by Mike Ratliff
24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Matthew 23:24 (NASB)
A huge trap that Christians can fall into is self-righteousness. It is a form of idolatry and that always causes spiritual blindness (Romans 1:24-25). Self-righteousness puts all effort towards godliness in the wrong place. It creates a form of piety that is all about outward appearances while putting little or no priority on matters of the heart. It is all about being concerned about appearances and what others think rather than being totally committed to abiding in Christ from within first. The self-righteous are consciously holy. However, that is not what we are called to be. Christians must be consciously repentant and unconsciously holy. The difference is huge for these are totally opposite walks.
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A 2008 article in The Washington Post described Rick Warren, one of the most visible Southern Baptists in the world, as “a megachurch pastor and philanthropist who is courted by political leaders worldwide, says he thinks Christianity needs a ‘second Reformation’ that would steer the church away from divisive politics and be ‘about deeds, not creeds.’” (Source) Clearly he has forgotten what the Protestant Reformation was about, as you will see in this piece over at Christian News:
Megachurch leader Rick Warren, known for his best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” said in a recent interview that he hopes his partnership with a local Roman Catholic leader to collaboratively combat social ills becomes a “model” for others around the world. His remarks have drawn disagreement from those who believe that ecumenism with those who preach another gospel is unbiblical.
The Roman Catholic site Crux published the interview, which featured both Warren and friend Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange, on Sept. 14. They were asked by interviewer and diocese Chancellor Pia de Solenni to share about how their friendship formed and developed.
Vann recalled that Warren attended his installation as the bishop of Orange and also called to congratulate him. The two continued to communicate and soon also began praying together.
“This nation is plagued with sin and needs the gospel and the Church is commissioned to take it to the world,” Jeff Maples reminds us. “Yet, we have men like Josh Feuerstein garnering support by the hundreds of thousands to boycott Starbucks because of the color of the cups they use at Christmas and Robert Jeffress running around with false teachers like Paula White and Kenneth Copeland to promote Donald Trump’s patriotic Christianity, virtue signaling, and idolatrous utopian American system of freedom while denying the power of the gospel to change the hearts of the lost (2 Timothy 3:5-7).”
Read more of Maples’ view of “Patriotic Christianity” over at Pulpit & Pen:
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. –2 Timothy 2:23
I must admit it’s been fascinating to watch the hordes of professing Christians get fired up this past week after Donald Trump’s speech calling NFL players who kneeled during the pledge of allegiance or singing of the national anthem “sons of b**ches.” If you’ve been watching the brouhaha brewing over this debacle, it becomes apparent that Christians in America are willing to latch onto any cause that preserves their idols of freedom and entertainment.
On the one hand, you have the black community who, in many cases, believe they have been marginalized and mistreated by society under the American flag and on the other hand, you have the patriotic idolaters of this nation who, under no circumstances, can allow any apparent disrespect to happen to this nation.
Postmodernism is no longer an external threat, sequestered to the ivory towers of academia. Today it has infiltrated the local church. How often do we hear sentences that begin with the words, “To me God is like . . .”? And how many Bible studies posit the question, “What does this verse mean to you?” In the postmodern mindset, the only One who doesn’t have a say in how God is defined is God Himself.
But the subjectivity doesn’t end with who God is. It extends to how He relates to us and vice versa. Christ’s commands are now optional, His message ambiguous, and His salvation a path of our own choosing.
Over the last few weeks on the blog, John MacArthur has explored the nature of truth and its prospects of survival in a postmodern world. In his sermon “Is Jesus the Only Way?” he examines postmodernism’s assault on the gospel itself.
There is a widespread ambiguity about the gospel, and there are some very popular prominent evangelical leaders who are apostles of this ambiguity, who are content to leave the precision out and have a kind of gospel that is like soft clay and can be shaped into any form that satisfies you.
Now we can get some things wrong without severe eternal consequences, but we can’t get this wrong without severe eternal consequences. The heart of our faith, of course, is the gospel of salvation, and we must understand the gospel as the gospel truly is in its saving reality and its saving power. True Christians have always believed and taught that you can’t be saved from eternal hell unless you hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and believe that gospel.
There’s no way to overstate the importance of Christ’s exclusive role as the Savior of sinners. Every other option leads to eternal damnation. That’s why the true church needs to be continually reminded of the clear dichotomy between the truth of the Christian gospel and the utter falsehood of every other religious system.
We must not be deceived by false gospels that redefine truth, nor by compromised gospels that dilute it. We are armed with the true gospel—the only means by which sinners can be reconciled to God. To that end, “Is Jesus the Only Way?” does a great service to the ultimate cause of every Christian.
John MacArthur’s sermon is a timely and necessary reminder that when we come to Christ, we have found the very personification of “the truth” (John 14:6).
Click here to listen to “Is Jesus the Only Way?”.
Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170929
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The following are videos from the Reformation Conference 2017 at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on September 14-15, 2017.
The conference include speakers from Kevin DeYoung, David S. Dockery, Timothy George, Michael Haykin, Michael Horton, Tom McCall, David Luy, Scott Manetsch, Ron Rittgers.
The webpage for the event stated the conference purpose: “Celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and revisit its message about the value of the Word.”
Here are the videos:
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Baptist Press has the story:
Steve Scalise, the House’s majority whip and a leading conservative in the Republican Party, spoke today (Sept. 28) after walking into the packed chamber with the aid of crutches. He was shot June 14 at an Alexandria, Va., park as GOP members practiced for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.
His ability to return to the House “starts with God,” Scalise said. “When I was laying out on that ball field, the first thing I did once I was down and I couldn’t move anymore was I just started to pray. And I tell you it gave me an unbelievable sense of calm, knowing at that point it was in God’s hands.
“But I prayed for very specific things,” he told his colleagues. “And I’ll tell you, pretty much every one of those prayers was answered, and there were some pretty challenging prayers I was putting in God’s hand. But He really did deliver for me and my family. And it just gives you that renewed faith and understanding that the power of prayer is something that you just cannot underestimate.”
The following news story from Christian Post is for informational and research purposes only. We do not endorse CP, as the publication is sorely lacking in discernment. Before we get to Leonardo Blair’s piece, you should know that T.D. Jakes is a Oneness Pentecostal (anti-trinitarian). As you’re about to see, Rev. Jakes shamelessly propagates the false prosperity gospel that distorts the true Gospel of Jesus Christ:
Popular megachurch pastor, Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas, sparked a furor online Sunday when he told his 2.8 million followers on Twitter that if they obey God, they will never be broke again.
The Christian Post reached out to The Potter’s House on Thursday to verify if the tweet was made by Jakes himself or an account administrator but no one was available.
On Monday, critics began questioning the biblical genesis of the statement and Jakes responded: “David said, ‘yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.’”
From Berean Research:
What could we find wrong with young people from all over the world gathering together to pray? Especially when those who participate say that during their prayer time they experience “peace, faith and trust.”
Taizé (prounced tuh-zay) is a tiny monastic community nestled in the French countryside. The community was founded in 1940 by Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche, a Reformed Protestant. Although Brother Roger, as he was called, was stabbed to death by a mentally ill woman in 2005, his dream continues. According to Wikipedia “The community has become one of the world’s most important sites of Christian pilgrimage, with a focus on youth. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work.” The community has become “an important site for Catholic–Lutheran ecumenism.” The thing that Bible believing Christians will find troubling is that Taizé music and prayers include chants and icons from the Eastern Orthodox tradition….and it is steeped in mystical monasticism.
In his book “Taizé: A Community and Worship: Ecumenical Reconciliation or an Interfaith Delusion?” Steve Lawson warns that Taizé prayer is running rampant in the Church throughout the world. Lighthouse Trails has an excerpt from Lawson’s book. Find out what this growing movement is all about:
1 God (Elohim) is portrayed here as ready to judge. He “presides” (niṣṣāb; cf. Isa 3:13; Am 7:7; 9:1) as the Great Judge. God assembles the “gods” together for judgment in “the assembly of El” (MT; NIV, “the great assembly”). The assembly of El is a borrowed phrase from Canaanite mythology, according to which El, the chief of the pantheon, assembled the gods in a divine council (see Dahood, 2:269).
For Israel there is no other God than Yahweh. He embodies within himself all the epithets and powers attributed to pagan deities. The God of Israel holds a mock trial so as to impress his people that he alone is God. Zimmerli, 155, has expressed the superiority of Israel’s God well in these words: “Whenever a hymn speaks of those other divine powers, whose existence is by no means denied on theoretical grounds, it can only be with reference to the One who will call their actions to judgment (Ps. 82), or in the spirit of superiority that mocks their impotence (Pss. 115:4–8; 135:15–18).”
82:1 / In the opening verse a liturgist or prophetic voice provides the congregation with the psalm’s visionary setting in God’s heavenly royal council chambers. Here, we enter a world very foreign to us.
82:1 The court is called to order. The Judge has taken His place at the bench. It is God Himself. He has called a special session of the divine council in order to reprove the rulers and judges of the earth. They are called gods because they are representatives of God, ordained by Him as His servants in order to maintain an ordered society. Actually, of course, they are only men like ourselves. But because of their position, they are the anointed of the Lord. Even if they do not know God personally, yet they are God’s agents officially and therefore dignified here with the name of gods. The basic meaning of the name is mighty ones.
82:1 His own congregation. The scene opens with God having called the world leaders together. midst of the rulers. The best interpretation is that these are human leaders, such as judges, kings, legislators, and presidents (cf. Ex 22:8, 9, 28; Jdg 5:8, 9). God the Great Judge, presides over these lesser judges.
82:1 in the divine council; in the midst of the gods. Many would take these terms in vv. 1 and 6 as describing the assembly of angelic beings who surround God’s throne as a divine court (cf. 1 Kings 22:19; Job 1:6; 2:1). This finds support in the way that the title “sons of the Most High” matches the label “sons of God” in Job; cf. also the “heavenly beings” (or “gods”) in Ps. 8:5 (see note there). On the other hand, these “gods” are said to “judge” among men (82:2–4) and to die like men (v. 7); God is to judge the earth and to inherit the nations (where mankind lives, v. 8). This makes it better to see these as human rulers, who hold their authority as representatives of the true God (and therefore deserve respect; cf. 58:1; Rom. 13:1–7; 1 Pet. 2:13–17). Of course this does not require ultimate loyalty that overrides faithfulness to God, or that silences testimony about God’s justice, as this very psalm makes clear. Jesus seems to have read the psalm in this way, since in John 10:34–35 he cites Ps. 82:6, describing the “gods” as those to whom the word of God came, which means they were human. See also note on v. 6.
82:1 stands The Hebrew word used here, nitsav, is a singular verbal form, which means that its subject, which is elohim in Hebrew—and could be translated as “God” or “gods”—should be translated in the singular as “God.” The imagery that extends from this verb is one of presiding, since the setting is a formal council meeting.
the divine assembly A descriptive phrase used of the heavenly host. Like other ancient Near Eastern cultures, the psalmist conceived of God as directing the affairs of the unseen world through an administration of divine beings. The members of the heavenly host are often referred to as a “council” or “assembly” (see 1 Kgs 22:19–23).
in the midst of the gods The Hebrew preposition used here, qerev, requires the Hebrew word elohim to be translated as a plural here—as “gods.” The gods in the verse are the council members, the heavenly host (see Psa 82:6). A council of divine beings is also mentioned in 89:5–7, where they are depicted as in heaven or the skies.
82:1 the divine council. The exact scope of this congregation is unclear. It may be the heavenly assembly (including only spiritual powers), or it may include earthly kings.
 VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 623). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Hubbard, R. L. J., & Johnston, R. K. (2012). Foreword. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Psalms (p. 336). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 674). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 82:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (pp. 1041–1042). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 82:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 810). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.