We Will Not Bow!  – July 31, 2020

d1c3ed376d56072e574fb07f82f93287After Pentecost; and before the calling of the first deacons, the apostles were street preachers and in constant conflict with the Pharisees. Gamaliel, Paul’s teacher, convinced the council not to martyr them but just to beat them.  Acts 5 ends with these words:  They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. The Apostles were civilly disobedient for the sake of the Gospel.  Daniel and his friends were civilly disobedient when it came to false worship.   God may, in our lifetime, ask us to stand against our own government as individuals or as a Church.  I’m prepared, for instance, to preach the truth even if it’s forbidden.  I pray you are all in it until the end as well.

I know that some of you feel that the measures taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus are baby steps against that day.  Others of you feel that it’s a health department fighting something truly deadly and novel.  Please know that as your pastor I’m not blind to either “side.”  I appreciate both concerns.  I will comply with the mask order because, as it currently stands, it’s not a moral compromise and may help.  When/if it crosses the line (i.e. calls out churches separately), we will stand opposed.  Until then, we will “pay the poll tax” (Luke 17:24ff) and make clear face-shields* available for those who have medical issues with the mask or are just plain claustrophobic. 


Pastor Scott

 *I have an email from Jackson County Health Department approving this plan.  🙂

Good Read! July 24, 2020

I found rightly-dividing-word-truththis article when poking around articles and blogs surrounding the tragic death of Pastor John Powell (BRCS Class of 2001).  Because I don’t run in SBC Circles I’ve never heard of Herman Ridderbos, but I think he’s right on!  Much of this is “inside baseball” preacher to preacher talk; but the first two paragraphs are well worth the read and clarify well the position of WOGF!  ~Pastor Scott

Right application of Scripture necessitates Herman Ridderbos’s famous insight into Paul’s theology. Every imperative of Scripture (what we are to do for God) rests on the indicative (who we are in our relationship with God), and the order is not reversible (Acts 16:14–16; Col. 3:1–5; 1 John 5:1–5).[i] The human instinct with every non-Christian religion reverses the order, teaching that who we are before God is based on what we do for God. Thus, any preaching that is distinctively Christian must keep listeners from confusing, or inverting, our “who” and our “do.”

What Christians do is based on who we are in Christ. We obey because God has loved us and united us to himself by his Son; we are not united to God, nor do we make him love us, because we have obeyed him. Our obedience is a response to his love, not a purchase of it. We keep this indicative-imperative relationship clear, not by when we happen to mention each element in a sermon, but by making sure that the message is not done until listeners are motivated to obey God based upon God’s gracious provision for them.

Sometimes, we’ll lay a foundation of God’s provision as a motivational basis for the imperatives that follow; other times, we’ll detail the clear duties of the text before explaining the relationship with God that enables our obedience. There is a conceptual priority on the indicative that motivates and enables obedience, even if the imperatives follow in the actual presentation of the sermon.

If we try to establish a standard order or proportion for the mention of the imperatives and indicatives in our sermons, we will inevitably end up twisting texts in ways not intended by the original authors. We certainly should mention the imperatives and indicatives in various orders or proportions in different sermons according to the content and context of each biblical text. Still, the key to making any message gospel-consistent is making sure listeners do not walk away with the sense that their behavior is the basis of their redemption.

A sermon is not a sermon, if it includes no imperatives; a sermon without application is mere abstraction. But a sermon isn’t a Christian sermon if its ethical imperatives eclipse its gospel indicatives. A message that only heaps duty upon duty is mere legalism, even if the duties are in the text.

Proportions of imperative and indicative will vary, but listeners need to be able to discern the importance of each. We damage Scripture’s purposes, and the clarity of the gospel, if we do not pastorally consider what is needed for each element to be heard and lived.

A message that hammers on imperatives for 35 minutes, and then ends with a tossed in, “But remember Jesus loves you,” does not understand how the human heart functions. A message that mews about Jesus’ love for 35 minutes, and ends with an intangible, “So make your life count for him,” does not understand the human propensity to use grace to avoid obedience.

As pastors, we should aim for messages that enable people to honor our Savior with gospel-enabled obedience. To do this well, we must evaluate both the demands of a text and the disposition of our congregation. This will help us determine the proper balance between imperative and indicative.

If people don’t know what to do, then they cannot obey God. So imperatives of some sort are necessary. If people obey out of wrong motivations, then their so-called obedience doesn’t honor God. So indicatives that rightly motivate and enable must ground every imperative. The proportion varies, but both must be present with enough significance to inform behavior and stir affections for Christ’s honor.

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared at the 9Marks blog and as part of the 9Marks magazine.

The Song in Your Heart – 7/17/2020

I get emails from the Getty’s (whose efforts to create a new hymnody I really appreciate) and they do a national hymn sing every year.  They teased this year’s by releasing a clip of the Keynote from 2017.  I think it’s fantastic!   As a Bible Church Pastor, however, it caught my ear that he doesn’t reference a scripture passage.  I know Paul Tripp, I suspect the passage he was discussing was just not captured in the clip; but if you, like me are a purist consider that he might have been discussing:  Ephesians 5:18-21; Colossians 3:16; Psalm 1-150; or maybe Paul and Silas beaten, chained, and sitting in jail at midnight in Acts 16…..

We will get through this, just keep singing that sweet song, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”

Pastor Scott

Tired of the news? – July 10, 2020

Me too!  So instead I bring you, dragons!

Crouching tiger, hidden dinosaur?


The entry in A Chinese-English Dictionary (published in China in 1979) for dragon gives the meanings as:

  1. dragon
  2. imperial (as in imperial robe)
  3. a huge extinct reptile: dinosaur
  4. a surname.

Clearly, the dictionary recognizes that dragons were real animals and the language also connects dinosaurs to them. Indeed, the characters rendering ‘dinosaur’ in a paleontology context, (‘konglong’ 恐龙), literally mean ‘fearsome dragon’—remember that the English word ‘dinosaur’ was not invented until 1841.

Image: geocities.com/bernardburnComplex Chinese symbol for ‘dragon’

Also, there are many sayings in Chinese that connect dragons with still-living animals, such as tigers. For example:

  • ‘like a coiling dragon and crouching tiger’—meaning a forbidding strategic point. A variation on this saying inspired the title of the recent award-winning Chinese movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, meaning a benign looking place with powerful hidden forces.
  • ‘dragon’s pool and tiger’s den’—meaning a dangerous place.
  • ‘dragons rising and tigers leaping’—meaning a scene of bustling activity.

Furthermore, of the twelve symbols used in the Chinese lunar calendar cycle, eleven are real animals (pig, rat, rabbit, tiger, etc.), suggesting that the remaining one, the dragon, is equally real.

The above evidence is consistent with identifying dinosaurs with the dragons of Chinese history as real animals that have lived not too long ago. This contradicts the whole idea of an ‘age of dinosaurs’ millions of years before people existed, and further supports the Biblical account of the real history of the world.


(I was reading a really interesting article on Creation.com this morning about improbability of DNA evolution, but it printed out to 8 pages.  This one was the right size and a whole lot more fun!)

Pastor Scott