Daily Archives: November 9, 2015

Who is Jesus?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “ Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. (John 11:32-35 NASB)

As we stand firm against the onslaught of false teachers and heretics attacking the modern church, we can wear ourselves out at times seeking every nuance of what they are saying and doing. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. However, most of the time, the very best way to stand against what is false is to teach God’s Truth clearly to all who will hear. When one of the “New…

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November 9, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

Nov 9 quotes


How Church Bullies and Abusers Deceive Us

If you’re a layperson in the church, watch out for these people!  These aren’t Christians who have a tender conscience and need your open arms and open homes.  In fact, it’s best to stay away from such people.  If you’re a pastor or elder in a church, these bullies and abusers are the people from whom you have to protect the flock!  Be alert for people like this – don’t fall for their deceitful tactics.  Be sure to protect the real victims, which is promoting biblical justice.

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Is the Digital Tide Turning?

I admit, it’s a cloud about the size of a baby’s little finger, and there are still some statistics going in the opposite direction, but these trends, which support anecdotal evidence, may indicate a significant societal shift. I hope so. Perhaps, in a few years, many of us will look back at the way we allowed our technology, phones, and social media to take over our lives and replace reality, and think, “What. Was. I. Doing?”

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Where Are the Mature Women Writers?

Has the Reformed church invested so little into their women that there are only a few that can contribute on a deeper theological level? I don’t think that is the case. But have we adequately shown that we need and value their insight and teaching? And is what they share something the men can also benefit from?

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Wonder Bread Preaching

Most Christians probably know what kind of “whole wheat” preaching they need, but they are deathly afraid of the family being bored or irritated or overtaxed by it, and instead choose the Wonder Bread path of least resistance. It may have little or no nutritional value, but its attractive, easy to consume and produces the least complaints.

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Wither Evangelicalism?

It is hardly newsworthy that a scholar is publishing whacked-out conclusions about the gospel of Matthew. That happens so regularly that scientists could use the intervals to check the accuracy of their cesium clocks. Nor is it particularly newsworthy that in this instance the name of that scholar happens to be Robert H. Gundry. What is a bit more newsworthy is the fact that CT is covering it as a story about “evangelical” scholarship. Thus CT has become part of the story: the institutional amnesia on display there is appalling.

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The Dangers of Man-Centered Theology

You can have a man-centered understanding of the Gospel and still be a Christian no doubt, but other than the problems listen above, it is interesting to note that every false religion has an entirely man-centered theology. What separates Christianity from every other religion is the fact that it is entirely God who saves and it is He who initiates, justifies, regenerates, and ultimately it is He who will sanctify and glorify the believer. We will spend eternity in awe of his greatness, and it won’t be long enough to fully grasp it.

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The Suffragettes Would Not Agree With Feminists Today on Abortion

Many of today’s feminists see abortion as one of the touchstones of their movement. Yet many of the early leaders of the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. believed that the rights of mother and child are inextricably linked and that the right to life and the right to vote are rooted in the inherent dignity of each human person.

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Natalie Grant Moved to Tears As Her Husband Baptizes 8-Y/O Twin Daughters: 'A Moment In Their Journey With Christ I Will Never Forget'

Natalie Grant Moved to Tears As Her Husband Baptizes 8-Y/O Twin Daughters: ‘A Moment In Their Journey With Christ I Will Never Forget’

Posted on November 9, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Christian singer Natalie Grant has revealed that she was moved to tears this past Sunday, when her 8-year-old twin daughters were unexpectedly baptized by her husband, producer Bernie Herms, at her home church in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Atheist Professor Reveals Why Liberal Media Slams Christianity but Gives Islam a 'Free Pass': 'It's Straight Up Fear'

Atheist Professor Reveals Why Liberal Media Slams Christianity but Gives Islam a ‘Free Pass’: ‘It’s Straight Up Fear’

Posted on November 9, 2015 by Gospel Herald

An atheist professor known for his blog posts promoting secularism recently weighed in on why he believes the media willingly slams Christianity but treats Islam with respect.

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America Becoming Less Religious, But Those Dedicated to Their Faith Are Stronger Than Ever, New Survey Shows

America Becoming Less Religious, But Those Dedicated to Their Faith Are Stronger Than Ever, New Survey Shows

Posted on November 9, 2015 by Gospel Herald

While Americans as a whole are becoming less religious, those who still practice a faith are more committed than ever to their beliefs, according to a new study released by the Pew Research Center.

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'With a Gun to My Head, Would I Deny Jesus Christ?' John Piper Reveals 7 Things Christians Should Do to Prepare

‘With a Gun to My Head, Would I Deny Jesus Christ?’ John Piper Reveals 7 Things Christians Should Do to Prepare

Posted on November 9, 2015 by Gospel Herald

In light of recent events such as the Oregon school shooting and rampant persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa at the hands of Islamic extremists, believers worldwide are prompted to ask themselves, “With a gun to my head, would I deny Jesus Christ?”

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Freebie Friday! Choosing Gratitude

by Erin Davis

We’re thankful for you. Here’s proof. (Hint: It’s free stuff!)

When It’s Hard to Be a Christian at School

by Erin Davis

If you’ve ever wondered how to stand for Christ in the halls of your school, you’re gonna love what we’re launching next. (PS: We need your input!)

Can You Create Your Own Happiness?

by Lisa Hallahan

For as long as I can remember, I’ve tried to be my own knight in shining armor.

When the Fire Alarm Sounds

by Leanna Shepard

One friend heard the fire alarm but lost nothing. Another heard the fire alarm and watched everything burn to the ground. How can this be?


The Coming Shaking

Jan Markell’s guest for the hour is White House correspondent Bill Koenig who says there is a great shaking coming. They discuss the 2016 U.S. election, Canada’s recent election, and unfolding Bible prophecy around the world. Europe is dying, America is imploding, but all things are aligning for the final days’ scenario predicted in the Bible. Koenig explains why he feels Russia could be used to judge America and why Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog may be aligning. We use the mobile app found at http://www.oneplace.com.

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Thrilling Pre-Trib Thinking – Terry James

During this soul-trying, end-times darkness, trepidation crushes in from every side, quenching the remaining, lingering rays of hope. This is the picture troubling issues and events force us to commit to the electronic page each week in these commentaries. But there is about to burst forth a dazzling spectacle of a future world brilliant beyond all imagination. It is this spectacular prospect I wish to present before you in this week’s commentary.

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Michele Bachmann: Bring into Christianity ‘as many Jews as we can’

“We recognize the shortness of the hour,” Bachmann said, “and that’s why we as a remnant want to be faithful in these days and do what it is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, to be faithful in the Kingdom and to help bring in as many as we can — even among the Jews — share Jesus Christ with everyone that we possibly can because, again, He’s coming soon.”

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The Death of Discernment

By Jim Fletcher

The problem is, while Hybels claims to abhor moral equivalence (for example, seeing the Palestinian “reasons” for committing acts of violence, because, after all, they suffer from Israeli violence), she always sides with the Palestinian Narrative. Hybels decries the “Occupation,” and a whole litany of alleged abuses by Israel. This includes claims of stealing water from Palestinians, home demolitions, and land confiscations.

She never—never—presents the Israeli side with any sense of fairness. Her rigid talking points, which fit like a glove with the talking points used by the PLO, teach young people a false history.

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Heretical New Age books being promoted as Christian (and Christians are buying them)

The End Times has provided a list of best-selling books that are supposedly “Christian” but are actually New Age/New Thought books that preach “Another Jesus”, “Another Spirit,” and “Another Gospel.” One of the books is “Jesus Calling” which is very popular among professing Christians. Jesus Calling was “the seventh-best selling book in America last year was a 10-year-old Christian devotional written by a woman who claims to have written down the words of God.”

http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2015/11/heretical-new-age-books-being-promoted.html


Obama Silent As Persecuted Christians In The Middle East Face Extinction

On the brink: Christianity facing Middle East purge within decade, says group

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (KJV)

Editor’s Note: In the past 12 years, 1.2 million Christians have disappeared from Iraq alone. As ISIS continues it’s historic, demonic purge of the Middle East, it could very well be in just a few years that the only place where Christians will still exist will be the nation of Israel. As Obama goes on a crusade to rid the world of “Climate Change”, he completely has ignored the violent persecution of Christians in Muslim countries. But I thought Obama was a Christian, right? So why wouldn’t he want to help his spiritual brothers and sisters? Oh wait…he is helping his spiritual brothers and sisters. The Muslims.

 

The dwindling Christian population of the Middle East could vanish completely within a decade unless the global community intervenes, say alarmed aid groups who say followers of the Bible are being killed, driven from their land or forced to renounce their faith at an unprecedented pace.

The world has largely stood by as a dangerous tide of intolerance has washed over the region, according to a new study by the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. The study includes disturbing data about the plunging numbers of Christians in the part of the world that gave birth to the faith, and makes a dire prediction of what could happen.

Robert Spencer: Why Are Christians Persecuted in the Middle East?

“It’s an answer that depends on the response of the world,” Edward Clancy, director of outreach for the United Kingdom-based Aid to the Church in Need, told FoxNews.com. “What response is there going to be toward us if we act?”

While Christians are under siege from Islamic State radicals in war-torn Syria and Iraq, the report notes that the religion is being targeted throughout the region. Christians who have managed to escape ISIS have fled to places like Europe and Lebanon, while members of the faith also are under increasing pressure in Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.

The Christian population in Iraq has plummeted from 1.5 million in 2003 to current estimates of 275,000 and could be gone for good within five years, according to the report. The dwindling numbers are due to genocide, refugees fleeing to other countries, those who are internally displaced, and others hiding in plain sight and not allowing their faith to be publicly known. A dozen Christian families flee Iraq each day, according to 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a Falls Church, Va., nonprofit dedicated to promoting religious freedom in the Middle East.

“Unless the global community gets involved, we will witness the loss of Christian witnesses in a land that is biblically significant,” Elijah Brown, executive vice president for 21st Century Wilberforce, told FoxNews.com.

He noted that Iraq’s second-largest city, once home to a thriving Christian community as old as the faith itself, has now been overrun by ISIS and purged of Christians.

“Last Christmas was the first time that bells did not ring out in the city of Mosul in 2,000 years,” Brown said. “I think that speaks to the reality that hundreds of thousands of Christian families are living on the edge of extinction.” source


Spiritual Formation Versus The Life of Christ—Which One Will You Choose?

Spiritual Formation Versus The Life of Christ—Which One Will You Choose?

Spiritual formation is sweeping quickly throughout Christianity today. It’s no wonder, when the majority of Christian leaders have either endorsed the movement or given it a silent pass. For instance, in Chuck Swindoll’s book So You Want to Be Like Christ: 8 Essential Disciplines to Get Your There, Swindoll favorably quotes Richard Foster and Dallas […]

The post Spiritual Formation Versus The Life of Christ—Which One Will You Choose? appeared first on .


Just for Fun… What If You Didn’t Have to Read the Bible to… Read the Bible?


Why the Context of Matthew 18:20 is Important


Who’s the Boss of YOUR House?


Tolerance is a Two Way Street

Don’t ask someone to tolerate your view/behavior/lifestyle/choice if you aren’t willing to tolerate their rejection of them.  Tolerance is a two way street.  And if not, it’s not tolerance you wish for yourself and your position but dominance.


The Biggest Heresy in America

Thanks to a recent survey by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research, we now know the biggest heresy in America. Pushing errors regarding the trinity and the church into second and third place is the denial of the Bible’s teaching about the doctrine of sin, especially in the related areas of human depravity and human inability. I say “related” because what we believe about human depravity impacts what we believe about human ability; what we are determines what we can or cannot do.

https://www.churchleaders.com/article-headlines-widget.html

Regarding human depravity, the research showed:

• 67 percent agree “everyone sins at least a little, but most people are by nature good.”

• 40 percent agree “God loves me because of the good I do or have done.”

Regarding human inability, the statistics were:

• Only 16 percent agree with the doctrine that says “people do not have the ability to turn to God on their own initiative.”

• 71 percent of Americans agree that “an individual must contribute his/her own effort for personal salvation.”

• 64 percent of Americans agree “a person obtains peace with God by first taking the initiative to seek God and then God responds with grace.”

In summary, the vast majority believe that:

• Though we sin a little, by nature we are good.

• We can do good and God rewards our good deeds by loving us.

• We have the ability to turn to God on our own initiative.

• Salvation involves us taking the initiative that God then responds to.

The post The Biggest Heresy in America appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Should Christians Support Israel? Most Pastors Think So

This morning, President Barack Obama announced that the United States reached a deal with Iran on its nuclear program after extended talks in Vienna, Austria. Here’s an excerpt from CNN explaining the deal:

The deal reduces the number of Iranian centrifuges by two-thirds. It places bans on enrichment at key facilities, and limits uranium research and development to the Natanz facility.

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The deal caps uranium enrichment at 3.67 percent and limits the stockpile to 300 kg, all for 15 years.

Iran will be required to ship spent fuel out of the country forever, as well as allow inspectors from the IAEA inspectors certain access in perpetuity. Heightened inspections, including tracking uranium mining and monitoring the production and storage of centrifuges, will last for up to 20 years.

The U.S. estimates that the new measures take Iran from being able to assemble its first bomb within two to three months, to at least one year from now.

Of course, much (though not all) of the debate around this agreement relates to Israel.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted earlier today following the announcement of the deal:

A few days ago we finished, and then this morning, LifeWay Research released new data from a recent survey on how Americans and Christians view Israel.

Here is an excerpt:

“No piece of literature has had more impact on American culture than the Bible,” said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research. “No country is more intertwined with the ancient biblical narrative than Israel, and evangelical Americans see a contemporary connection with the nation.”

Researchers found evangelicals see a close tie between God and Israel.

The post Should Christians Support Israel? Most Pastors Think So appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Staying the Course When You’re Tired of the Battle

What battle is making you weary right now?

If you work in an environment where everything is affirmed except faith in Christ, you may find that, over time, the ongoing erosion of an increasingly hostile culture begins to wear you down.

If you are going through a stale time in your marriage or facing difficulties with a rebellious son or daughter, you may find that, over time, your energy drains and it is harder to keep going.

Maybe you have been battling against a particular sin and, for a while, you made progress. But then the old temptation reared its ugly head and, having fallen again, it’s hard to find the energy to get up and press on.

Persev­erance is the fruit of growing in faith and increasing in love.

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Or perhaps, after serving in ministry for some time, you feel that you are running out of steam. Anyone who serves God wholeheartedly will know what it is to come to a place of saying, “I don’t know how much longer I can do this.”  So how do you stay the course when you are tired of the battle?

The church in Thessalonica was born in great difficulties. Some bad characters started a riot, and Paul had to leave the city during the night, knowing that he may never be able to see the brothers and sisters who professed faith though his ministry again (Acts 17:5,10).

Paul wrote two letters to the Thessalonians. In the first, he grounds these believers in their new found faith and in the second, written some time later, he focuses in on what it takes to persevere. “Never tire of doing what is right” gets to the heart of Paul’s message in this second letter (2 Thessalonians 3:13).

The big question is, “How? How can I “never tire?” How can I go the distance as a Christian? How can I have patience with my children and perseverance in my job or in my ministry?

There’s a marvelous nugget at the beginning of 2 Thessalonians that helped me when I saw it and has continued to help me, especially when I get tired of the battle. Paul says,

Your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance… (2 Thessalonians 1:3,4 NIV)

There’s a helpful old adage that when you see the word “therefore,” you should ask what it’s there for, and in this case, it is making a connection that is especially important: The faith of these people is growing, and their love for each other is increasing, and therefore Paul boasts about their perseverance.

Perseverance is the fruit of growing in faith and increasing in love. Deepening your faith and renewing your love will enable you to stay the course even when you are tired of the battle.

This connection is evident from other Scriptures as well. Think first about love: Love is patient.  By nature it always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4,7). So when I need more patience with other people, the way to get it is by loving them more.

I once had a conversation with a godly leader who had led a Sunday school class for many years. He was tired, and when we met for breakfast he told me he felt it was time to move on. There was some sadness about the way he spoke, and so I asked some questions that led to him telling me about his frustrations with various people in the class.

After listening for a while, I said to him, “I think you are tired of these people, and here’s what I would like you to do: Ask God to renew your love for them. Pray for them, and see if God will rekindle the affection you had for them before.” He said that he would do that. We agreed to meet again in a month, and when we did, he told me that he had been renewed and refreshed and had completely changed his mind about stepping down from leading the group.

What had happened was both simple and wonderful: Increasing love had led to perseverance.

Growing in faith also produces perseverance, making it possible to stay the course when you are tired of the battle. As it is in the nature of grass to grow, so it is in the nature of faith to persevere.

I’ve found that the times when I get jaded and discouraged usually turn out to be times when I have lost sight of what the Lord is doing or lost confidence in what he is able to do in my own life and in the lives of the people I serve. Seeing that connection is really helpful because its points to the answer: Renewed confidence in God, and in all that he is able to do in you and through you, will help you to persevere even when you are tired of the battle.

Use this to improve your praying

When you know that faith and love are roots that nourish perseverance, it will help you to stay the course in prayer. Picture this scenario: You’ve been praying for an unbelieving friend or loved one for a long time, but nothing has happened and you’re getting discouraged. You can ask the Lord to help you persevere in prayer, but you might find it more helpful to get to the roots of the matter and ask him to increase your faith in his ability to change this person and to increase your love for this person with whom you may now be feeling quite impatient!

Or to apply this to the times when you get tired of the battle against a particular sin; ask the Lord to increase your faith in his power to overcome this evil in your life and to help you love him more than you love the sin that besets you. That strikes at the root of the problem! Growing in faith and in love for Christ will be the means by which you will be able to persevere in this battle.

Use this to sustain your usefulness

When I was starting out in ministry, a godly pastor gave me this wise counsel: “Ask God to give you a large heart full of love for the people you serve and a quiet confidence in what he is able to do among them.” For 35 years, his advice has proved consistently helpful.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne said, “It is not great gifts that God uses so much as great likeness to Jesus.” Ministry can get started on the momentum of gifts and enthusiasm, but it can only be sustained by faith and love. In order to stay the course, you have to love the people you serve and believe that God is at work among them.

Great gifts are never enough to sustain ministry in the long term. Some people are like rockets on the fourth of July. They go up with a big noise and a bright flash of light and then fizzle out after a short time. But faith and love will never fizzle out. Where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away, but faith hope and love remain (1 Corinthians 13:8,13).

Use this to find strength in suffering

Think about the role of faith and love in Christ’s perseverance through his suffering. When people were taunting Jesus and calling him to come down from the cross, it was love that made him stay there. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

And Peter tells us that “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate…Instead, he trusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23, emphasis mine). When Jesus was surrounded by darkness, he trusted himself into the hands of the father and placed in confidence in the ultimate triumph of God.

Seeing the connection between faith, love, and perseverance has helped me at the low points in my life and ministry, and it will do the same for you. Renew your confidence in God, refresh your love for others, and you will find that God strengthens you to stay the course even when you are tired of the battle.

How have you experienced God strengthening you to persevere?

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staying the course

The post Staying the Course When You’re Tired of the Battle appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.


God Says “No” For Your Joy

God Says “No” For Your JoyThe only time God gives us restrictions or prohibitions is for our joy. He never says “no” to us unless “no” will make us ultimately happier.

Back in Eden, before the horrible fall, the only prohibition God placed on Adam was this:

“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16–17)

Adam, you have complete freedom to eat of every single tree in the entire garden except for the one tree that will kill your joy.

A Liberating Prohibition

This prohibition was a profound expression of God’s love for Adam in warning him against terrible harm. It was also an opportunity for Adam to express his love for God through trusting and obeying him. It was a liberating prohibition. As long as Adam believed it was an expression of God’s love, it would guard Adam from becoming a slave of sin (John 8:34) and the fear of death (Hebrews 2:15). It was an expansive restriction, keeping all the best options for Adam’s enjoyment available to him, as he refrained from the one tree.

But he didn’t. Adam and Eve believed the seductive lie and ate from the one restricted tree. They transgressed the one gracious law and did not heed the one loving “no.” They (and all of us in them) lost the garden, the incomparable freedom of sinlessness, our earthly lives, and worst of all, communion with our Heavenly Father.

Expression of Love

But thank God that is not the end of the story. The second Adam has come, and he has obeyed the Father perfectly and paid the full debt of sin so that he, and all who believe, will recover creation, sinless freedom, eternal life, and best of all, unhindered communion with the triune God. All who trust and obey Jesus will gain more than Adam lost in Eden.

All of God’s prohibitions are love. Every “you shall not” of God’s law is an expression of God’s love.

What a beautiful model God is for all us who must say “no” and “do not” to people for whom God has given us some level of responsibility. Parents, grandparents, older siblings, pastors, elders, deacons, CEO’s, managers, supervisors, teachers, small group leaders, presidents, legislators, law enforcement officers, whatever position of authority we hold or will hold, we are given the sober responsibility of saying “no” for only one reason: to guard the ultimate good, to protect and increase the ultimate joy of those we serve.

Yes, our authority to say “no” is given to us only to serve them, not to lord authority over them (Matthew 20:25-28). We must only prohibit in order to protect their true liberty; we must only restrict in order to expand their most joy-producing options.

It may be that we should review our prohibitions. Are all our “no’s,” “do not’s,” “you can’t’s” truly expressions of love, or are we imposing some of them out of selfishness, fear or a sinful desire to win someone else’s approval or desire for revenge?

Let us only prohibit because we love those we serve. Let us only say “no” for their joy.


You Are a Saint, Sinner, and Sufferer (article)

Unsocial Media (article)

How to Fight Addiction in a Pornographic Culture (video)


You Are a Saint, Sinner, and Sufferer

You Are a Saint, Sinner, and Sufferer“I cannot imagine anyone being in more pain in their life than me,” he told me through angry tears. Coming from most, this could seem dramatic. But coming from him, it was almost believable. Systemically abused from childhood, multiple failed relationships as an adult, estranged children, and chronic physical pain made this man’s suffering monumental. Yet even in cases such as these Hebrews 4:15–16 does not cease to be true:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

No matter how much we suffer, there is no one who knows our suffering better than Christ. He’s more acquainted with them than we are. The man sitting in front of me had allowed one of the aspects of his identity as a Christian (sufferer) to take precedence and from precedence it became idolatry.

As Christians, we are all a combination of saint, sinner, and sufferer (CrossTalk, Mike Emlet). This is not to say that there are portions of us that are saved and portions that are unsaved. There are parts of us that emphasize one aspect of our identity, but all three are necessary for a balanced Christian walk.

Too Much a Saint?

We know that those who trust in Jesus Christ and him alone for salvation are described as saints (Ephesians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:11) and are called to act like saints (1 Peter 1:15–16). It is the saintly aspect of our Christian identity that finds joy and peace in the holiness of our God and strives to be more like him in our words, thoughts, and deeds. It reminds us of the inexhaustible riches of God’s word and the safety of abiding in his law. Yet when this aspect is overemphasized, we lose sight of our need for grace or the fact that we are still sinners who hurt those around us with our sins.

We forget the need of repentance both to the Lord and to one another and we chafe at the suggestion that we need to ask for forgiveness. When this aspect of the Christian identity becomes one’s idol, statements like “I know I’m not perfect, but” become the norm, and contempt — rather than compassion — for fellow sinners becomes our practice.

Too Much a Sinner?

Likewise our identity as a sinner serves God’s purposes. Scripture confirms for us that every man, woman, and child, even those secure in the promises of God’s salvation, are still sinners (1 John 1:8; Romans 7:19–20). Yes, we are called to be those who doggedly kill sin day by day. Nevertheless, realizing that something of sin remains in us until glory is vitally important. It is that aspect of ourselves which helps us to run to the fountains of grace and feel so refreshed by them, knowing the depth of the filth that needs cleansing. It reminds us that we too are in great need of God’s mercy. Therefore, forgiveness should be something we’re quick to give others (Ephesians 4:32). Without seeing our own feet of clay, everyone else’s sin seems primarily like an offense against us and not against God.

We become frustrated, confounded, and too easily hurt by others’ shortcomings. However, just as some Christians idolize their sense of sainthood, some idolize their sinfulness. When the pursuit of personal piety gets labeled “legalism” or when trying to kill one’s own sin becomes synonymous with futility, there’s a good chance we are worshiping at the feet of our own sinful nature.

Too Much a Sufferer?

Not only are we saints and sinners, but we are also sufferers. Even Christ — the perfect Son of God, who knew no sin (Hebrews 4:15) and therefore deserved nothing but glory — had to suffer. Therefore, Christians are those who suffer too. This is one of Peter’s primary points in his first epistle:

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)

Suffering is normative for the Christian experience, not an oddity. And it’s not just physical or psychological suffering, but our very souls cry out in anguish, longing to be what they were designed to be rather than to be distorted by sin (Romans 8:22–23). Though we don’t long to suffer, it is this aspect of our Christian identity that enables us to understand the true cost of sin. It knows intimately the pain of being sinned against and the impact of sinning against others. Through our own anguish we are able to sympathize with others and offer Scriptural words of comfort just as Paul exhorts:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

Yet this identity too can find itself on the throne of our affections. When our suffering becomes off-limits, unable to bear the scrutiny of Scripture, or when it becomes so overwhelming and unique that no one is able to understand us, there is a good chance that our suffering has made us its servant.

Striving for Harmony

Truth be told, none of us holds these three aspects of our Christian identity in perfect harmony. We all tend to prioritize one over the others or deny that one of them exists. But we must strive to have a well balanced view of our identity in Jesus. Saint, sinner, sufferer — all three must have their voice, all three must be ministered to, and all three must minister to others.



A La Carte (November 9)

Today’s Kindle deals include God’s Kingdom Through Covenant by Stephen Wellum & Peter Gentry ($2.99); The First Days of Jesus by Andreas Kostenberger & Alexander Stewart ($4.99); The Presence of God by Ryan Lister ($4.99); The Incarnation of God by John Clark & Marcus Peter Johnson ($4.99); Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions Volume 2 by Ken Ham ($2.99); Beat God to the Punch by Eric Mason ($2.99). New from GLH Publishing is The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God by Jonathan Edwards ($0.99). Also, several Kindle devices are on sale today.

When Life Gives You Oranges

Andrew and Rachel Wilson are raising two young children, both of whom have severe autism. They invite us into the surprising world of parenting children with special needs.

Is a ‘Spectrum’ the Best Way to Talk About Autism?

And, while we are on the subject of special needs, Is a ‘spectrum’ the best way to talk about Autism?

If Richard Dawkins Is Right

“Nobody knows who the four evangelists were, but they almost certainly never met Jesus personally. Much of what they wrote was in no sense an honest attempt at history. The gospels are ancient fiction.” If Dawkins is correct, one might imagine the following conversation…

Is All Worship Equally Acceptable to God?

Tim Barnett: “I have become increasingly concerned at the cavalier attitude many people have about how they approach God. There are many people who believe that it doesn’t matter how you come to God, so long as you come.”

6 Assassins of A Man’s Contentment

“You have enemies as you try to live as a content man. Most of the time we think the enemies are from without—people around us and circumstances upon us. But the true enemies of contentment are within in us, which is where contentment is either fed or starved.”

This Day in 1793 and 1895. Missionaries William Carey and Amy Carmichael each arrive in India (222 years ago and 120 years ago respectively). *

Hating Queerness Without Hating the Queer

This is quite an interesting review of Al Mohler’s new book We Cannot Be Silent. “The views of religiously conservative Americans no longer dominate U.S. culture or law. How will LGBT supporters engage with their perspectives on sexuality?”

How to Keep Your iPhone from Destroying Your Relationships

Sherry Turkle recently spoke with Christianity Today about the constant interruption of digital notifications, how we became so uncomfortable with boredom, and why we should stop using our smartphones as alarm clocks.


Check out

Blogs

We Should Expect Non-Christians to Share Our Morals | Christianity Today
“If we insist that Christian ethics should have no bearing on public policy, we do a disservice to our theology and cripple the mission of the church. It is a retreat inward and a tacit approval of injustice in society. A public Christianity is not about imposing Christian ethics on an unwilling citizenry. Instead, public Christianity is about marshaling God’s truth in service of our fellow image bearers, using the conscience and persuasion as our means.”

Reflections from 40 Years in Pastoral Ministry | Kent Hughes
Well worth studying these answers from Kent Hughes (see his new magnum opus on pastoral ministry below), especially this one: “What’s been the biggest change in pastoral ministry during your lifetime? How should young pastors to navigate that change?”

Despite Wrong Doomsday Stats, Pastors Holding Up Just Fine | Ed Stetzer
Ed Stetzer continues to debunk false stats about 150o pastors leaving the ministry each month, and instead argues that pastors are doing just fine.

Sherry Turkle: How to Keep Your iPhone from Destroying Your Relationships | Her.meneutics
And on the same topic here’s Unsocial Media by Tony Reinke.

The Gift of Anxiety | The Upward Call
Kim Shay: “Anxiety has taught me a lot about compassion. It has taught me that mental illness is not as black and white as we think. And it taught me that the church has a long way to go toward understanding it and helping its sufferers through it. There is a lot of misunderstanding about it. When a woman struggles with impatience, pride, or selfishness, we want to help. We know it takes time. But when it’s anxiety, it’s as if we think handing out a verse and reminding her that anxiety is a sin will be an automatic cure. It isn’t.”

What It’s Like Explaining Depression Meds to Many Christians
A powerful comic strip illustration of what Kim says above.

New Book Recommendation

The Pastor’s Book: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry by Kent Hughes. 40 years of ministry experience on almost 600 pages!

Kindle Books

Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor Needs by Jimmy Dodd $3.82.

The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? by John Macarthur $5.99.


The Daily Discovery (November 9, 2015)

ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

The Danger of The Christian Social Media Star – “We Christians can be an interesting lot. As much as we see ourselves as not being a part of this world, far too often we think, look, and act just like it. It wasn’t long ago that I made the strategic error of entering into a Twitter discussion between professing Christians. Wisdom should have taught me better by now, but sometimes I just don’t listen to those klaxon warning sirens going off in my skull. I’ll spare you the details of the discussion, but suffice it to say that I simply attempted to defend a professing Christian who still had an old post on their Twitter page that was, shall we say, less than Christian. The person in question claimed it was from a time when they were not a Christian. I simply defended that, given their statement, I was willing to give benefit of the doubt and not see it as reflective of their current profession.”

12 Atheist Statements – “So. In order to prevent folks from thinking Christian doctrine is only believed by hicks and I cannot offer good answers to those statements in my last post, see HERE, I will respond to each of them in turn. The original comments will be in Blue Bold…”

The4thDave Reviews: “Onward” by Dr. Russell Moore – “I have to admit: my relationship with Dr. Russell Moore’s work has been…evolving. Dr. Moore’s book Tempted and Tried was a challenging book that I have recommended to others in the past. I heard the man speak during a lunch for prospective seminary students, and his words stirred me and confirmed my desire to pursue full-time Christian ministry down the road. To be honest, it was Drs. Moore and Mohler that clinched Southern Seminary as my school of choice. But then, over the last few years, Dr. Moore has said and done things that left me scratching my head. I have found myself disagreeing more and more with Moore’s tendency toward coalition-building across denominational and even religious lines.”

God’s Not Really That Holy, I’m Not Really That Bad – “How do you know that you really get the gospel, that you really understand and believe it? Or perhaps better said, how do you know that the gospel has really gotten you, that it has taken hold of you and begun to permanently transform you? I found myself pondering this question last week and was soon thinking about people I have known who once professed faith, but who eventually grew cold, grew distant, and fell away.

The Secret Life of Dead Saints: exploring the intermediate state – “What body do we occupy between the time our lifeless bodies decompose into worm-fodder and when they are resurrected in glory? The short answer is that we don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say. Biblically speaking, it’s a secret. But it’s no secret that the absence of knowledge can’t deter bloggers from opining for 800 words. So, let’s start with what the Bible does say…”


SERMON:

logo-contSermon

Nate Pickowicz – The Glorifying Ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15)


VIDEOS:

Confess With Your Mouth and You Will Be Saved?

Damnable beliefs.


“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur


Featured Blogs


11/09/15 What Can I Say?

READING: Matthew 26, Mark 14

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  I cannot number the times I’ve said something I’ve later regretted. I try hard to listen and think before responding, but that strategy hasn’t always stopped me from saying something stupid. Sometimes it’s an unwarranted defense for my actions. Sometimes it’s anger. Sometimes it’s blame rather than confession. Sometimes, I just talk too much.

Simon Peter and the other disciples were that way, too, at times. They argued about who was the greatest. Peter himself rebuked Jesus when the Lord talked about His death, and the disciple spoke quickly at the Mount of Transfiguration even when he didn’t know what to say. In today’s reading, though, was a time when the disciples were silent.

Jesus had told them in the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, but instead they slept. Emotional and physical fatigue overwhelmed them, and they did not do what Jesus asked them to do. In fact, more than once He found them sleeping. When He confronted them the second time, “they did not know what to say to Him” (Mark 14:40). They were exhausted, but it’s also likely that shame and embarrassment kept them quiet.

I’ve been there when pain over my sin was so great that saying anything to Jesus seemed unwarranted. I cannot imagine what it was like for the disciples to face Jesus Himself and have no words to describe their failure. Sometimes, the silence of disobedience and shame is deafening.

ACTION STEPS: Live in such a way that you never have to be silenced in shame before Jesus.

PRAYER: “Father, forgive me. Forgive me for not listening to You or obeying You.”


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

If you picked up a hitchhiker (not that I recommend doing that) and he saw a Bible on your car seat and said, “I’ve heard about this thing called the Gospel – can you explain it to me before you drop me off in one minute up the street?” What would you say?

Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?

Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


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


Resource Links

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 Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

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GTY: Is the Apostles’ Creed All I Need to Believe?

1 John 4:2

Code: B151109

by John MacArthur

Creeds were never formulated to invent fundamental doctrines, but rather to defend them. They are repudiations of false doctrines—condemning new error by affirming established truth. As time passed, new errors required new affirmations; thus church creeds and Christian confessions have become longer and more complex.

That’s why Together for the Gospel, a very modern confession of fundamental Christian doctrine, has such an expansive, detailed, and nuanced statement of faith. Conversely, ancient statements of Christian doctrine, such as the Apostles’ Creed, tend to be far simpler and more narrow in their focus:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Apostle’s Creed is one of the earliest and simplest statements of faith in the history of creeds. It is not an exhaustive statement of faith (although it does summarize some of the major points of apostolic doctrine), nor was it ever intended to be. It was a brief, rudimentary confession designed to distinguish Christianity from Judaism or pagan religions.

But in recent times there has been no shortage of evangelical leaders who seem determined to use the Apostles’ Creed not as a wall of defense for an exclusive faith, but as a generous gate for an inclusive religion. Rather than focusing on what the creed argues for, they prefer to overlook whatever the creed fails to argue against.

Paul Crouch, the late president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, captured that sentiment perfectly when he wrote:

Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, crucified, risen again, ascended to heaven, by whose blood our sins are forgiven, who will return in power and glory to judge the living and the dead. Beyond these absolute essentials of “FAITH,” there is infinite room for honest men and women to disagree and debate the limitless issues of “doctrinal purity.”[1]Foreword to James R. Spencer, Heresy Hunters: Character Assassination in the Church (Lafayette, LA: Huntington House, 1993) vii.

In other words, Crouch suggested that all who profess faith in those few essentials that he lists should be permitted to teach whatever else they feel is right, and no one should publicly subject those teachings to any further theological scrutiny. It is alright for us to disagree, he conceded, but Christians should “NEVER judge a brother or sister by name” in any sort of critical doctrinal appraisal. To do so, he believed, is unbecoming to the cause of Christ. He labelled the practice “heretic hunting.”

The truth is that virtually all the historic creeds of the church serve a purpose that is diametrically opposed to the benign broad-mindedness Crouch appealed for. The creeds were written to confront error. They present truth dogmatically, in specific and well-delineated terms. All of them are polemic, controversial, argumentative. They aim at separation, not unity. The Nicene Creed (325) defended the doctrine of the Trinity. The Athanasian Creed (c. 428) spells out the doctrine of Christ’s two natures. Then there are Roman Catholic creeds, Greek and Russian creeds, and Protestant creeds. Virtually every creed after the Apostles’ Creed addressed matters of doctrinal controversy.

Paul Crouch is not alone in suggesting that the test of orthodoxy ought to be nothing more than the Apostles’ Creed. That view evidently is shared by increasing numbers of evangelical leaders.

Perhaps the most popular and persuasive defender of this view was Charles Colson, former counsel to the Nixon White House and founder of Prison Fellowship. Colson was an influential and highly respected leader within evangelicalism, known for his well-honed writing and speaking ministries. I have deeply appreciated much of what he wrote over the years. Often his insights were extremely perceptive. I found myself on the same side of the fence with him on most important issues.

That is why it is so hard to understand the way Colson defined Christian orthodoxy. He implied that the true non-negotiables of Christianity were all settled by the Apostles’ Creed.[2]Charles Colson, The Body (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1992) 186. He suggests that all evangelical Christians should be willing to embrace as brothers and sisters in Christ everyone who can give assent to this ancient creed.

But is the Apostles’ Creed a full enough statement of faith so that all who give assent to it can be embraced as Christians? Does it contain sufficient safeguards against false doctrine to serve as a test of fellowship?

The creed cannot be traced to any specific author or date. The earliest known text comes to us from the middle of the fourth century, but it is assumed to have existed before then. Roman Catholic tradition says the apostles themselves wrote the Creed, each contributing one article of faith. But the historical evidence does not support that. The phrase “he descended into hell,” for example, was not part of the Creed until the late fourth century; it is borrowed from another creed of that era. The word “catholic,” the phrase “the communion of saints,” and the final phrase (“life everlasting”) are all later additions to the creed.[3]Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983 reprint) 1:19. The full Creed as it is known today did not come into general use until the seventh or eighth century.

Moreover, the Apostles’ Creed is by no means a complete statement of all the fundamental doctrines essential to genuine Christianity. For example, since there is no statement about the deity of Christ, a Jehovah’s Witness, who denies Christ’s deity, could give full assent to the Creed as it stands. In fact, the ancient forerunners of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the followers of a heretic named Arius, defended themselves by appealing to the Creed. William Cunningham wrote, “Nay, it is well known that Arians, who deny the divinity of the Son and the Holy Ghost, have no hesitation in expressing their concurrence in the creed.”[4]William Cunningham, Historical Theology, 2 vols. (Edmonton, Canada: Still Waters, 1991 reprint) 1:89.

There are also issues in the Creed that are clearly not essential. Is salvation prerequisite on knowing that it was Pontius Pilate who condemned Christ to death? Must a person understand in what sense Christ “descended into hell” in order for that person to be saved? Must every truly regenerate person be able to define the holy catholic church, or the communion of saints?

The truth is, many of the statements in the Apostles’ Creed are open to widely varying—or even contradictory—interpretations. Unfortunately, there is little agreement between the major Christian traditions about what the words mean.

Christ’s descent into hell, for example, is interpreted by some to mean that He actually went into the infernal flames—although Scripture teaches nothing like that. Others, appealing to the Latin terminology, believe the Creed simply means that He descended into hades, the realm of the dead. Or what about “the holy catholic church”? Those who follow the Pope dogmatically interpret that as a reference to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants interpret “catholic” in accord with its literal meaning, “universal.” “The communion of saints” has been interpreted by various commentators as a reference to the fraternity of saints already in heaven, actual communion between earthly and heavenly saints, or simply fellowship among believers here on earth.

William Cunningham cited an essay written by a Lutheran writer named Ittigius, who “exhibited in parallel columns the Lutheran, the Calvinistic, and the Popish interpretations of all the different articles in the Creed. . . . Another writer afterward added a fourth column, containing the Arminian or Pelagian interpretation of all the articles.”[5]Historical Theology, 1:89. According to Cunningham, it could not be proved that any one of these systems was inconsistent with the intent of the Creed—though at points they clearly contradict each other. The words of the Creed are simply not specific enough to determine which of these views it intends to affirm.

But the differences between these various interpretations reveal the difference between true Christianity and false Christianity. All of this comes back to the doctrinal position raised by Paul Crouch and Charles Colson. How can they argue for the objective truths of Christianity based on a creed that is so subjective?

Arguing for the Apostles’ Creed as the arbiter of fundamental Christian doctrine has only added further confusion for an evangelical movement already suffering from perpetual erosion of theological identity. The fundamentals cannot be drawn from any source external to Scripture. That is why we must conduct our search inside of God’s inerrant Word. And that is where our series on the fundamentals of the Christian faith will continue next time.

(Adapted from Reckless Faith.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B151109
COPYRIGHT ©2015 Grace to You

November 9, 2015 US and World Briefing Report

IMG_2823


Nov. 9, 2015

BLOOMBERG

U.S. officials investigating the $12.8 trillion market for U.S. Treasuries are zeroing in on a practice of trading the debt before it’s issued, said a person familiar with the matter — spotlighting trades that several recent lawsuits allege are part of big banks’ efforts to rig Treasury markets.

The Financial Stability Board, created by the Group of 20, published its plan for tackling banks seen as too big to fail. The most systemically important lenders must have total loss-absorbing capacity equivalent to at least 16 percent of risk-weighted assets in 2019, rising to 18 percent in 2022, the FSB said on Monday.

Chinese investors, jolted out of complacency by the yuan’s Aug. 11 devaluation, are chasing dollar-denominated assets to guard against currency volatility.

Google wants to set the standard on artificial intelligence. The Web company, seeking to influence how people design, test, and run artificial-intelligence systems, is making its internal AI development software available for free. It’s based on the same internal system Google has spent several years developing to support its AI software and other mathematically complex programs.

As evidence grows that a bomb may have downed a Russian passenger jet over Egypt, the Kremlin is focused on countering the threat of terrorism at home from sympathizers of Islamic State.

UBS Group is adding staff to its wealth-management business in Israel as a boom in the country’s technology industry turns a growing number of entrepreneurs into millionaires.

AP Top Stories

A state funeral in North Korea has sparked another fresh round of purge rumors after one of Kim Jong-Un’s most powerful aides was omitted from the official funeral committee list.

Russia announced Monday that it has agreed to push on with a deal to deliver S-300 missile systems to Iran after Moscow halted an earlier agreement due to UN sanctions slapped on Tehran.

A Jordanian army officer shot dead two American military personnel and one South African and wounded six other people on Monday at a U.S.-funded security training facility near Amman.

India’s Jet Airways injected life Monday into the Dubai Airshow, confirming an order for 75 Boeing 737 planes worth $8.25 billion at list price.

Catalonia’s regional assembly voted in favor of a resolution to split from Spain, energizing a drive towards independence and deepening a standoff with central government in Madrid.

A boy who aimed a laser pointer from a toy at the rearview mirror inside a public bus in Germany permanently damaged the retina of the bus driver’s right eye, a new case report reveals.

Indonesia’s anti-drugs agency has proposed building a prison on an island guarded by crocodiles to hold death row drug convicts, an idea that wouldn’t be out of place in a James Bond film. “We will place as many crocodiles as we can there. I will search for the most ferocious type of crocodile,” anti-drugs chief Budi Waseso said. Waseso said that crocodiles would be better at preventing drug traffickers from escaping prison as they could not be bribed — unlike human guards.

A storm brewing in the Pacific Ocean has forecasters warning of possible severe weather, including tornadoes, in the nation’s midsection on Wednesday, with Arkansas and Missouri the most likely targets.

US-based NGO Asia Catalyst estimates there are four million transgender people in China, and says they face severe discrimination. Sexually ambiguous characters have a long history in Chinese art and literature, but being transgender is still classified as a mental illness in the country –homosexuality was removed from the category in 2001 — although sex reassignment surgery is legal.

A swathe of China was blanketed with acrid smog Monday after levels of dangerous particulates reached around 50 times World Health Organization maximums, in what environmental campaigners said were the highest figures ever recorded in the country.

BBC

A Jordanian policeman has shot dead two American instructors and a South African at a police training center outside Amman, officials said.

Global temperatures are set to rise more than one degree above pre-industrial levels according to the UK’s Met Office. If temperatures remain as predicted, 2015 will be the first year to breach this key threshold.

Russia has signed a contract to supply Iran with sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are set to meet for the first time since relations deteriorated over a nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

A college in north-west China has come under fire for asking female students to sign a chastity pledge as part of a course.

A second extremely rare and powerful tropical cyclone has hit Yemen’s Socotra island in the space of a week.

WND

Oprah Winfrey used her “Belief” series televised time to give a platform to an Islamic scholar to press the liberal-progressive view of the faith as a peaceful religion marred by a few ill-informed who skew the proper meaning of jihad.

Buried inside the Department of Defense budget bill that just passed the House is a $5 million compensation fund for families of killed Iraqi innocents.

In the small town of Marka, Jordan, about 20 minutes from downtown Amman, hundreds of Christian refugees and their families live under the steadfast care of Father Khalil Jaar, a humble priest originally from Bethlehem.


 

Top News – 11/9/2015

Strong earthquake strikes off Atka in Alaska’s Andreanof Islands
The 6.2-magnitude earthquake, at 6:03 a.m. local time on Monday, was centered about 93 kilometers (58 miles) east-southeast of Atka, which is a small town located on the eastern side of Atka Island. It struck about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake.

Massive mysterious spring die-off kills more than 50 percent of the global population of saiga in two weeks
Saiga suffered a massive die-off during the calving season. In the short period of only two weeks, more than half the world population was found dead, the bodies of adults and young calves scattered across the spring grassland in the thousands. What is surprising and of great concern in this case is the size and extent of the event — entire herds suffered near-100 percent mortality.”

US: Strikes against ISIS to increase
After lull in frequency of air attacks, US officials say militant movement is on the rise, offering up more viable targets that threaten fewer civilians.

Exclusive: Investigators ’90 percent sure’ bomb downed Russian plane
“The indications and analysis so far of the sound on the black box indicate it was a bomb,” said the Egyptian investigation team member, who asked not to be named due to sensitivities. “We are 90 percent sure it was a bomb.”

Iraq’s ruling alliance, militias urge PM to seek Russian strikes
Iraq’s ruling alliance and powerful Shi’ite militias have urged Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to request Russian air strikes on Islamic State militants, who control large parts of the country, members of the coalition and militias told Reuters.

Prominent Rabbi Warns Friends Not to Leave Israel Because Messiah is “Here With Us Already”
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky is one of the most prominent rabbis of this generation. He is a leader of the Haredi branch of Judaism and the author of numerous authoritative books on Jewish law. In a distinctly uncharacteristic manner, he has recently begun making declarations of the Messiah’s imminent arrival. “Yell it from the loudspeakers. The Messiah is at the door.”

Clinton Scandals Threaten Her White House Run
While Republicans are deciding among themselves whether to open a separate investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email controversy, evidence keeps piling up that shows serious problems ahead for Mrs. Clinton. Yet the media continue feasting on what they perceive as turmoil in the GOP presidential race.

Earthquake jolts Swat, surroundings
According to details, the epicenter of the quake was the border area of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, while its depth was 10 kilometres. The earthquake was measured at 5.3 on Richter scale.

Ashkelon submerged in severe flooding, heavy rain
Heavy rain hit Israel Monday morning, but no city was hit harder than Ashkelon where the emergency room at Brazilai Hospital was flooded and the roofs of parked vehicles could barely be glimpsed above the rising waters. The flooding was caused by nearly 1.2 inches of rain that fell in a short amount of time, overwhelming drainage systems and putting stress on the streets, even causing the partial collapse of Ben Yehuda Street.

Ground swallows dozen cars in Mississippi
Tests are to take place to determine why the ground opened up in a Mississippi city, swallowing 12 cars in a restaurant car park. The large gash, some 400ft (120m) long and 35ft (11m) wide, opened up late on Saturday in Meridian, near the Alabama state line. The area had suffered heavy rains over the past two weeks, the Meridian Star newspaper reported.

US and Israel leaders to hold first post-Iran deal meeting
US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are set to meet for the first time since relations deteriorated over a nuclear deal between world powers and Iran. The Washington talks come amid weeks of unrest between Israel and Palestinians. Six Israelis were wounded in knife attacks by Palestinians on Sunday. A Palestinian who drew a knife on Israeli guards was shot dead on Monday.

‘Russia, Iran have signed contract for S-300 missile system delivery’
Russia and Iran have signed a contract for Moscow to supply Tehran with S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, Sergei Chemezov, the chief executive of Russian state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec, was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying on Monday. “S-300, the air defense system, the contract has already been signed,” Chemezov was quoted as saying at the Dubai Airshow.

Second deadly cyclone in a week targets Yemen
The second cyclone in a week slammed into an island off Yemen’s coast Sunday with 127-mph winds, the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane, killing at least two people, officials said.

Germany’s capacity to take in refugees is limited, Schaeuble says
Germany needs to send a message to the world that it’s reaching the limit of its capacity to help Europe’s flood of migrants, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday, as he advocated restricting family reunions for Syrian refugees.

NATO ponders future of Afghan mission as fatigue, frustration mount
NATO partners are considering ways of beefing up their training and assistance mission in Afghanistan as concern grows over the ability of local forces to fight an escalating insurgency by Taliban militants, according to officials in Brussels and Kabul.

Investigators ’90 percent sure’ bomb downed Russian plane
Investigators of the Russian plane crash in Egypt are “90 percent sure” the noise heard in the final second of a cockpit recording was an explosion caused by a bomb, a member of the investigation team told Reuters on Sunday.

Bachmann: Jesus is ‘coming soon’
Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) calls in an interview for converting as many people as possible to Christianity because Jesus is “coming soon.”


Top Headlines – 11/9/2015

Netanyahu, Obama to Discuss Syrian War Amid Wave of Violence in Israel

Bad tidings await Netanyahu on US trip – Netanyahu Will Not Get The Additional Aid He Is Requesting

Obama and Netanyahu: A Story of Slights and Crossed Signals

PM, White House to focus on common ground

IAI unveils unprecedented radar system as long-range ballistic missile threats increase

Israel Air Force hits Hamas terror target after rocket lands in Israel

Seven wounded, one terrorist killed in 3 West Bank attacks

Abbas urges Sisi: Pressure Israel to stop ‘assaults against al-Aksa Mosque’

Report: US, Britain, using Israeli intel to determine cause of Egyptian crash

British jihadis may have been part of Sinai plane bombing

Russian plane crash: Calls for new era of airport security after Sinai terror

Russia Evacuates 11,000 Tourists From Egypt

Confirmation of Attack on Russian Jet May Strengthen Putin’s Resolve in Syria

US role in Syria brings push for Congress vote on new war powers

U.S. Military Officials Aim to Bolster Troop Presence in Europe to Deter Russia

Germany reaching maximum capacity for refugees, says Finance Minister

AfD Protest In Berlin Demands Stronger Borders, Calls For Merkel To Resign

More US Troops Possible in Syria, Defense Sec. Ash Carter Says

US warns Putin against ‘nuclear sabre-rattling’

ISIS kidnaps, kills seven in southern Afghanistan

NATO ponders future of Afghan mission as fatigue, frustration mount

Yemen fighting kills more than 50

Suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers kill at least three in Chad

Burundi violence: Scores flee homes before crackdown starts

School bans drawings of religious figures after Muhammad assignment

Michigan city elects for the first time a Muslim majority city council

Fed rate hike ‘makes sense’, says U.S. central banker

Fed’s Williams: Next Step for Fed Is to Raise Rates, Data Decides When

Homelessness in Hawaii grows, defying image of paradise

House Panel Chairman Sees Risk of Bomb on Puerto Rico Flights

Venezuela says U.S. intelligence plane violated air space

No UFO Here! Mysterious Flying Object Seen in Southern California Was Just a Missile Test

UFO scares are the price we pay for secret missile tests, expert says

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Sabang, Indonesia

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Atka, Alaska

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Severo-Kuril’sk, Russia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Sabang, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Sabang, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Sabang, Indonesia

Series of moderate earthquakes continue in northern Oklahoma

Tungurhua volcano in Ecuador erupts to 18,000ft

Rinjani volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Second rare cyclone batters Yemen, kills one – official

Tropical Threat to Increase India Flood Risk Early This Week

Tropical Depression 12 Forms Near Bahamas

Tornadoes Possible in Arkansas, Missouri, Other States

Two dead, 28 still missing as recovery efforts ongoing near burst Brazil dams

New rainfall record set in central Israel

‘Life on planet at stake’, France warns as climate ministers meet

Every UN Climate Summit Hailed as ‘Last Chance’ To Stop ‘Global Warming’ Before It’s Too Late

Dangerous toxin closing California crab season

Sierra Leone declared Ebola free

World first use of gene-edited immune cells to treat ‘incurable’ leukaemia

Sir Elton John Fears Vladimir Putin Will Give Him A ‘Quick Polonium Injection’ Over Gay Rights Talk

Man ‘with terminal cancer marries sex doll so he doesn’t leave a grieving widow’

John Piper – Israel, Arabs, and the Family of God

Jackie Alnor – Does the NAR Have  New Prophet?

New Spirituality Teacher  -“The Jig is Up” to Those Who Believe in the Blood of the Lamb

UK Prison Minister Forced to Quit after Quoting Bible

Muslim scholar tells Oprah “Jihad” is “misunderstood” spiritual struggle


Frontrunning: November 09

  • Global Stocks Slip Lower (Read More)
  • Dollar sits pretty, bond yields rise as Fed bets firm (Read More)
  • Takeover Loans Have Few Takers on Wall Street (Read More)
  • Chinese Buyers Seek Dollar Assets as Promise of Yuan Gains Fades (Read More)
  • Banking Giants Learn Cost of Preventing Another Lehman Moment (Read More)
  • Eurozone Finance Ministers Won’t Release $2.15 billion Loan to Greece (Read More)
  • Greece plans a return to capital markets (Read More)
  • China Slowdown Hits Earnings in Japan (Read More)
  • BHP CEO Flies to Brazil as Prosecutors Seek License Halt (Read More)
  • Fed Proves Irrelevant in $2.6 Trillion Slice of U.S. Debt Market (Read More)
  • Saudi Arabia will not stop pumping to boost oil prices (Read More)
  • Saudi Vice Oil Minister Sees Price Surge After Cutbacks (Read More)
  • Credit Suisse May Cut Bonuses by 60% After Writedown, SamS Says (Read More)
  • Black gold under the Golan (Read More)
  • Match, Owner of Dating Sites, Seeks $403.7 Million in IPO (Read More)
  • Republican candidate Carson pushes back on veracity questions (Read More)
  • Weyerhaeuser to Buy Timber Rival Plum Creek for $8.4 Billion (Read More)
  • Russian soldiers geolocated by photos in multiple Syria locations, bloggers say (Read More)
  • With Long Handshake, China and Taiwan Affirm Better Ties (Read More)

 

The Briefing

1) Supreme Court takes up yet another religious liberty case against Obamacare

Supreme Court agrees to rule on birth control insurance mandate, USA Today (Richard Wolf)

In Houston, Hate Trumped Fairness, New York Times (Editorial Board)

2) Media’s fixation on same sex marriage evidenced in one edition of New York Times

Equality, Then What? New Plays Explore Modern Gay Life, New York Times (Alexis Soloski)

Gay Issues Enter the World of Philanthropy, New York Times (John Hanc)

In All-Gender Restrooms, the Signs Reflect the Times, New York Times (Aimee Lee Ball)

‘Becoming Nicole,’ by Amy Ellis Nutt, New York Times (Lisa Miller)

Sex, Lies and Houston, New York Times (Frank Bruni)

Gay Mormon Church Members Say New Rules Are Devastating, New York Times (AP)

3) Mormonism and Reformed Judaism illustrate different religious responses to cultural pressure

Mormons Sharpen Stand Against Same-Sex Marriage, New York Times (Laurie Goodstein)

Union for Reform Judaism Adopts Transgender Rights Policy, New York Times (Richard Pérez-Peña)

4) Study on children’s self esteem reveals little parents don’t already know

By age 5, children have a sense of self-esteem that rivals adults, study says, Washington Post (Lyndsey Layton)

In other news…

Historic handshake marks meeting of China and Taiwan presidents, Los Angeles Times (Julie Makinen and Sam Lee)

‘New Democrats’ sound alarm over Sanders and Clinton’s leftward march, The Guardian (Dan Roberts)

Sorry, Media, You Won’t Destroy Ben Carson, National Review (David French)

Violent Shaking Along The Ring Of Fire Continues A Progression Of Disasters That Began In September

The Ring Of Fire - Photo from WikipediaHave you noticed that seismic activity along the Ring of Fire appears to be dramatically increasing?  According to Volcano Discovery, 39 volcanoes around the world have recently erupted, and 32 of them are associated with the Ring of Fire.  This includes Mt. Popocatepetl which sits only about 50 miles away from Mexico City’s 18 million inhabitants.  If you are not familiar with the Ring of Fire, it is an area roughly shaped like a horseshoe that runs along the outer perimeter of the Pacific Ocean.  Approximately 90 percent of all earthquakes and approximately 75 percent of all volcanic eruptions occur along the Ring of Fire.  Just within the last 24 hours, we have witnessed a 4.4, a 5.4 and a 5.7 earthquake in Alaska, a 6.8 earthquake in Chile and 20 earthquakes in Indonesia of at least magnitude 4.3.  And as you will see below, this violent shaking along the Ring of Fire seems to continue a progression of major disasters that began back during the month of September. (Read More….)


Hillary Clinton, Arms Dealer

The dirty deals that put illegal arms shipments into the hands of Libyan jihadists.

In a scathing column Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano makes the convincing case that Hillary Clinton sold weapons to Libya in a direction violation of the U.N. arms embargo, and then lied about it under oath during her testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi Oct. 22.

View Article


Ex-Mid East Adviser: Obama to blame Bibi for terror wave

Dennis Ross, who served as US President Barack Obama’s Middle East adviser from 2009 to 2011, has issued an estimation of what topics Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s meeting on Monday will revolve around.

The current wave of Arab terrorism in Israel will garner at least as much attention as the controversial Iran nuclear deal the two have long been at odds over, according to the former adviser’s prediction, as published in Politico on Sunday night.

View Article


Common Core and Eroding Education – an extensive excerpt for concerned citizens

By David Fiorazo

It would appear our power grabbing U.S. government survived the backlash against the controversial implementation of Common Core State Standards in our education system. Sadly, many citizens have no idea what this is all about. The stage had to be set years ago and the players had to be in place in order for such a radical agenda to be enacted.

View Article


School bans drawings of religious figures after Muhammad assignment

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 07:12 AM PST

A California school district announced last week a ban on the drawing of religious figures after a parent complained about a class assignment in which students were directed to draw the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The task was part of a 7th-grade history worksheet, “Vocabulary Pictures: The Rise of Islam,” at High Desert School in Acton, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Muslims are forbidden from drawing Muhammad, and threats from Islamic terrorist groups have largely ended the practice among non-Muslims as well.

“I have directed all staff to permanently suspend the practice of drawing or depiction of any religious leader,” Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District Superintendent Brent Woodard told the Daily News in a text message on Wednesday. “I am certain this teacher did not intend to offend anyone and,in fact, was simply teaching respect and tolerance for all cultures.” Melinda Van Stone said she complained to the school when her 12-year-old son brought the assignment home in October. Van Stone would not tell the Daily News what religion she or her son practiced. FULL REPORT

The post School bans drawings of religious figures after Muhammad assignment appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Facebook’s ‘teleporter’ technology the final nail in the coffin for humanity’s connection with reality

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 06:58 AM PST

With their phones in hand, they bow their heads, eyes narrowing in on their pocket screens. No awareness of the now, they wander like intoxicated drivers, veering to the left and the right. Scrolling through their Facebook feed, they try to ignite some kind of spark to keep their dying souls alive in their virtual reality. Necks craned over, wandering aimlessly, they are unable to feel the real world around them. They stare into pixels for hours on end, forgetting what it was like to look into each others eyes for just a second or two. Trying to recreate closeness through the emoticons in the chat box, they have forgotten the bond only human touch can satisfy.

Everyone is present in the room, but their minds are somewhere else, swept up in a virtual reality. Their energy so distracted and scattered into the wind, like embers blown away. No more warmth, no more comfort, no more light of a blazing fire that crackled and echoed of stories and tales long into the night. FULL REPORT

The post Facebook’s ‘teleporter’ technology the final nail in the coffin for humanity’s connection with reality appeared first on End Time Headlines.

World’s super-rich preparing for societal collapse with high-tech security systems, impenetrable homes and bulletproof everything

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 06:48 AM PST

Do they know something we don’t, or are they just paranoid? Whatever the reason, the world’s super-rich are spending millions on high-tech security and the kind of gadgets most of us thought only existed in James Bond films. A recent article in the Evening Standard examines the phenomenon of elites installing expensive, futuristic security systems and devices into their homes and automobiles.

There is a booming industry catering to paranoid billionaires, with companies developing and selling state-of-the-art security technology that would be the envy of even a 007-style secret agent. For example, a fellow named Heyrick Bond Gunning (no kidding, that’s his actual name) is the managing director of a security firm called Salamanca Risk Management, which provides “building and contents protection.” The former Grenadier Guards officer and his company are in the business of installing technology such as fingerprint-activated locks and programmable keys for rich clients’ families and household staff. FULL REPORT

The post World’s super-rich preparing for societal collapse with high-tech security systems, impenetrable homes and bulletproof everything appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Yuan Moves To Topple Dollar

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 06:14 AM PST

China took another step to boost the yuan’s global usage, saying it will start direct trading with the Swiss franc, as the nation pushes its case for reserve-currency status at the International Monetary Fund. The link will start on Tuesday, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System said in a statement, making the franc the seventh major currency that can bypass a conversion into the U.S. dollar and be directly exchanged for yuan. The rate will be allowed to fluctuate a maximum 5 percent on either side of a daily fixing, according to CFETS.

“This is an important step in strengthening bilateral economic and trade connections between China and Switzerland,” the People’s Bank of China said in a statement on its website on Monday. The link will help lower conversion costs and facilitate the use of both currencies in bilateral trade, it added.The announcement, which confirmed an earlier report, comes as the IMF prepares to meet this month to review its Special Drawing Rights. The executive board of the Washington-based institution will gauge whether the Chinese currency has fulfilled the criterion of being “freely usable,” after rejecting its bid in 2010. The other major currencies that can be directly converted into yuan are the U.S., Australian and New Zealand dollars, the British pound, the Japanese yen and the euro. FULL REPORT

The post Yuan Moves To Topple Dollar appeared first on End Time Headlines.

FALLING AWAY – Most Christians in America Now Support Homosexuality?

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 06:01 AM PST

A comprehensive study released by the Pew Research Center analyzing various questions surrounding Americans’ relationship with religion has found that adults continue to overwhelmingly believe in God, but that support is declining. The poll also found that a majority American Christians now support homosexuality, but less so on abortion. Statistics from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, which polled 35,000 American adults, found that 89 percent of the overall U.S. adult population believes in God, which is down from the 92 percent mark in 2007.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 – 
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,  speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

Other aspects of religious life were also documented — 55 percent of adults said they pray daily; 53 percent said they find religion very important; and 50 percent said they attend services at least monthly, with all numbers being down from the 2007 statistics. The number of adults who are religiously unaffiliated rose from 16 percent to 23 percent, though that category comprises a broad number of views. Sixty-one percent of the unaffiliated said they believe in God, but only 9 percent attend services at least monthly. On the other hand, those who described themselves as religiously affiliated continued to show strong religious practices, with 97 percent expressing faith in God, and 62 percent attending religious services at least monthly. FULL REPORT

 

The post FALLING AWAY – Most Christians in America Now Support Homosexuality? appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Violent Shaking Along The Ring Of Fire Continues A Progression Of Disasters That Began In September

Posted: 08 Nov 2015 07:56 PM PST

( Michael Snyder ) Have you noticed that seismic activity along the Ring of Fire appears to be dramatically increasing? According to Volcano Discovery, 39 volcanoes around the world have recently erupted, and 32 of them are associated with the Ring of Fire. This includes Mt. Popocatepetl which sits only about 50 miles away from Mexico City’s 18 million inhabitants. If you are not familiar with the Ring of Fire, it is an area roughly shaped like a horseshoe that runs along the outer perimeter of the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 90 percent of all earthquakes and approximately 75 percent of all volcanic eruptions occur along the Ring of Fire.

Just within the last 24 hours, we have witnessed a 4.4, a 5.4 and a 5.7 earthquake in Alaska, a 6.8 earthquake in Chile and 20 earthquakes in Indonesia of at least magnitude 4.3. And as you will see below, this violent shaking along the Ring of Fire seems to continue a progression of major disasters that began back during the month of September. For whatever reason, our planet suddenly seems to be waking up. Unfortunately, the west coast of the United States is one of the areas where this is being felt the most. The little city of San Ramon, California is about 45 miles east of San Francisco, and over the past several weeks it has experienced a record-breaking 583 earthquakes…FULL REPORT

The post Violent Shaking Along The Ring Of Fire Continues A Progression Of Disasters That Began In September appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Terror alert as Islamic State’s ‘cyber caliphate’ hacks more than 54,000 Twitter accounts

Posted: 08 Nov 2015 07:34 PM PST

Details of more than 54,000 Twitter accounts, including passwords, were published last week in what experts have described as a dangerous escalation of the global cyber war. The group calling itself ‘cyber caliphate’, set up by ISIS member Junaid Hussain, encouraged its followers to seize control of the accounts and use them to spread ISIS propaganda. Victims were forced to defencelessly watch as ISIS rhetoric appeared under their names.

The jihadis also posted personal details on the social media platform – including mobile phone numbers of the heads of the CIA, FBI and America’s National Security Agency (NSA). Most of those affected are based in Saudi Arabia, but some are feared to be British. One victim, a half-British engineer based in Saudi Arabia said: “I am horrified at how they got hold of my details.” FULL REPORT

The post Terror alert as Islamic State’s ‘cyber caliphate’ hacks more than 54,000 Twitter accounts appeared first on End Time Headlines.

North Carolina’s New Welfare Rules Are Causing A Stir Across America.

Posted: 08 Nov 2015 07:23 PM PST

New food stamp restrictions have been signed into law in North Carolina. Starting next year, recipients of food stamps will have to meet work requirements to stay eligible for them. This new bill was passed by state lawmakers in September, then finally signed by Governor Pat McCrory in mid October. Approximately 45,000 beneficiaries will be affected by these new statutes.

In a nutshell, the law requires recipients to meet work requirements in order to receive the welfare which was originally laid out in the Personal Responsibility and Work opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 which was then removed following economic recession in 2008. In order to receive this welfare, any childless, able-bodied adult between 18 & 49 must meet work requirements in order to take part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP.) FULL REPORT

The post North Carolina’s New Welfare Rules Are Causing A Stir Across America. appeared first on End Time Headlines.

 


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

If you picked up a hitchhiker (not that I recommend doing that) and he saw a Bible on your car seat and said, “I’ve heard about this thing called the Gospel – can you explain it to me before you drop me off in one minute up the street?” What would you say?

Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?

Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


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


Resource Links

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 Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

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Here’s the Jerusalem Post coverage of the address I gave on the threat of Radical Islam to the Jerusalem Leaders Summit.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

JerusalemPost-logo2

Jerusalem Post reporter covered the address I gave last week to the Jerusalem Leaders Summit. Below is the article that was published.

I was also interviewed by two other Israeli reporters at the Summit. If those interviews are published, I will let you know. Please join me in praying that a growing number of U.S., European and Israeli government, business and religious leaders truly understand the threats we face and are committed to protecting their citizens from both Radical Islam and Apocalyptic Islam. Thanks so much.

International threat of radical Islam discussed at Jerusalem Leadership Summit

By Daniel K. Eisenbud, Jerusalem Post, November 4, 2015

The gravest threat facing the world today is indisputably radical Islam, the American-Israeli New York Times best-selling author and former US and Israel political adviser, Joel Rosenberg, said at the Jerusalem Leadership Summit in the capital on Wednesday.

While he emphasized that the…

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A Jonathan Edwards Warning Label

The Reformed Reader

The Life of John Newton Many of our readers may know that some in the new Calvinist movement are huge fans of Jonathan Edwards.  For example, John Piper constantly refers to Edwards and was very much influenced by his writings.  However brilliant and helpful Edwards is, there are some troublesome spots in his theology and philosophy.  We can benefit from Edwards’ writings, but we also need to remember that Edwards had his flaws and is not the best example of solid, Reformed confessional theology.  On this topic, here’s a blog post I wrote back in 2012:

Near the end of Josiah Bull’s biography of John Newton, there’s a quote by Newton that is somewhat critical of the great American theologian Jonathan Edwards. Here it is: “Mr. Edwards was an excellent man, but some of his writings are too metaphysical, and particularly that book [The Freedom of the Will].  If I understand it…

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