Tuesday, December 21, 2010



And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

This season of the year, much is said about the birth of Christ. There are manger scenes on lawns of homes, churches, parks, etc... Some good Christmas hymns, and carols are played on the radio, and in the shopping malls, among the more jolly and frivolous music, and largely meaningless songs that are also played. Some of those hymns have a wonderful message. I am speaking of Joy to the World, written by Isaac Watts in 1719; Away in a Manger, called Martin Luther‘s Cradle Hymn, but likely written by James R. Murray 1887; Silent Night by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr 1816-1820; and Hark the Herald Angels Sing by Charles Wesley, 1739, with music by Felix Mendelssohn, 1840. These, and some others, at least touch on the reason for Christ’s birth. So much that we see and hear during the Christmas season is void of any real mention of Jesus Christ. Instead, there is stuff about Santa Claus, presents, decorations, Christmas parties with drinking (and God knows what else!) People are scrambling to buy gifts (often people are charging things on credit cards that they cannot afford).

There is a lot about Christmas activity for the true Christian not to like. Much that we cannot partake of, in good conscience. Remember, the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas, as well as many other Christians of the past, and the situation was not as extreme as it is now. Be that as it may, I am not writing this to condemn Christmas. It likely would do no good; it is here to stay. But if we are going to observe any of it, we should know what it purports to represent. I hope to stir your conscience to put Christ first.

Several things: First We know Christ was born, in Bethlehem, in a manger; that shepherds were told by the angels, and came to see Him. Second We know that wise men of the East sought him, went to Herod to inquire, which set Herod off on a quest to kill this King whom he feared may take his throne. Third We know that his parents were from Nazareth; that He was born of a virgin, so though Mary was His mother, Joseph was not His real father. Fourth His real father was Almighty God. Most of us have, at least, heard these things about Jesus (whether we believe them or not).

Here is something you may not have heard. Christ did not begin life at Bethlehem. He did not begin to be the Son of God at Bethlehem. He is the Eternal Son, having always been so. Neither was the Holy Spirit a created being; He is God, and has always been so. Three Gods, you say? No! it is beyond our human understanding, but this God we serve has always been one God in three persons, or as The Philadelphia Confession of Faith of 1742 declares:


3. In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him. (1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Exod. 3:14; John 14:11; I Cor. 8:6; John 1:14,18; John 15:26; Gal. 4:6)

(This is identical with the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. The Westminster Confession (Presbyterian) of 1647 is almost identical on this portion except it says persons).

Checking the words persons and subsistences, I favor subsistences as being more correct. Remember though, we are speaking of the mystery of godliness, and what mere creature can fully grasp these truths? “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

In the Incarnation, as traditionally defined, the divine nature of the Son was joined, but not mixed, with human nature in one divine Person, Jesus Christ, who was both "truly God and truly man". The Incarnation is commemorated and celebrated each year at Christmas. That is what it is really supposed to be about. It’s not about Santa Claus; presents, parties, revelry and holiday. It is supposed to be about the incarnation of the Son of God. As John Gill (1697-1771), stated:

"The incarnation of Christ is a most extraordinary and amazing affair; it is wonderful indeed, that the eternal Son of God should become man; that he should be born of a pure virgin, without any concern of man in it; that this should be brought about by the power of the Holy Ghost, in a way unseen, imperceptible and unknown, signified by his overshadowing; and all this in order to effect the most wonderful work that ever was done in the world, the redemption and salvation of men: it is a most mysterious thing, incomprehensible by men, and not to be accounted for upon the principles of natural reason; and is only to be believed and embraced upon the credit of divine revelation, to which it solely belongs." From John Gill; Incarnation of Christ ; Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book 5 Chapter 1.

Philippians 2:7a tells us “But (Christ) made himself of no reputation” (Greek κενόω ἑαυτοῦ =emptied Himself). He emptied Himself of rights and privileges He had as King of Glory to come here and die for our sins. Hymn writer Charles Wesley in his great song And Can It Be That I Should Gain? says that Christ emptied Himself “of all but Love”. Can that be? I told you already that what He did cannot be fathomed by finite, human minds. Oh, What a saviour!

We observe that Matthew and Luke tell us more about His birth, and where He was born. John gets right down to who He is; Incarnate Deity! Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord! Do you know Him? Do you worship Him? Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess Him to be Lord. Have you done that yet? Bow down before Him, love and adore Him! He is Lord and Christ!

Monday, December 13, 2010



"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said. We will not walk therein" (Jeremiah 6:16).
Anyone who has ever gone hiking will immediately relate to the teaching found in Jeremiah 6:16. An old path, a trail which has been well worn by other hikers before, is a good way. It beats having to blaze an entirely new trail through the thick woods and underbrush. There is no rest in this new trail blazing, but constant work. But many have proven the old paths and arrived to rest safely. Spiritually speaking, God has said in Jeremiah that these Old Paths would bring rest for your souls and yet He says there are those that say, "We will not walk therein" (v. 16).

Today the Old Paths are not in vogue. Modern theologians, rightly called Modernists, higher critics, and unfaithful Bible revisers, are departing from the Old Paths and blazing new trails where God did not direct, and they are asking Christians to follow their leadership. They have nothing to offer. Instead of an inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God they offer a mutilated, untrustworthy, so-called higher criticism that dares to judge God's Word instead of submitting to its authority. 

Here I am not talking about honest translators, or expositors; for we need sound, godly scholars to translate and interpret scripture. Even the King James Version translators said this in their introduction to the 1611 Authorized Version. I am speaking of those translators who do not approach God’s word in reverence. Many of these are simply unbelievers, in it perhaps to simply destroy God’s word. This goes for the neo-modernist and emergent church teachers also. Include seeker sensitive preachers in that very bad lot also. They have done their damage!

They present Christ as a mere man, not the God-man; not the virgin-born Redeemer who came to save His people from their sins, but not in their sins. If they preach atonement at all, they do not preach a definite one. They show us a Christ who went to the cross puzzled over whether He had done right, or even if anyone would believe He was the Saviour. They show us men with a spark of goodness that needs to be kindled instead of a totally depraved being that in our father Adam fell completely and helplessly into sin. This spark is called freewill, and is given much more standing than God’s free and sovereign grace. 

Man’s will is free alright, but only free to act as his nature dictates. Man needs a new nature! Only God can give it to him! The sinful, unregenerate nature cannot will to please God, or go to God until, and unless, God gives spiritual life through free grace. But free grace is an Old Path.

These cutters of new paths show us a “new” morality which is really a dressed up old immorality. This humanism promoted as “true Christianity” goes to various extremes. Some have expected the true, Bible believing, churches to receive as members unrepentant homosexuals. The Bible refers to them as Sodomites! (Deut. 23:17). Sodomy has affected the ministry so much that some so-called pastors are justifying their own involvement in that sordid lifestyle, and justifying it before their congregation, as one “pastor” did recently here in the Atlanta area. The most shocking thing is that his church has accepted him, and wants him to continue as “pastor!” His wife is divorcing him, though she calls him a wonderful man. But, she is getting out, so maybe she exhibits more sense that most of his church members!

Abortion is called by these modernists “freedom of choice.” But, the babies have no choice! The Bible calls it murder! (Exodus 1:16 ; Matthew 2:16). They call living together without marriage a relationship; the Bible calls it fornication! See 1 Corinthians 5:1; 7:2. Just as you can call a garbage man a sanitary engineer, and a coal miner an energy cultivator, you still can't cover up the fact that both have dirty jobs!

The fact is, according to the Bible, these new pathfinders don't really have a gospel to preach, or anywhere to lead people, but to hell. Don’t forget this! When it is all over and we each give account to God, and all of us will (see Rom. 14:12), those who would not submit to God's Word will be cast into the lake of fire (the hellfire that they don't believe in either!)

Modern tools of evangelism such as radio, television, and the internet, are good, if used in a God-glorifying manner, but not to promote humanism, socialism, liberalism, neo-modernism, entertainment substituting for the gospel, and just plain sin! There is ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, and it is these Old Paths in which we seek to walk and lead others.

Ask For the Old Paths was written in the late 1970’s by Charles Woodruff, revised and re-published in 2006, and extensively revised by the author in 2010 for this issue of Word of Truth.

Saturday, December 04, 2010



We must be more afraid of flattery from the camp of the enemy than persecution. Read the pages of Church history. Persecution never did the Church of God any harm, but compromise with the world has always robbed it of the power of its purity. ... Potpourri Evangelism consists of two features: mixed evangelistic campaigns and mixed Christianity. By mixed evangelistic campaigns I mean the alliance of Modernistic and Evangelical churches together in an evangelistic effort.

When religion gets up a revival, it must have from five to twenty churches of heterogeneous creeds and sectarian bodies to go into a great union effort; it must have a mammoth choir with great musical instruments, and many preachers and multiplied committees, and each committee headed by some banker, judge, mayor, or millionaire’s wife. It signs cards as a substitute for the broken-hearted cry of scriptural repentance. It must count its converts by the hundreds in a few days’ meeting. It must apologize for natural depravity.

Human religion’s enterprises have an atmosphere of earthliness about them. It despises the day of small things and scorns little humble people and lonely ways. It is eager to jump to the height of prosperity. Its music has no pathos in it, its laughter lacks divine cheerfulness, its worship lacks supernatural love, its prayers bring down no huge answers, it works no miracles, calls forth no criticism from the world, and has no light of eternity in its eyes. It is a poor, sickly thing, born of the union of the heart of the world with the head of Christian theology--a mongrel, bastard thing with a backslidden church for its mother and the world for its father. Oh, my dear brother and sister, never forget that this unnatural monster will be destroyed at the coming-again of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ.

(Excerpted from Evangelism, James A. Stewart, Asheville, NC: Revival Literature, pp. 25-28).