Sunday Praise: “Maker” by Third Day
Have you ever heard someone say something like, “You should visit our church, the worship is amazing!”? Usually when we hear this, the person is referring to the music and worship team, but is this the true definition of worship, or is worshiping God more than merely singing?
America’s Zero-Sum Culture, and How It’s Tearing the Nation Apart
But this contemporary zero-sum culture of winners and losers stands in sharp contrast to earlier political discourse as it was informed by religiously derived notions of divine providence, sin, tragic brokenness, grace, and humility in the face of a world that we do not fully understand. Witness Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, which, while not shying away from moral judgment also recognized that the simplistic and harsh binary logic of winners and losers was inadequate to the tragic situation then facing the nation
You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Psalm Is About You
In the midst of his discomfort, David is finding comfort in the LORD, and he longs for his children and people to do so as well. All true worshipers should humble themselves before the mighty hand of the Lord. For it is always better for one to humble oneself, than to be forcefully humbled by the loving God of discipline.
Fragile Foundation of Marriage Equality, Part 3
Damon Linker has “made clear repeatedly” that he supports gay marriage, and yet he is “troubled by the equally stunning lack of charity, magnanimity, and tolerance displayed by many gay marriage advocates.” The problem is that certain “equality” proponents “don’t just want to win the legal right to marry. They don’t just want most Americans to recognize and affirm the equal dignity of their relationships. They appear to want and expect all Americans to recognize and affirm that equal dignity, under penalty of ostracism from civilized life.”
A Crisis Of Existentialism
One might say that Existential Philosophy is diametrically opposed to Ontological Philosophy. The former gives sovereignty to perception, the latter to what is; the former gives precedence to subjective identity, the latter to inherent identity; the former emphasizes what is apparent – feelings, qualities, or the accidents – the latter emphasizes substance…. Perhaps, in no case is the existential philosophy more evident in today’s culture than in the phrase “Perception is Reality,” less frequently predicated as “Perception is Truth!”
A Flicker of Light In An Increasingly Dark News Feed
The above principles and practices are not given as a “formula” for success, though the Lord has blessed these biblical commitments in our body and I can’t help but think he would do so in any congregation. My intent is to acknowledge publicly the Lord’s immeasurable goodness to us undeserving sinners! And, by extension, to acknowledge what the Lord is doing in many congregations around the world – for Christ is the exalted King of the church and his Kingdom shall have no end!
The Heresy of Racial Superiority — Confronting the Past, Confronting the Truth
“Throughout history, racial ideologies have been driving forces of war, of social cohesion, of demagoguery, and of dictatorships. Race theory was central to the Nazi regime and was used by both sides in the Pacific theater of World War II. In that theater of the war, both the Japanese and the Americans claimed that the other was an inferior race.”
Hunger Artists In The Reality TV Age
Our reality is stranger than Kafka’s fiction precisely because it is no longer fiction, and no longer confined to the hunger artist. Our guardians and experts demand that we, the public, are morally obliged to give our approval to each and every authentic choice. It is a matter of human rights.
5 Common Obstacles Long Term Pastors Experience
The long term pastor faces frustrations, betrayal, weariness, loneliness, disappointments, burnout, depression, marital conflict, criticism, and even contempt. It shouldn’t surprise us at all that there are so many obstacles for long term pastors and one of the greatest obstacles is even surviving to be a pastor long enough to be considered a long term one.
Where Do You Stop?
“If these accusers don’t stop, they will be yet the latest example of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Earth’s Holocaust,” which recounts the absurd lengths to which reformers go to arrive at a perfect society or institution, so absurd that activists forget to look in the mirror because they threw it into the fire.”
What Are You Willing to Give Up?
“The somewhat provocative title of this post should not be seen as a call to emotional hysteria. All too often, the conversation is characterized by shrill voices on both sides of the debate, thus creating a climate where no one can listen. Evangelicals are rank with fear. Why? And what kind of fear is it?”
3 Compelling Reasons Why We Must Deal With Our Sinful Anger
“First, we should deal biblically with our anger for the sake of our personal health. Long before the advent of modern medicine, the Bible described the psychosomatic (or “spirituo-somatic”) connection between sin and sickness, and between righteousness and health.”
How Do You Read the Bible?
“Read it for its own sake. Read it receptively. Read it the way you would listen to a friend tell you a story. You listen because you want to hear, not because you think what he says is going to change your life, or teach you something you didn’t know before.”
Eternalizing the Old Testament
“One of the most important biblical-theological matters with which we must wrestle is that of how we are to harmonize the Old Testament teaching about “everlasting” ordinances with the teaching of the apostles as to the abrogation of the command to circumcise (1 Cor. 7:19; Gal. 5:6, 11; and 6:15), the cessation of the Old Covenant festivals and ceremonies (Col. 2:16) and the notable absence of any mention to the land inheritance (of Israel) in the New Testament.”
The Indispensability Of Preaching
“As inefficient as it may seem to us, God the Spirit has left to the office of preacher the ministry of announcing the good news and it through that act, announcing the incarnation, obedience, righteousness, death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Christ that he has promised to bring all of his elect to new life, to faith, and through faith alone to justification and salvation.”
John Adams and American Independence
Adams’s faith played a vital role in his long and distinguished life. It significantly affected his worldview, determined his moral standards, helped shape his character, and supplied many of his goals. His belief that God governed the world and directed the course of nations and the lives of individuals gave him the courage and confidence to fight passionately and effectively for the causes he valued and to contribute so significantly to the birth and success of the United States.
Guilt Is Not Just a Feeling
“God often creates a sense of unease in people, which then leads them to a consciousness of sin, and then a deeper sense that they are guilty before God. Then He brings them beyond mere “feelings” of guilt to confess, “I am guilty before God.” As the psalmist says, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Ps. 130:3).”
I don’t usually like to draw undue attention to apostates, to wolves in sheep’s clothing, to false teachers, or to those who are clearly demonically deceived. But let me do so here, since some of this deception gets a wide hearing and deserves to be rebutted.
I refer to one big time wolf who is managing to deceive many gullible believers with his pro-sodomy theological revisionism. He of course gets a free run with the secular media, but sadly also with clueless wonders in the Christian world. The Bible warns plenty about the fate of those who engage in lies and deception.
But his recent piece is getting lots of attention so let me share some responses to it. I refer to Matthew Vines and his quite recent piece, “40 questions for Christians who oppose marriage equality”. It will cause many more believers to stumble, so it deserves a careful response.
But let me provide a quick bit of background first. On July 1 evangelical writer Kevin DeYoung wrote a terrific piece entitled “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags”. It really is quite an important piece, so please have a read of it (see link below).
As a rebuttal to DeYoung, Vines penned his piece on July 3. On the same day two excellent replies to Vines appeared. I refer to “Time for a Little Q & A” by Douglas Wilson and “A Believing Response to Matthew Vines’ 40 Questions” by James White. Both are superb and deserve a very wide hearing.
Since I am a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel, let me simply allow these two experts to do the talking, since they have so thoroughly, convincingly and biblically rebutted all his errant nonsense. I could be tempted to add a few remarks of my own, but I will refrain.
I will not feature all 40 questions here. Many of them are real howlers. As one person rightly remarked, “Vines is simply appalling. That he has such a flawed view of the history of slavery and wastes 3 questions on whether the earth revolves around the sun tells us how muddled his thinking is”.
Or as Wilson rightly notes, “What I want to do is either answer Matthew’s questions, or explain why I will not take the bait of answering a particular question. Put another way, I will answer the questions, but not the loaded questions.” Here then are some of Vines questions, with replies by Wilson, White or both:
40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags
Pastor and best selling author Kevin DeYoung asks questions of professing Christians such as: When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?
De Young begins:
For evangelicals who lament last Friday’s Supreme Court decision, it’s been a hard few days. We aren’t asking for emotional pity, nor do I suspect many people are eager to give us any. Our pain is not sacred. Making legal and theological decisions based on what makes people feel better is part of what got us into this mess in the first place. Nevertheless, it still hurts.
There are many reasons for our lamentation, from fear that religious liberties will be taken away to worries about social ostracism and cultural marginalization. But of all the things that grieve us, perhaps what’s been most difficult is seeing some of our friends, some of our family members, and some of the folks we’ve sat next to in church giving their hearty “Amen” to a practice we still think is a sin and a decision we think is bad for our country. It’s one thing for the whole nation to throw a party we can’t in good conscience attend. It’s quite another to look around for friendly faces to remind us we’re not alone and then find that they are out there jamming on the dance floor. We thought the rainbow was God’s sign (Gen. 9:8-17).
Pastor and best selling author Kevin DeYoung asks questions of professing Christians such as: When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding? DeYoung also asks: Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage […]
Credo Links on Gay Marriage
1. Everything Has Changed, Nothing Has Changed by Albert Mohler
“In a very real sense, everything has now changed. The highest court of the land has redefined marriage. Those who cannot accept this redefinition of marriage as a matter of morality and ultimate truth, must acknowledge that the laws of this nation concerning marriage will indeed be defined against our will. We must acknowledge the authority of the Supreme Court in matters of law. Christians must be committed to be good citizens and good neighbors, even as we cannot accept this redefinition of marriage in our churches and in our lives.”
2. The Church Divorces the Government?
Is it time for the church to divorce itself from civil marriages all-together? One-in-four pastors think so.
For a long time, Christianity has sewn its teachings into the fabric of Western culture. That was a good thing. But the season of sewing is ending. Now is a time for rending, not for the sake of disengaging from culture or retreating from the public square, but so that our salt does not lose its savor.”
~R. R. Reno, editor, First Things
Nearly all theologically defined evangelicals say they are not in favor of the Court’s decision (94%)—more than twice the proportion among the general population (43%) and even significantly more than the practicing Christians segment (66%). Only 2 percent of evangelicals say they support the decision to legalize same-sex marriage.
Should the church separate further from the government and no longer endorse civil marriages at all? In other words, should the church get the government out of the marriage business all-togther? What was the government doing in the marriage business to begin with? I was a bit disappointed that only 1/4 said yes. The rest say we are not there yet.
Here is one who said we are:
“For a long time, Christianity has sewn its teachings into the fabric of Western culture. That was a good thing. But the season of sewing is ending. Now is a time for rending, not for the sake of disengaging from culture or retreating from the public square, but so that our salt does not lose its savor.”
~R. R. Reno, editor, First Things
5. Didn’t I propose this already? Changing Our Thinking About Same Sex Marriage
The entire post is focused on the history of marriage. When did the government get involved? Not until recently and this was for the protection of children. Since then, we have handed the entire institution over to the governmental a very foundational level. So foundational, we believe they define marriage.
6. Which led to this last week: Gay Marriage: 6 Reasons Christians Should Not Be Too Alarmed
The government is not the final line of defense against the culture. We have greater weapons: the church, the Bible, and the conscience, all powerful in the hands of the Holy Spirit. For this reason and many others, Christians should not be too alarmed.
Though a secular source, this article does bring to the table the question Does one have to oppose gay marriage to remain Evangelical? This is a different question than Does one have to oppose the SCOTUS ruling to remain Evangelical? To the second, I would definitely say No. One can be an Evangelical and say that civil liberty was upheld that day, and, at the same time, be against gay marriage. But the question is Can one be an Evangelical and support gay marriage as a legitimate lifestyle. Don’t know what “Evanglical” means? Glad you asked. In Search of True Evangelicalism.
This is an older post and it is written by a gay Christian who defends homosexuality, yet is an incredibly important post to read. You may not agree with every point, but he understands what it is like to be approached by a Christian who’s goal it is to win them to Christ (i.e. get them to renounce their gayness).
Concerning the whole “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” he writes:
Now take a minute to listen to yourselves. Hate the sin, love the sinner comes across as mean-spirited instead of loving. We hear it as an ill-disguised attempt to seem loving when you really don’t even like us let alone love us.
9. Did you know that sodomy is still illegal in 14 states, including Oklahoma?
So, to my Oklahoma pastors who are scared that they might force you at gunpoint perform a gay ceremony, take heart. At least they won’t consummate (unless they drive out of state, or just break the law!). Let me try to get the exact law . . . awe, here it is:
§21-886. Crime against nature.
Every person who is guilty of the detestable and abominable crime against nature, committed with mankind or with a beast, is punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections not exceeding ten (10) years.
10. Some Weird Sex Laws
On a related note, if my source is correct, here are some weird sex laws (parents, cover your children’s ears):
- Sex toys are banned in some states, such as Alabama.
- Sexual intercourse between unmarried couples is illegal in Georgia.
- In Iowa, you’ve got a five-minute time limit to make out. [These day, I think Kristie and I have a 2-minute limit, so we’re good!]
- You can’t marry the same man three times in some Kentucky townships. [Has that really been tried?]
- Women in Dyersburg, Tenn., cannot call a man for a date. [Today, methinks there would be no dates.]
- Husbands in Willowdale, Ore., can be fined for talking dirty during intercourse, but their wives can say whatever they please.
- An old Mississippi edict holds that men cannot become sexually aroused in public.
- Sex with an animal is perfectly legal for men in Washington state, as long as the animal weighs less than 40 pounds.
The Huffington post gives their list of the most unnecessary bans in the U. S.
Any culture which teaches its people that it is perfectly OK to kill their own babies is a culture that will end up with plenty of hardened hearts and deadened consciences. It is impossible not to. To sink to such a moral low point where we can no longer even question whether killing unborn babies is wrong is to reach the terminal point of society.
Indeed, it is even worse: it is really a hatred of life. It is a pro-death mindset which poisons everything. Those biblically inclined will know this perfectly well. As we read in Proverbs 8:36: “All who hate me [God] love death.” Yes exactly. God is a God of life, so to reject God is to reject life, and choose death.
The abortion death cult is sadly not limited to the abortion mills. Those who embrace this culture not only hate life but hate those who do choose life. Thus it is not surprising to see ugly attacks on prolifers occurring all too often. A very recent attack in Australia is a tragic case in point.
Kevin DeYoung, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
Wheaton: Crossway, 2015.
Kevin DeYoung is a really smart guy. I don’t just mean that he knows a lot of things really well, but also that he understands how to deliver his message in the most clear, straight-forward and winsome manner. Over the years, he has consistently proven that he is a masterful writer, cogent thinker, and orthodox Christian teacher. This book continues in that same line of well-conceived, carefully delivered books on this controversial topic.
With the recent cultural landscape lighting up like a blowtorch, this book couldn’t have come at a better time. While it is not surprising that the church is facing opposition regarding its stance on homosexuality, the real challenge has come due to the infighting among those who bear the name of Christ. These days, everyone has a blog, therefore everyone has an opinion. With so many words and feelings zipping around cyberspace, it can be hard to wade through the issues.
Enter Kevin DeYoung.
READING: 2 Kings 9-11
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: Following God means taking drastic steps to eradicate the false gods from our lives. Seldom is that commitment so evident as it was in 2 Kings 10:18-27, where Jehu used a ruse to destroy Baal worshipers and their temple. So complete was the destruction that they turned the Baal temple into a toilet:
2 Kgs. 10:26-27 They brought out the pillars of the temple of Baal and burned them and tore down the pillar of Baal. Then they tore down the temple of Baal and made it a latrine—which it is to this day.
Still, while Jehu carried out the destruction of Baal, he did not eliminate the worship via golden calves in Bethel and Dan; that is, he committed himself to God only part of the way.
2 Kgs. 10:31 Yet Jehu was not careful to follow the instruction of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins that Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.
Sometimes, I think, we rest in the fact that we’ve overcome the “big” sins in our life and neglect dealing with the remaining ones. Regardless of what drastic steps we take to remove false gods, partial obedience is still disobedience.
PRAYER: Pray with me that we will deal with ALL the sins in our lives. On this day when we celebrate freedom, pray we will have true freedom through the Son.
READING: 2 Kings 12-13; 2 Chronicles 24
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: How we do the work God allows us to do (whatever that work may be) matters. These chapters address primarily the reign of Joash — a reign that begins well with the restoration of the Temple but ends poorly with a national return to idolatry. Within this story, though, are these words about the managers and workers who restored the Temple:
2 Kgs. 12:15 No accounting was required from the men who received the money to pay those doing the work, since they worked with integrity.
2 Chron. 24: 13 The workmen did their work, and through them the repairs progressed. They restored God’s temple to its specifications and reinforced it.
Integrity and work ethic. Trust and accuracy. Get the job done, and do it well. Do it with complete honesty. Ignore any temptation to misappropriate funds or to take pay for a job poorly done. Whatever our job is, we would do well to follow this model — doing whatever we do for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
PRAYER: Many of us will be preaching the Word today. Pray we will do so with full integrity and complete commitment. Pray that others who will return to their employment tomorrow will be an honest, hard-working witness for Christ.
Where is Our Allegiance?
Jul 03, 2015 09:45 am | Mike
As we prepare for another 4th of July celebration in the United States, I notice a change in how I feel this time every year. I used to feel a sense of pride when I was younger, placing my hand on my heart and pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. […]
Driscoll Publicly Repents…For Criticizing Osteen
Jul 02, 2015 01:05 pm | A. S.
“At the end of the day we’re all on the same side,” says Hillsong celeb Brian Houston of Mark Driscoll’s sudden attack of conscience. Our friends at Pulpit & Pen have audio of Driscoll’s statement. Here is a snippet, but do go to the site and listen for yourself: Speaking at the Hillsong conference, Mark […]
Cowardice in Leadership
Jul 02, 2015 06:14 am | Mike
Today we continue to look at the fall out from the legalization of homosexual marriage and how Christian “leaders” are responding. Some government employees are refusing to issue homosexual marriage licenses, citing religious conviction. The response: comply or be fired. And Joel Osteen has weighed in on the decision. Could he actually have a strong […]
The Thud of Silence
Jul 01, 2015 05:43 pm | A. S.
“You know, our message is about lifting people up, helping them fulfill their destiny, helping them to forgive in a tough time, how to make it through this life when life tries to push you down.” – Joel Osteen on why he avoids controversial issues, like sin, wrath, repentance… No, we’re not calling J-O a […]
Socialism isn’t a “right-wing” issue
Jul 01, 2015 09:10 am | A. S.
Free health care sounds like such a great idea, doesn’t it? But there are huge ramifications for Christians. We can talk about coverage for unbiblical practices now – like abortion and sex change operations, but that’s just the beginning. Wait until socialized medicine is free. What happens when the government can’t fund coverage for the […]
Bill Hybels: Coffee With God
Jun 30, 2015 05:13 pm | A. S.
Does God like dark roast or medium blend? This is what happens when we allow the seeker model to disciple seekers. Or maybe it’s the chair. God puts thoughts in your mind when you have the right chair, and you’ll feel His presence for sure. Tips for viewing this new slick flick from Bill Hybels: […]
So why can’t Dolezal be black and Jenner be a woman? Isn’t that the new American way?
Jun 30, 2015 04:20 pm | Scott Alan Buss
Okay, so by now we all know that it’s really, really easy to point, mock, and snicker at the raging, babbling insanity of many around us as we shake our heads in disbelief and self-righteously ask, “What is wrong with these people?!” You know the people I mean: People like Bruce Jenner, who recently “came out” […]
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Greece is the word. (That nobody wants to hear.)
Jun 30, 2015 04:20 pm | Scott Alan Buss
There are two topics that we write on fairly regularly here that routinely cause site traffic and interest to dive. But we keep writing about ’em anyway because they’re important. One of those subjects is technology. The other is economics. For various reasons – many of which are rooted in lousy “end times” views that fuel […]
Let’s play the “I identify as…” game! (Spoiler alert: I am Batman…and Spider-man, too.)
Jun 30, 2015 04:20 pm | Scott Alan Buss
When I was three, I wanted to be Spider-man. Or an Astronaut. Whichever would be fine. Later in life I came to realize that the Astronaut option pro’ly wasn’t gonna pan out. Even so, I remained hopeful for a radioactive spider bite, so I consoled myself with knowledge that there was always at least an outside shot of […]
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“Supreme Court” Votes for Wrath of God Upon America
Jun 30, 2015 04:20 pm | Scott Alan Buss
The “Supreme Court” verdict is in: “Gay marriage” is legit. [insert “U! S! A!” chant here] Of course, in Reality – as in, the unbreakable reality of a universe defined and held together by God – there is no such thing as “gay marriage”. (See: The Eternal Model for Marriage is Christ the King and […]
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Limp Wristed Gospels Make Limp Wristed Cultures
Jun 30, 2015 04:20 pm | Scott Alan Buss
How’s that “real world”, “pragmatic political” approach to life working out for you, American Christian? How’s it actually shaping and molding the future of your children and grandchildren here in the “land of the free” and the home of the NSA? How are all o’ those mountains of votes and billions of dollars spent on “good […]
American Public Schools are Officially Gay
Jun 30, 2015 04:20 pm | Scott Alan Buss
On Friday, millions upon millions of American “Christians” were outraged – outraged, I tell you! – at the “Supreme Court” vote in favor of “gay marriage” as the “law” of the land. Then on Monday the vast majority of these very same outraged Christian conservatives freely shipped the delicate, impressionable little boys and girls that […]
Will America repent or will America be destroyed?
Jun 30, 2015 04:20 pm | Scott Alan Buss
Can we stop with the “blame Obama” spiel, please? Can we please stop blaming the Democrats, the Progressives and the homosexual activists for leading the culture to ruin when they’re just doing what we’ve taught ’em to do? Let’s face it: Some version of “Can you believe how wicked and evil President Obama is?!” has become an […]
Fake it ’til ya break it: What the Greek implosion tells us about America’s future.
Jun 30, 2015 04:20 pm | Scott Alan Buss
What would you do if you found out that banks in America were not going to open today – or anytime at all this week – and that all bank-held accounts were effectively frozen, with a $60 daily limit on withdrawals? With the first of the month coming up, how would you pay your mortgage? Or, more […]
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Corporate America’s Big Gay Push (Or: “Mark of the Beast” economics, here we come!)
Jun 30, 2015 04:20 pm | Scott Alan Buss
How much harder is it for a Christian to get a job or keep a job with a major American corporation than it was, say, 15 years ago? What if that Christian has taken clear, public stands in obedience to Christ and out of loving concern for the lost in accordance with the Gospel and […]
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Losing relationships over biblical truth
Jun 30, 2015 11:29 am | A. S.
Has your family been divided over the legalization of same-sex marriage? Many have paid an enormous price for standing on God’s Word as truth. Some are wondering if they are putting a stumbling block of confusion if they bake a cake for a gay wedding, or photograph a celebration of a wedding or new baby […]
Faith-Based Crisis Management Firm Helps Pastors “Come Out”
Jun 30, 2015 10:34 am | A. S.
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision to make same-sex marriage the law of the land, a few strong pastors are making biblical public statements affirming God’s Word in the matter, and taking a stand based on what He says rather than what the world says. If your church or ministry hasn’t done that […]
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Our Board of Directors on Supreme Court Decision on Homosexual Marriage
Jun 29, 2015 11:29 am | A. S.
Lakeshore Communications, Inc d.b.a. Q90 FM, is saddened by the Supreme Court decision last week legalizing homosexual marriage in the United States. As Christians committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and believing that the Bible is the inerrant, eternally true and sufficient Word of God, we believe that homosexuality—or any sexual act outside of […]
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Same sex marriage: where do Christians go from here?
Jun 29, 2015 08:55 am | A. S.
Couple of questions for today’s program: 1. Should Christian leaders/pastors have a responsibility to respond to legalized homosexual marriage, stating how they will respond if pressured to endorse or perform a same-sex wedding? 2. How are we engage with and respond to professing Christians who are joining in the celebration of “Gay Pride?” Today’s Episode: […]
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I have never met a church leader who would say that prayer is unimportant, nor have I ever heard a congregation affirm a similar statement. I have, though, worked with many churches who practically show that prayer matters little to them.[i]
In those churches, no particular leader is responsible for coordinating a prayer ministry. Prayer lists are dominated by the trials of church members, often to the exclusion of the needs of non-believers. The praying that does occur is more often reactive than proactive; that is, a problem develops, and then the church starts praying.
Great Commission churches, though, stress prayer as a non-negotiable component in fulfilling Matthew 28:18-20. They understand that non-believers are blinded by the enemy (2 Cor. 4:3-4) and are held in the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13-14). These churches know that God alone changes hearts and gives growth (1 Cor. 3:7); thus, they intentionally intercede on behalf of witnesses and non-believers. In most cases, they pray for non-believers by name.
Prayer in these churches is an admission that they cannot accomplish the Great Commission in their own power. Ironically, the churches that best focus on the Great Commission are those that most readily admit their absolute dependence on God to accomplish these tasks. These churches do the Great Commission from their knees.
Is your church a Great Commission praying church? Are you a Great Commission praying leader?
If not, take time right now to spend time with the Lord. Confess any dependence on self. Ask Him to break you and your church over the lostness of the world.
Then, send your church members to this post today, and challenge them to pray before the Lord’s Day tomorrow. You will gather with the people of God differently tomorrow if you’ve been with Him today.
[i] Excerpt from Great Commission Resurgence (Nashville: Lifeway, 2008), 30.
by Samantha Loucks
Are you trying to make a decision that honors God? Are you stuck and stressed and so not sure what to do? Help is on the way.
by Erin Davis
Yes, it’s true that the Court’s ruling and the changes happening right now in our culture are a big deal. But God’s Word allows us to see the bigger picture. Here’s what the Supreme Court’s ruling on “same-sex marriage” isn’t.
by Paula Hendricks
If you’ve ever been made fun of for being too innocent, this post is for you. Oh and, if you’ve ever worried that your innocence is lost forever, this post is for you too.
Many Bible believing Christians are members of the HFIB club. The acronym stands for hate, fear, ignorance and bigotry. To be inducted into HFIB all one has to do is oppose homosexual “marriage” or—gasp!—proclaim that homosexuality is a sin against a holy God. For example, talk show host Montel Williams labeled social conservatives hateful […]
An astounding ecumenical prayer post by Christian singer Don Moen suggests that people of all faiths are praying to Papa Francesco, or Pope Francis, the “Holy Father.” The artist was invited, along with Andrea Bocelli And Darlene Zschech to sing in Rome at the Vatican in a “Voices In Prayer” event in St. Peter’s Square, […]
Homosexual, Transgender Activists Blaspheme Jesus Christ at Brazilian Pride Parade
One of the photographs creating the greatest stir is that of “transgender” actor Viviany Beleboni riding in a two million spectator pride parade in Sao Paulo as he hangs from a cross.
Judge Roy Moore Renews Call for Effort to Amend U.S. Constitution to Ban Same-Sex ‘Marriage’
Other Top News Stories of Interest:
- ‘It’s All About Equality’: Polygamist Applies for ‘Marriage’ License in Wake of Supreme Court Ruling
- On-Duty NYPD Officer Grinds, Simulates Sex with Man in Street at ‘Gay Pride’ Parade
- Faith Comes by Hearing: Bibles for Iraq to Reach Refugees Displaced by Jihadists with Word of God
- Obama Sings ‘Amazing Grace’ at Slain Pastor’s Funeral After Celebrating ‘Gay Marriage’ Ruling
- June 24 – Pope Francis: Division between Christians is a scandal
- June 25 – Dry, dry Western Canada braces for hot and hard-growing summer
- June 25 – Thousands of people killed by extreme weather so far in 2015 as climate change feared to bring more heatwaves, hurricanes and floods in future
- June 19 – 12 Reasons Why Yoga Is Spreading Around the World
- June 23 – Facial recognition technology: Is Orwell’s fiction our reality?
- June 24 – Pope Says Catholic-Buddhist Meeting Sows ‘Seeds of Peace and Brotherhood’
- June 22 – The Scientific Pantheist Who Advises Pope Francis
The 350-year marriage of Protestant Christian theology and American popular culture is over. Christianity, it may be sadly said, is no longer the preeminent social influence in American life.
Osteen Says Don’t Waste Your Pain
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• Osteen Says Don’t Waste Your Pain
• Brian Houston on Studio 10
• Rick Warren Interviewed by Brian Houston
• Three Rosebrough Sermons
Same-sex marriage is legal in the United States. Many people are happy. Many people are upset. Whatever the reaction, this is a major decision that will have a long lasting impact.
A few days ago, Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition published “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags”. It was an excellent and gentle way to approach the subject of same-sex attraction and homosexual marriage.
Matthew Vines has posted a series of forty questions, found here. I have written up a fairly brief response. I hope it is helpful.
40 trick questions for Christians
“Freedom” in America – 21st Century Style: ‘It’s All About Equality’: Polygamist Applies for “Marriage” License in Wake of Supreme Court Ruling
By Heather Clark Christian News Network HELENA, Mont. — A polygamist in Montana is seeking to obtain a “marriage” license for a second “wife” following last Friday’s U.S.
It seems like we can say with certainty that the more the Word of God stresses something, the more the compromised, carnal and trendy church of today will ignore it or downplay it. Happens all the time regrettably. And one thing stressed repeatedly and empathetically in the Bible is the importance of right teaching or sound doctrine.
The New Testament over and over again speaks to the vital importance of making sure we have and believe correct teaching, and warns in the strongest terms against false teachers and false doctrine. These numerous passages make it clear that wrong thinking, like wrong living, can and will exclude people from the Kingdom.
I have written on these matters quite often now, but it seems there is always more need to repeat some of these basic biblical truths, given all the rampant biblical illiteracy which exists – and I am not talking about the world here, but the Christian church!
Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.
Articles of the Week
5 Questions I Wish My Accountability Partner Would Ask Me, Brad Hambrick. “I don’t like the word ‘accountability partner’ any more than I like the word ‘diet,’ and I dislike them both for the same reason. They sound like an exception and a punishment rather than a lifestyle and a gift. No one is going to live on a diet or in an accountability relationship. They’ll do it for a little while and then they’ll stop. We know this. So let’s quit saying it. What is the alternative vocabulary to ‘accountability’? It’s friendship. Every instance of accountability that I’ve ever seen endure, did so because the two (or more) people were friends; not because they enjoyed going on a sin-hunt.”
Advice from G.K. Chesterton: Don’t Take Down the Fence until You Know Why It’s There, Amy Hall. It should go without saying that we would all be better off if we took a touch more advice from Chesterton. But this little excerpt appears particularly relevant in light of recent events. An excerpt of the excerpt: “There are reformers who assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease.”
When You Are the One Who Does Not Go, Scott Hildreth. It takes courage to leave for the mission field. But it takes a special kind of courage to send your own children. The strength of our future missions efforts will rely, in large part, on parents having the guts to live out their convictions when it’s their kids—and not them—hopping on the plane.
Five (Honest) Reasons We Don’t Read Our Bible, Erik Raymond. You know the common excuse: I’m just too busy. But busy-ness doesn’t usually keep us from other less-than-critical pursuits—dropping 20 minutes on Facebook or catching up on episodes of Seinfeld. So what’s really keeping us from picking up the Bible? Raymond shows what’s usually standing in the way, as well as providing an action item for each obstacle.
Lessons for the Marriage Debate from the Pro-Life Movement, Russell Moore. In light of last week’s Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, Al Mohler pithily said that “everything has changed and nothing has changed.” That’s well put, as it reflects both the landmark nature of the political decision and the unchanging nature of the gospel. But as Moore points out, this new decision, while historically novel, harkens back to another landmark case—Roe v. Wade. We’ve been on the “wrong” side of a Supreme Court decision before, and as the pro-life movement has shown us, there is a constructive way forward.
What are the Gates of Hell?
One of the most well known verses in the Gospels is this:
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 ESV)
Protestants often spend their time arguing about the meaning of the rock and why it does not lead to papal authority. That is fine but what about the “gates of hell”?
What does Jesus mean by the gates of hell?
Well, that is easy. I have heard many sermons touch on this. It means that the church is so powerful that Satan and his demonic kingdom of hell cannot vanquish it. Jesus is talking about the powers of evil organized and led by the Devil.
Except that is not what the Bible says.
Yes medieval authors enjoyed using their imagination when it came to hell. They put Satan on the throne and discussed how demons would be used to torture the damned. Modern writers continue to work with the theme.
But what does the Bible say?
The Bible does talk about hell as a place of punishment for those who refuse God’s offer of salvation. But where does the Bible suggest that Satan is the ruler of hell? Where does the Bible even suggest that Satan has ever been to hell?
There is only one passage that makes a connection between Satan and hell.
“And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10 ESV)
Satan goes to hell after Jesus returns and punishes Satan and those who served him. As far as I can see, this is the first time that Satan enters hell.
But what about that gate of hell? That kind of sounds like a demonic kingdom.
Hades, the word used for hell in this passage, refers to the place of the dead. Jesus may be echoing Isaiah 38:10 which speaks of the gates of sheol, sheol referring to the grave.
New Testament scholar R.T. France explains that it means the church “will not die, and be shut in by the ‘gates of death’.” (Matthew, TNTC p. 255) Robert Gundry argues that this is a reference to persecution and martyrdom which will not destroy the church. (Matthew, p. 335) Leon Morris even suggests that this could be speaking of death’s inability to prevent Jesus’ resurrection. (Matthew, PNTC, p. 425)
Whatever Jesus means, he is referring to the power of death and not to Satan’s kingdom. Satan is not in hell yet but according to Revelation, when he does go to hell, it won’t be as a king.
Present trends in religious liberty
“Freedom is destroyed not only by its retraction; it is also devastated by its abuse.” —Ravi Zacharias
Our culture is changing fast. Things that would have seemed absurd to most people’s moral intuitions are now championed.
When God draws a sinner to Himself and saves him, he becomes part of the virgin Bride of Christ. The believer who has seen the love of God in Christ will take up his cross and follow Him (see Mark 8:34).
by Dan Phillips
It is an erratic spirit, that usually carries men out of their place and calling. I confess there is an heroicus impetus, an impulse which some of the servants of God have had from heaven, to do things extraordinary, as we read in Scripture of Moses, Gideon, Phineas, and others.
In the biblical narrative, the “many stories constitute a single Story” as Stephen D. Dempster has noted (Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible, 231).
Exiles, Yes – But Engaged Exiles
On this Fourth of July weekend, I wonder what advice our old friend Chuck Colson would give to American Christians.
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While our nation’s fathers blessed us and gave us virtues worth defending, we have failed and live in a nation over which we should be ashamed.
How do we distinguish the promptings of the Spirit of grace in His guiding and governing of our lives from the delusions of the spirit of the world and of our own sinful heart?
According to Christian News Network:
The owners of a Christian bakery in Oregon have officially been ordered to pay $135,000 in damages to two lesbians who claimed that they suffered emotionally after they were told that the bakery could not make a cake for their ceremony because of their convictions not to participate in others’ sins.
As previously reported, Aaron and Melissa Klein operate Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, which is now operated from the couple’s home after the Kleins’ shut their doors due to harassment. In January 2013, Aaron was approached by a mother and her daughter as the two were interested in a cake for the daughter’s upcoming wedding—to her lesbian partner.
“My first question was what’s the wedding date,” Klein told television station KTW in Portland. “My next question was [the] bride and groom’s name. … The girl giggled a little bit and said, ‘It’s two brides.’”
Ignatian Spirituality Conference: Jesuits call for the contemplative silence
This piece is over at at My Word Like Fire. According to Father General Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, “We need the ability to become ourselves silence, emptiness, an open space that the Word of God can fill, and the Spirit of God can set on fire for the good of others and of the Church.”
John Lanagan has provided a video of the interview.
Read CRN’s research paper on Contemplative Prayer
Baylor drops reference to ‘homosexual acts’ in sexual conduct policy
According to WacoTrib:
Baylor University has dropped language in its sexual conduct policy specifically outlawing sexual relationships between same-sex partners, though the university does not appear to be endorsing gay and lesbian couples or sex outside of marriage.
The university’s sexual misconduct policy previously listed “homosexual acts” among the sexually related conduct that could prompt disciplinary action, along with adultery, fornication, incest, sexual abuse, harassment and assault.
But that clause is dropped under a new sexual conduct policy approved by Baylor’s Board of Regents at its last meeting. The policy now no longer outlines specific actions that would be considered violations.
Proposed ‘Homage to Satan’ Near Ten Commandments Monument to Be Unveiled
A New York-based Satanist group has announced the unveiling of its sculpted ‘homage to Satan,’ which it seeks to place next to a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol building.
Rick Warren will speak at Papal Mass in Philadelphia
Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren will be a part of the ecumenical and interfaith gathering this September where Pope Francis himself is expected to appear. In the Catholic Herald piece we learn that the most important thing that can happen at the week long congress is conversion so that “families can become a force of change for good.” Obviously the conversion they’re referring to is placing their faith in Roman Catholicism. So it’s doubtful that the purveyor of pragmatism, Rick Warren, will share the true gospel of Jesus Christ during his speech, as that would certainly be viewed as divisive. But we shall see.
The Social Justice Gospel: Putting Poverty Above the Cross
Jan Markell and co-host Eric Barger talk about the “social justice gospel” for the first two segments. These folks often put poverty and “equality” above the cross. They will feed the stomach but not the soul. They look at primarily Jim Wallis, a long-time Marxist who has “moderated” to a Socialist and who is an Obama advisor. Joining Jan and Eric are Mary Danielson, author of a product we carry about Wallis, and Mike LeMay from “Stand Up for the Truth” radio. Find info on all our pamphlets here. Then Jan talks to author Jeff Kinley about his book, “As it Was in the Days of Noah: Warnings from Bible Prophecy About the Coming Global Storm.” We are in those “days of Noah”. How are they similar to the former days in the Bible? Find his book here. We use the mobile app found at http://www.oneplace.com.
40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags
If you consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian, a follower of Jesus whose chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, there are important questions I hope you will consider before picking up your flag and cheering on the sexual revolution. These questions aren’t meant to be snarky or merely rhetorical. They are sincere, if pointed, questions that I hope will cause my brothers and sisters with the new rainbow themed avatars to slow down and think about the flag you’re flying.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate our nation’s independence. The smells and sounds of picnics will reverberate throughout the nation. Parades will make their way down Main Streets. Fireworks will light the sky. Meanwhile, here are few thoughts to consider.
- Many of us have more Bibles in our homes than people. We have the entire Scriptures in the English language, a gift available in only 500 of the more than 7000 languages around the world today. We face little threat by having copies in our homes. Yet, we tend to read the Bible only sporadically.
- In one sermon, we hear more of the Word than 2 billion people in the world are likely to hear in a lifetime. Not only do we have liberty to hear the Word, but our pastors seldom feel threatened with persecution when they preach. Yet, sometimes we don’t listen well.
- Many of our pastors have the freedom and the opportunity to get training. Currently, as many as five million pastors around the world lack basic theological training. Securing funding may at times be problematic for North American church leaders, but at least our pastors have the option for education. Still, many church leaders do not take advantage of this privilege.
- It is generally not dangerous for us to initiate a conversation about Jesus and the gospel. That is simply not the case in many places of the world. Yet, our track record suggests that most believers will not tell a non-believer about Jesus this year.
- We have little fear that our church buildings will be destroyed this week because we shared the gospel. Again, not every church leader in the world can make such a statement. I’ve heard from leaders in some parts of the world where they risk their building if they choose to evangelize. Meanwhile, we complain because the church building is too hot or too cold . . . .
- Most of us have not been persecuted for our faith. We sometimes “feel” persecuted when others don’t listen to us, but what we face pales in comparison to what our global brothers and sisters may face.
- We generally have freedom to gather publicly as believers. That freedom is not available in some parts of the world. Still, many North American churches have more members on their rolls than they have in attendance; that is to say, many members do not take advantage of our freedom to gather.
- We have access to social media as a means to share the gospel. Whether through Facebook, Twitter, websites, or other means, we can speak truth to people around the world. It’s regrettable that we seldom take advantage of these opportunities.
- Many believers wonder how long we will have these freedoms. Indeed, some would argue that we’re already losing some of these freedoms. I’m not an alarmist, but I share these concerns. Because these issues are real, we cannot afford to be complacent about Christ and the gospel today.
- TODAY is the day we have to serve the Lord. Regardless of where our nation lands in the future, we serve the Lord today – and today gives us opportunities to tell the story of Jesus and to live out that story in freedom. Don’t miss that opportunity.
- I am really excited about this Grace to You Bible app, even if it is apparently going to exclusively use the ESV. I love the ESV, I’d just like to see a NASB option too.
- These women should not be pastors, but this is still wrong.
- Joel Osteen should not be a pastor, but this was the wrong way to go about rebuking him. What did it accomplish? Did anyone repent and get saved?
- I am so thankful God flipped that switch.
- There have been many responses and reactions to last Friday’s SCOTUS ruling on homosexual marriage. I have to say that I found one response by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis to be rather…odd. He writes, “Do you know what we need to do in response to the Supreme Court decision on Friday? (Though this is really a symptom of a very sick culture that has shaken its fist at God, and a sad reflection of the state of much of the church that has not stood on God’s Word as it should.) For one, we need to build an Ark—a life-size Ark—as a sign to the world that God’s Word is true and the message of salvation is true.” I agree with the first part of that quote but then I find myself saying, “Huh?” As a response to the SCOTUS decision we need to…build an ark? I have to respectfully disagree in light of the commission to us by our Savior to call people to repentance for forgiveness of sins and salvation in Him alone (cf. Luke 24:47). “Go therefore and build an ark.” Nope. “Go therefore and make disciples…baptizing…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20).
- In light of SCOTUS, this is good.
- I commend this woman.
- Here’s a sermon you shouldn’t miss.
- And here is another.
- I just don’t even know what to do with this.
- I really don’t know what to do with this. And yet, it’s Driscoll, so…I truly am not surprised.
- You’re welcome.
- This is a sweet and touching story, but I cannot help but wonder where these two are spending eternity. In spite of them never leaving one another’s side in life, they still must stand before Christ alone.
- John MacArthur and The Master’s Seminary have been posting some excellent articles in light of the June 26 ruling. Start with this one and then browse around to catch the rest.
- Gorgeous. The God who made this is still on His throne.
- A catechism on forgiveness:
The first step is the preparatory catechesis, the foundation on which a World Meeting of Families rests. The host diocese for each World Meeting writes a preparatory catechism that guides the proceedings. It contains a collection of Catholic teachings about the purpose of human life, marriage and the family, and addresses all stages of life.
The criteria for Warren and the others being chosen to speak at this eagerly anticipated, august global Catholic event were:
“We wanted speakers who were engaging and who could offer practical takeaways on how to help change lives,” Yount said.
Because being winsome and teaching practical life skills is what the Gospel is all about.
In addition to the event being an opportunity to preach, promote and affirm Catholic teachings, the speakers and organizers seek intercessory prayer from the august duo of intermediaries in heaven-and if you said Jesus and the Holy Spirit, you would be wrong – it’s Mary and Joseph.
We look forward to gathering with people from around the world in Philadelphia. As we prepare for this event, we particularly ask the intercessory prayers of Mary and Joseph, parents of the Holy Family and patrons of all families. (Source)
This is the environment in which Warren is co-preaching.
Ten years ago a question arose as to whether Warren was distancing himself from the Southern Baptist Convention. At that time, Warren firmly maintained he is Southern Baptist Convention aligned. He said,
“I’m Southern Baptist, our church is Southern Baptist, and we cooperate in SBC missions support at every level both in the United States and with our IMB [International Mission Board] missionaries around the world,” Warren told Baptist Press.
In the ensuing decade Warren has obviously become apostate. I will refrain from enumerating his many questionable statements, partnerships, and activities besides the ones listed in this essay, but suffice to say they are evidence of an unfruitful Christian life. Sadly as of this writing the Southern Baptist Convention remains in friendly cooperation with Warren and his church at Saddleback. Yet the bible says:
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. (2 John 1:9-11)
Last year Warren was keynote for the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference,
the largest Protestant denomination in the world.
This year, keynote for the Catholic denomination, the largest apostate denomination on the world.
Rick Warren is busy.
His bio according to the Catholic Organizers of World Meeting of Families, includes of course being
pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, the author of The Purpose Driven Life and 10 other books. He is also founder of the Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan (Promote reconciliation, Equip leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation). He established the Purpose Driven Network of Churches, and has trained over 400,000 priests and pastors in 197 countries. [emphasis mine]
The title of the Keynote the duo will deliver is absolutely hypocritically ironic and devastating. Far from being the Gospel of Life, their Gospel is the Gospel of Death. What we should be saying to those captured by satan’s snare in false religion is:
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, [whore Babylon religion] my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:4-5).
Warren is not evangelizing the Catholics and calling for them to depart from their dark schema. Warren says the Pope is “our new pope”, is “doing everything right”. He said he enjoyed a recent headline in the Orange County newspaper, “If you love Pope Francis, you’ll love Jesus”, so much that he “saved it to show to a group of priests I was speaking to a while back…”
John MacArthur said,
Reclassifying the Pope, reclassifying Roman Catholics as believers isn’t that simple. It has massive implications. It has implications that literally overturn centuries of missionary effort. It has massive implications that overturn centuries, if not millennia, of martyrdom. In the long war on the truth, the most formidable, relentless and deceptive enemy has been Roman Catholicism. It is an apostate, corrupt, heretical, false Christianity. It is a front for the kingdom of Satan. The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ has always understood this. And even through the Dark Ages, from 400 to 1500, prior to the Reformation, genuine Christian believers set themselves apart from that system and were brutally punished and executed for their rejection of that system. (source)
The Catholic Church is a false church and teaches false things. From Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry, here is A list of false teachings in the Roman Catholic Church
It must be stated and re-stated that the Catholic Church is false and those people believing in its teachings are lost and under God’s wrath. It must be stated that “pastors” and others joining with them are perpetuating a gospel-less partnership in which the need to evangelize Catholics is forsaken for the plaudits of men and social works that are as filthy rags to Jesus.
It is important to recognize this because depending on your view of Catholics it changes everything. John MacArthur said that ten years ago, a document called “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” came out and many pastors and professors were signing it. That document stated that Catholics and Protestants celebrated a common faith and a common mission, it said we need to embrace each other and carry out this gospel mission together.
MacArthur said that a great many of the pastors got together and had a discussion, sometimes heated, as to what impact this document would have and whether pastors should sign it. MacArthur was on the ‘No’ side, along with RC Sproul and Michael Horton. He said they discussed things like:
Are they saved because they “believe in Jesus?” It was a very heated discussion at many points. What was at stake? I’ll tell you what was at stake. What was at stake is whether or not we evangelize Roman Catholics. That’s what’s at stake. One billion of them in the world, are they a mission field or are they our co-laborers for Christ? That changes everything. Everything.
When I read things like Rick Warren, a supposed evangelical pastor in good standing with my denomination, partnering with Catholic Archbishops under the umbrella of Catholic dogma and Catholic Catechism to promote and affirm it, I alternately become sick, angry, and heartbroken. Because 1 billion lives are at stake. One billion-plus souls which are in bondage to a works-legalistic scheme of a false religion that is as dung to Christ and will arrive in hell the second they die. And Warren preaches “love” – yet his hate is the most obvious and virulent of all the false pastors out there, because it is more subtle than Osteen and more insidious than Hinn.
The lesson is several-fold, my friends.
1. Prophecy: It is prophesied that in the last of the last days falsity would rise and apostasy would grow.
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
2. Discernment: Be warned, stay away from the teachings of the false teachers, lest you be dragged in also. Shun evildoers.
“…if he refuses even to listen to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:17).
3. Encouragement: If you detect and understand that the Catholic Church is false, that Rick Warren is apostate, and the SBC is a dangerous compromiser, then praise our Spirit for delivering this wisdom to you.
“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)
In response to Kevin DeYoung’s questions to rainbow-affirming Christians, Matthew Vines has responded with 40 questions of his own, these directed at Christians who are, as he puts it, “non-affirming.” Douglas Wilson decided to respond to Matthew Vines questions and one if Wilson’s answers stood out to Vines:
“I know two young women getting married this summer. They have pretty rings, enjoyed shopping for the dress, had fun at showers, and got the bridal party all lined up. But it’s not enough for them. Pleasant as engagement has been, they want to be married.”
In light of last Friday’s ruling on same-sex marriage, many evangelical leaders, including Nancy Leigh DeMoss, have come to proclaim that there’s no budging when it comes to how God defines marriage.
I’m so thankful we have the freedom to complain before God? If you don’t believe that this can be done without being sinful, read Jon Bloom’s helpful post.
The daugher of one of our friends at Revive Our Hearts, Linda Green, shares three lessons she’s learned while subsisting on a diet of porridge for a few weeks. And no, one of them is not how much she misses chocolate.
Shout, “Amen!” if you know this with all of your heart. J.D. Greear supports what we intuitively know to be true in this excerpt from one of his sermons.
O Church Arise! A Biblical Perspective on the SCOTUS decision
Rom. 1:16-32, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, and Jude 3-25
A Biblical Perspective on the SCOTUS decision
After Friday’s landmark SCOTUS decision many shepherds serving in America felt compelled to imitate the example of Jude. Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 3-4). Following in Jude’s footsteps I decided to take a week off from my regular expositional series through the gospel of John in order to address the Supreme Court’s nation changing decision.
“These are dark times, there’s no denying it!” In our own backyard my family often hears beautiful hymns of the faith played on traditional church bells from only a block away. We often hear great gospel songs like “the Old Rugged Cross” and “Amazing Grace.” Yet when anyone drives by this church they quickly observe a flashing “Gay Pride” rainbow flag that is proudly displayed on St.John’s digital billboard. St. John Church of Christ wants everyone in Freeport to know that they are leading the way in the “Open and Affirming” church movement that is sweeping through our nation like wildfire. Dr. Dutcher strongly believes that Lord himself desires every church, not just his own congregation, to join him in this progressive crusade; And they are certainly not alone in this! Just like week Pastor Tony Campolo issued a statement saying he now “fully supports same sex marriage.” Add to that, a recent article on Reuters which reports that close to 35% percent of “professing Evangelicals” now support gay marriage. That number represents a sixteen percent increase over a time span of just three years (though around 45% of the nation still believes homosexuality is a sin).
I do not know what it is like where you live but in our “conservative” city the local newspaper has provided free advertisement to Dr. Dutcher more times than I can count. How is it, that one liberal pastor is given so much free press to repeatedly promote his own religious & personal convictions? St John’s “Unity Fest” for example was spotlighted three times in the month of June alone. In sharp contrast, the congregation that I pastor is celebrating its 170th anniversary of ministry in Freeport on July 1st. We did not receive one article. For all the talk about “dialogue” & “free speech” very few media outlets have given equal platforms for both sides to express their viewpoints concerning this controversial subject. That’s strange seeing only 3.8% of Americans identify themselves as LGBT (per Gallup).
Needles to say, the moral trajectory of our nation is quite troubling. I make this assertion on the authority of Scripture. The goal of this article is to evaluate last week’s landmark Supreme Court decision from a biblical perspective. As you have no doubt observed everyone these days has an opinion but only Being’s point of view truly matters.
But before we look at what God thinks let me highlight a few of the perspectives that were given over the past few days. As you know Friday’s landmark SCOTUS case was a split decision (5-4) in favor of legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states. President Obama, who in 2008 told the American public that he believed “marriage is between one man and one woman” celebrated the S.C.’s decision, saying, “Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #lovewins.”
Writing for the Majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “The ancient origins of marriage confirm its centrality, but it has not stood in isolation from developments in law and society. The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change. That institution even as confined to opposite-sex relations — has evolved over time.”
As I have demonstrated in an earlier article it came as no surprising to see the majority of celebrities in Hollywood rejoice over Friday’s decision. Pop icon Madonna twitted, “Finally And at Last! The Revolution Of Love has Begun! #livingforlove #rebelheartsunite” While former Disney Channel actress turned music star, Demi Levota wrote, “I couldn’t be more proud to be an American today… What an incredible day for equality!!!!”
ESPN sports continue its pro LGBT ways collecting a collection of pro-gay marriage twits from professional American athletes in effort to promote this “new orthodoxy” far and wide. The Chicago Cubs Dextor Fowler twitted, In 1967, interracial marriages were legalized. If that had not happened, my wife and I would not be able to in union. Love should ALWAYS win. Olympic figure skater Johny Weir wrote, Marriage equality in all 50 states! Congratulations America! Brimming with pride. While football player Scott Fujita twitted, Resist the urge to engage in debate with those in opposition to equality. There is NO MORE debate. Just rejoice and celebrate this moment.
Not everyone rejoiced over Friday’s historic ruling however. In fact four of the sitting justices on the Supreme Court wrote dissenting opinions warning the nation of what this ruling represents: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “People of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”While Justice Samuel Alito said, “This decision will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” The most scathing dissent came from the pen of Justice Scalia who wrote, “I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.” He went on to talk about our new rulers. “Today’s decree says that my ruler, and the ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.” Later adding that “a system of government that makes the people subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.”
In addition to this, many of Evangelicalism’s most respected theologians were united in lamenting the SC’s decision. Dr. John Piper quoted Psalm 119:136, “My eyes shed tears, because people do not keep your law.”Adding, “We weep over our sins. We don’t celebrate them. We don’t institutionalize them! Dr. Al Mohler called the SCOTUS decision, “Damaging, devastating,and far reaching.” While Dr. John MacArthur noted that “the Word of God pronounces judgment on any nation that reclassifies evil as good, darkness as light, and bitter as sweet (Is 5:20). “As a nation, America continues to put herself in the cross-hairs of Divine judgment!”
What was your reaction to Friday’s Supreme Court decision? Were you joyful? Sorrowful? Fearful? Concerned? No matter what any of us think or feel the most important question is what does God think of all this? In the holy Scriptures we receive a clear and timeless word from the Lord.
Everything we need for life and godliness is found in the Bible. Please read this next sentence very carefully. Just because something is super controversial does not necessary mean that it is super complicated. What God thinks of homosexuality is not complicated. It’s not. It’s really not. The Word of God calls homosexuality sinful, abominable, unnatural, and evil.
I would encourage you to read through Romans 1:16-32 this week. The trajectory of wickedness in any nation is easy to trace. First, people give themselves over to sexual immorality, followed by idolatry and homosexual immorality; and it sort of all culminates in a debased, reprobate, depraved mind! This passage describes America in 2015. Into this dark context Paul testimony in Romans 1:16-17 shines brightly like a pure diamond!
In this hour will the evangelical church hide the gospel light under a bushel (contra Matt. 5:14-16)? Will we keep the gospel to ourselves and only discuss it with fellow believers on Sunday ? (contra Acts 1:8) Will we isolate ourselves from the big bad world or cower in a corner and hope it will all just go away somehow? (contra John 17:15-17) Or will imitate the example of Christ and the apostles and say, “WE ARE NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL FOR IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES?!?!”
Martin Luther was spot on when he said, If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
Their is second passage that I want to draw your attention. It will behoove all of us to spend some time in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 as well. The Corinthian church should have known that no unrepentant sinner would ever enter into the kingdom of God. As in the first century their are many deceivers out there today who are telling people that “homosexuality is not a sin.” “You do not need to repent of being LGBT anymore than a black individual needs to repent of his skin color.” “Gay is the new black.” “God loves you just the way your are and so do we.” #truelovewins. That is why we are “open and affirming.”
There is a third key text that I want to briefly remind you of and that’s the neglected epistle of Jude. If you have not read the book of Jude lately now would be a really good time to do so. Notice the apostolic charge that every believer, not just pastors, receives in verse 3 to “contend earnestly for the faith.” This 911 emergency epistle took on the form it did because certain (false) teachers had crept into the Christian church unnoticed (note Jude 4). These “ungodly persons” got into the church, in part, because they claimed to believe in God’s “amazing grace.”
Stop right there. Does it not trouble your soul when you hear apostate churches playing Amazing Grace on their bells? Was it not also morally repulsive when the President sang this timeless gospel hymn at the memorial service in Charleston, South Carolina this week only to return to Washington D.C. to celebrate the SCOTUS decision from his rainbow lit White House?
If you know anything about John Newton’s testimony you understand the profound irony of this! Like Augustine before him, as an unconverted man John Newton enjoyed sinful pleasures with the best of them He was an 18th century hedonist and a wicked slave trader! This is one of the reasons why Newton penned this verse, Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a WRETCH like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see. According to God’s mercy, Newton came to see that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. I have read that for the rest of his life brother Newton observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion. Newton’s timeless hymn celebrates the glorious truth that God’s amazing grace saves and sanctifies sinners – unworthy sinner like you and I! This is our gospel confession beloved. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all (1 Tim. 1:12-17). This is our testimony of faith (Col. 1:21-23; Eph. 2:1-10).
Let’s return to Jude one final time. Many of the false teachers in the early church were abusing the grace of God as a license for sin (Jude 4) Talk about RELEVANT. God’s Word reads like today’s newspaper. These “godless persons” (that’s God’s description not mine) were literally “turning the grace of God into licentiousness” and in so doing were “denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Into this very context Scripture charges the beloved of God to fight for this nonnegotiable body of objective truth (the faith). For if we do not we risk losing our common salvation! Oh that could never happen Caleb? Why did the Reformer’s refer to 400-1400 as the (spiritual) dark ages? Post Tenabras, lux anyone?
The apostle goes onto reminds believers that sin and judgment goes hand in hand. Notice carefully what examples Jude uses to illustrate this truth in Jude 4-16, (heterosexual and homosexual sins).
In verses 17-19 Jude exhorts the people of God to remember. While in verses 20-21, we are commanded to “Keep ourselves in the sphere of God’s love” by building yourself up on the sure foundation, while remaining wholly dependent on God, as we live our life in light of eternity.
Despite the many dangers, toils, and snares we will surely encounter along the way the apostle calls on us to be ministers of mercy as we attempt to rescue doubters, drifters, and defiled ones (note Jude 22-23). By the grace of God, believers need to Remember, Remain, & Rescue!
In view of this high and holy calling Jude concludes his letter by reminding us of the comforting doctrine of Divine preservation. YOUR SAFE AND SECURE IN CHRIST- NOW GO TO WAR! “Onward Christian soldiers!” “Fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12).”
O Church Arise and put your armor on; Hear the call of Christ our Captain; For now the weak can say that they are strong. In the strength that God has given. With shield of faith and belt of truth; We’ll stand against the devil’s lies; An army bold whose battle cry is “Love!” Reaching out to those in darkness.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, are glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
How do we distinguish the promptings of the Spirit of grace in His guiding and governing of our lives from the delusions of the spirit of the world and of our own sinful heart? This is a hugely important question if we are to be calm and confident that the spirit with whom we are communing really is the Holy Spirit.
We are not a large church. We don’t have a staff—just me. It’s not a necessity that they fill in. I’m not out of town or anything. It probably even seems a little strange to some folks that I’m at the service but not preaching.
I love to prepare and preach sermons. Love it. It’s easily my favorite part of pastoral ministry.
And these men are not getting paid to preach (whereas I am) and they have fulltime jobs outside of the church (I don’t). So why have them preach?
Thomas S. Kidd:
So here we are, a week after the gay marriage mandate, and the Fourth of July is upon us. What should we do? One appropriate option—one we have always had—would be to politely ignore the Fourth of July in our families, and our Sunday services. Again, what does 1776 have to do with our worship? Around the world, our Christian brothers and sisters from Nigeria to Nepal will not say anything about the Fourth of July. Why should we?
Rehearsing a memorized fact, “Jesus died on the cross for your sins”, isn’t walking in wisdom. Many people don’t know what we mean when we say “Jesus” “sin” or “cross.” While much of America still has cultural memory of these things, they are often misunderstood and confused with “moral teacher” “be good” and “irrelevant suffering.” We have to slow down long enough to explore what they mean, and why they have trouble with these words and concepts. Often they are tied to some kind of pain.
My discomfort with patriotic worship services culminated when visiting a church during vacation. The front of the auditorium was covered by an enormous American flag. Beneath the flag was the opening for the baptistry where the pastor baptized a new believer.
Under the American flag. With no cross in sight, I suppose it was covered by stripes. It was not surreal for me; it was troubling. The imagery was all wrong.
BCC Weekend Resource: Gay Marriage, Speaking the Truth in Love, and the United States Supreme Court
Frequently on weekends at the BCC we use our “megaphone” to make you aware of significant happenings in the biblical counseling world. We do so today by alerting you to a new and ongoing endeavor by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). Continue reading →
Video: Worst Objection to Theism- Who Created God?
Notable Voices – July 4, 2015
Personal finances are important for pastors to manage well because a pastor distracted by money is a pastor who is not totally focused on leading God’s people. Art shares six steps to consider.
True leaders are honest. And when they make a mistake, they admit it, apologize, and move forward.
Millennials know nothing other than life with technology. So when churches or any other group fails to embrace technology, there is a disconnect with an entire generation. Technology is a way churches can connect with America’s largest generation.
In many faith traditions, partaking of the body and blood of Jesus is a weekly occurrence. In my denomination, however, there seems to be a hesitancy toward the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Peyton discusses this and makes a strong case for a more regular partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
If you think your church can’t be active on social media, you just haven’t read anything Darrel has written in the last 18 months. These 25 ideas prove that it really can be a simple task if you plan correctly.
What Does Mediocrity Look Like in the Church? – Rainer on Leadership #138
Podcast Episode #138
Today on the podcast we discuss a recent post from Chuck Lawless entitled 12 Signs of Mediocrity in a Church.
Some highlights from today’s episode include:
- It is a sin to be good when God has called you to be great.
- Churches should evaluate everything they do to determine how it can be done better.
- Rather than doing several things poorly, do fewer things really well.
- Without a clear strategy, you will likely not have effective discipleship in a church.
- The essentials of a church’s vision: a specific plan for a specific church at a specific time.
The twelve signs of mediocrity in a church are:
- No plans for evaluation.
- Tolerance of mistakes.
- Poor maintenance of the church grounds.
- Poor upkeep of the building.
- No records of attendance, growth, etc.
- No clear discipleship strategy.
- Toleration of sin.
- No class for membership.
- Lack of vision.
- Little attention to the nations.
- No new workers in place.
- Lack of “healthy chaos.”
The post What Does Mediocrity Look Like in the Church? – Rainer on Leadership #138 appeared first on ThomRainer.com.
Has Stephen Hawking Eliminated the Need for a Creator?
The post Has Stephen Hawking Eliminated the Need for a Creator? appeared first on Stephen J. Bedard.
The Daily Discovery (July 4-5, 2015)
Should We Celebrate Independence Day? Viva La Resistance! – “On July 4, 1776, fifty-six representatives from the British colonies in America signed the Declaration of Independence. With their signatures, the British colonies in America became the United States of America. The document they signed said the following…”
A Believing Response to Matthew Vines’ 40 Questions – “Matthew Vines has posted a series of forty questions, found here. I have written up a fairly brief response. I hope it is helpful.”
Book Review: “What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?” by Kevin DeYoung – “Kevin DeYoung is a really smart guy. I don’t just mean that he knows a lot of things really well, but also that he understands how to deliver his message in the most clear, straight-forward and winsome manner. Over the years, he has consistently proven that he is a masterful writer, cogent thinker, and orthodox Christian teacher. This book continues in that same line of well-conceived, carefully delivered books on this controversial topic.”
How Christians Walk in the World – “Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus prayed to the Father on behalf of His disciples what has been called His High Priestly Prayer (John 17). When we consider the content of His High Priestly prayer, we soon discover indicatives regarding the state of His followers in the world as well as imperatives on how they should walk in the world. In the midst of these two aspects of our Lord’s teaching about the relationship between His people and the world, we learn that there is one over-arching purpose for Christians and our relationship with the world. Let’s take a brief look at these three things…”
Time for a Little Q & A – “So in response to Kevin DeYoung’s very pertinent questions to rainbow-affirming Christians, Matthew Vines has responded with 40 questions of his own, these directed at Christians who are, as he puts it, “non-affirming.” Being as I am found in that latter category, let me have a shot at it.”
James White – The Truth and Love Conference [Session 5]
Right Response to Sexual Temptation: Flee!
God Saves Bad People
“If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism but deception.” – John Piper
A Letter From James, Part 3
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
In part 3 we continue reviewing the instructions James gave to the early church on how to properly live the Christian life. Remember, this letter might have been the first written teaching the Church ever received, predating the Gospels and Paul’s letters, with the possible exception of his letter to the Galatians. This time we’ll cover chapter 3. Let’s begin.
Are the Saints higher than Angels?
I’d like to know for sure if the Saints/Saved/Redeemed Children of God are higher than angels and what are some scriptures (if any) that indicate that we are and have authority over Angels. Thank you!
Why is Sunday the first day of the week? Is it the same in the Old Testament?
Material Things In Heaven
Do you think there will be material things in heaven, and if so could you give examples? I have friends in Christ who have hobbies such as sewing, and we were wondering about this. Thank you for your great ministry and help.
Christian Headlines Daily –
What is The Gospel?
“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime
9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.
The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?
Our Time is Short
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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