Thursday, 4 August 2011


When it is asserted by Baptists that unless a newly converted Christian is baptised, immersion being understood as the only biblical way for this to be done, to demonstrate his obedience to Christ, does they mean that this is the best or only way of demonstrating such obedience? Or, is it implying that those who do not do this are by definition disobedient Christians? For Baptists, this appears to be the case. If a converted Christian remains unbaptised as a believing adult and the mode of baptism being total immersion, that Christian’s obedience to Christ is open to question. Is this the case?

Looking at this situation generally, let me ask a few other equally relevant questions. Is a Christian being disobedient to Christ who does not seek to speak in tongues? Some Pentecostals would answer, Yes. Is it a mark of disobedience to admit women to the Lord’s Supper? Some Christians, on the basis of their grasp of biblical teaching, would answer, Yes. Is it an act of disobedience, repeated every week, for the Christian Church to meet for worship on the Lord’s Day, Sunday, and not on the Jewish Sabbath, Saturday? Some would answer that it is. Is it an act of perpetual disobedience for Christians to use hymns and paraphrases in the worship of God, and not Psalms exclusively? Reformed Presbyterians would answer ‘yes’ to this question. Is it disobedience to the Scriptures for ministers not to receive Episcopal ordination? Anglicans would answer, Yes. Is it disobedience for churches not to maintain their independent status? Congregationalists would say, Yes. Is the use of other translations of the Scriptures and not the exclusive use of the Authorised King James Version a mark of apostasy from the Christian faith? Free Presbyterians and others who insist on this, answer Yes. Can a Christian’s obedience to God be determined by whether or not he belongs to a ‘mixed’ denomination? Again, Free Presbyterians and other separatists will answer, Yes. Is it disobedience for Christians not to accept the credentials of any religious grouping that claims to be Christian and a Church? Liberals and Ecumenicals would answer, Yes.

Let’s broaden this out just a little. Some Christians have castigated other Christians for being disobedient to God’s Word when they voted for the Belfast Agreement, whereas these same critics, not all of them but many of them, would claim that they were correct to vote for the St Andrews Agreement and go into government with terrorists, and that those who voted against this move were disobedient to the Scriptures. Some believe that compromise is a sign of Christian obedience whereas others see it as evidence of disobedience.

Now if all these issues determine whether or not a Christian is living in obedience to his Lord, who is left that really does live under the lordship of Christ? No one. So to teach and insist that obedience is measured by a Christian’s acceptance of believer’s baptism by immersion is to go beyond what is accepted in other areas of doctrine. Baptists can claim to be theologically correct in their understanding and practice of baptism, but Presbyterians will claim that Baptists are in error because they are more restrictive than the Scriptures. And Psalms-only singers will claim that every hymn-singing church has departed from the clear teaching of Scripture, including the Baptists.

So adherence or not to denominational distinctives must not be used to determine any Christian’s obedience to Christ, for the simple reason that church bodies exist to maintain these distinctives.

Our obedience to Christ as Lord and King must be determined in a different arena. For example, if we do not “love the Lord our God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself,” then our obedience to Christ may be questioned. If we seek to order our doings in a way that does no harm to our neighbour, which is how Paul understands love, then we may be said to be living obediently to Christ.

When we try to live within the Moral Law as expounded by our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount, then we have a degree of confidence that we are living obediently to Christ.

Some Christians can get so caught up in their own distinctives that they lose sight of the bigger picture, and believe that their grasp of Christian doctrine is so correct that it is inconceivable for any Christian to think otherwise.

This smacks of arrogance, spiritual pride and hypocrisy. Where such arrogance, spiritual pride and hypocrisy exist, Christ is being dishonoured and souls left in confusion.

If Christian obedience is required in an ongoing manner, as it most surely is, and if baptism as a professing believer is one such requirement, then every time we wish to show our obedience to Christ, we must undergo baptism. Yet not even the Baptist church requires any such act on our part, which questions whether or not submission to adult believers’ baptism is really an act of Christian obedience. Christians show their love for, and obedience to, the Lord by seeking to honour Him in all of life.

On the amount of water to be used in baptism, we can look at the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, the other of the two Gospel sacraments. There, all Christian churches accept that the amount of bread and wine used is immaterial, since it is the significance of the sacrament that is important. Baptists also accept this understanding of the Lord’s Supper, because the NT records that this was a full meal that Jesus and His disciples had. Yet, when it comes to the practice of baptism, Baptists insist that for baptism to be valid, total immersion alone fulfils the biblical requirement. This basic inconsistency is so obvious that the discerning believer cannot miss it. If a small amount of bread and wine suffices for one sacrament, why cannot a small amount of water suffice for the other? Baptists must answer this question.

One further point is worth raising. Baptists keep on asking Paedo-baptists, that is those Christians who believe that the children of believers ought to receive this sacrament, as well as adult believers who have not previously been baptised, to produce the biblical proof for their practice. Yet Baptists have not provided any biblical proof, either textual or by good and necessary theological deduction, that in the NT the children of believers, who would have been baptised as infants, were baptised on profession of faith. This point also requires an answer from our Baptist friends.

Whilst it is not my intention to sow seeds of discord between Christians, the insistence of believer’s baptism for new converts is doing just that. Such insistence is theologically wrong, sends out a confusing message, and is an attempt to undermine the practice and credibility of other equally good Christians. Surely there is enough confusion in the churches today without increasing it by this issue!

Let me be very clear: there is no biblical need for new converts to be baptised as believers, since their baptism as infants pointed to the grace of God in salvation, and forward to their faith in Christ, which is where they have come to; to follow the position and practice of the Baptists may, in fact, be an act of disobedience and amount to covenant breaking, a sin that we do not want to commit.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Courage Under the Cross

This recently re-published book from the author's pen is being offered to the Christian reading public when many people, believers included, are facing challenging times. Originally published in 1985, the book has been edited and re-set in order to make it easier to read and follow. The biblical text used has also been changed from the NIV to the NKJV.

It deals with such spiritual problems as how to handle times when Jesus seems to be absent from us; is trouble in our lives a good thing or a bad thing? what are we to make of afflictions? God's special interest in His own people; what about those irksome things (and people) who make life unpleasant - like a thorn in the flesh? do we really need divine grace coupled with divine power to live the Christian life? what happens when our strength fails us - can it be renewed again? does looking to Jesus really make a difference?
These, you will agree, are timely and important matters for the Christian; and they are all addressed from a biblical perspective.
To get your copy, send a cheque, postal order or cash for £5.00 (p&p included) to: Really Living, 23 Parkmore Close, MAGHERAFELT, Co. Londonderry, BT45 6PL, Northern Ireland, UK.

Please make cheques and postal orders payable to Dr J. E. Hazlett Lynch. Orders will be fulfilled within 10 working days. Cash orders will be dispatched immediately.

You may also pay for your book using PayPal, the safest, simplest, smartest, fastest and most secure way of paying for your book.  If using this method, click the BUY NOW button below.

If paying using this method, your book will be despatched within two working days.

Exclusive Psalmody

One of the arguments that exclusive Psalmodists have used with me is this: if the Psalms were good enough for Jesus to use and sing in the worship of God, then they ought to be good enough for us. The same argument refutes this basic principle: if the Bible that Jesus used to hear the Word of God was sufficient for Him, it ought to be sufficient for us. But exclusivists do not take that argument to its logical conclusion, for they use a part of the Bible that was not even written when Jesus was on earth. His Bible was the Hebrew Bible, our OT.

It is quite interesting that exclusivists will not, on principle, sing anything but the Psalms, yet their own preachers are very free to read out hymns to illustrate a point or to bring an evangelistic service to a fitting conclusion. You can 'say' the hymns, but you cannot 'sing' them!

Any comments?

Monday, 1 August 2011

Wrong Diagnosis

Why is the world in the state it is in at present? What has gone wrong? Why are people doing the things they are doing? Why are there wars and turbulence and disturbance in nearly every country, some visible and most invisible? Why did the massacre take place in Norway last week? Why 40 years of terrorist violence in NI? Why the corruption in governments worldwide? Why so many marriage breakups and teenage pregnancies? What explains the famine in What is happening? What is the explanation?
Well, listening to the important and learned people in society, the politicians and policy-makers, etc, you will be told that the big problem is lack of education, especially for the working classes. Give these people more education, and you will solve the numerous social problems that blight our land. Enable more people to go onto university, and education will solve our problems. But when you educate a murderer, you don’t get a good person, but a more educated murderer.
Others will say that we need better health care. People are discontent because they do not enjoy good health; so improve the health system, and our problems will all be solved. But when provide better health care for people, you only make them healthier to sin against God.
Still others say that we need to come into the 21st century, and leave behind all those old beliefs that people believed 500 years ago, and 2000 years ago. Get rid of these, and allow people to become enlightened. But when you leave behind the old paths, you embark, necessarily and inevitably, on bad paths.
Then others very confidently affirm that we need to change the way we see things, including ourselves. So long as we see ourselves as sinful and rebellious, we are simply reinforcing negativity; so in order to overcome this destructive negativity, we must see ourselves as advanced animals, as people who have gone to the moon, split the atom, discovered DNA, and have discovered the capability to send men into space for months on end. We are great people, and the human race is developing and improving with every passing day. But when you change how you see things, you don’t bec a better person, bec it depends entirely on what you change to!
Still others will tell you that man is just an animal, a more advanced animal, but an animal nonetheless, and nothing more. And when man dies, that’s it. As a tree falls, so shall it lie! Nothing beyond death. Therefore life has no meaning, no pur, no point. So, if man is no more than a meaningless animal, what’s to stop him committing suicide?
Yet, the sad reality is that with all our modern technological and scientific advances, we are still essentially the same deeply flawed people that humans always were. Crime is still a big and growing problem; sexual promiscuity is a multi-million pound industry; corruption still dogs the steps of every institution; and mankind still cannot live at peace with its fellow human beings.
How are we to explain this obvious phenomenon? Is there an explanation, and what is it? Has the Bible anything to say by way of explanation of our present state of affairs?
Well, strange as it may seem to some people, it has all the answers; it alone can give a proper diagnosis and explanation of our present predicament. Indeed, the whole Bible presents the only adequate explanation, and some passages in particular give the answer very clearly. Let me take you to two of these, which are two of the most important passages in the whole Bible – Gen.3 and Rom.8. What is it that provides the reason why things are as they are today? Only one thing – the Fall of man. When God made man, He placed them in Paradise, in Eden. They were given freedom to eat whatever they wanted, and there was only one prohibition – not eat to eat from the tree of god and evil. And the penalty – they would surely die.
But what did Adam do? He disobeyed God’s Word to him, and ate the forbidden fruit. He listened to, and obeyed, the devil’s message, rather than God’s. He saw the devil as a better guide to happiness than God. Devil promised wisdom and knowledge, but God restricted their movements! The devil gave them freedom, but God took away their liberty. So went devil’s way.
My dear friends, there is one great lesson from all this: liberty gained by disobedience to God is bondage.

Becoming a true Christian.

If you are wondering how you can become a Christian, then let me spell it out as simply as I know how. Think of ABC.

1. Admit that you are a lost, condemned sinner. When you truly admit this, you will feel your guilt very keenly. Sin creates emptiness inside, and a lack of fulfilment. Did you know that? It also creates bad behaviour, etc. Confess your sins and their guilt to Christ by naming those sins to Him, and ask for His forgiveness, and He will forgive you.

2. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Trust in Him to pardon your sins and deal with your sinful heart. He died for the sins of the whole world, and that means He died for your sins, too. Give your sins and yourself over to Him. Cast yourself wholly on His great mercy. You cannot sort out your sinful life, but He can, and will, if you allow Him to do so.

3. Confess with your mouth that you have done this; i.e, tell someone that you've become a Christian.

You see, it's as easy as ABC. If you follow these three easy steps, you'll see what will happen!

God bless you.

Human Inability, Sin and Salvation

Sin is a dynamic power that holds your life in it's grip. You cannot not sin! Your life is held so tightly in it's grasp, that you cannot break free. How many times have you tried to stop sinning and live a good life? New year's resolutions have been broken in days! You cannot change your life on your own. As a power, sin dominates the lives of unbelievers. Your life is under sin's dominion. It rules your life, why? Because it reigns in your heart. It rules the control room of your life. Ever wonder why your life is so miserable? Why so many things have gone wrong for you? Why things have not worked out? Why you have had so many disasters in your life?

You can be saved from your sin, you know; and its dominating power on your soul can be broken. How can this become yours? By doing the following things: (1) Own up to your sin. Admit it. See it for foul offensive thing it is. See it as the very thing that is keeping you out of heaven and bound for a Christless hell. (2) Confess your sin to God. Tell Him all about it. Don't try to cover it up, or lessen its seriousness. Call it by its proper name, see it as the God-defying thing it is. Call your sin by same name as God calls it - SIN. (3) Now, put your trust in the only Saviour the world has - our Lord Jesus Christ. Cast your all on Him. Tell Him He is your only hope. Cast self on His mercy, and beg for mercy. (4). Dedicate your life now to His service in this world. Surrender your life fully to Him. Give your life over to Him for keeps.

Did you ever ask self why you sin? May I tell you? You are not a sinner because you sin: you sin because you are a sinner. You sin because you are a sinner. You sin because you can't do anything but sin. Your very nature predisposes you to sin. Every part of your nature is inclined to sin. Theologians call this "Total Depravity." That means, not that you are as bad as could be, but that every part of your nature has been tainted by sin. Your mind has been darkened by sin so that it does not see truth. Your heart been polluted by sin, so that you cannot love the Saviour. Your will has been perverted by sin so that it always chooses the wrong thing, namely, that which displeases God. Your mind does not grasp why you need to be delivered or saved from sin; your heart cannot love and trust the only One Who is able and willing to save you from sin's dire consequences; your will is so inclined to choose evil that it does not choose the good.

What an awful description of human inability!

Being a True Prophet

I'm sure, like me, you are delighted to move from Rom.7 to Rom.8. The theme of condemnation is depressing but is very honest and realistic. It is depressing because it faces us up with the spiritual realities of Christian life and experience. You have the wrath of God in Rom.1:18f, and the following catalogues of sins which characterised the life of Gentiles (pagans), and of the Jews. The fact is that there is no difference between religious and irreligious sinners, because the depravity of mankind is universal; we have spiritual struggles with the world, the flesh and the devil on a daily basis, with indwelling sin, powerlessness in face of temptation, sinful desires, and on & on it goes. It is so depressing.

In Rom.1-7, Paul may be viewed by some as a depressing preacher. Or, he may be facing his readers with the reality of spiritual experience in this fallen and hostile world. He is describing God's attitude to human rebellion and disobedience. You can 'feel' the condemnation, doom and gloom, and the despair, and you can almost identify the subtle working of Satan. It seems unending.

Remember, preachers sometimes have to preach sermons that deal with depressing subjects. Some subjects are depressing - fall of man, sin, judgement, the demands of the law, death, condemnation, hell, spiritual defeat, temptation, unbelief - these are depressing subjects. And they are part of life experience for the Christian!

But no preacher worth his salt can refuse to deal with such biblical truths. The unfaithful preacher with not address these doctrines because they might make him unpopular with his congregation and elders. False Prophets and "seducers," as Calvin calls them, prefer to turn a blind eye to sins of their people,and flatter them - in order to keep the peace!

But the True Prophet will "tell it as it is." He will show you the other side of Gospel tapestry, why? To get at you? To hurt you? To enrage you? Not at all. He will do this because he loves and cares for you! He values your soul. He knows the value of the human soul.

You love your sin much more than you love the Saviour from sin. By doing this, do you know what you have done? You have, listen to this, you have dethroned God from your life, and reduced Him to something less than your sin. You have demoted Him. & you have insulted Him big time.