Daily Archives: October 23, 2013

Professor Identifies Christophobic Strategies for Oppressing Christians

THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

By John Carpenter at I POST

Li-Ann Thio sounds like the kind of person who would write a book Christians might be afraid of. She’s a Law Professor, specializing in human rights, with degrees from Oxford, Harvard, and Cambridge universities. But her recent book is a vigorous defense of Christians, especially from those facing the merciless barrage of criticism of bigotry for not endorsing the homosexual agenda. She neatly sums up the alphabet soup of sexual identities often summed up as BGLTQ, etc., as “pansexual” and identifies the ever increasing militancy of advocates of pansexuality as “homofacists” and ‘Christophobic’ activists. In her book, Prophecy, Pansexuality and Pandemonium, Thio identifies three key strategies of the Christophobic activists to target Christians:

1) Discredit those whose public values are shaped by their religious convictions, including Christians, by accusing them of instigating a ‘creeping theocracy’. Never mind the historical fact, she points out…

View original post 41 more words

New Post: How to Be Better Bereans (2 of 3)

4. We Must Approach the Bible With Eager Expectation

The Bereans received the word with all eagerness. That was their posture to the word—readiness and expectation. Whether in a conversation or in an audience, your posture says something. It indicates whether you are leaning forward, ready to listen, ready to learn, or whether you are bored and distracted. The Bereans had good posture. They were at the edge of their seat—ready to receive the word, ready to believe.

Are you eager to come to the word? Are you eager to take advantage of opportunities to hear more of God’s word? Have you thought about trying Sunday school again, or a small group, or a Bible study, or Sunday evening, or a conference, or picking up a good book? I know we cannot say yes to every opportunity, but we should ask ourselves: Am I indifferent to these opportunities or am I eager for more of them?

There is no movement of the Spirit in the history of revival, and no genuine movement of the Spirit in the human heart, that does not result in a new hunger for God’s word. I’ve seen it many times. You probably have too, maybe in your life. When God grabs a hold of someone’s life, you can see in his newfound eagerness for the word. He is excited to read, to study, to learn, and to grow, ready to get into the word whenever he can.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/10/23/how-to-be-better-bereans-2/

New Post: 8 Benefits of Forgiving Others

David Murray:

The most painful experience in life is being seriously and deliberately harmed by someone else.

Car crashes, even fatal ones, are accidents; no one sets out to deliberately injure or kill with their car. Cancer is also an impersonal attacker, an internal cellular malfunction.

But when someone willfully abuses us – verbally, physically, financially, emotionally – that feels altogether different. That pushes our pain levels off the scale and can feel worse than the most serious physical injuries or diseases.

It wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t a mistake, it wasn’t a malfunction. Someone purposely decided to wrong and damage us. There’s a personal choice, a human will, behind the pain.

That’s searing agony.

Read More here: http://headhearthand.org/blog/2013/10/22/8-benefits-of-forgiving-others/

New Post: How to Be Better Bereans

Kevin DeYoung, in the first of a three-part series:

The Jews in Berea, it is said, were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). How telling–for them and for us–that nobility is measured not by titles, land, parentage, wealth, or degrees, but by how we handle the word of God. Our approach to the Scriptures sets us apart as riff-raff or royalty.

So how do we become better Bereans?

That’s the question I recently posed to my congregation and the question I want to explore this week. How can we be more like the noble Bereans and less like the rabble from Thessalonica (Acts 17:5)?

Let me suggest ten ways: three for today, four for Wednesday, and a final three on Thursday.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/10/22/how-to-be-better-bereans/

Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: Why Are There so Many Fake Christians?

A Christian can be defined as a person who has, by faith, received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior from sin (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8–9). And in the heart of the Christian resides the Spirit of Christ (Ephesians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:11). Now, “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9), and this person, then, is not a Christian. Thus, the term “fake Christian” is a misnomer. You are a Christian or you are not a Christian; one is either with God or against God (Matthew 12:30).

That being said, this question is certainly a legitimate one in the minds of many people. And this is likely due to the behavior of some Christians; however, it is also likely because of the behavior of many who think they are Christians or profess to be Christians, but who are not. The reasons many believe they are true Christians when they are not are many and varied. The false teaching that is so prevalent these days is certainly one reason. When churches eschew teaching sound doctrine, the end result will be congregants who do not know the truth of God’s Word. How can they keep in step with the Spirit, when the Truth is not in them?

Also, some believe their recitation of a prayer or responding to an “altar call” alone may have turned them into a Christian. Many believe their religious traditions, such as being baptized as an infant, secured a spot in Heaven for them, or that their plentiful good works alone have put them in good standing with God. And of course some believe church attendance alone guarantees salvation. The point is that many who profess to be Christians are not Christians at all. Yet they complacently remain convinced that all is well with their soul. Sadly, many will live their entire lives believing they were Christians only to one day hear these words from Jesus Christ: “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23).

The clear teaching of the Bible is that when someone is saved his life will most definitely change as he is a “new creation, the old has gone and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). A true born again Christian will strive to bring glory and honor to Christ by living a life that is pleasing to God (1 Peter 1:15–16, 4:1–4). True saving faith will indeed produce works or “fruit” in the life of the believer (James 2:17, 26). Thus, if there are no works of love in one’s life, a careful self-examination is certainly called for. The apostle Paul instructed those in Corinth to do this very thing: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Indeed, any profession of faith that does not result in a changed life and good works is a false profession and such a person is not a Christian.

Now, even though the lifestyle of true Christians does reflect the presence of Christ in their hearts, we know we are not perfect. Christians do sin and the apostle John makes it clear that we deceive ourselves if we think otherwise (1 John 1:8). And when Christians do sin, rest assured there are multitudes just lying in wait to use their “slip-up” to further denigrate the true body of believers. That is why Paul admonished the church in Thessalonica to abstain from even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), and to live in such a way as to “win the respect of outsiders” (1 Thessalonians 4:12).

What Christians will not do, however, is engage in repeated or habitual sin (1 John 3:6). One who engages in deliberate and habitual sin is simply proving that he does not know Christ and therefore cannot be abiding in Him even though he may live his life under the vast umbrella of religion and is thought, therefore, by many to be a Christian.

As believers mature in their faith, they will exhibit more and more evidence of their true Christian nature, such as their love for God, repentance from sin, separation from the world, spiritual growth, and obedient living. As Paul told the Romans, the genuine child of God has been set free from sin and has become a slave to God, and the result is eternal life (Romans 6:22).[1]

 


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

Questions about Eternity: Will More People Go to Heaven or to Hell?

The question of whether there are more people in heaven or hell is answered by Jesus Himself in one succinct passage: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14).

This passage tells us that only those who receive Jesus Christ and who believe in Him are given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). As such, the gift of eternal life comes only through Jesus Christ to all those who believe. He said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). It’s not through Islam, Buddha, or other false gods of man’s making. It’s not for those wanting a cheap and easy way to heaven while continuing to live their own selfish and worldly lives on earth. Jesus only saves those who fully trust in Him as Savior (Acts 4:12).

So, what are these two gates in Matthew 7:13–14? They are the entrance to two different “ways.” The wide gate leads to the broad way, or road. The small narrow gate leads to the way that is narrow. The narrow way is the way of the godly, and the broad way is the way of the ungodly. The broad way is the easy way. It is attractive and self-indulgent. It is permissive. It’s the inclusive way of the world, with few rules, few restrictions, and fewer requirements. Tolerance of sin is the norm where God’s Word is not studied and His standards not followed. This way requires no spiritual maturity, no moral character, no commitment, and no sacrifice. It is the easy way of salvation following “the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). It is that broad way that “seems right to a man, but end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Those who preach a gospel of inclusiveness where “all ways lead to heaven” preach an utterly different gospel than the one Jesus preached. The gate of self-centeredness, self-absorption, and a proud, holier-than-thou mindset is the wide gate of the world that leads to hell, not the narrow gate which leads to eternal life. As a result, most people spend their lives following the masses who are on the broad road, doing what everyone else does and believing what everyone else believes.

The narrow way is the hard way, the demanding way. It is the way of recognizing that you cannot save yourself and must depend on Jesus Christ alone to save you. It’s the way of self-denial and the cross. The fact that few find God’s way implies that it is to be sought diligently. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). The point is this that no one will stumble into the kingdom or wander through the narrow gate by accident. Someone asked Jesus: “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” He replied, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:23–24).

Many will seek to enter that narrow door, the door of salvation, but “will not be able.” They are unwilling to trust/rely on Jesus alone. They are unwilling to pay the price. It costs too much for them to give up the world. God’s gate is a gate through which one cannot carry the baggage of sin and self-will, nor can one carry the accoutrements of materialism. The way of Christ is the way of the cross, and the way of the cross is the way of self-denial. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23–24).

Jesus knows that many will choose the wide gate and the broad way which leads to destruction and hell. Correspondingly, He said that only a few will choose the narrow gate. According to Matthew 7:13–14, there is no doubt that more will go to hell than to heaven. The question for you is, then, on which road are you?[1]

 


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

Questions about Christianity: What Is the Vineyard Movement?

The Vineyard Movement is a charismatic organization, also recognized by such names as the “third wave,” “power theology,” and the “signs and wonders movement.” The Vineyard Movement’s founder, John Wimber, formed five churches in 1982, with the original goal of forming 2,000 churches by the year 2000. The stated goal of the Vineyard Movement was to combine the best of evangelical thinking with Pentecostal practices.

There are certain aspects of the Vineyard Movement’s teachings that are suspect, if not entirely non-biblical. Members of the Vineyard Movement often rely on “experience with God” rather than following the Bible as the standard for faith and practice. Because of this, they teach that if what they do “works” pragmatically, then it must be from God. Additionally, the Vineyard Movement promotes various practices that have more in common with the occult and the New Age movement than with biblical Christianity. Some Vineyard Movement churches have been known to include “inner healings,” contact with familiar spirits, aura readings, and psychological programs.

The Vineyard Movement tends to promote certain spiritual gifts such as healing, casting out demons, and binding Satan as the more desired gifts. In contrast, Paul’s imperative is to stop desiring the “showy” gifts and learn the more excellent way, the way of love. Love, as Paul explains, is not “puffed up,” envying, boastful or proud. It is not self-seeking. Yet the Vineyard Movement promotes exactly these things, encouraging Christians to think of themselves as greater than others by virtue of the sign gifts they believe they possess. Paul goes on to say that prophecies and tongues will cease, so where is the boasting that comes from sign gifts (1 Corinthians 13:4–11)? Vineyard Movement adherents also practice what is called “power evangelism,” which they claim is the gospel presented to the unbeliever with an added twist: a demonstration of God’s presence by “signs and wonders” through healings and other miracles.

The initial goal of the Vineyard Movement, to combine solid evangelical theology with Pentecostal expressions of the Holy Spirit, was admirable. However, that is not the direction the Vineyard Movement has, for the most part, followed. The Vineyard Movement increasingly emphasizes the miraculous gifts of the Spirit and de-emphasizes the need to use the gifts of the Spirit as the Bible instructs. The Vineyard Movement, in its goal to “allow the Spirit to move in ways we do not expect,” has allowed doctrines and practices to infiltrate its ranks to which the Holy Spirit is diametrically opposed. The Vineyard Movement should not be considered a cult. Rather, the Vineyard Movement is an example of what happens when followers of Christ have good motives, but lack the commitment to submit to the Word of God in all things.[1]

 


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

New article: The U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate Is At A 35 Year Low

The percentage of Americans that are participating in the labor force is the lowest that it has been in 35 years. During the 70s, 80s and 90s, the labor force participation rate consistently rose as large numbers of women entered the workforce. It peaked at 67.3 percent in early 2000, and just before the last recession it was sitting at about 66 percent. Since the start of the last recession, the labor force participation rate has not stopped falling and it is now at a 35 year low. In September, 11,255,000 Americans were considered to be “unemployed”, and an astounding 90,609,000 Americans were considered to be “not in the labor force”. The number of Americans “not in the labor force” has increased by more than 10 million since Barack Obama entered the White House. When you add the number of unemployed Americans to the number of Americans “not in the labor force”, you come up with a grand total of more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job. (Read More….)

New article: The Population Control Agenda Is Being Relentlessly Pushed In American Public Schools

Do you want your kids to be taught that the earth has too many people and that they should have no more than two children for the good of the planet? Yes, I know that this sounds absolutely crazy, but this is actually the kind of propaganda that is being forced upon our young people all over America. The population control agenda is being relentlessly pushed in high school textbooks, in classroom instruction and by outside organizations that are given constant access to our high school students. As you will see below, the number one population control organization in the United States, Planned Parenthood, conducts nearly 900 presentations in high schools in the Los Angeles area every single year. And the population control propaganda gets even worse once our kids go off to college. I know – I spent eight years in the classroom at U.S. public universities and most parents would be absolutely horrified to learn what their children are being taught. (Read More…..)

GodLife: The Power of a Friend

The Power of a Friend

“I also tell you this: if two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you.” Matthew 18:19 (NLT)

Just for You

What kind of witness to God’s Salvation do you want to be: one who goes on your own, or one equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit? Click the link to learn start learning through the Apostle Paul in our Preach Like Paul with Malcolm Riley series

Personal Help

Do you need help in finding a ministry partner or in learning how to work as a team? 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.

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week:
• That God will enable and empower you to boldly do His work
• That God will connect you with a ministry partner
• God will help us to actively walk with the Holy Spirit.
• God will use the Prayer, Care and Share Jesus guide to help others get better at sharing their Jesus with others.

GodLife Family

Where can you go online to get daily encouragement and inspiration, and to discuss support from other Christians? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!

New Post: #StrangeFire

The Strange Fire conference ended last week, and it was widely covered and blogged—so much so that I thought it would be helpful to have one link with the notes from all the sessions as well as a summary for what was covered by each speaker

.

For each session there is the Challies summary of it, and then at Cripplegate we ran something closer to the manuscript of each message. If you want the concise version, go to the Challies link, and if you want the more detailed version, check out our link. Challies writes summarizing the content as a listener, while the Cripplegate link is more like a manuscript used by the speaker. When the audio/video is up at GTY, we’ll link that here too.

Read More Here

Mark Driscoll, James MacDonald, Strange Fire and Leslie Nielsen – Part 2

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

Well, judging from the fact that the blogosphere is going nuts (and I’ve had more hits in the last seven days than I got more blog traffic than all of last year), people in Evangelicalism are all pretty aware of the whole Mark Driscoll showing up at Strange Fire shenanigans.  I wrote about the situation here, but at that time I was waiting on the facts.

My friend Jules LaPierre, over at Jules Diner, has posted the video footage of the incident.  The facts are now plain as day:

.

Watch for yourself and ask yourself whether or not this was some sort of angry exchange, or some sort of security crackdown where they wrongly took his stuff.

You tell me what you think.

So how should we respond to this?

Well, I’d say two things are important:

1.  We don’t need to hound him and call him…

View original post 332 more words

The Sufficiency of Jesus Christ in Our Salvation

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:2-4 ESV)

The root of most heresies springs from those who profess Christ as Saviour, but who believe in various ways that what the Christian receives at Salvation is not sufficient. Something else must be added in order for the Christian to enter into a fuller relationship with God or to go deeper into the things of God…

View original post 1,915 more words