Monday, March 31, 2014

Movie Review: God's Not Dead

Here are two excellent reviews of the God's Not Dead movie. Both are selective about where and how to reprint, so here are the links and intro only:

The first is from Roger Patterson of Answers in Genesis:

Here is his introduction:

A film set for release in late March 2014 has been receiving a lot of attention in Christian media. God’s Not Dead weaves the stories of several students on a college campus, an outspoken professor, a local pastor, and several other characters together into a very interesting film. The storyline is one of conflict on a college campus where worldviews collide from multiple angles

Worse, though one of the key characters meets a demise, Mr Patterson says the scene does not include the Gospel elements as outlined in the bible. His review is succinct and clearly outlines the multiple unbiblical issues within the film. His review concludes with a "not recommended." Please read Mr Patterson's review by clicking on the link below.

God’s Not Dead Movie Review

Here is another review by two folks at Creation Ministries International, Scott Gillis and Lisa Cosner

God’s Not Dead movie review
A ‘feel-good’ movie that sadly did not make us feel good at all!

Here is GotQuestions' very good treatment on the background of the saying "God is Dead", which they rightly say is a rebellion against the authority of God in our lives.

Apologist Ravi Zacharias Ministry presents a 5-minute video by Oxford Philosopher Vince Vitale discussing  God's Not Dead, which doesn't refer to the movie but is timely apologetics anyway.

I know we become so excited when we hear reports of a new movie or television show coming out which claims to present our Jesus and His word in a God-honoring way. But we live in a fallen world, and those who are not saved cannot present anything but lies. Even those who are saved and who use these important media outreaches to share the Gospel often stumble because it is a time of apostasy, lack of discernment, and many won't endure sound doctrine. Compromises are the order of the day. Please, in our love for Jesus and eagerness to share Him with the lost, let's remember it is equally important to retain strict standards regarding His Gospel and His word. The best apologetic I've come across regarding the mantra 'Even if it is flawed, let's use it anyway, God can do anything' is Sunny Shell's, regarding the event that started all this last year, The Bible miniseries on The History Channel:

"Even though there's a lot of error in this movie, still, don't you think it's a great way to show people who God really is, I mean, can't God use anything to save someone?

A. No, I don't think this movie is a great way to reveal the truth about God since it's filled with lies about God. And yes, I realize God can use anything to save someone, but He only chose to use the message of the true Gospel to save all men (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). Nowhere in Scripture does God command or allow His children to use the work of Satan to proclaim His truth. And God is clear, anyone who denies Him and defiles His holy character or word, works for the devil, not for God.
Since the beginning of time, the devil has attempted to minimize and blaspheme God's holy character by lulling us to disregard His holiness, justice and righteousness. God has never called His children of light to partner with the works of darkness (2 Cor 6:15-16). As God's children, we are commanded to pursue holiness, rather than try to find a way to compromise the glory of Christ in order to "reach more people".

What's biblically wrong with the Noah movie: an easy apologetic

These lists were compiled by men of the faith Chris Rosebrough and Glenn Chatfield. In viewing the list of aberrations from the bible in this movie, even one on the list should convince you that it is not a profitable way to spend your time or your money. The movie strays from the biblical record. If it strays from the Word, adulterates it in any way, presents a different God, or changes the historical record that the bible is, then it is not worth our time.

It is up to you to decide whether to watch or recommend. I hope you don't. God doesn't compromise His standards and His word says not to mess with His word!

"as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures."(2 Peter 3:16)

"But you must not mention 'a message from the LORD' again, because each one's word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God." (Jeremiah 23:36)

Underline is mine. When you mess with the word, you're messing with Jesus--

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." (John 1:1-2)

Chris Rosebrough

Here is Glenn Chatfield's list. (Used with permission). He wrote that despite producer Scott Franklin's claim that “I think we stayed very true to the story and didn’t really deviate from the Bible”,

"Regardless of such a claim, from the reports I've read I’ve acquired some information as to unbiblical problems with “Noah.” And these don’t even include the fact that it was primarily an extremist enviro-nazi propaganda piece." Here is Mr Chatfield's list:

1. Only one son takes his wife on the Ark in the movie, while in the Bible all three sons had wives with them.

2. Noah decides who will be worthy board the Ark, while in the Bible it is GOD who chooses.

3. The son with the wife has twin daughters, which are perhaps supposed to be the future wives of the other two sons.

4. Noah seeks advice from his grandfather Methuselah to understand a vision by God; this never happened. Apparently in the movie Noah really never understands God.

5. Methuselah is shown to be sort of a witch-doctor with mental health issues.

6. Noah has no concern for the people who will be killed in the flood, but the Bible says he was a “preacher of righteousness,” which would make his lack of concern out of character.

7. When Noah learns that his son’s wife is expecting, he says if it is a girl she should be killed because God doesn’t want to repopulate the world. Yet in the Bible we find that repopulation is exactly why Noah and his family — all eight of them — are saved.

8. A wounded man cuts his way into the Ark and eats animals to stay alive as a stowaway, and even tries to kill Noah. The Bible says no one but the eight of Noah’s family were on the Ark, and none of the animals died on the journey.

9. Noah teaches theistic evolution to his family while on board the Ark.

10. The “nephilim” are giant rock-creatures, help Noah build the Ark, and defend the Ark in battle.

I know we become so excited when we hear reports of a new movie or television show coming out which claims to present our Jesus and His word in a God-honoring way. But we live in a fallen world, and those who are not saved cannot present anything but lies. (Psalm 14:4, 2 Corinthians 3:14). Even those who are saved and who use these important media outreaches to share the Gospel often stumble because it is a time of apostasy, lack discernment, or won't endure sound doctrine. Compromises are the order of the day. Please, in our love for Jesus and eagerness to share Him with the lost, let's remember it is equally important to retain strict standards regarding His Gospel and His word. The best apologetic I've come across regarding the mantra 'Even if it is flawed, let's use it anyway, God can do anything' is Sunny Shell's, regarding the event that started all this last year, The Bible miniseries on The History Channel:

"Even though there's a lot of error in this movie, still, don't you think it's a great way to show people who God really is, I mean, can't God use anything to save someone?

A. No, I don't think this movie is a great way to reveal the truth about God since it's filled with lies about God. And yes, I realize God can use anything to save someone, but He only chose to use the message of the true Gospel to save all men (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). Nowhere in Scripture does God command or allow His children to use the work of Satan to proclaim His truth. And God is clear, anyone who denies Him and defiles His holy character or word, works for the devil, not for God.
Since the beginning of time, the devil has attempted to minimize and blaspheme God's holy character by lulling us to disregard His holiness, justice and righteousness. God has never called His children of light to partner with the works of darkness (2 Cor 6:15-16). As God's children, we are commanded to pursue holiness, rather than try to find a way to compromise the glory of Christ in order to "reach more people".

Reach people with the pure and unadulterated word of God. Isn't it enough? It surely is!


Further reading

An excellent review by Dr Brian Mattson, taking the issue from a different angle
Sympathy for the Devil

Sayings and mottos that sound pious but aren't. #1: "Let Go and Let God"

#2: "I don't use commentaries"

#3 "I'm too humble to think that I could ever know what the Bible really means"

#4: Pray Big Because We Have a Big God

#5: He's so heavenly minded he's no earthly good.

Jesus took issue with the Pharisees and Scribes because they had become whitewashed tombs. (Matthew 23:27). This means that they were sick with sin on the inside and were only doing external things that hid their sin but did not address it. They were dead inside but performing rituals as if that would bring them alive. Their rituals had no meaning, and as Solomon would say, they were only striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

We do the same things today, but in slightly different ways. Just as the Pharisees were making long prayers as a show of piety for the sake of those who would hear them, (Matthew 6:5), people say things today that sound pious but aren't. These sayings are just as dead as a whitewashed tomb, and are only striving after wind.

However, these sayings sound legitimate on their surface. It is sometimes hard to tell what truly is Christian and what merely sounds Christian. Charles Spurgeon wisely said, "Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right." So what is right and what is almost right (AKA 'wrong') about these sayings?

Some of these mottos are:
  1. "Let go and let God"
  2. "I don't use commentaries because they're men's wisdom. I only use God's Word when I study."
  3. We can't know for certain what the bible means, I'm not that smart"
  4. "Pray big because we have a big God."
  5. "He's so heavenly minded he's no earthly good"
In what will be a multi-part series, let's look at the first one.

Source, labeled for reuse
#1. "Let go and let God." In this pious-sounding saying, the person is trying to indicate that they submit to the sovereignty of God by letting everything go and allowing Him to roll circumstances over us as He will. However if we unpack that a bit we'll see actually that 'Let go and let God' actually contradicts the bible. Here are two sources which speak to the subject, GotQuestions, and Ligonier Ministries.

GotQuestions: Are We Supposed to Let go and Let God?:
"Let go and let God" is a phrase that cropped up some years ago and still enjoys some popularity today. Actually, the Bible never tells us to “let go and let God.” In fact, there are so many commandments about what we are to do that it completely contradicts the way most people interpret “let go and let God.” The popular idea of “letting go” is to adopt a sort of spiritual inertia wherein we do nothing, say nothing, feel nothing, and simply live allowing circumstances to roll over us however they may.

The Christian life, however, is a spiritual battle which the Bible exhorts us to prepare for and wage diligently. “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12); “Endure hardship…like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3); “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). Letting go in the sense of sitting back and watching events unfold however they may is not biblical.

Having said that, though, we have to understand that the things we are to do, we do by the power of God and not on our own steam. The truth is that working at “letting go” is just as much as an effort-filled work as anything else we try to do for God and not nearly as easy to do as some things

So true! If it was that easy to 'let go' our sin, we would have done it! If it was that easy to 'let go' our worry, we'd be all set! If it was that simple as to let go our our will, we wouldn't need God! "Letting go" is just as difficult as hanging on. Submit, yes. But even that is a daily struggle we're told to perform as we pick up our cross (Matthew 16:24) and to pray daily for the will and help to submit. (Matthew 6:9-13).

Please go to the essay linked above to read the rest of the GotQuestions piece, which looks at the Christian life and see just exactly what we are to do.

Andrew Naselli at Ligonier Ministries explains, "Why “Let Go and Let God” Is a Bad Idea". He says, in looking at the origin of this two-tiered theology from the 1875 Keswick theology movement, that letting go and letting God promotes in part,

--Perfectionism: It portrays a shallow and incomplete view of sin in the Christian life.
--Quietism: It tends to emphasize passivity, not activity.
--Pelagianism: It tends to portray the Christian’s free will as autonomously starting and stopping sanctification.
--Methodology: It tends to use superficial formulas for instantaneous sanctification.
--Impossibility: It tends to result in disillusionment and frustration for the “have-nots.”
--Spin: It tends to misinterpret personal experiences.

You can tell that Keswick theology has influenced people when you hear a Christian “testimony” like this: “I was saved when I was eight years old, and I surrendered to Christ when I was seventeen.”

By “saved,” they mean that Jesus became their Savior and that they became a Christian. By “surrendered,” they mean that they gave full control of their lives to Jesus as their Master, yielded to do whatever He wanted them to do, and “dedicated” themselves through surrender and faith. That two-tiered view of the Christian life is let-go-and-let-God theology.

I am aware that the motto 'Let go and let God' is a heavily used precept in Step 3 of the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery plan. AA has helped millions recover from their addiction to alcohol, and in this sense, AA is helpful. But don't mistake AA's Christianese for legitimate biblical principles. The language may sound pious but it collapses under scrutiny. Here is more information:

How does Alcoholics Anonymous compare with the Bible?

John MacArthur spoke to the 'let go and let God' phrase in his sermon on Ephesians 6, The Believer's Armor."

Do we just say, oh amen, and now I'm just going to surrender to that? I'm going to let go and let God, turn it all over to Jesus, do nothing? No, because you come to verse 5 immediately, and verse 5 says, "And beside this," beside this, "you give all diligence," get at it man, get with it, be diligent, be disciplined, "to add to your God given faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; And to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, patience; and to patience, godliness; And to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."

In other words, you get on the job. And beloved it is not as simple as walking an aisle and making an act of surrender. That is part of it in your life, there must be a, a commitment to the Lordship of Christ, there must be an acknowledging of His power and resource in your life, but it doesn't end there- it begins there. In Romans 6 there is a yielding of yourselves, yes, there is a yielding of yourselves in Romans 6. But there is also a mortifying or a killing of the deeds of the flesh, So it isn't all as simple as that and that's why we make no hesitation for proclaiming the truths of Ephesians 6.
The fact remains, let go and let God does not align well with biblical standards of behavior for a Christian.

As Jim Vander Spek asked, "The problem with making “Let God” the focus is that it pushes the burden back on Him. If things don’t work out, will you blame Him?"
Source. Labeled for reuse


Further Reading

What is wrong with the popular saying, "Let go and let God"?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Largest earthquake in years hit CA, another large quake in OK, Hail in Hong Kong (UPDATE: quake at Yellowstone-biggest in 30 years)

Update at bottom.

California is being rattled by the biggest earthquakes they have felt in years. Southern California Public Radio reports,

Quakes continue to rattle California
"A strong aftershock to Friday's 5.1-magnitude earthquake in Orange County shook Southern California this afternoon. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the 4.1-magnitude tremor struck two kilometers southeast of Rowland Heights at 2:32 p.m. The Rowland Heights office of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said there were so far no reports of damage. More than 100 aftershocks have rattled the region. No major damage and no injuries have been reported, but police in the city of Fullerton say 20 apartment units and half a dozen homes were red-tagged, displacing 83 people. Some residents have since returned to their homes."

What is the third largest United States earthquake active zone? #1 is Alaska, and #2 is California. Can you guess the third? It's Utah! Then Hawaii, and also the Pacific Northwest. In this article, a seismologist explains why earthquakes happen in CA and why they don't understand why they happen in places like New England where there are no similar faults.

Is California overdue for a big earthquake? Was the recent earthquake in Los Angeles a warning of more to come? 'Earthquake Storms' author John Dvorak shares his thoughts.
"...But it's not just Californians who should pay attention to his exploration of earthquake science, the unfolding mysteries of geology, and the gaps in our seismic knowledge. As he notes in an interview, plenty of other parts of the country are vulnerable to earthquakes, including the Northwest, the Midwest, the South and – yes – even the Big Apple."

It's a good article, I recommend it.

I was reading through my twitter stream last night and those who live in the quake area are plenty nervous and sick of all the felt-aftershocks. Or foreshocks. One man wrote that a run on earthquake survival supplies had left his local store empty, except for one hand tool, the tool to turn off your gas valve. The 1906 quake, as devastating as it was, paled in comparison to the damage caused by fires after the quake was over. Even after a 5.1 quake where there is not much visible physical damage, the cracks and breaks in gas lines are an ever-present danger.

Meanwhile, also last night, a 4.3 magnitude quake hit Crescent Oklahoma according to that link from USGS. Here is a (breathless and amazed) news report:

Two 4.3 quakes, several tremors rattle central Oklahoma
"Wichita, Kan. --- Two magnitude 4.3 quakes, along with several weaker ones, rattled central Oklahoma late Saturday night into Sunday morning. And residents throughout KAKEland report feeling the temblors. The first quake, a magnitude of 3.5, was recorded just before 11 p.m. Saturday It was centered about 13 miles north of the town of Crescent. At the same location, another 3.5 occurred at 1:37 a.m. Sunday. It was followed by a 4.3 about 15 minutes later and then a 3.3 at 2 a.m. The shakers didn't end there. A 3.5 and a 3.6 were recorded between 3:07 and 3:10 a.m. A second 4.3 followed at 3:42 a.m. These three quakes were also centered about 13 miles from Crescent. But wait. There's more.

A 2.8 tremor occurred at 4:06 a.m. and a 2.7 at 4:51. Both were a few miles south and west of the others. The KAKE newsroom has been inundated with calls since the quakes were felt in south-central Kansas. A KAKE employee reported feeling his apartment shake for a few seconds near downtown Wichita. We have received reports from across Wichita and portions of Butler County from viewers reporting feeling the earthquake. The USGS has received reports from across Oklahoma and Kansas, including the Kansas City-area. One Wichita resident reported feeling three tremors at her apartment near Harry and Rock Road.

"I thought nothing of tonight's until I was turning off my hall light and noticed my picture on the wall was crooked," she said in an email to KAKE News. She then noticed a long crack in her wall. "17 inches long by 7 inches at the bottom," she said. "This most definitely happened tonight. It's by our front door hall and we pass it countless times a day." We're still not done yet. Let's go back to Saturday and venture a little further south-southeast to Choctaw. That's on the eastern edge of Oklahoma City, and where at 2.7 tremor was reported at 7:36 a.m. Another of the same magnitude hit at 4:36 p.m. A 3.7 occurred at 10:08 p.m., followed a 2.6 at 12:49 a.m. Sunday. Several earthquake reports ranging from a 2.7 to a 3.5 were scattered about central Oklahoma from Wednesday through Friday."

Over in Hong Kong, they are having a massive storm, complete with strobe lightning. In addition, reporter James Reynolds (@typhoonfury) reports,

"Lots of reports of hail over Hong Kong right now, this is quite rare being in tropics."
Black rainstorm warning now over HK, first of year, impressively early!
Continuous strobe effect lightning over Hong Kong, impressive storm! Winds picking up!

Mayo ‏@SungEmpress wrote

"7:45pm Amber Rainstorm Warning, then 8:15pm Red, and at 8:40pm Black Rainstorm. That much rain being dumped in Hong Kong right now!"

Here is a screen shot of others' reaction to frozen precipitation in the tropics:

Crazy weather continues. (Pray for the families affected by the terrible mudslide in Washington State). Please be safe wherever you are. God will continue to rattle the earth's population with events of this sort, as we are told the birth pangs will continue to increase. (Matthew 24:3). God holds the world in His hand, and everything that happens on it is by Him for From Him or allowed by Him. (1 Corinthians 10:26). It is safer to be in Jesus than to be in the world.


Earthquake Rattles Yellowstone National Park, No Damage Reported
A 4.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Yellowstone National Park in Montana early Sunday, but there were no immediate reports of damage.  Peter Cervelli, a spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Yellowstone Volcano Observatory said the quake, which hit at 6:34 a.m. local time, was centered almost in the middle of Yellowstone National Park, near the Norris Geyser Basin. He said any damage from the temblor would likely be minor, adding that there are not many visitors in the park at the moment.  The quake was not expected to trigger any volcanic activity, Cervelli said.  Jessica Turner, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Service, said the quake was the most powerful to hit the park since 1985. She said residents in the town of West Yellowstone felt the quake.

[USGS puts significant quakes in pink, such as this one at Yellowstone]

Creation Grace: Clouds

Look in the bible for how many times clouds are mentioned. The word is used for different reasons and in different ways. It is fun to think of His grace in giving us the literal clouds, which shield us from the hot sun, or which gives us rain. The variety and wonder of the different shapes of clouds: nacreous, cumulus, tubular, cirrus, etc, and the different reasons for clouds, both literal and symbolic, is a study in itself.

The best reason to think of clouds is that Jesus will return in one!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Spot the Difference at the E Churches - Reformation21 Blog"

I read this from Carl Trueman at Reformation 21 blog, and I thought it was terrific. I love doing what he did. We tend to overcomplicate things, and we tend to stray from the Word. If we just compare what we do or say to the bible, we are all set. The bible brings clarity to everything.


Spot the Difference at the E Churches
Posted by Carl Trueman

I wonder if highly observant readers can spot the subtle differences between these two descriptions of the ideal candidates for ministry?

Elevation Church:

The typical applicant is 23-30 years of age who is a recent college/seminary graduate or someone with relevant experience. However, do not let the age range deter you from applying. The applicant should also be someone seeking to join with Elevation Church, who is a high capacity leader with the ability to multi-task and thrives in a fast paced ministry environment.

Ephesian Church:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Interlude: Gratitude

I'm so grateful for my salvation! I am so blessed to be a new creation in Christ! He came down from Glory to die on a cross, and ascended to heaven again to prepare a place for us. He adopted me as His daughter, His heir, unconditionally. I'm thrilled to love a savior such as this. It's been ten years but it never gets old! As a matter of fact, life with Jesus gets better and better.

The overwhelming feelings of gratitude and humility that He loved me while I was still a sinner can't be put into words, can't even be contained on a blog or in my body or to the earth. My feeling of joy in the Lord is eternal, infinite, expansive, never-ending.

Thank You, Lord, that You were mindful of us, that You sought us, that You saved us. I am ever Your humble daughter seeking ways to glorify You- the only worthy One! What a privilege you gave me, eternity to worship You forever!

EPrata photo

Friday, March 28, 2014

O, to sleep

Our Father gives us good gifts.

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11)

One of those gifts is sleep.

There is so much meaning in the following verses. Please consider:

"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:1-2)

First we learn that we are His beloved. Second, He gives sleep to His beloved. It is one of the good gifts. Third, we can do nothing apart from Him.

John Everett Millais, The Somnambulist, 1871
Anyone striving, reaching, or toiling apart from Him will yield nothing, no matter how long they labor and no matter how much sleep they lose. Watchmen can watch all they want but unless the LORD is watching too, they will see nothing. Or if they do, they will be able to prevent nothing. Builders can build all they want but unless the LORD is in it, the endeavor will come to nothing. Anxious toil is not of the LORD. Neither is its mate: anxious rest.

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30)

Ultimately the verse in Psalms is saying that those who sleep well do so because of the LORD. Not just because He delivered a good gift of sleep, but because they trust Him. Therefore they do not make a habit of unease. They do not worry, therefore they do not become restless at night. Good sleep is a gift and it is from a habitual clean conscience and a characteristic of an obedient soul. Witness the most obedient soul who ever lived. His trust in the LORD was complete and total, and He slept like it.

"And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up..." (Mark 4:37-39a).

Failure to rest can be showing a lack of faith in God’s provision. A soul which trusts in the Lord will reflect that trust in his sleep.

Oh, I know that temporarily there are circumstances which keep us awake at night. A new mother learning to listen for the cry of her baby may have some difficulty sleeping. And so on. But normally, we should be like David,

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)

If you're not sleeping, reflect on it. Is your toil anxious because it is not of the Lord? Is your sleep uneasy because you need to trust Him more?

"Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure." (Psalm 16:9)

His burden is light. Hand your burdens to Him, trust in Him. And sleep well my brothers and sisters.
Photo by Brandon Atkinson, creative commons

Thursday, March 27, 2014

John MacArthur and John Piper: lessons from a disagreement over doctrine

EPrata photo
The reverberations from the Strange Fire conference held in southern California at John MacArthur's church last October go on. The conference was to illustrate the need for a rebuke against the Charismatic movement, which allows for unbiblical practices and so many excesses that the sufficiency of the bible was unknown to millions of people who hold to the ideas within the movement.

As a result, the Strange Fire conference forced the issue. Too many people had either been silent or on the fence as to whether they believe the miracle gifts (tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing and prophecy) are continuing since the first century, or had ceased. (Contnuationist v. Cessationist).

Pastor John Piper is one of those. He believes the miracle gifts continue, and is cautiously open to them as occurring today by the Spirit using men as the vehicle for their manifestation. (Most people believe that God directly performs any and all miracles at any time for His good pleasure and purposes).. Piper is known as a 'cautious continuationist.' So is Wayne Grudem, who believes that prophecy is and can be uttered today as a direct revelation from men, but that it can be fallible.

The Strange Fire conference had several goals. One was to present the biblical truth that the miracle spiritual gifts have ceased (healings/miracles, prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues.). To this end, the Pastors and speakers at the conference carefully exegeted the passages relevant to the issue and clearly showed that this is so. In addition, the men said that in MOST cases, people who followed these teachings and people who taught these teachings were not saved or that their salvation was in serious doubt. It's Charismatic Chaos out there as a result, and it has to stop.

The other goal of the conference was to call to account two camps:

--the camp of silent elders of the faith who refuse to condemn the Charismatic Movement and its unbiblical practices, and,

--to address the camp of elders who are trying to stay in the middle, i.e. John Piper.

John MacArthur and the others were firm that opening to the door to the modern day gifts mentioned above was a devastating attack on the sufficiency of scripture. Either the canon is closed and God has ceased speaking new revelation, or He has not. There is no middle ground. Even opening the door a crack in believing there can be new revelation lets in the eventual flood, and that is where we are today.

At one Q&A during Strange Fire, MacArthur was directly asked a pertinent question: "What about Piper?" Piper is on record as seeking the gift of tongues, and of being open to the notion that visions and direct revelation are happening today. He is a continuationist. MacArthur answered that it was a tough question. That Piper no doubt is a brother, and that though Piper personally sought the gifts but doesn't teach them, he doesn't promote them nor the unbiblical practices that go with them. MacArthur said "Piper is an anomaly."

As a rabbit trail to the point I'm making, this brings up an interesting question I've been mulling for some time.

--Piper is a continuationist.
--Voddie Baucham is an amillenialist and preaches Revelation as symbol and allegory, not literal
--Martyn Lloyd Jones became a Charismatic-Lite at the end of his life
--John Stott became an annihilationist at the end of his life
--RC Sproul is a post-tribulationist

HOW can such men, all of whom can clearly be seen as brothers of the faith, err on such clearly defined biblical orthodoxy? What does it mean? How can this be? It is completely perplexing.

I contend that in Piper's case, given his unbiblical stance on continuationism, it opens the door for other less
orthodox things, which Piper has in fact been exhibiting, i.e the Mark Driscoll debacle, the Lectio Divina debacle, and more. But this is a side note. Back to the point:

Piper heard of MacArthur's comment about Piper's anomalous stance on the miracle gifts, and responded in writing on his website.

However, in Piper's response, there were assumptions and misinterpretations Piper made in the piece, not having heard MacArthur directly via the mediacast now available. So MacArthur addressed the issue, both Piper's continuationism, and Piper's misinterpretation of MacArthur's comments, on a 4-part blog essay in much further depth. Here they are-

Piper reaction #4

MacArthur speaks eloquently about the church and protecting the purity of her doctrines, and of keeping boundary lines set for who belongs in it and who don't belong in it. He is very biblical on church discipline in his personal dealings at Grace Community Church, and very firm on the issue in general across denominations especially concerning doctrine. Phil Johnson said in this essay for MacArthur said a few years ago about "Unity Across Denomination Lines"

"The limits on this trans-denominational unity are set by Scripture itself. We cannot welcome into our circle of fellowship people who deny truths that are essential to the gospel (2 John 7-11); and we cannot embrace people who affirm a gospel Scripture condemns (Gal. 1:18-19). The gospel and all truths essential to it are therefore nonnegotiable points of doctrine, and unity on these matters is a prerequisite to any other kind of unity."

The issue of whether the miracle spiritual gifts were ceased or continuing has become a global phenomenon and a divisive issue which was confusing the sheep and undermining the sufficiency of scripture on such a widespread basis that MacArthur called it a 'flood'. There are no boundary lines anymore and suddenly, everything is acceptable.

EPrata photo
MacArthur said that his primary concern with the Charismatic movement is that though it claims to be a movement of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit does His work through the Word, not through miracles.

"He does His work through the scriptures. What that mean is, through a true interpretation of the scriptures. The meaning of the scripture IS the divine revelation. If you don't get the meaning right, you don't have the powerful revelation. So, how can you have a 'move of the Holy Spirit,' and have a wrong understanding of scripture?" (source)

That gap is exactly where John Piper falls. He has not only been silent about the ridiculous Charismatic excesses in our denomination and within conservative circles, but has perpetuated confusion by seeking tongues and claiming we hear from God via the Roman Catholic practice of Lectio Divina. And the issue is such that when our elders have such drastically wrong interpretations of scripture (Piper on tongues, Grudem on fallible modern prophecy) it causes division and confusion for those who are younger, weak or stumbling. That was the question the man at the Strange Fire Q&A was asking. "What about Piper?"

The friendship between these two elders of our faith, MacArthur and Piper, is just as strong as ever. Both men will appear at the Together 4 The Gospel conference in Louisville KY next week. MacArthur considers Piper a brother and Piper is grateful for MacArthur. In this way, though doctrine is important to contend for, the exhibition of patience and grace between the two men as they have this very public discussion is a worthy one to follow and its pattern to adopt.

Ultimately, doctrine matters. You know, the Gospel is doctrine. The Word must be interpreted rightly, and defended strongly because it is our fence around the boundary of the church. That's why these things are so important to talk about.
EPrata photo

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Here's some fun stuff

I finished reading through 1 & 2 Kings. Phew. A wonderful but difficult slog. Tumultuous, really. I'm starting Philippians.

In keeping with lightening things up a bit, here is some fun stuff.

Watching these dogs confused by a magic trick is sweet and funny. Watch through to the last dog.

Creation Ministries International has a 1-minute video on the irony of the science that says a global flood occurred on Mars, despite the fact that there is no water, but not on on earth, which is 70% water.
Here is their summary in case you can't watch:

"In recent years, NASA probes have sent back images of our nearest planet Mars. These images have prompted some scientists to suggest that a global flood once carved the Martian landscape, even though no liquid water has yet been found. The Bible records and event that certainly sounds like a global flood on Earth. Genesis records that, "All the mountains under the heavens were covered." Jesus himself, referring to those not on Noah's Ark, said, "The flood came and took them all away." Unlike the elusive water on Mars, water covers 70% of the earth's surface and water deposited sedimentary rock covers much of the land surface. So isn't it strange that many people who are open to the possibility of a global flood on Mars, despite the absence of water, immediately dismiss any suggestion that a global flood occurred on earth."

Yes, they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18)

I liked this quote posted by Sunny Shell, a blogger worth following here and here.

Don't be afraid to stand up for the truth! What you're doing is standing up for Jesus. This is from Chris Rosebrough:

I can't wait until Jesus glorifies us and we stop sinning! I hate my sins!

We know that in the last days apostasy will rise to pernicious levels. (2 Timothy 4:3). One thing that I hate about apostasy is that it blasphemes the name of Jesus. Don't we all long for the day when every knee will bow in acknowledgement of Him who is King?! I do. But the other thing about apostasy is that it sweeps away loved ones. The tide of Catholicism is returning, with tsunami force. So many people I know are flirting with it. This is so dangerous. Others are simply devoured by it as they return to it, the religion they once knew, and reject Christianity once for all.

(Jeremiah 3:20; Isaiah 1:21; 57:8; Ezekiel 16:30, (Hosea 2:2–5...)

Flirting with a false religion could take the form of trying a labyrinth, or lectio divina, contemplative meditation AKA breath prayer. (Catholicism). Or circle making (Wicca). Just trying a practice from another religion, just to try it, or for no reason. That's flirting.

One brother I know thought that my use of the term 'flirting' with Catholicism was funny. Funny as in weird, not ha ha funny. But going after strange gods is spiritual adultery. A person is being unfaithful to God when thy accept other gods. You go too deeply into a false religion and God calls you a whore or a prostitute. And how does apostasy start, seeking after these false gods? By flirting. So the metaphor is apt. You stick a toe in, then your foot, then you find out an alligator has your leg in his teeth and you're dragged under. (Revelation 17:15; Isaiah 57:3).

Mike Gendron was a Catholic for much of his adult life. Then he realized he wasn't saved. He is now an expert in apologetics to Catholics. Read his bio here, on how the Holy Spirit lifted him out of the darkness of Catholicism and saved His soul. Meanwhile, Mr Gendron posted this essay which is a quote from a man who wrote about Catholicism 100 years ago.

Catholicism is Satan's Best Counterfeit

Speaking of counterfeits, another of my favorite writers, Robin Schumacher wrote about the ways Christ is counterfeited. He wrote about 7. It's not just about Jesus. It's all about WHICH Jesus!

The Dangers of a Counterfeit Christ
by Robin Schumacher

I'm not a professional photographer, but even I know how to take appealing pics. These are from Bad Real Estate Photos.

The property has been recently upgraded
to withstand the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.
Follow on Twitter @BadRealtyPhotos

From Laura Smith on Pinterest titled Clean Funny Stuff

I opened with Dogs Confused By Magic Trick. Let's end with a dog, this one another sweet and cute series of photos about a little girl and her dog. A Young Girl Who's Best Friends with an English Bulldog

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Men of the Church: Are You Sober?

When you read the New Testament you'd be surprised to read how many times men (and women) are called to be sober. And most time when the word sober is used, it means not only 'not drunk' of course, but mentally alert, sharp, thinking clearly with right judgment. Women are called to be sober as well. In many cases for both sexes, particularly church leaders, it's meant as a call to be dignified. (Proverbs 31:25; 1 Timothy 2:2).

Three years ago, when I first posted about Beth Moore and the trouble I was having with her teaching, one of the things I took issue with is that she isn't dignified when she teaches. I'd written,
She isn't dignified. Yes, that's what I said. Beth Moore is not dignified on her stage. She moves around a lot, quickly delivering scriptures and her interpretations in rapid-fire fashion. She will use tricks like having a wastebasket prop to "throw away" negative behaviors, she presses participants to wear bracelets that supposedly mean certain things (I read this from three blogs) and she will contort, kneel, dance, and generally cut up, sometimes while holding the bible. Laughter is frequent.
A bible lesson is not a comedy routine. I am all for laughter. Our pastor says some funny things sometimes and the congregation will of course laugh. I am among those who laugh loud and I'm sure even the choir can hear me from where I sit. But teaching the bible with respect requires some gravitas. It requires some dignity. It isn't a prop or a party trick. I shun antics as the main behavior of the teaching session. Funny sometimes, yes. Zany bible teachers? No.
Call me staid (Decorous? Sedate?) but I don't think Paul hung "I AM" posters
around the necks of hapless volunteers in the synagogues
when he was reasoning with them
"Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things." (1 Timothy 3:11)

I took a lot of flak from people about that rebuke. Many people thought I was being too picky, or too staid, or too Northern. Most of those people who said I was wrong had overlooked the clear commands in the bible about behaving soberly in church and out. Even though I posted them, lol. But it's pretty simple. We're commanded again and again to be sober.

Many people these days don't like it when we remind ourselves of a doctrinal standard. (2 Tim 4:3). They really hate it when we remind ourselves that there are behavioral standards, too. 'Who are you to judge how someone should act?!' Etc. But it's not me, it's God. They are His standards, both doctrinal and behavioral (moral).

As you read all the verses in the NT which mention sobriety, you begin to notice a pattern. Sobriety in behavior comes first because we are clear in our thinking. 'Be sober-minded' 'Exercise sober judgment'. 'Don't be drunk, so you can think clearly.' Like that. We are called to act this way because we hold Jesus up as the highest and most important Person in the universe, worthy to be worshiped. We are serious about this and we are dignified about it too. We want to think clearly, witness accurately, show self-control, love, and patience, and be serious about the King so we can make good decisions. We also do this because we do not want to be a stumbling block to the weak. (1 Corinthians 8:9, Romans 14:21).

With all this in mind, let's take a look at the spectacle that Christian worship services have become. Are these men sober-minded? Exercising good judgment?

"Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness..." (Titus 2:2)

In the above picture, 'Pastor' Troy Gramling set himself ablaze to demonstrate something from his preaching series "Daredevil." (Why any Christian would want to say he is anything like a devil is beyond me...Christ bought us away from the devil). When Paul wrote to Timothy about the behavioral qualifications of pastors, and thought he had covered it with 'exercise good judgment ' and 'be sober,' I don't think he would have thought he'd have needed to spell it out: "Do not set yourself on fire."

In the photo below, 'Pastor' Ed Young decided to preach about sex. Young and his wife Lisa staged a 24-hour bed-in on the church’s roof to discuss truths about sex before a live Internet audience. When Paul wrote the following words to Timothy...

"As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." (2 Timothy 4:5)

...I am sure he did not think to include prohibitions about silly stunts in the sun and sex talk in front of the world. 'Fulfill your ministry by being immodest, a stumbling block to the young and intemperate, and say  things in public that would embarrass your mother. G'wan. Jesus is 'kay with it."

'Pastor' Rod Parlsey is pastor of World Harvest Church, a large Pentecostal church in Columbus, Ohio. As Stand Up For the Truth describes the now deleted video, "Is it a bird? Is it Tom Cruise? No, it is a pastor! Rod Parsley of World Harvest Church is raising some eyebrows by releasing this now-viral video of himself zip lining through the air over his cheering congregation, and landing onto his pulpit. His band is playing the “Mission Impossible” theme music to kick off its “Mission Possible” sermon series leading into Easter."



"The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers." (1 Peter 4:7)

At the revelation of Jesus Christ, do you think the Head of our church will look favorably on the ziplining pastor making a mockery out of his House of Prayer? Well, how did He like it the first time? (Matthew 21:13)

"Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:13)

In this next example, we're told not to think more highly of ourselves than we should, but 'Pastor' Steven Furtick thinks just as highly of himself as Jesus thinks of the Father.

"For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." (Romans 12:3).

Furtick is building the church? I thought Jesus was doing that. Building it upon a vision Furtick had? I thought the church was being built on the fact that Jesus is savior. And uniting around Furtick's vision? I thought we were supposed to unite around the Spirit. (Ephesians 4:3)

"Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. ... And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:16, 18)

Blasphemy. And remember, Furtick was the one who perverted the worship service by seeding planted people in the audience to manipulate congregants into coming forward for a baptism he called spontaneous, but was anything but. It was a total manipulation from start to finish, including the music, teaching the planted people how fast or slow to walk down the aisle and what to say to the baptizees coming forward. Spontaneous, my eye.

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." ~Inigo Montoya

Strong's numbered Greek words in the lexicon explain that in most cases in the above verses, 'sober' means for the believer to "think shrewdly", reflecting what God defines is true moderation. In the other cases, it means don't be drunk. 'Be sober, unintoxicated' refers to having presence of mind (clear judgment), enabling someone to be temperate (self-controlled)".

Jesus is the head of the church. If we can't picture Jesus doing something or saying something behind the pulpit, then His under-shepherd shouldn't do it.

I'm not talking about never smiling, never having fun, or never relaxing. In fellowship or casual settings away from church, sure, have fun. Even then, don't be so wild as to give cause to the unbelievers to slander us. (1 Tim 5:14). But in church or in bible teaching settings, such antics have no place. Why? Because of this verse:

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13)

Obey. Fear. Trembling. It is all joined at verse 13- 'for it is God...' God is in us, working out His will and plan and we work out our salvation because we obey in fear and trembling. Why? Again, because He's God.

We feel utter joy in knowing He is God and utter gratitude for our salvation. We do feel joy and love and we exhibit it, but it is all rooted in the fear and trembling because He is God, and there is no other. We aren't flippant, casual, irreverent, zany, 'devilish', foolish, or outrageous. Our joy comes from the fear and trembling, the fear of sinning against the Lord, of not being active in our sanctification, and fear of loss of rewards

If you would like to listen to an excellent sermon on the Christian life centered around an exposition of the above Philippians verse, please do so. It is by Dr Steven Lawson, "Christian Living 101: Part 1" Here it is

Meanwhile, remember worship is not a party! Be sober, be mindful, be dignified. This will please Jesus.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Through the Years: Faithful men and praise to Jesus for raising them up

What is it? Answer at bottom
The above is the sermon list by year of sermons available in Dr. John MacArthur's sermon archive.

On a recent blog essay, someone posted the following question to me:

"Why do you worship MacArthur so much? You quote him on your blogs more than you do the Bible.-Jeff"

I answered this way:
"Great question! However I don’t worship Dr John MacArthur. I worship Jesus. You know that. I quote MacArthur a lot for several reasons:

--He is doctrinally correct on every issue I’ve heard him speak to. This means his interpretations are aligned with the bible. This is a precious rarity in these days,
--His entire body of work is online, and easily obtainable. Therefore he is easy to quote,
--He has addressed all of the relevant cultural issues, and these also are online and available, and once again therefore easily quotable.

I also often quote GotQuestions, for the same reasons, and Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. I’d quote Phil Johnson just as often as I do MacArthur but his sermons are not transcribed as MacArthur’s are. And as a side note, he said a couple of years ago that the same lady has been his transcriber for over 40 years. What a blessing to the faith these people are! We all benefit.

I have quoted in the past Jonathan Edwards, but his language is further away from ours, being almost 300 years old. Same with Charles Spurgeon and Matthew Henry. But I still quote them on occasion as well.

If you came across a doctrinally correct, easily obtainable body of work freely given to the body of Christ from a persevering man of faith, why would you NOT want to use it as much as possible? That is what it is there for."

My response got me thinking about how grateful I am for the good men and pastors God has raised up. I was thunderstruck by Jonathan Edwards' sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". I have an excerpt of it which I carry constantly in my bible. I occasionally re-read it in its entirety to myself aloud so I can remember and value the feeling of gratitude I have that Jesus saved me from His wrath. The sermon is almost 300 years old, but God carefully preserved it for us so that we can be edified these many generations later.

I was deeply moved by Charles' Spurgeon's sermon on God's Providence. His proposal that the cherubs of the wheels within wheels could be part of the machinery of God's providence as it works out in our lives was completely amazing to me. I often re-read that sermon to gain further insights that the Spirit will have me learn.

But it was with the advent of technology that we are blessed with being able to hear these preachers as they preach. Many of the later Martyn Lloyd-Jones's sermons were taped and put onto more current media. John MacArthur's first sermon at Grace Community Church in 1969 was cassette-taped and transcribed and so have all the rest ever since.

These men are good expositors. The Lord raised them up for the benefit of the church and the edification of souls. When Charles Spurgeon was actively preaching, his sermons were re-printed in the newspaper. He was endlessly quoted. His magazine Sword and Trowel enjoyed a high circulation. Thousands came to hear him in the Tabernacle and the tens of thousands read his sermons each week.

When Spurgeon died, in January 1892, London south of the Thames went into mourning. Sixty thousand people came to pay homage during the three days his body lay in state at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. A funeral parade two miles long followed his hearse from the Tabernacle to the cemetery at Upper Norwood. One hundred thousand people stood along the way, flags flew at half-mast, shops and pubs were closed. It was a remarkable demonstration of affection and respect, even in an era when people were scrupulous in observing the rituals that accompanied death." (source)

Yet would anyone in those more Godly times peevishly complain that a person was sourcing Spurgeon's material too much? Worshiping him? I doubt it. "Stop reading his sermon every Monday! You do that too much!" It's laughable.

I respect the men who came before us and the men whom God raises up today. Their commentaries, books, and sermons are for the benefit of the church members and ultimately are to glorify Him. It's been true ever since this verse was spoken,

"I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever." (1 Samuel 2:35)

God did that and continues to do that until He raised up Jesus, the final High Priest and the Priest forever, bless His holy name. After the cross, back here on earth, God still raises up men to teach and preach to us, because God's word goes out forever and will never pass away (Matthew 24:25).
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." (2 Timothy 4:2)

The apostasy is growing at an exponential rate. My job as an encourager and a discerner is to point people to credible men whose teaching is solid. We are long past the tipping point where most preaching is solid. Nowadays, most preaching is NOT solid. We have gone from being a 'God-fearing' nation, to a God-mocking nation.

Therefore when as Bereans you compare to the bible the links I offer you, I believe in every case you will find it matches. Therefore I am unashamed to continue to quote Dr MacArthur, and I refuse to be browbeaten into seeking other men for people to read who may not be as solid simply to cater to whims and wishes of those who are peeved for some reason.

Now, if someone wants a wider array of Godly preachers to select from, I can accommodate. I listed below my favorites, men to whom I give my respect as elders of the faith and to whom I daily and weekly listen or read. They are all expositors.

What is expositional preaching?
"Expositional preaching at its simplest is preaching that is focused on explaining the meaning of Scripture in its historical and grammatical context. Expositional preaching involves explaining what the Bible says to a contemporary audience that is likely unfamiliar with the cultural and historical settings that the passage was written in. The word exposition simply means to “a setting forth or explanation.” So expositional preaching is the explanation of Scripture that is based upon diligent study and careful exegesis of a passage. It is the primary call of the pastor or preacher as we see in 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

These first three men have been or are in service to God in a mighty, MIGHTY way, and what a ministry! I praise and thank Jesus for raising them up!

John F. MacArthur, 3,000+ sermons. He has been preaching at Grace Community Church for 45 years. (b. 1939- ). Bio. Sermon archive. I especially enjoyed his preaching series from Genesis

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (1834-1892). 3,561 sermons. AKA The Prince of Preachers, preached at New Park Street and then Metropolitan Tabernacle for 37 years. (Bio). Sermons. My current favorite is the sermon on God's Providence.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, (1899 – 1 March 1981). 1591 sermons available. He preached for 41 years at Westminster Chapel in London. (Bio). Sermon archive here. My current favorite are the Great Biblical Doctrines, especially, The Fall.


I also enjoy Dr Steven Lawson. I just listened to a wonderful sermon of his from Philippians, about daily Christian living. Sermon archive here. (Bio).

Phil Johnson is a personal favorite of mine. I'd quote him as often as I do MacArthur but his sermons haven't been transcribed until lately. Pastor Johnson preaches at the GraceLife Pulpit of John MacArthur's church. I enjoy the sermons from Dr. MacArthur, but I personally identify with Johnson. My current favorite sermon of his recently has been What Creation Reveals. (Bio and other Bio)

Don Green
Finally, though certainly not least, is Pastor Don Green. He preaches at Truth Community Fellowship. (Bio). My current favorite sermon of his is called "What is Sin?"

I hope these links and the thousands upon thousands of wonderfully exposited sermons available to you will edify you in a great way. May the spotless name of Jesus be glorified through their ministry and by us as we receive His word into our hearts and minds from these men. 

Creation Grace: Dawn and the Sun

The sun comes up to the left of my driveway. As I leave for work and head down the driveway and stop to look left for traffic, I often see the first rays peeking up over the hill. In spring, the sun shines through the blossoming trees, illuminating them so they look like fiery snowflakes.

The Lord made the sun for His own good pleasure and for us as a useful time-marking tool

"And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day." (Genesis 1:14-19)

At one point He made the sun stand still:

"And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day." (Joshua 10:13)

At another point He made the sun go backwards ten steps:

"And Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?” And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps. Rather let the shadow go back ten steps.” And Isaiah the prophet called to the Lord, and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz." (2 Kings 20:9-11)

And at a still future point, He will blink out the sun entirely:

"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 heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken". (Matthew 24:29)

Our Lord is Lord of Creation! This is who we worship:

"For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other." (Isaiah 45:18)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Irony alert: Pope warns mobsters: Hell awaits

Here is a headline from Drudge:

 Pope warns mobsters: Hell awaits

AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
2009 photo AP/Alessandro Fucarini
"Pope Francis has a warning for Italy's mobsters: They will go to hell if they don't repent and renounce their "blood-stained money and blood-stained power."

But the Pope himself is headed for the same destination. He does not live by the faith that was delivered to us, i.e. the unadulterated Gospel. If Pope Francis were to die at this moment, he would be destined for hell, for his condemnation is already upon him. (John 3:18)

Therefore this verse comes to mind,

"Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

However, the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that any mafioso or any Pope can repent and Jesus will forgive. Remember no sin is too great. He will forgive them all ... except one. The unforgivable sin is dying in your sins without the one thing that is required: belief in the Son. (John 3:36). When you die, there is no more forgiveness, and God's wrath is upon you. You will have rejected the pardon, therefore you're unpardonable. He nailed all sins to the cross when He died on it, and He will forgive any repentant sinner prior to his fleshly death. Jesus is great! He is merciful.


One Reason Catholicism is a false religion

Are Roman Catholicism and Christianity the same thing?

What is the Unforgivable Sin?

USGS says "Significant rise in Oklahoma quakes" since 2009; other seismologist says fracking isn't the cause

There have been a lot of earthquakes in Oklahoma this week. There has been some 'spillover' in that there have been quakes in bordering Kansas (four of which are on this map). Here is a map showing quakes in Oklahoma in the past 7 days.

Here is a news spot about the OK quake swarm.

Magnitude 4.0 earthquake hits central Oklahoma, follows six other quakes Friday
A magnitude 4.0 earthquake shook central Oklahoma shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The quake followed two other earthquakes -- a 2.8 and a 2.6 magnitude -- that were centered near Langston just minutes earlier and four other earthquakes ranging from 2.7 to 2.9 magnitude near Guthrie, Yale and Crescent on Friday afternoon and evening, the Geological Survey reported. That makes seven earthquakes of magnitude 2.6 or greater recorded in the state on Friday.

Since January 2009, more than 200 magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have hit central Oklahoma,— marking a significant rise in the frequency of the seismic events, the Geological Survey reported. A study released last year shows that one to three magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes occurred yearly in Oklahoma from 1975 to 2008 but that the average grew to around 40 earthquakes per year from 2009-2013.

In this map of earthquakes recorded by the US Geological Survey in the past thirty days (each quake is marked by a dot on the map), Oklahoma is a clear hot spot. (USGS)- (source)

This article states, "[T]here have been more than 500 earthquakes in Oklahoma this year and 150 last week. (As of 2/19/14) ... No one is disputing that such a dramatic spike is unusual. The question is why it’s happening now, and science suggests that the fracking boom may be, at least in part, to blame. Researchers say the toxic wastewater, stored thousands of feet underground, reducing friction along fault lines, which can trigger earthquakes."

Or does it? This scientist said six months ago of the connection between hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and earthquakes in OK:

Seismologist: Fracking doesn't cause earthquakes
"Frohlich cited six earthquakes since 2008 in Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio and Oklahoma, ranging from magnitude 3.3 to magnitude 5.7. Their locations show that human-caused earthquakes are geographically widespread and geologically diverse, but "very rare," given the amount of petroleum produced and the amount of waste being disposed of. Why some injection wells cause earthquakes and others don't remains unclear, he said. Frohlich hypothesizes that quakes occur when a "suitably oriented" fault lies near an injection site."

"Texas has 10,000 injection wells, Frohlich said, and some have been in use since the 1930s. That effectively makes the state a giant research lab for the shale-gas drilling issues now facing Appalachian states including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. If injection wells were "hugely dangerous," he said, "we would know." "Texas would be famous as a state that just rocks with major earthquakes," Frohlich said. "That is not true.""

Scientists will debate this and that. Whether all the quakes in Oklahoma are from fracking or not isn't the issue. The issue is where can we find truth? The bible has it. We are told that in the last days there will be earthquakes in diverse places, and we are in the last days. We have been in the end times since Jesus ascended. (Hebrews 1:2).

"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains." (Mark 13:8)

Further reading 

Have any aspects of end-times prophecy been fulfilled?

Why Every Calvinist Should be a Pre-Millennialist

Eschatology Charts: If you want a helpful overview of dispensationalism, historical premillenialism, postmillenialism, and amillenialism, then these charts (prepared by Mark Vander Pol) should be helpful.

Prata's Place / Graceful Garlands: Gradual Growth

My title comes from Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland ...