Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yes, Another Blog

Humorous, random, less focused, disjointed, rambling, muddled...In other words, this new blog will be more like how my mind actually functions:Check it out!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Is Jesus Lord?

You'd think that question would be a no-brainer for believers. But consider the "no-lordship" position on salvation that is held by some professing Christians. Nathan Busenitz, posting at Pulpit Magazine, calls attention to a particular quote from Zane Hodges, a leading opponent of lordship salvation. Here is a brief excerpt:
Oh how disgraceful for a man to have known the truth and proclaimed the truth and then to deny the truth! He has put the Son of God to an open shame! Well you say, "I guess he's headed for hell, right? I guess he's headed for eternal damnation. He's renounced his Christian faith." Wait a minute. I didn't say that, and neither does the writer of Hebrews. Let me remind you that Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He that cometh to Me shall never hunger and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." And He also said, "He that cometh to Me I shall in no wise cast out." ... God's will is that He lose no one (John 6:37-40). He has never lost anyone and He never will! And I grieve because my friend and brother has lost his faith but Christ has not lost him. He has lost his faith, but Christ has not lost him! Do you believe in the grace of God?
Yes, Mr. Hodges, I believe in the grace of God. It is because of that grace that I do not fall away and turn my back on the truth.

Sure, I sin. All Christians do, and we will continue to sin until we are ultimately freed from our sinful nature. But the beauty of God's grace is that He continues to forgive our sin. In fact, Christ's blood covered it once and for all on the cross. That does not mean, however, that we are free to do as we please. We believers who struggle with sin do not accept it as a natural extension of our relationship with Christ. We are pained by the persistence of sin in our lives. We continue to repent of our sin. We strive to live Godly lives - and we do so knowing that it is only by the grace of God that we have not fallen away.

If I were to venture a guess, Mr. Hodges, I would say that your friend was never a true believer in the first place. As you correctly noted, those who come to Christ will never be cast out. But as a Calvinist I believe in the perseverance of the saints. By that I mean that once God has saved a sinner by grace, through faith, that sinner will continue to be saved and show the fruit of his salvation.

This perseverance - or, more appropriately, preservation - is taught clearly in scripture. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Romans 8:29 says, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." We read in Phillippians 1:6, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." And Galatians 5:22-23 says that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control ..." Are those things evident in the life of one who rejects the lordship of Jesus Christ and speaks out against his followers?

So, is Jesus Lord or isn't he? He is Lord in the lives of true Christians, i.e., those who submit to his lordship. Those who don't are proclaiming to the world that their unrepentant, unregenerate souls have no need for a savior. Oh, what a sad position to be in on Judgment Day.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Healthy Tree Wears Good Fruit

Jesus told his followers, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have it printed on a t-shirt." Or something like that. Seriously, who knows for sure what Jesus actually said? As long as we let the world know that he's kind of important to us, isn't that enough?

Not since the "My boss is a Jewish carpenter" bumper sticker have Christians been so effective at being salt and light in the world. Now, your t-shirt can be one of the most effective ways to reach the lost.

Just think: with the right kind of Christian apparel, you will be able to...

...spread the Good News...

I need you to build a bridge.
Here are all the tools you will need.
See you soon-
Love, Dad"

...lampoon popular culture...

...condense the Gospel into easily recognizable catch phrases...

...and even turn your children into pint-sized evangelists.

"I can do all things"

You can find these and other valuable witnessing tools here.

Remember, what's in your heart isn't as important as what's worn over it. That's what people are going to see. Why take the time to read and understand scripture when someone has already printed the important verses on a t-shirt? Why work so hard to live what you believe when you can just wear it?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Anything Goes

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now God knows,
Anything goes!
Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Writing prose,
Anything goes!
If driving fast cars you like,
If low bars you like,
If old limbs you like,
If Mae West you like,
Or me undressed you like,
Why nobody will oppose.
When every night the set that's smart is
Intruding in nudist parties in studios,
Anything goes!

---From "Anything Goes"

According to the Times of London, a Church of England priest has continued to officiate as a cleric in spite of his conversion to Hinduism. The Rev. David Hart's diocese renewed his license even though he moved to India, changed his name to Ananda, and serves in a Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram, a village in southern India.

Hart, er Ananda, recently published a book entitled "Trading Faith: Global
Religion in an Age of Rapid Change," where he discussed his conversion to
Hinduism. It should also come as no surprise that Hart was a Fellow of the
Jesus Seminar and secretary for the World Congress of Faiths.

In an interview, Mr. Hart said, "I have neither explicitly nor implicitly
renounced my Christian faith or priesthood." However, in his capacity as
Hindu priest, Hart daily blesses a congregation of about 60 with fire that
has previously been offered to Nagar, the snake god.

Hart believes his move will "be read in the spirit of open exploration and
dialogue which is an essential feature of our shared spirituality." "My
philosophical position is that all religions are cultural constructs," he
said. "I am acting out God's story in local terms." Nothing like diving headlong into a stew of theological relativism.

I know that I should probably critique the unbiblical, heretical view
of God on display; that I should point out the flaws in his soteriology, parse his
syncretism, and harp on his gross violations of God's holy and perfect law. Clearly his epistemological foundations are in need of challenge. But I'm going to resist those urges and in the spirit of Elijah (see I Kings 18), will resort to a bit of sarcasm instead.

When I read this news item, all I could think of was "The Simpson's"
episode entitled "Homer the Heretic," where Homer rejects Christianity. At
one point, he is discoursing with Apu at the local Quickie Mart. Seeing a
statue of Ganesha in the "employee lounge," Homer chides Apu:

"Hey, Ganesha. Wanna peanut?"

"Please do not offer my god a peanut."

"No offense Apu, but when they were handing out religions, you musta been
out taking a whizz"

So true. But even worse are the "Christians" who allow such idolatry from their own clergy.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Joel Osteen: The Pandering Prophet

Joel Osteen was in the People's Republic of Massachusetts last week hawking his book "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential."

You can almost picture the scene, can't you? Here is a blurb from the Boston Herald:

In Boston yesterday, more than 400 fans - most of them fawning females - lined up to meet Osteen at a book signing at the Prudential Center’s Barnes & Noble. Only a visit by former President Bill Clinton drew a bigger crowd, book store employees said.

Osteen and his pretty, blonde wife, Victoria, sold out the TD Banknorth Garden last night with their two-hour worship service, which fetched $10 a ticket. The couple’s visit came a month after controversial faith healer Benny Hinn came to the Hub.

If you've been paying attention for the last several years, you may be aware that the homosexualist assault on marriage is quite advanced in Massachusetts. Hence, a visit from the "most popular preacher in the country" was bound to elicit some discussion of the Christian position on "gay marriage."

When asked about gay marriage, Osteen said "I don’t think it’s God’s best. I never feel like homosexuality is God’s best."

That antiseptic response was apparently not enough to mollify the hard-edged reporters on the scene who persisted with the hard line of inquiry. Osteen finally responded, "I don’t feel like that’s my thrust . . . you know, some of the issues that divide us, and I’m here to let people know that God is for them and he’s on their side."

God is on whose side exactly? The Old Testament condemns homosexuality in no uncertain terms. Buggery is termed an "abomination," and Leviticus 20:13 established the death penalty for homosexual acts.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul provides a revealing description of homosexuality: "In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion" (Rom. 1:27).

The word "inflamed" here literally means "to burn out." Homosexuality involves the burning out of a man. The structure of the passage in Romans 1 indicates that homosexuality as a practice represents the height of apostasy and hostility toward God.

In a week when a British evangelical was arrested for merely passing out leaflets at a homosexual rally, Osteen's tepidness is really little more than cowardice. "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).

Writing about Osteen's comments, Dr. Mohler hits the nail squarely:

Mr. Osteen can be assured that his weak and evasive non-answer to this reporter's question will put him at very little risk for arrest. But then, pandering prophets are rarely at much of a risk from the public anyway.

There was no conviction in his answer; no clear declaration of biblical truth; no Gospel, no judgment, and no promise. Just a non-answer with a smile. Pathetic . . . simply pathetic.
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