Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Charismatic Primer Part 10 – The Outreach Top 50 (#41-45)

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

Time for the tenth installment in this series.  So far, we’ve looked at the New Apostolic Reformation, the Outreach Top 50 #1-5, the Outreach Top 50 #6-10, the Outreach Top 50 #11-15, the Outreach Top 50 #16-20, the Outreach Top 50 #21-25, the the Outreach Top 50 #26-30, the Outreach Top 50 #31-35, and the Outreach Top 50 #36-40. We’ll now look at the Outreach Top 50 #41-45, which includes several churches of interest.

41.  Southland Christian Church of Nicholasville, Kentucky – Pastored by Jon Weece.  Judging from their doctrinal statement and their FAQ page, these guys look like they’re practical cessationists.  They sound like they believe in modern prophecy, but appear to hold to Wayne Grudem’s dichotomy between office and gift of prophesy (which makes them practical cessationists).  Beyond that, here’s a sermon on spiritual gifts that further…

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CARM: What are the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God?

The incommunicable attributes of God are those that belong to God alone  (omniscience, transcendence, etc.) where the communicable attributes of God are those that  we can also possess (knowledge, love, mercy, etc.).  However, we have to realize that all of our discussions about God’s attributes are going to  ultimately be inadequate. God is, after all, infinite in his perfections.  Though we can understand the concept of omnipresence, we cannot experience it. We can  understand the concept of transcendence, but we cannot experience it. Therefore, our understanding of God and his  attributes is woefully insufficient. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t know things about.  Still, we are seeking to  fathom the depths of the knowability of God and this can obviously be problematic.  He is infinite; we are finite.  Furthermore, many theologians have disagreed on what is and is not proper categorizations of the attributes of God and  whether or not such categorizations make sense in the first place.  The debates on this will continue. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at some of the standard attributes  of God that have been categorized as communicable and incommunicable.

Read More Here: http://carm.org/communicable-incommunicable-attributes-of-god

FactChecker: Does College Cause Young Adults to Lose Their Faith?

Dedicated Christian parents work hard and pray diligently that their children will develop a strong and growing faith in their years at home. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of parenting to watch this happen, and we want to make sure that faith continues to flourish as they leave our homes and go out into the world. That is why one of our greatest fears is that the secular university and its aggressively atheistic professors will lead our kids like away from the faith. Many Christian parents avoid secular schools for this very concern.

But do the years and experiences of college actually contribute to our young people losing or walking away from their faith? The answer – and the reasons for it – might surprise you.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/06/18/factchecker-does-college-cause-young-adults-to-lose-their-faith/

Wisdom in challenging times

There are some obvious and serious situations out there that must be addressed firmly:

  • A growing government that advances political correctness at the expense of truth
  • A secular society that is trying to not only discredit biblical Christianity but marginalize and silence it.
  • A radical homosexual movement in society and even within the church that seeks to normalize homosexuality as a perfectly acceptable lifestyle—in spite of what the Bible says about it.
  • The rise of radical Islam that is murdering thousands of Christians around the world on a daily basis.
  • A blatant move toward religious syncretism through the New Age and Chrislam movements that seek to put Christianity on an “equal plane” with every other religion.
  • A subtle undermining by some who call themselves Christians, discounting the Word of God as absolute truth.

But with all this, there is something more subtle going on:

As Christians we are confused on how to best share the gospel with the world around us.

Read More Here: http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/09/wisdom-in-challenging-times/

Stephen Altrogge: Are You a Stumbling Block to Others?

You really shouldn’t watch that movie. You really shouldn’t listen to that music. You really shouldn’t read that book. You really shouldn’t drive a car that expensive. You really shouldn’t wear a purse like that. You really shouldn’t allow your kids to read Harry Potter. You really shouldn’t go to that bar to eat wings.

Oh, I didn’t realize. How come?

Because other people think it’s wrong. You might be a stumbling block to them.

This kind of exchange happens pretty often between Christians. We tell other Christians not to do certain things because they might become a stumbling block to someone else. Or we refrain from doing certain things because we are afraid we might become a stumbling block. The only problem is most of us aren’t exactly sure what it means to be a stumbling block.

So what exactly does scripture mean when it talks about causing someone else to stumble?

Read More Here: http://www.christianity.com/theology/sin/what-does-it-really-mean-to-cause-someone-to-stumble.html

Jihad Watch: How Al-Shabaab creates monsters

I recently wrote the article Psychology: Why Islam creates monsters. In it, I explain how Muslim terrorists are created by combining mind-numbing recitations of the Quran, including its many orders to kill and maim non-Muslims, with psychological traumatising.

Read More Here: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/09/how-al-shabaab-creates-monsters.html

Aaron Armstrong: “Is he humble?”

I was speaking with one of our pastors Sunday morning and a church in the Toronto area came up in our discussion. The first question my pastor asked hit me like a ton of bricks:

“Is the senior pastor humble?”

Not “is he a good preacher,” or “how many people attend the church,” or any other metric oriented question you could imagine.

Just, “Is he humble?”

It’s tempting to be a bit taken aback by the idea, but it makes total sense, doesn’t it?

What is the New Testament most concerned with when it comes to leaders in the church? Paul describes elders as being men who need to be able to teach and handle the Word rightly, without a doubt. But that’s not all he’s concerned with. More than anything else, he’s concerned about character:

Read More Here: http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2013/09/30/is-he-humble/

Transformation: God’s Work

In quiet and ordinary ways followers of Jesus are being transformed. Sometimes the transformation is a sudden burst where the changes are dramatic. Most of the time, though, the transformation is that slow process some theologians calls “progressive sanctification.”  What should not be questioned is that God is in the business of transformation. What should also not be questioned is that it can happen — suddenly or slowly. Yet there’s one more theme: confidence. The apostle Paul said “we are more than conquerors.” The apostle John in Revelation speaks a number of times of Christians conquering. Biblical faith is confidence in God’s power to transform us.

Read More Here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/09/30/transformation-gods-work/

Questions about Sin: What Does It Mean to Have a Seared Conscience?

The seared conscience is referred to in 1 Timothy 4:2 where Paul talks about those whose consciences—their moral consciousness—have been literally “cauterized” or rendered insensitive in the same way the hide of an animal scarred with a branding iron becomes numb to further pain. For human beings, having one’s conscience seared is a result of continual, unrepentant sinning. Eventually, sin dulls the sense of moral right or wrong, and the unrepentant sinner becomes numb to the warnings of the conscience that God has placed within each of us to guide us (Romans 2:15).

At the point of salvation, we are cleansed from the sin inherited from Adam and all personal sins. But as we continue in our Christian walk, we are still prone to sin. When we do, God has provided us with a bar of soap to restore us to the point of salvation. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When we allow ourselves to practice mental attitude sins, we are quenching the Holy Spirit. We are commanded not to quench the Holy Spirit who indwells us (1 Thessalonians 5:19). When we continue in our mental attitude sins without confessing and begin to practice these sins in our bodies (James 1:15), we grieve the Holy Spirit, which we are not to do (Ephesians 4:30). Once again, we have the choice to confess and repent or to continue in sin and backsliding. When we continue in sin, our souls begin to become morally callous. We finally come to a point where our conscience is seared and is unable to help us determine right from wrong. It is as if a hot iron was applied to our conscience and it is destroyed. Even worse, we don’t care how sinful we are. This is what is meant in 1 Timothy 4:2, where Paul is referring to false teachers: “Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” You can easily see this with pure evil. A serial killer, for example, has had his conscience seared, and it no longer operates and guides him in what is right and what is wrong.

Christians who keep sinning despite divine discipline can actually sin themselves right out of this life and into God’s presence. God does this in order to keep such a one from doing any more damage to himself and to his witness for His Holy Name. “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death” (1 John 5:16–17). These sins do not cause us to lose our salvation, but they definitely affect our relationship with God and others. We are wise if we never deteriorate to the point of having our consciences seared.[1]

 


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

Catholic Questions: What Is the Catholic Catechism?

A catechism is best defined as a summary of instructions through a series of questions and answers, prepared in book form, containing instruction on the religious doctrine of a Christian church. It wasn’t until the 16th century, since the time of the early church fathers, that the word “catechism” was applied to these religious handbooks. The intent of these instructions is that they be used in a class environment or other means of formal instruction. The catechism of the Westminster Confession, every part of which is scripturally proven, is one such set of instructions.

However, the catechism of the Catholic Church is not written in a question and answer format. Instead, it is a summary of the official teachings of Catholic beliefs including creeds, sacraments, commandments, and prayers divided into four parts:

•     Profession of Faith (the Apostles Creed)

•     Celebration of the Christian Mystery (the Sacred Liturgy, especially the sacraments)

•     Life in Christ (including The Ten Commandments in Roman Catholic theology)

•     Christian Prayer (including The Lord’s Prayer)

Also, the Catholic catechism is replete with footnotes referencing not only the Scriptures, but also the Church fathers, their ecumenical councils, and other authoritative statements, especially those delivered by the Popes. And therein lies the greatest difference between Catholicism and Protestantism. Whereas the Protestant churches cite the Bible as their sole source of authority for church doctrine, the Roman Catholic Church equates Catholic traditions with the Bible as authority for their beliefs and teachings. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 82, reads:

“… the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the Holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

As such, the Catholic Church relies on the authority of church tradition for their source of doctrines and teachings which are not found anywhere in the Bible. These doctrines include such controversial issues as:

•     the mass

•     penance

•     veneration of Mary

•     purgatory

•     indulgences

•     the priesthood

•     the confessional

•     the rosary

•     venial and mortal sins

Protestants assert that the Bible alone is intended by God to be the sole source of doctrinal truth (2 Timothy 3:16; Revelation 22:18–19). But Roman Catholics have said: “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God …” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 97).

The Catholic’s reasoning is as follows:

•     “The apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them ‘their own position of teaching authority.’ ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 77).

•     “This living transmission, accomplished through the Holy Spirit, is called tradition …” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 78).

•     “Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 82).

A classic example of this kind of thinking lies with the number of doctrines concerning Mary, the mother of Jesus. Throughout the centuries, since the close of the apostolic era (70–100 AD), Catholics have “revealed” new doctrines concerning Mary nowhere found in the Holy Scriptures, including:

•     Mary is called the Mother of God—431 A.D.

•     Prayers offered to Mary—600 A.D.

•     Immaculate Conception, i.e., her sinlessness—1854 A.D.

•     Assumption of Mary—1950 A.D.

•     Mary proclaimed the Mother of the Church—1965 A.D.

Another example is the doctrine of purgatory:

“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1030). Nowhere is this doctrine or teaching found in the Bible.

Additionally, though the Catholic Pope is revered as the head of the church on earth by nearly 60 million Roman Catholics, the Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth; He is the exclusive Head of the church (Matthew 28:18; Colossians 1:18).

From the above teaching, we can only conclude that Catholic catechism is not biblical and, in fact, contradicts the Scriptures in many aspects. Once the teachings of man are elevated to the same level as the Word of God, error naturally follows. No man, whether priest or pope, is divine. Only the Holy Scriptures, from the mouth of the Holy Spirit, are divinely inspired (1 Corinthians 2:12–13; 2 Peter 1:21). No manmade teaching, including the Catholic catechism, is on the same level with the Bible.[1]

 


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