If I hadn’t been banned from commenting. . . .

Over at Patheos.com, in an article aout gay marriage being harmful, and after a response indicated that God had created two complimentary sexes, I received the following comment, among others, not quite as fuzzy in the logic department:

WilmRoget

" like God having created Adam and Eve,"

Ah yeah, the heterosexual couple who introduced sin into the world. The couple who raised the world’s first murderer, if Genesis is taken literally. The couple who brought down on humanity God’s first curse, which just happens to target the fruit of heterosexual intercourse.

Good example there. Not to mention the way Adam tries to blame it all on Eve, instead of standing up for her like a real man. And then he blames God.

"Jesus teaching on marriage?"

Like when He said that remarriage after a divorce for any reason other than adultery is adultery?

You think because you and your peers murder and rape and brutalize GLBTQ people, and then blame the Bible, it makes your sin any less evil?

 

I wanted to suggest that if God had created Adam and Steve, there would b e no WilmRoget. He has obviously read some Bible, for which I commend him. That his heart is hardened against God is deeply sad.

 His final sentence is perhaps the most problematic. To that I wanted to say that both MY sin and HIS sin are equally deplorable in the sight of God and that we ALL have sinned and fallen short, but that there is redemption in Christ. But alas, I have been banned from commenting, which just might mean that something I said struck home and that the anger that banned me was provoked a small amount of Holy Spirit conviction.

Please join me in praying for WilmRoget, as well as all those trapped in their bondage to sin, as we all once were.

1 Kings 19 is one of the top three most abused, molested, eisegeted, twisted, and assumed verses in the entire Bible

Originally posted on Pulpit & Pen:

But let me tell you how I REALLY feel.

 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire,but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice”  1 Kings 19: 11-12. NKJV

If you grew up in any mainline protestant evangelical Church, it’s likely that you’ve been quoted that verse your whole life when being told and taught about prayer and hearing from God. That’s THE BIG ONE that people look to and reference as they tell you that when you pray you…

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Can Fighting for Our ‘Rights’ as Christians Ever Be ‘Wrong‘?

That’s a question I’ve been considering (off and on) for some time. The recent issue with Gideon Bibles in Navy Lodging facilities turned it back on again. Bibles were out and are now back in, at least temporarily, while the issue gets ‘higher’ leadership review. How will it end? God knows, and I’m not even going to hazard a guess, at least in this article. What I will do is repeat the above question:

Can fighting for our ‘rights’ as Christians ever be ‘wrong’?

After giving it a lot of thought, my answer is a resounding ‘Yes!” Let me explain.

First of all, please know that I don’t believe that we should just roll over whenever an atheist starts complaining about the mention of God in the public square (or a Bible in a Navy Lodge nightstand). Neither do I have an issue with legal entities or constitutionalists fighting about it – it’s what they do. I’ll answer the question at hand with another question:

What’s more important, our religions ‘rights’ or the eternal souls of those who rail against God?

To most, if not all believers, that should be a rhetorical question. I like the German term for it – ‘selbtsverstandlich’, or ‘self-understood’. It’s the answer I received from everyone in our Sunday morning Bible study at the Chapel I attend on Ft. Carson, CO. While the answer was automatic, it was also followed by a ‘but’ in some cases and a discussion about America’s founding fathers and the Constitution. Therein lies my point.

There is a lot of fighting for ‘our’ rights going on these days and not a small number of organizations, with the ‘Christian’ flag flying high, engaged in the battle against those pesky ‘atheists’. While it is commendable to take a stand for ‘rights’, what I almost never hear in the midst of all the ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ rhetoric is concern for the lost and dying ‘them’ who are rushing headlong into a Christless eternity while they rail against the God they know exists.

While on one hand I don’t hear much about what we freely answer is more important than our ‘rights’, on the other hand I sense an air of prideful self-righteousness as we stick out our bony ‘Christian’ chests while making our demands. Somewhere we’ve crossed a hard to detect line in the sand and lost sight of the Great Commission – the making of disciples of all nations that, by nature, begins with sharing the gospel with the lost and dying. And I’m guilty. It’s probably connected to the ‘sin hangover’ we all have.

And that’s when I think that fighting for our ‘rights’ can be ‘wrong – when we cross that line. Sadly, one of the results of crossing the line is the image of ‘Christians’ that’s projected to the same lost and dying we should be reaching with the message of the gospel. The ‘us’ vs. ‘them fight that they see eclipses whatever else we are trying to communicate about our Christianity. In a way we’ve aided and abetted the enemy in his never ending quest to discredit our testimony.

So can fighting for our ‘rights’ ever be ‘wrong’? Absolutely! When our rights become a higher priority to us than sharing the gospel, even with those ‘pesky atheists’, we’re wrong.

Think about it.

RIP?

RIP?

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 12:01 AM PDT at The Cripplegate

What did you think about when you heard of Robin Williams suicide? What was your first thought? For a friend of mine it was the following words:

Everyday they pass me by,

I can see it in their eyes.

Empty people filled with care,

Headed who knows where?

On they go through private pain,

Living fear to fear.

Laughter hides their silent cries,

Only Jesus hears.

Love or hate Steve Green–but there’s a whole lot of truth to this song. 

We live in a world full of empty people. No-one is exempt.

We live in a world full of hell-bound people. No-one is exempt.

We live in a world full of souls, who will spend eternity somewhere. No-one is exempt.

The moment someone’s life on earth ends it immediately continues. The moment someone’s life on earth ends they immediately stand before God. Like a runner sprinting for the finish line, the moment he crosses the line he immediately goes from being in a race to done with a race, but his life continues, his consciousness continues. So it is with death. It is a word we use for the ending of life on earth, but life does not end at death, it is just beginning.

For that reason, it is disappointing, frustrating, and excruciating to see Christians say things (or post things, tweet things, etc.) that minimize the monumental truth that any one of the billions of people who have lived are all somewhere right now…very much existing. It brings tears to my eyes to think about the implications of death apart from Christ.

Christian: You must understand that the words you say reveal what is in your heart. When well meaning Christians say things like:

“Thank you Steve Jobs for “thinking outside the box!” A true game changer if there ever was one. RIP.”

Or:

“Robin thanks for all the laughs. Such a talented man! Thanks for providing me with indescribable joy. R.I.P.

I want to challenge you to think about the implications of writing something like this.

I am not claiming to know where each person is. Nor do I feel like guessing. The point I’m trying to make is did it even cross your mind that they are in eternity? When you think of death, and when you think about people, what is your first thought? Part of working towards being better evangelists is by changing our thinking.

Culture dictates the way we talk, and we are used to saying certain things when certain things happen. But I have to wonder, is the Gospel on the forefront of your mind, if you are writing statements like this?

When you see people walking around what do you see? Do you see a soul that will spend eternity somewhere?

You must understand that Robin Williams and Steve Jobs are not in a coffin somewhere sleeping right now, but they are actively conscious. As I type.

They are somewhere. No-one is exempt. The moment a human being is born he or she will never, ever stop being conscious.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord.

At the end of broken dreams, He’s the open door.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord.

When will we realize, people need the Lord?

My prayer today is that Believers will live lives understanding the implications of the Gospel. That we would live lives devoted to Christ. that we would go all in. That we would start making decisions based on evangelism. That we say, as Paul did in 2 Corinthians 5:16: “From now on, we purpose to not think of anyone in a purely human way.” That we would choose what house to live in, or what city to move to, or what grocery store line to pay for my groceries, based on a love of Jesus and a devotion to telling people about Him.

We are called to take His light

To a world where wrong seems right.

What could be too great a cost

For sharing Life with one who’s lost?

Through His love our hearts can feel

All the grief they bear.

They must hear the Words of Life

Only we can share.

Who else but you? God has sovereignly placed you uniquely somewhere where few other Christians can be–maybe none other than you. Whether its your neighborhood, job, college campus or family, chances are that you are one of the only Christians there. Who is going to let them know about Christ? Who is going to bring them the good news?

Only you can. And when you live with that kind of urgency, you will not be inclined to see hear of someone who died, and think, “rest in peace.”

People need the Lord, people need the Lord

At the end of broken dreams, He’s the open door.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord.

When will we realize that we must give our lives,

For people need the Lord.

Give your life away! No Christian should be exempt from this kind of urgency.

 

Christ the Image of God

by Mike Riccardi at The Cripplegate

Exact ImprintThe Old Testament had much to say about the presence of God. Throughout the history of Israel, God’s presence was mediated through fire (Exod 3:6; Deut 5:4), through blazing light (Exod 33:18–23), through visions (Ezek 1:28) and angels (Jdg 6:21–22; cf. 13:21–22), through the temple worship (Pss 27:4; 63:1–2), and even through God’s own Word (1 Sam 3:21). But with the coming of Jesus and the New Covenant era, the glory of God’s presence is now uniquely and supremely manifested “in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). This makes sense, of course, because Christ is the perfect “image of God” (2 Cor 4:4).

This is precisely the testimony of the opening verses of the Book of Hebrews. Though God had revealed Himself by speaking to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days He has spoken finally and decisively in His Son (Heb 1:1). Christ is therefore the radiance of the Father’s glory (1:3)—the manifestation of the very presence of God, the “effulgence of the divine glory,” as one commentator colorfully puts it.

The Son is also described as the exact representation of the Father’s nature (1:3). The word for “nature” there is hupostasis, which the lexicons tell us speaks of the “essential or basic structure/nature of an entity” and thus refers to the Father’s “substantial nature, essence [and] actual being.” And the phrase “exact representation” is a translation of the Greek term charaktēr, which denotes “a stamp or impress, as on a coin or a seal, in which case the seal or die which makes an impression bears the image produced by it, and . . . all the features of the image correspond respectively with those of the instrument producing it” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary, 577). Just as the shape, impressions, and intricacies of a coin reveal precisely the nature of the original die, so does the Son reveal the very essence of God Himself. Anthony Hoekema’s conclusion is inescapable: “It is hard to imagine a stronger figure to convey the thought that Christ is the perfect reproduction of the Father. Every trait, every characteristic, every quality found in the Father is also found in the Son, who is the Father’s exact representation.”

This teaching is borne consistent witness throughout the NT. Though no one has seen the Father at any time, Christ the only begotten God in the bosom of the Father has explained Him (John 1:18). Literally, the Son has exegeted the Father, making known to finite humanity in His own person what was otherwise imperceptible. The glory that humanity beholds in Christ is the “glory of the only begotten from the Father” (John 1:14). Paul tells us that Christ is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15), such that, “though God is invisible, in Christ the invisible becomes visible; one who looks at Christ is actually looking at God” (Hoekema, 21). So full is the Father’s revelation of Himself in the Son that Jesus can say to Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), for in Him “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col 2:9).

All of this accords entirely with the parallelism going on in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 6, which presents as synonymous

(a) the (i) light of the (ii) gospel of the (iii) glory of Christ, (iv) who is the image of God, and
(b) the (i) Light of the (ii) knowledge of the (iii) glory of God (iv) in the face of Christ.

Paul clearly shows that “the glory of Christ” in v. 4 is identical with “the glory of God” in v. 6 by identifying that Christ’s being the image of God is synonymous with the light of God’s glory shining in the face of Christ. Jonathan Edwards comments,

The glory and beauty of the blessed Jehovah, which is most worthy in itself to be the object of our admiration and love, is there exhibited in the most affecting manner that can be conceived of; as it appears shining in all its luster, in the face of an incarnate, infinitely loving, meek, compassionate, dying Redeemer.

Piper’s conclusion captures it well: “there is a glory of the Father and a glory of the Son, but . . . the Father and the Son are so inseparably one in glory and essence that knowing one implies knowing the other” (God is the Gospel, 72). Another writer hits the nail on the head: “When we look at Christ . . . we never have to give ourselves a cautious mental check and think, Oh, but that’s Jesus, not God. Seeing Jesus, we see God.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect embodiment of the very image of God. He is the supreme revelation of the Father—the very radiance of the Father’s glory and the exact representation of His essence. Though God revealed Himself in various ways throughout history, by His great grace we now behold the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God shining in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6). Let us worship Him for this. And beholding His glory, may we be transformed into that very image, from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18).

Mike originally published a version of this article in April 2013.

Why Are So Many Young People Losing Their Faith in College?

It’s something most Christian parents worry about: You send your kids off to college and when they come back, you find they’ve lost their faith. The prospect of this happening is why many parents nudge their kids towards Christian colleges, or at least schools with a strong Christian presence on campus.

But in many ways, the damage has been done long before our children set foot on campus. That’s the message from a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly.

My friend Larry Taunton of the Fixed Point Foundation set out to find out why so many young Christians lose their faith in college. He did this by employing a method I don’t recall being used before: He asked them.

The Fixed Point Foundation asked members of the Secular Students Associations on campuses around the nation to tell them about their “journey to unbelief.” Taunton was not only surprised by the level of response but, more importantly, about the stories he and his colleagues heard.

Instead of would-be Richard Dawkins’, the typical respondent was more like Phil, a student Taunton interviewed. Phil had grown up in church; he had even been the president of his youth group. What drove Phil away wasn’t the lure of secular materialism or even Christian moral teaching. And he was specifically upset when his church changed youth pastors.

Whereas his old youth pastor “knew the Bible” and made Phil “feel smart” about his faith even when he didn’t have all the answers, the new youth pastor taught less and played more.

Phil’s loss of faith coincided with his church’s attempt to ingratiate itself to him instead of challenging him. According to Taunton, Phil’s story “was on the whole typical of the stories we would hear from students across the country.”

These kids had attended church but “the mission and message of their churches was vague,” and manifested itself in offering “superficial answers to life’s difficult questions.” The ministers they respected were those “who took the Bible seriously,” not those who sought to entertain them or be their “buddy.”

Taunton also learned that, for many kids, their journey to unbelief was an emotional, not just an intellectual one.

Taunton’s findings are counter-intuitive. Much of what passes for youth ministry these days is driven by a morbid fear of boring our young charges. As a result, a lot of time is spent trying to devise ways to entertain them.

The rest of the time is spent worrying about whether the Christian message will turn kids off. But as Taunton found, young people, like the not-so-young, respect people with conviction—provided they know what they’re talking about.

Taunton talks about his experiences with the late Christopher Hitchens, who, in their debates, refrained from attacking him. When asked why, Hitchens replied, “Because you believe it.”

I don’t know what that says about Hitchens’ other Christian debate partners, but it is a potent reminder that playing down the truth claims of the Christian faith doesn’t work. People don’t believe those they don’t respect.

Here’s something that one of the students told Larry Taunton; he said, “Christianity is something that if you really believed it, it would change your life and you would want to change [the lives] of others. I haven’t seen too much of that.”

Folks, that’s pretty sobering. This puts the ball in our court. Are we living lives that show our children that we actually believe what we say we believe? And here’s another question—do we actually believe it?

__________________________

Online Source

A. W. Pink on the Atonement of Christ

"Few seem to realize the fearful implications which necessarily follow the principles they hold and advocate. To predicate an atonement which fails to atone, a redemption which does not redeem, a sacrifice which secures not the actual remission of sins is a horrible reflection upon all the attributes of God. To make the efficacy or success of the greatest of all God’s works dependent upon the choice of fallen and depraved creatures is to magnify man at the cost of dethroning his Maker."

~Arthur Pink, "The Satisfaction of Christ-Studies in the Atonement"