Daily Archives: October 24, 2013

New Post: The Gospel for a Gay Friend

Josh had always known he was different. From his earliest memories, he looked at some boys as more than just peers. His parents knew he was “special” but they loved him for it. He learned to wear a mask and play the part of a “normal” kid until he graduated high school.

In college, Josh decided it was time to be who he really was. He made friends with other gay people and set out on sexual explorations. Josh found a refuge in his gay community and developed bonds that ran much deeper than sexual flings. Though his parents distanced themselves and old friends turned a cold shoulder, Josh felt that he was finally free in his new identity as a gay man.

Josh is no caricature. His experiences and story are true, and they are common.

What if Josh were your neighbor or your co-worker or your son? How would you give the gospel to him? How would you tell him about the forgiveness of sins, the community of believers, and true identity in Jesus?

In one sense, we would assume there is no real difference in the way we’d give Josh the good news compared to any other person. Just because Josh is sexually attracted to people of the same gender doesn’t make him foundationally different from anyone else.

For many of my Christian friends who love Jesus and struggle with same-sex attraction, the beauty of the gospel is that it addresses every area of their life, not just one expression of the fall. All of us who are believers know this. Whether we were once atheists, liars, Muslims, or self-righteous church attenders, there is no magical gospel just for “our sin.” At the foot of the cross we are all equally in need of God’s amazing grace.

At the same time, Josh has very real questions that need to be answered. In the same way an atheist, Muslim or self-righteous person would need the gospel to address them personally, we should learn to love Josh where he is in his consideration of Jesus’ claims. He has real questions that he struggles with, and we should seek to help him find those answers.

IDEAS TO KEEP IN MIND

To share the gospel with Josh, or anyone who might have questions like his, here are a few ideas to keep in mind.

Read More Here: http://www.9marks.org/blog/gospel-gay-friend

My Concerns with Bloggers Concerned about Strange Fire

hipandthigh

headpoolI’ve been reading with deep concern a number of bloggers concerned about what Strange Fire was all about.  They’re grieved and wounded as to why a conference like this one even took place.  And like Elihu at the end of Job, they have had their “concerns” aroused and they have unleashed their wrath upon the internet. My pal Menn0knight links to some of their garment rending laments.

But I have my concerns as well regarding these concerned bloggers. And at the great risk of having Steve Hays release a flurry of knee-jerk, reactionary blog whippings upon me, allow me to share with you my concerns.

Let’s get down to the meat of the matter: Charismatics/continuationists have a serious credibility problem. Simply put, continuationists insist the spiritual manifestations of extraordinary signs and wonders that are recorded in Acts are currently happen today in our world. People speak in tongues, they…

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New Post: God’s Truth On Your Secret Sexual Sin

WARNING: The following content might not be appropriate for all readers.

From the LYWB.com team: We’ve received lots of comments lately from girls wrestling with masturbation. We’ve written about it here and here and done a vlog about it here, but since we continue to hear from so many of you on this subject, we decided to recruit some help. Meet Tim and Aileen Challies. Tim is a pastor and author. We thought he’d be a good voice on this subject because of his book Sexual Detox: A Guide For Guys Who Are Sick of Porn. We love how the Challies point you toward the Word of God to answer your questions about this tough issue. 

The Bible is not silent on the subject of masturbation. It does not leave us guessing. It’s true that Scripture never mentions masturbation specifically. However, because the Bible does speak thoroughly and explicitly about sexuality and sinful lust, it doesn’t have to speak explicitly about something so closely related as masturbation.

Let’s look at two ways we can know that the Bible speaks to masturbation without ever naming it.

Read More Here: http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/index.php?id=2113

New Post: How the Scandal of Preaching Will Reach Our Postmodern World

George Whitfield

By now it is old news that we live in a world marked by postmodernity.  In such a world, truth is not something that is outside ourselves, but something that is self-determined. Each of us constructs our own private, personal realities. What’s ‘true’ for you is not ‘true’ for me.

So, how do we break into the lives of people who are immersed in this postmodern reality?  How do we reach them for the gospel? Do we find ways to show them how the gospel is existentially satisfying? Do we offer therapeutic entertainment to draw them in?

Nope.  Instead, we do the unthinkable in our modern age.  We preach.

Of course, the first reaction to such an idea is, “Are you kidding?” When faced with the challenges of postmodernity, do we really think the solution is to stick some guy in front of the group and let him talk for 30 minutes?  Wouldn’t a video be more effective?  Or at least a dialogue or panel discussion?

But, as scandalous as it is, there is something about preaching that is unique and special.  Let us consider what those things are.

Read More Here: http://michaeljkruger.com/how-the-scandal-of-preaching-will-reach-our-postmodern-world/

New Post: Can a true believer blaspheme the Holy Spirit?

And then Jesus continues:

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man l will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Emphasis mine.)

Here’s where so many people get confused—what is Jesus talking about here? What does He mean when He says “blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven”? Is it possible for a Christian to commit this sin?

Read More Here: http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2013/10/24/can-a-true-believer-blaspheme-the-holy-spirit/

New Post: Wise or Foolish? One Simple Test

“The single distinguishing characteristic between a foolish and a wise person is a willingness to receive and act upon feedback.” That’s the well-tested conclusion of best-selling author and business consultant Henry Cloud in his excellent book, Necessary Endings.

That was confirmed for me recently when I asked a friend who has done a lot of interviewing of job candidates, “What’s the one thing you look for above all others when you want to hire someone?” He said that most interviewers look for experience, or qualifications, or sharp answers in the interview, but he looks for one thing, “Teachability.”

As I think back over all the people I’ve known, I have to agree, those who are teachable, and remain so, usually succeed. The unteachable usually fail. This is true in business, in ministry, in marriage, in parenting, in education, in relationships, and in many other areas of life.

So how do I know if I’m wise or foolish? In Chapter 7 of Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud supplies a checklist to help us identify whether someone is willing to receive and act upon feedback. Here’s a slightly edited version of that list:

Read More Here: http://headhearthand.org/blog/2013/10/24/wise-or-foolish-one-simple-test/

New Post: Strange Fire: What Now?

Good news! The audio and video from the Strange Fire conference is coming soon here (with more on the way). You can help Grace to You share this powerful teaching with as many people as possible by directing them to gty.org. And whether you saw it as a conference attendee or you’re planning to catch up online, we know you’ll be encouraged, exhorted, and enriched by these resources.

If you attended the conference or watched the live stream, the obvious question is, “What now?” How do we take what we learned over three intense days and live it out in our daily lives?

The first step is to be humble. No one has ever been forced into God’s kingdom. Rather than hammering friends and family with theological arguments, we need to keep in mind the focus of the conference—the sufficiency of Scripture and the true work of the Holy Spirit. Lovingly proclaim those truths.

We also need to commit ourselves to the local church. Whether or not your congregation is charismatic or has coninuationist leanings or not, you’ll never be able to make a difference from the fringes. Find a way to use your giftedness for the service of your church. Get involved, serve, and support the godly men the Lord put in place to shepherd and lead you.

On the other side of the debate, there are undoubtedly charismatics and continuationists who were unswayed—and possibly even angered—by Strange Fire. If you are one of those people, we would still plead with you to consider and apply three important points raised during the conference that will benefit you and your church.

First, please don’t judge the conference based on sound bites. The temptation is to pull out the punchiest, spiciest few seconds of teaching, regardless of context. That’s neither a productive way nor an honest way to deal with the content of the conference. This isn’t a trivial debate—it’s an important discussion about the sufficiency of Scripture and the way God’s Spirit works in His people.

Second, please carefully evaluate your view of Scripture. Is the Bible the ultimate arbiter in interpreting the experiential aspect of your Christian life? How tolerant are you of extrabiblical revelation, and are you careful to submit it to the Word of God? The same goes for your church—your congregation probably affirms the Bible’s inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency, but does its practice line up with that affirmation?

Third, please consider how you can benefit the charismatic movement from the inside. No one can honestly deny there are rank heretics and charlatans roaming the charismatic landscape. Ask yourself if you or your church has a doctrinal dividing line that, when crossed, demands denunciation and separation. And if that line exists, where and how is it drawn? If you are in a charismatic church that faithfully preaches the gospel but simply ignores false teachers who are charismatic, your silence legitimizes their ministries and expands their influence. For months, John MacArthur has been encouraging faithful charismatics to be the loudest voices of critique regarding charismatic excesses and abuses. We echo that encouragement and want to support your stand for the truth.

There is one other group we’d like to address in the wake of Strange Fire—the folks on either side of the debate who are simply sad, tired, and wish the whole matter would just go away. That group is made up of cessationists, continuationists, and charismatics who had set aside their differences in the name of unity and love, and now feel as though a bomb has gone off in the midst of their beloved middle ground.

If you’re one of those people, please understand that the decision to hold the Strange Fire conference was not made capriciously. Strange Fire was a response to a tidal wave of dangerous, damning lies that are leading hundreds of millions of people to hell. Unity through silence has not held back that tidal wave—it’s sweeping across the global church. Truth does matter, and it’s worth fighting for.

We look forward to seeing and hearing about the fruit the Lord brings forth from the proclamation of His Word.

GTY Staff


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B131023     COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

New Article: 3 Ways Christ Can Be Outside Your Church

Jesus-Christ-knocking-at-the-door

The last book of the Bible opens with the risen Lord Jesus Christ seated on the throne of heaven, exalted in power and glory. The apostle John records the Words of Christ to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22.

Laodicea was church with relentless activity. There was a certain confidence about the people. This was a church that was felt by its own members to have been quite successful.

Here is the congregation’s self-assessment:  “For you say I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing…” (Revelation 3:17).

Read More Here: https://www.unlockingthebible.org/3-ways-christ-can-be-outside-your-church/

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-1-The Bible

Reformedontheweb's Blog

The Bible

 

1.What book have we that teaches about God?

The Bible.

2. By what other name is it known?

The Scriptures.

3. Into what two parts is it divided?

Into the Old and New Testaments.

4. How came it to be written?

God inspired holy men to write it.

5. Did they write it exactly as God wished?

Yes; as much as if he had written every word himself.

6. Ought it, therefore, to be believed and obeyed?

Yes; as much so as though God had spoken directly to us.

7. Does it teach us every thing about God?

It does not; no language could teach us the full glory of God, nor could we ever comprehend it.

8. How much does it teach us?

It teaches us all that is necessary about God, our duty to Him, our condition as sinners, and the way of salvation.

 

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New Post: VeggieTales Creator Brings Gospel-Centered Biblical Theology to Kids

Matt Smethurst:

Remember Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber? The animated vegetable stars may have left the scene, but the guy who created them hasn’t. Phil Vischer, whose popular kids television series VeggieTales originally aired in 1993, has returned with a fresh project and a conspicuously different approach. What’s in the Bible? is a new DVD series designed to communicate the unfolding storyline of Scripture from a decidedly gospel-centered perspective.

News reporter Buck Denver leads the cast of puppet characters in this fun and engaging exploration currently spanning Genesis through the letters of Paul. In addition to gospel-shaped biblical theology, Vischer laces apologetics and hermeneutics throughout in a way that kids can understand. The result is a resource bound to help kids and adults alike better grasp the Bible’s epic story and prize its ultimate hero—Jesus Christ.

I talked with Vischer about VeggieTales moralism, how What’s in the Bible? is unique, his concerns about kids television, and more.

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/10/23/veggietales-creator-brings-gospel-centered-biblical-theology-to-kids/

New Post: Where Did All These Calvinists Come From?

Seven years ago this fall, a young journalist named Collin Hansen wrote a cover story for Christianity Today titled “Young, Restless, Reformed: Calvinism Is Making a Comeback—and Shaking Up the Church.” In it he remarked:

Partly institutional and partly anecdotal, [the evidence for the resurgence] is something a variety of church leaders observe. While the Emergent “conversation” gets a lot of press for its appeal to the young, the new Reformed movement may be a larger and more pervasive phenomenon.

Two years later, Hansen released his movement-defining book Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists (Crossway, 2008). Traveling to destinations like the Passion conference in Atlanta, Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Southern Seminary in Louisville, and Mars Hill Church in Seattle, he sought to tell the stories of young people discovering Reformed theology. (Hansen, now editorial director for The Gospel Coalition, has since reflected on the book and the movement herehere, and here.)

One year earlier in 2007, Mark Dever proposed in a series of blog posts 10 factors that sparked this resurrection of Reformed theology among younger American evangelicals.

mark_dever4

Now six years later, the “young, restless, Reformed” movement has only grown. The fact you’re presently reading The Gospel Coalition blog, which didn’t exist as recently as 2009, offers additional evidence.

Last week, Dever dusted off his 2007 series and delivered it, with a few changes, as an hour-long lecture at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. “If there were so few self-conscious Calvinists in the 1950s,” the pastor-historian asks, “how did we get so many today?” In what follows I offer a taste of his non-exhaustive, roughly chronological attempt to answer that question—12 sources God has used to reinvigorate Reformed theology in this generation (timestamps included).

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/10/24/where-did-all-these-calvinists-come-from/

New Article: Halloween and Reformation Day: The Connection

Various Protestant churches celebrate Reformation Day on October 31st. Though it may seem like a coincidence that the day is the same as Halloween, there is actually an intimate connection between the two holidays.

Martin Luther is said to have posted his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church (also called Castle Church) on October 31, 1517. This was the eve of All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows’ Day (the origin of the name “Halloween”).  It was a time when Christians were particularly focused on their dead. The unfortunate thing was that, by Luther’s time, there was tremendous confusion about just what happened to believers after death – ultimately moving Luther to address the misconceptions associated with the afterlife.

Read more here: http://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/halloween/halloween-and-reformation-day-the-connection.html?ps=0

New article: NAPOLITANO: A government of secrecy and fear

Every American who values the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, every American who enjoys the right to be different and the right to be left alone, and every American who believes that the government works for us and we don’t work for the government should thank Edward Snowden for his courageous and heroic revelations of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) gargantuan spying operations. Without Mr. Snowden’s revelations, we would be ignorant children to a paternalistic government and completely in the dark about what the government sees of us and knows about us. We would not know that it has stolen our freedoms.

Read More Here

New article: Israeli Bible Museum Debuts ‘Book of Books’ Exhibit

JERUSALEM, Israel — A unique exhibition of Bible history opened this week at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum.

They call it the Book of Books. The museum’s latest exhibition traces the history of the Bible and the Jewish roots of Christianity, tracking the story of God’s written word from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Gutenberg Bible and beyond.

Read More Here

New article: US could accept Israeli strike on Iran soon, says former IDF intel chief

In a probing interview with the New Republic published on Wednesday, former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin made his assessment clear: the coming year would be the year of decision for Israel on Iran. The next several months, he said, would provide the last opportunity for Israel to confidently and effectively strike the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, if that’s what it chooses to do.

Read More Here

New article: Census: 49% of Americans Get Gov’t Benefits; 82M in Households on Medicaid

(CNSNews.com) – In the fourth quarter of 2011, 49.2 percent of Americans received benefits from one or more government programs, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

In total, the Census Bureau estimated, 151,014,000 Americans out of a population then estimated to be 306,804,000 received benefits from one or more government programs during the last three months of 2011. Those 151,014,000 beneficiaries equaled 49.2 percent of the population.

Read More Here

New article: ProPublica: There’s No Evidence To Back The NSA’s Claim That Spying On Americans Has Thwarted Terror Attacks

Two weeks after Edward Snowden’s first revelations about sweeping government surveillance, President Obama shot back. “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany,” Obama said during a visit to Berlin in June. “So lives have been saved.” But there’s no evidence that the oft-cited figure is accurate.

Read More Here