Daily Archives: July 3, 2014

Independence Day and the state of the church in America.

Truth in Grace

Today marks the 234th anniversary of our nation’s birth, but this occasion brings to mind two problems that I see within Christendom; both of which have the same solution.

Firstly, why do we (every year at this time) feel the need to mix nationalism with the church? On this Sunday, Christians will be running from church to BBQs and parties; some won’t even need to leave the church property as all the festivities will be rolled into one like a church in my local area advertising the events they’re having at their “community freedom festival” which include:

Pony rides / Face painting / Food and drinks / Sno-cones, popcorn, cotton candy / Games and prizes / Bounce houses / Giant slide / Dunk tank / Crafts for the kids / Live music / And much more.

Remember, dear readers, this is a “church.” The only reference on their advertisement that…

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Are you “on the wrong side of history” (and should you be worried)?

Historical ignorance and the move away from traditional religious and moral beliefs are undoubtedly tied together. “History is a hill or a high point,” wrote G. K. Chesterton, “from which alone men see the town in which they are living and the age in which they live.” So many today are confused and lack perspective because they have no vantage point from which to see their own tiny plot of time and place.  To borrow the analogy from James the Apostle, we never look into the mirror that would show us a more accurate reflection of ourselves and our surroundings.

 

Reading the words or biographies of prominent people from our past would likely shock – and maybe offend – many contemporary fans of the “progressive” left. A lot of young people who encounter the voices of the past while reading for college courses are given to the foolish habit of rejecting them with a knee-jerk reaction that assumes that everyone who lived before iphones was backward and just didn’t get it. In most cases they read just enough to condemn everyone in history of being ignorant, racist, puritanical religious nuts. This childish view of history says more about our own culture than any of those from the past. We’ve become too inept even to know how to process the predominant ways of thinking of those in our history. “To be ignorant of the past is to remain a child,” wrote Cicero, and he had so much less history from which to learn than we do all of these centuries later. Our confusion is of our own making. We have libraries of brilliant teachers to tutor us, but we’d rather get our wisdom from our peers, from Hollywood, from jaded comedians, or from the twittersphere, all within 140 characters.

 

I challenge anyone to begin reading biographies of the American founders, and see how long it takes to start re-adjusting everything that you thought you knew about the moral and political debates of our time. For all of the specific and distinct differences between them, they all seem to have shared a general worldview that many young voters today would hardly recognize. As far as I can tell, none of them – to a man – could get elected to any office today with the views they expressed in their writings and speeches.

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Real Church

 

Confess your sins to one another . . . that you may be healed.James 5:16

There’s a strange idea I’m unlearning these days. Actually if I’m honest, I’m not yet unlearning it at all. But I’d like to. I need to.

 

The strange idea is: church is for displaying the best about us, not revealing the worst about us.

 

The result is: burdened, burned out, suffocating Christians and church leaders.

 

We’ve all heard the stats about how pastors are leaving the ministry in droves, and how all the rest would like to but don’t have a medical or law or business degree to fall back on. Is it because they feel unable to exhale the carbon dioxide of their failures and inhale the oxygen of grace? Are we letting our leaders be human beings?

 

And church members. How many actually enjoy small group? Honestly—how many go not out of a sense of duty?

 

Someone gets wonderfully converted and we all rejoice, then promptly saddle them with spiritual disciplines to help them “grow.” They’re not Christians two weeks before they feel like worse failures than they ever did as an unbeliever. Maybe they were dealing crack before conversion, but at least they didn’t feel hypocritical about it.

 

What if we let a new convert breathe in some grace for a while? Until–I don’t know–they die?

 

What if the leaders in a church stepped off the cliff of face-saving into the mile-long freefall of humiliating honesty and found themselves floating into the delicious clouds of actual, real, for-sinners, grace?

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New Podcast: Signs of the Times – Chris Lawson

A brief overview of what the individual Christian faces when apostasy is rampant!

Although this archived message was recorded in 1999, it applies today more than ever! This is an excellent overview that warns about last days apostasy. The audio is a bit rough in some places – my apologies for this.

This topical study warns about Lucifer’s temptation in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), false christs, false prophets, and how the New Age has crept into the Church (2 Corinthians 11:1-4, 13-15; Luke 12:54-56; Matthew 24:4,11,23-26). Some of the topics warned about are Self-esteem, Word Faith prosperity Cult teaching, the New Age “World Teacher” Messiah known as Maitreya, Roman Catholicism, Ecumenism, Interfaith unity, apostate false Christianity, Robert Schuller and Billy Graham’s compromise, holy laughter, kundalini manifestations, and more. Numerous illustrations from dangerous books are also included.

Podcast: Signs-of-the-Times-Overview-Chris-Lawson.mp3

Archive: Chris Lawson Directory and the New SRN website audio page

May the Lord give discernment to those who are in need of it today!

Sincerely in Christ,
Chris Lawson

Spiritual Research Network

5 questions and the 5 solas

ImageThe Protestant Reformation threw the Christian world into chaos. At the beginning of the 1400’s the Pope’s authority was absolute and the only means of salvation were the sacraments given under his auspices. There was a secular/sacred distinction that was ironclad, meaning that the priests and laity lived in practically two separate worlds. There was no concept of church membership, corporate worship, preaching, or Bible reading in the churches. And as far as doctrine was concerned, there was no debate—the creeds and declarations from Rome (and soon to be Avignon) were the law.

Things had been this way for six hundred years. In a world where life expectancy was in the 30’s, that is essentially the same as saying that the church had been in the dark forever.

But if you fast-forward to the end of the 1500’s, all of that had been turned on its head. The absolute nature of the Pope’s rule and vanished—in large part owing to the Babylonian Captivity of the church (the 40 year period were two rival popes both ruled, and both excommunicated each other—finally to both be deposed by a church council). Church councils themselves had contradicted themselves so many times that their own authority was openly ridiculed. The Holy Roman Empire was no longer relevant, and the political world had simply passed the Pope by. 

Protestants found themselves in the wake of this upheaval, and there was one major question to be answered: what, exactly, was this new kind of Christian? What did a Protestant believe? The reformation had followed similar and simultaneous tracks in multiple countries, yet at the end of it all the content of Protestantism was pretty much the same. On the essentials, German, English, Swiss, and Dutch Protestants all stood for the same theology. But what was it?

It was easy to understand the beliefs of Catholicism—all one had to do was look at their creeds and the declarations from their councils. But Protestants were so named precisely because they were opposed to all that. So what council would give them their beliefs then?

This is where the five solas came from. These were five statements about the content of the Protestant gospel, and by the end of the 1500’s, these were the terms which identified Protestantism. These five phrases are not an extensive statement on theology, but instead served simply as a way to explain what the content of the gospel was to which Protestants held.

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A Christian Psychology of and Response to Homosexuality, Part 4

A Christian Psychology of and Response to Homosexuality--Part 4

BCC Staff Note: You’re reading the fourth of a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog mini-series by Dr. Sam Williams on A Christian Psychology of and Response to Homosexuality. You can read Part One herePart Two here, and Part Three here. You can watch a video presentation of this material here. You can read the entire series in PDF format here.

Can People Change SSA or SSO, and If So, How Do They Change?

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Authentic Fire Review: Chapter 9

 

Authentic Fire is Dr. Michael Brown’s book-length response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference. Because of the importance of this debate, TheCripplegate is using every Thursday to respond chapter-by-chapter to Authentic Fire. You can find an overview of this debate, as well as links to the reviews for each chapter by clicking here.

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9 Things You Should Know About Independence Day and the Declaration of Independence

 

July 4, 2014 will be America’s 238th Independence Day, the day Americans celebrate our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Here are nine things you should know about America’s founding document and the day set aside for its commemoration.

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Trey Gowdy in the Pulpit

 

Today I was checking out what was up at The Christian Post’s website, and stumbled across this article about Congressman Trey Gowdy. It put me in such a good mood that I had to share it here.

I imagine most people in the U.S. who watch the news channels mostly know Trey Gowdy for his sharp, prosecutorial style in confronting the ongoing abuse of power and official malfeasance in Washington. The left despises him, while the right loves him (for the most part). But in this message to Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, Trey hit the nail on the head. His message: “Don’t look to politicians or politics as national saviors.” There is only one Savior—the Lord Jesus Christ.

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FOURTH OF JULY 2014 QUOTES: 20 Quotes to Celebrate Independence Day

End Times Prophecy Report

FOURTH OF JULY QUOTES: 20 Quotes to Watch some Fireworks byFOURTH OF JULY QUOTES: 20 Quotes to Watch some Fireworks by

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

20 FOURTH OF JULY QUOTES

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA: 238-YEARS-OLD

“July 4. Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than in all the other days of the year put together. This proves, by the number left in stock, that one fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so.”
–Mark Twain

The Fourth of July (Independence Day) comes but once a year and when it comes: it’s Happy Birthday America, picnics, cookouts, family get-togethers and fireworks galore.

Independence Day is one holiday which always falls on the same day every year: the Fourth of July!

We celebrate the Fourth as the day the founders signed the Declaration of Independence.  However, according to many historians, it was really signed the following day

When and how did the Independence Day…

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Penciled Prayers: A Prayer for Roman Catholics

 

“As [Jesus] said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'”
Luke 11:27-28

Lawless Christians? – John MacArthur

 

1 John 3:4

Code: B140624

by John MacArthur

Everyone sins, and everyone knows it. While it is true that fallen human nature minimizes or redefines sin, everyone knows they don’t meet the standard of perfection. Whether they call them “sins” or “mistakes,” everyone will admit to having lied, lusted, or lashed out in anger at some point in their lives—if not regularly.

That being the case, what is the difference between the sins of believers and unbelievers? When a believer sins, is it the same as when an unbeliever sins?

The Nature of Sin

The two primary biblical definitions of sin are “missing the mark” (hamartia) and “without righteousness” (adikia). At its core, sin is a transgression of God’s law; it is to think and behave as if there were no law. The apostle John emphasizes that lawless characteristic when he writes, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).

John wrote his epistle to help believers test the authenticity of their faith (1 John 5:13). Unlike many today, John does not test saving faith on the basis of a signed card, a walk down the aisle, or even a prayer made in a moment of contrition. In the passage we’re considering in this series, he’s focused on the incompatibility of sin with saving faith, and he’s making three arguments for the holiness of believers.

John’s first argument is that sin is incompatible with the law of God. As we saw in 1 John 3:4, he explicitly equates sin with an attitude of lawlessness and rebellion against God (cf. Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21).

Diagnosing Unbelievers’ Sin

John’s description of sin allows for no exceptions or double standards. Everyone who habitually practices sin is living in an ongoing condition of lawlessness. That’s not to say that they’re sinning to the full extent of their depravity. The lawlessness John refers to is more of an attitude than an action. It’s not merely transgressing God’s law—it’s living with an indifference to the law, as if there was no law-Giver at all.

We must not underestimate the severity of the unrepentant sin that flows from unbelief. We can’t define sin in bits and pieces as individual acts alone. Of course each individual sin is a serious offense to God, but we also need to be able to recognize and biblically diagnose the profound lawlessness of the unredeemed heart.

Diagnosing Believers’ Sin

If you’re a Christian, you no longer have that dominant attitude of lawlessness. The truly penitent heart resolves to obey God’s law (Psalm 19:7-11), deny fleshly lusts (Romans 13:14), resist the world’s allurements (Titus 2:12), and willingly submits to the sovereign lordship of Jesus Christ in all things. Those whom God has saved and transformed have traded slavery to sin for slavery to God, as Paul wrote:

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:16-18)

That’s not to say believers never sin—no honest Christian would make that claim. But when we do give in to temptation, we experience godly sorrow, not an attitude that is cavalier and rebellious. The believer’s sin is not the product of a heart bent in defiant lawlessness.

Instead we’re heartbroken over transgressing God’s law. It’s the attitude David displays in Psalm 32 and 51, where he pleads for God’s mercy in the aftermath of grievous sin. We share the frustration with lingering sin that Paul expresses in Romans:

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. . . . For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (Romans 7:15, 18-20)

That penitent heartbreak comes from our love of God and His law. At salvation, each believer bows his knee to the lordship of Christ. It’s a commitment to obey Him, follow Him, and fulfill His law. The believer’s life is marked by willful, loving submission to God’s law in the pursuit of holiness. We understand that the law isn’t a system of works righteousness, or a legalistic set of outdated rules. It’s an expression of God’s holy character, and we join the refrain of Psalm 119, confessing “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).

Therefore, how could authentic believers live in open, unrepentant lawlessness? John says they can’t.

But the lawless nature of sin is only the first of three reasons John gives for his conclusion. Next time we’ll look at how sin is also incompatible with the work of Christ.

 

(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1-3 John.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B140624
COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You

End Times Prophecy Headlines: July 3, 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
July 3, 2014

CommentaryAnd OPINION

===INTERNATIONAL

ISRAEL: Deadly violence escalates in Israel – Corporate Media stories about violence usually precede attacks and sweeps through the native populations in Israel.

SOMALIA: USA discloses secret Somali military presence

U.S. military advisors have secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007 and Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant group al Shabaab, U.S. officials said.

AFGHANISTAN: The good news from Afghanistan – Sounds like a PR release.

BANGLADESH: Welcome to the Traffic Jam Capital of the World

==NATIONAL

US Military already using Facebook to track your mood – Does this story affect your mood?  Have you liked the US Military’s FB page yet?

Rick Perry invites Obama to the border – Allowing the reader to contrast the difference in his mind between a virile…

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Hobby Lobby: A company that offers 16 types of contraceptives and $14 an hour minimum wage.

I don’t know much about this company. I’m not into knitting and scrapbooking. But I do now know they pay almost twice the minimum wage on the lowest end of their pay scale and only objected to paying for a particular type of contraceptive which some people believe is a form of abortion.

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ISIS Is Taking Over Iraq Using Captured American Weapons

ISIS is marching through city after city in Iraq, and they are doing it with American weapons. Thanks to a series of stunning victories in recent months, ISIS has captured a vast array of U.S. military equipment including trucks, Humvees, rockets, artillery pieces and Stinger missiles. When the U.S. was pulling out of Iraq, we were extremely generous to the new Iraqi army. We basically armed them to the teeth with equipment that U.S. taxpayers paid for. But now that the new Iraqi army is folding like a 20 dollar suit in the face of ISIS jihadists, vast quantities of that military equipment are falling into the hands of some of the most radical jihadists the world has ever seen. And considering the fact that ISIS also recently seized the equivalent of nearly $500 million in cash from a bank in Mosul, the leadership of ISIS won’t be having much problem buying anything else that they might need either. ISIS is getting stronger with each passing day, and they are not going to be satisfied until the Iraqi government has been toppled. It is a geopolitical mess of epic proportions, and there don’t seem to be any easy solutions on the horizon. (Read More….)

Independence Day? 79 Percent Of Americans Are Completely Okay With The Current Level Of Tyranny

On July 4th, the United States will celebrate Independence Day once again. But who in the world are we trying to kid? Our founders intended to create a society where freedom and liberty would be maximized, but that is not what America looks like today. Instead, we live in a country that literally has millions of laws, rules and regulations. We have a government that is obsessed with spying on the entire planet and that tries to watch, monitor, track and record as much information about all of us as it possibly can. A “Big Brother” surveillance grid is being constructed all around us, and our militarized police are becoming more brutal with each passing day. Sadly, most Americans don’t seem too alarmed by any of this. In fact, a new Gallup survey has found that 79 percent of Americans are “satisfied” with the level of freedom in this nation. That is a very alarming statistic. (Read More…)

238 Years Later, Would Americans Still Choose Freedom Over Slavery?

The Rutherford Institute/John Whitehead

Imagine living in a country where armed soldiers crash through doors to arrest and imprison citizens merely for criticizing government officials. Imagine that in this very same country, you’re watched all the time, and if you look even a little bit suspicious, the police stop and frisk you or pull you over to search you on the off chance you’re doing something illegal.

If you’re thinking this sounds like America today, you wouldn’t be far wrong. However, the scenario described above took place more than 200 years ago, when American colonists suffered under Great Britain’s version of an early police state.

No document better states their grievances than the Declaration of Independence. A document seething with outrage over a government which had betrayed its citizens, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, by 56 men who laid everything on the line, pledged it all—”our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”—because they believed in a radical idea: that all people are created to be free.

Imagine the shock and outrage these 56 men would feel were they to discover that 238 years later, the government they had risked their lives to create has been transformed into a militaristic police state in which exercising one’s freedoms is often viewed as a flagrant act of defiance.

Indeed, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, a cursory review of the true state of our freedoms as outlined in the Bill of Rights shows exactly how dismal things have become:

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