Rumors are swirling in the media here about a possible Israeli preemptive strike on Iran this year. Israeli officials at the highest level — including the Defense Minister — are reportedly coming to the reluctant belief that they cannot count on President Obama to take decisive action to neutralize the Iranian threat before it is too late.
Here are several recent headlines worth noting:
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This week, the top 10 reflects the church as we draw our focus to the message of the cross. “The Solid Rock,” from which “Cornerstone” took such lyrics as “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness,” climbed 231 spots, appearing in the top 100. These songs express the truth that no matter what season we are in, our one sure foundation is Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:3–6).
Problem: Paul speaks here of “seeking” immortality. He also refers to acquiring it at the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:53). However, Jesus taught that the soul is immortal, that is, it cannot be destroyed by death (Luke 12:5). Paul also insists that the soul survives death (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; cf. Rev. 6:9). But which is it—do we already possess immortality or do we only acquire it at the resurrection?
Solution: The Bible reserves the term “immortality” for humans in their resurrected state. It is something acquired, not possessed before the Resurrection, since Christ, who was the first one to attain an immortal resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:20), “brought life and immortality to light” (2 Tim. 1:10) for the rest of the race.
Nevertheless, the fact of immortality includes the human soul as well. For the soul is not destroyed by physical death, just as Jesus said (Luke 12:5). It survives death and goes into either God’s presence (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23), if it is saved, or into conscious hell (Luke 16:22–26; Rev. 19:20–20:15), if it is lost. Since the soul (and/or spirit) is not mortal, as the body is, in this sense it is proper to say the soul is immortal. However, the whole person—soul and body—is resurrected to immortality. So in this sense, the soul gains immortality at the resurrection of the body.
However, in the biblical sense of living forever in an immortal body, human beings do not possess immortality before the resurrection. Even so, only God is intrinsically immortal (see comments on 1 Tim. 6:16); whatever immortality humans have, they derive from God. The matter can be summarized as follows:
SINCE THE SOUL IS IMMORTAL
SINCE THE SOUL IS NOT IMMORTAL
Indestructible by man
Indestructible by God
Survives physical death
Can avoid second death
Has beginning but no end
Has no beginning or end
Derived from God
Inherent like God’s
 Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : a popular handbook on Bible difficulties (pp. 439–440). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
Misinterpretation: In Romans 1:7 we read the salutation, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (nasb). Oneness Pentecostals argue that the word “and” (Greek kai) in the phrase “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” should be translated “even.” It should thus read, “God our Father, even the Lord Jesus Christ.” Translated this way, Jesus and the Father are seen to be one and the same person (Graves, 1977, 50–51; cf. Bernard, 1983, 207–11). This means Jesus is the Father.
Correcting the Misinterpretation: While it is true that the Greek word kai can be translated “even” in certain verses, context determines the appropriate translation. Even Oneness Pentecostal scholar Brent Graves admits this (Graves, 52). The fact is, Greek scholars universally agree that in context, kai in Romans 1:7 should be translated “and.” Most occurrences of kai in the New Testament are translated “and,” not “even.” This means that the burden of proof is on Oneness Pentecostals to demonstrate that the word must be translated with its secondary meaning (“even”) and not its primary meaning (“and”) in Romans 1:7.
However kai is translated, the verses immediately prior to and immediately after Romans 1:7 show personal distinction between the Father and Jesus Christ. For example, Jesus is called God’s “Son” in verse 3, and in verse 8 Paul thanks “God through Jesus Christ” for the Roman Christians. It is the uniform testimony of Scripture that Jesus and the Father are distinct persons (within the unity of the one God). See the discussion of Matthew 28:19.
 Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. (1997). When cultists ask: a popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations (pp. 207–208). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Marital infidelity, or unfaithfulness, occurs when a partner in a marriage goes outside the marriage to engage in a sexual relationship with someone else. Many surveys reveal that close to 90 percent of Americans, Christian or not, believe marital infidelity to be wrong. However, statistically speaking, between 30 and 50 percent of Americans will cheat on their spouses. There are a number of reasons for adultery, but the majority of cases occur because of a need to be emotionally connected. Human beings have a deep need to be wanted, needed and understood. Ideally, this need is met in a marital relationship. However, if it is not, a spouse may look to connect emotionally (and physically) elsewhere.
God designed sex to be enjoyed within a committed marital relationship; to remove sex from that context is to pervert its use and severely limit its enjoyment. Sexual contact involves a level of intimacy not possible 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 should leave his family, join to his wife and become “one flesh” with her. This idea is carried through the New Testament as well; we see it in Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7. Paul elaborates on the “one flesh” idea in 1 Corinthians 6:12–20. He says that when a man has sex with a prostitute, they have become “one body” (verse 16). It’s clear that there is something special about the sexual relationship; it is not simply a biological function.
Two people becoming “one flesh” involves more than just physical intimacy. During sex, there is a sharing of emotions as well as bodies. The Old Testament euphemism for sexual intercourse had to do with “knowing” one another—a significant word. During sex, the most intimate of human encounters, a person can be said to truly “know” someone else. The level of trust required for this makes one extremely vulnerable, and this is one reason why sex should be limited to the marital relationship. Marriage allows for vulnerability without fear; each spouse is protected by the other’s commitment and the stability inherent in a covenantal relationship. To violate that trust is devastating to the individual and to the marriage. It is the betrayal of a confidence, the breaking of a vow, the shattering of security, and the severing of a union.
Reports say that 60–75 percent of couples who have experienced a betrayal stay together. However, this does not mean that these relationships are healed or that the trust and commitment have been regained. In many cases, a couple stays together after infidelity not because they’re happy together but because they’re afraid of the alternative. However, there are other couples who commit to the hard work of dealing with the problem, identifying weaknesses, and correcting mistakes. Such couples have an excellent chance not only of staying together but of coming through the process with a strong, happy, fulfilling marriage.
It is important to remember that marital infidelity, like all sins, can be forgiven. The adulterer or adulteress is not beyond the reach of God’s grace (Isaiah 59:1). As the sinner repents and God forgives, the betrayed partner is also obliged to forgive. Jesus said that if we do not forgive the sins of others, our own sins will not be forgiven (Matthew 6:15). To “forgive and forget” is not instinctive, and it’s not easy. The road to restoration will be long and painful. But God’s grace is always sufficient.
Betrayal is a gross violation of trust and can be one of the most devastating forms of pain inflicted upon a human being. The suffering of betrayal is often magnified by a sense of vulnerability and exposure. For many, the pain of betrayal is worse than physical violence, deceit, or prejudice. Betrayal destroys the foundation of trust.
David was no stranger to betrayal: “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God” (Psalm 55:12–14). The closer the relationship, the greater the pain of betrayal.
Jesus knew the pain of betrayal firsthand. The worst, most treacherous betrayal of all time was Judas’s betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15). “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9, NKJV; cf. John 13:18). But Jesus did not become vindictive, bitter, or angry. Just the opposite. After receiving the traitor’s kiss, Jesus addressed Judas as “friend” (Matthew 26:50).
Despite the pain, there is a way we can overcome betrayal. The power comes directly from God and the strength of forgiveness.
After David laments a broken trust in Psalm 55, he provides a clue to how to overcome the pain. He says, “But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice” (Psalm 55:16–17).
The first key is to cry out to God. Though we may want to strike out at the betrayer, we need to take our cause to the Lord. “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).
Another key in overcoming the pain of betrayal is to remember Jesus’ example. Our sinful nature impels us to “repay evil with evil,” but Jesus taught us otherwise: “Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.… Pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:39, 44). When Jesus “was abused, he did not return abuse” (1 Peter 2:23). We should conform to His example by not repaying abuse for abuse, including the abuse of betrayal. Believers are to do good even to those who harm them.
Another powerful key in overcoming the bitterness of betrayal is our God-given ability to forgive the betrayer. The word forgiveness includes the word give. When we choose to forgive someone, we actually give that person a gift—the freedom from personal retaliation. But you are also giving yourself a gift—a “grudge-free life.” Trading our bitterness and anger for the love of God is a wonderful, life-giving exchange.
Jesus taught that “loving our neighbor as ourselves” should be proactive: “But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Without question, it is enormously difficult to forgive a person who’s betrayed our trust. It is only possible with God (see Luke 18:27).
Those who have experienced God’s love understand what it means to be loved unconditionally and undeservedly. Only with the help of God’s Spirit can we love and pray for those who seek to do us harm (Romans 12:14–21).
And he has boasted that the movie is the least biblical of the ‘bible’ movies thus far made:
Director Darren Aronofsky called his movie “the least biblical biblical film ever made,” The Telegraph reported. He also claimed his leading character, Noah, was the “first environmentalist,” something that suggests the movie storyline doesn’t exactly follow the Bible’s. And something else the suggests a serious divergence from the biblical account: Not once during the movie is the name “God” spoken, an early reviewer found, The Telegraph reported.
So if you want to put money in this guy’s pocket, go ahead.
By Chuck Lawless
Leaders are, by their very nature, driven people. Always there are more goals to reach, more dreams to fulfill, more thirsts to quench. That attitude is part of what makes them leaders.
Leaders are simply passionate people. Those passions can, though, mark victory or defeat. You can use this blogpost to think about the passions that most influence you as a leader.
If that isn’t evidence of the cult like nature of the place, nothing is.
I have noted before that the current by-laws of Mars Hill Church do not give members voting privileges for anything at the church. However, on his Facebook page, another former Mars Hill leader is reminding current members that they can still have a voice. Former worship leader at Mars Hill, Luke Abrams, has joined other former leaders who have gone public with significant concerns about the current direction of Mars Hill. Abrams initially posted his thoughts on his private Facebook page, but they were quickly posted on several blogs, including this one. I contacted him to make sure he approved and he gave permission for his statement to posted more widely.
Why would Christians endure such a blatantly cult-like control? Read the rest of Warren’s post. And if you’re a Christian at Mars Hill, get…
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If you are like most Americans, paying taxes is one of your pet peeves. The deadline to file your federal taxes is coming up, and this year Americans will spend more than 7 billion hours preparing their taxes and will hand over more than four trillion dollars to federal, state and local governments. Americans will fork over nearly 30 percent of what they earn to pay their income taxes, but that is only a small part of the story. As you will see below, there are dozens of other taxes that Americans pay every year. Of course not everyone pays all of these taxes, but without a doubt we are all being taxed into oblivion. It is like death by a thousand paper cuts. Our politicians have become extremely creative in finding ways to extract money from all of us, and most Americans don’t even realize what is being done to them. By the time it is all said and done, a significant portion of the population ends up paying more than half of what they earn to the government. That is fundamentally wrong, but nothing will be done about it until people start demanding change. The following is a list of 97 taxes Americans pay every year… (Read More….)
The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found….[view article]
In his latest Blog Essay, “Pointing to Disaster — The Flawed Moral Vision of World Vision,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. responds to a recent announcement from World Vision:
“Like all revolutions, moral revolutions are marked by events that signal major turning points in social transformation. Yesterday, March 24, 2014, will be remembered as one of those days. The headline in the news story by Christianity Today made the issue easy enough to understand — “World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages.”
World Vision, an evangelical relief organization, announced today that they would now hire persons who are in same-sex marriages. The organization said, further, that this was no capitulation, just a recognition that some groups supporting World Vision have differing views on sex and marriage.
The New Testament clearly teaches that as we move closer to the end of human history, there will be major cases of apostasy, compromise, and selling out of the gospel. The spirit of the age will slowly but steadily grip more tightly the church and those claiming be Christ’s disciples, squeezing the biblical and spiritual life out of it.
That is why the NT also spends so much time warning us about not allowing the world to squeeze us into its mould. We are to resist the world and its ungodly and anti-God directions and agendas, and not accommodate ourselves to it, or seek to work for peaceful coexistence with it.
Yet everywhere we see signs of the church caving in, selling out, and running away from its clear biblical mandate. Entire denominations are involved in compromise, carnality, and corruption. Churches, church leaders, and Christian organisations are all capitulating and abandoning biblical absolutes, all in the name of getting along, appearing to be tolerant and non-offensive, and to win favour with the world.
A lengthy article in a major Christian media outlet offers us another clear example of this. Indeed, the article has already been updated and supplemented, presumably to allow the offending party to offer more of a rationale for what it is doing.
I refer to the US World Vision which has now caved in on the issues of homosexuality and homosexual marriage. Although they claim they have not caved in at all, it is hard to see this in any other light. The piece opens with these words:
Diversity. Respect. Tolerance. Coexistence. These are buzz-words for the twenty-first century. I remember the first time I saw a Coexist bumper sticker, around 2004 in Irvine, California. Coexist was spelled using symbols from various belief systems: a crescent moon for the C, a peace symbol for the o, male/female symbols were integrated into the e, the Star of David for the x, a Wiccan pentagram for the dot of the i, a yin-yang symbol for the s, and a cross for the t. I was mystified. I thought it was ingenious. I had never seen so many religions standing side by side to form a single word.
In this new article at Apprising Ministries I walk you through issues touching upon the latest revelation Moore claims she received directly from God.