Daily Archives: May 22, 2013

R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions eBooks Now Free Forever

To further help Christians know what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it, from today the eBook editions of R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series will be free forever.

Please share these resources with your church, family, and friends.

http://www.ligonier.org/blog/rc-sprouls-crucial-questions-ebooks-now-free/

‘Barbaric’: Scientists clone human embryo for first time

“Let’s be clear — what these researchers are doing is creating a cloned human being in order to destroy that human being to harvest its stem cells for the benefit of older and bigger human beings,” Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land told Baptist Press. “There are words for such activity — barbaric and uncivilized.”

Read More Here: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=40316&ref=BPNews-RSSFeed0521

Personal Evangelism 101: Identify Spiritual Needs – John MacArthur

It would be wonderful if unsaved people eagerly came to you with their questions about salvation and eternal life, but that’s not likely to happen very often, if ever.

Instead, you will need to initiate the majority of the evangelistic opportunities in your life. You’ll need to look for ways to steer conversations with spiritually uninformed and indifferent people back to God’s eternal truth. You have to give them a reason to listen and care about what you’re saying.

We’re looking at a powerful example of that in a familiar story from the life of Christ. The fourth chapter of John describes Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. We already saw how He took the initiative in starting the conversation, in spite of all the traditional and religious barriers that stood between them. The simple act of asking the woman for a drink was shocking in that culture, and in just a few short words Jesus had her full attention.

But as we’ll see today, it wasn’t enough just to get the conversation going—Christ immediately steers their discussion to her spiritual needs.

The Samaritan woman was already reeling from His shocking request for a drink. John recounts her incredulity at the situation:

Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:9-10)

Christ’s request for a drink caught the woman off guard, but it also created a point of contact between them. Everyone can relate to physical thirst and the need for water. Jesus simply used those basic human experiences to kick start a discussion about her spiritual need.

And to illustrate her desperate need, He uses a familiar but potent analogy: water. Not only was it the point of contact for their interaction, it was an apt illustration of her spiritual need—one with Old Testament foundations. Jeremiah 17:13 describes how Israel had “forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord.” Speaking about the lovingkindness of the Lord in Psalm 36:9, David says, “For with you is the fountain of life.” Isaiah 12:3 talks about the redeemed “joyously draw[ing] water from the springs of salvation.”

The conversation with the Samaritan woman wasn’t the only time Christ referred to Himself as the source of living water. In John 6:35 He says, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” Just a chapter later in John 7:37, Jesus told the crowd in Jerusalem, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”

Water is precious and vital for life, and in the world of the New Testament it was not easy to come by. But Christ wasn’t offering to quench anyone’s physical thirst. He had their spiritual needs in mind, and the analogy of water made it clear how strong those needs were.

That’s really the essence of evangelism. You locate a common point of reference or interest and begin a conversation, anticipating how you can direct that conversation toward eternal matters. Regardless of the topic or the venue, even the most casual conversations can have an eternal purpose. It’s our job to keep watch for opportunities to inject God’s truth into everyday discussions, just as Christ did with the Samaritan woman.

In this case, Christ took the initiative to start a conversation, then immediately turned the tables on the woman, identifying her as the one in need of the kind of water only He could supply. He’s addressing a need she’s unaware she has, and making a divine offer of unsolicited mercy to fulfill that need.

And that’s where we’ll pick it up next time.


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B130522     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

Sanctification, Homosexuality and the Church

In this post my goal is to utilize the issue of homosexuality as a case study to demonstrate that the “Jesus + Nothing = Everything” approach to sanctification is not merely an academic wrinkle, but an error of such prodigious import that it threatens the very essence of the Christian church.

American culture has apparently reached a tipping point when it comes to homosexuality. It’s OK to be homosexual now. In fact, those of us who aren’t homosexual are apparently supposed to trip all over ourselves in our affirmation of homosexuals to make up for all those years in which American consensus stood against this vice. Blah, Blah, Blech. I’m disappointed, but not particularly devastated: this kind of thing really is an inevitable result of the non-foundational, democratic, and relativist worldview that America has been cultivating for decades.

What is devastating to me, though, is some of the Christian responses to the problem that have recently been raised: applause for believers who have “come out” to unabashedly affirm (not to repent of, mind you, but to affirm) their homosexual status; gracious acceptance of and commiseration with homosexuals who sit beside us as fellow-members of the Christian church; etc. The new angle is that Christian homosexuals are a growing part of the Christian community and we need to be attentive to, not contemptuous of, their peculiar needs.

Read More Here: http://sharperiron.org/article/sanctification-homosexuality-and-church

Downplaying the DSM, Psychiatry’s ‘Bible’

A recent blog post, Downplaying the DSM, informs us that the director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Thomas Insel, announced recently that the NIMH will no longer rely on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a longtime guidebook for psychiatry: “While DSM has been described as a ‘Bible’ for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each. The strength of each of the editions of DSM has been ‘reliablity’—each edition has ensured clinicians use the same terms in the same ways. The weakness is its validity… Patients with mental disorders deserve better.” Undoubtedly, every person currently involved the mental illness/psychiatric disorder conversation—both within the counseling community as well as the larger evangelical church—would agree. Therefore, the current conversation is a very important one.

As part of this discussion, it is both wise and imperative for biblical counselors to be willing to dialogue with those whose critique of our approach sometimes insinuates that biblical counseling is uncaring, ignorant of physiological dynamics, or overly reductionistic. As biblical counselors we want to practice what we counsel; we need to listen well!

The following articles serve as a representation of the wide array of voices within the secular community. Far from being homogenous in their beliefs about mental illness, the secular psychiatric community still remains very much in the process of developing how they think about mental illness and its treatment.

Read More Here: http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/paul-tautges/downplaying-the-dsm.html

Poll: Americans Say Abortion, Assisted Suicide and Cloning Immoral

Life News reports:

Gallup released the results of its annual poll on whether Americans do or don’t find a couple dozen practices morally acceptable. As has frequently been the case, Americans do not find abortion to be morally okay.

The new poll finds a plurality of Americans, 49-42 percent, find abortion to be morally unacceptable. A 49-45 percentage point plurality also found assisted suicide morally unacceptable and an 83-13 percent majority find cloning human beings to be morally bad as well.

http://www.lifenews.com/2013/05/21/poll-americans-say-abortion-assisted-suicide-and-cloning-immoral/

Maryland Judges Dismisses Most of Abuse Lawsuit Against SGM; Criminal Investigation Continues

Most of the class-action lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries, in which rampant sexual abuse was allegedly committed against children, has been dismissed by a Maryland judge. Bill O’Neil, the attorney for the plaintiffs, stated yesterday in an interview with radio host Janet Mefferd that it had been known from the outset that the age of most of the alleged victims had long since passed the statute of limitations. The case still was pursued, however, in the hope that allegations that SGM leadership had systematically pressured victims not to seek legal counsel or help outside of the church would have weighed more heavily into the judge’s decision.

http://solasisters.blogspot.com/2013/05/maryland-judges-dismisses-most-of-abuse.html

7 Steps to Teach Theology in the Local Church

Evangelicals know that theology matters, and we’re quick to  remind others of this fact. What we’re not so quick to acknowledge is the focus  of this blogpost: we do a poor job of teaching the very theology we claim is so  important. We think that our church members understand and believe our basic  doctrine, even while those same members are learning their theology from TV talk  show hosts, popular television preachers, or the latest religious novel. Do an  anonymous survey of your congregation’s beliefs, and see what you learn. If the  majority knows and believes basic biblical doctrine, your church is more an  exception than the norm.

Consider these steps for teaching theology in your church:

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/7-steps-to-teach-theology-in-the-local-church-96475/

What’s Christian Life and Ministry About?

God’s Description of the Christian Life

So what is the Christian life all about? We’re probably well-advised to ask the One who conceived of it in the first place. When we ask God, we find that it’s not mainly about spiritual disciplines, doctrinal knowledge, “ministry” activity, nor abstaining from worldliness. It’s actually far simpler and can even be alliterated with “P”! The Christian life is…

Prayer, Proclamation, and People.

In a 2008 article, The Strategy of God, Phillip Jensen explained this from the New Testament:

http://www.affectedbytruth.com/whats-christian-life-and-ministry-about/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=whats-christian-life-and-ministry-about

Have we all been duped by the Myers-Briggs test?

Despite its popularity, the personality test has been subject to sustained criticism by professional psychologists for over three decades.

I have some bad news for you: Even the most sophisticated tests have considerable flaws. Take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the world’s most popular psychometric test, which is based on Jung’s theory of personality types. Over two million are administered every year. The MBTI places you in one of 16 personality types, based on dichotomous categories such as whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, or have a disposition towards being logical or emotional (what it calls “thinking” and “feeling”).

Read More Here: http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2013/05/15/myers-briggs-problems/

Inescapable Influence – Paul David Tripp

I love the Psalms. I think the Psalms are in the Bible to keep us honest about our life of faith. But I have to say this: I have a problem with the way we typically approach the Psalms. We like to think of them as spiritual fast-food. We’ll read a quick Psalm, say a short prayer, and have our ticket punched for eternity that day!

Instead, we ought to treat each Psalm like a gourmet meal. We should be slow and meticulous in the way we consume them. Let’s do that over the next three weeks with Psalm 1. We’ll look at three inescapable realities that the Psalmist observes:

1) You live in a world of inescapable influence

“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 the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

You live in a world of counsel. Every day, somehow, some way, you’re being counseled. Everything you encounter originates from some kind of worldview. Everything you experience comes from somebody with a certain perspective on life.

Think about it. The journalist that reports on the news of the world doesn’t provide a completely objective fact sheet. They bring with them a certain set of personal beliefs, and there is subtle counsel in each news segment.

The radio host that you listen to on the way to work has a perspective on life, and the content they choose to fill their show with provides some type of counsel. The author of the blog you read during lunch has a worldview and wants to share that with you.

The list goes on and on. The characters in your favorite sitcom; the lyrics of your favorite artist; the script of your favorite movie… You must be aware that you’re always being counseled.

But this counsel isn’t passive. It’s not an innocent “sharing of opinions.” Embedded in all that counsel is a call to action: “this is the way you should think” or “this is what you should desire” or “this is what you should do.” It’s inescapable.

Imagine this scene. It’s like sitting in a high school gymnasium, five minutes before the assembly starts, and everybody’s talking at once. That’s what it’s like to live in our world. You’re constantly getting bombarded with perspectives and views of life.

If the world isn’t passive in its influence, we certainly shouldn’t be passive either. The Psalmist takes note of that – the “blessed man” is active, pursuing Godly influence. He delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night.

There’s an active pursuit being pictured here. We should actively find delight in the truths of Scripture and actively seek out the grace of God in its various forms. We should pursue Truth and be a student of it, not so much to master it, but to be mastered by it.

So as you go through each day, be prudent; a thousand voices will try to influence your worldview. Be proactive; pursue the Lord and meditate on His Word. And be prepared; God has given you the ability to influence, and you’ll have opportunities to counsel others.

God bless

Paul David Tripp

Reflection Questions

What voices of influence surround your everyday life?
Are you allowing the wrong voices to influence you?
How can you actively pursue wise counsel?
How can you bring Godly counsel to others?

http://paultripp.com/wednesdays-word/posts/inescapable-influence

America’s Bubble Economy Is Going To Become An Economic Black Hole

What is going to happen when the greatest economic bubble in the history of the world pops? The mainstream media never talks about that. They are much too busy covering the latest dogfights in Washington and what Justin Bieber has been up to. And most Americans seem to think that if the Dow keeps setting new all-time highs that everything must be okay. Sadly, that is not the case at all. Right now, the U.S. economy is exhibiting all of the classic symptoms of a bubble economy. You can see this when you step back and take a longer-term view of things. Over the past decade, we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt. But most Americans have shown very little concern as the balance on our national credit card has soared from 6 trillion dollars to nearly 17 trillion dollars. Meanwhile, Wall Street has been transformed into the biggest casino on the planet, and much of the new money that the Federal Reserve has been recklessly printing up has gone into stocks. But the Dow does not keep setting new records because the underlying economic fundamentals are good. Rather, the reckless euphoria that we are seeing in the financial markets right now reminds me very much of 1929. Margin debt is absolutely soaring, and every time that happens a crash rapidly follows. But this time when a crash happens it could very well be unlike anything that we have ever seen before. The top 25 U.S. banks have more than 212 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives combined, and when that house of cards comes crashing down there is no way that anyone will be able to prop it back up. After all, U.S. GDP for an entire year is only a bit more than 15 trillion dollars. (Read More….)

7 Things About The Mainstream Media That They Do Not Want You To Know

Have you ever wondered who controls the mainstream media? In America today, we are more “connected” than ever. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month, and we also spend countless hours watching movies, playing video games, listening to music, reading books and surfing the Internet. If someone could control the production of all of that media, that would make them immensely powerful. They would literally be in a position to tell people what to think. Well, what if I told you that there are just six enormous media conglomerates that combine to produce about 90 percent of all the media that Americans consume. Would that alarm you? It should alarm you. The truth is that our attitudes, opinions and beliefs are greatly shaped by what we allow into our minds. After all, they don’t call it “programming” for no reason. Even those of us that realize that we are connected to “the matrix” probably greatly underestimate the tremendous influence that the media has over us. We live at a time when it is absolutely imperative to think for ourselves, but most Americans are being absolutely overwhelmed with information and seem more than content to let others do their thinking for them. Sadly, this is greatly contributing to the downfall of our society. (Read More….)

Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: What are the dangers of postmodernism?

Simply put, Postmodernism is a philosophy that affirms no objective or absolute truth, especially in matters of religion and spirituality. When confronted with a truth claim regarding the reality of God and religious practice, Postmodernism’s viewpoint is exemplified in the statement “That may be true for you, but not for me.” While such a response may be completely appropriate when discussing favorite foods or preferences toward art, such a mindset is dangerous when it is applied to reality because it confuses matters of taste and opinion with truth.

The term “Postmodernism” literally means “after Modernism” and is used to philosophically describe the current era which came after the age of Modernism. Postmodernism is a reaction (or perhaps more appropriately, a disillusioned response) to Modernism’s failed promise of using human reason alone to better mankind and make the world a better place. Because one of Modernism’s beliefs was that absolutes did indeed exist, Postmodernism seeks to ‘correct’ things by first eliminating absolute truth and making everything (including the empirical sciences as well as religion) relative to an individual’s beliefs and desires.

The dangers of Postmodernism can be viewed as a downward spiral that begin with the rejection of absolute truth, which then leads to a loss of distinctions in matters of religion and faith, and finally culminates in a philosophy of religious pluralism that says no faith or religion is objectively true and therefore no one can claim their religion is true and another is false.

Dangers of Postmodernism—#1—Relative Truth

Postmodernism’s stance of relative truth is the outworking of many generations of philosophical thought. From Augustine to the Reformation, the intellectual aspects of Western civilization and the concept of truth were dominated by theologians. But, beginning with the Renaissance periods of the 14th–17th centuries, thinkers began to elevate humankind to the center of reality. If one were to look at human periods of history like a family tree, the Renaissance would be Modernism’s grandmother and the Enlightenment would be its mother. Renee Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” personified the beginning of this era. God was not the center of truth any longer—man now was.

The Enlightenment was in a way the complete imposition of the scientific model of rationality upon all aspects of truth and claimed that only scientific data could be objectively understood, defined, and defended. Truth as it pertained to religion was left out and discarded. The philosopher who straddled this epoch’s and Modernism’s contribution to relative truth was the Prussian Immanuel Kant and his work The Critique of Pure Reason, which appeared in 1781. Among other things, Kant argued that true knowledge about God was impossible so he created a divide of knowledge between ‘facts’ and ‘faith’. According to Kant, “Facts have nothing to do with religion”. The end result was that spiritual matters were assigned to be matters of the heart and just opinion, and only the empirical sciences were allowed to speak of truth. And while Modernism believed in absolutes at least in the area of science, God’s special revelation (the Bible) was evicted from the realm of truth and certainty.

From Modernism came Postmodernism and, whereas Kant marked the philosophical transition from the Enlightenment to Modernity, Frederick Nietzsche may symbolize the shift from Modernism to Postmodernism. As the patron saint of postmodernist philosophy, Nietzsche held to ‘perspectivism’, which says that all knowledge (including science) is a matter of perspective and interpretation. Many other philosophers have built upon Nietzsche’s work (e.g. Foucault, Rorty, Lyotard) and have shared his rejection of God and religion in general. They also rejected any hint of absolute truth, or as Lyotard put it, a rejection of a metanarrative (a truth that transcends all peoples and cultures).

This philosophical march through history against objective truth has resulted in Postmodernism having a complete aversion to any claim to absolutes, with such a mindset naturally painting a huge bull’s eye on something that declares to be inerrant truth, such as the Bible.

Dangers of Postmodernism—#2—Loss of Discernment

The great theologian Thomas Aquinas said, “It is the task of the philosopher to make distinctions.” What Aquinas meant is that truth is dependent upon the ability to discern—the capability to distinguish ‘this’ from ‘that’ in the realm of knowledge. However, if objective and absolute truth does not exist, then everything becomes a matter of personal interpretation. To the postmodern individual, the author of a book does not possess the correct interpretation of their work; it is the reader who actually determines what the book really means—a process called Deconstruction. And given that there are multiple readers (vs. one author), there are naturally multiple interpretations, with the end result being no universally valid interpretation.

Such a chaotic situation makes it impossible to make meaningful or lasting distinctions between interpretations because there is no standard or benchmark that can be used. This especially applies to matters of faith and religion because the philosophers of the Enlightenment and Modernity had already deposed religion to the compartment of opinion. Such being the case, it naturally follows that attempting to make proper and meaningful distinctions in the area of religion (ones that dare suggest that one belief is right and another invalid) carries no more weight than one person arguing that chocolate tastes better than vanilla. In such situations, it becomes impossible to objectively adjudicate between competing truth claims.

Dangers of Postmodernism—#3—Pluralism

If absolute truth does not exist, and if there is no way to make meaningful, right/wrong distinctions between different faiths and religions, then the natural conclusion is that all beliefs must be given equal weight and considered valid. The proper term for this practical outworking in Postmodernism is “philosophical pluralism”. With pluralism, no religion has the right to pronounce itself right or true and the other competing faiths false, or even relatively inferior. For those who espouse a philosophical religious pluralism, there is no longer any heresy, except perhaps the view that there are heresies. D. A. Carson underscores conservative evangelical’s concerns about what they see as the dangerous element of pluralism when he says: “In my most somber moods I sometimes wonder if the ugly face of what I refer to as philosophical pluralism is the most dangerous threat to the gospel since the rise of the Gnostic heresy in the second century.”

These progressive dangers of Postmodernism—relative truth, a loss of discernment, and philosophical pluralism—represent real and imposing threats to Christianity because they collectively relegate God’s Word to something that has no real authority over mankind and no ability to show itself as true in a world of competing religious voices. What is Christianity’s response to these challenges?

Response to the Dangers of Postmodernism

It should first be stated that Christianity claims to be absolutely true, claims that meaningful distinctions in matters of right/wrong (as well as spiritual truth and falsehood) exist, and claims to be correct in its claims about God with any contrary claims from competing religions being incorrect. Such a stance provokes cries of ‘arrogance’ and ‘intolerance’ from Postmodernism. However, truth is not a matter of attitude or preference, and when closely examined, the foundations and philosophies of Postmodernism quickly crumble and reveal Christianity’s claims to be both plausible and compelling.

First, Christianity claims that absolute truth exists. In fact Jesus specifically says that He was sent and born to do one thing: “to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). Postmodernism says that no truth should be affirmed, yet its position is one that is self-defeating—it affirms at least one absolute truth: that no truth should be affirmed. This means that Postmodernism does believe in absolute truth and such a fact is exemplified by its philosophers who write books stating things they expect their readers to embrace and believe as truth. Putting it simply, one professor has said, “When someone says there is no such thing as truth, they are asking you not to believe them. So don’t.”

Second, Christianity claims that meaningful distinctions exist between the Christian faith and all other beliefs. However, it should be understood that anyone claiming that meaningful distinctions do not exist between religions is actually making a distinction. They are attempting to showcase a difference in what they believe to be true and the Christian’s truth claims. Postmodernist authors expect their readers to come to the right conclusions about what they have written and will correct those who interpret their work differently than they have intended. Again, their position and philosophy proves itself to be self-defeating because they eagerly make distinctions between what they believe to be correct and what they see as being false.

Finally, Christianity claims to be universally true in what it says regarding man’s lostness before God, the sacrifice of Christ on behalf of fallen mankind, and the separation between God and anyone who chooses not to accept what God says about sin and the need for repentance. When Paul addressed the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers on Mar’s Hill, he said, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30, emphasis added). Paul’s declaration was not a “this is true for me, but may not be true for you” statement, but rather an exclusive and universal (i.e. metanarrative) command from God to everyone. Any postmodernist who says this is false is committing an error against their own pluralistic philosophy that says no faith or religion is incorrect because, once again, they violate their own mandate of saying every religion is equally true.

In the same way that it is not arrogant for a math teacher to insist that 2 + 2 = 4 or for a locksmith to insist that only one key will fit a locked door, it is not arrogant for the Christian to stand against Postmodernist thinking and insist that Christianity is true and anything opposed to it is false. Absolute truth does exist, consequences do exist for being wrong, and while pluralism may be desirable in matters of food preferences, it is not so in matters of truth. The Christian is to present God’s truth in love and simply ask any postmodernist who is angered by the exclusive claims of Christianity, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16)[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Eternity: What is Heaven like?

Heaven is a real place described in the Bible. The word “heaven” is found 276 times in the New Testament alone. Scripture refers to three heavens. The apostle Paul was “caught up to the third heaven,” but he was prohibited from revealing what he experienced there (2 Corinthians 12:1–9).

If a third heaven exists, there must also be two other heavens. The first is most frequently referred to in the Old Testament as the “sky” or the “firmament.” This is the heaven that contains clouds, the area that birds fly through. The second heaven is interstellar/outer space, which is the abode of the stars, planets, and other celestial objects (Genesis 1:14–18).

The third heaven, the location of which is not revealed, is the dwelling place of God. Jesus promised to prepare a place for true Christians in heaven (John 14:2). Heaven is also the destination of Old Testament saints who died trusting God’s promise of the Redeemer (Ephesians 4:8). Whoever believes in Christ shall never perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

The apostle John was privileged to see and report on the heavenly city (Revelation 21:10–27). John witnessed that heaven (the new earth) possesses the “glory of God” (Revelation 21:11), the very presence of God. Because heaven has no night and the Lord Himself is the light, the sun and moon are no longer needed (Revelation 22:5).

The city is filled with the brilliance of costly stones and crystal clear jasper. Heaven has twelve gates (Revelation 21:12) and twelve foundations (Revelation 21:14). The paradise of the Garden of Eden is restored: the river of the water of life flows freely and the tree of life is available once again, yielding fruit monthly with leaves that “heal the nations” (Revelation 22:1–2). However eloquent John was in his description of heaven, the reality of heaven is beyond the ability of finite man to describe (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Heaven is a place of “no mores.” There will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more sorrow (Revelation 21:4). There will be no more separation, because death will be conquered (Revelation 20:6). The best thing about heaven is the presence of our Lord and Savior (1 John 3:2). We will be face to face with the Lamb of God who loved us and sacrificed Himself so that we can enjoy His presence in heaven for eternity.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Christianity: How is the Christian religion different from all the other world religions?

Religion is the practice of faith; that is, religion is the external or ceremonial observance of a set of beliefs. Technically, there is a difference between faith (the internal attitude) and religion (the external works), but for the sake of this article, we will define “Christian religion” broadly as “the faithful observance of the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles.”

James 1:27 says that religion that is “pure and faultless” before God is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” In other words, care for the needy and personal virtue are externals which are present when one has a true love for God. And, since James specifies that he is speaking of “pure and faultless” religion, there must exist an “unclean and imperfect” type of religion as well—a religion not based on love for God.

Here are five reasons why the Christian religion is better than non-Christian religions (why observing the teachings of Jesus Christ is better than not observing them):

Christian religion—Jesus Christ is the Way to God.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because that which leads to God is better than that which leads away from God. We have sinfully wandered away from God (Isaiah 53:6), and we need a Guide to lead us back. Jesus is that Way (John 14:6), the One to seek the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus claims not to be one of many ways, but the one-and-only Way to God. He is, in fact, God Himself in human flesh (John 20:28), so to find Jesus is to find God. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” He said (John 14:9). The Christian religion is unique in that it offers a close, intimate relationship with the personal God of the universe.

Christian religion—Jesus Christ is the Truth.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because things that are true are better than things that are false. Jesus is “the Truth” (John 14:6). He is the embodiment of truth, the revelation of God to humanity (Colossians 2:9), and the conveyor of God’s words (John 17:8). The Christian religion is grounded in truth, being based on a historical Person whose acts were verified by eyewitnesses and recorded by four different biographers. Parodies of Christianity often spring up through the work of “false prophets” (1 John 4:1), but only Jesus is true. In following Christ, Christians have the utmost regard for truth, as opposed to hollow externals and the hypocrisy of false appearances. The Christian religion is unique in that it forces us to face the truth about ourselves and speak the truth with others.

Christian religion—Jesus Christ is the Life.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because life is better than death and heaven is better than hell. Jesus is “the Life” (John 14:6); He is the source of life, and without Him one cannot truly live (John 1:4; 3:36; 5:24; 10:10). Jesus provides what we need: the Bread that satisfies forever (John 6:35), the Water that gives eternal life (John 4:14; 7:37–38), and the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). These are more than empty claims; Jesus proved His ability to give life by raising from the dead Lazarus (John 11), Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5), and the boy from Nain (Luke 7). Then, after His own death on the cross, Jesus rose again the third day, having conquered death forever (Matthew 28). The Christian religion is unique in that it is based on the actual, physical resurrection of its Founder.

Christian religion—Jesus Christ transforms mankind.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because righteousness is better than wickedness. Other religions may impose conformity to a certain code of behavior, but they have no power to change the heart. Christianity teaches that the believer is “dead to sin” and now lives “in newness of life” (Romans 6:2, 4). The authenticating mark of a Christian is his transformation from practicing sin to having a zeal for good works (Titus 2:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The Christian’s zeal for doing good has resulted in the founding of countless orphanages, hospitals, clinics, schools, homeless shelters, and emergency relief agencies—all in the name of Christ. The Christian religion is unique in that it does not force change from without but revolutionizes lives from within.

Christian religion—Jesus Christ is loving.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because love is better than the absence of love. God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is the greatest of His gifts to us (1 Corinthians 13:13)—not the fickle, so-called love of the world, but the selfless, unconditional love which always seeks to benefit the one loved. God showed His love for us in sending His one-and-only Son (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). Jesus showed His love for us in providing for our salvation by dying on the cross (John 15:13). Jesus gave His followers a new command: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35). Love, not duty or debt, is what motivates the believer and impels him to greater humility and greater service for the kingdom of heaven. Christianity is unique in that it is not a system of rules but a celebration of unselfish love. “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).

Man, in his creativity, has invented innumerable religions in his attempt to reach God. God, in His love, has given us the truth: the one religion, Christianity, in which God attempts to reach man.[1]

 

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

DOJ on ‘Gays’: ‘Silence Will be Interpreted as Disapproval’

The document is chilling. It’s riddled with directives that grossly violate – prima facie –employees’ First Amendment liberties.

Following are excerpts from the “DOJ Pride” decree. When it comes to “LGBT” employees, managers are instructed:

“DON’T judge or remain silent. Silence will be interpreted as disapproval.”

View Article

Robert Downey Jr/Iron Man Causes Stir with Reference to Bible Prophecy Teacher “Chuck Missler”

Kade Hawkins, director of Prophecy News Watch served on the Board of Chuck Missler’s Koinonia House for over 16 years. Kade believes Robert Downey Jr’s reference to Chuck Missler has come at a critical time when “people are looking for answers to help understand many of the current events happening around us”.

View Article and Video

Texas Mega-Church Welcomes Islamists to ‘Global Faith Forum’

Pastor Bob Roberts. Jr. is known for his efforts to build-bridges with Muslims. He spoke at the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference put together by Palestinian Christians at Bethlehem Bible College. So did Florida Pastor Joel C. Hunter, who has been negative attention for his association with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. Hunter is also critical of “Christian Zionists.”

View Article