Daily Archives: June 2, 2014

Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: Why Are Christians so Judgmental?

 

One of the most widespread arguments against Christians is that they are “judgmental” or “always imposing their views on others.” Often, this criticism comes in response to Christians who speak out against behaviors and lifestyles that God judges as “sin” and has declared to be an outrage to Him (see Proverbs 16:1). We live in a society where “everyone [does] what [is] right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25)—where people insist that there are no moral absolutes, that each man should decide for himself what is right or wrong, and that we should “tolerate” (meaning “celebrate”) sinful activities. Those who take seriously the biblical warnings against sin and dare speak out against evil are written off as religious fanatics, and all Christians are, ironically, judged as being “judgmental.”

The Scripture that is used the most to support the idea that Christians should not judge is Matthew 7:1, where Jesus says to His disciples, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” It’s one verse that many unbelievers can quote. Another popular saying, taken from John 8:7, is “He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” But when we read these verses in their immediate contexts, it becomes glaringly obvious that Jesus is not warning against every kind of judging but against hypocritical, self-righteous judging (see Matthew 7:1–5; John 8:1–11). In other words, a man should refrain from pronouncing judgment on those who commit the very sin in which he engages, for “with the judgment [we] pronounce [we] will be judged” (Matthew 7:2). This exhortation is similar to the point made by the apostle Paul when he asks, “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:3). These verses are a warning against hypocrisy and, at the same time, an exhortation to right living.

However, hypocritical judging is the only kind of judging the Bible says that Christians should avoid. The Christian must “judge” or discern between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14)! We must make spiritual evaluations of the words and behavior of others, not to find fault, but to effectively guard our hearts against error and sin (1 Corinthians 2:14–15; Proverbs 4:23). In fact, immediately after Jesus warned His disciples against hypocritical judgment, He says, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs” (Matthew 7:6). How is the Christian supposed to know who the “dogs” and the “pigs” are unless he or she exercises discernment? Furthermore, Jesus warns His disciples just a few verses later, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15–16). This admonition is given not only with regard to “false prophets” but also concerning anyone who comes in the name of Christ but who, by his actions, denies Christ (Titus 1:16; cf. Matthew 3:8).

According to Jesus, this kind of judgment is considered “right judgment” (John 7:24) and is strongly encouraged. We are to be “as wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16), and wisdom demands that we be discerning (Proverbs 10:13). And when we have discerned rightly, we are to speak the truth, with love being the motivating factor (Ephesians 4:15). Love requires that we gently confront those in error with the truth about their sin with the hope of bringing them to repentance and faith (Galatians 6:1). “Whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death” (James 5:20). The true Christian speaks the truth—not merely what he believes to be the truth, but the truth as plainly revealed in God’s Word. The truth, especially the truth about good and evil, exists independently from what we feel or think (Isaiah 5:20–21).

Those who reject or are offended by the truth simply prove the power of God’s Word to convict the heart of man; for “the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).[1]

 

 

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

Questions about Eternity: Why Does God Send People to Hell?

 

The Bible says that God created hell for Satan and the wicked angels who rebelled against Him, but there are people in hell also (Matthew 25:41). Both angelic beings and human beings are in hell for the same reason, sin (Romans 6:23).

Because God is completely righteous and morally perfect (Psalm 18:30), He always does what is right—there is no “darkness” in God, not the smallest speck of imperfection (1 John 1:5). God Himself is the standard for what is right, good, and moral. If it were not for God being the standard of moral perfection, created beings would have nothing to measure themselves against. In other words, if God is perfectly righteous, then anything that falls short of said perfection is sinful, and every human being who has ever lived, since Adam’s fall from grace, has committed sin (Romans 3:23). Because Adam sinned, the entire human race now has a sinful nature (Romans 5:12). But people do not go to hell because of Adam’s sin; they go to hell because of their own sin, which they freely choose (James 1:13–16).

Since God is eternal, immutable, and infinite, and all sins are fundamentally against God, God has decreed the just punishment for sin must also be eternal (Matthew 25:46). There is another aspect to consider, which is that God also created people to live eternally. So when someone commits a sin against another person, the offended person has also been eternally wronged.

God, therefore, has deemed all who commit sin will go to hell because they have failed to meet His righteous standard; they have broken His Law of moral perfection. If God did not send people to hell for breaking His laws, it could be said that God is not just (Psalm 7:11). A good analogy is a court of law with a judge and a lawbreaker. A just judge will always convict the person who has been found guilty. If that judge did not pursue justice for the crime, he would not be a just judge (Deuteronomy 32:4).

However, the good news is that God is also merciful. In His rich mercy, He made a way for sinners to avoid the punishment of hell by trusting in the atoning work of His Son, Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16). For Christians, the penalty of sin has been removed and placed upon Christ on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). Because of the sacrifice of Christ, God is still just—the sin is punished—yet He is also merciful to all who believe.[1]

 

 

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

Questions about Christianity: What Is Jesus Culture? Is Jesus Culture Biblical?

 

Jesus Culture is a movement that began in 1999 as a youth group and has since expanded to have an international influence. The music and conferences of Jesus Culture are aimed at young people, seeking to lead them “to experience the radical love of God” and send them back into their communities “completely impassioned and transformed” (from the official website). The ministry focuses on revival, worship, the power of God, and the “manifest presence” of Christ in the world. The founder of the movement is Banning Liebscher from Bethel Church, a Charismatic church pastored by Bill Johnson in Redding, California.

There has always been and will always be great variety within the body of Christ. One reason for the plethora of church denominations is that human beings are unique and one size does not fit all. With every generation, there has been a revival of passion that expresses itself through different outlets. In the 1940s it was Youth for Christ; in the 1970s it was the Jesus People; since 1997 we have witnessed the 268 Generation, also known as the Passion Movement. The young people of Jesus Culture are passionate about spreading worship over the globe, and they set about to do it the way that seems best to them.

Bethel Church, from which Jesus Culture emerged, teaches salvation by grace through faith. However, the church also teaches that the positions of apostle and prophet are being filled yet today. The “apostles’ teaching” mentioned in Acts 2:42 is not necessarily the doctrine of Peter, James, and John, according to Bethel. It is whatever the modern-day apostles are saying. Obviously, this doctrine can lead to a downplaying of Scripture and opens the door to spurious teaching.

Indeed, Jesus Culture is sometimes criticized for a lack of depth and biblical teaching at their conferences and concerts. The emphasis is on having an undefined “personal encounter with the love of God” rather than on repentance and faith. Such an emphasis appeals to emotion, and as with anything centered primarily on emotion, those participating often miss the mark. Any time we give preeminence to emotional experience over the clear teaching of the Word, we open the door to potentially harmful doctrines.

Another concern is Jesus Culture’s emphasis on signs and wonders, including visions, healings, and speaking in esoteric tongues. Johnson teaches that believers who are sick have “allowed” the sickness into their lives and that those who are not healed should “realize it’s not God’s fault” and pray for a “greater anointing” (from the official Jesus Culture website).

Within Jesus Culture are many committed believers, and their accent on worship and worldwide missions is commendable. We praise the Lord for anyone who is brought to faith in Christ through their efforts. At the same time, Got Questions Ministries disagrees with their stance on the sign gifts and sees a danger in their promotion of modern-day apostles. First Thessalonians 5:21 commands us to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” As believers, we ought to carefully examine every teaching and practice and compare it to the written Word of God.[1]

 

 

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

End Times Prophecy Headlines: June 2, 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
June 2, 2014

CommentaryAnd OPINION

INTERNATIONAL  

SOUTH KOREA: S. Korea introduces “women only” parking spaces

CHINA: Those who frighten China

RUSSIA:TUNGUSKA: Ancient Meteorite Destroyer Complex in Siberia’s Valley of Death?

EUROPEAN UNION: Sex, Drugs And Accounting In Europe

Europe has a new source of economic growth. In the next few months all European Union countries that do not already include drugs, prostitution, and other illegal and gray-market businesses in their gross domestic product calculations will have to do so.

BRAZIL: Is the World Cup a giant waste of money? – Won’t someone please think of the feelings of the sports fanatics!

BRAZIL: Apparent match fixing casts doubt over World Cup – At some point, the American sports aficionado will have to admit that the professional contests he invests so much of his time in (whether auto racing, football, basketball…

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What Millennials Want in Leaders

The Millennial generation is the generation that has grabbed my heart. I know that my preference is largely related to having and loving three Millennial sons and their friends. But I know that my favoritism also stems from the attitude of hope that this generation brings.

Who Are the Millennials?

As a reminder, the Millennials are America’s largest generation, over 78 million in number. They are slightly larger in number than the well-documented Baby Boomer generation.

The Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000, though our research included only the older portion of this generation, those born between 1980 and 1991. The study included demographic sampling that well represents the generation in total.

The Leadership Factor

Though we asked relatively few questions about leadership in our study for the book The Millennials, the intensity of their responses provided clear indication that this subject was one of great interest to many in this generation. At the conclusion of our study, we found four major leadership foci among the Millennials. We dubbed them simply “What Millennials Want in Leaders.”

Mentoring, gentle spirit, integrity, transparency and authenticity.

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What Mariam Ibrahim Means

News reports have gone back and forth all weekend about whether or not Sudan will release our sister in Christ, Mariam Yahya Ibrahim. What’s not up for dispute is that Mariam, who just gave birth in prison chains, is condemned to die for “apostasy,” that is violating Sharia law by becoming a Christian. She’s also charged with “adultery,” because her marriage to a Christian man isn’t recognized. As we pray for her, I’d like us to reflect on what we see in her.

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The Velocity Of Money In The U.S. Falls To An All-Time Record Low

When an economy is healthy, there is lots of buying and selling and money tends to move around quite rapidly. Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is the exact opposite of that right now. In fact, as I will document below, the velocity of M2 has fallen to an all-time record low. This is a very powerful indicator that we have entered a deflationary era, and the Federal Reserve has been attempting to combat this by absolutely flooding the financial system with more money. This has created some absolutely massive financial bubbles, but it has not fixed what is fundamentally wrong with our economy. On a very basic level, the amount of economic activity that we are witnessing is not anywhere near where it should be and the flow of money through our economy is very stagnant. They can try to mask our problems with happy talk for as long as they want, but in the end it will be clearly evident that none of the long-term trends that are destroying our economy have been addressed. (Read More….)

Michelle Obama’s Latest Insult To Christians Everywhere

On that day, the White House held a Hindu Diwali festival, where Michelle claimed that her family wished to celebrate everything “that make us who we are as Americans.” It should be noted that she did not include Christianity or Judaism in her statement, although hey are the primary religions in our country.

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Bilderberg at 60: inside the world’s most secretive conference

Topics on the agenda for the three-day summit first held on 29 May 1954 will include: does privacy exist?

Thursday is the opening day of the influential three-day summit and it’s also the 60th anniversary of the Bilderberg Group’s first meeting, which took place in Holland on 29 May 1954. So this year’s event is a red-letter occasion, and the official participant list shows that the 2014 conference is a peculiarly high-powered affair.

The chancellor, at his seventh Bilderberg, is spending the next three days deep in conference with the heads of MI6, Nato, the International Monetary Fund, HSBC, Shell, BP and Goldman Sachs International, along with dozens of other chief executives, billionaires and high-ranking politicians from around Europe.

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Albert Mohler Blog: “There Is No ‘Third Way’ — Southern Baptists Face a Moment of Decision (and so will you)”

In his recent Blog Essay,”There Is No ‘Third Way’ — Southern Baptists Face a Moment of Decision (and so will you),” Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. responds to the recent affirmation of same-sex relationships by Pastor Danny Cortez and New Heart Community Church. Cortez claims that he and his church are becoming a “Third Way church” in their beliefs on homosexuality. Mohler responds:

“There is no third way. A church will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them. Eventually, every congregation in America will make a public declaration of its position on this issue. It is just a matter of time (and for most churches, not much time) before every congregation in the nation faces this test.”

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Need Encouragement? Revisit the Jesus Movement Because It Rocked America!

If you are over 50, you probably remember it. It would do you well to reminisce a bit.

If you are under 50, you may not know much about it. You need to read on to appreciate what God did and wants to do again, differently but even more powerfully.

In the midst of a very turbulent and discouraging time in our nation’s history, God intervened in a supernatural way during a five-year period from 1968 to 1973. A grass roots spiritual movement burst forth on the scene with a soft explosion that revolutionized millions of lives. It was called “The Jesus People Movement.”

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Homosexual Sex, Divorce, Extramarital Sex Reach New Highs of ‘Moral Acceptability’

WASHINGTON (RNS) – Americans are showing more tolerance for a range of behaviors, with sex between unmarried adults, medical research on stem cells from human embryos, and doctor-assisted suicide all showing record highs and increases in “moral acceptability” from last year.

The Gallup poll’s annual “moral acceptability” scale has been conducted since 2001 and charts shifting cultural attitudes on a number of hot-button social issues. In the 2014 list released Friday (May 30), Gallup researchers said 12 of the 19 categories reflected “levels of moral acceptance that are as high or higher than in the past.”

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Irish Pastor Under ‘Hate Crime’ Investigation for Sunday Sermon Against Islam

BELFAST, Northern Ireland – A 75-year-old Irish preacher was subjected to a police probe after he condemned Islam in a sermon and was accused of ‘hate mongering.’ James McConnell, pastor of the Whitewell Metropolitan Church in North Belfast, Ireland, discussed the religion of Islam during an evening sermon on Sunday, May 18th. During the sermon, McConnell denounced Islam and said the contrast between it and Christianity is stark. “The God we worship and serve this evening is not Allah,” he proclaimed, according to a video of his sermon. “The Muslim god—Allah—is a heathen deity. Allah is a cruel deity. Allah is a demon deity.” McConnell then criticized the “foolish” British government for attempting to appease Muslims financially, saying Islam is “a doctrine spawned in hell.” He also noted that Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith by the “fanatical worshipers” of Allah.

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NSA Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images.

The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents. The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed.

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Preaching of Hell continues to be Downplayed and Considered “Religious OCD”!

When she was 12, Jennifer Traig’s hands were red and raw from washing them so much. She’d start scrubbing a half an hour before dinner; when she was done, she’d hold her hands up like a surgeon until her family sat down to eat. Her handwashing compulsions began at the time she was studying for her Bat Mitzvah. She was so worried about being exposed to pork fumes that she cleaned her shoes and barrettes in a washing machine. ”Like a lot of people with OCD, I tended to obsess about cleanliness,” said Traig, now 42. “But because I was reading various Torah portions, I was obsessed with a biblical definition of cleanliness.” Family dinners were awkward for Tina Fariss Barbour, too, as an adolescent. She would concentrate so hard on praying for forgiveness that if anyone tried to interrupt her thoughts, she wouldn’t respond. ”First I had to get rid of all my sins, ask forgiveness, do it in the right way, and then I had to pray for protection,” said Barbour, now 50. “Or, if something bad happened to my family, it would be my fault because I had not prayed good enough.”

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America’s Greatest Moral Crisis Is the Lack of God Consciousness

Several years ago my good friend and frequent debating partner, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, challenged me to debate the question, “Is Homosexuality America’s Great Moral Crisis?” My answer was that homosexual activism is certainly a matter of great concern, but our country’s greatest moral crisis is the lack of consciousness of God. What has happened to the fear of the Lord? What has become of holy reverence? Where is the recognition that one day, all of us will give account to the Judge of the whole earth? Almost 25 years ago, in my book How Saved Are We? I wrote a chapter entitled “Whatever Happened to the Fear of God?” Looking back today, almost a quarter-century later, the question is all the more urgent.

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Cold Case Christianity: Why Creeds Are an Essential Characteristic of Christianity (Podcast)

Why Creeds Are an Essential Characteristic of Christianity (Podcast)

In this podcast, J. Warner examines the historic, creedal nature of Christianity. Why are creeds so important to the Christian worldview? How early did they emerge? How can we affirm the creedal nature of Christianity in a pluralistic, relativistic culture? Jim investigates the early use of creeds and the continuing role creeds play in defining the Christian worldview.

Pray with boldness not insolence

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

7 οὗ ἐγενήθην διάκονος κατὰ τὴν δωρεὰν τῆς χάριτος τοῦ θεοῦ τῆς δοθείσης μοι κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ. 8 Ἐμοὶ τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις αὕτη, τοῖς ἔθνεσιν εὐαγγελίσασθαι τὸ ἀνεξιχνίαστον πλοῦτος τοῦ Χριστοῦ 9 καὶ φωτίσαι [πάντας] τίς ἡ οἰκονομία τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων ἐν τῷ θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα κτίσαντι, 10 ἵνα γνωρισθῇ νῦν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἡ πολυποίκιλος σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ, 11 κατὰ πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων ἣν ἐποίησεν ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, 12 ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν παρρησίαν καὶ προσαγωγὴν ἐν πεποιθήσει διὰ τῆς πίστεως αὐτοῦ. 13 διὸ αἰτοῦμαι μὴ ἐγκακεῖν ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσίν μου ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, ἥτις ἐστὶν δόξα ὑμῶν. (Ephesians 3:7-13 NA28)

7 Of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God having been given to me according to the…

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