Holy Ghost Machine Guns

Maybe a few of you are entrenched in the NPP battle, using those Holy Ghost Machine Guns for good. Maybe, like me, you hear a bit about it but read and understand only a little. I have been spending some time thinking about Luke 18:9-14 in preparation for a talk. This passage is one of those scary and amazing parables, depending which character you relate with. I also recently listened to a Piper sermon on it (“This man went down to his house justified“) . I find his thoughts on this passage intriguing and directly relevant to NPP.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 (ESV)

Piper argues that the Pharisee was NOT a Legalist (my previous understanding), because he is thanking God for his own “righteousness” and not seeking to earn favor with God on his own merit. Excerpt:

He is not presented as a legalist—one who tries to earn his salvation. That is not the issue. One thing is the issue: This man was morally upright. He was religiously devout. He believed God had made him so. He gave thanks for it. And that is what he looked to and trusted in for his righteousness before God—for his justification. And he was dead wrong. (emphasis added)

The idea that this man rightfully thanked God for working in his life, looking to God as the means to his right living and yet went home UNJUSTIFIED (verse 14) is fascinating, perplexing, and terrifying. The problem is not that his morality or religion are wrong, but that these works of righteousness are insufficient for salvation and leave him condemned in the Judgement.

This is of coarse the problem with removing the imputation. A problem that Piper clearly explains in the rest of the sermon. No matter how “righteous” you are, how much “good” is in your life even by God’s provision, Justification is on the BASIS OF CHRIST ALONE!

The summary: make sure you bring the right currency to the judgement. I can’t hear this message enough. Just thought you might enjoy reading or listening to it if you have time. I would be interested in any discussion on the implications this Pharisee’s view would have on Christian Living – What does it look like to trust in yourself?



I saw this on FoxNews this morning but I wonder if they are going a little overboard with this. It is one thing to be a cessationist but quite another to “despise prophetic utterances” to the point where you will no longer “tolerate” it. I think that Southwest Baptist is in serious error which will promote disunity. It also makes me question the SBC in general as it seems that they are taking some extreme stances which clearly are NOT Biblical (see Mark’s prayer for the SBC from several months ago).


Good Gun:

Do try, as far as you can, to make the very way in which you speak to minister to the great end you have in view. Preach, for instance, as you would plead if you were standing before a judge, and begging for the life of a friend, or as if you were appealing to the Queen herself on behalf of someone very dear to you. Use such a tone in pleading with sinners as you would use if a gibbet were erected in this room, and you were to be hanged on it unless you could persuade the person in authority to release you. That is the sort of earnestness you need in pleading with men as ambassadors for God. Try and make every sermon such that the most flippant shall see without any doubt that, if it be an amusement for them to hear you, it is no amusement for you to speak to them, but that you are pleading with them in downright solemn earnest about eternal matters. I have often felt just like this when I have been preaching,—I have known what it is to use up all my ammunition, and then I have, as it were, rammed myself into the great gospel gun, and I have fired myself at my hearers, all my experience of God’s goodness, all my consciousness of sin, and all my sense of the power of the gospel; and there are some people upon whom that kind of preaching tells where nothing else would have done, for they see that then you communicate to them not only the gospel, but yourself also. The kind of sermon which is likely to break the hearer’s heart is that which has first broken the preacher’s heart, and the sermon which is likely to reach the heart of the hearer is the one which has come straight from the heart of the preacher…

~C.H. Spurgeon (referenced here)
Bad Gun:

Somebody is attacking me because of something I am teaching. Let me tell you something brother, you watch it! …Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun, I’ll blow your head off!

~Benny Hinn (referenced here)