The Church Is for Sinners

((c) The Rev. Dr. Curtis Crenshaw, Th.D., January 2006)

In my first pastorate, a man said to me that he would not go to church because there were too many hypocrites there.  I had enough rapport with the man to say: “You’re right so join us—we need another one.”  Sometimes we have the idea that Church is just for those who have no problems, for those whose life is always rosy, who never have rebellious children, whose spouses are models of virtue, whose bosses love how they do things, such as never late, who never have an impure thought.  If that is who you think you are, you don’t need the Church; but then, you don’t need the Triune God, either, or so you think.

And we Christians should be willing to admit that we have a long way to go in our growth in holiness.  Pretending to be something we’re not is hypocrisy, though we should not tell everyone all our problems, for that is destruction.  Yes, we have been forgiven by God through the merits of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, but we are still growing.  We have been adopted into God’s family, but like legal adoption today, that does not automatically make the child instantly and perfectly holy.  It does make the child an heir to our estate, and if we are rich so is the child.  But it takes a lifetime to train a child and for the child to grow into the kind of person we as parents desire him/her to be.  Likewise, God the Father adopts us into His family based on the legal attorney Jesus Christ, who puts up the bond, the surety, who is Himself our pledge, our guarantee of the adoption.  This gives us a change of legal status, but inwardly we are the same as before the adoption.  But the Father and the Son gave us the Holy Spirit to make us different over time—but that is the key word, TIME.

Consider that our heavenly Father is seeking to “rear” us in the faith our whole  lives, that He brings about problems so that we can learn to be mature, to respond in faith and love to one another and to His providence, that His priorities are not money, farms, cars, bank accounts, though there is nothing wrong with these in themselves.

And this heavenly Father has adopted us into His family, in His Church, the bride of His Son, so that we can care for one another.  And consider further that our sibling Jesus has already been through all the trials we have and knows what they are like, but also as God He gives us the grace we need to grow.  We are in a family that is supposed to love its own as the badge of our relationship with God: “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).  What do you do when loved ones are sick?  You care for them.

We are called to live by a different set of priorities from the world, to consider the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to be the highest priority and church and family second.  (Church and family actually go together.)  Have you seen the bumper sticker that reads: “He who dies with the most toys wins”?  That is the philosophy of the world, but our riches belong to another family—the Church.  Our estate and inheritance are from Christ, not in pursuing more and more schemes to make money.  Our security is in the Lord, not in our bank accounts that can quickly evaporate.

The world does not expect Christians to be perfect, but it does expect us to be genuine, which means we must be willing to confess mistakes when we make them and then seek to make things right.  Remember the case of the televangelist caught with a prostitute?  At first he was contrite, submitted to the discipline of his brethren, and agreed to the time suspension from the ministry that they placed on him.  This was a good start, but then he rebelled, rejecting their authority, and put himself back in the ministry under a new church.  It was a great testimony to the world to see the Christian Church at work, helping a fellow brother to grow in grace, exercising the authority of Christ, saying to everyone: “Yes, we are sinners, but we are willing to forgive when a brother repents.”  Who could have faulted that?  But the preacher rebelled and neutralized the great testimony.

In the early 1970s, Ruth and I were living in Dallas while I attended seminary.  W. A. Criswell was a great Baptist preacher in Dallas, TX, who loved the Lord, preached great Gospel sermons, and had a large congregation in downtown Dallas.  He was highly respected in the community.  Dr Criswell was interviewed on a local TV station on one occasion when I was watching.  The interviewer was very caustic, and assuming all the self-righteousness she could muster, she forcefully demanded to know why it had only been in the recent past that his church had opened their doors to African American Christians.  I’ll never forget Criswell’s answer, for it stopped her cold, and she stuttered for a come back.  His answer was something like this: “We sinned, and we’ve asked the Lord to forgive us.  Now we are glad to have our black brothers and sisters worship with us.”  That was genuineness!  The interviewer changed the subject!  We are not perfect but sinners, so let us recognize that!  But let us be confessing sinners, not arrogant or rebellious ones.  Pride will destroy us, but humility will lift us up in great favor with God and man.  AMEN.

Lent Is Repentance

Week 5 Memory Verse GoodMorningGirls.Org
((c) The Rev. Dr. Curtis Crenshaw, Th.D.)
6 March 2018

Lent Is Repentance

We intuitively respond positively (or more so) to those who own their sin and negatively to those who hid or justify them. It is noteworthy that those who confessed their sins to Jesus received forgiveness, but those who justified themselves, like the Pharisees, were condemned by Him.

The season of Lent in the Church calendar is designed to make us think of our sins and of the grace of God in Christ.  It is not that we don’t think of these the rest of the year, but there is an emphasis on God’s holiness and our sins that is healthy, for this drives us even more to the Cross of Christ and His forgiveness.

But what is repentance?  In Acts 26 Paul describes repentance as “turning from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins” and “that they should repent, turn to God, and to do works befitting repentance” (vv 18, 20).  Notice these things about repentance.

First, it is negative, and its object is sin—what one turns from.  Belief is positive, what one turns to, and expresses trust—in Christ.

Second, repentance means a turning from something and to something else.  It is as if the person is on a path leading to hell and he realizes his plight, which causes him to reverse directions, taking a U turn.  Now he is walking in the opposite direction toward heaven.  In changing directions, he turned from hell to heaven, from his sins to the forgiveness of Christ, from Satan to God.  This “turning” necessarily involves both from and to.  It is not possible to change directions 180 degrees in one’s life without turning from something and going to something else, and this “from” is repentance and the to is “faith.”  Repentance and faith are like two sides of one coin: the “tails” is the negative that refers to one’s sins, and “heads” is the positive side that refers to faith in Christ.  If one has the “coin,” he has both sides.

By the word “turn” the Bible does not mean that the sinner has to do so many works to merit God’s forgiveness.  Repentance is a mental recognition of one’s current condition that leads one to fear God, to hate his sins, and thus to seek a solution.  The faith grants the solution, which is faith in the substitutionary death of Christ for one’s sins.

Third, works are not merit to gain repentance, but the demonstration that repentance is genuine.  James states that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26), but he never says works merits us forgiveness.  They are the barometer that reveal if faith is alive, but not the eternal life itself.  If faith and repentance are of the same “coin,” then works will be the fruit of repentance just as works are the fruit of faith.

So what is repentance?  It is a change of mind about oneself, about one’s sins, and about God, especially Christ.  We call this whole process conversion.  As a non-Christian, one is satisfied with himself and his life.  But once the Holy Spirit enters a person’s life, the sinner becomes convicted of his sins, that they are contrary to God and deserve His judgment.  This in turn leads the person to consider a solution, which is to trust in Christ as Lord and Savior who died for his sins.  The “process” may be long or almost instantaneous, but it is there.

To put this another way, when one comes to faith in Christ, why does He trust in Jesus (faith) if not to have his sins forgiven (repentance)?  In repentance the sinner turns from himself and his sin, and in faith he turns to Christ and His righteousness.  Moreover, these two go together; one cannot have one without the other.

And it is the season of Lent that brings to our attention this aspect of the Gospel; namely, our sins and the grace of God in Christ.  It is decidedly not the purpose of Lent to have a Mardi Gras so that we can indulge in our favorite sins and then go ask God for forgiveness.  This is playing games with God—and with our souls.  Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, which is a service to remind us of our mortality, that we will die, and that we must be prepared.  It also reminds us of what it cost God to save us: the death of His Son on the Cross.

Finally, Lent also reminds us of the battle of light against darkness, of Satan versus God.  We are involved in spiritual warfare for the souls of people, and the Gospel is the weapon that brings them to surrender to the Triune God.  There is no neutrality here.  One is either in God’s army or Satan’s, and when one repents and believes the Gospel, he leaves Satan’s army and joins God’s.  That is what St. Paul said as quoted above.

Moreover, the Lord Jesus (quote above) said He came to save sinners, not those who thought they were ok as they were. As He put it, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” In other words, we must present something to the Lord Jesus, and without this “work” on our part, we cannot be saved. IT IS WITH OUR SINS THAT WE GO TO GOD FOR WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO GO WITH THAT WE CAN CALL OUR OWN (Horatius Bonar)AMEN.

How to Interpret the Bible, part 2, or Rescuing 2 Peter 1:20-21 . . .

((c) Rev. Dr. Curtis Crenshaw, ThD)

16 Jan 2018

This post is the conclusion from last time. I don’t hope to do an exhaustive course on hermeneutics (how to interpret the Bible), but just to make some comments on these two verses that I began last time.

Here again is my translation of 2 Peter 1:20-21:

Knowing this first,

that no                  prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own [private] interpretation,

                             for prophecy never came by the will of man,


                       holy men of God spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

  1. By “no prophecy of Scripture” that  I mean the written revelation as given in Holy Scripture.
  2. Moreover, “from one’s own” by which I mean no one conjours up revelation from his imagination. I understand “own” to mean “private”. In other words, a reader or one who imagines is not allowed to invent Scripture. How many times have I had someone tell me, “This is what this passage means to me [then follows some interpretation]; what does it mean to you.” Peter is telling us that a passage ripped from its context is not really Holy Scripture, but someone’s imagination. As one friend of mine often quotes another scholar:

    “A wrong interpretation of Scripture is not Scripture; 

     … only the TRUE meaning of the Bible can properly be called the Bible.” 

    Once I was managing a Christian bookstore in Memphis, TN when a lady came in to shop. She kept saying that the Lord had told her such and such (don’t recall now what it was). Finally, I said, “The Lord told me the opposite.” She looked stunned.  One must never challenge another’s “revelation” or “word of knowledge.” She said something like “How can you say that?” I walked over to our Bible section of the book store, picked up a Bible, and read her a few verses that said the opposite of what she was claiming. She said something like, “Well, this is what it MEANS TO ME.” I replied that God the Holy Spirit was not into relativism. To show how objective she was, she never came back. By her will or imagination, she was inventing a meaning that was not in the text of the Bible; it was a private interpretation.

  3. There is one Greek word for “as they were carried along,” which is a present tense, passive voice, participle, masculine, plural, indicating continuous action. In this context, “they” refers to “holy men” of God. Passive voice refers to the Holy Spirit superintending one’s thought processes to enable him to give divine revelation. It does not mean the person just sat down one day and said something like, “I’m gonna write me some Scripture.” No, God the Holy Spirit was in charge. Present tense means an ongoing process, at least at that time. Now that revelation is complete, there is no more scripture being written.
  4. To the lady mentioned above, the Bible was a wax nose to be molded to fit her “private interpretation.” As for the finality of the Bible, I have a chapter on that in my book, Man as God: The Word of Faith Movement, in which I point out that the Bible says of itself that very thing; namely, it is final in its now current form.
  5. “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other”. (1 Cor. 4:6 NKJ)
  6. “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” (Jas. 4:12 NKJ)
  7. “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20 NKJ) We are always to listen and obey former revelation.
  8. One of the great problems with today’s new revelations, or word of knowledge, is that these “new” prophets separate the Holy Spirit from the written word, which is what Peter does not allow: “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:21 NKJ) Peter does not allow new revelation based on one’s own imagination.
  9. We must recognize whether the Bible IS the word of God, CONTAINS the word of God, or BECOMES the word of God. We can see these three ideas in a plate umpire calling balls and strikes. A father yells at the umpire when his son is at bat, (1) “That was no strike. Did you get new glasses yet?” To which the ump says, “I call them as they are.” This means there is objective truth in the pitch. He does not make up his own “private interpretation.” (2) Another father yells at another ump, “What’s the matter with your eyes?” The ump yells back, “I call them as I see them.” This means his interpretation is the eye of the beholder.  (3) Finally, another father screams, “O come on, you can’t be serious. You’re blind as a bat and twice as ugly.” With equal fervor the ump yells, “They are not balls or strikes until I call them.” This is no truth here, just perspective, and the ump has the final respective. This is the problem with much of Christianity in the USA. Some really seek to understand and apply Holy Scripture as given. Others think each person can make up his own mind. And finally,  with others there is no truth, but let’s just play the game.
  10. In the first case, the ump sees truth as it is. In the second case, another ump sees truth as somewhere in the situation. Finally, in the third case, truth becomes what the ump wants it to be. We are in the third stage in the churches in the USA.


How to Interpret the Bible, Part 1

© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th. D., 2017

We live in one of the worst times of church history: it seems that every few years there is a new movement and a new interpretation of the Bible. And there is a new study Bible published every few years to promote this new “private interpretation.”

Several years ago, I had lunch with a young man who was on a quest. He was studying the Bible by himself and teaching others his views. Toward the end of a long conversation, I asked him what church he attended, and he said “None.” I strongly advised him to find a good gospel church to attend, and he indicated he would not. He has no Bible training, no training of Hebrew and Greek, no training in theology, no training in church history, especially regarding the heretics down through the centuries; in other words, he would be a law unto himself. Mark it down that those who think they can go it alone are sure to repeat the errors and heresies of the past. Here we have one who may start another Christian cult. This young man is teaching that there is no hell and that all will be saved, everyone who has ever lived. Now this young man has quit his job, and is studying the Bible at home. He has a wife and children. His idea of sola scriptura is just the Bible and me.

The history of the church must be taken into consideration when we study the Bible and theology. It is tragic that some who think so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to them, think so little of what He has revealed to others. The interpretation of the Bible belongs to the Church and has been ongoing for 3,500 years, going back to Moses. We must not divorce ourselves from the church’s history.

Sola Scriptura was a watchword for the protestant Reformers, but they did not mean “just the Bible and me.” In other words, the Bible was the ultimate authority but not the only authority. Even the great protestant Presbyterian Charles Hodge stated: “If the Bible be the only infallible rule of faith and practice; and if . . . the Spirit guides the people of God . . . into the knowledge of the truth, then the presumption is invincible that what all true Christians believe to be the sense of Scripture is its sense” (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:437).

Or, as R. C. Sproul has said: “Although tradition does not rule our interpretation, it does guide it. If, upon reading a particular passage, you have come up with an interpretation that has escaped the notice of every other Christian for two thousand years, or has been championed by universally recognized heretics, chances are pretty good that you had better abandon your interpretation.” (Dr. R.C. Sproul, The Agony of Deceit, pp. 34, 35)

In other words, Hodge and Sproul are saying that there must be some closure to Christian truth, not begin again with each new generation. So what doctrines should be final? We see those doctrines in the three creeds of the Church, especially the Nicene Creed. Indeed, all branches of Christianity (Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism) hold to the Nicene Creed formally, and most confess it in their worship services. The Apostles’ Creed is also broadly used, and the third creed, The Athanasian Creed is confessed in the West by Rome, Anglicanism and others.

If one reads the doctrinal statements of independent churches who naively say “no creed but Christ”, one can see that they really hold to the Apostles’ Creed. In fact, it is quite impossible not to have a creed, for that is just what one believes. Better to be in line with all Christians than to reinvent the wheel. Can you imagine a young man wanting to enter medicine, and he says he does not believe any of the research of others before but that only he has the truth? Would you want him to do heart surgery on you? That is precisely what is happening with new movements, such as the word-faith movement, and with this young man who quit his job. He is ignoring all who have gone before, cast aside their wisdom and biblical understanding, and is now wanting to do spiritual heart surgery on others. He first needs to learn from others more qualified than himself and be approved by them. In other words, he needs to submit to their authority, learn from their approved studies, and only then have the seal of approval on them.

Here is an example. When I was starting a church in TX, a young man and his new family were attending worship. We had a liturgical worship, which he very much appreciated. After attending several times, I asked him and his wife to dinner after church. Toward the end of lunch he asked me this question: “May we join the church if we are preterist?” Now preterism has several forms. It can mean that all the passages in the New Testament on the Second Coming were fulfilled in AD 70. Another view is that most of the passages in the New Testament were fulfilled in AD 70, but some await His return. I asked him which view he held. He said he held the first view, that basically the Second Coming was over since AD 70. I said, “You may not join because the Church has spoken over the millennia that the Second Coming is yet in the future. I don’t care if you’re amil, premil, postmil, but you can’t deny the Second Coming.” His response was, “I can show you good reasons for my position.” I responded, “No you can’t, but if you are really interested in how the Church has understood those passages, I’ll be glad to meet with you. For now I request that you get some good modern, conservative commentaries and restudy the issue.” He did restudy, and became a member, and the whole process was about three months. He and his family never gave us any trouble and made excellent members.

Basically, I brought the authority of Christ through His Church to bear on him, and he responded in a godly way. We are not to be a law unto ourselves or to be autonomous individuals, thinking sola scripture means just the Bible and me. So how do we interpret the Bible? From a covenantal position of being under authority.

There are other things that must be considered also, such as knowing the Old Testament language of Hebrew, the New Testament language of Greek, the cultural background, knowing the whole Bible, and many other things. But this is enough for this short blog.

Next time, Lord willing, I shall rescue 2 Peter 1:16-21 from false interpretations, but for now here is my translation:


knowing this first,

that no prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own private interpretation,

                             for prophecy never came by the will of man,


                       holy men of God spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)


We shall look at this next time, Lord wiling.






Is the Reformation Still Needed?

October 31, 1517

© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, ThD

When Martin Luther began his ministry of the priesthood and teaching (PhD) in the early 1500s, there were only two branches of Christianity: The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy. When Luther died, there were three branches, the third one being Protestant. When Luther nailed the 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, it was an invitation to other scholars to debate indulgences. The church door was like a bulletin board for announcements, and Luther wrote the Theses in the scholarly language of the day: Latin. He was as surprised as anyone when they were taken down, translated into German, and spread throughout Germany. Now Luther was forced to defend his teaching.

What Was the Reformation?

It was the greatest revival in the history of the Church (and still ongoing). I don’t mean to be unkind, but the Roman Catholic Church had fallen into really bad teachings and practices. They were basically selling forgiveness of sins. Several weeks ago I saw on TV a documentary of Martin Luther where a current Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church admitted that the Church in Luther’s day had indeed fallen into decadence and bad doctrines. Now in our day, the Protestant Church has fallen into various heresies, as has the Roman Catholic Church and just about every other Christian church or organization. Here are some of our protestant problems:

  • We present a positive message without judgment.
  • We’ve turned the Bible into a popular psychological manual for self-improvement.
  • With the right words spoken audibly, we can manufacture our own providence. In fact, the word-faith movement thoroughly disdains the word “providence.”
  • Catholics pray to Mary, and Protestants pray to themselves.
  • Every passage in the Bible has become a “secret” to have victory, if we only . . .

I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the word-faith movement, The compromised protestant megachurches proclaim a form of indulgences, which is positive confession. If you say words into the air with faith, you’ll bring riches into your life; but of course you must send the word-faith preacher his share. Robert Tilton used to require a thousand dollar vow, and if you made that vow and sent him money, he would send you a cloth to put in your billfold that would bring you money. You could reap a 100 fold harvest. Their followers are being fleeced as much as those poor peasants in Luther’s day. (If you want a copy of my book on the word-faith movement, please CLICK HERE. You can see the thorough Table of Contents when you click the link.)


Need for the Reformation

The Reformation was a return to the Bible and to the old gospel the fathers of the church had preached the first thousand years (or more) in the Church’s history. The Roman Catholic Church had degenerated into various false teachings and practices, not the least of which was the selling of forgiveness of sins in the form of Indulgences.

In the 1300s there was a man called Jon Wycliffe. He was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, and seminary professor at Oxford. He was an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century. He had followers that went around preaching the pure Gospel who were called the Lollards. Wycliffe also translated the Bible into English from the Latin. He was the evangelical of his day, and died in 1384. About a hundred years after he died, he was declared a heretic, and his bones were dug up and ground.

After Wycliffe came Jon Hus. The Roman Catholic Church martyred him in 1415 after giving their word they would not do it if he would just appear before them to defend his views. He was a Czech priest, philosopher, Master, dean and rector at Charles University in Prague, church reformer, inspirator of Hussitism, a seminal figure in the Bohemian Reformation and a key predecessor to Protestantism. Luther claimed, 100 years later, to be a Hussite.

Enter Martin Luther and Tetzel, the latter who was selling indulgences on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church that granted a release of some temporal punishment due to sin. Martin Luther vehemently challenged indulgencies. The money collected was for the Pope to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Here is what Tetzel would proclaim:

As soon as the gold in the casket rings,

The rescued soul to heaven springs.

Here is another version:

As soon as the coin in the coffer rings,

the soul from purgatory springs.


What is an indulgence? It gets complicated, but suffice it to say that it is something you do (works) that will lessen your time in purgatory, which is not heaven or hell, and not a desirable place to go. But Tetzel was selling indulgences to the poor to use for their deceased loved ones to get out of purgatory early. It was salvation by proxy after death by money. For example, in one Roman Catholic catechism one can get a full indulgence by saying the Rosary before Holy Communion, or a partial indulgence for reading the New Testament 15 minutes a day. It is a mechanical works system where one can get his ticker card punched.

You might find it interesting that just several weeks ago there was a documentary of Martin Luther and the beginning of the Reformation. It was very positive, and there was a Roman Catholic Cardinal on the program who stated that the church at that time had become corrupt and was in need of reforming. I would add that it still needs reforming, along with worldwide Anglicanism and Protestantism, and Orthodoxy. Worldwide Christianity is in pitiful ruins in its beliefs and practices.

In the early 1500s there was a priest with a troubled conscience. Tomorrow, October 31st, 1517, 500 years ago, Martin Luther, who had an earned Ph.D. in biblical studies, at the age of 34, nailed up the Ninety-Five Theses on a church door in Wittenberg. He wanted to debate other church scholars regarding certain teachings and practices, especially Indulgences. Thus began the greatest revival in the history of the Church, which has lasted now for about 500 years. Other revivals have been sparked, such the ones of the Wesleys, Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, here in this country in the 1700s, and many others in the last 100 years throughout the world. And let us not forget the godly women the Lord had raised up, such as Luther’s wife, Katherine, Edwards wife, and so on.

Do We Still Need the Reformation?

The first Reformation changed the Western world—Germany, continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, and so on. The world will never be the same now that God raised up Luther to preach the free gospel with such power and fearlessness. Likewise, with many other great men, Luther’s right-hand man, Melanthon (Germany), Calvin and Beza (France), Zwingli and Bullinger (Switzerland), John Knox (Scotland, Presbyterian), and certainly not least, those in England: Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Bucer, etc. Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer–all clergy in the Church of England–the Roman Catholic Church martyred.

The reformers faced not only theological heresy, but also they were persecuted by the civil authorities, the same as we are today. Our whole Western culture hates (and I mean hates with a devilish fiendness) anything Christian. There is a huge spiritual warfare going on in the West in general and also in our culture in particular. The gospel is being called hate speech, sexual perversion is freedom of expression, murdering babies is a woman’s choice, and so on. Moreover, ministerial success is measured in how big your parking lot is, though there is nothing wrong with having a large church in itself, but the tendency is to compromise the gospel so you won’t lose members.

We need a whole generation of D. James Kennedys to arise and march on our modern Jerichos. Many preachers today wimp out by saying that we must not be involved in political matters! Right, so we let the culture perish.

There are two ways to destroy the gospel: by addition and by subtraction. Most of the Christian cults subtract things, like the deity of Christ, the Holy Trinity, His bodily resurrection, and so on. But during the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church added many things, thus it was necessary to correct the errors by pointing out that each of the solas were not just necessary, but enough.

What were some of the big issues in the Reformation that are still needed today? I’ve written some articles in this blog about the “ONLYs”, the solas. The ONLYs emphasize the sufficiency of what they present, not just the necessity.

  • The Bible is not only necessary, but it is also enough (only).
  • The grace of God is necessary for us to come to Christ, but it also enough (only).
  • We are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, so that faith is not only necessary for our salvation, it is also enough (only).
  • Christ is not only necessary for our salvation, but He is enough. Only He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We don’t add Mary to Him.
  • God’s glory alone must receive the emphasis, not us also.

The Bible is all the revelation we need, not the additions of the Roman Catholic Church in their traditions. The Bible is enough. The grace of God is all we need to gain salvation, not the merits of Mary and others. His grace is sufficient. We are saved through faith and not by our merits, which in turn means faith is enough. The person of Christ is the only mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This further means that His once for all death was and is enough. We don’t need the sacrifices of Mary or others. Finally, our salvation is to God’s glory alone because only He has saved us, lest anyone should boast in his own merits.

But there has been tremendous progress made in the last few decades, or at least in my lifetime. (I’m now 72.) Roman Catholics and Protestants do not want to kill one another. Within my lifetime, even in the past several decades, evangelicals and Catholics have come together to a great extent. In Amarillo, the local Roman Catholic bishop and I marched together at the front of the line each year for pro-life. Other ministers were there incognito, out of uniform, so the media did not know who they were. I’ve worked with Roman Catholics in various pro-life endeavors, side by side, praying wonderful prayers while for our sake leaving out the Hail Mary.

I read Pope Benedict’s XVI excellent work titled Jesus.

I sure I’m not a prophet, but I’ve been saying for several decades that Christians all over the world must come together if we’re to survive the onslaught of Islam, Atheism, Liberalism, hostile politicians, etc. Satan is making an all-out push against us. But does that mean I’m going to Rome any time soon? There ain’t no way, for there are still substantive areas of disagreement: transubstantiation, purgatory, prayers to humans, works to gain heaven, papal infallibility, Mary as co-redeemer and co-mediator, Son of God as only one mediator out of many. Yet they hold the same three creeds we do, Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian. My plea is not for conversion to that system, but for tolerance on both sides, but without compromising the solas.

So, is the Reformation still needed? I would say Yes, but it is not just around the solas. Without giving up the progress we’ve made in 500 years as of today, we must change the culture by preaching the gospel, changing our culture as Luther and others did by engaging the culture. We must proclaim the crown rights of King Jesus, because

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
                                       baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
                                           20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt. 28:18-20 NKJ)



Last Time Polyamory, This Time Sologamy

(c) The Very Rev.Dr.  Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP. Polyamory is two or more in a “committed” relationship. I thought polyamory was far out enough, but I did predict it in my book on the Ten Commandments (NOT Ten Suggestions) as basically group sex. I recently saw on Forensic TV a real case where three young men in their 20s gave rings to one another and vowed to remain true for life to one another. But disobedience to God’s law brings self-destruction. It was not long that one of the male lovers murdered one of the three, and the two who remained broke up. That was not a shock.

As for sologamy, instead of “marrying” two or more, you marry yourself. I’m not joking. It is a movement in Russia, Europe, Japan, and other nut case countries, like the good ole USA. Here is a link to it:

If you follow the link, you’ll find a woman marrying herself, with 500 people attending. So what will she call herself, “Mrs. Me”? What were the vows like, “I promise to love me in life and in death, in sickness and in health, until I nullify this marriage from me?” Was the “marriage” sealed with “I promise to love the Lord myself with all the narcissism I can muster?” Now this is one marriage I did not anticipate in my book!

Here is a quote from the article in the link above:

At its core, self-marriage is a classic rite of passage with three obligatory stages: separation, liminality and incorporation. The first stage – symbolic death – serves to break all ties that no longer serve you. The second stage is all about ‘discovering’ your new love for yourself, through techniques such as self-addressed love letters and poems. And, finally, the third stage, the big shebang: the wedding ceremony, meant to seal the bond between You and You, through your choice of self-declared vows.

This is the height of narcissism, or the depth. How can there be any legal status to such a “marriage”? “Love” has been completely eviscerated of any meaning, for by definition love is directed to another person. I found this bit of news on the Internet:

  • State and Government Recognition. Self-marriages do not require a marriage certificate. This is because self-marriages are not recognized by any states in the United States. . . .  That means that if you are already married to another person, you can still self-marry without implicating anti-bigamy or polygamy laws. Jan 28, 2015

But it gets worse.

Now, some people are marrying their pets! Again, I’m not making this stuff up. As far as I know, you cannot marry your dog or cat in the USA, but you can in Bali. I predicted marriage to pets, group marriage, and even euthanasia for those who for whatever reason cannot cope with life.

In France, one woman was allowed to marry her dead fiance, and they can still do so if it can be proved that they had formally planned for their wedding. There seems to be no end to degeneration. Here is what one wise man said:

John Dryden, the seventeenth century English poet, said:

“For those whom God to ruin has design’d,
He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.”

Today we might say it this way:

“Those whom God would destroy, He first makes mad.”







Polyamory or Group Sex

(c) (Curtis Crenshaw, ThD, 2017)

A good friend sent me a link to another notch down into family self-destruction. If you can stomach it, CLICK HERE. The essence of the article is that now a Southern Baptist preacher is recommending polyamory, which “means the practice or condition of participating simultaneously in more than one serious romantic or sexual relationship with the knowledge and consent of all partners.” In other words, group sex, which means more “family” destruction.

This blog is from my book titled NOT Ten Suggestion that came out in 2010. Here is what I said.

Then there are consequences of same sex unions on the family. One is that such unions cannot reproduce, which means that they will pressure others to have children for them or seek to dominate the adoption agencies once these unions are legal. Will affirmative action apply here? Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Iowa have given gays the right to “marry” so far in early 2009. Will these unions be recognized in the other states?

During the early history of this country, many settlers took their families west to settle. They were often given land by the government. With their families, they reproduced and grew to large numbers; but if they had been same sex “unions,” they would have become extinct.

With heterosexual couples, a new person can be created in the image of both parents. This is one of the most profound acts of love God has given us. With homosexual couples, we only have reciprocal masturbation with no possibility of reproducing. Thus from nature itself we learn that same sex unions are not right since the species cannot be propagated. If all were gay, the human race would become extinct.

Then will male gay couples pay others to have someone’s seed implanted into some woman to have a child for them? Will female gay couples have someone’s seed implanted into them, perhaps simultaneously, to have children, and who will decide what donor’s seed? In either case, if they “divorce,” whose children are they?

Lutzer reports:

Because gay couples cannot produce children on their own, James Skillen of the Center for Public Justice predicts that hopeful parents may seek to rent wombs and deny children to know their biological parents. “It is going to be increasingly possible to produce, buy, and sell children, because in addition to adoption, that is the only way homosexual couples can ‘have’ children.” Whether raised by lesbians or two homosexual men, these children will be denied either a mother or a father.[1]

And if children are adopted, which person will be the mother and which the father? What kind of confusion will that produce when they are shopping at Kroger, and the child in the same sex union sees another child call his female parent “Mom” and his male parent “Dad”? Will he ask his “parents” why he has two men as parents or two moms? Will there be laws made to change the speech to accommodate the gays? George Orwell’s 1984 is here with newspeak. Same sex unions generally seek to erase the distinction between male and female, and that just can’t be done. It is interesting that one of the partners often takes a female or male role, for we cannot live life without assuming God’s categories. Besides the emotional differences, the “plumbing” is different. One cannot permanently alter the definition of marriage as one male and one female, for it not only violates God’s command, but it also violates the way we were created. Once marriage is redefined, other groups will want even looser definitions of marriage, such as group marriages. It is not really new definitions of marriage that is wanted, but the destruction of marriage.

Another argument from nature is that it should be obvious, without getting too graphic, that women are made to receive the male organ whereas men are not. The female vagina receives the male penis, sperm is deposited, egg is fertilized, and in nine months a human baby is born. That is natural and how everyone comes into the world. The anatomical difference and complementary nature of male and female is too obvious to need detailed explanation.

Moreover, we must not think that giving in to homosexuals to marry will appease them. They and others will only demand more liberties. Sin is never satisfied, and the sinner, given what he demands, will only demand more to try to reach the same thrills. (Chamberlain thought he could appease Hitler but only discovered that he demanded even more.) The punishment for deviant behavior is for God to give them over to even more bazaar behavior (Romans 1:24-28). The only way to stop this freefall is to confront them with righteousness, and to press the claims of Christ, His love, and forgiveness on them, for only He can stop the dominoes from falling.

Moreover, these unions do not usually remain monogamous, which can mean the spread of AIDS, and if there are children, they will adopt the same lifestyles. Tammy Bruce, a former gay insider, reports that male homosexuals “have hundreds of sex partners a year while spreading an incurable disease or two.”[2] (Blood banks will not allow male homosexuals to give blood even if they have had only one encounter because of the high risk of diseases.) This adds to the instability of home life for those involved and especially for the innocent children. From rectal and oral sex, there is infectious hepatitis, which increases the risk of liver cancer, fatal rectal cancer, not to mention HIV and AIDS, and a 30 year decrease in life expectancy.[3] “The American Psychiatric Association Press reports that ‘30% of all 20-year old gay men will be HIV positive or dead of AIDS by the time they are age 30.’ ”[4] Add to this the demand that the government pays for all these diseases, and we have an economic meltdown, not only from the medical bills but also from the decreased productivity in the market of those who cannot work, and those who must take care of them.

Moreover, whom will the children “marry”? Where will they find “spouses” since their “parents” cannot reproduce, and others they associate with cannot reproduce? “Love” does not justify these relationships, for love is not subjectively defined, as we saw in Chapter 2, VI, but is defined by God’s law. Will these children adopted by gays want to find out who their natural parents are? Will that be deemed unconstitutional? It irks them that every child that comes into the world is the product of one man and one woman, which is a constant reminder that they are wrong. Will there be a push to have human cloning so gays can have children?

But only one male and one female can reproduce both their images in the new offspring. Cloning one parent will not do so. Adopting will not do so. Planting male sperm into a female egg of a lesbian partner will not do so, for the other “parent” contributed nothing. Only the one impregnated will have a relationship with the “father,” the child being in the image of the donor father and receptor mother, but not the other female partner. The female partner will have no biological relationship at all with the child. Two (or more) males won’t be able to receive any implanting. They will be left to cloning or adopting.

This will be devastating to the children and family as they fight over who has the right to rear the child, to make rules, and when “divorces” inevitably occur, who will have the right to the children? As it stands now, when a man and woman marry, and if one had children before the marriage and the other one did not adopt them, if they divorce, the childless parent does not have the right to visit the child. How will this work out in people of the same sex when males “marry” and one has a child or when lesbians “marry,” and only one gives birth, or “marries” with a child? In all cases, the children will be the victims.

Then there will be a move to legitimize unions between three or more of both sexes, group marriages. Do not think that the radical sexual movement will stop with gay unions of two partners; they want complete sexual anarchy—pan sexuality. Have you heard of LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender? The dominoes are falling, and one sin inevitably leads to another; the only way to stop these dominoes is to come to Christ and to His law-word. “Triad” marriages are already being put forward, according to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. There is no one who has a stop-gap morality by the grace of God and the Gospel to stop the disintegration except Christians.

On a Phil Donahue talk show some years ago, I saw three who were living together, two men, and a woman. The men were homosexuals and the woman a lesbian who had her various partners visit her. But once in a while one of the men would go to the other part of the house to have sex with the woman so they could have a child, which they did, a little girl. They did not care which man was the father. All of them claimed to be her parents. When the audience asked the three what sexual orientation they wanted for their daughter, they all said together, “happy.” That meant she was being taught complete license in her sex life; all options were on the table.

Then it becomes more bizarre with four or five having legal status as a “union.” What happens when one wants to “divorce” the others? Who will pay what, and who will get what children? Then we will have a completely permissive society with God knows how many children who don’t have a clue who their real parents are, and who will be taught that it does not matter. They will truly be the victims. We will be a jungle, mating like animals with no accountability. How can children honor father and mother if they don’t know who they are? With no real commitment to anyone but ourselves, we’ll sink into total narcissism (and are sinking now) and sexual “freedom” (read: “enslavement”) with the motto that “anything goes.” Pedophilia will seem mild.

Such legal group “marriages” will essentially be farms to raise children on, with multiple partners, like farm animals that breed with one another, producing many offspring, but with no direction, no morality. Because we have lost the vertical standard with God, we have lost the ability to define right and wrong between ourselves. As soon as the Triune God is removed as the standard for morality, there is no objective way to define human relationships. There will be no families, just individuals seeking their own interests, not the well being of others in a family. And who in the world will be the in-laws to all these people? Who will be the grandparents? Millions of motherless and fatherless kids will be produced.

Within “families” there will be horrendous confrontation built in between parents, between children, and between parents and children. To make matters worse, a straight couple marry and have their own children. Then one of them leaves the marriage for a person of the same sex, and gets divorced from the original marriage to “marry” the same sex partner. Now who gets the children? Judges’ hands will be tied, for the children, even of an innocent Christian parent, will have to live in a gay situation, or at the least to have visitation rights. The souls of the children will be in jeopardy, for God says that those who practice sinful sex will perish unless they repent (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Then the public schools will be full of gay people, and students are already being primed to accept that orientation and to castigate any who disagree, especially Christians. What will this do to those children who come from godly homes, or just from homes who do not want their children exposed to sexual promiscuity? Since God’s Ten Commandments have to be rejected to promote this errant lifestyle, what will this do to the children’s morals in general? As an increasing number of Christians take their children out of such schools to put them in private schools, those who promote such a lifestyle will seek to pass laws to prevent such, or to make it financially difficult, if not impossible. Don’t forget that those who promote such lifestyles are not neutral—they hate those who oppose them, as evidenced by the recent gay riots in California when the gay marriage law did not pass. The anger on their faces said it all.

I just heard on the national news (Fox News April 2009) that some gays are claiming discrimination against Knoxville and Nashville public schools that block students from gay sites on school computers.

The ACLU, in a tersely worded letter, told the schools Wednesday it would sue them if the sites don’t come back online. The blocked sites include the Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality USA, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, the Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Dignity USA.[5]

Of course, the opponents say they are not in favor of the gay porn sites (for now), just the “regular” gay sites. Is it possible to have a gay site that is not porn? That means that all the kids will have access to such sites, which in turn means more children convinced that God’s morality is obsolete. Indeed, this means gays are targeting our children, right now, using the ACLU to place children into their hands. They must convert others to their cause since they cannot reproduce, and they will go after the most vulnerable of society. Perhaps some of them have no interest in children. Perhaps some of them are very sincere about their relationship with another of the same sex, but as we’ve explained many times in this book, sincerity is not the issue; truth is the issue. Some will resent it, but how is this new pursuit of gay web sites in public schools not some form of pedophilia? Should I not warn regarding the moral safety of our children, as God requires (Ezekiel 33)? Moreover, I’m not aware of any instance of a country giving itself over to a homosexual lifestyle that did not also embrace pedophilia. In other words, they demand complete sexual freedom of every kind, and will stop at nothing to get it. Accepting sinful behavior breaks down barriers, leading them further from the truth, their consciences having become seared (1 Timothy 4:2).

But whose morality is defining porn, and how long will it be before any site will be legally open to public school children because it can’t be defined, or because of alleged free speech? Once the vertical goes, anything goes. Recall what I said in Part 1: once God is removed, morality will be reduced to its lowest common denominator with the government moderating. The dominoes are falling, now. Christians must get their children out of the public schools, and put them in Christian schools, and then monitor them closely, or home school them. Remember that sin does not stand still, but like water it seeks it lowest level.

Then there is GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) that has a workshop for those ages 14-21 in some public schools to teach children how lesbians have sex, and other practices too awful even to describe in this book.[6] Then President Obama appointed Kevin Jenkins as the Safe School Czar who is the founder of GLSEN. Notice the word “safe,” which is another euphemism.

It gets worse, if possible. Peter Singer has been teaching relativism at Princeton University. He has been hailed as a brilliant scholar. He has written on the positive aspects of bestiality, describing a dog and a human, to which Bruce said “he has made Princeton unsafe both for your child and your beagle.”[7]

How would you like your children taught by people who had been trained by Judith Levine, highly respected in academia, who wrote Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex?[8] Levine has the audacity to state that Christians who protect their children from sex until they are married “are more harmful to minors than sex itself.”[9] Our families are being targeted for destruction, and the public schools are the means to bring this about.

Lutzer reports in his book:

The San Francisco Unified School District has a lesson plan for teaching kindergarteners and first graders about homosexuality. It defines a family as a “unit of two or more persons, related either by birth or by choice, who may or may not live together. . . .”[10]

But with one man and one woman committed to one another for life, they can have their own children; and no one loves children like the original parents, for they are created in the image of both parents, even looking like them. This godly relationship produces stability, security, knowing who they are, who their parents are, and what morality is.

Lord have mercy.

Christ have merch.

Lord have mercy.



[1] Erwin W. Lutzer, The Truth about Same-Sex Marriage (Chicago: Moody Press, 2004), p. 62. Emphasis his.

[2] Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003), p. 25. (See my comments on this book in the Bibliography at the end of the book.)

[3] John Stott, Same-Sex Partnerships? (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1998), p. 53.

[4] Stott, Same-Sex Partnerships, p. 63.

[5] From Accessed April, 2009.

[6] Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003), p. 104ff.

[7] Bruce, ibid., p. 191.

[8] Bruce, ibid., p. 194.

[9] Bruce, ibid., p. 200-201.

[10] Lutzer, The Truth about Same-Sex Marriage, p. 26.