
Sadly, a few preachers give the impression that preaching is a job to be done rather than a calling to be fulfilled. Therefore, it becomes more of a fulfillment of some contractual obligation to the church rather than a ministry. The danger is that instead of becoming ministry preachers we become professional preachers in the ministry.

Contemporary preaching appears to lack authority, power and boldness. Why? Could it be that the Bible is treated simply as a religious book rather than the Word of God? With no Word to back up, the preacher is deprived and devoid of authority. Preaching also appears to ‘tickle ears’ rather than ‘touching hearts’.

The call to preach is a high and holy calling. It is a serious matter and should not be taken frivolously. To preach the Word of God boringly, lifelessly or indifferently is a travesty of biblical preaching. Hence, all preachers should ‘work out their preaching with fear and trembling’. Since preaching is what a preacher does and is given priority when a church seeks a pastor, some serious reflection is required concerning what preaching is all about.

Haven’t we all had experiences in which the singing was vibrant and exciting but the preaching was stale, insipid and pallid? What was supposed to be a high point in the service ended up as low point? On the other hand, were there not occasions when the worship services appeared like funeral dirges but somehow the unctionised or anointed preaching charged the atmosphere with the presence of God and changed the entire ambiance? It is always possible to have a great worship service but poor preaching can ruin it.
[5] “The Power of Integrity in Preaching”, free e-book download by Dean Shriver, founding pastor of Intermountain Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, Utah (the power of Christ in the preaching of God’s Word with chapters on humility, fidelity to God’s Word, purity of life and mind, spiritual disciplines and expository preaching; 121 pages)

[6] The Primacy of Preaching in a Healthy Church, by Mark Dever (Senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, USA)

[7] The Old Cross and The New, by A. W. Tozer

[8] The Amazing Disappearing and Reappearing Cross, by Bill Fleming

[9] Preaching When Times Are Tight, by David R. Stokes (Senior pastor of Fair Oaks Church in Fairfax, Virginia, USA)

[10] A Healthy Church Member is an Expositional Listener, by Thabiti Anyabwile (Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Cayman Islands; he blogs regularly at Pure Church)

[11] Confessions of an Insignificant Pastor (interview by Phil Miglioratti of Mark Elliott, author of Confessions of an Insignificant Pastor: What Pastors Wish They Could Tell You. ..)

Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month. 80% of ministers feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors. 80% of new pastors will leave the ministry within their first five years. 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession and feel their ministry spouse is overworked. 70% of pastors constantly battle with depression. 50% of ministers would leave the ministry if they had another way of earning an income. 85-90% of pastors said their greatest problem is dealing with problem people and disgruntled people.

[12] Praying Preachers, by Ernest V. Liddle

[13] First Sermon Jitters: Help for Aspiring Preachers, by Steve Burchett

[14] Articles by Joe McKeever (Preacher, Cartoonist, and the Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans)

The Pastor's Second Biggest Job

A Counter-Intuitive Path to Pastoral Success: Make a Mistake

A Conversation with an Unhappy Sheep

Pastor: When Something Doesn't Sound Right

Three Things the New Pastor Wants Most

Pastor, Ask Something Great From Us
Generality is the curse of modern sermons.

I speak as one who has been there, done that.

As a young pastor, I dutifully bought several file cabinets and folders and began amassing clippings for illustrations that would adorn future sermons. In time, the files bulged with items under every conceivable topic. But the thickest folder, the one filled with more illustrations and stories than any ten of the others, was labeled: “Dedication.”

When I couldn’t think of a subject a particular story fit, I'd drop it into that file.

Whether that was the cause or the effect, my early sermons all seemed to issue in one broad invitation for people to “dedicate yourself to Jesus Christ.”

Anything wrong with that? Not as far as it goes. The problem is, it doesn’t go far enough.
[15] Christ-Centered Preaching: Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, by Bryan Chapell (Note: Reformed Presbyterian, covenant theology; free registration required)

Twenty five lessons in PDF and mp3 exploring the unifying principle of grace that binds all Scripture together; Dr. Chapell outlines and demonstrates the principles and practice of sermon crafting and delivery to illuminate the message of grace in each passage, and to submit it to God's Spirit for the transformation of lives through preaching.

[16] Homiletics - The Art of Preaching and Teaching, by Pastor Vincent Sawyer, Faith Bible Institute, a ministry of Faith Baptist Church, Corona, New York (online viewing or HTML format download)

[17] How to Survive the Storms of Pastoral Ministry, by Daniel Henderson

Satan’s strategic darts and doubts are designed to undermine the power of truth. He knows the importance of destroying the integrity and well-being of spiritual leaders in order to decimate the church of Jesus Christ. Pastors and church leaders need to learn about how to prepare for and protect themselves so they can lead effectively and without “losing altitude.” Defying Gravity makes leaders aware of the pitfalls of ministry and equips them with the tools to avoid these temptations and traps by monitoring nine gauges on the “leadership instrument panel.” If you can learn to rely on your instruments, you too can keep your ministry soaring no matter what storms come your way.

[18] Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion, by Wayne Cordeiro (founding pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii)
It was a balmy California evening. I had gone for a jog before I was to speak at a leadership conference. I still can't recall how I got there, but I found myself sitting on a curb weeping uncontrollably. I couldn't tell if it took place suddenly or gradually, but I knew something had broken inside. I remember lifting my trembling hands and asking out loud, “What in the world is happening to me?”

I had been leading on empty.

That incident on a California curb began a three-year odyssey I could never have imagined. It was a journey through a season of burnout and recalibration that would radically change my lifestyle, my values, my goals, and even adjust my calling. Everything I had blissfully taken for granted was about to come under brutal scrutiny.

My vision for the church was barren, and the once alive heart that beat incessantly for others had begun to shrink. Each day that passed was taking a toll on me, but I didn't know how to stop the bleeding. Whatever was causing the drain was winning.

If I had been alert, I might have seen the signs before that curbside meltdown and recognized them for what they were. But for some reason, I ignored them.

One of the common anesthetics that numbs us to these dark harbingers is thinking, "It could never happen to me!"

But the signs were all around me. I ignored them. Simple problems refused solution. Anything that necessitated emotional energy sent me in the other direction. My faith was bruised and fragile. My confident demeanor had turned pensive, and a soul that used to be an ocean of life was now a stagnant tide pool.(Read the complete article)
[19] The Perils of Persuasive Preaching, by Duane Litfin, Ph.D., Th.M. (Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Dallas Seminary, Dallas, Texas at the time this article was written; he is currently President of Wheaton College Illinois)

[20] Classic Sermons from Great Preachers of the Past (George Whitefield, Alexander Maclaren, John A. Broadus, T. Dewitt Talmage, Charles H. Spurgeon, B. H. Carroll, Lee Roberson, J. Wilbur Chapman, Billy Sunday, R. G. Lee)

[21] “Payday Someday” by Dr. R. G. Lee, 1886-1978

[22] Doug Whitley as Charles H. Spurgeon (from Preachers of the Past): You can hear and watch John the Beloved, Apostle Paul, C.H. Spurgeon, Hudson Taylor, or D.L. Moody as played by Doug Whitley. Each character is portrayed in period costume and make-up and every presentation has a strong Gospel message and challenge to personal Christian growth. The lives of these men provide outreach to the seeker and encouragement to believers new and old.)

[23] The Rise of Extreme Tolerance, by John MacArthur (defense of preaching and critique of post modernism and the “Emergent Church”

[24] Preachers Who Don’t Believe — The Scandal of Apostate Pastors by Albert Mohler Jr, president, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

[25] Preaching with Bold Assurance by Hershael York
Preachers who grew up in churches in which the pastor was all flash and little substance tend to shy away from any emphasis on delivery, believing it to be man-centered, and focus on the text. On the other extreme, preachers who grew up in a lifeless orthodoxy may lean too far the other direction and substitute a great delivery and a few spiritual insights for rich biblical revelation. Many Millennials react against the revivalist sermon structure and rhetorical devices that seem trite and settle for a rambling narrative with little discernible structure at all.

So I would have to say that of text, sermon, and delivery, the most neglected today is the one that the preacher has seen overemphasized. But preachers need to master all three concepts. The preacher needs to discover biblical truth, organize it in a culturally relevant way, and deliver it in an engaging manner that reaches the mind of his listeners through their hearts.

One of my axioms is what I call the paradox of preaching: the better you are, the less they notice you. If the preacher is nervous, stammering, repetitive, jittery, wooden, frenetic, frozen, or any other distractive adjective one might imagine, the audience will hardly hear what he is saying, regardless of how true or helpful it may be.

The most common mistake I see among conservative and especially reformed preachers is the belief that if we just get the truth out there, the Holy Spirit will use it, in spite of our poor delivery.

The Millennials have a great challenge because they are far more accustomed to communicating via texts, emails, blogs, and the written word than they are orally, but preaching is oral, and that is a very different means of communicating truth than through words on a page. The biggest mistake I see is when preachers preach like writers, concentrating more on the specific words that they want to say-basically reading the sermon-than on communicating with a real audience. (Read the complete interview by Trevin Wax)
[26] The Agony of Preaching, from “Why I Love to Preach” by Joseph M. Stowell
“Preachers are human, and humans wrestle with ego. When you give birth to one sentence at a time, articulating something so intrinsically a part of your soul, there is always a certain risk. It is a blow to a pastor's ego when he walks by the most spiritual people in the church, huddled in the foyer after the morning message, only to overhear them talking about the great insights of their favorite radio preacher. Of course, preaching is not supposed to be about egos, but there is nothing like preaching to remind you that you have one.

“As someone who lives in the suburbs, I love to cut my lawn and edge my driveway with precision. There is something satisfying about standing back and thinking, 'There, that's done. I'm great with how it looks!' I never feel that kind of satisfaction with preaching. When someone asks me if I'm ready to preach, my response is always, 'Not really!' I never feel completely ready. There always seems to be a more interesting illustration, a clearer transition, a better thought about the historical and cultural context, on and on, forever and ever -- with no amen! Preaching is the ultimate in open-ended art form; it can always be improved.

“Preaching never feels like it is over and done. I can walk away from a lousy golf game and get on with my life, but I can't walk away after a poorly preached sermon and forget it. I can't tell you how many times I have preached and afterward promised God I would never embarrass Him like that again.

“Why is it that when I feel I have preached a really good sermon, it sometimes seems to go nowhere? And, when I feel I have not done so well, God often sees fit to use it in someone's life? In moments like these, I comfort myself with the reminder that God's power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). God often uses my inadequacy to keep me appropriately humble. A public display of weakness in the thing that people expect me to do well isn't very comfortable. I don't enjoy being humbled. But preaching has a way of doing that to me.” (Read the complete article)
[27] Deep Preaching: Creating Sermons that Go Beyond the Superficial, by J. Kent Edwards, Professor of Preaching and Leadership, Director, Doctor of Ministry Program, Talbot
Effective preaching must “start with your heart”—that is, the character of the preacher is the first step in developing messages that make a difference. After discussing the centrality of Scripture in what we preach, Edwards then explores at length the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching and how the spiritual disciplines relate to our role as proclaimers of God’s Word. (From review)

J. Kent Edwards recalls a story that late pastor J. Vernon McGee told about seeing children in South Africa playing a game of marbles in the dust with real diamonds. The precious stones were being handled with no regard for their true worth. Edwards fears the same thing happens today when preachers offer Scriptural truth to listeners without being completely overwhelmed by its greatness themselves in the process.

Deep Preaching is his call to “rethink” preaching. Edwards helps preachers learn to preach the word in ways that will powerfully change the lives of hearers. He contends that sermons “need not settle comfortably on the lives of the listeners like dust on a coffee table.” He encourages preachers to join him in casting off the lines that moor their ministries to the status-quo and make every effort to steer their preaching out of the “comfortable shallows.” He urges them to preach deep sermons rather than superficial ones, moving “beyond the yawn-inspiring to the awe-inspiring, from the trite to the transforming.” (Read the complete review)
[28] Dying to Preach: Embracing the Cross in the Pulpit, by Steven Smith (assistant professor of preaching, associate dean for the professional doctoral program, and James T. Draper, Jr., Chair of Pastoral Ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he is also a member of the Evangelical Homiletical Society)
Drawing inspiration from Paul, the seminal preacher, Steven W. Smith takes a fresh look at the whys of preaching in Dying to Preach. In 2 Corinthians 4.12, Paul describes the philosophy of his ministry as “death works in us, but life in you.” Building on this Scriptural framework, Smith examines the theology of preaching through vicarious suffering, dying so that others might live. As he elaborates on the intersection of the cross and the pulpit, Smith shows why the preacher must die to self, die for others, and die in Christ so that congregations may live. (From review)
[29] The Glory of Preaching: Participating in God's Transformation of the World, by Darrell W. Johnson
Drawing from biblical and theological resources as well as years in the pulpit, Darrell Johnson takes us far beyond the mere mechanics of delivering sermons. He dynamically unpacks the link between the human task of speaking to a congregation and the real, gracious action and presence of the living Christ in and through our proclamation.

Johnson assists preachers to profoundly engage the biblical text and then liberates them to make use of their own personality, gifts and abilities as they communicate that message.

This book is for any pastor or student who wants to cultivate a deeper pulpit approach, one that participates in the transforming mystery of God working through our less-than-perfect proclamation. Here is a solid foundation for preaching the good news as if God was living, Jesus was resurrected and the Holy Spirit was faithfully at work among us. (From IVP review)
[30] Setting Words on Fire: Putting God at the Center of the Sermon, by Paul Scott Wilson (Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto)
“Preachers, he argues, often "fail to focus on God in significant ways" (Wilson, 11). They, therefore, fall far short of their torch-bearer status. Instead, as he observes, he listens to far too many sermons that are academically rigorous in their exegesis, and tell engaging stories, something is missing. That something, Wilson recognizes, is God. In those sermons he does not meet, nor is challenged by the living God. The purpose of this book is therefore clear and succinct: to help preachers find the ways to put God at the center of their sermons. In the early life of the church, Augustine urged preachers to develop sermons that teach, delight, and move. Wilson argues that we put God at the center of our preaching by developing sermons that do two things: teach and proclaim.” (from review by Lucy Lind Hogan, Ph.D. Hugh Latimer Elderdice Professor of Preaching and Worship, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D. C.)
[31] Why Johnny Can't Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers, by T. David Gordon (Professor of Religion and Greek at Grove City College since 1999. Previously, he was an Associate Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary for 14 years and Pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashua, NH for 9 years)
“I’ve really desired something fairly simple for my family: to be able to talk intelligently about the sermon on Sunday afternoon or throughout the week. And to do this, all I really desire is the ability to answer three questions: What was the point or thrust of the sermon? Was this point adequately established in the text that was read? Were the applications legitimate applications of the point, from which we can have further fruitful conversation about other possible applications? Frequently, indeed more commonly than not, I have heard sermons about which my family cannot even answer the first question. And even when we can, it is very rare to find the point adequately established from the passage. Further, the applications suggested almost never have anything to do with the text.” (from sample chapter)

“Good preaching is seldom found in the modern church, for modern preachers are the products of a media culture that militates against the foundations of good preaching. Gordon’s expertise makes him the right person to pen this work; he has been a church-planting pastor, a seminary and college professor, is a trained theologian (with expertise in New Testament) and teaches courses in a fairly new academic discipline, ‘Media Ecology.’ This combination produces a well-crafted and reasoned result.

According to the author’s analysis, our culture has largely lost the skills required for excellent preaching. As a result churches are poorly fed, or are abandoning the centrality of preaching for the sake of other (often multi-media) presentations more suited to their ministers’ abilities. Sadly, most seem to be content with the situation. A divinely appointed means is being lost, so that in very real terms, the media shapes the messengers, the message, and the reception.

Dr. Gordon makes some really outstanding observations. For example, he reminds us in the clearest of terms, of the centrality of Christ in Christian proclamation. Too many sermons are moralistic. People want to know, and preachers give them answers to the question “what should I do?”, while the Gospel points us away from ourselves to what God has done in Christ! This is the great problem of application. Duty may only properly be placed in the context of God’s prior activity; Too frequently, preaching degenerates into a Pelagian form of sanctification.” (From review by The Instituted of Reformed Baptist Studies)
[32] Preaching: Act of Spirituality or Arrogance? by William D. Lawrence, ThD, President of Leader Formation International (LFI) as well as Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary
The act of preaching is either a spiritual act or an arrogant act. There is nothing in between for anyone who stands in the pulpit.

The act of preaching can be a spiritual act empowered by the Holy Spirit, done through a man taught by the Spirit who has pondered God’s word until it has gripped him in such a way that he must speak for God's glory because the living Truth has become a raging fire in his bones.

Or the act of preaching can be an arrogant act empowered by the flesh, done by a man who has pandered God's word until his cleverness has gripped him in such a way that he speaks for his own glory because there are only the charred ashes of death in his bones.
[33] “Pastors: Make Time for Those You Love” by John K. Hutcheson, Sr., from Today’s Christian Preacher Magazine
In the divine scheme of relationships, the God of Heaven intended for the pastor’s first ministry to be his family, not the church. The pastor is a family man, as evidenced by the qualifications laid out in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. His family either qualifies or disqualifies him from his calling to be one who models Truth to the Lord’s people. If being a pastor involved no more than telling people what to do, any gifted orator or expositor could handle that. However, the Lord of the Church expects pastors to “flesh out” the Truth in their family lives by being human analogues of Himself, the loving, nurturing Bridegroom.

How does a pastor make time for those whom he loves? The first crucial area of time should be for the pastor’s wife. As a special gift from the Lord, she is his partner in love, in parenting, and in ministry.

As simple a matter as taking time to go for a walk with his wife can provide a pastor’s wife with the awareness that she is important to her husband amidst his pastoral duties.
[34] “So, You’re Preaching This Sunday...” by Ray Pritchard, president of Keep Believing Ministries and author of “And When You Pray
Let’s suppose you’re a pastor and you’re preaching this Sunday. That’s six days away. To the man or woman in the pew, that seems like a long time, but it’s not. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Preacher’s Calendar. It goes like this...


That’s the way it feels to those who preach every week. You routinely come to Saturday wondering what happened to the last five days. And where is that sermon you have to preach tomorrow morning? Speaking as one who spent 27 years getting ready to preach every Sunday, I know that feeling of utter end-of-the-week desperation, and I’ve done my share of late-Saturday night sermonizing.
[35] “Your Pastor’s Pain: Whose Fault Is It?” by Dr. Chuck Betters, Senior Pastor of Glasgow Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bear, Delaware since 1986
I’ve been a pastor for almost forty years and people leaving the church always hurts.

Don’t get me wrong. I often tell our congregation and audiences that every pastor should have the privilege of shepherding a congregation like ours. Many of us have “grown up” together in our life journeys and share a love affair with Christ and each other. Our church is stronger than it’s ever been and there is a passion for building God’s kingdom. But no matter how many times I am told the leaving is “nothing personal,” I cannot help but wonder what I did to drive people away, especially people I considered friends.

I’m not alone in this sadness. Numerous pastors and key church leaders tell me they experience the same sorrow. In one particularly low moment, my wife concluded that many people view pastors and their wives as commodities, embraced and loved only as long as personal needs are met. What we define as friendship for us is actually a casual relationship for them, easily discarded when the parishioner is disappointed when their perceived needs are not met by us.

Again, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that we pastors are without fault. Some pastors are foolish and arrogant. Some refuse accountability and lead with an iron fist. Some betray their very office by sinful behavior. But many laymen slice and dice their preacher because of personal preferences – not because of sin on the part of their spiritual leader. (Please read the related article “Ten Bad Reasons for Leaving Your Church” also by Dr. Betters)
[36] “Preaching Christ” series by Dr. David P. Murray, Stornoway Free Church of Scotland

[37] Preaching Clinic for Elders, by Dr. Dennis Prutow, Biblical Preaching Institute

#1 - A Definition of Preaching (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#2 - The Point of the Text (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#3 - The Point of the Sermon (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#4 Developing Your Outline (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#5 Dealing With the Details (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

#6 Conclusions & Introductions (mp3 play or download; pdf view or download)

[38] Homiletics: The Art of Preaching and Teaching, by Ptr. Vincent Sawyer, Faith Baptist Church

Homiletics Course Lesson 1 - The Aim Of Preaching (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 2 - Study Before You Preach (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 3 - Basic Rules Of Hermeneutics (Bible Interpretation) (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 4 - Pulling Principles Out Of The Text (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 5 - Determining The Main Principle (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 6 - Forming Your Proposition (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 7 - The Main Points Of Your Outline (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 8 - The Minor Points Of Your Outline (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 9 - Adding ‘Meat’ to Your Message (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 10 - Preparing Your Introduction, Conclusion, & Title (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 11 - Outlining A Passage. Expository Textual & Topical Types (download mp3)

Homiletics Course Lesson 12 - Tips For Effective Message Delivery (download mp3)

[39] Preaching Someone Else’s Sermons: The Problem of Plagiarism in the Pulpit, by George R. Cannon, Jr. (Pastor of Curwensville Christian Church in Curwensville, Pennsylvania)
Sermon-writing services are everywhere. For a small fee each month, pastors can have access to literally hundreds of sermons on any given topic or passage on the Internet. If you are not willing to pay, simply visit any one of thousands of church websites and download this past week’s sermon from another pastor. Pastors conferences also provide endless resources. It seems that the once forbidden fruit of preaching ministry has now become a fashionable staple in time management for the modern pastor.

At one pastors conference I attended, the issue of preaching someone else’s sermon came to the forefront. One speaker openly stated that “he would preach better sermons, when someone wrote better sermons.” At this same conference, another speaker gave an inspiring message that seemed to stir all in attendance. However, the problem was that I heard the very same message on Christian radio several months before by another well-known speaker.

The availability of these resources (Preaching Plagiarism) poses several questions that must be answered by those who minister in word to God’s people. “Is it right to use someone else’s sermon and pass it off as your own?” “Is it fair to the congregation?” (Read the complete article)
[40] Expository Preaching, by Dr. Robert C. Stone, Senior Pastor, Hillcrest Chapel, Bellingham Virginia

Session One: The Introduction to Expository Preaching (download pdf)
What are the ingredients of expository preaching? What is a definition of expository preaching? What are its advantages, goals, difficulties? What expository preaching is not. Practical suggestions.

Session Two: The Preparation and Process of Expository Messages (download pdf)
The main focus will be the 15-step process of preparing an expository message that is true to the text, and leads to specific steps of application. This session will include a discussion of the tools needed, and necessary commitments to expository preaching. Some practical ideas on how to develop a balanced preaching schedule, and how to evaluate whether we are preaching too often.

Session Four: The Principles of Interpretation (download pdf)
To conduct proper exegesis of a passage, we have to get in touch with some basic rules of interpretation. We are certainly not saying only scholars can understand the Bible; we should continue to emphasize what the 16th-century reformers affirmed (they called it perspicuity)—the way of salvation plainly set forth so that the simplest believer may read and understand it for himself. Yet the Word of God is rich in revelation too. Therefore, if we are to enter more deeply into God's Word, we must understand some basic rules. The history of the church also confirms the need for such a code to guide our interpretation.

Session Five: A Potpourri of Expository Questions and Tests
How can I do topical studies accurately? How do we respond to finicky spiritual tastes? Should we teach others to evaluate our and others' messages biblically? How long into the future should I plan my preaching?

Sessions Six to Nine: The Process of God’s Communication to Man

Part One: The Process Revealed; Inspiration (download pdf)
Part Two: Transmission, Translation (download pdf; second part of Part One pdf)
Part Three: Illumination, Interpretation (download pdf)
Part Four: Application (download pdf; second part of Part Three pdf)

[41] Resources from
[42] Exegetical Fallacies by D. A. Carson (pastor, Richmond Baptist Church, BC; professor, Northwest Baptist Theological College in Vancouver and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
“This study is important because exegetical fallacies are painfully frequent among us- among us whose God-given grace and responsibility is the faithful proclamation of the Word of God. Make a mistake in the interpretation of one of Shakespeare's plays, falsely scan a piece of Spenserian verse, and there is unlikely to be an entailment of eternal consequence; but we cannot lightly accept a similar laxity in the interpretation of Scripture. We are dealing with God’s thoughts: we are obligated to take the greatest pains to understand them truly and to explain them clearly. It is all the more shocking, therefore, to find in the evangelical pulpit, where the Scriptures are officially revered, frequent and inexcusable sloppiness in handling them. All of us, of course, will make some exegetical mistakes: I am painfully aware of some of my own, brought to my attention by increasing years, wider reading, and alert colleagues who love me enough to correct me. But tragic is the situation when the preacher or teacher is perpetually unaware of the blatant nonsense he utters, and of the consequent damage he inflicts on the church of God. Nor will it do to be satisfied with pointing a finger at other groups whose skills are less than our own: we must begin by cleaning up our own backyard.” (from book introduction)

Examples of word study fallacies:
  • Root Fallacy - the etymology or the root of the word does not always determine the meaning of a word.
  • Semantic Anachronism - this occurs when a late use of a word is read back into earlier literature.
  • Semantic Obsolescence - this is when the word in the text is assigned a meaning that was used in the past but had ceased to be used when the text was written.
  • Appeal to Unknown or Unlikely Meanings
  • Careless Appeal to Background Material
  • Verbal Parallelomania
  • Linkage of Language and Mentality
  • False Assumptions About Technical Meaning
  • Problems Surrounding Synonyms and Componential Analysis
  • Selective and Prejudicial Use of Evidence
  • Unwarranted Semantic Disjunctions and Restrictions
  • Unwarranted Restriction of the Semantic Field
  • Unwarranted Adoption of an Expanded Semantic Field
  • Problems Relating to the Semitic Background of the Greek New Testament
  • Unwarranted Neglect of Distinguishing Peculiarities of a Corpus
  • Unwarranted Linking of Sense and Reference
[43] Materials by Russell Moore (Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church, Kentucky)
The Devil Is a Boring Preacher: The High Stakes of Dull Sermons

A sermonic information dump—with PowerPoint outline point by sub-point by sub-sub-point can “safely” distance your people from Christ. A sermon that simply collates and regurgitates what you’ve read in commentaries can make the Word of God a matter of cognition not submission. A strung-together list of life tips can make it easy for your people to disregard this word just like they disregard the weight loss plans commercials on television or the flossing ad campaigns they see from the dentist’s chair.

Beyond a Veggie Tales Gospel: Why We Must Preach Christ from Every Text

As we teach and preach and disciple and evangelize, let’s preach the whole Bible–every verse. And in every verse, let’s show how God keeps His promises, in Christ. Let’s not simply teach our people how to be moral, or how to be well-tempered, or how to be authentic or how to put the erotic energy back into their marriages. Let’s teach them how to find themselves in Christ, to conform to His life, and to follow His steps through His Spirit, looking always to His cross and His resurrection and His glory. Let’s put aside the cartoons–whether in our children’s programs or in our Sunday morning sermons–and proclaim Christ.

Ketchup and pickle juice is one thing. But we have more than a Veggie Tales Gospel. We have a gospel about bones and blood and mangled flesh. We have a Gospel of nail scarred hands and a table of bread and wine. We have a Gospel that propels us to suffer and even to die, because we have seen how God has kept His promise to the pioneer of our salvation, our firstborn Brother, our Lord Jesus.
[44] Materials by Sherman Haywood Cox II
A Basic Sermon Model – Three Points and a Poem (available in audio)

One of the most persistent models of preaching has been termed "Three points and a Poem." What it means is that the preacher makes three points and then ends with a poem. Some preachers have termed the same sermon method as "Three points and a celebration."

Three Points and a Poem – Revisited

There are many who think that the three points and a poem deserve to fall off the landscape of possible sermonic choices. They see it as an artifact of a bygone era that much like the horse and buggy needs to be set aside for more "effective" modes of presentation.

Some preachers would promote the dialectic method. Others would promote a narrative form. Still others think that we should not go to the scripture with a set form in mind and should let the text guide the sermonic structural choice.

Four Disjointed Points is not a Sermon

Audio #14 – Telling the Story – Preaching with Stories

Sermons that Make Points

Audio 29 – The Easy Sermon Resolution
[45] Twelve rules for preachers by John Wesley (1703-1791), from John Telford’s The Life of John Wesley (Hodder & Stoughton, 1886), Wesley Center for Applied Theology at Northwest Nazarene University
1. Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Never while away time, nor spend more time at any place than is strictly necessary.

2. Be serious. Let your motto be, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ Avoid all lightness, jesting, and foolish talking.

3. Converse sparingly and cautiously with women, particularly with young women.

4. Take no step towards marriage without solemn prayer to God and consulting with your brethren.

5. Believe evil of no one unless fully proved; take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction you can on everything. You know the judge is always supposed to be on the prisoner’s side.

6. Speak evil of no one, else your word, especially, would eat as doth a canker; keep your thoughts within your own breast till you come to the person concerned.

7. Tell every one what you think wrong in him, lovingly and plainly, and as soon as may be, else it will fester in your own heart. Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom.

8. Do not affect the gentleman. A preacher of the Gospel is the servant of all.

9. Be ashamed of nothing but sin; no, not of cleaning your own shoes when necessary.

10. Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time. And do not mend our rules, but keep them, and that for conscience’ sake.

11. You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go always, not only to those who want you, but to those who want you most.

12. Act in all things, not according to your own will, but as a son in the Gospel, and in union with your brethren. As such, it is your part to employ your time as our rules direct: partly in preaching and visiting from i house to house, partly in reading, meditation, and prayer. Above all, if you labour with us in our Lord’s vineyard, it is needful you should do that part of the work which the Conference shall advise, at those times and places which they shall judge most for His glory.

“Observe, it is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care merely of this or that Society, but to save as many souls as you can, to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance, and, with all• your power, to build them up in that holiness without which they cannot see the Lord. And, remember, a Methodist preacher is to mind every point, great and small, in the Methodist discipline. Therefore you will need all the grace and sense you have, and to have all your wits about you.”
[46] The hunger for power, from “Basic Christian Leadership” by John Stott
This concentration on power makes an immediate appeal to us today, for we live in a society that worships power. Not that this is new. The lust for power has always been a characteristic of the human story, at least since Adam and Eve were offered power in exchange for disobedience...

We see the same power-hunger in the church: in top-level ecclesiastical power struggles, in denominational disputes, in some local churches driven by market forces and others in which the clergy hold all the reins of power and refuse to share it with the lay people (especially the young people), in parachurch organizations that dream of expanding into world empires and even in the pulpit, which is an exceedingly dangerous place for any child of Adam to occupy...

I confess to being frightened by the contemporary evangelical hunger for power, even the quest for the power of the Holy Spirit. Why do we want to receive power? Is it honestly power for witness (as in Acts 1:8) or holiness or humble service? Or is it in reality a mask for personal ambition, a craving to boost our own egos, to minister to our self-importance, to impress, to dominate or to manipulate?
Notes: (1) This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials. (2) This lesson is part of the projected 300 plus lessons. From time to time, the lessons will be updated, revised, combined, formatted, and edited to comply with the VOA Simplified English word list. Later on, these lessons will be categorized, numbered sequentially, and made available as PDF downloads.