Daily Archives: April 2, 2014

Questions about Bible difficulties: 1 John 3:9—Doesn’t John contradict himself when he asserts that Christians are without sin?

 

Problem: John affirms here that “Whoever has been born of God does not sin.” But in the first chapter he insisted that “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1:8).

Solution: John nowhere claims that believers are without sin or never commit a sin. First John 3:9 is in the present continuous tense and should be translated “Whoever is born of God does not continually practice sin.” Conversely, if a person habitually practices sin, he is not born of God. As James argued, true faith will produce good works (James 2:14ff). If a pig and a lamb fall into the mud, the pig wants to stay there, but the lamb wants to get out. Both a believer and an unbeliever can fall into the same sin, but a believer cannot stay in it and feel comfortable.[1]

 

 

[1] Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : a popular handbook on Bible difficulties (p. 539). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

Questions about cultic misinterpretations: Romans 1:19–20—Are those who have never heard the gospel lost?

 

Misinterpretation: Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, No one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6 niv). Also, Acts 4:12 says of Christ, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (nasb). Will someone who has never heard the gospel of Christ be eternally lost? Paul seems to answer this in the affirmative. But is it fair to condemn people who have never even heard about Christ? Some New Agers point to this problem in support of the idea that all the world religions are paths to God (see Fox, 1989, 288).

Correcting the Misinterpretation: Paul’s answer is clear. He said the heathen are “without excuse” (Rom. 1:20) because “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (1:19–20 niv). So, the heathen are justly condemned.

Romans 2:12 states, “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law” (nkjv). This passage teaches that the Jew is judged by the law (the Hebrew Scriptures), but the Gentile is condemned by “the law written in their hearts” (v. 15). “For when Gentiles who do not have the law by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the Law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them” (Rom. 2:14, 15 nkjv, emphasis added).

The question of God’s fairness in judging the heathen assumes innocence on the part of the unsaved who haven’t heard the gospel. But the Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). In addition, Romans 1:18–20 says that God clearly reveals himself through natural revelation “so that they are without excuse.” Human beings are not innocent regarding God’s natural revelation.

If a person who has not heard the gospel and lives to the best of his or her ability, that person is simply doing works in an attempt to achieve salvation. But salvation is by grace, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8 nkjv). No one can do anything to gain access into heaven. If there was such a way, then the work of Christ on the Cross was a futile act.

The Bible says in essence, “seek and you will find.” That is, those who seek the light they have through nature, which is not sufficient for salvation, will get the light they need for salvation. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Acts 10:35 adds, “But in every nation whoever fears God and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (nkjv). God has many ways to get the truth about salvation through Christ to those who seek him. He can send a missionary (Acts 10), a radio broadcast, or a Bible (Ps. 119:130). Theoretically God could send a vision (Dan. 2, 7) or an angel (Rev. 14) though he no longer gives new revelation. But those who turn their back on the light they have (through nature) and find themselves lost in darkness have no one to blame but themselves. For “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19 nkjv).[1]

 

 

[1] Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. (1997). When cultists ask: a popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations (pp. 208–209). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Postmodernism 8 – Churches, Relationships, and Programs

From Sunesis. Posted with permission. Read the series.

One of the differences between “modern” churches and “postmodern” churches is the way they seek to “do church.” The modern churches have been heavy on programs—Sunday School, children’s church, youth programs, camping programs, visitation programs, and on the list could go. The postmoderns are more interested in relationships. They are generally not interested in separating the family during church times or conducting visitation campaigns or developing similar programs. Postmodern church events, as well as the spontaneous gatherings of church members, are less about learning, doing, or accomplishing some specified goal and more about just being together. The emerging church is willing to take the time to develop relationships.

The postmoderns have reacted most strongly against the two ultimate kinds of “modern” church philosophy—the megachurch and the seeker-sensitive church. The megachurch, however, is not a recent evangelical invention. In the mid- to late-20thcentury, fundamentalists worked at growing their churches through a wide variety of programs, especially the bus program. Elmer Towns kept track of the fastest growing churches in America in the 1970s and later. Today Outreach Magazine continues to track the fastest growing churches in America. The modern mindset which views bigness as success continues. There is nothing wrong with a big church, as long as the goal of the big church is not simply to be bigger. Read more about Postmodernism 8 – Churches, Relationships, and Programs

Watching What We Eat

In 1995, I had surgery to have my wisdom teeth removed. Having fasted for 12 hours, I went into surgery on an empty stomach. When I got out, I did what most people do after having their wisdom teeth pulled—I ate ice cream. When I got home, though, I went into the kitchen to get water and collapsed on the floor. My mom was concerned, but she thought that I was probably just dehydrated. So I rested.

Six years later, after I ate a chocolate bar on an empty stomach and fainted again, my mom suggested that I get tested for hypoglycemia. (My grandpa had been diagnosed with it a few years earlier.) I did, and the test came back positive.

Hypoglycemia means “low blood sugar.” The main problems that arise with it result from “an inadequate supply of glucose to the brain, resulting in impairment of function (neuroglycemia).” Effects can range from mild discomfort to seizures to unconsciousness to, in very rare cases, permanent brain damage or death. In order to regulate blood sugar levels, people with hypoglycemia are given strict diets—eat every three to four hours and refrain from consuming sugar, especially on an empty stomach.

I wish, of course, that my body processed sugar more efficiently. It’s hard to be attached to this, as William Butler Years puts it, “tattered coat upon a stick.” Living in this weak body means that I’m unable to do traditional fasts or enjoy rich desserts. In other words, it affects my ability to fast and feast.

Perhaps that’s why I chose to write this series. Although the limitations of my body are relatively mild, I groan inwardly (and outwardly) as I eagerly await my adoption and “the redemption of my body” (Rom. 8:23). When that happens, I’ll be the first in line at the dessert table.

What Does ‘Healthy’ Mean?

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The Ultimate Page on Calvinistic Dispensational Presuppositionalism

One Nation Under God?

One the one side, progressives claim the founders of the United States as heroes of secular thought.  On the other side, Christian reconstruct these same founders as champions of the faith.  What is the truth about the framers of the American Constitution?

Dr. Gregg Frazer, professor of history and political studies at The Master’s College, approaches this issue as a conservative Evangelical but with the precision required of a historian.  He wrote The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution and spoke at the 2014 Shepherd’s Conference on this topic:

ONE NATION UNDER GOD
Today’s Church and the Shocking Truth About the Founding of America
Mar 6, 2014 | Download as mp3.

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Mark Driscoll’s Cult is Crumbling Beneath his Feet of Clay

Zwinglius Redivivus

While fans and critics heatedly debate whether Mar’s Hill is a church or a cult, there can be little doubt that the brand relies heavily on a cult of personality. Every Sunday Driscoll appears on stage not only in person at his primary location but on life-sized screens at others. He opens at times with a rock band that one secular detractor confessed was “the best indie music I’ve heard all year” and that Driscoll himself has said will “melt your face off.”   …

Quoting, further on, one of Driscoll’s former servants:

The reputation Driscoll got for being the cussing pastor simply because he used harsh language from the pulpit was nothing compared to the swearing and abusive language he used daily with staff. When people asked me how I liked working at Mars Hill, I would simply say, “It is a great church to attend, but I wouldn’t recommend working…

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Three Views: How Can Churches Reach Nominal Believers Before They Become ‘Nones’? – Experts discuss how to prevent nominal Christians from leaving the faith.

Three Views: How Can Churches Reach Nominal Believers Before They Become ‘Nones’? Experts discuss how to prevent nominal Christians from leaving the faith.

Vatican Astronomers – Prepare For ‘Brother Extraterrestrial’

Vatican astronomers have reportedly been working towards locating extraterrestrial life. Earlier in March, the Vatican Observatory cosponsored a major conference on extraterrestrial life that brought together 200 of the leading astrobiologists in the world. What would happen someday if “aliens” showed up and claimed that they seeded life on this planet, guided our evolution and are now here to lead us into a new golden age? And what would happen if the Catholic Church gave those aliens their stamp of approval?”

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‘The debate over repealing this law is over’: Obama boasts 7.1 MILLION have signed up to Obamacare – but study shows just 858,000 newly insure

Press secretary Jay Carney will only say ‘we’re aggregating a lot of data’ when asked how many enrollees have paid for coverage •Carney dodged questions about damning study that showed very few Obamacare customers were uninsured before the law took effect •Percentages from a hush-hush RAND Corporation study suggest barely 858,000 previously uninsured Americans have enrolled and paid premiums •HHS Secretary Sebelius met a televised challenge Monday about ‘unpopular’ Obamacare with lengthy awkward silence

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Is Common Core really ‘mush’ for students?

A new documentary, “Building the Machine,” has been released by the Home School Legal Defense Association to examine that very question.

While HSLDA has opposed Common Core since 2009, the group said it wanted a fair evaluation, so people will know the truth about Common Core.

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The False Teachers: Norman Vincent Peale

A few weeks ago I set out on a new series of articles through which I am scanning the history of the church—from its earliest days all the way to the present time—to examine some of Christianity’s most notorious false teachers. Along the way we have visited such figures as Arius, Pelagius, Joseph Smith, and Ellen G. White. Today we will look at the life and legacy of a man who prepared the way for Robert Schuller, Joel Osteen, Oprah Winfrey, and so many others.

Norman Vincent Peale

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10 Reasons Why There Really Was a Historical Jesus

Was there really a historical Jesus? Was there a religious teacher that started a new movement in the first century? I’m not even talking about whether he was the Christ or the Son of God. I’m just talking about his existence as a historical figure. Or was Jesus just a myth? Was he just something created by the early Christians? I would like to share ten reasons why I believe that Jesus really existed.

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A Simple Reason Why The Qur’an Cannot Be The Word of God

by Jonathan McLatchie
The Islamic religion claims that the Qur’an, revealed allegedly by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad beginning in 610 A.D., is the inspired and inerrant word of God. Such an assertion, however, is highly problematic, and many, many arguments could be given to convincingly refute it. In this article, I am going to offer […]

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Obama In Saudi Arabia – A Failed Opportunity For Christian Freedom

When President Obama visited Saudi Arabia this past week, he had an opportunity to follow through on his inspiring words during his speech at the February 6 National Prayer Breakfast. There, he told thousands of Christian leaders that “the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose” is central to “human dignity,” and so “promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy.”……… Click here for full story

Do not be anxious about your life!

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25 ESV)

God’s Kingdom is real. It is not completely fulfilled in this world. It exists in the hearts of His people here, but in eternity, it is totally manifest. God is transcendent. He is not affected in any way by His creation, the Universe. However, He is also imminent in that He sent His beloved son as a Man to become the New Adam. He did this to start the process of developing Kingdom Life in this world. Our Lord’s atoning work on the Cross purchased His people by His blood. All those believe and repent as God effectually calls them. They are regenerated…

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