Contending For The Faith

September 22, 2009

New Blog Site: ScriptureThoughts.WordPress.com

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lynda O @ 10:03 am

After nearly a year of doing this blog, I’m enjoying blogging even more, and all its benefits, such as directions to take the writing. So now I’ve thought of a new, more suitable name for the blog (and a new wordpress address).

All new material from this point on will be at: http://scripturethoughts.wordpress.com

I’m gradually moving most of the material from here to that new address, it should all be there within the next few days.

July 10, 2009

Some False Teachers are Christians

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lynda O @ 11:56 am

Over at Pyromaniacs … In “A Reasonable Question” Frank Turk considers the biblical account of Peter’s behavior in eating with the Gentiles, then eating only with Jews, and Paul’s rebuke — and relates that to a modern false teacher, John Stott, who teaches annihilationism of the lost:

Peter needed a rebuke. John Stott prolly needs a rebuke. God knows that Frank Turk needs more than one rebuke — all of them, for false teaching. That doesn’t mean that any of them are not Christians. Some false teachers are Christians. It disqualifies them as teachers, not as men or women who are being saved by grace. Some non-Christians are also false teachers.

This is a good point, one I’ve been considering — and I had come to the same conclusion regarding my local pastor’s numerous errors: that he very likely is a real Christian, yet I do not see that he is fit as a teacher. One who purposely rejects several areas of the Bible, including matters regarding the beginning and the end (those areas in which we must especially look to what God says) should not presume to teach others, no matter how much he may feel “right” and no matter how much he knows and loves the Lord.  As Frank Turk added in a follow-up comment, “But some false teachers are Christians who need not to be teachers anymore — who in fact need better teaching to help them out.”

December 3, 2008

Great Quotes from Christian Leaders

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lynda O @ 2:20 pm
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Here are some great quotes from Christian leaders:

Christian Living
“Preach the gospel daily; use words if necessary” — St. Francis of Assisi

Being in church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than being in the garage makes you a car.  — John MacArthur in “Hard to Believe.”

“We were preaching this morning on the subject of prayer. And prayer is important. But I’ll tell you something that’s more important than prayer and that is the study of the Word. Because if you do not study the Word of God, you will not know how to pray because you will not know what is God’s will. The study of the Word is more important than prayer.  Someone told me this morning that an old saint of God said if he had to live his life all over again, he would pray less and study more because it would filter out needless prayers.” — John MacArthur, sermon “An Uncompromising Life”  (Daniel 1:1-8)

Theology and Doctrine
“It is one of the strange ironies in the church and in reformed theology, that those who love the doctrine of sovereign election most supremely and most sincerely and who are most unwavering in their devotion to the glory of God, the honor of Christ, the work of the spirit in regeneration and sanctification, the veracity and inerrancy of scripture and who are the most fastidious in hermeneutics and who are the most careful and intentionally biblical regarding categories of doctrine and who see themselves as guardians of biblical truth and are not content to be wrong at all and who agree most heartily on the essential matters of Christian truth so that they labor with all their powers to examine in a Berean fashion every relevant text to discern the true interpretation of all matters of divine revelation are (that’s the main verb) in various degrees of disinterest in applying those passions and skills to the end of the story and rather content to be in a happy and even playful disagreement in regard to the vast biblical data on eschatology as if the end didn’t matter much period.”  — John MacArthur, 2007 Shepherd’s Conference

“Genesis 1 is just as true as Exodus 20 which gives us the Ten Commandments. It’s just as true as Isaiah 53 which describes the suffering servant who would be the Messiah and bear our iniquities. It’s just as true as Matthew chapter 1 which indicates that Jesus was to be born of Mary and to be the Savior of the world. It’s just as true as John chapter 3 which says you must be born again. It’s just as true as any other and every other part of Scripture. There is no basis for tampering with, questioning, or denying the veracity of Genesis 1 anymore than any other part of Scripture. In fact, any disbelief in or tampering with or altering of Genesis 1 is an act of rebellion against God and His Word. It’s a serious thing to do that because like any other such rebellion, one who attacks the veracity of God and the Word of God brings upon himself the threat of divine judgment.”  — John MacArthur, sermon “Creation Day 6, Part 1

Tolerance

“People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.” — D.A. Carson

“Twenty five years ago ‘tolerance’ was understood to be a virtue that operated something like this: If I hold strong views on any particular subject I am nevertheless judged to be ‘tolerant’ if I think that your views are bad, immoral, improper, even disgusting, wicked or stupid, but still insist you have the right to defend them. In other words, a ‘tolerant’ person puts up with somebody else’s views and insists they have the right to hold them even while – in the vigorous arena of debate – we might disagree fundamentally on who is right or who is wrong. Such a person is a ‘tolerant’ person.

But nowadays, that is not what ‘tolerance’ means. Now ‘tolerance’ means that you don’t hold that anybody is right or wrong. Everybody is equally right or wrong. Nobody is more right than another person. If you don’t hold that then you are ‘intolerant.’ Now that is a huge shift … Under this new definition of ‘tolerance’ I don’t even know what ‘tolerance’ means because in the old view of ‘tolerance’ you had to disagree with someone before you could actually tolerate them. How do you say ‘Oh, yes, you are entirely right – I tolerate you?’ … This new ‘tolerance’ actually becomes extremely intolerant of anybody who does not buy into this view of ‘tolerance’ because if you actually come right out and say that some view is wrong or silly or foolish or indefensible or even questionable, then you are judged to be ‘intolerant.’ Thus, in the name of this newfangled tolerance it turns out, at profoundly deep levels, to be the most intolerant thing of all!”
– D.A. Carson, Evangelism in the 21st Century (session 2), address delivered at Omaha Bible Church on Oct. 6, 2002.

“You ever hear anybody say, “Well, I have an open mind.” Well, shut it. Because you’ve got to decide what to let in and what to keep out. Having an open mind is not a virtue, it’s one step away from being a moron. Render a judgment on something. You have a door on your house, and the reason you have a door on your house is to keep some things in and some things out. You make a judgment as to when you open it and when you don’t, that’s why you have a hole in it. You don’t live in your neighborhood with your door wide open and welcome everybody. You’d be a fool.” — John MacArthur,  2008 Shepherds Conference

“The world at the present time is sagaciously discussing how to quell the controversy and strife over doctrine and faith, and how to effect a compromise between the Church and the Papacy. Let the learned, the wise, it is said, bishops, emperor and princes, arbitrate. Each side can easily yield something, and it is better to concede some things which can be construed according to individual interpretation, than that so much persecution, bloodshed, war, and terrible, endless dissension and destruction be permitted.
Here is lack of understanding, for understanding proves by the Word that such patchwork is not according to God’s will, but that doctrine, faith and worship must be preserved pure and unadulterated; there must be no mingling with human nonsense, human opinions or wisdom.
The Scriptures give us this rule: ‘We must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29).”  — Martin Luther

November 6, 2008

Some thoughts about the 2008 election and God’s Sovereignty

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lynda O @ 2:52 pm
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Okay, the election results are in, confirming once again that America as a nation is doomed and is experiencing God’s wrath of abandonment.  Like others, I don’t recall any previous election that attracted so much attention, with such a large turnout at the poll.  The news itself is upsetting in the general sense — and knowing on the front end the near-certainty of Obama’s win, I did not want to listen to the detailed numbers being reported in; nor could I, like my spouse, casually liken the election to a sports game with a continuously updated score card.  Yet I have found much more peace this year as I purposely reflect on the word of God and focus on it rather than on the circumstances around us.  Certainly I did not lose any sleep Tuesday night, as apparently one Christian co-worker did.  Reading several sermons on the subject, such as Phil Johnson’s “Politically Incorrect” (click here to listen to the MP3 version)  from earlier this year helped bring a proper biblical perspective.

It’s easy to get caught up in the alarmist news, even the scare tactics of conservatives and Christians, and here again I must take a step back lest I get too absorbed, and consider that so often the worst does not happen.  For all the talk about the fairness doctrine, for instance, and how repressed Christianity is in Canada and Canadian radio, I checked a few things regarding my favorite radio program, John MacArthur’s “Grace to You.”  The radio program actually started in this country a few years before the fairness doctrine was repealed, and the program is still regularly aired on many stations in Canada.  To be sure, the fairness doctrine could very well put a damper on political talk radio — the very things that did develop and grow in the last two decades — but, contrary to the alarmist claims of some, will not likely make an impact on traditional Christian radio programming.

In this election neither candidate was Christian, and for all the bad things predicted under Obama, I realize that the trends would continue even under McCain, who along with Palin favor homosexual civil unions among other liberal trends.  Abortion continues only because lost sinners desire it.  As Phil Johnson’s sermon (mentioned above) points out, Christian political activism has been a dismal failure throughout history, everywhere it’s been tried.  Consider Cromwell in 17th century England, also the failure of the Prohibitionist movement in the early 20th century.  John Calvin’s great Geneva experiment also failed, because external moral rules cannot restrain the unregenerate.  All of these efforts depend on outward conformity to the law, whereas the real issue is transformation from within by the Holy Spirit.  Also, during the  35 years since Roe v. Wade, Christians politically have been unable to accomplish their primary stated objective, to overturn Roe v. Wade, so that we now have an election year in which neither main candidate represented the Christian view.  Yet during this same generation of increased Christian political activity, expository preaching of the Word (in general mainstream evangelical churches today) has been increasingly watered down to the point that it is rendered ineffective; the message is weakened with sound-bites and entertainment, post-modernism and the Emergent Church movement all taking the place of the one thing that does have the power to transform society: the gospel and its effect on individual lives in that society.  Thus by its actions, mainstream Christianity shows that it really doesn’t believe the truth and power of the word of God, but that it really places its hopes in human institutions (government).

As MacArthur says, a political moral focus makes enemies out of our mission field.  The lost behave as they do because they are lost (as we once were), and we cannot expect them to behave differently until or unless they are saved, which is accomplished solely through the preaching of God’s word, not through energy spent on any political agenda.

Certainly life in this United States may not be as pleasant in the next several years — and as the downward trend continues so rapidly, it goes beyond even the Obama presidency, to the rest of my life here in this world — but such things exist to remind us that this world is not our home, to prevent us from getting too attached to what this world can offer.  As the saying goes, prosperity is the worst temptation — because we fear it so little.  We grow more in times of trouble than in times of plenty, as I have found so clearly during the last several months of stock market losses and generally bad economic and political news.

Rather than focusing on the evils of America, I rejoice that indeed God’s word is being preached and heard, through the national ministries of great men of God such as John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, John Piper and many other Reformed Christian preachers.  Also I thank God for the greater interest in Calvinist, Reformed teaching among young people as highlighted in “Young, Restless, Reformed”, and that the Master’s Seminary is teaching and preparing the next generation of pastors with a solid biblical foundation in all areas of God’s word, including a proper view of scripture and biblical interpretation.  This is what we all need to pray for, the proclamation of the gospel, which alone has the power to transform lives.

October 30, 2008

Believer-Centered Worship? Or God-Centered?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lynda O @ 4:50 pm
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This week’s “Wednesday Word” from Miles McKee brings a good reminder about God-centered worship.  Too many churches today are all about “Believer-Centered Worship” and focused solely on an entertaining music program.  Yet as one worship song refrain goes, “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about you, Jesus.”

McKee writes:

“Now here’s something we must grasp: since the gospel is about Jesus, the gospel is, therefore, not focused on the believer.  In the genuine gospel, the believer is not on center stage, rather, in the authentic gospel, the limelight falls on Christ alone.  There are pastors who dispute this, but let me point out that ever since the fall of man, when sin entered into the human race, the focus of man’s attention has been on himself.  Listen to the Father of our fallen race as he cowers in embarrassed fear before his Creator; he says, “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10).  Notice how that four times in one verse he uses the personal pronoun “I”. Adam shows us by this one sentence that sin’s first warping of man’s character was to make him into a raging subjectivist.  He, not God, is now the center of his universe. No longer does his life revolve around God and His glory.  His life is now centered on himself and his condition.”

Man-centered worship is basic to human fallen nature and goes back to Satan’s lie in the garden.  Man has always wanted to worship some man-made idol, and unregenerated man, by nature, cannot please and worship God.  I think of Jeremiah 3:10, a situation concerning the Old Testament Jews:  “In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the Lord.”

McKee makes an interesting comparison between pagan religious meetings and “Christian” so-called meetings which are only thinly-veiled paganism:

“we have this ‘Indian Guru’ group of people meeting to encourage one another in their so-called faith.  They encourage each other in their experience and growth.  The speaker speaks about them and how they can improve their quality of faith and life.  They are the center of their meeting. Now here’s the question, is this a Christian meeting?  Well of course not! Why? Because, as already stated, the Lamb is not the center!  Jesus is neither the goal nor the sum and substance of their meeting.  Now, in a different location, meeting on the same night, we have another assembly of people.  They are not followers of the Indian Guru; they call themselves Christians. Christians? Why then is their meeting to all intents and purposes the same as the Guru group?”

October 21, 2008

More Evidence of God’s Wrath of Abandonment: Trans-gender Children

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lynda O @ 5:42 pm
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John MacArthur makes a convincing case that God has abandoned America, in the Romans 1 type of wrath.  The passage in Romans 1 describes several times how God “gave them over.”  First, Romans 1:24, “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” Then Romans 1:26, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions” which then describes how the men and women exchanged the natural for unnatural — homosexuality.  Romans 1:28, “… God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”  The progression of sins in our society since the 1960s is described clearly through the rest of Romans 1.

A few quotes from MacArthur’s sermon, “A Nation Abandoned By God”:
“You’re going to have more people in leadership in the country outing themselves as homosexuals.  If you think you’ve seen a lot of that, you haven’t seen any of it yet as it becomes more and more accepted. …  Sexual revolution, down one more step; homosexual revolution, down one more step; you can’t ever get your way out of it because the mind, the cultural mind is gone…it’s gone…it’s gone.”

As a reminder, that I think I’ve seen a lot of it, but I really haven’t seen any of it yet as it becomes more accepted, the next day (after reading MacArthur’s sermon), I saw the feature story in “The Atlantic” magazine:  trans-gender children.  Children as young as age 6 or 8, with behavioral and emotional problems that cause them to prefer the opposite sex and act out, are encouraged by their parents to live and dress as the opposite sex, as in the featured story of Brandon/Bridget.  Their parents fail to address the underlying issues, give up too early, and instead link up with others with this “medical condition” to assure themselves that their kids are normal.  To be fair, the story does point out the controversy, and quotes the experts who disagree, while informing us of the rapid increase of trans-gender children just since 2000.  But what is “controversial” now will gradually become accepted and “normal” as America continues its rapid spiral down into greater and greater depravity, as more individuals are given over to the point where they lose their ability to reason and function.

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