Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dr Price

There is a saying in show business and advertising that “any news is good news.” I happened to be reading a web site dedicated to “KJVonlyism.” On that site one of the posters wrote a criticism of a book by Dr. James Price and linked to his web site. The good news, Dr. Price was my Hebrew professor in Seminary. I knew he had retired but did not know what he has been up to in the last several years. Thanks to that critical book review I was able to find Dr. Price’s web site and get caught up with what he has been doing in the last several years.

For those of you who have not had the privilege of meeting Dr. Price, he happens not only to be one of the greatest Biblical Hebrew scholars of our time, but also a sincere servant of Jesus. I will never forget spending hours in his classes going over the Biblical text in Hebrew and seeing him emotionally caught up in the truths we were reviewing. Class time with Dr. Price was never a cold intellectual encounter with truth but rather introspection into the living Word of God.

One of the concepts Dr. Price would always challenge us to do was to “put the cookies” of truth on the lower shelf. Though we dealt with some complex issues in our exegesis we were instructed to make sure that the average person in the pew will not be overwhelmed by the exposition of Biblical truth. That theme rings true on his web site. For example, he has provided simple outlines of the entire Bible that are written clearly, concisely, correctly, and most importantly simply. Click on the following link to see for yourself.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Does "Being Gay" Send You to Hell?

In his response to the recent court rulings in California and a local pastors retort Jonathan Falwell made the statement,

“Being gay doesn’t send anyone to hell. Rejecting Jesus Christ does.”

Falwell was responding to a local pastor from Lynchburg who responded to the recent court rulings to allow same sex marriage by saying, “he hoped that all homosexuals would just move to California.”

Jonathan Falwell’s intent on rightfully reprimanding the concept that we should not deal with people who have serious issues in a flippant way was well founded. However, his admonishment left an ambiguous whole in his retort.

The Apostle Paul said,

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NKJV)

Paul clearly indicates that someone who practices the sinful lifestyle of the past such as thievery or drunkenness or homosexuality is someone who does not demonstrate that he has been changed or born again.

While I agree with the sentiment to hate the sin and love the sinner, we should also affirm that we will condemn not condone a sinful lifestyle. Steve Lawson said, the two edged Word of God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. The tragedy of all of this is that our culture is slowly accepting the practice of a sinful lifestyle by defining ones personhood by their behavior.

Jesus Christ promises a new life to those who are born again.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV)

I find John Piper’s response to the following question helpful.

How can we help Christians who are struggling with homosexual desires?

I would encourage them to be careful not to define themselves as "homosexual." Don't say, "I am gay," or "I am a homosexual." Say, rather, "I struggle with homosexual desires." That's a very small—and huge—distinction.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Little Strength

This Sunday morning I will be preaching on the 6th Church mentioned in the beginning of the Book of Revelation. I have titled the message “The Faithful Church. “ The Church at Philadelphia can be considered a faithful church because of their commitment to Christ. Jesus said:

"“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name." (Revelation 3:8, NKJV)

As I considered the implications of “you have a little strength” I thought of George Mueller. If you remember George was a preacher who lived in England in the 19th century. He is mostly remembered for the many orphanages he founded.

What I mostly remember about GeorgeMueller was the many stories that were told about how he would pray for God to supply his needs and feed the children. For example, it was often reported that they would have no food for dinner, so they would pray and God miraculously provide for their needs. Truly George Mueller, his church, and his ministry was a group of God’s people with little strength. They like the church of Philadelphia depended on God to supply all their needs.

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)

It is one thing to say that you depend on God it is quite another to put your belief in practice. I have always been impressed by someone like George Mueller who truly practiced his faith. As I looked further into the life of George Mueller I found out that the basis of his great faith was that it rested on the sovereignty of God.

George Mueller came to England from Germany and began to understand the grace of God. In his own words George remarks,

Before this period I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace; so much so that, a few days after my arrival at Teignmouth, I called election a devilish doctrine. . . I knew nothing about the choice of God's people, and did not believe that the child of God, when once made so, was safe for ever. . . . But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the word of God

In addition he adds,

In the course of time I came to this country, and it pleased God then to show to me the doctrines of grace in a way in which I had not seen them before. At first I hated them, “If this were true I could do nothing at all in the conversion of sinners, as all would depend upon God and the working of His Spirit.” But when it pleased God to reveal these truths to me, and my heart was brought to such a state that I could say, “I am not only content simply to be a hammer, an axe, or a saw, in God's hands; but I shall count it an honor to be taken up and used by Him in any way; and if sinners are converted through my instrumentality, from my inmost soul I will give Him all the glory; the Lord gave me to see fruit; the Lord gave me to see fruit in abundance; sinners were converted by scores; and ever since God has used me in one way or other in His service

George Mueller had little resources and little strength in this world, so he rested in the sovereign power of God. Mueller also encourage others to depend on the faithfulness of the sovereign God of the universe who is always in control.

"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:26-34, NKJV)

Click on the link below for further reading on George Mueller

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What Judgment?

Apparently the voice and will of the people of California was overridden today by four judges as the California Supreme Court overturned a homosexual marriage ban.

Today’s ruling by the California supreme court is another reminder why the most important job the next President of the United States will do is appoint justices to the Supreme Court of the United States. The presidential campaign this year may boil down to the lesser of the two liberals.

A ruling like this is perhaps a sign of worse things ahead as our society continues to sanction debauchery; in this case through appointed officials.

I wonder if those judges would classify the Apostle Paul’s statements as “hate speech?” I would not be surprised to see this issue brought before the courts in my lifetime.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,

Below is the AP article if you care to read it.

California's top court overturns gay marriage ban

Associated Press
Published on: 05/15/08

SAN FRANCISCO ( — In a monumental victory for the gay rights movement, the California Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage Thursday in a ruling that would allow same-sex couples in the nation's biggest state to tie the knot.

Domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage, the justices ruled 4-3 in an opinion written by Chief Justice Ron George.

Outside the courthouse, gay marriage supporters cried and cheered as news spread of the decision.

"Our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation," the court wrote.

The city of San Francisco, two dozen gay and lesbian couples and gay rights groups sued in March 2004 after the court halted San Francisco's monthlong same-sex wedding march.

"Today the California Supreme Court took a giant leap to ensure that everybody — not just in the state of California, but throughout the country — will have equal treatment under the law," said City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who argued the case for San Francisco.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Gratitude Campaign

While I am not much for email campaigns and forwarded messages, recently I was sent this video message and thought that it was truly worth passing on.

If you travel by plane it is likely that you will encounter soldiers on their way home or on their way to another duty station. I have always felt like giving them a hearty hello or break out in a thunderous applause, but often there is not time for much more than a glance of appreciation.

If the strategy of this campaign catches on perhaps those who are protecting us may know they are appreciated even if some folks want to use their commitment to our country as a political talking point.

Those who serve in the military of the United States do so with great distinction. A few sacrifice for the safety of the many.

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." (John 15:13)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Renewing your Spiritual Life

Revelation 3:2-3

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, ...3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent…

On Sunday mornings we have been going through the Book of Revelation verse by verse. In chapter 3 Jesus addresses the church at Sardis. This church can be characterized as the spiritually dead church.

Notice that Jesus provides the anecdote for spiritual death in Verses 2-3.

He gives us 5 actions to renewing your spiritual life:

Watch, Strengthen, Remember, Hold fast, Repent

Be watchful

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.


2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Remember the Truth

2 Timothy 3:14-17 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Keep or guard

1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—

Jude 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.


2 Corinthians 7:10-11 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Literal Translations

Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Last night we had an interesting discussion concerning Bible translations. My main point was to illustrate that the primary motive of translating a passage a certain way is the theory of translation. A literal translation tends towards accuracy and a literary translation tends towards readability. In either case there must be some paraphrase, some insertion of words to help with meaning, and some idioms that are interpreted rather than translated.

Some people believe that the primary motive in a translation is ones theological bias. While I agree that bias cannot be easily avoided as we move towards paraphrase, I do not think that in a literal rendition the primary motive for word choice in most modern translations is due to a theological bias.

One example we looked at was with the New Revised Standard Version.

Isaiah 7:14 (NRSV) Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

The NRSV translates the Hebrew word “alma” with “young woman” instead of virgin. While I agree that this is not the best rendition of the word and that it should be translated virgin, I do not think the primary motive for translating “alma” here with “young woman” was because the translators wanted to deny the virgin birth.

Had the NRSV translators wanted to deny the virgin birth, then they would not have translated the quotation of this passage in Matthew as virgin.

Matthew 1:23 (NRSV) “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”

I will grant that the liberal bias of the translation committee for the NRSV perhaps allowed the broader rendering in Isaiah to stand. However, the literal translation philosophy of the NRSV caused them to render this Isaiah quotation in Matthew as “virgin” without regard to their liberal bias.

Thus this example bolsters my point that translation committees are driven more by translation theory than by theological bias. Theological bias is more evident in translations that are less literal. So choose a literal translation for a study Bible if your want to increase accuracy and avoid theological bias.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Battle at Kruger


This is an amazing video promoting National Geographic’s new series on Predators VS Prey beginning Sunday evening May 11. This footage may be upsetting to you though there is no “blood and guts” but you may feel for the animal that is being attacked. After you watch the video then read my thoughts.


The reason I posted this video is that it provided in my mind a good illustration of some basic principles of the Christian life and church in general.

1. You have an adversary that is ready to attack you without warning or provocation.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV)

2. The weakest member of the group is usually the one who is most susceptible to attack.

"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all." (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NKJV)

3. Attacks come from more than one direction and more than one source.

" See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise," (Ephesians 5:15, NKJV)

4. There is strength in numbers; survival is often contingent to ones participation in the community.

"not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25, NKJV)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Grace & Truth Radio

Today LABC begins a new out-reach ministry. We will be broadcasting sermon excerpts on local radio stations. The purpose of this ministry is to help introduce the community to the current direction of LABC. In addition, we hope to provide a message of Grace and Truth to the community at large.

This is one way in which we can use our current technology to maximize our efforts to the glory of God. I look forward to seeing how God may use this ministry as an encouragement to those who need spiritual help in their time of need.

It is a humbling experience every time we get a prayer request or response that affirms how God has used the teaching and preaching ministry here at LABC to bless, correct, and comfort those in need.

Thank you in advance for your prayer support for this ministry. Look for updates from time to time on this blog.

Grace be with you,

Wayne Layton

Radio Broadcast Times & Stations:

Chattanooga, TN WLMR 1450 AM

Monday-Friday 6:15 AM

Monday-Friday 6:00 PM

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Government Stimulus Package?

" “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21, NKJV)

At our prayer meeting last night someone shared with me their dream for the Governments stimulus package. (In case you are not familiar with the program the basic details are below)

Bottom line is that many folks will receive a small unexpected return of their taxes paid.

Apparently there are many organizations that will encourage you to purchase their product; so expect to receive the advertising blitz.

The vision that was shared with me was the thought that it would be great if His children invested that unexpected treasure in the kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of this world.

I think that is an excellent thought. I am sure everyone who gets a return can find some good things to purchase or retire some debt on already purchased items. But if you are challenged by this vision as I am I encourage to consider if perhaps God has given you this opportunity to invest in His kingdom.


Determine Eligibility:
If you earned less than $3,000 - unfortunately you’d get nothing.
If you earned more than $3,000 but paid no taxes, you’d get $300.
If you earned more than $3,000 and paid taxes, you get $600.
If you have children, add $300 per.
Determine Phaseout Reduction:
The phaseout levels begin at $75k and end at $87k, at a reduction of 5% per $1,000 over the lower limit. If you earn above $87k, you’re over and thus get nothing regardless of the math.


Determine Eligibility (appears to be the same as singles):
If you earned less than $3,000 - unfortunately you’d get nothing.
If you earned more than $3,000 but paid no taxes, you’d get $600.
If you earned more than $3,000 and paid taxes, you get $1,200.
If you have children, add $300 per.
Determine Phaseout Reduction:
The phaseout levels begin at $150k and end at $174, at a reduction of 5% per $1,000 over the lower limit. If you earned above $174k, you’re over and thus get nothing regardless of the math.