Daily Archives: September 3, 2013

Christian response to Miley Cyrus breaking her silence about VMA performance

The Domain for Truth

cnn

What a world we live in.  The signs of the times.

While reading the news, I saw the headline “Miley Cyrus breaking her silence about VMA performance” over at CNN.   I’m surprised: The news is still talking about her a week later?

It isn’t just what Miley says, but the writer for CNN as well that I thought was foolish in God’s eyes.

Miley Cyrus has a message for the haters: You are overthinking it.”

Response: Seriously?  It’s not just haters, it’s people that see what she has done as inappropriate and are also concern for her and and concern about how our MTV culture commodify her physically to get ratings.  Moral sensibilities is not the same thing as overthinking.

The singer has broken her silence regarding the MTV Video Music Awards performance that set tongues wagging (and some other parts shaking as folks tried to imitate…

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What would John Flavel say about MTV (and Miley Cyrus)?

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

“If you neglect to instruct (your children) in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No; if you will not teach them to pray, he will to curse, swear, and lie; if ground be uncultivated, weeds will spring.” – John Flavel

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Music Video: I Will Rise – Chris Tomlin

Theres a peace Ive come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
Theres an anchor for my soul
I can say, it is well

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagle’s wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise, I will rise

Theres a day thats drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagle’s wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise, I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing
Worthy is the Lamb
And I hear the cry of every longing heart
Worthy is the Lamb

And I hear the voice of many angels sing
Worthy is the Lamb
And I hear the cry of every longing heart
Worthy is the Lamb
(You are worthy, You are worthy)
Worthy is the Lamb

I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagle’s wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise, I will rise, I will rise

Cold Case Christianity: Does God’s Sovereignty Rob Us of Our Freedom?

Christianity describes a God who sovereignly calls believers to repentance. Does this mean humans are mere puppets under the direction of an all-powerful Being who controls all decisions and dictates the final outcome? Does the Christian God allow humans any freedom to choose for themselves? The relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will has been a topic of hot debate for two millennia; I doubt that I’ll be able to solve it in a blog post. But I do think the definition of free will lies at the root of the confusion and apparent dilemma.

Read More Here: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/does-gods-sovereignty-rob-us-of-our-freedom/

A humanitarian nightmare: 110,000 dead in Syria. 2 million refugees. 5 million displaced.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

(Washington, D.C.) — Whatever your politics, whatever your views of how the West should act — or not act — militarily in Syria, one thing is painfully clear: a humanitarian nightmare is unfolding in that Arab Muslim country.

A terrible evil has been unleashed. Syria is imploding. And its hard to imagine putting the country back together any time soon. Indeed, we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of Syria as we’ve known it.

Jesus Christ told us to, “love your neighbor,” and “love your enemies.” Christians need to be praying for the Lord to show mercy to the people of Syria. But we also need to be doing what we can to care for the hungry, thirsty and suffering — the widows, the orphans, those who are wounded physically, and those who have been traumatized emotionally and spiritually. T

he United Nations has taken the lead in trying to…

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Christians Continue to Be Undermined by Mainstream Media

As a journalism student at Northwestern University’s Medill School, I have  learned how the press can affect public perception of certain societal groups. I  began to investigate how news coverage has perpetuated anti-Christian  stereotypes that do not reflect the Christians I know or who I am as a follower  of Jesus.

Since journalists are the gatekeepers of public information, the way they  have portrayed Christ-followers has undoubtedly influenced Americans’  understanding of Christianity. Twenty-five percent of the respondents to a  nationwide Barna survey in 2010 said they weren’t able to remember any positive  contributions from Christians during recent years.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/christians-continue-to-be-undermined-by-mainstream-media-103620/

A Charismatic Primer #3 – The Outreach Top 50 (#6-10)

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

In my previous post post, I covered Churches #1-5 on the Outreach top 50.

This time, I’m going to cover churches #6-10 on the Outreach top 50.  This will be the least eventful post of the series (since almost all these churches are Southern Baptist), but it is what it is.  Also, I know that these guys have said strange things in other areas, but I’m only looking at their explicit teaching on charismatic issues/sign gifts (before people message me about so-and-so’s insane sermon on sex or something).  Here we go:

6. Central Christian Church of Las Vegas, Nevada – Pastored by Jud Wilhite.  This church doesn’t have enough information on their website to make any sort of guess as to where they stand.  I always find it strange when a huge church doesn’t have enough on their website for potential searchers to find out what they’re about, but…

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9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask

The United States and allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of limited military strikes against Syria, the first direct U.S. intervention in the two-year civil war, in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.

If you found the above sentence kind of confusing, or aren’t exactly sure why Syria is fighting a civil war, or even where Syria is located, then this is the article for you. What’s happening in Syria is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow even for those of us glued to it.

Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions. First, a disclaimer: Syria and its history are really complicated; this is not an exhaustive or definitive account of that entire story, just some background, written so that anyone can understand it.

Read More Here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions-about-syria-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask/

Friendly fire: A “Matthew 18 Moment?”

Does “touch not my anointed” mean we shouldn’t question pastors, ministries or each other? What does Matthew 18 mean in context?  Those are some of the questions we’re asking today as we talk about the attacks launched against the biblical text and the Bride of Christ. We know that those attacks against God’s truth have always come from the outside, but there seems to be an explosion of attacks against the Bible from within. And to those of you who are alarmed at this are contending for the faith by asking questions and raising legitimate concerns:  What is the most God-honoring way to do this? And how should we deal with so-called “friendly fire?”

Read More Here: http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/09/friendly-fire-a-matthew-18-moment/

John MacArthur on Modern Prophets

Does the office of prophet still exist today?

To the hordes of modern, self-appointed spokesmen for God, the answer to that question is a no-brainer. The office of prophet is alive and well in many charismatic churches today—it comes with a detailed job description and is taken with the utmost seriousness.

Without a doubt, the enormous influence these “prophets” wield cannot be easily ignored. But does that influence legitimize the office of prophet in twenty-first century churches?

In the following audio clip, John MacArthur sheds some much-needed biblical light on that subject.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son”(Hebrews 1:1–2 ESV).

It’s no accident that the word “spoken” is in the past tense. God has conclusively spoken to His people through the testimony of His Son recorded on the pages of Scripture. What the Old Testament prophets looked forward to with longing, we can look back upon with certainty.

The Strange Fire conference will bring a vital warning to people who presume to speak on behalf of God. It will also provide certainty to those lost in a fog of prophetic speculation. For more information, please visit our conference website.

GTY Staff


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B130903     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

Interview: Duck Dynasty’s Si Robertson on Life, Marriage Proposals, and His Unwavering Belief in The Creator

Silas Merritt Robertson, who’s best known as “Uncle Si” on A&E’s most  watched reality television show “Duck Dynasty” spoke with The Christian Post  about his new book, Si-Cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite  Uncle that will be available on Sept. 3.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/interview-duck-dynastys-si-robertson-on-life-marriage-proposals-and-his-unwavering-belief-in-the-creator-103480/

Unconditonal Election and Particular Redemption

preach-the-word

In recent months I have had the privilege of teaching a session, every six or seven weeks or so, at the Apologia Church in Tempe, Arizona. I was asked to speak on the theme of “The Doctrines of Grace.” The last two sessions are now available to hear online.

The first teaching is on “Unconditional Election” and starts at the 35 minute, 28 second mark here.

The second teaching is on Limited Atonement (or perhaps better expressed as “Definite Atonement” or “Particular Redemption”). The teaching begins at the 36 minute, 25 second mark here.

– John Samson

Read More Here: http://www.reformationtheology.com/2013/09/particular_redemption.php

Resting in the Immutability of God

photo credit: write_adam via photopin cc

To attempt to wrap one’s brain around the innumerable and magnificent attributes of our God is a feat which shall never be fully accomplished this side of glory. Yet our mighty God, the Creator and Sovereign King, has revealed Himself in His Word. And what has He revealed? His goodness, His love, His righteousness, His holiness, His faithfulness, His sovereignty, His forgiveness, His justice, His omnipotence, His omniscience, His salvation, His omnipresence, His graciousness, His perfection. The list could go on and on.
There is a marvelous attribute of the Lord that is oft-neglected, however, and that is His unchangeableness—His immutability. The perfection and the eternality of God requires that He possess this attribute.

Read More Here: http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/09/resting-in-immutability-of-god.html

Gresham bakery that denied same-sex wedding cake closes

GRESHAM, Ore. – A Gresham bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, prompting a state investigation, shut its doors.

On Sunday, KGW stopped by Sweet Cakes by Melissa and found the bakery completely empty. All counter tops, display cases and decorations were gone.

Hanging in the window was a sign from the Oregon Family Council that read “Religious freedom is under attack in Gresham.”

Read More Here: http://www.kgw.com/news/Gresham-bakery-that-denied-same-sex-wedding-cake-closes–222004711.html

Tyler Perry and T.D. Jakes Offer Strange Fire

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

(Matthew 6:1–4)

Read More Here: http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/09/tyler-perry-and-td-jakes-offer-strange.html

CARM: Dear Catholic, do you know for sure if you are going to heaven?

If you’re a Catholic do you know for sure if you are going to heaven when you die?  As a  Protestant I can say  that I know I am going to heaven.  This isn’t arrogance.  It is confidence in the work of Christ and not my  own work.  It is confidence in the ability of Jesus to save me completely, to have fulfilled all of the Law  perfectly, to have cleansed me from my sin totally.  Therefore, because all my hope and trust are in him and not  what I can do, I know I am going to heaven.  If my salvation depended on my goodness and abilities in any way, then  I can’t have any confidence that I will make it to heaven because I am an imperfect sinner.  But God is perfect and  requires holiness (1 Pet. 1:16).  This is why God provided Jesus who fulfilled the Law (Matt. 5:17), including  loving God (Deut. 6:5) and loving your neighbor (Lev. 19:18).  In other words, Jesus did everything that is  necessary for us to do.  This is why we should trust Jesus alone and not Jesus and our goodness, or Jesus and our  church, or Jesus and our ability to love God and our neighbor.

But, what about you?  Do you have that confidence?

Read More Here: http://carm.org/catholic-do-you-know-you-are-going-to-heaven

Counseling Related Questions: What Are Boundaries, and Are They Biblical?

A boundary is a “dividing line.” In geography, a boundary is that which marks the end of one property or jurisdiction and the beginning of another. In interpersonal relationships, a boundary is what divides one person from another, so that each can have separate identities, responsibilities, and privileges. A boundary creates necessary “space” between individuals. Healthy boundaries define expectations and show respect for others.

Biblically speaking, boundaries are related to self-control. The Bible commands us to control ourselves, whereas our human nature desires to control others (Titus 2:12). If left unchecked, our natural desires run roughshod over others. Personal boundaries help to limit our selfish inclination to control or manipulate others. Likewise, boundaries protect us from those who have no self-control and who wish to control us. A person with clear, healthy boundaries communicates to others what is and is not permissible, saying, in effect, “This is my jurisdiction, and you have no right to interfere.”

Boundaries can be used in healthy ways and sinful ways. The way to know which boundaries are godly is to examine the motive. Are you protecting yourself or someone weaker from potential harm, either emotional or physical? If so, then you are setting healthy and needful boundaries. However, if you are maintaining distance simply because you desire to exclude someone, that is sinful. Boundaries that maintain cliques or prohibit ministry opportunities are unhelpful.

Proper boundaries aid believers in keeping out worldly influences. Children of the light have no fellowship with darkness and are thus separate from the world (2 Corinthians 6:14). Being kind and friendly is Christ-like, but we are not to embrace the world’s way of doing things (James 4:4). Our wish is not to keep people away, but when people are being destructive, the boundaries we set can limit the evil they commit against us.

Boundaries are about taking responsibility for our own lives. God gives us freedom to choose to live within His boundaries or outside of them, and to live outside of God’s boundaries means to accept the consequences. Living inside God’s boundaries brings blessing, and living outside of them brings destruction and death (Romans 6:23). Adam and Eve had had one boundary in the Garden of Eden: abstain from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord gave them freedom to remain within His bounds, but they chose to overstep the boundary and sin. Their response to God’s revelation of their sin was to blame someone else rather than take responsibility for their lack of self-control. Eve blamed Satan, and Adam blamed Eve (Genesis 3:12–13). Boundaries limit destructive behaviors, and that is why both God and society have laws and consequences for those who overstep those laws (Romans 13:1–4).

A healthy marriage requires boundaries. Marital boundaries keep sex and intimacy within the relationship while respecting each person’s needs. Violating these boundaries will quickly destroy trust.

Boundaries are also helpful in parenting. Setting healthy limits for children will protect them (Proverbs 22:6). Unhealthy boundaries tend to be controlling and selfishly motivated. Boundaries should guide a child to individuate into the person God created him or her to be. Boundaries allow children to develop an identity separate from their parents within the safety of their family. Without an identity, people “vanish” into other people or expect them not to have any differences.

Children often feel boundaries are “mean” when they are immature. When they grow up, they usually realize the boundaries were to keep them safe. Adults who were raised without protective boundaries often feel that someone saying “no” to them is “mean,” because they never learned self-control. Naturally, when children do not get what they want, they are disappointed, but learning to accept “no” from others is essential to godly character; however, setting boundaries with children must be done in loving ways in order for the child to feel loved (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21; Titus 2:4). The Lord’s instruction for parents is that they teach a child boundaries (Proverbs 19:18). Boundaries help a child see that life is not about pursuing what he wants but surrendering to the Lord and following Him. Boundaries set with unconditional love will teach children to surrender to the Lord because they trust God knows what is best and will bring true contentment.

Learning boundaries as a child is important. It is more difficult to learn boundaries later in life. Children will not grow up to respect God’s boundaries if they do not learn boundaries in their home. Modeling is necessary; parents cannot teach boundaries and not abide by them themselves.

A person with healthy boundaries takes responsibility for his own life and allows others to live theirs. The goal of boundaries is to make sacrifices for people when appropriate, but never in a destructive manner. We should be available for people in a crisis, but unavailable to indulgent demands. Being gracious is not a blank check for others to continually drain our emotional account. Saying “yes” out of fear of rejection is really a selfish motive for being kind. Being kind in order to gain someone’s favor smacks of hypocrisy and shows a need for boundaries. Fear of man’s approval can lead to codependency, the unhealthy alternative to interdependency.

Boundaries teach us to accept one another as being different yet still valuable. God uses boundaries to help us appreciate the differences in people rather than be upset by them. A godly friend tells us what we need to hear, not necessarily what we want to hear (Proverbs 27:6). We are free to be ourselves with others if we control ourselves. Boundaries are not selfish when we use our freedom to serve and love one another because we are keeping our own flesh under control (Galatians 5:13). In a godly relationship, both people are free to love each other and to be themselves because neither is using or manipulating the other.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, so it is not something unbelievers can achieve (Galatians 5:22–23). A believer who sees his need for self-control so he can take responsibility for his own actions and not encroach on others will seek the Lord’s help for growth in this character trait. Boundaries are a fruit of submitting to God’s will, and He will enable us to make godly choices.

Being Christ-like means we can say “no” in unselfish, helpful ways. Sometimes, love requires us to say “no” to those we love. For example, if a family member is abusing alcohol at a family gathering, then it is Christ-like to tell him not to do so. A proper boundary has then been set. If the response is to get angry, leave, and never come back, then that person simply was not able to respect the boundary. It is not sinful to say “no” to someone if he is crossing personal boundaries in harmful and destructive ways. Every boy or girl on a date should have clear boundaries that must not be crossed.

Boundaries can be difficult to establish because saying “no” may have been off limits or mistakenly taught as being ungodly. God says to tell the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). God tells us to humbly control ourselves, lovingly confront sin, graciously accept others, and overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Plus, He promises wisdom in every circumstance (James 1:5).[1]

 


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

Bible Commentary: Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

The phrase “my brother’s keeper” occurs in the context of the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1–9. After the Lord God had expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for their disobedience, Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy that God had found Abel’s sacrifice acceptable, but He had rejected Cain’s. After the murder, the Lord, knowing full well what had happened, asked Cain where Abel was. Cain’s response was “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

There is a grain of truth in this brazen lie, despite the surly response Cain offers to the God who created him. While no one is the absolute “keeper” of others in that we are not responsible for everyone’s safety when we are not present, every man is his brother’s keeper in that we are not to commit violent acts against them or allow others to do so if we can prevent it. This sort of “keeping” is something God rightfully demands of everyone, on the grounds of both justice and love. But Cain’s reply indicates a total lack of any kind of feeling for another human being—not to mention the absence of brotherly love—and the overriding presence of the kind of selfishness which kills affection and gives rise to hatred.

So are Christians to be the keepers of other Christians? Yes, in two ways. First we are not to commit acts of violence against one another. This includes violence of the tongue in the form of gossip and “quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (1 Corinthians 12:20). Second, we are to exhibit brotherly love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ with a tender heart and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8). In this way, we “keep” those for whom Christ gave His life.

One of the golden chapters of the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13. In this magnificent portion of the Scriptures we are reminded that love is even greater than faith and hope. Chapter 13 comes on the heels of Paul’s explanation of how the Body of Christ (the Church) is like the human body and is made up of many members, all of whom are important to the function and well being of the Body. We are continually encouraged throughout the New Testament to love one another (Hebrews 13:1; Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9). Sometimes love must correct, admonish or reprove (2 Thessalonians 3:13–15; Matthew 18:15). However, it is always to be done in the spirit of love with the goal of reconciliation.

Paul the Apostle wrote to the Church at Thessalonica: “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:12–15).

So, as Christians, we are to be our brother’s keeper. As Paul wrote, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify (build up) another” (Romans 14:19).[1]

 


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

Questions about Jesus Christ: Is Jesus a Zombie?

There are some attackers/haters of Christianity that are making the claim that Jesus is a zombie. Now, these people do not actually believe in zombies, nor do they believe that Jesus came back from the dead. All they are trying to do is demean Christians and make Christian beliefs about the resurrection look absurd. The usual definition of a “zombie” is a dead person’s body becoming reanimated (alive again), while continuing the process of decay. Some portrayals of zombies involve the dead body being possessed and utilized by a demon. Other portrayals of zombies have the person’s soul actually returning to its body and causing it to become “alive” again, while still dead, i.e., undead.

How does the idea of a zombie compare to Christian beliefs about Jesus’ resurrection? Other than the idea of coming back to life, there are no similarities. When Jesus was resurrected, His physical body was perfected and glorified. Jesus lives today in His resurrection body which does not decay, does not appear dead, and is forever immune from death, injury, and sickness. Jesus’ resurrection body will be perfect for all of eternity, just as all those who receive Jesus as Savior will be granted perfect resurrection bodies after death. No, Jesus is not a zombie. Jesus was resurrected, not just reanimated. In no sense is Jesus still dead. He is perfectly and eternally alive.[1]

 


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

Christians in Syria Will Pay If Assad Is Overthrown, Says Rand Paul

A victory for Syria’s “Islamic rebels” and an overthrow of President Assad would endanger Syrian Christians, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) asserted on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, speaking out against U.S. military intervention in Syria….[view article]