The mainstream media would have us believe that the U.S. economy must be in great shape since the stock market has been setting new all-time record highs this month. But is that really true? Yes, surging stock prices have enabled sales of beach homes in the Hamptons to hit a brand new record high. However, the reality is that stock prices have not risen dramatically in recent years because corporations are doing so much better than before. In fact, the growth in stock prices has been far, far greater than the growth of corporate revenues. The only reason that stock prices have been climbing so much is because the Federal Reserve has been flooding the financial system with hundreds of billions of dollars that it has created out of thin air. The Fed has created an artificial stock market bubble that is completely and totally divorced from economic reality. (Read More….)
Religion Today – July 29, 2013
One of the nation’s most prominent evangelical leaders wants to know why President Obama has remained silent as Iran tortures an American pastor held captive in one of the Islamic republic’s most notorious prisons, Todd Starnes reports….[view article]
Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.
For a revival to come about there must not be any sweeping of sins under the carpet. We must believe all our sins were forgiven at the cross then we must confess to God leaving no sin unrevealed. Again, is it likely that we will ever see a revival such as the huge revivals of the past? We are living in the last days, and as we read and study our Bibles we see no indication that a huge revival is forthcoming. Actually we know that in these last days there will be apostasy within the Ekklesia and much weakening among the congregation of saints. The Bible, God’s inerrant word, is replete with history lessons in advance, called prophecy. By studying our Bible we can see what the future will hold for mankind. In the last days just prior to Christ’s return there is no mention of a revival.
In partnership with The PowerPoint Apologist, Apologetics 315 is offering a series of 12 Free PowerPoint presentations, released monthly. These cover 12 essential topics in apologetics. These are free to download, modify, and use for your own apologetics presentations. (However, please retain the final two slides featuring the PowerPoint Apologist and Apologetics 315 resources.)
The seventh in the series looks at the claims of those who doubt Jesus’ life and presents a case against the idea that Jesus was just a copycat of other pagan gods:
“Why Jesus?—The Historical Jesus”
Download it here. Slideshare here.
Satan delights in wreaking havoc on the church. He twists the truth on every issue, creating doctrinal confusion wherever he can.
He has been particularly successful in distorting the roles God has designed for men and women. Over the years, the cultural ideal of gender role equality has seeped into many churches—and Christians have bought into it. In many congregations, men sit back and relax while women preach the Word and lead the church. In fact, it is alarming to see how comfortable Christians have become with adopting the standards of the world.
Meanwhile, society gives hearty approval to the trend. In a chapter titled “To Hell with Sexism: Women in Religion” in Megatrends for Women, (Fawcett Columbine, 1992) authors Patricia Aburdene and John Naisbitt show how modern culture celebrates feminism:
Women of the late twentieth century are revolutionizing the most sexist institution in history—organized religion. Overturning millennia of tradition, they are challenging authorities, reinterpreting the Bible, creating their own services, crowding into seminaries, winning the right to ordination, purging sexist language in liturgy, reintegrating female values and assuming positions of leadership. (p. 119)
It’s safe to say, that trend in the church—noted more than twenty years ago—has become a settled reality, and it is dangerous on many levels. Feminist theology teaches that God is not male, God does not exist in a trinitarian form, Jesus was a feminist, and the true history of women was edited out of the Bible. Aburdene and Naisbitt assert that once women’s perspectives “attain greater power, [that] will signal revolutionary changes in church policies.” (ibid, p. 133) And for years now we have seen a surge in attempts to purge male terminology out of Bible translations.
All this is not limited to liberal churches and denominations, however. Aburdene and Naisbitt note that the organization Christians for Biblical Equality believes, “Women as well as men exercise the prophetic, priestly, and royal functions” of the church. (ibid, p. 128, quoted from “Women Served as Priests,” Grand Rapids Press, November 9, 1991) Evangelical churches are just as susceptible to the feminist onslaught. The fact is, feminism has already gained a foothold within the evangelical community in recent years.
At stake today is God’s perfect design for His church—a design that reflects the principles of authority and submission that allow both society and the family to function. While there is no disputing the equality of men and women as believers in Christ (Galatians 3:28), God specifically calls qualified men to lead His church. Women have unique opportunities to serve the church and are in many ways its warmth and depth, but God’s basic design for leadership in the church is for men to be in authority. To see how He fleshes out His plan for men and women in the church, we need to turn to the New Testament.
The second and third chapters of 1 Timothy are a good place to start. The entire letter focuses on establishing God’s standard for order in the life of the church. That will be our focus for the next few weeks as we seek to understand God’s design for the church and how we can best glorify God alongside other believers.
But for now, we want to hear from you. Have you ever attended a church that had women in primary leadership roles? Have you ever sat under a female pastor? What leadership roles are available to women in your current congregation? Let us know in the comment thread.
(Adapted from Divine Design.)
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B130729 COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You
Read the series so far.
With over 40,000 members, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas is the largest church in the United States. For better or for worse, Lakewood and its leader Joel Osteen are profoundly influential. One significant area of influence is in the realm of spiritual gifts. A search of the terms “spiritual gifts” on Lakewood’s website produced (at the top of the list) a downloadable booklet called Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, from Joel Osteen Ministries, and authored by Lisa Comes. The booklet explains how and why one should speak in tongues, and cites speaking in tongues as evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (point 5, page 3). The view promoted in the booklet is not original with Lakewood, Osteen, or Comes—in fact, it is the prevailing view in Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations. But is it a biblical view? Is speaking in tongues needed evidence that we have the Holy Spirit?
First, as we considered in the previous article, Romans 8:9 emphatically notes that “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” By contrast Osteen’s and Comes’s booklet cites Acts (2:17-19, 39), Luke (11:13), and John (7:37-39) to support the point that not every believer has the Holy Spirit. And it is true that Romans presents a very different picture of how one receives the Holy Spirit than do the Gospels and even the book of Acts. But rather than contradicting one another, these books consider different contexts—different times, and different ways in which God has worked over the ages (nothing contradictory at all). To illustrate, Joel Osteen has never (to my knowledge) advocated that believers today should present to the Lord two turtledoves or two young pigeons as is mandated in Leviticus 5:7. Presumably this is because Osteen recognizes that Leviticus was written about a different people and context than the church of today. read more
The great Inigo Montoya famously said, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
That line is apropos for many occasions, but it especially fits how we often understand spiritual gifts. Instead of recognizing spiritual gifts as tools God gives to help us get His work done, we often consider them to be mystical links between God and us—evidences or proofs, if you will, that He is really working. I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised, after all we are in good company (recall Israel’s episode with the golden calf—their faith was pretty weak at the time too). But still, like Montoya says, we use the words without really understanding how He uses the words. Consequently, we make them into something they aren’t. In the series of articles to follow we take a look at ten common myths regarding spiritual gifts. Here is the first one:
Myth #1: We need a second work of grace in order to get a spiritual gift
The Bible is notably silent about receiving the Holy Spirit as a step separate from salvation—except in the book of Acts (more on that book in a moment). Romans 8:9, for example, says, “But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” We either have the Spirit or we don’t. We are either in Christ or we aren’t. Paul leaves no middle ground. In fact, Ephesians 1:13 tells us how and when we receive the Holy Spirit: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Paul adds that the Spirit is “given as a pledge [or downpayment] of our inheritance [eternal life], with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:14). At the moment of belief, the Holy Spirit is given to believers. read more
by Mike Ratliff
Τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ πίστεως· καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον· (Ephesians 2:8 NA28)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this not of yourselves, it is God’s gift; (Ephesians 2:8 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
In our last two posts I have used audio clips from Biblical expositor and pastor Jim McClarty and Bible scholar and apologist Dr. James White both based on textual exegesis of the Greek text behind Ephesians 2:8. My translation of that passage is above. As I studied the Greek for myself, I read it first then translated it honestly, phrase by phrase in the context of the rest of Ephesians 2. It is obvious that to attempt to make it say something other than how I broke it down above is an attempt to force something onto the text to make it say…
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