What Are We Celebrating?

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is past us and we are already full-swing into another Christmas season. Christmas movies are on, presents are being purchased, trees and lights adorn the country. All of these things are fun, exciting, and part of the celebration of Christmas. But what exactly are we celebrating? John’s Gospel gives us the answer:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,

John 1:14a (English Standard Version)

We are celebrating the fact that the God of the universe thought enough of His elect that He took on flesh to walk on this earth as one of us. He faced the same trials and temptations yet he remained sinless. He took our place on the cross and took our penalty for our sins in his death. He brought us salvation and redemption that we might have eternal life. There is no greater love.

We often hear that Jesus is the “Reason for the Season.” But do we really take this to heart? Do we really understand the magnitude of what happened on that first Christmas? Do we really think about Immanuel, God with us? Do we consider what Christ did for us on the cross? Does it make a change in our lives?

These are the things that we need to dwell on this Christmas season. And not just Christmas, we need to think about these things every day of the year. So let’s remember what we are celebrating. We are celebrating the Word becoming flesh to dwell among us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Give Thanks

It is hard to believe that we are at another Thanksgiving Day. 2019 has flown by. On this day we stop as a nation to give thanks for all that has been given to us. We are thankful for health, friends, family, jobs, homes, food, and many other things.

But what I find interesting is that we often take these things for granted the rest of the year. We do not live with the spirit of thanksgiving all year round. Why is that?

Why do we become so complacent with what we have that we forget that it could all be taken away in a second? We are guaranteed nothing in this world. We are not even guaranteed that we will be walking on this earth another day.

So as we go through the rest of 2019 and into 2020, let us remember to give thanks every day.

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2 English Standard Version

Do Not Offend

In today’s politically correct culture we are often told that we should make sure we do not offend people when we are speaking the truth of the Gospel. We are also told that we need to make sure we are speaking the truth in love. But what does that mean? Does that mean to not offend? Does that mean we should do everything to make sure that feelings are not hurt? Are we really supposed to go about our preaching and teaching in such a way that nobody can take offense? The answer is NO!

The idea that we are not to offend people does not come from Scripture. This is the construct of a culture that is obsessed with being politically correct. A culture that believes there are no absolutes and that everyone can believe what they want to believe and that is true for them, except Christianity. The truth is this, the Bible is an offensive book to those who do not follow it. The truth is offensive to those who wish to reject it. And, could it be, that when feelings are hurt by hearing the truth it isn’t really their feelings but their conscience tugging at their soul because they know they are in the wrong?

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“You Should Have Been Aborted!”

I was heartbroken today to read an article at Pulpit and Pen about a man who yelled at little 4-year-old Quinn Ross that she should have been aborted before she was born. Quinn is in a wheel-chair with a disease called Perthes Disease.

What is troubling is the fact that this man thought it was not only ok, but necessary, to attack a little girl who is obviously suffering in this world enough. What has the culture become?

The abortion culture of death in the United States is appalling. It is disgusting and the fact that millions of children have been murdered in the womb is a stain on our nation. It is even worse that some Christians believe this to be compatible with the Scriptures.

A poll done by Pew Research in 2014 showed that an average of 36.4% of Evangelicals believe that abortion should be legal in all/most cases. That number is staggering. The people who should be the most ardent defenders of life have 1/3 of their people saying there is nothing wrong with abortion.

It is no wonder that this man thought it was okay to tell little Quinn that she should never have been born. If the church will not lead the charge for life, why do we act surprised when the culture turns to death?

So what does the Bible have to say about this?

First and foremost, we know that Scripture says we are not to murder (Exodus 20:13). It does not get any more clear than this. Murder is wrong. Period. But the Government says that a child in the womb is not a human and therefore it is not murder. But why do we allow the Government to dictate our theology?

There are many examples in Scripture that God knew us before we were even born. That he fashioned us together in the womb of our mother. Psalm 139:13 is a great example of this, but it is not the only example. However, this clearly shows that God thinks that we are humans, persons, in the image of God, before we are born. It doesn’t matter what the Government says, abortion is murder in the eyes of God plain and simple.

To little Quinn Ross and her family, I am so sorry that you had to endure this obscene and despicable act by this individual and it is my hope that justice is served in this case.

Albert Mohler to be Nominated For SBC Presidency

I have a deep love for the Southern Baptist Convention. My grandmother was a Southern Baptist and though I did not attend a Southern Baptist Church as a kid, I did go to SBC vacation Bible schools and activities. I was raised on the Baptist Hymnal in my Grandmother’s kitchen.

At the beginning of my adult ministry, I was a youth pastor at a Southern Baptist Church. I went to a school that is in alignment with Southern Baptists. And even though I attend a United Methodist Church due to location, I am Baptist through and through.

I was disheartened when I saw J.D. Greear elected to be the president of the SBC. I understand the choice and why he ascended to the role. However, I have real reservations about some comments he has made and positions that he has taken in the past.

This year, however, I was encouraged to see that Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has said that he will accept a nomination to be the new president of the SBC.

Mohler is a conservative. Make no mistake about this. He is a champion for theological fidelity to Scripture. He is no stranger to controversy in making hard shifts to the conservative right when liberal theology is creeping in. If you doubt this, just look at what happened at Southern in the early 90’s.

This is the type of leader that the Southern Baptist Convention needs. They need a leader who will stand up to the current trends of liberalism that are creeping into the church. They need a man of God who will stand up for Scripture. I firmly believe that Mohler is that man.

The Lost Art of Writing Letters

What I am writing about today isn’t so much about theology but it is something I believe is important. That subject is the discipline of writing letters. Unfortunately, in the age of technology, letter writing is something that has been lost. We go to our mailboxes and all we see are bills, political ads, and credit card offers. We get plenty of junk in our postal mail just like in our email. But what do you feel if you get an actual handwritten letter? Or even a typed letter from someone you know? It’s exciting!

I have been trying this year to be disciplined in writing regular letters. Emails are great, but they are not the same thing as receiving a letter. We also know that the written word is powerful. It can build up, or it can tear down. So here is some of the types of letters I have written this year.

  • Letters to the sick
  • Letters to the discouraged
  • Letters to political leaders
  • Letters to churches
  • Letters to church leaders
  • Letters of encouragement
  • Letters of question
  • Letters of rebuke

What I have found in all of these is that people are appreciative of the written word. Ok, maybe not so much from the letters of rebuke, though I have received written responses for those as well. Emails are cheap and can be very impersonal. But a letter shows that someone cared enough to spend time, effort, and money to send them something personal.

I don’t think this is a coincidence. After all, the majority of the New Testament was delivered to us as letters. Letters are powerful. My encouragement to you today is to think of someone you have something to say to and sit and write a letter. It will be a great experience. Rediscover the lost art (and joy) of letter writing.

Bishops Continue To Defy Scripture

On Reformation Day I sent a letter of rebuke to the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. It is time that the Bishops either enforce church policies and uphold Scripture, or the Council needs to be done away with. They must be disciplined. But over the weekend, instead of moving back towards the Scriptures and enforcing the policies of the church, five Bishops have said their conferences will be a safe haven for LGBTQ.

It is no surprise that this comes out of the Western Conferences of the United Methodist Church. After all, in the Mountain Sky Conference they have Karen Oliveto, the first openly homosexual Bishop of the church.

As I said in my letter on October 31st, every day that Oliveto remains on the Council of Bishops makes a mockery of the church and defies Scripture. She must be removed immediately. The church must immediately hold trials and enact church discipline against Oliveto and other Bishops that are “championing” this cause.

The Bishops seem to act as if they are surprised that the UMC is barreling forward towards a denominational split in May. Why should this be a surprise? They are defying the Scriptures. If anything, they should expect this.

What is worse, Kenneth Carter, the current President of the Council of Bishops, has suggested that there be an immediate moratorium on trials against LGBTQ issues and that there should be a future conversation on the relaxation of the trust clause.

The real tragedy in all of this is that it is obvious this could all be about money. Let’s face it, the Bishops want to force churches to stay. If they lose churches, the denomination loses income. If the denomination loses income, who will fill the purses of the Bishops? By the way, Bishops make over $100k a year!

They ignore Scripture. You cannot legitimately claim that Romans 1 is discussing a cultural issue. Paul clearly states that homosexuality is against God and the laws of nature. Yet, here we are with a major church pushing to accept sin as normal. This must stop!

Reformation Day 2019

Today we celebrate Reformation Day. 502 years ago today, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Contrary to popular belief, this was not an act of defiance against the church. Luther simply wanted a debate. He had no idea that he was about to spark the Protestant Reformation.

What Luther did not anticipate was that his theses would be translated by some students from Latin, the language of scholars, into German, the language of the people. Once this happened, there was no turning back.

In the 16th Century, Pope Leo X had continued work on St. Peter’s Cathedral that had been started by his predecessor. However, the church was out of money. So the Pope made a deal with Albert of Brandenberg who was seeking another Bishop position in the church. The deal was an indulgence to pay for St. Peter’s and to free souls from purgatory as a result.

John Tetzel was commissioned to sell this indulgences throughout Germany. His famous line was, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.” It was this background that prompted Luther to call into question the practice of indulgences sparking the Reformation.

The Reformation was a call to action. A call to Scriptural fidelity. A rediscovery of the truth that we are justified by faith alone.

Today, 502 years later, we are desperately in need of another reformation. I spoke about this on Sunday We live in a culture today, and even churches today, that want to bow down to sin. Two at the forefront are LGBT and Abortion, not to mention science. We are told that we are to filter scripture through the lens of these agendas. However, that is not how we are to go about our lives.

As Christians, we are to filter everything through the lens of Scripture and Scripture alone. It’s not supposed to be the other way around. Christians need to take a stand today with the boldness of Martin Luther. Stand on Scripture, not on culture.

Soli Deo Gloria

Joe Biden Denied Communion: A Question of Faith

It has been reported that, over the weekend, former Vice President Joe Biden was denied communion at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina by Rev. Robert Morey due to the presidential candidates public stance on Abortion.. Morey stated:

Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.

Rev. Robert Morey

Naturally, this started a firestorm regarding faith and politics. Biden has long held that his religious beliefs should not dictate his political positions. But the group, Faithful America, said that the Catholic Bishop in South Carolina should rebuke Morey and force him to apologize to Biden. They claim:

Jesus said, ‘Take, eat — when you do this, do this in remembrance of me.’ He didn’t say, ‘Take, eat — but only if you agree with certain American political positions

Rev. Nathan Empsall – Faithful America

But is this truly all the Bible has to say about communion? If it were, then yes, I would agree with the stance that one’s political views should not be taken into account. However, this is not the only thing that the Bible says about the Lord’s Supper.

The Apostle Paul makes it very clear that when we take communion, as a remembrance to what Christ has accomplished, we are to examine ourselves so that we do not take the bread and cup in a manner that is unworthy (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)

This is not something that a Christian, or the church, should take lightly. We need to examine ourselves each time we come to the Lord’s Table to see what in our lives needs to be repented of and changed.

Abortion is an intentional killing of a human baby no matter what the United States Supreme Court says. The ten commandments make very clear, you shall not kill (Exodus 20:13). There is no way around that fact. This makes abortion a sin. To advocate abortion, is to openly advocate sin. Paul warns against this as well in Romans 1:32.

While the Catholic Church is in error on many fronts, today, a single priest, has stood up to the culture for truth.

A Letter to the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church

To the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church:

It is in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that I write to you today. 502 years ago today, Martin Luther stood up against the Church to speak out against unbiblical teachings and practices that had entered into the church. This culminated with the nailing of his 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Today I write with that same spirit of Luther.

I have not been a member of a United Methodist Church very long. However, I have seen enough in the past year and a half to be greatly disturbed at the corruption of the denomination and the lack of leadership by your council.

This past February we had the Special General Conference (GC2019) on a way forward regarding the status of LGBT in the life and practice of the United Methodist Church. That whole debacle was a disaster. There were no winners. Only losers. There are many reasons for this but a primary reason is your lack of leadership and your cowardice to not defend Scripture and enforce the Book of Discipline.

The Book of Discipline makes very clear, as does the Holy Word of God, that homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity. Nothing has changed except for a culture that is moving away from the Scriptures. Yet, there are forces within our denomination that wish to bend to that culture because it is convenient. This is a work of Satan himself.

You have allowed yourselves to become a tool of the serpent, the great deceiver. You have refused to enforce the Discipline to the point that there is even an openly gay Bishop, Karen Oliveto. Every day that she continues to sit on the Council without disciplinary action against her, those that allowed her to be voted in, the Council itself, and her Annual Conference, is a mockery to both the United Methodist Church and to the Holy Scriptures.

The encouragement of the One Church Plan and trying to force-feed those who wish to be faithful to the Scriptures this new doctrine based on culture and not the Word of God is a stain on the Council. You are supposed to be spiritual leaders. Instead, you are cowards that bend to cultural peer pressure.

With regard to the election of Oliveto, it is disgraceful. Church law dictates that she is outside of the Book of Discipline by being an openly professing and practicing homosexual. She should not only be removed from the Council of Bishops, she should be removed from any office of the United Methodist Church, immediately.

With regard to the 2020 General conference, there have been reports that there is an active push to elect progressive delegates that will work to overturn the decision from GC2019. There have even been reports that openly gay delegates have been selected. These delegates should not be allowed to vote as they are openly defying the Book of Discipline and Scripture.

It is the inaction and cowardice of the Bishops that have brought the denomination to the brink of schism. Why do the Bishops not have the courage and integrity to enforce the Discipline? Why do we even have church policies if they are just going to go ignored? Worse, why do we have certain Bishops, such as John Schol and others, who are actively working to undermine the Discipline and the vote of the General Conference?

Any Bishop who refuses to enforce the Discipline should resign or be removed. They have no business being in a leadership position in the church. They are a disgrace to the church and are at enmity with the Scriptures.

Paul said in the book of Romans chapter one that homosexual relationships are dishonorable and contrary to nature. He later states that they will receive due penalty for their sin and explains later that this penalty is death. The Bible has not changed so why are we even entertaining the idea that the Methodist church should change? Are we no longer faithful to the Scriptures because the culture tells us to bow down?

Why are we not standing when commanded to bow down like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Are we not willing to be cast into the world’s fiery furnace?

It is past time for the Bishops to choose this day whom they will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

In The Name of Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ,
David Taylor Jr.