Daily Archives: February 25, 2014

Muslim Questions: Why Don’t Christians Fast the Same as Muslims?

 

Both Muslims and Christians fast, but their purposes for fasting differ. In order to keep one of the Five Pillars, a Muslim is obligated to fast during Ramadan.

The Bible teaches that fasting merits neither God’s favor nor a place in paradise. Christians may fast for one of the following reasons:

•     To demonstrate their satisfaction in God (Matthew 4:4)

•     To humble themselves before God (Daniel 9:3)

•     To request God’s help (2 Samuel 12:16; Esther 4:16; Ezra 8:23)

•     To seek God’s will (Acts 13:2–3)

•     To turn from sin (Jonah 3:5–10)

•     To worship God without distractions (Luke 2:36–38)

Jesus fasted
At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, before His great miracles and teaching, He fasted forty days. Afterwards, the devil tested Jesus while He was weak with hunger: “And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.… Again, the Devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” ’ Then the Devil left him. And behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (Matthew 4:2, 8–11).

Although Satan tempted Jesus to sin, Jesus remained perfect, unlike all other human beings in history.

Jesus’ warning against prideful fasting
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day prided themselves in fasting twice a week, but Jesus challenged their sincerity.

• Don’t fast to appear religious before men
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:16–18).

• Don’t fast to earn forgiveness of sin

(A Pharisee is one who belonged to a religious, fundamental sect of the Jews.)

“The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:11–14). Jesus taught that we cannot earn entrance to paradise through fasting. Our sin renders even our best religious deeds unworthy (Isaiah 64:6).

Jesus’ transformation of fasting
Jesus taught that following God’s will brings more satisfaction than eating: “… His disciples were asking Him, saying, ‘Master, eat.’ But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat which you do not know.’ Therefore the disciples said to one another, ‘No one brought Him anything to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work’ ” (John 4:31–34).

What is God’s will? “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes on Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you also have seen Me and do not believe. All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out. For I came down from Heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all which He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes on Him should have everlasting life. And I will raise him up at the last day’ ” (John 6:35–40).

Just as we will die if we don’t eat bread, we will die (i.e., be separated from God eternally in hell) if we don’t receive Jesus, the Bread of Life. Because He came “down from heaven,” born of a virgin, Jesus called God His Father. Jesus proved by His perfect life, death, and resurrection that He is divine, the Son of God. Jesus fulfilled His Father’s will: saving believing sinners by taking their punishment for sin on the cross. By raising Jesus from the dead, God showed that He accepted Christ’s sacrifice.

How do you receive the Bread of Life? You must turn from sin and trust in the Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection to save you—not your own goodness through works such as fasting.

After saving you from sin, the Lord will give you the desire and strength to glorify God through good works—even fasting: “But now, being made free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:22–23).

A personal testimony of fasting
A wise man, who spent years of his life serving Muslims in the Middle East, shares his reasons for fasting.

I want fasting to be …

•     an honest statement of what is most important to me. I want this simple act (going without food for a while) to remind me that spiritual, eternal things are more important than temporal things.

•     a symbol of the satisfaction I’m finding in God Himself: loving Him, learning of Him, doing His will.

•     a celebration of God’s setting me apart, granting me forgiveness through the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and rescuing me from the sinful habits that were enslaving me.

•     a time of gladness, praise, and intercession on behalf of my family and friends in many countries.

•     a means of deeper contentment in the Lord. Thus, I will be more motivated and better able to share my material and spiritual gifts with others. The Lord Jesus said, “And your Father … will reward you” (Matthew 6:18b).[1]


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

Questions about Jesus Christ: What Language Did Jesus Speak?

 

While Jesus very likely spoke Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek, Aramaic was likely the language Jesus spoke the most. The Gospels record Jesus speaking numerous Aramaic words: talitha koum (Mark 5:41); ephphatha (Mark 7:34); eloi eloi lama sabachthani (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34); abba (Mark 14:36). Historians, archaeologists, and cultural anthropologists are almost universally agreed that Aramaic was the common or colloquial language in Israel during Jesus’ time. Aramaic was very similar to Hebrew, but with many words and phrases that were borrowed from other languages and cultures, especially Babylonian.

Hebrew was spoken primarily by the scribes, teachers of the law, Pharisees, and Sadducees, the “religious elite.” Hebrew was likely often read in the synagogues, so most people were probably able to speak and understand some Hebrew. Since Greek was the language of the Romans, who had power over Israel during Jesus’ time, Greek was the language of the political class and anyone who wanted to do business with the Romans. Greek was the universal language at that time, so, the ability to speak Greek was a highly desirable skill. Some, however, refused to speak Greek out of resentment toward their Roman oppressors. When Jesus spoke with Pontius Pilate, it is possible that He spoke to him in Greek, although Pilate, as the governor, likely would have been able to speak Aramaic as well.

Jesus, as God incarnated in human form, could have spoken any language He chose. In His humanity, Jesus likely limited Himself to the languages common to His culture: Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek. Jesus likely spoke whichever of the three languages was most appropriate to the audience He was addressing.[1]

 


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

Questions about Humanity: What Is Anthropological Hylomorphism?

 

Most closely associated with the teachings of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, anthropological hylomorphism is one view of the relationship between body and soul.

Hylomorphism is the theory that “matter” (pure, abstract essence) combines with “form” (that which gives something its nature) to make “substance” (what we usually consider matter). For example, unformed clay can be shaped and hardened to make a brick—the clay is the “matter,” and the shape and hardness are the “form”; the brick is the resulting “substance.”

Anthropological hylomorphism applies this theory to the nature of man. How are the body, soul, and spirit related to each other? Most Christian discussions of this issue revolve around the trichotomy vs. dichotomy debate. Both views indicate some separation between soul and body. Aristotle, Aquinas and others held that the body is “matter” and the soul is the “form” which gives a person his nature. They also believed that form and matter are inextricably combined and dependent on one another. A brick cannot be a brick without the combination of clay and hardness and a particular shape. In the same way, a human cannot be a human without the combination of body and soul.

The term anthropological hylomorphism itself means “matter” (hylos,) and “form” (morphos) of “man” (anthropos). Aristotle borrowed these terms from Plato, whose views on the subject were illustrated in his parable of the cave in The Republic. Aristotle taught that no matter can exist without complying to a form, and no form can exist without having a presence in matter. Thus, Aristotle taught that the body cannot live without the soul, and the soul cannot live without the body (there can be no afterlife).

Aquinas was not so emphatic about form and matter’s inseparability. As a Dominican priest, Aquinas had high regard for Scripture, which indicates a separation is possible. Verses such as Matthew 10:28 teach that the body and soul are not mutually dependent: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” Perhaps the strongest argument against stringent Aristotelian hylomorphism is in 1 Corinthians 15:40, where Paul writes of the resurrection: “There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.”

Nevertheless, Aquinas was able to combine hylomorphism with essential Christian tenets. He claimed that, even though the soul and body are linked, the soul can survive without the body. The soul is simply incomplete until re-embodied. The soul or “form” of a human exists in an unnatural state until God resurrects the body. In this way Aquinas explained the transition between the death of the earthly body and the resurrection of a heavenly body. Having a body, according to Aquinas, is essential to being human, and thus humanity cannot be perfected without one.[1]


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

Authentic Fire Review – Part 6 – Review of Chapter 5 Continued

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

Continued

So far, I’ve reviewed the preface, chapter 1, chapter 3 (more chapter 3), and the first part of chapter 5 and Fred has review chapter 2 and chapter 4.

Let’s get going…but first:

Kenny Loggins?

Check.

Blue sash?

Blue Sash

Check.

Cute little lamb being bottle fed by a doggie?

sheepdog-bottle-feeding-a-lamb

Check!

Okay.  Now that the atmosphere is properly set, we’re ready to speak the truth in love!

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Are Tongues Real Languages?

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Here is an outstanding article that explains what the gifts of tongues actually consisted of and was believed to be: by the Early Church, the Reformers, and the founders of the modern Pentecostal movement. All affirmed that this gift was the ability to speak in other languages, of which the speaker had never learned. The founders of the modern Pentecostal movement also confessed that this is what the gift of tongues consisted of, until they began to speak in utterances and realized that none of them had actually spoken a foreign language. The founders of the modern Pentecostal movement, then came up with a new doctrine, in which they taught, that some tongues are unintelligible prayer languages. This false view of tongues is not found anywhere in scripture. Here is a portion of the article:

 

We begin today’s post with a question: In New Testament times, did the gift…

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Sam Storms and Two Types of Tongues

In last week’s post, we introduced a series about the gift of tongues. Cessationists generally define the gift of tongues as the supernatural ability to speak authentic foreign languages that the speaker had not previously learned. Continuationists, by contrast, generally allow for the possibility that the gift produces speech that does not correspond to any human language. The question we are asking in this series is whether or not that possibility is biblically warranted.Pentecost_Acts_2

Does the Gift of Tongues Produce Non-Human Languages?

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The Strange Story of Jesus Calling

“A ten-year-old devotional written in the voice of God suddenly became a commercial juggernaut. Now, its publisher is trying to reconcile its New Age origins with evangelical orthodoxy.”

Read more – Strange Story of Jesus Calling

The Daily Beast Writes Feature Article About Jesus Calling – Asks
Questions Christian Leaders Ignore and Remain Silent On

LTRP Note: While most evangelical pastors and virtually all Christian leaders have ignored or stayed away from the controversy of Jesus Calling, the secular publication, The Daily Beast, dares to ask questions that take a deeper look into this book, while pointing readers to Warren B. Smith’s “Another Jesus” Calling.

“The Strange Saga of ‘Jesus Calling,’ The Evangelical Bestseller You’ve Never Heard Of”

By Daily Beast Columnist Ruth Graham

A ten-year-old devotional written in the voice of God suddenly became a commercial juggernaut. Now, its publisher is trying to reconcile its New Age origins with evangelical orthodoxy.
The seventh-best selling book in America last year was a 10-year-old Christian devotional written by a woman who claims to have written down the words of God. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence sold more copies in 2013 than the much more buzzed-about titles Lean In, the latest Stephen King book, and 50 Shades of Grey, according to Nielsen BookScan. Overall, more than 10 million copies in 26 languages have been sold since the book’s inauspicious debut in 2004.Jesus Calling is a devotional, a mainstay genre in Christian publishing and in the daily lives of many Christians. Best-selling devotionals like Our Daily Bread, My Utmost for His Highest, and The Purpose-Driven Life consist of short sections that are meant to be read each day for encouragement and contemplation. Christians who value the idea of nurturing a personal relationship with Jesus—or of the idea of spending time each day in quiet contemplation—often use devotionals as a tool to accompany prayer and Bible-reading. Click here to continue reading.

10 Questions for Leaders to Ask Each Week

By Chuck Lawless

At the seminary where I teach, we are planning now for the end-of-the-academic year faculty evaluations. Annual evaluations like these are helpful and necessary. They push us to ask how we might improve over the next academic year.

Most leaders, though, would benefit from more regular evaluations – particularly self-evaluations. Even daily and weekly self-evaluations merit our consideration if we want to lead well, regardless of our position.

Listed here are ten questions to help you evaluate your life and leadership at the end of each week. Plan now to consider these questions on Friday or Saturday of this week.

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Authentic Fire Chapter 5 Review

hipandthigh

Lyndon Unger has defied all the odds, including a sick family, to post his long awaited, epic review of the fifth chapter from Michael Brown’s Authentic Fire book.

The review is in two parts,

Chapter 5 Part 1
Chapter 5 Part 2

Both of them are massive reads, particularly the second part. But they are extremely important. I give a slow clap and a fist punch to Lyndon’s hard work over the last few weeks.

Now, that leaves my sixth chapter review. I will put on the finishing touches and a nice polish and DV, have it up tomorrow sometime, if not Thursday.  I plan to add an appendix of sorts next week that looks more closely at Brown’s common Bible verses he uses to defend charismatic theology.

And… Look, UP IN THE SKY! Doesn’t that cloud look just like Kenny Loggins giving us a thumbs up!

kennycloud

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Ukraine names Baptist pastor as acting president. Ukrainian evangelicals issue call for national prayer & reconciliation in wake of violence.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Acting President Turchynov was elected to Parliament in 1998. (source: Christianity Today) Acting President Turchynov was elected to Parliament in 1998. (source: Christianity Today)

“Oleksandr Turchynov, a well-known Baptist pastor and top opposition politician in Ukraine, took office on Sunday, Feb. 23, as acting president after the Parliament voted to oust President Yanukovych,” reports Christianity Today.

“The collapse of the Yanukovych regime follows three months of growing protests that exploded in last week’s violence, which claimed more than 88 lives,” the article notes. “Many of these protests took place in the Maidan, or Independence Square in the capital city of Kiev.”

Ukrainian evangelicals are calling for national prayer, forgiveness and reconciliation in the wake of the traumatic recent violence.  According to CT, Valery Antonyuk, vice president of the All Ukrainian Union of Evangelical Churches, Baptist, issued the following statement:

A Message of Reconciliation:

During this time of fateful change in the life of the Ukrainian nation, the Church and each Christian…

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The Ecumenical Bear Hug of Pope Francis and Kenneth Copeland

After the strange fire burns, what remains? It would not be unreasonable to argue that out of the ashes of strange fire, which itself is ignited by the Great Deceiver, will emerge a more powerful ecumenical movement than has been seen in prior times.

No group has more invested in this ecumenical, unbiblical unity than the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps that is why it was not surprising to read the story below. Stand Up for the Truth reports:

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The World to Witness A Terrifying Hyperinflation, Welcome To The Currency Wars, And Is The US in Big Trouble. (Video)

These Christian Times

SCROLL DOWN FOR NEWS LINK AND VIDEO: Here are some articles I felt could shed light on our current Economic depression. It may look like everything is going well in the public sector, but I truly fell this is one last effort to rape and pillage the global market before The Big One hits and creates a apocalyptic tsunami in the Financial sectors of the world.

Image

 

KING WORLD NEWS: With continued chaos and uncertainty in global markets, today KWN is publishing an incredibly powerful piece that was written by a 60-year market veteran.  The Godfather of newsletter writers, Richard Russell, is now warning that the world is going to witness a terrifying hyperinflation.  He also discussed how this hyperinflation will impact major global markets, including stocks, gold, silver and other hard assets.

 “I’ve been noting the prices being paid by the wealthy 5% of Americans and by foreigners…

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Cold Case Christianity: What’s the Difference Between Heresy and Orthodoxy?

While we may be in a “post”-postmodern world, there are still many people who resist objective truth claims, particularly when these claims are moral or metaphysical in nature. Is anything objectively true, or is everything simply a matter of perspective and opinion? Christianity, as a worldview, rejects relativism. The Christian worldview makes specific claims about the character of God, the person of Jesus and the nature of Salvation. These truths are grounded and described in the Bible, and while we may not always agree on tangential issues, some truths are simply not negotiable. Some views about Jesus, for example, are true, and some views are false.

The earliest believers felt so strongly about the exclusive nature of truth (and were so convinced the scriptures taught objective facts about the nature of God, Jesus and Salvation) they declared these truths in a number of creeds. These believers rejected the notion of a theological smorgasbord, arguing, instead, for a number of minimum objective truths. Those who rejected these minimum truths were called heretics because they embraced inaccurate choices. The word “heresy” comes from the Greek word “hairesis”.

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CultureWatch: Back to Christian Basics

Apologist and ethicist Bill Muehlenberg reminds us how important it is for Christians to read and meditate on the Word of God daily.

One of the most tragic realities of contemporary Western Christianity is the fact that so many Christians simply do not read their Bibles. Certainly many – if not most – do not read the Bible regularly, daily, and determinedly. This has to be one of the great scandals of today’s church.

How can we claim to be lovers of God and disciples of Christ if we neglect perhaps his greatest gift to us: his written Word? Scripture is not just our guidebook, our rock, and our sustenance, but it contains God’s love letters to his own people.

How can we claim to love God yet ignore and treat with disdain his love letters to us? Just remember when you were first in love, and perhaps separated from your beloved. You looked forward every day to a letter in the mailbox, or today, an email in your inbox. You could not wait to hear from the one you loved.

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Art Cashin – Truth About Russia, Ukraine & The IMF Deal

Today KWN is pleased to share an important piece from 50-year veteran Art Cashin, who is Director of Floor Operations at UBS ($650 billion under management). Today Cashin includes a fantastic guest commentary which reveals the truth about what is really happening with Russia, Ukraine and the IMF…
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What Is Happening In Ukraine Is Far More Important Than Most People Realize

What the people of Ukraine are being put through is absolutely horrible. They are caught in the middle of a massive tug of war between the East and the West, and they are paying a great price for it. Ultimately, Ukraine will end up either being dominated by Russia (a bad outcome) or by the EU and the United States (another bad outcome). Most Ukrainians just want to be free and want to be able to build a better future for themselves and their families, but it is extremely unlikely that they will be able to escape the specter of foreign domination. Meanwhile, the violence in Ukraine is planting the seeds for a potentially much larger conflict down the road. The days of “friendly relations” between the United States and Russia are now gone. Russia is absolutely furious that the U.S. has fueled a violent revolution on its own border, and it is something that Russian officials will not forget for a very long time. In return, U.S. officials are taking an increasingly harsh stance toward Russia. In the end, the seeds that are being planted right now could ultimately blossom into a full-blown conflict between the superpowers in the years to come. (Read More….)

Sex And The Public Schools

You are going to have a hard time believing some of the stuff that you are about to read. Children in America are being sexualized at younger and younger ages these days, and our public schools play a major role in that. As you will see below, even kindergarten students are getting naked and trying to have sex with each other in our schools. So where in the world are these kids learning to do this? Well, it certainly does not help that there is more sex on television and in our movies than ever before. And it certainly does not help that some of the biggest pop stars on the planet such as Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry are blatantly using sex to sell records to their young fans. But we can’t place all of the blame on entertainment. Without a doubt, our schools are playing a major role in sexualizing our children, and most parents have very little understanding about what is actually happening. (Read More…..)