Monday, December 31, 2007

Let's try to agree on one thing...

There is an on-going discussion on this page and others about the sovereignty of God. I'm going to throw a statement out there just because I believe it is a middle ground that my readers and myself can stand on. Here goes;

God has a hand in everything that happens. Whether that be causing it to happen or simply allowing it to happen, it is still his choice. We all seem to believe that God is omniscient, (all knowing,) so those who do not buy into the idea that God causes all things should at least be able to admit that God allows all things, therefor agreeing that God at least plays a role in all things.


Friday, December 28, 2007


I've often been accused of being a Calvinst. Given that I didn't know exactly what a Calvinist is, I decided to research. I've learned that Calvinism is defined by five main points. Here they are:

Total Depravity: Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin. The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick (Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, "In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?" The answer is, "He cannot. Therefore God must predestine." Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).

Unconditional Election: God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).

Limited Atonement: Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many'; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).

Irresistible Grace: When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that "it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy"; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s.

Perseverance of the Saints: You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.

These "five pillars of calvinsm" make sense to me with the exception of Limited atonement. Doesn't that go against the most popular verse in the bible? John 3:16 says that God so loved THE WORLD.

To my calvinist and calvinist leaning friends, can you explain limited atonement to me?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

John Runyon's Description of Hell

"Depart from Me, you who are cursed—into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!"
-Matthew 25:41

Those in the infernal dungeon of hell, will undergo a variety of torments. Those who are most afflicted upon earth, have seldom any more than one malady at a time. But should they have the plague, the gout, the stone, and fever all at one time—how miserable would they think themselves! Yet all that is but like the biting of a flea—compared to those intolerable, pungent pains which those in hell endure! There they have all the loathed variety of hell to grapple with— the unquenchable fire to burn them; a lake of burning brimstone ever choking them; eternal chains to bind them; utter darkness to affright them, and a worm of conscience which gnaws upon them eternally. Any one of these is worse to bear, than all the torments which mankind ever felt on earth.

But the torments in hell are also universal, afflicting each part of the body and soul—which renders what they suffer, most insufferable. In those illnesses which men are seized with on earth, though some parts are afflicted, other parts are free. But in hell, each member of the soul and body is continually tormented. The eye is tormented with the sight of the devils, who appear in all the horrid and black shapes which sin can give them! The ear is tormented with the loud yellings and continual outcries of the damned. The nostrils are smothered with sulphurous flames; the tongue is covered with burning blisters; and the whole body is rolled in flames of liquid fire! The imagination is tormented with the thoughts of what a heaven has been lost; the memory is tormented with reflecting on those opportunities they had of being saved. The mind is tormented with considering how vainly precious time has been wasted. The understanding is tormented with the thoughts of of present pains, andfuture sorrows—which are to last for ever! The conscience is tormented with a continual gnawing worm.

Another thing which makes the misery of hell so dreadful, is the extremity of the torments. The fire which burns is so violent that all the water in the sea can never quench it!The pains suffered are so extreme, that it is impossible they should be known by any, but those who feel them.

Another part of hell's misery is the ceaselessness of the torments. As various, as universal, and as extremely violent as they are—they are continual, also. Nor have they the least rest from them. If there were any relaxation—it might be some allay. But what makes this condition so deplorable—is that there is no easing of the torments! "They will goaway into eternal punishment!" Matthew 25:46

The company they have there, is another element of their misery. Tormenting devils and tormented souls areall the company. Dreadful shrieks and howlings, under the fierceness of pain, and fearful blasphemies, is all the conversation.

The place in which they suffer is another thing whichincreases the sufferings. Hell is the epitome of all misery—
a prison,
a dungeon,
a bottomless pit,
a lake of fire and brimstone,
a furnace of fire which burns to eternity,
the blackness of darkness forever!

The cruelty of our tormentors is another thing whichadds to the torments. The tormentors are devils, in whom there is no pity. Being tormented themselves, they take pleasure in tormenting others.

But that which makes these sufferings most grievous—is that they shall always be so—these most intolerable sufferings shall last to all eternity. 'Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire!" will perpetually sound in the ears of the damned! The miserable situation they are in, shall be forever!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chosen of God ere time began.

"Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called."
-Romans 8:30

I've been hearing the name Charles H. Surgeon being thrown around quite a bit lately. Here is the closing remarks of a C.H. Spurgeon Sermon that I ran across in which he is preaching about two topics that are discussed here on a regular basis; Predestination and "Once Saved, Always Saved." I highly recommend you read the full sermon here.

Chosen of God ere time began.

Come on, slanderers! rail on as pleases you. Come on thou world in arms! Cataracts of trouble descend if you will, and you, ye floods of affliction, roll if so it be ordained, for God has written my name in the book of life. Firm as this rock I stand, though nature reels and all things pass away. What consolation then to be called: for if I am called, then I am predestinated. Come let us at the sovereignty which has called us, and let us remember the words of the apostle, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

A second consolation is drawn from the grand truth, that if a man be called he will certainly be saved at last. To prove that, however, I will refer you to the express words of scripture: Romans 11:29--"The gifts and calling of God are without repentance." He never repents of what he gives, nor of what he calls. And indeed this is proved by the very chapter out of which we have taken our text. "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified," everyone of them. Now, believer, thou mayest be very poor, and very sick, and very much unknown and despised, but sit thee down and review thy calling this morning, and the consequences that flow from it. As sure as thou art God's called child today, thy poverty shall soon be at an end, and thou shalt be rich to all the intents of bliss. Wait awhile; that weary head shall soon be girt with a crown. Stay awhile; that horny hand of labor shall soon grasp the palm branch. Wipe away that tear; God shall soon wipe away thy tears for ever. Take away that sigh--why sigh when the everlasting song is almost on thy lip? The portals of heaven stand wide open for thee. A few winged hours must fly; a few more billows must roll o'er thee, and thou wilt be safely landed on the golden shore. Do not say, "I shall be lost; I shall be cast away." Impossible.

Whom once he loves he never leaves,
But loves them to the end.

If he hath called thee, nothing can divide thee from his love. The wolf of famine cannot gnaw the bond; the fire of persecution cannot burn the link, the hammer of hell cannot break the chain; old time cannot devour it with rust, nor eternity dissolve it, with all its ages. Oh! believe that thou art secure; that voice which called thee, shall call thee yet again from earth to heaven, from death's dark gloom to immortality's unuttered splendours; Rest assured, the heart that called thee, beats with infinite love towards thee, a love undying, that many waters cannot quench, and that floods cannot drown. Sit thee down; rest in peace; lift up thine eye of hope, and sing thy song with fond anticipation. Thou shall soon be with the glorified, where thy portion is; thou art only waiting here to be made meet, for the inheritance, and that done, the wings of angels shall waft thee far away, to the mount of peace, and joy, and blessedness, where

Far from a world of grief and sin,
With God eternally shut in,

thou shall rest for ever and ever. Examine yourselves then whether you have been called.--And may the love of Jesus be with you. Amen.

Scripture Twisters: 1 Corinthians 15:29

"Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?"
-1 Corinthians 15:29

I asked my Mormon Visitors why they believe that they can Re-baptize themselves and have it count towards the salvation of loved ones who have already died in their sins. This is the verse that they gave me. "Paul advocates baptism for the dead." Obviously Joseph Smith Jr. (or however their current prophet is,) affirms this doctrine. To be honest, I didn't have an answer for them at that time. Now the answer seems glaring. Let's dissect:

First of all, let's read the verse in context. This passage of the bible is making a case for the Resurrection, not baptism for the dead. The subtitle in the NIV states, "The Resurrection of the Dead." Paul is refuting the rumor that was spreading through the Church at Corinth that there will be no resurrection of the dead. So obviously baptism for the dead is not a direct application of this verse, but could it be an implication?

This is what stuck out to me today; Paul asks, "what will those do who are baptized for the dead?" and, "why are people baptized for them?" See there, I don't believe that Paul is even talking about the Church. I'd argue that Paul would have said, "why are We baptized for them?" That fact is that I don't really know what Paul was talking about. However, the Corinthians knew what he was talking about. Otherwise, he wouldn't have used this statement to make a case for the Resurrection.

The most logical answer to me is that there was probably a pagan religion in the area that was baptizing for the dead. Paul was probably making the case that even the pagan religions understood that there would be a Resurrection. In other words, he is only using what we would call a natural argument rather than a supernatural one.

Couple that all together with the fact that this is the only time that baptism for the dead is ever mentioned in the bible, and you have a doctrine that certainly doesn't seem to have biblical support.

New Links

Please take some time to visit some of the new Blogs that I've added to my "Timm's Favorite Blogs" section on the side bar.

Blogged Down World
J Razz updates multiple times per day. His stuff is always interesting, and always thought provoking.

Comfort Food
This is Ray Cofort's blog. He is the founder of The Way of the Master Television and Radio shows.

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? (Galations 4:16) Tony always has something interesting to add to virtually any discussion. Good source for Creationism apologetics and information on preaching the true gospel message.

Last Row
Lazz keeps his blog updated every day or two. It's an excellent combination of Christianity, Science and Sports.

Roland's Ramblings
Roland and I don't always agree, but he is smart, articulate, respectful and always a good read.

Time 2 Change Churches
Brian is a former member of the Mormon Church. Now an evangelical Preacher committed to bringing our churches back to biblical teaching and preaching. He updates daily and is worth the time.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Modern Christmas Story

And Joseph went up from Galilee to Bethlehem with Mary, his espoused wife, who was great with child. And she brought forth a son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. And the angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds and said, "I bring you tidings of great joy. Unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
-Luke 2:4-11

"There's a problem with the angel," said a Pharisee who happened to be
strolling by the stable. As he explained to Joseph, angels are widely
regarded as religious symbols, and the stable was on public property
where such symbols were not allowed to land or even hover.

"Besides," said a Sadducee who was with him, "there are no such things
as angels, and telling a child that they're real will only hinder the child's emotional development."

"And I have to tell you," said the Pharisee, "this whole thing looks very much like a Nativity scene. That's a no-no, too."

Joseph had a bright idea. "What if I put a couple of reindeer over there near the ox and ass?" he said, eager to avoid sectarian strife.

"That would definitely help," said the Pharisee, who knew as well as anyone that whenever a savior appeared, judges usually liked to be on the safe side and surround it with deer or woodland creatures of some sort. "Just to clinch it, throw in a candy cane and a couple of elves and snowmen, too," he said. "No court can resist that."

Mary asked, "What does my son's birth have to do with snowmen?"

"Snowpersons," cried a young woman, changing the subject before it veered dangerously toward religion.

Off to the side of the crowd, a Philistine was painting the Nativity scene. Mary complained that she and Joseph looked too tattered and
worn in the picture. "Artistic license," he said. "I've got to show the plight of the haggard homeless in a greedy, uncaring society in winter," he quipped.

"We're not haggard or homeless. The inn was just full," said Mary.

"Whatever," said the painter.

Two women began to argue fiercely. One said she objected to Jesus' birth "because it privileged motherhood." The other scoffed at virgin births, but said that if they encouraged more attention to diversity in family forms and the rights of single mothers, well, then, she was all for them.

"I'm not a single mother," Mary started to say, but she was cut off by
a third woman who insisted that swaddling clothes are a form of child
abuse, since they restrict the natural movement of babies.

With the arrival of ten child advocates, all trained to spot infant abuse and manger rash, Mary and Joseph were pushed to the edge of the crowd, where arguments were breaking out over how many reindeer (or what mix of reindeer and seasonal sprites) had to be installed to compensate for the infant's unfortunate religious character.

An older man bustled up, bowling over two merchants, who had been
busy debating whether an elf is the same as a fairy and whether the elf/fairy should be shaking hands with Jesus in the crib or merely standing to the side, jumping around like a sports mascot.

"I'd hold off on the reindeer," the man said, explaining that the use of asses and oxen as picturesque backdrops for Nativity scenes carries the subliminal message of human dominance. He passed out two leaflets, one denouncing manger births as invasions of animal space, the other arguing that stables are "penned environments" where animals are incarcerated against their will. He had no opinion about elves or candy canes.

Signs declaring "Free the Bethlehem 2" began to appear, referring to the obviously exploited ass and ox. Someone said the halo on Jesus' head was elitist.

Mary was exasperated. "And what about you, old mother?" she said sharply to an elderly woman. "Are you here to attack the shepherds as prison guards for excluded species, maybe to complain that singing in Latin identifies us with our Roman oppressors, or just to say that I should have skipped patriarchal religiosity and joined some new-age goddess religion?"

"None of the above," said the woman, "I just wanted to tell you that the Magi are here." Sure enough, the three wise men rode up.

The crowd gasped, "They're all male!" And "Not very multicultural!"

"Balthasar here is black," said one of the Magi.

"Yes, but how many of you are gay or disabled?" someone shouted. A
committee was quickly formed to find an impoverished lesbian wise-person among the halt and lame of Bethlehem.

A calm voice said, "Be of good cheer, Mary, you have done well and your son will change the world."

At last, a sane person, Mary thought. She turned to see a radiant and confident female face.

The woman spoke again: "There is one thing, though. Religious holidays
are important, but can't we learn to celebrate them in ways that unite,
not divide? For instance, instead of all this business about 'Gloria in
excelsis Deo,' why not just 'Season's Greetings'?"

Mary said, "You mean my son has entered human history to deliver the message, 'Hello, it's winter'?"

"That's harsh, Mary," said the woman. "Remember, your son could make
it big in midwinter festivals, if he doesn't push the religion thing too far. Centuries from now, in nations yet unborn, people will give each other pricey gifts and have big office parties on his birthday. That's not chopped liver."

"Let me get back to you," Mary said.

In the meantime the Magi had been asked by others how much their gifts had cost, and when told the price several protested and said the
money could have been better spent on the poor and homeless. "Besides,"
said one, "what can a baby do with gold, frankincense, and myrrh?"

"You don't understand," said one of the Magi, "we brought these gifts
to honor and worship this child who has been born King of the Jews."

Whereupon the child advocates protested that adults should not pre-determine a child's future. "It should be left up to the child to decide for himself what he wants to be."

One of the shepherds called out from the back of the crowd: "The prophet Micah wrote that out of Bethlehem would come a Ruler to shepherd God's people"

"That's just a myth," said the head of the Prophet's Seminar who had just arrived with his committee. "We scholars have determined that the prophet's actually said very little of what they are credited with saying, and everything they reportedly said about a Messiah was added years later by other writers."

"How did you determine that?" asked Joseph.

The most intelligent member of the Prophet's Seminar was chosen as spokesperson and replied, "We cast lots."

After much talking, the various advocates agreed to meet again at a later date in a place more suitable for them and continue their discussions about the child's welfare. Gradually they drifted out of the stable and left the shepherds and the Magi alone with Joseph and Mary and the child.

Mary took Joseph's hand and said, "Husband, tell me again what the angel Gabriel said to you about our son.

Squeezing her hand, Joseph answered, "He said that we should call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

Mary looked down at her son and sighed deeply, and then said to no one
in particular, "I wonder if they will let him?"

Monday, December 10, 2007

One of the Benefits of Disagreement

If you're a long time reader, you might remember a few discussions between Layneh and myself regarding the dreaded topic of "Predestination."

Here is my problem; I refuse to let up on the Doctrine of God's sovereignty. So much so, that I tend to give complete and total control of everything to God. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that we are responsible for our own actions and that we will be held accountable.

I feel so strongly about preaching the Sovereignty of God, that I occasionally go overboard with the topic. I place control completely in God's hands, and sometimes forget that I'm responsible for my own actions. This is where the Benefit of the disagreement comes in. Whenever Layne and I talk about this topic, it provides a much needed reminder for me. Layne brings up multiple verses regarding to Free Will and accountability. This causes me to real myself in and do a "reality check."

I guess this is my point. I think that any clean and loving discussion about theology is a healthy one. First, if it gets me and Layne to both dig into our Bible's than it was beneficial.

Second, it causes us to question our theology, which in turn causes us to prove our theology. This often makes me step back and assess my position, and I often find that I've gone too far. This helps.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Scripture Twisters - Romans 10:8-9

But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
-Romans 10:8-9

I heard a preacher, (who shall remain nameless,) Use this passage to preach the Word of Faith. I'll paraphrase for you;

The word of Faith movement teaches us that if we believe that God will do something for us with all of our heart, we simply must say it, and God will have to do it. This passage would tell us that if we confess and believe, God has to save us. If we apply that idea to everything else in life, then I could ask God for a new Porsche. As long as I truly believe that God will give me that Porsche, he has to. The basic principle is that we are able to force God's hand with our "words of faith."

Let's see what the passage is really telling us.
A few verses earlier, we find Paul talking to us about the Law of Mosses. "Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or Who will descend into the deep?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). Romans 10:6-7 I see Paul talking more here about how the Law cannot save us, rather than how we can save ourselves.

Furthermore, we must interpret the unclear with the clear. While this verse may seem to state that we can essentially force God's hand, by believing what we are saying, there are countless other verses which render that claim false. Verses such as John 1:12, John 3:16, Acts 13:39, Romans 1:16, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 2:8-9 and 1 Peter 1:8-9 tell us that Faith is through Belief and Trust in Jesus Christ. Nothing about confessing with your mouth.

So what is Paul getting at with "Confess with your mouth?" I direct your attention to Luke 6:45 where Jesus tells us, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

I believe the confession with the mouth that Paul speaks of here is as simple as the belief in our hearts overflowing from our mouths. If we believe that Jesus has saved us from the pits of Hell, how could we not talk about it. The sheer excitement of being called "sons of God" should be evident in every word we speak.

Finally, we must consider the broader implications of our interpretation of the passage in question. (This is where I really get irritated with the Word of Faith movement.) If we allow our selves to believe that we can force God's hand by simply speaking what we whole-heartily believe, then we are allowing ourselves power over God. We are making ourselves into little gods. The Bible teaches that God controls everything. (Romans 8:28, Matthew 10:29) It also teaches that "The heart is deceitful above all things." (Jeremiah 17:9) Knowing this, how can we go on believing that God would give us something that is harmful to us, simply because we believe he will. Why would God continually give us what our deceitful hearts want?

No, Salvation is through repentance and faith. God provides for us with intercession from the spirit on our behalf, So that He may provide for us according to his will and not our own. God is Good, we are not. God knows our needs, we do not.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Way of the Master FAQ #12

From The Way of the Master

12. Do you believe in "Once saved always saved?"

Unfortuantely, when commenting on the subject of eternal security, many books and sermons from respectable men and women of God, seem to be evidently silent on the subject of true and false conversion. This is in spite the fact that it is incredibly relevant to the topic of eternal security. The New Testament deals with this in great depth. It tells of Judas' profession of faith (he was in truth a thief, and was referred to by Jesus as a "devil"), and relates the parables of Jesus about the true and false "believers" sitting alongside one another. It speaks of Demas, who forsook Paul because he "loved this present world." As such, he revealed himself to be an enemy of God--"Whoever is a friend of the world is an enemy of God.”

In one book, the author referred to a pastor/friend who was found to be "romantically" involved with another woman. The pastor had made his mind up to divorce his wife and marry the woman. I presume he means that he had been committing adultery. Instead of challenging the man as to the validity of his faith, and therefore warning him that "adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God," he spoke of the man's "loss of rewards."

We do believe in eternal security for a true convert. He puts his hand to the plow and doesn't look back, because he is "fit" for the kingdom (Luke 9:62).

Those who are fit for the Kingdom are not hypocrites as was Judas. The true convert is eternally secure in his faith, because his faith in Jesus is genuine rather than false.

However, if a man steals, lies, kills, rapes, hates, lusts, covets, commits adultery, etc., and calls himself a Christian, he would be very wise to examine himself and see if he is "in the faith." The Bible makes it very clear that hypocrites will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

If a man has no understanding of true and false conversion (in his ignorance), he may make a calculated decision to forsake a few future eternal rewards and trade them for the immediate and temporary pleasures of sin. His confidence is in an interpretation of scripture that may have eternally tragic repercussions.

We think that teaching on true and false conversion would clear the air when it comes to the contentions between two opinions that so often divide the Church. It would bring closer together those who say you can lose your salvation at the drop of a sinful hat, and others who think that Christians can get away with murder and still be assured that they are saved, because they once professed faith in the Savior.

For more information, freely listen online to "True and False Conversion" from the 16 message audio set (available on CDs).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rob Bell's view of Jesus

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

-Matthew 14:25-33

I recently had the opportunity to watch another one of the video's from Rob Bell's "Nooma" series entitled, "Dust." In the video, Mr. Bell makes the case that Peter sank into the water because of his doubt in himself rather than doubting Jesus. He tells us that "Jesus wouldn't have called him unless he thought that Peter could be like him." He goes on to tell us that Jesus has faith in us. That at the great commission, He "leaves it all in the hands of nobodies."

It is apparent to me that Rob Bell does not believe in the sovereignty of God. He would have us believe that Jesus left the great commission in our hands and now he is sitting back and hoping that we fulfill it. He would have us believe that God is impotent without us to grant him the favor of doing his work for him.

You see, the truth is that the bible teaches us that not even a swallow falls to the ground apart from Gods Will. (Matthew 10:29) The truth is that God is in control of all things. (Romans 8:28) That includes the power over the choppy water that Peter was walking on and the power over Peter himself.

In actuality, It couldn't matter less how we feel about ourselves. When we look at the life of Peter, we find that as a young, cocky, overconfident believer, he was basically useless. It wasn't until he submitted completely to the power of God that he started performing miracles and doing wonders for the kingdom of God. Ultimately, it has nothing to do with our faith in ourselves, it's our faith in God and God's favor that has power.

One final thought; Rob Bell states that while faith in God is a wonderful thing, we should also focus on God's faith in us. While that is a lovely thought, it's flawed. The Bible defines faith as "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1) If that is how we define faith, then riddle me this; What does God Hope for, and what does God not see?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Vote Like Your Soul is on the Line

The nation's Catholic bishops Wednesday approved a statement on the nature of "faithful citizenship" that hammers home the "intrinsic evil" of abortion and reminds Catholic voters that their choices in the 2008 elections "also may affect" their salvation.
USA Today, Nov. 15

To those of us who believe in Salvation through God's grace, this one is another outright slap in the face of religion by our Catholic friends.

[The statements] stress life issues such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, artificial contraception and racism are "evils" that can never be supported.

Don't anyone get me wrong, I absolutely believe that we should vote based on our moral values, but to even suggest that our salvation might be affected if we vote Giuliani is not biblical in the least. The Bishops did realize that this would be met with some skepticism, so they did what comes natural and downplayed it.

[Bishop Nicholas] DiMarzio questioned, "Are we ready to give the impression that one vote could endanger a person's eternal salvation?" He reiterated that the statement and bulletin insert are "trying to form consciences, not trying to judge them."

But they still decided to publish the claim that your salvation is on the line.

The bishops ultimately agreed to softer language: "It is important to be clear that the political choices faced by citizens have an impact on general peace and prosperity and also may affect individual salvation." Still, the statement acknowledges, "in today's environment, Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and few candidates fully share our comprehensive commitment to human life and dignity."

Rest assured, christian who is leaning towards Obama, Clinton or Giuliani, your salvation is not on the line. I recommend that all Christians seriously consult their God given consciences before they vote. Vote for the candidate that most closely follows your values, and can run this country as our founding fathers intended.

Ultimately, whoever takes office will be God's choice anyway, (Romans 13:1,) so if God chooses Hillary, and that requires a few Christians throwing their vote her way. then I put my trust in God to make that happen. Rest assured that no matter how you vote, salvation is by God's grace, not by your voting record.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Scripture Twisters: Ecclesiastes 3:3-5

a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
-Ecclesiastes 3:3-5

Marie Osmond says that it was after reading this passage that she decided to participate in Dancing with the Stars.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Rare Political Rant

Update: It would seem I recieved some flawed information in regards to Ron Paul's stance on the Marriage Protection Act.

"Mr. Speaker, Congress has a constitutional responsibility to stop rogue federal judges from using a flawed interpretation of the Constitution to rewrite the laws and traditions governing marriage. I urge my colleagues to stand against destructive judicial activism and for marriage by voting for the Marriage Protection Act." -Ron Paul, july 22, 2004

Forgive me for going Political, but I've recently felt led to look into the Republican Candidates a little deeper than I have before. I must admit, when looking into the issues that are nearest and dearest to my heart, I came out of my studies having verified what I was already feeling.

The major issues for me are as follows:
1. My candidate must truly be pro-life.
He can not say he is pro-life and then not vote accordingly. I would prefer that he always has been pro-life. He must show me a true compassion for the unborn children who are being killed every day in our country.

2. My candidate must protect the sanctity of marriage.
He must support a definition of marriage as one man and one woman. This is the way God created the union, and it is the way the union must stay.

3. My candidate must be committed to protecting parental rights.
Particularly in schools. My tax dollars help to fund the public schools of America. Should I choose to send my children there, I should at least be allowed a say in what my children are being taught and whether the material is permissible.

4. My Candidate must be willing to fight the "War on Terror," if and when the need persists.
He must take a strong stance against those who would try to harm or kill American's simply because they are Americans. If the need remains to stay in Iraq, we stay in Iraq. If war becomes necessary in Iran, We go into Iran.

5. My candidate must properly handle the American borders.
Build a fence, toughen up (and enforce) the Immigration Laws. He must not allow Bush's Amnesty Policy.

6. Keep American jobs in America.
My candidate for President must reject the trade deals that are unfair to American workers. We want our President to protect us from the hostility of the World Trade Organization, another treaty that has been detrimental to Americans.

As I looked into the above issues, I came to the conclusion that I already suspected I knew. The candidate that most closely follows my ideals and most important issues is Mike Huckabee. Ron Paul is very intriguing to me, but he has some issues that I just can't get around, including being an evolutionist, against the Marriage Protection Act and his wish to legalize drugs and prostitution.

Ultimately for me, It Huckabee.

*We now return you to your regularly scheduled Religion Blog.*

Monday, November 12, 2007

Delivered but not Saved?

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

-Hewbrews 3:16-19

This passage was brought up to me by three different people within the last two weeks. One person was wondering if the Isrealites never died, never entered the Promised Land or never entered Heaven. The second, assuming "my rest" means heaven, brought it up as an argument against my "Once Saved, Always Saved" stance. The third had no idea how this qualifies as a "warning against disbelief," as the NIV subtitle implies.

First of all, this word "rest," comes from the greek word, Katapausis, which means a resting place. It's most often used to describe the heavenly blessedness in which God dwells, and of which he has promised to make persevering believers in Christ partakers after the toils and trials of life on earth are ended. In other words, it's refering to Heaven. So yes, I do believe this is telling us that a great number of the Isrealites who were led out of Egypt will not be with us in Heaven.

The obvious direct implication of this passage is telling us not to rebel against God. But for me, an indirect application, (and the point that I'm focussing on for this post,) is the condition of our human nature.

The Human Nature has never ceased to amaze me. As we look back, we see God actually walking and talking with Adam and Eve. Yet they were deceived and despite God's physical presence, they dis-obeyed. The Israelites saw prophesied plagues come to fruition. They had the Red Sea parted for them. Miracle after miracle and they still rebelled against God. Even the 12 Apostles , who walked and talked with God himself, couldn't get over themselves long enough to truly follow God.

I personally can attest to hundreds of wonderful things God has done for me, yet I still find myself rebelling against God. I can't explain why I rebel, but I do. This human nature of rebellion is one of the main reasons why I believe that we absolutely cannot "earn" our salvation. No matter what we do, we can never hold up to God's standards. We will always rebel against him. We are saved by grace and faith, but it has to be a Spirit led faith. I don't believe we are capable of keeping our faith in God on our own.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Seeker Sensitive = Wrong?

For most of a generation evangelicals have been romanced by the “seeker sensitive” movement spawned by Willow Creek Church in Chicago. The guru of this movement is Bill Hybels. Hybels and others have been telling us for decades to throw out everything we have previously thought and been taught about church growth and replace it with a new paradigm, a new way to do ministry.

Iintentional or not, the movement taught us that the size of the church was more important than the individual growth of the beleiver. After all, surely a church with such numbers had to have the blessing of God upon it. For at least as long as I have been paying attention, there has been a large number of beleivers who thought that this was not the way to build a church, but that rather the growth of each individual within the church was more inportant than how many people attended the church. Now it seems that one of the sides may have conceeded.

From the Article, Seeker Friendly Church Leader Admits They Have Done It All Wrong by Bob Burney:

Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled Reveal: Where Are You?, co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking,” and “mind blowing.” And no wonder: it seems that the “experts” were wrong.

The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples. It gets worse. Hybels laments:

Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for.

If you simply want a crowd, the “seeker sensitive” model produces results. If you want solid, sincere, mature followers of Christ, it’s a bust. In a shocking confession, Hybels states:

We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

Incredibly, the guru of church growth now tells us that people need to be reading their bibles and taking responsibility for their spiritual growth.

the error of the seeker sensitive movement is monumental in its scope. The foundation of thousands of American churches is now discovered to be mere sand. The one individual who has had perhaps the greatest influence on the American church in our generation has now admitted his philosophy of ministry, in large part, was a “mistake.” The extent of this error defies measurement.

Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church. That we take out a clean sheet of paper and we rethink all of our old assumptions. Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture. Our dream is really to discover what God is doing and how he’s asking us to transform this planet.

What we should find encouraging, at least, in this “confession” coming from the highest ranks of the Willow Creek Association is that they are coming to realize that their existing “model” does not help people grow into mature followers of Jesus Christ. Given the massive influence this organization has on the American church today, let us pray that God would be pleased to put structures in place at Willow Creek that foster not mere numeric growth, but growth in grace.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hollywood and God

Here is a good article that pertains to the topic brought up over at Layne's blog. It's written by Ray Comfort. Check it out.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Not Dead yet...

No, I'm not Dead.

Some things have gone down at work, leaving me working 60 hour weeks and completely useless in every other aspect of life. I'll be back soon. I promise.


Friday, August 24, 2007

The Cosmic Squish

The Cosmic Squish is the term I use when people want to focus on the Love of God only, and no other aspects of who God is. One of the most common ways we see this is in people's testimonies.

So often, when hearing someone trying lead someone else to Christ, we give our testimonies. This often consists of how our lives were awful before we found Christ, but then we got saved and everything was all better. We essentially tell them that life is peachy now that we have Christ on our side. We usually leave out the fact that we are ridiculed on a daily basis for sharing our faith.

I was reminded of "The Cosmic Squish," yesterday as I listened to a sermon that included the preacher reading cards with testimonies from members of the congregation. Not a single one of them said anything about falling short of the glory of God. About just how much we don't deserve salvation. Nothing about repentance or Lordship. Nothing about being broken in the presence of God

I would never suggest that any of these people are not actually saved, just because their testimony is a little squishy. That's frankly between them and God. I've always liked a story that Ray Comfort tells in his sermon, "Hell's Best Kept Secret."

"Two men are seated in a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first because he can’t see how wearing a parachute in a plane could possibly improve the flight. After a time he decides to experiment and see if the claim is true. As he puts it on he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and he finds that he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact that he was told the parachute would improve the flight. So, he decides to give the thing a little time. As he waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him, because he’s wearing a parachute in a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they begin to point and laugh at him and he can stand it no longer, he slinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart, because, as far as he was concerned, he was told an outright lie.
The second man is given a parachute, but listen to what he’s told. He’s told to put it on because at any moment he’d be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on; he doesn’t notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without that parachute.
Let’s analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience. The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated by the passengers; he was disillusioned and somewhat embittered against those who gave him the parachute. As far as he’s concerned it’ll be a long time before anyone gets one of those things on his back again. The second man put the parachute on solely to escape the jump to come, and because of his knowledge of what would happen to him without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that he’s saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude towards those who gave him the parachute is one of heart-felt gratitude.
Now listen to what the modern gospel says. It says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.” In other words, “Jesus will improve your flight.” So the sinner responds, and in an experimental fashion, puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true. And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution. The other passengers mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ, he’s offended for the word’s sake (Mark 4:17), he’s disillusioned and somewhat embittered, and quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and lasting happiness, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed toward those who gave him the so-called “good news”. His latter end becomes worse than the first: another inoculated and bitter backslider."

So let's tell the full truth when we give our testimonies. Salvation is not about improving our lives. It's about glorifying God. It's about improving our afterlives. God has never promised us that once we give our lives to him, everything would be better. Just look at the early church. They were beaten, arrested and martyred for the sake of the gospel. Enough of the "God wants to give you a big hug." gospel. Let's start preaching that God's want to save you from the wrath you deserve.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The "Unpardonable Sin"

Thanks to Billiam for pointing me to something I've been meaning to study up on for a long time.

"I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin." He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit."
-Mark 3:28-30

I'll admit, the "unpardonable sin" is a topic that I haven't studied much. While I'm rather uneducated on the topic, here is what I do think;

1. First of all, I'm not real clear on what exactly this "sin" is.

2. Given the context of verse 29, Jesus seems to be saying that the blaspheme he is refering to is attributing acts of Jesus to Satan. Or saying that it is the spirit of Satan preforming these miracles.

3. I don't beleive a Christian could commit this "unpardonable sin." John 5:24 states, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." If a christian, (one who has beleived and received eternal life,) were to commit this sin, he would have to lose that eternal life, thus making Jesus a liar.

4. It seems logical to me that if an unbeleiver were to commit this "unpardonable sin," the only way that he could never be forgiven for it, (in keeping with God's forgiving character,) would be if his heart were hardened enough that he would never actually seek said forgivness. You decide for yourself whether God hardens his heart or he hardens it himself.

Those are my initial thoughts on the topic. I am going to do some more studying and praying so I can piece together my theoligy on the matter. Thanks again Billiam!


Monday, August 20, 2007

R.I.P. Cynthia

My wife, Tabatha has had her cat, Cynthia, for 20 years. Well, as you might have guessed from the title, Cynthia has passed on now. I found here on Thursday night, resting peacefully in her bed. We barried her right away. (I don't really know how quickly rigamortis sets in.) Tabatha and I took the death fairly well, but Kaitlynn, (the five year old,) took it very bad.

In her five years Kaitlynn has seen a great great grandmother, two great grandmothers, and a great grandfather die. All of whom she was fairly close to. Yet I was surprised to see that she took the death of Cynthia harder than any of the Grandparents' deaths. I guess there is something to be said for the fact that she interacted with Cynthia every single day, but she was still a cat, (not a human.)

Pet lovers have always insisted that their dogs and their cats were as much a part of the family as anyone. I will still tell them that even the death of my unborn child, (whom I had never even met,) was harder on me than the cat. But maybe, just maybe there is something to their point. To Kaitlynn anyway, Cynthia has been her greatest loss yet. Because of Cynthia, but even more because of my love for Kaitlynn, I feel a great pain over the loss of our family cat.

Rest in peace Cynthia.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Me? Marriage counselling?

I guess I knew it was coming sooner or later. Next year, I will be doing my first pre-marital counselling with a couple I will be performing a ceremony for in May. I've prayed about this, and I think I've come up with my approach.

The four leading causes of divorce in the United States are Money, Children, In-Laws, and Religion.

I've found excellent books by Christian authors in the categories of Money and In-Laws, and I think I'd like to find books in the other two categories next.

1. Money -
Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey.

Dave condenses his 17 years of financial teaching and counseling into 7 organized, easy-to-follow steps that will lead you out of debt and into a Total Money Makeover. Plus, you’ll read over 50 real-life stories from people just like you who have followed these principles and are now winning with their money. It is a plan designed for everyone, regardless of income or age. All from a christian perspective.

2. In-Laws -
Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us, mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts, emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own.
Now I need suggestions for the other two categories. Do you guys know of any books that I should look into. Do you have any suggestions for Money and In-laws? Any help would be great.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Hebrews 6:4-6

A verse was brought to my attention to refute my stance that a true believer can not lose his salvation. MikeT at Code Monkey Ramblings pointed out that Hebrews 6:4-6 seems to indicate that it is possible to "fall away" from the faith.

"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace."
-Hebrews 6:4-6

This would not mark the first time I've heard this case. I think there are two things that are very important to remember when trying to discern this passage:

1. We must interpret the verses in context with the surrounding verses.
When I read the rest of chapter 6, it seems very obvious to me that Paul is warning the church that there will be false converts within the church. These are people who never leave behind "the elementary teachings about Christ" and go on to maturity. In the verses immediately following our text, Paul talks about two lands receiving rain. The first produced a useful crop, but the second produced thorns and thistles. Yet they both received the same rain.
In the same way, before I was a true beleiver, I received the Holy Spirit's teaching, I felt his presence, and I was granted a small taste of the gift. Yet if I had died in my sins, all those feelings and teachings would have meant nothing. I would have been burned up, just like the land that produced only thorns and thissles.

2. We must interperet the verses in context with the whole Bible.
As with any theology, we can make the Bible say nearly anything we want, if we try hard enough. However, when we read a passage that seems to state something contrary to a clear theme of the Bible, we must look into it. While this passage seems like it might be saying that it is possible to lose ones salvation, verses like Ephesians 1:13-14, John 10:27-29, 1 Peter 1:23, Ephesians 4:30, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:12-13, 1 Peter 2:5, Ephesians 2:20-22, and 2 John 1:2 tell us that it is not possible. (I could give you about fifteen more if you'd like.)
If we truly beleive that the Bible is 100% true and does not contradict itself, then Hebrews 6:4-6 must mean something else. I have provided above what I beleive it truly means.

See the post entitle Eternal Security to learn more.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Scripture Twisters: 1 Peter 3:19-20

"through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,"
-1 Peter 3:19-20

A preacher, (who shall remain nameless,) said that this meant that when Jesus preached to the spirits in prison, eight of them heard the gospel message and were saved. He used this verse to justify his belief that those who dies in unbelief will be given a second chance to "accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior."

Let's take a more logical approach to the passage.

First of all, can anyone really make the argument that souls who were subjected to thousands of years of pain and torment would really not jump at the chance to get out of hades? Only eight believed at that point. I would think that once you are in Hell, you are no longer in disbeleif. That's just an assumption though.

Let's look at who the eight people who were saved were. The passage says, "In it only a few people...were saved.." What is "it?" there is only one object mentioned in this passage; the ark. So in the ark only a few were saved. How many people were in the ark? Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. That equals EIGHT. Actually, the mentioning of the eight being saved by water is a transition to the next point. In verse 21, it states, "and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him."

No Mr. un-named pastor, those who are suffering in Hell are not given another chance. Jesus very clearly states that Hell is for an eternity. Please stop using the word of God to spread false doctrines, and mis-lead the Church.


Monday, August 6, 2007

The Bridge

A portion from an article written by John Piper:

"There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.'"
-Luke 13:1-5

Jesus implies that those who brought him this news thought he would say that those who died, deserved to die, and that those who didn't die did not deserve to die. That is not what he said. He said, everyone deserves to die. And if you and I don't repent, we too will perish. This is a stunning response. It only makes sense from a view of reality that is radically oriented on God.

All of us have sinned against God, not just against man. This is an outrage ten thousand times worse than the collapse of the 35W bridge. That any human is breathing at this minute on this planet is sheer mercy from God. God makes the sun rise and the rain fall on those who do not treasure him above all else. He causes the heart to beat and the lungs to work for millions of people who deserve his wrath. This a view of reality that desperately needs to be taught in our churches, so that we are prepared for the calamities of the world.

The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life for ever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind's attention and my heart's affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God's message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world.
(Full Article)

Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm Off!!

Tabatha and I are off for a weekend getaway to celebrate our 7th anniversary. Should be fun. Everybody have a good weekend.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

More Rapture Talk

Referring back to the post entitled Rapture Delusions.

Geppy writes:

"I was raised a fundamental Christian, believing in the rapture and preaching it to others. Whereas it provides a good way to "scare" others to salvation, I no longer see it as biblical."
"All of the passages that were taught to support the rapture all of a sudden said the opposite."

Thanks for the friendly reminder via Email geppy. Between my non-desk job and the fact that I don't have a computer at home right now, keeping up with the blogging world is a constant struggle.

I agree. I would love to believe in a pre-trib rapture as it is a very convenient view, however I cannot find the scripture to support it. The Bible speaks of a first and second coming of Jesus. According to the pre-trib rapture, Jesus still has to come a second and third time.

All the scripture passages the pre-tribers give seem to have to be taken out of context in order to say what they want them to say. This is a prime example, (to me,) of making the bible validate an existing theology rather than letting the scriptures for your theology for you.

Refer to the original post for a more complete argument.

I'm sure I'll get ripped for this one. I'm sure Secret Rapture will be around too.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Teaching our Children

"and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
-2 Timothy 3:15

In case you haven't noticed, I have been absent for about a week. Last week we had Vacation Bible School at our church. I was asked to give a 15 minute lesson at the end of each day. This brought up a dilemma for me. You see, I've never really preached the gospel message to a child. I wasn't sure how to do it. But that brought up an even bigger question in my mind:

Are we teaching our children that the bible is a book of rules, or are we teaching them that the bible is a book that points us to salvation through the sanctifying work of Jesus Christ?

When Timothy was a child, his mother and Grandmother taught him the holy scriptures. It seems to me that they were probably drilled into his head much like we drilled memory verses into the heads of the children at VBS. But they did not teach Timothy t scriptures so that he would obey them, ("clean your room because that's what God wants you to do.") They taught him that he could never live up to God's standards. They taught him that he was sinner who needed a savior. They taught him to be mindful because the Lamb of God was coming. Timothy knew what he was looking for and because he had known the holy scriptures from infancy, he recognized the lamb when he heard about it. He was made wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

I did decide to deliver the full salvation message to those children on the last night of VBS. I told them about sin. I took them through the law of Moses. I pointed out that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I explained that "the wages of sin is death." And then I told them that this Christ that we had talked about all week had taken that payment. I told them that if they wanted to live with God in heaven, they needed to ask God for forgiveness of their sins and pray that he might grant them a repentant heart. I pleaded with them to trust Jesus as their savior.

15 children told me that the received the gift of eternal life that night. I don't know if they really did. That's for God to know. All I know is that I'm glad I didn't "dumb down" the message. I truly believe that kids understand more than we give them credit for. The curriculum given to us could have gone either way. We could have used it to present a bunch of rules that these children could never really live by, or we could have used it to present a Godly standard to show them that they need a savior just like any boring old adult does. I believe we took the right approach, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bible Literacy

Here is the "Kroll Scale of Bible Literacy," by Woodrow Kroll:

-3 No knowledge of the Bible at all.
A Bible? What’s a Bible? I have never seen a Bible before and I
don’t know what you’re talking about.

-2 Familiarity with the Bible but no trust in its claims or authority.
A Bible? Yes, I have one someplace, but it’s just for people ike my grandmother. I don’t read the Bible because I don’t think it’s what some people claim it to be. It has no impact on my life.

-1 Familiarity with the Bible but minimal trust in it’s claims orxauthority and never read it or hear its truth so the Bible has little or no personal impact on your life.
A Bible? Yes, I have one but there’s not much in it that appeals to me. I don’t know if it’s what it claims to be or not. Who’s to say? It has little influence on me because I don’t read it.

+1 Trust in the Bible and its claims and authority but only occasionally read it or hear its truth so the Bible has only occasional personal impact on your life.
A Bible? Yes, it’s God’s Word. I believe it’s inspired by God and should be read and obeyed, but I only occasionally get around to reading it myself. In fact, I have three copies, but I don’t read any of them more than once a week.

+2 Trust in the Bible and its claims and authority and regularly read it or hear its truth with understanding so the Bible has regular personal impact on your life.
A Bible? Yes, I have one and read it regularly. I believe it’s inspired by God. I’m in a Bible reading program at church. I also read a verse or two along with my devotional book on a fairly regular basis.

+3 Trust in the Bible and its claims and authority and daily read it or hear its truth so the Bible produces a passion to connect personally with the Author and induces the reader to share Him with others.
A Bible? Read it? Are you kidding? I want to know God so badly that I devour the Bible daily. I used to read a couple of verses along with my devotional but now that’s not enough for me. Through reading God’s Word I get to know Him intimately and, as a result, I am energized to share God’s story with my friends and family.

Where do you fall on the scale?

Questions? Comments?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Sermon

If anyone has some time to spare, here is a link to the sermon that I was speaking of. When you get there, click on the link "Transformers - Part 3."

Otherwise, here is an overview that I have comprised:

Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
We can not speak as the world speaks because the way the world speaks leads to death.

Romans 8:6 "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace"
To speak as the world speaks is to separate us from the will of God.

Proverbs 18:21 "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
Our tongues can save us or kill us. This is why we must watch what we say.

Galatians 6:7 "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."
We have to say the right things if we want God to bless us. "You can't speak words of death and expect to receive life."

Psalm 19:14 "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."
Both what I believe AND what I say MUST be acceptable to God. If I believe, but do not speak, I can not be saved.

Matthew 12:47 "For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
Your words have the power to save you or kill you.

Proverbs 6:2 "you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth"
You can be trapped by your own words. (Timm's side note:PLEASE GO AND READ THIS ONE IN CONTEXT.)

Proverbs 12:14 "From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things.."
We can receive more good things than we can handle if we keep speaking words of life.

Mathew 12:33-34 "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."
We cannot speak of death if we believe.

Romans 10:8-10 "But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
We have to physically "confess" with our mouths. If you believe the entire gospel and believe in your heart, but never say the words, you will not be saved.

2 Corinthians 4:13 "t is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak"
We need to get our thinking, believing AND our words right to be saved.

The pastor then lead us in some "confessions." If we were to speak these confessions and truly believe them, it would then force God's hand in our favor. WHAT A DEAL!

There it is. Please, someone tell me if I'm way off base in disagreeing with this guy.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Not "I Will," but "Thy Will"

A few weeks ago, I visited a church were the pastor opened up his sermon by telling us that by the time we left that day, we would know exactly what God's will for our lives was. That's about the time he lost me. The rest of the message was about how we are saved by what we say rather than what we believe, (or more importantly, who we trust.) I left that church in a dazed and confused state, which was better than probably half of the congregation who left that church in a completely mis-informed state. He never did tell us exacly what God's will for our lives was, (at least not to my knowlege.) So I thought I would look into what the Bible says God's will for our lives is. Here are a few verses I found that clearly define exactly what God's wil is:

1 Thessolonians 4:2-3
"For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God.."
It is the will of God that we keep the commandments given to us by Jesus.

1 Thessolonians 5:18
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you"
Give thanks to God in ALL things.

1 Peter 4:19
"Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
It is God's will that we suffer for him, even to the point of persecution. Our praises to God. even through our trials, brings greater glory to his name.

1 John 2:16-17
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
It is God's will that we should live forever with him.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I'll spare you the details...

..but yesterday I was reminded that I fall painfully short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23,) my heart is Deceitful (Jeramiah 17:9,) and that I don't deserve the justification that God has granted me.

Please pray for me and my family.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No Toys!?

Two days ago, I took away all of the toys my two girls (ages 5 and 2 1/2) had in their room. It was meant to teach them to respect the things that they had. I was fed up with the on going battle to get them to clean their room. The result took me back.

The next day, they spent an entire day entertaining themselves with their imaginations. No toys, just each other. Not only that, but they behaved all day long. They didn't get bored. Maybe they really DO have too many toys.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 9, 2007

On Roles in Marriage

Rachel posted this in one of the comments sections of Code Monkey Ramblings. I thought it was so well put that it deserves repeating.

"I find this whole subject to be very interesting. Being homeschooled, I watched men and women take the extreme of the husband being the head of the household to the point where the women were literally slaves, always being completely burned out, taking crap constantly from her husband, and living in misery because she was the wife and therefore was not important. Then I look at how I grew up. My dad was very much the head of the household, and for those who know my dad they will tell you that he is a very strong but loving head of the household. Being homeschooled for reasons other than being a right-wing nut job family who were homeschooling for the sole purpose of brain washing children, my mom worked with my sister an I for long hours during the day so that we would have the best education possible. My mother, being a very bright engineer, gave us an incredible education, but this meant that my dad and my sister and I, had to pitch in double time with the chores and other household duties. My mom was always the first one working during the day and the last one up finishing up what needed to be done - but without my dad and our help, she would have never managed. My dad often described us as a team, yes, he was the team captain and we were the team players. It is like a machine, if there is a gear, belt or a bolt not doing its job, the machine won't function properly, each part is important, and to simply throw away a part because it doesn't seem as important as the rest of the parts will leave the whole not functioning at its best. My dad was one of the most loving people I know. He listened to his family, and very often took the advice of my mother. There have been times where he did what he wanted without thinking of anyone else and the entire family paid the consequences for his decision. My dad was incredibly blessed by God, because my father was a faithful servant. A husband is supposed to love and sacrifice for his wife, as Christ did for the church, the church is a body. The brain/brain stem seems like the most important part, but without the heart or the lungs, or even the big toe, you have a body that is not functioning or not functioning at its best. Each member is important and should be valued as such. To me, a partnership in marriage, much as my parents had, meant that two people we working for the greater good of their family. A house divided cannot stand, when all are working together, the house will have a strong foundation and will hold up in the worst of storms. But I am not saying that everyone in the family should feel the equal right to having their turn as "head" of the household, that is the husband's job. I am willing to submit to my husband, Mike, (here soon) but I do expect to be treated better than the dirt of the ground. There are things I know alot about, that he does not. For example, I grew up working on cars with my dad. I know a decent bit when it comes to cars and their problems. Mike listens to me on these things, generally. It is the two of us working together, it is not that I feel like he shouldn't be the head of the household, but we are working together to achieve the best with what we have. You all may think I am nuts, but my parents have one of the strongest marriages, that have survived some horrific times that seemed like things should have fallen apart. My parents leaned on each other and helped the other with whatever was needed. My dad was always the leader, but he will tell you that my mom was a very important part of his role as head of the family. She was always backing him up and supporting him, without that, my family would not be as strong as it is today."

Thanks Rachel!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Jihadist Mouse?

From Barry Rubens, The Case of the Murdered Mouse:

"The Hamas satellite TV channel produced a children's show, Tomorrow's Pioneers, which should have been called Tomorrow's Suicide Bombers, designed to get children to kill Israelis, or Jews in general, and participate in a radical Islamist attempt at world conquest. We know this because that is what the show's hosts and their mascot, the high-voiced Farfur the mouse (based on Mickey) said. International media often reported that the show only asked the children to "fight" or "resist" Israel but this was a clear misrepresentation of the program's incitement to terrorism, antisemitism, and even--in a departure from past Hamas propaganda--calls for an Islamist-dominated planet.

Given the controversy around Farfur, however, Hamas decided to make him a true example for the children to emulate, by becoming a martyr. Thus, Al-Aqsa television claimed that Farfur was murdered by an Israeli official wanting to grab his land."

The article later proceeds with the script from the show:

"[Text:] "Farfur in Interrogation"

Israeli interrogator: "Sit down, Farfur. Farfur, we want to buy the land, we will give you a lot of money. You will get a lot of money, and we will take the documents."
Farfur: "No!! We will not sell our lands to terrorists!"
Interrogator: "Farfur!!! I want you to give me the documents, give me the documents!"
Farfur: "I'm not giving the documents! Not giving! Not giving!"
Interrogator: "Farfur!!! [Visual: interrogator beats Farfur] Farfur! Hand me the documents. Farfur! Hand me the documents, Farfur!"
Farfur: "I am not handing them to criminals, to terrorists!"
Interrogator: "You call us terrorists, Farfur?!
[Visual: interrogator beats Farfur again]
Take this! Take this! Take this! Take this!"
Farfur: "Stop! Stop!"

Saraa (Host of the show): "Yes, our children friends, we lost our dearest friend, Farfur. Farfur turned to a Martyr while protecting his land. He turned into a Martyr at the hands of the criminals, and murderers. The murderers of the innocent children. [Talking to a child caller] You saw that the Jews let Farfur die as a Martyr. What do you want to say to the Jews?"

Shaimaa, 3 years old, on the phone: "We don't like the Jews because they are dogs! We will fight them!"
Saraa [sarcastically]: "No, the Jews are good, oh Shaimaa. The Jews are our friends, and we play with them, isn't it so?"

Shaimaa: "They killed Farfur!"
Saraa: "That's right, oh Shaimaa. The Jews are criminals and enemies, we must expel them from our land."

[Hamas, Al-Aqsa TV June 27, 2007]

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

More on Evan Almighty

Update: For some reason, I did end up going to see this movie. So for all of you who told me "You need to see the movie before you can comment on it," I still feel the same. In fact, I'm more firm in my stance now.

Many people are getting on my case for my stance on Evan Almighty. (No it's not just Wonder Woman, friends and acquaintances outside the blogging world are ripping me apart for this one.) I've been called everything from legalistic, to a zealot, to a "neo-Christian." But Wonder Woman did put into typing form the essence of every argument I've gotten. "It's just a movie."

To these people I always ask, when does a movie become "just a movie?" Should I think of Showgirls as "just a movie?" Should i think of any porno movie as "just a movie?" The point is that there is a hypothetical line drawn somewhere for everyone where a movie becomes "something I shouldn't watch." It seems that my line is drawn a little closer than others, and I will not hold that against anyone. (Not on Evan Almighty anyway.)

But what if we took the argument a little further. Is a Pastor who is not preaching the true word of God, "just a false teacher?" Is a cancer cell "just a cancer cell?" Apathy within the church is a disease. I believe that the churches ever growing apathy is the very disease that will lead to the eventual falling away that ushers in the antichrist. (1 Thessolonians 2:2-4)

The point is this: The line has to be drawn where we stop saying, "it's just a _____." I try to let the Bible define where that line is for my life. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." That is where I draw the line.

I cannot think of a way for me to go watch Evan Almighty to the glory of God. This is a movie that advertises its self as "a family movie" that is "of biblical proportions." It then proceeds to take shots at the character of God, make crude jokes about animal reproductive organs, and blaspheme the Lord's name at least 8 times. If I could think of any way to watch this movie to the glory of God, I would love to watch it. It does look very funny after all.

*nothing personal, Wonder Woman. You were just the first one to post it on the blog.*

Questions? Comments?

Monday, July 2, 2007

There is More Studying to be Done.

Thanks to Code Monkey Ramblings for the link.

You know the Bible 96%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Evan Almighty

Dr. Jame3s Dobson on Evan Almighty:

"..I wish it were possible to endorse and recommend this picture, but I cannot do so.

My greatest objection to the film is its use of God's name irreverently in eight or 10 instances, as in "oh my ---." It was simply unnecessary to write the script this way, and I was bothered by it. I was also uncomfortable with the depiction of our most righteous God as an ordinary man who, though endearing and warm, danced and performed funny miracles. Some people, even individuals with similar beliefs to mine, will not be offended by this presentation. But I was taught at my mother's knee that God is profoundly holy, and we are to approach Him with deep humility and reverence. The first four of the Ten Commandments refer to this divine nature, including a warning to those who would misuse His name or refer to it disrespectfully. How can I endorse a movie that runs past those boundaries, even though most others do far worse?

Finally, I was concerned about the rewriting of the story of Noah and his ark. "God," played charmingly by Morgan Freeman, told the new Noah character that the first flood occurred because the people hadn't done enough "acts of random kindness" (as in A.R.K. Get it?). God destroyed the world and its inhabitants, the contemporary god said, not to punish a wicked and perverse generation as we read in Genesis 6, but as a benign object lesson to encourage people to be nicer to each other. It was bad theology and a radical distortion of Scripture.

As for whether my readers and their sons and daughters should see this film, that decision depends on their individual interpretations and beliefs. From my perspective, it is a shame that the movie is flawed in ways that could have so easily been avoided. Nevertheless, I appreciate the fact that the producers and writers did not include the gratuitous sex and violence that punctuates so many other offerings. Evan Almighty could have been a perennial favorite."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rules for Commenting

1. Please do not use the Lord's name in vain.

2. Do not use any swear words or filthy language.

3. Be respectful to God, the Bible and fellow bloggers.

4. Timm reserves the right to delete any comment that he does not feel is within these simple guidelines.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rational Evangelism

The first line of the article reads, "I first started to understand 'rational evangelism' the night that a woman in a bar told me that she had seen Jesus dressed as a homeless cross dressing man in an elf costume." Heather Kirk-Davidoff then goes on to to tell the story of an encounter she had with a woman in a bar that eventually lead to her favorite character in the musical, "Rent." Angel was "a homeless, drum playing gay man, who spends most of the show dressed as a drag queen Santa Claus." The woman goes on to tell Heather, "what's amazing to me, is how much power Angel's love has in the lives of the other characters in the play. And his love doesn't stop affecting them even after he dies. It's like,... It's like it's made more perfect in his death." It's at this point in the conversation that Heather suggested that Angel was like Jesus Christ. (article)

My biggest problem is not that she had the audacity to make the comparison, (although that is a problem for me.) My biggest problem is that in this article about EVANGELISM, she never explains that she then went on to EVANGELIZE this woman. She would have you believe that she allowed this woman to continue thinking of Jesus as Angel from Rent. Now I don't really know if she went on to explain sin, punishment for sin, the life of the REAL CHRIST, the death of Christ as payment for sin, and the imputed righteousness of Christ so that we might be found holy before a holy and just God. But the general tone of the article would leave me to believe she did not.

Heather goes on to say, "What would evangelism look like if we... counted conversations instead of conversions?" Well Heather, it would look like we had a lot of conversations and no conversions. It would look like we spread a lot of seeds amongst the thorns and on the shallow ground. We would see many plants sprout up and die very quickly.

If someone does not know WHY they are fleeing to God for salvation, then salvation can not be obtained. If we do not inform them of the true gospel message, who Christ TRULY IS, and why he died on that cross, then they have nothing to believe in. Talking to someone about Christ is not evangelism. TELLING them about Christ, and God's only plan of salvation is. So counting conversations is fine, as long as you count the right ones.

Questions? Comments?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Boldly Proclaim the Gospel

If you've got ten minutes, watch this video of Joel Osteen, (Pator of Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas,) dance around the truth of the gospel message:

And then watch this video of John MacArthur boldly proclaiming the Gospel Message on National Television:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Follow Your Heart - Revisited

"Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" - Eccl. 8:11

"..from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly." - Mark 7:21-22

I would like to retract my advice to "follow your heart." Instead I would like to present this advice for making those ever important choices in life:

Read your Bible and pray.

Questions? Comments?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Scientific Facts in the Bible

Here are a list of scientific facts found in the Bible, (compiled by Ray Comfort):

Jeremiah 33:22 (written 2500 years ago) - The stars in the sky cannot be counted.
Science at the time this was written believed that there were about 1100 stars in the sky. This estimation was widely accepted.

Job 26:7 (written 3500 years ago) - The earth freely floats in space.
Science at that time held the view that the earth sat on the back of a large animal.

Leviticus 17:11 (written 3000 years ago) - Blood is the source of life.
Up until 120 years ago, sick people were "bled", and many died because of the practice. We now know that blood is the source of life. If you lose your blood, you will lose your life.

Leviticus 15:13 (written 3000 years ago) - Hands are to be washed under running water.
Up until 100 years ago doctors washed their hands in a basin of still water, resulting in the death of multitudes. We now know that doctors must wash their hands under running water.

Isaiah 40:22 (written 2800 years ago) - The Earth is round.
At that time Science thought that the earth was flat. It wasn't discovered that it was round until the well documented story of Christopher Columbus.

Genesis 1:1,3 (written 3,450 years ago) - "In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth . . . And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
Science expresses the universe in five terms: time, space, matter, power and motion. "In the beginning (time) God created (power) the Heaven (space) and the earth (matter) . . . And the Spirit of God moved (motion) upon the face of the waters."

Psalm 8:8 - Introduces us to Ocean Currents
Man discovered the existence of ocean currents in the 1850's, but the Bible declared the science of oceanography 2,800 years ago. Matthew Maury (1806- 1873) is considered to be the father of oceanography. He was bedridden during a serious illness and asked his son to read a portion of the Bible to him. While listening, he noticed the expression "paths of the sea." Upon his recovery, Maury took God at His word and went looking for these paths. His book on oceanography is still considered a basic text on the subject and is still used in universities.

All this kind of makes you wonder why people are so quick to believe what science tells them. More importantly, it points us to the all knowing power of God. God has revealed so many things to us in scripture. I wonder what we will find next that God was telling us about. I'll bet there is more Scientific Fact in there that we haven't even discovered yet.

Questions? Comments?