Daily Archives: May 7, 2014

GTY Blog: Discernment and Opposing Evil – John MacArthur

 

1 Thessalonians 5:22

Code: B140507

by John MacArthur

True biblical discernment is grounded in the knowledge and love of the truth—as Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, every discerning believer must “hold fast to that which is good.” But that’s not the only ingredient. Too many pastors and church leaders today believe that if they just preach the truth, their people will be able to avoid error by osmosis. True discernment doesn’t work that way, as Paul made clear in his very next line to the Thessalonians: “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

The word translated “abstain” is a very strong verb, apechō, meaning “hold oneself back,” “keep away from,” “shun.” It is the same word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “abstain from sexual immorality,” and 1 Peter 2:11, “abstain from fleshly lusts.” It calls for a radical separation from “every form of evil.” This would include evil behavior, of course. But in this context, the primary reference seems to be evil teaching—false doctrine. Having examined everything in light of God’s Word, when you identify something that does not measure up—something that is evil, untrue, erroneous, or contrary to sound doctrine—shun it.

Scripture does not give believers permission to expose themselves to evil. Some people believe the only way to defend against false doctrine is study it, become proficient in it, and master all its nuances—then refute it. I know people who study the cults more than they study sound doctrine. Some Christians immerse themselves in the philosophy, entertainment, and culture of society. They feel such a strategy will strengthen their witness to unbelievers.

But the emphasis of that strategy is all wrong. Our focus should be on knowing the truth. Error is to be shunned.

Granted, we cannot recede into a monastic existence to escape exposure to every evil influence. But neither are we supposed to be experts about evil. The apostle Paul wrote, “I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil” (Romans 16:19).

In the King James Version, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 is translated “abstain from all appearance of evil.” The word translated “appearance” is eidos, literally “that which is seen.” The New American Standard Bible gives the better sense with “every form of evil.” We are to reject evil however it appears, to shun every manifestation of it.

This explicitly rules out syncretism. Syncretism is the practice of blending ideas from different religions and philosophies. Some people—even some professing believers—devour materials from every cult and denomination, looking for good in all of it. Whatever they deem good, they absorb into their belief system. They end up designing their own unique religions based on syncretism.

A syncretist might attempt to use 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to justify his methodology: “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” That is, after all, precisely what he is doing—examining everything. But what he is really doing is actually the opposite of what this passage demands. Verse 21 is balanced by verse 22: “Abstain from every form of evil.”

Erroneous doctrine is no place to look for truth. There is usually some point of truth even in the rankest heresy. That is Satan’s subtle strategy. He often sabotages the truth by mixing it with error. Truth mixed with error is usually far more effective and far more destructive than a straightforward contradiction of the truth. If you think everything you read or hear on Christian radio and television is reliable teaching, then you are a prime target for reckless faith. If you think everyone who appears to love the truth really does, then you don’t understand the wiles of Satan. “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” Paul wrote. “Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14–15).

Satan also disguises his lies as truth. He doesn’t always wage war openly against the gospel. He is much more likely to attack the church by infiltrating it with subtle error. He uses the Trojan-horse stratagem by placing his false teachers in the church, where they can “secretly introduce destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1). He puts his lies in the mouth of someone who claims to speak for Jesus Christ—someone likable and appealing—then he spreads his perverse lies in the church where they can draw away Christ’s disciples (Acts 20:30). He attaches Bible verses to his lies (Matthew 4:6). He uses deception and hypocrisy. He disguises falsehood as truth. He loves syncretism. It makes evil look good.

That’s why we are to examine everything carefully and shun whatever is unsound, corrupt, or erroneous. Doing anything less is deadly. Millions in the church today are being overwhelmed by the Trojan-horse ploy by calling for the integration of secular ideas and biblical truth. Others are easily duped by anything labeled “Christian.” They don’t carefully examine everything. They don’t hold fast to the truth. And they don’t shun evil. As a result, they are left vulnerable to false doctrine and have no defense against reckless faith.

That is not discernment.

 

(Adapted from Reckless Faith.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B140507
COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You

“Not In My Classroom”

I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel Of Christ!

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Teacher tells student he can’t read the Bible in classroom. The student was told to stop reading the Bible during “free reading time”, which you would think means you are free to read whatever you choose during this time.  The student ( Sheep ) was reading, but the teacher ( Goat ) did not like what they were reading, and this was not the first time they were told to stop. We need more children (and parents) reading the Bible, not less.

Although public school’s were not available in ancient times, the word of God was a part of the lives of families. Parents then and even now teach their children about God. There are other ways to keep God present in the lives of our children, home schooling or to seek out a Christian establishment you know teaches scripture. As a Christian, God is always to be a…

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New study: only 7% of journalists are Republicans

WINTERY KNIGHT

Story in the left-wing Washington Post.

Excerpt:

A majority of American journalists identify themselves as political independents although among those who choose a side Democrats outnumber Republicans four to one, according to a new study of the media conducted by two Indiana University professors.

Write Lars Wilnat and David Weaver, professors of journalism at Indiana, of their findings:

Compared with 2002, the percentage of full-time U.S. journalists who claim to be Democrats has dropped 8 percentage points in 2013 to about 28 percent, moving this figure closer to the overall population percentage of 30 percent, according to a December 12-15, 2013, ABC News/Washington Post national poll of 1,005 adults. This is the lowest percentage of journalists saying they are Democrats since 1971. An even larger drop was observed among journalists who said they were Republicans in 2013 (7.1 percent) than in 2002 (18 percent), but the 2013 figure is still…

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Will the Church Go Through the Tribulation?

These Christian Times

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO AND OPINION:  Will the Church go through the Tribulation? 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5: 1-5, But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Notice verse 4 speaks of us not being in darkness. This is a sign of hope that we are not to be overtaken by the thief. Now as…

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Father arrested for challenging public school on assigned book containing graphic sex

WINTERY KNIGHT

Story from the Blaze.

Excerpt:

A New Hampshire parent was arrested at a Monday night school board meeting after he voiced outrage his ninth grade daughter was assigned a book that contains a page detailing a graphic sexual encounter.

Gilford school officials claim the book, “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult, contains important themes about a school shooting. But some parents believe a scene described in the book is inappropriate for their children.

According to WCVB-TV, the book contains a graphic description of rough sex between two teenagers, which parents were unaware of until the book had already been distributed to their kids.

“I was shocked when I read the passage and not much shocks me anymore,” William Baer told EAG News. “My wife was stunned by the increasingly graphic nature of the sexual content of the scene and the imagery it evoked.”

He went to the school board meeting to…

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Nine Rapid Changes in Church Worship Services

 

If you were attending a church worship service in 1955 and then returned to the same church in 1975, the changes would be noticeable but not dramatic. Churches were slow to change over that 20-year period. If you, however, attended a church worship service in 2000 and then returned to that same church in 2010, there is a high likelihood you would see dramatic changes in just ten years.

What, then, are some of the most significant changes? Please allow me to offer some trends from anecdotal information, church consultations, and objective research. As a caveat, some of the data based research comes from an excellent study, The National Congregations Study by Duke University. This study, fortunately, is longitudinal, so it is able to look at changes over many years. But the study is also dated, with the latest data reported in 2007.

From these multiple sources, I have assembled nine changes that have come at a rapid pace in many churches. Please note my perspective. I am offering these from the perspective of a researcher; I am not making qualitative assessments. Also, with every trend there will be thousands of churches that are exceptions to the norm. But these are the changes in the majority of churches in North America.

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End Times Prophecy Headlines: May 7, 2014

End Times Prophecy Report

End Times Prophecy Report Headlines: Bible prophecy in Today's headlines. Bible prophecy in Today’s headlines.

End Times Prophecy Report
HEADLINES
May 7, 2014

CommentaryAnd OPINION

FORECAST: Events have been fairly quiet for the last few months, Ukraine and Russia notwithstanding.  Look for increased turmoil and tensions as this summer wears on.

===INTERNATIONAL

NORTH KOREA: North Korea Blames its Human Rights Problems on Christian Missionaries

UKRAINE: Both sides bury dead as Ukraine slides toward war

CHINA: The Mystery Of A Chinese Theme Park For Dwarfs

NIGERIA: Gunmen abduct eight more girls in northeast Nigeria: police

PHILIPPINES: Philippines seize China boat in South China Sea

World War 3 Watch: May 5, 2014

===NATIONAL

Monica Lewinsky Writes About Clinton Affair For The First Time

Quotes From Sarah Palin ‘War on Christmas” Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda – An example of a headline which promises much more than the story delivers.  Disappointing.  This writer thought that perhaps Palin’s background as a follower of…

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Church Is For Messy People

Church Is For Messy People

Stephen Altrogge:

I distinctly remember one Sunday when a man said to me something like, “When I look around, I see all these people who have their lives together. Meanwhile, my life is a mess.” Church should be a place where messy people feel comfortable. When I say “messy people”, I don’t mean people who are willfully engaging in unrepentant sin. I mean people who are seeking to follow Jesus, but who often find themselves struggling, and falling, and failing. I’m talking about the weak, weary, and worn out.

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

 

Inerrancy and the Prophetic WordLast week, Nate drew attention to the 2015 Shepherds’ Conference Summit, which will be devoted to understanding and defending the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture. As we anticipate much conversation related to inerrancy to take place between now and then, I thought it would be helpful to post the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, originally published in 1978, in its entirety.

The CSBI has been a key point of reference in the inerrancy debate, clearly spelling out what its signers believed about the integrity and authority of Scripture, and why they believed “inerrancy” was a necessary designation to use.  Among the original signers were  James Montgomery Boice, John Frame, John Gerstner, Carl F. H. Henry, John MacArthur, Roger Nicole, J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul, and John Wenham. (A complete list of the signatories is available here.) The statement also was the frame of reference for the recent book, Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy.

Given its great importance to the discussion, I’m surprised at how many people I’ve spoken to about this issue who have heard of the statement but have never actually read it. For this reason, I’ve reproduced the statement in its entirety, which includes a preface, a summary statement, articles of affirmation and denial, and an exposition explaining the framers’ intent. It’s an extremely edifying read, and includes some things that many might be surprised to see. Let us know what you think in the comment thread!

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Barnabas Fund News in Brief: 07 May 2014

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Africa, South and East Asia, Egypt, Iran, Sri Lanka, Nepal

Egypt: Over 100 Muslims to stand trial for post-Morsi anti-Christian attacks

Over 100 Muslims have been charged in connection with widespread anti-Christian violence in Egypt in August.

The 102 suspects will stand trial for rioting, attacking citizens and targeting the churches and homes of Christians following the break-up of sit-in protests by supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.

Mobs of enraged Islamists torched scores of churches, Christian institutions and private property on 14 August in what was described as the worst single day of violence against the Egyptian Church since the 14th century.

The Christian minority has been scapegoated for Morsi’s downfall by his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Iran: Fears for health of Christian prisoner on hunger strike for over a month

Concerns are growing for the health of a Christian prisoner who has been staging a hunger strike for over a month.

Vahid Hakkani launched the protest on 20 March and has refused to give in despite being put in solitary confinement, denied contact with his family and recently transferred to the prison’s medical clinic because of his deteriorating health.

Vahid underwent surgery last year for a digestive system problem that left him with severe internal bleeding. His doctor suspects that he may have stomach cancer.

The prisoner is protesting the authorities’ refusal to grant him and his three Christian co-accused, Mojtaba Seyyed-Alaedin Hossein, Mohammad-Reza Partoei and Homayoun Shokouhi, conditional release.

Source: Mohabat News

Sri Lanka: Cap on places of worship threatens churches

Sri Lanka has put a cap on the building of places of worship in a move that could threaten the country’s Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches.

M. D. K. Dissanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, said that the existing number of Buddhist and Hindu temples, churches and mosques was sufficient and that anybody wanting to build a new place of worship would have to obtain permission from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

The Ministry, which is tasked with promoting Buddhism, does not recognise Evangelical and Pentecostal churches; they are seen as a threat to the country’s increasingly militant Buddhist identity because of their successful evangelistic activity.

Buddhist extremists have carried out scores of attacks on churches in recent months, resulting in the destruction or forcible closure of some of the buildings.

Nepal: Christians asked to “reconsider faith” ahead of identity card application

Christians and other religious minorities are being asked to “reconsider their faith” as all citizens apply for an identity card upon which their religious affiliation will be stated.

Members of religious minority groups will be subjected to greater scrutiny to obtain the official documents, a plan that has prompted accusations of discrimination. They will be asked to reiterate their faith before registering, and if no affiliation is expressed, they will be classified as Hindus. One Christian rights activist told Asia News that the government is trying to discourage people from converting from Hinduism.

Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister, said it was “not about discrimination” but added, “We ask all Christians and members of other faiths to reconsider their own beliefs and join Hinduism”.

Source: Asia News

Source

OF INTEREST: Independent Thoughts from Around the Internet May 7, 2014

End Times Prophecy Report

INDEPENDENT THOUGHTS FROM AROUND THE INTERNET: Make that "our corner of the Internet"INDEPENDENT THOUGHTS FROM AROUND THE INTERNET: Make that “our corner of the Internet”

A WEDNESDAY ROUND-UP

From the Websites we find of interest (for whatever reason).

Links are given as is, without endorsement, sometimes with comment; sometimes not. Independent thought is usually rewarded, though not always.

May 7, 2014

Resist the Truth

Catholic Cardinal Says Jesus Not Coming Back – Not hard to believe by any means.  However, the story strongly smells of hoax.

It was very hard to run down where this story originated.  There has been no major news  media coverage of it; no links to any official announcement and even the Christian mass media–which is little better than the Corporate Media, which is Satan’s mouthpiece–didn’t pick the story up.

The story appears to have originated at this site, which is fairly professional in appearance and then picked up by a variety of smaller websites.

The…

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TGC Blog: Christian Reflections on Mental Illness

 

Across the world millions of people struggle with the pain of a mental illness diagnosis. I am a biblical counselor and have walked with many people down the dark, hard road of responding to these problems. From dysthymia to panic disorder there are few difficulties in human experience as painful, isolating, and complex as the ones our culture calls mental illness.

I, along with many others, am trying to devote my life to helping people overcome the pain of these diagnoses. There are many challenges involved in overcoming them. One of those challenges is that when we use the term “mental illness” nobody really understands what we are talking about.

Most Christians simply do not have a clear understanding about the nature of mental illness. I think when most Christians use the term they are talking about hard and complicated problems that produce significant debilitating effects. When they see these problems they find them to be so extreme and troubling that they believe they must require some type of medication to correct a perceived physical problem.

Mental illness

Christians are right to want to provide all the help possible for these kinds of problems. If we want to provide real help, however, it will be important to know what we’re talking about when we use the term.

What Is Mental Illness?

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CARM: What is the difference between eternal security, once saved always saved, and perseverance of the saints?

by Matt Slick

The three different terms eternal security, once saved always saved, and perseverance of the saints are often used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences between them even though they basically mean the same thing that a person cannot lose his salvation.  Critics of eternal security in Christ often asserted various challenges to the position including misrepresentations and incomplete representation of the position. Nevertheless, though I cannot find any “official” definition for each of the three terms, by looking through theological dictionaries, various websites, writings, etc., I’ve come up with the following information.

  1. Eternal Security is the teaching that all who are Christians and are truly regenerated are eternally secure in their salvation and will never fall away because their salvation is dependent on Christ’s faithfulness and work.  It was Jesus who completely redeemed them of all of their sins and their actions and goodness do not maintain their salvation. It is God who secures the believer.  But, this does not mean that those thus saved will not fall into sin. Instead, though they may backslide, they will never fully turn from God and fall out of the state of his grace. Furthermore, it means that God will work in the conviction and discipline of the believer who backslides.
  2. Perseverance of the Saints is often equated with eternal security. It means that once a person is truly born again, God will work through the person so that the person will persevere throughout his life and not lose his salvation. It emphases God’s work and ability to perfect the Christian (Philippians 1:6) and that Christians are sealed permanently with Him (Ephesians 1:13-14).
  3. Once Saved Always Saved is the position that the matter what a person does he will remain saved. He is always saved once he is saved. This position also includes the reality of regeneration since anyone who is truly saved is also truly regenerated. This regeneration produces in the person a desire to serve God and avoid sin (Romans 7:18-25). However, like eternal security, those who adhere to once saved always saved acknowledge that Christians can backslide.
Term Synopsis License to Sin?
Eternal Security Salvation is dependent on Christ’s faithfulness, not man’s. No
Perseverance of the Saints God will cause the Christian to persevere to the end No
Once Saved Always Saved No matter what, a person stays saved. No

Since all of the terms listed above teach that we cannot lose our salvation, I will refer to all of them under the single phrase of “eternal security”.

Critics of eternal security often cite various verses in an attempt to show that a Christian can lose his salvation. The logic is that a Christian can turn his back on God and stop believing, or do enough bad things to disqualify him from being saved.  These verses are addressed in the CARM section dealing with internal security.  Furthermore, these same critics often state that if a person believes he cannot lose his salvation, then it is a license to sin. But this is not the position of hose who hold to eternal security. We adherence are also regenerated and because of regeneration of God, we war against our sin (Romans 7:18-25). We do not consider it a license to sin. Furthermore, anyone who claims to be a Christian and purposely uses God’s grace in order to sin, is demonstrating that he is not regenerate because he is acting in a manner that contradicts regeneration (1 John 2:4).

Source

Jonathan Edwards, Enthusiasts and the Brownsville Revival

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

This was going to be part of the review of Authentic Fire, but this bit of research ended up taking me longer than I thought.  Thanks to the people who pointed me to various resources for doing my research.  If my Authentic Fire review becomes an e-book at some point, this will likely be one of several appendixes.

I’m getting rather tired of charismatics calling on Jonathan Edwards to the defense of any number of absurd “manifestations” of the Spirit.  I first encountered the “Summon Forth the Edwards!” argument 2 decades ago and I’ve run into it continuously ever since.

signal

In my recent review of Authentic Fire by  Michael Brown, I encountered it again.  I noticed that Dr. Brown regularly reads his Charismatic experience back into the writing of Edwards and thus finds support where there would have been serious condemnation.  Dr. Brown frames the debate with some…

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James Robison to pope Francis “in Christ we are brothers”

 

Robison continues his assault upon the Protestant Reformation. He played the pope’s appeal for unity on his TV program yesterday, which also featured fellow apostate Tony Palmer.

Apprising Ministries brings you the video evidence of what Robison said to Francis following the pope’s message. View article →

The “Economic Recovery” Continues: Businesses Are Being Destroyed Faster Than They Are Being Created

What would you say about an economy where businesses are shutting down faster than they are opening? Well, a shocking new study released by the Brookings Institution indicates that this is exactly what is happening in the United States. We are absolutely killing small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit in this country, and as you will see below, the number of self-employed Americans has been on a downward trend for a decade even though our population has been steadily growing. Traditionally, small businesses have been the primary engine of job growth in this nation, so the fact that study after study has found that small business creation is being crippled in the United States is a really bad sign for our economic future. (Read More….)

6 Times Democrats Demonstrated Their Hatred of the Bible

Kerry makes no distinction between the Koran, the Old Testament, or the New Testament; he makes no distinction between the myriad streams of religious thought throughout history. They are all the same. Anyone who believes in ancient codes of morality is out of step with history. In this, Kerry is no different from the rest of his party. Today’s Democratic Party has become the enemy of Biblical religion. In April 2008, then-Senator Obama was caught on tape at a fundraiser in San Francisco. Obama stated: Only idiots, racists, xenophobes, and gun-clingers believe in the Bible.

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GodLife: When You Pray, Expect the Unexpected

When You Pray, Expect the Unexpected

Sometimes God gives us exactly what we ask for, when we ask for it. But when His answers don’t come right away, it’s often because He has something much better for us.

Just for You

Do you want to learn more about how God moves in unexpected ways? Click to read about how the Lord works in various ways in the Glad You Asked series.

Personal Help

Do you ever wonder about how God can answer your prayers? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week:
• To thank God for answering “yes” to our prayers
• That God will help you love Him more, humbly obey Him, and avoid sin
• That God will help you understand how He answers “yes”
• To thank God for the Saviour of all nations
• That God will give you patience as you pray

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