Thursday, January 29, 2015

Editorial: Be vigilant about your comment section

Either through AOL chat, online newspapers, bulletin boards, blogs, Facebook, or Twitter I've been running online comment sections since 1999. I've had a lot of experience seeing how people choose to say things either openly or anonymously. I've also seen a steep decline in the quality of online (and real life) discourse.

By 2004 online newspapers and blogs became ubiquitous. That year was dubbed Year of the Blog. Anonymous commenting flourished. Prior to this, the only public discourse available was tightly controlled. Letters to the Editor had to be signed with your real name, and include a telephone number so the editor could call to verify. Journals and other publications demanded the same. The internet either wasn't invented or it was so new, not everyone was online. Books went through an even tighter process, if you could even reach the front door of a publishing house. Handing out personal leaflets or pamphlets was looked upon with suspicion, especially if someone was handing them out while standing on a street corner. To use a microphone at a public meeting you had to sign your name and be called to the podium. If your discourse was too inflammatory, your mic would be shut off. If someone wanted to say something publicly either in oral or written form, it was very hard, and there was no such thing as anonymous commenting. (Benjamin Franklin's penchant for pseudonymous commenting notwithstanding).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lists, lists, we all like lists. Listapalooza

When I was an editor/reporter I wrote lots of articles. Knowing I had readers of different ages, interests, and ability levels, I liked to write a variety of styles in the newspaper. Long, short, easy reading, casual reading, scholarly writing. And lists. I always liked bullet point, browsable, easily consumable lists. That was my favorite. So here is a list of lists.

These Christian writers present a list of excerpts and/or links, either daily or weekly. If you don't have a lot of time and want to just scan a list, this list is for you.

Dan Phillips at Pyromaniacs has collected a list of red light warnings to be on the lookout for when testing whether a teacher may be heading down the road of falsity. His is an invaluable list. I recommend bookmarking it or copying it and printing it out. It's called Red Lights.

Red Lights
It occurred to me that many might be served if we offered warning-signs of (at worst) false or (at best) unreliable teachers. Here are a number of such indicators. Some are instantly obvious; others only over the passage of time (cf. 1 Tim. 5:24). Any one of these should signal alarm. Found all together in the same person, trainwreck is assured.
Al Mohler puts out The Briefing each day. He writes that this list is a "Daily worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations."

Tim Challies publishes an A La Carte each day.

Erin Benziger posts This N That at Do Not Be Surprised on Fridays.

Trevin Wax also posts Trevin's Seven on Fridays. Or maybe he changed the name to "Worth a Look". I'm not sure.

Julia at Steak and a Bible has a semi-regular "Don't Miss" list

If you know of a good blog that publishes a browsable list pretty frequently, lt me know and I'll add it.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First female Bishop; "Propelling" women beyond their roles, people with discernment called "disgruntled serial protesters"

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, (2 Timothy 4:3)

The 'passions' discussed today are the passions of usurping women and the men who let them.

Eve was originally created to be a helpmeet. Hers was the supportive role in helping the man. (Genesis 2:18, 20). It still is, despite cultural pressure and widespread disobedience. But because the man listened to the voice of the woman, (Genesis 3:17) who was rebelling against God and urging her mate to do so as well (Genesis 3:6) all mankind was cursed with bearing a sin nature. (Until the Redeemer came Genesis 3:15).

In addition, the woman was cursed with wanting to rule her husband. This is one of the "passions" we are to guard against, as mentioned so many times in scripture. Passions are also known as ungodly desires. (1 Timothy 1:10, Jude 1:18, etc). Women will want the man's role.

"Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." (Genesis 3:16)

It is a tragedy when we see this played out in the home. When it is played out in the church it's worse. And worst of all is institutionalizing the disobedience of male and female leaders within the church, as seen here in this article today from the LA Times.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead

The Glorious Return

29“But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: (2 Timothy 4:1)

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)

But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5)
The Judgment of Babylon

God will judge all people for their lives. No one these days likes to think about the LORD as judge, not even some Christians. Of course, the difference between Christians and non-believers is that though our lives will be examined and assessed, we will not be judged in wrath. Jesus exhausted God's wrath for our sins while He was on the cross. There is no condemnation for us now. (Romans 8:1). Even at that, it is still excruciating to think of Jesus staring at our heart and soul with His piercing eyes (Revelation 1:14) and know all our words, deeds, and even motives as He sends our works through the fire to either become silver and gold, or burn away as hay and stubble. (1 Corinthians 3:12)

For those who are not in Christ, the judgment will be terrible. Who can stand?

The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; (Psalm 5:5)
The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. (Psalm 9:7)
He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. (Psalm 9:8)

God is holy and He judges. He knows each and every word the unsaved say. He sees all their deeds. He knows motives in the heart. Nothing is hidden from Him.

Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD, How much more the hearts of men! (Proverbs 15:11)

Make no mistake. Jesus is a loving God, but He is a holy God who judges all men.
As a part of his sovereignty and authority, God is executor of his righteousness within the created order. Jesus Christ shares in this ongoing work.
(Source: Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes)


He judges individuals, nations, rulers, families, cities, and His own people. The eternal punishment of the ungodly is sure. (certain Ro 1:18 See also Pr 10:24; Isa 13:11; 26:21; 66:16; Jn 5:28-29; Eph 5:6; Col 3:6; 1Th 5:3; Heb 2:2-3. Source: Manser). It will be everlasting,(2Th 1:8-9, Isaiah 33:14), and the wicked will be forever separated from God's presence.

God is serious business. He means what He says, that all rebellion will be judged and punishments meted out accordingly. I am firm on this today because as I said earlier, man does not like to think of God's judgments. But we must.

They diminish His holiness by vain talk and babblings about visions, as Beth Moore does when she says God calls her "Honey" and "Babe" in her alleged visions. They besmirch His majesty and His wrath by writing books about erotic encounters, as Anne Voskamp did in her book One Thousand Gifts ("I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God." etc.) They blaspheme Him like in The Shack by William P. Young, by portraying God as a female pancake making Aunt Jemimah who says "Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it."

Oh, but God does both.

God is a MAJESTIC JUDGE, potent in holiness and coming in wrath to judge all the living and the dead.

The following verses speak to judgment

JUDGMENT.
The General: 1 Chr. 16:33; Job 14:17; Job 21:30; Job 31:13–15; Psa. 9:7; Psa. 50:3–6; Psa. 96:13 Psa. 98:9. Eccl. 3:17; Eccl. 11:9; Eccl. 12:14; Ezek. 18:20–28; Dan. 7:9, 10; Amos 4:12; Matt. 3:12 Luke 3:17. Matt. 7:22, 23; Matt. 8:29 With 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6. Matt. 11:22 Matt. 10:15. Matt. 12:36, 37, 41, 42 Luke 11:31, 32. Matt. 13:30, 40–43, 49, 50; Matt. 16:27 Mark 8:38. Matt. 22:13 vs. 11–13.; Matt. 23:14; Matt. 25:1–14 [Luke 19:12–26.] Matt. 25:15–46; Mark 4:22; Mark 13:32; Luke 10:10–14; Luke 12:2–5; Luke 13:24–29; Luke 20:45–47; John 5:22; John 12:48; Acts 2:19–21; Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31; Acts 24:25; Rom. 2:5–10, 12–16; Rom. 14:10–12; 1 Cor. 3:13; 1 Cor. 4:5; 1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 1:7, 8; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Heb. 6:2; Heb. 9:27; Heb. 10:27; 1 Pet. 4:5, 7; 2 Pet. 2:4, 9; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10–12; 1 John 4:17; Jude 6, 14, 15, 24; Rev. 1:7; Rev. 6:15–17; Rev. 11:18; Rev. 20:11–15; Rev. 22:12.

According to Opportunity and Works: Gen. 4:7; Job 34:11; Prov. 11:31; Prov. 12:14; Prov. 24:11, 12 Psa. 62:12; 2 Tim. 4:14. Isa. 3:10, 11; Isa. 5:15, 16; Isa. 24:2; Isa. 59:18; Jer. 17:10, 11; Jer. 32:19; Ezek. 7:3, 4, 27; Ezek. 9:4–6; Ezek. 16:59; Ezek. 18:4 [vs. 5–9.] Ezek. 18:19–32; Ezek. 33:18–20; Ezek. 39:24; Hos. 4:9 Hos. 12:2. Amos 3:2; Zech. 1:6; Matt. 10:14, 15 Matt. 11:24; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; 10:12–15. Matt. 12:37; Matt. 23:14 Luke 20:47. Mark 14:21; Luke 11:49, 50 v. 51.; Luke 12:47, 48 [See parable of the vineyard, Isa. 5:1–6. Of the farmer, Isa. 28:24–28. Of the wicked tenant farmers, Matt. 21:33–36. Of the talents, Matt. 25:14–30.]Luke 13:6–9; Luke 19:12–27; Luke 21:1–4; John 3:19, 20; John 5:45; John 9:41; John 12:48; John 15:22, 24; Rom. 2:5–12, 27; 1 Cor. 3:8, 13–15 v. 12.; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 2:15, 16; 2 Cor. 11:15; Gal. 6:5–10; Eph. 6:7, 8; Col. 3:25; 1 Tim. 1:13; Heb. 2:2, 3; Heb. 10:26–30; Heb. 12:25; Jas. 2:12, 13; 1 Pet. 1:17; 2 Pet. 2:20, 21; Rev. 2:23; Rev. 20:12, 13.

(Source: Swanson, J., & Nave, O. (1994). New Nave’s Topical Bible. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.)

Why am I writing about judgment? Because it is infrequently discussed these days. It is an unpalatable topic for too many people. But our God is holy and He is glorified in judging the wicked. Judgment in Holiness is one of His sovereign attributes and as such is is profitable for men to ponder His great and mighty decisions.

Anyone not in Christ has not been forgiven of their deeds, which are hostile to God and against Him as enemy. He will judge them and they will then endure eternal torment in hell forever to pay the penalty for those sins. DId you know that...

And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24)

Matthew Henry Commntary speaks of that verse from Isaiah-
But our Saviour applies it to the everlasting misery and torment of impenitent sinners in the future state, where their worm dies not, and their fire is not quenched (Mk. 9:44); for the soul, whose conscience is its constant tormentor, is immortal, and God, whose wrath is its constant terror, is eternal. (3.) What notice shall be taken of it. Those that worship God shall go forth and look upon them, to affect their own hearts with the love of their Redeemer, when they see what misery they are redeemed from. As it will aggravate the miseries of the damned to see others in the kingdom of heaven and themselves thrust out (Lu. 13:28), so it will illustrate the joys and glories of the blessed to see what becomes of those that died in their transgression, and it will elevate their praises to think that they were themselves as brands plucked out of that burning. To the honour of that free grace which thus distinguished them let the redeemed of the Lord with all humility, and not without a holy trembling, sing their triumphant songs.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1218). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Oh, yes, the gratitude that we are spared! The humble thankfulness with which we sing His praises. Our Redeemer! We are a blessed group, never forget His lovingkindness to those whom He chose for Himself. We are His trophy of grace, and looking upon the wicked in torment, how much more will be fall to our own knees in crushed and broken contriteness and relief to worship such a God!

Why we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28)




Saturday, January 24, 2015

Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains the Holy Spirit's work through Common Grace

I listened to a wonderful sermon today. I've been enjoying and savoring Martyn Lloyd-Jones' series called "The Great Biblical Doctrines." The one from today was called Creation and Common Grace.

It's only 27 minutes long, because unfortunately the beginning portion has been lost. Nevertheless, you can easily understand the points this great pastor is making from the jumping off point where the sermon does open.

I was struck by the multi-layered aspect of the sermon. I've been studying end time prophecies for a long time, of course; and also on Wednesday nights at church we are going through Acts, and have recently studied both Pentecost and Stephen's sermon.

The sermon puts so many pieces together. The bible is one great, unified work. It's the revelation God wants us to know about Him and His work among the people and of earth. It is THE TRUTH, not a truth and not many truths. As you study to understand it precept by precept, a jot here, a tittle there, you begin to see a large picture emerge.

This sermon explains the work of the Holy Spirit through His ministry of common grace, and through understanding common grace, you'll understand how when the restraining ministry of the Spirit ends this will be a dramatic moment as the Tribulation begins. (2 Thessalonians 2:7). You'll understand how men could be so sinful that without the common grace of the Holy Spirit's restraint we'd all kill each other immediately. You'll understand why Jesus said that unless the days of the Tribulation were cut short, no flesh would survive. (Matthew 24:22). You'll understand that the Holy Spirit has been working on earth since before earth was created. You'll understand that it's the Spirit Who sustains all, Jesus does it through the Spirit. (Colossians 1:17).

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. (Acts 7:51).
The Spirit is the conscience that exists in all men. Though Jones's sermons sadly are not transcribed on the site, someone took the time to publish long excerpts of this particular sermon here.

Jones said of man's conscience,
You will remember that we are told in the prologue of John's Gospel about 'the true light which lighteth every man' (John 1:9). It does not matter how you translate that verse – 'the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world' says the Authorised Version; 'the Light that lighteth every man was coming into the world,' says another. We are not concerned about that. We are interested in the phrase 'the light which lighteth every man'. And there is such a light. It is a kind of natural light, as we call it, natural understanding. It is the light that is in the conscience and there is that light of conscience in every person born into this world. Now that is one of the operations of the Holy Spirit in what is called common grace.

You will remember that in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 it is written, For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. When the Spirit lifts his retraining hand from man's conscience, sin will be loosed in such a way that it is today impossible to comprehend. No man will have a conscience. Sin will reach its full expression. The horror of the few believers who come to faith in the Tribulation and live long enough to see these horrors will be permanently scarred by what they see, save the promise that God will not allow them to remember. (Isaiah 65:17).

Dr Lloyd-Jones' delivered this sermon in 1954, and already back then he could see the decaying effects of a society being given over to its sin. That was 61 years ago, and how much more we see the accelerating effects of societies being given over to sin now. He said,
God, through the Holy Spirit, restrains the foulest manifestations of sin, but there are times when He gives people up to them. Are we, I wonder, living in such an age? Compare the twentieth century with the nineteenth. It is obvious that the moral level is very much lower today. That does not mean that everybody was a Christian in the Victorian era, but it does mean that even people who were not Christians were better men and women, speaking generally, than people now. Why? It was because of the general influence of the Holy Spirit. But it does look as if again, today, God is giving humanity over 'unto vile affections' as Paul outlines in Romans 1.
The Holy Spirit's influence in the world and upon the world is not to be underestimated in light of the more visible qualities of the Messiah Savior and Father God. Please listen to the sermon and its part 2, The Significance of Pentecost, where the Spirit's ministry dramatically changed when the Church was formed.

EPrata photo