Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Unequal Distribution of Economic Freedom


At Forbes, Alejandro Chafuen surveys countries that have successfully raised lower incomes and argues that the main causes of income inequality are:

1. Corruption: Defined as those actions by government agents that sell what they do not have a right to sell, such as subsidies, preferential regulations and others, which disproportionally affects the poor.

2. Cronyism: This is similar to corruption but usually “legal.”

3. Regulatory barriers: This is in the form of high capital requirements, mountains of red tape, and exorbitant license fees, especially in the areas where the poor enter the market.

4. Government schools:  In “This Wonderful Tree,” James Tooley, of the E.G. West Centre, documents how in several nations the poor prefer to send their children to humble, but more efficient, private schools. Nobel Laureate Gary Becker, of the Becker Friedman Institute, argues that a big improvement in high school graduation rates would reduce inequality of earnings.

5. Monetary Policy: Ralph Benko, a Forbes.com contributor, recently wrote a column on inequality where he took as a given that major players in the banking sector were being unjustly enriched by the current monetary policy.

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Are Christian Required to Tithe?

Click Here to Download this episode

Program segments:

• Galatians and the Two Covenants
• Christians, Tithing & Malachi 3:7-12
• Sermon Review: The Questions That Have the Potential to Change Everything by Perry Noble

Resource: Are Christians Required to Tithe?

Source

Beware the bookseller pretending to be Christian

Well, the lines are now clearly drawn. Conservatives who have a biblical worldview are now part of the Resistance, I’d say.

Nowhere do we see this more clearly outlined than with what’s happening in Christian media/publishing. Christian book publishing continues to crumble. Witness, for example, the new-and-improved Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Back in the day, with its marketing angle that touted the company’s roots (the company began in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1798), one got the feeling that its books were trustworthy.

Guess not.

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The White House is trying to impose a Mideast peace deal. Here’s what you need to know.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

(Washington, D.C.) — A fascinating but dicey and possibly dangerous moment is rapidly approaching in the epicenter.

The Obama administration is about to tell the Israelis and Palestinians how to solve their problems. The White House is about to pressure both sides to agree “in principle” to an interim agreement, and then work on a final peace treaty. How the two sides will react is anyone’s bet. Could the dynamic actually lead to a peaceful resolution of an ancient conflict? Seems unlikely. Could it lead to a calm and quiet at least for a while? Sure, theoretically. But to be candid, it could also lead to political chaos, or even to renewed violence.

Let me explain as concisely as I can.

Within days, or at most a few weeks, Secretary of State John Kerry will present both sides with what he calls a “framework agreement.” Essentially, this is an American-crafted peace plan. Yes, it will be based on…

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Depression, Medication, and Biblical Counseling

 

I’ve collated my four posts related to Depression, Medication, and Biblical Counseling into a free two-dozen-page PDF that you can download here.

Also, if you would like to read the original posts, or send the links to others, you can find them below.

RPM Ministries: Equipping You to Change Lives with Christ’s Changeless Truth

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Biblically understanding the prosperity gospel

In a twitter conversation, a friend mentioned to me that the prosperity gospel is simply ancient pagan fertility religion (namely Ba’al worship) in a modern garb…which got me thinking.  In thinking about the Biblical classification of the Prosperity Gospel, I would have to suggest that it is a system of very old false religion, but not necessarily Ba’al worship.

Now, it’s fairly easy to see that the “gospel” of the prosperity gospel isn’t the biblical gospel, regardless of how some try to soft pedal it.  The “good news” isn’t the death/resurrection/ascension of Christ resulting in restoration with God, it’s the death/resurrection of Christ resulting in the restoration of your credit rating.  It’s also fairly easy to get the whole “Balaam” and materialism connection (2 Peter 2:15-16; Jude 1:11), and it’s easy to recognize that those who push the prosperity gospel are false teachers since those who use God as a means to get financial gain are, on the basis of that one characteristic, labelled “false teachers” in the New Testament (1 Tim. 6:3-10; 2 Peter 2:15-16; Jude 1:11).  Nobody gets into ministry to get rich, and those who do aren’t actually “in ministry”.

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Still, the materialism thing isn’t the only error.  I was thinking about something different…something less overtly pagan.

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Contentment, the Stealth Prosperity Gospel, and Spiritual Greed

The real devil in the details of the prosperity-type teaching permeating so much of evangelicalism is not really that it skips over the stuff about sin. Sure, it does that too, but the pernicious paradox of this stuff is that it champions “victorious Christian living” yet does not equip believers for sustainable discipleship. It emphasizes feelings and “outlook,” not the power of the Spirit, which is hard for some folks to notice since the latter is often conflated with the former (so that being optimistic or a go-getter is ipso facto being Spirit-empowered). The problem over time is that, going from victory to victory, expecting victory after victory, cultivates a contagious form of spiritual greed. (Is it any wonder that this sort of teaching often goes hand and hand with talk of financial riches and prosperity?) The real stuff of discipleship — what Eugene Peterson calls “a long obedience in the same direction” — involves hard stuff like discipline and the fruit of the Spirit. In pop discipleship discipline is replaced by steps, tips, and amazingsupercolossal breakthroughs.

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Without Love, I Am Nothing: A Word to Bible Students, Seminarians, Disciple-Makers

Van Michael Komatsu

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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In light of 1 Corinthians 13, a word to Bible students, seminarians, and disciple-makers:

If I excel in seminary,
master the languages and ace every exam,
associate with notable faculty,
and abound in exegetical skills,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I affirm biblical inerrancy,
refute the documentary hypothesis,
solve the synoptic problem,
and defeat damnable heresy with air-tight rationale,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I acquire a biblical worldview,
equip an army of disciples,
champion Christian orthodoxy,
and confront a sin-ridden, God-hating culture,
but have not…

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Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That (31 January 2014)

  • Credo Magazine offers a tribute to Dr. S. Lewis Johnson.
  • ‘Debacle’ is such a good word. I use it often because, unfortunately, it aptly describes many of the headlines of our day, whether they be purely secular or involve professing Christians. Thus, I now present to you the Dinesh D’Souza Debacle, Part 2 (Part 1 happened here). Those of you who were shocked by this can now raise your hand. Anybody? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
  • Note to doves everywhere: Rome is not your friend.
  • I guess the Grammy’s had to do something to shake things up. It’s not like any of today’s singers have any talent.
  • And while we’re talking about award shows, this certainly is unfortunate.
  • Well, at least they consulted “child development experts.”
  • Oh, BioLogos. I can only shake my head at your functional denial of Scripture.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • “The Bible doesn’t exist in order to make us feel good about ourselves.”
  • It seems like every morning when I login to Facebook, Paula White is declaring victory of the demonic strongholds of negative thoughts, or some such similar nonsense. Well, it sounds like Steven Furtick’s new book, written to help us “fight against the negative thoughts in our heads…that hold us back,” has taken a page out of the TBN-esque playbook of White and others like her.
  • An addendum to the mysterious story of Tyler Deaton, his now-deceased wife, Bethany, and the larger cult within which Deaton ran his own cult, IHOP.
  • Oh dear. And these are likely the same people who voted for him.
  • Some important thoughts on Ravi Zacharias’ recent appearance at the Mormon Tabernacle.
  • What is your church doing to cater to Super Bowl Sunday? (Yes, I rolled my eyes as I typed that.)

 

  • The pathology of false disciples:

 

Source

http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2014/01/this-n-that_31.html

Bible Summary / Survey: Book of 2 Kings

 

Author: The Book of 2 Kings does not name its author. The tradition is that the prophet Jeremiah was the author of both 1 and 2 Kings.

Date of Writing: The Book of 2 Kings, along with 1 Kings, was likely written between 560 and 540 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The Book of 2 Kings is a sequel to the Book of 1 Kings. It continues the story of the kings over the divided kingdom (Israel and Judah.) The Book of 2 Kings concludes with the final overthrow and deportation of the people of Israel and Judah to Assyria and Babylon, respectively.

Key Verses: 2 Kings 17:7–8: “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced.”

2 Kings 22:1a–2: “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.”

2 Kings 24:2: “The LORD sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by his servants the prophets.”

2 Kings 8:19: “Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.”

Brief Summary: Second Kings depicts the downfall of the divided kingdom. Prophets continue to warn the people that the judgment of God is at hand, but they will not repent. The kingdom of Israel is repeatedly ruled by wicked kings, and even though a few of Judah’s kings are good, the majority of them lead the people away from worship of Jehovah. These few good rulers, along with Elisha and other prophets, cannot stop the nation’s decline. The Northern Kingdom of Israel is eventually destroyed by the Assyrians, and about 136 years later the Southern Kingdom of Judah is destroyed by the Babylonians.

There are three prominent themes present in the Book of 2 Kings. First, the Lord will judge His people when they disobey and turn their backs on Him. The Israelites’ unfaithfulness was reflected in the evil idolatry of the kings and resulted in God exercising His righteous wrath against their rebellion. Second, the word of the true prophets of God always comes to pass. Because the Lord always keeps His word, so too are the words of His prophets always true. Third, the Lord is faithful. He remembered His promise to David (2 Samuel 7:10–13), and, despite the disobedience of the people and the evil kings who ruled them, the Lord did not bring David’s family to an end.

Foreshadowings: Jesus uses the stories of the widow of Zarephath from 1 Kings and Naaman in 2 Kings to illustrate the great truth of God’s compassion toward those the Jews deemed unworthy of God’s grace—the poor, the weak, the oppressed, tax collectors, Samaritans, Gentiles. By citing the examples of a poor widow and a leper, Jesus showed Himself to be the Great Physician who heals and ministers to those in the greatest need of divine sovereign grace. This same truth was the basis of the mystery of the body of Christ, His Church, which would be drawn from all levels of society, male and female, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 3:1–6).

Many of the miracles of Elisha foreshadowed those of Jesus Himself. Elisha raised the Shunammite woman’s son (2 Kings 4:34–35), healed Naaman of leprosy (2 Kings 5:1–19), and multiplied loaves of bread to feed a hundred people with some left over (2 Kings 4:42–44).

Practical Application: God hates sin and He will not allow it to continue indefinitely. If we belong to Him, we can expect His discipline when we disobey Him. A loving Father corrects His children for their benefit and to prove that they indeed belong to Him. God may at times use unbelievers to bring correction to His people, and He gives us warning before delivering judgment. As Christians, we have His Word to guide us and warn us when we go astray from His path. Like the prophets of old, His Word is trustworthy and always speaks truth. God’s faithfulness to His people will never fail, even when we do.

The stories of the widow and the leper are examples for us in regard to the Body of Christ. Just a Elisha had pity on these from the lowest levels of society, we are to welcome all who belong to Christ into our churches. God is no “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34) and neither should we be.[1]


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