Daily Archives: September 9, 2014

Questions about Christianity: Who Are the Gideons International, and What Do They Believe?

 

The Gideons International is an association of Christian business and professional men who are dedicated to distributing God’s Word around the world. The Auxiliary of Gideons are wives who support the work with prayer and by participating in many of the functions of Gideons, including the placement of Bibles. By making Bibles available around the world, the Gideons trust God to use His Word to increase His kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:6).

The Gideons International has its worldwide headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, but each Gideon is assigned to a local group called a “camp.” Camps usually meet once a week for a prayer breakfast and once a month for education and planning. Members encourage each other in personal witnessing and in their overarching goal of bringing men and women, boys and girls, to a saving knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior.

The Gideons organization was begun in 1899 by two traveling salesmen with a heart for evangelism. They later adopted the goal of putting a Bible in every hotel room in the United States starting in 1908. From those beginnings grew an organization of over 300,000 men and women in 195 countries giving out Bibles or New Testaments in over ninety languages. In their first 105 years, the Gideons have given out over 1.8 billion copies of God’s Word.

The Gideons are lay persons (not clergy) who are members in good standing in an evangelical or Protestant church. Essentially, they represent local churches as missionaries whose sole purpose is winning the lost through providing them the Word of God. Today, they distribute over one million Scriptures throughout the world every week—that’s more than two copies per second. Whole Bibles are left in hotels and motels, and New Testaments are provided to middle schools, high schools, colleges, prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, military facilities, doctor’s offices, and fire stations—all at no cost to those receiving the Bibles. Churches support the Gideons with prayer, with some of their members serving as Gideons and Auxiliary members, and by paying for Bibles. All donations to the Gideons go for the printing and transportation of Bibles—many to countries where traditional missionaries cannot go. In forty-eight of the countries where the Gideons are organized, people struggle to survive; they will never own a Bible without some assistance.

The Gideons believe and teach the basics of orthodox Christian doctrine, and the New Testaments they distribute have two pages in the back devoted to explaining the gospel and how to be saved. Their doctrinal statement and further information on the Gideons are available on their website.[1]

 

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

Counseling Related Questions: How Can a Christian Overcome Social Anxiety?

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the U.S., with social anxiety disorders being number one among them. People who experience any type of anxiety may feel like they cannot control it, and indeed there are types that are triggered by physical conditions. But the fact that cognitive therapy is usually the best treatment for this type of disorder reveals the battle is most often in the mind. The Bible teaches that Christians can control how they think and what they think about because God has given us the Holy Spirit to teach such things (John 14:26–27). Most people never consider the fact that they can control their thoughts to a great degree. But with practice, prayer, and help from God, the battle can be totally overcome or at the very least controlled so that the anxiety is manageable (see Philippians 4:7). We know God’s plan for His children does not include a life of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).

Social anxiety (SA) is an unreasonable fear of being in public situations. Often, the sufferer of social anxiety disorder believes other people are examining him with a critical and judgmental eye. Sufferers are extremely self-conscious and are in perpetual fear of embarrassing themselves. Because those with social anxiety are usually perfectionists, a helpful thing to learn from Scripture is that no one is perfect, except for Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:22). Western culture has bombarded people with the false idea that perfection can be attained if you look a certain way, own a certain thing, or have a certain career. The Bible tells us none of these things matter to God; He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Those suffering from SA should realize they are not perfect—and neither is anyone else (Romans 3:23).

The principle of sowing and reaping is found throughout the Bible and is active in our everyday lives (Galatians 6:7; Proverbs 11:18). Jesus said, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). To the social anxiety sufferer, it appears everyone else seeks to judge him. This is often because he himself has a critical eye and has spent too much energy judging others. Because the social anxiety sufferer is so critical of himself and others, he assumes others have the same thinking. When we sow a forgiving, loving, merciful attitude toward others, we will also reap the same (Luke 6:38).

Many social anxiety sufferers have been victimized in the past by some sort of trauma or an overbearing, critical parent. However, it’s important to guard ourselves against repeating the same mistakes (Romans 7:15). Often, we develop attitudes without realizing it, and we must rely on the Holy Spirit, asking Him to produce His fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23).

For those who struggle with social anxiety and extreme shyness, we encourage a biblical view of self. As believers, we are loved (Romans 5:8), we are accepted (Ephesians 1:6), and we are not condemned (Romans 8:1). Being secure in Christ, we have the freedom to reach out to others and love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:33).[1]

 

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

Bible Commentary: What Are the Major Prophets and Minor Prophets?

 

The terms “Major Prophets” and “Minor Prophets” are simply a way to divide the Old Testament prophetic books. The Major Prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. The Minor Prophets are Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

The Major Prophets are described as “major” because their books are longer and the content is considered more important. The Minor Prophets are described as “minor” because their books are shorter (although Hosea and Zechariah are almost as long as Daniel) and the content is considered less important. That does not mean the Minor Prophets are any less inspired than the Major Prophets. It is simply a matter of God choosing to reveal more to the Major Prophets than He did to the Minor Prophets.

Both the Major and Minor Prophets are usually among the least popular books of the Bible for Christians to read. This is understandable with the often unusual prophetic language and the seemingly constant warnings and condemnations recorded in the prophecies. Still, there is much valuable content to be studied in the Major and Minor Prophets. We read of Christ’s birth in Isaiah and Micah. We learn of Christ’s atoning sacrifice in Isaiah. We read of Christ’s return in Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah. We learn of God’s holiness, wrath, grace, and mercy in all of the Major and Minor Prophets. For that, they are most worthy of our attention and study.[1]

 

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

The Law of God, Theonomy, and Pacifism

airō

Gavel and Scales of Justice

Theonomy and pacifism are rearing their heads as the United States continues its efforts to build a coalition of nations to destroy the Islamic State. Two weeks ago I offered some recommendations for Christians in how we should be responding to the threat of IS and the impending war. While my position has found consensus with most Christians I’ve encountered, it has also been met with heated opposition by a few.

Over the last year or two I’ve been collecting future reads for when I would begin my study on the Law of God. I’ve desired to solidify my understanding of the Christian’s relationship to the Law of God under the New Covenant. Part of this desire has been driven by the rising theonomical influence in reformed circles, and wanting to have a firm grasp on the Law to counter the aberrant arguments from my theonomist friends. I’ve learned, however, that discussions…

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Twenty Ways to Answer A Fool [5]

hipandthigh

generationDoes Christianity Breed Arrogance, A “Chosen People” Mentality?

I return once again to examining atheist anarchist, Chaz Bufe, and his 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity.

We come to his 5th complaint, that Christianity breeds arrogance, a chosen people mentality. I will let Chaz explain himself:

5. Christianity breeds arrogance, a chosen-people mentality. It’s only natural that those who believe (or play act at believing) that they have a direct line to the Almighty would feel superior to others. This is so obvious that it needs little elaboration. A brief look at religious terminology confirms it. Christians have often called themselves “God’s people,” “the chosen people,” “the elect,” “the righteous,” etc., while nonbelievers have been labeled “heathens,” “infidels,” and “atheistic Communists” (as if atheism and Communism are intimately connected). This sets up a two-tiered division of humanity, in which “God’s people” feel superior to those who are not “God’s people.”

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Why ‘Begging’ Christians to Participate in Worship Is a Mistake: An Observation

Zwinglius Redivivus

  • When people become Christians and are baptized they become members of the Church, the Body of Christ.
  • When Christians absent themselves regularly from worship, they are severing themselves from the benefits of being a member of the Body of Christ.
  • ‘Begging’ the uncommitted to take seriously their obligations to the Body of Christ has no basis in Scripture or Christian theology.
  • Persons who are ‘begged’ (or badgered) into participating in worship along with the other members of the Body of Christ feel put upon and consequently they feel disengaged.  They don’t really wish to be there, and they know it.  So, filled with resentment they ‘get nothing’ out of the service of Worship.
  • When they leave worship, the tell themselves that they were right not to be regular in worship attendance because they ‘didn’t get anything out of it’ but of course they didn’t get ‘anything out of it’ –…

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The View from His Helicopter: Matt Lauer’s Worst Moments of Wealth Hypocrisy

On Wednesday, the New York Post reported that in addition to Matt Lauer’s $20 million annual salary, NBC News recently agreed to start flying the Today co-host back and forth from work to his lavish estate in the Hamptons. Such details of Lauer’s one percent lifestyle stand in stark contrast to the common-man image he projects on the morning show.

http://www.mrc.org/biasalerts/view-his-helicopter-matt-lauers-worst-moments-wealth-hypocrisy

‘Terrify the enemy of Allah’: British imam cites that Koran tells Muslims to terrorize

by Marsha West

Christian News Network reports:

During a recent interview on the Russia Today program Worlds Apart, London-based imam Anjem Choudary cited the Koran in acknowledging that terrorism is part of the Islamic faith.

Choudary was asked by host Oksana Boyko in regard to the beheading to two American journalists whether Islamists can “hold an individual responsible, for the actions of a collective.”

http://christiannews.net/2014/09/08/terrify-the-enemy-of-allah-british-imam-cites-koran-tells-muslims-to-terrorize/

‘Even if I am going to hell’: Bill Nye ‘the Science Guy’ defends evolutionary beliefs

by Marsha West

According to Christian News Network:

In the latest issue of a widely-circulated science magazine, Bill Nye ‘the Science Guy’ defiantly defends his evolutionary beliefs and says that even if he ends up ‘going to Hell,’ it still won’t prove that the earth is young.

As previously reported, Nye debated Answers in Genesis (AiG) president Ken Ham earlier this year in a historic creation/evolution debate that was viewed by millions. Two months after the debate, Nye attacked Ham’s biblical creation beliefs in an opinion column published by Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

http://christiannews.net/2014/09/08/even-if-i-am-going-to-hell-bill-nye-the-science-guy-defends-evolutionary-beliefs/

Marsha West: “The Prosperity Priestess and the pied pieper of IHOP”

Well lookie here. Joyce Meyer, popular women’s conference speaker; health and wealth author; radio & TV teacher (whew!) has been invited to speak at the Onething Conference that will be held this December. The 4 day weekend supposedly draws 25,000 young adults. Visit Onething and you will find that the conference is “a gathering of believers who are setting their hearts to live with passion for Jesus.” Sounds like a conference most Christians would love to attend. What sincere believer wouldn’t want to share his/her passion for Jesus? . . . [Click for more]

Chaos and Crisis

It’s no secret our world is in a state of chaos. There are wars and rumors of wars in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, and beyond. Some countries are raising their terrorism-threat levels. Others are contemplating how to respond to threats foreign and domestic.

Chaos around the world is not new, nor is it surprising. The god of this world delights in promoting evil. What stands out today is the extreme wickedness and cruelty with which evil advances. Yet the Lord has not left us without sufficient understanding, nor without a plan for how to respond.

That in mind, how should Christians respond to a world in crisis? Here are some resources that offer a biblical perspective:

“Understanding Islam” (article)
“A Biblical Perspective on Death, Terrorism, and the Middle East, Part 1” (sermon)
“A Biblical Perspective on Death, Terrorism, and the Middle East, Part 2” (sermon)
The Christian and Government (audio series)
Where in the World Is History Headed? (audio series)
Terrorism, Jihad, and the Bible (book)

Do you believe men or do you believe the Word?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

 15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. (Luke 2:15-20 NASB)

Human faith is not the same thing as Genuine (saving)…

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MAN’S INABILITY

Samuel at Gilgal

Martin LutherTherefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 ESV)

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 ESV)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 ESV)

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV)

“Inability” is a problem for man because he is absolutely spiritually dead and cannot connect to God, His truth, or authority. “The Fall” has rendered the natural man incapable of performing any spiritual good. Unsaved man is dead in his sins. He is of this world, the flesh, and the…

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