A Great Day!

Criswell College

It was a great day today! I had the opportunity of being at a chapel service at my alma mater, the Criswell College in Dallas, Texas. The College has been around for over 40 years and has taught men and women who are part of ministry or who are about to be in ministry. I have had the great honor and privilege of being associated with the College since 1984, and I have been able to see how the College has grown, how it has changed, and how it continues to train young men and women for the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The professors have always been interested in the students. They have taken the time to meet with them one-on-one outside of the classroom to help advise, encourage, equip and to build-up to do the work of the ministry. I am forever indebted to my professors and forever indebted to the ministry and legacy of the College’s Founder, Dr. W.A. Criswell.

Dr. Criswell, the very last time that he made a public appearance at the College was on Founder’s Day 2001. He was wheeled into the auditorium right before the chapel service started and was sitting in his wheelchair wearing a gray pinstripe suite, a crisp white shirt and a beautiful tie. I leaned over to thank him for answering the call of God to start an institution like Criswell College. He smiled at me as he said in his booming voice, “Preach the Word! Preach the Word, preacher!”

Dr. Criswell’s words have forever been etched in my mind. That was one of the most special of days that the College had ever seen. After being introduced and receiving a standing ovation for his presence, he took a microphone and issued a blessing as such that I had never heard before. Here was a patriarch, a man of God who loved the church and served the church faithfully, blessing the Faculty, Administration and the Students of the College. I can tell you that those who were present were amazed at the sharpness of mind and word as Dr. C. (as he was affectionately called by so many) spoke those words. There are so many stories of Dr. Criswell in his final months of life. Many of how he would ask about the church, First Baptist Church of Dallas which he pastored for over 50 years. He went home to be with the Lord in January 2002. There is no doubt in my mind that when he breathed the fresh air of heaven that he heard the Father say, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”

Yes, today was a great day. It was a great day to fellowship with Students, Administration and Faculty in chapel. It was great to sit in some classes and see some of the new professors. A great day, indeed!

The Sweetness of Seduction

This captures the idea of sweet seduction, wouldn’t you say?!?

WOW! It’s already Tuesday! However, it’s also time for SUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNDAY REVIEWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!

Seduce: to persuade to disobedience or disloyalty; to lead astray usually by persuasion or false promises; to carry out the physical seduction of: entice to sexual intercourse; to attract or to lure.

Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word “seduce” is quite interesting. The idea that someone can actually lure others to something that leads to disobedience or disloyalty seems so far-fetched. However, Paul the apostle didn’t think so. After all, Judaizers had infiltrated the churches in the region of Galatia and he was completely amazed at how quickly they abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ which he preached to them.

Now take this into account: Paul was not upset that they turned on his preaching. He was upset because they had deserted the Good News of Jesus Christ who is all-sufficient unto salvation. No other thing is necessary nor is anyone else necessary for you to be saved except to place your faith in Jesus Christ and in Him alone. But Judaizers were preaching a different message than Paul. They were saying that in addition to placing your faith in Jesus Christ, you should also live according to the Mosaic Law.

Now there’s a two-fold reason for the Judaizers teaching this. First, they believed that the Gospel was to them. This is true. Even Paul the apostle says that the Gospel is for “the Jew first, and then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16, 17). This in turn caused a racism of sorts. After all, if you wanted to trust in Jesus Christ, who was Jewish, you would have to live like the Jews lived, and that is according to the Mosaic Law. Certainly the Gentiles would understand the necessity of this rule. Second, the Judaizers taught this because it would allow them to remain in control not only of the religious right, but also of the people. Think about it: they were the ones telling the Galatians that Paul may have had the story right to begin with, but they knew the rest of the story. Paul didn’t tell them the full scope of what salvation looks like. It looks like faith in Jesus Christ plus the keeping of the Mosaic Law in order to find favor with God.

Herein lies the problem: Paul’s Gospel message was that all one had to do was to place their faith in Jesus Christ and in Him alone unto salvation. There are no other added requirements. The Law (we will find out later) was simply to point people to the Good News of Jesus Christ. And what is that Good News? “Christ died according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised again according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). This is all. That’s it. Jesus Christ + Nothing = Everything.

Sunday evening marked yet another piece to the saga of Joseph. He had moved his father, Jacob, and all of his family to the region in Goshen under Egypt’s rule. Continuing the story we see that what man meant for evil, God meant for good. After all, Joseph was in the most prominent position in Egypt just under the Pharaoh. He was in charge of everything that Pharaoh owned. During the time of Genesis 47:11-31, the famine in the land was in full force. People were coming from every where to buy food from Egypt. Through good, shrewd (not in an evil sense, but in a good sense) business practices, Joseph was able to buy all of the land of Egypt for the Pharaoh. He literally owned the entire country! People came to buy food for their animals and their families because starvation was a very read thing. And what did Joseph do?

Joseph knew that God had blessed him and his family with the position that he held. He in turn took the blessings that God had given to him and gave blessing to those who came for food. He gave them seed for their animals and families to grow crops. The Pharaoh would receive 1/5 of whatever was harvested and the families would be able to keep 4/5 of all that was harvested. No one was hungry. The land was used properly. The Pharaoh knew that he had a great businessman on his side. God blessed. And Jacob was now a fulfilled man because he was with his son, Joseph. Joseph was a fulfilled man because he did what God wanted him to do.

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