Monthly Archives: June 2013

Those Who Are Saved Are Few

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching.  (Mark 6:5-6 NASB)

Some say that the number of true Christians is determined by how many are members of a certain religious group. Others say that this number is determined by how many have met a certain checklist of religious requirements. These and many other Christian apologists come up with their own requirements. Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to go by what our Lord taught instead? The issue with all of these determining lists of requirements is that they are based on human merit in one way or another. However the Word of God tells us clearly that NO ONE is saved according to this. 

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Luther: On the Difficulty of Prayer


Zwinglius Redivivus

luther09“When we pray we have the advantage [of the promise] that what we ask will be granted, although not according to our wish. If it weren’t for the promise I wouldn’t pray.

God does well, moreover, that he doesn’t give us everything as we wish, for otherwise we’d want to have everything on our own terms.

That our Lord God is the same in life and death I have often experienced. If our prayer is earnest it will be heard, even if not as and when we wish. This must be so or our faith is vain. Consequently it’s difficult to pray. I know well what a prayer requires of me. — Martin Luther

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Multiple Government Agencies Are Keeping Records Of Your Credit Card Transactions

Were you under the impression that your credit card transactions are private? If so, I am sorry to burst your bubble. As you will see below, there are actually multiple government agencies that are gathering and storing records of your credit card transactions. And in turn, those government agencies share that information with other government agencies that want it. So if you are making a purchase that you don’t want anyone to know about, don’t use a credit card. This is one of the reasons why the government hates cash so much. It is just so hard to track. In this day and age, the federal government seems to be absolutely obsessed with gathering as much information about all of us as it possibly can. But there is one big problem. What they are doing directly violates the U.S. Constitution. For those that are not familiar with it, the following is what the Fourth Amendment actually says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment is essentially dead at this point. The federal government is investigating all of us and gathering information on all of us all day, every day without end. (Read More….)

The truth shall keep us free — Edward Snowden has awakened a giant – by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Which is more dangerous to personal liberty in a free society: a renegade who tells an inconvenient truth about government law-breaking, or government officials who lie about what the renegade revealed?

That’s the core issue in the great public debate this summer, as Americans come to the realization that their government has concocted a system of laws violative of the natural law, profoundly repugnant to the Constitution and shrouded in secrecy.

The liberty of which I write is the right to privacy: the right to be left alone. The Framers jealously and zealously guarded this right by imposing upon government agents intentionally onerous burdens before letting them invade it.

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Dr Ben Carson Prayer Breakfast Speech With President Obama (YouTube Video)

President Obama sits and listens as Dr Benjamin Carson Sr’, the Pediatric Neurosurgery Director at the John Hopkins Hospital, gives an extremely motivational and “Presidential like” speech at the Fellowship Foundation National Prayer Breakfast. Dr. Carson quoted the bible, talked about tax reform, the PC Police, healthcare reform and education. It lead for many American Patriots to call for Dr. Ben Carson to run for President of the United States in 2016.

18 Properties of a Humble Soul

Thomas Brooks was born in 1608, educated for a time at Emmanuel’s College, Cambridge, and ordained to preach in 1640. He spent some time as a chaplain to the Parliamentary fleet, serving onboard several different vessels. He eventually became the minister of several different congregations in London. Like Thomas Goodwin and John Owen, Brooks held a congregational view of church government. In 1662, as a result of the Act of Uniformity and its mandated use of the Book of Common Prayer, Brooks was forced to give up his ministerial position. He went on preaching in London, and eventually became a minister at Moorfields. Under the Declaration of Indulgence Brooks was briefly licensed again to preach, however that was short lived and the license was revoked four years later. Brooks died in 1680 and was buried in London’s famous non-conformist cemetery, Bunhill Fields.[1]

One of Brooks’ many contributions is a treatise titled, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ. In this work Brooks is expounding on Ephesians 3:8: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ!” One particularly soul-nourishing section lists ‘18 properties of a humble soul.’ I found these to be very instructive to me, so I have listed them below along with some notable quotes.

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Questions about the Church: What does the Bible say about Christian confirmation?

Confirmation is defined as a sacrament, a ritual or a service performed by man. In some traditions, generally Catholic and Anglican, the sacrament of confirmation is the ritual by which a young person becomes an official member of the Church. This sometimes includes the bestowal of a “confirmation name,” generally the name of a saint, which is often used as a second middle name. Those who practice confirmation believe it signals the initiation of the baptized into full church membership and a personal, mature acceptance of the faith. Catholics and Anglicans recognize confirmation as one of seven sacraments.

The Bible, however, is silent on the matter of such a ritual. In fact, the idea that a person can “confirm” to another that he/she is in the faith is denied in Scripture. Each individual must determine the state of his/her soul based on several criteria. First, we are confirmed by the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16). When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts and gives us assurance that He is present and that we belong to Him, and He also teaches and explains spiritual things to us (1 Corinthians 2:13–14), thereby confirming that we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We are also confirmed in the faith by the evidence of our salvation. First John 1:5–10 tells us that the evidence of our salvation is manifested in our lives: we walk in the Light, we do not lie, we confess our sin. James 2 makes it clear that the evidence of faith is the works we do. We are not saved by our works, but our works are the evidence of the saving faith in us. Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20). The spiritual fruit produced in us by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is the confirmation that He lives within us. Therefore, we are told to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). In addition, Peter tells us to “make your calling and election sure” so that we will “receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10–11).

The final “confirmation” of our salvation is, of course, in the future. Those who are true Christians, the Bible tells us, will persevere to the end, “eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end” (1 Corinthians 1:7–8 NKJV). We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13–14). This, then, is the true meaning of confirmation—salvation was purchased by the blood of Christ in whom we have faith, it is evidenced by our walk with Him, and it is confirmed to us by the Holy Spirit within.[1]


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

Questions about Salvation: What is the true gospel?

The true gospel is the good news that God saves sinners. Man is by nature sinful and separated from God with no hope of remedying that situation. But God, by His power, provided the means of man’s redemption in the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

The word “gospel” literally means “good news.” But to truly comprehend how good this news is, we must first understand the bad news. As a result of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6), every part of man—his mind, will, emotions and flesh—have been corrupted by sin. Because of man’s sinful nature, he does not and cannot seek God. He has no desire to come to God and, in fact, his mind is hostile toward God (Romans 8:7). God has declared that man’s sin dooms him to an eternity in hell, separated from God. It is in hell that man pays the penalty of sin against a holy and righteous God. This would be bad news indeed if there were no remedy.

But in the gospel, God, in His mercy, has provided that remedy, a substitute for us—Jesus Christ—who came to pay the penalty for our sin by His sacrifice on the cross. This is the essence of the gospel which Paul preached to the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 15:2–4, he explains the three elements of the gospel—the death, burial and resurrection of Christ on our behalf. Our old nature died with Christ on the cross and was buried with Him. Then we were resurrected with Him to a new life (Romans 6:4–8). Paul tells us to “hold firmly” to this true gospel, the only one which saves. Believing in any other gospel is to believe in vain. In Romans 1:16–17, Paul also declares that the true gospel is the “power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” by which he means that salvation is not achieved by man’s efforts, but by the grace of God through the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8–9).

Because of the Gospel, through the power of God, those who believe in Christ (Romans 10:9) are not just saved from hell. We are, in fact, given a completely new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17) with a changed heart and a new desire, will, and attitude that are manifested in good works. This is the fruit the Holy Spirit produces in us by His power. Works are never the means of salvation, but they are the proof of it (Ephesians 2:10). Those who are saved by the power of God will always show the evidence of salvation by a changed life.[1]


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

Topical Bible Questions: What does the Bible say about knowledge?

The word “knowledge” in the Bible denotes an understanding, a recognition, or an acknowledgment. To “know” something is to perceive it or to be aware of it. Many times in Scripture, knowledge carries the idea of a deeper appreciation of something or a relationship with someone. The Bible is clear that the knowledge of God is the most valuable knowledge a human being can possess. But it is also clear that simply being aware of God’s existence is not sufficient; the knowledge of God must encompass the deep appreciation for and relationship with Him.

We know from Scripture that knowledge is a gift from God. Proverbs 2:6 tells us that the Lord gives wisdom which comes from His own mouth—the Word of God—and that the wisdom of God results in knowledge and understanding. James adds that those who lack wisdom have only to ask for it and God will give it abundantly and generously. God’s desire is for all to know Him, appreciate Him, and have a relationship with Him; therefore, He grants to all who truly seek Him the wisdom that leads to knowledge. Further, because knowledge is God’s to give, those who reverence Him will receive it. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). The word “fear” here is not the dread or terror, but a reverence for God, respect for His law, His will, His rule in our lives, and the fear of offending Him, which will lead us to obey, worship and praise Him.

God gives the gift of knowledge out of His infinite store of knowledge. Psalm 19:2 tells us that God’s creation reveals the Creator’s knowledge. “Night after night [the skies] display knowledge” (Psalm 19:2). The vastness of God’s knowledge and creative power are on display continually and are clearly seen in what He has created, as Paul reminds us in Romans 1:19–20. Not only is God’s knowledge infinite, but it is absolute: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! / How unsearchable his judgments, / and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33). When God came to earth in the Person of Jesus Christ, He became the embodiment of knowledge: “… Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2–3).

Human knowledge, apart from God, is not only flawed, but the Bible also refers to it as worthless because it isn’t tempered by love (1 Corinthians 13:2). The knowledge man possesses tends to make one proud. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Therefore, the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, without seeking God, is foolishness. “Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom … but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief” (Ecclesiastes 1:17–18). Worldly knowledge is a false knowledge which is opposed to the truth, and Paul urges us to “Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20–21). Human knowledge is opposed to God’s knowledge and therefore is no knowledge at all; rather, it is foolishness.

For the Christian, knowledge implies a relationship. For example, when the Bible says that “Adam knew Eve his wife” (Genesis 4:1, NKJV), it means he had a physical union with her. Spiritual relationships are also described this way. Jesus used the word “know” to refer to His saving relationship with those who follow Him: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). He also told His disciples, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). By contrast, Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews, “You do not know [my Father]” (verse 55). Therefore, to know Christ is to have faith in Him, to follow Him, to have a relationship with Him, to love and by loved by Him. (See also John 14:7; 1 Corinthians 8:3; Galatians 4:9; and 2 Timothy 2:19.) Increasing in the knowledge of God is part of Christian maturity and is something all Christians are to experience as we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).[1]


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


Active indicates an ability to do, as well as the act of doing. God is most certainly able to act, and He is very active. Indeed, the reverse is true also, the act of doing shows the ability to act.


1. God is active in redemption: John 3:17


He was not only active in providing salvation, but He is actively drawing souls unto Himself.


It always thrills my heart to hear of a person that sits down to read the Bible as one lost and on the way to hell, and stands up a new creature in Christ due to his acceptance of the gospel that he has just read. The Holy Spirit draws each one to Himself personally.


I recently read an article concerning how the big parachurch groups teach their people to witness. One of the groups clearly made this very point. They encourage their people to begin and end with prayer — asking for the Holy Spirit to work in the life, because it is God that saves and not the witnessing.


2. God is active in guiding nations: Romans 13:1


The recent breakup of the Soviet Union should move people to realize that God is in the business of raising up and putting down nations. Any study of history will reveal that many nations have risen and fallen just as quickly. A nation that honors God often thrives, while a nation that dishonors God seldom prospers or survives.


3. God is active in protecting us: 1 Kings 19:5, Psalm 91:11,12, Daniel

6:22, Matthew 4:11, Matthew 18:4-10, Hebrews 1:14


Many are the accounts of how God has protected His people in modern days as well. One Christmas when we were in Denver for college, we had made plans to go to Nebraska for Christmas. We had all the plans laid and when I piled into the car to go home to pick up the family, the car would start but not continue to run. I discovered the fact that if I pumped the foot feet that it would continue to run so off I went 20 miles across Denver pumping the foot feet to keep the thing moving.



When I arrived home I pulled the top off the carburetor to see if I could find anything that was blocking the fuel passage. I found a piece of a rag about an inch square that had settled over the jets. We had owned the car for a year or so and the thing had never given any problems. It had died unexpectedly now and then a few months earlier but no great problem.


We set off on the interstate for the trip. As we neared the junction of two major freeways, called the mouse trap, where we had to turn north I could see a blaze of flame in the sky. I had the distinct feeling at that moment  that the rag in the carburetor had been planned by God to delay us. We turned the radio on as we neared the accident to hear that it had taken place just about the time we would have been going through if we hadn’t had car trouble. A tank truck had turned over and several cars were involved in the blaze. I don’t know for fact that the Lord protected us that evening, but I have to think that it was so.


4. God is active in guiding us: Psalm 32:8


He will guide you in planning your life’s work. He will guide you in planning your life’s mate. He will guide you in planning your studies. He will guide you in planning your week’s schedule. He will guide you in purchasing a car. He will guide you in anything that you want his guidance in.


He is, as we have seen many times, interested in all that we do. He is desirous of being a part of our life; even our everyday life.


I have to admit that as I was going through this study, I was looking back through the dusty memory banks to see some ways that He has been active in my life, and I had to stop to dry my eyes. He has been so active in my life and in so many ways, and in so many instances. I hope as you walk with Him you will allow Him to be very active in your life.


5. God is active in teaching us: 1 John 2:27


We saw in Bibliology that He is involved in illuminating our foggy minds to the truth of the scriptures. He wants us to know more about Himself, as well as to know Him more. He is not the great mystery of the universe, rather He is the great teacher.


6. God is active in providing our needs: Matthew 6:33



A missionary from Alaska I met in the 70’s shared that he and his wife were in need of a car and that it was going to cost about $2000. They sat down one day and told the Lord of the need and when they went to the mail that day there was an envelope with no return address on it. Inside was $2000. They never found out where it came from.


At other times God provides our needs through a good job, or maybe at times a mediocre job, but He always will provide our needs. When we left teaching in Wyoming He provided a janitors job for me. I could not find any other more productive work. The plus side of this job was that it only took about fifteen hours a week and it paid very well. It was during this time that I was able to put together this book.


7. God is active in His time table: Acts 1:7


I enjoyed hearing the testimony of a man when he read the words of Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;” He mentioned that he really knew what it was to wait on the Lord, but that the waiting was GOOD. (He had been waiting upon the Lord for a ministry for several years.)


The rest of the verse is of interest as well. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”


My wife received a card once that mentioned that it was hard to soar as an eagle when you have to work with turkeys like you. God is the one that made the promise in Isaiah, and it is He that will fulfill it even if you have to work with turkeys.


8. God is active in the Church through the Holy Spirit and His gifts: Ephesians 4; Romans 12


Might I suggest that if you don’t see the Lord working in His church, that it is not God that is at fault. It is His people that are not exercising their gifts. More and more I think that most churches are dead because the people are not using what God has given them.


Our God is powerful. Our God is active. Our God is desirous of people being saved. Our God is able to do anything. If His church is the pits then the cause can be found in His people.



If you see a dead church it is because the people want it that way. I have seen churches with pastors that have no business being in their position, and the church continues to allow it to go on. That is a conscious decision on the part of the church to fail.


9. God is active in controlling the physical world: Acts 14:17, Colossians 1:16,17


In 1990 the out of focus Hubble Telescope took a look into the Orion Nebula and took a picture of a star that was just forming. Actually the occurrence that Hubble photographed occurred about A.D. 500, because Orion is about fifteen hundred light years away from earth.


If He can control the intricacies of the universe and keep all that together, surely He can assist us in keeping our lives together, if we ask Him.


10. God is active in answering prayer: Acts 12:5ff


While interim pastor of a small church in Wyoming, we had been told of a young man that someone had been talking to about the Bible. The man was in the church service and seemed to be very convicted by parts of the message. As the service closed, I ask the Lord to allow me to talk to him before he left. As I left the platform I saw the man leaving the sanctuary. I thought that the answer had been no. Before leaving the church, one of the couples asked us to lunch and mentioned that this young man was going home for a moment but that he was going to join us for lunch.


God is in the business of answering prayer. I kept track of the prayer requests in that same church for about six months and marked each item as the Lord answered. There were twenty-two specific requests answered, and I’m confident, many other general requests were answered just because people took time to pray.




1. This doctrine refutes two major false teachings:


a. God is dead. Nope, Not On My Block He Isn’t. As the bumper sticker says, “My God isn’t dead — Sorry About Yours.”



b. Deism: The teaching that God created and went on vacation or went away and isn’t around anymore.


Theissen tells us, “For deism God is present in creation only by His power, not in His very being and nature. He has endowed creation with invariable laws over which He exercises a mere general oversight; He has imparted to His creatures certain properties, placed them under His invariable laws, and left them to work out their destiny by their own powers. Deism denies a special revelation, miracles, and providence. It claims that all truths about God are discoverable by reason, and that the Bible is merely a book on the principles of natural religion, which are ascertainable by the light of nature.” (Thiessen, Henry C.; “Lectures In Systematic Theology”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949, pp 74-75)


This was the religion of some of our forefathers. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson for two.


Another quotation that might help you to know more about Deism is from a book on Western Civilizations. (Burns, Edward McNall; “Western Civilizations”; 7th edition, New York City: W.W. Norton and Co. Inc., 1941, p 575) Any encyclopedia would also give you some information.


In light of what we have read, consider Benjamin Franklin (From Guideposts Nov. 1974. From an article entitled, “They Speak Today.”) He said that he believed in one God and that God created the universe. He believed in worshiping that God and that the best you could do was to serve God’s children. He also respected all religions that felt as he did about God.


He spoke of these beliefs in relation to a conversation concerning his trying to help Roman Catholics. Benjamin Franklin was said, to have played both ends against the middle.


2. If He is active then it is logical that He would expect his children to be active also. How is your activity doing for the Lord? Are you as active as you should be?


3. His activity on our behalf should be of a help to encourage us when we are in hard times and trials. He is actively moving in our lives for our betterment. This one is hard to really make practical especially when we are having problems.


4. One final point. I find that oft times God wants to be active through his people. I trust that you will be sensitive to those around you that God can use you to help. Yes, you are terribly busy, yet your five minutes listening to someone’s problems may well be the encouragement that will carry them through. Be open to minister to those around you, because they will appreciate it.[1]


[1] Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A./Denver Baptist Bible College and Seminary. DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

Worship God Alone


worshipPeter, a man, refused worship (Acts 10:25-26). Twice, John fell down to worship an angel, but the angel refused worship (Rev. 19:10; 22:8). The liar, Satan, commanded Jesus to bow down and worship him (Mat. 4:9). But Jesus responded to Satan in Mat. 4:10:

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”

God demands worship only of Himself, and His worshipers refuse worship and direct all worship to God.

Jesus is worshiped by the angels and by men as He is the Lord God, who alone can righteously receive worship. Jesus was worshiped while in utero (Luke 1:43-44); Jesus was worshiped as a baby (Mat. 2:11); Jesus was worshiped during His earthly ministry (Mat. 8:2, 9:18, etc.); Jesus was worshiped while on the cross (Luke 23:42); Jesus was worshiped as the risen and…

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Index to Veritas Domain’s Islamic Marathon Week

The Domain for Truth

sand dunes

What originally began on July 15th, 2012 as a special one week focus on Islam here at Veritas Domain ended up being a twelve day marathon!  Among the things posted are resources available on the internet outside our blog concerning many facets of Islam: awareness of the problem that Islam poses including debates, documentary, videos and written media such as books and thesis.  We have also attempted to provide our own apologetic and evangelism resources here as well.  Concerning our written sources, I wish to provide here an index to those materials that we have written ourselves.

  1. Ramadan 2012: Tips on Christian opportunities to Witness to Muslim Friends— Practical witnessing tips for Christians this Muslim Ramadan season.
  2. WITNESSING TO MUSLIMS: THE QURANIC VIEW OF THE BIBLE— I believe what is presented here is the best for Christians to witness and engage in apologetics with Muslims, in a fashion that’s compatible…

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People And Their Love of Ignorant Clergy

Zwinglius Redivivus

People who would never consider going to a Physician who hadn’t been to medical school will happily take spiritual advice and guidance from a Clergy-person without an education. As though the physical mattered more. What absurdity.

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4 Interesting Facts about Saints Peter and Paul

The Orthodox Church remembers the apostles Peter and Paul each year on June 29, commemorating not only their divinely inspired writings in the New Testament but also their efforts as apostles of Christ.

Here are a few interesting facts about their lives and ministry:

Peter and Paul both ended their ministry as apostles in Rome. The Gospel had reached Rome before their arrival, but they both saw it necessary to journey to Rome and bring apostolic leadership to the church there. Since Peter is not mentioned by name in Romans 16, he arrived in Rome at some point afterwards, perhaps in the late ’50s or early ’60s.
Paul was called to be an apostle on the street called Straight. Acts chapter 9 tells the story of Paul’s mystical encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. As a Pharisee, he was committed to the persecution of those following “the Way” (Acts 9:2), but was now being confronted by the Lord for his actions. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). In persecuting the Church, Paul was persecuting Christ himself, for the Church is his Body. Interestingly enough, this street called Straight exists to this day in Damascus, and is the headquarters of the Church of Antioch.

The apostles were at first divided over the treatment of Gentile Christians. This controversy came to a head in Antioch, where Paul opposed Peter “to his face, because he stood condemned” (Gal. 2:11). Much of the New Testament is devoted to the issue of whether one must become a Jew before one can be a true Christian, and it was a great controversy in the early decades of the Church. Paul was resolute: we are justified through our faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of one’s adherence to Jewish law (Gal. 2:15–16).
Both apostles died as martyrs in Rome. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, it seems that he was given the more “merciful” death of beheading in the mid-’60s, during the reign of Nero (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, II, XXV). St. Ignatius of Antioch is an early witness to Paul’s martyrdom (ca. AD 98–110), as he writes to the Ephesians (XII):
“Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel with Paul, the holy, the martyred, the deservedly most happy, at whose feet may I be found, when I shall attain to God; who in all his Epistles makes mention of you in Christ Jesus.”

Peter was to be crucified, and he requested that he be hung upside down, feeling unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ.

4 Interesting Facts about Saints Peter and Paul

Nothing Safe About Secret Sin – John MacArthur

Jesus’ exposition of the law is a devastating blow against the lie that image is everything.

Our Lord taught repeatedly that sin bottled up on the inside, concealed from everyone else’s view, carries the very same guilt as sin that manifests itself in the worst forms of ungodly behavior. Those who hate others are as guilty as those who act out their hatred; and those who indulge in private lusts are as culpable as wanton adulterers (Matt. 5:21-30).

So Christians are not to think of secret sins as somehow less serious and more respectable than the sins everyone sees. Here are three reasons secret sin is especially abhorrent:

1. Because God sees the heart.

Scripture tells us “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). No sin–not even a whispered curse or a fleeting evil thought–is hidden from the view of God. In fact, if we realized that God himself is the only audience for such secret sins, we might be less inclined to write them off so lightly.

The Bible declares that God will one day judge the secrets of every heart (Rom. 2:16). He “will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Eccl. 12:14).

Not only that, secret sins will not remain secret. “The Lord [will] bring to light the things hidden in the darkness” (1 Cor. 4:5). Jesus said, “There is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:2-3). Those who think they can evade shame by sinning in secret will discover one day that open disclosure of their secrets before the very throne of God is the worst shame of all.

It is folly to think we can mitigate our sin by keeping it secret. It is double folly to tell ourselves that we are better than others because we sin in private rather than in public. And it is the very height of folly to convince ourselves that we can get away with sin by covering it up. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper” (Prov. 28:13).

All sin is an assault against our holy God, whether it is done in public or in secret. And God, who beholds even the innermost secrets of the heart, sees our sin clearly, no matter how well we think we have covered it.

2. Because sin in the mind is a fruit of the same moral defect that produces deeds of sin.

When Jesus said hatred carries the same kind of guilt as murder, and lust is the very essence of adultery, He was not suggesting that there is no difference in degree between sin that takes place in the mind and sin that is acted out. Scripture does not teach that all sins are of equal enormity.

That some sins are worse than others is both patently obvious and thoroughly biblical. Scripture plainly teaches this, for example, when it tells us the sin of Judas was greater than the sin of Pilate (John 19:11).

But in His Sermon on the Mount Jesus was pointing out that anger arises from the same moral defect as murder; and the one who lusts suffers from the same character flaw as the adulterer. Furthermore, those who engage in thought-sins are guilty of violating the same moral precepts as those who commit acts of murder and adultery.

In other words, secret sins of the heart are morally tantamount to the worst kind of evil deeds–even if they are sins of a lesser degree. The lustful person has no right to feel morally superior to a wanton fornicator. The fact that she indulges in lust is proof she is capable of immoral acts as well. The fact that he hates his brother shows that he has murder lurking in his heart.

Christ was teaching us to view our own secret sins with the same moral revulsion we feel for wanton acts of public sin.

3. Because hidden sin involves the compounding sin of hypocrisy.

Those who sin secretly actually intensify their guilt, because they add the sin of hypocrisy to their offense. Hypocrisy is a grave sin in its own right. It also produces an especially debilitating kind of guilt, because by definition hypocrisy entails the concealing of sin. And the only remedy for any kind of sin involves uncovering our guilt through sincere confession.

Hypocrisy therefore permeates the soul with a predisposition against genuine repentance. That is why Jesus referred to hypocrisy as “the leaven of the Pharisees” (Luke 12:1).

Hypocrisy also works directly against the conscience. There’s no way to be hypocritical without searing the conscience. So hypocrisy inevitably makes way for the most vile, soul-coloring, character-damaging secret sins. Thus hypocrisy compounds itself, just like leaven.

Beware that sort of leaven.

No matter who suggests to you that appearances are everything, don’t buy that lie.

As a matter of fact, your secret life is the real litmus test of your character: “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7). Do you want to know who you really are? Take a hard look at your private life–especially your innermost thoughts. Gaze into the mirror of God’s Word, and allow it to disclose and correct the real thoughts and motives of your heart.

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Three current elders resigned from the board at Harvest Bible Chapel.

Earlier today, 22 June 2013, an emergency meeting of the Harvest Elders was called. This meeting was necessary to address a new crisis that had emerged from within their own ranks, threatening the unparalleled unity of Harvest.

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Three HBC elders, Marquardt, Phelps and Slabaugh, have resigned from the Elder board, and HBC releases a statement.

James MacDonald and the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel blaming former leaders of Harvest for the financial crisis?

Over the past several months, numerous reports have circulated back to The Elephant’s Debt alleging that James MacDonald and the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel were blaming the former leaders of Harvest for the financial crisis that has threatened to overwhelm the church. But unfortunately, in most cases, these alleged remarks were not being offered in front of the church congregation as a whole; and thus there was little that we could report.

But now, as of last Sunday (16 June 2013), the situation seems to have changed. In his sermon entitled Who Needs a Resurrection?, James MacDonald has offered the following remarks, which can be found at the 22:10 mark.

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Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That 28 June 2013

I tuned in briefly last night to IHOP’s (that’s International House of Prayer, not pancakes—pancakes would be better) 24/7 “prayer and worship” live stream. When I finally awoke from my mind-numbingly-repetitive-music-induced trance early this morning, I had two thoughts. The first was, “Wow, I hope that’s not what music is like in Heaven, because if it is, count me out.” The second was, “Wow, the Great Deceiver surely is good at what he does.”

By the grace of God, I see and hear what is sung and taught at IHOP and it never even crosses my mind to entertain it as viable, true, biblical worship and teaching. Yet, there are many who are involved in IHOP or movements like it or those who if not involved directly, at the very least acknowledge it as a legitimate expression of Christianity. The key words then in that first sentence are “by the grace of God.” By the grace of God, I’ve not been deceived by the wacky, unbiblical teachings of IHOP. By the grace of God I, as an unregenerate, false convert college freshman, found myself repulsed by one professor’s required reading of Richard Foster’s Streams of Living Water when many of my classmates were enraptured by the same book. By the grace of God I later was saved out of the seeker-driven mindset that I could look and act like the world, love and treasure my sin and still call myself a Christian. By the grace of God.

By that same grace of God, then, there will be those who will be saved out of the dangerous, deceptive IHOP movement. You see, the Great Deceiver may be good at what he does, but the Savior is greater. Satan knows his time is running short, and there will soon come a day when he will never again deceive a human soul. Until that time, let us Christians be about proclaiming the gospel of salvation that is found in Jesus Christ. Let us do all we can to pull men from the fire of these devilish deceptions.

If you’ve never “visited” the IHOP prayer room, take a few minutes to hop on over there (no pun intended) sometime. But, please wait until you’re done with your This ‘n’ That. I’d hate for you to lapse into a trance before you’ve had a chance to get all the way through your week in review (kind of):

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‘… They Even Applaud Others Who Do The Same’

Zwinglius Redivivus

43234_StPaulTheApostleThe retribution of God from heaven is being revealed against the ungodliness and injustice of human beings who in their injustice hold back the truth. For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God has made it plain to them: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things.

And so these people have no excuse: they knew God and yet they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but their arguments became futile and their uncomprehending minds were darkened. While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an imitation, for the image of a mortal human being, or of birds, or animals, or crawling things. That is…

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