Monday, November 26, 2007

One more word that I can't use.

It is frustrating that all the good descriptive words are being hijacked. Let me give you an example; the word "evangelical" used to mean that you believed in Sola Fide, which means justification is by faith alone. Now "evangelical" means that you vote republican, like guns and don't read the bible much. "Protestant" used to mean that you were a Christian that was radically opposed to the doctrine and practices of Roman Catholicism and affirmed the doctrines rediscovered in the reformation. Now it means you can believe in everything from Oneness Pentecostalism to Joel Osteen to benny Hinn to John MacArthur and R.C Sproul. Now I find out that I need to ditch the word "Missional" lest my little reformed church be confused with an emergant church. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about "Missional".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Oxford English Dictionary defines "missional" as "Relating to or connected with a religious mission; missionary." In contemporary usage "missional" is an adjectival alternative to "missionary." Although both words are related to "missio" (Latin: sending), some scholars, including Darrell Guder et al. in The Missional Church[citation needed] believe "missional" focuses on the church contextualizing its methods, morality, and message to fit its indigenous culture.

In this usage "missional" has rapidly entered the lexicon of the growing emerging church movement whose participants have popularized the term, enabling participants in this movement to recognize each other across denominational lines. Different "emergents" may use the term with different nuances and connotations, but the term persists as essentially a postmodern alternative to the ecclesiology and missiology of Evangelical Christians. The practical outworking of emergent "missional living" does not coincide with the emphases on propositional evangelism, teaching, and holiness found in historic Christianity.

In contemporary, postmodern usage "missional" has become more narrow in scope than traditional terms such as "mission" and "outreach" which infer the inclusion of propositional evangelism and instruction. Jason Zahariades identifies the difference between a traditional "disciple making," evangelical church and a missional church as fundamentally theological.

(Close Quote)

So now that I can't define myself as evangelical, protestant or missional for fear of being seen as a gun toting, slain in the Spirit, doctrinally illiterate, emergant pastor. Maybe the artist formerly known as "Prince" is where we are headed, we are the churches formerly known as "Evangelical, protestant and missional".

Matt Masiewicz

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Dethroning Jesus

The following is from Pulpit Magazine

There has been much said about Jesus over the past few years in the media. All sorts of new discoveries have come down the pipeline that supposedly will give us the truth about Jesus of Nazareth. From the Gospel of Judas to the tomb of the family of Jesus, each of these discoveries has leveled some attack on the biblical understanding of Jesus.

In their new book, Dethroning Jesus, Darrell Bock and Daniel Wallace help the reader understand the focus of six of these recent attacks. They summarize these attacks as a movement called Jesusanity. “Jesusanity is a coined term for the alternative story about Jesus.

Here the center of the story is still Jesus, but Jesus as either a prophet or a teacher of religious wisdom. (p. 4)” In other words, the recent attacks on Jesus seek to take something away from our understanding of Christ. In their own way, they each try to reduce Jesus from the incarnate Son of God who died to save sinners to a good teacher and moral example for mankind to follow.

Bock and Wallace deal with six discoveries which if true, would drastically alter our picture of the biblical Christ. The opposite of Jesusanity is Christianity, which understands the true image of Christ to be one of the God-man anointed by God to restore the broken relationship between God and man.

Instead of chapters, Dethroning Jesus consists of 6 claims which have been made recently regarding Christ and the response of Bock and Wallace to each of these claims. They begin with the claim that the original New Testament has been corrupted so badly by copyists that we can’t even know what the original text said. They spend the bulk of this claim evaluating an incredibly popular book, Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman.

At one point, Misquoting Jesus reached #1 on the best seller list. In it Ehrman argues that we don’t have anyway of knowing what the original text said because of the state of the copies we possess. This claim assaults the very Word of God and argues that it is unknowable. Bock and Wallace deal with this claim thoroughly by exposing the fallacies in Ehrman’s reasoning and explaining the case for the New Testament as the inerrant Word of God.

They next move on to deal with the claim that the Gospel of Judas belongs alongside the other four gospels and provides proof that early Christianity was a diverse group with multiple systems of doctrine. In this claim they go into the detail of what the Gospel of Judas specifically teaches and contrast it with biblical Christianity.

Third, Dethroning Jesus tackles the claim that the Gospel of Thomas radically alters our understanding of the person of Christ. Again, Bock and Wallace walk us through specific examples from the Gospel of Thomas and prove that this ancient document offers us a different Christ from the one found in Scripture.

Next they discuss the claim that the message of Christ was fundamentally political and social in nature. This claim is specifically dealt with in the writings of Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. They reinterpret sections of the Gospels to mean that Christ had as His goal the reform of political systems. He wanted justice and it was His passion for correcting social ills and political problems that eventually got Him killed.

The fifth claim dealt with in Dethroning Jesus is the claim that Paul took captive the original movement of Jesus and James and changed it from a Jewish reform effort to a religion that exalted Jesus and included Gentiles. This claim attacks the deity of Christ and the consistency of Scripture. James Tabor is the major proponent of this view and his work is dealt with in this section of the book.

Finally, the last claim discussed is that the tomb of Jesus has been found and thus He could not have risen from the dead. They examine the recent documentary the Discovery channel put together concerning the lost tomb of Jesus.

These six claims have covered a wide variety of topics and a massive amount of academic discussion over the past few years as each one has gained national attention in some fashion or another. Darrell Bock and Dan Wallace have done us a great service by explaining the danger of each claim and then providing ample evidence to refute the arguments of each.

Though it may sound intimidating to some, Dethroning Jesus is written in a flowing, easy to read style. This will prove to be a helpful and important book for understanding the current debate over the person and work of Christ. Bock and Wallace summarize by saying, “Each one of these claims has made an impact in the public square, having been articulated in books that have made the best seller list or in television specials that have attracted millions. These ideas legitimately have aroused the interest of those who have come into contact with them, but often in a one-sided way so that the ‘rest of the story’ was missing. We have endeavored to supply the missing pieces in this book” (p. 217).
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I am sorry for posting these so late but here are the scripture readings for today:

2 Samuel 11:9-13

1 Timothy 5:1-10

Luke 19:37-44

This morning when I was spending some time studying the Old Testament reading for the day I read the following commentary on the passage. It is from a Greek Orthodox perspective but I thought there were some good things mentioned that should give us all something to think about:

Whither Shall I Flee? 2 Samuel 11:9-13 , especially vs. 13: "David called him, and he ate before him and drank, and he made him drunk: and he went out in the evening to lie upon his bed with the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house." In essence, King David's attempt to cloak his adultery was what Adam and Eve did when "the eyes of both were opened, and they perceived that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons to go around them.

And....hid themselves from the face of the Lord God in the midst of the trees of the garden" (Gen. 3:8,9). How we struggle to hide our sins as long as we have even a semblance of conscience remaining! Truly, scrambling out of sight evinces that some moral health likely remains, tattered as it may be. Here is the point: confess quickly, for sin, like a stone tossed onto the quiet surface of a pond, ripples out, adding sin to sin.

Simply put, attempts to hide sin are flight from God. As David admits in his psalm: "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? And from Thy presence whither shall I flee?" (Ps. 138:6 LXX). In time, if we answer the Lord God in the garden of the heart when He calls to us, we will confess to Him, "Thou hast possessed my reins" (Ps. 138:12 LXX).

Tragically we waste time covering and evading. Survey a few early verses in this account of David's sin, and you will see how quickly his initial sin was made into a foundation-in-sand for a series of sins.

What business had the King in bringing a warrior back from the front lines where his services were needed (2 Samuel. 11:6)? It was not the business of the State, but a sin of cover up. What were the questions concerning the welfare of Joab and the men in the field and the progress of the military venture (2 Samuel. 11:7)?

They were not intelligence gathering, but a costumed ruse for bringing a soldier before his king and using him as a prop to shore up King David's deceit! What were the solicitous directions to "Go to thy house, and wash thy feet" (2 Samuel.
11:8). Hypocrisy!

Already, the illustrious warrior-king is exposed before the eyes of God as an adulterer, an abuser of power, a prevaricator, and a hypocrite.

To these crimes he adds the sin of tempting a man to violate his military oath. He says to Uriah, "Art thou not come from a journey? why hast thou not gone down to thy house?" (2 Samuel 11:10).

He rolls out the carpet-of-justification so that Uriah might sinfully indulge his pleasures contrary to his active-duty oath. Ah, but David's ploy is used against a man of finer metal than his sovereign. Uriah explains why he "will not do this thing" (vs. 11). David then wastes two more days of the time of this exemplary soldier in yet one more effort to hide his own sins (vs. 12). He gathers shame to his shame.

The exchange between King David and Uriah the Hittite was a charade on David's part, but the witness of a faithful servant by Uriah. As King David gathered more vices, he steadily enlarged the indictment against himself. Time will come when David shall honestly confess to the Lord, "Against Thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee" (Ps.
50:4 ).

But now, the King of Israel adds yet one more sin against Uriah, he plies him with wine and seeks to turn him into an unwitting accomplice to a "tidy little cover up" of adultery (vs. 13).

Beloved in Christ, you and I have spit on Satan. We have turned from darkness to the true Light.

Let us heed the counsel of St. Makarios of Egypt, and avoid not only the overt sins, but let us keep ourselves "from sins that are hidden, such as desire, self-esteem, love of popularity, hypocrisy, love of power, wiliness, malice, hatred, unbelief, envy, self-love, affectation, and other things of this kind."

O Lord deal kindly with us, grant us forgiveness of our sins, deliver us from every evil, keep us in Thy grace, secure us in every good work, and guide us to the life of the age to come.
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To see the official web-site and to view the trailer follow this link:
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Calvinism the Enemy? Get Your Facts Straight Before You Speak

When I was in my first year of seminary (Independent Fundamental Baptist) I was literally taught that “Calvinism is the enemy.” At that point you could have considered me a 3 ½ to 4 point Calvinist (I had issues w/ limited atonement and a slightly different views on other points at that point of time)…but I never agreed with the idea of Calvinism being the enemy…doesn’t the Bible teach that sin, self and Satan are the enemies?

While one may disagree with any of the points of the TULIP acronym, it is very wrong to label a whole group of believers as enemies and their system as evil…especially if the accuser doesn’t fully understand the beliefs and the facts. I recently did a search on the internet for the term “Calvinism the enemy” and unfortunately this link popped up at the very top;

This is a link to David Cloud’s Way of Life website. Let me say up front that I truly appreciate David Cloud and his ministry. I bought his Way of Life Christian encyclopedia (very good resource!), have purchased several of his books on repentance and evangelism and he preached at my seminary graduation from Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary a few years ago. His focus and stance on a need for true repentance and his rebuttal of unscriptural evangelism has been a great help to many Christians, which includes me! However, on the subject of “Calvinism” I have to disagree with Brother Cloud. I listened to the entire sermon and took many notes. In a short blog there’s no way I can cover even a short portion of where I disagree. For now I just want to cover one point:

If you disagree with something…get your facts straight: What do I mean about that, you say? Many, many people who disagree with the system they call “Calvinism” (really, Calvin didn’t create it!), at the same time love and exalt Charles Spurgeon. During the sermon Bro Cloud said on numerous occasions, “Charles Spurgeon was a Calvinist…but he was his own kind of Calvinist.” He uses Spurgeon it seems as an example against Calvinism. When discussing his 4th point against Calvinism he said that Charles Spurgeon left 1 Tim 2:3-6 “alone” and “wouldn’t alter it” and that Spurgeon refuted limited atonement (the idea that Christ only atoned for the sins of the elect). Agree or disagree…fine…but get your facts straight! This is untrue…Spurgeon was a 5-point Calvinist! Let me quote directly from the source himself on the subject of limited atonement:

This extracts of this are from sermon #173 entitled, The Death of Christ which was delivered on Jan 24, 1858 from Isaiah 53:10:

"There are in the world many theories of atonement: but I cannot see any atonement in any one, except in this doctrine of substitution. Many divines say that Christ did something when he died that enabled God to be just, and yet the Justifier of the ungodly. What that something is they do not tell us. They believe in an atonement made for everybody; but then, their atonement is just this. They believe that Judas was atoned for just as much as Peter; they believe that the damned in hell were as much an object of Jesus Christ’s satisfaction as the saved in heaven; and though they do not say it in proper words, yet they must mean it, for it is a fair inference, that in the case of multitudes, Christ died in vain, for he died for them all, they say; and yet so ineffectual was his dying for them, that though he died for them they are damned afterwards. Now, such an atonement I despise — I reject it. I may be called Antinomian or Calvinist for preaching a limited atonement; but I had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than an universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of man be joined with it. Why, my brethren, if we were only so far atoned for by the death of Christ that any one of us might afterwards save himself, Christ’s atonement were not worth a farthing, for there is no man of us can save himself — no not under the gospel; for if I am to be saved by faith, if that faith is to be my own act, unassisted by the Holy Spirit, I am as unable to save myself by faith as to save myself by good works. And after all, though men call this a limited atonement, it is as effectual as their own fallacious and rotten redemptions can pretend to be. But do you know the limit of it? Christ hath bought a “multitude that no man can number.” The limit of it is just this: He hath died for sinners; whoever in this congregation inwardly and sorrowfully knows himself to be a sinner, Christ died for him; whoever seeks Christ, shall know Christ died for him; for our sense of need of Christ, and our seeking after Christ, are infallible proofs that Christ died for us. And, mark, here is something substantial. The Arminian says Christ died for him; and then, poor man, he has but small consolation therefrom, for he says, “Ah! Christ died for me; that does not prove much. It only proves I may be saved if I mind what I am after. I may perhaps forget myself; I may run into sin, and I may perish. Christ has done a good deal for me, but not quite enough, unless I do something.” But the man who receives the Bible as it is, he says, “Christ died for me, then my eternal life is sure. I know,” says he, “that Christ cannot be punished in a man’s stead, and the man be punished afterwards.” “No,” says he, “I believe in a just God, and if God be just, he will not punish Christ first, and then punish men afterwards. No; my Savior died, and now I am free from every demand of God’s vengeance, and I can walk through this world secure; no thunderbolt can smite me, and I can die absolutely certain that for me there is no flame of hell, and no pit digged; for Christ my ransom suffered in my stead, and, therefore, am I clean delivered.” Oh! Glorious doctrine! I would wish to die preaching it! What better testimony can we bear to the love and faithfulness of God than the testimony of a substitution eminently satisfactory for all them that believe on Christ?”

I too reject and despise an atonement that makes men “savable” but doesn’t save anyone until the sovereign will of man rises from the ashes and ratifies God’s plan. Even Arminians believe in a limited atonement! Unless you are a universalist (which Bro Cloud most definitely is not!) you believe that some will go to heaven and some will spend eternity in the lake of fire. The issue is the scope of the atonement and the doctrine of substitution. Did Christ actually accomplish anything on the cross (more to follow on a future blog)?

Charles Spurgeon most definitely would not agree with anything Bro Cloud said in his sermon on the errors of Calvinism. I wish that Christians would attack the enemy…and not other believers. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with other believers and sharpening another’s iron…but to label Calvinism as the enemy is truly incredible…especially when the facts are not straight. More to follow later on this!
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Presentation of Mary

Today is November 21, 2007, and the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox church both celebrate the Presentation of Mary in the temple.

This celebration clearly shows that the Roman Catholic tradition and the Greek Orthodox church do not rely on Scripture alone.

Let's begin by looking at some history:

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Protoevangel of James, the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, and other apocryphal writings (Walker, "Apocryph. Gosp.", Edinburgh, 1873) relate that Mary, at the age of three, was brought by her parents to the Temple, in fulfillment of a vow, there to be educated. The corresponding feast originated in the Orient, probably in Syria, the home of the apocrypha. Card. Pitra (Anal. Spici. Solesmensi, p. 265) has published a great canon (liturgical poem) in Greek for this feast, composed by some "Georgios" about the seventh or eighth century. The feast is missing in the earlier Menology of Constantinople (eighth century); it is found, however, in the liturgical documents of the eleventh century, like the "Calend. Ostromiranum" (Martinow, "Annus græco-slav.", 329) and the Menology of Basil II (e’ísodos tes panagías Theotókon). It appears in the constitution of Manuel Comnenos (1166) as a fully recognized festival during which the law courts did not sit. In the West it was introduced by a French nobleman, Philippe de Mazières, Chancellor of the King of Cyprus, who spent some time at Avignon during the pontificate of Gregory XI. It was celebrated in the presence of the cardinals (1372) with an office accommodated from the office chanted by the Greeks. In 1373 it was adopted in the royal chapel at Paris, 1418 at Metz, 1420 at Cologne. Pius II granted (1460) the feast with a vigil to the Duke of Saxony. It was taken up by many dioceses, but at the end of the Middle Ages, it was still missing in many calendars (Grotefend, "Zeitrechnung", III, 137). At Toledo it was assigned (1500) by Cardinal Ximenes to 30 September. Sixtus IV received it into the Roman Breviary, Pius V struck it from the calendar, but Sixtus V took it up a second time (1 September, 1585). In the province of Venice it is a double of the second class with an octave (1680); the Passionists and Sulpicians keep it as a double of the first class; the Servites, Redemptorists, Carmelites, Mercedarians, and others as a double of the second with an octave. In the Roman Calendar it is a major double. The Greeks keep it for five days. In some German dioceses, under the title "Illatio", it was kept 26 November (Grotefend, III, 137).

Notice the following from that entry:

1. No scripture source was given to support this celebration other than a few Apocryphal writings:

The ones listed were:
The Protoevangel of James: You can read about this book at the link: James

Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew; You can read about this book here: Matthew

the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary

2. Was not made an official feast until 1 September, 1585. It is true that this feast was talked about in the 6th century. The Catholic encyclopedia also tells us that Pius V struck it from the calendar. So it appears to have been somewhat controversial.

Consider this article found at: American

Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.

As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.

Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.

Did you notice that important phrase, " though it cannot be proven historically?"

The Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox church set aside a day to remember an event that has no historical proof and can only be found in a few Apocryphal books that should be rejected by all.
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"In a day when having regular family worship is no longer a foregone conclusion (even among conservative Evangelicals), Ray Rhodes provides a wonderful impetus to start: a month of clear, biblical, practical devotions celebrating the birth of King Jesus. Hopefully, those who begin this Christmas using this excellent resource will continue gathering daily at the family altar throughout the coming year." - David W. Bailey, Ph.D., Author - Speaking the Truth in Love: The Life and Legacy of Roger Nicole

"Ray Rhodes has written a wonderfully creative book on family worship for the Christmas season. For a father or mother to take their children through these precious truths would create a fond memory that the children would have for the rest of their life. The book is doctrinally sound, well written, and greatly honoring to our Lord. I'm going to order three copies right now!" - Martha Peace, Biblical Counselor and author of 'The Excellent Wife

'"The Christmas season is a great time for daily family worship. If you've never enjoyed family worship on a consistent basis, there's no better time to start. Whether your family already enjoys the biblical and historic Christian practice of family worship or you're just beginning, consider using Ray Rhodes' engaging Family Worship for the Christmas Season this December." - Dr. Donald S. Whitney , author of "Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life' and 'Family Worship: In the Bible, in History, and in Your Home.

'"Author and speaker Ray Rhodes gives parents some expert help with these insightful and truth-filled devotional exercises for family worship during the Christmas season. Make December different this year by trying them out with your family. This book can make a significant difference in your family's understanding of the incarnation." - Jim Elliff, Christian Communicators Worldwide

"It is rare to find solid Family Worship resources in our day, let alone one for the advent season. Ray Rhodes has provided an outstanding tool for busy fathers during this opportune time of year. May God powerfully use it in the godly instruction of our families and for the generations to come!" - Pastor Jerry Marcellino, author of 'Rediscovering the Lost Treasure of Family Worship

'"The Incarnation of Jesus Christ is one of the most important events in the history of the world. Too many years families get so tangled in the trappings of Christmas, however, that they miss its true wonder. Ray Rhodes has written a wonderful book that elegantly encourages and practically helps families draw near to each another as they draw near to the Lord in celebrating his birth. I highly recommend it." - John Crotts, pastor and author of 'Mighty Men: the Starter's Guide to Leading Your Family', 'Craftsmen: Christ-centered Proverbs for Men', and co-author with Martha Peace of 'Tying the Knot Tighter'.

Additional Information


Opening Statement

You can order the book at this link: Christmas

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Puritan and Reformed Literature

Here is a great web site to find reformed books.
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2 Samuel 7:1-4, 8-16

1 Timothy 1:8-14

Luke 17:26-37
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American Church Not Unlike the World

The following is from a sermon preached by John Piper.

If you go to the Barna Group online—it’s an organization that specializes in religious research and statistics—you’ll read things like this: “Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians.” The same kind of statistics are given by Ron Sider in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World? and by Mark Regnerus in his book Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers.

American Church Not Unlike the World

What I am picking up on here is precisely the term “born again.” The Barna Group in particular uses it in reporting their research. So that report is titled “Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians.” Sider uses the word “evangelicals” but points out the same kind of thing: “Only 9 percent of evangelicals tithe. Of 12,000 teenagers who took the pledge to wait for marriage, 80% had sex outside marriage in the next 7 years.

Twenty-six percent of traditional evangelicals do not think premarital sex is wrong. White evangelicals are more likely than Catholics and mainline Protestants to object to having black neighbors.”

In other words, the evangelical church as a whole in America is apparently not very unlike the world. It goes to church on Sunday and has a veneer of religion, but its religion is basically an add-on to the same way of life the world lives, not a radically transforming power.

A Profound Mistake

Now I want to say loud and clear that when the Barna Group uses term “born again” to describe American church-goers whose lives are indistinguishable from the world, and who sin as much as the world, and sacrifice for others as little as the world, and embrace injustice as readily as the world, and covet things as greedily as the world, and enjoy God-ignoring entertainment as enthusiastically as the world—when the term “born again” is used to describe these professing Christians, the Barna Group is making a profound mistake.

It is using the biblical term “born again” in a way that would make it unrecognizable by Jesus and the biblical writers.

Here is the way the researchers defined “born again” in their research:

“Born again Christians” were defined in these surveys as people who said they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today” and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as “born again.” Being classified as “born again” is not dependent upon church or denominational affiliation or involvement.

In other words, in this research the term “born again” refers to people who say things. They say, “I have a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It’s important to me.” They say, “I believe that I will go to heaven when I die. I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.” Then the Barna Group takes them at their word, ascribes to them the infinitely important reality of the new birth, and then blasphemes that precious biblical reality by saying that regenerate hearts have no more victory over sin than unregenerate hearts.

The New Testament Moves the Opposite Direction

I’m not saying their research is wrong. It appears to be appallingly right. I am not saying that the church is not as worldly as they say it is. I am saying that the writers of the New Testament think in exactly the opposite direction about being born again. Instead of moving from a profession of faith, to the label “born again,” to the worldliness of these so-called born again people, to the conclusion that the new birth does not radically change people, the New Testament moves the other direction. It moves from the absolute certainty that the new birth radically changes people, to the observation that many professing Christians are indeed (as the Barna Group says) not radically changed, to the conclusion that they are not born again. The New Testament, unlike the Barna Group, does not defile the new birth with the worldliness of unregenerate, professing American Christians.

For example, one of the main points of the first epistle of John is to drive home this very truth:

1 John 2:29: “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”

1 John 3:9: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”

1 John 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

1 John 5:4: “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

1 John 5:18: “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.”
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Monday, November 19, 2007

The John Hagee Controversy

The John Hagee controversy is being discussed across the Internet and many people are looking for information. So here are some links to the best information I can find:

For those who have no idea who John Hagee is, here is some background information:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John C. Hagee (b. April 12, 1940) is the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a non-denominational evangelical church with more than 19,000 active members.

Hagee is the President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in America on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations and eight networks including The Inspiration Network (INSP) and Trinity Broadcasting Network. The ministries can be seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes. John Hagee Ministries is in Canada on the Miracle Channel and CTS and can be seen in Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and is in most developing nations.

The controversy began when Johm Hagee wrote the book, " In Defense Of Israel"
In the book he makes some of the following claims:

that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah...
Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah

You can watch a video which shows Hagee making these claims at this link:

The Way of the Pilgrim blog has done a great job gathering links to responses to Hagee's teaching:

You can read the post at this link: Pilgrim
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Change to the Book of Mormon

Friday I began to follow a story about a change made to the book of Mormon. I was not able to post anything and now it appears we are to late. The story is now making it's way across the blogs:

Here is the original story:

The Book of Mormon: Minor edit stirs major ruckus

Dr. James White has posted the following on his blog:

Major News from Salt Lake City
James R. White

I will do my best to post the latest news on this subject.
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Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Archaeological Study Bible

To engage the Bible more, you need to enter the world from which it came. From the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, The Archaeological Study Bible is filled with study material that opens your eyes to the archaeological, historical, and cultural contexts of the stories you read and the people you meet in Scripture.

Take a journey back to the lands and origins of the Bible for an unparalleled encounter with the Word of God. Get insights into the roots of the Bible that will strengthen your faith and open new vistas of knowledge and understanding. Like no other study Bible, this one provides a sweeping, detailed look at the lands and times of Scripture, bringing to light the importance of ancient civilizations, practices, historical records and artifacts, literature, architecture, religions, laws, events, movements, geography, agriculture, wars and battles, political and monetary systems, historical figures and other factors that are critical to a deep and accurate grasp of the Bible.

A comprehensive study tool that highlights the archaeological, historical, and cultural background of the bible
Full-color interior throughout, including nearly 500 color photographs
Emphasizes the trustworthiness of the Bible and in the bestselling NIV translation

Here is a link that provides more information about this resource: Bible

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

UPDATED: New Ape Fossils Found in Africa

I found the following on the Answer In Genesis web-site:

ScienceNOW: “New Ape Fossils Found in Africa

A new fossil found in Kenya’s Rift Valley is shaking up the latest hypotheses about alleged ancient apes and their postulated connection to modern humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas.
Kyoto University paleoanthropologist Yutaka Kunimatsu and colleagues found the fossil in 2005 in Nakali, Kenya. Based on the fossil, they have hypothesized a new ape, Nakalipithecus nakayamai, thought to have lived nearly 10 million years ago.

Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors argue the find challenges an existing theory that “apes in Africa died out millions of years ago only to be replaced by other apes that had migrated to Europe and Asia and then returned.” Interestingly, it was a “paucity of data” that engendered the older theory, as the ScienceNOW article explains (quoting at length):

The ancestors of humans and chimpanzees split about 5 million to 7 million years ago … . Verifying that date in the fossil record has been difficult, however, because the trail of old bones for apes goes cold in Africa right at the time when the African apes were diverging 7 million to 12 million years ago … . Given the paucity of data, some researchers have proposed that apes originated in Africa but went extinct there. According to the theory, today's African apes descended instead from those that migrated to Europe or Asia and eventually wandered back to Africa.

The discovery by Kunimatsu, et al., along with a nearby discovery dubbed Samburupithecus kiptalami and an Ethiopian find named Chororapithecus abyssinicus, “[show] that there were two different large hominoids even within a very narrow range of time and space,” reports Kunimatsu, suggesting apes never migrated out of Africa completely.

What you’ve just read is the evolutionary interpretation of the discovery. Now for the creationist response.

First of all, although the ScienceNOW article does not obscure the fact, there’s no discussion of the fact that the fossil used as the basis of Nakalipithecus nakayamai is nothing more than “the partial lower jaw and 11 teeth of [the] ape.” For the evolutionist, major doctrines of human origins are based on hypothesized ape species, themselves based on often meager fossil remains. The australopithecine Lucy, for instance, despite all the fanciful artists’ interpretations, is only a partial skeleton. Obviously, the smaller the fossil remains, the more prominent the factors of interpretation and presumption play into the fossil classification. But then again, it’s no wonder that amid a “paucity of data,” evolutionists are grasping at straws—er, jawbones—to form theories.

Second, the researchers consider the new fossil find “a close relative of the last common ancestor of humans, chimps, and gorillas.” If you’re a believer in evolution, though, then all of earth’s life—including all living species along with the fossils we find—is part of one large evolutionary tree; everything must fit in somewhere. Evolutionists use the system of cladistics to classify species into hypothesized evolutionary relationships (different branches of the tree, that is); for a species to be considered a relative of a (distant) “last common ancestor” of humans, chimps, and gorillas does not indicate that its role in the evolutionary tree is clear; rather, what is clear is that the species is simply dissimilar enough to humans, chimps, and gorillas to fall into those groupings. The creationist view is that—if the jawbone alone is sufficient for classification—the species is simply a unique type of primate.

For more information:
Get Answers: Anthropology

Get Answers: Fossils
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Harvard for the Home-Schooled

The following is from NPR

Harvard for the Home-Schooled, Christian Crowd

For home-schooled students, Patrick Henry College in Loudon County, Va., is like Harvard University.

Many high-achieving, home-schooled students have passed through Patrick Henry's campus, which is meant to provide a network of connections for the rest of their lives — like Harvard or Stanford does for others.

The conservative Christian college is known for attracting top students and arming them with religious training and an Ivy League-quality education.

Hanna Rosin, a journalist who has covered religion and politics for The Washington Post and written for The New Republic, GQ and The New York Times got to know Patrick Henry's students — even housing some of them who were on internships.

Her new book, God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America, follows the lives of students as they cope with college life.

Scott Simon spoke with Rosin and Daniel Noa, a Patrick Henry alum, about how home schooling and Patrick Henry shapes students.

To listen to the interview and to read excerpts from the book follow this link:
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Emergency dig finds tower built by Bible's Nehemiah

The following was found at World Net Daily:

Archaeologist uncovers Scriptures' famed wall
Emergency dig finds tower built by Bible's Nehemiah

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may want to see Israel wiped off the map and its Jews sent to Europe or Alaska, but an archaeological discovery announced this week marks an event recorded in the Bible when his country – Persia, at the time – literally helped put the Jewish people back on the map in their capital city of Jerusalem.

Dr. Eilat Mazar, one of Israel's top archaeologists, ended her presentation Wednesday to the 13th Annual Conference of the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies on "New Studies on Jerusalem," with a surprise announcement. She had discovered remnants of the fifth century B.C. wall built by Nehemiah, the account recorded in the Old Testament book of the same name.
According to the biblical account, Nehemiah served as cupbearer for the Persian King Artaxerxes in the city of Susa. The Persians had conquered the Babylonian empire that had destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and taken most of the inhabitants of Judah into captivity in what is now modern Iraq.

The account reads:
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.

And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart."

Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, "Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"

Then the king said to me, "What are you requesting?"

So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may rebuild it."

Nehemiah's rebuilding of the city began with its walls, a project that was resisted by hostile neighbors who had occupied the area around Jerusalem in the Jews' absence.

But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.

With tools in one hand and weapons in the other, Nehemiah's workmen toiled dawn to dusk, completing the wall in a record 52 days.

The rest of the story cound be found at: Wall
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History and Theology of the Puritans

The following was found at The Shepherd’s Scrapbook

Reformed Theological Seminary
has blessed the wider Church by offering many class lectures for online download.

These are available trough the iTunes store and come through your computer (for free!).

Recently RTS may have added their best resource yet – History and Theology of the Puritans, a 16-part series delivered by Dr. J.I. Packer.

[Packer penned the popular, A Quest For Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway: 1994).]

In over 11 hours of lectures, Packer covers …

1. The Puritan Identity – pt. 1 (45:14)
2. The Puritan Identity – pt. 2 (33:10)
3. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 1 (45:54)
4. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 2 (45:03)
5. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 1 (46:53)
6. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 2 (46:01)
7. Salvation by Grace – pt. 1 (46:41)
8. Salvation by Grace – pt. 2 (46:37)
9. Faith and Assurance – pt. 1 (46:32)
10. Faith and Assurance – pt. 2 (46:16)
11. The Good Fight – pt. 1 (46:22)
12. The Good Fight – pt. 2 (31:45)
13. Conscience (44:06)
14. Reformed Monasticism (43:01)
15. The Christian Minister (44:22)
16. Worship, Fellowship, and Discipline in the Church (27:40)
I hear you asking, So how do I enjoy this yummy goodness?

1. First, install the program iTunes on your computer by clicking here and following directions. Check first because there is a chance iTunes is already installed on your computer.

2. Once you have iTunes loaded you need to go to this website and click on the button under “Click to launch RTS on iTunes.”

3. You should now be in the RTS page in the iTunes store. Under “RTS Virtual Courses” click on “Church History.”

4. Then click on “History and Theology of the Puritans.” This will take you to the page for downloads.

5. To download just click the button “Get tracks” on the top (to get them all at once) or the button “Get” on the right side of each track (for individual downloads). The audio files will be downloaded into iTunes on your computer and from here you can listen to the mp3s, burn them to audio CDs, etc.

6. And be sure to download a PDF copy of the course syllabus.

And that, my Puritan friends, is how you get the yummy goodness of Packer on the Puritans into your computer and into your head!

Happy listening. And thank you to the gracious folks at RTS!
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CAMPONTHIS: Is Jack Bauer a Type of Christ?
...the urgent need of the hour: recovering the reverence of God in ministry

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

CAMPONTHIS: The Preeminent Issue In Ministry Is Reverence
...and this is the achilles heel of the emerging church

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Here are the scripture readings for November 16, 2007

Judges 21:1-23

2 Thessalonians 3;6-18

St. Luke 13:31-35
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New African ape fossil discovered

Does the discovery of a new fossil offer more proof for the theory of evolution? That seems to be the claim of a recent BBC News report.

Here is the story from the BBC

The fossil of an ape that lived 10 million years ago could hold clues to the dawn of human evolution.

The ancient ape appears to be a close relative of the last common ancestor of gorillas, chimps and humans, according to a Kenyan-Japanese team.

The lower jaw bone and 11 teeth, found in volcanic mud deposits in northern Kenya, are unveiled in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Fossils from this critical time period in primate evolution are very rare.

Genetic studies suggest that the ancestors of humans and chimpanzees went along their separate pathways of evolution about five million to seven million years ago.

But until now there has been very little fossil evidence unearthed in Africa from the middle-to-late Miocene Epoch (12 to 7 million years ago), when gorillas, chimps and humans shared a common ancestor.

This has led some experts to propose that apes migrated out of Africa to Europe and Asia, only returning much later.

Study leader Yutaka Kunimatsu of Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute said the latest findings contradicted the so-called "out of Europe" theory.

"Now, we have a good candidate in Africa," he said. "We do not need to think the common ancestor came back from Eurasia to Africa. I think it is more likely the common ancestor evolved from the apes in the Miocene in Africa."

Hard diet

The team plans to return to the eastern edge of the Rift valley in Kenya next year to search for more fossils.

Two of the fossil teethFrom the evidence available - a partial lower jaw and 11 teeth - they have pieced together clues to the ape's dentition and diet.

"The teeth were covered in thick enamel and the caps were low and voluminous, suggesting that the diet of this ape consisted of a considerable amount of hard objects, like nuts or seeds, and fruit," said Dr Kunimatsu.

"We only have some jaw fragments and some teeth... but we hope to find other body parts in our future research," he added.

Professor Fred Spoor, an anatomist at University College, London, UK, said that knowledge of great ape evolution had been hampered by a lack of fossil evidence.

"We have an extra piece in the puzzle of what was going in ape evolution," he told BBC News.
"Perhaps we might start to understand a little more about the common ancestor of African great apes and humans and whether it lived in Africa or Eurasia."

The new species has been christened Nakalipithecus nakayamai. It is the second rare fossil discovery from Africa announced in recent months.

In August, an Ethiopian-Japanese team announced the discovery in Ethiopia of 10-million-year-old teeth from a previously unknown species of great ape, Chororapithecus abyssinicus.

To read the BBC report follow this link: Fossil

If anyone can find a creationist response to the story please send me the link at: or simply post it in the comments section.

Charles and Jim can you see what you guys can find out?
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Here are the scripture readings for today:

Judges 20:12-44

2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5

St. Luke 16:1-9
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lectionary at Lunch

Here are links to discussions about the following scripture passages. The discussions focus on the Hebrew and Greek text. Do know that they support a Lutheran theological viewpoint but still well worth your time.

Old Testament: Malachi 4:1-6 - Dr. Paul R. Raabe

MP3 (download* or play)
Real Audio
Windows Media
OT Lesson Lecture
OT Lesson Lecture
OT Lesson Lecture

Gospel: Luke 21:5-28 (29-36) - Dr. Jeffrey A. Gibbs

MP3 (download* or play)
Real Audio
Windows Media
Gospel Lesson Lecture
Gospel Lesson Lecture
Gospel Lesson Lecture
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Here is a link to a great article on the human ear and how it works.

It is worth your time to read: The Ear
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Teaching on John 6

The past two weeks James White taught on John 6 during the sunday school hour. Here are the links to the audio:

John 6

John 6 Part 2
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Quote of the day

The following was found posted on the FIDE-O blog.

Without Bones and Sinews

Quote from J. C. Ryle’s “Holiness” book:

“A religion without doctrine or dogma is a thing which many are fond of talking of in the present day. It sounds very fine at first. It looks very pretty at a distance. But the moment we sit down to examine and consider it, we shall find it a simple impossibility. We might as well talk of a body without bones and sinews. No man will ever be anything or do anything in religion, unless he believes something…No one ever fights earnestly against the world, the flesh and the devil, unless he has engraven on his heart certain great principles which he believes.”
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pastors Sign Pledge To Study God's Word

Pastors sign online pledge to use God's Word as primary source for sermons
Allie MartinOneNewsNow.comNovember 12, 2007

A website that provides access to sermons and illustrations has launched a campaign encouraging pastors to pledge that they will develop their own material through the reading and study of scripture.
So far, more than 1,500 pastors across the nation and the world have signed what is being called "The Preacher's Pledge." The pledge, introduced by, asks pastors not to short-circuit their sermons with someone else's work. Ron Forseth, general editor of, says the online site should be a supplement for sermons, but not the primary source.
"We want to point pastors back to the Bible, and we believe that preaching needs to flow from their own time spent in the Word before God," he says. "We don't look at our site as an opportunity for pastors to have somebody else do their work for them [or as a replacement for] their own personal interaction with God's Word."
Forseth says should be seen as a resource to help pastors make their messages more effective, but not as a way to copy someone else's work.

All Original Content Copyright 2006-2007 American Family News Network - All Rights Reserved
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"Social Science Research on Ex-Gays"

The Radio Program Issues etc recently discussed, Social Science Research on Ex-Gays”

You can listen to the program at these links:

KFUO WMA audio

KFUO MP3 audio

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The Blogging Revolution

Godbloggers Communicate Without Apology

Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

There may be 50 million blogs by the year 2010, says one prominent evangelical.

Blogging is not a fad but a revolution that will only expand and Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. says it's imperative that Christians communicate, especially online.

Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a "godblogger" himself. He recently gave the keynote address at the third annual GodBlogCon, part of the BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas, over the weekend.

"The Christian faith is actually tied to words and without apology, the Christian faith is tied to communication," Mohler said at the Nov. 8-9 conference. "And thus, we are here not merely as Christians but as Christian communicators."

Christianity has a long tradition of harnessing new technology – from the publishing revolution to radio and television and now the Internet. And while "new media" is changing the way people communicate and understand the world, it doesn't supplant old media, Mohler noted. More books are being sold than ever and television still reaches millions of viewers.

Still, the Internet is "an enormous democratic revolution" that only a few kids do not have access to.

"There's hardly a 16-year-old in America who can't have a blog," Mohler said.
And what's markedly different about the new media is that it's the "first communication revolution" in which the younger generation is at the front lines, not only in terms of access, but also expertise and time, the prominent evangelical highlighted.

Thus, the demographic that would benefit most from a strong Christian presence in the new media is America's youth, according to a college group leader.

While pastors only get a few hours a week with youth in ministry, this generation is spending upwards 20 hours a week on the Internet, particularly social networks.

"When they spend that much time online, there's this idea that it's not just us in the church [who are] shaping their identity; their identity is being shaped by this online culture and it's hard to compete with," said Rhett Smith, college director at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.

When Smith first launched a website for his ministry, traffic was already dying after five to six months. The community he wanted to create for his group of young believers online through a website that included forums and pictures got zero traffic, he said during GodBlogCon. An attractive and interactive website wasn't enough.

He decided to get on board with the popular MySpace social network and created a page for his college ministry. While experiencing some success, he found he couldn't control the content and the appearance of racy ads. Before Smith did anything in response, his college students already launched a Facebook page for the ministry.

There's a flattening of hierarchy on MySpace or Facebook, Smith noted. In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Smith typically has to run ideas by higher authority such as elders. But on the Internet, there's no red tape.

"Our leadership style has to change," Smith stressed. "We can no longer be these people that lead on top ... I had to learn how to shift my leadership style where I'm a pastor who leads in the community."

"I can either stay on the sidelines while all my kids are on Facebook and MySpace; or I can enter in their midst and ... hopefully lead as a pastor within," he added.

Today, Smith says he hasn't found a tool more effective and easier to use than Facebook.
Bill Gates calls today's youth and young adults "Generation I (Information)." Mohler says they're the most unevangelized generation in American history since the early 20th century – a generation desperately in need of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Blogging is here to stay," said Mohler. "Let's see it as a mission field."
GodBlogCon, founded in 2005, claims to be the only Christian conference in the nation which brings together GodBloggers for the purpose of creating community amid the GodBloggers and helping GodBloggers, both beginning and advanced, become better contributors in the new media.

This year, GodblogCon joined other top new media companies such as Yahoo,,, Pajamas Media at the BlogWorld and New Media Expo, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. GodBlogCon 2007 was sponsored by the Family Research Council, Stand To Reason, and Touchstone Magazine.
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New Testament Commentary

New Testament Commentary

William Hendriksen & Simon J. Kistemaker

12 volumes of the only complete New Testament commentary written from a Reformed perspective! This award-winning set offers students and pastors a fresh translation of every book; repetition of the text before each exegetical unit; verse-by-verse comments and applications; critical notes on the Greek text; and chapter summaries. Also includes extensive bibliographies and indexes.

I strongly encourage anyone who is looking for a commentary set to purchase this one. To order follow this link:
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Monday, November 12, 2007


We all have relationships with different people, and if we are honest, we would have to admit that every relationship affects us differently.

Some relationships draw us closer to God.

Some relationships tend to draw us away from God.

Some relationships challenge us and where we are in our Christian life for the good.

Some relationships lead us to compromise and ungodliness.

Consider 1 Corinthians 15:33-34
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame.

In verse 33 we read of evil communications. This is the greek word:

homilia it means: companionship

So we are told not to be decieved, but evil companionship corrupts good manners.

the greek word used for manners is:
this word can refer to morals and character.

Take some time and examine your current relationships:

Are they drawing you closer to God?

Are they challenging you spiritually for the good?

I will be posting more on this subject over the next few days

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Baptism Debate

Dr. James White VS Dr. Gregg Strawbridge

You can listen to this very informative debate at this link:


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For those who have not heard about this story or may be looking for more information I offer the following.

This is from:

METHODIST CHURCH ALLOWS TRANSGENDERED MINISTER TO KEEP JOB (Friday Church News Notes, November 9, 2007,, 866-295-4143) -

The Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church recently voted to allow a “transgendered” man/woman to keep his/her job as pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. The pastor in question, the “Rev.” Drew Phoenix, was previous named Ann Gordon before undergoing a sex change operation and hormone therapy. Now the Rev. Ann is the Rev. Drew, and the liberal United Methodist Church is fine with it, because “the denomination’s Book of Discipline says nothing about transgender clergy.” The Bible says something about it, though. God created man male and female, and sexual confusion and crossover is the product of a reprobate mind (Romans 1:26-28).

NPR has reported on the story. Here is a link to a video report.


Here is another story that is related and may be of interest to some:

Welcoming Church
From Chicago Public Radio Jason DeRose reports on the "Welcoming Church" movement. Those involved are working toward full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in churches. This weekend in DeKalb, Illinois thousands will attend a meeting called "Witness Our Welcome" which is the largest ecumenical gathering of welcoming churches and individuals ever held.

To hear the report follow this link:
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Featured Sermon

The Featured Sermon today is:

The True Light

Brief Sermon Overview:
In a world of false lights such as Muhammad, Joseph Smith,and Mary Baker Eddy, Jesus shines forth as the True Light. Will you reject Him or receive Him?

You can listen to the sermon at:
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