Friday, December 31, 2010

Weird and Holy

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mary and the Grace of God

December 24, 2010
"And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God." (Luke 1:30)
This announcement by the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary, that she had been chosen as the mother of the coming Savior, contains the first mention in the New Testament of the Greek word for grace (charis). Mary was chosen, not for anything she had done, but because she had "found grace."
In a remarkable parallel, certainly implying divine inspiration, the first mention of "grace" in the Old Testament is also associated with the coming of a new dispensation in God's dealings with men. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Genesis 6:8).
Just as Mary found grace, so Noah had found grace. Grace is not something one earns or purchases; grace is a treasure that is found! When a person--whether Noah or Mary or someone today--finally realizes that salvation is only by the grace of God, received through faith in the saving work of Christ, he or she has made the greatest discovery that could ever be made, for it brings eternal life.
But there is an even greater dimension to the grace of God. When we do "find" grace, it is actually because God in His infinitely precious grace has found us and revealed to us the Savior of our souls. Just as God found Moses in the desert and found Paul on the road to Damascus, then saved and called them to His service, so He finds us, and then we also find His saving grace.
Mary's discovery of God's grace in salvation, through the coming of the "seed of the woman" into the world, is revealed in her Magnificat: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour" (Luke 1:46-47). This could well have also been the testimony of Noah long ago, and it surely should be the testimony of each of us who has found grace today.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Author: Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound

The majority of Protestants and evangelicals believe that good people and people of other religions can go to heaven, according to author David Campbell.

Campbell, who co-wrote American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, contends that surveys of 3,000 Americans, used to write the book, show that American people of faith, though devout, are very tolerant. So much so that most believers also believe that good people, despite their religious affiliation, can go to heaven.

Among the faiths, 83 percent of evangelical Protestants agreed that good people of other religions can go to heaven. Ninety percent of black Protestants also believe good people can go to heaven.

When prodded further, more than half – 54 percent – of evangelical Protestants said yes, people of religions other than Christianity can go to heaven. Sixty-two percent of black Protestants agreed with the statement.
Notably, the author mentioned that there may be some in the evangelical category that don't belong.

Campbell, an expert of religion, politics and public policy, explained at a Thursday discussion of his book that the numbers can be explained with the “Aunt Susan” theory. Aunt Susan, he said, is the nice family member who is well-loved and is an all around do-gooder.

“You know that if anyone is destined to go to heaven, it’s Aunt Susan,” described Campbell.
However, Aunt Susan is of another religion. Rather than condemn that person to a lost eternity, Campbell said, most American believers choose instead to believe that that person is heaven-bound.

He also shared that knowing an Aunt Susan opens believers up to other faiths.

“You become warmer not only to people of that group, but to people of other groups,” Campbell contended.
Simply put, interlocking social networks allows believers to accept tenants of other faiths.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, works with leaders of many faiths on issues such as stopping pornography, abortion and religious persecution.
“That doesn’t mean that I’m going to abandon the New Testament teaching,” he stated.

Those who do so to accommodate other beliefs “aren’t very good evangelicals,” in his view.

Land lamented that more evangelicals are being taught the doctrine of universalism. “It’s emphasized from the pulpit; it’s emphasized in the seminaries,” he decried.

Universalism is the theological doctrine that all people will eventually be saved despite a relationship with Christ.

He said this is especially true of youths because the messages from the pulpit have changed.
“I think the doctrine ‘In Christ alone’ … was emphasized more 25 years ago than it is today so young [people] are hearing about it less,” he revealed.

While Land said it is possible for Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and even Catholics to follow the tenants of their faiths and have salvation in Jesus Christ, he stated that the same is not true for Buddhists, Muslims and Mormons.

“It is impossible to believe what Mormons believe and be a Christian. It is impossible to believe what Muslims believe and be a Christian,” he said.

Likewise, he acknowledged that there may be unsaved believers among Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and Catholics. Salvation, the biblical requirement for heaven, is an individual and personal choice, he told The Christian Post.

Land said he quotes the Bible’s New Testament which states that there is one mediator between God and men and that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life to all those who ask about heaven. If missionary work and evangelism is to continue on into the future, other Protestants must do the same, he asserted.

“If the price of respecting your faith is to deny mine, then that price is too high,” declared Land.

Campbell’s discussion was held at the Pew Forum in Washington, D.C.

HT: The Christian Post

Monday, December 20, 2010

Theology Matters

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Is Faith the Gift of God? What Does Jesus Say?

I found this article and thought it would be a good response to a post by Jeremy Jernigan at his blog.  Too much talk over there about how much our personalities determine our faith in God. It's concerning that the subject of God's will and sovereignty never came up. This question has always been a controversial one, yet this is puzzling considering how plainly the answer to this question is granted to us in the Holy Scriptures. Some modern Evangelicals seem to think that faith is something that arises out of the fallen natures of some persons but not others ... and that this difference in response is not due to grace (for all had grace), but rather, some inherent difference in the persons themselves. But Jesus puts this kind of speculation to rest:

Jesus declares "no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father." (John 6:65) In the same passage Jesus declares: " all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me." (John 6:37) In both verses the phrase "come to Me" simply means "believe in Me" and so taken together Jesus is stating that no one can believe in Him unless God grants it, and all to whom God grants it will believe". According to this passage, then, God grants faith, a faith that will infallibly arise in the heart of those He has given His Son...

Faith is not the product of an unregenerated human nature. If a person becomes humble enough to submit to God it is because the Holy Spirit has given that person a new, humble nature ... not because some men are more humble than others. It was not by chance that one person believed the gospel and not the other, nor was it because one had some innate virtue that the other lacked. It is grace and grace ALONE that makes men to differ, not the exertion of men's wills. While God requires faith of all men He promises to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit (John 6:63-65), which quickens and disarms hostility so they are willing, and able to believe.

(Also see 2 Chronicles 30:11-12; Phil 1:29, 2 Tim 2:25, Acts 13:48, Rom 9:15-18; John 1:13; 1 John 5:1)

HT: Reformation Theology

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Churches Using Canal Means To Attract Carnal People

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Do the sons bare the sins of the father or not?

It would seem that this story is what bible epics are made of. The extreme in life being used as an example of biblical truth. How much more does this happen to in the families of Christians concerning the less sensational circumstances of life?  What price do we pay for weak parenting, compromised ethics and nominal Christian living?

(Dec. 11) – Exactly two years after his father's arrest, the eldest son of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff was found dead this morning, his body hanging from a dog leash in his living room as his own young son slept in the next room, according to reports.

Read the rest of the article here.

Then read this  from CARM.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Direct Access

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5)

This is one of the key verses of Scripture for several reasons. In the first place, in the midst of a pantheistic and polytheistic society governed by the kings and rulers for whom Paul had just exhorted believers to pray, it was important to reemphasize that there was only one Creator God--the One to whom even kings must give account and the only One to whom we can rightfully pray.
Secondly, Christ Jesus, who was Himself "God . . . manifest in the flesh" and then "received up into glory" (1 Timothy 3:16), was nevertheless still "the man Christ Jesus." He is still a man, even though His human body has been resurrected and glorified. Therefore He can, indeed, "be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;" and we can "come boldly" to His "throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Then, because He is both omnipotent God and perfect man, "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (v. 15), He is uniquely able to serve as the one and only "mediator between God and men." Furthermore, as the only God-man, fully and eternally both God and man, He is the only one through whom we can reach God’s throne in prayer. "I am the way, the truth, and the life," He said, "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
No one else--man or woman, saint or priest, angel or demon--has direct access to God, for the Son is the one mediator between God and man. We can come to God, however, for "we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

HT: Days of Praise

Monday, November 29, 2010

I lifted this video from Tony Miano's Facebook page. Good stuff!

Here's a good example of something Chad Williams and I have been working on for about a week or so. Chad does an excellent job, here. I find it fascinating that almost every time we have used this approach, the unbeliever immediately identifies Jesus as the subject of Isaiah 53:3-5; but then quickly tries to refute t...heir own belief. People hate Jesus and love their sin.

Friday, November 12, 2010

For the Children

May we never dumb down this message to our children.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Consider this....

"Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." (Acts 8:4)
Every believer has been called to preach God's Word, not just pastors of churches. When Christ gave the Great Commission to "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), it was clear that this could be accomplished only if every Christian would actually preach the gospel!
This was practiced first by the members of the church at Jerusalem. Then, when the believers were "all scattered abroad . . . except the apostles" (Acts 8:1), these "laymen" went everywhere preaching the Word. One of the "deacons" selected to relieve the apostles of the "business" affairs of the church was Philip, and he "went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them" (Acts 8:5), speaking to great crowds and winning many to Christ. Then shortly afterward, the Lord called him down to Gaza where he met an Ethiopian eunuch, and he "preached unto him Jesus" (Acts 8:35). This teaches plainly that one can preach to a large congregation, but he or she can also preach to one person. It is not the size of the congregation but the theme of the message that makes one a preacher of the Word!
Furthermore, it is not only by word of mouth that Christ is preached; Paul says that "the gospel . . . was preached to every creature |literally, 'in every creation'| which is under heaven" (Colossians 1:23). "And how shall they hear without a preacher? . . . But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world" (Romans 10:14, 18). One can preach verbally to a congregation or to an unseen audience through radio or in writing to a reader, and even a godly lifestyle can "preach" effectively (although not specifically) of the saving work of Christ. Even the heavens declare His glory, and every believer must preach the Word!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Make War,  a searcheable online study Bible that you can download and install on your own web site or use right from their page!    Features include: text keyed to Strong's numbers as well as italicized words and paragraphs marked.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Christian Research and Counsel

Here's an interesting site called Christian Research and Counsel  that I happened across. It's worth some investigation.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Rebuke from John MacArthur

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Gospel Everyday

by Tullian Tchividjian

I once assumed the gospel was simply what non-Christians must believe in order to be saved, while afterward we advance to deeper theological waters. But I’ve come to realize that ” the gospel isn’t the first step in a stairway of truths, but more like the hub in a wheel of truth.” In other words, once God rescues sinners, his plan isn’t to steer them beyond the gospel, but to move them more deeply into it. All good theology, in fact, is an exposition of the gospel.

In his letter to the Christians of Colossae, the apostle Paul portrays the gospel as the instrument of all continued growth and spiritual progress, even after a believer’s conversion.

“All over the world,” he writes, “this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth” (Col. 1:6). He means that the gospel is not only growing wider in the world but it’s also growing deeper in Christians.
After meditating on Paul’s words, a friend told me that all our problems in life stem from our failure to apply the gospel. This means I can’t really move forward unless I learn more thoroughly the gospel’s content and how to apply it to all of life. Real change does not and cannot come independently of the gospel. God intends his Good News in Christ to mold and shape us at every point and in every way. It increasingly defines the way we think, feel, and live.

Martin Luther often employed the phrase simul justus et peccator—”simultaneously justified and sinful.” He understood that while he’d already been saved from sin’s penalty, he was in daily need of salvation from sin’s power. And since the gospel is the “power of God for salvation,” he knew that even for the most saintly of saints, the gospel is wholly relevant and vitally necessary. This means heralded preachers need the gospel just as much as hardened pagans.

Continue reading.......

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lincoln Trillion

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Little Hands

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2010 Phoenix Arab Festival

I was blessed this past weekend to have served with Samy Tenagho of  Glad News for Muslims at the Phoenix Arab Festival. We handed out materials in both English and Arabic to Muslims of all nationalities.We also had many opportunities to share the Gospel with visitors and vendors alike.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reaching the Lost in Salt Lake City

Many are caught in the deception of Mormonism.  We went to the very center of where those who are lost in this lie come to gather that we may seek and save the lost.  Reaching the Lost wherever they are.  Even in Salt Lake City.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Answering Objections to Open Air Preaching

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Outreach - Light in the Night


Each year I like to share a reminder of what we have done the past few years on Halloween to reach out to our neighborhood with the purpose being that the Holy Spirit may lead you according to God’s word in reaching out in some way to your neighborhood.  Maybe these ideas will lead to something you might try or consider in prayer and testing with scripture.

First I should note that I have studied the disturbing origins of Halloween and have made the decision to have nothing at all to do with "celebrating" it.  In fact the history of it unsettles me greatly.  That however is another topic I will not get into at this time.

What we have done instead the past few years on October 31 is to intentionally be a Light in the Night.  We intentionally celebrate Christ and celebrate Him by reaching out to our neighborhood through the sharing of the gospel and free gifts on that night.  In the past years we have a had great conversations with the adults and kids in our neighborhood.  Our kids like to help out and usually we have some friends in Christ come over to help out.  Now on to the details...

Here is what we do:

1.  Be Praying
Always pray and pray always.  October 31 can be a darker night than most for spiritual warfare.  But remember it is God who is the Light and the owner of the Night.  Only He can reach the lost.  We are to surrender and be willing to be used by God as He reaches them.  Put all trust in God.  The battle is His and it has been won.

2.  Be Out.  (Be in the midst)
Instead of handing out candy at the door we go outside and in front of our house in the front yard.  We set up chairs and a table.  There are extra chairs for neighbors to sit as they choose.  We run an extension cord to provide lights for the front yard so that it is the brightest area of the neighborhood.  We have coolers that have gifts in them ready to hand out.  We have the whole family out to talk with people and help do the handing out.  It creates an environment where it is ok to stop, sit and chat for awhile.  Especially if some others are already doing it.  It becomes contagious.

3.  Be About.  (Be Friendly,  Be Loving)
As kids and people come near we invite them over for a free gift before they can say Trick or Treat.  On a personal note the Trick or Treat terminology and history bothers me so we have fun intercepting that by saying "come on over we have something special for you and we are glad you are here."  Engage your neighbors before they engage you.  Go to them.  Make it about you genuinely reaching them for Christ instead of them reaching you for Halloween.  Be about honoring God by loving the lost and by directing the focus from the darkness of Halloween night to the Light of the one true Savior.

4.  Be Ready. (Be Prepared)
Know when October 31 traffic starts.  In our neighborhood it gets dark just before 6:00.  We set up around 5:15 and are ready by 5:30.  Usually the first traffic starts at about 5:45 or  5:50.

5.  Be Giving.  (Be Generous)
We want to make a big impact in every way for God’s glory.  We desire to do that by handing out the biggest candy bars available, the king size ones that are sold at Walgreen's or Costco (Sam's).  We look for the biggest bars we can find and then invest in them.  These are great for a couple of reasons.  Kids really notice them because they are not the bite size candies.  They are huge and the bigger kids 11-14 take notice of the generosity.  So do the parents of the 7-10 year olds.  Almost every parent will come over when I wave the "Mom and Dad" size bars and tell them that they are not left out.  With a sheepish grin they are drawn over, especially the Dads! 

Also, the big bars have a lot of room for adding a gospel message or tract.  We use our printer to crank out labels with a gospel message on them that we "stick" to the king size bars.  If you would like a copy of the text we use it is provided at the end of this message.  Yes the candy is expensive but is nothing compared to the price of souls.  We average about 150 pieces a year and that is what we plan for.  About half the pieces are the big bars and the other half regular bars (for the little kids) but still all are bigger than the "bite size" bags.  There are many ways to share the gospel and be generous so be led by the Holy Spirit according to God’s word and be obedient.  You will not regret it. 

6.  Be Light. (Shine Bright)
In addition to the candy we also have tracts ready.  They are tracts that most people "ask for" and enjoy looking at.  Not the ones that people cringe at.  We use Million Dollar bill tracts and Pink/Blue curved illusion tracts the most (shown below).  People love these and ask for extras.

Some people hang out because we have prepared a place for them to do that.  We have a chance to talk and the tracts break the ice with a good laugh.  We are able to make a connection.  Since we are outside there is no bottle neck at the front door.  It creates an environment where there is time to talk. 

If we were in the house then when parents let the kids walk up to the front door and stay on the street we would not be able to talk with them.  Since we are outside we actually get to talk to these parents and they are more open to coming up to us to talk.  There is no door or narrow walkway creating a barrier.  Plus it is face to face time for the whole family so it is easier to remember each other in the future.  And when our kids talk to their kids then next thing you know people are hanging out.

A lot of kids really comment about the candy.  They are like WOW!  We let them know that the big candy is a free gift from an even bigger God who created them and to read the important message on the wrapper.  That can lead into conversations about the gospel.

Some big kids want more than one bar.  Even with a huge candy bar one is not enough?  Funny how that works.  Is enough ever enough?  For the bigger kids that want more I let them know they can have another bar if they pass "the test".  I ask if they would consider themselves to be a good person?  And then that leads into gospel!  Trust God and step out and connect with people.

Also we provide a cooler full of water bottles for people to take for free.  The bottles have a “Got Thirst?” gospel label on them.  We put up a Free Stuff table that has DVD’s, Gospel of John’s, etc., which also attracts attention, questions and conversations.

7.  Be Humble (Be Genuine)
Look on everyone that you come in contact with as those that God loves dearly because He does.  He is not willing that any should perish.  Ask God that you would have His heart and compassion.  Then humbly through the power of the Holy Spirit generously share His love and the truth of the gospel to those who are lost.  Share the words of life either in writing stuck (to a big piece of candy) or verbally with those who hang around.  It is a privilege to serve God and meet people.  Be humble and loving when sharing the gospel but do not compromise the truth.  God’s judgment, wrath and Hell are just as real as His mercy, grace and forgiveness offered in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Proclaim the whole gospel earnestly.  Be genuine.  Be real.  Be a servant.

8.  Be Thankful
All Glory is God's.  Not every night honors Him but every night is His and belongs to no other.  Give thanks for His goodness.  Give thanks through honoring Him on October 31 by being His Light in the Night.  Thank Him for casting aside the darkness of night that all that come may see the light.  Thank Him for using a night meant for darkness to instead impact eternity through the sharing of gospel tracts in love to reach the lost.  Give all Glory to God for all Glory is His and He is worthy.  As a family pray asking God that seeds would be planted, that people would read the gospel message, that people would be saved and He glorified.

In prayer and study seek after God.  Allow God to use you to reach others every day, not just on October 31.  May the Holy Spirit lead you to be light in the middle of darkness.  Show compassion instead of apathy towards those who are lost.  Ask God what He would have you do this October 31 and then ask for the strength to do it.  I pray that in the sharing of this it helps you in some way to serve our King.

In Jesus name,

"I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12

*************SAMPLE TEXT******************

Are You Ready?

Nobody is guaranteed another day or minute. On Judgment Day every thought, word, and deed will be exposed. All will be guilty of lying, stealing and more. Nothing will be hidden from God. The penalty for sin is punishment in Hell. The good news is God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not die but have Eternal Life.

Jesus took the punishment for sins upon Himself dying on the cross and rising from the dead. God commands you to repent and put all your faith and trust in Jesus alone to save you. There is no other way. No amount of good works will get you to heaven. Repent and trust in Him alone today. You may not have tomorrow. Read the Bible daily and obey what you read.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.                     Ephesians 2:8

Monday, October 18, 2010

Not everyone is willing to talk to us. This student though polite, declined to talk to Shon. It happens pretty often. But even the reluctant will many times end up having a discussion with us.
Muhammed and his friends (not pictured here) were also reluctant but after some coaxing, were willing to discuss eternal matters with me. Notice how flip they are at first. As the conversation went on, Muhammed began handling his cigarette a lot and looking kind of nervous. He ended up stopping the conversation pretty abruptly, but not before I got to share most of the Gospel with him. Hopefuly he was being convicted. Ultimately only God knows. I'm sure we gave him something to think about. Chances are we will run into him again since we're planning to spend some more time on campus when classes start up again. Listen here as I share the Gospel with Muhammed and his friends.
Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ego eimi: The "I AM" Statements of Jesus

Here's a great clip from Wretched Radio with Todd Friel. This was broadcast on September 30, 2010. It's a quick but powerful explanation of the statements Jesus made about His deity...And a nifty lesson in Greek!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pelagian Rick Warren Teaches Pelagianism at John Piper's Desiring God

By Justin Edwards

From Apprising Ministrie
This year's controversial Desiring God Conference came to a close Sunday evening with a keynote lecture from Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren. Earlier this year, John Piper's invitation to Rick Warren sparked a firestorm among fundamental and reformed evangelicals as Warren is known for his pragmatic pulpit, Scripture twisting, and man-centered gospel that has served to do more harm to the Body of Christ than perhaps any other modern church movement. While Warren makes no apologies for his unbiblical methods and even heretical teachings, the fact that John Piper believes he is biblical "at root" left many scratching their heads this past spring. Following the public announcement of Rick Warren's invitation, Piper said,

At root I think he is theological and doctrinal and sound. (Source)

Continue reading.....

Friday, October 8, 2010

Yahoo, Yoga, and Yours Truly

by Albert Mohler
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Well, you never know what a day holds. This morning, Yahoo put the Associated Press story about my article on yoga on its front page. The rest, as they say, is history. My mail servers are exhausted. Messages have been coming in at a rate of about a hundred an hour. The first lesson — count the cost when you talk about yoga. These people get bent out of shape fast.

Today, Dylan Lovan of the Associated Press titled his story, “Southern Baptist Leader on Yoga: Not Christianity.” Well here is the appropriate next headline: “Christian Concerns About Yoga: Not News.” You would think that Christians had never asked the question before. To Lovan’s credit, he framed his story on the controversy that followed my original article, published back on September 20, “The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?.”

Lovan documents the controversy and quotes me as saying: “I’m really surprised by the depth of the commitment to yoga found on the part of many who identify as Christians.” Well, double or triple that now.

Here are the lessons I have learned thus far from the controversy:

Continue reading......

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book Giveaway Drawing

The drawing for the free book will be on Friday, October 14th.

Note: This offer available in the Continental U.S. only.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Treasuring Christ

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lovers of Self

by Henry Morris, Ph.D. 

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy." (2 Timothy 3:2)

One of the dangerous teachings of the "New Age" movement which has spilled over into modern evangelicalism is the notion of "self-love." Many psychologists--even Christian professional counselors--are attributing society's ills, especially among young people, to the supposed lack of a "positive self-image" or "self-esteem" on the part of those exhibiting anti-social behavior. What they need, we are told, is to learn to love themselves more, to appreciate their own self-worth. The problem with this idea is that it is both unscriptural and unrealistic. People do not hate themselves. The Bible says that "no man ever yet hated his own flesh" (Ephesians 5:29).

Instead of learning to esteem ourselves, the Scripture commands us each to "esteem other better than themselves" (Philippians 2:3). Even the apostle Paul, near the end of his life, considered himself so unworthy that he called himself the chief of sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15).

We are told by some Christian leaders that the measure of our great value in the sight of God is the fact that Christ paid such a high price--His own death--to redeem us. The fact is, however, that His death is not the measure of our great value, but of our terrible sinfulness. "Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
In fact, as in our text, the rise of this self-love idea is itself a sign of the last days, when men shall be "lovers of their own selves." It is the main characteristic of "New Age" humanism which is based squarely upon evolutionary pantheism.

Christ died for our sins because He loved us, not because He needed us. We should live for Him in thanksgiving for the "amazing grace, that saved a wretch like me!"


Friday, October 1, 2010

Thinking of Joining the Mormon Church?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why we still need to learn from Francis Schaeffer

As an undergraduate I read almost everything written by J. I. Packer, John Stott, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Francis Schaeffer. For all their discernible faults, these four men rank among the foremost spiritual giants of the twentieth century and the great moulders of classical evangelical theology, ministry and evangelism in the last sixty years.

If you know anything of their lives and ministries they also appear to be conspicuously out of step with the glitzy celebratory culture that pervades twenty first century evangelicalism.

Colin Duriez has done a remarkable job of recording the life of Schaeffer. His biography Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life has the virtues of being interesting, honest and accessible.

Francis Schaeffer was a fascinating human being; born in 1912, he was an only child and grew up in a working class home in Pennsylvania. The story of how he was brought to faith, his call to pastoral ministry, his early encounters with and love of music, art and philosophy, make for fascinating reading. I will in due course write more about the man, how he was moulded by God (including the secondary causes and relationships that shaped him), and his thought and influence.

Francis Schaeffer has a lot to teach us about true authenticity in ministry today. We have temptations that he can help us with, sub-cultural maladies that he can help us identify and avoid. There is an ugly superficiality in evangelical ministry, a grubby clamouring for recognition, a lip service paid to our usefulness to God outside of the spotlight.

Here are some of the themes that I want to explore in future posts:

Continue reading.....

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Is Truth?

by John MacArthur

One of the most profound and eternally significant questions in the Bible was posed by an unbeliever. Pilate - the man who handed Jesus over to be crucified - turned to Jesus in His final hour, and asked, "What is truth?" It was a rhetorical question, a cynical response to what Jesus had just revealed: "I have come into the world, to testify to the truth."
Two thousand years later, the whole world breathes Pilate's cynicism. Some say truth is a power play, a metanarrative constructed by the elite for the purpose of controlling the ignorant masses. To some, truth is subjective, the individual world of preference and opinion. Others believe truth is a collective judgment, the product of cultural consensus, and still others flatly deny the concept of truth altogether.
So, what is truth?
Here's a simple definition drawn from what the Bible teaches: Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God. That is the biblical meaning of truth. Because the definition of truth flows from God, truth is theological.
Truth is also ontological - which is a fancy way of saying it is the way things really are. Reality is what it is because God declared it so and made it so. Therefore God is the author, source, determiner, governor, arbiter, ultimate standard, and final judge of all truth.
The Old Testament refers to the Almighty as the "God of truth" (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 31:5; Is. 65:16). When Jesus said of Himself, "I am...the truth" (John 14:6, emphasis added), He was thereby making a profound claim about His own deity. He was also making it clear that all truth must ultimately be defined in terms of God and His eternal glory. After all, Jesus is "the brightness of [God's] glory and the express image of His person" (Heb. 1:3). He is truth incarnate - the perfect expression of God and therefore the absolute embodiment of all that is true.

Continue reading....

Monday, September 20, 2010

The War Between Spirituality and Science Is Over

The real question posed by Mooney’s USA Today column is whether Christians possess the discernment to recognize this postmodern mode of spirituality for what it is — unbelief wearing the language of a bland faith.

There are many arenas of cultural and intellectual conflict in the world today, but one of the most controversial of these arenas has disappeared. There is now no conflict between spirituality and science. The war is over, the combatants have gone home, and lilies of peace now decorate the landscape where conflict once raged. Science and spirituality are now at total unperturbed peace.
That paragraph is meaningless, of course, which is entirely the point. Monday’s edition of USA Today features an opinion column by Chris Mooney, author of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. Mooney sets out to argue that spirituality can serve as a bridge across the science-religion divide.

countinue reading...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Good Thing He is Good

Thursday, September 16, 2010

John MacArthur on Arminian theology

 Can you talk a little bit about Arminian theology? Is it biblical? And, if a church embraces that theology, are they saved? [Can somebody who holds an Arminian view be a Christian?”]


Yes, if you’re talking about Arminian theology. We always want to make the distinction between Armenians and Arminians. Armenians [are] a people; Arminian is a theology from Arminius. Let me just say this. This debate comes up all the time, and I like to answer the thing by saying I really don’t land, necessarily, with labels very comfortably. You know, you can be called a Calvinist or a Hyper-Calvinist or a Four-point Calvinist or…I’ve been called a Four-and-a-half-point Calvinist… One guy called me a One-point Calvinist--I don’t know how he came up with that. And people can be labeled Arminian.

I understand what they mean by that, but I, personally, try to resist those labels because those labels are loaded with different content for different people. And people love to slap a label on you and then everybody defines that label in a different way. So, I really run from those labels.

At the same time, to put it simply, the debate of Calvinism and Arminianism falls along five simple lines that we all know about called T.U.L.I.P.: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and the Perseverance of the saints--T.U.L.I.P.

John Calvin rightly interpreted the Bible to teach that man is totally depraved. What that means, is that, not every human being is as sinful as he could be or she could be, but that every human being is sinful to the point that they’re incapable of altering their condition. That is to say, total depravity means you can’t do anything to save yourself. You can’t even make a right choice. You can’t awaken your spiritual deadness. You can’t give life where there is death. You can’t come to a right conclusion on your own. Total depravity means that everyone, is by virtue of their own will and their own power and their own choices, incapable of redemption. That’s total depravity.

Arminius would say--Arminian theology, Palagian theology, as it’s also called--would say “man is capable.” That while man is, in the general sense, a sinner, he has capacities within himself to choose to be saved. That is the debate. I don’t think that’s biblical. I think we are dead in trespasses and sin, and dead people don’t make choices. Dead people can’t make themselves alive. So, I think there is a clear distinction there.

Continue reading........

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Quiz For Your Arminian Friends,

Here's an interesting quiz I came across on a friend's Facebook profile. 

by Jay Banks

Eph. 1:11 ...[W]ho [God] worketh all things after the counsel of His will.

Q.  If God works all things after the counsel of His will, how much
does He work to the will of you, me, Satan, etc.?
A. None.
B. 20%
C. 50%
D. 85%

 Is. 14:24  Jehovah of hosts hath sworn, saying , Surely, as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.
Q. How much of what He wants to come to pass, doesn’t?
A. All of His thoughts will come to pass
B. Some of His thoughts will not come to pass
C. A few of His thoughts will not come to pass
D. A lot of His thoughts will not come to pass
Rom. 8:29  For whom He foreknew, He also foreordained to be conformed to to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many bretheren: and whom He foreordained, them He also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
Q. How many do you think have been called, justified, or glorified that He did not first foreknow or foreordain?
A. Write in your answer: ___________________

John 10:14  I am the good shepherd; and I know my own, and mine own know me, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Q. Where does this scripture say that Jesus laid down his life for the sheep and the goats
A. It doesn’t
B. It doesn’t, but I just know He meant the goats, too
 John 6:65  No man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of the Father.
Q. How many come to Jesus that were not first given to him by the Father?
A. 0
B. 5,000
C. 5,000,000
D. 10,000,000

 John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me
Q. How many that the Father gave Him will not come to Him?
A. Two
B. A couple of thousand
C. A couple of million
D. Trick question, it says they will all come unto him

 John 10:28  I [Jesus] give unto them the (true followers, or ‘sheep’) eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Q. How many sheep do you think have been snatched from either God’s or Jesus’ hands?
A. None
B. 50,000
C. 500,000
D. 1,000,000

 Rev. 13:8  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Q. Considering this, and other related scripture, God having to blot out a name from the book of life would mean:
A. God makes mistakes.
B. Some have been snatched from Jesus’ hands?
C. God didn’t know that some of His sheep were really goats.
D. None of the above.
Q. Could a person whose name was written in the book of life from the foundation of the world not have become a Christian (or have saving faith in God if born before Jesus)?
A. No
B. Yes
C. This confuses me, but I’m going to believe the Bible.
D. This confuses me, and I’m going to pretend this isn’t in the Bible (be honest).

 Matt. 13  10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Q. Jesus himself declared that one of the reasons why He spoke in parables was that the truth might be concealed from whom it was not intended. Is this fair?
A. No.
B. Yes.
C. Who are we to question God?
D. I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that verse.

 Rom. 8:28 To them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to His purpose.
Q. How many things do not work for the good of those who love God?
A. 10% of all things
B. 40% of all things
C. 85% of all things
D. Trick question, the Bible says all things work for the good of those who love Him

 Mark 14:30 And Jesus said unto him (Peter), Verily I say unto thee, that thou, today, even this night before the cock crow twice shall deny me thrice.
A. Could Peter not have denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed twice?
Answer here: ____________________________
B. Did Jesus make Peter deny him, or did Peter do it of his own free will?
Answer here: ____________________________

 Exodus 4:11 [God Himself asks the rhetorical question] Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him his sight or makes him blind? Is it not I the Lord?
Q. Is this fair?
A. Yes.
B. No.
C. Who are we to question God?
D. I’m going to pretend this isn’t in the Bible.