Josh Buice

Jesus: The Great High Priest

As Prophet, Jesus represents God to us by preaching the law and delivering the good news of hope to guilty sinners. As Priest, Jesus represents us to God by covering our sin with his blood and offering up a satisfactory sacrifice that is well pleasing to God.

If you’ve spent much time around the zoo in a major city, you’ve likely noticed the numerous warning signs around the property. Such signs are intended to provide visitors with adequate knowledge of the danger of approaching the animals beyond the boundaries established for the general public.
Several years ago when I was in seminary, my wife and I were on a very tight budget and we had to be creative in our approach to date nights. One week, my wife informed me that she had a surprise for me for a date night on Friday evening. She told me how to dress and we also had to pack an overnight bag to take with us. As the weekend approached, I was really wondering what my wife had signed us up for and soon I would find out.
Over dinner at a restaurant, she provided me with the details for our evening. She had seen an advertisement for people to “camp out” for a night in the zoo in Louisville, Kentucky. She had managed to get our camping gear and was fully prepared for an amazing date night. It was an organized event with special behind the scenes opportunities with the animals. After arriving, the staff checked us in and provided us with our evening itinerary. We enjoyed special lessons from biologists and zoologists regarding the animals, their habitat, and dietary needs. Later that evening, as a group, we watched the movie “Ghost in the Darkness” which was fitting for the evening’s venue.
The following morning, we awoke to the calls of African birds and loud peacocks. We were then escorted behind the scenes before the zoo opened to the public to the lion’s habitat. We entered with the staff on the back of the enclosure to watch the staff feed the large male lion. He weighed in at about 450 lbs and had a large dark brown mane that covered the front half of his body. He was in his physical prime. As the staff led us down the hall behind the enclosure the only thing that separated us from the private dwelling place where the lions eat was a hefty chain linked fence. When we entered the hallway, I was at the front of the line in our group and when the male lion saw us—he wasted no time charging the fence. His large paws and teeth hit the fence in full attack mode as he breathed out a loud ear-piercing roar. I was standing no farther than 3 feet from him. It shook my body to the core.
Still to this very day, I have a very healthy respect for the boundaries in the zoo. I have no desire to approach the wild animals within their enclosure. However, when it comes to God who is a consuming fire and dwells in unapproachable glory—we have been given access to draw near to him. Unlike the Old Testament Israelites who were not permitted to approach the presence of God in the thick cloud that encompassed the mountain where Moses was to meet with God (Exodus 19), we are called to approach God, but not apart from Jesus Christ who is our Great High Priest. There is no greater proof of this great access than Jesus’ priestly work on behalf of his people. Jesus is the perfect mediator between sinful man and holy God.
The High Priest and His Work
When God delivered his people out of Egypt and demonstrated his sovereign rule over all nations and thrones—including the high throne of Pharoah, he provided clear prescriptions for how his people were to worship him. Any honest reading of Exodus will conclude that God is very much concerned with how his people approach him in worship.
Every detail of the tabernacle and the worship practices of his people were delivered to Moses and then by Moses to the people of Israel. In Exodus 25, we find the specific blueprint of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat. In speaking about the mercy seat, God said, “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”1
When the entire tabernacle was complete and the furnishings installed as God had directed, the book of Exodus concludes by stating that Moses did all that the LORD had commanded and the tabernacle was erected and the glory of God filled the tent. It was also clearly established that Aaron was to engage in the priestly work inside the tabernacle which would be the plan for the temple in the years to follow. God established the priestly line of the Levites who labored in their service to the LORD. We find these details in the book of Leviticus.
At the heart of the worship of God is the necessity of a sacrifice. The five types of sacrifices mentioned in Leviticus serve different purposes within the religious practices of the Israelites. Each offering has its distinct significance and meaning, playing a crucial role in their relationship with God and the atonement for sin.
The burnt offering was a sacrifice made to seek forgiveness for general sins and to demonstrate complete surrender and dedication to God. It involved offering an entire animal, which was burned on the altar. The act of burning symbolized the complete devotion of the worshiper, acknowledging God’s authority and seeking purification.
The grain offering was a sacrifice made to express gratitude to God for His blessings, particularly related to the harvest. A portion of the grain was burned on the altar as an offering to God, signifying acknowledgment of His provision. The remaining part was given to the priests, emphasizing the importance of supporting the religious leaders and the community.
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“No Creed but Christ”

While the Bible reigns as King in the library of human history and is all sufficient and authoritative, we must reject the shallow and deceitful little creed, “No creed, but Christ” that denies the importance of historic creeds and confessions and opens the door for false teachers to pervert the truths of God’s holy Word. Take your place in the long line of church history and confess the historic faith of the saints of old. Make your doctrinal positions clear and unapologetically declare the truths of Jesus Christ.

One great way of teaching the Bible is to summarize the doctrines in such a way that the complex becomes clearly visible to the common man. This was one of the main approaches of the learned theologians of the Reformation era. They were capable of teaching learned doctors of theology and at the same time proclaiming the doctrine of the atonement to farmers.
While it may seem like a helpful summary statement, “No creed, but Christ” is actually a superficial creed that provides shade to false teachers who lurk in the shadows with their false doctrine and perverted theology. We need far more than, “No creed, but Christ.”
Many groups in modern church history have embraced the “No creed, but Christ” slogan or a longer version that reads, “No creed, but Christ. No book, but the Bible.” This idea surfaces within groups such as the Church of Christ, the Disciples of Christ, Calvary Chapel, some Pentecostal groups, as well as some independent Fundamental Baptist circles. These groups claim that they don’t need anything other than the Bible and no creed is necessary other than an affirmation of faith in Christ.
Historically, creeds and confessions find their source in Scripture. No only do the historic creeds and confessions of church history emerge from the source of Scripture, they find their model of usage in the early church as recorded in the pages of the Bible. God’s people were known to recite Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema every morning and evening. The practice of reciting creeds and confessions would continue in the life of the church of Jesus in the New Testament.
One of the standard confessions of the early church was Peter’s confession of Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” as recorded in Matthew 16:16. It is the widely accepted belief that what we find in Ephesians 4:4-6 is a creed that would be recited when new converts were baptized as followers of Jesus. When Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:16, he recorded what is believed to be an early Christian creed that was recited and sung as a hymn that summarized the faith once for all delivered to the saints. In other words, the use of creeds and confessions is not contra Bible.
In the fourth century, a false teacher named Arius plagued the church with his false doctrine that denied the Trinity and specifically denied the deity of Jesus. The Arian heresy centered on language found in Colossians 1:15 and John 1:14 about Jesus being the “firstborn of all creation” and “the only begotten of the Father.”
The followers of Arius would go through the streets singing a little song that said, “There was – when he was not.” The song carried the following meaning, “The Father was – when the Son was not.” God raised up a faithful soldier named Athanasius who would become a champion for truth. He refused to compromise, even when everyone else around him seemed to capitulate on matters of sound doctrine. The climate surrounding Athanasius became known as Athanasius contra mundum –
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The Preaching of Jesus Was Powerful and Relevant

As you listen to a preacher for any length of time, you will hear a constant theme or a reoccurring emphasis that continues to resurface over time. This common focus of a preacher spotlights an ongoing goal in his ministry. For instance, if you listen to any health, wealth, and prosperity preacher it’s very likely that you will hear something mentioned about money sooner rather than later. Other preachers are known for their focus on eschatology or politics, and those themes seem to accent every sermon they preach. For Jesus, the central theme that he was focused upon was the good news of salvation. 

The world is very much interested in Jesus so long as he isn’t very preachy. This is obvious from the popular show “The Chosen” that has recently captured the attention of the secular sphere. “We were somewhat resistant. I thought it would be cheesy or preachy,” said Carlos Crestana. But by episode 5, he said, “We were all in. We told all our friends.’1
When it comes to preaching, it goes without saying that preaching has fallen upon hard times. Many local churches today would like to substitute the pulpit and bold preaching for something more gentle and palatable. What do we know about Jesus’ preaching? An honest survey of the preaching of Jesus reveals that his preaching was both theologically rich and extremely practical. When we compare modern preaching methods to Jesus, we find that today’s pulpit is shallow and unbalanced. Far too often preaching aims at being immediately practical while neglecting biblical theology. We can learn much from Jesus’ preaching ministry.
Jesus and His Prophetic Preaching
In the Old Testament, the Prophet Moses is perhaps the most respected of all the prophets because of his work in delivering the law to the people and leading them out of the bondage of Egypt. In his ministry he literally spoke to God “face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11). One of the great prophecies of Moses was when he pointed the people to the dawning of a day when a prophet would arise who was greater than himself who must be obeyed (Deut 18).
Many Orthodox Jews believe this text in Deuteronomy refers to Joshua, the son of Nun.2
 The religion of Islam teaches that the passage in Deuteronomy 18 is referring to the prophet Muhammed (AD 570–632). In Moses’ day, he was providing the details regarding the rituals and regulations for both the daily affairs in the market and the worship practices of Israel. He then points them to the prophet who would one day arise—this great Prophet who would lead the people.
Deuteronomy, a book that means the repeating of the law, ends with these words:
And there has not yet arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom Yahweh knew face to face, in regard to all the signs and wonders which Yahweh sent him to do in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land, and in regard to all the mighty power and in regard to all the great terror which Moses did in the sight of all Israel.3
Not just any prophet could fulfill the prophecy of Moses. This figure that Moses foretells would be a special prophet unlike the great prophets of Israel’s history. Ultimately, Deuteronomy 18 is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus, as the divine Son (John 1:1, 18) enjoyed perfect unbroken communion with God the Father (Matt 11:27; John 10:15). In Jesus’ earthly ministry, he put on display his deity as he healed the sick, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, made the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear again (Is 35:5).
Jesus fulfilled the office of prophet as he predicted his own death, burial, and resurrection. In fact, he did it on multiple occasions (Mark 10:32-34). The first prophecy of Jesus regarding his death is detailed in Matthew 16:21–23 (see also Mark 8:31–32, and Luke 9:21–22). Immediately following the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitudes, he said that the “Son of Man must suffer many things” (Mark 8:31); be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes; be killed; and be raised again.
No other religious leader has been able to conquer death. Jesus not only predicted his death and resurrection, but after his bodily resurrection he appeared to hundreds of people over a period of 40 days to prove his deity. He is truly the Prophet greater than Moses.
The Power of Jesus’ Preaching
Within popular evangelical circles, preaching has been replaced with concerts and short snippy religious “TED-Talks” in the name of Jesus rather than the power of Jesus. I can recall walking through the exhibit hall of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2019 and seeing magicians exhibiting their evangelism ministries that employ magic tricks to capture the attention of children while pointing them to Jesus. It’s common to see ministries devoted to power lifting and other tricks while preaching is minimized.
When J.I. Packer was a student in 1948-49, he would travel across the city of London to hear D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preach on Sunday evenings. The testimony of what Packer experienced in those days is critically important to the study of preaching. He said that he had “never heard such preaching.” It came to him “with the force of electric shock, bringing to at least one of his listeners more of a sense of God than any other man” he had known.4
Packer wasn’t referencing the Welshman’s thick accent. He was pointing to the powerful expositions that put on display the grand truths of Scripture with passionate declaration. It was D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who once described preaching as “logic on fire.” In many churches, people need to be awakened from their state of lethargy as they sit under the trance of political speeches, comedy barn routines, and all manner of sloppy sermonettes that misuse the name of Jesus. The flame is missing from the pulpit.
Today many people view Jesus as a soft ecumenical religious leader who seeks to accommodate the culture and avoid any offense as he maintains a kind and gentle disposition. That’s a terribly deficient view of Jesus. If we want to know Jesus, we must know him as he is revealed to us in the pages of Scripture.
In Mark 8:27-30, we find the popular passage where Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ of God. However, as we read that passage, one thing that should stand out to us was the answer to the first question: “Who do people say that I am?”
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Why Modern Prophecy Is False and God’s Word Is Inerrant and Sufficient: A Response to Sam Storms

Today, it’s a common thing to hear people claiming to hear messages from God. The “God told me” language is a cancer within the body of Christ that must be rooted out. This language is published in books, repeated in powerful stories by conference speakers, and is embraced as normative practices in many local churches and evangelical circles.

At the 2023 G3 National Conference, the Cessationist documentary was publicly released. G3 Ministries directly partnered with the producers of the film to provide a resource for the church that explains the doctrine of cessationism along with the history of the continuationist movement.
After the release of the film, Dr. Sam Storms, Pastor Emeritus of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma released a series of articles as a challenge to the producers and men who appeared in the film. In this article, I would like to respond to Sam Storms on the subject of modern day contemporary prophecy. According to Dr. Storms, anyone who does not earnestly desire the gift of prophecy is sinning.
The faulty foundation of modern day prophecy should be viewed as a danger to God’s people. While I have personally benefited from Dr. Storms’ ministry through the years, his recent statements about prophecy and defense of false teachers has given me great concern. What I say in this article is not intended as a character attack on Dr. Storms, but instead an unashamed response to his bold assertions regarding the continuation of prophecy in our day.
Prophecy Defined
The Bible contains several different types of genre. One of the most prominent genres in the Scriptures is prophecy. In the Old Testament, a number of books chronicle the message that was delivered by God through his spokesmen to God’s people. Those books are organized into two main groups known as the major and minor prophets. The designation of major and minor is based on the length of the text rather than the significance of the prophetic figure.
The prophet was raised up by God as his spokesman who would declare “Thus says the LORD.” In fact, that phrase, more accurately translated in the Legacy Standard Bible as “Thus says Yahweh” appears a grand total of 464 times in the Old Testament. 1
The prophet is called a man of God (1 Samuel 2:27), a servant and messenger of the Lord (Isaiah 42:19), a seer (Isaiah 30:10), a man of the Spirit (Hosea 9:7), and a watchman for the people of God according to Ezekiel 3:17. In short, God would speak directly to the prophet who would in turn speak directly to the people of God. The prophet represented God to the people.
The purpose of prophecy was to deliver God’s message to his people. This pattern began after the fall (Genesis 3) and continued through the New Testament. The gift of prophecy was never viewed in Scripture as a casual gift. In an article titled, “No. The Spiritual Gift of Prophecy is not the same as Preaching” Sam Storms defined prophecy as, “speaking forth in merely human words something the Holy Spirit has sovereignly and often spontaneously revealed to a believer.” The problem with that definition is that it makes the gift of prophecy far too casual and allows for a distinction to be made between the prophecy of the Old Testament and the prophecy of the New Testament.
As the light dawned in God’s redemptive plan and Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, a great prophet was also conceived by Elizabeth and Zachariah. John the Baptist served as a powerful prophet and Forerunner who announced the coming of the Messiah (Matt 3:1-3; John 1:29). Jesus referenced John the Baptist as the greatest man born of a woman (Matt 11:11). He stood between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant and pointed people to Jesus.
Jesus came as God in human flesh—the God man. To use the language from the historic Nicene Creed, Jesus is “the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made.” As predicted by Moses, he is the great prophet who came and must be obeyed (Deut 18:15). Jesus is the Prophet greater than Moses (Heb 3:1-6). All of the prophets of the Old Testament were pointing to Christ who came as the great Prophet, Priest, and eternal King—the Savior of the world. Like the prophets of old, Jesus delivered the message of God to the people. Hebrews begins with these words:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.2
After Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension—God continued to communicate through chosen vessels to his people. During the era of the early Church the canon was still open. Although Jesus was the pinnacle of the prophetic age, the baton was now passed to the apostles who came in the power of the Holy Spirit during the early Church and were used to preach and teach God’s truth to God’s people as they were accompanied by miracles, signs, and wonders.
As a cessationist, I’m quite aware of the fact that no Bible verse can be supplied that states “all of the apostolic gifts will cease.” Just as the doctrine of the Trinity is supplied through progressive revelation, so is the doctrine of cessationism. As we read the Scriptures, progressive revelation makes it known that some gifts do cease because they were given for a specific time period and purpose in redemptive history. The office of the prophet has ceased and the gift of the apostle is no longer given to the church in our day, as Paul clearly stated that he was the last of the apostles (1 Cor 15:8).
From progressive revelation, the cessation of these gifts associated with the prophet and the apostles is clear by the close of the biblical canon and further validated throughout church history. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul stated that the church “is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets” (Eph 2:20) and we have everything that is necessary for life and godliness until the return of King Jesus.
The Canon Is Closed
Over the course of a 1,500 year period, the Holy Spirit caused forty different men to write sixty six unique books that make up what is known as the biblical canon of Scripture. This canon of Scripture consists of a corpus of books that are divine in nature, authoritative, and completely sufficient.3
During the earthly ministry of Christ, he chose specific men who were identified as his apostles. These men were given specific responsibilities that were distinct from the common disciple of Jesus. An apostle (ἀπόστολος) was a messenger or official delegate who was personally chosen and sent out by Jesus Christ. In ancient days, they would reference cargo ships as apostolic ships. These apostolic boats were dispatched from one port with cargo to be delivered to a different port across a body of water where the cargo would be offloaded. 
The word apostle was employed by Jesus for those men chosen and sent out with the gospel message to be preached (Mark 3:14).  In a technical sense, an apostle was one who was clearly chosen and commissioned by Christ and a witness of his bodily resurrection. God used these men to testify of his Son and to point out that he is the Christ of God, to confront the legalistic religion of the Jewish people, and to proclaim the good news to the Gentiles.4
 In the work of preaching and church planting, God gifted these men and some of their close associates with gifts known as miraculous gifts or better described as apostolic gifts due to their association with the apostles.
These gifts included tongues, healing, and prophecy. As it pertained to the gifts of tongues and prophecy, those gifts were revelatory in nature as they were used to deliver the message of God to the people. Any serious study of 1 Corinthians 14 will reveal that those gifts were to be used for the building up and edification of the church. In fact, four times in 1 Corinthians 14, we find the language of “building up” the church mentioned by Paul.
Such revelatory gifts were necessary because the biblical canon was not yet complete, but today we are not living in an age of an open canon and we are not anticipating any new or fresh words from God. Once the gift of the apostle ceased, the revelatory and miraculous gifts associated with them likewise ceased. There was no passing of the baton as we see from the ministry of the prophets to the ministry of the apostles. Since we now have a completed canon of Scripture we should not be looking for any new books to be added or divine words to be spoken directly to men apart from the pages of Scripture.
According to the 1689 London Baptist Confession, in chapter one, “Of the Holy Scriptures” and paragraph one, the following statement is set forth at the beginning of the Confession: “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.” Although there was a time given when men heard direct revelation from God, that age has now ceased. We are now directed to the complete and final Word of God in holy Scripture.
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Does Hell Have Various Degrees of Punishment?

According to Christ, every word will be judged, which reveals that there will be a greater condemnation for some people than for others. In Luke 12:47-48, Jesus contrasts two servants who were given a command to follow, and one received a “severe beating” while another received a “light beating.” This too illustrates a difference in punishment that will be issued at the return of Christ.

The doctrine of hell is one that is often neglected or avoided simply because of the weightiness and darkness of the subject. However, it’s critically important that Christians speak about hell in the way that the biblical text speaks about hell. Our doctrinal positions should be formed on the basis of Scripture rather than our feelings about a specific subject. Is your doctrine of hell different than Jesus’ doctrine of hell?
What Did Jesus Teach About Hell?
In Jesus’ earthly ministry, he preached many sermons and taught on various subjects which are visibly evident in his most famous sermon known as “The Sermon on the Mount.” The preaching of Jesus was not exactly light. As the Prophet greater than Moses, Jesus thundered the truth of the Kingdom of God including heaven and the judgment of God in “the hell of fire” (Matt 5:22). Jesus pointed to the certainty of both heaven and hell. Jesus likewise spoke of the eternality of both heaven and hell (Matt 25:46).
The Lord Jesus himself frequently described hell as a place of righteous judgment upon rebels and lawbreakers. We see evidence of Jesus’ doctrine of hell in multiple passages (Matt 5:22; 8:12; 10:28; 13:42; 24:51; 23:33; 25:30; Mark 9:43–48; Luke 13:28). In these texts, we see weighty language of wrath, retribution, and punishment that point to the holy vengeance of a sovereign God who must judge sinners.
In Jesus’ parable in Luke 16 regarding the rich man and Lazarus, the doctrine of divine judgment in hell is illustrated vividly as the rich man immediately drops into the abyss of hell after his death. In the flames of hell, the rich man requests a drop of water to cool his tongue, because he states that he was in “anguish” in the flames of judgment (Luke 16:24). In contrast, Jesus points to the fact that the poor man (Lazarus) was in complete comfort in the presence of Abraham (Luke 16:25). The presence of Abraham was a means of illustrating a place of blessing since the Jews idolized Abraham as their Jewish hero. The parable points to the severity of the divine vengeance of God.
When we examine Jesus’ parables and his preaching on the doctrine of hell, it’s clear that he intentionally employed key words to underscore the severity of hell.
Fire: Jesus often used the imagery of fire to illustrate the punishment awaiting the unrepentant. In Matthew 25:41 we find these words by Jesus, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (ESV).
Outer Darkness: This term highlights the separation from God’s presence and the despair associated with eternal punishment. In Matthew 8:12, Jesus said, “while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (ESV).
Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth: This is descriptive language indicating the anguish and regret of those facing judgment. In Matthew 13:42, Jesus  warned that those who experience the final judgment of God will be thrown “into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (ESV).
Degrees of Punishment
The Bible teaches that hell will be more severe for some people than for others. While all unbelievers who die outside of the grace of God will experience the wrath of God for eternity in hell, we must recognize the clear teachings of Scripture that point to varying degrees of punishment in hell.
In Luke 10 and Matthew 11, a parallel passage is found in both Gospels that points to the reality of different degrees of punishment in hell. It may come as a surprise to some people, but Jesus actually taught that hell would be more severe for those who lived in cities like Capernaum than for those who lived in the wicked city of Sodom. Notice the words of Jesus from Matthew 11:
“Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”1
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How “He Gets Us” Fails to Get Jesus

The ”He Gets Us” campaign never presents the need for sinners to repent. Their campaign promotes works and service but it doesn’t present the good news of Jesus. The social gospel never saves, it only sooths people as they journey onward toward the gates of hell. The “He Gets Us” presents a Jesus who affirms rather than confronts. There is no message of repentance and no message of hope.

The most important human being to ever live on planet earth was not a powerful athlete, an influential politician, or a wealthy business tycoon. The most powerful man in the history of the world was born in a stable for animals in an obscure village rather than in a palace in one of the world’s strategic cities. He spent his time in a carpenter’s shop working with his hands. He never graduated from an important school or wrote an important book. He was not impressive in his physical features. He never commanded an army. He was not an innovator or an inventor.
However, if you consider the most innovative and brilliant person in the history of science, physics, mathematics, engineering, politics, military, and the most capable person in the history of literature—all of them together have not impacted our world as has this one man—Jesus Christ. The Bible points out that Jesus is more than a gifted rabbi or a divine social worker who came to serve humanity. Jesus is the Son of the living God. He is the promised Messiah who took upon himself flesh and came on a rescue mission to save sinners (Matt 1:21; Luke 19:10).
Over the last couple of years, a campaign titled “He Gets Us” has been pointing people toward Jesus through television and social media advertisements. However, sadly, they have been pointing millions of people to the wrong Jesus.
The “He Gets Us” Campaign
The launch of “He Gets Us” began in 2022 as a media campaign designed to promote Jesus to the world through television, social media, and billboard advertisements. According to their website, the campaign seeks to tell the true story of Jesus to the world. Their website reads:
How did the story of Jesus, the world’s greatest love story, get twisted into a tool to judge, harm, and divide? How do we remind people that the story of Jesus belongs to everyone? These questions are the beating heart of He Gets Us.
The campaign started with a massive $100 million dollar investment backed by business owners and investors who claim the name of Jesus. Through messages that are designed to connect with the social moments of our culture, “He Gets Us” promotes messages that read: “Whatever you are facing, Jesus faced it too.”
One of the campaign’s videos, titled “The Rebel,” has been viewed more than 122 million times on YouTube in only 11 months. Needless to say, many people are watching and talking about the “He Gets Us” advertisements. According to their website, the organization believes the following:
“He Gets Us has chosen to not have our own separate statement of beliefs. Each participating church/ministry will typically have its own language. Meanwhile, we generally recognize the Lausanne Covenant as reflective of the spirit and intent of this movement and churches that partner with explorers from He Gets Us affirm the Lausanne Covenant.”
They are intentionally broad and unaffiliated with a specific Christian denomination or orthodox confession in order to partner with a wide range of organizations and churches across evangelicalism.
The Wrong Jesus of “He Gets Us”
It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or a professor, a janitor or a chief executive officer, a common citizen or a politician—one day every single person will stand before the throne of Jesus. Prior to the incarnation when the Son of God took upon himself human flesh and was born as a little baby in Bethlehem, he was enthroned in heaven and worshipped by angels (Is 6). Today, Jesus is seated upon the throne clothed in glorified flesh complete with the scars of his crucifixion.
The Jesus who is often presented in our culture is quite simply not the Jesus of the Bible. Our modern culture praises Jesus and curses him at the same time. In December of 2013, Time Magazine revealed Jesus to be the most significant figure of human history.1  From politics to country music, Jesus is referenced in nearly every sphere of life. It was Kid Rock who referenced Jesus as “the man from Galilee” who an assistant to Hank Williams Jr.to lead him to the light.2 John Lennon once claimed that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.3 As time continues to ebb and flow, cultural references of Jesus present a deficient view of Jesus that serve as a distraction from his true mission, holiness, and sovereign authority.
In the “He Gets Us” campaign, the presentation of Jesus is driven by the winds of culture rather than the pages of Scripture. The “He Gets Us” message is built upon the sinking sand of social justice rather than the firm foundation of the gospel. In the messages of “He Gets Us” the text of Scripture is filtered through a cultural lens that’s overly contextualized so that the true Jesus appears to be a social worker rather than the sovereign Savior of the world.
In their presentation of Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well in John 4, the boldness of Jesus and his confrontation of her sin is minimized.
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John 14:6 is Not Bumper Sticker Theology

The exclusivity of Jesus Christ is a powerful reminder of His unmatched authority over death, sin, and eternal condemnation. No other religious figure has made such an incredible claim; only Jesus holds the power to bring salvation to guilty sinners. As we survey his life, preaching, and ultimately his resurrection from the dead—we are led to trust this bold claim of Jesus. We must recognize Him for who He is—the one true source of hope for all humanity.

If you ride through the streets of any major city in America, you’re likely to see bumper stickers that signal a message of tolerance and religious inclusivity. In most cases the tolerance and inclusiveness is demanded for other religious views while not truly maintained for Christianity. Our perverse culture insists that Christians should tolerate and accept other world religions at the expense of their own foundational doctrines.
Any serious study of Jesus’ teachings makes it crystal clear that he was not interested in religious ecumenism. Jesus taught his followers that he is the singular means of reconciliation to God and that apart from him everyone would perish. In Luke 13, Jesus directs the Jews to two disasters that had occurred in recent days. In one scene, some Galileans were in Jerusalem for the purpose of worship, and as they were carrying out their sacrifices Pilate gave the order for these people to be brutally murdered. As a result, their own blood was mingled into their sacrifices. In another scene, a tower in Siloam had suddenly fallen without warning, resulting in the death of a number of people. In Jewish thought, sudden tragic death was commonly linked to sinful living.
Jesus pointed to those two tragedies and made a sobering statement. He said, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). Jesus was pointing out that these people who perished in these tragic circumstances were not somehow more deserving of death than the rest of the people in that region. Since the common thought was to associate such tragedies with judgement, Jesus emphasized his point that apart from genuine repentance all unbelievers will perish. They may pride themselves in law keeping or moral living, but upon death they will suddenly find themselves under the wrath of God.
The statement by Jesus was all encompassing and it included everyone in those cities during Jesus’ day as well as everyone who walks the sidewalk of New York or drives down I-5 in Los Angeles. Jesus completely denied the idea that there are multiple paths to God. In an interview with Oprah in 2012, Joel Osteen stated that Jesus was the way to God, but he went on to suggest that there are many paths to Jesus.
OPRAH: Okay, so here’s the big question. Are there many paths to get to the one God?
JOEL OSTEEN: Well, I believe Oprah that there, I believe that Jesus is the way to the one God. But, I believe there are many paths to Jesus. You know, you don’t know how Jesus would reveal himself to somebody. So, I’m not into excluding people. Jesus can reveal himself to anybody.
Compare that with what he said to Larry King back in his 2005 interview where Joel Osteen stated that people from other religions love God and that he didn’t want to exclude them from the equation of salvation.
KING: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?
OSTEEN: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …
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The Different Shades of Christian Nationalism

I reject the integration of church and state at any formal level. I believe that these two spheres (to use the Kuyperian model of sphere sovereignty) is helpful to distinguish the differences between the sphere of the church and the sphere of the state. One is civil and the other is spiritual. One has been given the sword while the other has been given the keys. While there will be some overlap within both spheres, specifically the church within a nation will be members of both spheres, there is a boundary that must be maintained. Just as the king and the priest had very distinct separation within Old Testament Israel, I believe that the civil magistrate must never take up the keys of the church nor should the church seek to wield the sword that’s clearly given to the magistrate.

Perhaps you’re a Christian who lives in America and you’ve been concerned with the direction of our nation over the last several years. That concern is not unmerited. We have watched the nation legalize homosexuality, embrace critical race theory and intersectionality, and now we’re currently debating the proper age for butchering children for sex change procedures.
If you have a problem with legalized grooming of children by Drag Queen story hour at your local community library, the insistence that Christians embrace the latest alphabet soup of pronouns and homosexual titles, and you disagree with the degradation of our sense of morality as a nation—what’s the answer? For some, it’s Christian Nationalism. So, what is Christian Nationalism and should we as Christians embrace this movement as the answer to the decline of our great nation? In order to deal with this issue, I will attempt to provide some basic definitions and move to a stated position by way of conclusion.
What Is Nationalism?
According to Merriam-Webster, the term nationalism refers to “loyalty and devotion to a nation, especially a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.” While this is similar to patriotism, it’s distinct in that it elevates one nation above all others. It would be good to avoid using these terms interchangeably.
In a similar way, the Encyclopedia Britannica provides the following definition. “Nationalism is an ideology that emphasizes loyalty, devotion, or allegiance to a nation or nation-state and holds that such obligations outweigh other individual or group interests.”
Within this current moment, we have a movement that uses a compound term (Christian Nationalism) that’s being employed by all sorts of different groups which will necessitate intentional differentiation and specificity of meaning. While it’s good to support sovereign national identity, closed borders, and capitalism, that’s not exactly how the term functions within the framework of Christian Nationalism.
What Is Christian Nationalism?
In many ways, that’s a complicated question. It’s like asking, “What does it mean to be Presbyterian?” Do you mean PCA, PCUSA, OPC, or other versions such as CREC? To be clear, there are various versions of Christian Nationalism being offered up within both political and evangelical circles. It’s possible to be a Christian who is proud of your nation (in a patriotic way), and yet not fall into the category of a Christian Nationalist.
Within this conversation, we have various terms that are being connected with Christian Nationalism either by necessity of the relationship or by way of an alternative title altogether. Some of the key language includes:

Conservative Patriotism
White Christian Nationalism
Conservative Political Nationalism
Political Protestantism
Christian Nationalism
Mere Christendom

For instance, more than 5,000 people assembled in Pennsylvania for the ReAwaken America Tour back in late 2022 where Donald Trump addressed concerned attendees regarding the direction of the nation. The central message of the event was focused on a reaction to the “woke” leftist politics and agenda being pressed upon our country. “We face a battle in our country,” retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser turned election denier, told the crowd. “I mean, Christianity is under attack. Honestly, it feels like everything is under attack.”1 After Donald Trump spoke, more than 100 people lined up to be baptized. This movement is using the term Christian Nationalism to describe their cause and Christian baptism as a sign.
As you continue to survey the political landscape, you find Christian Nationalism appearing on  T-shirts that proclaim “Proud Christian nationalist” sold by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene(R-Ga.). Samuel Perry, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma and the co-author of the book The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy makes the claim that “white Christian Nationalism” is growing rapidly within the Republican party. While we continue to see Christian Nationalism appearing in the sphere of politics, that’s not exactly the version being discussed within evangelicalism.
At the time of this article, the gold standard definition for the movement within evangelicalism is by Stephen Wolfe in his book, A Case for Christian Nationalism. However, prior to the release of his book, Andrew Torba and Andrew Isker released a much shorter book titled, Christian Nationalism: A Biblical Guide For Taking Dominion And Discipling Nations. Andrew Torba is the founder and CEO of Gab.com. Andrew Isker is the pastor of 4th Street Evangelical Church in Waseca, MN. He is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato and Greyfriars Hall Ministerial Training School in Moscow, ID, and he has served churches in Missouri, West Virginia, and Minnesota. The description of their book provides the following statement regarding Christian Nationalism:
Christian Nationalism is a spiritual, political, and cultural movement comprised of Christians who are working to build a parallel Christian society grounded in a Biblical worldview. This book is a guide for Christians to take dominion and disciple their families, churches, and all nations for the glory of Jesus Christ our King.
Doug Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, ID, provides the following endorsement to Andrew Torba and Andrew Isker’s book, “If you want to know more about Christian Nationalism, this book is for you. You will be getting your info from the horse’s mouth, as it were, instead of from the mainstream media, which is oriented more to the other end of the horse.”
Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab.com has also come under intense heat for public statements that were perceived as antisemitic, including his stated desire to overcome a “Judeo-Bolshevik” society (a term that makes the claim that communism is a Jewish plot). Torba has also said conservative Jews and non-Christians are welcome to stay in his ideal society, going as far as to say the following about his version of the Christian Nationalist movement:
We don’t want people who are atheists. We don’t want people who are Jewish. We don’t want people who are, you know, nonbelievers, agnostic, whatever. This is an explicitly Christian movement because this is an explicitly Christian country.
Needless to say, such statements have not been received well which has opened the door for Wolfe’s book which has gained a great deal of popularity.
Stephen Wolfe published his book, A Case for Christian Nationalism in November of 2022. In his book, Wolfe lays out several key points regarding Christian Nationalism, including the following definition:
Christian nationalism is a totality of national action, consisting of civil laws and social customs, conducted by a Christian nation as a Christian nation, in order to procure for itself both earthly and heavenly good in Christ.2)
While this is not a review of Wolfe’s book, what he provides us in print is a working definition for what he references as a “pan-Protestant project.” Perhaps one of the most controversial chapters of the book is found in the seventh chapter where Wolfe lays out his views regarding civil government and the “Great Man” that he calls, “The Christian Prince.”
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The Responsibility of Shepherding God’s Sheep

As we consider the responsibility entrusted to the hands of shepherds, for those of us who are pastors we must approach our post seriously. As a Christian take time to consider the work of pastors in the life of the church and pray earnestly for the men who are called to shepherd you and your family. Pray that they will be able to engage in the work of ministry with joy and that they will remain steadfast without wavering for the glory of God.

Jesus made a very important, yet simple statement to Peter after his resurrection. In effort to restore Peter after his failure to fully obey him in the midst of the heat of controversy—Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”1 What a simple little phrase that is filled with such heavy responsibility.
All throughout the Scripture, we find references to sheep and shepherds. “For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:7). Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) who lays down his life for the sheep. Jesus is also referenced as the Door of the sheepfold (John 10:9) which provides another shepherding analogy. When Jesus references his people as lambs, he is spotlighting their nature as immature and vulnerable and in need of tending and care.
As we consider these words of Jesus to Peter and the many references to sheep farming in the Scripture, we must be reminded of the responsibilities of a pastor in the work of shepherding the sheep.
Leading Sheep
One of the key principles of pastoral ministry is leadership. Sheep cannot lead themselves. God has designed the church to be led by pastors are literally shepherd-leaders. The elders of the local church are men who must take their leadership responsibility seriously. An elder (ἐπισκοπή) is one who is given responsibility of overseeing the church.
Such oversight is to be carefully measured through the pages of Scripture. There is no room for error when it comes to the spiritual wellbeing of God’s church. If sheep are not led properly, they will wander off and get entangled in all sorts of theological controversies and become vulnerable prey for false teachers who function as wolves.
Leadership is necessary in the church, and God has designed the church to be led by faithful shepherds. This leadership responsibility is not to be solo-shepherding, or as is often the case within evangelicalism—CEO-shepherding. God has designed his church to be led by a plurality of elders in each church which means biblical leadership in the life of the local church is shared leadership. Tom Schreiner observes, “Every piece of evidence we have shows that elders were widespread in the early church. They are mentioned by different authors: Luke, Paul, Peter, and James. They stretch over a wide region of the Greco-Roman world: from Jerusalem, Palestine, the whole of Asia Minor, and Crete. It is also likely that elders functioned as a plurality in the churches since the term is always plural, and Acts 14:23 says elders were appointed ‘for them in each church.’”2
When a faithful group of shepherd-leaders work together to care for God’s church, it spreads out responsibility, provides internal accountability (shepherding), and creates a healthy church culture where God’s people grow strong and pastors are able to maintain a healthy spiritual life and work-life balance. Regarding pastoral ministry—this is the way.
Feeding Sheep
The pastor must be able to teach the Scripture (1 Tim 3:1-7). In other words, the pastor is not an entertainer or comedian. The pastor is a shepherd of sheep not an entertainer for goats. The word for doctrine is “διδασκαλία” which means, teaching. The pastor must have healthy teaching. Just because a man stands before a congregation and talks doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy.
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Is it Possible to Preach the Gospel Without Words?

It’s impossible to preach the gospel with a person’s life. A person’s testimony and lifestyle is certainly important, but nobody will ever be saved by merely watching how people live. They must come to know the law of God which confronts sinners with their guilt and shame. It’s then that they come to hear the good news announced which points them in the direction of the Savior of the world—Jesus Christ.

Gone are the days when we simply received little clichés and pithy statements on bumper stickers alone. Now, with the highways of the internet and social media, we have access to a wealth of information which can be profitable and dangerous at the same time.
Every so often you will see this common phrase circulating around social media: “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” The statement is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, but in all reality, there’s little evidence that he actually spoke those words.
The real issue is with the meaning of the phrase itself rather than the origin. Is it possible to preach the gospel without words? Is it possible to be faithful to God by proclaiming the good news with your life alone?
The Danger of Cliché Christianity
I love a good quote from a good author, but those quotes are not enough. We need the Scriptures. One of the great tragedies of modern evangelicalism is the shallow approach that is popularized through social media. We are bombarded with messages, quotes, and man’s opinion on many levels on a daily basis, and oftentimes these messages drive us in the direction of superficiality rather than robust faithfulness.
Some common clichés circulating today might include statements such as:

God never gives you more than you can handle.
When God closes a door, he opens a window.
God helps those who help themselves.

The fact is, God often gives us far more than we can handle for the sanctifying purpose of revealing our weakness and our need for God. Sometimes when God closes a door, he simply closes a door. It should also be pointed out that God helps those who learn that they cannot help themselves without the power and strength of God. The sappy cliché approach to following Jesus does not work.
When genuine Christians study the Scriptures, they soon learn that the worldly clichés that are so commonplace in our day are at odds with the very Word of God. It’s at this juncture that Christians are moved from a steady diet of sloppy cultural phraseology to the rich streams of God’s holy Word where an abundant supply of wisdom and knowledge flow into the hearts and minds of God’s children.
Preaching is Far Superior to a Personal Testimony
When we hear people who press a personal testimony above the actual gospel itself—that’s confirmation that there’s a massive misunderstanding regarding the gospel. To be clear, people are not saved by listening to a personal testimony. People do not need more stories.
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