If we can’t even cut federal spending by 2.4 percent without much of the country throwing an absolute hissy fit, then what hope does America have? All of this whining and crying about the sequester is absolutely disgraceful. The truth is that even if the sequester goes into effect, the U.S. government will still take in more money than ever before in 2013 and it will still spend more money than ever before in 2013. So it is a bit disingenuous to call what is about to happen “a spending cut”, but for the sake of argument let’s concede that point. Even if the budget really was being “cut” by 85 billion dollars, that only would only amount to a “cut” of 2.4 percent to federal spending. It would barely make a dent in the federal budget deficit for 2013. The U.S. government would still accumulate about as much new debt in fiscal year 2013 as it did in all the years from the inauguration of George Washington to the inauguration of Ronald Reagan combined. Our debt to GDP ratio would continue to soar. The sequester cuts would essentially only be a minor bump on the road to financial oblivion. But if you listen to Barack Obama and his allies, they would have you believe that we are facing a great national crisis because of these impending cuts. They would have you believe that hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs and that many government agencies will no longer be able to operate effectively. They would have you believe that “granny won’t get her lunch” and “roofs blown off by Hurricane Sandy won’t get repaired”. Well, if all of that is true, then what in the world would our country look like if we actually cut a trillion dollars from the federal budget this year and started living within our means? (Read More….)
I’m talking about the problem of pornography. Writing for the Baptist Press, (bpnews.net, 5/17/2012) Doug Carlson calls it a “pandemic.” “In this digital age, the images are no longer limited to salacious magazines or adult stores. Such content is readily available on the Internet, on smart phones, on cable and satellite TV, in hotels.” The problem is, writes Carlson, “No longer do viewers have to actively look for it; it looks for them.”
This issue is not new, but it does seem to be one gaining more attention. A new church is started in a community with many members of an existing church. Unfortunately, the existing church has not blessed the new church start, nor has it been consulted about it. In many cases, a staff member from the existing church has led the unfriendly church start.
I have emails that include phrases like “deep hurt,” “betrayal,” and “kick in the stomach.” In other words, this new church start has not been received well at all by the existing church. I understand that there are two sides to these stories, so I am ready to be corrected. Nevertheless, I have some strong opinions about unfriendly church starts. Allow me to share four of them.
‘We’re going to default eventually and that’s why feds are stockpiling’
Imagine the worst-case scenario if the sequester goes through. The market nosedives. The economy implodes. Empty shelves. Riots. The feds hit the streets in force to restore order in a “national emergency.”
Sounds like something in a Third World country or Greece. It could never happen here, right? Think again, says Sarah Palin.
The former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee believes the federal government is “stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest.”
CBN News TV host Erick Stakelbeck interviews Bill Salus about the Ancient Psalm 83 Bible prophecy. In part one, Erick asks Bill to give an overview of the prophecy and to identify the modern day equivalents of the Arab populations the Psalmist refers to 3000 years ago.
In this first installment, Erick and Bill discuss the differences between the prophecies of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38, and explain why Psalm 83 probably precedes Ezekiel 38. Erick asks Bill how the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia factor into the prophetic Psalm 83 equation in light of the Arab Spring of 2011.
It’s coming faster and faster now; this free-fall that the Body of Christ is experiencing. It’s the momentum of a plunging roller coaster that is picking up massive speed, and you need look no further than the headlines we’re covering today to understand that the times we are in feels at times like your stomach is caught in that weightless adrenaline as we get closer to Christ’s coming.
The writer of Hebrews is inescapably clear about the singular nature of Christ’s sacrifice.
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. (Hebrews 9:24-28, emphasis added)
Scripture does not waver on the finality of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. He came to make a one-time offering for sin, never to be repeated. It was a contrast to the Mosaic covenant, which necessitated a system of near-constant sacrifices. But none of the Old Testament sacrifices could actually atone for sin. They could only serve as a reminder of God’s deliverance and foreshadow Christ’s final sacrifice which would conquer sin.
In the practice of the mass, the Roman Catholic Church has reinstituted an unbiblical system of repeated sacrifices, blaspheming Christ and perverting His work on the cross.
How important is the mass to Catholicism? The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to it as “the source and summit of the Christian life.” That is to say, it is the origin and the high point of the Catholic faith. It’s not peripheral—it’s the heart and soul of the entire system.
In his book The Faith of Millions, John O’Brien, a Catholic priest, explains the procedure of the mass.
When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of monarchs and emperors: it is greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim. Indeed it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.
Put simply, the Catholic Church won’t let Christ off the cross. In the mass, the substance of the bread and the wine are supposedly transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus, rendering Him as a repeated, incomplete sacrifice for sins. He’s not Lord and Savior—He’s the eternal Victim, perpetually bound to the altar by the power of the priest, visibly and ubiquitously symbolized in the Roman Catholic crucifix.
That’s a direct denial of Paul’s teaching in Romans 6:8-10.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God (emphasis added).
By denying the singular sacrifice of Christ, Catholicism imbues its illegitimate priesthood with artificial power and authority, enslaving its followers to a repetitious system of ineffective, ungodly offerings for sin. It’s essentially paganism sprinkled with enough Christian terminology to deceive and delude souls, convincing them Christ’s death on the cross was not enough to accomplish their salvation. In effect, the mass cancels out the real meaning of the cross.
In Light from Old Times, J.C. Ryle explained the theological and spiritual implications—and imperfections—of the Catholic mass.
Whatever men please to think or say, the Romish doctrine of the real presence, if pursued to its legitimate consequences, obscures every leading doctrine of the gospel, and damages and interferes with the whole system of Christ’s truth. Grant for a moment that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrifice, and not a sacrament—grant that every time the words of the consecration are used the natural body and blood of Christ are present on the communion table under the forms of bread and wine—grant that every one who eats that consecrated bread and drinks that consecrated wine does really eat and drink the natural body and blood of Christ—grant for a moment these things, and then see what momentous consequences result from these premises. You spoil the blessed doctrine of Christ’s finished work when He died on the cross. A sacrifice that needs to be repeated is not a perfect and complete thing. You spoil the priestly office of Christ. If there are priests that can offer an acceptable sacrifice to God besides Him, the great High Priest is robbed of His glory. You spoil the scriptural doctrine of the Christian ministry. You exalt sinful men into the position of mediators between God and man. You give to the sacramental elements of bread and wine an honour and veneration they were never meant to receive, and produce an idolatry to be abhorred of faithful Christians. Last, but not least, you overthrow the true doctrine of Christ’s human nature. If the body born of the Virgin Mary can be in more places than one at the same time, it is not a body like our own, and Jesus was not “the last Adam” in the truth of our nature.
In simple terms, the mass has nothing to do with the Christian gospel, nothing to do with the Christian life, and nothing to do with the Christian church. It rejects the true, biblical nature of God, Christ, sin, salvation, atonement, and forgiveness. It robs the cross of its meaning and replaces it with superficial, man-centered idolatry. It’s a lie, a fraud, and a damning fabrication that enslaves hearts and ushers people to hell.
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B130228
COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You
Emergent leader Tony Jones has had a busy, blasphemous week. Monday, he wrote a blog piece calling on Christian leaders to join him in relaxing our moral uppityness over fornication and adultery.
Facing a lawsuit that accuses some in leadership of neglecting to report allegations of sexual abuse and of protecting known sexual predators, C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) has found itself in a trying and turbulent situation.
Many Christian leaders not involved with SGM have been taken to task for failing to speak out publicly about the SGM debacle. Due to the grave nature of these allegations, however, Christians on the outside of the scandal must strive to think biblically about these charges and the situation as a whole without engaging in speculation and gossip. Tim Challies offers some fair and balanced thoughts about how the Christian may consider the ordeal.
“The fanatical regime, which rules the destitute country of 24 million people with a proverbial iron fist, has a special hatred for Christians,” Jerry Dykstra of the California-based Open Doors USA noted. “North Korea is in a league of its own when it comes to persecution of Christians.”
Apprising Ministries shows you in this piece the confusion now being sown over faith, which is actually a gift God gives to the Christian.
You’ll get a better understanding as to why you’re seeing Seeker Driven prophet-leaders like Steven Furtick trying to get people to “whip up” their faith and “believe God” by decreeing His Word a la Word Faith prosperity preachers like T.D. Jakes.
Is the financial collapse of Italy going to be the final blow that breaks the back of Europe financially? Most people don’t realize this, but Italy is actually the third largest debtor in the entire world after the United States and Japan. Italy currently has a debt to GDP ratio of more than 120 percent, and Italy has a bigger national debt than anyone else in Europe does. That is why it is such a big deal that Italian voters have just overwhelmingly rejected austerity. The political parties led by anti-austerity candidates Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo did far better than anticipated. When you combine their totals, they got more than 50 percent of the vote. Italian voters have seen what austerity has done to Greece and Spain and they want no part of it. Unfortunately for Italian voters, it has been the promise of austerity that has kept the Italian financial system stable in recent months. Now that Italian voters have clearly rejected austerity, investors are fearing that austerity programs all over Europe may start falling apart. This is creating quite a bit of panic in European financial markets right now. On Tuesday, Italian stocks had their worst day in 10 months, Italian bond yields rose by the most that we have seen in 19 months, and the stocks of the two largest banks in Italy both fell by more than 8 percent. Italy is already experiencing its fourth recession since 2001, and unemployment has been steadily rising. If Italy is now “ungovernable”, as many are saying, then what does that mean for the future of Italy? Will Italy be the spark that sets off financial armageddon in Europe? (Read More….)
The controversial pastor of a megachurch in Dallas spoke to his congregation on Sunday about “a wild week,” which centered around a scheduled appearance by Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
“You can not expect that Italy’s European partners or the ECB will stabilize the Italian economy, when its people are not ready for reform.” Boerner says if Italy not willing to reform, “we have to think about how to deal with a modified eurozone.”
Christian News Network reports:
A number of recognized Republicans have signed their name to a Supreme Court brief expressing their support for same-sex marriage.
The Proposition 8 amicus brief, which will be filed this week before the February 28th deadline, is said to be backed by several former Bush advisers, former governors, U.S. Congressmen and other prominent Republican entities.
Evangelist Ray Comfort says he’s deluged with so many questions and comments from atheists on his Facebook page that he’s decided to recruit Christians to join the online conversation between hundreds if not thousands of people.
His Facebook page has become a battleground for atheists to square off with Christians in an exchange of comments responding to his provocative posts. It’s not uncommon for a post on his social media site to have more than 1,000 responses.
After his prophetic vision of the eternal glories of heaven at the end of the book of Revelation, the apostle John described how he was overwhelmed by what he’d seen.
And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation22:8-9)
The Roman Catholic Church has committed the same error as John, promoting a mere citizen of heaven to an improper place of authority and honor. Despite the overwhelming testimony of Scripture, the Catholic Church has elevated Mary—a self-described servant of the Lord (Luke 1:38)—to the same level as God, if not higher.
In his Ineffabilis Deus in 1854, Pope Pius IX established as dogma the immaculate conception of Mary, which preserved her from inheriting original sin. His concluding statements provide a good summary of the Catholic view of Mary.
Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.
Those words are echoed and expanded on throughout Roman Catholic history. Tradition dictates that Mary is part of the monarchy of heaven, soliciting grace and mercy from the Lord on behalf of sinners, and covering sin by distributing from her Treasury of Merit. She became a co-redeemer with Christ in His suffering on the cross, and is now a co-mediator alongside Him in heaven—essentially an alternative avenue of access to God. She replaces the Holy Spirit in bestowing aid and comfort to believers. In effect, she becomes an additional member of the Trinity.
That blasphemy stands in sharp contrast to what Scripture actually says about Mary, and even what she says about herself. Luke 1:46-55 records her humble reaction to the news that she would give birth to the Son of God.
And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
The God she praised—the God of the Bible—does not need to be coaxed or wooed to distribute His blessings. He’s not harsh, distant, or indifferent—He’s gracious, righteous, and merciful. Rather than glorifying herself, she humbly worshiped the Lord.
Scripture actually has very little to say about Mary. There’s no description of her physical appearance, nothing about her life, her later years after Christ’s death, or her own death and burial. And when she does briefly appear with the disciples and the other believers on the day of Pentecost, she’s not an object of worship or even a leader in the early church—she’s just one among many. There simply are no biblical examples of anyone ever praying to her, honoring her, or venerating her.
Nor does she play a role in any biblical explanation of the gospel. Paul wrote a magnificent treatise on the doctrine of salvation that we know as the book of Romans, and all he said about the mother of Jesus is that she was “a descendent of David” (Romans 1:3). He’s even less specific in Galatians, another lengthy exposition of the pure, true gospel in which he simply said that Christ was “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4).
Contrast that with the unending Catholic volumes on the life of Mary, the miracles of Mary, the death of Mary, the apparitions of Mary, and on and on it goes. That’s why it’s often a shock for Catholics to read the Bible and see how little is actually said about Mary.
But that’s what happens when you elevate tradition to the level of Scripture and ascribe to men the infallible characteristics that only belong to God. It warps the truth of Scripture and distorts the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
God alone is our Redeemer, our Deliverer, our Benefactor, and our Comforter. He alone is to be worshiped, venerated, adored, and petitioned. The testimony of Scripture is clear.
Gather yourselves and come; draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; they have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol and pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah45:20-22)
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B130227 COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You
God has given mankind signs of technology that show that we are living in the end times. By observing these signs of technology and by listening to what the Bible has to say about them, we can know that Jesus is coming very soon….. Click here for full story
While Gallup polls and other statisticians have turned in the same percentage – about 40% of the population – of average weekend church attendees for the past 70 years, a different sort of research paints quite a disparate picture of how many Americans attend a local church on any given sunday. Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church — half of what the pollsters report. Click here for full story
Apprising Ministries reminds you that the arguments being advanced by the pro-homosexual lobby of the Emerging Church right now are actually old liberal and neon-orthodox ideas.
They are actually easily refuted from the text of the BIble itself as you’ll see here in this new piece.