Daily Archives: January 26, 2014

Questions about Relationships: Premarital Sex—Why Are Christians so Strongly against It?

 

Premarital sex involves any kind of sexual contact prior to entering into a legal marriage relationship. There are a number of reasons why Scripture and traditional Christianity oppose this. God designed sex to be enjoyed within a committed marital relationship. To remove it from that context is to pervert its use and severely limit its enjoyment. Sexual contact involves a level of intimacy not experienced in any other human relationship. When God brought Adam and Eve together in marriage, He established the “one flesh” relationship. Genesis 2:24 tells us that a man will leave his family, join to his wife, and become “one flesh” with her.

This idea is carried through in the New Testament as well; we see it in Jesus’ words in both Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7. Paul elaborates on that idea in 1 Corinthians 6:12–20, in his discussion of God’s lordship over our bodies as well as our souls. He says that when a man has sex with a prostitute, they have become “one body” (verse 16). It’s clear that the sexual relationship, no matter the context, is special. There is a level of vulnerability one experiences in a sexual relationship which should only occur within a committed, trusting, marital union.

There are, in general, two contexts for premarital sex. There is the “we love each other and are committed to each other, but just don’t want to wait to be married” sexual relationship, and there’s “casual sex.” The former is often rationalized with the idea that the couple will surely marry, so there’s no sin in engaging in marital relations now. However, this shows impatience and disrespect to oneself, as well as the other person. It removes the special nature of the relationship from its proper framework, which will erode the idea that there’s a framework at all. If we accept this behavior, it’s not long before we’ll regard any extra-marital sex as acceptable. To tell our prospective mate that they’re worth waiting for strengthens the relationship and increases the commitment level.

Casual sex is rampant in many societies. There is, in truth, no such thing as “casual” sex, because of the depth of intimacy involved in the sexual relationship. An analogy is instructive here. If we take a sticky note and attach it to a piece of paper, it will adhere. If we remove it, it will leave behind a small amount of residue; the longer it remains, the more residue is left. If we take that note and stick it to several places repeatedly, it will leave residue everywhere we stick it, and it will eventually lose its ability to adhere to anything. This is much like what happens to us when we engage in “casual” sex. Each time we leave a sexual relationship, we leave a part of ourselves behind. The longer the relationship has gone on, the more we leave behind, and the more we lose of ourselves. As we go from partner to partner, we continue to lose a tiny bit of ourselves each time, and eventually we may lose our ability to form a lasting sexual relationship at all. The sexual relationship is so strong and so intimate that we cannot enter into it casually, no matter how easy it might seem.

So, is there hope? When a Christian engages in premarital sex, or when one who has lost his/her virginity comes to Christ, the Holy Spirit will convict of the sin, and there will be grief over it. However, it’s important—even vital—to remember that there is no sin beyond the reach of the blood of Jesus. If we confess, He will not only forgive, but will cleanse us from “all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Furthermore, in addition to the forgiveness (which is in itself glorious), God restores. Joel 2:25 tells us that God is able to restore the years that the locust has eaten, and that’s what premarital sex is—a locust that consumes our sense of self, our self-esteem, and our perception of forgiveness. Scripture also tells us that when we come to Christ, we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), so one who engaged in premarital sex prior to conversion is recreated by God into a new person; the old is gone, the new has come.

Finally, we know that, as Christians, we’re being renewed by the Holy Spirit each day we walk with Jesus. Colossians 3:10 tells us that our new self is being renewed day by day after the image of its Creator. There is no sin without hope. The power of the gospel is available to all who trust in Jesus for forgiveness.[1]


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

Questions about Parables: What is the meaning of the Parable of the Two Sons?

 

The Parable of the Two Sons can be found in Matthew 21:28–32. The basic story is of a man with two sons who told them to go work in the vineyard. The first son refused, but later obeyed and went. The second son initially expressed obedience, but actually disobeyed and refused to work in the vineyard. The son who ultimately did the will of his father was the first son because he eventually obeyed. Jesus then likens the first son to tax collectors and prostitutes—the outcasts of Jewish society—because they believed John the Baptist and accepted “the way of righteousness” (v. 32), in spite of their initial disobedience to the Law.

The key interpretive point in understanding the Parable of the Two Sons comes in defining to whom Jesus is speaking. For that we need to look at the overall context of this passage. Matthew chapter 21 begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The whole point of Matthew’s gospel is to show Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. The crowd responds by shouting Hosannas and praises to the King. The King’s first act upon entering Jerusalem is to cleanse the temple (21:12–17). Afterwards, we see Jesus cursing a fig tree (21:18–22). This account may seem an isolated story, but Jesus was making a strong symbolic point. The fig tree is often symbolic of Israel (cf. Hosea 9:10; Joel 1:7). The fact that the fig tree had leaves but no fruit is symbolic of Israel’s religious activity—i.e., all the trappings of spirituality, but no substance. Israel may have had the leaves of activity, but not the fruit of repentance and obedience to God, which is why Jesus tells them the prostitutes and tax collectors will enter the kingdom ahead of them (v. 31).

In Matthew 21:23–27, the religious authorities—the chief priests and elders—question Jesus’ authority. Who is this Jesus who comes into Jerusalem receiving the praises of the masses and drives the moneychangers out of the temple? The stage is set for the showdown. It is in this context that Jesus tells three parables—the Two Sons, the Tenants, and the Wedding Feast. Each of these parables is told to the Jewish religious leaders, each illustrates their rejection of Jesus, and each pronounces judgment on Israel for their rejection of their Messiah. In the Parable of the Two Sons, the leaders of Israel are the second son who claimed obedience, but did not do the will of the father.[1]


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

Questions about the Bible: What Is the Book of Judith?

 

The book of Judith is part of the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical scripture and appears in the Old Testament of Catholic Bibles. The nation of Israel treated the Apocryphal books with respect, but never accepted them as true books of the Hebrew Bible. The early Christian church debated the status of the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals, but few early Christians believed they belonged in the canon of Scripture.

The book of Judith, believed to be written in the late second century or early first century B.C., recounted the story of God providing a woman, Judith, to deliver the Jewish people in a time of great need and despair. This narrative revolves around a beautiful and wise widow living in the town of Bethulia who becomes incensed with her town elders when they ‘test’ God rather than trust Him and decide to capitulate to King Nebuchadnezzar’s top General, Holofernes, to surrender if God does not save them in five days.

Judith feels giving God such a response deadline is arrogant and inappropriate in the extreme. She tells the elders she has a plan but must leave the city for it to be successful. She refuses to divulge any details, departs with her slave woman, and enters Holofernes’s camp on the pretext of providing him help to defeat her fellow Jews.

Holofernes is mesmerized by her beauty and takes her into his camp and company. Her voluptuousness and wiles attract him and lust blinds him to her deceit. Judith manages to get Holofernes alone in his tent when he is excessively drunk. When he passes out, she beheads him, steals away back to Bethulia, displays the result of her intrigue, and becomes the town’s heroine.

This book was believed to be written first in Hebrew, but the Septuagint scripture crafted in Koine Greek was accepted by the Catholic Church for its Bible. St. Jerome, a Catholic priest and apologist (c. A.D. 347–420), was said to produce a text of Judith in Latin from a secondary Aramaic text.

As with the books in the Apocrypha, there are anachronisms, most notably the claim that Nebuchadnezzar ruled over the Assyrian Empire from Nineveh. He actually ruled over Babylonia. Plus, Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Nabopolassar, had destroyed Nineveh years earlier, making this story’s history suspect. However, many view this account as a variation of the Exodus story, where faith in God and reliance on Him for deliverance from fear and protection from harm and evil is what believers must always do. This book is regarded as an appropriate reflection during the Passover celebration.[1]


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

Hobby Lobby May Close All Stores In 41 States Due To Obamacare Abortion Mandate

RELATED STORY: Obama Brags That Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Will Never Stop In America

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s word.

From there, Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest.

Obama’s appetite to shed the blood of helpless, innocent babies is insatiable.

We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage. But now, our government threatens to change all of that.

A new government healthcare mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs.

It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy.
Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running.
Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true.

The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.

So, Hobby Lobby and my family are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult.

The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American and no American business should have to make. The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not except Christian organizations including the Catholic church.

Since you will not see this in the liberal media, please pass this on to all your contacts.

Sincerely,
David Green
CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

As published in USA Today by David Green

Source: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=16202

Santelli Slams Central Bank Policies:

“For a while,” Santelli calmly explains, the fairy-dust commercial planners (Central banks) “at least for a while, made everything seem like it could work.” However, with “no excess margin in the system,” emerging-market-cannonball-driven ripples in the global pool of liquidity are a major problem. Slamming those who argue ‘taper is small’ or ‘Argentina doesn’t matter’; the ever-increasing central-bank-inspired interconnectedness means “the market is realizing in a hurry,” as we have warned numerous times, “these [central bank] programs can’t go on forever,”

Add to this, Santelli notes, that even the central bank architects of the (faux market) buildings (e.g. BoE’s Carney) no longer want to live in these buildings… and problems lie ahead…

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Did Jesus Die for All or for Only the Elect? Two Theologians Debate

For whom did Jesus die? For the sins of the entire humanity or only for the elect? This was the topic of a live debate between Messianic Jewish apologist Dr. Michael L. Brown and Alpha and Omega Ministries Director Dr. James White on RevelationTV.com Friday evening.

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Experts Weigh in on Robert Jeffress’ Remarks That Obama’s Policies ‘Pave the Way’ for Antichrist

Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas continues to garner attention for his view that President Barack Obama’s policies will lead to the rise of the Antichrist.

As Jeffress gathers headlines from media online and offline, a couple biblical scholars have weighed in on the controversial claim.

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Herescope: The PASSION of the PRESENCE (& the Purpose of the Passion) – IHOP

 

Exhibit 1: IHOP’s One Thing Conference 2013*
 I went to a John Wimber workshop…. He said he sees the next 20 to 30 years as the time when more signs and wonders will be done than ever in history and when the secular media will be overwhelmed and have to report it every day as great revival spreads.
– John Piper[1]

Now we come full circle to Francis Chan’s appearance along with the aforementioned Jesus Culture at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) Young Adult Conference 2013 One Thing, which just wrapped up Tuesday, December 31st…. In my opinion IHOP is using Francis Chan’s comments at One Thing as propaganda in order to borrow Chan’s credibility within the wider evangelical community and promote their leader Mike Bickle.  How foolish of Francis Chan to just gush enthusiastically:

“I go, man, there’s a lot of great things going on [at IHOP].
And today was the first time I ever met Mike Bickle.
And, I love that guy. I do.
…there’s people who told me not to hang out with him.
“Like, you know, words like “creepy” came up.
And yet, I get to know this guy and I’m going,
“Man, I love his heart.
And I just want to publicly say I love Mike Bickle.
(0:18-0:50)[2]
The children are the best of all the generations that have ever been upon the face of the earth…. those ELECTED SEEDS that will glorify Christ in the last days… they will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever been in the Bible – They’ll move in it consistently… they themselves will be that generation that’s raised up to put death itself underneath their feet… a church that has reached the full maturity of the god-man!
– Mike Bickle & Bob Jones[3]

IHOP In An Era of Celebrity-Driven Christianity 
Evangelical leaders are currently rushing to associate themselves with major youth events that are becoming increasingly popular in the Christian world. These mass youth rallies were developed over the course of several decades by Mike Bickle’s IHOP (International House of Prayer) movement, which is interconnected to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). IHOP and the NAR share both personnel and doctrine, with roots that go back into the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God cult.[4] Previously we have extensively documented the history of the camaraderie of IHOP and NAR.[5]

This rapidly rising youth movement in evangelicaldom is characterized by its emphasis on generating fervent passion. Why are evangelical leaders rushing onto this bandwagon? Why are Francis Chan, John Piper, Matt Chandler  and other prominent teachers placing themselves on center stage (literally) of these IHOP-orchestrated mass rallies?[6]  Superficially, one might assume that it is merely for the immediate stardom and pizzazz that comes with such celebrity status in a youth event rocking with fervor, bright lighting, and loud acclamations.[7] What an ego trip! But is it conceivable that these leaders also happen to agree with some of the IHOP doctrine? After all, it is impossible to separate the activities at these youth events without encountering the foundational beliefs that give rise to them.

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Exhibit 2: Francis Chan with Mike Bickle at One Thing 2013