Daily Archives: October 10, 2013

Music Video: Lord I Need You – Matt Maher

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here, I find my rest
Without You, I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You
Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense
My righteousness
Oh, God how I need You

Where sin runs deep
Your grace is more
Where grace is found, is where You are
Where You are, Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ Your name

Lord, I need You
Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense
My righteousness
Oh, God how I need You

Teach my song
To rise to you
When temptation comes my way,
When I cannot stand
I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

Lord, I need You
Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense
My righteousness
Oh, God how I need You
You’re my one defense,
My righteousness
Oh, God how I need You
My one defense,
My righteousness
Oh, God how I need You

Cold Case Christianity: Am I a Christian Simply Because I Was Raised in a Christian Culture?

People who are unfamiliar with my journey of faith sometimes seek to explain my conversion from atheism on the basis of geography. The objection sounds something like this: “Christians believe Christianity is true simply because they were raised in a Christian culture. If they were raised in a Muslim culture, for example, they would believe Islam is true with the same passion and certainty.” While it is true that cultural and geographic influences often favor a particular point of view or behavior, our personal experience demonstrates that individuals often make private, independent choices in spite of the accepted beliefs of our culture. As an example, many of us are vegetarians in spite of the fact the culture is predominantly carnivorous. The history of Christianity also confirms the vast majority of Christian converts concluded that Christianity was true in spite of their geographic location or cultural background: – See more at: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/am-i-a-christian-simply-because-i-was-raised-in-a-christian-culture/

Do Joel Osteen and I Worship the Same God? by Michael Patton

THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

By C. Michael Patton at Credo House

What a presumptuous question, right? The presumption is in the fact that I would even pose such a question. The question itself presumes that I might answer in the negative. Chill. It is just a question. But your are right. The presumption behind the question does evidence my uncertainty as to its answer.

I was listening to Osteen the other night. He was very pleasant and had a lot of nice things to say. For the most part, except for his interjections of the word ”God” here and there, his speech was a typical motivational speech. He did not use the Bible, but he attempted to give the impression that he was. He held it in his hand the entire time.

Why he bothered interjecting “God” into his motivational speech, I can only suppose. Maybe because his speaking venue is called a “church”? Isn’t that…

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New Post: 9 Things You Should Know About World Hunger

This weekend many churches will observe their annual World Hunger Sunday, and next week (October 16) is World Food Day, a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and informed, year‐around action to alleviate hunger. Here are nine things you need to know about one of the world’s most persistent, but solvable, global problems.

New Article: The Fear of the Lord – Ray Ortlund

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). If that is so, and it is, then the fear of the Lord is never to be feared. This fear is not a barrier to growth but a breakthrough to growth and eternal fulfillment. But the word fear needs clarification, doesn’t it? After all, doesn’t the Bible say, “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18)? Yes. So, there must be two kinds of fear.

Read More here: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/fear-lord/

New Post: Tongue Tied, Part 2 – John MacArthur

The following is an excerpt from the preface of the Chinese edition of Charismatic Chaos. It explains the origins and early history of the charismatic movement. With the Strange Fire conference rapidly approaching, we believe it is appropriate to share this material with you. This is the second of two excerpts; part one is available here. —GTY Staff

by John MacArthur

From the day he announced to the world that Agnes Ozman had written in Chinese until the end of his life, Charles Parham tirelessly sought to perpetuate the mythology he had invented. Despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary and without a shred of evidence to support his claims, he remained insistent that the gift of tongues would revolutionize Christian work overseas and accelerate the church’s efforts to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. Several years after those original Pentecostal missionary teams had come home under clouds of failure and disillusionment, Parham was still painting a shining picture of success:

We have several missionaries in the field who have the gift of tongues, who not only speak the language and understand the natives, but can use the language intelligently; it has become a gift to them. . . . It is a known fact that scores of infidels have been converted through hearing people speak distinctly in other languages. [1][Charles F. Parham, The Everlasting Gospel (Baxter Springs, KS: Apostolic Faith Bible College, 1911), 68]

None of that was true, of course.

The movement Charles Parham helped start has grown to massive proportions today. Multiple millions claim to be able to speak in tongues. But charismatics and Pentecostals still cannot communicate with people from different language groups (or even with one another) unless they have learned whatever language they wish to use. More than a century after Parham claimed his students were speaking Chinese, not one documentable case of the Pentecostal gift of tongues has ever occurred. Charismatic tongues have been repeatedly recorded and analyzed by linguists, and they have none of the characteristics of language. Modern Charismatic tongues are indiscriminate syllables and sounds spoken or sung in rapid succession, conveying no discernable meaning at all.

That is not the biblical gift of tongues. At Pentecost, people heard the apostolic gathering speak in recognizable languages (Acts 2:6, 11). The tongues described in the New Testament were always capable of translation (Acts 10:46; 19:6). Indeed, the meaning of any message delivered in tongues was a vital aspect of the gift itself. No one was even supposed to speak in tongues without an interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:27).

With all the controversy surrounding Charles Parham, in the wake of so much scandal and so many unfulfilled promises, especially once the total failure of his missionary strategy was evident, it may seem amazing that the Pentecostal movement managed to stay alive at all, much less gain the kind of following we see today. But by the time Parham had been arrested on sodomy charges in Texas, his teachings were spreading like leaven.

One of Parham’s early disciples was William J. Seymour, an African-American holiness preacher who had sat under Parham’s instruction in Houston, Texas. In 1906, Seymour was invited to lead a series of meetings in California, and while preaching in a ramshackle building in Azusa Street on the edge of downtown Los Angeles, he began to teach some of the distinctive doctrines he had heard from Parham. He taught, for example, that the only biblical evidence of Spirit baptism is the gift of speaking in tongues. Within weeks, dozens of people at Azusa Street were manifesting glossolalia, and the fame of the Pentecostal movement spread from there. Pentecostalism had at last gained a significant foothold, and from Azusa Street it ultimately expanded across America.

Going back to the apostolic era, the church has of course always been troubled by false teachers claiming supernatural gifts who are driven by ungodly passions—“people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Timothy 6:5 ESV). (That is a picture-perfect description of people who have sold out to the Word-Faith heresy.)

But at its heart, the charismatic movement is uniquely American in character. It had its genesis in the American heartland, and from its very inception it was the fruit of a unique style of religious fanaticism that thrived on the American frontier. With an abundance of untrained, unaccountable, and often self-appointed prophets and itinerant preachers roaming freely, superstitions and aberrant doctrines spread virtually unchecked.

The charismatic movement was exported from America to the rest of the world by an aggressive public-relations campaign, employing several media networks that are devoted mainly to raising money. Large amounts of whatever funds are raised are spent to enable lavish lifestyles for charismatic televangelists. The culture of charismatic religion seems to breed rank charlatans who deliberately flaunt immoderate lifestyles and expensive appetites in order to entice people with the false promise that if they will donate more money than they can afford, God will be obliged to make them rich, too.

The prosperity of the charismatic televangelist fraternity is illusory. So are the miracles they pretend to perform and whatever degree of holiness they want their viewers to think they have attained. Indeed, superficiality and phoniness have been the besetting sins of the Pentecostal and charismatic movement since its inception.

Why is that? Well, as we have noted already, it is a simple matter of fact that modern charismatic tongues are nothing like the Pentecostal gift of tongues described in Acts 2. Charismatic doctrine therefore requires its followers to suspend biblical discernment and embrace a variety of “spiritual gifts” that have no basis in biblical teaching. That makes the movement a perfect hunting ground for frauds, false teachers, and charlatans. Indeed, Pentecostal-charismatic history is littered with an extraordinarily high percentage of leaders and celebrities who have shown themselves to be doctrinally corrupt and morally decadent.

In short, charismatic teaching fosters willful gullibility while subtly but systematically undermining the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. That is a recipe for spiritual and doctrinal disaster.

In short, charismatic teaching fosters willful gullibility while subtly but systematically undermining the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. That is a recipe for spiritual and doctrinal disaster as I’ve documented in the chapters that follow.

The first edition of this book was a relatively thin volume titled The Charismatics, published in 1978. A decade or so later, the so-called “Third Wave” was making headlines. Charismatics and evangelicals alike were intrigued with signs and wonders, extrabiblical prophecies, and strange manifestations such as “holy laughter.” At that time I wrote several additional chapters, more than doubling the size of the book. The expanded work was retitled Charismatic Chaos and released in 1992. It has now been more than twenty years since that second edition was published. The book has never gone out of print and remains in great demand, even though some of the trends it deals with were much more popular in the early 1990s than they are today.

People sometimes ask whether I have changed my stance since then. The answer—emphatically—is no. Scripture, of course, hasn’t changed, and my understanding of what the Bible teaches on the charismatic issue hasn’t changed materially, either. My commitment to the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word hasn’t changed. If anything, my convictions are clearer and more settled than when I first began addressing this issue in the 1970s.

I’m also frequently asked whether I think the charismatic movement has changed for the better as more people in the evangelical mainstream have either embraced charismatic doctrines or made an uneasy truce with our charismatic friends. Few leading evangelicals today seem to have the will or the interest to wade into controversy over the charismatic question these days.

I’m convinced that is a serious mistake, and the drift toward acceptance of charismatic beliefs and practices is a sign of decline and a harbinger of apostasy in the evangelical movement.

Some of the people critiqued in this book (including John Wimber, Kenneth Hagin, and Oral Roberts) are no longer living. But the movements and the doctrines they taught are alive and well and still causing chaos. The leaven of their influence is still spreading. Christians confronted with their teachings are easily confused by them, and those seeking a critical and biblical analysis of popular charismatic claims will find that such resources are scarce.

So I’m very grateful that this new edition of Charismatic Chaos is being published in Chinese. My prayer is that it will provoke discussion, encourage discernment, and equip more believers worldwide to resist the tsunami of fraud and confusion that seems to follow the charismatic movement wherever its tentacles have reached.

 


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131010     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

New Post: Two Kinds of Tongues? – Nathan Busenitz

 

In light of the upcoming Strange Fire Conference, it seemed fitting to post something related to the charismatic-cessationist debate.

Charismatics generally define the gift of tongues as a devotional prayer language that is available to every believer. This prayer language, according to its proponents, is not bound to the linguistic structures of earthly, human languages. In other words, it is not a real language — but rather “angelic” speech which supposedly transcends human language.

But therein lies a problem. On the one hand, the charismatic version of tongues does not consist of real human languages. On the other hand, Acts 2 makes it clear that the tongues spoken at Pentecost were real human languages.

So how can modern charismatics justify a type of “tongues” that does not fit the biblical description in Acts 2?

Proponents of modern tongues usually answer that question by asserting that there are at least two types of tongues in the New Testament. Charismatic blogger Adrian Warnock summed up the charismatic position like this:

One thing that most of us agree on is that there are different kinds of tongues…. I think it is fair to say that the tongues of 1 Corinthians are different from those of Acts 2.  Paul himself speaks here of different kinds of tongues. It is at least possible that at different points in this passage [1 Cor. 12–14] Paul is talking about different forms of tongues.

In this post, I want to briefly respond to the idea that the gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14 is somehow qualitatively different than in Acts 2.

* * * * *

Is the gift of tongues in Acts the same as in 1 Corinthians?

Without giving an in-depth exegetical treatment of the related passages, here are some initial observations that suggest that there is no qualitative difference between the two:

Read More Here: http://thecripplegate.com/two-kinds-of-tongues/

New Post: 15 Questions to Help Christians Follow Jesus on Social Media

Social media is everywhere today.

We can’t watch anything on TV without being reminded of the option to tweet about it.  Now with smartphones we can use social media in the car, in class, at a meeting, and even at church (gasp!).

There are many advantages to social media: worldwide connectivity, instant news updates, growing friendships, and most importantly, your daily dose of funny cat pictures and videos of babies laughing.

But is constantly using social media good for us? More importantly, how can we obey the Great Commandment to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength while using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+?

The following questions should help discern your heart and make sure that your social media use is pleasing to God.

Read More Here: https://www.unlockingthebible.org/15-questions-to-help-christians-follow-jesus-on-social-media/

New Post: Marcia Montenegro Radio Interviews

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Marcia Montenegro is a former professional astrologer, now a Christian writer, researcher and public speaker. Before becoming an astrologer, Marcia was involved with various New Age, occult, and Eastern beliefs and practices, including Inner Light Consciousness, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Hindu teachings and meditation, and psychic development classes.

Read More Here: http://www.solasisters.com/2013/10/marcia-montenegro-radio-interviews.html

Catholic Questions: Why Is the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper Such a Controversial Issue?

The “real presence” of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Lord’s Supper is a doctrine of Roman Catholicism (and some other Christian denominations) which teaches that, instead of being symbolic rites, communion and baptism are opportunities for the real presence of God to appear. In the case of communion, they believe once the priest has blessed the wine and the bread, the wine becomes Jesus’ blood and the bread becomes His flesh. They cannot explain how, but they believe this transformation (called transubstantiation) allows God to spiritually nourish the partaker to better serve Him and to be Christ to the lost world.

This concept is hard even for Roman Catholics to fully explain. They believe that Jesus instituted communion as a way of allowing believers to participate in the ongoing sacrifice of the cross. Once the bread and wine are blessed, Christ’s crucifixion is presented again to those in attendance. The ceremony somehow perpetuates the ever-present crucifixion. Even when the service (or mass) is completed, the leftover bread is kept and venerated in thanks to God for providing the transformation and the nourishment.

There are two major problems with this line of thought. First, there is no way that a ceremony can recreate Jesus’ crucifixion. Several places in the New Testament claim Jesus’ death was “once for all” (Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18). There is no mention that the act of the crucifixion, which occurred within the confines of a linear timeline, is somehow free of that timeline to be as eternal as God Himself. The results of that act are certainly timeless, as it was that act that allowed even those before Jesus’ time to be saved. But we have no way of participating in an act that occurred nearly two-thousand years ago, except in the symbolic sense.

That is the great controversy of the belief of the real presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. But on a practical level, the bread does not become flesh. The wine does not become blood. And no amount of belief is going to make it so. The more urgent issue is the false belief that God’s blessing and nourishment come through that bread and wine. Roman Catholicism teaches that liturgy (taken from the Greek for “work”) is the conduit through which God provides blessing and salvation. Essentially, in addition to placing the priest between the congregants and God, they also place the bread and wine between themselves and God. They believe they are blessed because of their obedience in taking communion, and that blessing literally streams from God through the bread and wine and into their souls.

This is not what Jesus taught. He said, “I am the bread of life” and “It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:48, 63). Jesus is the bread of life, but He is also the Word (John 1:1). The bread that nourishes is the Word of God (Matthew 4:4), not a wafer somehow transformed into the flesh of Jesus. The idea that we have to go through a human ceremony to receive that spiritual nourishment is the type of belief Jesus came to abolish. His death tore the veil in the temple, giving us the ability to have a direct relationship with God (Hebrews 4:16). That veil was not replaced by the act of blessing and eating bread and wine.[1]

 


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

Questions about Life Decisions: Should a Christian Run for Political Office?

Whether or not Christians should run for political office is one of those “hot-button” issues that provoke strong responses on both sides of the question. There are no direct references in the Bible to Christians running for political office. But there are Christian principles we can bring to bear on the decision whether or not to seek political office. Anyone considering running for office would do well to consider these principles and prayerfully seek God’s will for his/her own life.

There is no doubt that countries where political officials are elected by the citizens are countries that promote freedom. Christians in many countries in this world are oppressed and persecuted, suffering under governments they are powerless to change and governments that hate their faith and silence their voices. These believers preach the gospel of Jesus Christ at risk of their own lives. In the U.S.A., Christians have been blessed with the right to speak about and choose their leaders without fearing for themselves or their families.

The leaders we elect have great influence on our freedoms. They can choose to protect our right to worship and spread the gospel, or they can restrict those rights. They can lead our nation toward righteousness or toward moral disaster. Clearly, the more committed Christians that are part of government—whether at the local, state, or federal level—the more our religious freedoms will be guarded. Christians in politics can effect desperately needed changes in the culture. A prime example is William Wilberforce, a 19th century English politician who campaigned for decades to end the abominable slave trade that flourished at that time. His campaign was eventually successful, and he is lauded today for his courage and commitment to Christian principles.

At the same time, there is an old saying: “politics is a dirty business.” Politicians, even those with the best of motives, are in danger of being corrupted by a system that deals in power. Those in political office, especially at the federal level, are courted by those who hope to gain favor in an effort to advance their own agendas. Wherever money and power are concentrated, greed and covetousness are always nearby. There is great danger for Christians who are involved in worldly political systems, and great care must be taken to be in that world, but not of it. Perhaps nowhere in life is it more true that “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33) than in the seats of political power.

Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). The kingdom of Christ is not connected with earthly political systems or national governments, all of which are in rebellion against God. The world Christians are to be concerned with is the spiritual realm, not the temporal. There is nothing wrong with Christians being involved in politics, as long as they remember that we are to be ambassadors for Christ on earth. That is our primary job description and our goal is to appeal to others to be reconciled to God through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:20).

So should a Christian run for political office? For some Christians, the answer is a definite no; for others, a definite yes. This is a personal decision that requires prayer and the wisdom only God can provide and which He promises to grant to those who truly seek it (James 1:5). Christian politicians must remember that their duty to the Lord must take precedence over the duties of their office. Paul tells us that whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of the Lord, not our own (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17). If a Christian does seek office, it should only be if he/she can faithfully execute the duties of that office to the glory of God and without compromising Christian principles.[1]

 


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

Questions about God: What Is the Biblical Understanding of the Wrath of God?

Wrath is defined as “the emotional response to perceived wrong and injustice,” often translated as “anger,” “indignation,” “vexation,” or “irritation.” Both humans and God express wrath. But there is vast difference between the wrath of God and the wrath of man. God’s wrath is holy and always justified; man’s is never holy and rarely justified.

In the Old Testament, the wrath of God is a divine response to human sin and disobedience. Idolatry was most often the occasion for divine wrath. Psalm 78:56–66 describes Israel’s idolatry. The wrath of God is consistently directed towards those who do not follow His will (Deuteronomy 1:26–46; Joshua 7:1; Psalm 2:1–6). The Old Testament prophets often wrote of a day in the future, the “day of wrath” (Zephaniah 1:14–15). God’s wrath against sin and disobedience is perfectly justified because His plan for mankind is holy and perfect, just as God Himself is holy and perfect. God provided a way to gain divine favor—repentance—which turns God’s wrath away from the sinner. To reject that perfect plan is to reject God’s love, mercy, grace and favor and incur His righteous wrath.

In the New Testament, Jesus’ teachings support the concept of God as a God of wrath who judges sin. The story of the rich man and Lazarus speaks of the judgment of God and serious consequences for the unrepentant sinner (Luke 16:19–31). Jesus said in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on Him.” The one who believes in the Son will not suffer God’s wrath for his sin, because the Son took God’s wrath when He died in our place on the cross (Romans 5:6–11). Those who do not believe in the Son, who do not receive Him as Savior, will be judged on the day of wrath (Romans 2:5–6).

Conversely, human wrath is warned against in Romans 12:19, Ephesians 4:26, and Colossians 3:8–10. God alone is able to avenge because His vengeance is perfect and holy, whereas man’s wrath is sinful, opening him up to demonic influence. For the Christian, anger and wrath are inconsistent with our new nature, which is the nature of Christ Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17). To realize freedom from the domination of wrath, the believer needs the Holy Spirit to sanctify and cleanse his heart of feelings of wrath and anger. Romans 8 shows victory over sin in the life of one who is living in the Spirit (Romans 8:5–8). Philippians 4:4–7 tells us that the mind controlled by the Spirit is filled with peace.

The wrath of God is a fearsome and terrifying thing. Only those who have been covered by the blood of Christ, shed for us on the cross, can be assured that God’s wrath will never fall on them. “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!” (Romans 5:9).[1]

 


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

[New post] Theology Unplugged: Church (Part 1) – Defining the Church

Join Michael Patton, Tim Kimberley, JJ Seid and Sam Storms as they kick-off a new series on the Church. This is a topic hotly debated today. What really does it take to be a church? Can three people meet at a coffee shop and call themselves a church? Do churches need to have elders? What about an online church?

There are so many questions being asked today about the Church in the 21st century. This series seeks to dive into the prominent issues of Ecclesiology (the study of the Church).

Read More Here

Tim Challies: The Practice of Meditation

Over the past few weeks Dr. Joel Beeke and I have been teaming up to work our way through a portion of his massive new work A Puritan Theology. We have not been reading the whole book, but just the final eight chapters which deal with practical theology, the “so what?” of systematic theology.

This week we read chapter 55 which discusses the Puritans and meditation. I asked Dr. Beeke a few questions related to the Puritans and the way they practiced meditation.

Read More Here

Power Mad Obama Offers Two Choices: Unconditional Surrender Or Default

Barack Obama is warning that if he does not get everything that he wants that he will force the U.S. government into a devastating debt default which will cripple the entire global economy. In essence, Obama has become so power mad that he is actually willing to take the entire planet hostage in order to achieve his goals. A lot of people are blaming the government shutdown on the Republicans, but they have already voted to fund the entire government except for Obamacare. The U.S. Constitution requires that all spending bills originate in the House of Representatives, and the House did their duty by passing a spending bill. If the Senate or the President do not like the bill that the House has passed, then negotiations need to take place. That is how our system works. And the weak-kneed Republicans have already indicated that they are willing to give up virtually all of their prior demands. In fact, if Obama offered all of them 20 dollar gift certificates to Denny’s to end this crisis they would probably jump at that deal. But that is not good enough for Obama. He has made it clear that he will settle for nothing less than the complete and unconditional surrender of the Republican Party. (Read More….)

The Threat We Face

The president, his chief operative Valerie Jarrett and his chief political strategist David Axelrod all came out of the same Communist left and the same radical new left as I did, and all have remained heart and soul a part of it. As someone who turned his back on that destructive movement, I can say with confidence that they have not.

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