Do As I Say and Not As I Do: The Tragedy of the James White Interfaith Dialogue and the Pragmatic Defense Offered by Phil Johnson

The current firestorm related to James White’s decision to facilitate an interfaith dialogue with Imam Yasir Qahdi is puzzling in the least and has become a stumbling block for many who do not understand how White cannot understand that he is “dancing with the devil” as the saying goes.  Mr. White’s response to those critical of his decision has been the polar opposite of remorse and he has in fact dug his heels in and maintained that his actions were right and consistent with what Christians should be doing. Is that true? What bridges can be built to people who teach that Christians who do not submit or convert to Islam should be murdered? What madness is this that has gripped Christians today such that they believe the lie that building bridges to nowhere constitute evangelism? I won’t rehash all of Mr. White’s actions related to this in detail. You can read about that here – http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/facts-reveal-james-white-islamic-dupe-clueless-evangelicals-are-desperate-save-his

What I wish to address is the support Mr. White has received. Surprisingly a couple of people with very different perspectives, one might say two people with theological beliefs very much at odds with one another, have stepped into the fray to defend Mr. White’s error. I am speaking of Phil Johnson and Michael Brown. This has added a layer of intrigue to the entire situation but has also served to obfuscate the truth of what critics of White’s decision to promote an interfaith dialogue have been saying. By engaging in what appear to be damage control activities on behalf of Mr. White, Johnson seems to have exposed himself as a hypocrite of the highest order. You can be the judge of whether or not that is true based on the information contained in this article. His previous statements seem to be completely contradictory to his stated position concerning James White’s ecumenicalism, or to use the new and improved phrase, interfaith dialogue.

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Matthew 6:25-34 – Don’t Live Your Life Under The Tyranny Of The What If’s

In our previous study we learned about the deadly disease of affluenza or materialism.  The reason that this is so deadly for the Christian is because it results in an unbiblical focus on the acquisition of things.

Materialism causes people to lose their ability to achieve contentment and leads instead to compromise and coveting.

Jesus tells us in verses 19-24 of chapter 6 to beware of the trap of thinking that possessions satisfy the soul because not only do they not satisfy but they cannot satisfy.  We are not designed by God to be satisfied by material possessions.

Notice that verse 24 serves as Jesus’ summary of the result of disregarding this spiritual truth – you will be mastered by things.

I want to consider two questions and their answers this morning in light of what Jesus says –

  • What happens when we disobey this warning?
  • What happens when we obey it?

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Matthew 6:19-24 – The Danger of Affluenza

Over the last several weeks we’ve been learning the difference between authentic Christianity as presented by our Lord Jesus and religious formalism demonstrated by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and many who profess faith today.

The apostle Paul would refer to this latter group as people who held “a form of godliness although they have denied its power.”  Paul’s exhortation concluded with the warning to “avoid such men as these.”

Jesus simply called them what they were – hypocrites.

As we look back at this great teaching that started in chapter 5, we come to understand more and more why Jesus says what He says.  For example, “You have heard it said, but I say to you” can be seen as Jesus saying “Your religious formalism demanded (such and such) but authentic Christianity, true righteousness is demonstrated by (such and such).”

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Reflections on Hear The Watchmen Conference – Dallas

Hi friends. Kathy and I made it home Monday afternoon after spending Thursday evening through Monday morning at the Hear The Watchmen (HTW) Conference in Dallas. I’m still not caught up on everything that needs to be addressed but I simply must take some time to share with you some thoughts about this past weekend.

Kathy and I have been to many conferences over the years. We were both saved in 1983 and since that time have attended too many conferences to begin to count. Most of them were worthwhile, a few were not, but only a handful standout. At the top of the list of these outstanding conferences is this recent HTW Dallas Conference.

What made it so very special was the clear presence of the Holy Spirit. Evident to both of us from the moment we arrived and gathered with the other speakers for a meal prior to the official start of the conference on Friday, was the singular purpose and goal. We were there to encourage and equip the remnant body of Christ and one another.

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Matthew 6:1-18 – What Constitutes Godly Righteousness?

Most of you know this but it bears remembering that chapter and verse designations are man-made.  They were placed throughout the text of the Bible as a means to navigate through the Bible.  In many cases they do make a clean break in the thoughts of the authors.  In the Sermon on the Mount however, this is not the case.

Chapter 6 continues the explanation of Jesus on what constitutes true righteousness.  He has contrasted true righteousness from false righteousness by using the religious leaders of His day.

Jesus makes the point in this chapter that what people do is a direct result of the righteousness they possess – whether their own, or the righteousness God gives us through faith in Jesus Christ.

That was certainly the intent behind what He said in 5:17-20.  Up till that point Jesus had taught the people how godly righteousness was first of all apprehended and secondly how it was manifested.  In that passage verse 20 is a pivotal verse in helping us understand exactly what Jesus was saying.

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