Daily Archives: December 7, 2013

Mark Driscoll Situation No Boating Accident

Over at Fighting for the Faith Chris Rosebrough offers his take on Janet Mefferd’s decision to remove her materials concerning Driscoll, whom she had said previously was guilty of plagiarism.

In this important piece Rosebrough writes, “Late yesterday the story hit the media like a thunder clap that Janet Mefferd was silenced by the Evangelical Industrial Complex…”

Read More Here

Christ a Bridge at His First and Second Comings

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Romans 5:1–2; 2 Corinthians 5:16–21; Ephesians 3:12; Colossians 1:19–23; 1 Timothy 2:5; Revelation 21:2–3

Themes: Birth of Jesus, Second Coming, Heaven, Reconciliation

When the world had revolted against its Maker, and the Creator had been defied by His own creatures, a great gulf was opened between God and man. The first coming of Christ was like a bridge which crossed the chasm, and made a way of access from God to man, and then from man to God. Our Lord’s second advent will make that bridge far broader, until heaven shall come down to earth; and, ultimately, earth shall go up to Heaven.

Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892)

All Glory to God in the Sky

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All glory to God in the sky,
and peace upon earth be restored!
O Jesus, exalted on high,
appear, our omnipotent Lord!
Who, meanly in Bethlehem born,
did stoop to redeem a lost race,
Once more to your creatures return,
and reign in your kingdom of grace.

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

All of God’s Acts Work Up to an Atoning Savior

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That God might be manifested in the Christ, it may even be that sin was permitted. Assuredly, there could have been no sacrifice on Calvary if there had not first of all been sin in Eden. The whole scheme, the whole of God’s decrees and acts, worked up to the consummation of an atoning Savior.

Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892)

Questions about Sin: Why Is Idol Worship Such a Powerful Temptation?

The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God. The most prevalent form of idolatry in Bible times was the worship of images that were thought to embody the various pagan deities.

From the beginning, God’s covenant with Israel was based on exclusive worship of Him alone (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7). The Israelites were not even to mention the names of false gods (Exodus 23:13) because to do so would acknowledge their existence and give credence to their power and influence over the people. Israel was forbidden to intermarry with other cultures who embraced false gods, because God knew this would lead to compromise. The book of Hosea uses the imagery of adultery to describe Israel’s continual chasing after other gods, like an unfaithful wife chases after other men. The history of Israel is a sad chronicle of idol worship, punishment, restoration and forgiveness, followed by a return to idolatry. The books of 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles reveal this destructive pattern. The Old Testament prophets endlessly prophesied dire consequences for Israel if they continued in their idolatry. Mostly, they were ignored until it was too late and God’s wrath against idol-worship was poured out on the nation. But ours is a merciful God, and He never failed to forgive and restore them when they repented and sought His forgiveness.

In reality, idols are impotent blocks of stone or wood, and their power exists only in the minds of the worshipers. The idol of the god Dagon was twice knocked to the floor by God to show the Philistines just who was God and who wasn’t (1 Samuel 5:1–5). The “contest” between God and His prophet Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel is a dramatic example of the power of the true God and the impotence of false gods (1 Kings 18:19–40). The testimony of Scripture is that God alone is worthy of worship. Idol worship robs God of the glory that is rightfully His, and that is something He will not tolerate (Isaiah 42:8).

Even today there are religions that bow before statues and icons, a practice forbidden by God’s Word. The significance God places upon it is reflected in the fact that the first of the Ten Commandments refers to idolatry: “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exodus 20:3–5).

Idolatry extends beyond the worship of idols and images and false gods. Our modern idols are many and varied. Even for those who do not bow physically before a statue, idolatry is a matter of the heart—pride, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony, a love for possessions and ultimately rebellion against God. Is it any wonder that God hates it?[1]

 


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

Catholic Questions: Is Penance Mentioned in the Bible?

Penance is an act of devotion designed to show sorrow for or repentance of sin. The word penance is mentioned in two Bible translations, the New Living Translation (NLT), a modern-day thought-for-thought version; and the New American Bible (NAB), a Catholic version first published in 1970. In each, the word penance is used in only one passage: “You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?” (Isaiah 58:5, NLT).

The New American Bible renders the passage this way: “Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?” (Isaiah 58:5 NAB).

The more literal Bible translations, such as the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the English Standard Version (ESV), render this passage similarly: “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?” (Isaiah 58:5, NASB). The word humble replaces penance.

Penance is one of the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. It is used as a form of discipline or punishment imposed on a person to demonstrate repentance for his or her sins. The Catholics refer to this as “doing penance.” The penitent first confesses his sin(s) to a priest. The penitent is then given instructions on what to do in order to atone for his sins. Usually, penance takes the form of praying certain prayers a specified number of times, fasting, or spending time in front of an altar. This is unbiblical. Nowhere does Scripture teach that performing works or punishing oneself will make restitution for sin. The Bible does teach us to repent (Acts 11:18; Acts 20:21: Luke 15:7). To repent means to have a change of mind or a change in attitude toward God. Repentance of sin is accompanied by faith in Jesus Christ; they are inseparable. The Catholic teaching of “doing penance” as a means of atoning for sin or of appeasing God is nowhere taught in the Bible. It is not our works that make us right with God. In fact, our works are considered as nothing more than “filthy rags” in His eyes (Isaiah 64:6). It is the blood of Christ that makes us right: “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14).

The Roman Catholic’s practice of “penance” is unscriptural because it focuses on man’s works in order to be forgiven, not the blood of Jesus and our relationship with Him. John tells us, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).[1]

 


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

Questions about Life Decisions: Should a Christian Work Where Alcohol and Tobacco Are Sold?

This is a question many Christians struggle with because they feel convicted that by working in a store that sells alcohol and tobacco, they are in some way encouraging or enabling others to sin by drinking and smoking. While the Bible is silent on the subject of selling alcohol and tobacco, but there are scriptural principles that can be applied to this question.

Many people believe smoking cigarettes to be sinful in the respect that it is being willfully harmful to one’s body. However, overeating, which is much more prevalent than smoking, at least in the U.S., is just as sinful, if not more so because of the biblical commands to avoid gluttony (Proverbs 23:2, 20). Does this mean that restaurant waiters and fast-food employees are causing others to sin by selling rich, fattening foods to them?

The question of alcohol is a little different. Drinking wine and/or alcohol is not identified in the Bible as sin. The sin is being “drunk with wine, in which is excess” (Ephesians 5:18). Consider that Jesus Himself drank of the fruit of the vine, and Paul recommended drinking wine to His student, Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23). It is the responsibility of the users to determine for themselves where they need to stop drinking, and as such, the responsibility for drinking lies with the drinker, not the supplier.

To be sure, in some situations, where a person is obviously already intoxicated, or situations that break the law, clearly it would be wrong to sell alcohol to a drunken person, or to sell alcohol or tobacco to minors. However, in the day-to-day work environment, selling alcohol is no more sinful than working in a grocery store. But aside from these circumstances, it is the responsibility of the drinker to regulate his/her intake, not the seller. It is also the responsibility of the individual to decide whether smoking or overeating is detrimental to their health and to act accordingly.

In short, while there is no scriptural mandate against selling alcohol or tobacco, there are definitely things to consider that may make it a wrong choice for a Christian to work in these environments. If one feels convicted by the Holy Spirit about selling alcohol or tobacco, perhaps the Lord is speaking and it is time for a career change. Christians should act according to their faith when it comes to matters such as these, relying on our consciences to approve or not approve of our actions. Paul addresses this same principle regarding whether it was proper for believers to eat food sacrificed to idols: “Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:22–23). Ultimately, the decision should be made with prayer for wisdom, which God promises to grant to all without finding fault (James 1:5).[1]

 


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

Record Number Of Volcano Eruptions In 2013 – Is Catastrophic Global Cooling Dead Ahead?

Have you noticed that this December is unusually cold so far? Could the fact that we have had a record number of volcanoes erupt in 2013 be responsible? Certainly an unusually calm solar cycle is playing a significant role in producing all of this cold weather, but as you will see below the truth is that throughout human history volcanic eruptions have produced some of the coldest winters ever recorded. In fact, there have been some major eruptions that have actually substantially reduced global temperatures for two to three years. So should we be alarmed that the number of volcano eruptions this year was the highest ever recorded? Could it be possible that we are heading for a period of global cooling as a result? And if the planet does cool significantly, could that lead to widespread crop failures and mass famine? Don’t think that it can’t happen. In fact, it has happened before and it is only a matter of time until it happens again.

I knew that we were seeing an unusual amount of volcanic activity around the planet so far (Read More…)

Big Banks Are Being Hit With Cyberattacks “Every Minute Of Every Day”

What would you do if you logged in to your bank account one day and it showed that you had a zero balance and that your bank had absolutely no record that you ever had any money in your account at all? What would you do if hackers shut down all online banking and all ATM machines for an extended period of time? What would you do if you requested a credit report and discovered that there were suddenly 50 different versions of “you” all using the same Social Security number? Don’t think that these things can’t happen. According to Symantec, there was a 42 percent increase in cyberattacks against U.S. businesses last year. And according to a recent report in the Telegraph, big banks are being hit with cyberattacks “every minute of every day”. These attacks are becoming more powerful and more sophisticated with each passing year. Most of the time the general public never hears much about the cyberattacks that are actually successful because authorities are determined to maintain confidence in the banking system. But if people actually knew the truth about what was going on, they would not have much confidence at all. (Read More….)