Getting Oprah Winfrey to endorse your book may mean a lot of different things. It would no doubt mean that books sales are going up (exponentially). It would also mean your book would be read by many folks that otherwise would not read it.
But, one thing it probably does not mean is that your book is a bold and faithful exposition of evangelical Christian beliefs. On the contrary, Oprah stands as the religious antithesis to biblical Christianity. She is not about Christianity at all, but is about spirituality. She, and millions of Americans, are simply looking for an existential experience with the divine that can bring meaning and purpose to their life.
Thus, I was not surprised when I heard the other day that Oprah endorsed Rob Bell’s book, What We Talk about When We Talk about God. Here are her comments:
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. —1 John 4:10
“Propitiation” is an odd word, and not one you’re likely to hear often. But it is a vital concept in our ongoing study of Christ’s death from heaven’s perspective.
The word effectively means satisfaction, and it is used repeatedly in reference to Jesus’ death. In 1 John 2:2 we read, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.” Romans 3:25 says Christ was “displayed publicly as a propitiation.” And Hebrews 2:17 describes the Lord’s redemptive role this way: “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
The teaching of the New Testament is clear: Christ’s death brought satisfaction for the sins of every person who would ever believe in Him. Following the pattern of Israel’s sacrificial system, Jesus was the offering—the only one capable of fully satisfying God. As we’ve seen already, Christ was the perfect sacrifice for our sinners like you and me. He served as our substitute, submitting to the horrors of the cross in our place.
But unlike with the Old Testament sacrifices, how do we know God was satisfied with the sacrifice of Christ? Hebrews 1:3 says, “When He [Jesus] had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” God raised His Son from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in glory. We know Christ’s death satisfied God’s wrath because His wrath came to an end, after which Jesus was fully restored in glory.
It’s important that we have a right understanding of God’s wrath and how it was satisfied. The story of the crucifixion isn’t a story of a loving Christ trying to placate an angry God—there cannot be that kind of disharmony in the Trinity. The Father and the Son have never worked in opposition, nor even independent of one another. No, the story of the crucifixion is that a loving God offered Himself as a sacrifice.
When we talk about salvation—and we’ll talk more about it next time—what is it that we’re saved from? The common assumption is that we have been saved from our sins, or saved from hell. That’s true; however, the ultimate reality is that believers have been saved from God. Christians no longer face the penalty of their sin because His wrath has been satisfied. It’s a loving, gracious, merciful, compassionate God who provided Himself as the substitute to bear the full fury of His own judgment so that sinners can be saved.
God sent His Son out of love to satisfy Himself. In His suffering, Christ paid in full the price to satisfy God. And that’s how our sins, as Psalm 103 says, can be removed “as far as the east is from the west” and remembered no more. It’s why Paul says in Romans 8:1 that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Propitiation is the exhaustion and satisfaction of God’s wrath through the sacrifice of Jesus. Christ died as God, and was sent from God to satisfy God.
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131002 COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You
I was going to write today about why I believe in the pre-tribulational rapture, but as I began that, it occurred to me that something more basic often needs to be proved. I have talked to many amillennialists that find the way premillennialists describe the rapture to be unconvincing. So before getting to why I believe in the pre-trib rapture, I wanted to explain why I believe in a rapture at all.
Narrative theology, or what is sometimes called “post-liberal” theology, was developed during the last half of the twentieth century. It was inspired by a group of theologians at the Yale Divinity School. Its founders, George Lindbeck, Hans Wilhelm Frei, and other scholars were influenced by Karl Barth, Thomas Aquinas and to some extent, the nouvelle théologie, a school of thought proposing reform in the Catholic Church, led by French Catholics such as Henri de Lubac.
Narrative theology is the idea that Christian theology’s use of the Bible should focus on a narrative representation of the faith rather than the development of a set of propositions reasoned from the Scriptures themselves or what is commonly called a “systematic theology.” Basically, narrative theology is a fairly broad term, but oftentimes it is that approach to theology that primarily looks to the meaning in story. This then is typically joined by a rejection of the meaning derived from propositional truths or its systematic theology.
At other times, narrative theology is associated with the idea that we are not primarily to learn principles, rules or laws from Scripture, but rather we are to learn to relate to God, and how to play our part in the greater panorama of our salvation. Other combinations of such a theology are also common. As such, there have been many debates and critics of the narrative or post-liberal theology-centered issues including that of incommensurability, sectarianism, fideism, relativism, and truth.
Nonetheless, when used correctly, narrative theology can provide building blocks for systematic theology and for biblical theology (i.e., the progressive history of God revealing Himself to humanity). Narrative theology teaches that the Bible is seen as the story of God’s interaction with His people. Supporters of narrative theology maintain that this does not mean the Bible doesn’t make propositional truth assertions, but that the primary purpose of Scripture is to record the relationship between God and His people and how we today, in this post-modern world, can continue in this story. This then is to take precedence over the more exacting analysis of systematic theology. Supporters of narrative theology go on to argue that narrative theology is less likely to pull verses out of context to support doctrinal positions.
There are other aspects of narrative theology that are beneficial. For example, the Bible’s stories are there to teach us truth; we are supposed to learn from those truths, and to apply these lessons to our lives. As such, we should interpret and apply these stories according to the original intentions of the authors of Scripture—this is why the stories have been preserved for us (see Romans 15:4). Another positive influence of narrative theology is that it strengthens the value of community. In modern times, people have often made Christianity into that of one’s individual faith, but the Bible’s story of God’s relationship to His people reminds us that community is essential.
It is true that the Bible contains huge portions of narrative that are intended to convey truth to us, so it is important for us to adopt some form of narrative theology. However, narrative theology does have its problems, especially when it has been used irresponsibly. And, without question, this even occurs in conservative circles. This is especially true when its teachers and preachers are unconcerned with the Bible’s original meaning and are driven by their own intuitions or by their own responses to the Scriptures. As a result, narrative is often used in harmful ways.
Narrative theology has also been misused when people determine that the narrative does not have an underlying systematic theology, or that its underlying theology cannot be known. In such cases, it is implied that the lessons of narratives can be understood apart from the worldviews of the original writers or authors of the text itself. Basically, this results in false teaching with some proponents of narrative theology moving straight from story to application and doing away with more reasoned analysis of the Scriptures. But in reality, this can’t be done. Perhaps the most obvious influence of narrative theology is found in the emerging church with its distrust and relatively low regard for systematic theology.
Advocates of the narrative theology, especially in the emerging church, claim that theology is not something that we can be dogmatic about. They say that “good” people have come to different conclusions over the years, so why bother to make conclusive statements about theology at all? Thus, from their perspective, theology is not something concrete, absolute, and authoritative. They maintain that in the past, people believed one way or another; somebody was right and somebody was wrong.
As a result of all this, in some churches today, we have relativism gone rampant. Nobody seems to know who is right and who is wrong. And what’s worse is that it doesn’t seem to concern anyone. Consequently, the church falls prey to secular postmodernism, where what is true for one, may not be true for another. It’s where the church tolerates anything and everything and stands upon nothing.
Some supporters of narrative theology, such as in the emerging church movement, do away with preaching altogether. Somebody might sit among a circle of peers and share what they think God is all about for them that particular day or week. They might even reference a Scripture which relates to their journey. But their experiences and feelings are the focal point, not the Word of God. They narrate a story or read a passage of Scripture and stop. There is no need to exhort, rebuke, or call to action. It is not about conforming to an authoritative statement of Scripture but rather using Scripture to reinforce fleshly desires of a journey that they take on their terms.
The church is supposed to be the pillar and supporter of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15), and truth is a body of doctrine as laid forth in the Bible through the Person of Jesus Christ. Though it has its benefits in other ways, as we’ve seen, narrative theology tends to appeal to postmodernists who like to shape their religion and their “God” based upon how they feel on a given day or about a certain passage of Scripture.
In the Old Testament the ephod has two meanings. In one group of passages it signifies a garment; in another, very probably an image. As a garment the ephod is referred to in the priestly ordinances as a part of the official dress of the high priest. It was to be made of threads “of blue and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen” and embroidered in gold thread “with cunning work” (Exodus 28:4, 29:5, 39:2; Leviticus 8:7).
The ephod was held together by a girdle of similar workmanship sewed on to it. It had two shoulder pieces, which, as the name implies, crossed the shoulders, and were apparently fastened or sewed to the ephod in front. In dressing, the shoulder pieces were joined in the back to the two ends of the ephod. Nothing is said of the length of the garment. At the point where the shoulder pieces were joined together in the front “above the girdle,” two golden rings were sewed on, to which the breast-plate was attached.
The word “ephod” has an entirely different meaning in the second group of passages, all of which belong to the historical books. It is certain that the word cannot here mean a garment. This is evident in Judges 8:26–27, where it is recorded that Gideon took the golden earrings of the Midianites, weighing 1,700 shekels of gold, and made an “ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah,” where it was worshiped by all Israel. In Judges 17:5, Micah made an ephod and teraphim, or idol, for his sanctuary. The most natural inference from all these passages is that “ephod” here signifies an image that was set up in the sanctuary, especially since the word is cited with teraphim, which undoubtedly refers to an image (Hosea 3:4). The conclusion is that ephod, in these cases, referred to a portable idol. Some scholars have suggested that the connection between the idol and the garment is that the idol was originally clothed in a linen garment, and the term ephod gradually came to describe the idol as a whole.
There have been attempts by some Christians to reinvent the Genesis account of the creation in order to make it compatible with the theories of modern geology and evolution. Of these attempts, there are three that are most popular: theistic evolution, progressive creation, and the gap theory, from which the term Lucifer’s flood, also known as the Luciferian flood, is derived. There is only one reason why Christians attempt to compromise God’s Word in this manner—they have accepted the claims of modern geologists and evolutionists that the earth is millions, if not billions, of years old, and they look for ways to squeeze these unfounded millions of years into the Genesis account.
Basically, the gap theory, which for some incorporates the so-called Lucifer’s flood, teaches that many millions of years ago God created a perfect heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1). At that time, Satan was ruler of the earth, which was inhabited by a race of men without any souls. Satan rebelled, and sin entered the universe after Satan’s rebellion and fall from heaven and brought God’s judgment in the form of a flood named for him—Lucifer’s flood. All the plant, animal and human fossils upon the earth today were caused by this flood and do not bear any genetic relationship with the plants, animals and humans living today. This flood is said to have occurred between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, and it was this Luciferian flood that reduced the world to a state described as “without form and void” in Genesis 1:2.
The gap theory claims that the earth is very old, possibly millions of years, based on the observation that rock layers form very slowly today. The gap theorists claim to believe in a six-day creation and insist that they are against evolution. However, the same geologic evidence is used as proof for millions of years by evolutionists. For that reason, the gap theorists must now “play” with the Scriptures. They must propose that God literally reshaped the earth and re-created all life in six literal days, but not until after a Luciferian flood which produced the fossils we see today.
But there are some serious problems with this compromise with the Scriptures. First of all, the gap theory forces millions of years into the “gap” between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 without any regard for biblical and scientific accuracy, and then claims to hold to a literal Genesis. This, in turn, brings up the question of the meaning of the term “literal.” “Literal” means “word-for-word accuracy.” Either God’s Word is literally true, or it is interpreted. It is impossible to have a literal interpretation; that would be an oxymoron because the two terms are mutually exclusive. If one’s interpretation of the Bible is contradicted by another verse in the Bible, that interpretation cannot be correct if we hold to a literal Genesis account of creation.
If God created a perfect heaven and earth, then all life on earth must also be perfect. If this “perfect life” was the source of the fossils buried by Lucifer’s flood, and sin entered this world by Satan’s rebellion, why do these same fossils show abundant evidence for disease and deformities by modern scientific analysis? The presence of disease and deformities in fossils proves that all things could not have been perfect and sin was already present before the flood that buried them. If sin was present before God’s judgment of Satan, then either the Bible is wrong or the gap theory is flawed.
If Lucifer’s flood was God’s judgment against Satan, and the earth was destroyed to such a state that it was without form and void, why did this flood not destroy the fossil record as well? What about Noah’s flood? Gap theorists must assume it had no significance. If Noah’s flood was not significant, why is the story of Noah used throughout the Bible to show God’s judgment on man, while Lucifer’s flood is never mentioned once? How can someone believe that Noah’s flood was insignificant and then believe in a literal Genesis?
The truth is that even the Bible shows the problem with the gap theory. Though the Bible doesn’t reveal all the details of God’s creation in modern scientific terms, to believe modern geologists and evolutionists and their unfounded millions and billions of years is nothing less than believing the words of man (science) instead of the Word of God.
Does it really matter whether we accept a “literal” interpretation of the Creation? The answer is “yes!” The gap theorists with their concept of the Luciferian flood believe that there was death before Adam, but the Bible declares unequivocally the opposite to be true. Romans 5:12 states that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,” so to accept the concept of death before the time of Adam is to destroy the foundational message of the cross: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Jesus Christ] the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). To advocate the concept of death before Adam sinned is diametrically opposed to Scripture’s explanation that death came after Adam sinned and became the necessity for man’s redemption.
Genesis records a catastrophe responsible for destroying everything that had the “breath of life” in them, except for those preserved in the ark. Christ refers to the global flood in Noah’s day in Matthew 24:37–39, and Peter writes that just as there was once a worldwide judgment of mankind by water, so there will be another worldwide judgment, this time by fire (2 Peter 3). The theory of Lucifer’s flood is completely without scriptural evidence and must be rejected.
Could that headline actually be true? Do Americans waste about 40 percent of all the food that we produce? That sounds like an absolutely crazy number, but it is actually quite accurate according to a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council. What the NRDC discovered is that approximately 40 percent of our total food supply is either thrown into dumpsters by grocery stores, is discarded by restaurants, never gets harvested on our farms, or is thrown into the garbage by consumers in their homes. Even though 47 million Americans are on food stamps and millions of children go to bed hungry in this country every single night, we continue to waste approximately 263 million pounds of food every single day of the year. One day people will look back and regard us as probably the most wasteful society in the history of the planet. (Read More….)
Karen Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years. In fact, when she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel. She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rule the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning. According to Hudes, the elite use a very tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations to dominate the planet. The goal is control. They want all of us enslaved to debt, they want all of our governments enslaved to debt, and they want all of our politicians addicted to the huge financial contributions that they funnel into their campaigns. Since the elite also own all of the big media companies, the mainstream media never lets us in on the secret that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that our system works. (Read More….)
There is an all-out effort to demonize gun owners in the United States today. Those that own guns are repeatedly portrayed as being uneducated, mentally deficient racists in the mainstream media. No evidence is ever produced to actually back up those claims. Gun owners regularly make lists of “potential terrorists” in official government documents, and many government officials openly regard them as ultra-paranoid “conspiracy nuts” that are a serious threat to national security. Of course the truth is that gun owners are actually among the most law-abiding and patriotic people in the entire nation, but that doesn’t really fit with the radical gun control agenda of the progressive elite. In order to move their agenda forward, they must make gun owners look bad, and they will go to ridiculous extremes in order to achieve that goal. And to a certain extent, it is working. As you will see below, some large financial companies no longer want to conduct business with gun owners, and just the sight of a gun is enough to get people freaking out and calling the police in many communities in America today. (Read More…..)
Last weekend, “Alone Yet Not Alone,” an independent film with Christian themes from Enthuse Entertainment, took Hollywood by storm during its limited release debut, topping all films nationwide in per-theater ticket sales. It was the No. 1 movie for theaters in Knoxville, Tenn.; Raleigh, N.C.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and San Antonio, Texas. It was the No. 2 film in Dallas, Atlanta and Nashville area theaters.
According to the Washington Times:
The Office of Personnel Management ruled Monday that members of Congress and their staffs will be able to buy health care plans that pay for abortions, even though the premiums are funded largely by taxpayer money — a move that conservatives say breaks federal law on abortion funding.
Under the terms of Obamacare, lawmakers and their aides are required to ditch their government-sponsored plans and buy insurance on state-based health care exchanges, though unlike most people on the exchanges, the staffers and members will have most of the costs of their premiums paid by their employer — in this case, taxpayers.
Christian News Network reports:
Support is pouring in for a Christian ministry’s new Genesis-based movie that is being described as an “incredibly unique,” “breathtaking” project.
“Genesis 3D” is a feature-length documentary film being produced by Creation Today—a Florida-based Christian ministry. Using stereoscopic 3D animation, the movie will portray the universe’s beginning, as recorded in the biblical book of Genesis.
“[This project] will bring Genesis to life in a full, stereoscopic, 3D, feature-length film,” says the movie’s director and producer, Ralph Strean, in a recently released promotional video.
One of Jesus’ most famous cross-cultural encounters involved a woman in Samaria. We are not told her name, and so she is known simply as “The Samaritan Woman” or “The Woman at the Well.” When Jesus asked her for a drink, she must have been shocked. It was highly improper for men and women to converse in public. Not only that, but all Samaritans were despised by the Jews for their idol-worshiping and mixed blood. Jesus reached across both those divides with His love.
Do you need help in learning how to share your testimony so the people around you can learn about God’s Salvation? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.
Will you pray this week:
• God will use testimonies of believers everywhere to help people know Jesus
• You will allow God’s love to cross human boundaries
• God will help you prepare your testimony, making it simple and clear
• God will help you lead others to recognize and repent of their sins
• God will use your testimony to bring others to put their faith in the Lord
Where can you go online to discuss sharing your story of God’s love, and to get daily encouragement and inspiration? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!
(Washington, D.C.) — “In our time the Biblical prophecies are being realized,” Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu declared before world leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
“As the prophet Amos said, they shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them,” Netanyahu said. “They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine. They shall till gardens and eat their fruit. And I will plant them upon their soil never to be uprooted again. Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home never to be uprooted again.”
I don’t personally recall a single other Israeli leader in the modern era who has spoken so clearly of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Perhaps David Ben Gurion did, for the first Israeli premier had a great interest in the Scriptures. But…
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by Mike Ratliff
1 That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. 2 And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. 3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 “And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 “He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:1-9 NASB)
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