Daily Archives: September 23, 2014

The Kirk Cameron-Catholic Interview

hipandthigh

“People are not “proven” heretics (or anything at all) by a handful of misunderstood quotes, by not condemning everything bad the second they see it, or by speaking with a measure of situationally-aware class.” – Lyndon Unger

On the Thursday, September 18th Worldview Weekend program, Brannon Howse and Justin Peters talked about Kirk Cameron doing an interview for a Catholic radio program, Busted Halo. The WVW episode can be heard HERE until it gets archived in the Situation Room. Justin talked about the interview more for the Monday, September 22nd edition of his own program, that can be heard HERE.

I’ll say up front that I have appreciated both Brannon and Justin and what they do. I have particularly liked Justin’s ministry of exposing the heresies of the Word of Faith movement. I know a lot of people who have been helped by his teaching in that area.  I…

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Let’s Win the Race (Philippians 3:12–16)

Joe Quatrone, Jr.

phil 3.13-14Most people read biographies to satisfy their curiosity about great people, hoping they will discover the “secret” that made them great. In Philippians 3, Paul is giving us his spiritual biography: his past (vv. 1–11), his present (vv. 12–16), and his future (vv. 17–21). We have already met Paul “the accountant” who discovered new values when he met Jesus Christ (Learning How to Count). In this section, we meet Paul “the athlete” with his spiritual vigor, pressing toward the finish line in the Christian race. In each of these experiences, Paul is exercising the spiritual mind; he is looking at things on earth from God’s point of view. As a result, he is not upset by things behind him, around him, or before him—things do not rob him of his joy!

The Greek verb “straining toward” in 3:13 literally means “stretching as in a race.” Theologians…

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Questions about Jesus Christ: Knowing Jesus vs. Knowing about Jesus—What Is the Difference?

 

Fan magazines help us answer this question. Adoring fans of movie, TV, music, or sports stars buy thousands of dollars’ worth of information, photos, and juicy tidbits. After poring over such material, the fans feel as if they really know their heroes. But do they? They may know certain facts about their chosen hero. They may be able to cite birth date, favorite color, and childhood pets, but, if they were to meet that person face to face, what would the hero say? Does the fan really know the hero?

Jesus responded to this question in Matthew 7:21–23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ” There were people in Jesus’ day who thought they were friends of His because they knew the Law, made strict rules for themselves (and for others), and listened to His teaching. They followed Him, applauded the miracles, and liked some of what He said. But Jesus calls them “evildoers” and states, “I never knew you.”

Today there are thousands who know about Jesus—that is, they know some facts about Him, commit Bible verses to memory, and perhaps attend church regularly. But they have never allowed the facts to become their personal reality. They hold knowledge in their heads without allowing the truth to penetrate their hearts. Jesus explained the problem: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules” (Matthew 15:8–9; Mark 7:6).

We easily substitute religion for a real relationship with Jesus. We often think that, if we are doing “Christian things,” that’s all that counts. We can appreciate the facts of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but until we have made Him our Lord, the facts do us no good (John 3:16–18; Acts 10:43; Romans 10:9). There is a difference between intellectual assent and saving faith. Knowing Jesus means we have accepted His sacrifice on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). We ask Him to be the Lord of our lives (John 1:12; Acts 2:21). We identify with Him in His death and consider our old selves to have died with Him (Colossians 3:3; Romans 6:2, 5; Galatians 6:14; 2:20). We accept His forgiveness and cleansing from sin and seek to know Him in intimate fellowship through His Holy Spirit (John 17:3; Philippians 3:10; 1 John 2:27).

When we repent of our sin and surrender our lives to Him, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; John 14:26; 16:13). The Holy Spirit comes to live inside us, changing us forever (1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 John 3:9). The facts we knew about Jesus come alive as we get to know Him personally. Let’s say you’ve read that your favorite movie star has green eyes and a dimple in her chin. Those traits are merely facts on paper until you meet her face to face. Then, suddenly, those green eyes are looking at you, and the dimple springs to her chin when she smiles. She tells you about her day, her fears, and her inner thoughts. You may recall that you had heard those facts before, but now you are experiencing them. You knew about her before, but now you know her. The abstract has become concrete. Things you thought you knew start to make sense as you enter into a relationship.

Jesus is a Person. To know Him is to enter into a relationship. The greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). It’s hard to love someone you don’t know. Loving Him starts with surrendering to His plan for your life. That’s what it means to make Him Lord (Matthew 6:33; Romans 10:9–10; Psalm 16:8). The nature of God is so vast and complex that no human being can fully know everything there is to know about Him. But life is about continually seeking Him, learning more about Him, and enjoying His fellowship (Jeremiah 29:13; Philippians 3:8).[1]

 

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

Questions about Humanity: What Is the Purpose of Man, according to the Bible?

 

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God created man and that He created him for His glory (see Isaiah 43:7). Therefore, the ultimate purpose of man, according to the Bible, is simply to glorify God.

A harder question to answer, perhaps, is what does it look like to glorify God? In Psalm 100:2–3, we’re told to worship God with gladness and “know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Part of what it looks like to glorify God is to acknowledge who God is (our Creator, for starters) and to praise and worship Him as such.

We fulfill our purpose of glorifying God also by living our lives in relationship and faithful service to Him (see 1 Samuel 12:24 and John 17:4). Since God created man in His image (Genesis 1:27), man’s purpose cannot be fulfilled apart from Him. King Solomon tried living for his own pleasure, yet at the end of his life he concluded that the only worthwhile life is one of honor and obedience to God (see Ecclesiastes 12:13–14).

In our fallen state, sin separates us from God and makes it impossible to glorify Him on our own. But through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, our relationship with God is reconciled—our sin is forgiven and no longer creates a barrier between God and us (see Romans 3:23–24).

Interestingly, we are able to glorify God because He gave us glory first. David writes in Psalm 8:4–5, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet.” (This is also repeated in Hebrews 2:6–8.) This verse reveals another purpose that God has given man: dominion over the earth (see Genesis 1:28–29). Again, though, this can only be properly fulfilled through a right relationship with God.

The more we get to know our Creator and the more we love Him (Matthew 22:37–38), the better we understand who we are and what our purpose is. We were created to bring Him glory. God has unique plans and purposes for each person (Jeremiah 29:11), but we can know that, whatever those plans look like, they will ultimately result in His glory (see Proverbs 3:6 and 1 Corinthians 10:31).[1]

 

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

Questions about Prayer: What Is the Meaning and Purpose of Saying Grace before a Meal?

 

“Saying grace” refers to the practice of thanking God for the food before a meal. It is also called “saying the blessing.” Such prayers follow the examples of Jesus and the apostle Paul, both of whom “said grace” before meals (see Acts 27:35).

Matthew records two instances of Jesus feeding thousands of people with only a small amount of food (Matthew 14:15–21; 15:32–38). In both these accounts, before Jesus “broke the bread” (started the meal), He gave thanks to God for it (14:19).

Apparently, giving thanks before a meal was Jesus’ customary practice. In Luke 24:13–35, on the day of Jesus’ resurrection, two of His followers travel to the village of Emmaus. Jesus joins them on the road, but they are “kept from recognizing him” (v. 16). Once they arrive at Emmaus, Jesus stops to eat with them. At the table, Jesus “took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them” (v. 30). Immediately, the disciples recognize Him; it was “when he broke the bread” (v. 35) and gave thanks that their eyes were opened.

Since we owe everything we have to God’s grace, the “free and unmerited favor of God,” it is appropriate to thank Him always (Ephesians 5:20). Meals provide a good time to pause and do just that. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:36).[1]

 

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

A Defense Of Calvinism And The Doctrines Of Grace by Charles H. Spurgeon

Theologue

A Defense Of Calvinism And The Doctrines Of Grace by Charles H. Spurgeon

This e-book is  a collection consisting of Charles H. Spugeon’s article A Defense of Calvinism and five sermons on the Doctrines of Grace.  The sermons are titled: Human Inability, Election, Particular Redemption, Effectual Calling, and Final Perseverance.  These titles he used were the common way of stating the 5 points of Calvinism.  It was not until 1905 that the acronym TULIP started being used (see my article on the origin of TULIP here: http://wp.me/paiq3-fB).

There are those today that insist that Spurgeon was not a Calvinist (since his sermons were strongly evangelistic), but reading this book will leave no doubt of his commitment to reformed theology.

DefenseOfCalvinism-DoctrinesOfGrace-CHSpurgeon.pdf

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Christian Authenticity – Marks of the True Christian

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

9 Ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῷ ἀγαθῷ, 10 τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ εἰς ἀλλήλους φιλόστοργοι, τῇ τιμῇ ἀλλήλους προηγούμενοι, 11 τῇ σπουδῇ μὴ ὀκνηροί, τῷ πνεύματι ζέοντες, τῷ κυρίῳ δουλεύοντες, 12 τῇ ἐλπίδι χαίροντες, τῇ θλίψει ὑπομένοντες, τῇ προσευχῇ προσκαρτεροῦντες, 13 ταῖς χρείαις τῶν ἁγίων κοινωνοῦντες, τὴν φιλοξενίαν διώκοντες. 14 εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς διώκοντας [ὑμᾶς], εὐλογεῖτε καὶ μὴ καταρᾶσθε. 15 χαίρειν μετὰ χαιρόντων, κλαίειν μετὰ κλαιόντων. 16 τὸ αὐτὸ εἰς ἀλλήλους φρονοῦντες, μὴ τὰ ὑψηλὰ φρονοῦντες ἀλλὰ τοῖς ταπεινοῖς συναπαγόμενοι. μὴ γίνεσθε φρόνιμοι παρʼ ἑαυτοῖς. 17 μηδενὶ κακὸν ἀντὶ κακοῦ ἀποδιδόντες, προνοούμενοι καλὰ ἐνώπιον πάντων ἀνθρώπων· 18 εἰ δυνατὸν τὸ ἐξ ὑμῶν, μετὰ πάντων ἀνθρώπων εἰρηνεύοντες· 19 μὴ ἑαυτοὺς ἐκδικοῦντες, ἀγαπητοί, ἀλλὰ δότε τόπον τῇ ὀργῇ, γέγραπται γάρ· ἐμοὶ ἐκδίκησις, ἐγὼ ἀνταποδώσω, λέγει κύριος. 20 ἀλλʼ ἐὰν πεινᾷ ὁ ἐχθρός σου, ψώμιζε αὐτόν· ἐὰν διψᾷ, πότιζε αὐτόν· τοῦτο γὰρ ποιῶν ἄνθρακας πυρὸς σωρεύσεις ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ…

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