Category Archives: Opinion/Commentary

The Cripplegate: Why Seminary? Exhibit C: John MacArthur

“‎Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; the cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” – Mark Twain

In Exhibit A: Joel Osteen, we embarked on a discussion about the value of seminary for those aspiring to the preaching ministry. We witnessed Larry King pull an Emperor’s New Clothes routine on Osteen by pointing out to the world that the pastor of USA’s largest church had no theological training.

King then proceeded to expose what that looks like in practice: A series of questions any pastor should be equipped to answer was met with Osteen’s sheepish and increasingly predictable refrain of, “I don’t know.” We then turned our attention to Exhibit B, another “untrained” megachurch pastor of yesteryear, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Spurgeon’s studies, though informal, were nonetheless rigorous, comprehensive, and effective. Of course, having a photographic memory must have proven useful.

There is one more witness I’d like to call to the stand in making my case, namely Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr.

John MacArthur is the preaching pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles.

I encountered Iain Murray’s biography of MacArthur and I was struck with how seminary altered the course of this man’s life. MacArthur described himself as a sports-crazed college student and confessed: “I never let books get in the way of my education.”

After a dramatic car accident he acquiesced to a perceived call to pursue the ministry. He studied at Talbot Theological Seminary in California under the renowned Rabbi-turned-Christian-scholar, Dr. Charles Feinberg. It was at seminary that the reluctant student fell in love with theology, the original languages, writing, and preaching. And a good thing he did.

When he pursued a doctoral degree at another institution he was told that his previous seminary had given him “too much Bible.” He was instructed to read his way through a formidable list of “dead German liberals” which put him off the idea of further formal studies.

This is where MacArthur’s path and Spurgeon’s meet up again. As with the 19th Century preacher, MacArthur continued his own education driven by a voracious curiosity and insatiable desire to understand the Bible more deeply.

Without the meandering guidance of (spiritually and otherwise) deceased liberal scholars, MacArthur’s theological understanding continued to deepen and sharpen on the lodestone of self-preparation. He credits expository preaching as being the fuel for this fire of learning– to produce two fresh messages weekly forces you to drink deeply yourself.

A publishing deal with Moody ensured that he would need to be thorough and fresh in order to fill their vision of a commentary set based on verse by verse preaching of the entire New Testament, a herculean feat completed in 2011.

So, though seminary set the course of his life, it was his own commitment to self-study that ensured the theological astuteness and piercing discernment (or dizernment, his idiosyncratic pronunciation) for which he would become legendary.

MacArthur’s confidence in the veracity of God’s word begets confidence in proclaiming it, as was evident in his interview with Larry King.

Here are some excerpts from MacArthur’s counterpart to Osteen’s Larry King Live interview:

KING: John MacArthur, what happens when you die?

MACARTHUR: Well, when you die, you go to one of two places. According to Scripture. You go out of the presence of God forever, or you go into the presence of God forever.

KING: Depending?

MACARTHUR: Depending upon your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which is, according to the Bible, the only way to enter heaven.

KING: So therefore a Jew or a Muslim or a Buddhist will not go to heaven?

MACARTHUR: Christian theology and the Scripture says that only through faith in Jesus Christ.

KING: And you — when we say what happened, what happens? Do you go somewhere as a body?

MACARTHUR: No, your body stays. We go to the funeral. We see the body. It goes into the grave. It decays. Your spirit immediately goes either in the presence of God or out, waiting the final resurrection. There will be a resurrection of all bodies in the end, a resurrection unto life or a resurrection unto damnation.

KING: It is, John MacArthur, is it not, a guess on your — an educated guess based on your Scriptures, your reading, your faith, but you don’t know, you don’t know know, do you? How can you know?

MACARTHUR: Because the Bible says so.

KING: But you believe the Bible?

MACARTHUR: Well, I believe the Bible, but I believe the Bible can be defended. I believe through the centuries the Bible has stood the test of intense scrutiny, and it is the real and true revelation of God, and it speaks truly about life and death. And someone has been there and come back, and that’s Jesus Christ.

KING: How come only one?

MACARTHUR: How come only one what?

KING: Person ever come back?

MACARTHUR: Well, that’s because the design of leaving this world is to go into the eternal world. The only person who came from the eternal world into this world is Jesus Christ.

There have been a few others, by the way. In fact in the Old Testament, the prophets raised a few from the dead. In the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles raised a few from the dead. And at the death of Christ on the cross, the graves were open and some were raised. And that’s indicative of the fact that there will be an actual physical resurrection to join with the spirits that are with God at death.

[Find the rest at http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0504/14/lkl.01.html]

Quite a marked difference to what we saw of Osteen’s “I don’t know” stock answers under Exhibit A.

If you watch the video of this interview you are struck with how unhesitant MacArthur is. He gets a question. He answers it. Bam. No apology, no stammering, no ifs and buts. I love it. That confidence comes from years of deep study in the Scriptures. It’s not about your opinion; you know what God says.

Aspiring seminoids should be encouraged. If you are unable to get to seminary, do the next best thing. Get a reading list of what is covered in that seminary. Plow through it with relentless commitment. Take a course in Greek at a local university.

And fill your time with the pursuit of biblical knowledge and understanding. Forget the dead Germans and be content to have God’s approval instead of man’s. You don’t need a degree, just faithfulness with what has been entrusted to you.

I rest my case.

Source: Why Seminary? Exhibit C: John MacArthur

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CultureWatch: Compromised Churches Denying the Uniqueness of Christ

The uniqueness of Jesus Christ is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. His origins, his birth, his actions, his teachings, his death and resurrection, and his eternal status all set him apart from every other religious figure that ever lived.

Jesus is unique. Jesus is God, Jesus is saviour. Jesus is king. Moses is not. Buddha is not. Muhammad is not. There is only one true God, one true religion, and one true way to God. This is basic Christian teaching, and it has been so for 2000 years.

Let me spell this out in more detail: Unlike so many other religious leaders, Jesus made his own identity the focal point of his teaching. Who He was, not just what he said, was the essential thing. He didn’t say I am God’s messenger, or I can point the way to God.

He said I am God! He claimed to be far more than just a teacher or a prophet. He didn’t claim to just point to the truth. He claimed to be the truth. He didn’t just point the way to salvation. He claimed to be the only source of salvation. And he is the only religious leader to come back from the grave.

But plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing are trying to deny all this, water all this down, and elevate false prophets and false religions to a place of theological equivalence with Christ and Christianity. And the interfaith movement is a primary place in which we see this occurring.

The idea that Christ is simply on a par with other religious leaders and that Christianity is not really superior to any other religion is a basic part of so much of the interfaith movement. In the interests of just getting along, truth claims are downplayed and superficial similarities are played up.

That is not how any Christian pastor or leader should operate. We need to stand for biblical truth at all costs. Seeking to live harmoniously with others in a very disharmonised world is commendable, but this should never come at the expense of biblical truth.

But we see the war on Christian truth occurring all the time sadly. I have often documented how the biblical faith gets slammed as clueless Christian leaders recklessly join in with interfaith endeavours. We had another doozy of an example of this happening just the other day. Consider this recent religious news item:

A Church of England church in London has come under fire for holding a joint birthday celebration for Jesus and Mohammed. The “Milad, Advent and Christmas Celebration” took place on Sunday at All Saints Church in Kingston upon Thames. In a promotional flier, the church said the service was “Marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed and looking forward to the birthday of Jesus”. The hour-long service included time for Islamic prayer and was followed by the cutting of a birthday cake.

The piece continues:

The church organised the event alongside the Kingston Inter Faith Forum and the South London Inter Faith Group. Earlier this year, a passage from the Koran denying that Jesus is the Son of God was read during a service at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow. The passage claims that Mary was “ashamed” after giving birth and that Jesus spoke to her from his crib. At the time, the Revd Dr Gavin Ashenden, then chaplain to the Queen, referred to the reading as “blasphemy”, saying: “There are other and considerably better ways to build ‘bridges of understanding’”.

Wow, what madness. Here we have the founder of a political ideology responsible for the death of more Christians than any other person in human history being celebrated right along with Jesus Christ. And this Kingston church wants to honour the guy!

As commentator Archbishop Cranmer put it: “Every time a church accords Mohammed the epithet ‘Prophet’, they are rejecting the crucifixion, denying the resurrection of Christ, and refuting that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, for Mohammed denied all of these foundational tenets of the Christian faith.”

Does the good Rev from Kingston actually read his Bible? Had he simply read 1 John 2:22-23 he would have known not to proceed with this idolatrous powwow: “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

And if that is not clear enough, the Rev should go on and read 1 John 4:1-3:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

If one religion celebrates and affirms the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and another says such a concept is utterly blasphemous, then they are clearly not on the same page, and no Christian church should be celebrating the birth of Muhammad along with the birth of Jesus.

One might as well celebrate the birthdays of Churchill and Stalin in a combined service. While the differences between the English leader and the Communist murderer are massive, even those differences pale in significance when we compare (or rather, contrast) Jesus with Muhammad.

I have written on this often. In one piece I discussed the clear theological differences when it comes to Christ. In Christianity we have this:

Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity, God’s final and perfect word to man. He came not just as God’s messenger, but as God incarnate, as Saviour and Lord. He is eternal and without sin, (and, since the incarnation) fully God and fully man, two complete natures in one person. He died on the cross for man’s sin and rose again on the third day, ascending to heaven. As predicted in the Old Testament, He will one day come again as Israel’s Messiah to set up His kingdom on earth and to subdue His enemies. Jesus Christ is the culminating thought of the Old Testament and the chief subject of the New Testament. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords to whom every knee will one day bow.

But in Islam we find this:

Isa, or Jesus, is revered as a Prophet but His divinity is vigorously denied. He was a mere man, only a messenger of Allah created by God. He was born of the virgin Mary, performed miracles, and yet disclaimed divine honours. Since it was unjust for the innocent and sinless Christ to die a criminal’s death, an “appearance” or a substitute was crucified on the cross, while Christ ascended to heaven where He now occupies an inferior station. One day He will return as one of Muhammad’s caliphs to help establish Islam as the world’s one true religion. On the side of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem it says in Arabic, “God has no son”. Contrast this with Matthew 3:17: “This is my Son, whom I love”.

And consider the differences when it comes to violence. As I wrote in an earlier piece, the two are complete opposites:

In sum, we find in the life, teachings and example of Muhammad nothing at all comparable to that of Jesus Christ. The two men could not be further apart in these areas. Claims that the two are both great religious leaders who share much in common are obviously quite wide of the mark.
On the one hand we have Jesus Christ who was the Prince of Peace who told us to love and forgive our enemies. On the other hand we have Muhammad who was a military leader who told us to kill and take revenge on our enemies. Muhammad preached “Death to the infidels!” while Jesus prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. The disciples of Muhammad killed for the faith while the disciples of Jesus were killed for their faith. The two could not be any more different.

That is why most of the interfaith initiatives should be avoided like the plague. They simply play down such differences because just getting along is seen as being more important. But Christian leaders must never be ashamed of biblical truth, and they must never shy away from affirming the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/london-church-celebrates-birthday-mohammed/
https://billmuehlenberg.com/2013/03/18/islam-and-christianity-major-differences/
http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/11/21/jesus-muhammad-and-violence/

Source: Compromised Churches Denying the Uniqueness of Christ

Christalignment: Our Cards lead the way….into the world of the occult

Christalignment, which has no connection whatsoever to the Lord Jesus Christ, uses “destiny cards” (tarot cards), some with Bible themes, to practice the prophetic. For those who are interested in a reading:

Team members can be booked individually for deep consultations, healing, spiritual readings, & spirit cleansing.

According to these frauds, the artists who design the cards are prophetic:

That means that as intuitive readers themselves and artists able to connect with spirit [demons] their art work carries meaning and power to change lives. Each painting has been done through connection to the third heaven realm.

The third heaven is the dwelling place of God.

More…

Our unique Love Destiny cards, which we have developed, are so accurate, that even if your life circumstances change dramatically, on your return to do them again years later, you will find the results identical, such is their accuracy.They are able to give profound insight into relationships, career and spiritual life.

Sadly, there are many people, including professing Christians, who actually buy into fortune telling. Using cards to tell one’s future is no different than gazing into a crystal ball or doing a teacup reading (looking at shapes formed by tea leaves after a cup of tea has been consumed) to see what the future holds.

What does the LORD say about this sort of thing:

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). (emphases added)

A video is provided at the end that shows a woman explaining to a potential client what he can expect during a reading. View article →

Be sure to check out Berean Research’s White Paper on Occult-Sorcery

Source: Christalignment: Our Cards lead the way….into the world of the occult

Colleges push hard for Christ-free Christmases

College administrators around the country, it seems, are rushing to acquiesce to even the most minor of voices on campuses to make sure the “C” word — that’s “C” for Christmas, shhh! — doesn’t cause angst in some offended student’s ears.

Basically, they’re driving hard to drive out the reason for the season, Jesus Christ.

The overriding message?

Don’t be religious.

Read more

Modern Day Witches Call Theirs ‘A Beautiful Way Of Life’

CBS2 was invited into the Church of the Eternal Circle, a Wiccan church in the state of New York. Witches are all about charms, potions, spells and magic. According to one of the witches “magic is simply the belief that you can make anything happen.” “My thoughts can heal,” sang the church’s high priestess. In other words, positive confession. Some witches actually wear black hooded robes. Brooms are used, not for flying, only for sweeping the circle and clearing the energy. Included in CBS2’s report is a video of the service.

At a time when participation in traditional religions is declining among Americans, the practice of witchcraft is said to be on the rise.

CBS2’s Ali Bauman went inside the secret world of modern-day witches to explore why so many say they’re falling under its spell.

“I am the high priestess,” Lisa Stewart said.

“To be a witch is incredibly relevant in today’s society,” Anton Stewart explained.

Nestled in the heart of the Hudson Valley is the Church of the Eternal Circle, the only legally recognized Wiccan Church in the state of New York.

“We follow the tradition of the craft of the wise — witchcraft — and we are witches,” Stewart said.

For the first time, members invited CBS2 to attend their services.

View article →

Source: Modern Day Witches Call Theirs ‘A Beautiful Way Of Life’

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 12/09/2017

 

Illinois Boy Who Identifies as Girl Sues to Use Girls’ Locker Room to Change for Gym Class   Dec 06, 2017 01:51 pm

Photo Credit: ABC7 Screenshot CHICAGO — An Illinois teenager who was born male but identifies as female has filed a lawsuit against his school district as he claims that he has been prohibited from using the girls’ locker room for gym class. The district says that the legal challenge does not correctly cite the accommodations that have been offered to the…

Continue reading the story

Atheist Flag to Be Raised Over New Hampshire Ten Commandments Monument   Dec 03, 2017 10:15 pm

Photo Credit: Facebook SOMERSWORTH, N.H. — A request from a local member of a national professing atheist organization to temporarily fly an atheist flag over a Ten Commandments monument in New Hampshire has been granted, and is scheduled to be hoisted next month. As previously reported, the city council of Somersworth voted to reinstall a nearly…

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US Supreme Court Hears Case of Baker Punished for Declining to Make Cake for Same-Sex Celebration   Dec 05, 2017 03:55 pm

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on Tuesday regarding whether or not a Christian baker in Colorado has the right to decline to make cakes for same-sex celebrations due to his religious convictions. The nine justices naturally were divided over Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, with the more liberal judges expressing…

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Barbie Instagram Account Shows Doll Wearing Homosexual Advocacy ‘Love Wins’ T-Shirt   Dec 02, 2017 05:30 pm

Photo Credit: Barbiestyle/Instagram MALIBU, Calif. — The designers of the famed fashion doll Barbie recently released two photos on Instagram of the figure wearing a “Love wins” t-shirt as a way to show support for homosexual causes. “Proud to wear this ‘Love Wins’ shirt with @songofstyle!” the Nov. 21 Barbiestyle post read in part, referring to designer…

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Supreme Court Declines to Hear Texas Case Regarding ‘Spousal’ Benefits of Homosexual Govt. Workers   Dec 06, 2017 11:13 pm

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to weigh in on a ruling from the Texas Supreme Court expressing that the nation’s highest court has not made clear whether the “spouses” of homosexual government workers are entitled to benefits. The nine justices denied the appeal of Turner v. Pidgeon without comment on Monday, along with dozens of other…

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School District Revises Policy After Student Told to Remove Prayer From Graduation Speech   Dec 02, 2017 11:32 am

Photo Credit: Christen Bridges, courtesy of First Liberty Institute BEAVER, Pa. — A school district in Pennsylvania has revised its policy regarding graduation speeches after a student was told earlier this year that she had to remove a prayer from her speech because its inclusion would be illegal. The Beaver Area School District recently sent a letter to…

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Saying Grace Before Meal Could Offend Non-Christians and Atheists, UK Girl Guides Leaders Told   Dec 03, 2017 08:57 am

(Premier) — It has emerged young UK Guides members are not being invited to thank God during grace, under guidance being issued to leaders in a bid boost inclusivity. While acknowledging that it “may be traditional to say or sing grace before a meal” during a residential event, the advice urges leaders to consider “how this might make members who are from a…

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Supreme Court Declines Humanist Appeal of Ruling Declaring Prayer at Texas School Board Meeting Constitutional   Dec 05, 2017 10:27 pm

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined a humanist organization’s petition for an appeal of a federal circuit court ruling that unanimously concluded that prayers presented at board meetings for a Texas school district are constitutional and do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. “The speeches given by students at the board…

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‘I Was Led by God’: Police Officer Adopts Homeless Drug Addicted Woman’s Newborn Baby   Dec 06, 2017 11:24 am

Photo Credit: CNN screenshot ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A police officer in New Mexico recently adopted a homeless woman’s baby after finding the woman and her male friend shooting up heroin on the street. According to reports, Albuquerque police officer Ryan Holets was investigating a reported robbery at a convenience store in September when he spotted a man and…

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Pro-Life Teen Punched Outside Planned Parenthood Facility   Dec 04, 2017 06:49 pm

(Todd Starnes) — A 15-year-old pro-life student was sucker-punched during a violent altercation Saturday outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Roanoke, Virginia. The unprovoked attack was captured on film by a Liberty University student. The teenager was part of a Students for Life of America group that was engaged on sidewalk counseling on public property…

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Survey: Majority of Western Europeans do Not Believe in Heaven or Hell

A new survey shows that in a number of Western nations, the population no longer believes in Heaven or Hell, even if they also claim to believe in God.

The global survey from Ipsos, called “Perils of Perception,” found that a small percentage of the population in those countries believe in Heaven or Hell.

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December 9, 2017 Worldview and Apologetics in the News

Donald Trump’s Christmas Statement Shows How Little He Understands About Christianity

Christian baker vs. the state of Colorado: Most anticipated Supreme Court case begins oral arguments

Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique 1  Ravi’s statement is here.

Key Connections (December 8, 2017)

6 Things Christ Accomplished by His Death (Servants of Grace, Matt Perman)

The reality of substitution is at the heart of the atonement. Christ accomplished all of the above benefits for us by dying in our place – that is, by dying instead of us. We deserved to die, instead, He took our sin upon Him and paid the penalty Himself.

Teaching Your Children the Virtue of Waiting (The Good Book Blog, Scott James)

As your children excitedly wait for Christmas morning, look for opportunities to talk with them about what it was like to faithfully wait for Jesus’s birth all those years ago. Our anticipation of Christmas only lasts a month or so, but during this time we can lead our kids to better appreciate what it means to trust God as we wait, knowing he always keeps his promises.

Stop Apologizing for God (Desiring God, Tony Reinke)

God is not a kitten. He’s a tiger. He’s good, but he’s not tame. He is the God we find in Ezekiel. If we choose to live in denial, our worship will weaken, our standards of purity will diminish, our mission will skid to a halt, our message will be hollowed out, and our part in God’s global work will become more and more trivial.

Featured Sermon: Giving Thanks for Salvation (Grace to You, Cameron Buettel)

But true Christian gratitude is never rooted in temporal circumstances. Our thankfulness must rest in eternal realities. That’s why John MacArthur chose to focus on the glorious truths of salvation in his Thanksgiving sermon “Giving Thanks for Salvation.” We should never stop meditating on the glorious truths of redemption. The gospel is a message for believers as well as unbelievers—it calls sinners to repentance and saints to remembrance.

Three Ways Your Faith is Tested When God Says “No” (Unlocking the Bible, Colin Smith)

Brother, sister, for all eternity, who you are and what you will be will rest on Jesus Christ and all that he has done for you. That’s grace—and understanding grace takes the sting out of disappointment! When you know what it cost the Savior for your name to be written in heaven, for your sins to be forgiven, and for your eternal future to be secured, you will find great joy in what he has done for you, irrespective of what you may or may not get to do for him.

The post Key Connections (December 8, 2017) appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

DBG Weekend Spotlight (12-8-17)

In this session from the 2010 Ligonier West Coast Conference, Christless Christianity, John MacArthur exposed the ministry teaching and methods of Joel Osteen.

Announcing a New Series of Booklets — Tim Challies announces a new series of booklets.

Warning: Christmas Is Coming! — “Your family is about to be attacked by a holiday season.

You Are Never More Justified Than the Moment You First Believed — “In this brief clip from his teaching series The Whole Christ, Sinclair Ferguson explains that our sanctification does not add to our justification.”

An Update on Dr. Sproul’s Health — Dr. Sproul is hospitalized and you can keep up with his condition over at Ligonier’s website.  Please take time to pray for him.

Immutability and Reformed Theology — Kevin DeYoung will challenge you to think regarding God’s immutability in this article.  He writes, “This means that we should not write off all the “relenting” language as simply “anthropomorphic.” While there is “some truth in that description” as it describes things from an atemporal perspective, the anthropomorphic label is not helpful in describing God as an actor in history.”

Benny Hinn Suddenly Realizes God Might Be Real — From the Babylon Bee.

Churchill Film ‘Darkest Hour’ Offers Compelling Vision of Leadership — Owen Strachan provides a helpful review of the new film on Churchill.

$5 Friday: Jesus, the Trinity, & Holiness — Some good books because it’s Friday!

Bethlehem’s Supernatural Star — “Over and over the Bible baffles our curiosity about just how certain things happened. How did this “star” get the magi from the east to Jerusalem?”

 

The post DBG Weekend Spotlight (12-8-17) appeared first on Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace.

This ‘n’ That for 12/08/2017

  • Michelle Lesley helps us sort out and articulate the primary problems with so many women’s ministries today.
  • Last week, we talked about the Advent season, and mentioned some things we can do to keep our eyes,  minds, and hearts fixed on Christ during this busy time of year. Christina Fox offerssome practical, simple, biblical ideas with the same goal.
  • Newer forms and formulations of contraception still carry a risk of breast cancer, especially as women age (age is a risk factor anyway). This is significant since birth control is widely distributed and heavily promoted. While risk of breast cancer increases with age, women who are on hormonal contraception longer are also at increased risk. On the flip side, birth control has been seen to decrease risk of other dangerous cancers in women. Use of hormonal contraception is a personal choice, but it helps to have all the facts while you make your decision.
  • To Santa Claus or not to Santa Claus? Here’s why one family chose not, and here are some ways to keep it biblical if you choose to include Santa Claus in your Christmas tradition.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Tis the season for my favorite Tim Hawkins bit. “I think the shepherd boy’s been in the field a little too long!”
  • Theology books are on sale! Just remember, though—reading about theology and doctrine isn’t the same as living it out. Reading about sanctification won’t sanctify you. Reading about holiness won’t make you holy. Head knowledge is nice, but it can’t save you and isn’t necessarily a fruit of salvation.
  • I pretty much need every single one of these.
  • A look at how God’s grace is evident in Jesus’ genealogy.
Here’s a side to the Christmas story that isn’t often told: Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant’s head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear. Jesus was born to die. — John MacArthur

Weekly Watchman for 12/08/2017

Listener Questions and Comments

Today we answer your questions to the best of our ability and read your comments from this week. The topics we address today include:

The deception of Liberal Christianity.

Why truth and doctrine is divisive.

What is Calvinism?

A Muslim perspective on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The lack of strong, bible-based leadership in some churches.

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

Is the Church prepared to address potential sexual harassment charges?

Why so many pastors refuse to talk about abortion/life in a mother’s womb.

Is President Trump really a born-again believer?

The takeover of American Churches by progressive ideology.

Merry Christmas!

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 5:8-9

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How SCOTUS Works, & the Significance of Standing With Israel

Over the past several decades, most presidential candidates declared they believe Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel and that they would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem if elected. History has proven this to be political rhetoric to capture more votes as no past president has followed through on the promise – Until now. Yesterday, President Trump kept his campaign promise–a rarity for candidates these days–and proclaimed the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and would begin plans to move our embassy there. Whatever you think of President, Trump it is certainly refreshing to see a candidate actually follow through on a campaign promise.

Other than Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, world leaders are reacting with anger, claiming this will set the “peace process” back. This is the same ‘peace process” that has produced zero results for many decades. This morning we will discuss the potential effects of this courageous move by a controversial president.

In our first segment, we check in with Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Council and hear some fascinating insights on how the Supreme Court works, as well as her thoughts on the opening arguments in the Jack Phillips’ religious freedom case. Is religious freedom hanging in the balance and could it come down to one man’s vote?

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Protecting Children, Ministry Leaders, & Christian Business Owners

We face an enemy who is crafty, experienced, and evil; Satan is ‘the father of lies.’ Ever since his unsuccessful rebellion against God at the beginning of time he has honed his craft, finding innovative ways to attack the children of God in hopes of discrediting the gospel message.

Today, Christians face increasing discrimination and ridicule in our nation. Fueled by Hollywood, media, public education, and a progressive government, we are seeing the rights of religious expression and worship attacked on several fronts. Cities and states are passing laws forcing Christian churches and organizations to choose to either approve of and support immoral, unbiblical values or risk being shut down.

But the enemy we face is clever and devious and never puts all his eggs in one basket. He is also stirring up problems within Christian churches and ministries by attacking our compassion for others. Churches and ministries are committed to ministering to anyone seeking help or hope. But the enemy has sent “spies” into our camp attempting to undermine our work. We are seeing frivolous lawsuits aimed at discrediting and even shutting down faithful warriors for Christ in order to intimidate the church.

In our second segment, we share the sad story surrounding Ravi Zacharias, a respected Christian leader dedicated to sharing the gospel and loving others, who was falsely accused of sexual improprieties even though it appears he did everything he could to be above reproach.

In segment three, we touch on the opening arguments of the Supreme Court case involving Christian artist and bakery chop owner, Jack Phillips, who is simply asking not to be forced to take part in gay marriages.

In our first segment we check in with Tina Griffin of Counter Culture Mom to discuss how we protect our children against the horrible influences of movies and video games. We also discuss the increased sensitivity to sexual harassment in our nation and the downside of ‘guilty until proven innocent.’

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The Advent Season

We are three weeks away from the celebration of Jesus Christ, our messiah, being born as a human, living as one of us yet remaining sinless, and dying on a cross for our sins. Yet the sole focus of the Christmas season seems to be on the birth of Christ, not including his life, death, burial, resurrection and promise that He would return one day to judge all men by His Word. Are we in essence “misrepresenting” Him when we fail to communicate the full gospel and reason for His first and second coming during the Christmas season.

Dave Wager of Silver Birch Ranch joins us to discuss this and also how pastors, churches and ministries should react to the increase in charges of sexual harassment bombarding our institutions. Should this cause us to look at how we counsel and disciple people?

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Ignorance of Scripture & History = Communism in America

Although Donald Trump won the last presidential election, polls show that a major factor was the distrust and dislike of Hillary Clinton, and that if Senator Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee, we might now be saying “President Sanders” instead of “President Trump.” Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist and proponent of classical Communism, could have easily become the president of the United States and ushered in with him a Congress who thinks the same way. Just twenty years ago an avowed Communist running for President would have been ignored and laughed off the stage. But according to recent polling of Democrat voters, Sanders is again their top choice to run against President Trump in 2020.

How can our young people and many in the Democrat Party ignore history and support the brutality of godless Communism over the model of our democratic Republic [under God] and capitalism? To answer that question, you start by looking at how history is taught in our public education system, and also how the professing Christian Church in America has given a platform to people like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne and others who profess to be Christians yet pervert the writings of God’s Word to support their humanist agenda. Their teaching is blatant apostasy.

Tied to this modern Communist movement, which has been repackaged as “compassionate,” are the increasing attacks on the religious freedoms of Christians in America. This morning, we focus on this unholy matrimony that is threatening our freedoms and prosperity as a nation. Due to our education system, many have fallen for the propaganda of rewritten American history. And under the guise of “social justice,” many within the church have turned away from the gospel and truth of the Bible, seeking the ways of fallen man to find peace, prosperity, and unity.

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