Wednesday, December 24, 2008


  One of the founders of this break-off group from the Southern Baptists, Cecil Sherman, said in regard to the virgin birth, "A teacher who might also be led by the Scriptures not to believe in the virgin birth should not be fired" from his seminary teaching position.

   Many churches in Texas that pulled away from the Southern Baptist joined that organization not fully realizing what was behind it. The main reason for the split was that there was a takeover of the Southern Baptists by conservatives who held to the inerrancy of Scripture and other great doctrines of the faith. Liberal pastors, who were trained in liberal schools, resisted this strengthening of the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture. Inerrancy is a biblical doctrine. I should know. My thesis for my first master's degree was on inerrancy!

   And by the way, there was nothing wrong in the "take over." The whole purpose was to get back to what the Bible teaches. Liberalism was moving (and still is) into the Southern Baptist schools. In my opinion, soon, the Southern Baptists will be completely liberal. This is the way all human institutions are going.

   The liberals deny inerrancy. And apparently Cecil Sherman is certainly soft on the issue of the virgin birth of our Savior. Along with Dr. Al Mohler, I believe one who denies this doctrine is not saved. To deny the virgin birth is to "create" another Jesus. This would make Christ simply another man. The virgin birth is essential for understanding the sinlessness of Christ, otherwise, He would be dying for His own sins! Being the Son of God, Christ is sinless.  

   It amazes me what people do not know about their own group, their own denomination!
-- Dr. Mal Couch

Monday, December 22, 2008


When the Lord Jesus returns to earth to establish His Davidic and messianic rule, Zechariah 12:10 says: "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born."

A question has been raised about the prepositional phrase "look on Me." Should this be "look on, upon Me" or "look unto Me"? Which is right, and does it make a big difference as to which translation would be correct?

Many prepositions are rather spongy and have shades of meaning that sometimes are difficult to make precise. Without question, the passage is saying that Israel, the Jews, will see Christ physically return to the earth to rule over the house of David (the kingly house) and over Jerusalem, the royal city, for carrying out the messianic reign. This is a settled issue and it makes those who do not take His return to reign over the literal messianic kingdom, which is actual and literal, look foolish. It is the covenant guys who deny the normal, natural meaning of this great passage. They deprecate the Word of God and take away the Lord's earthly reign as promised clearly in Scripture!

The proposition el at its first meaning is toward. Or, "to, on, upon." The great Jewish Rabbi Rashi says it should read "They shall look upon Me." Or, "They will turn to Me." Unger rightly puts it all together: "The pouring out of the Spirit upon the remnant will result in their looking 'upon' the Messiah, but the Hebrew 'they shall look' also includes the idea of 'looking to' Him in confidence and faith." By the way, it is God the Son who says in the passage "they shall look upon Me"!

The word "to look" in Hebrew is ne'bat in the hiphil verb form with the force of "they will be made to look." The Hebrew lexicon says the word is best translated "to look in a specific direction." Apparently when the Spirit of God touches the Jews as Christ arrives to reign upon His messianic throne, the people will be made to turn and look at His descending down to earth. This will cause them to cry out when they recognize Him as their rejected Messiah! The piercing of course refers to His crucifixion when the nation as a whole rejected Him as their Savior and King! --Dr. Mal Couch

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Slipping into the Abyss

As Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today reports:

Most American religious believers, including most Christians, say eternal life is not exclusively for those who accept Christ as their savior, a new survey finds.

Of the 65% of people who held this open view of heaven's gates, 80% named at least one non-Christian group - Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists or people with no religion at all- who may also be saved, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

This most recent report, released today, clarifies a report issued earlier this year. That earlier report became the cause of some controversy because some researchers questioned the accuracy of the responses, since some of those surveyed may have confused other Christian denominations for other religions.

In releasing this updated report, the Pew Forum isolated the question and made it far more specific. Those who affirmed other ways of salvation were then asked to specify what they meant. As USA Today reports, the vast majority of those who affirmed other ways of salvation went on to specify "Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists or people with no religion at all" as valid options.

The report indicates that 52% of those belonging to churches and denominations that teach that Jesus is the only way of salvation reject that teaching.

More from USA Today:

Christian believers who named at least one non-Christian faith that could lead to salvation included 34% of white evangelicals, even though evangelical doctrine stresses that salvation is possible only through Jesus.

Higher levels of church attendance made some difference, particularly among white evangelical protestants. But an overall majority (54%) of people who identified with a religion and who said they attend church weekly also said many religions can lead to eternal life. This majority included 37% of white evangelicals, 75% of mainline Protestants and 85% of non-Hispanic white Catholics.

This survey cannot easily be dismissed. The specificity of the responses and the quality of the research sample indicate that we face a serious decline in confidence in the Gospel. When 34% of white evangelicals reject the truth that Jesus is the only Savior, we are witnessing a virtual collapse of evangelical theology.

There is also additional cause for concern. As Cathy Lynn Grossman reports, "Pew's new survey also found that many Christians (29%) say they are saved by their good actions; 30% say salvation is through belief in Jesus, God or a higher power alone, which is the core teaching of evangelical Protestantism; and 10% say salvation is found through a combination of behavior and belief, a view closer to Catholic teachings."

I was interviewed for the USA Today story and expressed my concern:

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, calls the findings "a theological crisis for American evangelicals. They represent at best a misunderstanding of the Gospel and at worst a repudiation of the Gospel."


Overall, the new findings are "an indictment of evangelicalism and evangelical preaching," said Mohler. "The clear Biblical teaching is that Jesus Christ proclaimed himself to be the only way to salvation."

Mohler sees behind the statistics the impact of pluralism and secularism in U.S. society and the challenge of facing family and friends with "an uncomfortable truth."

"We are in an age when we want to tell everyone they are doing just fine. It's extremely uncomfortable to turn to someone and say, 'You will go to hell unless you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus,' " Mohler says.

Over twenty years ago, Professor James Davison Hunter of the University of Virginia sounded a similar alarm in Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation. In that work, Hunter warned that the rising generation of younger evangelicals -- then mostly college age -- were increasingly uncomfortable with the claim that Jesus is the only Savior and that belief in Christ is necessary in order for a person to go to heaven. Now, those students are old enough to be parents and their influence is becoming more evident year by year. One can almost draw a straight line between Hunter's analysis of 1987 and the Pew report released today.

As I told USA Today, this report reveals that a good number of those who attend evangelical churches either misunderstand or repudiate the Gospel. The New Testament reveals not only that Jesus claimed to be the only way to the Father [see John 14:6] but also that the Gospel of Christ is the only message that saves [see Romans 10]. This claim has been central to evangelical conviction -- at least until now.

I am confident that much of this confusion can be traced to the superficiality that marks far too many evangelical pulpits. The disappearance of doctrinal understanding and evangelical demonstration can be traced directly to the decline in expository preaching and doctrinal instruction. A loss of evangelistic and missionary commitment can be fully expected as a direct result of this confusion or repudiation of the Gospel.

This new survey should be received with great concern. Will it awaken today's generation of evangelicals to the catastrophe before our eyes?

This article originated at

Friday, December 19, 2008


A misinterpretation of the Colossians 1:13 passage has raised its ugly head again! There are those who want to argue that the kingdom here in this verse is somehow a "spiritualized" kingdom or is actually the messianic kingdom that the church has been joined to. The passage reads from the Greek text:

"He delivered (Aorist Tense, ruomai, "rescued from enemies") us out from the power (exousias, "authority") of the darkness and transferred (Aorist Tense, methistami, "rescued, changed") us into the kingdom concerning His Son of love ("agapes")." Or, "loved," "beloved" Son!

The Aorist Tenses make this verse absolute. God has already performed this transaction. In God's mind, this is completed action. This phenomenon happens also in Romans 8:30. By using the Aorist Tense God already sees us "glorified," that is, in heaven glorified. It's a done deal! I'm already there. I'm already in heaven. When I die I will go to heaven but then in my new glorified body I return to reign with Him in the Millennial kingdom. He sees me already here in that kingdom. The Aorist Tense in Colossians 1:13 makes it a done deal. I'm already transferred in God's mind to the Millennial kingdom, and, God also already sees me in heaven according to the Romans 8:30 passage. Both are true! (Though heaven is not the millennial kingdom!)

   Now again, how do I know Paul is describing the Millennial reign of Christ in Colossians 1:13 and not some kind of squashy "spiritualized" kingdom? (The answer is easy!)

   In the beginning of the Gospels, God the Father says over and over again that Christ is His "beloved Son" (Matt. 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mark 1:11, 9:7; 12:6; Luke 3:22; 9:35—for just a few!) The language of Colossians 1:13 is almost the same as used in the Gospels. In the Gospel references, "beloved Son" comes from Psalm 2:7 where it is said that the Lord has a Son, though "beloved" is not used. This is messianic, it is about the King (Psa. 2:6). Thus, it is about the Jewish messianic kingdom, it is not about some fuzzy spiritualized kingdom, nor is it about the church.

   The disciples got the point in the early chapters of the Gospels. Nathaniel virtually quotes Psalm 2 when he said to Christ: "You are the Son of God; You are the king of Israel" (John 1:49). Colossians 1:13 ties into all of this and says that we are now transferred in God's mind to that messianic kingdom. We will be down here on earth in our new body someday! We will co-rule with Him though the Jewish people will be the prime people in the kingdom reign.

   Keep the interpretative lines straight. OBSERVE clearly and carefully and the Bible will open like a flower!

   Thanks for asking.
   Dr. Mal Couch

Friday, December 5, 2008

Obama Flip Flop!

John Podhoretz has some interesting comments about our new president-elect Barack Obama in the Jewish magazine Commentary (Dec. 2008). He wrote:

“Barack Obama, it need hardly be said, comes to the presidency with no comparable agenda, or much of an agenda at all. True, he has had position papers galore, but in the course of his run he contradicted several of their core assumptions or promises. … He supported gay marriage, then opposed it. He opposed welfare reform, then said he would not question Bill Clinton’s decision to sign it into law. He has spent more than a year backing away from his statement that he would meet with America’s enemies without preconditions.

“He has lived in and around elite left-wing universities since he was eighteen years old, a community organizer working from a demonstrably radical playbook, a parishioner of a church with a radical anti-American pastor who officiated at his wedding and baptized his children and from whom he took the phrase “the audacity of hope” as the title of his second book, a state senator from one of the most left-wing districts in the United States, and so forth.

“American may not be a ‘center-Right’ country, but it is not a ‘center-Left’ country, either. Perhaps Obama thinks he can make it so. But the memory of the shortcomings of American Left-liberalism that still resides somewhere in the nervous system of the American body politic offers reason to believe that a lurch to the Left is not the change America voted for.

“Obama told the worshipful throng before him and the tens of millions who voted for him that they had chosen to ‘put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.’ The day is now upon us, and hope, however audacious, will no longer be enough.”

Interesting! – Dr. Mal Couch