Daily Archives: September 22, 2013

Music Video: What Faith Can Do – Kutless

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes
And make a new beginning

Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you’re stronger
Stronger than you know

Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason
For someone not to try

Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright

Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don’t have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That’s what faith can do

Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

A Religion of Demonic Rage

The only way you can describe a political ideology that encourages its followers to slaughter innocent Christians and non-Muslims wherever they are found is to say it is comes straight from the very pits of hell. The two latest examples of the religion of peace showing its true colours are still ongoing stories, with death tolls continuing to rise.

The hatred some Muslims show to non-Muslims is nothing short of demonic. In Kenya some 60 people were killed, while in Pakistan at least 52 were slaughtered. And there are plenty of other Islamic atrocities taking place as we speak, but these two are making at least some headlines at the moment.

As I say, these stories are still quite fresh, with details still emerging, and the death toll likely to keep climbing. But we can say a few things about each attack based on early press reports. As to the Kenya shopping mall attack, here is how one write-up puts it:

Read More Here

Questions about False Doctrine: What Is Mythicism?

Mythicism is the belief that Jesus Christ never existed as a historical figure, but was derived from a group of mythical gods and demigods from Greek and Roman times. Mythicism claims that since certain supernatural powers or feats were described prior to the rise of Christianity, then Christians could have simply incorporated them into their new religion.

For example, a mythicist might believe that followers of Christ “borrowed” the powers ascribed to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine (Jesus is called the Great Physician), fathered by the god Apollo and his mother was a mortal woman (Jesus is the Son of the Father and was born of a virgin). The symbol of Asclepius was a serpent wound around a staff, and Jesus compared himself to a serpent that was lifted up in the desert by Moses as a foreshadowing of His being raised up on the cross (Numbers 21:9; John 3:14–15). Mythicists use these examples and others to defend their beliefs.

Mythicism denies that Jesus has come in the flesh and is from of God. But the Apostle John warns against the empty philosophies that deny the One who came to save mankind. Such denials are of the devil. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God” (1 John 4:2).

The truth is that Jesus really did exist. The truth is that Jesus is not a copy on ancient mythologies. The claims of mythicism are totally false, and like all lies, they are designed to catch the unsuspecting and shipwreck the faith of immature believers. The only sure way to recognize the lies is to be intimately familiar with the Truth. We do this by seeking truth in everything and comparing everything we hear with the Word of God, just as the Bereans did. “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (Acts 17:11–12).[1]

 


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

Questions about Family / Parenting: What Are the Quiverfull and Patriarchy Movements?

Believers inundated by harmful worldly influences often band together to encourage and exhort one another to live Christ-like lives. The closely related Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements attempt to do just that. The desire to protect their families from the influences of a godless world drives them to search the Bible for alternatives. In general, these movements emphasize the leadership of the husband/father, the blessing of children to a family, and the education of children in a Christian worldview.

Proponents of the Quiverfull philosophy emphasize that children are a blessing from the Lord, and He alone should open and close the womb of a woman. They focus on Psalm 127:3–5: “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” While some teach that children are blessings and gifts from God, others intend to use their children to redeem the culture. In addition, many continue to attempt to have children despite economic conditions or the physical well-being of the mother.

The Patriarchy movement encompasses the beliefs of both Quiverfull and homeschoolers and emphasizes the headship of the father, or patriarch, in a family. As in any unregulated movement, there are different interpretations of their beliefs. In general, they include:

•     God has granted men authority over their families; preferably, men should be in charge in the workplace, as well.

•     Women’s sphere of influence is the home.

•     Women should only work outside the home in context of her domestic responsibilities.

•     Single women may have more flexibility in their work, but, in general, are not encouraged to work as equals among men in fields which invoke authority such as industry, commerce, civil government, and the military.

•     God opens and closes the womb; therefore birth control is taking control from God.

•     Having and educating many children is the responsibility of all Christians in order to return the country to a nation that follows God.

•     God has entrusted the direct oversight of the education of children to their parents alone, not the state; fathers are to supervise every aspect of curriculum and training.

•     Girls are encouraged to center their education around their future role as wives and mothers.

•     Segregating children into age-specified activities is inappropriate; children are foolish and should not be left to the influence of others who are foolish.

•     The local church is a “family of families”; all worship and educational activities are to be multi-generational.

•     Unmarried, grown children are under rule of fathers; although a son may be released to find a vocation and “take a wife,” he should seek his father’s council.

•     Since daughters are “given in marriage” by their fathers, an obedient daughter will allow her father to guide the process of finding a husband, although both she or her father may veto the other’s choice.

As in anything man attempts, there is room for abuse in the Patriarchy Movement. In their zeal to live lives that please God, some rely on man-made rules and standards. This lifestyle can be particularly oppressive for daughters. Being protected and educated under the leadership of a loving, Christian father is wonderful. Receiving training to be able to meet the demands of caring for a family and household will go far in preparing them for the families they may have some day. But many of the requirements espoused by families in the Patriarchy Movement are based on biblical-times culture and not on biblical standards. Nowhere in the New Testament does it mention that single adult women are required to live at home and either care for younger siblings or work for their father to further his sphere of influence. Often, both girls and boys are discouraged from seeking a higher education. Many adherents believe that secular colleges are too damaging, and a higher education isn’t necessary for a young woman who is being trained to be a mother.

Another troubling issue with some in the Patriarchy Movement is their goal to have and train children for the expressed purpose of “returning America to a Christian nation.” They fail to accept that the kingdom of God is about God’s relationship with individuals and His church, not earthly political entities.

Perhaps the greatest danger of the Patriarchy Movement is the potential to raise the husband/father to a spiritual authority approaching idolatry. While the man is the spiritual head of the family, he is not the intermediary between family members and God. All of us, from the most powerful king to the youngest child, are called to develop a personal relationship with God. Our High Priest is Christ (Hebrews 4:14). Others can provide wisdom and training and relate experience, but no one should feel that there is another person between them and God.

The Quiverfull, homeschooling, and Patriarchy movements are attempts to follow God in a wicked and perverse generation. It is vital that we be in the world and not of it. We are called to see children as a blessing from God and train them to honor God, not to worship them, oppress them, or place upon them the responsibility to redeem the culture.[1]

 


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

Questions about Theology: What Is Federal Vision Theology?

Federal Vision Theology is a controversial faction within the Reformed churches. Their aim is to pursue a re-interpretation of the established teachings of Reformed theology. The Federal Vision Theology had it beginnings in the Monroe, Louisiana Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in 2002 with the teachings of Norman Shepherd. Shepherd, a systematic theology professor from Westminster Theological Seminary, proposed certain revisions to classic Reformed teachings especially on covenant and justification. His teachings, also known as Auburn Avenue Theology, have been rejected by several bodies of the Presbyterian churches including the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North American (RPCNA), as well as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC).

The principles of contention underlying Federal Vision Theology involve the doctrines of election, justification, and the covenant. They also take a different viewpoint regarding one’s salvation. This is especially true with respect to the relationship between one’s faith in conjunction with one’s obedience, the sacraments (baptism and communion), and the role of the church. The views of Federal Vision Theology are distinct from that of not only reformed orthodoxy, but protestant orthodoxy, as well.

Briefly, here are the views of those who hold to Federal Vision Theology:

•     They hold to a stricter adherence to biblical law, stating that the church should be morally and ethically sound before it can have any influence in the world.

•     They believe in postmillennialism, seeing Christ returning to a world that has already being fully evangelized or Christianized. However, it is also true that most Reformed and Presbyterian denominations are either amillennial or postmillennial in their outlook on the end-times events. Some also hold to the doctrine of historic premillennialism.

•     Their most disputed belief relates to the objects of the covenant. They teach that those of the covenant community, regardless of whether they are of the elect, are part of the family of God. In essence, Federal Vision Theology teaches two facets of election. One is what’s called the common election to the church. This means that they will receive blessings for their obedience as well as discipline for disobedience. The other pertains to those called to a special election to salvation meaning that salvation is awarded only to those who persevere to the end. This two-tiered approach to the body of Christ is unsupportable scripturally.

•     Federal Vision Theology varies somewhat from the traditional Reformed teaching especially with respect to the rites of baptism and communion. They view these sacraments as an imputation of the efficacy of the thing signified in the sign itself. For example, baptism is seen as conferring the benefits of union with Christ in the act of performing the sacrament. This view is more in line with the doctrine of baptismal regeneration such as with Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism, more so than the classic reformed doctrine of baptism.

•     Rather than treating Bible interpretation as a science or a method, they consider it much more of an intuitive art. Thus, interpreting the Bible through the typological system—as opposed to a literal system—means emphasizing literary analysis and the flow of the overarching “Story” through each of the smaller, individual stories.

•     Lastly, the followers of the Federal Vision Theology deny the imputation of Jesus’ active obedience to His followers for their justification. Their contention is that His followers are one with Christ and, as such, share in His resurrected life, but do not obtain His righteousness. This teaching is its variance with the core doctrine of reformed and protestant orthodoxy which teaches that one can indeed be declared righteous before God through the work of Christ on the cross on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The fact that most reformed denominations have rejected wholly, or at least in part, Federal Vision Theology, speaks well to the fact that such teachings are not biblical. Critics of this teaching affirm that it strays well beyond the boundaries of orthodoxy.[1]

 


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

Biblical Thematic Outline: Love, for one another

Synopsis

Scripture instructs God’s people to love one another and illustrates what this means in practice.

Reasons for loving one another

God commands it

Ga 5:14

Galatians 5:14 (ESV) — 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

See also Le 19:18

Leviticus 19:18 (ESV) — 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Love for foreigners commanded:

Le 19:34; Dt 10:19

Leviticus 19:34 (ESV) — 34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 10:19 (ESV) — 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Mt 22:39 the second greatest commandment; Jn 15:12 Jesus Christ commands his disciples to love one another; Ro 13:10; 1 Th 4:9; Heb 13:1; Jas 2:8; 1 Pe 1:22; 1 Pe 2:17; 1 Jn 3:23; 1 Jn 4:21; 2 Jn 5

Matthew 22:39 (ESV) — 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

John 15:12 (ESV) — 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Romans 13:10 (ESV) — 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 (ESV) — 9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

Hebrews 13:1 (ESV) — 1 Let brotherly love continue.

James 2:8 (ESV) — 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.

1 Peter 1:22 (ESV) — 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

1 Peter 2:17 (ESV) — 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

1 John 3:23 (ESV) — 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

1 John 4:21 (ESV) — 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

2 John 5 (ESV) — 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another.

God has taken the initiative in showing love

1 Jn 4:11

1 John 4:11 (ESV) — 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

See also Mal 2:10 ; 1 Co 8:11–13 ; 1 Jn 3:16

Malachi 2:10 (ESV) — 10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?

1 Corinthians 8:11–13 (ESV) — 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

1 John 3:16 (ESV) — 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

God’s people are known by their love

Jn 13:35

John 13:35 (ESV) — 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

See also 1 Jn 2:10 ; 1 Jn 3:14 ; 1 Jn 4:7 ; 1 Jn 4:16 ; 1 Jn 4:20

1 John 2:10 (ESV) — 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.

1 John 3:14 (ESV) — 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

1 John 4:7 (ESV) — 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:16 (ESV) — 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 4:20 (ESV) — 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Love maintains fellowship

1 Pe 4:8

1 Peter 4:8 (ESV) — 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

See also Pr 10:12 ; Pr 17:9 ; Eph 4:2

Proverbs 10:12 (ESV) — 12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Proverbs 17:9 (ESV) — 9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

Ephesians 4:2 (ESV) — 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

Love promotes sacrificial service

1 Th 2:8

1 Thessalonians 2:8 (ESV) — 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

See also Pr 17:17 ; 2 Co 12:15 ; Ga 5:13 ; Php 2:30 ; Php 4:10 ; 1 Th 1:3

Proverbs 17:17 (ESV) — 17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

2 Corinthians 12:15 (ESV) — 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?

Galatians 5:13 (ESV) — 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Philippians 2:30 (ESV) — 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

Philippians 4:10 (ESV) — 10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 (ESV) — 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Expressing love for one another

In caring for the sick

Mt 25:36

Matthew 25:36 (ESV) — 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

See also Job 2:11 ; Ga 4:14

Job 2:11 (ESV) — 11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.

Galatians 4:14 (ESV) — 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.

In meeting material needs

Mt 25:35

Matthew 25:35 (ESV) — 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

See also Dt 15:7–8 ; 1 Jn 3:17

Deuteronomy 15:7–8 (ESV) — 7 “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.

1 John 3:17 (ESV) — 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

In affectionate greetings

2 Co 13:12

2 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) — 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

See also Ge 33:4 ; Ge 45:14–15 ; Ac 20:37 ; Ro 16:16 ; 1 Co 16:20 ; 1 Pe 5:14

Genesis 33:4 (ESV) — 4 But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.

Genesis 45:14–15 (ESV) — 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.

Acts 20:37 (ESV) — 37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him,

Romans 16:16 (ESV) — 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 16:20 (ESV) — 20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1 Peter 5:14 (ESV) — 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Examples of the demonstration of love for one another

Ge 14:14–16 Abraham for Lot; Ex 32:31–32 Moses for Israel; 1 Sa 18:3 Jonathan; Lk 7:2–6 the Roman centurion for his servant; Lk 10:29–37 the good Samaritan; Ac 4:32; Ac 16:33 the Philippian jailer; Ac 20:38; Ro 16:4; 2 Co 2:4; Eph 1:15; Php 1:8; Php 4:1; 2 Ti 1:16–17 Onesiphorus; Phm 12; 3 Jn 6

Genesis 14:14–16 (ESV) — 14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.

Exodus 32:31–32 (ESV) — 31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.”

1 Samuel 18:3 (ESV) — 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.

Luke 7:2–6 (ESV) — 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.

Luke 10:29–37 (ESV) — 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Acts 4:32 (ESV) — 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.

Acts 16:33 (ESV) — 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

Acts 20:38 (ESV) — 38 being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.

Romans 16:4 (ESV) — 4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well.

2 Corinthians 2:4 (ESV) — 4 For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Ephesians 1:15 (ESV) — 15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,

Philippians 1:8 (ESV) — 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:1 (ESV) — 1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

2 Timothy 1:16–17 (ESV) — 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me—

Philemon 12 (ESV) — 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.

3 John 6 (ESV) — 6 who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.

Paul’s love for his churches

Corinth:

2 Co 1:3–6; 2 Co 2:4

2 Corinthians 1:3–6 (ESV) — 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

2 Corinthians 2:4 (ESV) — 4 For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Ga 4:19 Galatia

Galatians 4:19 (ESV) — 19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!

Philippi:

Php 1:3; Php 1:7; Php 4:1

Philippians 1:3 (ESV) — 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

Philippians 1:7 (ESV) — 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

Philippians 4:1 (ESV) — 1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Thessalonica:

1 Th 2:7–8; 1 Th 3:7–10; 1 Th 3:12

1 Thessalonians 2:7–8 (ESV) — 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

1 Thessalonians 3:7–10 (ESV) — 7 for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

1 Thessalonians 3:12 (ESV) — 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,

 

Theology: God – NATURALISTIC THEISTIC ARGUMENTS SHOWING GOD (Part 2)

VARIOUS VIEWS OF GOD

 

Walvoord, Chafer and Theissen all have good sections on these topics. Hodge has a detailed section on this as well. Since so much work has been done on the subject there will only be a brief introduction to the topic here.

 

There are many views of the creation, the being or power that did it, and the resultant oversight of the creation by that power or being. We need to look at some of these views.

 

1. Dynamism: There is in all things a force which can be tapped for either good or evil purposes. This force is not described — only used and worshiped. This is an impersonal force that is stronger than man. Does that sound like anything you’ve been seeing on TV in recent years? Sound like Star Wars? “May the Force be with you.”

 

2. Animism: All of nature has spirits that are personal and responsive to the worshiper. The spirit will do good or evil according to the worshipers’ activities. Help or injury can come from these spirits at the will of the spirit. This would be tree worship or moon worship etc.

 

Animism views all immaterial things as being and existing due to the immaterial part of the object. The immaterial is inseparable from the matter and gives the matter form and life.

 

In short if we were animists and I was to give you a test and you failed the test, you might well come to the desk that you took the test in, and feel that its spirit had been unkind to you because you left your gum on it. You might clean the gum off and do some ritual to get back into its good graces.

 

3. Fetishism: The idea that objects have spirits and the object must be worshiped because the spirit is there. The spirit is a temporary resident of the object so may leave the object. The term means magic. Many Indian tribes in South America and elsewhere have great problems with fetishes. When the people accept Christ one of the first things to go should be, and usually is, their fetishes.

 

 

In our previous illustration, if we believed in fetishism, you might, when you came to the desk, find that the spirit had moved. You might have to go find it.

 

This reminds me of the Roman Catholic Church in South America in years past when they removed some of the saint’s statues from the cathedrals because they were no longer saints. The people had been worshiping at those statues for several generations in some cases, and all of a sudden the saint wasn’t a saint and was gone — they had no one to pray to.

 

4. Idolatry: This is not the worship of sleep. The term means image. The idol is the permanent residence of the spirit and as such, is worshiped. The object is something that is man-made normally and is sacred.

 

The difference between idolatry and fetishism is that the spirit is permanent in the idol while the spirit is not permanent in the fetish. The difference between animism, idolatry and fetishism is that the animist views ALL objects as having a spirit, while the idolater and fetishist view only some objects as having a spirit.

 

Jeremiah 10 has a great listing of the attributes of idols: they are cut from the forest, they are crafted, they are decorated, they are fastened so they can’t fall, they can’t talk, they need to be carried, they aren’t to be feared, they can do you no harm, they can do you no good, they are falsehood, they have no breath, they are vanity, they are works of error, and they will perish. So Why Worship Them?

 

You can then list all of these and compare them to God’s own attributes and see the difference. He, the Living God is what all of the idols are not. Isaiah 44:14-20 is a text you need to remember for speaking to the foolishness of idolatry. Take time to read it.

 

5. Monolatry: The worshiper selects one idol from all the rest and worships it exclusively and feels that his god is more powerful than all others. Quite often this idol that is worshiped will be a tribal god in the Indian cultures. In monolatry the object is import rather than the god. Sound like “money” today, indeed, the title is close.

 

6. Polytheism: This is not, as someone has suggested, the worship of parrots. It is Greek for many gods, or the worship of many gods. These gods are usually well defined in the persons mind. They may live in mountains or in other objects of nature. In the Greek thought they were well-defined gods of supernatural nature. Venus, Apollo, Jupiter etc. The Greek gods all lived on Matthew Olympus.

 

Quite often there will be one god that is over the other gods or at least more powerful than the other gods. This is also true of the Greek system of gods.

 

These gods are different from the idolater’s god. The god of the polytheist has form and is not related to an object. Their god is independent and can act as he wills, rather than being contained within an object.

 

There is indication in the Old Testament that many of the peoples of the earth were polytheistic. They all felt that each god had different levels of power. When they ran into a god more powerful than their god, they would add that new god to their list of gods. They might do this when as a valley people; they fought the mountain people and lost. They would naturally assume that the mountain people’s god was more powerful. The Old Testament pictures God as knowing that He was one god among many, however, He always declared Himself as the Living God, or as the God above all gods.

 

7. Henotheism: The worshiper chooses one of the gods of a polytheistic listing and worships it exclusively as his god. Within the Greek system of gods, the person might choose cupid and worship the god of love to the exclusion of all other gods in the system.

 

8. Dualism: This thought comes from the Latin two. Dualism is a belief in two equal gods of opposite character. One is good and one is evil. (Zorasterism) If you study the different ideas of the creation of the universe, you will run into the dualism of the ancient peoples. Many of the concepts of creation are based on two gods, one representing good and the other representing evil. They quite often are the products of one set of parents, or one producing force.

 

9. Tritheism: “This is the doctrine of three Gods.” (Cambron, Mark G. D.D.; “Bible Doctrines”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954, p 21) I have read that this thought originated with a man that came out of the Brethren movement in years past.

 

 

10. Pantheism: All there is, is god and there ain’t no moe. God is all, and all is god, and all you see is a manifestation of that god. There is no matter — only god. You are sitting on God, and you will eat God at lunch. It would be very difficult to honor your god within this system, since you have to use material things, while knowing they are your god. In this system you would definitely respect the things which you used.

 

11. Panentheism: This system of thought is very similar to Pantheism. Pantheism holds that all is god, and god is all that exists, while Panentheism holds that all is god but god is more than exists. In other words, god is in all things, but all things are not the extent of god. The universe is god, but god extends further than the universe and is more than the universe.

 

12. Deism: Deism comes from the Latin for god. There is one personal supreme god that is personal. He is far off from mankind and as a result is very seldom worshiped or heard from. He’s Way Out I Guess You Could Say. God is known from nature and reason, but not from the Scripture. (Many of our countries founding fathers were Deists. Benjamin Franklin for one.)

 

He created but doesn’t sustain the creation. “God is the Maker, but not the Keeper.” (Cambron, p 20)

 

Theissen states, “God is present in creation only by His power, not in his very being and nature. He had endowed creation with invariable laws over which he exercises a mere general oversight; he has imparted to his creatures certain properties, placed them under his invariable laws, and left them to work out their destiny by their own powers. Deism denies a special revelation, miracles, and providence.” (Thiessen, Henry C.; “Lectures In Systematic Theology”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949, p 74)

 

13. Monotheism: From Greek for one. Monotheism presents a personal ethical god that is in the world yet distinct from the world. One god only.

 

We as Christians are monotheists. Among monotheists we find not only Christianity, but Islam and Judaism.

 

 

14. Theism: Theism is the same as Monotheism, with the added idea of self-revelation. God has revealed Himself via our nature, the creation and the Word. “Theism is the belief in the existence of a personal God, Creator, Preserver, and Ruler of all things.” (Pardington, Revelation George P. Ph.D.; “Outline Studies In Christian Doctrine”; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 57)

 

15. Idealism/Realism: This is not usually a form of worship yet could be. It is often listed with Realism for they are opposites.

 

Idealism would be the worship of ideas. Idealism states that what is, ain’t, and realism states that what ain’t, is.

 

The idealist would view a chair as only an idea and not real. The realist would view a chair as real because he can perceive and be conscious of it.

 

Realism relates to things of which we are conscious. If we are conscious of something then it is real. Logically speaking from their definition, if you sit in a chair and feel it on your backside it is real. If your rear area goes to sleep then you don’t feel it and it really isn’t there so you will fall on the floor.

 

16. Positivism: Positivism limits itself only to the knowledge which can

be gained by and through phenomena. In other words if a lightning bolt hits one of them they can observe the result and know of that item. In relation to god, there can only be knowledge of god if there are some observable phenomena to study and draw conclusions.

 

17. Pluralism: This system sees the mind as the determinate factor as to what the world is. Thus each person has their own world because each person has their own mind. To a point this is what Humanism is. Humanism teaches that everyone is free to choose their own thing and own way.

 

18. Atheism: “Atheism is a denial of God’s existence.” (Pardington, p 57) Indeed, the atheist tries to prove that god does not exist.

 

19. Skepticism: “…a doubt of or disbelief in the existence of God.” (Pardington, p 57) I suspect that most modern day atheists are more correctly defined as skeptics. They attempt to prove that He doesn’t exist indicating that there is a strong possibility that He does.

 

 

20. Agnosticism: Agnosticism “…is a denial that God or his creation can be known.” (Pardington, p 58) Pardington relates the term to another interesting term. “Etymologically, agnostic and ignoramus mean the same thing. The former is from the Greek, the latter from the Latin.” (Pardington, p 58)

 

Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary mentions of an ignoramus, “…..ignorant lawyer in Ignoramus (1615), play by George Ruggle…..an utterly ignorant person: DUNCE…..” (By permission. From Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)

 

HOWEVER… DO NOT CALL AN AGNOSTIC AN IGNORAMUS.

 

21. Materialism: This view holds that there is no spirit realm but only matter. Matter exists, and matter is all that exists. There is no god that created matter, nor is there a god that formed matter into creation.

 

The use of the term materialism in our own day is actually a slight redefinition of the term. When we use the term, we usually mean that a person is taken up with material things, such as cars, homes, stereos, etc. The underlying principle is still there however. The person may not really believe that there is no god and that only material exists, yet they are living so as to indicate this belief.

 

22. Monism: This system attempts to reduce all things into one principle or substance. There are different types of monism.

 

Materialistic monism = matter only exists.

Idealistic monism = Ideas are the only reality.

 

Pantheistic monism = “If monism denies the reality of both finite personal life and finite physical existences, through affirming both as phenomenal manifestations of an impersonal ground, the doctrine becomes pantheistic monism.” (Reprinted by permission: Walvoord, John F. editor; “Lewis Sperry Chafer Systematic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, Vol. I & II, 1988, p 130)

 

I once illustrated the pantheistic monist to a class as follows. If I believe I don’t live and don’t exist, but I manifest life and manifest existence then I am a pantheistic monist. Everything is a manifestation, but not real. Since I’m a manifestation, I can’t dismiss class, but I’m leaving. I guess you’ll have to sit here for eternity.

 

In all of these systems you can see man’s attempt to explain his environment, and his inward knowledge of God. The problem is that they have rejected the God of the universe for a god of their own making. The only real God that we have discussed is the monotheist’s God — the God that we know to exist, that we know to support His creation, and that we know to be our Salvation.[1]

 


[1] Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

Another Day, Another Radical Muslim Killing Spree

Zwinglius Redivivus

Today’s reprehensible episode is in Pakistan, where radical adherents of the ‘religion of peace’ slaughtered via bomb more than 75 at a Christian Church:

A suicide attack on a historic Christian church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 75 people on Sunday, in one of the deadliest attacks on the Christian minority in Pakistan for years.

The attack occurred as worshipers left the All Saints Church in the old quarter of the regional capital, Peshawar, following a service on Sunday morning. Up to 600 worshipers had attended the service, and were leaving for a distribution of free food on the lawn outside, when two explosions ripped through the crowd.

Dozens of people were killed and more than 100 wounded, said Akhtar Ali Shah, the home secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The death toll continued to rise as rescue workers sifted through the damaged church property, said Hamid Ullah, a…

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Eight Types of Power Groups in Churches

This topic will cause some discomfort for many of you. The very thought of the presence of power groups seems contrary to the spirit and grace of the gospel. But power groups are very real in churches.

Perhaps our comfort level can increase a bit by calling the groups “influencers” rather than power groups. Choose your label. The fact of the matter is that most churches have a clearly known group that carries the most influence in the church. And it is not unusual for that group to have a clearly known leader.

It is common to assume that power groups are inherently bad. That is not necessarily the case. Some of them can be a part of the formal structure of the church; church polity requires them. But even some informal groups can be healthy for the church. Don’t assume a power group per se is negative. Here are eight types of groups. While a church may have more than one kind of group, only one of the groups will be the dominant power in the church.

Read More Here: http://thomrainer.com/2013/09/21/eight-types-of-power-groups-in-churches/

Transcript: A Culture increasingly Hostile to Men? A Conversation with Psychologist Helen Smith

Mohler:            This is Thinking in Public, a program dedicated to intelligent conversation about frontline theological and cultural issues with the people who are shaping them. I’m Albert Mohler, your host and President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

 

Dr. Helen Smith is a forensic psychologist, a well-known writer who has written for a variety of publications including the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and Master’s Degrees from the New School for Social Research and The City University of New York. She’s a widely quoted commentator, a frequent spokesperson in the media, and she’s also a very active blogger. She’s also the author of a very important new book entitled Men on Strike: Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters. Dr. Helen Smith, welcome to Thinking in Public.

Read More Here: http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/09/16/transcript-thinking-in-public-a-conversation-with-dr-helen-smith/