Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book Review: Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time by Karen Armstrong

     "You shall have no other gods before Me," Exodus 20:3.

     Karen Armstrong is an ex nun who has become an apologist for Muhammad, the most evil man who has ever lived.  In a previous book review, I wrote that I generally give positive reviews of books because I do not have much time to read books that are not edifying.  I have not broken that promise as I have not read this book but skimmed it briefly and read both fawning reviews and some harsh criticisms of it.  What I will do in lieu of an extensive review of this book is give three reasons why Muhammad is the most evil man ever and not a prophet for any time.

     1)  He was a child rapist.  The Hadiths, which are authoritative for the vast majority of Muslims, tells us that Muhammad married his last wife when she was age six and consummated their marriage when she was nine.  This custom, along with the more well know custom of polygamy, is practiced in many if not most Islamic cultures.  The Koran also promotes the rape of children in Sura 4:3.
     2)  Muhammad promoted and practiced ethnic cleansing throughout the Koran.  Many apologists of Islam cite Koranic passages which seem to promote peace.  Most of these verses occur early in the Koran and are therefore repudiated by later verses in the Koran which advocate the destruction of all unbelievers.  This is called the doctrine of abrogation.  Early on in Muhammad's life he said things such as, "there is no compulsion in religion."  Later on he slaughtered Christians and Jews and advocated their slaughter wherever they were found.  Early on he was in the minority, struggling to get acceptance and control.  Once he got that, he revealed his true evil intentions and allowed no tolerance of other faiths.
     3)  Muhammad was an inveterate liar.  This is revealed in the above doctrine of abrogation and is officially a doctrine all its own.  Muhammad promoted and practiced the doctrine of taqiyya.  It can be found in Sura 3:28 and 16:106.  It simply allows Muslims to lie with impunity to advance the cause of Islam.  This can be seen from Muhammad's many peaceful promises he makes in the Koran which he quickly turns on later in the Koran.  You see this practiced often today.  Yassar Arafat was a master of it and most recently the Ground Zero Imam also put this doctrine to the test.
     Muhammad was an evil, despicable prophet who must be repudiated at every turn.  Do not be deceived by those like Armstrong who whitewash the horrific crimes and doctrines inflicted upon our world by this false prophet.  Hold on tenaciously to the gospel of Jesus Christ, who, unlike Muhammad, was Truth Himself and who lived a perfect, holy life.  Jesus harmed no children, murdered no one and never uttered so much as a white lie.  For this we crucified Him.  He is everything Muhammad was not and we need to remember His amazing sacrificial death for our sins at all times.  We need to drink in His grace and pour it out wherever we go.  His life and death truly reveal Jesus as not just a prophet for our time but as THE PROPHET FOR OUT TIME!  God bless you brothers and sisters and always remember to learn, live and love the gospel.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Turning to Another Gospel: The Reformed and Their New Found Love of the Deformed Gospel of Rome

"As we have said before, so I now say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed," Galatians 1:9.
     It is common place anymore to go to a "reformed" blog or website and seeing the heresies of Rome peddled openly and unapologetically.  Whether it is Tim Keller promoting the reformer torturing heretic Ignatius Loyola or a recent blog singing the praises of Father Damien or any number of reformed minded people peddling Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence or any number of mystical papists peddling prayer and popery.  We have reached the end of faithful gospel proclamation by the "evangelical" church in America.  Even people who are prominent in things like the Gospel Coalition, which seeks to proclaim the unvarnished gospel, don't have a clue it seems what the gospel is!
     Let's be clear here.  The Catholic Church is apostate.  If all someone has to go on is the gospel according to Rome, that gospel will lead them to Hell and is no gospel, good news, whatsoever.  If, as occasionally happens, a Catholic hears the true gospel and responds in repentance and faith, they are saved by Christ even if they continue to attend Mass faithfully.  Here I make a non exhaustive list of obvious heresies of the Catholic Church:
1)  The Mass is a sacrifice for sins.  This is an obvious denial of Jesus Christ's statement from the cross, "It is finished."  This is why I refuse to attend a Mass, as attending Mass is a sin unto itself, unless allowed to preach the gospel like I was able to do at a funeral once.
2)  Purgatory is the belief that those who do not go to Hell must be purged for a time to be made holy before entering Heaven.  C.S. Lewis also promoted this heresy.  This is also a complete denial of Christ's sufficiency.
3)  They believe in something called, the immaculate conception.  This has nothing to do with Christ's virgin birth but in Mary's birth being sinless.  They believe Mary was without sin and never had any children by Joseph, she was a perpetual virgin.  This is a denial of Romans 3:23 and means that Mary did not need her Son and His atoning death on the cross in order to obtain salvation.
     This is just a start, feel free to add more, but we are seeing in the reformed movement a total lack of discernment and a full scale promotion of so many false teachers in the Roman tradition.  We are seeing people drawn to piety and not to the purity of the gospel.  They seek to build a bridge I fear, to a false religion that has no desire to cross the waters with them.  The Catholic Church has made no attempt to draw near to the true gospel in the 500 years since the Reformation and has, in fact, retreated from the five sola's to an alarming degree!  I have family practicing indulgences now! 
     What is the Bible's response to false teachers?  It is not a gooey sentimentality that begs us to consider the piety of certain "saints".  No, Paul says, "let them be accursed".  Jesus told them a thing or two Himself.  He has a special place for false teachers who lead His flock along the wide road of piety, moralism, tradition and idolatry, "I never knew you: depart from Me you who practice lawlessness."  Jesus sends such to Hell and I fear that many "reform" minded evangellyfish are widening the narrow path and many sheep will follow the path they have laid out.  Friends, let's not promote this evil, the days are short, we need to build our lives upon the rock of God's word.  We need to pray for revival in the church and that our Romish tendencies would be purged and that we would not turn back to that old, dead gospel that has been preached since the snake in the garden.  Friends, let's learn, live and love the true gospel, preached by Paul and given down to us!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Oh Muhammad! Oh Vishnu! Oh Buddha! Why Do We Slander Our Lord?

"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain," Exodus 20:7.
     We have all heard it, in fact, to be honest with ourselves, we have all probably done it: slandered our Lord by using His name in an unflattering, thoughtless, degrading or otherwise unsanctified manner.  He is the Lord and worthy of all our praise and none of our lippy attitude.  We bring great dishonor to our Lord when we are flippant with our attitude towards Him and it is a terrible witness.  We must always be on our guard so that we do not slander our gracious, loving and all powerful Lord.  If we wear a fish on our car, a cross around our neck or faithfully proclaim His love, we must not give cause to heathens to mock our Savior.  Of this none of us are without sin and are all hypocrites in a sense.  We are to season our words with grace, which will salt the company we are in and the conversation we are having.  Grace needs to flow through our words and it will not return void as God promises when we speak His life giving word through the power of His spirit.  This does not preclude truth speaking as grace makes no sense apart from truth.  Jesus is grace and truth.  If we think we are doing any good by promoting pious platitudes devoid of the truth of God we are delusional.  We may sprinkle grace and be slandered because of it.  We can speak the God loving truth in the most sincere and pleasant voice and get spat on.  At least if we do it correctly.  Our Lord knew something of this as the writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ endured the cross for us, despised the shame heaped upon Him and He now has His rightful place next to His Father.  He was the personification of grace and was beaten beyond recognition.  Can we expect better?  We should not seek persecution and intentionally bring it upon ourselves but it should not cause us to be silent about God's greatness and love.
     What really made me consider this was a situation I was in recently.  I was in the presence of an unbeliever for many hours and I shared the gospel with him and he continually slandered our Lord at every occasion.  I do not think it was even a concern to him and he did it whenever the tiniest inconvenience occurred.  He did it before I shared the gospel and after.  I know that I was not innocent myself.  I'm an imperfect witness but I did my best to explain the gospel, creation, God's love and our depravity.  Finally, exasperated and angry at his continual abuse of our Lord's name, I shouted the names of other religious figures(the one's in the title) and asked why can't they be slandered instead!  I know my anger is never completely righteous but I do know that there is such a thing as righteous anger and I pray that the Lord can use my display to His glory.  I have prayed for this gentleman also and I pray that he does learn to love and live the glorious gospel of Christ.  Pray also for discernment of our anger, especially mine friends.  God bless you all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fairy Tales Our Secular/Atheist Friends Believe

"Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools,"  Romans 1:21-22.
     As a presuppositionalists, I do not like to argue with unbelievers about the evidence for and against God's existence.  After all, the Bible starts with God saying, "In the Beginning, God created the heaven's and the earth."  It did not start with God saying, "Here is the proof that I exist and created everything.  Here is the cosmological argument, here is the teleological argument and then here is the moral theory and on and on and on ad nauseum."  No, the Bible takes God's existence and His creative power for granted and only a work of God on someones heart can change them from an unbeliever to a believer.  Only the gospel, working in concert with the Holy Spirit can turn a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.  That being said, Roman's 1 is one of the key foundations for this understanding of theology and apologetics.  We are told by Paul in this passage that God has made His existence and power manifest and obvious but people naturally hate God and, in fact, their minds degenerate to a point that their hearts are darkened and they become fools, all the while reveling in human wisdom.  Here are some examples of darkened hearts and foolish thoughts/ideas.
     1)  All Truth is relative.  This is self refuting from the start.  They start off with a truth claim which boomerang backs upon them with ferocity and force.  Truth cannot be relative, it is intolerant of relativism.  Truth may be harsh, liberating, consoling, difficult and many other things but it does not stand amongst competing, untrue ideas and converse with them sympathetically.  Truth is a tyrant, albeit a necessary and benevolent One when you truly understand Him.  Even more, how do you take someone seriously who does not believe in truth?  What can they say other than gibberish?  How do we evaluate their comments? Can they be trusted?  No, they can't.  If someone does not believe in truth the best we can do in conversation with them is discuss the weather and tiddly winks.  Their is no reason to take anything else seriously.
     2)  Fossils take millions of years to form.  Google the Mt. St. Helen's volcano eruption and fossils and see what comes up.  Not only did fossils form in just a few years but mountains were built!  Not only do fossils form in an incredibly short period of time but it is virtually impossible for them to form over hundreds of years let along millions.  Think about this.  What has happened to all the dead animals that you have seen left in the elements?  Scavengers come and pick to the bone whatever the maggots have left for them to eat.  The fur and bones weaken, and within a fairly short period of time, within a few years, the skeleton has largely disintegrated unless acted upon by a catastrophic event: like a flood of water!
     3)  You cannot legislate morality.  Once again, this is self refuting.  It is on par with saying, "You cannot legislate legislation."  Legislation is the encoding of a cultures morality and ethics.  So, not only can you legislate morality, it is ALL you can legislate.  Someones ethics/morality is being codified in every law, it is just a matter of whose morality is being enacted.  This has really become apparent to me concerning the sexual abuse case involving Penn State and Jerry Sandusky.  People who regularly comment about how we cannot legislate morality are up in arms about child sexual abuse.  It is a peculiar Judeo/Christian belief that adult/child sex is wrong.  The laws of our land that forbid this activity are there because of our Biblical heritage.  Islam and pagan cultures have a far different understanding of this evil practice.
     Here are just three examples of a darkened mind that the truth of the gospel needs to penetrate.  While we can and should point out these absurdities, we must not engage in endless arguments, trying to outsmart our atheist foes.  Instead, we need to share the appropriate scriptures with them, share the gospel and pray for their hearts to melt.  Remember, the gospel is the power of salvation, not our intelligence, arguments or any human wisdom.  God bless you friends and remember to learn, live and love the gospel!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baptism: Are You Ready To Die With Christ and Help Birth Him in Others This Christmas Season?

"Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age," Matt. 28:19-20.
     Christ was born that man no more may die a famous hymn has told us.  In fact, Christ was born to die!  He was light that made its place in the darkness of this world that men could be made to see.  Jesus was not born to make us healthy and free from disease.  He was not born to make us happy in our circumstances.  He was not born to make our marriages better, our finances richer or our kids more obedient.  Simeon puts it beautifully in Luke 2, "Lord, now You are letting Your servant(Simeon) depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel."  Simeon could die now, having seen the salvation of His people in the face of the new born King, Jesus.
     Simeon died decades before Jesus' death on the cross and His glorious resurrection.  He prophesied Jesus' glorious work of salvation but could not partake in Jesus' glorious command of baptism.  That is something we have the wonderful opportunity to observe and partake in and one that we should pursue with all of our heart!  Baptism is a picture of our identification with Jesus and His death, burial and resurrection.  Paul gives us this illustration in Romans 6, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life," 6:3-4.  This, to be sure, is explaining our spiritual baptism into Christ.  Yet we know that baptism, which means "immersion", is a beautiful picture of our identification of Christ's death, His burial as we descend under the waters and His resurrection as we are raised out of the water and into newness of life.  Baptism tells the world that we are no longer under its evil influence but that we have died to it and are alive in Jesus Christ and we are willing to be obedient to Him and His word, regardless of circumstance.  We know that what Jesus taught is true.  Death brings forth life.  A seed must die to birth its offspring and we must die to birth the new life of Christ.  Water baptism does not birth life but is a symbol that we have died to our life and been reborn into His.
     This is the teaching that Jesus commanded us to give to all the nations.  In the beginning of Matthew, the nations came to Jesus from the east bearing gifts and true worship.  Matthew ends his gospel with Jesus telling His disciples, and us, that we are to bring His gifts and true worship to the world.  Baptism is the seal of this understanding for each and every believer.  God bless you and learn, live and love the glorious gospel of our incarnate King!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Word Became Flesh! Merry Christmas!

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," John 1:1-3, 14.
     Scenes of a baby in a manger, helpless and tiny, fill the yards and homes of Christians all over the world this time of year.  My favorite shows St. Nicholas bowing before His crib, praying to the one who brought us the greatest gift(s) we can ever imagine.  Yet, there is more to this.  There is something deep, amazing and fantastically wonderful that will never be fully grasped this hide of heaven.  The Word became flesh, the incarnation.
     While we ponder the beautiful birth of Christ texts in Matthew and Luke, we must keep a watchful eye on the penetrating and glorifying words of John's gospel.  Angels abound in Matthews gospel and dreams guide the Holy family as well as the wise men.  We get a powerful glimpse of God's sovereign love through out this account.  In Luke we have John the Baptists birth story told and we are shown a beautiful relationship between Mary and her older cousin Elizabeth.  The baby Baptist even leaps in Elizabeth's womb with joy upon his first encounter with his Savior, Jesus in His mother's womb.  These pictures of Jesus in Matthew and Luke put a proper emphasis on our Lord as a man, a real flesh and blood man, just like any one of us.  This would be truly stunning to both the Greek and Jewish mind of the day for different reasons which the Church still fights against today through different heresies.
     This is where John's Gospel so magnificently brings together Jesus' flesh with His glory as the Creator of everything.  God coming in the flesh yet subordinating His power and glory to the will of His Father was something we could not imagine.  The Greeks had their gods but they were petty, vicious, wicked and self centered to their core.  They did not subjugate themselves to anyone and were contemptuous of the humanity they over saw.  God, the true God, is altogether different and He is magnificent beyond our comprehension so He condescended.  He made Himself of no reputation and took the form of a servant.  Jesus tells us in the gospels that, "He came to serve and not to be served."  What kind of a king says that?  Yet Jesus demonstrated the power of God through His relationship to His Father who worked all sorts of miracles through His Son.  Jesus' perfect obedience demonstrates to us the power of God in a completely submissive life.  What could be more submissive than surrendering yourself to be born in a barn!  What does this kind of submission say to us?  Jesus' life was book ended by submission.  "He became obedient, to the point of death, even the death of the cross," Paul explains to us.  Our lives must be book ended by this same surrender mind set.  All the books in the middle also must be filled with this same surrender instinct so that we are filled with the grace and truth of our Savior.  The grace and truth that is distinctive to Jesus Christ and no one in human history. 
     Friends, we have this wonderful portrait of our loving God, bundled in a little blanket, meek and mild.  He "was born that men no more may die".  He was the embodiment of truth and grace.  He was God who became a man.  Let's be men(and women) who "walk according to the Spirit" and who put on the mind of Christ and let the light of Christ shine through our submission, our ultimate sacrifice to Him who sacrificed everything for us.  Let us go learn, live and love the glorious gospel of Christ, our newborn King!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Three Great Christmas Songs

"...I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD," Psalm 27:6c.

     You can't go very far in the Bible without reading of those singing praises to God.  From Miriam to Mary(the Greek form of Miriam), from Exodus to Revelation, we see the Lord's people continually offering up their hearts to their Master.  In this Spirit, I offer up three tremendous, Christ exalting, Holy Day, Christmas songs and how meaningful they are to me.
     1)  These are in no particular order, but I'll start with O Holy Night.  I quickly get sick of all the non Christ exalting holiday garbage about dancing around Christmas trees and high beamed flying mammals or decking halls, whatever that is.  I can hear a faithful version of O Holy Night continuously from Thanksgiving till Christmas and never grow tired of it!  Oh, this song brings me to tears as we hear the chorus, "Fall on your knees, hear the angels voices, oh night divine, the night, that Christ was born!  This song touches all the bases and is not theologically light in the loafers. 
     2)  Hark the Herald Angels Sing is simply one cascading truth of Christ after another until you are overwhelmed with the truth of the Gospel and the glory of God.  There is almost everything you need to know about the Gospel, in an abbreviated format of course, in this amazing hymn.  Feast on this: "Hail the heav'n born Prince of Peace!  Hail the Sun of righteousness!  Light and life to all he brings, Ris'n with healing in His wings.  Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.  Hark! the herald angels sing, 'Glory to the newborn King."  Staggering.  All of this in a 3 minute hymn.  Man, they don't write them like that too often.
     3)  My favorite newer song is Mary Did You Know.  This is kryptonite to the Catholic soul.   This is one of the most intensely personal songs yet not drippy in its sentiment like so many songs slip into.  Once again, this song is draped with staggering theological truths:  "Mary did you know that this child you delivered will soon deliver you?"  This one was not endorsed by the Pope for sure.  Even more: "The sleeping child you're holding is the great I Am."  An absolutely staggering picture of the the Incarnation, God coming as a man, even a little baby.  He condescended to become one of us so we could be one day have His righteousness imputed to us and God would see His beloved Son when He gazed at us!  He became one of us so the Father would see Him instead of us.  What a mystery, how amazing, it makes me hunger for Him!
    God bless you all and learn, live and love the Gospel.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Get the Desires of Your Heart

"Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart," Psalm 37:3-4.
     Everywhere you turn in the evangelical world, you see/hear them, "Give a tithe every week for 7 weeks and if the Lord doesn't bless your socks off, I'll give you the Lord's money back!  Or, 'just give x amount of your income and expect God to give you back more than you can imagine.'"  There are infomercial hucksters in every corner of the Christian world nowadays that would make a snake oil salesman blush.  We can easily spot the TD Jake's, Benny Hinn's and Ed Young Jr.'s for what they are though.  What about the run of the mill teaching that is prevalent in the Church that intimates God will bless you materially/personally if you are just obedient enough to Him?
     How many times have you heard someone teach that Christ can heal your marriage, your finances, your relationships or hang ups?  God certainly can and may do these things.  He has done some of these things in my life.  Even more, God does want you to seek Him in and through all of these issues, yet the modern approach to ministry, which I believe can be aptly described as moralistic therapeutic deism(Christian Smith coined this term), goes about this in a completely man centered/anthropological fashion.  Wise men once wrote, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."  The mtd approach, seeks to use God insofar as He can help us.  He is a tool to fix our ails, to help us find our significance, purpose or wild heart.  We have issues, so does everybody, so we appeal to them not with the Gospel that confronts our sin and need for repentance in the face of a holy God who sent His Son to die for our sins.  No, the unbeliever is assured that God loves them and that they really need to ask for His help.  He is not angry with their life of willful disobedience and rejection of Him, He just wants to help them with their drinking problem or get them out of bankruptcy and show them financial peace.
     This approach is widespread and deadly.  Too often the unbeliever is never confronted with their evil heart and its attitude towards God.  They begin to follow a bunch of wonderful, biblical advice and their lives change for the better. They may stop accruing debt, stop looking at pornography or they may treat their wife as a precious vase and listen to her more intently.  This is all wonderful and good. There is much wisdom to live according to biblical precepts and we should never belittle them but this is not the Gospel.  We must never confuse good counsel with life saving medicine.  We must never confuse law and Gospel.  That is what so many purpose driven/seeker sensitive teachers have been doing for thirty or more years now and it has made a wasteland of the evangelical church.  It is a form of the Galatian heresy that seeks to bind men to rules and regulations that they can follow instead of unleashing the truth of the Gospel on their hardened hearts.  People find that they can follow these rules and it improves their lives and they find a place where they meet others with the same issues.  Yet they have not repented of their sin and they may be twice as much a son of Hell as before!  The slow doses of poison they have been fed may have built up an immunity against the true Gospel.
     It is interesting that Jesus essentially paraphrases the Psalmist, "If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it will be done for you," John 15:7.  Our joy is in the Lord.  We love what the Lord loves and hate what he hates.  We do not follow the word of God to get God's favor, we follow His word because we love Him and we thirst for Him as a deer pants after water.  As we dwell in His pasture and feed on His goodness, He works on our heart and our relationships change, our attitudes change and our lives are transformed.  We love people and minister to them because of Him.  We enjoy Him, regardless of circumstance, and grace pours through us and people are drawn to Him.  All of a sudden, we find that He is giving us the desires of our hearts.  Friends, whether or not our we have perfect marriages, debt free finances or addiction(sin, lol) free lives, our delight needs to be in the Lord.  Job is a good lesson for all of us when he said, "The LORD gave and the Lord took away, blessed be the name of the LORD."  Can you say that?  Can you delight yourself in Him, no matter what?  Brothers and sisters, let's abide in Him, the true vine and learn, live and love His Gospel.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Deception of Vain Philosophy and the Traditions of Men

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ," Colossians 2:8.

     A little over 100 years ago, the Freudian revolution swept through the western world, promising to replace the so called myths and superstitions of Biblical thought with a new understanding.  The new revolution promised a revival of empowerment through the wisdom of men by exploring the mind, the psyche and the emotions, unshackled from the supposed tyranny of revealed, God given truth.    The new priests would be psychiatrist's schooled in phrenology, medicine, eastern/pagan traditions and they would emancipate us from our shame and empower us.  We would be free and not held bound by superstition.  Well, how has that worked for us?  We live in a day and age where everything is a disorder, disease or phobia.  We allow doctors to prescribe drugs for disorders which cannot even be detected physiologically.  Our emancipation has closed in on us and we are boxed in all sides.  We cannot run in any direction from the onslaught of ism's and phobias.  We are all nuts now!
     While this has happened in the wider world, Christendom is slowing succumbing to the same madness.  There are two places at least where this has happened: scoffing at a literal six day creation which is clearly laid out by Moses and in the issue of what is called, the synoptic problem, specifically concerning the order of the Gospels.  I think the issue concerning creation is of far more importance and is a hill I am will to die on, but I have dealt with this issue before.  The second issue is the one that concerns me today and is important but not something to be dogmatic about.
     It has been postulated in the last 100 years especially, that the order of the Gospels in the New Testament is not the real order of their origin.  Most, even evangelical scholars, believe that the correct order is not Matthew then Mark and then Luke and John but more like Mark, Luke, Matthew and John.  They base this on their belief that the internal testimony of the Gospel's indicates that Mark was written first.  One of their main evidences is that Matthew and Luke contain almost everything in Mark.  They also believe that Mark is shorter which is evidence that it is sort of a blue print, a template for the other Gospel writers to expand upon.  It is not my intention to dig deep into this argument and it is more complex than all that I have presented here but my issue is this: why do we believe that scholars who lived 1800-1900 years after the Gospels were written are authoritative over the men who were first hand witnesses and/or within a couple of hundred years of their writing?
      I believe that this is an example of vain philosophy polluting the scholarship of the Bible and specifically the New Testament.  For example, I was reading through the account in Matthew concerning the paralytic who was healed and forgiven by Jesus.  Matthew's account was sparse and does not include the rich imagery and details that the Gospel of Mark does.  Matthew does not mention the friends of the man in a personal way as Mark does.  Matthew does not share how they lowered the man through the roof nor how crowded the house was that Jesus was preaching in.  It would seem that, if anything, Matthew's account was a blue print/template for Mark's richer and fuller account.  This would place Matthew back into his place, historically speaking.  I just find it hard to believe a bunch of pointy headed scholars, two millenia removed, have a better understanding of the proper sequence of the Gospel's than the men who were there(or far closer to there) at the time!
     The passage in Colossian's, quoted above, explains how we are to be rooted in Christ and the doctrine of His word.  We are to subject all of our thoughts and philosophies to the Gospel of Christ, His word, and allow our thoughts to be sifted out if they are not obedient to Christ.  Furthermore, verses 9 and 10 of Colossians 2 tells us of our immense wisdom and power in Christ!  We are not dependent on every silly whim of man regarding either the things in the wider world like phsycotherapy nor the intrusion of vain traditions into the study of our beloved word.  "We must take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ" as Paul told the Corinthians.
     I will wrap this up with a quote from John MacArhtur, "The traditional view that the Gospel writers were inspired by God and wrote independently of each other-except that all three were moved by the same Holy Spirit- remains the only plausible view."  Good words from Pastor John, now, lets learn, live and love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Outrage at Child Rape is Dependent Upon a Biblical Worldview

"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around  his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea," Matt. 18:6.
     The events that have transpired this week at Penn State University have caused much outrage and stirred much discussion.  A lot has been written about this horrific, alleged tragedy but there is one area that I have not seen given much if not any analysis and I will focus my attention on it.  In this area of the world, the Omaha/Lincoln Nebraska area, we have a radio celebrity who often likes to claim that, "you cannot legislate morality."  This comment is self refuting, ridiculous on its face, yet this host has been outraged by the alleged immorality of many of the people involved in the Penn State fiasco.  My point is this: his outrage must be based almost completely on the foundation of a Biblical worldview.  It is only supportable from the presupposition that child rape/molestation/pedophilia is wrong.  This my friends, is not a universal belief among the cultures/religions of the world.  In fact, it is an anomaly as we take even a cursory look at how most cultures view this detestable practice.
     "He(prophet Muhammad) stayed there two years or so and then he married Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consummated that marriage when she was nine years of age," Bukhari vol. 5 book 53, ch. 43, no.236, pg. 153.  It is uncontroversial outside the western world among Sunni Muslims that Muhammad married(you can't marry a six year old!) a six year old girl and had sex with her at nine.  This is child rape and Muslims around the world practice this in many Muslim countries and export it to the west.  They follow their leader.  The Koran also instructs instances where child rape is allowed.  Lest we impugn only Muslims, we must concede that pagans around the world have little to no issue with this practice.  I recently read an account of a Nobel prize winner partaking in the pleasures of little boys as was the practice in the pagan land he was living in.  The comments on the blog were indicative of a relativistic understanding of law and many commenter's considered the issue of child rape to be a cultural issue.  I was always struck by the undercurrent of child perversion found in Greek mythology as well when I studied it in high school for mythology contests that I used to study for and enter.  Even in my pre Christian days this habit for child molestation by the Greek gods deeply troubled me.
     As Christians, we must point out the hypocrisy of those who claim to not want to, "legislate morality" and then get outraged at "immoral behavior".  It seems they want to "legislate moronity" instead.  It is a sin against God to rape a child.  It is a sin, period, to have sex outside of marriage and raping a child certainly falls well within this construct.  The Old Testament teaches us this much and it is amazing how relevant our culture can be to the Word of God when we just take a moment to ponder where we get these ideas about morality/immorality. 
     This is where the law and the gospel are so important.  Romans 1 tells us that people are without excuse, wherever they are, they have knowledge of right and wrong.  We must never tire of standing up for God's law and not allowing foreign ideologies to give outrage at sins that fall inside the parameters of their licentiousness.  We must call them on their hypocrisy, share with them their sinfulness and evil and direct them to the perfect One who fulfilled all of the law that they have flaunted all their life.  We must tell them that they have to surrender themselves to Him whom they have pierced and repent of their old way of life.  Oh, we must always live in light of His glorious gospel and be generous in proclaiming it upon every occasion wherever we go.
     Friends, lets learn, live and love the Gospel.

Monday, October 31, 2011

What Does This Mean? Is God a Man of War?

"They sing the son of Moses, the servant of God..." Rev. 15:3a.

     Their is so much misinformation and bad doctrine out there regarding God and who He is.  While doing my regular Bible reading I read this verse in Revelation and then cross referenced it with the passage in Exodus 15.  Verse three is what really caught my attention, "The LORD is a man of war; The LORD is His name." 
     I thought that I would open this one up to discussion as I have not found much decent commentary the Song of Moses, verse three in particular.  But I would like to focus our attention on: How does this square with our modern notion that Jesus was some sort of meek, mild and mushy Savior who just wants everyone to spread love around?  And: Is this a reference to Christ, in the Song of Moses, as John Gill suggests and if so, what does this mean in the context of Revelation 15?
     I would appreciate your comments, remember, learn, live and love the glorious gospel of Christ!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Blasphemy of Purgatory

"So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!'  And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit," John 19:30.

     Recently, this has become very personal to me.  A loved one told me that they were paying the Catholic Church to perform Masses for their loved one in Purgatory.  My wife and I both expressed our incredulous disbelief.  Yet, this person was unwavering in their understanding of the Hellish doctrine of Purgatory.  Even more, I came across this writing from popular Christian author C.S. Lewis,
     "Of course I pray for the dead...At our age, the majority of those we love best are dead...I believe in Purgatory...Our souls demand Purgatory don't they?"
     This has distressed me, both my loved one's indulgences and a popular author exposing his heretical views, more than anything I can recently remember.  The doctrine of Purgatory is so obviously repulsive to a correct understanding of the Gospel it is hard to understand how people can be so blind to its blasphemy.  Here are at least three obvious reasons that Purgatory is wrong:

1)  First and most important, it denies Christ's word and His sufficient sacrifice for our sins.  Christ said, "It is finished!"  He did not say, "It is finished.  Except for those nasty little bitty sins that your loved ones can pray away."  Purgatory is an absolute rejection of Christ and His penal atonement for our sins.  Someone who believes in Purgatory does not understand Jesus Christ and His work.  Only Christ's sacrificial death on our behalf can purge us and cleanse us of our unrighteousness, Romans 5 explains this.

2)  Purgatory demands a system of works righteousness.  My loved one had to pay an indulgence to have a priest offer up prayers, his own works, for someones purification to enter into Heaven.  Someone, somewhere, somehow must do something to ease access to Heaven. 

3)  Purgatory takes peoples minds off of the Gospel.  C.S. Lewis said that he wouldn't know what to pray for if he couldn't pray for the dead!  Think of that ignorant statement for a moment.  That is amazing.  "Seek first the Kingdom of God," Jesus told us.  We are to "Pray continuously", Paul exhorted.  Our mind is to be on Christ and His glorious Gospel and its spread all over this earth.  The idea is that as we go about our day we are to be conscious of everything around us and to be in prayer for it always.  Pray for the children in the street, praise the beauty of trees, mourn when driving past a funeral procession, ask for supplication for the coworker with health troubles and always pray for the gospel.  Let the dead bury the dead, they cannot hear us.  We must praise God for their blessings in our lives but we cannot afford to pray for purging and sanctification.  Jesus said that each day contained enough troubles itself, lets not worry about the days of the dead. 
     Purgatory is a doctrine of death which smears the gospel and blasphemes our Lord.  It is unbiblical and must not be allowed to go unrebuked.  Which is all the more reason why we have to learn, live and love the gospel.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Impending Collapse of the American Evangelical Church: and Why it is a Good Thing!

"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works that you are neither hot nor cold.  I could wish that you were either cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth," Rev. 3:14-16.

    Are we ready to be spit out of God's mouth?  The general temperature of the evangelical church in America sure seems lukewarm.  We are rich and don't see our poverty.  We are well dressed and do not realize our nakedness and we are blind yet our eyes see the most magnificent blasphemies the world can dream up.  God's grace daily reminds me of my evil.  Why He loves me is too much to understand so I want to make that clear.  This post is about me more than anyone.  My collapse is to God's glory.  Those closest to me know how much grace God has poured into me and they have to praise Him in glory when they see what He has done to a wretch like me!  All the glory to Christ! 
     The Church(I mean the American Evangelical Church) is almost indistinguishable from the world at large.  We revel in the same disgusting entertainment as anyone else.  In fact, we are buried so deep in our fornication with Hollywood that we often play their blasphemies in our services!  We care so little for holiness and believe that our whoriness will attract the world to us...and it does.  They become twice the whores we are and they are further from the Kingdom then when they first came!  Holiness, we must understand, means that we will be hated.  I don't want to be hated, but that is what we are called to.  We serve a crucified Savior and He was not crucified because He was a whore but because He was Holy!  Jesus never promised us a rose garden.  We will be hated.  Are you ready, brothers and sisters to be our Savior?
     The Church refuses to stand upon God's word.  It refuses to stand for righteousness and allows false teachers like those in the Purpose Driven Movement, theistic evolutionists(like Tim Keller, C.S. Lewis etc.) and Word of Faith folks to parade in their pews and spew their putrid dogma.  We even have groups that parade their gospel faithfulness standing mute in the face of such heresies.
     It has been said that a lie travels half way around the world before the truth even has a chance to put its boots on.  In this Internet age with info traveling at light speed, that old axiom is quaint and vigilance is required to an even greater measure.  While we must continually battle these evils and must acknowledge that they have penetrated the Church to its core, we must also believe and understand that the smoking rubble of the soon to be buried Church will result in a stronger more faithful Church that will glorify Christ.  How this will happen is to be seen but the evangelical witness will come back and God will be glorified.  It is up to us to keep our eyes on Him who was pierced and to learn, live and love the glorious Gospel!  God Bless you.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Qualified Elders and the Idolatry of Satelite "Churches"

"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you...v. 5, holding fast the faithful word that he(the elder) has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict," Titus 1:5, 9.
     There is no time to mess around, we must cut to the chase here.  The American Evangelical Church, those who claim the title evangelical, is about to die.  It has given in to almost every crass whim of culture and is breathing its last breath.  The final sign of its impending rigor mortise is this: the satellite "church".  What I mean, to be clear, by satellite "church", is a "church" whose primary teacher/preacher is piped in on a big screen from miles(sometimes hundreds or more) away.  A recent survey showed that 59 of the 100 fastest growing churches in the country are of the satellite variety.  Friends, what this displays is a complete and total lack of discipleship and the fawning adulation of the celebrity pastor.  This trend is sweeping the church and even once reliable men like John Piper are allowing this charade to be played, miming the idiocies of the business conference world.  Mark Driscoll, James McDonald, Ed Young Jr. and multitudes of other popish pastors are emulating this silliness forgetting that their primary charge is to disciple others and furthermore, as Paul admonished Titus, select particularly mature and faithful men to teach and exhort their flocks.
     Having sounded the alarm, more will have to be said as the rotting edifice of American evangelicalism collapses upon itself.  While it may sound as if I am alarmed, I know that God will keep those who are His, He is sovereign, holy, gracious and just.  What arises out of this destruction will be a stronger, more faithful and more loving church in America.  It is in times such as these that we must, more than ever, learn, live and love the glorious gospel of our loving Savior!

Friday, September 16, 2011

3 Reasons to Start Discipling Using Genesis 1:1

     "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," Gen. 1:1.

     Tomorrow I will be teaching a group of men and I decided I would start at the beginning, Genesis 1:1.  Here are at least 3 good reasons to start with this text.
     1)  It is foundational.  God started here and He could have started with anything.  He could have told Moses about our sin and need for redemption through His Son Jesus Christ right away but He, in His truly infinite wisdom, started with, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  So this seems like a great place to start discipling men.  Even more, we have such a low tolerance from so many "evangelicals" for the first two chapters of Genesis.  This silliness started with C.S. Lewis who often showered contempt on the Old Testament and believed that the OT was more myth than anything.  His disciple, Tim Keller, continues in his tradition and mangles the creation account of Genesis into something so far fetched not even a three year old could believe it.  Evangelicals who take the whole counsel of God seriously need to return to sanity and teach and understand the whole of scripture as it was intended to be understood.  We must turn from the heresies of men like Lewis and Keller.
     2)  It magnifies Christ's atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Modern evangelicals have largely reduced the gospel to what Christ did on the cross for our sins.  They provide no context for this and largely ignore the rest of the gospel.  Yes, there is more to the gospel.  Mark' account starts off with, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  He didn't launch into the Crucifixion account immediately but told the whole story of Jesus starting with the beginning of His ministry.  Included in this are the words of Jesus' about God's creation and Jesus took it seriously.  We are also told, in John's Gospel, that Jesus was the one who God the Father created everything through.  Christ is not just our redeemer but He is the One who spoke and the universe leapt into existence.  Christ upholds all things even now.  He is the all powerful creator of the universe, "whom was pierced for our transgressions and who was wounded for our iniquity.  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed," Isaiah 53.  When we juxtapose these two awesome truths, it makes Jesus' obedient, loving sacrifice that much more astounding.  Like finally walking to the edge of the Grand Canyon after only seeing it in photos all of your life.  He "traded Heaven's throne for a cross," 1John, and that is beyond compare!
     3)  It magnifies/glorifies God and puts man in his place.  We all need to see things from God's perspective.    Before we judge someone, we are always told to "walk a mile in their shoes."  Genesis 1 helps us to put God's shoes on.  Genesis one tells us that God is before time and He is in time.  Confusing?  Yes.  Contradictory?  No.  I'm not going to explain it, well, because I can't, but meditate on it.  He also created everything.  We are, in reality, not able to create anything.  Sure, we can rearrange God's stuff to make stuff, but we can't speak it into existence.  God did and can.  Because God created all things, He knows it all.  I can't remember more than ten phone numbers.  There are many other things that we can know about God through this one verse, but that is for you to ponder and meditate(biblically) on.  We should consider these things and it should help us to see God in all His glory and that should motivate us to speak of God and His power and glory to those we meet.  It will make all our problems seem insignificant next to God's all consuming power and love.  It has been said that, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."  Those are powerful words and Genesis 1 is our first step to knowing Him and enjoying Him for all eternity. 
     God bless you and learn, live and love the Gospel!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pray Without Ceasing: Don't Flirt With Disaster

     "Pray without ceasing," 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

     Today as I was driving my route truck down a dusty gravel road in south central Nebraska, I heard a sports talk show host incredulously ask why people would pray for an athlete's contract negotiation.  He remarked that he wouldn't go into detail regarding his religious views yet his dogma's showed forth despite his foggy pronouncement.  He was reading a Buddhist book and remarked that he kept his prayer life focused on his families health and the well being of those in the midst of disastrous occurrences. 
     We see this elitist incredulity pop up often this time of year as camera's will glance at large men, all geared up, sitting in a circle and praying before and/or after a game.  These folks will banter about why God would care who won a football game when there are earthquakes, wars and famines all over the world!  The aforementioned sports talker cajoled that, "these people(who pray for players contract negotiation) are probably the type who pray for kitties!"  Yep, I pray for my dog, I would pray for a cat too if we had one.  But, we must ask, are these elitist's correct?  Does God have more important things to worry about than football stuff, kitties and dogs?
     Well, yes He doesn't!  There are people scattered around our globe suffering beyond what we can imagine and people living right in your neighborhood who are in desperate condition.  God can handle them. In fact, God may use us as an instrument of mercy in their life.  Yet, the question reveals a lot about the questioner's  faith.  They have a deficient view of God and a complete misunderstanding of the Christian life at the very least.  Their view of God seems to indicate that they believe in a less than all powerful deity.  They seem to think that God only has time and or energy to deal with the really, really big stuff.  We can handle the small stuff on our own.    We don't want to overload poor, kind of powerful God.  We are strong ourselves and can do some of the lighter lifting, allowing God to do the really heavy stuff.  This view shrinks God and elevates man.  God owns the the cattle on a thousand hills(understatement) and spoke the universe into existence.  I don't even own the house on our hill and I speak my ignorance into infamy daily.  God can handle anything...anything.  Me on the other hand, I'm a fairly impotent little man.
     Even more, this question reveals that those who ask it do not understand the Christian life(or the Gospel itself) at all.  "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God and His peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus," Philip. 4:6-7.  We are to "pray without ceasing".  How is this done if we do not pray about the situation at hand, whether it is a football game, a hurting neighbor, an election, a hurt toe or any number of other random, normal occurrences that present themselves daily.  A Christian's life is to be marked by prayer.  How did Daniel's enemies trap him?  They set him up so that his righteousness, particularly his fervent prayer life, would get him thrown into the Lion's den.  Nehemiah prayed silently to God and requested a great favor from King Xerxes at the same time!  Who said that men cannot multitask!  Prayer to a Christian should be a continuous conversation with God.  It is a relationship and God does not want us to take our eyes off of him.  When a brother/sister has an issue, tell them you'll pray for them...and do it, now, and then again later.  If your car is making weird noises, ask for God's help.  It would seem to be an easy enough problem for Him.  Is there such a thing as a big problem for God?  His answer isn't always our desire(it should be) but we must learn to turn to Him on all occasions, with fervency and humility.  Even if it is for your kitty. 
     God bless you all and learn, live and love the Gospel!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

These Words Ministry: 3 Ways to Avoid Being a Hypocrite

These Words Ministry: 3 Ways to Avoid Being a Hypocrite: " 'For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,' Romans 3:23. Hypocrisy is a sin that often cripples a Christians wit..."

3 Ways to Avoid Being a Hypocrite

     "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23.

     Hypocrisy is a sin that often cripples a Christians witness to the world and his/her walk with the Lord.  It is a n easy trap to fall into for the Christian and one that we must always be vigilant to avoid.  Hypocrisy is largely a byproduct of self righteousness and conceit.  The Apostle Paul stated that we should always consider others first so conceit should be anathema to a Christian.  We should never say something like, "I would never do that!"  Really, do you know who you are?  Adrian Rogers said it well, "Conceit is a disease that makes everyone sick except the one who has it."  That is well said except that eventually conceit devours the one who has it.  So, what are three ways(not the only three) for us to avoid this trap of hypocrisy?

1) Remember your depravity, your uselessness apart from Christ.  Think back before you were born again.  Heck, think back to a few weeks ago when you struggled with something.  Even ten minutes ago for some of us!  I don't know about you but my sin is ever before me and I echo Paul's thoughts when he called himself "the chief of sinners".  Remember what Christ had to do for you to make you acceptable to the Father: "For our sake he made him who knew no sin to be sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God," 2Cor. 5:21.  Our righteousness, on our best days, is described as "filthy rags".  Let's not spread our filth around but dwell on the righteousness that spreads Christ around.  Our works are filthy, that is why Paul told us that, "For by grace you are saved, through faith, it is a gift of God lest anyone should boast," Ephesian 2:8:9.  It is because of our conceit that God had to send His Son to die for us.  He knows that we cannot help but boast.  So let us boast in Christ and His righteousness that cost Him everything.  Let us be filled with Spirit and walk in the works that Christ has prepared for us and let His righteousness than boast through us!

2)  Dwell on and remember God's greatness and glory!  This struck me while I was do my daily reading and read something in 1 Timothy.  "Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world and taken up in glory."  When Paul considered godliness what did he do?  Did he fall back into morals and rules, do's and don'ts?  Nope, we must know those things to define our walk but Paul started remember Christ and what He did for him.  What was the Passover about?  Remembering God's awesome work in delivering the Hebrews from bondage.  What did Jesus tell those men on the road to Emmaus?  He expounded on God's great works, he remembered and reminded.  We need to pray back God's word and promises to Him and pour out our hearts in reverence.  We must seek then to live His glory through ministering to the church and the lost world we live in, seeking every opportunity for God's grace to flow through us.  Ask people for prayer requests and pray for them, maybe even right there!  Say God bless you and Lord willing and mean it, instead of the empty words we use so often in conversation.  Correct people when they take the Lord's name in vain.  Let them know who it is they are speaking of and how awesome He is!  Let God's glory consume you and watch the sparks fly!

3)  Confess and repent.  Do this daily.  Do this as you need it and do it in private and in public.  Repent to those who you've offended and do it as quickly as possible.  Paul's instruction to husband's and wives to "not let the sun go down on their anger" is no less instructive for any other relationship.  We are also told to not let bitterness grow and if we are repentful at all times this will be like spraying round up weed killer on the growth's in our soul. 
     If we allow the Spirit to continually fill us and we walk in Him, we are promised that we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh!  That is an awesome and perfect promise.  If we are in Him we CANNOT sin.  Only in ourselves can we fall into sin, especially the public sin of hypocrisy.  We can do this friends!  I mean, He can do this, if we allow Him! 
     God Bless you and learn, live and love the Gospel!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hi, My Name is Chris and I'm a Hypocrite

     "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites.  For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.  Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward," Matt. 6:5.
     Nothing gets more mileage in our age than whenever a Christian stands up for righteousness they are scolded for their imperfection and called a hypocrite.  Truly, this is a most deserving charge because we are all sinners and we have all fallen far short of God's glory.  But, while this charge may be true in its most general sense , it still fails as a real effective argument against man's sin and depravity in the light of God's holiness and judgment.  Speaking for most of the Christians I know, we do not believe that we are completely holy vessels and the perfect embodiment of righteousness on this earth.  My sin is ever present before me and I make no pretense of perfection.  If Jesus is saying that only perfect people can pray in public and preach righteousness and repentance than we have some major problems!  What exactly is Jesus saying here?
     First, lets look at the word hypocrite.  The sense that Jesus has in mind here is that the person praying(more than likely a scribe or Pharisee per chapter 23) is just playing a part.  In the Greek it has in mind an actor, someone who is wearing a mask and concealing his/her identity.  You may have seen pictures of the iconic image of Greek theater which show two masks, side by side, one laughing and the other crying both with contorted faces.  The hypocrite is someone who is saying something he does not even believe, like he is reading from a script.  As a friend said the other day, "They(hypocrites) speak with no intent."  So Jesus is telling us that a hypocrite is a phony believer who is acting like a real believer.
     So we know who hypocrites are, actors and what they do, play a part, but why do they do it?  "That they may be seen by others."  Do you ever watch those horrific award shows or reality TV?  These are mostly people who want to be seen by others.  They love themselves and have copious amounts of self esteem.  They are narcissistic to the core.  As Christians, we must of all people guard against this.  We must make sure that we are humble before God and seek His glory not our own.  We must not be seekers of self esteem and want the applause of others even if we have been in labor for the cause of Christ.  Do we really labor for the cause of Christ if we are offended if our names aren't mentioned or we don't get a ribbon for our service?  I often find my thoughts drifting towards vain glory and I must repent of them or my heart will start to rot.  Even our deeds of generosity need to be veiled as Jesus stated in the verses previous to this.  How many foundations and charities are named for people and they use their charity as an advertising tool or marketing gimmick.
    Finally, what does Jesus say about those, Christian or not, who even do the best of deeds to be seen by men?  They have their reward.  The actor who gushes over a golden statue(calf): he has his reward.  The narcissist who plays the fool in front of the whole world to win some money or fame: they have their reward.  The person who professes Christ and does not realize his own depravity and prays for the applause of men: he has his reward and Jesus will say to him, "Away from Me, you worker of lawlessness."  The cure for hypocrisy is surrender.  We need to walk the narrow road that all prisoners who have lost a battle must walk.  A prisoner must never walk along the wide road, he will be roughly disciplined for that.  He must walk the narrow road, single file, eyes forward, one step before the other, looking at his Master for his next step.
     Live, learn and love the glorious Gospel of our blessed Savior!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review: The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century by Francis Schaeffer

     "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, whether in heaven or on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, rulers or authorities-all things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.  And He is the head of the body, the church.  He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent," Col. 1:15-18.
     You will probably notice fairly quickly that I give positive reviews to almost all the books I read.  The reason for that is simple: I don't have time for nonsense.  As a husband and father with a job that takes a lot of time to do to provide for my family, I simply see no reason to read something that will not, from all indications, be edifying.  I tend to read blogs and articles in which I'm often in disagreement but those are not terribly time consuming.  Now that I've made this point I'm certain that I will probably come across a book that will inspire a negative review and, in fact, I think I may be reading a commentary that fits that bill!
     Anyway, this is not that negative review and I cannot recommend "The Church at the End of the 20th Century" enough.  While you may be wondering, "Why should I read a book about the church at the end of the twentieth century", I assure you that this book was prophetic almost 40 years ago and it is no less important today.  You see, Schaeffer was a Presbyterian pastor in the U.S. who decided to pack up and go to Switzerland and start a ministry to wayward folks struggling with life.  He founded L'Abri Fellowship in the Alps and he wrote many prophetic and influential books dealing with the church, the dying western world and our relationship and ministry to it.  He was an orthodox C.S. Lewis who did not insult our biblical intelligence(like Lewis and many of his acolytes today) by denying the early chapters of Genesis or foregoing difficult doctrines in a politically correct world.  Schaefer took all of the Bible seriously and did not forfeit any of it to the pc gods of our secular age.
     There are at least four things that commend this book to the serious(is there any other) Christian: 1) Schaeffer emphasized a holistic approach to truth that is believed and preached and lived.  2)  He understood how important marriage was.  Not just the institution, which is foundational, but the picture it gives us of God's relationship to His people, both in the OT and the NT.  3)  He emphasized the idea of the church having "form and freedom".  "...there is a place for the institutional church and that it should maintain the form commanded by God, but on the other hand, that this also leaves vast areas of freedom for change," he goes on, "In other words, the New Testament sets boundary conditions, but within those boundary conditions there is much freedom to meet the changes that arise in different places and different times," pg. 67.  Finally, and most importantly, as I previously mentioned, Schaeffer takes the whole Bible as intended and especially the first half of Genesis.  He mentions several times how important Genesis is to our approach to the Bible.
     Finally, I have a pastor who recommended highly Schaeffer to me and I searched the library for his books and this was the only one not checked out.  It was a quick read, though deep and challenging.  It is only 153 pages and I was able to read it all on Saturday.  Yet now I must read the rest of Schaeffer's library and I'm not sure how appreciative I should be to my pastor who has inflicted upon me this appetite for Schaeffer's books!  Seriously though, this book got my synapses firing on several cylinders and prodded me to dig deep not just into a Christian philosophers bulging library but into the Bible itself.  I'll leave with my favorite quote from the book, "People(unbelievers) are looking at us to see if, when we say we have truth, it is then possible for this truth not only to take men's souls to heaven, but to give all of life meaning in the present time, moment by moment," pg. 72.
     God Bless you and learn, live and love the Gospel.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Visiting Prisoners and the Modern Circus Driven Gospel

     "For I was hungry and gave you food, I was thirsty and gave you drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me...The King will answer them and say, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me,'" Matthew 25:35-36, 40.
     A circus driven, I mean purpose driven person (pastor would be blasphemous), is known for telling his people that if that want to be his friend or really get to know him, they need to go to another church.  He even warns them that if they expect him to visit them in the hospital, they need to know that if he does in fact come, it will be serious and a casket will be following behind him.  This is a man who professes to pastor a flock.  Imagine that.  Now I am paraphrasing his shocking statements, but to actually see him speak them is ten times worse.  Now I will name names, so bear with me.  It would be irresponsible of me to keep the wolf hidden,  his name is Perry Noble and I believe he pastors in North Carolina and if you google him and something about what I just wrote you should easily find his ignoble video.  You can also visit the Museum of Idolatry  and you should be able to easily find the offending video(s).
     Now imagine a pastor who visits an older gentleman in prison faithfully.  The crime is not important and I am not using names here.  This pastor faithfully visits this man every week.  This man will never get out of prison, will never tithe and is not the father/husband of a young family.  He seemingly has nothing to offer a local church and nothing to offer a time challenged pastor with a family of his own.
     Certainly, if the modern circus driven church teaches us anything, it is that we have to pursue a certain demographic for our churches.  We need to get young families in and make sure that we have all the fun n' games, er ministries, expected for that crowd.  Maybe we need to market more toward young professionals!  They aren't tied down too much and they're loaded with dough.  Didn't the early church market themselves like this?  I mean, they must have, they grew so fast!  Yet, what did Paul say, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified," 1Cor. 2:2.  Peter's sermons pulled no punches and pierced people's pride and thousands were saved.  Paul's last letters, his pastoral epistles, constantly reminded his two young pastors to preach, exhort and encourage their congregations and to do away with idle babbling and the silly fads of the world.
     Silly fads and idle babbling are what so many churches are built on today and they would squirm at the idea of  faithfully visiting those in prison, the undesirables, who will never give a penny to the coffers.  Yet this faithful shepherd, who visits his sheep weekly, a sheep who has strayed far from the fold, does not worry about the reward he will get in his bank account.  No, he hears the voice of another shepherd.  "Feed my sheep," the voice says.  He obeys and his reward will be great.  He will be told, "Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world," Matthew 25:34.  God bless you all: learn, live and love the gospel.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Book Review: Hitler's Cross by Erwin Lutzer

"No one can serve two master...," Matthew 6:24a.

      Hitler's Cross is a tidy little explanation of what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930's with special attention given to the church.  Erwin Lutzer, Pastor of Moody Bible Church in Chicago is a man who spends much time studying Germany's history and here he focused his attention on the bewitching influence and dominance of the Austrian madman.
      Lutzer concisely explains how Germany lost its soul in the decades running up to Hitler's ascension.  Germany was a defeated country that had an uncontrollable lust to return to greatness through any means possible.  Into this void, predicted by Nietzsche, arose a superman, Hitler, to start a master race that would dominate the lesser peoples of the world.  Perhaps Lutzer's most interesting observation is that he believed there was a supernatural element at work here.  Lutzer stated, "Hitler was thoroughly demonized being whose body was but the shell for the spirit that inhabited him."  There are a lot of bizarre stories surrounding Hitler's life that seem to corroborate what the author stated here but to go into too much depth would help ruin the read of a relatively short book that is well worth the time.
      A majority of this book is written depicting the battle between two masters and two saviors: between the Church of God and Hitler's church.  Obviously, we know he is victorious in the short run.  Lutzer depicts well the weakness of the Church against the Nazi onslaught.  Even the brave hero and pastor, Martin Niemoller had Swastika banners hanging in his church and his congregants gave the Nazi salute to its political leaders.  Yet, the best chapters are about the bravery of men like Niemoller and theologian/pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  These men suffered greatly against the evil regime and for the glory of Christ, as well as many others did and Lutzer offers their sacrificial faith as an example for all Christians to aspire.
     Even though Lutzer spares no criticism of a weak, faithless and feckless German church, he does end the book by illustrating how the church was the only real bulwark against the evil of Hitler.  I highly recommend this book, written in 1995, for its clear understanding of evil, God's sovereign rule and the importance of His church as a witness in a dark and evil world.  Lutzer underscores how we must guard against this in the U.S. and it is easy to see how an evil like Hitler could dominate in this country as well.  He insists that the church must be about the gospel and not nationalism, prosperity or any other idol that we allow to distract our worship of the Savior.  I leave you with this quote from Einstein on the church in Germany, "Only the church(not the universities or newspapers) stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing the truth.  I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom.  I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly."
     Learn, live and love the glorious gospel!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More Fun with Depravity: How Depravity Should Inform Our Daily Life

     "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of LORD and on His law he meditates day and night," Psalm 1:1-2.

     Have you ever been lied to by a good friend and then trusted them again only to be burned a second time?  Has the old wisdom, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me again, shame on me," ever smacked you over the head?  Why do we do these things?  Well, it may well be that we do not have a proper understanding of depravity as it relates to our daily lives.  While I have written a previous post about humanities utter depravity according to the Bible and we may intellectually agree with it, sometimes our brain and our heart are unequally yoked.  What I'm saying is that we believe all people are depraved because of our sin nature, but not necessarily the people we hang out with!  I mean, our friends, family and familiars are generally good and would not lie, cheat and steal against us.
     Well friends, the Bible teaches that "all have sinned" and that the human "heart is desperately wicked" and that includes all of your friends, family and familiars who have not submitted to the rule of Jesus Christ in their lives.  In fact, that includes all of those you know who have surrendered their lives to Christ but are currently walking in disobedience.  So this makes things real tricky.  But this idea of protecting against natural human depravity is a deeply American belief and is in fact foundational to our founding!  Our founders understood this blemish in humanity and that is why they came up with a governing system founded on law, not man and why they set up a strict separation of powers in our government. They understood that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" so they devised a federalist system that gave the states more power than the federal government and the federal government was evenly divided between three branches. You can read about this more deeply elsewhere but my point is that this idea of depravity informing our daily life is not new and our system of  government is one obvious and awesome example.
     Here's another example: have you ever heard people talk about a close knit community or family?  Have you ever heard someone say that it is difficult to become accepted in a certain town or community or family unless you are born there or have lived their many years?  Why is that?  Well, our elders understood something about human nature: it is not good.  The biblical injunction is to welcome the stranger and be hospitable but it also stipulates that we don't put them in positions of authority or allow them unlimited access to the people and resources of a community, 1Tim. 3:6-7.  They needed to be watched for a period of time and evaluated.  Now, this can be and has been done to excess before but I do not believe this is as much a problem today and this situation has been largely inverted.  Now it is often to our shame in a community if we do not immediately embrace with open arms any stranger without any evaluation.  Today, money, prestige and just being "cool" sometimes allows strangers access to people and resources unthought of in years past.  One example you see all the time is the single mom who dates a man for a short period of time and then they move in together.  This is one of the most catastrophic situations in our country and it results in so much more violence than a traditional marriage.  So often the cases of horrific violence against women and children arise out of this predicament.  Why does this happen?  Because the woman wrongly believes that the man she has just met is a good man and she has not "been transformed by the renewing of her mind" that allows her to step back and look at things from God's perspective.  Obviously, by agreeing to this very arrangement they are disregarding God's law and rejecting Christ's rule in their lives.  The idea of depravity probably never enters her mind and it seems entirely rational to her.  I almost lost a family member to this madness.  Interestingly, most of the family thought this sinful arrangement was fine and the new boyfriend was "nice" and his family was rich.  He may have been rich, but he was depraved and in the worst sense of the word.  One hundred years ago, well, even 50 years ago this could not have even been considered because our culture was largely sanctified by its Christian influence but in a post Christian America, it is those of us who point out the need for time, testing and evaluation of new members of a community or a new boyfriend who bear the brunt of scorn and shame.

     So friends, lets understand that we must be "as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves" as we seek to live our Christian lives.  We must be dispensers of God's grace but, we must not allow the resources Christ gives us to be abused by those who do not know Him. 
     God bless you and let's learn, live and love the glorious gospel of our risen Savior!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why Waste Words When We Can Be as God to Others

     "He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him," Exodus 4:16.
     Nothing is as irritating as listening to someone babble about something they obviously know little about.  I should know, I've been a master of this.  We've all done it and most certainly will do it again.  Yet, when it comes to the important issues of life: salvation, ethical living, relationships etc., etc., why do we allow ourselves to be suckered into believing people who have no idea what they are talking about.  Why do we listen to psychologists talk about important spiritual issues or politicians pontificate on principles or to Oprah about...anything.
     We have an authority to turn to and it is remarkable how knowledgeable He is about anything to do with life that we need to know.  He knows our hearts, He knows our sins, He knows our talents and He knows everything else there is to know about us.  In fact, we are made in His image.  We still bear His image even after we have marred our bodies and souls with disfiguring, Quasi Modoish sin and evil.  He knows us better than we know ourselves because He created us and He wrote the owners manual, the Bible, for us to figure out life's questions.
     I love the Pentateuch, the Books of Moses and I have been fascinated by the verse quoted above for a while now.  In a nutshell, God is furious with Moses for doubting Him and coming up with all sorts of excuses to not obey Him.  Finally, God tells Moses that He will send Aaron, his brother, with him to speak for him in the presence of Pharaoh.  God will tell Moses what to say so Moses can tell Aaron who will repeat it to Egypt.  The consequences Moses doubt and Aaron's help will plague the Hebrews for years to come but God in His grace gives Moses what he seemed to want.  What is so intriguing though is that line: " shall be as God to Him."  Really, wow, how does that work?  Well, we can figure out easily what it doesn't mean.  It in no way is saying that Moses is as God or a god.  We know that from what the Bible plainly teaches about God.  God's exclusivity had already been impressed upon Moses from earlier in his encounter with Him.  So, what does this mean then?  Oh brothers and sisters, this is so amazing and wonderful what this means.  This is so life changing and encouraging, so humbling and awesome that we must take it to heart!  It means that when Moses spoke the word of God to Aaron, Moses was as God to Aaron!  How awesome and simple.   When Moses spoke God's word to Aaron it was authoritative as if God Himself were speaking.  Now stop, drop and roll!  Meditate on that verse a minute or two.  Chew it real slow and pray it back to God.  Ask God to "Hide His word in your heart so you do not sin against Him."  Let this soak in.
      What application does this have for us?  Well, the next time you get into a discussion about the meaning of life, you can do no better than quote Genesis 1:26, John 3:16 or Psalm 1.  Don't babble endlessly about some crank belching out philosophical flatulence, go to the source.  Drop the word of God like napalm, pray over it and let it do God's work.  When someone wants to know about depression or some "psychological problem", go to Job 38-41 and then to Hebrews 12:1-2 and let them know that the surest cure for depression is a lack of self-esteem and a ponderous dose of Christ esteem.   Let the counsel of God drive your knowledge of every area of life and let it be your sword of the Spirit.  Only the Word of God can divide soul and spirit so why do we try to impart wisdom from our feeble minds?  What was God's response to Job and his friends pathetic attempt at wisdom?  "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.  Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?"  Job 38:2-4.  Pretty good question from God huh, well do you have an answer?  Neither do I.  Let's let His word do the talking!  God Bless you and learn, live and love the glorious Gospel!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Embracing the Biblical View of Depravity, Part Two. God's Awesome Holiness: A Contrast.

     "And one called to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory,'" Isaiah 6:3.
     "And I said: Woe is me!  For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" Isaiah 6:5.

     While volumes of books could be written about my depravity and ignorance, God has actually had volumes of books written about His holiness and wisdom.  He is all powerful, all knowing, all good and sovereign over all things.  Even more, He is perfect in all his affections as I've heard it put.  The constant thread running through all His perfections is His holiness.  God is completely separate from all His creation.  Sin has marred all of creation yet God is holy, He is separate and cannot tolerate sin in His presence or have any relationship to it at all as the Moody Handbook of Theology puts it.  This is why Isaiah was so terrified in the presence of God and why he had to be temporarily purified by burning coals to be in the presence of the Lord. 
     God's holiness is terrifying and illuminating.  Isaiah was terrified, Moses had to watch his step in approaching the burning bush and Peter knew that he was unworthy to be in Jesus' presence after the relatively minor miracle of a great haul of fish.  God is so different than we are.  We find it hard to understand God at all.  That is why God gave us His holy word, the Bible.  The Bible's description of God is awe inspiring.  He created all of everything out of nothing, with just a word of His mouth.  That is just the first line of the first book of the Bible.  The rest of the Bible fleshes out God's greatness, love and perfection against the backdrop of our weakness, evil and depravity.  We are told relentlessly, in this day and age, that we must see things through other peoples eyes.  We must try and understand things according to their culture, race, gender and background.  Yet, do we try and see things from God's perspective?  Do we want to see things as God sees them may be a more important question.  This is what we should strive to do every day of our lives as we seek God in prayer, ministry and His word.  This will be terrifying coming to understand God, who is holy.  Even more, the closer we come to God, the more His complete uniqueness and purity will illuminate even the tiniest sin we have.  Isaiah was likely the holiest man in Israel yet he could not withstand the purity of God.  This illumination will drive us to our knees and humble us.  There is no doubt that wherever you see a man, professing faith or not, who thinks that he is the stuff, he has not been in the presence of God recently.  Humility flows generously from a heart that is close to God.  Proverbs teaches that "Pride comes before a fall".  It stands to reason than that humility comes before a glorious resurrection.  Moses was called the most humble man in all the earth and God allowed him to see a portion of Him passing by.  Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross as His word so eloquently tells us.  God's holiness will humble us.  If we are not humble, we have not seen Him.
     While this seems unbridgeable, our depravity and God's holiness, we are instructed in Leviticus and in Peter's epistle to "Be holy for I am holy."  This is impossible!  On my best day, I am stuck in the world, apart from God more times than I can count!  I can hardly say that I have separated myself from sin.  Yet, the command is there and we must be obedient.  We are told to, "Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh," in Galatians.  Holiness is commanded and we must be obedient and God has graciously, unbelievably and fortuitously given us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to lead us into holiness.  Oh grace be to God, He is awesome!  We can be holy, not in our power, but in His and He gives us His word, His Spirit, His church and an awesome Gospel to preach.  Truly we must understand that while we are weak, He is strong and stronger is Him who is in us than he who is in the world.  God just wants us to surrender to His power and walk in His strength.  We have no strength in our depraved condition. 
     God's holiness truly illuminates our depravity and draws us closer to Him.  We need to abide in Him and He will give us the desires of our hearts and our hearts will be holy.
     God Bless you and learn, live and love the Gospel of our glorious Savior!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Have you hugged a depraved maniac today? Embracing the biblical view of depravity.

     "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually," Genesis 6:5.
     There are countless stories of people playing with fire, figuratively, and then getting burned, often, to death.  Stories of people with crazy wild animals as pets.  They love these animals and often raise them from birth, as the only parents that the wild beasts know and yet, one day, the beast turns on them in a tragic and sometimes horrific way.
     The Bible teaches from its earliest chapters that man is like a wild animal even to the point of "every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."  The Bible clearly teaches man's utter depravity yet we always seem to be caught by surprise at how wicked our fellow man can be.  We forget that "the heart is deceitful above all things and wicked, who can know it," Jeremiah 17:9.  We can get so caught up in a person or people in general and forget that in our heart, we are wicked.  How often do we see the neighbor of a horrific murderer interviewed and their standard response about their neighbor is, "He/she was a good neighbor and helped...."  Humans can be just like a wild beast who seems tame for even years on end but they turn into a vicious killer in a moments notice.
     This is the difficult thing about the doctrine of depravity.  99.9% of people seem to be nice most of the time.  Unless we are watching a horrific show like The Housewives of Insanity County or Bridezilla's we don't run into vicious, conniving people on a regular basis let alone a serial killer.  Maybe it is best to understand depravity for what it doesn't mean.  It does not mean that people are always seeking to rape, pillage and murder everyone they see.  We have a view of depravity that is reserved for the worst of the worst.  No, we are all depraved from head to toe unless... well, we'll get to that later.  Depravity, in its most concise understanding, means that in our fallen nature, we are completely sinful.  The Moody Handbook of Theology puts it this way, "A term(depravity) used to refer to the corruption of sin extending to all people and affecting the entire person-his intellect, emotions and will-so that nothing in the person can commend him to God."  That hits the nail on the head!  What does this mean?  Well Rob Bell, it does mean that Gandhi is in Hell.  Gandhi was maybe the greatest example of a wonderful do gooder ever.  He was nonviolent and loving and fairy dust and flowers showered him wherever he went(so the legend goes).  Yet he lacked any goodness in his soul.  Nothing he did pleased God.  Yes Mr. Bell, Gandhi's good deeds were as filthy rags before the Lord.  Gandhi did these things under his own power, his own righteousness, er, his own depravity.  Let me ask you a question at this point.  Who did Jesus reserve the harshest judgment for?  The Pharisees.  Why?  Did they love the word of God and let it have authority in their lives?  No, they did not.  They loved the traditions of the elders and often used those to nullify the word of God.  Paul, in a similar vein, warned us not to follow the vain philosophies of man.  Gandhi had no fear of God and never offered any sign of repentance.  Unless he repented of his sins and confessed Christ at his deathbed he went where all those who trust in their own righteousness go: Hell. 
     From Moses to David to Jeremiah to Jesus to Paul we are taught that we are depraved, unable to please God.  Our most righteous deeds done in our flesh are the most repugnant of all things to God because they do nothing to advance His kingdom and everything to advance our kingdom.  We become the most miserable, self important and inflated boobs that can be imagined when we do works in our own power.  We become like King Nebuchadnezzar and believe ourselves all powerful and wise.  God must take us down a notch.  No, He must takes us down, turn us upside down and turn us completely around.  We are useless to God in our depraved state and He must send His Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin and pride and bring us down to the dirt.  We must acknowledge our depravity, repent of our evil and confess our sins to Christ.  We must believe upon His death on the cross for our sins and trust in His resurrection from the dead and ask Him to Lord over our lives in every detail.  Only then can we turn our filthy rags into gold and precious gems that do not decay or rust.
     Not only this, but we must understand our the biblical view of depravity informs our lives in every way and relationship.  Especially in our own skin where we still continue to sin.  But more of this later.  We just need to make sure that we are, "as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves" when we are walking about in this world so that we are not devoured by the beasts all around us.  God Bless you all and learn, live and love the gospel.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bible Quiz

     1) Which one of these common phrases is in the Bible?
          A. Cleanliness is next to Godliness
          B. The Lord helps those who help themselves
          C. Lord willing

     2) Which one of these common phrases is in the Bible?
          A. Idleness is the devils play ground
          B. By the skin of your teeth
          C. The devil made me do it

      3) Who were Isaac's son's?
          A. Shadrach and Meshach
          B. Judah and Benjamin
          C. Jacob and Esau

       4) Which two brothers(half) of Jesus wrote books of the Bible?
          A. Judas and James
          B. Peter and John
          C. Moses and Jonah

        5) Who didn't get to see the Promised Land because of his impetuous anger?
          A. Joshua
          B. David
          C. Moses

         6) Which one of these celebrations was not authorized in Leviticus 23?
           A. Purim
           B. The Passover
           C. Pentecost

          7) Who was Jesus' cousin?
            A. Peter
            B. John the Baptist
            C. Mary Magdalene

           Answers: c,b,c,a,c,a,b
           God Bless you and learn, live and love the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ!