Here’s more evidence that Word Faith heresies are moving into the mainstream. Apprising Ministries shares the sad details with you concerning Giglio’s upcoming appearance at Pringle’s C3 2014 Presence conference.
The Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of a Christian’s journey (here represented by a character called ‘Christian’) from the “City of Destruction” to the “Celestial City”. Along the way he visits such locations as the Slough of Despond, Vanity Fair, the Doubting Castle, and the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Bunyan, the author, had very little formal education and a humble background. Nonetheless Pilgrim’s Progress is considered one of the masterpieces of English literature, and is required reading for Christians who are on the spiritual path in a world of temptations.
John Bunyan: Pilgrim’s Progress
by Jim D. Gables
pilgrim’s progress is a classic among classics. The scope of its influence is virtually unparalleled by any other religious publication. It has been translated into nearly every known language. If you have not read Pilgrim’s Progress, you haven’t read one of the greatest religious books in the world. It is the Bible with pictures for the eye of the imagination to see. As you open the book and begin reading, you will see the Bible in pictorial form and language. It is experimental Christianity in its nature. If you want to know the precise definitions of the doctrines of Scripture, go to the historical confessions of faith, but if you want to know how those doctrines work out in experience, read Pilgrim’s Progress.
Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory describing the life of a person traveling between two worlds—this present world and the world to come. It is a description of the Christian experience beginning with a lost condition described by the author as the “City of Destruction,” and progressing onward until the journey ends in the “Celestial City” of heaven. It is the story of the salvation experience of a Christian who is brought from nature to grace, and from grace to glory.
Burden for Sin
“I saw a man clothed with rags standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and, as he read, he wept and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry saying, ‘What shall I do!’ ”
The characters, places, and events you encounter in the book are real to life and true to Scripture. You will find yourself in the book time and time again because basic human nature remains the same throughout the ages. Though the book was written over four hundred years ago, you would think you were reading current affairs. There are real people in this book: your next door neighbor, the people with whom you work, and the people with whom you go to church.
The Celestial City
“Then I heard in my dream, that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, ‘Enter ye into the joy of your Lord.’ … And after that they shut up the gates; which when I had seen, I wished myself among them.”
The author of Pilgrim’s Progress is John Bunyan, a Baptist minister born in 1628 outside of Bedford, England. He died in 1688. In this same era, the King James Bible was translated (1611), the Pilgrims came to America (1620), and William Shakespeare wrote his plays. He was born of poor parents and earned his living as a tinker, a brazer of pots and pans. Bunyan wrote this classic while imprisoned for preaching the Gospel without a license from the established church in England. He had no idea that out of his adverse circumstances would come a work that would transcend time, cultures, and denominational boundaries. While many in jail were consumed with self-pity, Bunyan was rejoicing in Christ. In his autobiography he says of his prison experience, “I would not trade it for anything. I would have never been given the great insights into Christ had I not enjoyed this experience.”
If this book were read and applied, it would lead to a new Reformation in the church. Practical lessons and ideas are found on every page. Bunyan has a tremendous insight into human nature. His theology is classified as that of evangelical Calvinism. He did not delve only into the intellectual aspects of religion but believed that religion was an experimental thing, something you could know and experience as real, and that it flowed from God. His book shows that sound practice can only flow out of sound doctrine, and that the two are not exclusive of each other as many claim.
Why has this book enjoyed such great success? Because it is true to the form and experience of the Bible. It reveals the heart of a true Christian, and Christians of all denominations enjoy it because it is their experience as well. Charles Spurgeon is reported to have said of Bunyan that you could just prick old Bunyan anywhere and out of his veins flows the Bible. As you read this book, you will be amazed at how skillfully Bunyan weaves the Scriptures into the totality of his writing style.
Pilgrim’s Progress not only teaches, informs, and encourages, it also reproves and exposes. Bunyan had a great sense of spiritual discernment to be able to distinguish the false from the real. The level of Christian experience and commitment in this book is so contrasted to the shallow, superficial Christianity that permeates American culture that it makes one wonder if they are even related. This book will also enlighten your understanding of the great Christian martyrs. Genuine Christianity is a rare and difficult thing to find today, and this book will challenge the reader to pursue after greater heights into the things of Jesus Christ. May God bless you, the reader, of Pilgrim’s Progress as, you press on the upward way and gain new heights every day until you enter into the joy of your Lord in the “Celestial City.” ▲
Jim D. Gables is pastor of Oakland Baptist Church. He also heads Grace Abounding Ministries in Birmingham, AL.
 Gables, J. D. (1993). John Bunyan: Pilgrim’s Progress. (R. C. Sproul Jr., Ed.)Tabletalk Magazine, January 1993: Christian Classics, 11–12.
I had the privilege once again to speak with Amy Spreeman of the wonderful women’s ministry, Naomi’s Table. In this conversation, Amy and I discuss the increasingly prevalent claims of some Christians that they are receiving direct, personal revelation from God. Is God really speaking today outside of His Word through a still, small voice or dreams or visions? How can we guard against the dangers of such claims?
Many people may not know that less than 1% of the world’s Christians live in the place where Christianity began — the Middle East-North Africa region. With only about 4% of its residents identifying as Christian, the region’s share of Christians is the smallest in the world, according to a 2011 Pew Research report. There are more Christians living in Indonesia (24 million) than in the region where Jesus of Nazareth was born (13 million as of 2010).
Although all Christians in the Middle East live as a minority, roughly nine-in-ten Christians worldwide live in countries where they are in the majority. Of the 232 countries and territories included in our 2012 Global Religious Landscape survey, roughly two-thirds have Christian majorities.
How much do you know about the world’s Christian population? How many Christians are there? Which country has the largest Catholic population, and which has the largest number of Protestants? Take our short, ten-question quiz on the global Christian population and test your knowledge.
Emeritus is an honorary title bestowed upon one who has retired from a position (pastor, professor, or other professional position) as a way of honoring the individual’s service. Emeritus comes from the Latin word emereri, which means to earn one’s discharge by service. Bestowing the title “Pastor Emeritus” upon a retiring pastor is a way for the church leadership to honor his service to the church.
Depending upon the particular church, the title may have some duties such as serving in an advisory role to the leadership group or to the current pastor. It can also involve a teaching role, depending on the retired pastor’s desire to continue to serve. Benefits for the position, at least as far as monetary compensation, are up to the particular church or denomination. There are no biblically set guidelines other than those of the by-laws of the organization or church conferring the honor. It is, however, right and fitting that a church or congregation recognize the faithful service of those who shepherd and serve them with honor and integrity. Bestowing the title of Pastor Emeritus is one way to demonstrate respect and gratitude for pastoral service.
“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).
This is the proverbial million dollar question because if you ask anyone on the street what you have to do to get into heaven (assuming they believe in heaven or an after-life), the overwhelming response will be some form of “being a good person.” Most, if not all, religions and worldly philosophies are ethically based. Whether it’s Islam, Judaism, or secular humanism, most believe getting to heaven is a matter of being a good person—following the Ten Commandments, or the precepts found in the Quran, or the Golden Rule. But is this what Christianity teaches? Is Christianity just one of many world religions that teach that being a good person will get us into heaven? Let’s examine one of Jesus’ encounters found in the Gospels to help us get some answers. The story is found in Matthew 19:16–26; it is the story of the rich, young ruler:
The first thing we note in this story is that the rich, young ruler is asking the right question: “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” In asking the question, he is acknowledging the fact that despite all his efforts thus far, there is something lacking and he wants to know what else must be done to obtain eternal life. However, even though he is asking the right question, he is asking it from the wrong worldview—that of merit (“What good deed must I do …”); he has failed to grasp the true meaning of the Law, as Jesus will point out to him, which was to serve as a tutor until the time of Christ (Galatians 3:24).
The second thing to note is Jesus’ response to his question. Jesus turns the tables by asking him why he is inquiring into what is good. In other words, Jesus is trying to get to the heart of the matter, namely, that no one is good and no one does good except God. As noted earlier, the man is operating under a false premise, that man is able to do that which is good and earn his way into heaven. To prove his point, Jesus says to him that if he wants eternal life, he should keep the commandments. In saying this, Jesus is not advocating for a works righteousness program. Rather, Jesus is challenging his suppositions by showing the man’s shallow understanding of the law and human ability.
The young man’s response is very telling. When told to keep the commandments, he asks Jesus “which ones?” If you or I were in Jesus’ shoes, we might be tempted to say “Um, all of them! What a silly question.” But Jesus continues to gently show the man the error of his ways by giving him the second table of the law, i.e., the commandments that deal with our relationships to other human beings. You can almost sense the frustration in the young man’s response to Jesus when he tells him that he as kept all of these since his youth. Two things to point out here: First, the irony in the young man’s response. In saying he has kept all those commandments since his youth, he has broken the commandment regarding false witness. If he were truly being honest with himself, he would have said that as hard as he has tried to keep the commandments, he fails on a daily basis. He has a shallow understanding of the law and human ability. Second, he still knows deep in his heart of hearts that he is not good enough; even his shallow law-keeping isn’t satisfying his soul. He asks Jesus, “What do I still lack?”
Jesus now delivers the ‘killing’ blow to this man’s self-righteousness. He tells him that if wishes to be perfect (i.e., complete), he must sell all that he has and come follow Him. Jesus has perfectly diagnosed the man’s ‘lack’—his great wealth. The man’s wealth has become an idol in his life, and if truly knew the commandments, he would have known that the very first commandment says that we are to have no other gods before the one, true and living God! This man’s ‘god’ was his wealth. Furthermore, Jesus’ exhortation for the man to follow Him was a command to follow the very Son of God, who himself is God. This young man was a slave to his great wealth. When told to give his wealth away and follow Jesus, he goes away saddened.
Jesus now turns to His disciples to teach them the moral of the story. “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” This was shocking to the disciples, who understood the commonly held idea that riches were a sign of God’s blessing on someone with whom He was well pleased. But Jesus is saying that is impossible for a rich man (or any man) to enter the kingdom of God. His disciples understood this because they ask essentially the same question the rich, young ruler asked, but they ask it from the right perspective: “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answers by saying, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Who can be saved? If left up to man alone, no one! Why is being a good person not enough to get you into heaven? Because no one is a ‘good’ person; there is only one who is good, and that is God himself. The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Bible also says that the wages of our sin is death (Romans 6:23a). We learn that while we were in our sinful state, Christ died for the unrighteous (Romans 5:8).
Finally, if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9). This salvation in Christ is a precious gift and it is nothing that we can earn through our good works (Romans 6:23b; Ephesians 2:8–9). The message of the gospel is that we can never be good enough to get to heaven. We must recognize the fact that we are sinners who daily fall short of God’s glory, and we must obey the command to repent of our sins and place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who alone was good enough to earn heaven, and who gives that merit to those who believe in His name.
A remnant is a left-over amount from a larger portion or piece, whether it is food, material from which a garment is fashioned, or even a group of people. Although remnants could be looked upon as worthless scraps, and many times are, God assigned high value to those of His people whom He had set aside for holy purposes, those He labels as “remnants” in several places in the Bible. To begin, in Isaiah 10 the story is told of the Lord’s judgment upon the Assyrians. In Verse 12 God says: “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.” He continues in Verse 17, 18: “The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briars. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields I will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away.”
Continuing, God relates how His people will turn back to Him as a result of this tremendous display of His strength—His utter destruction of most of Assyria: “In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God” (Isaiah 10:20, 21). He goes on to assure the remaining Israelites that they need not fear the Assyrians, for soon He will destroy them.
There are other remnants—those left over from a larger group—in the Bible, even though the word “remnant” isn’t used to describe them. Noah and his family were the remnant saved out of the millions on the earth before the flood (Genesis 6). Only Lot and his two daughters survived the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, a very small remnant indeed (Genesis 19). When Elijah despaired that he was the only one left in Israel who had not bowed down to idols, God assured him that He had reserved a remnant of 7000 “whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 Kings 19).
God’s sovereign choice as to whom He will save and whom He will not can also be seen in the New Testament, as carried through from the Old Testament: “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out His sentence on earth with speed and finality’ ” (Romans 9:27–28). This implies that great multitudes of the Israelites would be cast off. If only a remnant was to be saved, many must be lost, and this was just the point which Paul was endeavoring to establish. While the word “remnant” means what is left, particularly what may remain after a battle or a great calamity, in this verse, it means a small part or portion. Out of the great multitude of the Israelites, there will be so few left as to make it proper to say that it was a mere remnant.
Of course, the most blessed remnant is that of the true Church, the body of Christ, chosen out of the millions who have lived and died over the centuries. Jesus made it clear that this remnant would be small when compared to the number of people on the earth throughout history. “Many” will find the way to eternal destruction, but “few” will find the way to eternal life (Matthew 7:13–14). We who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can, with great peace, rest in the fact that we belong to the “remnant.”
The theory of evolution is false. It is simply not true. Actually, it is just a fairy tale for adults based on ancient pagan religious philosophy that hundreds of millions of people around the world choose to believe with blind faith. When asked to produce evidence for the theory of evolution, most adults in the western world come up totally blank. When pressed, most people will mumble something about how “most scientists believe it” and how that is good enough for them. This kind of anti-intellectualism even runs rampant on our college campuses. If you doubt this, just go to a college campus some time and start asking students why they believe in evolution. Very few of them will actually be able to give you any real reasons why they believe it. Most of them just have blind faith in the priest class in our society (“the scientists”). But is what our priest class telling us actually true? When Charles Darwin popularized the theory of evolution, he didn’t actually have any evidence that it was true. And since then the missing evidence has still not (Read More…)
If you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the “economic collapse”, just open up your eyes and look at what is happening in Europe. The entire continent is a giant economic mess right now. Unemployment and poverty levels are setting record highs, car sales are setting record lows, and there is an ocean of bad loans and red ink everywhere you look. Over the past several years, most of the attention has been on the economic struggles of Greece, Spain and Portugal and without a doubt things continue to get even worse in those nations. But in 2014 and 2015, Italy and France will start to take center stage. France has the 5th largest economy on the planet, and Italy has the 9th largest economy on the planet, and at this point both of those economies are rapidly falling to pieces. Expect both France and Italy to make major headlines throughout the rest of 2014. I have always maintained that the next major wave of the economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening. The following are just a few of the statistics that show that an “economic collapse” is happening in Europe right now… (Read More….)
The fertility rate of women in the United States fell to a record low for the second year in a row in 2012, according to data released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….[view article]
In his latest Blog Essay, “Evolution and the Secular Worldview—The Fury of the Elites on Display,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. comments on the media’s reaction to recent Pew Research polling that indicates most Americans reject naturalistic evolution.
From The New York Times: “In fact, this isn’t only sad; it’s embarrassing.” But Dr. Mohler rightly asks, “To whom?” As always, worldview matters.
Click here to read how Dr. Mohler explains the secular establishment’s exasperation with “extremists” and “denialists” like evangelical Christians.
A new spoken word musical piece from this leading evangelical ecumenical magisterium member. Apprising Ministries has the video clip and more detail here in this new article.
Regeneration and Sanctification
1. What is the first work that the Spirit accomplished in those who are saved?
The work of Regeneration.
2. What is meant by our Regeneration?
Our being born again.
3. What does the Spirit do in the act of Regeneration?
He gives us a new heart, inclined to love and practice holiness.
4. How does Regeneration affect the mind?
It enlightens the mind to understand savingly the Word of God.
5. Is Regeneration necessary to salvation?
Yes, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
6. Are we made perfectly holy in Regeneration?
No, this is only attained in our perfect Sanctification.
7. What is meant by our Sanctification?
It means our being made holy or free from sin.
8. Is such perfection attained in this life?
It is not.
9. What, then, is the Sanctification which we have experienced?
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A. The fifth commandment requires the preserving the Honor, and performing the duties belonging to every one in their various positions and relationships as superiors, (Ephesians 5:21,22, 6:1,5; Romans 13:1) inferiors, (Ephesians 6:9) or equals. (Romans 12:10)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism
by Mike Ratliff
1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2 ESV)
When our Lord went to the cross, he also endured torture and suffering. When we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection on “Easter Sunday” or Resurrection Day, we should do so with much do so with much joy, praise and worship. Why? Without our Lord’s resurrection our faith is empty and worthless. Those of us in Christ have the promise of our own resurrection at some point in the future. But, let’s not forget that before He was resurrected He had to die and before He died He suffered.
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