Here's a goofy way to play around with family pictures that's wholesome and just plain fun. The best part is that there's nothing to download. Just browse your pics, follow a few easy instructions, and your done!
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Here's a goofy way to play around with family pictures that's wholesome and just plain fun. The best part is that there's nothing to download. Just browse your pics, follow a few easy instructions, and your done!
The atheist is, morally, as well as mentally, a fool, a fool in the heart as well as in the head; a fool in morals as well as in philosophy. With the denial of God as a starting
point, we may well conclude that the fool’s progress is a rapid, riotous, raving, ruinous one. He who begins at impiety is ready for anything. “No God,” being interpreted, means no law, no order, no restraint to lust, no limit to passion
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
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.
Monday, March 29, 2010
A mega-church pastor recently defended his obsession with counting converts: "So we celebrate the numbers (people). We obsess about the numbers (people). We lay awake at night thinking about how we can reach more numbers (people). We cry when one of our number-friends repents and comes to Christ. We weep when, in a great 21st century moment of revival, we see 400+ numbers (sinners) make a decision to leave their lives of sin and follow Christ."
People sometimes tell me that my blog is too focused on Charles Spurgeon, with all of the quotes and writings of his that I post. This is by design however. I cant think of anyone who gives as effective an antidote to the modern seeker-driven movement, as the 19th century Prince of Preachers. That's because Spurgeon pastored a mega-church, but not one that was built through man-centered pragmatism. He was extremely evangelism-oriented, but unlike so many modern mega-churches, Spurgeon did not abandon sound doctrine. This quote from Spurgeon sums-up that point:"The need of the hour for today's ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire". [more]
Going back to our modern mega-church pastor. I think we get clarification from another statement that he made: "There will be hundreds here this weekend who haven't made a decision yet to follow Jesus". His numerical assessment of a 21st century revival at his church - is based on "decisions". This appears to be the modern error of decisional regeneration again.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
A group of Christians who were expelled from Katin village in January were again urged to recant their faith in Jesus Christ on March 15, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. The believers have been living in makeshift shelters about 4 miles outside the village, where they were abandoned in January without food or shelter.
“At noon [on March 15] … seven Katin believers were summoned to the district office of Ta-Oyl district,” VOM contacts reported. “The district head of Ta-Oyl, Mr. Bounma, urged the Katin believers to reconsider their decision to follow the Christian faith.” When the Christians again refused to renounce their faith, the district head stated that although the Lao constitution and law provide for freedom of religion in Laos, he is not going to allow Christianity in his district. The Katin believers later learned that the officials planned to burn down their temporary shelters along with 11 temporary homes at the site where they were taken in January.
Several days after these threats from local officials, a delegation of provincial officials assured the believers that they are free to practice their religion and live anywhere in the district they choose. However, since the temporary shelters are on land owned by a neighboring village, officials could not guarantee the Christians they can remain at the site.
Praise God for these faithful believers and for the positive signs from provincial authorities. Pray that local authorities will allow these believers to return to their homes, and pray that the Christians will remain strong in their faith. Also pray for their safety and health; many are sick and in need of medical treatment.
HT: Voice of The Martyrs
Friday, March 26, 2010
This is a great resource from Living Waters/Way of The Master. I'm working my way through the course now and I can't say enough good things about it. Watch the promotional video below and prayerfully consider this great course of study.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
You've probably heard a lot about the Origin Into the Schools project that took place last fall and perhaps even the newest efforts to distribute this book in New Zealand and Australia, but do you have a copy of your own?
It's been a while since our last giveaway, so here's the newest offer. No strings, just send an email to me with "Origins Giveaway" in the subject header, and I will choose one winner at random. I have set the drawing for May 31st, 2010.
Enter today to have a chance to receive Ray Comfort's fifty page introduction to Darwin's famous book along with the full text of the original On The Origin of Species absolutely free!
Note: Due to shipping costs, this offer is only available in the continental United States and Canada.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
About once a year or so, I re-post this audio. I still have yet to make sense of it. When I made this call, I was sitting in my car burning time waiting for my oldest daughter to finish up with her teen bible study. I simply left my recorder running while I had my phone on speaker mode. Not to high tech, but the sound actually came out pretty good.
While listening to a popular Christian radio station, I heard a promotion for a number to call if you needed to learn more about a "relationship with Jesus Christ." Since this is exactly what StreetFishing is about, I was interested in how they would present me with the gospel. I wasn't prepared for what I was about to hear though. As a believer, this phone call left me perplexed. It didn't even closely resemble any gospel presentation I've ever heard. I wonder what the unbleliever has experienced.
The goal of this ministry is to encourage and equip others to go and share the gospel plainly and biblically. Much of what we hear today is a product of modern methods that are targeted at a specific audience and that are seeker sensitive rather than biblically sound. The peson on this call however didn't even use anything remotely seeker sensitive. He didn't make sense at all in my opinion. Let me know what you think. Listen here as I call in to this national phone-in line.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
A Marketing Scam
Practically, prosperity theology/idolatry is a marketing scam. My undergrad degree is in communications from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University, which is one of the top programs in the country. In my advertising, journalism, speech, marketing, and public relations classes, we were repeatedly taught that advertisers pay for media (e.g., air time on television and radio) and that unless a host or program is able to attract and retain a valuable audience for advertisers, they simply cannot remain in business.
The Dirty Little Secret
However, one of the first things I learned many years ago while co-hosting a small national Christian radio show was that there was one exception—namely, Christian programming. You see—and here’s the dirty little secret—most programming on Christian radio and television is nothing more than infomercials. Many of the shows are not kept on the air because they attract an audience that advertisers will pay for. Instead, the air time is purchased by the “ministry,” who can then use that time to say whatever foolish thing they want without needing to satisfy advertisers’ requirements for quality programming.
How to Make Jesus an Idol-Giver
The question is, how can you pay for the expensive airtime when advertisers won’t pay for the typical slots around the “Christian” programming? The answer is prosperity theology/idolatry. To pay for the airtime for infomercials, “ministry” leaders need to find a way for people to send in generous tax-deductible donations. The problem is that most people don’t give generously unless they really get the fact of the gospel—that our God is so generous that he gave us his own life—or they are given a theology in which Jesus is an idol-giver. So, prosperity theology was born for, in large part, the express purpose of paying for poor quality “Christian” programming and generating massive amounts of revenue to keep programming on the air that would not otherwise merit a time slot. Simply stated, it’s a business racket where you have to promise people God will bless them, or guilt grandmas into writing big checks by promising that Jesus is a pagan god who can be made to live for our glory if we manipulate him through faith and giving.
Of course, there are exceptions. Some fine Bible-based, Jesus-loving, gospel-centered ministries do exist on television and radio that do not promote prosperity theology/idolatry and actually teach against it by being faithful to the Bible. Just a few examples that come to mind are Greg Laurie, Hank Hanegraff, R. C. Sproul, and Kay Arthur. Nonetheless, now you know the dirty little secret about prosperity theology/idolatry.
HT: Truth Matters
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Here's another story of persecution making it's way into the west. While is it nothing compared to the suffering thousands of our persecuted brothers and sisters are going through around the world, how long will it be before we are asked to make the kind of choice Shawn did or perhaps worse? This photo shows Shawn and his evangelism team leaving the Glasgow high court.
Here is an update from Shawn's blog:
Yesterday (March 18th) I was arrested while preaching the Gospel in downtown Glasgow Scotland. I spent a horrible night in jail and all I can say is that it was just miserable. Too many details from this specific incident occured for me to list here. I will say however that what it came down to was that two people were supposedly offended when I said that homosexuality is a sin against Jesus, therefore the arrest. I was given two options:
1- plead guilty to some really trumped up charges and possibly pay a small fine of hopefully only 50 pounds or so and go home by Monday asa planned or
2- plead not guilty and have to spend up to 8 weks waiting for the trial NOT being allowed to leave the country with no guarentee of winning the case.
I chose option number one. Big bummer though. The fine was 1000 pounds. Thats 1600 US dollars. The Christian men I am here with along with ten or so Christians from the area that we have never met who heard about this crazy arrest and false charges all pitched in and paid the fine for us!
So thank you for your prayers and please know how dearly we love you all. I will keep you posted soon with video and photos from this outreach when I return, Lord willing. May the Lord bless you.
Shawn and family
Saturday, March 20, 2010
LAHORE, Pakistan, March 18 (CDN) — Five Muslims allegedly ransacked the house of an impoverished Christian in this capital city of Punjab Province last month and angrily beat his daughters in an effort to get the family to withdraw rape charges.
Muhammad Sajjid wielding a pistol, Muhammad Sharif brandishing a dagger and Muhammad Wajjad and two unidentified accomplices carrying bamboo clubs arrived at the Lahore home of Piyara Masih the afternoon of Feb. 26, Christian leaders said. The Muslims allegedly ransacked the house and began thrashing his two daughters, a 15-year-old and her 21-year-old sister, Muniran Bibi, according to attorney Azra Shujaat, head of Global Evangelical Ministries, and Khalid Gill, president of the Christian Liberation Front (CLF).
Muniran said Sharif stabbed her four times with the dagger.
“They ripped apart my clothes, as well as my sister’s,” she said. “In the meantime, Muhammad Sajjid kept firing into the air to terrorize us.”
The family accuses the men of raping her then-13-year-old sister in 2008. Their frail father said that the gang leader, Sajjid, commanded his accomplices to abduct both Muniran and her sister in the most recent attack, without success. A neighbor who requested anonymity said that a large number of people gathered in front of the house upon hearing the cries of the Christian family, causing the five Muslims to flee.
Friday, March 19, 2010
The Bible does not specifically say who Cain’s wife was. The only possible answer is that Cain's wife was his sister or niece or great-niece, etc. The Bible does not say how old Cain was when he killed Abel (Genesis 4:8). Since they were both farmers, they were likely both full-grown adults, possibly with families of their own. Adam and Eve surely had given birth to more children than just Cain and Abel at the time Abel was killed. They definitely had many more children later (Genesis 5:4). The fact that Cain was scared for his own life after he killed Abel (Genesis 4:14) indicates that there were likely many other children and perhaps even grandchildren of Adam and Eve already living at that time. Cain's wife (Genesis 4:17) was a daughter or granddaughter of Adam and Eve.
Since Adam and Eve were the first (and only) human beings, their children would have no other choice than to intermarry. God did not forbid inter-family marriage until much later when there were enough people to make intermarriage unnecessary (Leviticus 18:6-18). The reason that incest today often results in genetic abnormalities is that when two people of similar genetics (i.e., a brother and sister) have children together, there is a high risk of their recessive characteristics becoming dominant. When people from different families have children, it is highly unlikely that both parents will carry the same recessive traits. The human genetic code has become increasingly “polluted” over the centuries as genetic defects are multiplied, amplified, and passed down from generation to generation. Adam and Eve did not have any genetic defects, and that enabled them and the first few generations of their descendants to have a far greater quality of health than we do now. Adam and Eve’s children had few, if any, genetic defects. As a result, it was safe for them to intermarry.
HT: Got Questions.org
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I am convinced that pragmatism poses precisely the same subtle threat to the church in our age that modernism represented nearly a century ago.
Modernism was a movement that embraced higher criticism and liberal theology while denying nearly all the supernatural aspects of Christianity. But modernism did not first surface as an overt attack on orthodox doctrine. The earliest modernists seemed concerned primarily with interdenominational unity. They were willing to downplay doctrine for that goal, because they believed doctrine was inherently divisive and a fragmented church would become irrelevant in the modern age. To heighten Christianity's relevance, modernists sought to synthesize Christian teachings with the latest insights from science, philosophy, and literary criticism.
Modernists viewed doctrine as a secondary issue. They emphasized brotherhood and experience and de-emphasized doctrinal differences. Doctrine, they believed, should be fluid and adaptable—certainly not something worth fighting for. In 1935, John Murray gave this assessment of the typical modernist:
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Imagine you find yourself languishing in a foreign prison because you attempted to rescue 33 children after an earthquake in Haiti. And let's just say that your government made no effort to help you. Bill Clinton didn't feel your pain, and even the ceaseless Jimmy Carter had no place in his heart for you. And let's just imagine, for the sake of conversation, that you happen to be Baptist. What would you do?
Clearly without the help of Al Sharpton, NOW or the mass media, you have little hope. Should you ever find yourself in this predicament because you are a Christia…I mean, because you don't have the correct papers, perhaps you could try one of the following tried and true methods. These are almost guaranteed to get you sprung.
10. Wear a Che Guevara t-shirt.
9. Tell them you have a COEXIST bumper sticker.
8. Tell them you have a COEXIST bumper sticker on your Subaru.
7. Tell them you just wanted to bring HOPE and CHANGE to the children.
6. Say, "Kids? We thought they were spotted owls!"
5. Say, "We thought Haiti had a one-child policy. We were just trying to help."
4. Say, "We chose to take those kids. If you want to make a different choice, that's up to you, but don't impose your beliefs on us."
3. Casually mention you were just taking them to get their Gardisil shots.
2. Glibly mention, "We were just going to kill them to lower carbon emissions."
1. Scream, "George W. Bush made us do it."
Any one of those should get you sprung. But of course, you won't need these if you aren't a Christian.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Ray Comfort is one of the brightest, funniest, quick witted and genuine people I have ever met. I'm not name dropping here, many, perhaps thousands of us involved in biblical evangelism who have attended his conferences or the Ambassadors' Academy have met him. My bet is that most would say the same. His genuine love for the lost, and atheists in particular is evident in any idea he comes up with. Ray's mission in life is to share the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as he can, and he's found numerous original and compelling ways to do that and motivate others to do the same.
Check out his newest idea in the video below. Not much surprises me about this man anymore!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Here is a new segment that we will be posting periodically at first, and hopefully in the near future, weekly. We're calling it StreetFishing Sound Bites. Everything from our evangelism encounters and open air preaching to interviews and clips from other sources.
Today we are kicking off with a short clip from Wretched Radio with Todd Friel.
Todd answers a caller's question about how to respond biblically to someone approaching him with a "God told me..." scenario. Listen here as Todd offers his pithy response.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Women of the Huria Christian Protestant Batak Church (HKBP) cried in protest as officials from the Bekasi Building Department on March 1 placed a brown signboard of closure on the church building in Pondok Timur, Bekasi, 12 miles (19 kilometers) from Jakarta.
The seal stayed in place for about two minutes before some of the shrieking women tore it down. The sign was trampled as furious church members stampeded over it, shouting and screaming. Bekasi city officials turned and ran as the congregation fanned out.
The defiance followed a heated debate within the same church building minutes before, as the Christians had invited the Bekasi officials inside to discuss the matter when they arrived to seal the building. The discussion soon became heated as a city official asserted that the church did not have a building permit.
The church had applied for a worship building permit in 2006, but local officials had yet to act on it, according to the church’s pastor, the Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak.
At the meeting inside the church building, attorney Refer Harianya said that the sealing process was illegal, as it requires that public notice be given.
“HKBP has never seen nor received the formal order and has not acknowledged such an order by signing a receipt,” Harianya said. “In addition, public notice must be given in the form of formal reading of the order.”
Saturday, March 13, 2010
ISTANBUL, March 12 (CDN) — Moroccan authorities deported more than 40 foreign Christian aid workers this week in an ongoing, nationwide crackdown that included the expulsion of foster parents caring for 33 Moroccan orphans.
Deportations of foreign Christians continued at press time, with Moroccan authorities expressing their intention to deport specifically U.S. nationals. Sources in Morocco told Compass that the government gave the U.S. Embassy in Rabat a list of 40 citizens to be deported.
The U.S. Embassy in Rabat could not comment on the existence of such a list, but spokesperson David Ranz confirmed that the Moroccan government plans to deport more U.S. citizens for alleged “proselytizing.”
“We have been informed by the Moroccan government that it does intend to expel more American citizens,” said embassy spokesperson David Ranz.
Citing Western diplomats and aid groups, Reuters reported that as many as 70 foreign aid workers had been deported since the beginning of the month, including U.S., Dutch, British and New Zealand citizens.
Friday, March 12, 2010
"The church, if it is to be anything, it is to be absolutely distinct from the culture, absolutely distinct from the world, absolutely distinct from unbelievers," said prominent author and evangelical pastor John MacArthur.
Speaking from the pulpit to thousands of fellow pastors at the Shepherds' Conference, MacArthur underscored the biblical command not to be yoked with nonbelievers and to be a separated people.
"Paul demands a total break," he said Wednesday at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., citing the apostle in the New Testament.
MacArthur, author of Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World, grew up in a fundamentalist environment. At that time, the word "separation" was a big word on the evangelical word list. Fundamentalists built high walls in terms of church conduct and relationships, he explained. If those walls or lines were crossed, the violator was vilified.
Even MacArthur was a victim of the highly separatistic fundamentalism. He recalled being stripped off of about 55 radio stations in one day when they felt he was behaving outside their parameters.
The fundamentalism back then was cruel and unbiblical, he said. And it was so cannibalistic that it consumed itself and disappeared.
But MacArthur feels there needs to be a "biblical (not traditional) understanding of separation" among Christians today.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
This L.A. Times story about two professors who engage in debate about abortion each semester is very interesting. I especially appreciate this except from the debate in which Raymond Dennehy, professor of philosophy, bioethics and epistemology at the University of San Francisco, essentially uses what STR calls the Columbo tactic to shift the burden and clarify an objector's argument so it's easier to see the real issue.
Dennehy was unwavering. A woman can abort a fetus only to save her own life. In all other cases, even rape, abortion is tantamount to murder.
"Have you ever been raped or been pregnant?" a young woman demanded.
You could almost see Dennehy rolling his eyes.
"Suppose I said yes," he said, unable to keep a slight snippiness out of his voice. "What's your next move?"
"I was just curious how your opinion would have changed if you were in that situation."
"What has that got to do with the validity of my argument?"
Her gambit failed; now she was on the defensive: "It's just a question."
"There are only two issues in an argument, miss," Dennehy said. "The facts, and the conclusions you draw from the facts.
"When we teach logic, that common fallacy is one of the first things we teach: shifting the attention of the argument and the evidence to the person arguing. It's absolutely irrelevant."
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism—though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject—are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ. Now, I do not ask you whether you believe all this—it is possible you may not; but I believe you will before you enter heaven. I am persuaded, that as God may have washed your hearts, he will wash your brains before you enter heaven. 12.92
I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, has great reason to question whether he is a Christian at all, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart. 277.424
“But,” say others, “God elected them on the foresight of their faith.” Now, God gives faith, therefore he could not have elected them on account of faith, which he foresaw. There shall be twenty beggars in the street, and I determine to give one of them a shilling; but will any one say that I determined to give that one a shilling, that I elected him to have the shilling, because I foresaw that he would have it? That would be talking nonsense. In like manner to say that God elected men because he foresaw they would have faith, which is salvation in the germ, would be too absurd for us to listen to for a moment. 41,42.317
Our Arminian antagonists always leave the fallen angels out of the question: for it is not convenient to them to recollect this ancient instance of Election. They call it unjust, that God should choose one man and not another. By what reasoning can this be unjust when they will admit that it was righteous enough in God to choose one race—the race of men, and leave another race—the race of angels, to be sunk into misery on account of sin. 303.134
Some, who know no better, harp upon the foreknowledge of our repentance and faith, and say that, “Election is according to the foreknowledge of God;” a very scriptural statement, but they make a very unscriptural interpretation of it. Advancing by slow degrees, they next assert that God foreknew the faith and the good works of his people. Undoubtedly true, since he foreknew everything; but then comes their groundless inference, namely, that therefore the Lord chose his people because he foreknew them to be believers. It is undoubtedly true that foreknown excellencies are not the causes of election, since I have shown you that the Lord foreknew all our sin: and surely if there were enough virtue in our faith and goodness to constrain him to choose us, there would have been enough demerit in our bad works to have constrained him to reject us; so that if you make foreknowledge to operate in one way, you must also take it in the other, and you will soon perceive that it could not have been from anything good or bad in us that we were chosen, but according to the purpose of his own will, as it is written, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 779.621
Recollect also that God himself did not foresee that there would be any love to him in us arising out of ourselves, for there never has been any, and there never will be; he only foresaw that we should believe because he gave us faith, he foresaw that we should repent because his Spirit would work repentance in us, he foresaw that we should love, because he wrought that love within us; and is there anything in the foresight that he means to give us such things that can account for his giving us such things? The case is self-evident—his foresight of what he means to do cannot be his reason for doing it. 1299.341
There was nothing more in Abraham than in any one of us why God should have selected him, for whatever good was in Abraham God put it there. Now, if God put it there, the motive for his putting it there could not be the fact of his putting it there. 303.135
A controversialist once said, “If I thought God had a chosen people, I should not preach.” That is the very reason why I do preach. What would make him inactive is the mainspring of my earnestness. If the Lord had not a people to be saved, I should have little to cheer me in the ministry. 2167.551
I believe that God will save his own elect, and I also believe that, if I do not preach the gospel, the blood of men will be laid at my door. 2303.171
Our Saviour has bidden us to preach the gospel to every creature; he has not said, “Preach it only to the elect;” and though that might seem to be the most logical thing for us to do, yet, since he has not been pleased to stamp the elect in their foreheads, or to put any distinctive mark upon them, it would be an impossible task for us to perform; whereas, when we preach the gospel to every creature, the gospel makes its own division, and Christ’s sheep hear his voice, and follow him. 2937.262
God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but He called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by His workmanship in them. ME329
Grace does not choose a man and leave him as he is. 801.162
For more Spurgeon quotes (including an alphabetical listing) click on the link here.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Is it enough to "believe in Jesus" in some amorphous sense that divorces "faith" from any particular doctrine about Him, or is doctrine--and the content of our faith--really important after all?
"If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing" (1 Tim. 6:3-4, emphasis added).
Sound, biblical doctrine is a necessary aspect of true wisdom and authentic faith. The attitude that scorns doctrine while elevating feelings or blind trust cannot legitimately be called faith at all, even if it masquerades as Christianity. It is actually an irrational form of unbelief.
God holds us accountable for what we believe as well as how we think about the truth He has revealed. All Scripture testifies to the fact that God wants us to know and understand the truth. He wants us to be wise. His will is that we use our minds. We are supposed to think, meditate, and above all, to be discerning.
The content of our faith is crucial. Sincerity is not sufficient.
Consider, for example, these well-known verses. Note the repeated use of words like truth, knowledge, discernment, wisdom, and understanding:
Monday, March 8, 2010
Ken Hamm and the gang over at Answers In Genesis have developed a new web site called I am not ashamed. They have the world's first video bible and few other neat features. See the video below with Ken Hamm reading the first words of scripture from Genesis 1:1-4.
You can also read more here from their blog about this project.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Anglicans say Islamists tricked them by showing up for inter-faith debate with security agents.
NAIROBI, Kenya, February 2 (CDN) — Two Christian evangelists in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, have been arrested after Muslims invited them to debate religion but instead called in security agents who charged the evangelists with illegal preaching.
Anglican evangelists Eleutery Kobelo and Cecil Simbaulanga, released on bail and facing a hearing on Feb. 11, told Compass that Christian and Muslim groups organized the inter-faith debate that was planned for a neutral venue in October of last year in the Kariakoo area of Dar es Salaam.
Kobelo said no Muslims showed up at the debate until Islamists arrived with government security agents who charged them with “using religious sermons to incite Muslims and Christians into viewing each other with suspicion.”
“This continuous intimidation by the Muslims using the police is worrying us,” he said.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Armed Islamic assault following fruit stand scuffle leads to police round-up of Christians.
KARACHI, Pakistan, February 26 (CDN) — In the wake of an attack this week by 150 armed Muslims on a Christian colony in this city in Sindh Province, police have filed a false First Information Report (FIR) against 40 unnamed Christians and arrested five, Christian leaders said.
They said the 40 unnamed Christians in the FIR are accused without basis with beating Muslim men, abusing Muslim women and girls, ransacking Muslim homes and looting expensive items from Muslim homes. The false FIR is designed only to harass the Christian community, they said, adding that the five arrested Christians were visitors to the area – the only ones on the street available for police to summarily round up, as they were unaware of the FIR.
Some 150 armed Muslims assaulted the Christian colony of Pahar Ganj in North Nazimabad, Karachi, on Sunday (Feb. 21), damaging two churches, shooting at houses, beating Christians and burning shops and vehicles after a fruit stand vendor attacked a Christian boy for touching his merchandise.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Providence [prov-i-duhns] The foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth.
It's the only reason this lowly creature can attribute to finding this video when I did. 'Nuff said.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
by Trish Ramos
Recently, some of the readers of my blog have expressed concern over my offer of "Luther Gold" compiled by Ray Comfort. Specifically, some of my critics have felt it was inconsistent to advocate Christianity and also feature the writings of an alleged anti-semitism such as Martin Luther.
I want to be as clear as possible that I do not support anti-semitism in any capacity. In fact, I love the Jewish people very much.
Remember, Jesus Christ of Nazareth was himself a Jew and I worship that Jewish Carpenter from Galilee. But as Josh McDowell said, “Jesus is more than a carpenter” He is the Son of God and Lord over all and He calls all men to repent and call on His name.
Now regarding Martin Luther and his attitude towards the Jews, as I said previously I do not support anti-semitism and do not advocate or agree with what Martin Luther said about the Jews. So then, is this a contradiction? Is it an inconsistency? Not at all. I believe that Martin Luther was dead wrong about the Jews but dead right about other things.
He was a simple man and was the product of the doctrine that he believed in. In that, despite being sinful, God saved him through the grace of Jesus Christ – apart from any works or righteousness of his own.
Martin Luther courageously stood up against the corrupt medieval Roman Catholic Church and defended the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone at the risk of his own life. Martin Luther rediscovered that men and women are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, based on the authority of the Bible alone, for God’s Glory alone. And I agree with this view of salvation with all my heart.
Was Martin Luther perfect? No, not at all. In fact, he was wrong in many things. His view of infant baptism was not biblical (I believe believers in Christ alone should be baptized), as was his view of consubstantiation (view on communion). But I believe that he was a true believer in Jesus Christ despite his errors.
Martin Luther’s view on the Jews is indefensible. He did say many wrong things against the Jews but does this negate everything he every taught and stood for? No.
For example, let’s say that there is a brilliant mathematician who discovers a theorem in physics that revolutionizes the scientific world but he is a drunkard who neglects his wife. Does his sin of drunkenness and abusive behavior disprove his discovery? No, of course not. They are entirely separate. Similarly, while Martin Luther said many unfortunate things about the Jews, he was correct about the essential truths of the Christian faith.
I will not sweep Martin Luther’s despicable views of the Jews under the carpet. It is as it is. It was wrong and God will deal with Him on that. None of us are perfect. We all need Jesus Christ desperately. But thanks be to God for His indescribable grace that calls all of you atheists that are reading this to repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I know that many of you will not agree with me on this. But I believe that it is possible for Christians (who love the Lord) to do bad things some times. I care deeply for you all. Feel free to post comments. Now you have a spot to do this.
Lastly, I want all those who may read this to know that there is hope in Jesus Christ. If you acknowledge your sins before God and are willing to repent and trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, you shall be saved and receive the gift of eternal life. Please do this today, you have no guarantee that you'll see tomorrow.
"Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth." Proverbs 27:1
"Truly these times of ignorance God has overlooked but now commands all men everywhere to repent" Acts 17:30
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved" Romans 10:13
"But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." John 20:31
Check out Trish Ramos' blog here.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
by Tullian Tchividjian
There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be trust as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Commenting on the professed faith of pro golfer Woods, he stated, "Here's the problem with Buddhism: they don't believe in a personal God that is there to forgive a person."
He cited Stephen Prothero, a Boston University professor on Buddhism, who said that in the Buddhist tradition "no matter what Woods says or does, he is going to have to pay for whatever wrongs he's done."
"There's no accountant in the sky wiping sins off your balance sheet, like there is in Christianity."
Woods on Friday confessed to serial infidelity and said he'll return to the Buddhist teachings that he drifted away from as he tries to regain his balance on life.
Buddhism, however, does not offer forgiveness, Laurie pointed out. But "Christianity says there is a personal God there to forgive you who sent His son to die on the cross and pay the price for your sins so you can indeed be forgiven."
The brief comment on the famous public apology served as Laurie's introduction to his sermon on Christian worldview.
The well-known evangelist believes Christians are often labeled as "bigoted" for expressing their faith or taking a stand on certain issues. One example he cited was when Fox anchor Brit Hume was blasted for suggesting that what Woods really needed was a relationship with Jesus Christ to be forgiven. Amid such persecution, Laurie sought to convey to his congregation the importance of thinking and living biblically and basing their beliefs on what the Bible teaches regardless of what "we feel is right."
Hitting some of the most controversial and widely debated issues, Laurie asked the congregation not to respond to the hot topics "emotionally" or "logically" but biblically.
Having a biblical worldview means believing that there is a living God and that He has revealed Himself in Scripture, the Harvest pastor explained.
"We accept that we have absolute truth from God," he said. "The objective is not to conform the Bible to the changing culture but to conform the changing culture to what the Bible teaches."
On the topic of capital punishment, Laurie pointed to one of the Ten Commandments – thou shalt not kill. The Bible, he said, doesn't condemn all killing. Self-defense, sometimes war, and capital punishment are justifiable, he said.
"I believe in capital punishment," Laurie stated, though he acknowledged there are "good people" on both sides of this debate. "And I believe the Bible teaches it."
Regarding abortion he stressed that the Bible does not give an unclear word on when life begins.
"Life begins at conception, not at birth," he stated. "This is absolute. Each child is created by God and should be given a chance to live."
Indicating a "no exceptions" stand against abortion even if the life of the mother may be in danger, Laurie said just as a mother would instinctively lay her life down if she sees her child about to get hit by a car, she should do the same when it comes to having the baby.
Homosexuality is another clear-cut issue, the evangelist stressed. The Bible is very clear: homosexuality is not in God's order, he said.
"God is not anti-gay. God is anti-sin no matter how it is expressed," he stated, adding that people are not born gay.
"I will acknowledge that as a person who is born with a sinful nature you might be attracted to members of the same-sex," he noted. "I would also acknowledge as a person who is born a sinner you might be more prone to issues of addiction. But having said that, all of these can be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit.
"You were born a sinner in need of a savior who can change you and help you live the life He has called you to live. That's the answer."
"We're all sinners," Laurie reminded the congregation. "I'm not standing here today as some pompous preacher looking down on everyone. We've all broken God's commandments in some way shape or form. We all need forgiveness. He offers it graciously and lovingly if we come to Him."HT: The Christian Post
Monday, March 1, 2010
Apologetics is probably the most misunderstood area of ministry in the Church today. What is meant to be a preservative is often blamed as being divisive.
The apologetic wing of the Church can be looked upon as a mechanic who listens to the sound of a car, looks into the engine and then diagnoses the problem. If we went to a car mechanic who was able to accurately diagnose what is wrong, or could go wrong in the future, we would all be appreciative. But regarding apologists, most do not want to hear what is said because it might move them out of their comfort zone, or it’s simply what they don’t want to hear -- that someone's favorite teacher could be wrong and misleading them.
... There are hundreds of apologetic counter cult ministries throughout the US and more are needed because of the increase in cults and false teaching. ...
There are hundreds of apologetic counter cult ministries throughout the US and more are needed because of the increase in cults and false teaching.
The Church has moved into areas that are challenging her from without as well as from within. Anything that can be shaken is. Every doctrine the Church practice is being challenged by those who say they want us to be in the truth. What has become the center of concern is within the Church itself. So many have turned inward to polemics for the Church's protection. It is evident when we find false teaching outside the Church such as Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, everyone can agree there is a problem. But when false teaching is found inside the Church it becomes a delicate issue and if addressed and exposed it is considered fault finding.
It says in Eccl.1:9 "There is no new thing under the sun." What once had been thought of in private is now being proclaimed openly. We are at a time when we need to know what we believe or we will succumb to the many voices whispering (or shouting) in the wind. Today, instead of aberrant doctrine being called heresy, the ones that expose the teachers of these aberrant doctrines are labeled as "heresy hunters."