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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Review: American Devastation & Shame

2015 was a year of devastating judgment on America.

The mockery of marriage, punishing people who stand up for Biblical marriage, evil terrorists killing people who never hurt them, hatred toward the police, and learning that Planned "Parenthood" is harvesting body parts of the babies they slaughter.  Then, to top it off, the Congress that votes to defund  Planned "Parenthood" turns around and funds it in the budget in traitorous fashion.
This is the message I just sent to my congressman (minus the names):
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Congressman X,

Why did you vote for a budget that funded Planned "Parenthood" after voting to defund them?    It is unconscionable that a Congress that claims to be pro-life would continue to fund an organization who is out to encourage promiscuity, murders for profit, and does everything it can to encourage irresponsible and murderous behavior.  We are left stunned and stymied at this vote, and no longer trusting of the Republicans who claim to be pro-life.

Sincerely,
X
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On top of all of this bad news, so-called Christians want to tell us to tone down what we say about the murder of the unborn.  Some do things that would even appear to console or be supportive of the people involved in murder.
We should never physically harm the people, of course.  We should be willing to speak the truth though.
If you really love someone, you speak the truth.  We can't skip over the bad news of judgment to get to the good news.  There is no good news for those who are unrepentant.  They will face the Judgment Seat, and they won't get an "It's okay" message from God.
This world desperately needs to be warned of God's wrath against sin, and then they need to repent and turn from sin and follow Christ.

In history, Christians were killed for their faith.  They were beaten, imprisoned, crucified, burned at the stake, etc.  Some are dying for their faith today, but sadly in America some would rather flatter the sinner to avoid people thinking ill of them.
We can't make the Gospel appealing to sinners by telling them they aren't that bad.  Christians, of all people should understand how desperately wicked we are without the blood of Christ covering our sin and Christ's righteousness being imputed to us.
When will we stand up?  If not now, then when?
Let us not be ashamed.
This is my hope for 2016....that the Gospel be proclaimed faithfully more than ever before.
Only when the Spirit convicts sinners, and they understand how wicked they are, will they see their desperate need for repentance and the Savior.  Many of us lack courage, but may God give His children a faith and courage outside of themselves through His strength.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Battling Sin & Amish Turning To Faith In Christ

The Battle Against Sin - Proclaim Liberty To the Captives - Phil Johnson gave a Sunday School message that my family listened to online some time back.  It is worth a listen.
I have already played it again, and it is very convicting!

Why God doesn't just zap away our sin - Tim Challies did a blog post not too long ago that complements the message by Phil Johnson (though he probably doesn't know it).

Amish: A Secret Life - I am sharing another video where an Amish couple appears to have become Christians.
I enjoy seeing that slowly these people are getting away from the Pharisaical rules, and beginning to see more Biblically.
Holiness is not a set of man-made rules that are not found in the Bible.
To see my past post (also with a video) about people coming out of the Amish religion to faith in Christ, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Christmas & My First Google Hangout (As Guest)

Happy Christmas!

This has been quite a year for our family, but it's good to know God's sovereignly working even the bad things to mold us into what He wants us to be and preparing us for the Kingdom to come.

Today I'm sharing a couple of videos.  The first one is for Christmastime, and the other is a video where I'm one of several people on a video of a Striving For Eternity Q & A.
It's the first time I was ever on a Google Hangout.



The following is quite embarrassing for me, but if you want to watch it. ..
My voice was very distorted most of the time.
I'm not responsible for what Andrew Rappaport says.  I can get into enough trouble on my own.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

"Christians" & Congress Sell Out To Planned "Parenthood"

I just read an Article about a supposed "Christian" minister that volunteers for Planned "Parenthood."  She welcomes girls coming to end the lives of their little boy or girl. 

This woman is neither a Christian or a minister.   She isn't Biblically qualified to be a minister, and her behavior in this matter demonstrates an unregenerate heart.
Abortion isn't healthcare. Murder isn't healthcare.  She is aiding and abetting murder, and murderers need to be confronted with their sin. They need to repent and turn to Christ.  It's a sick world that encourages sin. 

Want to be immoral?  Here's a condom or a pill.

Want to murder your baby? We'll help you do it in a more sterile environment. 
Want to get high? We'll give you marijuana cookies to fry your brain. Want to break the law and stay illegally in the country? We'll give you healthcare and legal status and your children will get to stay and go to our schools. 
Want to continue to be immoral?  We'll give your partner benefits.  We'll even call things marriage to legitmize whatever form of immorality you desire. 
Just yesterday, I read that congress voted for a bill that includes funding for Planned Murderhood.  
The previous vote to defund was good, but turning around and giving them money after all demonstrates the hypocrisy even of the Republican party.  It's hard to fathom, and it's sickening.

This is a country that calls evil good and good evil. This is a country that deserves God's judgment. It needs to repent on its face before the only true Triune God. Christians need to warn people of the wrath to come, and plead for people to repent.  Problem is that many "Christians" are courting the world's evil and need to repent too.  What are you going to do about it?

180 MOVIE

http://babiesaremurderedhere.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Outstanding Christmas Music

In past years I've shared Christmas music videos as Christmas approached, and so I thought I'd share the most outstanding new music video that I've seen this year (that others shared with me first).
The original song with this tune had crummy lyrics, but here it has been cleaned up again with fresh Christmastime lyrics.  I take no responsibility for anything else this group has done, as they are not one that I am really familiar with.

I had previously shared another improved lyrics version with this tune, but this one is specifically about Christmas.
Enjoy!

 
"A Hallelujah Christmas" by Cloverton from Ross Wooten on Vimeo.


A reminder to those interested - Grace Community Church's Christmas concert is supposed to be live-streamed this coming Sunday (December 20, 2015).   That's at 6 PM Pacific time and 9 PM Eastern.
Here is one of the soloists from last years' concert singing one of my favorite Christmas carols.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Discipleship - From A Pastor's Perspective - Guest Writer Nate Pickowicz

One of the key challenges any pastor will face in ministering to the flock of God is how to disciple believers. As we were planting our church, our EFCA district supporters were encouraging us to think through how this might happen. It’s one thing to preach and teach from the pulpit, but how do you apply the truths of Scripture to the lives of people on an individual basis?
A few years earlier, I had read a blog post about theology reading groups. The concept was simple: take a group of guys, give them the challenging task of reading theology, and walk with them through the process. I was immediately excited about the prospect of teaching theology to a group of men, but I could almost hear the objections, “It’s not practical”, “They’ll never stick it out”, “It’s too academic”, etc. However, I felt convinced that this was the right thing.
I announced in church one Sunday that I wanted to start a men’s theology group and that we were going to tackle Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. The first day, two men approached me. In my mind, that was a huge win. Two guys that would spend the next several months with me, studying the doctrines of the Bible. But then the interest grew. More and more guys started asking me about the group, and by the time we were ready to start, I had ten men who had committed. So we began.
At first, we inched our way in, working through the chapters and discussing the doctrines, as well as their respective Bible verses. Within a few months, a few more men started to show up. But more than the numbers, the interest began to grow; and then interest turned into desire.
Over the next 15 months, I would watch a dozen men—the majority of them had never opened a theology textbook before—become transformed and grow in their love for God, for His Word, and for each other. Each week, these men rose to the challenge, having done their assigned reading, and were ready to discuss meaty subjects.
These men weren’t scholars; they were landscapers, carpenters, servicemen, office workers, and lab technicians. They ranged in age from their early thirties to their late sixties. They had wives and kids. They had hobbies. They were just regular New England men who were growing in grace.
While I don’t personally agree lock-step with all of Grudem’s doctrine, studying together provided many opportunities for us to think through Scripture and theology as a group. And even as we approached controversial doctrines and viewpoints, it gave me the opportunity to teach through it. As a group, we were learning how to “do theology” in an honest, intentional way.

Since the end of the group, some men have moved on to other things, and some have stayed on for more theology. But not a single man has been the same. God has used His Word, combined with the earnestness and faithfulness of these ordinary men, to accomplish in them extraordinary works.

And for that, I am deeply thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ.  

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Thank you to my guest blogger and online friend Pastor Nate Pickowicz for writing this post.
I would request Christians to pray for this Pastor and the church he is pastor of.

To learn more about Harvest Bible Church and find messages given by Pastor Nate:

HARVEST BIBLE CHURCH

You can also find his contributions to another blog of another online friend:

Entreating Favor

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dealing With Temptation

Coveting / Lust / Sin - its beginnings and where it leads:

People are enticed by their own lusts (James 1:14-15).
Dwelling on our own sinful desires can lead to sin.

Smooth speech (Proverbs 6:24; Proverbs 5:3; ) and visual attractiveness (Proverbs 6:25; Matthew 5:28; Genesis 3:6) are lures and snares.   The end of them is getting burned.  It leads to ruin and disgrace.  It's like fool's gold....and even worse.  It's twisted pleasure that destroys.  Proverbs 7:27 points out the house of the adulteress leads to Sheol.  Stolen water is sweet, but it leads to death.
Those who are immoral are idolaters (Ephesians 5:5), and those whose lives are characterized by sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, thievery, covetousness, being drunk, reviling, or swindling will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

1 John 2:16   For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Satan used  those things to try to tempt Jesus (physical need, visual effects, and power/pride of life), but Jesus was not truly tempted in that He did not fall for Satan's tricks to entice Him.  He used Scripture to combat Satan's attempts.

Ways to deal with temptation:

Flee - Whether running away a lot like Joseph, turning the head away, going out of your way to avoid the temptation, getting safety helps and accountibility, even taking radical steps.  If it's your own thoughts alone, redirect / renew the mind as well (Romans 12:2).

Use The Word - It's good to memorize verses to think of when temptations face us...or even get out a Bible and read.

Prayer - We can pray for God to help us and keep us from sin.



Draw near to God. - What is my relationship with God like?  Do I love the things He loves and hate the things He hates?  Why settle for a cheap imitation that will never satisfy?  This earth is temporary, and the pleasures here are fleeting unlike Heaven.  Do I love God enough to flee what in the end leads to guilt and sorrow?  How much time do I spend dwelling on sin compared with dwelling on the Word and spiritual things?

I want to encourage others who are reading this.  If you have been struggling with temptation, it may feel hopeless at times.  That doesn't mean you can't have victory if you belong to Christ!  It's true.   Forget what lies behind and press on.  If you've fallen, get up repent and fight, fight, fight!   If you belong to Christ, He will keep you, and you don't have to be a slave to your sin anymore!  What' more important to you - God and eternity - or wallowing like a pig in the mire?  Christians, we have better things to do!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Live-Stream Christmas Concert Plus Recent Church Resources

Grace Community Church plans to live-stream one of their 2015 Christmas concerts on December 20th at 6 PM Pacific / 9 PM Eastern / 2 AM in the U.K.  It should be a great concert!

Watch Live

Hymns of Grace - There is a new hymnal that they have been announcing at Grace Community Church. It is available beginning this month!
It has some songs included that are being sung by churches, and yet they have not been included in older hymnals.

Generations of Grace - This is a curriculum for Sunday School which is used at Grace Community Church.  Learn more HERE.

Expositor.fm Radio - This is another source for good teaching online.  It's great that there are now more choices where you don't have to wade through a lot of heretics to get to the good stuff.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Subtle Humanism of Arminianism

Why is it that so many people would describe themselves as Arminian in their theology?
Jacobus Arminius believed God's election was determined by the free will or choice of man.
He believed everyone was capable of choosing to believe.

Okay, so everyone likes the idea of choice.  Why?   Is it not because we want to feel we can control our destiny?  Is there not a bit of pride there to want to say that we did something to help effect salvation?
When the Bible talks about receiving, what do we focus on?  Is it us taking something, or is it God's giving something?
How are dead blind sinners able to receive anything?

Acts 16:14 God opened Lydia's heart to respond to what Paul spoke about.

Ephesians 5:2-10  Christians were formerly dead in their sins, and God made them alive.  
Can a dead person choose to make themselves alive?

Who is Sovereign in salvation?  Do you believe that God is all powerful, or do you believe that He is impotent to save anyone He chooses?  Do you really believe that God's power is dependent on your will?   

John 6:37 All that the Father gives to Jesus will come to Him.

John 3:3  To be saved you must be born again.  This is literally translated as "born from above."

Romans 9:16  So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (ESV)
or
So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. (NASB)

If you truly believe that people can choose, then could not any and all of God's plans go wrong?
Do you really believe He only looked down the corridors of time and decided that He'd use the death of His Son for salvation without orchestrating it?  Do you believe God is Sovereign and omnipotent or not?   Do you believe God's omniscience is limited or controlled by what we do?
See, those who believe in the doctrines of grace do believe people do have responsibility within the nature they have.  A dead enslaved to sin person can choose to fulfill their sin nature.  It is what we all would do, if God didn't make some alive and to desire Him.

John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
It is God's sheep that hear His voice.

The crux of the matter is what we believe about God and His character.  
If we believe that we are sovereign in salvation, then that is not the Gospel I find in the Bible.

While many make "decisions" to be "Christians," true Christians will be known by their fruit.  
True Christians will repent and manifest a changed life.  It may be gradual, but if there is no evidence at all, there is no true saving faith.  When the root is there, the fruit will be there.   Still, we must be cautious, because think of Peter who denied Christ three times.  Paul did things that he didn't want to do.  So, as what you might call a Calvinist, I do believe that true Christians can struggle with unwanted sin at times. 
Sin should not be dominating the life or excused.   It isn't a matter of losing salvation.  It's a matter of whether one truly is a Christian or a counterfeit "Christian."

If we read the Bible looking for God, we see His choice and power everywhere.  That is the God I want to follow...not one that is limited by me and my choices.   I see a God who works His purposes even though people sin.  This is not a license to willfully sin.  May it never be!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas - Just Tradition & Covetousness, Or A God Glorifying Opportunity?

A friend of mine wrote a blog post which talked about how coveting is a big part of what people do at Christmastime, and it mentioned how Christmas is a tradition of the world.

I'm sure it was true when I was a child that I had plenty of greed when it came to gifts...wanting more sometimes, but I want to give another perspective before people chuck celebrating out the window.

No, Christians don't celebrate "mass." Lots of words could be changed though, if we analyzed them enough.

Santa - I was not deceived into believing in a mythical Santa as a child, and the gifts we gave each other were known to be from each other.
As an adult, sometimes we have fun earlier in December putting out wooden shoes to give each other small things like slipper socks and candy.
It's not about Christmas though.  There was a historical guy who was kind-hearted, but honestly it's just something fun a family member wanted to do related to ancestral heritage.

Trees, decorations, and nativity scenes - There may have been both Christian and non-Christian origins for different decorations. Some may have had Christian origins while others did not. We may have gone without a tree for a time, but we have a fake one now.
Actually, am probably mostly an iconoclastic type of person (a word I derived from the historical Theology course online) when it comes to images of Christ.
I do not always put out the fake baby Jesus, or I cover it.
I put the wise men ( I think one of our sets has 4 - though we don't know exactly how many there were) to the side, because I know they came later.
They did see His star in the East though.  That's how they knew when He was born.

Gifts - Our family at some point in our lives decided to limit the price of gifts for each other, so that the price is maybe $10 per person.
In our house, we open gifts Christmas Eve (or Christmas Eve day) which leaves Christmas day entirely to Jesus' Birthday.
Gifts can be to symbolize giving to each other as God has blessed us, or just a bit of celebrating like eating good food.
Whatever symbolism it has for you, there is nothing inherently wrong with giving to others.
When I was young and couldn't afford a lot of gifts, sometimes a gift could be a piece of paper or something that offered washing the car (which I might get money for otherwise), or people might even offer back rubs or something. 
We also choose a Christian project to give to before Christmas.
It's about giving to the Lord.  If we are going to choose to celebrate a day to remember His birth, then we should give to Him.
When we were young, I believe we had a birthday cake for Jesus. Okay, it might seem silly, but it is something a child relates to.

I enjoy thinking about when Jesus was born and listening to Christmas songs, and though celebrating Christ's birth is not a hill to die on or to be considered equal to Biblical mandates, it can truly be a joyous freedom as found in Romans 14 (celebrating a day for the Lord).

Hearing the story of Jesus birth (born of a virgin - who was NOT sinless and called God her Savior), and then either listening to or singing Christmas carols can be fun. 
Jesus wasn't simply another man. He was 100% God and 100% man. Many false religions deny this truth. We can't even fathom the truth of who He is enough I think.
That He lived a perfect life and suffered and died being punished for the sins of undeserving rebellious sinners --- and that He rose again to justify those predestined to be adopted as children of God.  This is where His birth led to.
This was the plan.

It's good to examine things, and it's a matter of one's own conscience and convictions.
So, if your tradition causes you to sin, then I would recommend changing it.
Otherwise, I don't need to agonize.  I can pick and choose temporal traditions that I don't find sinful, but I don't expect the world to celebrate Christ for who He is.
We don't need to demand unbelievers say Merry Christmas.

It's a great time of year for evangelism.
If some people who are unbelievers want to talk about Christmas and celebrate the Christ they don't believe in, then we can find ways to let them know who Jesus is.  You can even send cards to people in the phone book with Gospel tracts or messages (if you are like me and don't get out a lot).

Write a blog post, or do a video.
Able-bodied people can use the shopping frenzy to hand out Gospel tracts.

 

If you are not a Christian, please watch this: 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankfulness & A Cute Video

What are you thankful for? Who are you thankful to?
Ephesians 5:20 tells me to be thankful for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.
I need to lead my thoughts to remember God's goodness and greatness, and how He has always provided my needs, and how He uses even the difficult times.
Even though I've been feeling low lately, as I've heard it said before...I need to talk to myself instead of listening to myself.


Verses on Thankfulness

What Does The Bible Say About Thankfulness / Gratitude? 

The following video is just for fun.
Certainly it would not stand a solid fact checking test, but it is amusing!




Monday, November 23, 2015

Trouble in Africa - Exposing the Word of Faith Movement

The Word of Faith movement has spread across Africa, and similarly other WOF / NAR ("New Apostolic Reformation") off-shoots of Pentecostalism (like Bethel Church in Redding, CA) have spread throughout the the world.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Pentecostalism basically is like the historical Montanus movement.

These movements are not of God, because God does not contradict His previously given Word.   These people twist Scripture to fit a worldview in where Jesus is a means to a selfish end.   Yes, it basically is putting your own desire above what God wants.   God doesn't always want us to be wealthy, healthy, and live in our own desired reality.  In fact, He promised suffering for this life for His followers who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12).

People in the Word of Faith movement are placing faith in faith and in their own words and visions - even when they don't line up with what God has already said in His canonical written Word - the Bible.

Syncretism is a serious problem in Africa.   People in Africa need the clear teaching of Scripture to learn that they need forgiveness for sin rather than mere sinful men to bless them and try to remove evil.
Pastor Conrad Mbewe explains more about what is going on in Africa:

Why Is The Charismatic Movement Thriving In Africa

Tony Miano discusses about Bethel Redding and the "New Apostolic Reformation" movement.  They are a little more subtle in that they are making people see them as mainstream.  They use a music group called "Jesus Culture" as a draw.

Why I Must Speak Out Against the NAR and Bethel Church

Nathan Busenitz gave a message and wrote an article which are helpful to evaluate whether prophecy is of the Lord or not:

A Word From The Lord - Evaluating the Modern Gift of Prophecy

 Strange Fire - Modern Prophecy

Justin Peters explains the Word of Faith movement, and shares its similarity to Christian Science.

Exposing The Word of Faith Movement

Here is another link leading to some more information on this subject:
Strange Fire

People who are caught up in these movements need the Gospel, and Christians who are getting confused and taken in by the deception need to be exposed to the truth about these groups.
Please share with them, because God can and has rescued people from these things.  Light exposes darkness, and the Scripture is authoritative.  Please pray for Africa, and for all the people who are currently being deceived - that God will expose them to the truth of what God's Word actually says, and that He will swiftly draw His sheep out from among them.  Also, pray for Biblical pastors who will faithfully teach Scripture.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why Do So Many People Feel The Need To Blog?

Why I blog

I can't tell you why other people write blogs.  I can't see inside their minds.  I can only tell you why I write.
The problem is that at different times, I've had different motivations and audiences in mind.
Originally, the blogging I did was probably mostly geared for sharing things with online friends and relatives.  I did not have a lot of views from others.
My first blog was dropped, because it was connected to a particular online ISP that we no longer have.

I read before that a person should focus their blog on a particular interest,  but I have no desire to run several blogs at once!
My posts have run from fun, to personal experiences and thoughts, to sharing videos and links that interest me, to evangelism (which has increased in recent years), to news stories, politics, discernment, and even doctrinal issues that are important to me.

I want God to use me, though it is a struggle not to feel discouraged when I don't get a lot of views for the effort.   Then I remind myself that if God uses the more worthwhile posts for just one person  - it can be worth something.
So, when the views get really high (for me) and then drastically drop, it's a good reminder to not let numbers be so important.
Honestly though, number drops can pressure me to post more often.  That is why I stopped letting others view my number stats.  It helps a little.

I can remember the servant in the Bible who was given lesser talents, and it encourages me.    I don't have to have a large audience.  I need to be faithful in small things.   For me, there is little other outlet for me to share.
1 Peter 4:10-11 talks about employing our gifts in serving one another.
While this can be done in a local group of believers, I think that the larger body of Christ can also benefit.

Blogging doesn't just have to be about showing off our writing composition skills.
In fact, I know that my writing is so simple that a computer once let me know that it was on a grade school level.  
I'll admit to even copying Tim Challies' idea about sharing others' links.  Since there are a lot of others out there who have more knowledge and skill than I do, why not?  

There is a lot of heresy out there to avoid, and there is a lot of other worthless trash.
If Christians are to let their light shine, why should we leave the internet to completely empty chatter, filth, and charlatans?
Paul went where the false gods were set up, and he told people about the One true God.
The internet is a major marketplace of ideas and religion of this day and age.

I'm not a preacher, of course.   I can't be one.

If you are one, I want to be an encouragement to those who are faithful in Biblical exegesis, exposition, and application - to stand up for truth and proclaim it far and wide.  Not only to proclaim it, but to live it!

If you can write, why not do it?  It's not about us.  It's about God and His Gospel and glory.

If God wants you to stand on street corners and preach, and your church will stand behind you...why not make sure you are equipped ...and do it?

If you are a female (which means you are not qualified to preach or be an elder),  why not think about what you can do within the Biblical parameters that are in Scripture, and then apply these things?   Also, think about what you are wearing in regards to causing people to sin - even your Christian brothers, and remember your behavior should be an example to others.  Women can influence future generations without disobeying God.

If you care about unborn babies, find a way to make a difference.

If you have a heart for unreached people groups, and you can't go, you can encourage others to pray and get involved.

Motivation

So, some will do things for the wrong motives...even preaching Christ.  Philippians 1:15-18

Some wrong motives for blogging (as well as preaching) are these:

Glory for self
Greed
Vindictiveness
Hate
To Deceive
To Please or Flatter People
(Some of the above were taken from 1 Thessalonians 2.)

Which of us doesn't struggle with wrong motives at times?
Can God still use imperfect vessels?
He has, and He still does.

It seems there are two extremes among those who name the name of Christ:

  1. People who want to give up on and write off genuine fellow Christians when they say or do the wrong thing occasionally.
  2. People who are unwilling to speak out when serious error is proclaimed, and attack those who dare to question or speak out.

People forget that restoration is the goal with genuine believers, and we should even care about and pray for the salvation of those who are enemies of the Gospel at present.  
Do we not want them to repent?
We don't always know which people are wheat and which are chaff.
Bloggers and others need to be careful to remember not to crush the wheat along with the chaff.

On the other hand, we shouldn't feed or ignore the weeds to the detriment of the wheat.

So, if you blog, why do you do it?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Islam & Historical Heresy

Islam And The Slaughter of Those Who Name The Name Of Christ


What happened in Paris was awful.  I wrote most of this post before the news came out about it.  Obviously, the attacks that were done in France show the combination of religious and political goals that are at work in Islam.  
We can see that it isn't just those who call themselves Christians who die at the hands of Islamic terrorists, though my original post is about that particular aspect.
Those in Israel also have had to live in danger for many years, and yet ironically much of Islam is borrowed from Judaism and Christianity.
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Muslims in predominately Islamic countries don't seem to recognize the difference between Roman Catholicism and Christianity, and in some countries they imprison, kill, burn the churches of, and commit other heinous acts against anyone who names the name of Christ - Christian or not.

Christianity & Roman Catholicism aren't the same thing.  As Christians, we believe Roman Catholicism is an apostate church (and some would call it a cult).

Islam believes the words of "Allah" can't be corrupted (this is in their Quran) , & because the true Triune God's Words are true - Islam is false.   The Quran contradicts the Bible.

Islam borrows from Christianity, but sadly they have twisted, added to & rejected as infallible the truth of God's Word.  Islam also borrows from Judaism & legends.
Cultish religions often start with false prophets, and Islam started with a "prophet" who claimed to have words from "Allah."
The problem is that the Canon of Scripture was already closed at that time, and God doesn't contradict Himself.

Jesus recognized the Law and the Prophets as Scripture, and in the upper room He promised the Spirit which would bring to mind all that Jesus said to them (the apostles - John 14:26).
Basically, He authorized the apostles for the writing of Scripture. Apostles saw Jesus...even Paul saw Jesus later than the others.
Mohammed did not.

Mohammed was neither an apostle or commissioned by one, so Mohammed's words could not hold the weight of authority of words actually given by the Spirit.
Any system that has a wrong view of God, salvation, & the Scriptures is false.
Islam denies the Trinity, believe in a works based salvation, and they do not accept the Bible as it is written (and accept a book added to it).

Muslims need the true Gospel.  They are spiritually blinded.
Remember Paul zealously went against true Christians, but God miraculously saved him.
This should encourage Christians to hope and pray for Muslims who are zealous for a lie...that God will open eyes and save many.
This is a reminder to myself and not just to others!
When we have opportunity, we should be willing to give the Gospel to Muslims.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some Other Historical Heresy / False teaching has a way of repeating itself.

Here is a list of some of them:

Salvation by works: Judaizers →Ebionites:

Modern versions:
7th Day Adventists
Roman Catholicism
(A lot of other things are dangerously close to to a works based righteousness view.)

Gnosticism:

Modern versions:
New Age
Mormonism
Christian Science
Scientology

Montanists

Modern:
Pentecostals

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have been listening to a class online by Nathan Busenitz, and so I'm incorporating notes and other things I've learned into some posts (along with what I've learned from others).  This does not mean that what I write is endorsed by him in any way.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Upcoming Radio Program & Amazing Testimony of IV Conerly

Some great news!

Pastor Don Green  of Truth Community Church (formerly of Grace Community Church where John MacArthur is pastor) is set to be on a new radio program "The Truth Pulpit," a daily 30-minute broadcast which is to start on Monday  November 16th at 9 pm Eastern on WFCJ-FM (a Christian radio station in the Dayton-Cincinnati, OH area).   http://wfcj.com/ 


An Amazing Story of God's Grace

Known by some for reformed Christian rap, IV Conerly has a testimony that you may not be fully aware of.  Don't miss it!

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Starbucks' Red Cup Controversy - A Look Inside The Cup

It's not what's on the outside of the cup that matters. It's what's on the inside.  The same is true with people. 

You may have nice traditions or you might not.  God sees your heart, and our hearts are naturally filthy.  The sin inside might seem good for a season, but it won't satisfy and will destroy you. Lying, lusting, stealing are all sins that keep us from Him.  Not believing, in itself, sends people to Hell. No amount of scrubbing and bleach can take sin's stain from our hearts....much worse than a coffee stain.....The only One Who can cleanse our evil hearts is God and what He did.  

God sent His perfect spotless Son Jesus- fully God and fully man - to die on a cross and suffer the consequences for the sins of everyone who would ever believe and put their trust in Him for forgiveness of sins. 
He rose in 3 days conquering death. 
Those who believe in Him will be fully washed from their sins and will have eternal life. 
If you believe, His righteousness will be imputed to you. On your own you will never be good or clean enough no matter what others see on the outside.
God knows what you are like on the inside.
----------------------------------------------------------

The above was my response to a Facebook challenge to transition to the Gospel (with minor edits).
I actually do avoid Starbucks usually, because of what the profits go to...not about them not celebrating Christmas.   We can't boycott everybody though, as so many people use their profits for immoral purposes these days sadly.

Here is an article by Nathan Busenitz that addresses the cup controversy from a clear perspective.

Starbucks, Christmas, and Christians

Sunday, November 8, 2015

When Healing Eludes Us

One day I was feeling poorly as I do many days, but I did go out for a ride with family.
 I stayed in the car with my Dad, and we listened to a radio station.
 They played a song or two I was familiar with, but the lyrics of one I hadn't heard before really stood out to me.

 I often feel like I'm going to pass out. Sometimes I think I'm not going to make it I feel so rotten, and I realize this may be what the rest of my life will be like. Fibromyalgia was bad enough, but things have gone downhill. I use a wheelchair most of the time now. Really, I don't want to describe all of the symptoms.

So as I listened to the song on the radio, it stirred me as I could relate so well to the lyrics. I hate to feel awful, and sometimes the stress overwhelms me.
I want to love God more, and I want to be like Job in his initial response to tragedy.
Life can be a spiritual battle against fear and rebellion and doubt.
These are sins I hate, and I know Christ is my only hope.
Whatever it takes for me to grow more like Christ, it is worth it...though I may desire for it not to have to be through more suffering.
God has His purposes, and I just need to yield to His will. There is no guarantee that I will ever be rid of these symptoms.

 I know some relatives and online friends that are going through struggles as well ... even cancer. Though some of you have heard this song before, I hope that it will be a reminder and encouragement to trust God and who He is...even if the healing doesn't come.
One day in Heaven believers will have healing though.
May we glorify God even in our suffering.

 

 The sharing of this song is not meant as an endorsement of the group.

Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. 
Selah.
Psalm 62:8 NASB

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Encouragement for Biblical Pastors and Church Leaders


I was looking at a notebook from many years ago that had a collection of things from when I was much younger.  A little bit was from junior high, while most of it was from high school and some beyond.   They were mostly connected with Grace Community Church.  What was written was anywhere from very serious to amusing.  One of the things that stood out was a prayer that I wrote in a discipleship group paper from junior high.  Sometimes it is amazing looking back and being reminded of the struggles, and yet see traces of grace in what I was learning.
Pastors, Sunday School teachers, and even small group discipleship leaders -
Don't think that your time is wasted.   I also learned Bible verses as a child (and some as an adult too, of course), and some of that has stuck with me.   While people forget quite a lot, if the foundation is continually built on with Biblical truth - God can still use it in the lives of those you are pouring yourselves into.


Dear Lord,  please help me to realize that I will have hard times in life and that I should cling to you.  Please help me to realize there is  a price to pay.  In Jesus name, Amen.  

Much of what was in the notebook was when John MacArthur was doing a series on Charismatic Chaos along with a lot of notes from Scott Ardavanis' teaching (he was the college group pastor who now pastors another church)...and there were other bits of odds and ends.  Here's a small sampling (not entire notes of the messages), and obviously I editorialized my notes here and there at that time.

 What we think about God will shape our lives.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Don't think you can handle things you really can't.  It's only your pride that says you can handle it.
.............................................................................................................
A small sampling of  my notes from during some of John MacArthur's messages on Charismatic Chaos: 

Matthew 7:15-23
False prophets in sheep's clothing, but are ravenous wolves.
...................
Hagan is a nutty guy who is supposed to have been in a glory cloud I think.
...................
In Corinth there was chaos because of mis-use of the gifts, plus all sorts of other horrible things. They weren't lacking gifts, just perverting them.  This is a lot like what is going on today.
Can you imagine seeing someone dancing on air like that lady did (as said Hagan)? Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee! How creepy!


Biblical.  Check with the Word, and use your mind and reason God has given you.
--------------------------------------------
Miracles do not necessarily produce faith in an unbelieving heart. 
-----------------------------------
Faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ not by signs and wonders.  Mark 1:38
They promise a Biblical orientation.  Why would God authenticate a person with bad theology?
(Some punctuation added & corrected.)
---------------------------------------------------------
From Scott Ardavanis: 

God doesn't have a standard.  He is the Standard.  
-----------------------------------------------------
Do not engage in any business that you can't ask God to bless.
Do not engage in any pleasure that you cannot give thanks to God for.
-------------------------------------------------------
1. We should be filled with awe how infinitely great God's knowledge is.
2. This should draw us to the fear of God.
3. It should give us great comfort.
Psalm 103:14
We are but dust.

(I had messed up the reference, and I added punctuation.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Distressed By Disunity

I have had my physical health affected in a new way of late, and the conflicts between those I believe are genuine believers seems to exacerbate things.  I so want to have peace between people I care about.

Some people take their stand on truth and others on love, but it is so important to speak truth in love.
It's a difficult balance, and I'm no better than others.  It isn't just a matter of how we are online.  It's a matter of who we are offline.  God knows it all.

God is at work in each of His children.  I think that some issues should be dealt with publicly, but there are many times I believe they should be dealt with privately. There must be wisdom to know the difference.  Confrontation should always be for the sake of restoration.  It is easy to be angry or prideful, and I think those are sins many of us struggle with.  If someone turns out not to be a Christian, then we can point to the Gospel.

I started to compose a blog post once upon a time when I was having online conflict, but I never posted it.  I  decided it was one of those cases where I could choose to forgive unilaterally.
What is below has that post as its base:

I need to love and forgive my brothers in Christ while not compromising truth.
Just as the Lord forgives us, so also should we (Colossians 3:13).
1 Peter 3:8-9 tells me not to return insult for insult, to be kind-hearted, and harmonious.  
Amongst Christians, we need to remember we are brothers and sisters and not enemies.

Romans 12:-9-21  goes further talking about how Christians should behave and talks about respecting what is right in the sight of all men.  So far as it depends on me I should be at peace with all men.  

God will punish the evil in this world, so I just need to warn people of His justice and and not seek my own vengeance.  Perhaps God will show mercy, and there will come repentance.  He is in charge of who repents...not I.  This doesn't mean sin shouldn't be confronted or that we should disobey God (Acts 5:28-29). 

We need to seek the good of others (Philippians 2:1-11), rather than just to blow them out of the water or ridicule them.
Christians are lights in the world, and we diminish our lights before the world when our focus gets off the glory of Christ and His Gospel.  

I would appreciate prayer for wisdom in knowing how and when to respond to situations online that I see which cause me distress and sorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When Scripture Doesn't Fit Your Theological View

I've been listening to a class on historical Theology, and it is amazing to see how false beliefs creep into the church, or how one lone person standing up for the truth of the Bible can be used by God to dispel heresies.  I also can see how heresies came back up and repeated themselves.  This is why doctrine must be based on the inspired Word of God, because man's understanding is fallible.

Many false religions make things up in order to explain what we don't understand about God.  

Our human logic can't fully understand the idea of what we now refer to as the Trinity.
We can accept it, but it is difficult for the human mind to grasp.
Some have made up ludicrous ideas which are used in false religions to try to get around what the Bible teaches...that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in essence....One God revealed in Three Persons.

It also goes against our grain to think that we can't do anything to earn or help along even a piece of our salvation, so people develop beliefs that incorporate man's effort and ability into their soteriology.
People have it culturally ingrained in them what they have been taught and believe is fair or reasonable.

I admit that I myself have even read Scripture and thought how something seems to go against what I think is Biblical from another passage.
The thing is, I know the Bible is God's Word, so I know that it is my understanding that must be measured and changed by the Bible and not vice versa.  When I don't understand how two things can both be true, it is the time to dig in and search out how things really do fit together.  It's my reasoning that is the problem.  Maybe I won't always be able to grasp everything, so I can use other learned theologians' learning to give me some possible explanations to assist me with my limited knowledge.
Sadly, many people take their reasoning to the Bible and reject anything that contradicts what they already believe or have been taught is true.

When I was young I was introduced to the idea of God's choosing me.  While over the years I was exposed to both views and hybrids of "Calvinism" and "Arminianism", it is through the reading of Scripture that I have been able to see even for myself God's Sovereign Hand choosing, directing, and molding.  I can't fully understand God, but I'm thankful I don't have to depend on me for my salvation.
If I did, I would surely lose it.  I recognize my sin, and I know that I can never be perfect and keep myself in Christ.

Do You Believe God Is Sovereign?

Understanding What You Believe
Sye has a gift for simplifying doctrine.  If you are unclear about the differences between the doctrines of grace & Arminian beliefs, please listen to this:
Josh Sommer Interviews Sye Ten Bruggencate about Arminianism
It is encouraging to realize that my blunders won't stop God from saving His sheep.

Don't Get Caught Up In Wording
Some people get hung up on the wording of the doctrines of grace as presented by John Calvin.
Perhaps this will help you:
Three Ways to Present the Doctrines of Grace - by David Murray

On What Basis Does God Choose?
I've had the blessing of sitting under some excellent teaching at times in my life.  Before moving to Tennessee, we traveled to a church in Upland, CA.  Pastor David did an excellent series on being Chosen by God.  I don't know that the series I heard can be found online anymore, but the following post is an excellent Biblical summary beginning with Genesis.  I assume this has to be written by the David Forsyth I sat under.
Divine Election: The Ultimate Pride Killer By Pastor David C. Forsyth (a former pastor of mine)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Personal Update, Live-Stream Understanding The Bible Conference, & Bad News / Good News

Personal Update:

My balance has been crummy lately again (along with dizziness), but I made the most of yesterday even with my fibromyalgia pain before we found out I might not have the test / scan that had previously been scheduled.  They had apparently decided the day of to postpone my appointment, which I had waited for over a month to have (and was unwilling to have at a different time of day due to some health issues).  Thankfully, my sister helped me out, and they allowed me to have my appointment just an hour later the day it was scheduled.

After being put under anesthesia today, I can't do much of anything either.  Yeah, I'm not supposed to sign anything or do anything important, and this post?
Well, we shall see how it turns out!

Actually, since I had some therapy for part of my dizziness issues again a couple of days ago, I had to avoid bending down yesterday.  Even though I am mostly using a companion wheelchair, this increased my limitations even more.  Still, I did have some enjoyment yesterday before the scan today.

Live-Stream Bible Conference

Have you a desire to understand God's Word better?
October 9th-10th, 2015 there is a a Live-stream Conference that should be very helpful for those who are interested.  Pastor Don Green was formerly a teacher at Grace Community Church where John MacArthur is the main pastor, and his last conference on The Bible & Homosexuality was a good one as well.
Understanding Scripture


The Bad News & The Good News

There are some great videos that were recently shared, that I wanted to pass along for others to watch and share!  This is important!
I am going to share the first video, and you can go HERE for the rest.



Friday, September 25, 2015

Hypergrace, Capitulation To Rome, & Dangerous Music Associations

Hypergrace

It came to my attention awhile back that Elyse Fitzpatrick has changed in the last few years.  It is something worth considering, and we must always strive to discern between the right and almost right in our thinking.  Shortly after the following post came the sad announcement from Tullian.  Nobody is immune to temptation.

Regeneration & Hypergrace  by Jeremiah Johnson and Wayne de Villiers on GTY


Avoiding Teachers Who Capitulate to Rome

A couple years ago Rick Warren endorsed a book called Catholics, Come Home.
We as Christians need to avoid Rick Warren, and all who try to blur distinctions, because Roman Catholicism is not another denomination of Christianity.  I have now seen that Rick Warren & T.D. Jakes went to see the Roman Catholic pope during the U.S. visit.
Rick is not the only one who has blurred distinctions.  Many people either are uneducated about church history, or they intentionally compromise truth wanting people to love them instead of Christ.
Here is a good link to share with Roman Catholics (as well as my past blog series).

Truth For Catholics

Guilt By Musical Associations

Recently Hillsong has been open in its capitulation on Biblical morality by allowing fellowship with people who continue in their sin without regard for church discipline.
Many people use Hillsong music in church.  I've even shared songs (though usually if not always with disassociation).  We need to think very carefully about using their music, especially as it may draw people to the people who wrote them.  That is why I tend to try to distance myself many times when I do share music.

Hillsong and The Issue of Association

Monday, September 21, 2015

Social Action, Gospel Proclamation, & What Do They Believe?

Social Action Is Not The Gospel 

Too many people think social action is equivalent to Gospel proclamation.  It isn't.
Unbelievers can do social action.
Some ministries do connect with churches, yes, but are they making sure the Gospel is proclaimed?
Is the church even a Biblical church?  Are they hearing a Biblical Gospel?
I wasn't able to watch this conference, but this nails things right on the head.


The Mission of the Church - Ekklesia 2015 from Ekklesia Conference on Vimeo.

Gospel Proclamation in the Midst of Hostility

Mike Riccardi had to pinch hit for John MacArthur the other week in the evening, and in my opinion he hit a homerun.
Grace Community Church has some under-shepherds that are excellent teachers and preachers.
http://www.gracechurch.org/Sermons/11282

What Do They Believe

An online friend of mine,  named Andrew Rappaport of Striving for Eternity Ministries, wrote a book that quickly was sold out, but more are coming.  
The book (What Do They Believe) explains what other religions teach according to their actual sources.
Now, I don't believe it's mandatory to know what others believe, and before people read about what others believe they need to study the Bible well.  There is nothing better for recognizing the false when you know the truth well.  For mature Christians though, I believe it can be very helpful to know enough about what others believe in order to be able to know the points where someone is wrong by comparing it with the Scripture.  There are oftentimes straw men Christians can mistakenly bring up when trying to point out what is wrong about world religions.  I have ordered a copy, as I have heard Andrew online enough to know he is trustworthy and knowledgeable (though we don't always agree on every issue).  He has spent many years on this book!  


In addition to the websites linked, you can also find the book Here.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Raised Amish - Finding Freedom In Christ

Many Christian book sellers and writers have been profiting off of books about the Amish for quite a number of years, and I admit that I have found a few of them interesting myself though I don't think I've read more than a few.  Before it was so popular I had read an older book where I figured out that the Amish might not be - or probably weren't - really Christians.

Perhaps what fascinates people is that the Amish seem to be stuck back in history.
They generally have a good reputation,  and there is the novelty of something not fully understood.
There are some Amish in the area of Tennessee where I live (though probably not that many), and there are also Mennonites.

I listened to an online radio program recently where a guest answered questions about the Amish.
The guest (who had become a Christian coming out of Roman Catholicism) had connections with people who were Amish or formerly Amish.  I think the guest has even met at least one of the guys in the video I'm sharing with you today.
What he explained on the program really pointed out the similarities between Roman Catholicism and Amish beliefs.  Both are caught up in a works system.  Amish belief isn't Christian, and just like with Roman Catholicism - any true Christian in that system will eventually come out.

The video I'm going to share with you is from a number of years back (in 2009), and there was part two in 2011 (see note below the video about that).

The following documentary was talked about on the radio program I was listening to, and I found it fascinating and enlightening.
It chronicles the story of people who were raised Amish, and the hardships they faced becoming Christians.

I'd love to share the podcast with you also, but I haven't seen that it has been posted.
It was on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio.



Part Two Leaving Amish Paradise does have one time where God's name is used inappropriately in the video when they are talking about young Amish men (I think it may even be one of the Amish that used it) and their time of worldliness / sowing their wild oats (and then they actually show some of the young Amish guys at the time).  Growth and change take time, and I could see some that it would be great if the guys learned Biblical hermeneutics.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why Christianity And Roman Catholicism Are Not The Same Thing Part 6

This is my wrap up of my series on Roman Catholicism vs. Christianity.

Tradition and church leadership do not have an equal place with the authority of the very words of God Himself.

There is still the need to guard what has been entrusted as Timothy was told by Paul in the Bible (1 Timothy 1:20) and to accurately handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

1 Corinthians 4:6 says not to exceed what is written.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!"  Galatians 1:8 NASB

That is a strong warning!

Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.  Proverbs 30:5-6

2 Tim. 3:16-17 lets me know that it is the Word of God that is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction & training in righteousness...that the man of God man be adequate equipped for every good work.

The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edge sword... (Hebrews 4:12)

Is the Bible Alone Sufficient for Spiritual Truth?

Psalm 146:3 lets me know not to trust in mortal man in whom there is no salvation.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’   “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’  Matthew 7:21-23

Let us never forget that truth, distorted and exaggerated — can become the mother of the most dangerous heresies! - J. C. Ryle

Link from a former pastor of mine from many years back.

Roman Catholicism 


Truth That Saves



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Mercy Day - Reclaiming The Rainbow - September 13

PROMISE NOT PROMISCUITY
You might find it odd, but I'm sharing an event that pretty much starts a year from now!
I have waited a very long time, and now it has finally been announced!

Please share about it.



Mercy Day - September 13
Find out more here including how to start an event in your area.
http://www.mercyday.com/

If you want to help out the project, you can visit the following site:
https://www.continuetogive.com/mercyday

Mercy Day items:
http://www.mercyday.com/shop/

Friday, September 11, 2015

Why Christianity & Roman Catholicism Are Not The Same Thing Part 5

Responding to the idea of transubstantiation

When Jesus served the first communion / Lord's Supper He was right there for the disciples to see.
It is quite obvious that He was speaking symbolically about the bread and the wine being His body and blood..
Jesus was the One who gave the cup and bread to the disciples, so clearly He didn't ask them to grab His hand and take a bite out of it.  He wasn't teaching cannibalism.
Tell me, do you taste literal flesh when you eat the bread, or do you taste bread?
Jesus is God and able to do real miracles.  If He wanted people to eat His literal flesh and blood, then He could have made that happen...but He didn't and doesn't.

Does God have literal wings? Psalm 91:4
Correct Biblical hermeneutics is very important in understanding Scripture.  It is true that when the plain sense makes sense you don't need to seek another sense.  However, in the Bible there are things like poetry, figures of speech, metaphors, parables, etc.  as well as literal historic accounts.

Jesus Christ is called the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), but did He suddenly turn literally into a dumb animal?  No!
Christians are also described as sheep.  That doesn't make us literally woolly animals.

Nicodemus was told he must be born again or he would not see the Kingdom of God in John 3 . Nicodemus thought Jesus meant physically (John 3:4), but that was not the case.  He needed to be born from above (and not as a literal physical baby).

Christians are God's temple.  Do we physically turn into a building?  

There was a time when reading and having a Bible for yourself was not only discouraged, but people were killed for putting Scripture into the languages and hands of the people.

Since many people now have access to Bibles (though not all),  my desire is for people everywhere to read the Bible for themselves and not check their brains at the door of a church.

The Bereans were noble-minded for reading the Scriptures to see if things were so.  Why?
Because leaders in the church are fallible human beings who left unchecked can help people to Hell by their heresies.

Please watch this VIDEO by a friend who was formerly a Roman Catholic for more on transubstantiation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why Christianity And Roman Catholicism Are Not The Same Thing Part 4

Peter
In the Bible, there is no mention of a Pope having the leadership role over all of the church.

There are elders & deacons prescribed in the Bible for leadership in the church  (as well as pastors and teachers, etc.).
Obviously, apostles in early times were part of the leadership of the church as well.
The Levitical priesthood was no longer practiced in the OT way in the Biblical early church  - since Jesus is the High priest (Hebrews 6:20) and all believers are priests (1 Peter 2:9 ).

Peter was one of many apostles.
He had much authority among Jewish believers while Paul had much authority among the Gentile believers.

Peter is not the chief cornerstone of the church.
Believers are a holy temple built on the prophets and the apostles with Jesus as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2).

Peter was not infallible.
In Galatians 2:11-13,  Paul opposed Peter to his face.  If Peter was supreme, would Paul have had that right?  Peter also called himself a "fellow elder" in 1 Peter 5:1.

Peter was a man who sinned like all of us do.
Jesus said something like, "Get thee behind me, Satan" to Peter at one time, and Peter also denied Jesus 3 times.  Peter was chosen as a disciple and apostle, but there is nothing in the Bible showing that Peter was the authority over the other apostles.

What about being called the rock?
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus called Peter "Petros", but He used the word "Petra" to refer to the truth about Himself (which Peter had just confessed...that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God). 
We know that Peter was only one of the people used for the foundation of God's household based on what I read in Ephesians 2:20.
Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23-24).
You can read more about the stone/rock interpretations HERE.


God's Words are true and inspired, so as a Christian I cannot trust in man but in God.
The Bible warns about wolves coming in & false prophets bringing destructive heresies.
God did use Peter, and even used him to write some of His Word, but only the inspired Word of God is what we can rely upon as pure truth).

"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  John 17:17 NASB

...Christ did not redeem His church with His blood that the Pope might come in and steal away the glory!  He never came from heaven to earth and poured out His very heart that He might purchase His people so that a poor sinner, a mere man, should be set upon high to be admired by all the nations and to call himself God’s representative on earth!  Christ has always been the head of His church. - Charles Spurgeon

Monday, September 7, 2015

Why Christianity And Roman Catholicism Are Not The Same Thing Part 3

Mary 

Jesus actually did not place Mary in a higher place than any other person who believed.
God did show her favor, but it was not due to sinlessness.
Everyone is born dead in their trespasses and sins.  Even Mary was not sinless. (Romans 5:12; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Psalm 51:5; 1 John 1:8; Romans 3:23)
Nobody can be good enough to get to Heaven.  Not even Mary. Luke 1:46-48 has her rejoicing in God her Savior.  She needed a Savior...and she calls herself a bondslave...just like Paul called himself one.

https://carm.org/mary-unclean-offered-sacrifice-for-sin

In Luke 11:27-28 when a woman was saying blessed be the womb that bore you, etc. Jesus actually contradicted the lady.  In Luke 8:21 He did not place Mary above anyone else who heard His words and obeyed them (in Matthew 12:48 as well).  Stephen was also "full of grace" (Acts 6:8), so Mary is not above other believers on that account either.
Also, the Bible claims that there is one mediator between God and man in 1 Timothy 2:5. That mediator is Jesus.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray... not to his mother or dead saints.
People have to go with what the Bible teaches. When sacred tradition and the Pope contradict what God has said in His Word, then what?  Whose words are infallible?

Roman Catholics say they don't worship Mary, but do they?

http://www.gotquestions.org/worship-saints-Mary.html

Lying, stealing, covetousness, hate, gossip, lust are all sins deserving of eternal judgment in Hell.  A dead corpse cannot do a thing to help save itself from God's just wrath (Eph. 2 & Col 2).   Even Mary needed a Savior.

Who and what are you trusting in for salvation?  It can't be Mary. She needed the Gospel too.
What then is the Gospel?

The Gospel

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Why Christianity & Roman Catholicism Are Not The Same Thing Part 2

A Different Gospel: 

The Bible teaches salvation is by faith in Christ alone.
Roman Catholicism requires works as part of  / necessary for salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9 lets us know that salvation  is by grace through faith.  Even that is not of ourselves. It is the gift of God ...not as a result of works lest any man should boast.
Christians believe we are saved unto good works but works themselves are not meritorious towards our being saved.
Remember the thief on the cross...he could not work or be baptized.

Here are some other Scripture references that show salvation is not of works: Titus 3:5-6. Galatians 2:16, (By the works of the law no man is justified) Romans 3:2-28, and Galatians 5.
Believing that we are not saved by works doesn't mean that Christians believe that we can just pray a prayer and live any way we want to afterwards.
Works only prove that the faith given by God exists in the Christian.  Works don't merit salvation or grace, but they are evidence of the reality of what God has done and not we ourselves.
The Bible says we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  For just as the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.  Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  The verses I'm taking from are about those who are already Christians.  God is the one who begins a good work in Christians, and He is the one who will be faithful to complete it.  The Bible doesn't tell me to work for my salvation.
(Ephesians 2:10; James 2:26; Philippians 2:12-13)



The James Controversy:

Some may think that James contradicts salvation by grace through faith (alone) and it not being of works, but it actually does not negate the other Scriptures. The Word of God never truly contradicts itself though we may struggle to comprehend at times.  Much of what I already shared really already covers this (James 2:26).
Please check out this explanation:
Does James 2 contradict Romans 4?

John 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.