Daily Archives: December 5, 2013

Mefferd Caved? Or, the Strange Disappearance of Anti-Plagiarism Posts

Zwinglius Redivivus

Carl Trueman writes

A couple of recent events have highlighted one or two of the peculiarities of the subculture of American Christianity, specifically evangelical Christianity. First, Ergun Caner is suing a couple of pastors in an attempt to keep some material pertaining to his life from being published on the internet. Second, talk show host Janet Mefferd accused megachurch pastor, Mark Driscoll, of plagiarism (as noted by Collin Garbarino on First Thoughts last week). Earlier today, the pertinent material compiled by Ms. Mefferd mysteriously vanished from her website.

I do not wish to comment on the specific details of either case; but it is interesting to note that both touch on the freedom of the press or media. Caner wants to restrict information about him; and we can only speculate at this point as to why Ms. Mefferd has removed the material from her site.

These incidents prompted one friend of mine…

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Of Mefferd and Driscoll and Integrity

This may not be the post that many are expecting. No doubt a majority of readers clicked on this article for one primary reason: they are familiar with the recent controversy surrounding Mark Driscoll, radio host Janet Mefferd and public accusations made by Mefferd that Driscoll plagiarized in more than one of his published books. Except for the initial interview with Mefferd (which has since been removed from the internet,) the Seattle megachurch pastor has remained seemingly silent in the face of these ongoing accusations of plagiarism.

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Acquired in Heaven – A response to the reformed rap controversy

airō

be-web1

Recent controversy has unfolded as a result of comments made at a National Center for Family-Integrated Churches conference. I doubt any of the panel has heard of artists like Shai Linne, much less albums like Shai’s The Attributes of God. In any case, here is my response to the controversy, in the form of sharing lyrics from “Acquired in Heaven” by Humble Beastartists Beautiful Eulogy. This song is found on their new album, Instruments of Mercy (free download here).

I might suggest playing the video below while following along with the lyrics:

VERSE 1:

On that day we will sing of the Name more excellent than angels –

A purified Bride – refined heart, speech, and mind.

Where unity and fellowship is perfected in the church;

Where Divine Love rests in the hearts of the inhabitants of the new earth,

And receive a crown…

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9 Things You Should Know About the Council of Trent

Yesterday marked the 450th anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent, one of the most significant series of meetings in Christian history. Here are nine things evangelicals should know about the Council and the decrees that it issued:

Read More Here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/12/05/9-things-you-should-know-about-the-council-of-trent/

Sermons by the Greatest ‘Christmas Prophet’ By DR. JOHN C. WHITCOMB

The Domain for Truth

apologist john whitcomb

John Whitcomb is a prolific Christian teacher, apologist and former Old Testament Professor whose materials and resources we have shared in the past on our blog.  In light of the holiday season he has several Christmas devotionals related to Christ’s birth.  Below is one of them that his ministry has allowed us to post on our page.

Sermons by the Greatest ‘Christmas Prophet’

By DR. JOHN C. WHITCOMB
President, Whitcomb Ministries, Inc.

The prophet Isaiah was surely the greatest “Christmas Prophet” of the Old Testament. Let us briefly consider two of his most famous Christmas sermons.

Isaiah Chapter 7

One of the great marvels surrounding Jesus’ birth was the fact of His virgin conception.

But how could a virgin be with child and bear a son? Luke explains: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you [Mary], and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy…

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Topical Bible Questions: What Does the Bible Say about Beauty?

To define what is beautiful is difficult because beauty is, as the old saying goes, in the eyes of the beholder. What is beautiful to us may be ugly to another. To regard something as beautiful it must meet our own definition and concept of beauty. The fact that beauty is an individual concept is understood clearly by all. However, many don’t realize that God’s concept of beauty also is His own. No one defines for God His concept of beauty. If a person is beautiful to God, he fits God’s concept of beauty.

For example, God never uses one’s outward physical appearance to determine beauty. When the prophet Samuel examined Jesse’s sons in search of the next king of Israel, he was impressed with Eliab’s appearance. God told Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Nothing in a person’s outward appearance impresses God. God looks upon the inner beauty, the beauty of one’s heart.

God never uses the origin or culture of a person as the criteria of beauty. People of one culture seldom see beauty in people of a different culture. Only a divine revelation could convince Peter to enter a Gentile’s house and preach the gospel to him (Acts 10). It took an angel to get Peter the Jew and Cornelius the Gentile together. Only a divine sign convinced the Jewish witnesses that Gentiles unquestionably had the right to be God’s children. When Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34), he was saying, “At last, I understand.” Peter realized that God is unconcerned about a person’s origin or culture. God gladly accepts those who revere and obey Him. His concept of beauty is uniquely different because He ignores cultural preferences and prejudices.

While our opinions are strongly influenced by a one’s address, occupation, and social role, God never determines beauty by social rank or life circumstances. When we speak of the so-called “beautiful people,” rarely do we mean those who are struggling to survive, who make their living by menial jobs, or who come from “backward” areas. In contrast, God never notices those things when He considers beauty in people. Paul wrote, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26–28).

What is beautiful in God’s eyes? Recognizing the qualities God has cherished in the lives of other people is one way to determine His concept of beauty. Noah’s implicit trust in God led him to construct a gigantic boat miles from water. Abraham trusted God’s promise so implicitly that he would have sacrificed his son of promise without hesitation. Moses yielded total control of his life to God and became the man of meekness. David gave his whole being to doing the will of God. No consequence or shameful treatment could keep Daniel from reverencing his God. Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy were ruled by God in every consideration and decision. They were totally focused upon Jesus’ will as they shared the gospel with all. In all these qualities God saw great beauty.

While all these people were beautiful to God, virtually nothing is known about their physical appearance. It was not their physique or stateliness but their faith and service that made them beautiful. The same was true of God’s beautiful women: Rahab, Hannah, Ruth, Deborah, and Mary of Bethany. Those noted for physical beauty were often great spiritual disappointments. Sarah, the beautiful wife of Abraham, did not have his kind of faith. Saul was a man of physical beauty, but he was not the godly king God wanted.

The qualities God wants in His people further reveals His concept of beauty. The beatitudes reveal some of God’s standards of beauty. An awareness of one’s spiritual poverty, sorrow for wickedness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, and being a peacemaker are all qualities of beauty. The epistles also stress attributes valued by God: keeping a living faith while enduring physical hardships, controlling the tongue, enduring personal harm to protect the church’s influence, making sacrifices for the good of others, and living by Christian convictions in the face of ridicule. All these are beautiful to God.

However, just as a beautiful appearance can become ugly through neglect, a beautiful life of righteousness can become ugly through neglect. Spiritual beauty must never be taken for granted or be neglected. We must remember that just as it is possible to be one of society’s most impressive people and be ugly in the eyes of God, it is also possible to be an unknown in society and to be radiantly beautiful in His eyes.[1]

 


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

Bible Summary / Survey: Book of Ruth

Author: The Book of Ruth does not specifically name its author. The tradition is that the Book of Ruth was written by the Prophet Samuel.

Date of Writing: The exact date the Book of Ruth was written is uncertain. However, the prevalent view is a date between 1011 and 931 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The Book of Ruth was written to the Israelites. It teaches that genuine love at times may require uncompromising sacrifice. Regardless of our lot in life, we can live according to the precepts of God. Genuine love and kindness will be rewarded. God abundantly blesses those who seek to live obedient lives. Obedient living does not allow for “accidents” in God’s plan. God extends mercy to the merciful.

Key Verses: Ruth 1:16, “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.’ ”

Ruth 3:9, “ ‘Who are you?’ he asked. ‘I am your servant Ruth,’ she said. ‘Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.’ ”

Ruth 4:17, “The women living there said, ‘Naomi has a son.’ And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

Brief Summary: The setting for the Book of Ruth begins in the heathen country of Moab, a region northeast of the Dead Sea, but then moves to Bethlehem. This true account takes place during the dismal days of failure and rebellion of the Israelites, called the period of the Judges. A famine forces Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, from their Israelite home to the country of Moab. Elimelech dies and Naomi is left with her 2 sons, who soon marry 2 Moabite girls, Orpah and Ruth. Later both of the sons die, and Naomi is left alone with Orpah and Ruth in a strange land. Orpah returns to her parents, but Ruth determines to stay with Naomi as they journey to Bethlehem. This story of love and devotion tells of Ruth’s eventual marriage to a wealthy man named Boaz, by whom she bears a son, Obed, who becomes the grandfather of David and the ancestor of Jesus. Obedience brings Ruth into the privileged lineage of Christ.

Foreshadowings: A major theme of the Book of Ruth is that of the kinsman-redeemer. Boaz, a relative of Ruth on her husband’s side, acted upon his duty as outlined in the Mosaic Law to redeem an impoverished relative from his or her circumstances (Lev. 25:47–49). This scenario is repeated by Christ, who redeems us, the spiritually impoverished, from the slavery of sin. Our heavenly Father sent His own Son to the cross so that we might become children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ. By being our Redeemer, He makes us His kinsmen.

Practical Application: The sovereignty of our great God is clearly seen in the story of Ruth. He guided her every step of the way to become His child and fulfill His plan for her to become an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). In the same way, we have assurance that God has a plan for each of us. Just as Naomi and Ruth trusted Him to provide for them, so should we.

We see in Ruth an example of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31. In addition to being devoted to her family (Ruth 1:15–18; Proverbs 31:10–12) and faithfully dependent upon God (Ruth 2:12; Proverbs 31:30), we see in Ruth a woman of godly speech. Her words are loving, kind and respectful, both to Naomi and to Boaz. The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 “opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (v. 26). We could search far and wide to find a woman today as worthy of being our role model as Ruth.[1]

 


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Are the Most Common World Religions?

There are countless religions in the world, with most religions having sub-sects within them. Generally speaking, all religions attempt to help people make sense of their purpose and existence in this world, explain what occurs in the afterlife, and declare whether or not there is a deity, and if so, how we relate to this deity. The seven world religions in the list below comprise over 95% of the world’s religious adherents. With each world religion is a link to a more detailed discussion of that religion’s beliefs and practices.

Roman Catholicism and Christianity
There are approximately 1.2 billion professed Roman Catholics worldwide. Though the Roman Catholic Church has always been identified with Christianity, there are clear and fundamental differences between the two. Roman Catholics generally identify themselves as Christians, but for the purposes of distinguishing the two divisions of the Christian faith, adherents of Roman Catholicism are referred to as Catholics, while non-Catholic adherents of the Christian faith are referred to as Christians. There are approximately 900 million people worldwide who profess to be non-Catholic Christians. The name is derived from the fact that the early followers of Jesus of Nazareth were called Christians (Acts 11:26), which means literally “little Christs.” “Christ” is the Greek word for the Hebrew Messiah, the “anointed one.” Although Christians frequently identify with particular denominations such as Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and Nazarenes, they also universally claim the name Christian for themselves. Christianity is oftentimes collectively called “the church.” This is an indistinct term in that it is also the word used for local congregations and buildings as well as for specific denominations.

Islam
The name “Islam” literally means “submission,” and, as such, a Muslim is “one who submits to God.” Islam is based primarily on the writings of Mohammad, as recorded in the Qur’an. There are about 1.3 billion Muslims in the world today. Islam is represented all over the world. Though mostly associated with the Middle East, the largest Muslim populations are in Asia. Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India have sizable Muslim populations.

Hinduism
Hinduism is a word created by the Western world to encompass the dominant religious and social system of India. Traditionally, those we call Hindus refer to their religion as the “dharma,” which means “the way” or “the religion.” There are approximately 900 million Hindus in the world. Obviously, the greatest number of Hindus are located in India. Since Indians have emigrated all over the world, however, there are many Hindu communities in other countries. The total number of Hindus in India is subject to some controversy because it includes up to 300 million “untouchables” (dalits), who are officially counted as a part of the Hindu social structure but who are prevented from fully participating in Hinduism.

Buddhism
Buddhism is based on the teachings of the person called the Buddha, which means “enlightened one.” This religion has many different branches, but Buddhism is the only appropriate all-encompassing term, and its adherents, no matter how divergent in their beliefs, are happy to be known as Buddhists. Buddhism has about 360 million followers, placing it fourth, behind Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Buddhism originated in India. It is dominant in its more traditional forms in Sri Lanka and much of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia). Additionally, it has taken on various forms in many other Asian countries, most notably Tibet, Korea, China and Japan. Today Buddhism is frequently adapted and adopted by Westerners, though often at the expense of faithfulness to the traditional forms of this religion.

Judaism
The name “Judaism” comes from the tribe of Judah, one of the twelve ancient tribes of Israel. So, literally, it is the religion of those who come from the tribe of Judah, who are (in English) called the Jews. However, being Jewish refers to an ethnic identity as well as a faith, and nowadays there are many Jews who do not practice the Jewish faith, even though they are happy to be known as Jews ethnically and culturally. It is estimated that there are about 15 million religious Jews in the world today, but many of them do not practice any religion.

Baha’i
The term Baha’i literally means a “follower of Baha,” referring to Baha’ullah, the founder of the religion. Baha’i has more than seven million members. Originating in Iran, Baha’i is represented in well over 200 countries in the world, behind only Christianity (in over 250 countries), but far ahead of Islam, which is in about 175 countries.[1]

 


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

Few uninsured young people say they’ll sign up for Obamacare

Fewer than one-third of young, uninsured Americans say they are leaning toward enrolling in a health-care plan under the new Obamacare exchanges, according to a new poll — a number that, if it holds, would present huge problems for the new law….[view article]

Physician says Obamacare is causing ‘chaos’ for doctors – Marxism Does Not Work

NBC News – December 5, 2013
The administration is furiously trying to rectify another Obamacare issue: faulty enrollment data that could soon become a significant headache for consumers and insurers….[view article]

2013 marks record year for the number of volcanoes erupting across the planet

The average number of volcanic eruptions per year should be about 50 to 60; as of December 5, 2013, we already at 83. Volcanic eruptions are one way the planet dissipates a dangerous build-up of heat, magma, and pressurized gases.

Read more here

Homosexual movement’s goal is to outlaw Christianity

For years now, many of us have been warning America that freedoms of religion, speech, conscience and association and homosexual “rights” cannot coexist; they are by nature mutually exclusive. This is becoming clearer by the minute, as the radical homosexual movement has taken super flight under the ever-darkening reign of the pro-homosexual Barack Obama (or whatever his name is).

The homosexual movement is part of a larger push toward tyranny that has its roots in the spirit realm. Ephesians 6:12 clearly spells out the real battle:

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What is the Convergence Factor, and why is it important to understanding our times? – Dr. Ron Rhodes

You see, it would be significant if just one of these signs was coming to pass. It’d be more significant still if two of these signs were coming to pass. But, the fact is, we’ve got multiple prophetic signs that are converging in our day. It’s what I call the “convergence factor” and that leads us to believe that we are indeed living in the season of the Lord’s return.

Here’s the thing, we need to be thoughtful observers of the times.

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The 5 Gossips You Will Meet

Gossip is a serious problem. It is a problem in the home, in the workplace, in the local church and in broader evangelicalism. It is a problem in the blogosphere, in social media, and beyond. In his book Resisting Gossip, Matthew Mitchell defines gossip as “bearing bad news behind someone’s back out of a bad heart” and shows that when the book of Proverbs uses the word “gossip,” it does so in the noun form, not the verb form. In other words, the Bible is concerned less with the words that are spoken and more with the heart and mouth that generate such destruction. Words matter, but they are simply the overflow of the heart. As always, the heart is the heart of the matter.

Here, drawn from Mitchell’s book, is a gallery of gossips, five different gossiping people you will meet in life.

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Question 48-Puritan Catechism

Reformedontheweb's Blog

SpurgeonQ. What is required in the third commandment?

A. The third commandment requires the holy and reverent use of God’s names, (Psalm 29:2) titles, attributes, (Revelation 15:3,4) ordinances, (Ecclesiastes 5:1) Word, (Psalm 138:2) and works. (Job 36:24; Deuteronomy 28:58,59)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

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A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-7-The Trinity

Reformedontheweb's Blog

The Trinity

 

1. Does not the title “Son of God” indicate to us that Jesus in not the only person that is God?

Yes; it suggests to us the Father.

2. What other person is also called God?

The Holy Spirit

3. Does this imply that there is more than one God?

No, the Bible teaches that the Father is God, that the Son is God, and that the Spirit is God, and yet that there is but one God.

4. Can we understand the nature of God as thus revealed to us?

We cannot; but we can believe and know that it is such as God teaches us.

5. Why can we not understand the nature of God?

Because our minds are limited in power, and the glorious mystery of the nature of God is boundless.

6. Is it in His nature only that God is beyond our…

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Making Your Calling and Election Sure

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (2 Peter 1:10 ESV)

How can we know if we are truly in Christ? Or you may ask, “What is the fruit which genuine believers bear?” If true salvation is as impacting on a believers life as we contend then there should be verifiable evidence or fruit manifested in that life. The problem is in knowing what evidences really prove the presence of God in a person’s life and those that do not. I have noticed most professing Christians look at the wrong things in their self-evaluations to determine if they are in Christ. Real evidence of the presence of God in a person’s life will be the fruits of salvation. These fruits will in turn lead to outward manifestations of “goodness” or “religiosity”…

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Humble Beginnings

Samuel at Gilgal

christmas wise menNow after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had…

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