When Should We Read Commentaries?
The saddest thing of all in my mind is when a pastor thinks he is so much smarter than church history that he doesn’t need to read what anyone else thought on a passage of Scripture. Really? So you’re smarter than Calvin, are you? Smarter than Augustine? You have the Holy Spirit and they did not? We are not enslaved to any one interpreter. We are not required to believe everything that any non-inspired theologian wrote.
The Holy Catholic Church Or A Holy Catholic Church?
Theologically it seems sounder to say that we believe the holy catholic church. The church is not a potential. It is a reality that is manifested in the world. This is what we say in Belgic Confession art. 27. “We believe and confess one only catholic or universal church (une seule Église catholique ou universelle). The confession twice thereafter says “cette Église ” (this church) in art. 27 and “cette sainte assemblée” (this holy assembly) in art. 28. We believe that there is a true church (art. 29) and that the true church is manifested visibly and has marks that are empirically verifiable.
5 Essentials to Finish Life Well
It doesn’t matter how we start the Christian race. Many explode out of the gate like racehorses, only to stumble along the way. We regularly hear of the failures of Christian leaders. Believers get ensnared by pride, drugs, and sexual sin. 20-year believers sometimes wind up agnostics or atheists. I hope, by God’s grace, I finish well. Here are 15 truths to meditate on as we run this race:
NCFIC: A New Family Integrated Church Denomination?
Functionally, the NCFIC is in a unique position to be a denomination-that-is-not-a-denomination, working across existing denominational boundaries. Will regional Presbyteries have to contend with a presbytery-within-a-presbytery if some of their churches join the NCFIC? The question remains: is the National Center for Family Integrated Churches morphing into a quasi-denomination? Only time will tell.
The Moment Every Pastor’s Wife Is Waiting For
And I have prayed. I’ve prayed for the sick, the suffering, the imprisoned, the persecuted, the poor, the spiritually dead. I have prayed for the rebellious, the hypocrites, the ignorant ensnared by falsehood. I’ve prayed for the babies and for the baby Christians. I haven’t always seen all the answers. But I wait eagerly for them.
Why I Do Not Recommend Kendrick Brothers’ New Movie, “War Room”
Worse, as ordained ministers formerly operating under the oversight of their home church, (but no longer) listen to how the brothers decide to move forward with the themes for each of their movies. It isn’t from the Bible. God tells them: We go through the better part of a year, saying, ‘Lord what do you want us to focus on, what do you want the plot be?’ It’s usually near the end of that year. It could be eight months, ten months, or a full year… it’s almost like he downloads something to us. … It wasn’t something where we sat in a room and said ‘What do you want to do?’ We’ve never done that. For the movie Fireproof, Kendrick says his team heard God give them a theme of marriage. For the movie Courageous, fatherhood. And so on.
Sisters, Beware the Cloning Wars
I want my daughters to see the beauty of God-given roles for men and women made manifest as we express God-given individuality within the boundaries of gospel freedom. Our goal should be to live and teach the whole counsel of God, while leveraging the gifts God has given individuals (1 Cor. 12:4–7; Rom. 12:3–8) for his glory and for our good (1 Pet. 4:10). Godliness will look radically different from woman to woman. For some it will look like homeschooling your children (beautiful), for others like leading your church Bible study (beautiful), for others like developing software (beautiful), for others like being president of a non-profit (beautiful).
Predictable, All Too Predictable
Morally, however, the situation is this: a man deemed unfit to hold teaching office just three weeks ago is now occupying a position of teaching influence in the same denomination. Maybe not illegal, but certainly irresponsible towards both him and those he will influence. At the very minimum it is also most discourteous towards the Presbytery which acted to remove him and whose informed judgment in the matter has been for all practical purposes rejected.
We Don’t Get to Choose our Martyrs
Like the Apostles, who could also have simply moved on, Mrs. Davis has refused to do the authorities’ dirty work for them. By refusing to resign, she is putting the moral responsibility for that action upon her accusers and judges. Many Christian men and women have done this through the years as they’ve stood before the unjust and unbiblical laws of the State, and sometimes the Church, and said, “We ought to obey God rather than man,” whatever the consequences may be.
In the beginning, God made mankind, males and females, in His image (Gen. 1:26-28). Man was meant to mirror God, to reflect Him. Human purpose and value, therefore, is determined by God, not man.
But do Christians consistently believe that all mankind was made in God’s image to reflect His own glory back to Him?
If the answer is “yes,” then we will seek to view our fellow image-bearers as God’s mirrors who display His glory. If the answer is “no,” then we will value humanity as something less than God’s mirror, as something less than God’s image. And what we do reveals what we truly or consistently believe about God and man. In order words, you and I live out our beliefs, and if we choose to view porn, it’s because we either don’t believe God’s word or we struggle to consistently believe God’s word. One cannot say, “I believe man is made in God’s image,” while simultaneously living like that isn’t true. We live what we consistently believe.
Therefore, when you lust after another human being, you necessarily affirm these 10 lies:
- Your object does not have a mind. Yes, I said object. In order to enjoy a human being sexually, the way God intended, you must be married to the individual. Otherwise, as you merely appreciate the object’s outward beauty, you necessarily separate its mind from its outward appearance. You thus necessarily affirm the lie that some humans were not created in God’s image.
- Your object is less valuable than a human being. All humans are more valuable than their physical appearances and their sexual availability. Their value comes ultimately from their Creator (Gen. 1:27). As you lust after another human, you do notvalue the main elements that make him or her valuable in God’s eyes. Outward beauty fades and changes depending on culture and time; however, beauty in God’s eyes is bound up in His marvelous creating work. All humans are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:13-16).
- Your object does not need a spouse. Humans are created to eventually get married. Adam needed a helper, and God provided him with Eve (Genesis 2:20-24). The apostle Paul even argued that those who don’t get married have a spiritual gift of singleness. Most people however do not have this spiritual gift (1 Cor. 7:6-7). No unbelievers possess this gift. Marriage is assumed in Scripture; and you deny that your object needs a human spouse since your object is merely an avenue for lust; and you affirm instead that your object needs a de-humanizer (you).
- You do not need protection or your object does not need protection. In the Scriptures, husbands are expected to protect their wives (1 Pet. 3:7). When you look at a woman sexually, and she is not your wife, you are unconcerned about protecting her. If you were concerned about protecting her, you would desire to protect her before you looked at her sexually. In other words, marriage and protection are a result of love, and come before sex. Furthermore, by you lustfully using this woman, you are doing the opposite of protecting her; you are using her for sexual immorality against her will!
- Your object was not made in God’s image. When you view a man or a woman as a sex object, you see him or her as created in the likeness of something lessthan the image of God. You might value them a little higher than the animals; but, not as a human being, as God intended.
- God should notbe glorified for creating this inhumane object.That’s the consistent end of believing that God merely created an “object” for lust when He created the human being you’re lusting after. In other words, you must call God a liar in order to treat His humans as something less than His image-bearers. If you are a professed Christian, then you represent Christ in all that you do, including in how you think and what you think. By treating God’s image-bearers as merely objects for sexual lust, you value their appearance above everything else about them; thus, you only value God’s creating ability in their outward appearance. The Bible however indicates that every element of every human being was fearfully and wonderfully made, not merely their outward appearance (Gen. 1:27, Ps. 139:14).
- Your object is not human. Your object’s humanity includes more than him or her being viewed as an avenue for sexual lust. If they are stripped of everything except their sexual worth, then they are diminished to something less than human, slightly above an animal, if that. If you think deeply about this, thousands of women are being sold into the sex trade every year. Their owners value them onlyin a sexual way. Why would you only value men or women in a sexual way? In your mind, your object of lust is your slave. After all, are you not valuing this human being in exactly the same manner as those men who are involved in the sex trade?
- Your object is not an avenue through which to enjoy the Lord. It is impossible to enjoy the Lord through sin. If you look at your object’s body instead of his or her good works, you selfishly use him or her insteadof enjoying the Lord (1 Tim. 2:10). You should rather seek to enjoy the Lord through enjoying this human being sexually within marriage; instead of sinfully enjoying him or her without enjoying the Lord. It is impossible to enjoy the Lord by diminishing another human being to a mere sex object; you’re choosing to enjoy sin instead of choosing to enjoy the Lord.
- I am god. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord (1 Cor. 6:13). If you are a Christian then you are notyour own, for you were bought with the blood of Christ (1 Cor. 7:23). In order to use your body for sexual immorality, you must deny God’s authority, and redefine the reason why He gave you your body. Thus, in order to lust you must claim that you are god. Otherwise, you would use your body—a body that belongs to the Lord—for His glory alone; not your own.
- 10.Allmen and women are less valuable than God’s image-bearers. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that you can compartmentalize your value of humanity. If you will use a man or woman in your mind in private as an object for sexual lust, you will treat those men and women close to you as less than human as well. If you are willing to selfishly use a man or woman in private, you will selfishly use men and women that are close to you in your public life as well. Your view of men and women in private will seep into your public view of men and women. Your true view of men and women will flesh itself out in your daily relationships. All of your relationships will be greatly hindered due to your devaluing of humanity!
What do you do if when you look in the mirror you see someone who has been willfully deceived, someone who views porn? The answer is that you must repent of your affirmation of lies and your denial of God’s word. You must repent of your disbelief and believe God’s word. Man was made in God’s image for His glory. We are not God; man was not made for our glory. One cannot abuse God’s image-bearers, whether oneself or others, and simultaneously and consistently believe that God is God, His word is true, mankind exists to mirror Him, and the good news is Christ’s redeeming work…not porn.
Therefore, repent, enjoy the good news, enjoy God’s reflection in His image bearers, and enjoy God by reflecting Him. May we do what we were created to do.
In America today they jail Christians, not for breaking any law, but for standing true to their Christian convictions. Kim Davis is now in jail because she had the audacity to resist the pink mafia, and to stand against judicial tyranny. That is what has now become of the land of the free.
Perversion is now politically protected, while marriage and family and purity are under attack. This is a war against Christianity, and of course a war against the One True God. A country founded on biblical principles and the notion of freedom, especially religious freedom, is now a nation at war with Christianity.
And as I mentioned, Kim Davis broke no laws. She upheld the laws of Kentucky, and for doing so, was jailed. Here is what the law states:
402.005 Definition of marriage. As used and recognized in the law of the Commonwealth, “marriage” refers only to the civil status, condition, or relation of one (1) man and one (1) woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent upon those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex. Effective: July 15, 1998 History: Created 1998 Ky. Acts ch. 258, sec. 4, effective July 15, 1998….
402.010 Degree of relationship that will bar marriage. (1) No marriage shall be contracted between persons who are nearer of kin to each other by consanguinity, whether of the whole or half-blood, than second cousins. (2) Marriages prohibited by subsection (1) of this section are incestuous and void. History: Amended 1946 Ky. Acts ch. 124, sec. 1. — Recodified 1942 Ky. Acts ch. 208, sec. 1, effective October 1, 1942, from Ky. Stat. sec. 2096.
Any clerk who knowingly issues a marriage license in violation of KRS Chapter 402 shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Any clerk who knowingly issues a marriage license to any persons prohibited by KRS Chapter 402 from marrying shall be fined $500 to $1,000 and removed from office by the judgment of the court in which convicted (KRS 402.990).
Also, in the 2004 election this ballot measure was passed by 75 per cent of Kentucky voters: “Amend the Kentucky Constitution ‘to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be a marriage in Kentucky, and that a legal status identical to or similar to marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized?’”
So everything Kim Davis did was to uphold the laws of the land. But for doing so, the power of the secular state – fuelled by the demonic wrath of the homosexual militants – came down upon her like a ton of bricks, and she is now languishing in jail.
I have already heard too many absolutely clueless and compromised Christians actually attacking her, and defending her persecutors. Mind-boggling. Even some thinkers who should know better have been a bit back and forth here. For example, one great commentator whom I often quote wrote a piece a few days ago and equivocated a bit about this case, so I did not run with anything of his.
But today he has come out with a new piece, admitting he got things a bit wrong. I am very glad Matt Walsh had a rethink here. Partly this was due to his reading of a great article by Douglas Wilson, which I quoted from here: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/09/03/christianity-the-constitution-and-marriage-wars/
It was indeed a superb piece and I am glad it helped Walsh to get a bit more clarity here. His entire article is well worth reading, but let me offer a few snippets from it:
The Obergefell v. Hodges decision had absolutely nothing to do with the law. Gay “marriage” was forced upon the states by five human beings in black robes sitting in a big stone temple in D.C. The Constitution, which clearly says nothing about gay “marriage,” was ignored. The consent of the people — many of whom live in states, like Kentucky, where the Constitution expressly defines marriage as between a man a woman — was not respected or even considered. If Kim Davis is a government official making up her own laws as she goes along, she’s only following the precedent of the federal government. The only difference is that her “made-up” law is the one that existed before a handful of federal judges made up a new one. So who is the lawless anarchist here?
Gay “marriage” is itself nothing but the will of the elites. It is as much a legal abomination as a moral one. Many people have said, “Well, gay ‘marriage’ is the law of the land, so that’s that,” but what they mean is, “Well, five people in Washington support gay ‘marriage,’ so that’s that.” No, that isn’t that. That’s tyranny. That’s injustice. That’s illegal. It might be true that the Supreme Court has, over time, seized the power to write laws and reshape ancient human institutions according to their radical liberal ideologies, but that doesn’t make it law. It might be “law,” but it isn’t law. Just as gay “marriage” might be “marriage,” but it can never be marriage. The whole thing is a travesty, a sham, an outrage.
So are we morally obligated to cooperate with the evil agendas and the rampant tyrannies of the federal government? Is a clerk in Kentucky, elected by the people of her county and subject to the Constitution of her state, morally required to respect the drunken dictates of judicial activists in Washington? Kim Davis says no. And I think it might be time for the rest of us to come to that same conclusion.
Third, Kim Davis is not preventing anyone from getting married. For one thing, they can just hop in the car and head on down to the next county. It will take a few minutes, but I suspect they’ll survive. Any gay couples waiting around for this Davis situation to be settled are obviously just trying to make a statement, which is probably why the showed up at the clerk’s office with a camera crew.
But for another thing, gay “marriage,” even if it’s legitimized with the obligatory paperwork, still cannot exist. Gay “marriage” is an impossibility, a non sequitur. It has been not only illegally imposed on us, but impossibly. No matter what the Supreme Court says, or what anyone says, men and women will still be different. And it is that difference that defines marriage, that breathes life into it, that gives it a purpose, that makes it integral to society.
We have, then, two different things. On the one hand, we have the relationship between a man and a woman. On the other, the relationship between men and men or women and women. Say what you want about these groups, but you certainly cannot say they are the same. Since the beginning of human civilization up until about 87 seconds ago, all societies have recognized that the man-woman relationship is special and powerful. This bond gives birth to new people, and this new collection of people are what we call “families,” and these families serve as the very bedrock and foundation of humanity. There are other reasons for marriage, but procreation is a primary and defining reason. A relationship that is, in principle (not through deformity or disease or old age or whatever), lacking in this immense and mysterious power cannot be considered its equal. This is not just a moral judgment, but a logical and biological one.
Gay couples cannot produce families. They cannot produce anything. They serve no practical purpose to society. Two men love each other, fine, but there is no reason to officially recognize that love or give it a name. And if we do give it a name, it is absurd to give it the same name when it is so vastly different. The correct name is the one scripture gives it: sin.
Fifth, so here we are. Kim Davis sits in jail. Gay “marriage” has been illegally imposed on the people. The government is operating outside the bounds of the Constitution, morality and Natural Law. Christians in government are being locked in chains while thugs and crooks run the country. Babies are being murdered and sold for parts, and all with the approval and funding of our leaders in Washington. Cops are being hunted down and murdered in the street while race hustlers openly egg on the killers and the president does nothing to stop it.
America is ruled by the whims of petty despots. America is a lawless country. They will make a sacrifice of Kim Davis, but make no mistake that she is standing against lawlessness, not for it. And now the rest of us have to decide if we will do the same.
This is a nation that has rejected truth, constitutional law and God’s law. Our culture is floating untethered in the abyss, besieged by confusion and moral chaos. If we think we can restore peace and truth by “following the law,” I believe we are in for a rude awakening. The law is dead. We are left with two choices: follow truth, or obey the dictates of our culture and the godless tyrants who lead it.
Kim Davis took door No. 1, and it landed her behind bars.
Where will it take us if we open it?
I think we will soon find out.
We sure are finding out. The trouble is, some of us have been warning about this for decades now. We insisted that the greatest assault on faith, family and freedom would come at the hands of the homosexual activists. The media and other side of course laughed at us. And I had plenty of Christians laugh at me as well.
But now as Christians are being jailed, losing their jobs, and being heavily fined, it may be time to say, “We told you so.” Yet incredibly many Christians are still fully asleep, utterly clueless as to the war that has been declared against them.
Will they ever wake up? And if they do, will it then be too late?
NPR Helps Push Transgender Children’s Book
The children’s publishing giant Scholastic has come out with a pro-transgender book for kids, and they’re getting some extra promotional help from taxpayer-funded National Public Radio.
Should Adulterous Pastors Be Restored?
The Bible’s teaching about returning fallen ministers to the pulpit.
Give to refugee causes – but here’s how to avoid being conned
The Charity Commission has issued advice warning people to take care that the people asking for money are legitimate.
Why this Christian says Christianity is harmed by Kim Davis and her fans
In defending Christian faith, Kim Davis and her fans actually harm it. A plea for a different approach, one Christian to another.
Two Bedtime Prayers for Weary Parents
I want to suggest two modest prayers to help you slow down during those moments when you tuck the kids into bed. When your mind is still spinning from the day’s labors, may these three-word prayers enable you take the few extra moments to linger with your children in the quietness of bedtime.
Hundreds of Muslims Turning to Christ in Germany
In Germany, hundreds of Muslim refugees are turning to Christ at a Berlin church.
‘War Room’ Tops Family Friendly Movie List
Families looking for indoor, family friendly entertainment will want to stay away from Transporter Refueled, and A Walk in the Woods, and steer toward War Room.
5 Ways To Stand Up & Be The Church in The World’s Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II
1. Be Moved Quick Facts to Understand the Crisis: –> One Stop to Understand it All The world is in the worst refugee crisis since World War II. And Syria’s civil war and the rising of ISIS is the worst humanitarian disaster of our time. The number of innocent civilians sufferi
Turning to Christ, teen heals from anger & abuse
Justin Spencer, a skateboarding 17-year-old, did a 360 from a life of anger, abuse and abandonment when he learned that God loves him.
American Heros in Paris Were ‘Strong Christians’
According to various media reports, the three young American men who thwarted a terrorist attack in Paris are Christians.
The Promise of God in Threatening Pain
Last night, I bolted onto the football field to face the Miami Dolphins. I was eager, surging with life, energy, and strength. It was the last preseason game of my third season in the NFL. The ball snapped, and with a snap of his fingers, God mercifully showed me how small and weak I am.
Labor Day: Bivocational pastors known for work ethic
There are an estimated 10,000 Southern Baptist pastors who are part-time or bivocational, according to the Caskey Center for Church Excellence at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Known for their work ethic and resourceful scheduling, such ministers comprise 23 percent of all Southern Baptist pastors and participate in a Baptist tradition dating back to the 17th century.
Do You Want More Joy? Practice These Two Things
The recovery of joy requires only two things, and both of them are daily practices you can start doing today.
How Long Will It Take for My Church to Really, Actually Change?
How Long Will It Take For My Church To Really, Actually Change?
Genie Jesus and the War Room Problem
by John Mark Reynolds
Let’s be blunt: this is not so much a Christian film as a perversion of Christianity driven by a consumerist American heresy.
Donald Trump to Meet with Prosperity Gospel Preachers
by Gene Veith
Donald Trump meeting with Prosperity Gospel teachers? Sounds like a perfect storm of everything wrong with American religion.
Tullian Tchividjian Hired as Director of Ministry Development at Willow Creek PCA
by Warren Throckmorton
Just days after former Coral Ridge Presbyterian pastor Tullian Tchividjian acknowledged that he filed for divorce, he has taken a ministry position at Willow Creek Church (PCA) in Winter Springs, FL.
Suffering and the Mind/Body Connection in Mental Illness
by Abra Carnahan
Prayer and staying in God’s Word are essential to the Christian life and I was and am cultivating both, but sometimes it is easy to forget that God isn’t a magic cure-all. Of course, God can cure all, but He doesn’t because He has a better plan.
|Pilgrim’s Road Trip
When the Heart Waits
by Michelle Van Loon
Our well-meaning tendency to try to fix a dark night of the soul, which is often rooted in our own discomfort with the darkness, can short-circuit what God is actually doing in someone else’s life.
|ESquared Media Network
Why Churches Are Stage-Driven
by David Murrow
Why is the modern Christian life so stage-driven? Because it keeps things tidy. We like tidy churches. And we punish pastors when things get untidy.
Liking Jesus But Not the Church
by Jonathan Storment
We like Jesus and not the church, because we don’t know Jesus. We like Jesus and not Paul because we don’t know the very things that Jesus is really calling us out to be.
|Tip of the Spear
Brotherly Affection? Yes, Please. Bromance? No Thanks.
by Brandon Showalter
Count me among the multitudes who are downright exhausted of the sexualization of everything, especially the sexualization of close friendships.
|More Great Reads|
|Roger E. Olson
More Discussion on Malestrom
by Roger E. Olson
Surely in Christ both men and women find fulfillment of their manhood and womanhood, but is it true that outside of Christ, apart from being truly Christian, all “manhood” is evil?
Contextualization via Decontextualizing the Bible
by Jackson Wu
In order to make the gospel understandable, people typically reduce the message to a few key principles or ideas that essentially strip the Christian story from its historical and narrative context. Where is this trend most evident? The almost total omission of Israel from most gospel tracts and presentations.
|Black, White, and Gray
Myths of Christianophobia Part 4 – Christians Deserve It
by George Yancey
The calculus is quite simple. Conservative Christians are seen as a threat to move our society back to the dark ages. To stop them intelligent, progressive citizens have to keep Christians out of the public square.
|Putting the Protest in Protestant
Whose Question, How Big?
by D. G. Hart
Fr. Dwight Longenecker warns Protestants about the seriousness of asking about converting to Roman Catholicism. But what if humans face an even bigger question, such as the one Paul heard from the Philippian jailer — namely, what must I do to be saved?
This video, excerpted from J. Warner Wallace’s presentation of the evidence for God (from his book, God’s Crime Scene), summarizes the strength of the cumulative case for God’s existence. J. Warner describes the nature of cumulative cases and the role diversity plays in establishing the strength of an inference. For a robust review of the collective case for God’s existence from eight pieces of evidence “inside the room” of the natural universe, please refer to God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Homicide Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. (For more information, visit www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)
To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.
It has come to this: Christians who stand for their faith, for conscience, and for religious freedom, are now being jailed in America. County Clerk Kim Davis is now in jail for refusing to violate her Christian conscience and do that which is immoral.
Some of us have warned for decades now that this is exactly where all this is heading. The homofascists will stop at nothing to achieve complete compliance to their agenda. All opposition will be dealt with in the severest fashion. And all this in the name of tolerance and acceptance of course.
Some champions for liberty have immediately sprung to her defence. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz courageously said this:
Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America. I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to choose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court decision.
In dissent, Chief Justice Roberts rightly observed that the Court’s marriage decision has nothing to do with the Constitution. Justice Scalia observed that the Court’s decision was so contrary to law that state and local officials would choose to defy it.
For every politician — Democrat and Republican — who is tut-tutting that Davis must resign, they are defending a hypocritical standard. Where is the call for the mayor of San Francisco to resign for creating a sanctuary city — resulting in the murder of American citizens by criminal illegal aliens welcomed by his lawlessness?
Where is the call for President Obama to resign for ignoring and defying our immigration laws, our welfare reform laws, and even his own Obamacare? When the mayor of San Francisco and President Obama resign, then we can talk about Kim Davis.
Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office. That is the consequence of their position. Or, if Christians do serve in public office, they must disregard their religious faith–or be sent to jail.
Kim Davis should not be in jail. We are a country founded on Judeo-Christian values, founded by those fleeing religious oppression and seeking a land where we could worship God and live according to our faith, without being imprisoned for doing so. I call upon every Believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis. Stop the persecution now.
Various marriage and family groups have also condemned the incarceration, including NOM:
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today sharply criticized federal judge David Bunning for jailing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis because she has refused to issue same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses in violation of her deeply-held religious beliefs. The group blamed the US Supreme Court for creating the conflict by redefining marriage and refusing to stay legal action against Davis pending her appeal.
“It is outrageous to jail Kim Davis because she does not want to personally be part of certifying same-sex ‘marriages’ that violate her deeply-held religious beliefs about the nature of marriage,” said Brian Brown. “What this judge is saying is that now that the Supreme Court has illegitimately redefined marriage, every single person in government if not in the country must stand in salute and participate in the act. That is profoundly wrong and violates the spirit of federal law which provides that the government must seek ways to reasonably accommodate people’s religious views in the workplace.”
This past June the US Supreme Court ruled to impose same-sex ‘marriage’ on the nation when it determined that state laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman were unconstitutional.
“While Judge Bunning is the instrument of the inhumane punishing of Kim Davis, the authors of it are the five justices of the US Supreme Court who illegitimately, without a shred of constitutional authority, redefined marriage without any regard to the profound implications their ruling would have on law-abiding, faithful Americans,” Brown said. “With this ruling, the idea of religious freedom that is at the heart of our constitution has been eliminated when it comes to exercising beliefs about marriage. It’s a profound shredding of the constitution on the altar of gay activism.”
Brown called on federal and state officials to find a way to accommodate people who object to gay ‘marriage’ on religious grounds from having to participate in the act.
“It was utterly wrong for the courts to have ordered every state to license same-sex ‘marriages’ and it is judicial tyranny for judges to say that every individual person must be involved in the act despite their deeply-held beliefs. We call on federal and state officials to immediately enact laws to accommodate the beliefs of individuals who do not wish to be a party to something they consider to be wrong.”
At a time like this it is worth recalling earlier acts of defiance to an unjust state, and the place of Christian civil disobedience. On April 16, 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his now famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. Parts of it are worth repeating here:
There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
While the particulars of these two situations of course differ, the underlying principles remain the same. When unjust and immoral laws are passed, Christians have an obligation to consider carefully and prayerfully how they might deal with such laws. Civil disobedience, and a willingness to suffer the consequences, is one such option.
We need to uphold Kim Davis in our prayers, and do all we can to help and support her during this difficult period. And we need to finally get our heads out of the sand as to the reality of homo-tyranny. Things will simply get much worse as the homosexual militants ramp up their war against any and all opposition to their nefarious agenda.
Here’s Ryan Anderson talking some common sense on the Kim Anderson case. You don’t have to agree with her dissent to see that it was a draconian overreach to send her to jail.
We all continually fall short of the glory of God and fail to be who He wants us to be. With sexual sin rampant in the world, all of us are in a constant spiritual battle to please God rather than feed our flesh. Word is coming out that several Christian leaders contact information was […]
Where is Israel on Evangelical Christian Voters’ List of Priorities?
Perkins said, “Among core evangelical voters, Israel is easily one of the top 10, maybe even the top five issues when considering who to support in a presidential primary. The Old Testament tells us that whoever blesses Israel will be blessed and it’s certainly important to be on the right side of God’s word.”
TV Network Thought It Could Mock Christians With New Show–Now It’s Coming Back To Haunt Them
The TV Land cable network is wrapping up the first season of its original sitcom titled “Impastor,” a comedy about a fugitive from justice, a drug addict, and a hardcore gambler who has a hand in the death of a gay Lutheran pastor who’s identity he then steals. Presumably, “hilarity” ensues. The show has not received good reviews, but still the folks at Movieguide.org hope to make sure this is the first and only season by organizing a petition to have the anti-Christian show canceled.
A Time of Great Deception
Duplicity and deceit, treachery and violence are the hallmarks of the “Society of Jesus” (the Jesuits, the worst appellation ever given to any group because the beliefs and behaviors of the men who have been and still are in this society couldn’t be any more divergent from that of the true Jesus of the Bible).
The Society of Jesus was formed to be the militant arm of the Catholic Church, and the deeds done in the name of this so-called “church” are among the most vile and viscous ever perpetrated upon human kind…
READING: Ezekiel 24-27
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: God has called me to preach, and I’ve preached for more than 30 years. I shudder to think of all that I’ve said that was not God-directed. I’m embarrassed to consider how many times I’ve spoken my words rather than His words, announced my judgment rather than His judgment, or proclaimed my goals rather than His goals.
I think sometimes that God might have been wise to do with me what He did with Ezekiel: make him quiet unless the prophet were announcing only what God told him to announce. As far back as Ezekiel 3, God gave this calling to Ezekiel:
Ezek. 3:26-27 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth, and you will be mute and unable to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you will say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says.’ Let the one who listens, listen, and let the one who refuses, refuse—for they are a rebellious house.
The prophet could speak only when God told him to do so. But, the day would come, six+ years later, when God would re-open Ezekiel’s mouth, thus signifying the prophet would now have a ministry of reconciliation and encouragement after the fall of Jerusalem:
Ezek. 24:27 On that day your mouth will be opened to talk with him; you will speak and no longer be mute. So you will be a sign for them, and they will know that I am Yahweh.
How I wish I had spoken only what God told me to speak in all the days of my ministry! While I can’t fix the yesterdays, though, I can set the goals for today. I don’t want to speak a word unless God gives me permission to do so. I know I will answer for every careless word I speak (Matt. 12:36), as will every other person regardless of one’s calling. When I lay my head down tonight, I want to do so knowing I spoke nothing except what God wanted me to speak today.
PRAYER: “God, I need you to change my heart and consequently, my words. Stop me today before I say anything that is not honoring to you.”
In a not so shocking admission Pope Francis announced to the world that Priests now hold the right to absolve women who have had an abortion and to forgive them for their sin as long as they are contrite. Get this, the Pope has the authority to tell priests that they now have the authority to forgive the sin of abortion. And they say this pope is humble!
Growing up in Rome and watching people pray their way up the “holy” steps, watching them wait to confess their sins to men and many things like this, has caused me to grieve for people who are in the Roman Catholic Church. Any religion that is built on the backs of the poor and that propagates works based righteousness should bring tears and concern to those who have experienced true grace. It is important that we as believers understand the truth of why Catholic confession is not Biblical, not to win an argument but in order to rescue souls. So here’s five problems with Roman Catholic confession.
1- Priests can’t see the heart
It is fascinating to see the stories of Saul and David. Most people would look at their confessions after being confronted as very similar. One said “Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord. The other “I have sinned against the Lord.” One may even say Saul’s confession was better worded, but ultimately both prophets had come with a clear message from God who had seen their hearts and knew which one was truly repentant. Priests cannot see the heart of man and are definitely not good judges as to whether someone is repentant or not, heck, even if they could tell from the eyes if a person was lying they don’t get to in catholic confession. Man is not a good judge of what happens in someone’s heart and certainly not a good judge of how bad sin is since we love to minimize sin and magnify man’s goodness.
2 – Only God can forgive sin
The Pharisees hated the fact that Jesus forgave sin (Matt 9:3). They knew that it was something only the creator of the universe was allowed to do. When Jesus healed the paralitic man the Pharisees were ready to lynch him for saying that he forgave him of his sin. It’s incredible that the Pope could think that he has the power to absolve someone of sin, give them some work to do and send them on their way absolved of sin. The only one with the power to forgive sin is God himself (1 John 1:9), and thankfully he does not leave it up to us to be the judges of whether someone deserves forgiveness or not.
3 – It encourages easy-believism
After talking with many Catholics it is fascinating to see how many are trusting in three things for their salvation. Their baptism, the mass and ultimately their confession. The idea that you can go and confess your sin in return of saying a couple Hail Mary’s and really, really, really, feeling sorry for your sin, propagates a mentality that says that, sin isn’t that bad and that I can overcome it with my works. It doesn’t take a few Hail Mary’s to make up for abortion, a thousand wouldn’t be enough. It takes the shed blood of Christ and a person who repents of their sin and pleads with Him for forgiveness. It takes a heart that doesn’t minimize sin but rather exposes it to their creator admitting the fact that their sin deserves eternal punishment in Hell.
4 – It propagates sin
Whether the Roman Catholic church likes this or not, easy-confession causes people to become calloused to their sin. Rather than having to talk to God they are talking to a human being who is listening to people’s confessions all day, usually can’t see your face, and who gives you some easy task to do in order to be forgiven. I’ve heard dozens of Catholics say to me, “I’ll just go confess it to the priest next week” as they talked about their sin. Anytime you minimize sin to the point where, sin no longer damns you but you can pay for it in purgatory, and you can make up for it through actions you are propagating it. When the thought process In the moment of temptation is “I can do this and I’ll just tell it to the priest later and be ok” we have created a system that leads to more and more sin.
5 – It damns people to hell
Ultimately Roman Catholic confession causes people to minimize sin and believe in a system rather than a Savior. It removes people from speaking to the only one that can forgive them and makes them speak with an impostor selling snake oil. My heart breaks for those who are caught up in this lie, many times I’ve shed tears while walking in “churches”, seeing people lined up to confess their sins who were about to be given easy-fix worldly solutions to eternally damnable offenses, and are never told about the reality of hell but the sweet grace of Jesus Christ. It is imperative that as believers we know the difference between the true gospel and a false one so that we can lead people to a saving relationship with their creator rather than a works based religion.
I hope ultimately that an article like this one, will cause Christians not to pat themselves on the back but rather to be thankful for knowing the truth and feel the incredible need to share our faith with others. here’s an article to help you with that.
“I’d love to see the creationists response when we do finally make some or other form of life. The day is coming…. science, you gotta love it.”
All the combined brains of our most intelligent scientists haven’t a clue how to even begin to make one grain of sand from nothing, let alone create the utter complexity of even one cell of organic life. It is comparatively simple to recreate, using God’s existing materials, but we can’t make simplest thing from nothing. Such utter human powerlessness reveals the intellectual embarrassment of atheism.
Yes, Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk refusing to sign marriage licenses for same sex couples, is doing the right thing. Here are four good reasons why, stated by others clearly and logically.
“Kim Davis Broke an Illegitimate, Evil Law, and God Bless Her for It,” says Matt Walsh.
According to Mike Huckabee, she is asking the appropriate question. “Under what law am I authorized to issue homosexual couples a marriage license?” A Supreme Court ruling is not the law.
Douglas Wilson quotes Thomas Jefferson who said, “When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty.” He then explains why “it is a shame that a 18th century Deist has a better grasp of the relationship of righteousness to government than do two and a half busloads of 21st century Reformed seminary professors.” Ouch!
And as David Murray says, “We Don’t get to Choose Our Martyrs.”
“It’s the wrong case.”
“It’s the wrong time.”
“It’s the wrong person”
“She’s from the wrong church.”
All reasons I’ve heard and read in the past few days as to why Kim Davis should either resign from her County Clerk position or else just get on with issuing gay marriage licenses (latest news report here). And that’s coming from Christians, some of whom have been mighty with the pen in arguing against gay marriage, but are now wilting before the sword of the secular State.
We all knew the moment was coming when Christians, including those in public office, would begin to suffer for their convictions about marriage, and we all readied ourselves to rally in support of them. But now that it’s happened, many Christians are picking holes in Mrs Davis, her arguments, and her actions.
We wanted a “martyr”; but not this one, it would appear. If only it was someone who could write like Al Mohler, speak like Russell Moore, and debate like Ryan Anderson; someone from a mainline church, someone of impressive appearance, someone who had a perfect marriage record (Mrs Davis is on her fourth marriage, having only recently been converted to Christ). But we don’t get to choose our martyrs. God does that. As with salvation:
“…not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:26-29).
And I don’t quote that to denigrate Mrs Davis in any way; I have the highest admiration for her and esteem her far higher than myself. Rather, these verses describe the world’s perspective on God’s people; not God’s, or ours (I trust).
Many Christians have been called to serve and suffer for Christ who have far from the best track records or gifts (just ask the Apostle Paul; or just ask me). It’s not for us to second-guess God’s chosen vessels, but to get behind the ones he has chosen to be His instruments to establish truth and righteousness or expose evil and hypocrisy.
“She should just resign and get a job she can do with a good conscience,” say many. The basic principle behind this “solution” is that we walk (or run) away from every situation where human law contradicts God’s law. We fight to stop secular laws from becoming the law of the land (or the church); but once it’s done, we stop fighting; we either obey or we give up our callings. (Which won’t leave us many callings the way things are going).
Thankfully, the Egyptians midwives refused to do that; Pharaoh’s daughter refused to do that; Daniel refused to do that; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to do that; the wise men from the East refused to do that; the Apostles refused to do that; many of the Reformers, the Covenanters, and the Puritans refused to do that; Bonhoeffer and many Christians in Nazi Germany refused to do that. Multitudes in North Korea and China are refusing to do that today. Pro-life medical professionals are refusing to do that every day of their lives.
In some areas, Mrs Davis seems to have a better grasp of theology than many who claim to be theologians. However, it’s not exactly complicated. As the Apostles put it in words any child could understand, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). And in another place: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge” (Acts 4:19).
Like the Apostles, who could also have simply moved on, Mrs Davis has refused to do the authorities’ dirty work for them. By refusing to resign, she is putting the moral responsibility for that action upon her accusers and judges. Many Christian men and women have done this through the years as they’ve stood before the unjust and unbiblical laws of the State, and sometimes the Church, and said, “We ought to obey God rather than man,” whatever the consequences may be.
So, this morning, let’s pray for a Christian sister who is in prison indefinitely (until she changes her mind, the Judge said) for refusing to issue gay marriage licenses in the USA. (Whoever thought such a sentence would ever be written in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”? And let’s have a bit more of the latter, please). Pray that she would be kept from the “lions”, that she would hold firm and strong, and that she would know the presence of the Son of God beside her in this fiery trial. And may she inspire us all to have the courage of our convictions and stand wherever, whenever, and for whatever God has called us to fight.
Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who objects to same-sex marriage, stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether, was ordered by a federal judge to resume her duty, refused to comply, and now is in jail for contempt of court. (Take a moment to read Joe Carter’s explainer on this story to catch up.)
I’m still working through what I think about this situation. It’s difficult because there are so many issues involved and goods to weigh, and I’m still trying to separate my feelings about the unfairness of singling out Kim Davis (as opposed to other officials who refuse to do their job) from the question of what Kim Davis should do. To help you think through this, there’s a symposium discussing these issues over at Breakpoint:
[B]ecause Davis is a government employee, it’s a complicated situation with many angles. Christians are divided on Davis’ actions, and the response by authorities. At issue are questions about the nature of religious liberty, the duty of Christians in government, and what godly civil disobedience looks like.
Here are a few excerpts from the symposium:
From Andrew Walker (this one most closely mirrors where I stand as of now):
The Supreme Court is where ultimate blame rests involving Kim Davis. Court rulings that are truly rooted in justice should seamlessly integrate into a state’s laws. Rulings should not circumvent the democratic process, pre-empt state action, and leave civil society in a state of fractious tumult. Unfortunately, that’s what Obergefell did, and now we’re seeing its disastrous effects in state jurisdictions such as Kentucky. That, and needless escalation in terms of incarceration, coupled with government inaction has brought us to the situation we’re in.
We must recognize the crucial difference between the religious liberty claims of private citizens and government officials. While government employees don’t lose their constitutional protection simply because they work for the government, an individual whose office requires them to uphold or execute the law is a separate matter than the private citizen whose conscience is infringed upon as a result of the law. It means the balancing test is different when it comes to government officials because of their roles as agents of the state. Government officials have a responsibility to carry out the law. When an official can no longer execute the laws in question due to an assault on conscience, and after all accommodating measures have been exhausted, he or she could work for change as a private citizen, engaging the democratic process in hopes of changing the questionable law.
From Shane Morris:
[W]e do and should discriminate when it comes to right and wrong, and natural law, which supersede the power of government, contrary to what Judge David Bunning says. This is the very concept that inspired the American Revolution, and a Civil Rights activist generations later from a Birmingham jail cell: There is a Law above the law. And any manmade law in contradiction to it is “no law at all.”
A Christian woman is in jail for upholding the definition of marriage set in place at creation against one just invented by Anthony Kennedy. I don’t feel comfortable telling her she’s wrong, or that she should just do her job. She’s standing on the side of reality, of natural law, and God, against a depraved fantasy.
From Michael Brown:
[W]hat cannot be debated is that the national outrage against Kim Davis has nothing to do with her refusing to obey the law and everything to do with her Christian beliefs. Had she found herself on the opposite end of the conflict and had she stood for “gay rights,” refusing to obey a law that she felt discriminated against them, she would be praised from coast to coast.
I encourage you to read everyone’s full comments over at Breakpoint. At the end of the post, there are links to several articles from different viewpoints that I’ve also found helpful, and there are plenty more out there. Ryan Anderson recommends a way forward where beliefs are accommodated and licenses are still obtained. Rod Dreher comes down hard on Davis and warns her actions will bring about serious consequences for religious liberty. Douglas Wilson takes the opposite position, saying Davis should not back down.
This is not a simple issue. Rule of law is what makes a good society possible, and the value we place on it should be great—it should never be compromised as part of a regular strategy for getting what we want. (I suspect the fact that we don’t believe the other side feels this way is fueling a lot of the support for Davis’s actions.) But there is also a time and place for civil disobedience, grounded in a Law higher than man’s, against an unjust law. Determining where the line should be drawn between them is not a simple task, and it deserves careful thought.
Following God requires us to look in the mirror of God’s Word. That process can be what I call “joyously painful” – painful because we see ourselves as we really are, but joyous because there’s great relief when we turn to God and find Him gracious. So, here are some questions to ask in the mirror today:
- If I imitated your life today, would I be living like Jesus? Paul knew he was the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), but he also walked closely enough with Jesus that he could humbly but confidently say, “Imitate me, and imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Can you say the same?
- If I walked with you non-stop for the next week, would I ask you to teach me to pray like you pray? Surely the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray because they had heard Him and watched Him pray (Luke 11:1). They wanted to talk with the Father like He did. Would I want to pray like you pray?
- Is the Word of God precious and sweet to you? That’s the way the psalmist described the Word: “They are more desirable than gold—than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey, which comes from the honeycomb” (Psa. 19:10). Would you say the same?
- Is God’s will more important to you than your will? Jesus taught us to pray this way –“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10) – and He then modeled His own teaching in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:42). If God’s will were to mean your death for the sake of the gospel, how would you answer this question?
- Do you give thanks for everything? Paul told us to live this way (1 Thess. 5:18). He so believed this truth that he himself could boast about his weaknesses and take pleasure in his persecutions, for he found God’s strength in his weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10). Do your prayers show this much gratitude?
- Do you fight your own battles, or do you let God be warrior? David knew his battles were God’s, not his, when he was a shepherd boy (1 Sam. 17:47), but he depended on his own army and strength when he became the king (1 Chron. 21:1-5). Are you more like David the shepherd boy or David the king?
- Are you hiding anything? Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, and they convinced themselves that even God couldn’t find them when they hid (Gen. 3:8). Are you doing the same thing?
- Who knows Jesus today because you’ve talked about Him this week? Jesus freed a man possessed by a legion of demons, and He told the redeemed man to go tell his friends what He had done. The result: everyone marveled at Jesus (Mark 5:19-20). Who’s marveling today because of your story?
If this look in the mirror is painful, make it joyous by turning back to God right now.
Biblical theology and Christ in the OT
Re-Post from 2 1/2 years ago (May, 2013) – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” – 1 Peter 1:3, ESV
“How can I possibly handle this?” Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by something that you felt like you were suffocating? Maybe it was an impossibly busy schedule or a seemingly unsolvable problem or perhaps a deeply rooted sin that you could not conquer. Whatever it was, you were sure that it was going to overcome you, bury you under its impossible oppression and suck the very life right out of you?
Maybe, by God’s grace, you can look back at that impossible struggle and see that it was not as truly overwhelming as you thought it was. Or maybe you’re still under the weight of it and cannot see the way out. Wherever you are, looking back or under pressure, I can guarantee you that you will face more pressures and more impossible situations in the future. It really does seem like life is often more than we can handle.
So, what do we do? Can we get some new technique that will help us cope and overcome? Is there some magic word or tactic or strategy we can adopt to help us manage an often-overwhelming life? Well, sometimes, the answer is yes, or seems to be. A hectic schedule can be helped by organization- a new calendar, a smart phone, a more organized task list, etc.
Yet the deeper and harder the struggle, the more a new technique just doesn’t seem to be enough. We need more. In the end, tricks and tips may help us use our computers better or manage our task list more effectively, but they do not have real saving power. Praise be to God that He offers us so much more! God does not give us clever tricks for coping with life; He gives us new life and a living hope through a risen and eternally living Savior.
The resurrection of Jesus assures us that, if we belong to Him, the crushing pressures of this life cannot crush us. As we look not to ourselves but to our risen Savior, we will find:
- We have a Savior who lives forever with the power of an indestructible life (Heb. 7:16).
- This living Savior is our Head and our Great High Priest.
- We are joined to our living Savior by faith and, through His Holy Spirit, He lives in us and through us.
- Thus, the same power which raised Christ from the dead also lives and works within us (Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:19).
Now some Christians take the living hope resurrection power of Christ as itself being a new kind of technique for overcoming trials in life. In other words, they say that, if we truly believe in Christ and His resurrection power is at work within us, we never need to face any kind of overwhelming trial. We can always be peaceful, joyful, happy and have our circumstances so perfectly adjusted that our trials and burdens disappear.
Yet this is not what the Lord promises. Just as Paul, who suffered more hardships and faced more impossible difficulties than anyone else I know (read 2 Cor. 11:24-29). Union with Christ and the living hope He brings does not make our lives any easier, but it joins our souls to a power greater than ourselves and teaches us complete and utter dependence upon Him in everything. In fact, belonging to Christ often means we will face more trials be more severely tested, if only to teach us not to depend on ourselves and to deepen our trust in Him.
One of my favorite hymns that helps me keep these things in perspective is from John Newton, “I Asked the Lord.” Here is Indelible Grace’s version of this great hymn:
Am I truly a Christian?
Few questions cause more fearful trembling in believers, and few soul-shepherds are as helpful as John Newton in explaining to trembling saints how God cultivates assurance in the Christian life.
God loves to give his children the gift of “the full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22). It is a precious thing, a source of deep peace and consolation, and he wants us to have it.
But like most things in the Christian life, assurance is something that is cultivated and grows deeper and stronger over time. It is a gift that God gives to us, according Newton (1725–1807), gradually through frequent testing.
Assurance grows by repeated conflict, by our repeated experimental proof of the Lord’s power and goodness to save; when we have been brought very low and helped, sorely wounded and healed, cast down and raised again, have given up all hope, and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over, we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God, beyond and against appearances: and this trust, when habitual and strong, bears the name of assurance; for even assurance has degrees. (Newton on the Christian Life, 220)
In other words, God’s way of growing the sweet gift of assurance in us is by putting us through numerous and varied hardships. The process is designed to be hard. Trials are the way that faith is proven, refined, and strengthened. This is why James writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2–3).
Assurance Grows through Spiritual Conflict
It’s why Paul writes, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance [same word translated as “steadfastness” in James], and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3–4).
And it’s why the author of Hebrews reminds us,
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (Hebrews 12:7–8)
The discipline of enduring trials and sufferings ends up proving that we are God’s children. And though “for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant . . . later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
One of the peaceful, consoling fruits of the “righteousness of God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9) is assurance. And it’s a fruit that is realized “later” and in increasing amounts.
Why God Grows Assurance this Way
Why has God designed the process of giving us a growing assurance of faith through enduring trials? Newton answers this way:
We cannot be safely trusted with assurance till we have that knowledge of the evil and deceitfulness of our hearts, which can be acquired only by painful, repeated experience. (222)
Like Peter who confidently promised Jesus that he would never deny him only hours before he did, we do not realize as younger believers how powerful our sin nature is and how weak our faith is. We don’t know how proud and self-reliant we are. It is the fiery trials that apply heat to our faith and cause the dross of unbelief in the form of doubt, fear, anxiety, anger, jealousy, bitterness, selfish ambition, fear of man, and more to rise to the surface. And when we see the dross, we can fear that our faith may not be real.
And that’s what God wants. For when see the horrible sin in us and feel our helplessness to get rid of it on our own, it pushes us in desperation to trust Christ’s work on the cross alone. When we see our numerous weaknesses and feel our helplessness to be strong on our own, it pushes us to search out and trust Christ’s promises to us alone.
We can have no security from gifts, labors, services, or past experiences; but that from first to last our only safety is in the power, compassion, and faithfulness of our great Redeemer. (234)
It is the various kinds of pressing, painful, exposing trials that teach us to trust in Christ for everything — to really “live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).
And so God grows the full assurance of faith in us, and causes the joyful, peaceful fruit of righteousness to grow in us through trials. He wants our faith to rest fully on the Rock of Christ, so that we “rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9). Because, as Newton said,
“We are never more safe, never have more reason to expect the Lord’s help, than when we are most sensible that we can do nothing without him.” This is the paradox of assurance. (234)
Through Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares
Newton spoke of assurance from experience. He said,
In mercy [God] has frequently stirred up my nest, shaken me in it, and forced me to fly to him, when I should otherwise have dropped into sleep and [false] security. (221)
For Pastor Newton, the sweet God-given gift of assurance looked much like verse three of his famous hymn, “Amazing Grace”:
Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come; His grace has brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
Our assurance of salvation does not come from a confidence in some subjectively measured inner witness, nor how warm our affections for God are at any given moment. Rather, our assurance comes from a growing confidence in Christ’s saving work that purchased the fulfillment of all his great promises to us (2 Peter 1:4) and his power to keep them.
Greater assurance comes through stronger faith. And faith only grows stronger through the vigorous exercise of testing.
If you haven’t yet read Tony Reinke’s Newton on the Christian Life, I hope one fruit of this article is that you will. John Newton once said, “There are silver books; and a very few golden books.” That’s true. And this book is a golden one. The chapter on “Battling Insecurity,” from which the quotes above come, is more than worth the book’s price. But you will find gold from cover to cover.
- The Agonizing Problem of the Assurance of Salvation (article)
- How Do I know I’m Saved? (Ask Pastor John)
- Precious Sovereignty — Priceless Assurance (article)
Some accuse the Protestant emphasis upon the preached Word as pastor-centric and non-engaging, but such an accusation assumes too little about the listener’s responsibility in corporate worship. Every individual in the congregation has responsibilities when the Word of God is preached. As we listen to the Word preached we want to aim at listening to it astutely, attentively, reverently, prayerfully, and responsively.
Astutely: As listeners of the Word, we must insist upon the sound preaching of the Word. We dare not fall into the ways of those who have “itching ears” and accumulate for ourselves “teachers to suit our own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3). The temptation to do so is great and subtle. The Word is our nourishment, we live by “every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Our souls and hearts will languish apart from “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). The pastor who enters the pulpit should not be able to satiate us with stories, jokes, wandering tales, or dispassionate reflections. We want to hear from God, so we will listen astutely for that living Word (Hebrews 4:12).
Attentively: Our worship is never passive, but active as we engage with the Word preached. Of course, it is not our “laboring” that makes the Word preached effectual; that is the work of the Holy Spirit as He attends to the Word and works faith in the listener (John 3). But a disengaged and passive listener to the Word is no listener at all. As the preacher is accountable for what he says, so the congregation is accountable for its faithfulness in listening.
Reverently: God is speaking to His people and so we are to receive that Word reverently. With the Psalmist, we would say, “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak” (Psalm 85:8). The most blessed of sermons occur when the listener begins to forget the preacher and finds their mind filled with the Word of God, their heart moved with love for Him, and their affections running after Him. We are on holy ground in worship and knowingly hang on the edge of our seats as we long to hear the next words from our Heavenly Father. He speaks and we listen.
Prayerfully: The Spirit must attend to the Word, so we labor prayerfully in the pew as much as the preacher labors at preaching in the pulpit. Prayer paves the way for the Spirit’s effectual moving. We want our hearts to be fertile soil (Mark 4) for this eternal seed of truth. Even as our ears and mind our being stirred with the Word, so we are stirring our spirits in prayer.
Responsively: As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of Man.” The Scriptures demand response: faith and obedience. We are to be “doers of the Word and not just hearers” (James 1:22). The fault lies with us if we emerge from a service asking, “Did you get anything out of that sermon?” Rather, we desire to respond with, “I will believe what God says and will obey Him.” The sermon will never be perfect, because the man preaching it is never perfect. Yet, if the text was read and the text was preached, there is always something for the listener to respond to. Searching our thoughts and lives for where the Word preached that morning is speaking needed truth in my life marks every faithful listener. We dare not excuse ourselves, focus on how much others need to hear this truth, or think we have heard this message too many times. None of us are perfect in any area of our Christian lives, we are all straining forward, pressing “on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
Dear Christian, you may be sitting in corporate worship while the pastor is preaching, but this is no idle exercise. We are to be engaged with the Word. The little effect many sermons have upon listeners is less often due to the preacher’s lack of skill in preaching, but rather due to our lack of effort in listening. Listen astutely, attentively, reverently, prayerfully, and responsively. “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9).
Richard Steele, A Remedy for Wandering Thoughts in Worship
I have so far refrained from public comment on the resignation of Tullian Tchividjian in light of his confessed sexual sin, limiting myself to praying for him and his family. As one who has strongly criticized his theology, I wanted to avoid the impression that the personal failure of a leader automatically invalidates his teaching (or vice versa). Only the Word of God proves our teaching. Recent developments warrant comment, however, particularly as the actions of a theologically motivated community make clear its actual values and beliefs. In the two-plus months since Tullian’s resignation, we have witnessed the Contemporary Grace Movement (CGM) in action, applying their doctrine to one of its most prominent spokesmen. It is not fair, of course, to ascribe these attitudes to everyone associated with the CGM. But if I was a card-carrying member of the movement, or a pastor who frequently endorsed the “grace” and “liberation” teaching espoused by Tullian and company, here are three questions I would be asking myself and other leaders:
- Does pastoral godliness matter? This question is fairly raised, given both Tullian’s writings (including tweets) since his admitted sexual infidelity and now the response to it by his supporters. For his part, Tullian has expressed an unwillingness to cease his public ministry, saying this would “undermine the very message” he teaches (one can only but regrettably agree). This attitude has now been confirmed by Willow Creek Church (PCA) in Orlando, which just announced hiring Tchividjian to its ministry staff. This a mere two weeks after Tullian filed for divorce, three weeks after he was deposed from the ministry, and a little over two months after he resigned his pastorate over admitted moral unfitness. The apostle Paul’s teaching that a pastor (and by extension, a celebrity preacher) must be faithful to his wife and above public reproach (1 Tim. 3:2) also does not seem to matter. Perhaps because Paul’s teaching falls into the category of law it is deemed irrelevant to the celebration of grace.
- Does the covenant nurture of women matter? One of the more horrific moments in this affair was Tullian’s disgraceful exposing (even highlighting) of his wife’s sin before the national media. Likewise, Paul Tripp’s public article defending Tullian’s divorce implied that the problem was her unwillingness to reconcile. One may wonder why a private counselor would even publish such information about his clients (for the answer, see #3). It certainly does not seem that the CGM emphasizes the duties of husbands to protect and love their wives, perhaps since teaching male obligation would under Tullian’s doctrine amount to legalism. Sadly, we are reminded of what happens not only when sin is given license but when our “glorious ruin” is celebrated: many vulnerable people, starting with women and children in the home, suffer from the tolerated sins of men. Of all the people who should express concern about attending CGM churches, prospective wives may be among the first.
- Does the church matter? By immediately seeking a ministry position, Tullian was showing little concern for the division and discouragement that would ensue in the church. (By the church, I do not mean only Willow Creek PCA, but the broader church, including Coral Ridge and the PCA as a whole.) Moreover, since the Bible requires good household management as a qualification for both elders and deacons, a church that was concerned for its people would not likely bring a man onto its staff just weeks after he filed for divorce and was defrocked. Then comes the matter of the role of a celebrity counselor acting in the place of the established courts of the church. Why was a private counselor the one to oversee Tullian’s repentance instead of his presbytery? With what authority did Paul Tripp publicly endorse Tullian’s action to divorce his wife (in an article since taken down)? The most likely answer seems to be that in the concern to minister to Tullian, biblical concerns regarding the church were pushed aside.
In observing this affair, I was perhaps most aggrieved by a statement that is itself wonderfully true. After reading on Paul Tripp’s website that Tullian’s marriage is damaged beyond repair only two months after the sin was revealed, my eyes wandered downward to read his banner slogan: “Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.” Here, then, is a fourth question I would ask leaders of the Contemporary Grace Movement: what can a statement like this possibly mean in light of the “discipline” of Pastor Tullian? For if we really believed that Christ has power not only to forgive and remove the sorrow of sin but also to transform and sanctify us from sin itself, it seems to me that the CGM’s response to Tullian’s scandalous sin would be very different.
Now back to prayer…
It is very common among Christians to hear that all sins are equal. But is that really true? Are all sins equal to God?
The answer is, yes and no! If we are comparing one sin to another, then the Bible makes it clear that not all sins are considered equal by God. This is actually made clear from Jesus’ own teaching. First, Jesus testifies that there are greater sins (and, by extension, lesser sins). Standing before Pontius Pilate, Jesus says, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11). Not only does God regard some sins as greater and some lesser, but Jesus tells us that there is a greatest sin. Jesus states, “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32b).
It follows that if there are degrees of sins, then there must be “weightier matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23). In fact, we are explicitly told that there is a “great and first commandment” (Matt. 22:38). So it seems that all sins are not same to a Holy God; some are a greater offense to Him.
However, in another sense, all sin is equal. All sin is the same in the sense that any one sin will separate you from God (James 2:10). Maybe a better way to put it is that any sin has the same consequence of separating us from God. The wages of sin, any sin, is death (Rom. 6:23). It only takes one. That is bad news for every person that has ever drawn breath. The good news is that Jesus died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2).
It’s been too long since I put one of these together so here goes nothing.
Anxious? The Psalms have a lot to say
Grace to You has a compilation of Psalms for the anxious here.
Depressed? Hurting? A Sermon Series That May Bring You Comfort
Preaching from some of my favorite chapters of the gospel of John, Pastor John MacArthur’s sermon series: Comfort for Troubled Hearts can do just that. The third sermon particularly ministered to me during a time of distress.
Don’t Fall for Preaching/Teaching Like This!
There’s a lot of false teaching in the world today. That’s why I appreciate Fighting for the Faith so much. The best part of this particular podcast is Ryan Stokes: Proof Jesus Was a Pirate. It’s a perfect illustration of how easy it is to preach the Word incorrectly. I highly recommend listening to that segment (at least). It starts around 51 minutes into the broadcast.
Janet Mefferd: Anatomy of an Evangelical Scandal
Yep, this is pretty much what the scandals look like no matter who is involved.
What Grace Isn’t
Sean Lucas explores “what grace isn’t,” at Reformation 21, the blog of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
- It’s ignorance like this that keeps me away from theological discussion forums.
- The Wall Street Journal reviews Inherit the Holy Mountain by Mark R. Stoll, who links Calvinism with environmentalism.
- God’s big work and your little mission.
- Joel McDurmon addresses the case of the county clerk jailed for refusing to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses: “Kim Davis is doing what every Christian magistrate should.”
Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.
Articles of the Week
What the Duggars Get Wrong About Chastity, Audra Nakas. “The irony of the Duggars’ sexual mores is that they end up sexualizing nearly all human touch. Holding hands, rather than being a form of affection, or an expression of comfort, or a method of guidance, is reduced to sexual desire. Bumping elbows with your seatmate on the plane becomes an occasion of sin.”
Four Ways PhDs Build Character More than Careers, Rusty Osborne. I (Chris) knew there was some reason I was getting my PhD—character! In all seriousness, Osborne’s reflections here highlight the benefits of the long and arduous task that is the philosophiae doctor. The concluding “three vital things” are also immensely important for anyone considering a PhD. (I’m relieved to see some of the advice I frequently give in there.)
“Here I Stand” – Who Said It Better, Frozen’s Elsa or Martin Luther? Andy Naselli (ft. Tim Keller). Eventually we may all forget that the vapid wonder of Frozen made its appearance on the American stage. But in the meantime, Frozen provides a helpful lens into contemporary culture. Five hundred years apart, a cartoon princess and a German monk said the same thing: “Here I stand.” But their meaning couldn’t have been more contrary.
Four Characteristics of Emotionally Healthy Churches, Peter Scazzero. “For years I believed if I could simply identify the right planning and decision-making process, we would make good decisions at New Life, the church I pastor. That, it turned out, was both naïve and misguided. Over a 20-year period, however, the dramatic difference between our standard process and emotionally healthy planning and decision-making became crystal clear.”
How Do I Talk to My Kids About Abortion? Randy Alcorn. Parents with kids of a certain age know the position of terror that comes when their kids ask an important but difficult question. But it’s more than just the stereotypically awkward “sex talk” (that so few of us actually received). It encompasses issues in the news today, like abortion. So just how should we talk to our kids about the reality of abortion?
- Speaking of scheduled revival and God’s calendar, Rod Parsley is definitely in-the-know and you can be too, if you preorder now!
- John Owen on the greatest benefit of preaching.
- Surprise, surprise, gluten sensitivity doesn’t appear to actually be real. So unless you’re one of the 1% of people who has celiac…go ahead, eat that bread!
- So sad for so many reasons.
- Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
- There are many reasons not to watch the new Kendrick Brothers’ movie, War Room.
- What language did Jesus speak?
- Amusements and levity.
- The Lord’s Word to His Church:
(Almost) The Whole Continuous Story of The Old Testament in Just 11 Books | Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition
A Summary from David Talley’s book, The Story of the Old Testament.
Help Me Teach the Bible: Colin Smith on Jonah | Nancy Guthrie, The Gospel Coalition
On her podcast, Nancy talks to Colin Smith about God’s love and mercy shown through the book of Jonah.
11 Easy Steps to Repenting on the Internet | Barnabas Piper
It’s not so easy.
You Can’t Be Neutral |Kevin Carson, Biblical Counseling Coalition
On the sanctity of human life, we cannot be neutral.
6 Costs of Real Friendships | Jen Thorn, The Gospel Coalition
Friendship is not just about who you are connected to on Social Media.
How to Care for Women Who Have Miscarried | Jasmine Holmes, Desiring God
No doubt someone in your life has been affected by miscarriage. Jasmine seeks to bring understanding for outsiders who want to give comfort.
The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-earth by Ralph C. Wood ($1.99)
Apologetics Study Bible for Students edited by Shawn McDowell ($2.99)
With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God by Skye Jethani ($2.99)
Truth in a Culture of Doubt: Engaging Skeptical Challenges to the Bible by Andreas J. Kostenberger, Darrell L. Bock, and Josh D. Chatraw ($2.99)
I woke up this morning to find that the service I use to collect and organize links had decided to take the day off. So I have reconstructed it to the best of my ability, right down to the bizarre bird calls.
Cecelia Bernhardt will be a speaker at this year’s CCEF conference, and in this Q&A she gives some comfort and encouragement when it comes to counselling those who have been victims of such abuse.
Mez’s response and challenge is as simple as it gets, but it is also just what I needed to hear. “I remember vividly my early days in the church. Everything was new and fresh. There was a large young people’s group and there was a real buzz, about the place. It was exciting being a Christian around people like that. It made church seem like the place to be.”
Whether Barnabas Piper means this seriously or tongue-in-cheek, he accurately shows how people deal with scandal in this digital world.
This Day in 1847. Henry Francis Lyte preached his final sermon. Lyte was weak from Tuberculosis and gave his farewell address to his congregation, knowing he had little time left. That evening he handed a relative a final hymn he written, titled “Abide with Me.” The hymn would far outlive the name of its author. I am partial to the version adapted by Indelible Grace. *
“There is no magic bullet that can make the pain of having a miscarriage disappear. However, in my quest to love women who have experienced this loss (Romans 12:15), and as a woman who has been touched by it herself, there are a few things that have been comforting reminders of how the Lord uses his people to care for one another.”
Al Mohler: “The Commonwealth of Kentucky is now the setting for a dramatic display of judicial arrogance, even as the larger story points to the sweeping moral change that is transforming the nation’s landscape.” Indeed.
Digging into Spotify data allows us see which songs from each era are considered timeless.
Friday’s 5 to Live By
Each Friday our BCC staff links you to the top five biblical counseling and Christian living blog posts of the week—posts that provide robust, rich, and relevant insights for living.
Q & A on Sexual Abuse
At the CCEF site, counselor Cecelia Bernhardt tells about her upcoming conference talk at CCEF’s 2015 National Conference and what she is learning in her counseling related to sexual abuse recovery. Read her insights at Q & A on Sexual Abuse.
4 Biblical Compass Points for Biblical Counseling
At his RPM Ministries site, Dr. Bob Kellemen shares about 4 Biblical Compass Points for Biblical Counseling.
3 Stages of Identity Formation after Trauma
Brad Hambrick shares 3 Stages of Identity Formation after Trauma.
An Amazing Conversation
At the Association of Biblical Counselors’ site, John Henderson writes about An Amazing Conversation from Scripture in Genesis 4.
A Triage for Marriage Conflicts
At the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors’ site, Dr. Matthew Haste helps us to consider A Triage for Marriage Conflicts.
Kindle deals for Christian readers
- Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story by Trip Lee—$2.99
- Hope Reborn by Tope Koleoso & Adrian Warnock—$3.82
Earlier this week, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the 2015 For the Church conference. The conference messages are now available online, so if, like me, you weren’t able to attend, be sure to check them out at your leisure.
Digital technology spawned an entirely different reality. One could seek out pornography with no one knowing, and with the promise that no one would ever know. One could continue to try to feel good about oneself because the porn was part of something one was already doing—surfing the web—and one could pretend that one just happened to find oneself in a bad Internet neighborhood. What has been the result? The result is a pornography industry that has weaponized itself—leaving shame and guilt and broken marriages all over the world, especially among those who thought red states or Bible belts were force-fields against the Sexual Revolution.
The present reality is a strong pull on leaders. When a leader wants to rise above the day and look to the future, the urgent can quickly pull a leader back to focusing on today. The problems and challenges of today threaten to stop leaders from looking to the future, and from learning from the past. When leaders want to work on the organization/ministry, there is plenty to work in.
If you only look at the present, you are not leading well.
The Internet is in charge of everything. It is the authoritative word on ethics, morality, decency, politics, and now church discipline. Don’t believe me? Spend more time on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll be brainwashed in no time.
Sadly, we often see Christian leaders fall – affairs, leadership blow ups, ethical misconduct. Once upon a time that meant they worked through any discipline within their context (church, organization, etc.) toward restoration. Now, though, the Internet is in charge. This means that the Internet is where we look to see how discipline and repentance work.
It is an 11 step process.
When I look out upon our congregation on Sunday morning I see a wide spectrum. I see faithful and mature folks who have been walking with the Lord for decades and then some who have been Christians for only a few months. I see people in their 60’s and then folks in their 20’s. In addition to that there are many little 5 year-olds staring up at me trying to understand. There are people from a completely biblically illiterate background and then there are those who have grown up in evangelical churches but never heard the gospel. Then there are many guys who are running hard theologically and wanting to be challenged and fed.
Linda Green uses her personal experience to remind us of seven ways God uses the encouragement of brothers and sisters in our lives.
This article is a good reminder that we need to be vigilant in protecting our children from the dangers that can lurk on their smart devices. While the boundaries and rules will be different for every family, one thing is sure: The enemy prowls around like a roaring, devouring lion.
Russell Moore: “Madison ‘worked.’ Why would people sign up for a service promising to match them with others looking for affairs? Ashley Madison succeeded in drawing in thirty-two million users because it joined original sin to modern technology.”
In the midst of all the marriage heartbreak we’ve been witnessing in recent weeks, here is a story of commitment, restoration, and God’s glory in the fight.
ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)
In Which I Paint With Some Bright Yellows – “A consensus appears to be developing among otherwise reasonable people that Kim Davis, of Rowan County fame, either needs to start issuing marriage licenses or quit her job. For those just joining us, a county clerk in Kentucky is refusing to issue marriage licenses against her conscience and is also refusing to resign. Her name, which should be on a bronze plaque on the side of the courthouse, is Kim Davis. A federal judge has ordered her to appear in his courtroom Thursday to explain why Davis should not be held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses. File this under sentiments which seem extreme at the time, but heroic when the danger is over, and you are reading them inscribed on the base of a polished marble memorial. But there is a difference between contempt of court and seeing that the courts have become contemptible.”
Predictable, all too predictable. – “The return of Tullian Tchividjian to a ministry role is scarcely surprising, though the speed would no doubt make even Jimmy Swaggart green with envy. It is the logical outcome of the culture of celebrity which has been consciously cultivated most disappointingly by some in reformed evangelical circles over the last decade. Those who have decried the critics of celebrity culture as hypocrites because they too are known outside of their local neighbourhood really missed the point. Celebrity is not just about being well known. It is also about developing informal and formal extra-ecclesiastical structures of authority (and thus of accountability, or lack thereof) which focus on specific personalities and subserve the needs of those personalities.”
Why publishers change the Bible (and that’s OK) – “English Bible translations get updated from time to time, and that means the Bible, as we read it, can change. And these aren’t just updates that change ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ to ‘you.’ These can be rather substantial: Words get rearranged. Phrases can disappear. Entire verses are pulled out. Often our first response (mine too sometimes) is, ‘Why?! Who’s gutting the Word of God? Who’s messing with the Scriptures? LEMME AT ‘EM!’ Well, the issue comes down to the concept of textual criticism. Unfortunately, it’s a concept that doesn’t come up much in church, or in small group, or in Sunday school.”
Rise Up, O County Clerks! – “Let me explain why I think Davis is in the right to refuse: As a Christian, she believes SSM to be sinful, and she does not want to support something that is sinful. And in this case, it is not tacit support but she is being asked to literally sign off on the license. She, as the clerk, must sing the certificate saying, ‘Yep, this is a legit wedding, and I approve.’”
Evangelicalism Gone Wild: The Continued Folly of Hyper-Grace Sanctification. – “We interrupt our current blog series to bring you an updated press release concerning Tullian Tchividjian and to sadly recount the continued decline of American Evangelicalism…”
John MacArthur – Calvinism in a Nutshell
The Gospel According to the Heretic Pelagius
Rick Warren and The Purpose Driven Life: A Discussion
“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus. It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur
Christian Headlines Daily – Friday, September 4, 2015
Christians Provide Aid to Displaced Syrian Refugees Facing Persecution
Rick Warren Offers Words of Hope to Jordin Sparks
Cuban Pastor Released after Six Months in Prison
Child Left in Car Dies in Baptist Church Parking Lot
Nigeria: Suspected Boko Haram Attacks Kill at Least 24
KY Clerk Who Refuses to Issue Same-sex Marriage Licenses Found in Contempt of Court
Family of Imprisoned Pastor Saeed Requests Audience with Iran’s President
Christian Leader in Syria Begs Christians to Stay
Florida Church Defends Decision to Hire Tullian Tchividjian after he Admitted to Affair
Beloved Disney Icon, Christian Actor Dean Jones Dies
Yahoos on Campus: What Did You Expect?
Policeman Murdered: Schools Locked Down
Donald Trump, Evangelical Scam Artist
Debunking the Abortion Crowd’s Favorite Arguments
Clerk Defies Court, Denies Gay Marriage Licenses
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
CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.
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
Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer
This post was originally posted on:
(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).
“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther
This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.
A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.