Daily Archives: January 30, 2014

Syria has given up only 5% of chemical weapons, sources say. Could it wind up in al-Qaeda’s hands?

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

In 2013, a U.S. and Allied military attack on Syria was averted at the last moment by a Russian-negotiated deal. The Assad regime promised to disclose all of its WMD sites and have U.N. weapons inspectors remove 100% of Syria’s chemical weapons on a specific timetable.

But months after the deal was struck, Reuters reports that Syria has only given up 5% of its stockpile, and will miss yet another critical deadline.

Meanwhile, the danger remains that al Qaeda or other Radical jihadist forces could seize some of the chemical weapons.

Let’s pray that doesn’t happen, and leave that for a future political thriller. But here are the latest details.

Excerpts from a Reuters story:

  • “Syria has given up less than 5 percent of its chemical weapons arsenal and will miss next week’s deadline to send all toxic agents abroad for destruction, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
  • The deliveries, in…

View original post 316 more words

Six reasons why you should believe in non-physical minds

WINTERY KNIGHT

(Podcast uploaded, with permission, by ReligioPolitical Talk)

This podcast is a must-listen. Please take the time to download this podcast and listen to it. I guarantee that you will love this podcast. I even recommended it to my Dad and I almost never do that.

Details:

In this podcast, J. Warner examines the evidence for the existence of the mind (and inferentially, the soul) as he looks at six classic philosophical arguments. Jim also briefly discusses Thomas Nagel’s book, Mind and Cosmos and discusses the limitations of physicalism.

The MP3 file is here. (67 MB, 72 minutes)

Topics:

  • Atheist Thomas Nagel’s latest book “Mind and Cosmos” makes the case that materialism cannot account for the evidence of mental phenomena
  • Nagel writes in this recent New York Times article that materialism cannot account for the reality of consciousness, meaning, intention and purpose
  • Quote from the Nagel article:

Even…

View original post 723 more words

What Are We Missing In Our Worship?

I love my church and I love gathering with God’s people to worship together in our particular church. However, I also love the opportunity that vacations afford for visiting other churches. Observing how they worship, experiencing church as a visitor, sitting under someone else’s preaching, and not thinking about a service that I am responsible for has, many times, challenged, encouraged, and even refreshed me.

However, having said this, I often miss an element of the service when visiting other churches that I have come to love more and more. It is an element that has a long history in the worship of the church. It is pastorally sensitive, encourages the believer, exhorts the unbeliever, and is entirely biblical. Yet, for all that, I find that it has become “a spin of the roulette wheel” as to whether the church I am visiting will have it in their service or not. I have worshipped at Baptist, Presbyterian, Reformed, and Independent churches that don’t have it, while I have been to others that do. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the church has a traditional, liturgical, blended, or contemporary service–some will have it and some won’t. I would suggest that no matter what Evangelical Christian church we attend, whether Baptist or Presbyterian, traditional or contemporary, we should expect to see it. What is it? A confession of sin and an assurance of pardoning grace that accompanies it.

I wouldn’t expect to find a confession of sin in the order of worship at Joel Osteen’s church. I wouldn’t expect to find it in a Unitarian church. In those places everyone is “alright.” Sin is that negative thing that fundamentalists are always harping about. But I do expect to find it in the average gospel-proclaiming Christian church. Why should it be in our services? Because we love the gospel, we want to remind ourselves of it, and we want to encourage joyful worship.

We love the gospel, so there is an odd sense in which we should relish confessing our sins. We don’t wallow in our sin, enjoy it, or are proud of it—just the opposite. It is something we want to be far from. It is our enemy and grieves us. But we relish confessing it, because we love the gospel. The gospel is good news, because we are sinners. No sin, no gospel. Not recognizing our sin while worshipping a holy God, at the very least, takes away from the proclamation of the gospel.

We should also want to confess our sins weekly in corporate worship, because it is a good reminder. We need to be reminded weekly that not only were we sinners, but we still are sinners. We not only needed the gospel when we were dead in our sins (Eph. 2), but still need the gospel now. A church that recognizes the depth of its sin is a church that is wading into the deep end of the Gospel of grace. An individual worshipper who approaches a holy God by confessing their sin is engaging in biblical worship (i.e. Isaiah 6, Rev. 1, etc.). I need it weekly and so do you! This doesn’t mean that it has to look the same way week-in and week-out. We could sing our confession (i.e. Psalm 51), read a psalm responsively, recite the Ten Commandments, silently confess after each, join our heart with the pastor’s voice as he leads in corporate confession, include it in the pastoral prayer, or have a directed confession of sin. The form can vary, but the element should be there.

We also want to confess our sins weekly in corporate worship, because when we don’t we miss out on one of the most powerful encouragements and joyful moments of gathering together: the assurance of God’s pardoning grace. If we aren’t confessing sin, then there is no place for the assurance of pardon in our services. And, oh, how we rob ourselves if it isn’t present! What joy ought to erupt from the hearts of God’s people when we hear the words of assurance; How lively it should make our praise in song! I need the reminder each and every week, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1), “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are read like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18), “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We are Gospel people, so we are a confessing people–quick to recognize our sin and quick to receive the assurance of God’s grace in Christ Jesus. We need it not only in our closets, but also in our gatherings. We need it not only in the past, but also in the present. We need it not only sporadically, but weekly. We all need it. The flippant Christian needs to be reminded each week. The sluggard needs to be exhorted each week. The weary one needs to be comforted each week. The doubting soul needs to be assured each week. The unrepentant heart needs to be confronted each week. I need it each week. The people under our care need it each week. We need it together. Whether our service is Presbyterian, Baptist, or Independent, traditional, contemporary, or blended, it should have this element. For Christian worship, a confession of sin with its accompanying assurance of pardon is elemental.

Source

GAME-CHANGER: U.S. intelligence assessment says Iran can now build and deliver nukes. Now what?

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

(Washington, D.C.) — In a game-changing development, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence delivered Senate testimony on Wednesday stating that the Iranian regime has all the scientific and technical information, industrial infrastructure and practical know-how to build nuclear weapons. The Director said Iran also has ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads against regional actors, including Israel, and is developing long-range missiles capable of hitting the United States.

The long-expected and long-feared news does not mean Iran has operational nuclear weapons yet — at least U.S. intelligence doesn’t think they have them yet — but Washington now believes that once the Ayatollah makes the political decision to build them his scientists and engineers will be fully able to carry out his orders.

The sobering news comes one day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the P5+1 deal with Iran merely set back the Iranian nuclear weapons program by six weeks.

“Although there are…

View original post 804 more words

How to Recognize a Spirit-Filled Church

SpiritFilledChurch advertisements can be interesting. I’ve seen things like, “Always an open door,” one that advertised a concealed weapons class, and “You have a friend request from Jesus: Accept? Ignore?” But one that confused me the first time I saw it was “Spirit-filled.” What does that mean? And are only some churches Spirit-filled? Or all of them? Or partially filled? What’s the difference between a Spirit-filled and non-Spirit-filled church?

Generally, the advertisement means that the Holy Spirit’s power and presence are observable in that local church. Praise God if that’s true. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with such advertising. But, assuming accurate advertising, what ought we expect from such a church? What will that look like?

 

Here are 11 evidences of the Spirit’s power and presence in a local church:

Read more

Authentic Fire Review – Part 4 – Review of Chapter 3

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

So far in my co-review of Authentic Fire with Fred Butler, I’ve reviewed the preface and chapter 1, and Fred has review chapter 2.  Now, we’re taking a look at chapter 3!

Let’s get going…but first:

Kenny Loggins?

Check.

Blue Sash?

Blue Sash

Check.

Lamb that looks like it’s wearing ugg boots?

LambLeaping

Check.

Check!

Okay.  Now there’s no way this could be misinterpreted as unloving!

View original post 4,721 more words

Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: What Is the Genetic Fallacy?

 

A genetic fallacy is an illogical argument for or against an idea based on the origin of the idea. An example is, “It will rain on Tuesday because my father said so.” The speaker’s father may be a good man and a good father, but it doesn’t necessarily translate that he knows for certain what the weather will be like some time in the future. Conversely, a negative example would be, “Easter is bad because it started as a pagan holiday.” While elements of Easter do, indeed, include pagan symbols such as rabbits and eggs, it’s certainly not a bad thing to set aside a day to corporately remember Jesus’ resurrection.

The genetic fallacy in regard to religion refers to the argument that a person’s faith is irrelevant because they most likely learned that faith from their parents. The argument claims that because the primary determinant of a person’s religion is exposure to that religion as a child, and not comprehensive, logical research, a person’s faith is immaterial and false.

The problem with an argument based on genetic fallacy is that the truth of a statement is in no way based on the origin of the concept. A philosophical or theological concept is true or it is not; it does not matter how a person came to believe the concept or who, in the past, held that concept to be true.

At the same time, the genetic fallacy in religion bears consideration because people should not blindly follow a religion merely because it is the religion of their parents. Each individual is responsible for his/her own beliefs and relationship with God. Although a faith learned in childhood is not necessarily false, it is also not necessarily true. Believers should always study the scriptures (Acts 17:11) and be able to give an account as to why they believe (1 Peter 3:15), apart from family tradition.[1]

 


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

Questions about Eternity: What Is Eternal Death?

 

In short, eternal death is the fate that awaits all people who ultimately reject God, reject the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, and remain in their sin and disobedience. Physical death is a one-time experience. Eternal death, on the other hand, is everlasting. It is a death that continues through eternity, a spiritual death that is experienced on a continual basis. Just as spiritual life, by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9) is everlasting life, eternal death is never-ending.

The most important question to be answered is “Does the Bible teach the doctrine of eternal death?” If the Bible doesn’t teach eternal death, then we can pack up and go home because there is no further debate on the issue. God’s Word, the Bible, is the infallible rule of faith and practice, and as such we must believe and teach only what it clearly teaches, and the Bible clearly teaches the doctrine of eternal death. We can point to several passages that explicitly state this, but for our purposes, only three will be needed, one from the Old Testament and two from the New.

•     And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2 ESV)

•     And [the wicked] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:46 ESV)

•     And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15 ESV). In verse 10, we are told that the Lake of Fire burns “forever and ever.”

All three of these passages (and more could have been added) have as their main context the scene of final judgment. In other words, when Christ returns, three things will occur: 1) The general resurrection of “the living and the dead;” 2) the final judgment; and 3) the inauguration of the eternal state. Each of these passages demonstrates that during the final judgment of all people, Jesus will separate the righteous from the wicked. The righteous will be ushered into the final state of glory, while the wicked will be sent to the lake of fire for eternal punishment and torment. Note too (particularly in the Daniel and Matthew passages) that the same adjective (“everlasting” or “eternal”) is used to modify both “life” and “punishment/contempt.” What is true about one (life) must be true about the other (punishment), that both are eternal and last forever.

The doctrine of eternal death is not a popular doctrine to teach or proclaim. To do so often opens one up to scorn and ridicule. However, we must not let that detract us from what the Bible so clearly teaches; namely, that due to our being born in sin and trespasses, we are under the just condemnation of God for our sin. If we do not embrace the saving message of Jesus Christ, we will perish in our sin and trespasses and be under God’s just judgment for our sin—eternal death. This is a sobering doctrine and requires the utmost care and compassion in its presentation.[1]


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

Questions about Christianity: What Is the Southern Baptist Convention and What Do Southern Baptists Believe?

 

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is an association comprised of over 16 million members in over 42,000 churches in the United States. Individual church membership is typically a matter of accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior and submitting to believer’s baptism by immersion. The SBC is considered to be an evangelistic, mission-minded church with a generally conservative doctrine which focuses on the fact that Jesus died for our sin, was buried, and then rose from the grave and ascended to Heaven. Unlike some other denominations, the churches in the Southern Baptist Convention generally identify themselves as independent, autonomous congregations which have voluntarily joined together for mutual support.

The Southern Baptist Convention got its start in 1845, in the turmoil that led to the Civil War. As with the war itself, there were many factors that led to the division between North and South, but the headline issue for the church was slavery. Following the great revivals of the early 1800s, many Baptist churches in the northern states took a strong stand for the abolition of slavery. Though the Triennial Convention attempted to mediate the issue by establishing a non-committal policy on slavery, the southern churches felt slighted in the national meeting, and formed their own convention at the First Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia. Though they differed on the issue of slavery, the Southern Baptists and Northern Baptists essentially held the same doctrines following the split. One key distinction in practice was the cooperative movement in the Southern Baptist Convention. Whereas the Northern Baptists maintained their independence, the Southern Baptists formed a cooperative body to support world missions and other causes. These cooperative efforts were directed by the central administration rather than the churches.

In forming the denomination, Southern Baptists wanted to maintain the autonomy of the local churches while creating an alliance of churches working in friendly cooperation. The denomination does not ordain ministers, assign pastoral positions, or mandate contributions, as these decisions rightly belong to the local churches. The primary goal of the denomination is to identify with like-minded churches and pool resources to establish and advance the work of the Gospel. The “convention” lasts for 2 days each year, as messengers elected from the various churches gather together to address issues of doctrine and practice which impact the churches. The messengers develop and vote on resolutions which are then delivered back to the churches as recommended practices, but there is no authority to force churches into compliance.

Throughout their history, the Southern Baptists have seen the same kind of struggles with liberalism and modernism that many other churches have. From its founding, the Southern Baptist Convention was more concerned with functional unity than doctrinal unity, and as a result, there was a wide divergence of beliefs within the churches of the denomination. In the 1950s, liberalism began to increase in the seminaries, resulting in many students doubting the truthfulness of the Bible. In the 1963 convention, the Baptist Faith and Message was written to try and “keep the peace” between liberals and conservatives, but the schism continued to grow. Conservative members sought to uphold the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, which is authoritative in every area of life (2 Timothy 3:16). More liberal members questioned the historical accuracy of certain sections of Scripture, such as the creation account of Genesis 1 and 2. Convention members who held to conservative doctrinal views saw the danger and prepared a statement in 1979 which emphasized the need for doctrinal unity within functional diversity.

Starting in the 1980s, there has been a conservative “takeover” or resurgence within the leadership of the convention. In 1995, the convention approved a resolution renouncing its racist past, and apologizing for its past defense of slavery. In 2000, the Baptist Faith and Message was revised to reflect support for a male-only pastorate, and instructing women to exhibit loving submission to their husbands. As a result of these and other conservative decisions, there have been a number of churches and groups which have separated and formed their own associations or joined other associations. In 2004, the SBC removed itself from the Baptist World Alliance, which it said had become too liberal.

Overall, Southern Baptist churches are good, strong, biblically-based churches. As with any church denomination or association, though, there can be bad churches and/or bad pastors. Just as you should with any other church, sincerely ask God to lead you to the church of His choosing for you. Carefully examine the teachings and practices of a church before officially joining it.[1]


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

How did Harry Reid become a multi-millionaire having spent most of his working life in politics?

Senators are paid well, but they have significant expenses too. How Harry Reid has become such a rich man while in the Senate is a question worth exploring. The Washington Times is poking around..

Read More

28 Points Of Comparison Between 1970s America And America Today – Which Do You Think Is Better?

If you could go back and live in America during the 1970s would you do it? Has the United States become a better place to live over the past 40 years or have things gotten worse? Without a doubt there are arguments that can be made both ways. For example, who really wants to go back to a time when you actually had to “dial” a phone or rewind a cassette tape in order to find your favorite song? On the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice to live at a time when virtually everyone could find a good job, when television was not so filthy and when you didn’t have to worry about locking your front door at night? Some would say that we have come a long way in 40 years. Others lament how far we have fallen. (Read More…)

32 Statistics That Obama Neglected To Mention During The State Of The Union Address

Show this article to anyone that believes that the economy has actually improved under Barack Obama. On Tuesday evening, Barack Obama once again attempted to convince all of us that things have gotten better while he has been in the White House. He quoted a few figures, used some flowery language and made a whole bunch of new promises. And even though he has failed to follow through on his promises time after time, millions upon millions of Americans continue to believe him. In fact, you can find a list of 82 unfulfilled promises from his previous State of the Union addresses right here. Soon we will have even more to add to that collection. At this point, you have to wonder if Obama even believes half the stuff that he is saying. Of course it is extremely unlikely that he is going to come out and admit that he has failed and that he has been lying to us this whole time, but without a doubt the gap between reality and what he is saying to the public is becoming ridiculously huge. To say that his credibility is “strained” would be a massive understatement. No, things have not been getting better in America. In fact, they continue to get even worse. The following are 32 statistics that Obama neglected to mention during the State of the Union address… (Read More….)

If 3 Inches Of Snow Can Cause This Much Chaos In Atlanta, What Will Economic Collapse Look Like?

This week, three inches of snow “paralyzed” the ninth-largest city in the United States, and the highways of Atlanta “resembled a scene in a post-apocalyptic world” according to national news reports. Hundreds of cars were abandoned on the side of the road, people were spending the night in churches and grocery stores, and many walked for hours in a desperate attempt to get home or find needed provisions. So if three inches of snow can cause this much chaos in one of our major cities, what will a full-blown economic collapse look like? Most Americans have no idea how fragile our way of life is. In the event of a major natural disaster, a massive EMP blast or a complete economic meltdown, our lives would change very rapidly, and most people are totally unprepared for that. (Read More…..)

When the Unsaved Die

In sharing the Gospel with the world, I would be remiss if I didn’t share what happens to those people who die without having accepted Jesus as their Savior and so continue on the path to judgment. What’s going to happen to them? Those people who have died never having accepting Jesus’ salvation have a different destination from Heaven entirely. They are going to die in their rebellion, and they have no hope whatsoever. As Jesus in John 3:36 warned, “God’s wrath remains on him.” The following is what’s going to happen to them after they die.

View Article

Anti-Christian Hollywood strips Christian film of Oscar nomination

This year’s most-obscure Oscar nominee is no more.

At a meeting this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board of governors decided to strip the surprise nomination for Best Song from “Alone Yet Not Alone,” which appears in the independent Christian-produced film of the same name.

View Article

Question 56-Puritan Catechism

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Spurgeon 6Q. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?

A. The sixth commandment forbids the taking away of our own life, (Acts 16:28) or the life of our neighbor unjustly, (Genesis 9:6) or whatever tends to it. (Proverbs 24:11,12)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

View original post

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-15-Good Works

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Good Works

 

1. Has not God offered life and happiness upon the performance of good works?

He has.

2. Have any of mankind ever been justified in that way?

None have been thus justified.

3. Why is this?

Because, having a sinful nature, no man can perform good works in an acceptable manner.

4. Since, then, we are saved by faith alone, does God still require good works?

He does, and gives us grace to help us do them.

5. Are they to be performed with any hope of attaining salvation?

They are not; for we can never perfectly perform them in this life.

6. From what motive then?

From a spirit of love and obedience.

7. What, then., is the position of works in God’s way of justification?

They are the fruits and evidence of a change of heart and of love to God.

8. With what motive…

View original post 29 more words

The Foundation Of Christlikeness

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. (Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV)

The vast majority of professing Christians in the United States and in other countries, whose churches are patterned after American churches, are enslaved to their flesh. Why? The trend that I have witnessed in our churches for at least the last 25 years or so is a de-emphasis of discipleship. Evangelism or outreach has crowded out in-reach and Bible study. Why? Church growth has become the golden calf of the new evangelism. Because…

View original post 1,720 more words