Daily Archives: January 4, 2014

The Reality of Death and the Wretchedness of Man

Hellenistic Christendom

I am afraid of death. I have been afraid for as long as I can remember, and that fear can often manifest itself in the form of an episode of major anxiety (sweating, shaking, etc.). I have lost sleep over my fear of death, and I have had to even excuse myself from situations with other people because the anxiety will hit me so bad. I have tried to have conversations with others about my problem so that I might find some sort of remedy – so as to divert the psychological tension associated with my own end. However, strangely I have often received the advice of “repression” -in other words, somehow aim my attention elsewhere so that the fear doesn’t come back. Consider what Psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg once wrote on this issue:

For behind the sense of insecurity in the face of danger, behind the sense of discouragement and…

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If You Want to Know How Calvin Really Handled the Bible… Don’t Read Serene Jones, Read Donald McKim

Zwinglius Redivivus

calvin_bibleHe edited this exceptional collection whose authors actually do understand Calvin far better than Jones.

During the past several decades a growing number of scholars have come to appreciate the importance of studying John Calvin’s interpretive work as a commentator on Scripture in addition to his better-known writings on theology. In this volume ten essays by scholars specializing in Calvin’s exegetical methods examine the approaches and themes Calvin emphasized when he interpreted major portions of Scripture. These essays focus on Calvin’s work in his biblical commentaries with appropriate cross-referencing to his other writings, including his sermons. A concluding essay synthesizes the main features of what has gone before to present an overall view of John Calvin as an interpreter and commentator on Holy Scripture. An appreciation of Calvin’s exegetical labors and his work as a biblical commentator are now recognized as key elements in Calvin scholarship.

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Fourteen Predictions for American Churches for 2014 — (part one and part two)

Predicting is as much of an art as it is a science. And if any prognosticator is honest, he or she will tell you that they don’t always get it right. I know. I certainly don’t always get it right.

But I don’t pull my predictions out of thin air. To the contrary, each of them has a reasonable explanation. For these fourteen predictions, I gleaned from several sources:

  • Data-based research, particularly LifeWay Research.
  • Trends that are already underway and gaining momentum.
  • Conversations with hundreds of church leaders.
  • My own experiences, based on 25 years of consulting and research of American congregations.

This year I am adding a new feature, a confidence factor. For example, if I said I had 100 percent confidence that a prediction would become reality, it would mean that I have absolutely no doubt about it. None of these predictions have a 100 percent confidence factor. But none of them fall below 70 percent either. That means I have a fairly high level of certainty about each of these trends.

The order of the trends is random. They are not ranked in any particular priority. Today, I will share the first seven, and then conclude with the final seven on Saturday.

Part one – Read More: http://thomrainer.com/2014/01/01/fourteen-predictions-for-american-churches-for-2014-part-one/

Part two – Read More: http://thomrainer.com/2014/01/04/fourteen-predictions-for-american-churches-for-2014-part-two/

[New post] Outrage! Obama Administration Banned Christmas Carols And Cards For Veterans

The Obama administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) prohibited veterans from hearing Christmas carols or receiving gifts wrapped in Christmas-themed wrapping paper, prompting outrage from a congressional committee.

RELATED STORY: Now That He’s President, Obama No Longer Pretends To Be Christian

VA officials in Iowa City, Iowa told representatives of the American Legion that they could not hand out gifts to veterans wrapped in wrapping paper that featured the term “Merry Christmas”

Additionally, the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia — which treats veterans — banned Christmas carolers from singing Christmas songs with religious references in public areas.

The Dallas VA Medical Center blocked local schoolchildren from giving Christmas cards to veterans because some of the cards included the terms “Merry Christmas” and “God Bless You.” A similar incident occurred in Montgomery, Alabama, where the VA Medical Center blocked veterans from receiving gift bags that included the term “Merry Christmas.”

Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, expressed his outrage over these incidents in a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki provided to The Daily Caller.

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Serene Jones, Sadly, Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About

Zwinglius Redivivus

Reports the NY Times in a long article on the rise of the ‘New Calvinism’

Liberal Christians, including some Congregationalists and liberal Presbyterians, may just take up other aspects of Calvin’s teachings, Dr. Jones said. She mentioned Calvin’s belief that “civic engagement is the main form of obedience to God.” She added that, unlike many of today’s conservatives, “Calvin did not read Scripture literally.” Often Calvin “is misquoting it, and he makes up Scripture passages that don’t exist.”

She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.  Calvin?  Make up Scripture?  Misquote?  That’s beyond absurd.  Surely the Times can find better liberal experts who have actually familiarized themselves with Calvin’s works.

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When Christianity Abandons Theology, The Result is the ‘Drunken Glory Movement’

Zwinglius Redivivus

hereticsA former drug addict has helped kickstart America’s newest religious craze – a church where worshippers pretend to get high and worship God in ‘drunken glory’.  Brandon Barthrop preaches to a congregation of thousands via bizarre YouTube rants, in which he encourages followers to act drunk in order to commune with Jesus.  The charismatic religious leader insists that ‘there’s no high like The Most High’ – and he has replaced alcohol and crystal meth with snorting frankincense.

A new documentary by Vice has lifted the lid on the world of the drunken glory movement, whose meetings are so raucous they are often confused with outrageous nights out.  The strange new ‘church’ was started in the U.S. by preacher John Crowder, but has now spread across the Atlantic to Britain.

There’s nothing biblical, nothing Christian, nothing appropriate about any of this.  But it is the logical conclusion of the emergent…

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Questions about Prayer: What Is Sozo Prayer?

 

Sozo prayer, or Sozo ministry (from the Greek for “save” or “deliver”) is defined as “a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry in which the main aim is to get to the root of those things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Sozo was created by a group of people from Bethel Church in Redding, California, and modeled after spiritual practices observed at revivals in Argentina. Sozo is strongly mystical in its approach and relies heavily on ideas about God and the Holy Spirit that are not based on biblical fact.

Sozo prayer requires the presence of a mediator / guide, who is trained to walk participants through a time of prayer and reflection that is supposed to facilitate intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is definitely something to be sought; however, the method of attaining intimacy via a journey through the subconscious is questionable at best. Intimacy with God is achieved by Bible study, prayer, regular church attendance, and obedience, not by a mystical “journey” through our past. The Bible warns us to be discerning and wise, and not to be fooled (Hosea 14:9; Hebrews 5:14). The Bible and the Holy Spirit—not our subconscious thoughts or a fallible human being—are our connection to the counsel and the voice of God (John 17:17). Many types of ungodly mystical practices include the presence of a “spirit guide,” but the Bible tells us that our connection to the Father is a direct connection, mediated by Christ (1 Timothy 2:5) and guided by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). No other spirit guide is necessary.

The methods and practices of Sozo are of human invention and require human instruction, without reference to Scripture. In fact, Sozo is much closer to new age mysticism than to Christianity. Participants are encouraged into a mild trance state, while being “led” into a series of mental / emotional rooms or stages where, by connecting to their own deeper feelings and thoughts, they believe themselves to have a new experience with God. Whatever participants feel has happened to them, the Bible tells us it is dangerous to open ourselves up to something that has not been sanctioned by God (Ephesians 4:11–14). Preaching and teaching, evangelism, and the practice of anointing a person with oil, or laying hands on them, for instance, are all shown in Scripture to be spiritually safe and useful. But Sozo prayer does not have that kind of “backing”. It’s kind of like taking a drug that isn’t approved by the FDA. It might not damage you, but why take the risk?

In another part of the Bethel Sozo website, one of the goals of Sozo is to enable participants to “heal your relationship with God to enable you to fulfill your destiny.” But the Bible tells us that a Christian’s destiny is death to self and obedience to Christ through faith in His power and saving grace (Luke 9:23; Ephesians 2:8–9). The things that make us one with God are produced by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and a Christian does not need to be led on a mystical prayer journey to attain them. Every believer is conformed to Christ’s image by His power and has already been blessed with “every spiritual gift in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:3).

In summary, we do not believe that Sozo ministry / prayer is a godly practice or something that is needed, or helpful, for a believer’s fellowship with God. Sozo is much more closely related to mysticism and spiritism than to true intimacy with God. True intimacy with Him happens by illumination of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit and fellowship with Christ as we show love for the Father through obedience to and imitation of Him (Ephesians 5:1).[1]

 


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

Questions about Marriage: What Does the Bible Say about Oral Sex?

 

Oral sex, also known as “cunnilingus” when performed on females and “fellatio” when performed on males, is not mentioned in the Bible. There are two primary questions that are asked in regards to oral sex: (1) “is oral sex a sin if done before marriage?” and (2) “is oral sex a sin if done within a marriage?” While the Bible does not specifically address either question, there are definitely biblical principles that apply.

Is oral sex a sin if done before or outside of marriage?
This question is becoming increasingly common as young people are told that “oral sex is not really sex,” and as oral sex is promoted as a safer (no risk of pregnancy, less risk of sexually transmitted diseases*) alternative to sexual intercourse. What does the Bible say? Ephesians 5:3 declares, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity … because these are improper for God’s holy people.” The biblical definition of “immorality” is “any form of sexual contact outside of marriage” (1 Corinthians 7:2). According to Hebrews 13:4, only the “marriage bed” is pure and undefiled. According to the Bible, sex is to be reserved for marriage. Period. So, yes, oral sex is a sin if done before or outside of marriage.

Is oral sex a sin if done within a marriage?
Many, perhaps most, Christian married couples have had this question. What makes it difficult is the fact that the Bible nowhere says what is allowed or disallowed sexually between a husband and wife, other than, of course, any sexual activity that involves another person (swapping, threesomes, etc.) or that involves lusting after another person (pornography). Outside of these two restrictions, the principle of “mutual consent” would seem to apply (1 Corinthians 7:5). While this text specifically deals with abstaining from sex/frequency of sex, “mutual consent” is a good concept to apply universally in regards to sex within marriage. Whatever is done, it should be fully agreed on between the husband and his wife. Neither spouse should be forced or coerced into doing something he/she is not completely comfortable with. If oral sex is done within the confines of marriage and in the spirit of mutual consent, there is not a biblical case for declaring it to be a sin.

In summary, oral sex before marriage is absolutely a sin. It is immoral. It is in no sense a biblically acceptable alternative to sexual intercourse for unmarried couples. Within the confines of marriage, oral sex is free from sin as long as there is mutual consent.

*While oral sex is safer than sexual intercourse in regards to sexually transmitted diseases, it is definitely not safe. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs can be transmitted through oral sex.[1]


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

Questions about Relationships: What Should I Look for in a Christian Boyfriend?

 

Anybody can say they love Jesus, or that they’re a Christian. But how do you know, when you’re falling in love with someone, whether they are the real deal? The Bible doesn’t mention the kind of dating relationships we see today; in fact, the only romantic relationships portrayed are either marriage relationships or adulterous relationships. What this means is that a Christian boyfriend should be, first and foremost, a man you plan to marry or at least someone who would make a good Christian husband. A Christian woman should be looking for someone who is serious about God and serious about his relationship with her. A Christian boyfriend isn’t dating just for fun; he has marriage in mind.

The Bible is full of verses that describe what a Christian man should be like, verses that are helpful and trustworthy for a woman who is evaluating a potential husband. The following are some guidelines based on those verses. A Christian boyfriend should be:

Humble and teachable: The Bible tells us that a righteous man, or a wise man, will take instruction gladly, even when it hurts him (Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 9:9, 12:15). A righteous man evidences a willingness to be corrected by Scripture and a tendency to love and listen to those who can teach him from the Scripture.

Honest: Do his actions agree with his words? The Bible says that a righteous man is characterized by honesty in his personal and business dealings (Ephesians 4:28). In addition, when he makes a promise, a Christian man keeps his promise, even when it hurts (Psalm 15:2–5). In short, his character should be one of integrity.

Selfless: The Bible speaks specifically to husbands when it tells them to love their wives as they love their own bodies, just like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25–28). A Christian boyfriend should begin to exhibit this kind of care and love for his girlfriend long before marriage. Love is easy in the romantic beginning stages, but a Christian boyfriend should be the kind of man whose behavior and intentions will be loving in all kinds of circumstances (1 John 3:18).

Able and willing to provide: The Bible says that a man who doesn’t provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). Provision doesn’t necessarily mean “bringing in a lot of money.” The issue is whether he takes responsibility for the welfare of his wife and children. It is important for women to grasp the seriousness of this verse. A man that doesn’t want to provide is very hard for a woman to respect, and if a wife struggles to respect her husband, marital troubles will go beyond the material. A woman’s respect for her husband and a man’s love for his wife are interdependent and life-giving to a marriage (Ephesians 5:25–32).

Willing to proactively protect: Both physically and emotionally, women tend to be weaker and more easily hurt than men. They need to be understood and protected and cared for in a proactive way. A good Christian boyfriend is a man who will look out for and care for his girlfriend and carry this passion for protecting her on into marriage (1 Peter 3:7).

Also, here are some negative things to watch out for: materialism (1 John 2:15–16; 1 Timothy 6:10), lying (Proverbs 12:22, 19:22), sexual unfaithfulness (Ecclesiastes 7:26; Proverbs 7) and poor treatment of family members, especially his mother (Proverbs 15:20, 19:26, 20:20, 23:22). Usually a man’s treatment of his mother is a good indication of how he will treat his wife. Also, watch out for irrationally, controlling or jealous tendencies, as these often lead to violence (Proverbs 6:34; 27:4).

Finally, a Christian boyfriend is one with whom a woman is evenly matched. First, in the spiritual sense—a couple’s relationship with God should be the primary factor in any relationship, and they should be matched in that regard. Believers are commanded to marry other believers (2 Corinthians 6:14), so there is no reason to be dating an unbeliever. But a couple should also be evenly matched in the more practical aspects, having compatible temperaments, similar energy levels, and shared life-goals and interests. These things add tremendously to happiness in a relationship.

In addition to all this, if a man has a good sense of humor and a steady, cheerful disposition, this is wonderfully encouraging for his wife. Nobody can be “up” all the time, but a man who is characterized by the peace and joy of the Spirit is a real catch. Life is hard, and marriage is hard too. There will be times of sadness and there will be conflict. Because of this, a cheerful, encouraging spouse is a real blessing (Proverbs 16:24; 17:22; 15:30).[1]


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

You Have the Right to Remain Out of Jail – Valuable Infographic (YOU HAVE RIGHTS, Know them.)

Know Your Rights
Source: Online-Paralegal-Programs.com
———————
Knowing Your Rights

Amendment IV – The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Whether you are a US citizen or not

3 Levels of police/citizen encounters. . .

Read More Here: http://www.online-paralegal-programs.com/legal-rights/

Related Post: Use This Card To Stand Up For Your Rights At Roadblocks

The Islamization Of Britain In 2013

The Muslim population of Britain topped 3.3 million by the end of 2013 to become around 5.2% of the overall population of 63 million, according to figures extrapolated from a recent study on the growth of the Muslim population in Europe.

At the same time, opinion surveys consistently show that voters in Britain view Islam and the question of Muslim immigration as a top-ranked public concern. The British public, it seems, is increasingly worried about the establishment of a parallel Muslim society there.

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National ID Headed For Your Wallet

Just as you were wrapping your mind around the idea that under Obamacare and the accompanying changes in the health-care system, your medical records will be floating around in some online repository, available to far too many people, you’re being told you’ll soon have a National Identity Card and a Western Hemisphere-compliant travel document whether you want it or not ……. Click here for full story

The Rocky Relationship Between Israel And The US

Dysfunctional. Rocky. Frosty. There are a variety of terms pundits have used to describe the relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama over the past five years. Though the atmospherics improved somewhat after Obama’s 2013 trip to Israel, the relationship has chilled again in the wake of the nuclear deal with Iran ……. Click here for full story

It Was Terrifying Being A Christian In 2013 – The Most Horrific Persecution Stories Of The Year

Despite the fact that Christians make up roughly a third of the world’s population, there are still large pockets of the planet where they are targeted and hunted down simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ ……… Click here for full story

Assurance of Salvation Part 3: Perseverance means a Believer Endure

The Domain for Truth

Go to Part 2

Rembrandt-philosopher

a. Passages demonstrating God’s elect will persevere in their faith and works

i.      Dilemma: We have seen that a Christian will be saved forever but does that mean a Christian can do whatever and still be saved?

1. No, God maintains a Christian’s salvation by means of having them endure in their faith and walk.

2. Arthur Pink’s sober warning: “Many an ignorant evangelist has given his hearers the impression that once they “accept Christ as their personal Savior” they need have no concern about the future, and thousands have been lulled into a fatal sleep by the soothing lullaby “once saved, always saved”. To imagine that if I commit my soul and its eternal interests into the hands of the Lord henceforth relieves me of all obligation, is to accept sugar-coated poison from the father of lies.”[1]

ii.      The need for Christians to endure…

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