Saturday, October 31, 2009

New, More Dangerous Hindu Extremist Groups Emerge in India

Christians concerned as rightwing factions splinter to form militant outfits.

PUNE, India, October 29 (CDN) — After more than a decade of severe persecution, India’s Christian minority is growing increasingly concerned over the mushrooming of newer and deadlier Hindu extremist groups.

Gone are the days when Christians had to watch out only for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and its youth wing, Bajrang Dal, which are closely linked with the most influential Hindu extremist umbrella organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). With voter support faltering for the RSS’s political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), moderate and extremist sections within the Hindu nationalist movement are blaming each other, and militant splinter groups have emerged.

Claiming to be breakaway factions of the RSS, new groups with even more extreme ideology are surfacing. The Abhinav Bharat (Pride of India), the Rashtriya Jagran Manch (National Revival Forum), the Sri Ram Sene (Army of god Rama), the Hindu Dharam Sena (Army for Hindu Religion) and the Sanatan Sanstha (Eternal Organization) have launched numerous violent attacks on Christian and Muslim minorities.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Puritans Picks

Here's a great site that I found on Bring The Noiz blog. It's basically a kind of "Net Flix" for Christians with lots of solid video to choose from. Titles range from conferences to movies to children's selections.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting The Gospel Down Deep

Here's another good article from On Earth as it is in Heaven, the blog of Tullian Tchividjian.

Thinking out the deep implications of the gospel and applying its powerful reality to all parts of my life is a daily challenge and a daily adventure. Theologically I understand that the gospel didn’t just ignite my Christian life but it’s also the fuel that keeps me going and growing every day. My challenge is understanding how this works functionally. So, here are a few questions I go back to all the time which help me make the connection between what Christ accomplished for me and my daily internal grind:

Since Jesus secured my pardon and absorbed the Father’s wrath on my behalf so that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, how does that impact my longing for approval, my tendency to be controlling, and my fear of the unknown?

How do the life, death, and resurrection of Christ affect my thirst for security, affection, protection, meaning, and purpose?

In other words, how does the finished work of the One “exposed, ravaged, ruined, and resurrected for us” satisfy my deepest daily needs so that I can experience the liberating power of the gospel every day and in every way?

Being able to answer these questions helps me to get the gospel deep into the fabric of my being.

HT: On Earth as it is in Heaven

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How To Identify A Reliable Preacher

A couple of days ago I ran across the blog of Tullian Tchividjian. Tchividjian is the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham as well as the replacement for Dr. James Kennedy who pastored Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale Florida for forty eight years. Kennedy died in 2007.

Not only is his name really fun to say, but his blogs are practical, short, and rich with God honoring truth.

The hardest thing to do was to choose which of his posts I wanted to use in introducing his blog. I liked how he wove the five solas of the reformation into this particular article. So, here it is:

How To Identify A Reliable Preacher

by Tullian Tchividjian

Two weeks ago I mentioned in my sermon that God grows Christians by feeding them his Word. One way he does this is by providing the church with teachers and preachers. This means that if we are going to grow we need to be sitting at the feet of reliable carriers of God’s truth. This, however, begs the question: how can we identify a reliable carrier of God’s truth? The Bible makes it clear that there are many unreliable carriers of so-called truth. Satan masquerades as an angel of light seeking to deceive. So we need a lot of biblical discernment here. Just because a teacher or preacher comes in Jesus’ name with a Bible under his arm doesn’t automatically mean he is reliable.

Thankfully both the Bible and church history give us some direction here. So I want to provide you with a brief list of five questions (based on the five sola’s of the Reformation) that can help you discern the reliability of a particular teacher or preacher.

Question 1 (Sola Scriptura): Does the preacher ground everything he says in the Bible? Does he, in other words, begin with the authority and sufficiency of Scripture? A reliable carrier of God’s truth seeks to revel in, wrestle with, and expound from, the Bible. He starts with the Bible. All of his comments flow from what a particular passage in the Bible says. He doesn’t simply use the Bible to support what he wants to say. That is, he submits to what the Bible says, he does not seek to submit the Bible to what he says. He cares about both the Old Testament and the New Testament. He refuses to take verses out of context. He recognizes the unity of the Bible. He acknowledges that both the Old Testament and the New Testament tell one story and point to one figure, namely that God saves sinners through the accomplished work of his son Jesus Christ.

Question 2 (Sola Gratia): Does the preacher freely emphasize that because of sin, a right relationship with God can only be established by God’s grace alone? Beware of any teaching that emphasizes man’s ability over God’s ability; man’s freedom over God’s freedom; man’s power over God’s power; man’s initiative over God’s initiative. Beware of any teaching which subtlety communicates that a right relationship with God depends ultimately on human response over Divine sovereignty.

Question 3 (Sola Fide): Does the preacher stress that salvation is not achieved by what we can do, rather salvation is received by faith in what Christ has already done? It has been rightly stated that there really are only two religions: the religion of human accomplishment and the religion of Divine accomplishment. Does the preacher emphasize the former or the latter? A reliable carrier of God’s truth always highlights the fact that God saves sinners; sinners don’t save themselves.

Question 4 (Sola Christus): Does the preacher underline that Christ is the exclusive mediator between God and man? Does the explainer both affirm and proclaim that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” and that nobody comes to the Father but by Christ? Does he talk about sin and the necessity of Christ? Preachers must learn how to unveil and unpack the truth of the Gospel from every Biblical text they preach in such a way that it results in the exposure of both the idols of our culture and the idols of our hearts. The faithful exposition of our true Savior from every passage in the Bible painfully reveals all of the pseudo-saviors that we trust in culturally and personally. Every sermon ought to disclose the subtle ways in which we as individuals and we as a culture depend on lesser things than Jesus to provide the security, acceptance, protection, affection, meaning, and satisfaction that only Christ can supply. In this way, good preachers must constantly show just how relevant and necessary Jesus is; they must work hard to show that we are great sinners but Christ is a great Savior.

Question 5 (Sola Deo Gloria): Does the preacher exalt God above all? A reliable explainer will always lead you to marvel at God. A true carrier of God’s truth will always lead you to encounter the glory of God. A God-centered teacher is just that: God-centered. He will preach and teach in such a way that you find yourself hungering and thirsting for God. You will listen to sermon after sermon and walk away with grand impressions of Divine personality, not grand impressions of human personality.

This is just a start, but I hope it serves as a resource to help you determine the reliability of a particular teacher or preacher.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Good Scriptures To Memorize For Evangelism

In keeping with scripture memorization, here is a nifty list of scriptures sent to me from my friend Edwin Lo. This collection is especially useful for those of us involved in evangelism.

It's a cut-and-paste, so double check the reference to make sure there are no typos or misquotes.

King James Version

Prov 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Rom 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that
preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

Rom 2:22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit
adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?

Matt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her
hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Rom 2:22 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and
whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

2Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness;
but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Mark 1:15 The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is
condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth
not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

2 Cor 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of
salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Matt 4:4 It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matt 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy
name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Matt 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know
ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Scripture Memorization

by Henry Morris, Ph.D. May. 19, 2009

Tony Miano posted an article about scripture memorization last week, and I thought I would follow up with some more concerning this worthy discipline.

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:11)

The memorizing of Scripture has become almost a lost art among Christians today, and it is a great loss, for storing Scripture in the heart can be a great blessing in one's Christian life and witness.

The example of the early Christians is clear: Peter, Stephen, Paul, and others quoted extensively from the Old Testament in their impromptu sermons (Acts 2:17-21; 7:32-34; 13:33-35; etc.), and the same has been true of most of the great preachers and teachers of the Word ever since. There are multitudes of situations where it is of great help to be able to cite from memory an appropriate Scripture passage.

In our present generation, there have been many Christian lay organizations--the Gideons, the Navigators, the Bible Memory Association, and others--that have strongly urged their members to memorize Scripture and have experienced great blessing as a result. Any Christian can do it if he tries and will find his Christian life strengthened in the process.

But the main reason for memorizing Scripture is the Word itself in effect commands it: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 3:16).
The Lord Jesus Himself, in His humanity, no doubt learned the Scriptures as a boy (Luke 2:47, 52) and then quoted from them extensively in His many discourses, "leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). He provided a perfect illustration of the validity of our text, defeating Satan in each of his three temptations simply by quoting a Scripture verse that He had long before hidden in His heart (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). For the Word truly to be in our lives, it needs to be in our hearts.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Raid on Full Gospel Church

Is this coming to America? Please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

Faces of Persecution

Please watch this video and continue praying for our persecuted bretheren.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Benny Hinn Goes Public to Answer Critics

...But does he really give any answers at all?

This story is only interesting because Benny Hinn doesn't seem to be giving any new answers. The only clue of honesty is when he admits his lavish lifestyle. One has to wonder why he uses hyperbole when making his case.
"Look, you know there's this idea supposedly that we preachers are supposed to
walk about with sandals and ride bicycles. That's nonsense," he said,
noting that the private plane is "a necessity, not a luxury."
What's rediculous Benny, is that you actually could have said that with a straight face. If you really want to face your critics and salvage any credibility at all, how about saving the money from reserving expensive venues for your "healing" services and just visit a few of the burn centers and children's hospitals around the world-- But somehow I just don't think that's going to happen.

In a rare interview, controversial preacher and faith healer Benny Hinn laid some of his cards on the table, saying he's been wanting to answer his critics for 20 years.

"I'm very pleased ... because it's time for me to tell it all," Hinn told ABC's Dan Harris in an interview that aired Monday night. "I don't want people talking for me. I want to talk for myself."
For years, Hinn has been a subject of scrutiny by the media and recently the government for the miraculous healings he claims to do and the lavish lifestyle he leads.
His ministry's latest report from the "Fire Conference and Miracle Service" last month in New York states that teens were healed of leukemia, lung cancer and partial deafness.
"There were so many miracles of healing that people were lined along the sides of the auditorium from the front to the back waiting to come to the platform to testify of God’s healing touch!" the report touts.
Such conferences, held around the world, have brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time to the ministry, all of which are donations from attendees – many of whom were seeking a physical healing.
Hinn, who was born into a Greek Orthodox Christian family and later became a zealous charismatic, admitted to ABC that he doesn't have medical verification of the healings and said some people who claimed they were healed on stage at the events were actually not.
He said, "These are things that I cannot explain because I am not the healer. I'm human like you."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Peanut Butter Salvation

If you listen to Wretched Radio on Family Net radio, you may have heard the report of youth pastors doing some pretty bizarre things to get the attention of their congregants You can read the full article here as reported by Susan Cooper Eastman of Folio Weekly.

The best answer head youth pastor John Wyatt could give for these disgusting acts was the following:

“Unfortunately, somebody was offended,and we apologized right away,” says
PastorWyatt. “But the other side of that is, there was a whole bunch of kids who
gave their life to Christ that night. Ultimately, our goal is to get people into
church and into a relationship with Jesus.”

My question to Pastor Wyatt

Why does it sound like you are taking credit for anyone getting saved? Or at the very least, why do you think that the seemingly positive outcome is argument enough to encourage such a low view of the holiness of God. Do you really think that smearing peanut butter on a youth pastor's armpits and then asking minors to lick it off is more powerfull than a biblically sound presentation of the gospel? Only God and the individuals know and only time will ultimately tell if anyone was truly saved. If so pastor Wyatt, it was not because of your blasphemous antics but in spite of them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

As It Is Written...

Thanks to Tony Miano for this great article! Later this week I will post some of the resources that I've come across to help with scripture memorization.

Memorizing Scripture

Like many of my Christian brethren, I struggle for consistency when it comes to Scripture memorization. I have been blessed to memorize a good number of verses and passages over the years; but I wonder how much more of God's Word I could have committed to memory over the last 21 years if I had more consistency in this important spiritual discipline.

The more I am engaged in heralding the gospel, whether preaching in the open-air or during one-to-one conversations, the more I come to realize how vitally important it is to cite the Word of God "as it is written," and the more convicted I become to try once again to consistently memorize Scripture.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lively Hope

by John D. Morris, Ph.D.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Peter 1:3)

This verse contains several enlightening words:

Blessed: The word in Greek means to be well spoken of, or praised. According to. This does not say that we are blessed according to the extent of His mercy, but rather, that He was impelled by His "abundant mercy" to save us.

Begotten: A child is begotten of parents and is of the same nature as its parents. We are begotten into God's family by the work of Christ. Again. There are two possible concepts which are attached to the term "born again"--born "the second time," or born "from above." In our text, the term used is literally born "the second time," but the Father mentioned is God. We are indeed born "the second time," and that "from above."

Lively: The word is in the form of a verbal adjective, having all the descriptive power of an adjective and all the active power of a verb. A "lively" hope is more than a hope that is living; it is actively alive. Hope. We hope, not in the sense of desiring something to come to pass, but in the confident assurance of something which certainly shall come to pass. We may "lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast" (Hebrews 6:18-19). We shall follow Christ in life everlasting.

Resurrection: It may seem strange to think we are born again "by the resurrection," but this was the instrument God used to bring about His purpose. In a real sense, Christ was "born again" with a glorified body when He arose from the dead. Since He is "the firstborn from the dead" (Colossians 1:18), many will follow, "that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). JDM

HT: Days of Praise devotional

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where Was God?

Although I can't find the exact quote, John Piper recently commented on the video below.

If this baby had been killed, people from all over would be angrily asking where our great God was when it happened. Will they now acknowledge that his mighty hands were underneath the train protecting this infant?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Family of Kidnapped Colombian Pastor Flee Home

Alarmed by threatening strangers, wife and children of William Reyes leave Maicao.

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, June 24 (CDN) — The wife and children of pastor William Reyes, who was kidnapped last September in Colombia and is still missing, have moved from their home to another city due to threatening strangers presumably linked to his kidnappers.
Compass learned that Idia Miranda Reyes, her son William, 19, and daughters Luz Nelly, 17, and Estefania, 9, suddenly left their home in Maicao in the department (state) of La Guajira two months ago and moved to an undisclosed location in the country.
The Rev. William Reyes disappeared on Sept. 25, 2008, en route to Maicao from the neighboring city of Valledupar. Since March 2008, the pastor of Light and Truth Inter-American Church and active member of the Fraternity of Evangelical Pastors of Maicao, had been receiving extortion threats from illegal armed groups operating in the La Guajira peninsula.
Family members have not heard from Pastor Reyes since, nor have his abductors contacted the family to demand ransom.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Imprisoned Christian in Somaliland on Hunger Strike

Convert from Islam jailed for allegedly distributing Christian literature.

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 16 (CDN) — A convert from Islam in Somalia’s self-declared state of Somaliland has staged a hunger strike to protest his transfer to a harsh prison in a remote part of the country.

Osman Nour Hassan was arrested on Aug. 3 for allegedly providing Christian literature in Pepsi village, on the outskirts of the breakaway region’s capital city, Hargeisa. On Sept. 9 authorities transferred him from Hargeisa to Mandere prison, 60 kilometers (37 miles) away – a difficult, week-long trip for visitors that is expensive by Somali standards.

“Hassan is in really terrible shape,” a Christian source told Compass. “He is very discouraged.”

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Mighty Mag

This is a great web site for kids from Christian author and cartoonist, Richard Gunther. Gunther also does all of the artwork for Ray Comfort's blog.

Click the link to get to The Mighty Mag.

To see one of my favorite stories, CLICK HERE.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Eleventh Commandment

by Todd Friel

Do you know the Eleventh Commandment? Perhaps you are familiar with the first ten, but a new commandment has been added, and we should judge (oh, that word) whether it qualifies to be in the Decalogue.

Is it possible that existentialist, post-modern, humanistic influence has crept into evangelicalism and has reared its head in the form of, “Thou shalt not judge?” While we should not publicly judge other evangelicals (unless their lifestyle is careening out of control, ex. Benny Hinn), we should judge their TEACHING.

26 of the 27 New Testament books warn us about false teaching. Jesus, Paul, Peter and John thought we should expose those who twist Scripture, why shouldn’t we?

One week ago I submitted an article to this website that criticized the salvation theology presented in the Purpose Driven Life.
A pastor publicly posted a response and stated, “I have been in the ministry for nearly 30 years and I have watched ministers and pastors go at each other on their own individual platforms. Nothing good ever comes of it.”

I invite you to debate that statement with me. Should we publicly discuss the teaching of other evangelicals? If so, when, how and over what issues?

I invite you to respond to this article and let’s lovingly mix it up. Let’s rigorously debate whether we should pursue public dialogues over theology.

Let me get us started by making my position clear by responding to the pastor who publicly critiqued me for publicly critiquing The Purpose Driven Life. His words are in bold, followed by my response.

"I got sick and tired of their malicious criticism of Dr. Jerry Falwell."
Paul warned Timothy that rebuking should be done sternly, but with gentleness, respect and love. I agree, nasty, hateful attacks are out!

"At least, give Rick Warren the opportunity to come on to your radio show and defend his view concerning repentance and salvation."
I confess, I have not contacted Pastor Warren; however, since he has written a book for the public, I think we have ever right and, dare I say, responsibility, to publicly deal with what he has written. Besides, shouldn't his answers on radio match his statements in his book?

We have Biblical precedent for naming names and publicly addressing individuals without consent or participation: Demas (II Tim.4:10), Diotrephes (II John 9).

I am not trying to take a cheap shot here, but you didn't contact me and ask me to defend my view. And that's ok. I wrote something for public consumption, I expect public debate.

"Surely, you have better things to do with your platform than criticize someone else’s ministry."

First of all, stop calling me Surely. Second, I did not criticize his ministry, I criticized his theology. Besides, is there anything more important than debating salvation theology (Jude 3)? The entire point of my article is that we must have agreement on this essential doctrine. We can zestily debate dipping vs. dunking, but there is no room for disagreement on salvation. If salvation doesn’t qualify as an essential doctrine, then I don’t know what does.

"This brings a disgrace to the reputation of God's Kingdom."
Did the Council of Nicea bring disgrace to the Kingdom by debating theology? The concern of early church councils was not having public discourse, their concern was heresy. Running around naked screaming, “Oprah rocks,” brings a disgrace to the Kingdom, debating salvation theology does not. After all, eternity is at stake.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Letter To A Friend On "Growing A Church"

by Richard Gunther

Dear Steve,

You asked me for my thoughts on how to make a fellowship grow. I submit the following as from someone who has had very little experience, and who knows very little about the matter.

First of all I like to ask the questions “What is church for?” As I see it there are basically only two answers:

1. Church is for believers. When believers meet they all understand the ‘special’ words they use, such as redemption and propitiation, and when they celebrate communion they know the symbolical nature of the emblems. Their meetings are eclectic and specific, and the common understanding they have makes them as exclusive as a brain-surgeon’s conference.

2. Church is for reaching into the community and winning the lost to Christ. The main reason Christians exist is firstly to become like Jesus, and secondly to draw other people to Jesus. This means that they should lay aside all their theological terms and meet the unsaved in their own limited understanding. No strange words, no peculiar costumes, and as many familiar things as possible, without sinning of course. For example Jesus met people in their own homes, and talked to them over the meal.

In the world there are and always have been hundreds of different kinds of fellowship. This is good, because it shows that God can live in the hearts of people from all cultures. These different people have always expressed their Christianity in their own forms of art, music and so on, and in each generation they have managed to win a new harvest of believers – otherwise the church would have died out long ago. Some Christian fellowships are loud, and noisy, while others are very quiet. Some like to dress up, others dress down. Some concentrate on worship and do a lot of singing, while others prefer prayers.

Every fellowship tends to attract people of a certain range of personality. The old adage of ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is clearly seen. For example the Brethren tend to attract men because Brethren services (as far as I know tend to be objective, theological and unemotional, whereas Pentecostal churches are usually predominantly filled with women, and the services are correspondingly emotional. I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with this – it is normal and natural for like to attract like. In the world exactly the same thing happens.

Returning to the question, I would like to look very briefly at the first category of fellowship.

Continue reading....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Open Air Preaching: After a Gay Pride Parade

Here is some footage of Rob-roy Nelson preaching open air in Tucson after a gay pride parade. This dear brother brings the power of God's Word in his mature understanding of it rather than in his volume and delivery (which is pretty low key compared to some of us). Way to go Rob-roy!

Please pray for those that heard the Gospel and that God is glorified by the message that was delivered.

**Warning: There is some cursing and blasphemy from hecklers in this video.**

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Calvin Is Cool: An Infomercial for Calvinism

Here's another provocative article from Michael Spencer, the "Internet Monk." Please read with discernment.

UPDATE 4/05: Even though I am no longer a Calvinist, a lot of this essay is still true. I know that's Calvin Coolidge, but if I put a picture of John Calvin up there, most people won't read the column. The hostility towards Calvinism is growing here in Bibleland. Note the intrepid Dave Hunt's attempt to vanquish the Calvinistic dragon with his new book, What Love Is This?, perhaps more aptly titled, What Research Is This? Norman Geisler unsuccessfully sought to forge a via media in Chosen, But Free and Gregory Boyd and the Openness Boys (great name for a band) have been blasting away for several years now against the monstrosity of the Calvinistic God and an Augustinian theodicy. I recently attended a debate between Calvinist and Arminian seminary profs, and I have to say that Jerry Walls was vewy, vewy upset that God could save everyone and apparently isn't going to do so. He was also mad that John Piper said he would still love God even if one of his sons wasn't elect. And, of course, C.S. LEWIS WASN'T A CALVINIST! So I think silent Cal is a better choice than Geneva John. These are dangerous times. You could possibly get burned at the stake. (That's a joke.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Non-Arab Christians in Israel Seek in Vain for Burial Sites

Orthodox denominations face discrimination from authorities, nominally Christian gatekeepers.
HAIFA, Israel, July 8 (CDN) — Here in Israel’s third-largest city, it was not possible for the Russian Orthodox relatives of a 65-year-old woman who died on June 27 to find a Christian cemetery for her.
Their plight – for five days the body of Nadejda Edelman was stored at a hospital morgue – is common to Christians of foreign ancestry throughout the country. When Edelman passed away in Rambam Medical Center in this northern Israeli city, it took almost a week to find a grave for her and arrange for a funeral.
“There is no available cemetery for Edelman, a Pravoslave [Russian Orthodox] Christian, in Haifa,” said David Ratner, spokesman for the hospital. Haifa, with 265,000 people, is 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Tel Aviv.
On July 1 Edelman, a devout Christian, was buried outside of Haifa in Emeq Hefer Local Council Cemetery – a “secular” site for persons of no faith tradition. Had there been a Christian cemetery available, Edelman’s family might still have had problems obtaining a plot; the immigrant had not been able to have her ID registered as “Christian,” only as “Russian.”

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Islamic Extremists Kill Another Church Leader

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 1 (CDN) — Islamic militants in Somalia this week killed a woman who led an underground Christian movement in the war-torn country.

Sources told Compass that a leader of Islamic extremist al Shabaab militia in Lower Juba identified only as Sheikh Arbow shot to death 46-year-old Mariam Muhina Hussein at 2 p.m. on Monday (Sept. 28) in Marerey village after discovering she had six Bibles. Marerey is eight kilometers (five miles) from Jilib, part of the neighboring Middle Juba region.

Local sources said that on Sunday (Sept. 27) Arbow sent his wife to the house of Hussein, a Somali Bantu, to confirm the presence of the Bibles. Pretending to be interested in Christianity, the militia leader’s wife confirmed the existence of the Bibles.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Repentance and Salvation

This comes to us from the John MacArthur Q and A web site.

What is repentance and how does it relate to salvation?

The meaning of the word repentance has been twisted in recent years to the point that its biblical meaning is now obscured in the minds of many. The idea that genuine repentance could result in anything but a change of life is completely foreign to Scripture.

What does the Bible teach about the relationship between salvation and repentance? First, it teaches that repentance is essential to salvation. One cannot truly believe unless he repents, and one cannot truly repent unless he believes. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin (but they are not synonymous terms). Acts 11:18 and 2 Peter 3:9 are two of the many verses that teach that repentance is necessary for salvation. Perhaps 2 Timothy 2:25 best sums up the relationship between repentance and saving faith when it speaks of "repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (see also Acts 20:21).

Second, the Greek word for repentance, "metanoia," while it means "to have another mind," cannot properly be defined to exclude a sense of hatred of and penitence for sin. The biblical concept of repentance involves far more than merely a casual change of thinking. Biblically, a person who repents does not continue willfully in sin. Repentance is a turning from sin, and it always results in changed behavior (Luke 3:8). While sorrow from sin is not equivalent to repentance, it is certainly an element of scriptural repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Finally, despite what is being widely taught today, affirming that repentance and acknowledgement of Jesus' lordship are necessary to salvation does not "add" anything to the requirement of faith for salvation. It is not "faith plus repentance" that saves, but rather a repentant faith. The notion that salvation is possible apart from a genuine, heartfelt repentance, which includes a deep hatred of sin, is a relatively new one, neither believed nor taught by the people of God until the twentieth century.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Not About The Constitution

by Tony Miano

It's not about the Constitution. It's not about the oft-misunderstood principle of the separation of church and state. It's not about pluralism or ecumenism. And it certainly has nothing to do with tolerance.

It has everything to do with hating God.

Jason Zunker was a 28-year-old deputy sheriff for the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department. He was killed in the line of duty, in January 2008, when he was struck by a car while directing traffic. His selfless sacrifice makes Deputy Zunker, by deed and definition, an American hero.

Jason Zunker was a 28-year-old deputy sheriff for the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department. He was killed in the line of duty, in January 2008, when he was struck by a car while directing traffic. His selfless sacrifice makes Deputy Zunker, by deed and definition, an American hero.

The text reads:

"I don't feel I have gone too soon. I feel lucky every
day God keeps me here. When I die, I know where I'm going. Don't be sad because
the Bible says it's greater than anyone can even imagine when it's your time to
see it . . . You must ask Jesus into your heart. Believe he died for you and
believe he rose again. Live a good life. Ask for forgiveness and believe. Then I
will see you all again."

Of course, the usual cast of God-hating characters with the Freedom From Religion Foundation are offended by the mention of Deputy Zunker's faith, in his own words, on his memorial. They are so blinded by their hatred of God that they think they are doing society a favor by removing any mention of God from the public square.

As a follower of Jesus Christ and a retired deputy sheriff, of course I am offended by what the God-haters are doing. But I am not at all surprised. They are simply and sinfully living consistent with their fallen, depraved nature. And they will one-day be held responsible by God Almighty for their sins against Him.

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put
darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet
for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own
sight! " Isaiah 5:20-21

My hope, however, is that they (and people like them) will repent while God mercifully continues to extend His common grace to them--while He graciously allows them to continue to breathe His air. My prayer is that they will turn from their hatred of God and their sins against Him, and that they would receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior while He has given them time.

"It is a fearful thin to fall into the hands of the
living God" (Hebrews 10:31).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Every once in a while, a little comic relief is good for the soul! This is from our friends at Sacred Sandwich.
At the Baptist School for Deacons, students practice their signature move: the “Offering Plate Lean-in.”

Does Satan Have Access to Our Minds?

by Hank Hanegraaff

This article first appeared in the Ask Hank column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 27, number 5 (2004). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to:

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4–5 NIV).

While we would greatly overestimate Satan’s power by supposing that he can interact directly with us in a physical sense, an equal and opposite error would be to suppose that he does not have access to our minds.

First, while Satan cannot read our minds, he can influence our thoughts. Thus, the Bible instructs us to “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11 NIV). Without it, you are a guaranteed casualty in the invisible war; with it, you are invincible. Spiritual warfare is waged against invisible beings that personify the extremities of evil; and their weapons are spiritual, not physical. While they cannot bite us physically, violate us sexually, or cause us to levitate, they can tempt us to cheat, steal, and lie.

Furthermore, it is crucial to note that if we open the door to Satan by failing to put on the full armor of God, he does, as it were, sit on our shoulders and whisper into our ears. The whisper cannot be discerned with the physical ear; it can, however, penetrate “the ear” of the mind. We cannot explain how such communication takes place any more than we can explain how our immaterial minds can cause the physical synapses of the brain to fire; but that such mind-to-mind communication takes place is indisputable. If it were not so, the Devil could not have tempted Judas to betray his Master, seduced Ananias and Sapphira to deceive Peter, or incited David to take a census.

Finally, while fallen angels are not material beings and thus cannot interact with us directly in the physical sense, they are as real as the very flesh on our bones. No doubt much to the Devil’s delight we often depict him as either a cartoonish clown with an elongated tail, red tights, and a pitchfork — or as a cultural caricature. Far from silly or stupid, however, Satan appears as a cosmopolitan angel of enlightenment. He knows full well that without our spiritual armor we are but pawns in a devil’s game.

In the final analysis, the whole of Scripture informs us that spiritual warfare is the battle for the mind.

Can Christians Be Demonized?

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NIV).

Over the years, I have read a wide variety of stories that claim to support the notion that Christians can be demonized. In the end, they all have one thing in common: they greatly overestimate the power and province of Satan. Some deliverance ministers make a more valiant attempt than others to provide a biblical basis for the contention that a Christian can be inhabited by a demon. Inevitably, however, Scripture itself undermines their stories.

First, Christ himself precludes the possibility that a Christian could be inhabited by demons. Using the illustration of a house, Jesus asks, “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man?” (Matt. 12:29 NIV). In the case of a demon-possessed person, the strong man is obviously the Devil. In a Spirit-indwelt believer, however, the strong man is God. The force of Christ’s argument leads inexorably to the conclusion that, in order for demons to possess believers, they would first have to bind the one who occupies them — namely God Himself!

Furthermore, I discovered an equally airtight argument against Christian demonization in the gospel of John. The Jews once again were accusing Jesus of being demon possessed. Rather than circumvent their accusations, Jesus condescends to reach out to His accusers with reason. The essence of His argument is, “I am not possessed by a demon” because “I honor my Father” (John 8:49 NIV). The point is impossible to miss: Being demon possessed and honoring God are mutually exclusive categories.

Finally, Scripture does not contain a single credible example of a demonized believer. Instead, the consistent teaching of the Bible is that Christians cannot be controlled against their wills through demonic inhabitation. The principle is foolproof. If you are a follower of Christ, the King Himself indwells you; and you can rest assured that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NIV).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

'Man Saves Man' and Decisions Are The Plan

Where did we ever get the idea that people can save other people, and even save themselves? Sure, nobody comes right out and says that, but you can tell that they think it. It's amazing how this one theological error upstream ends up causing an entire evangelism epidemic downstream. No, theology is not useless "head knowledge", it impacts our actions. And in this case, bad theology has produced an entire errant evangelistic system.

The problem that we are seeing today, is that church leaders believe that people can control when and if the New Birth occurs.

Here's one example with scenes from an actual church service:


Monday, October 5, 2009


My wife was listening to Christian Radio yesterday and heard the announcer mention a new thing going on called “Man Church” which was designed to attract men. Men are less likely to attend church versus women so here is an attempt to solve that problem. She wanted me to check it out because the message sounded consistent with the modern so called seeker friendly church strategy that is so prevalent today. Here is the link:

The key selling points for Man Church are:

-Coffee and donuts
-Man Church is church the way a man expects it to be done.
-every aspect of Man Church is geared for men
-a definite manly focus - being the best possible husband, father, employee, leader - being a real man.
-This ain't your mama's church!

-Coffee and donuts

So what do we have here? Man Church is the way “a man expects it to be done”. Instead of the way a “man expects it to be done” we should ask how God expects it to be done. Jesus answered that question in John 4 when He said “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

The focus is on men and what men like. In fact every aspect is geared for men. Unfortunately that fits the description of every false idol from the fall in the Garden of Eden, the Golden Calf at Mt. Sinai and the ungodly traditions of the Pharisees to which Jesus said, “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men" (Mark 7:7-8). Being a better Man as the focus instead of the focus being on Christ and true worship of Him is legalism.

The big selling point in the ad is Coffee and Donuts (mentioned multiple times in the short message). And so we see that Christ is missing from the description of “Man Church” but then that has always been the case. That is what makes Man Church what has been throughout the ages. Nothing has changed except the repackaging and marketing of it. Leave Christ out and you have to preach something else. Coffee anyone?

We don’t need Man Church or your Mama’s Church, we need the real Church which is Christ’s alone. While thinking about this I happened to come across Hope Christian Church in Brisbane. Australia that had something very different on it’s website. Here is the link:

The key focus was not on “man” but on God being glorified:

-At Hope Christian Church we endeavour to make our services about the glory of God above everything else.

-We passionately desire God to be glorified through preaching and thus cannot pamper the egos of fallen men.
-We ardently yearn to have God honouring meetings that give as little prominence to man as possible.

That is certainly not Man Church. And for that I am grateful.

Love, Rob-roy

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Third Christian this Year Dies in Military Prison

Imprisoned for his faith, 43-year-old dies in solitary confinement.

LOS ANGELES, July 27 (CDN) — Another Christian imprisoned for his faith in Eritrea has died from authorities denying him medical treatment, according to a Christian support organization.

Sources told Netherlands-based Open Doors that Yemane Kahasay Andom, 43, died Thursday (July 23) at Mitire Military Confinement Center. A member of the Kale-Hiwot church in Mendefera, Andom was said to be secretly buried in the camp.

Weakened by continuous torture, Andom was suffering from a severe case of malaria, Open Doors reported in a statement today.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nigeria: Pastors Beheaded

On July 26, 12 Christians were killed, including three pastors, in northern Nigeria after members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram launched attacks on police and government bases, according to contacts at VOM Canada.

The violence, which began in Bauchi state, spread to Borno, Kano and Yobe states. Churches were set ablaze and several people were abducted, including Christians. Many believers were threatened with death if they refused to convert to Islam. According to media reports, assailants behead three pastors: Pastors Sabo Yukubu, Sylvester Akpan and Pastor George Orji. The assailants were reportedly acting on the instruction of the extremist group's leader, Mohammed Yusuf. Yusuf was later killed by authorities.

The militants attempted to force the pastors to convert to Islam, but they refused to abandon their faith. They were then beheaded by guards who shouted "Allah Akbar" and fired several gunshots into the air in celebration.

These recent reports of persecution in Northern Nigeria reflect the trials believers endure. The Voice of the Martyrs actively supports persecuted believers in many ways through the Families of Martyrs fund, resources for widows to start businesses and a free education at Stephen Centre. Pray God will comfort the families of those killed in these attacks. Pray the peace of Christ will rule the hearts and minds of Nigerian Christians in the face of ongoing threats and danger.

HT: Voice of the Martyrs

Friday, October 2, 2009

Scripture Exposes False Prophets (Part 4 of 4)

Both the Old and New Testaments are replete with warnings of false prophets. The following is intended to provide biblical criteria for discerning false prophets and teachers. If a preacher engages in any of the following behaviors, be very wary of him or her:

Repeated immoral, unbiblical behavior. A false prophet may be detected by examining his moral character. If a prophet habitually displays character incongruent with that of God, then the former cannot speak for the latter. In Jeremiah 23:14, God speaks of prophets that “commit adultery and live a lie.” It is important to note that it is spiritual adultery, not marital, that is in view. Evangelist Benny Hinn, for example, has a habitual problem with the truth. He has been caught in numerous lies about his own life and ministry. He has threatened not only his critics, but also their innocent children. He claims to have been visited by Elijah and the late Kathryn Kuhlman (a Word of Faith evangelist to whom he often refers for inspiration), and he reports to get...

Continue reading...

False Prophets Abound in Word of Faith (Part 3 of 4)

*Part four will also be posted today at 10 AM.

I believe the Word of Faith (WOF) movement is home to many false prophets. Both the Old and New Testaments are replete with warnings about false prophets and, on at least two occasions, the Apostle Paul called out by name men who were teaching false doctrine (1 Tim. 1:18-20; 2 Tim. 2:16-18). There is, therefore, biblical precedent for calling by name purveyors of spiritual error. Such action should not be undertaken lightly, however, so the names that follow are included only after great study and careful analysis:

Kenneth Hagin. Recently passed away, he is considered the father of the modern WOF movement. Hagin claimed that his faith teachings came to him by divine revelation, but they were actually the product of his extensive plagiarizing of Essek W. Kenyon.Hagin’s son, Kenneth Jr., carries on his father’s work as pastor of Rhema Bible Church and head of its school in Tulsa, Ok. Boasting of at least eight personal visits from Christ, Hagin, as did his father, blurs the crisp line between Creator and created as in, “You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”

Kenneth Copeland. Along with his wife Gloria, the Copelands are considered to be two of the movement’s more intellectual leaders. Students of Hagin Sr., the Copelands have built a multi-million dollar “Christian” media empire.

Continue reading...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Benny Hinn and Other H-W-P Preachers Shun Sound Doctrine (Part 2 of 4)

If you do not know him by name, you would almost certainly know him by sight. Toufik Benedictus “Benny” Hinn is one of the most widely recognized individuals in Christian television today.

A self-proclaimed “healing evangelist,” Hinn has achieved almost superstar status. His daily television show, This Is Your Day, can be seen in 190 countries and his monthly miracle crusades are almost always attended by overflow crowds. Tens of millions worldwide believe Hinn to be one of God’s greatest spokesmen.

Undoubtedly, Hinn’s teachings on physical healing are for what he is best known. In short, Hinn teaches that it is always God’s will for the believer to walk in perfect...