Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What About Local Church Associations?

Dr. Couch, our church belongs to the Association Of Churches in our town. They are holding a Day of Prayer, with all the churches, that sounds very liberal. Do you know about this? 
    As a pastor I would never join the local Church Associations! They are downright stupid, and at the most, only accomplish some limited charitable fund raisers. While this may not be bad in itself, I would rather our church do its own charity work and not associate with churches that are liberal, self-serving, ecumenical, feministic, shallow, etc. 

    To show how sick all of this can be, for the event you are talking about, the churches are getting involved in A World Day Of Prayer. The theme is “Uniting Under God’s Tent,” whatever that means! The purpose this year is to call to action the churches to pray “for a fulfilled life for all people” of the world! This is purely socio-economic and has nothing to do with spiritual truth coming from the Word of God! From the Scriptures, what in the world does this mean? 

    It is a bunch of swell. This year’s theme was proposed by the women of Paraguay. The observance will feature a “rustic cross, a symbolic tent, and a large nanduti, which is a handcraft and a woven floral pattern with “single thread, as a symbol of unity within diversity.” 

    This is a false attempt to unit people, blur national and biblical distinctions, and have unity just for the sake of unity! Christ and the Bible have nothing to do with anything! This is pure warmed over liberalism that has come back to life from the 1920s. Churches and pastors who know better should avoid such ecumenical dribble! 

    Thanks for asking.

    Dr.  Mal Couch

Monday, February 27, 2006

What About Faith Being a Gift of God?

Dr. Couch, thank you for some clarification about faith being a gift of God. It seems as if the best of theologians agree, right? 
    That is correct. And especially those who know Greek. 

    What I teach from the Greek text is that faith is merely the instrument by which we are saved, but it is clearly the gift of God. A. A. Hodge writes: “Faith is the gift of God—Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29.” Thiessen writes:

From the divine side: The writer of Hebrews speaks of Jesus as being “the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:2). Clearly, faith is a gift of God (Rom. 12:3; 2 Pet. 1:1), sovereignly given by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 12:9; cf. Gal. 5:22). Paul speaks of the whole aspect of salvation as being a gift of God (Eph. 2:8), and surely that includes faith.
    The former president of Wheaton College (where I attended and Walvoord also), James Buswell, said in his Systematic Theology: “Saving faith is a Gift of God. In Eph. 2:8 touto is neuter, showing that it is not merely grace, and not merely faith, but the entire concept of grace accepted by faith, which must be regarded as a gift of God.”
    Shedd in his Systematic Theology writes:
Election does not rest upon faith …, any more than upon a foreseen outward work. Faith is a gift of God to man (Eph. 1:8); therefore it cannot first be a gift of man to God, as the ground and reason of his electing act. If election depends upon foreseen faith, God does not first choose man, but man first chooses God, which is contrary to John 15:16. The Bible represents God as the author alone of election, regeneration, faith, and repentance (Rom. 9:16; 8:7; John 1:12-13; 3:5; 6:44, 65).
    Thanks for asking.

    Dr. Mal Couch

Conquest of America?

What do you think of Pat Buchanan’s new book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America?
    ANSWER: While I have not read the book (though I plan to), I have read a detailed synopsis of it and have heard him discuss it on a talk show. What I know about the book’s contents causes me to be highly impressed. But more, I know from being a historian that he is right on as to what is happening in both Europe and America. 

   The greatest problem he says (and I agree) is that the West has repudiated its Christian traditions. We are also repudiating our Western culture and civilization. The modern argument is that we should be a nation of inclusiveness and multi-culturalism. This is garbage and the lie from the pit! This really means we should accept all aberrant behavior and that all religions are the same. This argument has come from the halls of academia where communists, atheists, and liberals are really attacking our Christian orientation and heritage. They hate the white male and Calvinistic leaders of the past. They want to do here what happened in France some centuries past: a total and complete secularization of our culture where God completely disappears over the horizon. 

   The bad news is that the enemy is winning! And since I believe in the total sovereignty of God, nothing is happening by accident. We are getting what we deserve. A large percentage of Americans turned their backs on God and true believers in Christ allowed it to happen. The world is setting up for the apostasy, and for the tribulation. We will not turn the tide. Our job now is but to win as many to Christ as we can. We no longer have the power or the wherewithal to turn things around! 

   Thanks for asking,

   Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, February 10, 2006

The German Blitz and Hanukkah

Dr. Couch, I heard you speak about the people of London, England joining in on Hanukkah during the German Blitz of 1940. Could you explain? 
   ANSWER:   As the German bombers came over night after night, the English people were at their lowest spiritual ebb. It was near Christmas time in December which was the same period of remembering Hanukkah, or the Jewish Festival of Lights, celebrating the victory of the Jews over the Greeks in 167 BC. 

    Some Germans were listening to the BBC radio broadcast because of its Christmas celebrations on England’s only radio station that was government operated. The Germans by this time in 1940 had been forced to give up the Nativity celebration and replace any Christmas festivities with a pagan, German Winter Solstice Festival. 

    The Germans who were listening to the forbidden English station, must have gotten an ear full, because the BBC was broadcasting the Hanukkah Festival lead by the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire. The ceremony included readings from the Psalms: “I will praise You,” and a Hanukkah hymn “Rock of Ages, let our song praise Your saving power.” The service was closed by the Cantor and Choir of the Great Synagogue Choir of London. 

    Non-Jews hiding in the subways from the German bombs heard the broadcast. They joined in and sang along with the Maoz Tsur, the official Hanukkah melody. In the shelters children celebrated Hanukkah and held a tea party and played games. The celebrations were greatly enjoyed by all who were present, including the non-Jewish shelterers, who openly expressed the pleasure it gave them to join their Jewish friends in their religious celebration,” the news reported. 

    Since Hanukkah coincided with Christmas the Rabbi sent greetings to all in the underground shelters, and conveyed the compliments of the season. 

    Could it have been that the trials of the war had humbled British Christians to open their hearts to their Jewish neighbors and join together in such religious expressions? This closeness between Jew and Christian was unprecedented in British and Jewish relations. During the Blitz England had a great spiritual revival and a turning back to Christ. 

   Thanks for asking,

   Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Is Sunday the Sabbath?

Dr. Couch, what do you think of those who hold we should today be under the Sabbath? Also, some of the Reformed folks say Sunday is the Sabbath. This seems all very unbiblical. What do you think? 
   ANSWER: Yes, yes, and yes! You are right on! Your question just throws more light on why the Reformed people are off in so many places, especially with their unbiblical “Covenant theology” position. Only dispensationalism makes it clear how the Bible goes forward, and shows without a doubt we are not under any part of the Law. 

    The New Testament makes it clear that the early church met on the first day of the week (Sunday) and not on the Sabbath (Saturday). Check out Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2. Down through church history this became the norm for all the assemblies. Though it must be pointed out there is no “moral command” in the New Testament to meet on any particular day; this is just what the church did. Clearly, they were moving away from Sabbath meetings that were more Jewish and “synagogue” in nature. 

   Thanks for asking,

   Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

What Do You Think About Dr. Gary Gilley's Books?

Dr. Couch, have you heard of pastor Dr. Gary Gilley who has written several books: This Little Church Went to Market, This Little Church Stayed Home, and I Just Wanted More Land, which is a critique of Bruce Wilkinson’s book, The Prayer of Jabez
    ANSWER: Yes, I know of Gilley’s two books about how churches are bending to the left, and slowly turning away from the truth. Congregations are going into hot rock music, seeker-friendly atmosphere, etc. While I have not read these two books I am well aware of them through friends who have looked them over thoroughly. 

   He is right on about the fast rising and quick falling Jabez craze.

   Thanks for asking,

   Dr. Mal Couch

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Olivet Discourse

Dr. Couch, I am currently working on the Olivet Discourse in Luke 21:20-24 where we read of the destruction of Jerusalem. There we find the phrase “The days of vengeance.” Does this have to do with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD? And, where can I find more information in the subject of “the vengeance”?
   ANSWER:  I suggest three sources: I have a great volume entitled “A Handbook of the Book of Acts” published by Kregel. I have a complete study of the subject in that book. You’ll find it fascinating! Also, I have a full treatment in Dr. Tim LaHaye’s book: The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy (Harvest House). Too, in January, my commentary on the book of Luke comes out, published by AMG Publications. All three volumes deal with the subject. 

   You can get the Handbook and the Luke commentary from The Scofield Prophecy Studies bookstore if you wish.

   Thanks for asking,

   Dr. Mal Couch

What About Messianic Assemblies?

Dr. Couch, I noticed that Miles J. Stanford’s website mentioned that he is opposed to Messianic Judaism/Hebrew Christianity. I know he was a dispensationalist, so why would he be opposing Messianic assemblies? 
    ANSWER: Many Messianic assemblies isolate themselves from the complete body of Christ which would of course include Gentiles believers. Some also want to go back to the Law. Some “almost” oppose salvation by grace alone, and place themselves into legalism. Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum is also concerned about this and is working hard to help these assemblies be truly dispensational/biblical. Practicing certain Jewish ceremonies and honoring their Jewish tradition is not the problem. But turning such practices into a legalism is a problem. 

   I do not know all of Stanford’s objections, so I am giving you what I think, and more than likely, this is what he also had in mind. Fruchtenbaum remarks that many assemblies are not very biblically astute and are not well theologically trained. Some almost look down at Gentile churches and Gentile Christians. Unfortunately, many Gentile Christians do not absorb well Jews into their church fellowship. And of course this is certainly wrong. And unfortunately for us all, cultural and social differences can divide though this is not supposed to be. 

   Thanks for asking,

   Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, February 6, 2006

Perseverance of the Saints

Dr. Couch, is the last point in Calvinism (the P, Perseverance of the saints) teaching that salvation is by works, or teaching that you need to work to maintain your salvation? 
    ANSWER: No, this is not the case at all. To some but not all Calvinists it can mean that one will not fall into terrible sins and slide backwards into unbelief. But to most, it means eternal security or eternal salvation. Those elect will indeed be brought home to heaven! The Westminster Confession of Faith says on the subject: 

   They whom God has accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace: but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved. 

   Boettner writes: 

   The doctrine of Election and Efficacious Grace logically imply the certain salvation of those who receive these blessings. If God has chose men absolutely and unconditionally to eternal life, and if His Spirit effectively applies to them the benefits of redemption, the inescapable conclusion is that these persons shall be saved. 

   I would be interested to know why you would think that Perseverance implies works on the part of the saved for salvation! 

   Thanks for asking, 
    Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Does God Love the Non-Elect?

Dr. Couch, does God love the non-elect? I noticed that A. W. Pink argues that He does not love the elect. What do you say? 
    ANSWER:  I always say what the Bible says. Later Calvinists went to extremes and pushed some of their election thinking too far, and certainly beyond what the Bible says.
  1. Total Depravity shows that no man can come to God on his own, by himself. He is dead in trespasses and sins.
  2. God provides redemption for all but the “all” (or none) will by themselves come to Him. “The sacrifice of Christ is sufficient for all but applied only to the elect.” Many Calvinists agree with this statement.
  3. Since none will come of themselves God divinely calls only the elect. He clearly is not “wishing” that any should perish, but He has not willed that ALL come to Him—and that is obvious to anyone who thinks about it!
  4. Election is specific. Only those whom God draws will come to Him!
    Many men like Pink went philosophical and left being biblical. You can’t do that! You have to take a passage at face value. You cannot say “well, it doesn’t mean that!” I’m specifically thinking of the passages that speak of God loving the world. The hard-core Calvinists have to say, “That means the world of the elect. It doesn’t mean what it says!” The passages do not say what they want them to say!
    Here are the verses that I think destroy their view of Limited Atonement, i.e., the view that says the atonement of Christ was ONLY for the elect. Don’t simply follow what the hard-core Calvinists say about Limited Atonement! Look up the passages for yourself:
  • John 3:16
  • 1 Tim. 2:4, 6
  • 2 Pet. 3:9
  • Titus 2:11; 3:4
  • I Tim. 4:10
  • 1 John 2:2
    I have a theological friend everyone reading this answer would know. He began to lean toward Limited Atonement and we were arguing. I said “what do you do with 1 John 2:2?” He went brain dead and finally answered: “Well, yes, I do have a problem with that passage!” I answered back “Dick Tracy, no kidding!” He never brought up the subject again. 

   Thanks for asking,

   Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, February 3, 2006

Huguenots in Church History

Dr. Couch, who were the Huguenots in church history? 
   ANSWER:  The Huguenots were French Protestants and Calvinists who were also the leading middle class of that nation for sometime. The name was adopted from a leading Swiss Calvinist by the name of Hugues. In 1685 the evil king of France revoked the Edict of Nantes that disallowed religious persecution against Protestants. The Huguenots became then fair game for official government and Catholic persecution.

   French soldiers could then pillage and torture them, but mercifully, (supposedly) not kill them. They were scalded with boiling water down their throats, burned on the arms and legs, forced to hold burning charcoal. The women could be raped and made to stand naked in the streets. 

   Some feigned conversation to Catholicism to avoid such torture but most held their ground. They escaped to other countries and many migrated to Canada and America. At one time they numbered up to a million and a half but were cut down in France to be but a few thousand in number. However, before they escaped, at the end, thousands were slaughtered. 

   I believe God keeps good score. I do not believe it was an accident as to how France suffered during their Revolution. They had long ago driven their most spiritual people from the land. Also, the French suffered terribly during both World War I and World War II. 

   I happen to know today several descendants of the Huguenots in Texas. Their families fled France during this terrible period and brought strong Christianity to America! 

   Thanks for asking, 
    Dr. Mal Couch

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Lordship Salvation

I know, Dr. Couch, that you were a friend of S. Lewis Johnson. I am hearing that he may have held to Lordship Salvation. What do you say? 
    ANSWER:  Dr. Johnson was a friend but I also sat under him in graduate school for Greek courses on almost the entire New Testament. Later I was instrumental in having him teach five graduate Greek courses in a seminary setting. I had many conversations with him, and I know that he turned to accept the five points of Calvinism. (In reality only four are defensible from the standpoint of context and the Greek text.) 

   Dr. Johnson was a gracious and godly teacher of God’s Word but he became enamored with a “system” rather than the detailed truths that come off of the pages of Scripture. He knew that I knew my theology pretty well and he did not want to debate over some of these issues. 

   To your question: I never heard anything in his teachings, while in graduate school or in any other setting, which would make one think he held to Lordship. Lordship is an aberrant view that just popped up in the last ten years or so. It cannot be sustained by scriptural proof! Don’t worry about it—it is disappearing! 

   Thanks for asking,

   Dr. Mal Couch

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Which Study Bible Do You Recommend?

Dr. Couch, I am considering purchasing either the Scofield Reference Bible or a Ryrie Study Bible. Which do you recommend? 
   ANSWER: I have for years used both. You can now get the Scofield in the NAS version. I think this is excellent and use it mostly. Ryrie is good and reliable but a little thin in content in some places. 

   The most important thing is that both are clearly premillennial and dispensational. They sell the most—in the millions of copies! A plain Covenant and Reformed Bible does not sell. This tells me that the layman wants to know the truth and always goes with dispensational writers, though not being sophisticated as to all the issues. The Bible IS premillennial and dispensational! 

   Thanks for asking,

   Dr. Mal Couch