Daily Archives: January 21, 2014

Why should a church practice church discipline?

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

church disciplineWhat would you think of a coach who instructs his players but never drills them? Or a math teacher who explains the lesson but never corrects her students’ mistakes? Or a doctor who talks about health but ignores cancer?

What is corrective church discipline? Church discipline is the process of correcting sin in the life of the congregation and its members. This can mean correcting sin through a private word of admonition. And it can mean correcting sin by formally removing an individual from membership. Church discipline can be done in any number of ways, but the goal is always to correct transgressions of God’s law among God’s people…

As a church moves toward practicing church discipline, it will often find itself facing real-life situations that are complex and have no exact “case-study” in Scripture to help it sift through the various layers of circumstances. It will not always be…

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Still More Driscoll-ian Plagiarisms Come to Light

Zwinglius Redivivus

Warren Throckmorton writes

In addition to issues already raised about Mark & Grace Driscoll’s book, Real Marriage, I have found other instances where material was not cited, cited with errors, or recycled from other books. Today, I want to examine pages 115-117 fromReal Marriage.  First I provide the sentence from the Driscolls’ book and then the apparent source. The sentences in Real Marriage are provided in the order they are written in the book. I have provided screen caps of 2012 Real Marriage and Leland Ryken’s 1986 book Worldly Saints at the end of this post. Much of this material appears to come from Ryken’s book without citation. Other books are also used without citation which I point out below.

Driscoll has a real problem with ethics.  I.e., he lacks them.

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12 Unborn Animals in The Womb You Have to See to Believe

Life News has several pictures of pre-born creatures on their site.

These images were created for a National Geographic special called In The Womb: Animals by Producer Peter Chinn. He used a combination of ultrasound technology, tiny cameras, and computer design to create these incredible images that replicate what fetal animals look like. This is an incredible window into the womb (or egg as the case may be), laying bare the mysteries of the beginning of life,” the group adds.

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Why no “killer” verses against charismaticism?

A lazy resting-place for the would-be propper-up of continusmaticism is to demand a single verse that states,  in so many words, “When John dies, the following gifts cease:…” Absent such a verse, the theological sluggard claims victory and goes back to his careening sleepwalk.

Like most (all?) questions, this one has been answered often from various angles. I wanted to have a specific post with this particular answer, so I reached back over seven years to this post, then this one, for the following excerpts slightly edited.

The Tragic 41st Anniversary of Roe vs Wade

The Domain for Truth

Baby in womb

Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that open the flood gates for abortions in America that has brought about millions of death was passed on January 22nd 1973.

This year it will be the forty first anniversary of this tragedy.

I’m praying that our country would repent and turn to Him before it’s too late in light of God’s impending wrath against sin.

This short video makes me realize that the Good News, that Jesus Christ the Son of God came to save sinners, is not beyond anybody if they repent and trust in Him while they are still breathing.  Even for abortionists and those who committed abortions or supports abortion.

Even for “Roe.”

While this video doesn’t go over much details of how she became a Christian, nevertheless it’s amazing to see God saving sinners.

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Obtaining Saving Faith

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 The truth of God should be spoken simply, with as little as possible of the embellishments of metaphysics, and philosophy, and high culture, and all that stuff. I say the word of God delivered as we find it is that […]

NoCo: Piper, Chan and… Berea?

Chan Piper Berea

by Hariton Deligiannides, head of the elder board of Bethlehem Bible Church

The sign read BEPEA(Ve′ – re- a), Greek for Berea. The year was 1999. I was visiting my home country. As I drove by the sign, all I could think of was…

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

Acts 17:11

Where are the Bereans today? Where are those examining the Scriptures to see if these things are so?

On January 17-18, John Piper was one of the key note speakers at Passion 2014, in Atlanta GA. The other speakers on the ticket were Christine Caine, Hillsong Church Australia and Francis Chan, who loves founder of IHOP, Mike Bickle (Kansas City Prophets).

On February 14-15, Piper will be at the Linger Conference with another IHOP guy, Stephen Venable, who promotes Contemplative Prayer.

Piper is a Reformed continuationist because he believes in the apostolic gifts for today. Many look at Piper and Chan and say, “Well, they are godly, Christlike men whose ministries have blessed me, so why make a big deal out of their association with charismatic groups like IHOP?”

Here are 3 dangers that show why it IS a big deal.

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The Role of the Law as Schoolmaster

“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law” (Galatians 3:21). The law does not oppose the promises of God because a man could never attain to righteousness by his own efforts […]

Questions about Life Decisions: What Does the Bible Say about Organ Donation?

 

The Bible does not specifically address the issue of organ transplantation. Obviously, organ transplants would have been unknown in Bible times. However, there are verses that illustrate broad principles that may apply. One of the most compelling arguments for organ donation is the love and compassion such an act demonstrates toward others. The mandate to “love your neighbor” was stated by Jesus (Matthew 5:43), Paul (Romans 13:9), and James (James 2:8), but it can actually be traced all the way back to Leviticus 19:18. From the earliest days in the Old Testament, God’s people were commanded to demonstrate a love for God as well as for their neighbors. Being willing to donate an organ from our own bodies would seem to be an extreme example of selfless sacrifice for another.

We have the utmost example of this in the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made as He gave up His body for all of humanity. John summed up the command well when he wrote, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). As Jesus was trying to convey this message of unconditional love for others, He spoke of caring for the hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35–46). He went on to clarify: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Jesus also used the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37) to teach that we, as Christians, are to be kind and to show love toward everyone. If a practice or procedure is not contradictory to biblical principles, then it should be considered permissible and can be supported by faithful Christians.

Some people view organ donation as the ultimate form of mutilating the human body. Frequently, passages such as 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 are used to defend the idea that organs should not be harvested from a person’s body. As stewards of God’s creation, we should treat our bodies with respect, and abstain from whatever is deleterious to them. However, when Paul wrote those words to the Christians at Corinth, he stated: “Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (v. 20), indicating this was something that was to be carried out while the individual was still living. In the apostle’s second letter to the church at Corinth, he reminded them: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (5:1). One of the biggest concerns among Christians is the concept that the entire body needs to be present and preserved in some fashion for the resurrection. Therefore, many Christians are reluctant to donate organs because they believe that resurrection itself requires a “complete” body. However, when God was handing out punishments at the Garden of Eden, He told Adam, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). Thus, God said that one day our earthly bodies would return to the soil.

Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, provided some insight as to the difference between the physical body at death (which may be disposed of in a variety of ways), and the spiritual body of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:35–49). He used the analogy of the difference between a seed and the product of that seed to illustrate the difference between the earthly body and the resurrected body. He then went on to comment: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (v. 44). If we believe that the bodies raised at the resurrection represent simply a “reoccupation” of our earthly bodies, then we possess a false concept of our resurrection as presented in the Bible. We are told that the earthly body, “that of flesh and blood,” will not enter into the heavenly inheritance (1 Corinthians 15:50). Based on these facts, Christians should not fear or reject organ donation merely in an attempt to keep the physical body intact for the resurrection.

Additional thoughts on organ donation and organ harvesting
The legitimate argument against organ donation arises from the process of organ harvesting. There is nothing ethically wrong in recovering organs from the dead, but most successful organ transplants require that any prospective organs be kept alive with blood and oxygen flowing through them until they are removed from the body. This dilemma is troublesome, because we cannot, and must not, support the termination of life in favor of organ donation. The medical profession has traditionally used cessation of heart and lung activity to mark the point of death. Medical technology had progressed to a point where it is possible to sustain (via a respirator) heart and lung activity for days or even weeks after a patient had irreversibly lost all brain function. There has been a push in some medical circles to harvest organs when the patient has lost higher brain functions but is still alive. In 1994, the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association (AMA) issued its updated opinion that it is “ethically permissible” to use babies born without higher brain functions as organ donors.

As Christians, we can support organ donation only in those cases in which death has been determined by every criteria, “including complete loss of brain function,” rather than just by one or two criteria. God forbids intentional killing (James 2:10–11); thus, we must carefully determine, in light of God’s Word, whether a respirator is simply oxygenating a corpse or sustaining a living human being. Then we must act accordingly. Since most transplants come from donors who have been declared neurologically dead, it is important that we fully understand the criteria the medical profession is using to define brain death. Only when a patient is determined to be irreversibly and completely brain dead should he or she be considered a candidate for organ donation.[1]


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

Questions about God: Does God Killing People Make Him a Murderer?

 

The Old Testament records God killing multitudes of people, and some people want to believe this makes Him a murderer. The misconception that “killing” and “murder” are synonymous is partially based on the King James mistranslation of the sixth commandment, which reads, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). However, the word kill is a translation of the Hebrew word ratsach, which nearly always refers to intentional killing without cause. The correct rendering of this word is “murder,” and all modern translations render the command as “You shall not murder.” The Bible in Basic English best conveys its meaning: “Do not put anyone to death without cause.”

It is true that God has intentionally killed many people. (God never “accidentally” does anything.) In fact, the Bible records that He literally wiped out entire nations including women, children, cattle, etc. In addition to that, God killed every living creature upon the face of the earth with the exception of eight people and the animals on the ark (Genesis 7:21–23; 1 Peter 3:20). Does this make Him a murderer?

As already stated, to kill and to murder are different things. Murder is “the premeditated, unlawful taking of a life,” whereas killing is, more generally, “the taking of a life.” The same Law that forbids murder permits killing in self-defense (Exodus 22:2).

In order for God to commit murder, He would have to act “unlawfully.” We must recognize that God is God. “His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4; see also Psalm 11:7; 90:9). He created man and expects obedience (Exodus 20:4–6; Exodus 23:21; 2 John 1:6). When man takes it upon himself to disobey God, he faces God’s wrath (Exodus 19:5; Exodus 23:21–22; Leviticus 26:14–18). Furthermore, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If [man] does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready” (Psalm 7:11–12).

Some would argue that executing the innocent is murder; thus, when God wipes out whole cities, He is committing murder. However, nowhere in Scripture can we find where God killed “innocent” people. In fact, compared to God’s holiness, there is no such thing as an “innocent” person. All have sinned (Romans 3:23), and the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23a). God has “just cause” to wipe us all out; the fact that He doesn’t is proof of His mercy.

When God chose to destroy all mankind in the Flood, He was totally justified in doing so: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

During the conquest of Canaan, God ordered the complete destruction of entire cities and nations: “But of the cities of these peoples which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the LORD your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 20:16–17). And Joshua did what God had told him (Joshua 10:40).

Why did God give such a command? Israel was God’s instrument of judgment against the Canaanites, who were evil, almost beyond what we can imagine today: “Every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:31). Their utter annihilation was commanded to prevent Israel from following their ways: “Lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 20:18; also Deuteronomy 12:29–30).

Even in the dire judgments of the Old Testament, God offered mercy. For example, when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, God promised Abraham that He would spare the whole city in order to save ten righteous people there. Though God did destroy those cities (ten righteous people could not be found), He saved “righteous Lot” and his family (Genesis 18:32; Genesis 19:15; 2 Peter 2:7). Later, God destroyed Jericho, but He saved Rahab the harlot and her family in response to Rahab’s faith (Joshua 6:25; Hebrews 11:31). Until the final judgment, there is always mercy to be found.

Every person dies in God’s own time (Hebrews 9:27; Genesis 3:19). Jesus holds the keys of death (Revelation 1:18). Does the fact that everyone experiences physical death make God a “killer”? In the sense that He could prevent all death, yes. He allows us to die. But He is no murderer. Death is part of the human experience because we brought it into the world ourselves (Romans 5:12). One day, as John Donne put it, “Death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.” God, in His grace, has conquered death for those who are in Christ, and one day that truth will be fully realized: “The last enemy to be subdued and abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26).

God is faithful to His word. He will destroy the wicked, and He holds “the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment” (2 Peter 2:9). But He has also promised that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).[1]

 


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

Questions about the Church: What Does the Bible Say about the Role of Senior Pastor?

 

Concerning the role of the pastor, the Bible says a great deal. The primary terms that describe the role of the pastor are “elder,” “bishop,” and “teacher” (1 Timothy 3:1–13). “Elder,” or episkopos (from which we get our word episcopal) refers to the oversight of the believers, and it involves teaching, preaching, caring, and exercising authority where needed. The elder also serves in the church as leader and teacher. In Titus 1:5–9, Paul urges Titus to “appoint elders in every city.” They will teach and lead the congregation in their spiritual development. Also, in 1 Peter 5:1–4, Peter addresses his “fellow elders” and tells them to “be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve” (v. 2).

So concerning the role of senior pastor the Bible doesn’t address that title specifically. It has come into existence as the church has grown and required additional staff. The title of senior pastor refers to the person who primarily leads the church, generally doing the majority of the preaching and teaching in the pulpit at the services and overseeing the administration of the church. Some larger churches may even have an executive pastor who oversees the day-to-day operation of the church, while the senior pastor then would be responsible for working with the church board, along with the preaching, teaching, and counseling ministries that go with the role of pastor.

Every church, whether large or small, needs a pastor who will shepherd, lead, feed, and guide the people to spiritual growth and service for the Lord Jesus. In larger churches, a senior pastor often shepherds the pastoral team in addition to shepherding the congregation. As a result, a senior pastor should be held to an even higher standard of agreement to 1 Timothy 3:1–13 and Titus 1:6–9 than other pastoral roles.[1]

 


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

The $23 Trillion Credit Bubble In China Is Starting To Collapse – Global Financial Crisis Next?

Did you know that financial institutions all over the world are warning that we could see a “mega default” on a very prominent high-yield investment product in China on January 31st? We are being told that this could lead to a cascading collapse of the shadow banking system in China which could potentially result in “sky-high interest rates” and “a precipitous plunge in credit”. In other words, it could be a “Lehman Brothers moment” for Asia. And since the global financial system is more interconnected today than ever before, that would be very bad news for the United States as well. Since Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, the level of private domestic credit in China has risen from $9 trillion to an astounding $23 trillion. That is an increase of $14 trillion in just a little bit more than 5 years. Much of that “hot money” has flowed into stocks, bonds and real estate in the United States. So what do you think is going to happen when that bubble collapses? (Read More….)

If He Was Around Today, Thomas Jefferson Would Be Considered A Tea Party Extremist

Thomas Jefferson was radically anti-tax, pro-gun and anti-central bank. He loved precious metals, he openly acknowledged a “Creator” and he wanted to add an amendment to the Constitution which would ban the federal government from going into debt. If he was around today, he would be considered a “nutjob”, an “extremist”, a “fascist” and even a “potential terrorist“. But of course Jefferson was none of those things. Rather, Jefferson was a great thinker, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and our third President. Below, I have shared a list of 13 famous Jefferson quotes (13 for the 13 colonies that originally founded America) that show just how far America has fallen away from our founding principles. I think that most of you will be very shocked when you read this list… (Read More…..)

Radiation levels at Fukushima plant increases to 800% of government standard

The largely government-owned Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) admitted that radiation levels had elevated to an estimated 8 millisieverts per year (mSv/y) outside of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in December.

This greatly eclipses the Japanese government-set limit of 1 mSv/y, put in place as part of the officially-sanctioned reactor decommissioning plan for the disaster-stricken nuclear plant as a safety measure to diminish the level of harmful effects on the surrounding areas so that the exclusion zone can eventually be lifted.

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Federal Court: Bloggers Have Same First Amendment Rights As Journalists

There was an important decision last week in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which a panel ruled that bloggers are entitled to the same protections as journalists. The decision is in sharp contrast to the view of Senator Dianne Feinstein and Obama Administration officials who have fought against such protections for bloggers in a new federal shield law….

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White House Seeks to Bypass Congress on Iran Deal

The White House has been exploring ways to circumvent Congress and unilaterally lift sanctions on Iran once a final nuclear agreement is reached, according to sources with knowledge of White House conversations and congressional insiders familiar with its strategy.

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Confirmed: U.S. Chief Facilitator of Christian Persecution

According to the recently released 2014 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted, Syria is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Iraq is fourth, Afghanistan fifth, and Libya 13th. All four countries receive the strongest designation, “extreme persecution” (other designations are “severe,” “moderate,” and “sparse” persecution). Aside from being so closely and harshly ranked, these four nations have something else in common: heavy U.S. involvement.

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Fear Is Mounting On Wall Street That The Fed Will ‘Fall Behind The Curve’ Like In 1994

In 1994, the Fed began hiking interest rates under the leadership of Alan Greenspan. The bond market wasn’t expecting it. There is growing concern on Wall Street that there may be less slack in the job market than the Federal Reserve perceives, leading to a scenario where the central bank finds itself “behind the curve” with regard to winding down unprecedented levels of extraordinary monetary stimulus as inflation returns.

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