Archive for the ‘sound doctrine’ Category

GTY Blog Post – The Injustice of Social Justice — by John MacArthur — Truth2Freedom’s Blog

September 8, 2018

The besetting sin of pragmatic, style-conscious evangelicals has always been that they shamelessly borrow fads and talking points from the unbelieving world. Today’s evangelicals evidently don’t believe the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God (1 Corinthians 3:19). Virtually any theory, ideology, or amusement that captures the fancy of secular pop culture will be […]

via GTY Blog Post – The Injustice of Social Justice — by John MacArthur — Truth2Freedom’s Blog

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Note from Christine:

In my previous post, the subject of “Social Justice is not the mission of the church” shared a “Dallas Statement on Social Justice” which is currently being debated amongst Christian bloggers and whether or not a church leader should sign such an agreement.

The link above has proven to be one of the best posts (if not THE best post!) on the topic!

Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

Today, critical race theory, feminism, intersectional theory, LGBT advocacy, progressive immigration policies, animal rights, and other left-wing political causes are all actively vying for evangelical acceptance under the rubric of “social justice.”

Not every evangelical leader currently talking about social justice supports the full spectrum of radical causes, of course. Most (for the moment, at least) do not. But they are using the same rhetoric and rationale of victimhood and oppression that is relentlessly employed by secularists who are aggressively advocating for all kinds of deviant lifestyles and ideologies. Anyone who claims victim status can easily and effectually harness the emotional appeal of a plea for “social justice” both to gain support and to silence opposition.

That is the crux of the matter!  The support of “social justice” causes (no matter how deviant the lifestyles and ideologies) are being used to gain support for such deviancies; but most of all (IMHO) TO SILENCE THE OPPOSITION!

We currently see this happening in the political world with the anti- President Trump (derangement) syndrome being utilized by the far leftists who STILL – 2 years later – can’t get over Hillary Clinton losing the election of 2016.  Notice that despite an almost 98% of the media of mass deception promoting such extreme bias and spouting lies; a huge percentage of the American people are not buying their propaganda.

More importantly, the secular far leftists are trying to use their “social justice” mantra in order to squash biblical Christian beliefs online, in the media (both social and news), in schools, in colleges and universities etc. for the purpose of SILENCING THE OPPOSITION!  This is why I am covering this topic at great length, so that the uninformed do NOT get caught up in the “social justice” trap that is being perpetrated by the haters of God, the Bible, Jesus Christ, and his saved followers.

Excerpt:

Indeed, as social justice rhetoric has gained currency among evangelicals, just about every cause that is deemed politically correct in the secular world is steadily gaining momentum among evangelicals. It would be folly to pretend the social justice movement poses no threat whatsoever to evangelical conviction.

Evangelicals seldom explicitly define what they mean by “social justice”—possibly because if they gave an accurate definition of where that term came from and what it means in the secular academy, they might lose a lot of evangelical support. Countless critics have pointed out that the rhetoric of “social justice” is deeply rooted in Gramscian Marxism. For many decades, “social justice” has been employed as political shorthand by radical leftists as a way of calling for equal distribution of wealth, advantages, privileges, and benefits—up to and including pure Marxist socialism.

This is EXACTLY why the leaders of Bible-based churches have created and signed that declaration!  There is a needed dialogue now regarding the meaning of “social justice” and how it relates to true biblically-based Christian beliefs.

Excerpt:

Marxists, socialists, anarchists, and other radicals purposely use such arguments to foment resentment, class warfare, ethnic strife, tension between the genders, and other conflicts between various people groups, because in order to restructure society to fit their ideologies, they must first break down existing societal norms.

All of that is true, and the connection between Marxism and postmodern social justice rhetoric is surely a valid and important point. But it is even more vital that we as Christians employ the light of Scripture to scrutinize and evaluate the ideas currently being promoted in the name of social justice.

THAT’S the true goal of these radicals!  They are working to “break down existing societal norms.”

Look, I’m going to share two links to a blog that I have been reading for several months.  You will be shocked by what you read in them!  However, as Christian believers in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we are CALLED to discernment regarding such attempts at breaking down existing societal norms! These posts go way beyond what media would EVER share about these two particular topics!

Absolute Truth from the Word of God JESUS HAS EVERY ANSWER: At Last the TRUTH: A Pharmacist Tells About the Horrific Side Effects of Giving Hormones to People to Make Them Transgender.

St. Sebastian’s Angels: A Network of Gay Catholic Priests.

Excerpt from Truth 2 Freedom’s post:

No Justice but God’s Justice

The Bible has much to say about justice. In the English Standard Version of the Bible, the word is used more than 130 times. It is never preceded by an adjective, except in Ezekiel 18:8, which speaks of “true justice.” It is occasionally paired with possessive pronouns. God Himself speaks of “my justice” twice in Scripture. Twice in prayers addressed to God, we read the expression “your justice.”

The point? There are not different flavors of justice. There is only true justice, defined by God Himself and always in accord with His character.

PLEASE read the rest at Truth 2 Freedom’s Blog.

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Let Us Not Provoke One Another or Envy One Another

Christians are the last people who should ever become offended, resentful, envious, or unforgiving. Love “does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Corinthians 13:5). The mark of a Christian is turning the other cheek, loving our enemies, praying for those who mistreat us. Christ is the example whose steps we are to follow: “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).

Hatred, envy, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, hostility, divisiveness, bitterness, pride, selfishness, hard feelings, vindictiveness—and all similar attitudes of resentment—are the self-destructive works of the flesh. The beneficial fruit the Spirit produces are the exact opposite attitudes: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  The NIV translates 1 Corinthians 13:5 this way: “[Love] keeps no record of wrongs.”

Such qualities, frankly, are in short supply in the rhetoric of those advocating for social justice.

Doing justice (i.e., biblical justice, not the secular substitute) together with loving mercy and walking humbly with God are all essential virtues. Those are the chief practical duties incumbent on every believer (Micah 6:8). Constantly complaining that we are victims of injustice while judging other people guilty of sins we cannot even see is antithetical to the Spirit of Christ.

As Christians, let’s cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, the qualities named in the Beatitudes, the virtues outlined in 2 Peter 1:5-7, and the characteristics of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13. Any notion of moral equity that omits or minimizes those righteous qualities has no right whatsoever to be called “justice.”
— Read on www.gty.org/library/blog/B180907

 

Why “Justice” is Not the Mission of the Church (In the Most Simple Terms Possible) — Pulpit & Pen (Update 9/7/18)

September 6, 2018

Truth 2 Freedom’s blog has drawn my attention to an explanation of “why ‘justice’ is not the mission of the church,” as well as why (plus a link for it) there is a need for the “Dallas Statement on Social Justice.”

At the start, I want to write that I am NOT SAYING that there isn’t a place for social justice.  Of course there is a place for it.

Unchecked Copy BoxMic 6:8He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
The important distinction that is being pointed out through this post as well as Truth 2 Freedom’s post, and,  most importantly, by Pulpit & Pen’s Dallas Statement on Social Justice is the fact that misplaced “social justice” that is incorrectly interpreted can be used as a weapon against those who follow Biblical Christian faith.
Here is just one example of how someone’s determined view of a “social justice” can, and does, conflict with the view of mercy from a pro-life Biblical Christian’s standpoint.

[ Graphics via pinterest]

For those who may believe that abortion doesn’t have consequences for the would-be mother, read the above graphic!

Copy of post:

Is doing justice a major component of the New Testament Church? Many want to know, and the Dallas Statement on Social Justice answers the question in the negative. Others, who don’t know that conservative evangelicals (including Albert Mohler) universally condemned “Social Justice” a decade ago, are flabbergasted that anyone argues that Social Justice isn’t part and parcel of the church’s mission. For those whose sense of history began this morning, they might be startled to hear another point of view from that presented on the website of The Social Gospel Coalition.

Let me explain this in as few words as is humanly possible. Maybe, just maybe, with the multitudinous volume of words being spent on the subject the forest is getting lost for the trees. So then, maybe fewer words are better.

DEFINITIONS

Justice – “Getting what one is due, what they deserve, or that to which they are entitled.”

Mercy –  “Compassion toward one in a lesser estate, particularly done without obligation, but with empathy.”

IN THE BIBLE

Distributing justice is the role of the government, according to 1 Peter 2 and Romans 13. Spiritual Israel, the church, has neither the responsibility nor the right to dispense justice. However, individual believers may petition the government for the distribution of justice in the giving people what they deserve (whether good or bad). The church does not wield the sword of justice; the magistrate does.

Distributing mercy is the role of Christians individually and corporately (Luke 6:36, Matthew 5:7). However, mercy cannot be demanded. In fact, God Himself gives mercy selectively (Romans 9:15-16). Most mentions of mercy in the Scripture are not a command to give it, but to receive it (Hebrews 4:16).

THAT WHICH IS DESERVED IS JUSTICE

Things under the category of “justice” include punishment for the wicked (Romans 13:4), the full enforcement of all laws or ordinances passed for the governance of a people (1 Peter 2:13), fair balances and measures (Proverbs 11:1), and paying laborers their agreed-upon wage (Romans 4:4). It is the government’s job to ensure that criminals are punished, laws are enforced impartially, and contracts are upheld. It is not the job of the church to settle these matters of criminal law and governance.

THAT WHICH IS NOT DESERVED IS MERCY

Things under the category of “mercy” include caring for the widow and orphan, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and caring for the imprisoned. There is no entitlement to kindness. These are acts of mercy and not justice. No one is entitled to food, healthcare, medicine, clothing, or shelter (that belongs to another person), unless they have earned it by previous agreement. The American government, in particular, has no obligation to provide mercy, but Christians should lead the way in the private sector to provide mercy in the name of Jesus.

THE MOST UNFORTUNATE CONFUSION

The presumption of many of the thought-leaders on the side of evangelical Social Justice is that mercy is actually justice and that people are entitled to kindness. They presume this is the case because, as Marxists or collectivists, they have a hard time telling the difference between rights, entitlements, and charity. Sadly, this confusion has soteriological ramifications. If you do not know the difference between justice and mercy, you will have a hard time understanding the concepts of grace and gratitude.

via Why “Justice” is Not the Mission of the Church (In the Most Simple Terms Possible) — Pulpit & Pen

Hat tip:  Truth 2 Freedom’s blog

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Christine’s commentary:

Back in 2008, many who label themselves as “Evangelical Christians” voted for Barack Obama.  The very first reason why I could never have voted for this man was his staunch stance on abortion for any reason.  As I did my homework, the second reason ended up being because of the 38 Reasons Why Obama Is Not a Christian; even though he claimed that he was.

Now, in 2016, a large amount of voters (not all, of course) who call themselves Evangelical Christians voted for Donald J. Trump for President. People may have wondered why then, as well as why Biblically based Christians would stand with him as President today. The vitriol and hatred against the man, against his successful administration, against those that voted for him and against those who continue to support him increases daily. Why is that?

I think that the divide between the “social justices warriors” vs. Christians who hold to the role of the church as “Mercy – “Compassion toward one in a lesser estate, particularly done without obligation, but with empathy” has warped full-on as the great divide.

The book of Jude describes such a divide in much detail.

Here are just a few pertinent verses from Jude:

Jde 1:21
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

God’s Word in Jude tells us that we are to have compassion upon those lost in sin, and “pulling them out of the fire.”

Jde 1:22
And of some have compassion, making a difference:
Jde 1:23
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

We are in such a time as this!

I also suggest reading David Guzik’s complete commentary on the book of Jude. Readers who take the time to read it will gain so much more knowledge of the truth!

Now, with all of the previous commentary and links read, I’d like to share a copy of the Statement On Social Justice found at Pulpit and Pen.org

Excerpt:

The statement’s introduction begins:

In view of questionable sociological, psychological, and political theories presently permeating our culture and making inroads into Christ’s church, we wish to clarify certain key Christian doctrines and ethical principles prescribed in God’s Word. Clarity on these issues will fortify believers and churches to withstand an onslaught of dangerous and false teachings that threaten the gospel, misrepresent Scripture, and lead people away from the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Specifically, we are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality. The Bible’s teaching on each of these subjects is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for “social justice.” If the doctrines of God’s Word are not uncompromisingly reasserted and defended at these points, there is every reason to anticipate that these dangerous ideas and corrupted moral values will spread their influence into other realms of biblical doctrines and principles.

We submit these affirmations and denials for public consideration, not with any pretense of ecclesiastical authority, but with an urgency that is mixed with deep joy and sincere sorrow. The rapidity with which these deadly ideas have spread from the culture at large into churches and Christian organizations—including some that are evangelical and Reformed—necessitates the issuing of this statement now…

The statement goes on to read (in part):

WE AFFIRM that the Bible is God’s Word, breathed out by him. It is inerrant, infallible, and the final authority for determining what is true (what we must believe) and what is right (how we must live). All truth claims and ethical standards must be tested by God’s final Word, which is Scripture alone.

WE DENY that Christian belief, character, or conduct can be dictated by any other authority, and we deny that the postmodern ideologies derived from intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory are consistent with biblical teaching. We further deny that competency to teach on any biblical issue comes from any qualification for spiritual people other than clear understanding and simple communication of what is revealed in Scripture.

WE AFFIRM that God created every person equally in his own image. As divine image-bearers, all people have inestimable value and dignity before God and deserve honor, respect and protection. Everyone has been created by God and for God.

WE DENY that God-given roles, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, sex or physical condition or any other property of a person either negates or contributes to that individual’s worth as an image-bearer of God.

SCRIPTURE: GENESIS 1:26-302:18-229:62 CORINTHIANS 5:17COLOSSIANS 1:21-22

WE AFFIRM that since he is holy, righteous, and just, God requires those who bear his image to live justly in the world. This includes showing appropriate respect to every person and giving to each one what he or she is due. We affirm that societies must establish laws to correct injustices that have been imposed through cultural prejudice.

WE DENY that true justice can be culturally defined or that standards of justice that are merely socially constructed can be imposed with the same authority as those that are derived from Scripture. We further deny that Christians can live justly in the world under any principles other than the biblical standard of righteousness. Relativism, socially-constructed standards of truth or morality, and notions of virtue and vice that are constantly in flux cannot result in authentic justice.

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This is, my dear readers, the book of Jude in action here and now – in the year of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in 2018!
David Guzik concludes in his commentary on Jude:

c. Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy: As God is faithful, we won’t have to slink shamefacedly into the presence of God. We can be presented before Him with exceeding joy.

d. Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever: This all reminds us of God’s wisdom, glory, and power. Jude isn’t trying to say that we can or should give these things to God. When we acknowledge and declare the truth about God, it glorifies Him. We aren’t giving God more majesty or power than He had before; we are just recognizing and declaring it.

i. Both now and forever: This could also be translated “unto all the ages.” This is “as complete a statement of eternity as can be made in human language.” (Robertson) Our victory, our triumph in God, is forever.

ii. There is serious deception in the world and often among those called Christians. There are enemies of the gospel who have infiltrated the church. Yet despite the greatness of the threat, God is greater still. He wins, and if we will only stay with Him, we are guaranteed victory also.

iii. Jude is a book full of warning, but it closes with supreme confidence in God. Dangerous times should make us trust in a mighty God.

Amen!

Hat tips to all links.

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Update 9/7/18

There is an additional discussion going on over at IB’s blog regarding this topic. See: Justice Is Not the Mission of the Church?

The fact that Albert Mohler was included on the “social justice proponents” list, brought some questions up at that blog. I then clicked on the link in my original post where Albert Mohler was listed as a proponent. But then, I found a Youtube video where (in 2011) Albert Mohler debated Jim Wallis. Within the comments below the video, we read:

The Henry Center for Theological Understanding, in its Trinity Debates forum, is pleased to provide a public venue for addressing this question by hosting two prominent voices from competing perspectives. Jim Wallis will answer “Yes” and R. Albert Mohler will answer “No.”

So, the question is did Albert Mohler change his position sometime after that debate? This needs to be investigated further and I invite readers to share their findings (if so led) in the comment section.

Thanks,
Christine

Syncretism Stew

April 17, 2016

 

 

Stew…

In the comment section of this post,  I introduced several columns, including Berean Research: Evangelicals Divided, A Movement Fractured, Part 1 written by Marsha West. Upon further research, I found that West’s columns can also be found at Renew America.

I have only read about half a dozen of her essays, but they have all been absolutely on-target for those of us who hold to biblically-based Christianity!

Her column entitled Purpose Driven dismantling of Christianity, Part 1, written back in 2011 caught my eye this morning.

Excerpt:

The real danger to traditional Christianity is not from without, but from within its own ranks. Millions of professing Christians have conformed to the world and have been taken in “through philosophy” and “the tradition of men” and are “not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8) Not that this is anything new. The attempt to blend Christianity with paganism has been going on since the days of the early church. And here we are 2 millennia later, still fighting some of the same battles.

One of the major problems Christendom is combating is pagan spirituality. The pace at which unbiblical pagan beliefs are seeping into evangelical churches is dramatically quickening. Many of the orthodoxy have been sounding the alarm, but few have been listening.

Liberalism, with its false social justice gospel, has also reared its ugly head in the Church of Jesus Christ. The liberal “social justice Christian” sees traditionalists as out of touch with the times. Their clarion call is: The Church must change! The next generation of Purpose Driven pastor’s accuse traditionalists who speak out against change agents of being “haters.” Purpose Driven/charismatic pastor Steven Furtick rapped his disdain for outspoken traditionalists in Hey Haters. “Fall back! It’s a new day!” he rebuked. The orthodoxy’s “day is done.” They are “haters…nit-pickers…black and white…full of opinions, low on the Spirit.” Steven seemed angry, even, well, low on the Spirit. I saw no love emanating from this pastor’s eyes, what I saw was arrogance.

I have been sounding the alarm bells regarding the heresy of Rick Warren over the past several years, but Ms. West does a superb job in listing not only the wrongs of the “purpose driven” Warren in this piece, but also shares the mix of “syncretism stew” that is currently ravaging many local churches (especially, sadly, several mega churches) that were once biblically based!

West writes, “liberals were serving up platefuls of Christian stew” and lulling them into “la la land” through a “blend of Christianity with paganism.”

I know SO MANY PEOPLE that I would LOVE to share this with!  Especially, there is a great need to share this information with Millennials who have fallen for unbiblical pagan beliefs.  However, in today’s twitter and texting generation, an article like this would probably cause their eyes to glaze over and they would not even get past the 140 characters that they are used to reading at any given time.   Sad observation, isn’t it?  And, I know this is true because I have shared previous articles with some 25 to 30-something individuals.  But when I ask “did you read…” I get the usual, “no, didn’t read it yet.”  They probably read the first line or two and perhaps decided to reject what was being said?  Well, maybe some day they will come back to this blog and read the difference between biblical Christianity and the satanic stew being mixed in by the “change agents.”

Ms. West explains what she means by “syncretism.”

SYNCRETISM

False teaching has made inroads through the blending of religions. It’s called syncretism. Syncretism in Protestantism occurred when elements of other religious beliefs were integrated into mainstream denominations. As syncretism takes place fundamental beliefs change.

Those involved in syncretism have a name and a goal:

Grievous wolves (Acts 20:29) masquerading as evangelicals introduced false religious beliefs (abominations) into mainline churches. Many of them are forthcoming about what they’re doing, others not so much. Their main goal is as I stated above, change. The plan (yes, they have a plan) is to dismantle historic orthodox Christianity and usher in a “new paradigm,” a “new kind of Christianity.”

Ms. West lists the ingredients of syncretism stew:

SYNCRETISM STEW

Ingredients:

Darwinian evolution
Eastern religions
Neognosticism
Neopaganism
New Age
Theosophy
Transformation
Simmer for several decades, then gradually turn up the heat and add an abundance of ‘isms’:
Annihilationism
Communitarianism
Cultural Marxism
Ecumenism
Emotionalism
Environmentalism
Freudian naturalism
Globalism
Homoeroticism
Inclusivism
Liberalism/progressivism
Moral relativism
Multiculturalism
Pluralism
Postmodernism
Postmortem evangelism
Pragmatism
Secular humanism
Universalism
Bring to a rapid boil. (For added flavor sprinkle in gimmyism, meism and voyeurism.)

While the isms boil, toss in a whole lotta movements, phenomena, and worldly practices:
Alternative medicine
Angelology
Charismatic
Church Growth
Contemplative
Emergent
Global Peace
Man-centered (self-esteem)
Metaphysical
New Apostolic Reformation/Kingdom Now/Dominionism
New Revelation
Pentecostal
Progressive (social justice)
Purpose Driven
Psychology
Reformed
Revolution
Signs & wonders
Televangelist
Twelve-steps
Universal Reconciliation
Word of Faith (health & wealth)
Turn down the heat and simmer until the flavor of historic biblical Christianity completely disappears.

Serve to the sheep.

Quite a long list…isn’t it?

No wonder there is so much confusion going on in the lives of Christians who do not, and have not, studied the Scriptures in order to recognize heresy, apostasy, and the satanic “stew” being fed to them via the wolves in sheep’s clothing!

I encourage all to read the entire article!

When Christians realize, study, understand, and finally see the following:

“The attempt to blend Christianity with paganism [which] has been going on since the days of the early church.  And here we are 2 millennia later, still fighting some of the same battles.”

…it means that they have taken the Berean road towards discovering the truth within God’s Word through diligent study of the Scriptures so that they can earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

One more excerpt:

Followers of Jesus Christ are commanded to contend for the faith! Listen to what Jude 1:3, 4 says:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

According to Clark’s commentary:

The meaning of the apostle seems to be this: ‘Beloved brethren, when I saw it necessary to write to you concerning the common salvation, my mind being deeply affected with the dangers to which the Church is exposed from the false teachers that are gone out into the world, I found it extremely necessary to write and exhort you to hold fast the truth which you had received, and strenuously to contend for that only faith which, by our Lord and his apostles, has been delivered to the Christians.’

Hat tip: Marsha West at Renew America

Hat tips to all links.

Does Your Church Pastor Preach Sound Doctrine?

March 1, 2016

Are YOU listening to sound doctrine from the Bible or what your itching ears want to hear?

Christians should take heed of Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:2-5 before making their choice of a candidate for president.

News reports are telling us about “famous” Christian leaders who are getting behind Donald Trump! I have always expected this of the leftist leaning Christians, but not the ones who are perceived to be born-again in Jesus Christ!

I pray that those who think that Trump is “the one” in this election to re-evaluate. If you need help doing this, please read THIS POST!  That post also includes evaluations about the Democrat candidates.

When Paul speaks of preaching the word “in season and out of season,” Bible commentator David Guzik tells us:

This tells us when the pastor should be ready to preach the word. He should be ready always. He should preach it when it is easy and preach it when it is hard. He should preach it when the fruit is evident and preach it when the fruit seems invisible. He should just preach it.

Furthermore:

It is important to realize that not everyone who opens a Bible and starts talking is preaching the word. Many well-intentioned preachers are actually preaching themselves instead of the word.

Unfortunately, I have seen pastors of three former churches where we attended (one was for 20 years before it went astray!) as a family as being guilty of “preaching themselves” in some way rather than preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

One pastor decided to follow in the reprobate footsteps of Rick Warren.

Another pastor decided to follow in his own footsteps by badgering the congregation (and the guests there!) with statements like, “you are stupid if you don’t accept Christ TODAY” and/or “don’t wait to escape hell – accept Christ now!” I must admit that this was an uncharacteristic utterance from this mega-church pastor!  However, we had a guest with us (last Easter Sunday) and we all could not believe our ears when the pastor did such a thing!

Next, we started attending another church and that pastor was wonderful until he started preaching cult-like characteristics during a sermon on the book of Matthew. We were shocked by this development because we had been attending that church for several months.

Our new church (as of October, 2015) is holding to true doctrine.  I hope and pray that the pastor continues to steer clear of false teachings!

The book of Revelation describes Seven churches. Out of the seven churches, only two (Smyrna and Philadelphia) did not receive any type of reprimand.

I am seeing personal examples of churches falling into false teachings.  It is happening at a greater rate today.

Many churches have “lost their First Love” (meaning Christ) and/or have been guilty of noticeably falling into blatant sexual sin. The list of failings of these particular churches can be read in Revelation 1:20 – Revelation 3:21.

The warnings and condemnation of the five other churches at that time in history also serve as warnings for congregations of the churches of today! Be SURE that the pastor(s) of the church you attend are preaching sound doctrine!

David Guzik helps us identify them:

a. Preach the word! Paul’s emphasis on the word of God has been constant. There are some 36 references to the true gospel in this letter and some 17 references to false teachings.

i. This constant emphasis makes Paul’s point clear to Timothy:

Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord (2 Timothy 1:8)

Hold fast the pattern of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13)

The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men (2 Timothy 2:2)

Rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

A servant of the Lord must be … able to teach (2 Timothy 2:24)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16)

Always remember that we are to “convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

There will be people who will NOT accept what we share regarding the gospel of Christ.  But we are to plant the seeds anyway; even when it is uncomfortable to do it!

This is how we fulfill our ministry!

I pray that this post will help readers during the trying times ahead.

In Christ,

Christine

2Ti 4:2

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

2Ti 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

2Ti 4:4

and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

2Ti 4:5

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Recognizing Spiritual Delusion

February 18, 2016

Yesterday’s post is just one example of the difference between man’s human wisdom vs. “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (see 1 Corinthians 2:4)

When we read and study the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 2 we see and understand “the spirit of this world” vs. “the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (See 1 Corinthians 2:12)

The Bible teaches us to “speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy [fn] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (see 1 Corinthians 2:13)

Paul goes on to instruct us: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

This is why those who are spiritually discerned can think that there is nothing wrong with homosexual behavior (or any other type of sin). It appears to be “foolishness to him.” And, as the verse above states, “nor can he know them.”

Paul concludes the chapter with:

1Co 2:15

But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

1Co 2:16

For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” [fn] But we have the mind of Christ.

Having the “mind of Christ” means that the indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to discern good from evil. Even as Christians, we may not want to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit within on certain issues, but the guidance is there for us to behold and utilize if our free will allows it to sink in.

Years ago at my former blog I wrote a blog post entitled “Recognizing Spiritual Delusion.” It contains important information for every Christian believer who may be struggling with the secular tug-of-war between human wisdom vs. God’s wisdom in the Bible.

The essay discusses the rise of false prophets and the increase of spiritual delusion that will take place the closer we get to the end times.

Once born again in Jesus Christ,  it is ESSENTIAL for Christians to study God’s Word so that they will not fall into such spiritual delusion and thus be taken away into heresy and apostasy.

It is my hope and prayer that visitors here will take the time to read this essay!

In Christ’s service,

~ Christine

*******

Recognizing Spiritual Delusion

When it comes to studying and understanding the “shadow of coming events” predicted and prophesied in the Bible, no one does a better, more accurate job of communicating exactly what Scripture reveals than Dr. Ed Hindson. If you go to that website and read his impressive resume’, you will, without a doubt, see how knowledgeable he is regarding end times events, Scriptural truth, and biblical prophecy.

One chapter, in Dr. Hindson’s book Antichrist Rising, has stood out in my mind over the past few days. It is the chapter called, “Rise of False Prophets.” The Bible informs us that false prophets and teachers have always been with us. Knowing God’s Word is essential to being able to spot them. We are warned, however, that as the end times draw closer and closer, there will be a rise of false prophets in the world. So, how do we recognize them and most importantly, avoid being caught up in their deception?

According to the Old Testament (OT), we are told that true prophets of God must do three things in order to be considered genuine:

1. must speak in the name of the Lord, not some other god.

2. must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.

3. must give predictions of future events that come true exactly as stated.

Ed Hindson writes:

One of the most scathing denunciations of false prophets in all of Scripture is delivered by the prophet Jeremiah. In his time, Jeremiah had to deal constantly with false prophets who opposed his ministry, contradicted his message, and even conspired to have him killed. They kept telling the leaders of Jerusalem that the people had nothing to fear from the Babylonian invaders, but Jeremiah knew differently. Jerusalem was on the verge of destruction, and the people were about to be taken into captivity for 70 years.

“My heart is broken within me,” Jeremiah confesses in his agony over these false prophets who “…follow an evil course and use their power unjustly” (Jeremiah 23:9,10). “Both prophet and priest are godless,” the Lord responds (23:11). Then He tells Jeremiah His opinion of these false prophets:

Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD (verse 16).

I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied (verse 21).

I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, “I had a dream! I had a dream!” How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? (verse 25)

Yes…I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues….Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams….Because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God (verses 31, 32, 36).

Jeremiah could not make his complaint any clearer or his case any stronger. God is against those false prophets whose spiritual delusion causes them to invent their own message apart from God’s truth. The Bible presents these people in seven categories…

Before I post those categories, I want to mention a few things that are crucial to this message.

In OT times, the Holy Spirit of God would “come, minister, and then depart from” the prophets of old. Any basic study of the Bible would bear this fact out. The fact that God is depicted as “being with a prophet or person,” but then “leaving that prophet or person” shows this to be true. He is often called, “The Spirit of God” for “The Spirit of the LORD.” For example:

Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Jdg 3:10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.

Today, the Holy Spirit works both outside, in the world to influence the unsaved towards repentance and acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior; as well as inside each saved believer. When a person is born-again (see John 3),  the Holy Spirit resides within the heart of each believer. According to the Bible, Jesus told us that on the day of Pentecost, He would send a Helper for the disciples (and for us today as well):

Luke 11:13   If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Notice that Jesus mentions we must ask for the Holy Spirit to indwell us. After repentance of our sins, we ask Jesus Christ into our hearts and he resides there in the form of the Holy Spirit. Jesus refers to Him as “another Comforter.”

Jhn 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Jhn 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Jhn 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Jhn 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

When Jesus was here, physically on earth during his 3 year ministry, he could only be present in one place at a time. After defeating evil, sin and death on the cross for the sins of the world, and His subsequent resurrection to life, he ascended to the Father and now resides at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The Comforter (Holy Spirit) can be in all places at all times and thus indwells each believer in Christ.
We are then promised that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Hbr 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

This is why, no matter what happens to us on this earth, we can have the peace that surpasses all understanding precisely because we belong to Jesus! We can have absolute faith in Him! He’s such an awesome Savior and Lord!

Now, back to the topic of this post.

I left off just before sharing the seven categories that false prophets and teachers can fall into:

Hindson:

1. Self-deceived. Some false teachers may be sincere, but they are still wrong. They have deceived themselves into believing their messages are true. As Jeremiah points out, their messages come psychologically from within their own minds and are not from God.

This is why I have stressed the point that the Holy Spirit of God will not lead you into thinking that contradicts Scripture! The “messages” may come “psychologically” from within one’s own mind, (or, even worse from demons), but they are not from God if it contradicts God’s Word!

Hindson:

2. Liars. Some false prophets are deliberate liars who have no intention of telling the truth. The apostle John says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the anti-christ – he denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).

Now, admittedly, deliberate liars are easier to spot. However, sometimes the lie is so subtle, that even Christians can be fooled if they don’t have a firm foundation in the truth of the Bible. Notice in Ed Hindson’s second definition of a true prophet, he states:

2. [A true prophet] must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.

God’s revealed truth in Scripture is the operative phrase. Anyone can read, study and even teach from the Bible. But if their ideology does not match up with God’s revealed truth in the Scriptures, then beware! You may be led astray from a false teacher!

Hindson:

3. Heretics. These are those who preach heresy (false doctrine) and divide the church. Of them John said, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us” (1 John 2:19). The apostle Peter said, “There will be false teachers among you. they will secretly introduce destructive heresies….These men blaspheme in matters they do not understand” (2 Peter 2:1, 12).

The phrase, “blaspheme in matters they do not understand” could refer to those under delusion and/or deception. We can all recall several examples of blatantly obvious heretical movements. The Jim Jones cult, the Heaven’s Gate group, and David Koresh. However, there are more subtle groups that would qualify as being called “heretical.”

Hindson:

4. Blasphemers. Those who speak evil of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the people of God, the kingdom of God, and the attributes of God are called blasphemers. Jude calls them godless men who “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand….They are clouds without rain…trees, without fruit….They are wild waves of the sea…wandering stars” (Jude 10,12,13).

We even have a recent example of these types of people! Look no further than This debate between the “Rational Response Squad” and two Christian evangelists.

However, some examples of “blasphemers” are not always as obvious as the atheists who participated in that debate. The ability to subtly “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.” can apply to false converts, as well. They are often referred to as “sheep in wolves clothing.”

Hindson:

6. Seducers. Jesus warned that some false prophets will appear with miraculous signs and wonders to seduce or deceive the very elect, “if that were possible” (Mark 13:22). Our Lord’s implication is that spiritual seduction is a very real threat even to believers. This would account for the fact that a few genuine but deceived believers may be found among the cults.

Did you catch that? It bears repeating:

A few genuine but deceived believers may be found among the cults!

Now, I am often accused by gay theology proponents of “being judgmental,” or “displaying hate,” or “not being willing to discuss our differences,” or “not living in harmony with,” or “not being willing to accept that which they are preaching,” or “not being willing to compromise,” etc. I could go on and on, (as one well-known blog is named).

But now, we have an example of someone in the gay christian movement who demonstrates, through his own words, his unwillingness to compromise. Besides, it is not written in the Bible anywhere that we should compromise on any issue regarding the Gospel of Christ!

Here’s Mel White’s “gospel”:

“I will sit down with anyone who comes to the table with certain basic positive assumptions about us: that we are here, millions of us, and have the right to be; that our sexual orientation, too, is a gift from our Creator who is pleased when we accept the gift with gratitude and pride; that on average we live productive and responsible lives; that we are perfectly capable of loving, committed relationships and are as equipped as heterosexuals to have families of our own; that uncounted millions of us are people of faith who serve our faith communities with creativity and commitment and patriotic Americans who serve our nation with courage and with honor; that we don’t seek “special rights” just the rights and protections guaranteed all Americans by the Constitution. Our dignity, our integrity, our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, our unqualified acceptance by our Creator are not up for debate.”

Gcmwatch quote:

(Our bold.) What is there to discuss, when he demands 100% concession from us?

Can you see, now, why groups like the “Equality Riders” cannot possibly reconcile with Bible-based Christian believers? Their leader unequivocally states that in order for us to do so, it would require 100% concession (a.k.a. compromise) to his ideology.

It ain’t gonna happen…people.

Why? Because there will always be a remnant of the faithful who will never compromise God’s Word! That’s why!

Hindson:

7. Reprobates. This term means “disapproved,” “depraved,” or “rejected.” Paul refers to those who have rejected the truth of God and turned to spiritual darkness. Consequently, God has given them over to a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28 KJV). They have so deliberately rejected God that they have become “filled with every kind of wickedness” (verse 29). As a result, they are “God-haters” (verse 30), whose behavior is “senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (verse 31). These people are so far gone spiritually that they know it and don’t care. In Jesus’ own prophetic message, the Olivet Discourse, He warned, “Watch out that no one deceives you….Many will turn away from the faith….And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people….For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles” (Matthew 24:4, 10, 11,24). Our Lord warned His disciples of the possibility of spiritual seduction by false prophets.

There are different levels of reprobation going on out there. From the most severe kinds of reprobation to the more subtle, and perceived “harmless” type like Mel White’s Equality Riders.

Hindson writes:

The Bible describes Satan as the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and pictures him as the ultimate deceiver. His name means “accuser,” and he is depicted as the accuser of God and His people (Revelation 12:10). he is opposed to God and seeks to alienate people from the truth. He misled the fallen angels (Revelation 12:3,4). He tempts men and women to sin against God’s laws (Genesis 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 6:9). He denies and rejects the truth of God and deceives those who perish without God (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Ultimately, he inspires the false prophets and the very spirit of Antichrist (1 John 2:18-23).

The Bible clearly warns us that in the last days people will “abandon the faith and follow deceiving [‘seducing,’ KJV] spirits and things [‘doctrine,’ KJV] taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). These false teachings will come through hypocritical liars whose minds have been captured by Satan’s lies (1 Timothy 4:2).

Thus, the process of spiritual deception is clearly outlined in Scripture:

1. Satan – Father of lies
2. Demons – Doctrines of Devils
3. False Teachers – Messengers of Deceit

The term angel (Greek angelos) means “messenger.” God’s angels are His divine messengers (Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 1:1), and His true prophets and preachers are called the angels of the churches (Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). By contrast, Satan is pictured as a fallen angel, the leader of other fallen angels, who deceives the world (Revelation 12:9). He is revealed as the ultimate power behind the Antichrist and the False Prophet who deceives mankind with false religion (Revelation 13:14, 15). Thus, the messengers (angels) of deceit are Satan-inspired false prophets and teachers whose messages are the very spirit of Antichrist.

A century ago, A.T. Pierson, the Bible teacher who often spoke for Charles Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, wrote,

“Evil spirits acquire their greatest power from their subtlety. They are masters of the art of deception, and aim to counterfeit that which is good rather than suggest what is obviously and wholly evil.

A Christian friend once wrote something that was quite simple, but extremely profound (paraphrased below)!

“The greatest deception is not believing that we can be deceived.”

So, as Christian believers, how can we be guaranteed not to fall into deception?

1. The first step, of course, is through repentance for all sin and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior over our lives.

2. The second step is to read and study Scripture; but the most important point in this second step is what Dr. Hindson stated, “we must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.”

3. This leads to the third step. It is knowing and recognizing the seven categories (discussed above) and the types of people who could lead one into spiritual deception and delusion.

Hindson shares why we must be spiritually discerning:

The lure of false doctrine is that it presents itself as the truth. It appears as a corrective measure to established doctrine. It is propagated by those who are certain they have discovered some new revelation of truth or a better interpretation of old, established truth. Either way, they are convinced they are right and everyone else is wrong.

This is Satan’s oldest trick. He appeals to our self-conceit and leads us into self-deceit. When he first approached Eve, Satan questioned the integrity of God’s command and appealed to her selfish desire to be like God – the same desire that led to his own fall. And there is something selfish enough in all of us to want to believe that we can know what no one else knows. C.S. Lewis said,

“What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods.”…Out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we can call human history…the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Today, the seduction is even more subtle than Hindson states here (IMHO). We could take one line from above and add to it:

“Either way, they are convinced they are right and everyone else is “intolerant,” or “hateful,” or “uncompromising,” or “out of harmony with,” or, as Mel White stated above regarding his non-biblical view that ‘that our sexual orientation, too, is a gift from our Creator who is pleased when we accept the gift with gratitude and pride,’ and ‘our unqualified acceptance by our Creator are not up for debate.’ “

In the second post on this topic, I will cover warnings that once spiritual deception sets in, it leads, ultimately, to spiritual darkness.

Some thoughts to preview:

1. Pride and arrogance are the sins that lead a person to become spiritually deceived.

2. Satan tempts us with our own self-centeredness and lures us into spiritual darkness with the bait of our own pride. The Bible calls this the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16 KJV).
3. Having been hooked by our arrogance, we are reeled in by our ignorance.

I know. All of this is so devastating and heart-breaking to read. However, there is hope!! It is found in none other than Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible. Anyone can come out of spiritual deception and darkness! It’s happening every single day!!

I sincerely believe that some people just don’t even realize that they are being deceived. Others, however, know it full well. But for those who may be currently studying under any number of ‘sincere’ preachers who have gotten off the theological track because they don’t know enough theology to realize their errors, you can give them a “test” to see if they are worthy to be in the mission of preaching the Gospel message of Christ.

Just ask them if they are willing to be checked, according to the absolute truth of God’s Word, on the accuracy of a certain doctrine, point, sermon or message that they have preached.

As my pastor has told us several times, he is only human and can make mistakes. That is why our “plumb line” to stay on track when it comes to sharing the gospel and God’s Word, is to stay true to it (utilizing the proper apologetics tools of exegesis, hermeneutics, Sola Scriptura, and Scripture interprets Scripture), to the best of our ability.

If a preacher or leader says that they are not willing to do this, (and/or are also not willing to back up what they have said with Scripture) that could be a good indication that they may be in danger of being off of the proper theological track.

Bottom line? My faith has to be anchored in the truth if it is going to do me, and others, any good. The same is true for you!

In the next section, Hindson mentions that “once theological error falls into ‘ecclesiastical cement’ it is virtually impossible to eliminate it.”

Once a false doctrine is accepted, it can be organized and perpetuated by a religious body, then perpetrated by a false defense (apologetic) which is based upon a false premise. It is then when we see such groups fall down that slippery slope as they accept false doctrine [no matter how much biblical Scriptural truth has been shown to them and has exposed their error(s)] as their “new truth.” They can organize it, categorize it, debate it, systemize it, teach it, and/or demand it; but that doesn’t make it true!!

When it comes to false teachers, the real problem is that the love of their own, skewed, erroneous teaching may drive them to the point where they will refuse to repent of it, even when their error is exposed!

The Bible says, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18).

Quotations Source: Antichrist Rising by Ed Hindson Copyright 2003 Ed Hindson; Published by 21st Century Press, Springfield, Missouri U.S.A. pp. 40-48 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever or stored in any database or retrieval system without written permission except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews.

 

The Political Version of Adam’s Excuse to God

January 26, 2016

It is very, very sobering to realize and admit that we are all complicit in the evil. Black3Actual over at Oil For Your Lamp has written a post that brings one to the conclude with the fact that only Jesus Christ can save us from ourselves! This becomes more and more evident to me with each passing year, month, week, day, hour, minute, and second!

Jesus Christ, our good shepherd, is the world’s one and only true hope!

The wise still seek Him!

~ Christine

Thanks for this post, Joe. Needed to be said, written and shared.

The Oil for Your Lamp

When I saw this picture, all I could think about was the excuse Adam gave God for eating the forbidden fruit:

“It’s not my fault; that woman you gave me made me do it.”

my country

View original post 1,301 more words

Trump and the Message of the Cross

January 19, 2016

Found the following blog article yesterday and it’s a really good read! Thought that visitors here might like to read it too.

Donald Trump and the Message of the Cross.

Excerpt:

The cross is everything.  The cross is what unites us.  That is where our spiritual journey begins.  The cross is the whole story.  To not begin repentant, convicted, aware of sin, in need of redemption, is to not even be aware of why one might need a Savior in the first place.  Faith without a Savior is not faith at all.  It is more like just free falling through the universe.

The NY Daily News reported that Trump “made up a verse” from the Bible. Read the article and judge for yourself. It sounded like a paraphrase but I thought it was funny how the reporters there jumped on him about it.

Also, the news commentators are claiming that Trump “misquoted Scripture” during his speech at Liberty University. He said “Two Corinthians” instead of Second Corinthians.” That’s not misquoting Scripture! It is merely saying the reference incorrectly! I have read elsewhere that they do say “Two Corinthians” in England.

The video doesn’t work at that link so readers can see it HERE.

I don’t particularly care for Trump as the next president, but I find that the media going apoplectic over his popularity is funny!   Plus, the establishment RINOS hate him, and he is getting Dem voters away from Hillary.

Trump is obviously a novice when it comes to Bible knowledge. Anyone can easily find a verse to fit ones’ audience.   But the fact that Trump stated that, “I’m Not Sure I Have Ever Asked God For Forgiveness” is troublesome.  Saying such a thing proves that he is so lost. Telling people that he “tries to be good” is sad because he probably thinks he can work his way to Heaven. When someone is so arrogant that they think they don’t need to ask for forgiveness then they are lost.

Even though I would take most anyone over Hitlery, from what I have seen, heard,  and read about Trump, if he wins we might, unfortunately, get stuck with another 0bama-in-disguise in 2016.

Concluding this post with Paul’s words seems appropriate:

1Co 1:17

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

1Co 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1Co 1:19

For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” [fn]

1Co 1:20

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1Co 1:21

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

1Co 1:22

For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;

1Co 1:23

but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks [fn] foolishness,

1Co 1:24

but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1Co 1:25

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1Co 1:26

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

1Co 1:27

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

1Co 1:28

and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,

1Co 1:29

that no flesh should glory in His presence.

1Co 1:30

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—

1Co 1:31

that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” [fn]

Hat tip: Insanity Bytes 2

Hat tips to all links.

There is a Cost to be Paid For Our Sins

August 3, 2015

Through years of experience, I have found that a person is usually not brought towards faith in Jesus Christ through intellectual arguments. When someone is focused on “winning the debate” rather than realizing that their sin separates them from our Holy and Righteous God (which exposes the fact that they are in desperate need of the Savior, Jesus Christ), then the only thing that generally happens during such “debates” is a stalemate.

I agree with what Bill Keller wrote:

The anger of the lost keeps many people from sharing their faith. Never forget, they are angry at God, NOT you. Your job is simply to tell them the truth, and share with them the hope and love of Christ. What they choose to do with that truth is then between them and God.

It helps to remember this: someone who is lost and simply trying to justify their rejection of Christ will always have more questions than you will ever have answers.

Keep in mind that you will rarely, if ever, win a debate with someone who is lost – especially when they exhibit no desire to accept what you are saying. Your time is best spent praying for these people rather than debating them.

However, you will meet many people who are searching for reconciliation with God; and therefore, will be honestly open to looking into having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

It is for the sake of people who are genuinely searching that I continue to answer the questions of skeptics. Reading through such arguments may help another person (who happens to come here and read them) end up taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ seriously.

The original skeptic,  who originally poses such questions is may or may not ever become a believer. But that’s O.K. !  My job, our job as followers of Christ is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ!  The Bible (NKJV) instructs us to be evangelists:

1Pe 3:15   But sanctify the Lord God[fn4] in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

1Pe 3:16   having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

1Pe 3:17   For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

1Pe 3:18   For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us[fn5] to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

3:15 NU-Text reads Christ as Lord.
3:18 NU-Text and M-Text read you.
3:20 NU-Text and M-Text read when the longsuffering of God waited patiently.

I have found that oftentimes, the non-believer has objections against Christ’s crucifixion on the cross to pay for our sins. Even some liberal theologians try to claim that this concept of substitutionary atonement is somehow “outmoded.”  That is REALLY a sad state of affairs!  It leads to confusion, non-repentance,  and ultimately the rejection of the Cross of Christ for the needed redemption for our sins.  What’s worse, is that the reconciliation between Holy God and sinful man is not possible without Someone paying the penalty for our sins.  Jesus Christ is the only genuine Savior in history who accomplished this for us!

For anyone interested, below is a link to a video and post where a caller stated that he questions why Jesus Christ would die on the cross for his sins.

Answering Muslims: Muslim Caller Hears the Gospel and Becomes a Christian.

Lee Strobel is a former atheist turned Christian. In his book, “The Case for the Real Jesus,” he shares an example of a supposedly “Christian” Episcopal bishop who created and stated a negative analogy in order to disparage the truth and our need for Jesus’ death on the cross at Calvary.

“Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong said, ‘A human father who would nail his son to a cross for any purpose would be arrested for child abuse.'”

Over the years of actively “giving an answer to those (who are perishing) for the hope that is in you (me);” I have found that many detractors like to use the “cosmic child abuse” argument against Christians.

Paul Copan’s great explanation for the necessity of substitutionary atonement through Jesus Christ’s crucifixion on the cross at Calvary in order for sinners (which includes all of us) to be reconciled back unto God totally obliterates Spong’s argumentative comment!

Paul Copan wrote:

“We have to be careful about this notion being outmoded,” came Copan’s reply. “C.S. Lewis rightly warns us against chronological snobbery — saying, ‘Oh, they used to do things that way, but we know better now because we’re more enlightened.’ Sometimes there is a mind-set that if no one believes something anymore, surely it has got to be false. G.K. Chesterton said if you take that view, you may as well say that on certain days of the week something is true and on others it’s not. The question should be: Is there anything to this notion of substitutionary atonement?”

“Well, is there?” I asked. “Why can’t God just say he forgives the sins of the world?”

Copan’s answer came swiftly. “Why can’t judges just forgive criminals? Why can’t they let rapists and thieves back on the street and just say, ‘It’s okay, I forgive you’? For God to do something like this would be an insult to his holiness. It would look like he was simply endorsing rebellion against himself and his character. He is a righteous judge, and therefore he must find us guilty of sin because the truth of the matter is that we are guilty. We have fallen short of how God wants us to live. We violate even our own moral standards, so certainly we violate God’s higher standard. To pretend otherwise would be a lie — and God is not a liar.

“Also, if God simply forgives, then he hasn’t taken human responsibility with much seriousness at all. To simply let people go does not hold them accountable to the standards that people know they’ve transgressed. And he would be denying the gravity of sin, which we take far too lightly but which God takes very, very seriously.”

That last remark made me think of a comment in a book I had been reading on the plane to Florida for the interview. As James R. Edwards, a professor of biblical languages and literature as well as a Presbyterian minister, said in Is Jesus the Only Savior?:

The doctrine of atonement obviously hangs on the doctrine of sin. A physician who removes a leg because of a splinter is a monster. A physician who removes a leg because of cancer or gangrene, on the other hand, is a hero who saves his or her patients life. It all depends on the nature and seriousness of the problem. Spong and others see sin as a splinter; the New Testament sees it as a cancer that is fatal if left untreated. And that accounts for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a cross of cruelty and shame. The cross is indeed an outrage — an outrage of grace. If this is the kind of world in which we live–and I believe it is–then the death of God’s Son for the sins of the world is the only way the world can be reunited with its Maker and Redeemer.

Nevertheless, I continued to press the issue about why God simply couldn’t magnanimously forgive people without having to sacrifice his Son. “What about the story in Matthew 18 about the king who forgave an enormous debt that was owed to him by his servant?” I asked Copan. “He seemed capable of forgiveness without sacrificing anyone on a cross.”

Copan’s eyebrows went up. “Ah, but notice what happens in that parable: the king doesn’t just forgive; he also absorbs the debt,” He said. “The king basically says he’s going to bear the burden of the loss even though the servant owes the money. Similarly, Jesus pays the cost of our sin on the cross. It’s sort of like a child who breaks a neighbor’s window. He may be too young to pay the price himself, so his parents pay it for him. Or when a small corporation is bought out by a larger one, the new corporation has to assume its debts.

There’s a cost to sin: Romans 6:23 says it’s death, or eternal separation from God. That’s the penalty we owe. That’s the cost we incur when our sins separate us from God. But Jesus willingly paid the price in our place, as our substitute–and offers forgiveness as a free gift. There’s nothing illegitimate about that kind of representation. If we aren’t able to handle our situation, what’s wrong with someone who’s willing to assume our indebtedness?

“From one perspective, Jesus’ death was the very low point of God’s career–he is crucified as if he were a criminal, exposed naked to the world, cursed on this tree, and tortured though he was innocent. But despite this ultimate degradation, John talks about the Son of God being ‘lifted up,’ which is a double entendre. Yes, Jesus was physically lifted up on the cross, but this is also the point of God’s exaltation. The crucifixion turns out to be a high point of God’s career. The point is, Jesus was willing to go this low for our salvation–to be humiliated, to be degraded, to be insulted, that through this selfless act he was able to rescue us, bring an end to the powers of darkness, and bring about the restoration of a fallen world into a new creation.

“God isn’t guilty of cosmic child abuse. It’s not as though the Father consigns the Son to this humiliating death on the cross; it’s something Jesus does voluntarily. Jesus says in John 10 that he lays down his life of his own accord. It’s important to see the Trinity being involved in this whole process. As 2 Corinthians 5 says, God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. God the Father and God the Spirit suffer along with the Son as he hangs on the cross. The Father isn’t pitted against his Son; this is something the Son willingly takes upon himself in order to pay the debt that humankind could not pay on its own.”

“Some people say this seems utterly drastic,” I observed.

“Well, yeah, if this were to happen to you or me, we would be terribly embittered and completely overwhelmed. But Christ bears the punishment perfectly. As British theologian John Stott said, ‘For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.'”

“The atonement, then, is not illogical or unfair,” I suggested.

“That’s right,” Copan agreed. “Remember, the Scriptures have a number of different pictures or metaphors for what was accomplished on the cross. But the substitutionary aspect of the atonement is deeply significant in that Christ our representative accomplishes for us what we can’t do for ourselves.”

“So what should our response be? Gratitude–the Christian faith is a religion of gratitude. Why would we be reluctant to humble ourselves and receive the free gift of forgiveness that Christ purchased through his death–and also receive the gift-giver himself as the leader of our life?”

Source: “The Case for the Real Jesus,” by Lee Strobel, published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007 pp. 254-256.

*******

Three awesome verses uttered by Jesus Christ himself in John 10  explains why Jesus is God, loves the Father, loves us sinners, and the fact that by His own power, He arose from the dead!

Jhn 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Jhn 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

Jhn 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

The rest of the verses in 1 Peter 3 explains exactly why Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection to life was necessary to save us!

1Pe 3:18

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us [fn] to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

1Pe 3:19

by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,

1Pe 3:20

who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited [fn] in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

1Pe 3:21

There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

1Pe 3:22

who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

Hat tips to all links.

 

Should Christians be involved with combating the moral decay that is currently raging in our culture?

July 10, 2015

God’s truth is eternal and Christian convictions must be commitments of permanence. Political alliances and arrangements are, by definition, temporary and conditional. This is no time for America’s Christians to confuse the City of man with the City of God. At the same time, we can never be counted faithful in the City of God if we neglect our duty in the City of man. That’s a good principle to remember as America gears up for a crucial political debate. – Albert Mohler

Before I get deep into today’s topic,  I wanted to first publicly thank and acknowledge my dear blogging friend Steve over at Cry and Howl for placing Talk Wisdom on The 2015 Cry and Howl Top 20 Conservative Blog Award list!   It was so kind of Steve to recognize this “little fish in the big pond” of blogs out there!

I highly recommend checking out the other blogs on that list!  Really great content can be found at those links and I also want to send congratulations to all the other bloggers on the Cry and Howl award list!

Of course, Steve’s blog is always spot on and influential in the crucial political debates between the truth of conservative thought and the lies of “the new totalitarians” that he often battles against in this highly charged political arena that exists today!

When you go to his site, you will notice that next to my blog name he wrote, “not wholly political.” I also appreciate him for writing that!  This brings me to the topic that I wanted to cover today.

Yes, Talk Wisdom often discusses various political, cultural, and moral issues from the Christian conservative perspective.  But this blog also exists for the additional purpose of sharing God’s truth in the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When I originally decided what the main goal of this blog would be, I wrote:

Talk Wisdom’s goal is to defend the tenets and values of Biblical Christian faith. We defend our Constitutional Republic and Charters of Freedom, especially when speaking out against destructive social and political issues. As followers of our Savior and Lord, we should boldly stand up for Jesus Christ in our present circumstances. He is our Savior, Lord, and King, and His love needs to be shed abroad in our hearts and in our world – now.

For anyone interested, let me share a bit of history about this blog (including the one I previously had at Blogger) and how I came to the decision to write the content that I write here at Talk Wisdom.

Back in October of 2005, Biola University held its first “God blog Conference.” It was three days that were jam-packed with information, instruction, discussion, and Christian oriented blog content awareness and suggestions.

The important question of whether or not Bible based Christians should be involved or engaged in politics; or just be salt and light in this dark world came up and was debated extensively. Many God bloggers were steadfast in their choices. Some just knew that they were “meant to share the Gospel and biblical principles alone” without getting into tiresome political debates. Others were convinced that it was their calling to draw attention to the political battles that are currently raging in our culture. It is certainly an interesting and valid question. Several prominent Christian leaders (and blog panelists) had different opinions on it and backed their views up with Bible verses.

During one class question and answer session, I recall stating that I wanted my blog to be one that discusses both Christian apologetics as well as how politics, culture, and moral issues can influence us; either positively or negatively.  The professor said something like, “that would be an impossible endeavor!” Apparently, he was of the opinion that it was too much to do within one blog.  Admittedly, it can be a difficult task to juggle all of those goals in one blog.  However, with all due respect to that professor, I came away from the conference with the steadfast decision that I was still willing to try!  Here is what I wrote back in 2009, five years after attending that first God blog Conference:

In 2004, I attended my first blog conference at Biola University. One of the speakers asked members of his class what each of our goals will be in writing Christian-based blog material. I stated that I wanted to write discernment articles that include the gospel of Christ while exposing how politics, culture, education, the media, and apostate churches battle against the Word of God and the message of the gospel. I recall that the professor told me, “that would be an impossible endeavor.”

Yet, here I am, five years later including all of the above with the discussions here at Talk Wisdom. I don’t quite know why the professor thought that way. Perhaps he thought that I should limit myself to apologetics and not include any criticism of the world around us. Or, maybe he worried that any “politically incorrect” approach might turn individuals away from the Gospel message. (Been there, heard that – MANY TIMES – even by some fellow Christian believers.) Perhaps I should have asked him why he thought such an endeavor was “impossible.” I didn’t get the chance to ask him. The session ended abruptly because we were out of time and he was surrounded by bloggers asking many questions.

The following is one of the great quotes of  C. H. Spurgeon:

The Church of Christ is continually represented under the figure of an army; yet its Captain is the Prince of Peace; its object is the establishment of peace, and its soldiers are men of a peaceful disposition. The spirit of war is at the extremely opposite point to the spirit of the gospel.

Yet nevertheless, the church on earth has, and until the second advent must be, the church militant, the church armed, the church warring, the church conquering. And how is this?

It is the very order of things that so it must be. Truth could not be truth in this world if it were not a warring thing, and we should at once suspect that it were not true if error were friends with it. The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies.

– C.H. Spurgeon 1

1. Spurgeon, Charles, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 5 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1879), 41.

In my opinion, Spurgeon’s quote is ever the more relevant in today’s culture – even more so  than it was back in 2004!

As the graphic above implies – sometimes the truth hurts! However, secular society’s love affair for diversity (even at the expense of causing harm) and tolerance (today’s code word for never offending anyone – except Christians and conservatives!) doesn’t WANT to know any kind of truth that may initially hurt someone (emotionally speaking).

The trouble with the “new tolerance” mantra is that common sense is often sidetracked or even eliminated altogether.  Let’s see a non-political example.  Common sense tells us to grab the arm of a child and pull it hard to prevent that child from running in the street in front of a speeding bus! The truth of the need for rescue may hurt the child physically at that moment in time, but the lie of freedom to do what would harm him if he ran in front of the bus can end up killing the child!

Such an illustration is even important when considering spiritual truth. These days, telling someone who adheres to a false religion is detrimental for them and is not the truth given by God in the Bible may hurt a person’s feelings (at first); but the end result of them finding Jesus Christ and becoming a child of God through the biblical Gospel message brings eternal life that they would not have had without Him!

Spurgeon’s ending line is quite the keeper! It sums it all up in one brilliant sentence!

The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies.

*******

Yes. The body of Christ contains many different members with different gifts. One person may be better at teaching children. Another, better at writing poetry or songs that honor the Lord. We all have certain gifts that maybe others don’t have. Some, genuinely may believe that they shouldn’t be involved in volatile political debates.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Bible based  Christians  MUST BE ENGAGED IN THIS BATTLE FOR MORAL PURPOSES.

Whether their contribution in such an effort means actually working in the political field or just assisting (and/or financial support) in the efforts of certain organizations (e.g. Concerned Women for America; Alliance Defending  Freedom – just to name two) that promote Christian morals, values and ethics; it has always been my opinion that we must not let the secular humanistic crowd overtake what we hold dear as American Christians who love God, Jesus Christ, and His Word, the Bible.

I read the following article back then and thought that it spoke directly to my thoughts, concerns, and beliefs of why I think that Bible based Christians must become motivated and involved in combating the moral decay that is currently raging in our culture.

Albert Mohler shares many good talking points throughout the piece.  The point that is especially important and desperately needed today is that Christians who are gifted in this particular area need to be willing to not only read and pay attention to the details, but also need to be willing to act upon them. Mohler sums it up quite well at the end of his article:

We are concerned for the culture not because we believe that the culture is ultimate, but because we know that our neighbors must hear the gospel, even as we hope and strive for their good, peace, security, and well-being.

This is no time for silence, and no time for shirking our responsibilities as Christian citizens. Ominous signs of moral collapse and cultural decay now appear on our contemporary horizon. A society ready to put the institution of marriage up for demolition and transformation is a society losing its most basic moral sense. A culture ready to treat human embryos as material for medical experimentation is a society turning its back on human dignity and the sacredness of human life.

Trouble in the City of Man is a call to action for citizens of the City of God, and that call to action must involve political involvement as well. Christians may well be the last citizens who know the difference between the eternal and the temporal, the ultimate and the urgent. God’s truth is eternal and Christian convictions must be commitments of permanence. Political alliances and arrangements are, by definition, temporary and conditional. This is no time for America’s Christians to confuse the City of Man with the City of God. At the same time, we can never be counted faithful in the City of God if we neglect our duty in the City of Man. That’s a good principle to remember as America gears up for a crucial political debate. * (bold mine)

No matter what you think your particular calling in this life is, as a born-again, Bible believing Christian it is also your duty to at least do something to help turn the tide of moral decay. This needs to be a top priority not only for ourselves and the ‘here and now,’ but even more importantly, for the sakes of our children and grandchildren and their future lives on this earth.

~  Christine

* Quote from Mohler article:

Engaging the City of Man: Christian Faith and Politics

by Albert Mohler
June 15, 2006

With thanks again to my kind friend Steve at Cry and Howl for including Talk Wisdom in the Cry and Howl Conservative Blog Awards for 2015!

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” – Gandhi

July 7, 2015

Years ago, I ran across a post that contained a statement attributed to Gandhi at another blog:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Ouch!

At first glance it is a most sobering condemnation against those of the Christian faith. Granted, Christians make mistakes while trying to witness to others. Jesus chose his followers, imperfect human beings that we are, to be his representatives here on earth. We are to spread the Gospel message throughout the world.

We have a whole range of evangelists. A preacher like Billy Graham who has been an awesome representative for Christ and we have other preachers who may be hurting our cause. But God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The reason Billy Graham is loved by millions and rarely, if ever, condemned for his preaching is because he focuses on Jesus Christ and the Gospel message.

This, then, makes me wonder. Should Gandhi have been judging his personal decision regarding Jesus Christ only upon Christs’ followers (whom he disliked and condemned) or should he have made the judgment strictly upon Jesus Christ and who He is as revealed in the Scriptures?  Tim Challies has a great answer to that question.

Another popular argument of non-Christians is their claim that because there are so many denominations that conflict with each other, how is one to find the truth?

There are certain facts that tie and bind all true Christians.

1.  The first one is the fact that we have been born again in Christ. In order to be born again in Christ, we confess and repent of our sins and invite Jesus into our lives to guide us into all truth. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit reminds us of what Jesus taught and refers us to the Scriptures.

2.  The second fact is that we teach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

When the movie “The Passion of the Christ” came out, there were many different denominations in agreement on most aspects of that movie. You could name any Protestant, Evangelical, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, (can include many others too) branch of Christianity here and it is the one thing that they all agree upon.

Why is that?

Because at Pentecost, Jesus sent the Helper, that is, the Holy Spirit. He guides Christians into all truth. The side issues and traditions that may divide the denominations fall away.

It all comes down to this: the Gospel message is the uniter of all true Christians.

We must “beware the ‘cross-less’ Gospel.”* [See explanation at end of post.]

Those “churches” who do not teach the need for repentance for sin are guilty of heresy. Yes. There are some sects/cults that are “severed branches,” if you will. We are told in the book of Jude to avoid them because they lead people into heresy and apostasy. This is why you must be diligent and read the Scriptures so you can “rightly divide the Word of Truth!” If you are attending a church that teaches “the cross-less Gospel,” run! Find another church immediately!

I have met many born-again, Bible believing Christians via message boards and blogs. Genuine Christians whom I have never met personally, are in full agreement with the main message of the Scriptures. You see, there is a difference between those who would use exegesis, hermeneutics and Sola Scripture (which are tools to extract the original meaning of the writers in the Bible) vs. those who use “eisegesis,” (which means determining their own interpretations) of what Scripture is saying.

We see “eisegesis” being utilized very vividly in the homosexual behavior affirming churches. The only people who have been caught up in the sin of homosexuality (or any other sin, for that matter) and will make it into heaven with God are the repentant ones.

Even repentant murderers who confess and are born again after their crimes and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior avoid hell and will live for eternity in heaven with God.

In eyes of men, that may not seem “fair.” But the thoughts of God are infinitely higher and are certainly not limited to the thoughts of man.

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

God affords grace and mercy to those who look upon Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death as the only substitutionary propitiation which is acceptable to God the Father for the forgiveness of their sins.

People who know Jesus and become children of God will avoid the penalty of death (the second death…an eternity away from God in hell).

The unsaved who refuse the quickening of the Holy Spirit, (who is urging them from outside their souls to make that decision for Christ) will die with their own sins on their souls. That is the choice for all of mankind. We either agree with God that we are sinners who are desperately in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, or we die in our sins and remain reprobate and separated from the God who is trying to save us…forever.

Eternity is a long, long….time!

Dear reader, what is your decision?

I pray that you change your heart towards God!  If you are currently of the mindset that leads you to “hate Christians,” I plead with you not to let Satan use your obvious dislike and hatred for many Christian believers as an excuse to reject Jesus. Knowingly or unknowingly, Satan is influencing you to focus on the behavior of other Christians and not on Whom you should be focusing on…Jesus Christ. Jesus was the only Perfect Man who ever lived. You won’t find perfection in anyone else…including Christian believers.

Once born again, a Christian does not have his/her free will taken away. We still live in a fallen world and have that fallen nature. The huge difference is, he/she has the added influence of the Holy Spirit indwelling within the soul to guide us into all truth. Our love for Jesus compels us to live righteously for Him because He alone is Holy. If you would focus on what is being shared about Christ, and not judge the person who is sharing it, then you will not let a Christian’s imperfect nature affect you so negatively.

My daughter once gave me a license plate frame for my car which poignantly reads: “Christians are not perfect;  just forgiven by a God who is.

*******

*Beware the Cross-less Gospel

by Roger Chilvers

I watched a television program that featured interviews with a number of people at a well-known evangelical church. One person after the another gave testimony about how their lives had been changed: “I came to this church and was thrilled about what I saw. God changed my life.” Someone else said, “I was a drug addict, and God dealt with that.” Every testimony mentioned God, but in that whole program Jesus was mentioned only once. What Christ did on the cross was not mentioned at all.

In preaching today, generally speaking, the cross hardly features – sometimes Jesus doesn’t even feature. We have a duty to make the cross of Christ central in our evangelism. The Bible says that the cross is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23). The Jews thought, “How could anyone preach about the Messiah DYING ON A CROSS? Don’t the Scriptures say that anyone who dies on a cross is cursed by God?” As for Gentiles – who didn’t have or care about the Old Testament Scriptures – the whole idea was complete foolishness. The verse uses the Greek word moros, from which we get “moron.” You have to be a moron to preach and believe in a dying Savior. Can you see the temptation to put the cross off to the side?

Sometimes you hear people say, quite rightly, “Jesus will give you a purpose for living.” Without a doubt he does, but that is not why He came. Others say that He came as a good example to follow. He is the greatest example to follow, but again, that is not at the heart of why He came, “Jesus came to give us joy in a world of unhappiness and misery,” some say. But that was not why He came either. And great though His peace is, He didn’t come to give us peace.

John tells us why Jesus came: “He appeared so that he might take away our sins” (1 John 3:5, NIV). We need reminding of this. Otherwise, in our evangelism we may say, “Have some peace, have some joy, have some happiness, have a purpose for living, have an example to follow.” Although Jesus does give these things, they are not the central point. We may find these things apart from Jesus, but apart from Him we will never find forgiveness of sins.

We can understand the centrality of the cross from three different perspectives: What does it mean to God? to us? to Satan?

THE CROSS FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE

The Bible says, “We have an advocate with the Father; Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2, KJV). Propitiation is the means by which God’s anger is assuaged; His anger is dealt with, and God is made favorable toward us.

Some have said it is barbaric to think that God’s anger needs to be assuaged by blood. They say, “How can a sacrifice that makes an angry God favorable be given by the God who is angry in the first place? And what about God’s love?”

But it is precisely because God loves us that He had to deal with our sin – and it is on the basis of this that we are accepted. Jesus could die a thousand deaths and yet not achieve salvation for us unless God were satisfied with the sacrifice. Yet the question remains: How can God be both the One who provides the sacrifice that makes Him propitious and be the One who receives the sacrifice?

The simple answer is that God’s holiness demands propitiation.

God is blisteringly angry about our every single sin. You can see the awfulness of sin only by seeing what it did to His one and only lovely Son. If God looked at a sin and said, “Well, I’m not too bothered about that one,” there would be injustice in His character. God retains His honor by giving His Son.

God unfolded a plan that both showed His unbelievably strong anger at sin and His infinitely strong love for us. He sent His Son and punished Him on our behalf. “The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14, NIV). No other message beside the cross is able to deal with the root problem of man’s sin in relation to the justice and holiness of God.

 

THE CROSS FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE

The heart of the Gospel is that through Jesus – and His work as our Substitute – God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. The punishment for our sin was dealt with by a substitute: Namely, Jesus. The Bible says, “When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6, NIV). The Greek word translated “for” means “on behalf of.” The word is used repeatedly concerning Jesus: “While we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV).

In our evangelism it is so important that we grasp this because it tells us that when Jesus died on the cross He died on behalf of someone. There is no greater news than the glorious news that Jesus took our place on the cross. We are sinners by nature, but “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV). What a breathtaking verse!

THE CROSS FROM SATAN’S PERSPECTIVE

The Bible calls Satan “the accuser” in Revelation 12:10. He whispers, “You cannot possibly expect God to accept you. You have a disgusting imagination. Look at those things you’ve done – your deceitfulness, your hatred and bitterness. You call yourself a child of God? ” And to God, Satan says, in effect, “If You are just at all, You cannot possibly forgive his/her sins and accept him/her. Your justice demands that he/she be punished.”

But John tells us how such accusations are dealt with: “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1, KJV). Generally, an advocate will stand up before a judge and plead on behalf of the accused something like this, “My lord, yes, he is not perfect – he has failed- but he is now a kind and helpful citizen, and I am bringing witnesses to testify to his good character.” In so doing, the advocate pleads for the judge to be lenient.

Jesus, as our Advocate, doesn’t work that way. When Satan accuses, Jesus says to His Father, “Everything You said about him is true. He is wicked; he is sinful. There is not one good thing about him. But, Father, You cannot punish him because the punishment already has been paid – by Me.”

The Father looks to the sacrifice of the Son to see that the punishment was paid in full. Atonement made, acceptance guaranteed – and we are free. This is what is meant by Jesus being our Substitute.

“Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God, the Just, is satisfied,
To look on Him and pardon me.” **

Jesus provided for our greatest need – the forgiveness of sin. Apart from Him it could never happen. That is why the cross must be at the heart of our evangelism.

** From “Before the Throne of God Above,” by Charitie Lee Bancroft

Hat tips to all links.


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The mindset in postmodernism is that objective truth does not exist. But in post-truth, the person believes that objective truth exists, but they subordinate truth to their preferences, or their comfort. In other words, one doesn’t care that truth exists or what the truth is if it doesn’t line up with one’s preferences. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" - George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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