Daily Archives: August 11, 2013

“The man of God” personality cult has made the Charismatic movement thrive in Africa.

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

churchConrad Mbewe a pastor of a little church in Kabwata in Africa has written an interesting post on the growth of Charismatic movement in Africa to the point that there is now a fringe mystic personality that has replaced the local witch doctor. This personality called ‘the man of God’ has become an ‘anointed guru’ who brings deliverance, breaks generational curses and dishes out break-throughs at a local center where you have to come ready to sow a seed. Oh let me not spoil the article for you…

Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of…

View original post 895 more words

Questions about False Doctrine: Is universalism / universal salvation Biblical?

Universalism is the belief that everyone will be saved. There are many people today who hold to universal salvation and believe that all people eventually end up in heaven. Perhaps it is the thought of men and women living a life of eternal torment in hell that causes some to reject the teaching of Scripture on this issue. For some it is an over-emphasis on the love and compassion of God—and the neglect of the righteousness and justice of God—that leads them to believe God will have mercy on every living soul. But the Scriptures do teach that some people will spend eternity in hell.

First of all, the Bible is clear that unredeemed men will dwell forever in hell. Jesus’ own words confirm that the time spent in heaven for the redeemed will last as long as that of the unredeemed in hell. Matthew 25:46 says, “Then they [the unsaved] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” According to this verse, the punishment of the unsaved is just as eternal as the life of the righteous. Some believe that those in hell will eventually cease to exist, but the Lord Himself confirms that it will last forever. Matthew 25:41 and Mark 9:44 describe hell as “eternal fire” and “unquenchable fire.”

How does one avoid this unquenchable fire? Many people believe that all roads—all religions and beliefs—lead to heaven, or they consider that God is so full of love and mercy that He will allow all people into heaven. God is certainly full of love and mercy; it was these qualities that led Him to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die on the cross for us. Jesus Christ is the exclusive door that leads to an eternity in heaven. Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” If we choose to reject God’s Son, we do not meet the requirements for salvation (John 3:16, 18, 36).

With verses such as these, it becomes clear that universalism and universal salvation are unbiblical beliefs. Universalism directly contradicts what Scripture teaches. While many people accuse Christians of being intolerant and “exclusive,” it is important to remember that these are the words of Christ Himself. Christians did not develop these ideas on their own; Christians are simply stating what the Lord has already said. People choose to reject the message because they do not want to face up to their sin and admit that they need the Lord to save them. To say that those who reject God’s provision of salvation through His Son will be saved is to belittle the holiness and justice of God and negate the need of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.[1]

 


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

Questions about Family / Parenting: How do we honor an abusive parent?

One of the thorniest questions that a Christian may be asked or have to face up to is how to honor an abusive parent as required by God in the fifth of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12). It would be so much easier if God had asked only that we honor our parents if they are good, kind and loving to us, but unfortunately this commandment says honor your father and mother, period. There are many, many hurt and damaged people who find this well near impossible to obey.

The word ‘abuse’ is wide-ranging in its definition. A child can be brought up well clothed and fed with all its needs supplied except the all-important need for love and approval. No physical harm is ever done to him, and yet as each year goes by his spirit shrivels up inside him more and more as a plant will shrivel without sunlight, desperate for the smallest demonstration of affection, until he becomes a seemingly normal adult, yet is crippled inside by the indifference of his parents.

Then again, a child’s spirit may be broken at an early age—even though he suffers no physical abuse—by being constantly told that he is useless and a waste of space who will never be good for anything. Everything he attempts is sneered at until he gives up trying to do anything at all. Because children naturally believe what their parents say about them when they are very young, the child who suffers this treatment will gradually withdraw into himself, retiring behind an invisible wall and simply existing rather than living. All these are the children who grow up into people who have never suffered physically at the hands of their parents but nevertheless have become crippled in their spirits, find it difficult to make friends, and are unable to relate normally to other adults.

What is described above are the more subtle forms of child abuse, and moving on from this there is, of course, the obvious kind—the child who is neglected, kicked and beaten and worse still, sexually abused. So now comes the big question: how to obey God’s commandment to honor parents who behave with such cruelty to their own children.

The first thing we have to remember is that God is our loving Heavenly Father who does not just slap down a rule and sit back waiting for us to obey it, but whose rules are there for one reason only—our ultimate good. If we truly desire to obey Him no matter how impossible it seems, He is willing and anxious to help us find the way. First and foremost, of course, we must develop a loving, trusting relationship with our Heavenly Father which may be extremely difficult for those who have never known what it is to love and trust. Those in this position must just take one small step and say to God in their heart “I want to learn to love and trust you—please help me.” He will move to answer, because that heart cry from one of His children is all He needs. He is the only one who can change emotions and attitudes and mend damaged relationships and broken hearts (Luke 4:18).

Once this relationship with Him is established we can confidently go to Him and pour out our problems to Him, knowing that He will hear and answer (1 John 5:14–15). It will not be long before any child of God willing to trust Him in this way will begin to sense the Holy Spirit at work on his heart. He will take the heart that has been turned to stone by the abusive childhood he has suffered and begin His wonderful saving work of turning that heart into one of flesh and feeling (Ezekiel 36:26).

The next step is to be willing to forgive. This again will seem to be utterly impossible, especially for those who have suffered the worst kind of abuse, but with God ALL things are possible (Mark 10:27). Bitterness will have sunk into the souls of these tragic victims like iron, yet there is nothing the Holy Spirit cannot soften if the person concerned is willing. All that is necessary is to daily bring the situation before the Father of all mercies and talk to Him about how, from a human viewpoint, it is impossible that such wicked behavior, particularly from parents that were entrusted to love and nurture us as children, could ever be forgiven.

There is no need to be afraid to admit to God a total inability to forgive because it seems to us to come under the heading of sin. It is true that unforgiveness is sin, but that is only deliberate unforgiveness, where we have set our hearts like flint and vowed that never again will we ever consider forgiveness for those who have hurt us so badly. A child of God going to his Father for help with something he cannot do for himself will find not an angry, threatening God with a big stick waiting for him, but a Father who has only a heart full of overwhelming love, compassion, mercy and a desire to help.

Once the Holy Spirit has gently and tenderly begun His healing work on us, we will find ourselves looking at our parents in a different light. Perhaps the Spirit may reveal that the parents concerned, or at least one of them, were treated the same way themselves in childhood and either have no idea of what they have done to us emotionally, or were themselves neglected and beaten and their treatment of us was the outlet of a tremendous buildup of anger. Even if there was no reason behind their behavior and their treatment was simply an outlet for their pleasure in cruelty to helpless victims, God requires that we go to Him for help to forgive so that our own souls and spirits will not become gradually poisoned and twisted by the root of bitterness that unforgiveness produces, which will sink itself deeper and deeper into our hearts and minds as time goes on.

There are incredible testimonies from those who suffered unbelievable cruelty and lack of love at their parents’ hands and yet—having learned to depend utterly on the mercy and strength of Almighty God—they have gradually found healing for their hearts and spirits and forgiveness and a loving attitude towards their parents. In releasing their parents to God in this way, these parents also began to change and the glorious ending to the story was a loving family happily united together under God. Ephesians 6:2–3 tells us, “Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[1]

 


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

Questions about Theology: What is fatalism? What is determinism?

Let’s begin with some general definitions:

Determinism: The view that every event has a cause and that everything in the universe is absolutely dependent on and governed by causal laws. Since determinists believe that all events, including human actions, are predetermined, determinism is typically thought to be incompatible with free will.

Fatalism: The belief that “what will be will be,” since all past, present, and future events have already been predetermined by God or another all-powerful force. In religion, this view may be called predestination; it holds that whether our souls go to heaven or hell is determined before we are born and is independent of our good deeds.

Free will: The theory that human beings have freedom of choice or self-determination; that is, given a situation, a person could have done other than what he did. Philosophers have argued that free will is incompatible with determinism.

Indeterminism: The view that there are events that do not have any cause; many proponents of free will believe that acts of choice are capable of not being determined by any physiological or psychological cause.

Theological fatalism is an attempt to demonstrate a logical contradiction between an omniscient God and free will, where free will is defined as the ability to choose between alternatives. In this it is similar in purpose to the conundrum “Can an omnipotent God make a rock so heavy that even he is not able to lift it?”

Theological fatalism’s premises are stated as follows: God is omniscient. Since God is omniscient, God has infallible foreknowledge. If God has infallible foreknowledge that tomorrow you will engage in an event (mow the lawn), then you must invariably engage in that event (mowing the lawn).

Therefore, free-will is not possible since you have no alternative except to engage in the event (mow the lawn). In the event that you do not fulfill event, then God is not omniscient. Alternatively, if you engage in event, then you don’t have free will on account of the inability to choose another alternative.

An opposing argument can state: God is omniscient. Since God is omniscient, He is also infallible. If God has infallible foreknowledge that tomorrow you will engage in an event, then you will freely choose this based on your free will, not out of obligation or lack of choice about the event. You still have free will to engage in the event; God merely knows your choice before you make it. You are not obliged to make choice ‘A’ (mowing the lawn) any more than choice ‘B’ (playing tennis). If you were going to change your mind, God would have seen that also, so you still have full free will in all matters. Also, you will still make the same choices (with free will), even if God chose to not see the future. Seeing the future or not does not alter your free will.

With passive foreknowledge, if it were kept hidden, it would not invalidate free will in any logical or rational way. The individual choosing event ‘A,’ would be making the exact same choices regardless of whether God knew the choices beforehand. God knowing or not knowing the future (passively) would not alter the free will of individuals at all. The demise of free will would only logically come if God made His knowledge public in regard to the freewill choice of individuals; this would alter future free will and make it an obligation. One simple illustration could be a psychic person foreseeing someone on the other side of the world tripping and breaking his leg when he runs to catch a bus. The psychic would not be altering reality be foreseeing this event, as this event would still happen regardless of whether someone had seen it or not. The same application can be applied to God’s omniscience: as long as it is passive and not interfering with reality or another’s knowledge of it, then it is not contravening the free will of humans.

However, if it is to be understood that God created all that is created, the principle asserts that this poses a problem for any passive knowledge on God’s part. An understanding of omniscience must be joined with an understanding of God’s omnipresence in time. If God knows all events—past, future, and present—then He would know all events and decisions an individual would make, though from the individual’s perspective those events and decisions have not yet occurred. This can be viewed, at least implicitly, as a nullification of any concept of free will for any individual, though no mechanism for God’s apparent foreknowledge restraining the freedom to act is posited by the principle of theological fatalism. Since, according the Christian theology, God is atemporal (existing outside of time), God knows from creation the entire course of one’s life, all the actions in which he will partake, and even whether or not that individual will accept His divine authority. With these preconditions, only a starkly fatalistic theological position seems imaginable to some.

To go one step further, here are some other implications: There is a vast difference between Predestination, Fatalism and Chance (or Fortune).

Fatalists teach that there is a blind, impersonal force, back of which there is no Divine purpose and over which none has control—not even God—and that the things which happen in this world are swept along by this blind power. This is Fatalism.

Chance (or Fortune) means that things “happen” luckily, that things are not controlled and directed by God. According to Chance, God can foresee what will happen, but that is all. Everything is mere luck. And if the advocate of Chance is asked why or how things come to pass, he has no reply except to say that “it just happened.”

Predestination, the doctrine of the Bible, says that God has a purpose and He is working all things out according to His own will and purpose (Ephesians 1:11, Daniel 4:35, Isaiah 14:24 and 46:10).

Predestination teaches that God does nothing nor does He permit anything except that which serves to carry out His purpose (Psalm 33:11). This means that GOD IS the SOVEREIGN of the world, the One who does all things as He wills.

Those who blankly say or believe “what is to be, will be” are as wrong as the advocates of chance. It is true that events are certain, but only so because of the sovereign God who fulfills His own decrees. Actually, those who believe “what is to be, will be,” without considering God, are as difficult to convince of the Bible doctrine of predestination as those who believe in chance or fortune.

Serious students of the Bible do not believe that things “just happen.” They understand that a wise, holy, good and sovereign God has the control and guiding hand in every detail of life (Matthew 10:29–30). The only man who does not really want God to have this control, or the man who despises the truth that God does have the control, is the person who does not love God and does not want God in his life. He wants his own will and way. He wants God on one side, and he wants to be on the other. He, like the devils of old, would say, “Leave us alone.” But not so; God is sovereign, and He cannot deny Himself.[1]

 


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

The Puritans: Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry was born in 1662, the same year that the Act of Uniformity barred his father, Phillip, and 2000 other pastors (including Thomas Brooks) from official ministry in the Church of England.

Henry was raised by godly parents in the Puritan way (daily Bible reading, prayer, self-examination, etc.) and always wanted to be a pastor. However, believing there was little chance of ever becoming one, he decided to study law and pursue theological study only on the side. Before long he began preaching on the side as well. This led to him being asked to serve as a local minister, at which point he became ordained as a Presbyterian minister and took up the pastorate in Chester.

Read More Here: http://www.challies.com/articles/the-puritans-matthew-henry

Darwin debunked at Hollywood High – Students exposed to theories based on ‘nothing but blind faith’

Documentaries, especially those quoting renowned scientists talking about their specialties, often are dull. So how is this “Evolution vs. God” project by Christian evangelist Ray Comfort raising so much ruckus?

Perhaps it’s because the evolutionary experts themselves are unable to provide scientific evidence to support the theory to which they have devoted their lives.

Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2013/08/darwin-debunked-at-hollywood-high/

Longings after God…

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

My dear Lord, I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest I long for nothing but Thyself, nothing but holiness, nothing but union with Thy will. Thou hast given me these desires, and thou alone canst give me the thing desired. My soul longs for communion with Thee, for mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. How precious it is to have a tender sense and clear apprehension of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness! What a blessedness to be like Thee as much as it is possible for a creature to be like its creator! Lord, give me more of Thy likeness; enlarge my soul to contain fullness of holiness; engage me to live more for Thee. Help me to be less pleased with my spiritual experiences, and when I feel at ease after sweet communings, teach me it is far too little I know and do. Blessed…

View original post 85 more words

LIGHT DEVOTIONAL 2: LOVE AND THE WORD OF CHRIST

The Domain for Truth

Crescent Lake China

 

Read: Colossians 3:12-17
Reflection

 

Q: What are the qualities that the Lord is convicting you to work on in verses 12-13?

 

Q: What is the relationship between the characteristics in verses 12-13 and love that is mentioned in verses 14?

 

Q: Does Christ and His Word have its work in you to love those around you more (cf. John 17:17)?

 

Reminder: Christ’s Word is the source and fuel for us to be able to love and forgive others.

 

Real Talk with God:

– Adoration of God’s Promises that His Word dwells in us and changes us.

– Confession of anything we are not doing in verses 12-13.

– Thanksgiving for His forgiveness of our sins.

– Supplication that God’s Word would richly dwell within us to have the right motive in how we behave in our relationship.

View original post

Divine Sovereignty

Possessing the Treasure

A Sermon
(No. 77)
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 4, 1856, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

“Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?—Matthew 20:15.
The householder says, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?” and even so does the God of heaven and earth ask this question of you this morning. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?” There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty hath ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of…

View original post 5,638 more words

Music Video: You Are More – Tenth Avenue North

There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide

She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love”

But don’t you know who you are?
What has been done for you?
Yeah, don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You’ve been remade

Well, she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try

But don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You’ve been remade

You are more than the choices that you’ve made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You’ve been remade

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done
But what’s been done for you
This is not about where you’ve been
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you build
But what He built to forgive you
And what He built to make you know

You are more than the choices that you’ve made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You’ve been remade

You are more than the choices that you’ve made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You’ve been remade

You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade

Music Video: Children Of God – Third Day

Praise to the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Our God and Our King, to Him we will sing
In His great mercy He has given us life
Now we can be called the children of God

Great is the love that the Father has given us
He has delivered us, well, He has delivered us

Children of God, sing your song and rejoice
For the love that He has given us all, oh, whoa
Children of God, by the blood of His Son
We have been redeemed and we can be called

Children of God
Children of God

Your mystery is revealed to the universe
The Father Above has proven His love
Now we are free from the judgment that we deserve
So we are called the children of God

Great is the love that the Father has given us
He has delivered us, He has delivered us

Children of God, sing your song and rejoice
For the love that He has given us all, oh, whoa
Children of God, by the blood of His Son
We have been redeemed and we can be called

Children of God
Children of God

We are the saints, we are the children, we’ve been redeemed, we’ve been forgiven
We are the sons and daughters of our God
We are the saints, we are the children, we’ve been redeemed, we’ve been forgiven
We are the sons and daughters of our God

Children of God, sing your song and rejoice
For the love that He has given us all, oh, whoa
Children of God, by the blood of His Son
We have been redeemed and we can be called

Children of God
(We are the saints, we are the children, we’ve been redeemed, we’ve been forgiven)
Children of God
(We are the sons and the daughters of our God)
Children of God
(We are the saints, we are the children, we’ve been redeemed, we’ve been forgiven)
Children of God
(We are the sons and the daughters of our God)

We are the saints, we are the children, we’ve been redeemed, we’ve been forgiven
We are the sons and the daughters of our God
We are the saints, we are the children, we’ve been redeemed, we’ve been forgiven
We are the sons and the daughters of our God

Music Video: Love Has Come – Mark Schultz

Well, I know this life is filled with sorrow
And there are days when the pain just lasts and lasts
But I know there will come a day
When all our tears are washed away with a break in the clouds
His glory coming down and in that moment

Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
That God is love and love has come for us all
Every heart set free, everyone will see
That God is love and love has come for us all

For anybody who has ever lost a loved one
And you feel like you had to let go too soon
I know it hurts to say goodbye
But don’t you know it’s just a matter of time ’til the tears are gonna end
You’ll see him once again and in that moment

Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
That God is love and love has come for us all
Every heart set free, everyone will see
That God is love and love has come for us all

Oh, and on that day we will stand amazed
At our savior, God and king
Just to see the face of amazing grace
As our hearts rise up and sing

Glory, glory, hallelujah
Thank You for the cross
Singing glory, glory, hallelujah
Christ has paid the cost

Glory, glory, hallelujah
Thank You for the cross
Singing glory, glory, hallelujah
Christ has paid the cost

And every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
That God is love and love has come for us all
Every heart set free, every one will see
That God is love and love has come for us all

Love has come for us all
Love has come for us all

And every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
God is love, love has come for us all
Every heart set free, everyone will see
God is love, love has come for us all

Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
God is love, love has come for us all
Every heart set free, everyone will see
God is love, love has come for us all