Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Visitation of the Virgin Mary

I am not a Catholic, and I believe that many of their teachings are false. But at the same time, any honest person has to admit that Catholicism has millions of members and has much influence. So instead of just ignoring Catholicism, I try to learn what they teach and then give the best biblical response I can. I have also learned that by keeping up with their feast days and other important events, I can use them as an opportunity to learn and to teach.

This Thursday is the day the Roman Catholic Church remembers the Visitation of the Virgin Mary:

Here is the information about the day:

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

The article was taken from the New Advent Encyclopedia

Assuming that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place about the vernal equinox, Mary left Nazareth at the end of March and went over the mountains to Hebron, south of Jerusalem, to wait upon her cousin Elizabeth, because her presence and much more the presence of the Divine Child in her womb, according to the will of God, was to be the source of very great graces to the Blessed John, Christ's Forerunner.

The event is related in Luke 1:39-57. Feeling the presence of his Divine Saviour, John, upon the arrival of Mary, leaped in the womb of his mother; he was then cleansed from original sin and filled with the grace of God.

Our Lady now for the first time exercised the office which belonged to the Mother of God made man, that He might by her mediation sanctify and glorify us. St. Joseph probably accompanied Mary, returned to Nazareth, and when, after three months, he came again to Hebron to take his wife home, the apparition of the angel, mentioned in Matthew 1:19-25, may have taken place to end the tormenting doubts of Joseph regarding Mary's maternity. (Cf. also MAGNIFICAT.)

The earliest evidence of the existence of the feast is its adoption by the Franciscan Chapter in 1263, upon the advice of St. Bonaventure. The list of feasts in the "Statuta Synodalia eccl. Cenomanensis" (1237, revised 1247; Mansi, supplem., II, 1041), according to which this feast was kept 2 July at Le Mans in 1247, may not be genuine.
With the Franciscan Breviary this feast spread to many churches, but was celebrated at various dates — at Prague and Ratisbon, 28 April; in Paris, 27 June, at Reims and Geneva, 8 July (cf. Grotefend, "Zeitrechnung", II, 2, 137). It was extended to the entire Church by Urban VI, 6 April, 1389 (Decree published by Boniface IX, 9 Nov., 1389), with the hope that Christ and His Mother would visit the Church and put an end to the Great Schism which rent the seamless garment of Christ.

The feast, with a vigil and an octave, was assigned to 2 July, the day after the octave of St. John, about the time when Mary returned to Nazareth. The Office was drawn up by an Englishman, Adam Cardinal Easton, Benedictine monk and Bishop of Lincoln (Bridgett, "Our Lady's Dowry", 235). Dreves (Analecta Hymnica, xxiv, 89) has published this rhythmical office with nine other offices for the same feast, found in the Breviaries of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Since, during the Schism, many bishops of the opposing obedience would not adopt the new feast, it was confirmed by the Council of Basle, in 1441.

Pius V abolished the rhythmical office, the vigil, and the octave. The present office was compiled by order of Clement VIII by the Minorite Ruiz. Pius IX, on 13 May, 1850, raised the feast to the rank of a double of the second class. Many religious orders -- the Carmelites, Dominicans, Cistercians, Mercedarians, Servites, and others -- as well as Siena, Pisa, Loreto, Vercelli, Cologne, and other dioceses have retained the octave. In Bohemia the feast is kept on the first Sunday of July as a double of the first class with an octave.

The Scripture readings for the day are:

Zephaniah 3:14-18 or Romans 12:9-16

Isaiah 12:2-6

Luke 1:39-56

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Sunday, May 27, 2007


I hope everyone has had a great Lord's Day and was able to be in a church where the word of God was preached in truth.

Last night I was listening to a sermon about Hannah and Samuel. At the end of the sermon, the following statement was made with about 3 minutes left of the sermon: This is the quote as best as I could copy it down.
"Now I want you to understand something, because of Hannah's sacrifice, that choice went on to not only impact a nation but the world because, see I want you to understand something, Samuel and Christ were of the same lineage, do you see? No Hannah... no Samuel... no Christ!"

That is a very clear claim and we should be able to determine if it is true:

Let's begin with looking at what some Bible dictionaries tell us about Samuel:

To read the Easton's Bible Dictionary entry on Samuel, follow this link:


To read the International Bible Encyclopedia entry on Samuel, follow this link:


I was not able to find anything in both sources that indicated the claim was true.

Jesus was to come from the line of David. In fact, the Gospel of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Christ showing that he was from the line of David. In 1 Samuel 16, we have the account of Samuel being sent to David to anoint him as king, and there is no indication that somehow Samuel was related to David.

So how does a Pastor who is entrusted by God to rightly divide the word of truth end up making such a claim?
I honestly have no idea. I can understand in the midst of preaching making a mistake and having a slip of the tongue, but this pastor said it with confidence.

To listen to the sermon for yourself, follow this link and look for the sermon "Heroes week 2." The web page does not work that well, and you may have to use your tab key to navigate the page.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Trinity is not that Important!

It seems like such a nice picture.... two well-known preachers standing side by side, working together for the the kingdom of God and proclaiming the word of God. But the question is, exactly which God are they working for and speaking about? Why do I ask that?

Well let's examine the picture:

To the left is Jack Graham:

Dr. Jack Graham is the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of America’s largest congregations, with a membership of 26,000.

The website for this church can be found here: Prestonwood

The doctrinal statement for the church clearly states:

There is one God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; who subsist in unity, and also as three separate distinct Persons.

To the Right is T.D. Jakes

Bishop Jakes pastors what Christianity Today calls “one of

America’s fastest growing mega-churches.” The Potter’s House, a multiracial,

nondenominational church with 50-plus active outreach ministries, has dominated church

growth records since its inception in 1996. In its 10-year existence, the church has grown from

the 50 families that relocated with the Jakes family from West Virginia to Dallas to more than

30,000 members.

The website for his church can be found here:
The Potters House:

This is from their statement of faith:
God -There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

T.D. Jakes is a heretic. He categorically denies the essential and foundational doctrine of the Trinity. He does not believe in three persons of the God-head: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit co-existing, co-eternal, and co-equal from all eternity. He is what is known as a Modalist; a Sabellianist; a Oneness Pentecostal. He worships and serves a different god than the One Triune God of the Bible.

But here we see Pastor Jack Graham standing next to T.D Jakes hosting the Global Day of Prayer! My question is: Are they going to pray to the Trinitarian God or the heretical false god of Oneness Pentecostals?

But hey, It is 2007 and who really cares about the doctrine of the Trinity anymore!

To learn more about the heresies of Modalism and Sabellianism check out the following:


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I found the following statement of faith from the Brook Hollow Christian Church in Abilene, Texas website.

Here is the link:
What we Believe:

Since it’s origin on the American frontier in the early 1800’s, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has attempted to increase respect and understanding among Christian believers of all denominations. Attempting to hold true to the teachings of Jesus and the practices of the New Testament churches, we strive for a Christian faith which is both socially relevant and intellectually sound.
No attempt is made to impose a set of formulated doctrines or interpretations of religious thought upon any member.
We believe that the New Testament, particularly the life and teachings of Jesus, and his apostles, forms the basis of our Christian thought and action.
We recognize the principle of self-government for each local congregation with the state and national bodies serving in advisory capacities only.
We observe the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, every Sunday, and welcome all Christians from all denominations to participate.
We practice Baptism by immersion, a New Testament practice recognized as the most adequate symbol of complete surrender and of the Biblical ideal of death, burial, and resurrection to new life.
We participate in and encourage interdenominational fellowship of Christians in worship, study, mission and service.
People presenting themselves for membership here are asked only one question: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the one living and true God, and do you accept him as your Lord and Savior?”

Think about that for a moment. Here is a church that does not have any doctrinal statement on the following:

Doctrine of God: A Trinity or not a Trinity

Doctrine of Christ: His Deity and Virgin Birth. What about his incarnation and humanity?

The Scriptures: Are they inspired and correct?

Salvation: Grace alone or by works?

I could name many more critical doctrines that this church seems to think are not important.

I found it ironic that the name of the church is Brook Hollow Christian Church.

Hollow is defined as:
Main Entry: 1hol·low
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English holw, holh, from Old English holh hole, hollow -- more at HOLE
1 : an unfilled space : CAVITY, HOLE

This church has a large unfilled space where doctrine should be!

Believe nothing and you end up believing error!

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Can you imagine people who live in the United States and do not know that Easter is associated with the resurrection of Christ? I do not like the term Easter myself due to it's connection with paganism, but having a day set aside to remember the resurrection of Christ is fine and that day has been known as Easter for a very long time. But amazingly, there are many Americans who have no idea what Easter is or its significance. I found the following sermon that talks about this. In fact, during the sermon they play some interviews with people and they are asked what the significance of Easter is. You have to hear their answers! You can listen by following this link:

After listening, ask yourself one important question: Why are so many Americans completely illiterate about spiritual things? I believe the fault can be found in most churches. Instead of teaching people, many have decided to spend more time entertaining people, and we are beginning to see the results!
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Hebrews 1:7 says
And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

The question that may arise when a person reads this passage is, are the Angels of Fire different than the ministers mentioned in the verse?

I just listened to a sermon in which the pastor explained the passage as the ministers mentioned in the verse referring to Christians. You can listen to the sermon at this link:

This link will only work as long as the sermon is posted on the website from which it was taken.

Let's look at what some classic commentaries tell us about the verse:

Matthew Henry:

1.) What does God say here of the angels? He maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. This we have in Psalms 104:4, where it seems to be more immediately spoken of the winds and lightning, but is here applied to the angels, whose agency the divine Providences makes use of in the winds, and in thunder and lightnings. Observe, [1.] The office of the angels: they are God's ministers, or servants, to do his pleasure. It is the glory of God that he has such servants; it is yet more so that he does not need them. [2.] How the angels are qualified for this service; he makes them spirits and a flame of fire, that is, he endows them with light and zeal, with activity and ability, readiness and resolution to do his pleasure: they are no more than what God has made them to be, and they are servants to the Son as well as to the Father. But observe,

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible

who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire:
this cannot be understood of the wind and lightning, and of God's making these his messengers and ministers to do his will; for such a sense is not suitable to the scope of the psalm, from whence they are taken, nor to the order of the words in which they stand; for it is not said he makes spirits, or winds, his angels, and flaming fire his ministers, but the reverse; and is contrary to the design of the apostle in citing them, which is to show the superiority of Christ to angels, of whom it is said, that they are made spirits: they are "spirits", created ones, and so differ from God the Creator: they are incorporeal ones, and so differ from men; they are immaterial, and so die not; they are spiritual substances subsisting in themselves: and they are "made" such by God the Father, and by the Son the Lord Jesus Christ, within the six days of the creation, and all at once; for it is not to be supposed that the Lord is daily making them; and this proves the Son to be God, as well as more excellent than the angels; unless this is to be understood of the daily disposal of them in providence, in causing winds, thunder, lightning, and the like. Some choose to supply the word with "as", and read, who maketh his angels as winds; for invisibility, velocity, power, and penetration: "and his ministers as a flame of fire"; and these are the same with the angels, for they are ministers to God; they attend his presence; are ready to perform any service for him; they sing his praise, and are his chariots in which he rides: and they are ministers to Christ; they attended at his incarnation: were solicitous for his preservation, ministered to him in distress, assisted at his resurrection, and accompanied him in his ascension, and will be with him at his second coming: and they are as a flame of fire, so called from their great power, force, and swiftness; and from their burning love, and flaming zeal, hence named seraphim; and because they are sometimes the executioners of God's wrath, and will descend in flaming fire, when Christ shall be revealed from heaven: angels sometimes appear in fiery forms; the chariots and horses of fire, by which Elijah was carried up to heaven, were no other than angels, in such forms: so the Jews F24 say of the angels,

``all the angels, their horses are horses of fire, and their chariots fire, and their bows fire, and their spears fire, and all their instruments of war fire.''
And they have a notion, that an angel is half water, and half fire {y}.

Charles H. Spurgeon

The Treasury of David


Verse 4. Who maketh his angels spirits; or wields, for the word means either. Angels are pure spirits, though they are permitted to assume a visible form when God desires us to see them. God is a spirit, and he is waited upon by spirits in his royal courts. Angels are like winds for mystery, force, and invisibility, and no doubt the winds themselves are often the angels or messengers of God. God who makes his angels to be as winds, can also make winds to be his angels, and they are constantly so in the economy of nature.

His ministers a flaming fire. Here, too, we may choose which we will of two meanings: God's ministers or servants he makes to be as swift, potent, and terrible as fire, and on the other hand he makes fire, that devouring element, to be his minister flaming forth upon his errands. That the passage refers to angels is clear from Hebrews 1:7; and it was most proper to mention them here in connection with light and the heavens, and immediately after the robes and paltree of the Great King. Should not the retinue of the Lord of Hosts be mentioned as well as his chariot? It would have been a flaw in the description of the universe had the angels not been alluded to, and this is the most appropriate place for their introduction. When we think of the extraordinary powers entrusted to angelic beings, and the mysterious glory of the seraphim and the four living creatures, we are led to reflect upon the glory of the Master whom they serve, and again we cry out with the psalmist, "O Lord, my God, thou art very great."


Verse 4. -- Who maketh his angels spirits. Some render it, Who maketh his angels as the winds, to which they may be compared for their invisibility, they being not to be seen, no more than the wind, unless when they assume an external form; and for their penetration through bodies in a very surprising manner; see Acts 7:6-10; and for their great force and power, being mighty angels, and said to excel in strength, Psalms 103:20; and for their swiftness in obeying the divine commands; so the Targum, "He maketh his messengers, or angels, swift as the wind." --John Gill.

Verse 4. -- Who maketh his angels spirits. The words, "creating his angels spirits," may either mean "creating them spiritual beings, not material beings," or "creating them winds" -- i.e. like the winds, invisible, rapid in their movements, and capable of producing great effects. The last mode of interpretation seems pointed out by the parallelism -- "and his ministers" -- or, "servants" -- who are plainly the same as his angels, -- "a flame of fire," i.e., like the lightning. The statement here made about the angels seems to be this: "They are created beings, who in their qualities bear a resemblance to the winds and the lightning."

The argument deduced by Paul, in Hebrews 2:7, from this statement for the inferiority of the angels is direct and powerful: -- He is the Son; they are the creatures of God. "Only begotten" is the description of his mode of existence; made is the description of theirs. All their powers are communicated power; and however high they may stand in the scale of creation, it is in that scale they stand, which places them infinitely below him, who is so the Son of God as to be "God over all, blessed for ever." --John Brown, in "An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews."

Verse 4. -- A flaming fire. Fire is expressive of irresistible power, immaculate holiness, and ardent emotion. It is remarkable that the seraphim, one class at least of these ministers, have their name from a root signifying to burn; and the altar, from which one of them took the live coal, Isaiah 6:6, is the symbol of the highest form of holy love. --James G. Murphy, in "A Commentary on the Book of Psalms," 1875.

The passage seems to be clearly talking about angels, yet here we have another example of someone who is supposed to be teaching the text of Scripture but instead teaches that the Sciptures are saying something in which they are not!
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The Text Says What?

Everyone probably knows the story of David and Bath-Sheba very well. This afternoon, I was listening to a sermon from 2 Samuel 11-12 in which David’s sin with Bath-Sheba was spoken about. For the most part, the sermon was good, but at about the 24:40 minute mark, the pastor offered an exposition of 2 Samuel 12:23 that I have never heard in my entire life.

The verse reads: But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

The Pastor said the following:

“I shall go to him..........If you just look at it there, you think he is going to go be with the child, that is true, but it was not the child he was looking at it was God he was looking at. He was saying I am going to be with God, when I go to be with God he will make all things right."

To hear the sermon yourself follow this link:

This is an amazing claim:

How can anyone who reads the passage claim that David is speaking of going to be with God? The verse clearly says, "now he is dead!" Is God dead? The verse also says the one in which he is going to go to will not return!

It is so sad that today in many churches the pastor can claim that a text says anything he wants and no one even cares enough to speak out and say that it is not true!

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The changing face of the Mormon faith

The following article was take from the Religion News Blog:

Luis Cruz grew up in the Catholic tradition that his parents taught him in Chiapas, Mexico. But when he came to Phoenix more than three years ago, he developed a spiritual void that the Catholic Church was unable to fill.

“During the course of a whole year, I could not find a single church here,” the 33-year-old landscaper said in Spanish. “I didn’t know where there were masses. I couldn’t find a Spanish church that was nearby.”

That changed when a woman he knew in Mesa invited him to come and meet with two missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The meeting was the catalyst for his eventual move to Mesa and his conversion from lifelong Catholicism to Mormonism.

To read the rest of the article follow this link:

Here is the link:

To learn more about the Mormon Church check out the following link:

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I thought I would post something today for the purpose of starting a theological discussion. I was listening to a sermon from a local Baptist Church when the pastor made a comment about the dead hearing us. I immediately stopped the sermon and began to think about that.

The Catholic Church teaches the following:

Catechism of the Catholic Church

2683 The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were "put in charge of many things." Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.

This teaches that we should pray to those who have died and who have been declared to be saints. This would imply the dead can hear us and can pray for us.

Some point to the following scriptures as prohibiting talking to the dead:

Deuteronomy 18:11; 1 Samuel 28:1-25; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14; Isaiah 8:19

The Pastor did not talk about us praying to the dead but did say they could hear.

To listen to what the pastor said, follow this link: The comment occurs within the first 2 minutes of the sermon.

Please post your thoughts and comments or send them to me via e-mail:

Pastor Hammack

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