Daily Archives: September 5, 2013

Christians shouldn’t sit on the sidelines in the #SyriaCrisis. Here are 4 things we can do.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Syria-mapWhen it comes to the crisis in Syria, Christians should not sit idly by on the sidelines and watch others make moves we agree or disagree with. The Scriptures indicate we can and should play an active role in times of trouble — our top priorities should be to learn, pray, give and go.

1. LEARN“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,”we read in Proverbs 1:5. It is important that we learn all we can about what is happening in Syria and throughout the Middle East through the lens of geopolitics and economics. But it’s also vital that we learn to see the region through what I call the “third lens,” the lens of Scripture. Only then can we truly begin to understand what the enemy is doing, what God is doing, and what we should be…

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Cold Case Christianity: Volitional Resistance to Christianity Often Masquerades as Rational Opposition

In a recent blog post I offered three reasons why people typically reject a truth claim. Sometimes folks simply have rational doubts based on the evidence, some people have doubts that are purely emotional, and others deny the truth for volitional reasons. Until the age of thirty-five, I rejected the claims of Christianity (and theism in general). As an atheist, I adamantly identified myself in the first category of skeptics: I was a rational objector. When asked about my resistance, I repeatedly told people it was based on the lack of convincing evidence for Christianity and an abundance of evidence supporting naturalistic processes (like evolution). After examining the evidence and changing my mind, I revisited my prior opposition and realized much of my resistance was simply a matter of volition. At some point I had to ask myself, “Am I rejecting this because there isn’t enough evidence, or because I don’t want there to be enough evidence?”

Read More Here: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/volitional-resistance-to-christianity-often-masquerades-as-rational-opposition/

Music Video: A New Hallelujah – Michael W. Smith

Can you hear there’s a new song?
Breaking out from the children of freedom
Every race and every nation
Sing it out, sing a new Hallelujah, yeah

Let us sing love to the nations
Bringing hope of the grace that has freed us
Make Him known and make Him famous
Sing it out, sing a new Hallelujah, yeah

Arise, arise, let the church arise
Let love reach to the other side
Alive, come alive, let the song arise

Africa sings a new song
Reaching out with the new Hallelujah
Every son and every daughter
Everyone sing a new Hallelujah, hey

Arise, let the song arise
Let love reach to the other side
Alive, come alive, let the song arise

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Let the song arise, let the song arise, yeah, yeah, yeah yeah
Let the song arise, let the song arise

Let the world sing a new Hallelujah
Can you get excited church?
From Africa to Australia, from Brazil to China
From New York down to Houston
Come on, give me arise

Arise, let the church arise
Let love reach to the other side
Alive, come alive, let the song arise

Let the song arise, everyone
Everyone sing a new Hallelujah
Everyone sing a new Hallelujah

Millennium Fading, Tribulation Rising: The Rising Tribulation (Pt. 2)

Miley Cyrus, with her raucous performance at the MTV awards show August 25,  may be a good poster child for the “post-millennial” age into which Western  Civilization has sunk.

Once, the teenage pop star declared herself a Christian, but Hollywood and  contemporary culture soon took care of that. The child, brushed by the old tints  of southern Bible Belt Christianity, came of age – if not maturity – in the era  of the fade of a consensus favoring the Bible and Christianity.

Miley Cyrus went from identifying with Jesus to posting a Tweet apparently  aligning her with a scientist, who, among other things, suggested that evolution  was the absolute truth and people could “forget Jesus.”

I confess I did not watch her MTV performance, but reading about it made me  think of theologian Karl Barth’s question to the German people as he watched the  slide of their civilization in the 1930s: “Was there and is there really no one  among you at all who can lead you back to the simplicity of the straight and  narrow way?” Sadly, only about a third of the church in Germany answered Barth’s  call in the Barmen Declaration, becoming the “Confessing Church” with its patron  saint and prophet Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Two thirds of the church sided with Hitler.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/millennium-fading-tribulation-rising-the-rising-tribulation-pt-2-103838/

Millennium Fading, Tribulation Rising: The Fading Millennium (Pt. 1)

A millennial season is fading for the church and western civilization, and a  period of tribulation is rising.

I’m not saying The Millennium has come and is now going,  or that The Tribulation is upon us. Rather, I use these terms in  their broader symbolic sense, in which a “millennial season” signifies a period  of favor for the church, and the advance of its message and ministries, while a  tribulation-time symbolizes the withdrawal of that favor and the ensuing  consequences.

The Christian Church in the West has enjoyed a millennial era for centuries,  but now that sun is setting. Darkness increasingly drapes the bright sky under  which the western church has flourished.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/millennium-fading-tribulation-rising-the-fading-millennium-pt-1-103211/

How to Identify a True Christian

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Pastor John MacArthur preaching on 1 John 3:4-8 in his message titled “The Christian’s Incompatibility with Sin – Part 2“:

“John is concerned for us to understand how to identify a true Christian. There are doctrinal tests, that is what they believe. And there are moral tests, that is how they behave. There is the matter of doctrine and there’s the matter of conduct. And what we’re looking at in 1 John chapter 3 verses 4 through 10 is summed up in several statements. The first one is in verse 6, ‘No one who abides in Him sins.’ And then said another way in verse 9, ‘No one who is born of God practices sin.’ And then the summary in verse 10, ‘By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious.’ Shouldn’t really be any difficulty in discerning because anyone who doesn’t practice…

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Selecting Music for Worship (Part 2): Know Theology

 

How well do you know the music your church sings in worship? Can you think, for example, of a song that teaches that sin corrupts and deceives the heart? Or a song that unfolds the work of the Trinity in our salvation? If you were to measure the depth of doctrine and the breadth of truth in your church’s music for worship, what would you find?
In my last post we began considering ways that worship leaders can best prepare for the task of selecting music for worship. My first encouragement was know the Word. The first and best way to prepare for the task is to be regularly and diligently in God’s Word.
But second, and closely tied to the first, those who lead music in the church must know theology. Music is tied to theology—our songs instruct us. Music gives us voice to rehearse and remember the truth. It helps us rightly respond and rejoice in the truth.

Selecting Music for Worship (Part 1): Know the Word

Leading God’s people in song is a great joy. It is a rewarding responsibility to sing and play psalms and hymns and spiritual songs in praise to God. But like other aspects of worship—reading and preaching God’s Word, lifting up prayers in behalf of the congregation—with the joy comes labor. It takes time to plan and prepare music for worship. This is especially evident given the reality that the task of worship is ongoing. Week by week, music must be selected, ordered and rehearsed. There is always a service coming.

So what is the best way to plan music for worship? How can worship leaders, given the task each week to select music for the services, make the best use of their time and efforts? How can they avoid the ruts of simply resorting to favorites or choosing what’s trendy? How can they guard against weariness and wearing out over time?
There is no simple solution to finding the right songs for the right service, but there are some vital ways that worship leaders can prepare themselves to be ready for the task. Those who give direction to the music of the church must learn to be students, and not just students of the music itself—giving attention to tunes, lyrics and arrangements. In the next several posts, I will explore three areas of study that every worship leader should seek to master:

  1. Know the Word
  2. Know Theology
  3. Know Your Church

Read More Here: http://blog.founders.org/2013/08/selecting-music-for-worship-part-1-know.html

Like a Dam Break

Man is eager for vengeance and God is eager for forgiveness. – John MacArthur

There is only one against whom we have all sinned and we keep sinning, and yet he is the only one whose posture of forgiveness is more eager than eager. He has grace like riches (Eph. 1:7, 2:7). He doesn’t have to watch his spending. He forgives like it’s going out of style.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/gospeldrivenchurch/2013/09/04/like-a-dam-break/

Christ and Trials in the Christian Life

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” These words of the disciples in Mark 4:35 are hauntingly familiar. I think of Job and his questions in response to a life filled with so much pain and trial.

Read More Here: http://info.alliancenet.org/christward/christ-and-trials-christian-life

Topical Bible Questions: What Does the Bible Say about Praying for the Dead?

Praying for the dead is not a biblical concept. Our praying for the dead has no bearing on someone once he or she has died. The reality is that at the point of death, one’s eternal destiny is confirmed. Either he is saved through faith in Christ and in heaven where he is experiencing rest and joy in God’s presence, or he is in torment in hell. The story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar provides us with a vivid illustration of this truth. Jesus plainly used this story to teach that after death the unrighteous are eternally separated from God, that they remember their rejection of the Gospel, that they are in torment, and that their condition cannot be remedied (Luke 16:19–31).

Oftentimes people who have lost a loved one are encouraged to pray for those who have passed away and for their families. Of course, we should pray for those grieving, but for the dead, no. No one should ever believe that someone may be able to pray for him, thereby effecting some kind of favorable outcome, after he has died. The Bible teaches that the eternal state of mankind is determined by our actions during our lives on earth. “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him” (Ezekiel 18:20).

The writer to the Hebrews tells us, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Here we understand that no change in one’s spiritual condition can be made following his death—either by himself or through the efforts of others. If it is useless to pray for the living, who are committing “a sin that leads to death” (1 John 5:16), i.e., continual sin without seeking relief in conformity to God’s law of pardon, how could prayer for those who are already dead benefit them since there is no post-mortem plan of salvation?

The point is that each one of us has but one life, and we are responsible for how we live that life. Others may influence our choices, but ultimately we must give an account for the choices we make. Once life is over, there are no more choices to be made; we have no choice but to face judgment. The prayers of others may express their desires, but they won’t change the outcome. The time to pray for a person is while he or she lives and there is still the possibility of his or her heart, attitudes, and behavior being changed (Romans 2:3–9).

While it is natural to have the desire to pray in times of pain, suffering, and loss of loved ones and friends, the one thing we do know about the boundaries of valid prayer is that which is revealed in the Bible. The Bible is the only official prayer manual, and as such it teaches that prayers for the dead are futile, if not hostile to its truth. Yet we find its practice is observed in certain areas of “Christendom.” Roman Catholic theology, for example, allows for prayers both to the dead and on behalf of them. But even then, Catholic authorities admit that there is no explicit authorization for prayers on behalf of the dead in the sixty-six books of canonical Scripture. But they do appeal to the Apocrypha (2 Maccabees 12:45), church tradition, the decree of the Council of Trent, etc., even though there is no biblical defense to be made for its practice.

The Bible teaches that those who have yielded to the Savior’s will (Hebrews 5:8–9) enter directly and immediately into the presence of the Lord after death (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8). What need, then, do they have for the prayers of people on the earth? The bottom line is that while we sympathize with those who have lost dear ones, we must bear in mind that “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). While this language, in context, refers to the gospel age as a whole, the phraseology is fitting for the individual who, in an unprepared condition, faces the inevitable—death and the judgment that follows (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:26; Hebrews 9:27). Death is final, and after that, no amount of praying will avail a person of the salvation he has rejected in life.[1]

 


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is the Church of Body Modification?

The “Church of Body Modification” is a group of individuals with tattooing, piercings, and other body modifications as their common bond. The Church of Body Modification is not a church in the biblical sense of the word. They are not a group of people gathering together to worship God. According to the website of the Church of Body Modification, they are “a collection of members practicing ancient and modern body modification rites. We believe these rites are essential to our spirituality. Practicing body modification and engaging in body manipulation rituals strengthen the bond between mind, body, and soul. By doing so, we ensure that we live as spiritually complete and healthy individuals.”

The “statement of faith” of the Church of Body Modification does not mention God, Christ, sin, salvation, or any other orthodox Christian doctrine of faith. Among their beliefs are that their bodies belong to themselves and they can, therefore, alter them at will for “spiritual and other reasons.” Furthermore, they believe the physical defines who they are and that body manipulations “test and push the limits of the flesh and spirit.” So in reality, the Church of Body Modification is no church at all. Rather, it is a group of people who have in common activities that border on the bizarre, if not the sado-masochistic, going beyond tattooing and piercing to include “firewalking, binding and corsetry.”

One primary motivation for the “church” seems to be to intimidate employers who require employees to remove excessive piercings before coming to work. In such cases, the “church member” is advised: “If you are in conflict with your employer over your modifications, advise your employer of your spirituality and your religious affiliation.” The other motivation would seem to be to try to establish “spirituality” through the abuse of the body to an extent that would induce some sort of spiritual experience.

That a Christian should not be involved in such a “church” is obvious. The bodies God has given us are not to be abused because they are the temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). We are to do everything in our power to care for them, not to push them to ridiculous limits in an attempt to achieve a spiritual experience. Christian spirituality, according to the Bible, is a consciousness of fellowship with the Spirit of Christ, uninterrupted by carnality and sin. Christian spirituality develops when a born-again believer—those who have come to Christ for salvation from sin—makes a consistent and ongoing choice to surrender to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Modifying or manipulating the body has nothing to do with true spirituality. Rather, it is the spirit of this world, Satan, who deceives people into believing spirituality is attainable apart from Christ. This is just another lie from the “father of lies” (John 8:44) who prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).[1]

 


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

Questions about the End Times: What Is the New World Order?

The New World Order is a conspiracy theory which posits a new period of history bringing about a major change in the world with the balance of world power. This New World Order is theorized by some to involve a group or groups of elitist people bent on ruling the world through a single worldwide system of government. The appeal of this New World Order lies in its proposal to free the world of wars and political strife, and its promises to eradicate poverty, disease, and hunger. Its purpose is to meet the needs and hopes of all mankind through worldwide peace.

Also labeled the new “era of globalization,” this New World Order will supposedly do away with the need for diverse world governments. This will be accomplished by the installation of a one-world political system or body. One means to achieve this is by eliminating all lines and borders demarcating the nations of the world. To effect all this change, it is believed that the New World Order will emphasize tolerance through the promotion and acceptance of other cultures, their values and ideologies. Its ultimate goal is a sense of unity and oneness with all people speaking the same language. Other objectives include the use of a single world-wide currency, as well as oneness in politics, religion, and moral values. As a result, conspiracy theorists believe, the world will be under one rule, that of one government which promises worldwide peace, the absence of war and the elimination of all political unrest.

Though it may be agreed that man needs hope in order to endure this life and have peace of mind, the problem lies in where man searches for such hope. The Scriptures are clear concerning all these things. As Christians, we are commanded to obey and respect those in authority, including our government. However, we can easily see that there are some severe consequences of such a New World Order, both from an economic and a religious standpoint (Romans 13:1–7; Acts 5:29).

The problem with the acceptance and approval of any New World Order is that no government has ever offered, nor will it ever offer, real hope and peace for mankind. When man turns to government to provide worldwide peace and hope, he becomes disillusioned and enslaved by its false promises. History has proven time and again that no quasi-world empire has ever survived, simply because of its innate flaws of greed, corruption, and quest for power.

Those who desire the ushering in of a New World Order, whether secular or religious, are in for a rude awakening. The truth is that false religious teachings cannot bring utopia into being, regardless of man’s creativity and ingenuity. Only heaven brings lasting peace and happiness. The Bible makes it very clear that all things associated with this life on earth with its sufferings, its decay, its discontent, and death will continue with this physical life (2 Corinthians 4:16; Hebrews 9:27). It is also clear that all these things are completely unknown in the heavenly city (Revelation 21:3–7 and Revelation 22). They will be done away with. Yes, hope is needed. But it is the hope of heaven we need, not the false hope of a New World Order. The one hope for all believers lies only in heaven (John 14:1–4). It is not here on this earth.[1]

 


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

Senator Rand Paul: Why I’m Voting No on Syria

If American interests are at stake, then our goal should not be stalemate

War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened. I don’t think the situation in Syria passes that test. Even the State Department argues that “there’s no military solution here that’s good for the Syrian people, and that the best path forward is a political solution.”

The U.S. should not fight a war to save face. I will not vote to send young men and women to sacrifice life and limb for stalemate. I will not vote to send our nation’s best and brightest to fight for anything less than victory. If American interests are at stake, then our goal should not be stalemate.

Read More Here: http://ideas.time.com/2013/09/04/sen-rand-paul-why-im-voting-no-on-syria/print/

Putin: Russia doesn’t defend Assad, we defend international law

Speaking to journalists from Russia’s state Channel 1 television and Associated Press, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a number of decisive statements regarding the supposed use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, which evoked a threat of a US-led strike on Syria.
“We believe that at the very least we should wait for the results of the UN inspection commission in Syria,” Putin said, adding that so far there is no information about what chemical agent exactly was used in the attack in Damascus’ suburbs and who did it.

“I’ve already said I find it absolutely ridiculous that [Syrian] government’s armed forces, which today are actually on an offense mission and in some regions have already encircled the so-called rebels and are finishing them off, that the Syrian army has used prohibited chemical weapons,” Putin said.

Read More Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntkkJwl8TNY&feature=youtu.be

JUST IN: CIA Analyst Exposes Syrian War Lobbyists – – Michael Scheuer

American and Russian warships are both in the region. Each nation is supporting opposing sides in the conflict. Russia’s last foreign military base outside the former Soviet Union is located in Syria. Hezbollah and Iran are both threatening to attack Israel if the U.S. takes military action against Assad’s government in Damascus.

Members of al Qaeda are known to be among the rebels being supported by the Obama administration. Like a Mexican standoff, the tragic conflict could go in any direction.

Michael Scheuer is a historian and former CIA analyst. For three years, he headed the Osama bin Laden tracking Unit at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. He is author of the book Imperial Hubris. In 2007, bin Laden said Scheuer’s book revealed the reasons behind U.S. losses in the War on Terrorism.

Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West

…. That has raised the prospect that American military action could inadvertently strengthen Islamic extremists and criminals.
Abdul Samad Issa, 37, the rebel commander leading his fighters through the executions of the captured soldiers, illustrates that very risk. …

Read More Here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/05/world/middleeast/brutality-of-syrian-rebels-pose-dilemma-in-west.html

Al-Qaeda Linked Syrian Rebels Attack Christian Village

Al-Qaida-linked rebels launched an assault Wednesday on a regime-held Christian village in the densely populated west of Syria and new clashes erupted near the capital, Damascus — part of a brutal battle of attrition each side believes it can win despite more than two years of deadlock. The attack came hours before a Senate panel voted to give President Barack Obama authority to use military force against Syria…

Read More Here: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/09/04/Syria-rebels-attack-regime-held-Christian-village