The #1 Indicator Of The Lord’s Soon Return May Be . . .

While many might point to a variety of signs for the soon return of the Lord, I might select one that many might pass over! 

After reading and listening to the articles, pastoral announcements, tweets, and church posts about what is about to happen in just a few days, I have come to the position that the #1 indicator of the soon return of our Lord is not wars, violence, lawlessness, drought, famine, pestilence, or even the dramatic cultural shift in society. 

Dr. David Jemiah highlighted five signs and never mentioned this one!  It is easy to miss because we are not marked by self-awareness!  We are much better at talking about the lost world around us! 

The #1 sign may not be anything we see taking place in the physical, socio-political, or secular world.  It may be far more in line with what the Lord Himself states at the end of his “parable of the unjust judge” . . . . 

Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

The #1 sign may be found in and around the actions and practices of the local church!

The #1 sign may be seen in the lack of commitment and conviction of local church pastors who are willing to set aside the established regular services on the Lord’s Day because Christmas falls on a Sunday!  When the shepherds propose and/or agree to such a decision, and then offer some kind of explanatory justification for such a move, the church has lost its compass!  The lack of authenticity continues to be apparent to the world — We are really no different than them!  It’s about us! [1]

Pastors/church leaders teach God’s people to use “explanatory justifications” to cover the lack of commitment and love.  A longer Sunday morning worship service, a Friday & Saturday night Christmas drama, or a Christmas Eve candlelight service are used as an allowable replacement — as if you can’t do both, and as if you should not make the priority preserving the regular worship services on the Lord’s Day — to make it clear that the Lord alone is worthy — on His day, celebrating His incarnation!

The Gospel Coalition has even provided cover for the many churches that TALK ABOUT glorifying the Lord supremely.  The article even uses Scripture to justify such a decision (Romans 14).   

The passage is used to deflect criticism away from a pastor’s (or leadership’s) decision to cancel worship on the Lord’s Day.  The passage is about individual weaker fellow believers. The passage is not about local church services on the Lord’s Day.  It is about eating certain meats, observing holy days, and believing that every day is a day to honor the Lord.  It even includes the words “judge,” which suggests that any criticism is verboten!  How advantageous.

Some Christians may want to mark this passage for future use!  It may prove useful for excusing attendance on Sunday evenings, midweek services, Sunday school, small groups, or other special services.  It may even be useful for Superbowl Sunday!

Can you imagine an O.T. saint, a N.T. believer, or any of the apostles using these words to support the belief that the Sabbath or the Lord’s Day is not a day set aside for Christian worship?  Paul never intended for this passage to be used to justify canceling the regular and weekly worship and teaching services because the leadership/pastors/or people want to make it a time for themselves!

Maybe the #1 sign of the Lord’s return is what is happening in and among the leadership (or lack thereof) of the church when “shepherds” begin talking and acting like sheep! [3]

Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

1. There would be a good number of churches that have no evening service, or even midweek services, as part of their regular practice.  They are not changing their regular services.  They have not made a purposeful decision to cancel anything to accommodate or conform to the patterns of this world.

Now Santa and the church is a different story — but for another time!

2. It is astonishing how some pastors can decry what is happening in our culture and then cancel any service on Christmas day because it falls on a Sunday!  They are part of the problem, surely not part of the solution!

As someone remarked — There is no room in the inn for Jesus Sunday evening — on this December 25, 2022!

3. From the “TGC” article — “the pastors at our church ultimately decided to refuse his plea.” — a shameless article!

Matt Chandler — It’s Over!

A new horrific chapter was written yesterday.

What I see as a systemic problem within today’s New Calvinist/Calvinist/Reformed movement, [1] of which Chandler is/was a significant part, was again affirmed.

Yesterday’s latest chapter only further reveals the nature of this ideological-theological movement!  The mission is to promote Neo-Calvinism, even if it means overlooking the sins of their most prominent leaders. 

Listen to . . . .

  • The applause when Chandler stepped onto the stage.
  • The suggestion by Chandler was that his indiscretions were due to the removal of his right frontal lobe. [2]
  • The playing of a Christmas hymn that began mid-lyric, “Come let us adore him,” upon his leaving the stage.
  • The lack of any words of meaningful contrition or repentance by Chander — “my foolishness.” [3]
  • The deafening silence of so many key religious leaders within the movement, as well as those around, connected to, or part of Acts 29.

. . . . and you will understand more about this present-day movement. 

Nevertheless, let me say (as with Ravi) the reality is . . . .

It’s over! 

Matt Chandler has lost his pastoral and ministry platform! 

As RZIM tried to hold on, Chandler may seek such a strategy, but no one in the day-to-day world cares to take him seriously any longer!  Only those committed to his theological-ideology will continue to applaud him on stage, play such hymns that were meant for only our Saviour, and/or accept what he did as mere foolishness!


1 – Let me also note that another key leader of this movement is John Piper.
Like I said . . . .  John Piper, who will be preaching in more churches this coming Sunday than any contemporary religious leader, through the voice of many local church pastors, does not believe in “eternal security.”  The work of Christ, his righteousness and perseverance, were not sufficient and/or were not applied to our account.

2 – Apparently, there is an unknown causal relationship between such a medical operation and moral indiscretion that has yet to be fully identified as resident among others who have experienced the same operation.

3 – The continued lack of transparency as to what actually led the church leaders to discipline Chandler remains firmly in place.  


Is Matt Chandler A Believer?


One of the dynamics that seemingly operates among those in the New Calvinist (and many Calvinists) ideological camp is a questioning of one’s salvation experience —  Are you actually a Christian, a believer in the person and work of Jesus for your forgiveness of sin, if you are not living that out consistently in your life?

Much more could be said about that dynamic.  Nevertheless, it is interesting that this dynamic is not in play when it comes to the pastors and teachers of the Scripture who experience significant moral failures in the ministry! I only need to cite one of the most immediate examples, Matt Chandler. [2] There are others who illustrate this dynamic and about whom could be asked the same question. 

Why is no one asking (and no one is!), including Chandler himself, whether he was a Christian, a genuine believer, all the years of his pulpit ministry?  Shouldn’t that question be asked?  Should he publicly confess his new faith in Christ through the waters of baptism now that he has “repented” from such sinful practices — a sinful pattern that lasted for an extended period of time? 

While preaching to others the truths found in the Scriptures, he himself was sinfully hypocritical and found to be so by those closest to the situation within his local church. That ought to be sufficient reason alone for those who hold to this theological-ideology to call on Chandler to declare that he was not a believer and has since come to Christ as Saviour!

Yes, it is an interesting dynamic within the New Calvinists camp! Calling into question one’s salvation and/or shaking one’s faith in Christ doesn’t seem to operate when it comes to some of the most primary fallen preachers within the movement!  They themselves neither claim lostness, nor do other leaders within the ideological movement call out those who, like Chandler, occupy the pulpits while living a duplicitous sinful life

In contrast, there seems to be little hesitation when it comes to those sitting in the pew, struggling with real-life issues of Christlikeness as they navigate their lives outside of the local church employment.

Is Matt Chandler A Believer In The Person & Work Of Christ? 

I have no doubt that he is, but not based on what some pastors are teaching from the pulpits of their local churches! [1]


  1. “Humble Calvinism” — A Good Read!

    “We Calvinist leave behind a trail of destruction in our churches and families and friendships . . . .
    . . . We Calvinist might be the ones who don’t ‘get it’ yet.”


  3. The same question could be asked of Robert Louis Dabney, an undeniably ardent racist yet a theological luminary.*  His writings may be some of the most cited works by men like John Piper, John Mac Arthur, et al.  Should we be citing the works of “lost men” like Dabney? 

He never repented in the slightest of his ardent racism!

Are Angels Friends With Other Angels?

God gave us things to use and people to love, and we use people and love things! 

I am not sure where I first heard that or perhaps something like that.  Nevertheless, I was reminded of it when I was reading C. S. Lewis’ book — “The Four Loves.” 

Lewis was speaking about “Friendship.”

Friendship . . . . love, free from instinct, free from all duties but those which love has freely assumed, almost wholly free from jealousy, and free without qualification from the need to be needed, is eminently spiritual. It is the sort of love one can imagine between angels.

A friendship between angels is a unique thought that I have never considered.  If they bear the image of their maker, do they have personal, relational, and/or social interactions like mankind?  And as Lewis states, free from all the sinful aspects that may mark our friendships.

If the truth were known, earthly friendships are, more often than not, as Lewis suggests, un-spiritual.  They are marked by instinct, duty, jealousy, and subject to qualification.  When Lewis uses the word “instinct,” he is making a comparison with the animal world, where it is just part of natural-born impulse.  It is not willful, but natural human instinct. 

Why does the friendship between Jonathan and David stand out in such spiritually BOLD TYPE?  The friendship was not instinctive, not born of jealousy, and subject to no qualifications.

May I suggest that one of the reasons that the local church has fallen on hard days was initially due to Covid.  It was a REAGENT!  

A reagent is a substance that is added to another substance that is being tested.  The reagent is looking to trigger a reaction.  That reaction reveals something about the substance being tested.  A reagent is aimed at producing a reaction, usually visualized by a change in color on a test strip.  Reagents are used to determine blood glucose, ketones, pregnancy, chlorine, and now the well-known COVID-19.

COVID-19 was a crisis that produced a reaction
suddenly visible by a wide swath of God’s people 
in the local church setting.

Most other times, the lack of sincere concern for God’s people happens periodically and intermittently.  It is seen and realized by a family here and an individual there —  a teenager today and a young adult tomorrow — a new member now and a longtime servant years later. 

It is typically seen in dribbles and drabs over time.

It is seen when . . . . 

  • a pastor never even calls to check on how one is doing after a serious situation
  • no deacon, or only one or two, call to say that they are concerned and praying
  • a text replaces a call or visit
  • a pastor talks about the importance of prayer but never even calls to personally pray with someone in need
  • a pastor or staff member evades the trip to the hospital that is rather far away
  • a family member dies, and no-one-to-few from the church even makes a personal call or visit
  • past years of service mean little to nothing to those who once claimed that they cared and appreciated all that you do
  • “our prayers and thoughts are with you” fails to translate into some personal concern and care
  • those who called us brothers and sisters in Christ, or “friends,” now no longer care because we no longer have anything to bring to the table.
  • a senior pastor time and time again passes off the responsibility of personally visiting a member or friend of the church to other members of the staff [1]
  • few-to-none make it to the funeral home and/or stay for the memorial service

While selfishness is seen in small dribs and drabs — over time — unlike Covid — that self-serving spirit pervades the atmosphere, and the smell is recognized. 

The church is in for some hard days ahead, as well as some hard-to-face realities because there is a new and stark sensitivity to how un-spiritual friendships can become within the body of Christ. 

Lewis goes on to say . . . .

And it is no doubt easy enough to love the fellow-creature less and to imagine that this is happening because we are learning to love God more, when the real reason may be quite different. . . . Those like myself whose imagination far exceeds their obedience are subject to a just penalty; we easily imagine conditions far higher than any we have really reached. If we describe what we have imagined we may make others, and make ourselves, believe that we have really been there.

You May Think You Know & Understand John Piper!


“In every generation there arise men from within the church who stumble into the Roman Catholic view of justification, and having stumbled, then attempt to import that Roman Catholic error into the Church of God so that the children of God might stumble with them. John Piper is just the latest in a long line of such men, and he will not be the last. Remarkably, on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Piper attempts to show that neither the Scriptures nor the Reformers held to final justification by faith alone apart from works. On September 25, 2017, Piper published “Does God Really Save Us by Faith Alone?”3 In the article, he maintains that initial justification is by faith alone, but introduces a concept that is completely foreign to the Bible: the concept of “final salvation” on the basis of our works and obedience. He writes, “In justification, faith receives a finished work of Christ performed outside of us and counted as ours — imputed to us…. In final salvation at the last judgment, faith is confirmed by the sanctifying fruit it has borne, and we are saved through that fruit and that faith.4

In Piper’s view of final salvation, he makes a distinction between justification and salvation in which we are justified by faith alone apart from works at the beginning, but we are saved by faith plus works at the end. He writes,

These works of faith, and this obedience of faith, these fruits of the Spirit that come by faith, are necessary for our final salvation. No holiness, no heaven (Hebrews 12:14). So, we should not speak of getting to heaven by faith alone in the same way we are justified by faith alone.

Essential to the Christian life and necessary for final salvation is the killing of sin (Romans 8:13) and the pursuit of holiness (Hebrews 12:14).5

Final salvation from future judgment is conditional. It will not happen apart from our persevering faith. … “salvation” refers to our future deliverance from the wrath of God at the judgment and entrance into eternal life.6


I have included the full PDF for those who are sincerely interested in reading a remarkable and documented presentation of Piper’s position.

Two Trends – Left Unchallenged

Who Is John Piper, by Barnabas Piper

Meet John Piper

Jonathan Edwards, Robert Dabney, John Piper, and Daniel Kleven

Perseverance of the Saints

Mac Arthur / Piper / Your Pastor: There is a theological-ideology in play!

One Reason You May Be Speaking Past Your Audience — Maybe It’s Near The Top?

Taking into account to whom you are speaking is basic to all communication. You do not speak or preach to children, teens, young people, adults, women, men, and/or seasoned saints the same way. In several ways, they are different audiences — intellectually, emotionally, in life experiences, and in their spiritual growth.

There is a brand of preaching that disregards that broad span of Christian spiritual growth. Most every speaker-preacher-teacher would quickly acknowledge that his audience includes those who may not even profess Christ, or who are new believers in Christ, or who have walked with Christ for a number of years, as well as those who are mature believers.

However, their preaching falls far short of that reality, not in content but in prospects or expectations. It is not that what is being said cannot be understood by most all the listeners. Rather, it is that their spiritual maturity — or lack of it as new believers — gives them different ears. Being told that they need to be where others are, or where the preacher believes mature believers ought to be, (or where the preacher “humbly states or implies” that he is), can easily lead to great discouragement!

One could preach about the faith of Abraham in the offering of Issac, Daniel in the lion’s den, Shadrack, Meshach, & Abednego in the fiery furnace, Samson in the final day of his life, Peter’s boldness to speak the Gospel in the book of Acts, Joseph’s response to his brother’s presence, et al. However, all of them had many chapters of life that preceded any one of those great events.

They give the impression that “this” is where one who names the name of Christ needs to be NOW. The implication is that there is no real-life progression. In fact, even more extreme tendencies imply that one may not even be truly saved if they are not there in their Christian walk.

There is little difficulty in calling up a response of struggle, difficulty, and/or failure. Any preacher knows that he can preach a message on prayer and easily challenge everyone in attendance (and if honest, it includes himself).

  • There are areas of Christian life and living that all believers generally struggle with. 
  • There are areas of Christian life and living that some do, and some do not struggle with — some find sharing the Gospel with others easy, and others fail and fail at it!
  • There are areas of the Christian life that some struggle with early in their Christian lives, and others later in their lives.
  • There are areas that come with age, circumstances, finances, marriage, child-rearing, old age, etc. . . . . .

Often, I would say this . . . . 

“The question is not — “Are we where we should be?” or “Are we where this passage presents?” Rather, can we be “more” or “better” in this? It is not “we are” or “we are not,” but can we be more than we are?

Do we fail, over and over, when it comes to temptation? The truth is that most of us cannot even resist that brownie; how will we ever claim consistent victory on this side of glory? But we can continually confess and repent and go at it again — and again — and again!

You preach differently when you genuinely take into account the spiritual span of those listening, the wide variety of people who are seeking to live for Christ in real life and living. God’s people are encouraged to continue the battle. There is hope (and there is – ask Peter) for those who stay in that battle. 

When God’s people are told (over and over and over) that they are not where they should be, they are dispirited! The preacher-teacher confuses and stifles them because he fails to take into account that they are babes, or still children in Christ, or young men — but are not old men in the faith (I John 2).

Let me also say that there are some preachers-teachers, not all, but far more than we would like to admit, who need to get out of their ivory tower and/or lay aside their own disingenuous self-confidence. Such ministries are marked by dispirited and disheartened people who may have concluded that they never will reach this-or-that measure! They are not done a disservice at best, and great damage at worse. When God’s people could be striving and pursuing, they have lost all heart. They are not even sure they are saved.

Some will find a different ministry that again speaks to their heart’s desires. They may not be able to pinpoint the difference, but they know their hope of living for Christ in this world has been renewed.  They will re-enlist and get back on the road with newfound excitement.

Sadly, some will just drop out of church, never to return. Not only because of them but also because of a pastor who made it hard to live for Christ! They put burdens on mens’ spiritual shoulders. They could never reach the standard held out as a here-and-now absolute rather than our aspiration. Like some fathers who have provoked their children and discouraged them! They do it with God’s children, over who they claim to be shepherds.

No, like in families, there is a shared responsibility between both children and fathers, between pastors and people, when we dishearten! 


Trend #2 – Sadly Left Unchallenged

As stated, two preaching-teaching trends seem to be repeatedly showing up in our day. They are found in local church ministries and subtly appear in online Bible studies, magazine articles, books, or podcasts.

Some congregations may not recognize what is unadmittable being taught. Nevertheless, the groundwork for extreme theological-ideological positions is being laid.

Theological Trend #2: A Denial Of Our Security In Christ.

There seems to be a willingness and even a wantingness to conclude that someone is not a Christian if they are not living as they ought — and, indeed, may not be living as Christ would have us live.

Of course, being a Christian is more than making a profession.

However, this is kind of strawman statement that is used to obscure what is actually being said.  This is where the duplicity and nuanced double-talk shows up.  The existent theological position on eternal security is unexpressed and/or wittingly left unclear.

When it is subtly intimated that one can lose their salvation, or that one’s faith is suspect because he/she is not living for Christ, what IS seemingly being suggested is typically papered over.  

Even the preacher-teacher knows that what he is saying sounds like what he actually believes. Therefore, even though overly unchallenged as he speaks (or when actually challenged), he calls up that obvious truth upon which we all agree. . . . 

 “Well, we all know that one can be professing and not possessing.” 

“We would all agree that there must be some fruit in one’s life if one is truly a Christian.”

 “I am not saying that you can lose your salvation, but when there is no fruit, no life of faith . . . .” 

While he claims that he is not saying what he is saying, he sure sounds like he is saying just that.

Who can disagree with “no,” or “some fruit,” or the reality of professors?  “No” and “some fruit” are the weasel words that leave the real question unanswered. 

And “Yes,” we all know that you can profess and not possess, but that is not the point. That is a diversion!    

But what about inconsistent, sporadic, or a very erratic pattern/trajectory?  

The real question is — “Can a person who has truly professed Christ as their Saviour lose their standing in Christ even if they live a very inconsistent “believer’s” life that we might believe is a reflection of those who are lost?”

It may take “twenty more questions,” (and maybe by someone who holds to and knows the biblical position on eternal security)  to get at what the preacher-teacher actually believes.


“Assurance of salvation” affects the way we live life as a believer — confidently or with great uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds all sorts of troubles.  

Go to work every day with the feeling that you are about to lose your job.  

Experience a marriage that feels like your spouse is going to walk out on you one day.

OR fall into some sin, or fight a sin that so easily besets you!


Instead of seeking to encourage those who struggle in their faith, some pastors-teachers seem to find their intentional focus on such uncertainty. It is intentional because their theological-ideology pushes them into that ditch.

Of course, there is good reason to challenge some who are living inconsistent lives about their faith, and to periodically preach a message on being in the faith. But again, such is used as part of the “papering job” to cover what is really believed and being covertly taught — THAT . . . . at the end, some might not make it if they do not persevere to the end. Oh, they are saying that without saying that!

I suggest we might ask these individuals about perseverance. . . . 

  • Saul — who consulted a witch before he died
  • Moses — who floundered at the end and was forbidden by God Himself to enter the promised land
  • Solomon — who seemingly lost his wisdom when it came to obeying God’s commandments
  • Samson — who did more in his death than his life
  • Lot — one of the most immoral characters of the Bible
  • Peter and the other disciples — who walked with Jesus (24/7/365/3 years, and saw and heard what we have but a small record of, and denied their Lord
  • The Corinthians — one of the most carnal churches we have a record of in the Bible
  • Uzziah — who died of leprosy
  • Many of the other godly kings of Israel — who did not wholly follow the Lord
  • David — and it’s far more than only Bathsheba.
  • The many preachers-Bible teachers, who into the middle 20th century, supported chattel slavery, owned and sold slaves, and/or were truly racist all their lives and ministry [1]
  • Disgraced preachers-teachers of today — who do not claim that they were lost during their sinful escapades and now have found Christ.

What about those levels of inconsistency?
Let’s talk about those sins and their “trajectory” in life.   

√ Which sins do we want to identify as indicators of lostness when it comes to those who claim Christ as their Saviour? Which “inconsistencies” and sins do we want to use as our markers for unsettling God’s people about their faith in Christ?

√ Can a person who has called on His name (Acts 9:14; Romans 10:12, 13, 14), has been born-again from above (as Jesus says to Nicodemus — a believer?), or who is justified (Romans 8:35) — also be a person who can lose the “eternal life” they were given (John 10)

√ Can a Christian be a person who will not persevere?

Rather than repeatedly shaking the faith of God’s people, let’s strengthen them and individually deal with those questionable cases as they arise.  

Rather than quickly and easily concluding that some must not be a believer because someone is struggling in their Christian life — and even significantly struggling — Let’s talk to them about the love of Christ . . . . . 

“Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden.” — Matthew 11:28

“that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me — John 17:23

When someone has called on Christ, in their earliest years, as teenagers, or beyond, and have sought to follow Christ over years (and even decades), but are now facing some real spiritual battles, do not glibly assert — “Well, you are probably not a believer” — as your diagnosis. Such a simplistic diagnosis disregards the nature of the spiritual battle all of God’s people face DAILY. [2]

Their need is not salvation, but the call is to move on to maturity, not find some more comfortable resort by which to explain their worldly walk, such as, “Well, maybe I’m not really saved.” 

“No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.”

We well understand that you can repeat the words — “Jesus is the Lord” without the Spirit’s work in your heart. The obvious point is that it takes the work of the Spirit of God to say that and mean it in your heart.  

However, when you have said — Jesus Is Lord — and it is from your heart, you mean it. It is because the Spirit has done a work in your heart. That supernatural work the Spirit will not repent of, or the Godhead will disavow. God did not adopt you, place you in Christ, forgive your sin, promise you life and life eternal, and seal you with the Spirit — only to take it away at some point in time.

There is a great deal of duplicity and dexterity when it comes to being theologically honest with God’s people. These trends [3] are more subtle and, at times, reflect a level of artifice in order to avoid questions about what is being taught by the ministry.  While the typical layman-woman may not fully grasp or understand what is being taught in their church, the groundwork is being laid for the acceptance of a dangerous twisting of what the Scriptures teach about our security in Christ.


I am so grateful for the works and words of men like D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, whose works and words are still available today.  He provide great clarity, argument, and insight on this doctrine!

Link: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Eternal Security . . . .

“If this doctrine (Eternal Security) isn’t true, well then if you ever find yourself in glory, the glory will have to go to you for holding on.

The position would be this — that you like a number of other people, have been given the same gift of salvation and eternal life — They foolish didn’t hold on it, but that you did.  And therefore the glory goes to you for holding on.

But that’s a blank contradiction of the teaching of the Scriptures everywhere. . . . Man has nothing to boast of at all.  And when you and I arrive in heaven — my dear friends — we realize that we are there not because we held on while others gave up — but because He held on to us. . . . and we’ll give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory.”     [4]

1. Check out the works of Robert Louis Dabney, the oft-quoted preacher and reformed theologian of the 1800-1900s.  

Oft quoted by John Mac Arthur, John Piper, Joe Rigney (President of BC&S), and their oft conference speaker, Doug Wilson.

Reformed White Supremacist
(Reformed, not as in “changed,” but as in theology)

In his time, Robert Lewis Dabney (1820–1898) was considered one of the greatest teachers of theology in the United States. Revered theologians such as Hodge, Shedd, Warfield, Bavinck, and Barth viewed him with appreciation and respect. Dabney was a thoroughly Reformed, five-point Calvinist who believed in the supremacy of God in all things. However, his view of God’s sovereignty, a true and beautiful doctrine, tragically became interwoven with his racism, as he consistently used the doctrine of “providence” to reinforce his white supremacy.

Read on for more of the horrid position Dabney held on race.

2. I might suggest that this trend seemingly travels with those who have adopted Trend #1, as well as a theological ideology that embraces the edges extreme ditches of Calvinism. 

This trend dates back to and includes John Mac Arthur and his position on “Lordship Salvation.”

3. That is Paul’s argument in Hebrews 6. As Paul states, let us move on to maturity-perfection! For it is impossible for those who have been enlightened and partakers of the Holy Spirit . . . . that if they have fallen away as you might believe, it is impossible to renew themselves unto repentance for Christ would have to be crucified anew!

4. Link To Lloyd-Jones’ Full Message

External Link To Lloyd-Jones Full Message


D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Eternal Security . . . .

“If this doctrine (Eternal Security) isn’t true, well then if you ever find yourself in glory, the glory will have to go to you for holding on.

The position would be this — that you like a number of other people, have been given the same gift of salvation and eternal life — They foolish didn’t hold on it, but that you did.  And therefore the glory goes to you for holding on.

But that’s a blank contradiction of the teaching of the Scriptures everywhere. . . . Man has nothing to boast of at all.  And when you and I arrive in heaven — my dear friends — we realize that we are there not because we held on while others gave up — but because He held on to us. . . . and we’ll give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory.”     

Two Trends – Left Unchallenged

Two preaching-teaching trends seem to be repeatedly showing up in our day. They are found in local church ministries and subtly appear in online Bible studies, magazine articles, books, or podcasts.

Two reasons they are so subtle are congregational discernment and pastoral duplicity! [1].

√  The theological nuances and subtleties within a sermon are often lost on the average layman-laywoman. Fellow pastors easily pick up on the subtleties and nuances. What is artfully promoted or subtly being preached and taught is readily recognized by those who live full-time in ministry.

√  Secondly, pastor-teachers can be duplicitous. They can be teaching something that is not generally accepted by the congregation. What he is preaching-teaching is cloaked in a way that precludes it from being clear, transparent, challengeable, and/or even creating ministry problems — such as unemployment.

I believe that this is what is happening when it comes to these two new theological trends.

Theological Trend #1: A “One Size Fits All” theological axiom.

After decades of repetition, one of the most damaging theological aphorisms has been left unchallenged, accepted, and/or reiterated by many pastors-teachers . . .

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” — John Piper —

Anytime you make a single theology axiom the focus around which all other truths revolve, you are bound to end up in a theological ditch. The obvious damage that this theological ditch creates continues to emerge. [1]

God is not only “most glorified” when we are satisfied in Him.

God is most equally glorified when we . . . .

  • obey His commandments,
  • share the Gospel,
  • read His Word,
  • meditate on His precepts,
  • love our spouse, neighbors, enemies, the lost,
  • suffer for His name,
  • come to Him in prayer,
  • worship Him on His day,
  • sacrifice for others,
  • train up our children in the fear of the Lord,
  • in all our ways acknowledge Him,
  • separate from ungodliness,
  • serve Him in ministry,
  • tithe,
  • go beyond our tithe,
  • behave selflessly,
  • reflect the fruit of the Spirit,
  • obey His call on our lives,
  • resist temptation,
  • are humble,
  • walk in the Spirit
  • confess our sins,
  • repent daily,
  • sing hymns of praise,
  • intercede and pray for others,
  • are compassionate
  • work hard without eyeservice
  • pray for the “king”
  • forgive others
  • trust Him through the toughest trials of life
  •  . . . . . .

Piper, and others, would like to stuff these (and any others) under being “satisfied in Him.” He would like to link all these to being “satisfied in Him.”

That is how “one size fits all” theology works, whether it is Piper or another theological fad of our day. A single truth becomes the sole focus, and a “new religious crowd” is born and identified by that singularity — Seventh-day Adventists / Ruckmanites / Holiness church / Free-will Baptist / etc.

However, one could do that kind of cosmetic linking with many a theological concept such as “loving” (Him & others), “sacrificial” (no greater love than a man lay his life down for another), “spiritual” (walk in the spirit), pride (the original sin of Lucifer),or “obedient” (if you love me, keep my commandments).

Let’s make “obedience” the “most glorified” link!
— “God is most glorified when we are most obedient.” —

First of all, Piper’s overstated principle dilutes the biblical instructions for each and every one of those specific areas of Christian living.

For instance, while “acknowledging Him in all thy ways” CAN spring from being satisfied Him, and does glorify Him, there is far more specific biblical instruction about following God’s will than only being satisfied in Him — i.e. reading His Word, seeking the wisdom of others, waiting on Him, praying for wisdom, observing (I went by the field of a sluggard), be not hasty, staying humble (for He resists the proud), etc.

Second, it is overly simplistic. Not every area of Christian life and living is addressed by extolling — “be satisfied in Him.” If it was, there would no need for much of Scripture.  It may be one answer, but it is not the full biblical response.

For instance, when facing temptation, being satisfied in Him is not the whole of God’s instruction. There is far more than the application of one axiom.

The Scriptures includes . . .

  • putting on the armor,
  • putting on and putting off,
  • turn from that path,
  • abstain from fleshly lust,
  • make no provision to fulfill the lust of the flesh,
  • take heed,
  • walk circumspectly,
  • pray without ceasing,
  • He will provide a way of escape,
  • “Resist the Devil, and he will flee,”
  • “Listen my son,”
  • “add to your faith,”
  • die to self
  • etc.    

Piper offers one solution to all of life and living — find your satisfaction and pleasure in Him.

Third, obedience is expected whether or not it comes from a heart of satisfaction or pleasure. As stated, let’s make “obedience” the “most glorified” link! “Obedience” might be the more foundational issue — from the beginning — in the Garden.

Fourth, it misstates temporal and/or secondary avenues of satisfaction and pleasure that the Lord has provided. There are many avenues of satisfaction and pleasure that the Lord has provided and included as part of life and living. All of them are legitimate pleasures and satisfactions of life! They all come from His hand and plan. And even the lost world share in these God-ordained pleasures and satisfactions of life, even though they may have no interest in glorifying Him — the rain falls on the just and the unjust!


Piper’s singular solution produces aberrated answers for life and living!

For instance, John Piper teaches that even when your husband abuses you verbally and physically, a wife is to accept it, and loving pray and tolerate such abuse, to be satisfied in Him, to find her satisfaction in Jesus and for what He has sovereignly allowed to be part of her life (I can assure you I am not overstating his position.). [1]

♦ As if the Lord did not provide marriage to be just the opposite, a place of security, peace, fulfillment, and warmth — which are all part of the pleasure that He has planned for us through godliness.

♦ As if stoically tolerating and/or willingly declining those avenues of satisfaction and pleasure is being Christlike — while desiring the satisfaction that ought to flow out of a godly marriage is not being satisfied in Him.

♦ As if refusing to accept such spousal abuse, and demanding some level of decency and godlines, is deemed not being satisfied in Him — or worse yet, is a rejection of a husband’s leadership!

♦ As if renouncing the ungodly abuse, and desiring the satisfaction and pleasure that the Lord has essentially designed for marriage, is an unspiritual response.

There is satisfaction and/or pleasure that God has ordained in the temporal, the here and now. Such pleasure and satisfaction would have been part of our daily living were it not for the Fall and will be part of life and living in the new heavens and the new earth.

There is, and we find, satisfaction and pleasure in knowing that your spouse loves us.

There is, and we find, satisfaction and pleasure in seeing your children follow the Lord.

There is, and we find, satisfaction and pleasure in watching the sunset, the mountains, the trees in Fall, and the snow blanketing the ground.

There is, and we find, satisfaction and pleasure that comes out of living in a safe and secure environment — as will be the case in that eternal and holy city.

There is far more in the Scriptures than one axiom that seemingly and dangerously frames all other truths.

Theological Trend #2: (TBC)


1. Check out John Piper’s most recent absurd position, which is ideologically driven — fresh off the press!

It is Piper’s position on spousal abuse.

“If it’s not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, she endures perhaps being smacked one night…” (John Piper)


“If we keep reading the same books,
we will keep thinking and saying the same things”

Sorry, It May Not Be Exposition!

I believe it is beyond dispute that there is scarcely a pastor who would not claim to be an expository preacher-teacher. Midst all the different personalities, speaking styles, and even “denominations,” surely today’s preachers want to be considered expositional in their handling of the Scriptures from the pulpit.

However, the same pastors realize that such is not the reality. While they are, they would tell you that many other preachers are not engaged in Bible exposition. [1] That is why pastors make that very point by periodically announcing such to their congregations.

  • “We go verse by verse through the Scriptures to make sure we are preaching and teaching what the Word actually says.”
  • “This church is marked by expository preaching.”
  • “We exposit the Scriptures in our ministries.”
  • “If you want to hear what the Bible says, not what men say, then you are at the right place. We tell you what the Bible teaches.”

After such pastoral assertions, you may hear a hearty “Amen” from the congregation (even from those who rarely say “Amen”). 

In today’s Bible-believing churches, the congregations have been taught that such is the standard and that their pastor meets that criteria. When the preacher announces that he is committed to that, God’s people are again convinced that what they are hearing from the pulpit is Bible exposition.

The primary reason some preachers-teacher are not considered expositional is the belief that topical sermons are not expositional. Another second reason, perhaps ranking right under that, is the all too common abuse and misuse of Scripture — preaching on a single verse and taking it out of its context. Using the Bible to say things it does or does not say in that particular passage is “INposition,” not EXpostion.[2]

Nevertheless, the failure to be expositional is far wider than those two typical allegations.


Five Types Of Sermons That Are Not Expository Preaching

#1 — Systematic Theological Preaching:

For some, a passage of Scripture is merely a place to find a word or prevalent theme to form the basis for a general theological study.

If the verse or passage . . . .

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into that heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

 . . . is talking about — our future, or future inheritance, heaven, God’s love, God’s preparation for His people — then the sermon is marked by a systematic study of that doctrinal truth. [3]

It is not that anything said is not biblical, but that the passage is merely used as a repository of words or themes that allow one to teach biblical doctrines. Teaching the doctrines found in the passage is not exposition. The preacher is merely drawing out of the passage the biblical doctrines that are found within the verse and/or passage. The marker of such an approach is that the preacher is turning to a host of different passages that all relate to that particular doctrine(s).

It is not that teaching on a particular doctrine is an illegitimate approach to Bible teaching. In fact, that is why classes in “systematic theology” are typically part of a seminary education. Those entering the ministry are shown the unfolding of a biblical doctrine across the pages of Scripture. 

Nevertheless, it is not exposition if the “How” or “why” the writer calling up this-or-that doctrinal truth in this passage is left unexplained. That is the hard work of exposition.

It is not sermonic exposition if it is not used to expose how that particular truth or doctrine within the passage further’s the argument of the passage.


#2 — Skyscraper Preaching:

Skyscraper” . . . . because it is story upon story. 

Who hasn’t heard this kind of sermon? The Scriptures are used to give occasion for telling a story. The preacher highlights various verses, stories, illustrations, and examples that form the bulk of the sermon. The sermon’s stories are the focus and far more remembered than the passage. The sermon is littered with stories about how . . . .

  • that has happened in one’s life or the life of another
  • that truth works in life and living
  • someone who violated that truth faced serious consequences
  • spiritually minded the speaker is in understanding and apply this-or-that truth
  • etc.

The sermon is not so much about what the verse or passage teaches, but the building of interesting, shocking, amazing, and/or frightening examples, one after another, story upon story. It is all designed to move the emotions and leads one to believe that what the speaker is saying is found in the Scriptures or that passage. The story is reputed to be the point of the verse or passage.

Again, the stories may illuminate or illustrate biblical truths, but it is not expository preaching. It is story-telling, accurately or inaccurately, supposedly making a point that is reputed to be what the biblical writer is teaching.


#3 — Old Mother Hubbard Preaching:

I say, “Old Mother Hubbard” because I think about that poem as an example of such preaching.

“First of all, notice that she was “old.” She wasn’t young, middle age, but just “old.” The word “old” just says it all. This was a woman who had a lot of years behind her.

Her name was “Mother Hubbard.” That is what people called her. When you wanted to refer to her, everyone knew who you were talking about when you said “Mother Hubbard.”

Now the word “Hubbard” comes from the Greek language, and it means . . . . “

Just about every word of the verse or passage is examined. This sermonic format features “word studies,” and biblical cross-referencing, or at times resembles an “Amplified Bible” (though the value of such a “translation” is often disparaged.) 

This approach spends its sermonic time making sure that the listeners understand every word or phrase that can be explained. The meaning of every word or phrase is carefully squeezed out (sometimes beyond its need, and/or legitimate meaning and expositional understanding within the passage). [5]

While fully understanding what the words of a verse or passage actually mean is basic to exegesis, and should take place in the pastor’s study to ensure that the preacher understands what is being said by the author, the audience is now brought into the self-same process. 

The study has moved into the auditorium. 

The kitchen has become the dining room.

Most of the message becomes pedantic, academic, and literary.

The trees and not the forest becomes the focus. 

One begins to wonder, “Do any of the words, when put together in a sentence and/or added to a paragraph, make a primary point that God is declaring about life and living?” What is the argument or point that the writer is pursuing and accomplishing? [11]

Yes, there is a place for clarifying the meaning of this-or-that word or phrase. Nevertheless, “Keil and Delitzsch” or “Vine’s Word Studies Of The Bible” are not designed to become the main course of the sermonic journey, as God’s people get lost in the theological weeds. 

“Commentaries” are designed for the study, not the pulpit.

Being a “coming to you live commentary” is not expositional preaching.


#4 — Abracadabra Preaching:

This dates back to the days when only the clergy could understand the Bible. The belief was that the laity lacked the ability to grasp what was being said. It took a “man of the cloth” to help someone understand this Book! The preacher was that individual who alone can really tell you what that verse or passage is actually teaching.

With this form of sermonic composition, the pastor’s unique insights, discovered by his in-depth and consummate study of the Scriptures. It is marked by pastors who love the “novel.” They gravitate towards and latch onto unique and unusual meanings of a verse or passage. 

It is almost as if without such insightful and novel points, the pastor has not earned his salary or used his time in the study to dig out such wisdom. He must be considered the most perceptive and knowledgeable since he is the preacher.

Had the typical Bible reader read this-or-that passage, he would have never seen it or grasp “the real meaning” of the verse or passage.  

The “pastoral conjurer” can find so much more in the simple and plain meaning of the passage — words that match, meanings that would allude the lay reader, connections that few would have ever made, and truths that few have thought of until now. 

Of course, there are some difficult passages and even books (The Revelation of John, Ecclesiastes, et al). Of course, there are times when we read a passage of Scripture and come to realize that more is being said in a verse or passage than we have seen before — people and preachers.

But time and time again, the conjurer finds “insights” that the average reader of the Bible would have never realized When that happens over and over, there is something other than “exposition” happening. We are dealing with a biblical conjurer, an “expository conjurer.” He finds truths and principles that few, if any would have ever seen in the passage. [6]

And that is the real point. We sincerely believe that God’s people can read the Scriptures, and understand what is being said. We believe that the Scriptures are simple and clear enough, that when people even hear it read, they can understand what is being said — as was the case in the oral culture of early Bible days. That is why we encourage daily Bible reading.

A “Bible Magician” engages in “eisegesis” (puts in meaning that was not there), not “exegesis” (pulls out the meaning that was there). He pulls things out that are not there, or were put in before he pulled them out.  

He makes “coins” appear out of nowhere. But really, he put them in place, and then he suddenly discovered them to the wonderment of all — walla! [7] [9]

The typical response is “appreciation & praise” — “I would never have gotten that out of just reading the passage! He is amazing! Are we fortunate that we have a pastor who is so intelligent and learned!”


#5 — Self-Promotional Preaching:

This type of preaching is marked by a preaching approach is primarily exhortation and application, more than exposition. It exhorts or challenges God’s people to live and live out biblical and spiritual standards and always implies that the preacher-teacher himself has reached those standards.

The argument of the passage is not as important as the general biblical topic of the passage to which the preacher can so clearly exhort and personally connect with. 

Topics such as prayer, passionate godliness, glorifying God, putting to death the sin nature, selflessness, et al. are the exhortatory focus. The sermonic task is to subtly imply (and sometimes not so subtly) how God’s people need to reach the level of spirituality and godliness that the preacher has reached. The exhortations and admonitions are for those listening, delivered by one who has attained such.  

The stark contrast is the kind of sermons that are so purposefully transparent that you struggle with respecting your pastor because he opens up the doors and reveals his ungodly shortcomings and spiritual deficiencies. [8]

The antithesis is preaching that clearly implies that there is little-to-no spiritual struggle. That sanctification is not progressive. The exhortations and admonitions of the Scriptures are for thee, not me. The argument of the passage is not as important as making certain that you realize that the preacher-teacher has himself arrived regarding the general topic of the verse or passage.


#6 — Springboard Preaching:

The verse or passage is merely a repository of possible theological words or phrases that the preacher-teacher can springboard off to talk about whatever he desires. Makeup whatever three or more points you want.   

You only need a word or a phrase to make it seem like you are using the passage as the basis of your message. Just quote the passage which has the word or phrase, and jump in and paddle anywhere you want to go.

The argument of the passage, or how the verse and verses fit into that argument as a whole, is not essential to those who springboard. It only takes a “word” or “phrase” from the passage to invent whatever sermonic points the preacher would like to make up.

i.e. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.”  

“The will of God” — that is what guided Paul in life. First, the will of God is different for every one of us, as it was for Saul-Paul. Second, The will of God may mean that we will face some very difficult events of life, as did Paul. And third, the will of God for you often includes other partners who can encourage you, as was Barnabas to the Great Apostle Paul.


i.e. “Abraham looked up. . . . ” that is what we need to do! We need to “look up.” First of all, for the return of our Lord . . .

Again, it is not that what is being said or even may be said is biblically inaccurate, or even taught in other places in the Bible, but it does not come out of the passage! One could springboard off the same passage with another set of main points that are entirely different.

What you are saying may be biblically founded, but it is not an expository message.


#7 — Simulated Expository Preaching:

Preaching through a passage “verse by verse” is almost the definition of “expository preaching.” That phrase, “verse-by-verse” is the catchphrase for those who tout that they are being expositional — “Amen preacher!”

Actually, it is merely a running commentary on the obvious. The preacher is merely reading and expanding on what each of the verses is teaching, with little-to-no regard as to how the verses build on each other and build into the argument being made.

The listeners can see what the verse says. They have read it with you, probably read it prior to hearing today’s sermon, and understand what is being said. Nevertheless, we will go through the passage verse by verse and explain its meaning unconnected to the argument being made.

To read each verse, offering some expanded elucidations, verse after verse, is not exposition, but a running commentary on the obvious. I know that is what the passage says, I see the words, but how do these words and truths advance the argument being made”? [9]

i.e. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” The Lord sees us a flock of which He is the Shepherd. Like any shepherd, he is there to meet the needs of the flock.

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” The picture is one of sheep lying down in abundant pastures of green grass, grass enough to meet every need and then to also provide waters, still waters that don’t frighten, but calm.

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” David now moves to the obvious application to us as God’s people and speaks about restoration, restoration of the soul. . . . and not only restoration but direction and leading. The Lord only leads His sheep in paths that are godly and honor His name.


However, David is making a far greater and broader argument by such a Psalm. These verses are designed to contribute to that all-embracing argument and purpose of the passage — That There Is Good Reason For Trusting The Shepherd During Some of Your Most Difficult Days.



Unfortunately, most congregations do not understand the actual nature of the sermon they are hearing. While they are instructed to value expository sermons, they have little-to-no idea that such is not what is being presented. They are told and believe that this is exposition and what they should learn to appreciate.

They will give a hearty “Amen” to such a pastoral claim even if they have no idea that what they are hearing is far short of an exposition of the passage. The listeners have been taught and believe that this is exposition. 

However, the sermon never helps them understand the argument of the passage.

What is the writer’s point, and how does the other content contribute to that point? [10]

It is an expository sermon when the argument of the passage is understood, revealed, and the implications of that argument are applied to the lives of those listening.



1. “. . . there is so much preaching today that is not expositional. . . . most of the preaching in pulpits today is far from expositional.”


2. Whether or not topical sermons are expositional is a discussion for another time. Let me just say that a topical sermon, a sermon on any biblical topic, can be as expository as a sermon that deals with a singular passage. it merely requires that you deal with the each of the topical passages as you would a singular passage.

Some would also point to preachers who take verses out of context — “There are countless examples of biblical texts preached out of context.” [1]


3. “Systematic Theology” is a standard approach to the study of the Scriptures in a seminary education. The 10 or 12 major doctrines of the Bible are examined across the pages of the Old and New Testaments. For instance, the doctrine of “God” (sometimes called “theology proper”). From Genesis to Revelation, there are passages on who God is. God’s creation of the world, attributes of God, the plan of God, the trinity of the Godhead, etc., are all followed by a list of various verses to establish the biblical doctrines of Scripture. If you look at a church’s statement of faith you will see those various doctrines supported by such biblical citations.


4. One present-day example is “Chiasms.” As Dr. Svigel, of Dallas Theological Seminary, stated, he was certain that he could create a chiasm out of any portion of Scripture.


5. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus”

First of all, notice “The Person” — it was Paul speaking. Paul was originally was named Saul. He became an Christian on the road to Damascus. When he was persecuting the Christians, and was on his way to arrest them, a bright light . . . . .

Second, notice “The”Position” — he calls himself an Apostle. Now, to be an apostle, you have had to seen the risen Christ. There is no where in the Gospels where you find that “Saul” saw the risen Christ. Had he, he might have been persuaded. But he was confronted by the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. . . . .

Third, notice “The Permission” — “by the will of God. God’s will is what guided him and is what guides us in life. When we talk about the will of God . . . .

Fourth, notice “The Promise” — There was a promise, a guarantee, a surety given in the Gospel . . .

Fifth, notice “The Patronage” — Jesus Christ is who Paul now serves.

“Our practice of preaching from texts has accustomed people to try what they can discover in single sentences, and even single phrases, of the Bible, and to disregard the general current and structure of the argument or history: the minute exposition of clause after clause will confirm their evil habit. They seem to think that the best way to get a right conception of the Rhine, or of the Falls of Niagara, is to examine separate drops of the water under a microscope. The expository method which I have followed for some years past is likely, I think, to lead people to read the Bible as they read other books, and to look not merely at separate thoughts and fragments of separate thoughts, at isolated facts and the most insignificant circumstances connected with isolated facts, but at facts and thoughts in masses, and as they are grouped by the Scriptural writers themselves.” — R. W. Dale Yale Lectures, 1876


6. “I always think of the tricks of those ingenious gentle men who entertain the public by rubbing a sovereign between their hands till it becomes a canary, and drawing out of their coat sleeves half-a-dozen brilliant glass globes filled with water, and with four or five goldfish swimming in each of them. For myself, I like to listen to a good preacher, and I have no objection in the world to be amused by the tricks of a clever conjurer; but I prefer to keep the conjuring and the preaching separate: conjuring on Sunday morning, conjuring in church, conjuring with texts of Scripture, is not quite to my taste.” — R. W. Dale Yale Lectures, 1876


Sometimes the “unique insight” involves a ‘number,’ or the repetition of a word, or a matching passage of Scripture that repeats a phrase, or a so-called literary pattern (chiasms [4]), or a word that could be translated far differently, or a new and unique way to translate the verse, a new take on a well-known and understood passage, et al.

i.e. “Look at this pattern. In chapter 1, then in chapter 2 the same word is used. In Chapter 4 we see that word again, and it appears four more times in the first 7 chapters.”

i.e. “Now this word can be translated and should be translated ‘family guest room’ not ‘Inn.’ Joseph and Mary found that there was no room in the family guest room to lay down Jesus, and therefore they laid him in a manger.” [link].

i.e. “The same word is used in Hesitations 3:2. Here it highlights the point that when you pray . . . “

i.e. “The word is used 20 times by John in his Gospel.”

i.e. “The same grammatical construction is used in I Peter, and there it speaks of . . . . .”


Many might forget that during Bible days, the oral reading of the Scriptures was how most people heard the Word of God. They did not have a “Bible” or “book of the Bible” in hand. They could not do all the linguistic gymnastics that pass for exegesis and exposition today, and reading the Bible was sufficient for life and godliness.


7. “the conjurer, when we hear the congregation declaring was that amazing what he got out of that we should not immediately assume that the news is good for the little I know about magic, I’m forced to conclude that the rabbit was in there before he pulled it out of there and the reason I got in there is because he put it in there so that he could pull it out. There are some tremendous sermons where the reason he got it out is because he had previously put it in.” — Alistair Begg


8. I have heard some pastors speak about how they struggle in their marriage, with various temptations, or even with pornography. It is like “social media” at times. Some sins need to be personally battled, not publicly announced!


9. After 2000 years of Bible history, writers, teaching, it is more than probable that one’s novel understanding of this-or-that verse or passage is questionable. Go back to some of the early church fathers, who were much closer to the life of Christ and the birth of the Christian faith, and determine how they understood the Scriptures.

“Some preachers choose texts with apparently no other purpose than to display their own wonderful ingenuity.” — R. W. Dale, Yale Lectures, 1876


10. I Corinthians 8 is an ideal example.

A contention is made in verse 1 — “knowledge puffeth up.” That is followed by a series of verses about what we “know.” We know the truth about who God is and, therefore, the meat offered to idols that are not gods. Then, the point is made that not every man has that knowledge as he seeks to make the argument that we are not to let our knowledge puff us up and disregard our brother and cause him to stumble.

An expository sermon should show how the verses build the argument which Paul makes about Christian liberty.

Other Articles On Expository Preaching

Rhetoric & Homiletics: Expository Preaching? Hardly!

Rhetoric & Homiletics: Why Are We Still Talking About Expository Preaching?

Rhetoric & Homiletics: 10 Ways To Describe Expository Preaching

Rhetoric & Homiletics: Undermining Expositional Preaching


“Desiring God” — It Is Getting Bizarre-errrr!

If you think the previous article by “Desiring God” ministries was a one-off, let me resolve any doubts! [1]

Listen to or read — Episode 1830,
So much could be said but let me make two simple points.
#1 – Dissembling:
“I want to say loud and clear that there is grace — there is great grace — for that situation. Even grace for flourishing in it, not just coping with it. And there is great reward forever and ever for those who endure in a godly, Christ-exalting way the disappointments of this life. Now, that’s not what she’s asking, but I felt it’s important to say it. She’s not asking how to cope with disappointment, but rather what strategies are permitted or encouraged for a godly wife to seek change in her husband who’s living in sinful ways. So, let me offer a few clarifications of what I hear in this question.”
While Piper states, “that’s not what she is asking,” that is still what he says in response!  Why? Because for some obvious reason, Piper says he “felt it’s important to say it.”
Likewise, Piper cites I Peter 3:1-6; 4:17, and while he states that it is not applicable to her situation since her husband is a believer, he still references I Peter.  It is obvious what is being done since, later on, he specifically cites I Peter 3:7 to support “submission.”
It is a way to exonerate oneself — “Look, I stated that it did not apply.”
But it was still purposefully stated and/or applied to make a disingenuous point about submitting to your husband, regardless of the length of time and/or the continued reasonableness of further inaction.
Piper set up the context for his advice which is to adopt “a meek and quiet spirit,” to be like Sarah, who called Abraham lord — “but I’m not saying I Peter applies to this situation!”
#2 – Tortuous Ideology: 
Piper repeatedly states and connotes in his answer that the wife has a responsibility to submit to her husband’s leadership.
“What strategies are permitted or encouraged for a godly wife to seek change in her husband who’s living in sinful ways.”
Piper’s advice — You should address the situation again with your husband and ask if he is willing to get some meaningful help. [2] [3]   If not, live with it and represent Christ in the marriage as you suffer for God’s glory!
“Submissive Confrontation”

“speaking to a husband about her concern she would necessarily be acting in an insubordinate or unsubmissive way. She might be if her attitude is wrong, but I think a mature, godly, Bible-saturated woman knows the difference between nagging a husband in a pushy or insubordinate way, on the one hand, and humbly and wisely bringing to the husband her concerns and seeking with him a way forward toward relational health that would make both of them and the children holier and happier. . . . .

If they can’t seem to make progress together, then it might mean seeking the husband’s agreement that they would bring a wise biblical counselor into their lives.


That is what the Scriptures teach about the covenant of marriage after seeking to address the issue, with a little-to-no reasonable response by her husband after 20 years?  — “seeking the husband’s agreement.”

Have we gone mad! [4]

This “Tortuous Ideological Complementarianism” imprints what has happened at BC&S, many a ministry that has unquestionably adopted the thinking of John Piper, and so many of the teachers/preachers who follow  Desiring God writers!

Some have left their biblical sensibility and sanity!  Others have gone over the cliff with Piper by failing to challenge such teaching/preaching.  Piper’s positions are ideologically driven and flows out of a commitment to an unbiblical principle that “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him and ‘His will’ for our lives.”  For Piper (and many other Bible teachers and preachers) all other Scriptural truths and principles revolve around that stated ideological hub. [5]

“Satisfied in Him,” seemingly means that a wife submits to and ultimately accepts all that happens to her in her marriage.  Apparently, calling her spouse to account, directly speaking to her pastor or a counselor with or without her husband’s knowledge or permission, is not being satisfied in His will and way.

After 20 years of her working through and living with this situation, my advice as a pastor is far different! Sin, selfishness, wickedness, and unrepentant evil are not something you allow to continually uproot the covenant of marriage.

It is consequences that are designed to humble, and when the consequences are removed, there is little hope for any humility and change.  What no consequences do produce is hard-heartedness. [6]

Check out “Loammi” Hosea 1:9-10, 2:23



2. By the way, what a pathetic description of 20 years of pornographic addiction by your husband — “. . . a long-term marital disappointment. . . . . !”
To even use those words to describe what this wife is experiencing in her marriage in the same category is shocking — at best!
“Disappointment” in marriage is when your spouse has you mow the lawn, fails to wash the dishes, vacuum the carpet, or share in the household tasks that come with living together.
3. How about this statement as well — “but that she may be empowered at any given moment for some perfectly suited gift from God for what that husband needs.”
4. I remember talking to a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  As most realize, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will not serve in the armed forces, give allegiance to the United States flag, or be involved in law enforcement.  In our talk, I asked him what he would do if someone broke into their home and was attacking his wife or his daughter — assaulting them physically or sexually.  His answer was — “I would pray.”My response to him was . . . .

If you are saying that you represent what the Scriptures teach as the righteous and proscriptive will of God, as found in the Bible, then I have good reason not to believe anything you say as being biblical.  If you can so twist the Scriptures to allow for that kind of response — “I would pray” —  then you have the ability to twist Scripture to mean anything!

I remember talking to an individual who was a pastor/Bible teacher/reformed theologian/and-or Calvinist who repeated that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him and that such should be the principle that guides the response of a wife to 20 years of her husband’s pornographic addiction. . . . .
[You can finish it!]

5. Tell the families of Uvalde, Texas, whose children were killed, the parents of a young five-year-old child who was sexually molested, the wife whose husband has shattered their marriage, and the friend of mine who is dying of cancer (likely due to the unsafe environmental factory conditions) that what they are going through is a blessing, a blessing FROM God!

The underlying ideology of this kind of thinking and such statements has led to all kinds of passivity and inappropriate actions.  Poor-to-terrible counseling, wrong-doing, social injustice, and horrific abuse have been left unaddressed (and even justified as biblically appropriate and justified) because of this type of thinking — “We need to see this as from the hand of God.” [2]

Yes, I understand that God uses sin, sinlessly.  That God can still bless us, and does, midst our sin and the sins of others.  But the sin was sinful, it is not therefore acceptable to be left unaddressed, and it is not a blessing from His hand.  Any attempt to promote some passivity towards the sinful actions of men is but an argument to allow it to be more acceptable and/or for it to continue unaddressed!

6. Moses allowed divorce a writ of divorce because of the hardness of men’s hearts!