A Brief Introduction to the Common Slaves:

We are Slaves:

Of Jesus: “…am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.” Gal. 1:10 HCSB

Of the Church: “…we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus.” 2Cor 4:5 HCSB


We are Common:

A Common Confession – The Common Slaves share a commitment to the supremacy of the Bible as our ultimate authority of faith and practice. And we share a common understanding of the Bible’s teaching and doctrine with those men known to church history as “the Reformers,” and are in agreement with the great confessions and creeds they produced articulating the Protestant (as opposed to Roman) understanding of the Gospel.


A Common Calling – The individual members of the Common Slaves are those called to serve the Church as Pastors and Elders. 


A Common Field – The pastors/elders and churches involved in Common Slaves are located in rural Minnesota. As such, we face common cultural realities, many of which are unknown and overlooked by the evangelical “culture makers.” We find particularly useful help, encouragement, and wisdom from each other as we serve in the same corner of God’s Kingdom.


It is the purpose of the Common Slaves to foster a brotherhood and network of mutual encouragement and edification among brothers who are united doctrinally, yet diverse denominationally. Furthermore, we wish to encourage and foster a sense of community and fellowship between the churches we are privileged to serve by providing regular events at which multiple congregations may gather and worship together, with a focus on the ministry of preaching. It is our hope that the lifting up and strengthening of pastor and congregation, of shepherd and sheep, will strengthen the entire rural church in our corner of Minnesota so she may be more bold in her witness and striking in her resemblance of her Savior, for the good of the little communities in which we live, which so desperately need the gospel.

The Gospel’s Hope for Fallen Minds

God created this world and all that is in it. He rules and reigns still. He declared his creation “good.”

Since Adam and Eve rebelled against God and came to know by experience the fruits of sin, life in this world has been fallen and cursed by God. From the moment we are born we are dying. Our physical death may lie in our future, but in respect to favor and life before God, we are already dead. This is true of each and every one of the 7-8 billion people on this planet bearing the image of God. Nothing works as it should. Plans fail, interpersonal conflicts arise, nations rage, and even the best inventions are often weaponized to cause pain and destruction.

Even our minds are enslaved to the corruption of a sin-filled world. 
The world attempts to answer and counter our human fallen-ness. Our adversary, Satan, deludes us into believing the lie that we are not spiritually dead, merely sick, and there is some natural cure, or creative program, which can help free the inner-mind to act upon goodness. His message is simple: You don’t need God!

On top of this, the biggest problem lies within each one of us because of our own sinful hearts. We look to find hope in things we can see, ideas we can fixate upon, solutions we can ingest, pridefully and thanklessly insisting on finding meaning and hope on our own…

The Bible’s prognosis of our health long-term, especially that of our minds is not good. We call this Total Depravity.

It is therefore, no wonder that even in an advanced technological age, the frustration and anger over humanity’s failed attempt to overcome its sin and fallenness has left us depressed, bitter and hopeless.

Blaise Pascal insightfully wrote,

It is in vain, O men, that you seek within yourselves the cure of all your miseries. All your insight only leads you to the knowledge that it is not in yourselves that you will discover the true and the good. The philosophers promised them to you, and have not been able to keep their promise…Your principal maladies are pride, which cuts you off from God; sensuality, which binds you to the earth; and they have done nothing but foster at least one of these maladies. If they have given you God for your object, it has only been to pander to your pride; they mad you think that you were like Him and resembled Him by your nature. And those who have grasped the vanity of such a pretension have cast you down into the other abyss by making you believe that your nature was like that of the beasts of the field, and have led you to seek your good in lust, which is the lot of animals.

Pascal was simply expanding on Paul’s statement in Romans 3:10, “No one is righteous, no not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God.”

In describing the human condition, Paul was echoing the words of the great prophet Jeremiah, who wrote six centuries earlier, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

The Gospel is Good News from the Holy One that reaches our ears beginning with the words: But God…

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.(Ephesians 2:4-9)

God, who is rich in mercy, withholding that which we deserve or even what we, in our corrupted desires seek, entered our World as a human being, one of us. Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, did not inherit the fallen-ness of this sin-cursed human condition. He faithfully obeyed God’s command not to eat from the forbidden tree.

It was God’s will to put Him to death at the hands of wicked people in order to save His enemies through this one and only perfect atoning sacrifice.

The Lord Jesus was raised to life, conquering death, the world and the devil. He gives new life through the Holy Spirit’s work in renewing hearts and minds, through whom we grow increasingly Christlike as we mature in the faith, being prepared for the weight of glory to be ours in the new heavens and new earth.

God’s revealed Word, the Bible, is the source of true wisdom and godliness (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is where we find critical distinctions for navigating the many challenges and pitfalls we face as sinful creatures living amongst eight billion other sinners.

As we think particularly about the life of the mind and the challenges of mental health, we are thankful for both medical doctors and psychologists, because we share in their desire to alleviate human misery. Yet we also know that solutions rooted in this world offer help that is both temporary and limited. They can offer nothing to bring a person one step closer to the righteousness that can only come by faith, or true Christian maturity (Colossians 2:8). Only the Gospel can give life and only solutions rooted in Holy Scripture can offer genuine, eternal help in healing the human condition.

The purpose of our Fall 2018 Conference is to offer hope and healing for the human condition rooted in Scripture and its application exercised in Church History.

Please consider joining us.

In Christ,

The Common Slaves
Eric and Joe, (mostly) benevolent co-monarchs

Common Slaves Fall Conference @Lifespring Church

Common Slaves Fall Conference: Friday, October 26, 2018

Sounds Minds and Soul Care : Person-hood and problems (Mental Health) through the lens of Scripture

Location:  Lifespring Church, Crosby, MN (www.visitlifespring.com

Date:  Friday, October 26, 2018 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Who:  Pastors, Elders and laymen, all men and women who love Christ and His church.

To Register:  www.eventbrite.com  search and register (Please Register in advance)

Cost:  None (free-will donations will be received for the meal)

Questions  www.commonslaves.com or Pastor Eric (ericanderson@brainerd.net)  (218)820-7532

Why this Conference?  We hope to address, in a culture steeped in sin-rooted confusion about Personhood and our problems, a culture given over to the language of addictions, mental health, Self-diagnosis and psychological assessments; how our forefathers in the faith handled personal problems through God’s Reveled World, in the local church; and How we are to we receive and give Gospel-help to hurting and confused people. We will not provide every answer to every question, but we will point everyone to the one who has all the answers as He graciously invites to come to him through Faith.

Speakers:  We invite seasoned pastors and ministers to speak at our conferences. These men have been around long enough to have preached and counseled from the Word both in seasons and out of seasons, and we will all benefit from their wisdom.

8:30—Greetings, Welcome and Singing

9:00—Session 1:  Dr. Ivan Fiske: Play the Man: Living as a Godly Man in a Toxic Culture (Psalm 1:1-6)


10:15—Session 2: (with Q/A following) Pastor Mark Snider:   The Normal Means of God’s wondrous Grace: Soul Care through worship, preaching and member care. (Acts 20:17-36)


1:00—Session 3:  Pastor Bob DeYoung: Helping the church walk through seasons of grief and suffering


2:30—Session 4: (with Q/A following) 

4:15—Closing Pastor Brent Nelson: The Soul Care of John Newton to William Cowper 


We believe that we will all benefit, not only from the content presented, but also from the fellowship time together as brothers-and-sisters who share a common faith and master in northern rural Minnesota.

Presented by the Common Slaves Network:  A Minnesota fellowship of Rural Reformed  (and reforming) pastors, elders and churches


Overarching Purposes:

God Created this World and all that is in it.  He rules and Reigns still.  He declared his creation “good.”

Since Adam and Eve rebelled against God ate the forbidden Fruit and knew sin from experience, Life in this World has been Fallen and Cursed by God.  This means that from the moment we are born we are dying.  We will die physically, but are already dead in Respect to Favor with God.  This is the description of each and every one of the 7-8 Billion Image bearers of God on this planet.  Nothing works as it should. Plans Fail, People are in conflict, Nations Rage, even good inventions are used to destroy another human.  Even our Minds are enslaved to this fallen world.  

According to the Scripture, There are enemies of God in Union together: he World and all it’s attempts to answer and counter our human fallen-ness, which our adversary, Satan uses deludes us into the lie that we are not dead, merely sick inside, and there is some natural cure, or creative program, which can help free the inner-mind to act upon Goodness, declaring: You don’t need God!

On top of this, the biggest problem is each one of us…our own Sinful hearts, finding hope in things we can see, ideas we can fixate upon, solutions we can ingest, pridefully and thank-lessly insisting in finding meaning and hope on our own…

The Bible’s prognosis of our health long-term, especially our minds is not Good..We call this Total Depravity.   

It is therefore, is no Wonder that even in an advanced technological age, the frustration and anger over humanities failed attempted to overcome sin and fallen-ess has left us depressed, bitter and hopeless.  

Blaise Pascal wrote It is in vain, O men, that you seek within yourselves the cure of all your miseries. All your insight only leads you to the knowledge that it is not in yourselves that you will discover the true and the good. The philosophers promised them to you, and have not been able to keep their promise…Your principal maladies are pride, which cuts you off from God; sensuality, which binds you to the earth; and they have done nothing but foster at least one of these maladies. If they have given you God for your object, it has only been to pander to your pride; they mad you think that you were like Him and resembled Him by your nature. And those who have grasped the vanity of such a pretension have cast you down into the other abyss by making you believe that your nature was like that of the beasts of the field, and have led you to seek your good in lust, which is the lot of animals.

He summarized Paul in Romans 3:10, No one is righteous, no not one, no one understands, no one seeks for God.

Paul was describing the human condition and echoing the words of the great prophet who proceeded him centuries before: Jeremiah, who said The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

The Gospel is Good News that reaches our ears beginning with the Words…But God…!  

God who is rich in Mercy–not giving us what we deserve and what we seek, Entered our World from outside…His Son Jesus, Christ, born of a Virgin…did not inherit the Falleness of this sin-cursed human condition.  He also Faithfully obeyed God’s command not to eat from the forbidden tree.  

Ephesians 2 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

But the World hated the Lord Jesus Christ.  Why, He told them no. No. It is not in you to reach God, live forever.  You cannot find the cures from the world.  You need a New heart…You need to accept responsibility for your own contributions…you own Sin.  You hate God and must Repent.  Come to your Senses.  Duh!

It was God’s Will to put him to death through rebellious people; in order to saved His enemies through a perfect atoneing sacrifice.  

The Lord Jesus was raised to Life, conquering death, the World and the Devil.

He gives New life through His Spirit–a Renewed hearts and Minds…one which grows increasingly Christ-like as we mature, preparing us for the weight of Glory in the New Heavens and New Earth.

For Contained in His Revealed Word is all the source of wisdom and godliness…truth about him and distinctives for navigating the many challenges and pitfalls of one fallen human living among-st 8 bill other fallen.   

Our Mission Statement for Lifespring Church is stated: It is our Purpose to proclaim the Supremacy and Sufficiency of Jesus Christ, in order to present everyone complete in Him.  

II Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

To this end We are thankful for Doctors and psychologists, for we desire to alleviate human misery, but we know that in God’s sight and for eternal joy, anything from the world can, at best, prop a person up, help with navigate the fallen world, but can do nothing to bring a person on step closer to Eternity or Christian maturity: Only the Gospel can give Life and the  Holy Scripture help in healing the human condition.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by nphilosophy and oempty deceit, according to phuman tradition, according to the qelemental spirits1 of the world, and not according to Christ.

II Peter 1:19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,  knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

The Purpose of our Conference is to show from Scripture and Church History, Hope and Healing for the Human condition; the Gospel and the Means God provides for our maturity and growth: Counseling from the Counsel of His Holy Word….that the Sufficiency of Scripture is for life and godliness. 

A Gospel Issue?


A Gospel Issue?


When the morning worship service ended last Sunday, a woman whom I had never met before made a beeline for me and stood between me and the aisle. I was trapped in a row of seats. She said she was a guest from out of town, but she seemed to recognize me, and she said she wanted to help me understand the “social justice” issue.

“Despite what you think,” she said, “it is a gospel issue.” “Injustice is everywhere in the world. I am fighting it full time. Right now I have several lawsuits pending against injustice in the health-care industry. Don’t tell me that’s not gospel work. You’re not being a faithful witness unless you’re fighting for social justice. It’s built right into the gospel message: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

I tried to sound as agreeable as possible under the circumstances: “That’s surely one of the most important tenets of God’s moral law, and it does distill the idea of human justice into a single commandment,” I said. “But be careful how you state it. That’s not the gospel. That’s the Second Great Commandment.”

“Oh, right,” she said. “I meant to say the gospel is ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’”

“Well, that’s the First Great Commandment,” I said. “That’s still law, not gospel.”

“What do you mean?” she said. “I can show you those verses in the Bible.”

“Yes, ma’am, I know,” I said. “It’s Matthew 22:37-40. But that’s a summary of the law. It’s not the gospel.”

“But it’s in the Bible,” she repeated. “So it’s a gospel issue.”

I tried to explain: “Gospel and law aren’t the same thing. The law is a prelude to the gospel, not really part of the gospel. The law tells us what God requires of us. But then it condemns us, because it requires perfect obedience and curses anyone who doesn’t obey its every jot and tittle. But none of us obeys so thoroughly. And ‘whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.’ That’s James 2:10. Jesus said in Matthew 5:48 that the standard the law sets for us is God’s own absolute perfection. We can’t live up to that. The law therefore brings wrath (Romans 4:15), not salvation. The law can only condemn us, because we are guilty. All of us.

“Furthermore, suffering oppression doesn’t absolve anyone of wrongdoing. And being privileged doesn’t make a person any more sinful. We all deserve the wages of sin: death. That’s what the law says. Once we understand that, the last thing we need is more law. What we need is salvation from the penalty and power of the law. That’s where the gospel comes in.

“The gospel is the good news about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Its themes are atonement for sin, forgiveness, reconciliation, and the justification of sinners. It’s the answer to the dilemma of the law.”

She interrupted at that point. “But you can’t preach forgiveness to people who treat other people unjustly,” she said. “That would just compound the injustice.”

“Scripture says the opposite,” I told her. “Christ died for the ungodly. If we confess our sins, he is faithful andjust to forgive us our sins. Christ, who never committed a single act of injustice, gave his life as a ransom for other people’s sin—the just for the unjust. He paid sin’s price and thus satisfied both the wrath and the justice of God on behalf of sinners, so God can be just and still justify sinners who turn to Christ in faith.

“That’s the gospel. And God’s Word emphatically condemns anyone who proclaims the law instead of the gospel, or mingles the law with the gospel.

“Yes, the law condemns oppression, and it puts evildoers under a curse. But it cannot change hearts, and therefore it can neither free oppressed people from the bondage of their own sin nor transform their oppressors into good Samaritans.”

She cut me short again. “You can say that all you want, but I’m telling you that if you’re not fighting against injustice, you’re not doing gospel work,” she repeated. “Trust me; I know. I deal with corporate injustice all the time. I’ve even got these lawsuits pending . . .”

And we were right back where we started.

I didn’t make up that story. That was the real response of a self-styled full-time evangelical social justice advocate who is incorrigibly convinced that the gospel of Jesus Christ alone doesn’t sufficiently address the problem of injustice. That brief conversation perfectly illustrates why alarms go off in my head whenever I hear some progressive evangelical insist that social justice is “a gospel issue.” It is worse yet when that claim is confidently made by bloggers and other representatives from various organizations whose raison d’être is supposed to be the defense and proclamation of the gospel.

Blending the gospel with social activism has been tried many times. (Google “Walter Rauschenbusch” or “social gospel.”) It has always turned out to be a shortcut to Socinianism, carnal humanism, or some more sinister form of spiritual barrenness. The social message inevitably overwhelms and replaces the gospel message, no matter how well-intentioned proponents of the method may have been at the start.

No wonder. “Social justice” (as that expression is used in the secular world or defined by practically any honest dictionary) isn’t really even a biblical theme. Nothing borrowed from worldly discourse should ever become a major theme in the message we proclaim to the world—not philosophy, politics, pop culture, or anything similar. Make any such topic a major theme alongside the simple gospel message and you are going against the strategy of the apostle Paul, who wrote, “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Preaching on “social justice” in the manner now being modeled by certain leading evangelicals subverts the duty set forth in Colossians 3:2: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” It encourages people to see themselves as victims, not sinners. It fosters resentment rather than repentance. It is a man-centered, not Christ-centered, message. It begets blame rather than forgiveness. And it points people to the law, not the gospel.

To insist that social justice activism is an essential tenet of gospel truth is a form of theological legalism not fundamentally different from the teaching of those in the early church who insisted circumcision was a gospel issue.

Evangelicals who are being inveigled into making social justice a central theme in their preaching need to consider these things very carefully, ponder the crucial distinction between law and gospel, and recover our confidence in the simple truths about Christ’s death and resurrection. Scripture says those are matters “of first importance.” These truths constitute the heart and the very essence of all true gospel issues: “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

After all, that simple message is what turned the world upside down in the first century.

If the contemporary evangelical movement would get serious about God’s Word; abandon all the silly efforts to exegete popular culture; stop chasing “relevance” in all the wrong ways; eschew the wisdom of this world; and rise up and proclaim the gospel in earnest, with deep conviction, and with confident clarity, that simple message still has the power to conquer the world, vanquish ethnic strife, and heal all the other ills of our culture, even in these postmodern times.


Creed of a Happy Warrior

Creed of a Happy Warrior

WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2018 BY Douglas Wilson


A friend recently asked me for my thoughts on what it means to be a happy warrior. His take was that I was one, and wanted my views on what goes into it. I thought the assessment was fair enough, but I had not really put the question to myself in those terms, and so I wanted to meditate on it for a bit. This is what I came up with—the creed of a happy warrior.

The phrase comes initially from Wordsworth, I think. I am not aware of earlier uses of it, but because my ignorance of such things is vast, this view could be as mistaken as any number of other things I don’t know about.

. . . And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of Heaven’s applause:
This is the happy Warrior; this is he
That every man in arms should wish to be.

                     Character of the Happy Warrior
                     William Wordsworth

I am simply jotting down the principles that have conspired in my case, the things that motivate me. I am aware that there have been other happy warriors in other arenas who would not buy into all of these, and for some of them it may just have been a function of personality. Be that as it may, these are the principles that I would urge believing Christians to consider in our time of cultural upheaval and war. I am reminded of a phrase in Herbert’s poem, The Dawning. “Thy Saviour comes, and with him mirth.”

Some of these principle nest within others, like Russian dolls. Some of them do not—like dolls that aren’t Russian dolls. In any case, here are eleven thoughts that occurred to me.


Whatever happens, we must live our lives trusting in a sovereign God. When we are in the midst of conflict, we are in the middle of troubles. In such a circumstance, it is easy to get distracted by the troubles, particularly by the person who brought the trouble to you. But as Thomas Watson once pointed out, we have to remember the one who sent the trouble to us.

More often than not, the one who brought the trouble to you is an adversary, an enemy. It is easy to focus on that fact alone, forgetting that absolutely everything that happens to us does so in the palm of the Father’s hand.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).


The Father who sent all these troubles to you is the same Father who sent His Son to die mangled on a cross in order to liberate you and me from our sins. Our confidence is therefore in a sovereign Father, and not in a que sera sera fatalism. We may fight with abandon precisely because we are not abandoned. Fatalistic warriors can be grim and fell, but never merry.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).


Many Christians spend a lot of time fighting for their joy, when they ought to consider fighting with it. Joy is not the treasure behind us that we are fighting for, it is the sword in our hand that we are fighting with.

“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).


We are not a bunch of rag-tag volunteers, fighting for the Lord as it suits us. We were all drafted, and have been mustered into a regular army. We have uniforms, and standardized weapons. We are under orders, and are supposed to fight as required. One of those requirements is to rejoice when we are assaulted. We must not only not be astonished when the bullets of slander start to whistle by, we are commanded to rejoice when the fighting reaches this level. Congratulations—the devil thinks that you are worth shooting at.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matt. 5:11–12).

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” (Jas. 1:2, ESV)

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).


It is not possible to fight well when you are encumbered. One of the best ways to keep you out of fruitful conflict with those you ought to be fighting is through getting you into conflicts with those you ought not to be fighting. And one of the best ways to do that is by getting you under a backlog of unconfessed sin. When you are not confessing your sins as you ought (1 John 1:9), you are likely to be coming into conflict with those closest to you—family, spouse, fellow elders, and so on.

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).


No reformation worth having was ever accomplished to the sound of polite applause in the background. There will be smoke, and thunder, and yelling, and all the rest of it. But in the commotion of battle, we have an assurance from God that however our current battle is going, the outcome of the war is settled. However hot things are going for my platoon, I know that it is hotter for the devil’s armies. The Prince of Peace is bringing peace, but He is doing so through superior firepower.

“And he shall judge among the nations, And shall rebuke many people: And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruninghooks: Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).


In Norse mythology, their eschatological expectation was of a cosmic Alamo. The gods were going to go down in defeat before the monsters; there was a coming twilight of the gods. Now it is essential that we not believe in a final cataclysmic Ragnarök, where the good guys go down fighting the trolls, but it is equally essential that we admire it. Righteousness is more important than victory, and victory will only come to those who care about righteousness more than victory.

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will notserve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Daniel 3:17–18).


We only fight because we love, and we are only to hate because of our love. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Proverbs 8:13). The shepherd who will not fight the wolves does not love the sheep. The shepherd who loves to fight simply for the sake of fighting, and wolves will do for an adversary, is a shepherd with disordered affections. The shepherd must hate the wolves because he loves the sheep. If he hates the wolves because he loves to hate, then he is a wolf himself.

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep” (John 10:11–13).


God did not create a safe world for us. Even before the sin of man ruined so much, the paradise of Eden had a serpent in it. Adam was in a momentous conflict before he sinned. God insists that we bet with real money. God requires us to risk things. This risk includes all that we hold dear, and to shrink back from it is to incur the displeasure of God. The wicked and lazy servant was the one who would not risk what had been entrusted to him. To play it safe is to play it dangerous.

“but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him”” (Heb. 10:38, ESV).

“He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed”  (Matthew 25:24, ESV).


What does it mean to prove something? It means to obligate belief. Now what happens when you obligate belief in someone who did not want his belief obligated in that way, in that direction? That’s right, it makes him angry. This is the source of much of the conflict we experience. We say thus saith the Lord instead of it seems to me. The message of the Bible is proclaimed and declared by heralds. John the Baptist did not come out of the wilderness issuing invitations to seminars. The classical approach to persuasion pulls the punch at this point, and puts the listener in control of the situation. The source of most of our conflict with the world is because they are removed from that position of control, and this is why so many Christians want to retreat from the methods of unvarnished declaration, the kind of declaration that obligates belief.

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, And every mountain and hill shall be made low: And the crooked shall be made straight, And the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together: For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, And all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field” (Isaiah 40:3–6).


Folly is foolish, and wisdom is not. Wisdom can look foolish initially, and folly can look wise initially. Things can be jumbled for a time. Only the Scriptures are sharp enough to make these distinctions, especially in the midst of conflict over them, and when the distinctions are aptly made, we can often tell that they have been from the laughter. We often miss the earthy peasant humor of Christ (that He could use to devastating effect) because we read our Bibles through seven or eight layers of high gloss sanctimony. But Jesus was not afraid to make fun of what might be called tarantara tithers.

“Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Matt. 6:2).

“Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own conceit.” (Prov. 26:5).

So there you go. Initial thoughts.

The Anti-Christ

Brainerd Dispatch Article, by Pastor Eric: June 19, 2018

The Bible is Truth. Truth about God and truth about humanity. The Bible also tells the end of history; that in the last days, there will be times of difficulty, which will be full of human and supernatural conflict, climaxed by the coming of an adversary of God, called in Scripture of the Man of Lawlessness, or the Anti-Christ.  

II Thessalonians 2:3-4 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.  

So why will many follow him?

Simple. No human remains neutral when it comes to the heart; Human are born needy of something to worship; which makes them feel compete and safe.

Peruse the Christian best-sellers list: How God-ward are most of the titles? Or are most expecting God to make us feel good today? Are the majority focused on making the Christian life more easier?

Ask people to evaluate their church: so often you hear about what people feel, see and enjoy

Enter the Anti-Christ. He is a complete tyrant, but he doesn’t look that way….for Anti-Christ is the embodiment of everything we wish God to be. The Anti-Christ is impressive; He counters every disappoint with the slowness of God;

Does not God often seem to be silent, or behind-the-times?

For the truth is that our Flesh, our natural sinful, fallen desires want and earthly messiah. We will readily follow and sell-out someone who gives us all now, who seems to give everything Jesus has failed to deliver to our expectations, who gives us religion and provision, power and prestige. This is the hell-bound, deceptive work of the final Anti-Christ and all in this age with the spirit of Anti-Christ (I John 2:18)

Who is the True Christ then? The Lord Jesus was tempted by Satan, and in Matthew 4:1-11 refused earthly success, earthy religion of sight and feel: Provision, Power, Prestige…

Why? the Lord Jesus Christ met our deepest needs: our sin problem; not what we feel we need.

He was a Prophet–We need truth—or our eternal souls, in a world of lies.

He was a Priest–We need a sacrifice to offer God; for the eternal penalty of our sin.

He is the true King–We need eternal victory, triumph–over the World, flesh and Devil


The Lord Jesus laid down his life for the sheep; to save us from eternal hell, the Anti-Christs never do this.

Who is the end of true Faith? What is it’s object? The true messiah, Jesus Christ: He was killed for sinners and raised from the dead. He is alive still. We thank him, receive him with reverence repentance, and worship. In Him we have life. He is our Priest, prophet and and King: the true need our our souls. And if your faith is in Him alone, trusting in his Word, repenting of trusting in yourself and all the anti-christs in the world, you will received sight someday in the new heavens and new earth.   


II Thessalonians 2:14-15 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

Spring Conference Audio and Notes

The audio from our April 21  Spring Conference, God and the Christian Mind: How to Think, Discern and Walk in this present world, is now available on the home page under the “sermons” link. Please take the time to be challenged, edified and ultimately blessed as those who were able to attend in person. 


Here is the link to Dr Caneday’s power point slides from his talk on “Human Sexuality in an age of Calculated confusion




Here is an additional recommended article Dr. Caneday sent after the conference…a clear explanation of Cultural Marxism:   https://docsandlin.com/2018/04/23/cultural-marxism-simply-explained/


And Here is the website for Dr. Peter Jones, whose writing was recommended at the conference 



Additionally, Here is the recommended list for further study:  

Recommended Podcasts, Articles and books  for Christians


White Horse Inn (practical theology and apologetics)


Mortification of Spin (Practical discernment for the church)


Revive our hearts (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)


The World and Everything in It (daily world news)


5 Minutes in Church History (Dr. Steven Nicols)


Refnet.fm (24 hour internet radio from R.C Sproul ministries)


Lamplighter Theater (7:30 p.m. on Refnet.fm: radio drama for the family)


Renewing your mind  (RC Sproul and Ligonier Ministries)


Stand To Reason (Greg Koukl’s call-in-show—apologetics and Biblical Wisdom)


Just thinking (Darrell Harrison–tackles race, social justice and other political hot-buttons using Scripture)  


Alpha and Omega Ministries/the Dividing Line (Dr. James White, covers world religions and discernment)


Cross Politic (three guys discuss politics and the Bible from Moscow,  Idaho )


Wretched Radio (Todd Freil–discernment and Biblical wisdom)


Theology on the Go (Theological terms and doctrines defined)


Grace to you (John MacArthur’s sermon podcast)


Fighting for The Faith (Discernment from a Confessional Lutheran perspective)


Three Guys Theologizing (Church and life from a pastor, parishioner and professor)


Sound of Sanity (Pop Culture and discernment from a Reformed Perspective)


The World We Made (The Sexual Revolution and its affects from Warhorn Media)


Recommended Books and Articles:


Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality, by Nancy Pearcey


Gospel and the Christian Mind: Recovering and Shaping the Intellectual Life, by Bradley Greene


The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, by Rosaria Butterfield


Christianity and Liberalism, by J. Gresham Machen


Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity, by Paul Helseth, John Piper and Justin Taylor (with article by Ardel Caneday)


Elect from Every Nation: Racial Reconciliation won’t happen if we don’t take Ephesians seriously, article by Paul Helseth  


Multiculturalism goes to College, article by Ardel Caneday


Let’s Get Biblical: Moving from Scripture to Theology concerning Racial Reconciliation, article by Ardel Caneday


Right Reason and the Princeton Mind: An Unorthodox Proposal, by Paul Helseth


The Race Set before us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance, by Ardel Caneday and Tom



The Great Work of the Gospel: How we Experience God’s Forgiveness, by John Ensor


A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent


Bitesize Theology, by Peter Jeffery


Recommended Websites


www.commonslaves.com (fellowship of Reformed and Reforming church’s in Northern Minnesota)  


www.challies.com (daily dose of discerning articles)


www.alliancenet.org (Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals)


www.world.wgn.org  (World Magazine news)


www.ligonier.org  (RC Sproul Ministries)


www.aomin.org  (Dr. James White)


www.justthinking.me (Darrell Harrison)


www.dougwils.com (Douglas Wilson)


www.truthxchange.com/  (Peter Jones)