Daily Archives: May 22, 2014

Catholic Questions: What Is a Papal Conclave?


The papal conclave is the gathering of the College of Cardinals to choose a new Pope for the Roman Catholic Church. The College of Cardinals is the collective body of all cardinals around the world. In order to prevent political interference, deadlocks, and intrigue, qualifying cardinals are secluded in an area of the Vatican consisting of the Sistine Chapel (where the voting takes place) and dormitory-style housing. The cardinals are to remain until a new Pope is chosen. If a cardinal leaves for other than health reasons, he is not allowed re-entry.

The procedure for the papal conclave is fairly basic. After hearing sermons on the state of the Roman Catholic Church and the rules of the conclave, the cardinals vote up to four times a day with secret ballots. The ballots are counted, read, recorded, and burned. A Pope must be chosen by two-thirds vote. If the count does not result in an election, chemicals are added to the burning ballots to turn the smoke dark; if it does result in an election, the smoke is colored white and bells ring. Every three days or seven votes, the conclave takes a break for prayer and contemplation.

Devout Catholics gather in St. Peter’s Square to watch the chimney on the Sistine Chapel. When the smoke turns white, the Pope-elect takes a vow of office and dons the papal vestments. He then greets the people in the square from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

It is tradition that the office of Pope is not campaigned for. Any baptized male Catholic can be elected Pope, although the last non-priest elected was Leo X in 1513, and every Pope since then has been chosen from among the cardinals. Any who do not wish to be considered make their wishes known beforehand. The office is considered to be a lifetime appointment. Pope Benedict XVI was the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.

Is the idea and procedure of the papal conclave biblical? No, it is not. Since the office of Pope is itself unbiblical, the Roman Catholic procedure of selecting a new Pope is also unbiblical. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18). The Holy Spirit is the true “Vicar of Christ” (John 14:16–18, 26; 16:13).[1]



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

Questions about Sin: Is Cyber Sex / Phone Sex a Sin?


The Bible nowhere mentions cyber sex or phone sex, obviously, because “cyber-anything” and “phone-anything” were not possible in Bible times. The Word of God does give us some principles that apply to activities such as cyber sex and phone sex. Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

There are many Scriptures which indicate that sex outside of marriage is a sin (Acts 15:20; Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13,18; 7:2; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). Jesus Himself taught us that to desire something that is sinful is also sinful: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28). Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”

Cyber sex and phone sex are, in essence, desiring something that is sinful (fornication or adultery). Cyber sex and phone sex are fantasizing about that which is immoral and impure. In no sense could cyber sex or phone sex be considered noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Cyber sex and phone sex are virtual adultery. They are fantasizing about a person lustfully and encouraging another person into immoral lust. They lead a person into the trap of “ever-increasing wickedness” (Romans 6:19). A person who is immoral in his/her mind and desires will eventually become immoral in his/her actions. Yes, cyber sex and phone sex are most definitely sins![1]



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

Questions about the Christian Life: What Does It Mean to Be Chastened? How Does God Chasten Us?


Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives” (KJV). Another word for “chasten” is “discipline.” The passage goes on to quote Proverbs 3:11–12, which says, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proper discipline is a proof of love.

Throughout Scripture, God portrays Himself as a Father. Those who have received Jesus as Savior are His children (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26). He uses the analogy of father/son because we understand it. He compares Himself to a loving father who not only blesses but disciplines His beloved children for their own good. Hebrews 12 goes on to show that those who do not receive God’s discipline are not legitimate children (verse 8). A loving father carefully watches his son, and when that son defies his orders and heads for danger, the father disciplines him to keep him safe. God does that with us. When a born-again child of God heads for sin or refuses to resist temptation, our Heavenly Father brings chastening into his life to direct him back to holiness.

Chastening can come in the form of guilty feelings, unpleasant circumstances, loss of peace, relationship fractures, or any number of negative consequences for choosing sin. Sometimes, the chastening of the Lord can be physical illness or even death (1 Corinthians 11:30).

Often, people ask if God is “punishing” them for wrong choices in the past. All our punishment for sin was exhausted upon Jesus on the cross (Romans 5:9). The wrath of God was poured out on Him so that for those who are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) no wrath remains. When we give our lives to Christ, our Substitute for sin, our sin is forgiven and God remembers it no more (Hebrews 8:12; 10:15–18). However, often, our wrong choices in the past have brought about unpleasant consequences now. God does not necessarily remove the natural consequences of sin when we repent. Those consequences are tools God can use to teach us, to prevent us from repeating the same mistakes, and to remind us of God’s grace.

Examples of chastening are found throughout the Bible. The Israelites were continually disobeying God’s commands (Numbers 14:21–23; Judges 2:1–2; 2 Kings 18:12). He was patient with them, He sent prophets to plead with them, and He warned them many times. But when they dug in their heels and embraced idols or evil practices, God brought chastening upon them in the form of plagues or enemy attacks (Jeremiah 40:3). He still loved them, and in His love He could not allow them to continue in behavior that would destroy them.

There are many examples of personal chastening in the Bible, as well, even upon those in whom the Lord most delighted—Moses (Numbers 27:12), David (1 Chronicles 28:3), and Solomon (1 Kings 11:11), to name a few. Notice that, although these men made mistakes and were chastened for them, God did not stop loving or using them. He brought discipline appropriate to the crime, but always forgave the truly repentant heart. God always restored the relationship.

When we sin, we can expect that our loving Heavenly Father will not let us get away with it. Because He loves us, He desires us to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:15–16; Romans 8:29). If someone professes to know Christ but is living a lifestyle of unrepentant sin and claims to “feel fine about it,” with no qualms, then that person is not a legitimate child of God (Revelation 3:19; Hebrews 12:5–11; Job 5:17; Psalm 94:12; I John 3:4–12). God “punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6).[1]



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

William Lane Craig lectures on the postmodern challenge to belief in God


In a lecture entitled “Are there Objective Truths About God?”, philosopher William Lane Craig responds to postmodern challenges to the idea of truth, and specifically to the idea that religion is about objective truth.

Here’s the link to a page containing the lecture audio. (H/T Be Thinking)

The MP3 file is here.

So what questions does Bill answer in the lecture?

What is a self-refuting statement?

The main concept in the lecture is self-refutation. A self-refuting sentence is a sentence that, if true, makes itself false or meaningless. For example, suppose someone said to you: “there are no sentences longer than 5 words” then that would be self-refuting since it falsifies itself. Bill argues that objections to the idea that there are objective truths about God are all self-refuting.

What is truth?

Craig holds that “truth” is a property of a proposition such that a proposition is true…

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Millennials and the Demise of Print: Five Implications for Churches

But Blodget notes recent research that is almost breathtaking. The research looked at media preferences for different age groups. The stark reality of the future of print is most noticeable in the 16-to-24 age group and the 25-to-34 age group. The Millennials have absolutely no loyalty to or preference for print media. Blodget’s words are worth repeating:

“Media consumers in the 0s, 10s, 20s, and 30s have no such print alliances. To them, the idea of printing on a dead tree and then trucking it to houses and newsstands seems ludicrous, old-fashioned, inconvenient, and wasteful. To these folks, paper-based publications are a pain to carry and search, easy to misplace, and hard to share, and the information in them is outdated the moment it appears. For those who weren’t raised on paper, digital is superior in almost every way.”

Wow. Those words are painful for an old print adherent like me. But facts are our friends, and I would rather deal with reality than deny reality.

Five Implications for the Church

Of course, after I read the article, my mind traversed quickly to implications for local churches. I see at least five at this point.

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Did Mark Driscoll teach Jesus made “mistakes” as justification for his own “mistakes?”

You’ll see this is a fair question once you have the facts involving the missing segment from Driscoll’s sermon from last Sunday. Apprising Ministries brings you a video clip containing the edited portion of that message.

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End Times Prophecy Headlines: May 22, 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
May 22, 2014

CommentaryAnd OPINION

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner.  Don’t forget the meteor shower tomorrow night (link below).

Tomorrow’s Headlines will be a special, one-year anniversary edition.


SWITZERLAND: Swiss Court approves Nazi Salute

SOUTH KOREA: Warning shots fired at NKorean boat

NIGERIA: Obama sends US troops to look for missing girls

LIBYA: What a US military evacuation in Libya might look like

CHINA: China, Russia sign 30-year deal for natural gas

World War 3 Watch: May 19, 2014


US FREEDOM ACT: The bill that allows the NSA to continue to spy on Americans – More freedom through more spying. Now that’s a slogan!

46 percent view a major cyber attack as an act of war – Convenient.  For almost half of the country, there’s no longer any need to kill or stage an attack in…

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Total Inability / Total Depravity

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

Those of us who dearly love Reformation Theology often use the acronym “T.U.L.I.P.” to represent the five points. I will be posting a 5 part series on the 5 points. One of my favorite books about this is The Doctrines of Graceby James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken. I will use this book extensively in this series along with others by R.C. Sproul, John Owen, and Martin Luther. However, my primary source will be The Bible.

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