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Monday, December 31, 2007

TOP CHRISTIAN NEWS STORIES OF 2007

The following is from Christianity Today

Top Ten Stories of 2007

The events, people, and debates of the past year that Christianity Today's editors believe have shaped, or will significantly shape, evangelical life, thought, or mission.
posted 12/18/2007 08:52AM

1. Taliban takes Korean short-term mission team hostage, killing twoAfghanistan's resurgent Taliban used the team of 23 short-term workers from Saemmul Presbyterian Church as a bargaining chip, pressuring the South Korean government into a reported ransom payment and a promise to withdraw its 200 troops in the country. Bae Hyeong-gyu and Shim Seongmin were killed before the negotiation was completed.Our coverage

2. Atheism tops the bestseller chartsSam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens may be unhappy about the continuing "God delusion," but they can't be too displeased with their royalty checks.Our coverage

3. Presidential campaigns start early, with some faith surprisesHillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke easily of their faith, while Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson all stumbled in appeals to Christian voters.Our coverage

4. Ruth Graham promoted to gloryThe daughter of missionaries who, as a teenager, wanted to die a martyr's death, Ruth Graham instead became the wife of the world's most prominent evangelist—and an inspiration to millions.Our coverage

5. Anglican Communion fractures over Scripture, homosexualityGlobal South leaders issued an ultimatum for the U.S. Episcopal Church to return to orthodox interpretation of Scripture, four U.S. dioceses took steps to exit the church, and the basis for a conservative new Anglican province in the U.S.was laid. Besides that, all was quiet in the Anglican Communion.Our coverage

6. Three Christians tortured and killed in eastern TurkeyTurkey's bid for entry into the European Union hasn't pleased the country's ultranationalist fringe, members of which are charged with slitting the throats of three Protestants at a Christian publishing house in Malatya.Our coverage

7. Lions of the Religious Right pass awayJerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy lived long enough to see great successes for the political movement they helped start.Our coverage of Falwell and Kennedy

8. Francis Beckwith returns to CatholicismNo doubt many Protestants convert to the Roman Catholic Church every day. But most aren't serving as president of the Evangelical Theological Society, as Beckwith was when he returned to the faith in which he was raised.Our coverage

9. Campaign to oust NAE's Richard Cizik failsJames Dobson and other religious conservatives couldn't depose the National Association of Evangelicals' vice president for his global warming activism.Our coverage

10. Supreme Court upholds 2003 federal partial-birth abortion banThe 5-4 decision marks the first national restriction on abortion since 1973's Roe v. Wade.Our coverage
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Saturday, December 29, 2007

The House of Yahweh: Part III A Faulty Foundation (Bibliology)

Welcome to part III of our study on the cult, the House of Yahweh. We've already covered the reasons why we're studying the cult and their basic history. What I really want to focus on is their theology in some very specific and doctrinally crucial areas…areas of non-negotiation. The one thing I will give them credit for is their honesty. They don’t sugar-coat anything and will give you a straight answer to your questions…no matter how heretical the answers are.

I’ve emailed them about 10 times with questions and follow-up questions after reviewing their websites and some of their material. I’m going to limit myself to a few main, foundational points which will clearly show you that this is a heretical cult.

A. Bibliology: First of all, what do I mean by “Bibliology”? This word comes from two Greek words:
  • Βίβλος meaning “Book, scroll”
  • Λόγος meaning “word, utterance, doctrine”

Bibliology is thus “the study of the doctrine of the Word.” Why do I start with this doctrine? What you believe about Scripture- its origin, its preservation, its authority determines what you will stand for. Consider this quote from Dr Thomas Strouse in his book “The Lord God Hath Spoken” (p. 7):

“If one does not have a solid foundation in Bibliology, then all the other doctrines, such as Theology Proper, Soteriology, Ecclesiology and Eschatology will crumble”

It does not take long to see that the House of Yahweh has an extremely weak view of Scripture. You will find tons of Scriptural references in their works…the only problem is that when something contradicts their doctrine they conveniently change it to match their view. This is the opposite of what Bible believers hold to. Scripture is supposed to change us...not the other way around. Let’s look at their own statements taken from their website (http://www.yahweh.com/):

“We decided to go far beyond all other conscientious scholars and produce a completely new and independent translation, restoring Yahweh's Name to the Holy Scriptures. We were determined to produce a Bible that would remain as faithful to the original writings as humanly possible… You can now possess the most profoundly accurate translation of The Holy Bible available anywhere. The Newly Restored Original Bible is entirely based on the original sacred Scriptures of old.”

Here is my question…which “Scriptures” did they use to translate this Restored Bible from? I've repeatedly asked them for manuscript evidence and I've been ignored. The cult is very good at throwing tons of Scriptures at an argument (death by cross-reference!) but very poor at supplying Scripture verses that actually support their position...and when they find verses that contradict their view they become editors of God's Word.

1. Their Faulty View of Inspiration:

Here is their basic view on the Bible: “The Bible was first written in Hebrew, and then translated into Aramaic, then Greek, then Latin and finally to English. When translated from one language to another footnotes were added. The copyists, scribes, and translators would write footnotes in their manuscripts of the Bible which would later be included in the text by other copyists.”

First of all it’s flatly wrong. They seem to believe the Bible was all (OT and NT) written in Hebrew…and then translated into Aramaic, Greek, Latin and English. The entire NT was inspired and written entirely in Greek. If they don’t even understand how we got our Bible today, how can they be trusted to produce the most accurate revised translation? What “Hebrew” manuscripts did they use for the NT?

Here is the question I asked them: "What is your stance on Scriptures? You said on your website that the original Bible was in Hebrew that was translated into Greek, Latin, English, etc. The Old Testament is written in Hebrew and Aramaic (i.e. mainly Daniel)…while the NT was all originally written (inspired) in Greek completely. Do you agree with that? If not, what manuscripts did you translate into the House of Yahweh’s translation? The reason I ask is because you’ve replaced the words Elohim, Adonai, etc in the OT with Yahweh and did the same in the NT for Theos (God), etc…what manuscript evidence did you use?"

HOY Response: "There are so many reference sources that we use that is impossible for us to list them all." Talk about skirting the issue!

Here is a quote from their website: "In producing The Book of Yahweh, every known biblical reference source available was used, including many rare and out of print books and facsimile copies of the most ancient manuscripts…In striving to produce the most accurate Bible ever, we have restored Yahweh's Name in all the Scriptures in which it was inspired to be written. We have also replaced Yahweh's Name in each of the hundreds of places where it was used in compound with place names, and within personal names."

Editors of God’s Word! Listen for yourself: “As the editors and annotators of the Original Bible, The Book Of Yahweh, we were determined to restore the many vital words which were left untranslated in today's modern English versions, which would have revealed the complete Message of Yahweh that was inspired to be written. The Book of Yahweh, The Original Bible, restores these words. We have also endeavored to remove all words which, according to the most critical references, have been added to the original Scriptures, such as the footnotes that mysteriously became "inspired writings" when later copyists incorrectly included them in the the Bible. Most of the time, these added words CHANGE, HIDE, or CONTRADICT the original message of Yahweh, effectively confusing the reader, who is in search of the truth of Yahweh. We have not omitted these Scriptures arbitrarily; indeed, commentaries of religious scholars have stated these scriptural facts. We have simply acted upon the facts presented where others did not.”

I’ve repeatedly asked them for their manuscript evidence and have gotten nothing but the answer above- “impossible to list them all.” True! It’s impossible to list them all because they can’t find them!

They also said, “wherever our Creator’s Name appears in the original Hebrew manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures, Yahweh will be written throughout the translation.”

In just this single page they have replaced the inspired Word “elohim” with the name “Yahweh” about 15 times- I’d love to see what manuscript evidence they have for that. The first use of the Yahweh (I believe it should be "Jehovah") is in Gen 2:4. They also have to come to grips with Elohim being used 2601 times in the Old Testament.

In addition, look at the page excerpt from the book of John that they have on their website; http://www.yahweh.com/yahch1.html. Notice that again, they’ve replaced the Greek word “Theos”, meaning God, with the Hebrew word Yahweh. Again, they’ve ignored my questions asking them for manuscript evidence. There are NO Greek manuscripts that have “Yahweh” (Hebrew) in the Greek manuscripts. How in the world do you insert Hebrew words into a Greek manuscript and expect to be believable and credible? This is blatant tampering with God’s word!

The doctrine of inspiration means nothing to these folks. For one they believe that inspiration hasn’t ceased since they are acting as prophets and believe they have the authority to change Scripture back to its originally intended form; secondly, they are the only authorized editors today who can change God's Word at the drop of a hat.

2. Their Faulty View of Preservation:

The doctrine of preservation means nothing to these folks either: When I asked them if they believe there has been no real Christianity until Israel “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins came around they said, “This is true” If you read their information on the book of Yahweh you’ll see that they believe the Word of God to be restored and that they are the restorer and preserver of God’s word alone.

It should be no surprise when I expose their other heretical teachings. Since they don't have a problem tampering with God's Word we shouldn't be surprised when they change God's Word to match Mr. Hawkins perverted doctrine. This is not a bit different from any other false teaching (Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, etc).

I'll talk to you next time about their Christology and Soteriology.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

2008 A TIME FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

I have decided that the theme for 2008 will be spiritual growth. I am going to challenge people to look at where they are in their christian life and to ask themselves which areas they need to grow in. One of the things I am doing to help the members grow is challenging them to read three books:


















The next time someone claims all religions teach the same basic truths, how will you respond? Here's the factual support you need to defend the primacy of Christ and counter the assertions of Buddah, Krishna, Bahaulah, and Zoroaster. Easily assessible, absorbing answers to the tough questions searching minds are likely to ask.

To purchase this book follow this link: gods






















Are you living for God's pleasure or for your Own?
Pleasing God is not a matter of personal choice, but an imperative that must be taken seriously. In a world of self, we must give way to the priority of God if we want to experience His joy.
In this popular book, Alistair identifies ten benchmarks from Scripture that will prove invaluable as you seek to live a life that is pleasing to God. His clear, personal message will challenge and revitalize your faith.

To purchase the book follow this link: HIS























Their arguments are convincing, their teachings seem indisputable and their stand on what they believe is firm. How can you effectively communicate to the Mormons that their gospel does not match up with the Bible? One of the best ways is to ask penetrating questions. Cult experts Ron Rhodes and Marian Bodine will help you understand the main points of Mormonism and discover where it falls short of God's truth. They then equip you to ask strategic questions that challenge.... The Mormon claim to be the only true church The reliability of Mormon prophets The authenticity of the Book of Mormon Jesus' supposed visit to ancient America The Mormon view of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

To purchase this book follow this link: Mormons
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Monday, December 24, 2007

Joel Osteen: Mormons are Christians!

Most Christians could agree that Joel Osteen preaches a watered down message that contains very little Bible. We also know he is committed to the church growth philosophy. We can now add that he's a heretic to the list of things we know about him.

Joel Osteen stated recently that Mormons are Christians!

Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX was on Chris Wallace's excellent news broadcast this morning: Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

Here is a sample of the interview:



WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?

OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. (emphasis mine).

And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.

WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?

OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know.

I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.



To read the entire transcript follow this link: transcript


There may be a few readers who actually believe Mormons are Christians. I would challenge those readers to check out the following:
Is Mormonism Christian?A Comparison of Mormonism and Historic Christianity
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Friday, December 21, 2007

WHAT IS YOUR CHURCH DOING NEW YEAR'S EVE?

Many churches plan special New Year's Eve services, but with the state of the church in America today, it should come as no surprise that many are doing nothing more than offering a worldly party.

I am so sick of reading about the stupid cheesy events churches come up with. I wish they would either be the church or simply become a recreation center for the community! Here is what Mars Hill Church in Seattle has planned:

COME BUST A MOVE ON THE ENORMOUS DANCE FLOOR WHEN THE BALLARD CAMPUS TRANSFORMS INTO A POSH CLUB TO CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR. A SMOKING BAND, TASTY DESSERTS, A CHAMPAGNE TOAST AT MIDNIGHT – MARS HILL HAS NEVER SEEN A PARTY LIKE THIS.


DATE & TIME:
Monday, December 31st 9:30pm – 12:30am.

LOCATION:
Mars Hill’s Auditorium
1401 NW Leary Way
Seattle WA 98107

DESCRIPTION:
Our second annual New Year’s extravaganza! Ring in 2008 in Red Hot Style. This New Year’s Eve party features internationally known artist, Bobby Medina & his Red Hot Band. This 12 piece big band does it all, from Swing, to Latin to Motown and beyond and are widely considering one of the top dance bands in the Northwest. We’ll be transforming our auditorium into a Red Hot Spot, bringing in an enormous dance floor, refreshments, dessert, champagne, photos in an awesome backdrop designed for the event and all the noise-making party favors you could want. At midnight, countdown with 1000 other revelers with fireworks live from Seattle’s Space Needle on the big screens. This is going to be an unforgettable party. Get ready to sizzle!

PARKING:
There is an abundance of street parking & a lot has been reserved at the corner of NW Ballard Way & 11th Ave NW.

ID’s:
Bring your ID’s if you wish to enjoy the champagne bar, which opens at 11:30pm for toasting.

ATTIRE:
This is a swanky event on a day to celebrate. Bonus points for anything RED in color! Remember, we have created an awesome backdrop for photography and professional photographers will be on hand to capture you and your friends on this unforgettable evening.

DANCE CONTEST
Register the night of at the dance contest – everyone is welcome! $200 first prize!

TICKETS:
This event sold out well in advance last year. Tickets are $35 in advance and if there ARE any left day of, they will be $50 at the door. Click here to purchase tickets.


I want to make sure people understand that this is the church of Mark Driscoll. He has become a popular preacher, even in some reformed circles. I will not call a man a pastor who uses his church for this kind of an event!

This is pathetic, sad, ungodly, and should be rejected by all!
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Emergent Church movement

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Monday, December 17, 2007

HAPPY BLOG DAY!

The word "weblog" celebrates the 10th anniversary of it being coined on 17 December 1997.

The following story is from the BBC

The word was created by Jorn Barger to describe what he was doing with his pioneering Robot Wisdom web page.

The word was an abbreviation for the "logging" of interesting "web" sites that Mr Barger featured on his regularly updated journal.

A decade on and blog-watching firm Technorati reports it is tracking more than 70 million web logs.

Fast growth

While many people maintained regular journals or diaries before the word was coined, 1997 marked the point when they started to become a particular online pursuit.

For some time after Mr Barger coined the term, the numbers of people who could be said to be actually writing one was small.

Official numbers are hard to find but some estimate that the size of the blogosphere in late 1998 encompassed only 23 sites.

In 1999 the phenomenon took off as easy to use tools started to appear which made it much easier to write and maintain these sorts of websites. Also in 1999 the word "blog" was coined as a shortened form of the original term.

Blogs arose to partly solve the problem of finding interesting sites on the rapidly expanding world wide web.

Many blogs, then as now, specialised in one subject and kept those interested up to date with new sites or up-to-date information about developments or breakthroughs in that field.

Many bloggers attach comments to the web links they post and many become well-known for their particular view of events or way with words.

Technorati, which keeps an eye on the blogosphere, estimates that there are now 120,000 new blogs being created every day. Posts are being added to blogs at a rate of 17 per second - a total of 1.5 million per day, says the firm.

Not all blogs are now about what people find online. Many people, artists, industry figures and professionals, use them to keep people up to date with their movements or thoughts.

The rising popularity of social network sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo has arguably grown out of the blogging phenomenon.

The link for the story is: WEBLOGS


We must realize that the majority of these blogs are not promoting a Christian and biblical worldview. The questions I have for Christians are simple, what are you contributing to the blog world? What are you doing to ensure that that a christian perspective can be found? What is your church doing to influence society via a blog?
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

CHURCH FEATURES MICHAEL JACKSON THRILLER DANCE

I am not making up this story but it is truly unbelievable.

The following is from the Slice of Laodicea:

“In an apparent wave of nostalgia for sin from the 80’s, the Free Chapel in Gainseville, Georgia staged a Michael Jackson Thriller dance for worshipers on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago. Yes, evangelicals have come a long way from singing ‘The God of Abraham Praise’ in worship on Sunday morning.

You really have to see it to believe it.

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How Would Jesus Call?

How Would Jesus Call?
A Column for the Dallas Morning News

By Ken Myers

An article in the April issue of Wired magazine makes some frightening predictions about the dangers of three cutting-edge technologies. Though Wired is better known for treating the latest gadgets and high-tech systems either with irreverent glee or awe-filled reverence, this article, written by Bill Joy, cofounder and chief scientist of Sun Microsystems (and thus a high priest among the digerati), sounds more apocalyptic than messianic. Joy warns that future developments in genetic engineering, robotics, and nanotechnology (the development of microscopic machines) may pose a serious threat to human existence. All three technologies aim to create self-replicating mechanisms.

Joy's article makes some very serious points that ought to be of particular concern to theologians and religious ethicists. Even if his most ominous fears prove to be as ill-founded as Y2K hysteria, his concern for attending to the unintended consequences of technology is instructive.

With few exceptions, religious people have not given enough thoughtful attention to the social and cultural consequences of emerging technologies. When technical devices are used for obviously immoral purposes (e.g., pornography on the Internet), Christians express concern. But church leaders and theologians give far too little attention to the subtle ways in which technologies reshape our lives and thereby re-configure our moral understanding of the world.

Technologies are usually developed to make a particular task more convenient, and convenience is valuable. But it is not the only valuable thing, and it is up to individuals and communities to determine when an increased level of convenience is actually a hindrance to other human values.

Cell phones, for example, make it easier for us to have immediate access to others and to remain perpetually accessible. But certainly there are times when cell phones should be turned off or left at home. Some restaurants now require guests to disable their cell phones while dining. This shows respect for the ambience of their dining rooms and honors the desire of other diners not to be forced into the role of eavesdropper.

I'd like to suggest that Christian people in particular give some attention to cell phone etiquette. A thoughtful set of manners regarding cell phones could be a small but significant way of reducing the sum total of dehumanizing behavior in American culture. Such manners could demonstrate the high value Christians place on embodiment, expressed in our doctrines of Creation, Incarnation, and Resurrection.

What could cell phones possibly have to do with the Incarnation? Both involve the significance of physical, embodied presence before others. The presence of another person before us is a kind of moral claim, asking for the recognition appropriate to a fellow human being. Likewise, when we make ourselves present to others, we are showing respect. Thus when we visit someone in the hospital or in prison (a situation Jesus alludes to in Matthew 25) instead of just phoning or sending flowers, we demonstrate by our presence a higher level of regard for their well-being.

The idea of presence is an important one in Biblical religion. In his second letter, the Apostle John writes, "I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face." The Church is called the ekklesia, the assembly, the place where believers are present to one another to encourage one another to love and good works.

By contrast, holding a telephone conversation while walking down the street or up an aisle at the supermarket pointedly ignores the presence of others. The importance of physical presence is thus de-valued. It also poses a kind of challenge to passers-by.

In an earlier, less hectic time, when you wanted to make a phone call, you isolated yourself temporarily in a telephone booth (ask your parents if this is an unfamiliar term). This guaranteed privacy for yourself but also spared strangers the awkwardness of hearing half of your conversation, especially if the conversation involved intimate personal details. The more primitive technology imposed limits on where your body was when you made a call, but certain notions about presence and
boundaries were also encouraged.

Just because we are now able to make calls anywhere anytime doesn't mean that we should. Whether or not we should is a question that, to my knowledge, hasn't even been raised.

To treat the presence of another person with indifference is not just rude. It is dehumanizing. Bill Joy's dire predictions about technologies destroying humanity may not come to pass. But there are already many instances of the thoughtless use of technologies diminishing humanity. The unexpected and untested convenience of cell phones has brought us into territory previously uncharted by convention. The devices come with technical instructions, but no guidance about their well-mannered
use. Encouraged by a theology of human dignity, embodiment, and the value of presence, Christians have the resources to make some small but notable difference in this cyborg culture. Resistance is not futile.
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ANOTHER PODCAST SUGGESTION

In my last post I pointed people to a muber of podcast suggestions. Today I want to add another to the list.















The Back to God Hour is the electronic media ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.


Back to God Hour Messages
To subscribe to this podcast, point your browser to this link:

If you are using I-tunes copy this link and paste it in the subscribe to podcsast window in your I-tunes player.
http://www.btgh.org/podcasts/Back%20to%20God%20Hour%20Messages/podcast.xml
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Origin of the Reformed Baptists

Many are not familiar with the history of Reformed Baptist. Here is a link to a sermon that traces the origins of the Reformed Baptist.

Origins
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

PODCAST YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO



















I have an I-pod and I have to admit I love it. I really do not use it much for music, but for podcasts.
If you are new to the world of I-pods and podcasting, let me see if I can help:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A podcast is a collection of digital media files which is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers. The term, like "radio", can refer either to the content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.

Does that help clarify things? Maybe not.
Simply put: A podcast is a program that you can download to your I-pod. It can be a sermon, a news program, a college lecture or a favorite radio show. There are thousands of programs available through podcasting. In this post, I want to point people to the ones I listen to and supply links so you can be listening as well:

Sermonaudio:






This is an amazing site that features thousands of sermons for people to download or listen to. All the sermons are free and many simply listen via their computer. Sermonaudio has now made it so simple to listen using your i-pod. Here are the simple steps:

Go to http://www.sermonaudio.com/


Once you have found a pastor or church that you would love to listen to their sermons on a regular basis, simply look for this:


Click on the above icon and you will be given 3 choices in which you can subscribe to the podcast. If you are using an I-pod, choose the I-tunes option. I-tunes will open and you will be automatically subscribed to the podcast. Anytime that church posts a new sermon, it will automatically down load in your I-tunes program. This is so simple and convenient. You can then take the sermons where ever you go.


I like to stay informed about what is happening in the world. NPR is a great source for informative programs. The programs are from a secular and liberal perspective, but I always find them informative. Here are my favorites:









NPR's Day to Day offers a fresh approach to the day's top stories and the people involved. Hosted by Alex Chadwick and Madeleine Brand.
Here is the link to subscribe to this podcast:
Day to Day








Listeners' NPR favorites. Riveting stories from Morning Edition, All Things Considered and other award-winning NPR programs. Here is the link to subscribe:
Driveway








NPR Shuffle mixes it up every day, offering an unpredictable sampler from 'Morning Edition', 'All Things Considered' and other award-winning NPR programs. Enjoy listening to this podcast just as you would enjoy listening to NPR - ready to be surprised by the next great story! Here is the link to subscribe:

Shuffle








Funny, moving, exceptional, or just offbeat -- the NPR story people will be talking about tomorrow. The best of Morning Edition, All Things Considered and other award-winning NPR programs. Here is the link to subscribe:
Story


NPR offers hundreds of podcasts. To see the list follow this link:

Podcast






John MacArthur is my favorite preacher alive today. To subscribe to his podcast follow this link:
Podcast
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Monday, December 10, 2007

SIN

Many years ago Thomas Guthrie wrote of sin some provocative words.

"Who is the painted temptress that steals our virtue?
Who is the murderess that destroys our life?
Who is this sorceress that first deceives and then damns our souls?
Sin.

Who with icy breath blights the fair blossoms of youth?
Who breaks the hearts of parents?
Who brings old men gray hairs with sorrow to the grave?
Sin.

Who by a more hideous metamorphosis than Ovid even fancied changes gentle children into snakes, tender mothers into monsters and their fathers into worse than Herods, the murderers of their own innocence? Sin.

Who cast the apple of discord on household hearts?
Who lights the torch of war and bears it blazing over trembling lands?
Who by division in the church rends Christ's seamless robe?
Sin.

Who is this Delilah that sings the Nazarite asleep and delivers up the strength of God into the hands of the uncircumcised?
Who winning smiles on her face, honeyed flattery on her tongue, stands in the door to offer the sacred rites of hospitality and when suspicion sleeps, treacherously pierces our temples with a nail?
What fair siren is this who seated on a rock by a deadly pool smiles to deceive, sings to lure, kisses to betray and flings her arm round our neck to leap with us into perdition?
Sin.

Who turns the soft and gentlest heart to stone?
Who hurls reason from her lofty throne and impels sinners mad as a Gadarene swine down the precipice into a lake of fire?
Sin."
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2007 Conference Audio























The audio for the Fellowship of Reformed Churches conference is available.

Here are the links:


Download “The Holiness of God and His People” by Eric “Gunny Hartman


Download “The Character of God in Tribulation” by Doug Helms


Download “The Faithfulness of God in Everyday Life” by Craig Cabaniss


Download “God’s Compassion and Everyday Evangelism” by Bill Lovell

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

The House of Yahweh, Part II- A History

The House of Yahweh: Part II- A Brief History

The following history of the cult can be found on the following website:
http://www.letusreason.org/sacna1.htm

Since the cults' website is pretty sketchy on the origin of the cult I've included this history from the Let Us Reason website to give an outsider's understanding on how the cult started. The Let Us Reason website quotes where they got some of the info from the House of Yahweh literature...unfortunately I was not able to get a copy of it from their website.

Notice that the cult is said to have really been started through an extra-biblical revelation in a dream to Mr. Hawkins. We see again that when someone departs to the doctrine of "Sola Scriptura" that all kinds of doctrinal heresies result. God's Word should be the only rule of faith and practice for the believer...the only source of truth. When someone claims that "God told me..." and the following discussion is outside of Scripture this should be a big warning.

Our story begins with the Hawkins brothers- Bill and Jacob from Oklahoma who started a “religious” radio broadcast in the early 1950's out of Eastland, Texas. The broadcast was called “The Question and Answer Program.” It concentrated on Bible Prophecy and the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament.


Hawkins had been receiving a recurring dream which gave him his mission direction in life: “From memory, I think it was about 1951 that I had my FIRST DREAM that my brother Yaaqob and I were the Two Witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11. My dream went something like this: I knocked on the door of a WHITE HOUSE next to a sanctuary. My brother answered the door, and I asked him, 'Are you ready to go Israyl and do what we have been called to do?” (The Prophetic Word, 7 June 1991, p. 766).

The year 1969 J.G. Hawkins accepted the dream as divine direction. Immigrating to Israel in 1967 with his family and two other couples. While in Israel Yaaqob worked on a kibbutz in the Negev and heard of an archaeological discovery of a 1st century building that had a door mantel with the Hebrew title, “BAYIT YHWH” (House of Yahweh). Both brothers became convinced that this is the true name of God's true work. It was at this same time he began calling himself Jacob or Yaaqob in Hebrew.

Yaaqob Hawkins decided to return home to the United States in 1973 to build a sanctuary that began in 1975 at Odessa Texas. Eventually the brothers divided over the issue of the true name of the Creator. Yaaqob chose to use the title Elohim. Bill (Yisrayl) disagreed stating that Elohim was the title for pagan deities. In 1980 Yisrayl began to hold Sabbath service in his mobile home in Abilene. Yisrayl left to form a second House of Yahweh in Abilene TX. which he dedicated December 2, 1980. He taught that the original house with his brother in Odessa was the stirring by Yahweh. He became convinced to establish this true one according to Micah 4:1-2 in Abilene, which was due west of Jerusalem. Fulfilling the prophecy of the house of the Lord would be established on the mountain tops in Mic.4:1-2. This was to prepare the world for the 2nd coming of Yashua just as Biblical Abilene had been the starting point of John the baptists preparing for the 1st coming.

“The House of Yahweh is the ONLY place where Yahweh's Complete Truth is taught, including Yahweh's Truth about The Place He has CHOSEN to Establish HIS NAME in These Last Days!”( What Yahweh's Feasts Mean to You. p. 77). Hawkin believes his group he is in command of is the only place and avenue of truth to be found here on earth. In 1998 Hawkins identified Abilene as Jerusalem, which is synonymous with the House of Yahweh.
In Part III we will begin to examine the major doctrinal errors of the cult and its leader. The first doctrine that will be examined will be Bibliology. Talk to you next time!
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Saturday, December 8, 2007

THE HOUSE OF YAHWEH




















THE HOUSE OF YAHWEH: Sound Good?

Our church is about to study a group of people in our own quiet and peaceful town of Abilene, TX called "the House of Yahweh"; http://www.yahweh.com/ As you can see from the graphic above which was taken from their website, they are writing and publishing a whole lot more of their propaganda than is being published about them. It's time that they are exposed for their false doctrines...a few others have done it, but we have not seen a local church do anything but ignore them.
To put it mildly, they are a very influential cult that is influential all around the world. Why are we studying this cult at all? Why not just study the truth and not worry about a cult you ask? Here are some Scriptural reasons why we’re doing this…

A. Because the Lord’s Warns About Them- if the Lord didn’t think they were a threat He wouldn’t have warned us about them. If He took the time to warn us we’d better take heed! Let’s listen to a few of the scriptural warnings:

· Matthew 7:15- “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

· Phillipians 3:2- “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” One thing to note is that the warning against “the concision” is a warning against the Judaizers- those that would have believers depart from the grace of God only to be shackled with impossible obedience to the law as the way of salvation.

· Colossians 2:8- “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” The danger is that we (and others) can get spoiled by them…like cancer. The word “spoil” gives the idea of “being led away as booty, seduced”

B. Because the Lord Tells us to Mark Them! - The Lord said for us to “mark them” – this is something that’s unpopular and often taught to preachers as a “no-n0.” The Bible says to mark them that pollute His doctrine. We have a responsibility to mark this group as a cult if their doctrine doesn’t hold up to the Word of God…it’s our responsibility.

· Romans 16:17- “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

σκοπέω is a Greek word that means “to take aim at (spy), regard: - consider, take heed, look at (on), mark. The Lord tells us to spy them out and mark them…kind of like an artillery spotter marks a target.

C. Because the Lord Tells us to Shun Polluted Doctrine: The Romans verse said “avoid them” – this verse talks about shunning their “proface and vain babblings” due to the cancer-like nature of their doctrine.

· II Timothy 2:15-18- “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (16) But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (17) And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; (18) Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

How are we to shun their cancerous doctrine? By “Working at studying so as to not be ashamed by not rightly dividing!”

D. Because They Subvert Whole Houses: This group has many followers all over the area (and the world!) and they are subverting whole houses of folks that have left the 120+ “churches” in Abilene and the surrounding area to follow their cancerous doctrine. Not many are doing anything to mark them or counter their false doctrine.

· Titus 1:9-16- “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (10) For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: (11) Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.[skip v. 12]] This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; (14) Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. (15) Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. (16) They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

E. Because we all are always in danger of being deceived: Don’t ever think YOU are immune to false teaching…or your family! If you think you and your family can’t be deceived…you are deceived!

· II Peter 3:17- “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”

The Apostle Peter says “seeing ye know these things before”…”Beware!” The warning of II Peter is not the fall from salvation…it is the warning to not fall from stedfast growth in Christ due to false and cancerous doctrine!

II. How to Identify a False Teacher/Heretic:
Many today would say that if your wife wears pants…or you go to the movies…or you don’t listen to S. Gospel music (or if you do), that you are an anti-Christ and a false teacher to be avoided. Let’s put it in perspective here…many things can be labeled as either debatable as to what a Christian should/should not do…and others are plainly a matter of Christian liberty to decide. Let’s be fair and honest and make sure we are right in what we say about anyone or any group.

Don’t forget that the Apostle Paul was wrongly charged with being a heretic:

· Acts 24:14- “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:”

What is the definition of heresy? The word in this sentence is a transliteration of the Greek word, αιρεσιν meaning “a choice, a party or disunion, sect or faction, discord or contention”

· heresy - a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion

My definition of a heretic is one who rejects the fundamental/foundational truths of Scripture…a heretical group would be one that is its own divisive sect that is contentious and sows discord or disunion…

Let me flatly state that the “House of Yahweh” is a heretical group founded by a heretic…they are their own sect/faction that flatly rejects the major tenants/beliefs of the Word of God (Christianity). We will examine their major beliefs along the following major Bible doctrines…

· Bibliology- their view of the Word of God (preservation, revelation, etc)
· Theology- especial emphasis on the Trinity
· Christology- virgin birth, deity of Christ
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

THE GOLDEN COMPASS




















I have probably received 50 e-mails asking me if I have heard about the Golden Compass. The answer is yes I have. I plan to attend the first showing on Friday and will do a live web- cast Friday afternoon or evening in which I will give a detailed review. I will post the audio of the web-cast sometime Friday evening. Check out my sermonaudio page to listen to the live web-cast or the recorded program. sermonaudio


In the meantime Dr. Mohler has posted an excellent article about the movie and how Christians should respond. You can read it here:
Compass
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Reclaiming the Church Year

The followign was found at the Stand to Reason blog:

December 01, 2007

Reclaiming the Church Year
Tomorrow begins the season of Advent, and with it a new year in the Church's liturgical calendar. Through the Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter seasons the Church centers its focus on the life of Christ, from his birth in Bethlehem to his sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension to glory.

At Pentecost, attention turns to the life of the Church and its mission to the world--proclaiming Christ's saving Gospel to a sinful race.

That tomorrow's transition will go unobserved in many Christian churches is regrettable, not because Christianity entails certain holy days of obligation--as St. Paul writes, "One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike"--but because the Church Year provides such a useful framework for the worship life of a Christian.

It directs and focuses one's meditations according to the historic pattern of the Church, and its rhythm of fasting and feasting imparts a helpful paradigm for the exercise of Christian disciplines.

The Church Year in much of American Protestantism has gradually deteriorated into the two-holiday minimalism of Christmas and Easter observances (and even those are apparently negotiable).

Both holidays are important, to be sure, but without the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent to precede them, these celebrations can't help but lose a bit of their luster.

Now please don't think I'm saying one can't meaningfully celebrate Christmas without Advent or Easter without Lent. You can. Just like we here in Southern California can meaningfully celebrate the arrival of Spring, even though our winter temps rarely drop below 50.

But as one who only recently escaped the bitter cold of Missouri winters, I can assure you a sunny, 67-degree March afternoon has an altogether different significance to the man who only days before was scraping ice off his windshield.

So tonight is New Year's Eve according to the Church Year. May I suggest a resolution? Be mindful of the treasures the liturgical calendar has to offer. Try orienting your prayer and worship life this year according to a pattern Christians for centuries have found meaningful. You'll be in excellent company.
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Saturday, December 1, 2007

ADVENT 2007


















Tomorrow begins Advent, so today I want to post some information about its history.

The liturgical season of Advent marks the time of spiritual preparation by the faithful before Christmas. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30). It spans four Sundays and four weeks of preparation, although the last week of Advent is usually truncated because of when Christmas falls.

Advent has probably been observed since the fourth century. Originally, it was a time when Christians readied themselves for baptism.

During the Middle Ages, Advent became associated with preparation for the Second Coming. In early days Advent lasted from November 11, the feast of St. Martin, until Christmas Day. Advent was considered a pre-Christmas season of Lent when Christians devoted themselves to prayer and fasting. The Orthodox Eastern Church observes a similar Lenten season, from November 15 until Christmas, rather than Advent.

One of the earliest references to Christmas being celebrated on December 25 appeared in Antioch in the middle of the second century. At that time, Christians were still persecuted. An official determination was made in the fourth century, when the Roman emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, thereby ensuring the legality of Christmas celebrations. The Council of Tours in 567 established the period of Advent as a time of fasting before Christmas. They also proclaimed the twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany a sacred, festive season.

Now many people become very concerned and think Advent is Catholic and that Christmas is pagan.

It would be impossible to deny the influence of the catholic church on the celebration of Advent or Christmas. It would also be impossible to deny that it is possible that certain pagan celebrations may have influenced when the church decided to celebrate Christmas.

In spite of the above mentioned facts, each person should realize the following:

The days of the week are named after pagan gods:

Monday: Monday (pron. IPA: /ˈmʌndeɪ, ˈmʌndi/) is the day of the week between Sunday and Tuesday. It gets its name from the Moon, which in turn gets its name from Mani (Old English Mona), the Germanic Moon god.

Tuesday is the day of the week between Monday and Wednesday. The name comesfrom Middle English Twisday, from Old English Tiwes dæg, named after theNordic god Tyr, who was the equivalent of the Roman war god Mars.

I could give more examples but those should suffice. The question really is, can we use the time of Advent and Christmas to help us spiritually? I say yes!

We can use Advent to look to the first and second coming of Christ. We can focus on important doctrines like the incarnation, the diety of Christ, etc.

We can celebrate the fact that God the son was born of the virgin to save sinners from their sin!

The real struggle is trying to keep the focus during this season on Christ and not on things like Santa Clause and materialism.

Here are the Scripture readings for the Sundays during Advent:

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT: December 2, 2007

Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm 122:1-9

Romans 13:11-14

Matthew 24:37-44

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT: 9 December, 2007

Isaiah 11:1-10

Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

Romans 15:4-9

Matthew 3:1-12

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT 16 December, 2007

Isaiah 35:1-6, 10

Psalm 146:6-10

James 5:7-10

Matthew 11:2-11

FORT SUNDAY OF ADVENT: 23 December, 2007

Isaiah 7:10-14

Psalm 24:1-6

Romans 1:1-7

Matthew 1:18-24

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Sunday School for Atheists

















The following is from the Time Magazine article, Sunday School for Atheists

On Sunday mornings, most parents who don't believe in the Christian God, or any god at all, are probably making brunch or cheering at their kids' soccer game, or running errands or, with luck, sleeping in. Without religion, there's no need for church, right?

Maybe. But some nonbelievers are beginning to think they might need something for their children. "When you have kids," says Julie Willey, a design engineer, "you start to notice that your co-workers or friends have church groups to help teach their kids values and to be able to lean on." So every week, Willey, who was raised Buddhist and says she has never believed in God, and her husband pack their four kids into their blue minivan and head to the Humanist Community Center in Palo Alto, Calif., for atheist Sunday school.

You can read the entire article at this link: Sunday

Answer in Genesis wrote an article about this in the weekly news briefs:

TIME: “Sunday School for Atheists


For a new generation of children, Sunday school isn’t about Bible stories and singing songs about Jesus—instead, for atheist children, it’s about encouraging “personal expression, intellectual curiosity and collaboration.”


TIME magazine profiles the three-year-old Sunday school programs of the Humanist Community Center in Palo Alto, California, designed for “nonbelievers [who] think they might need something for their children.” What are these Sunday school kids (and their parents) in for? TIME explains that the Sunday program uses music, art and discussion to encourage personal expression, intellectual curiosity and collaboration.

One Sunday this fall found a dozen children up to age 6 and several parents playing percussion instruments and singing empowering anthems like I’m Unique and Unrepeatable, set to the tune of Ten Little Indians, instead of traditional Sunday-school songs like Jesus Loves Me. Rather than listen to a Bible story, the class read Stone Soup, a secular parable of a traveler who feeds a village by making a stew using one ingredient from each home.


It’s difficult to be too surprised by the story, however, since even many atheist parents talk about wanting to instill positive values in their children. TIME magazine quotes Julie Willey, who takes her four kids to the center each week and explains, “When you have kids, you start to notice that your co-workers or friends have church groups to help teach their kids values and to be able to lean on.”

The story cites other parents who say such instruction “supports their position that it's O.K. to not believe in God and gives them a place to reinforce the morals and values they want their children to have” (although we wonder how such programs judge which morals and values are permissible and which aren’t!).


TIME also compares the program (and others like it that will begin soon) to humanism-run children’s retreats such as Camp Quest and the Carl Sagan Academy, a humanism-driven charter school.


Of course, nearly all parents are—intentionally or not—going to pass some of their values, attitudes, and beliefs to their children; whether the children ultimately accept or reject those values, attitudes, and beliefs is another story. But would vitriolic atheist Richard Dawkins—who recently and famously referred (albeit indirectly) to religious education as abusive—have any complaints about this sort of “religious” education (in the religion of humanism, that is)? We doubt it!


Humanists have essentially taken religion, stripped away the aspects they dislike and those that make them uncomfortable, and have retained the comfort of a basic value system they are trying to pass on to their children. What happens when the children ask, “Mom, I understand that you’re telling me this is right, but why is it right?” These children will eventually grow up and figure out that there can be no morality without a moral authority—someone (or Someone, we should write) whose laws lie beyond the realm of human arbitrariness.


Also, the story reminds us of this increasingly unreached generation that needs not only evangelism, but also “pre-evangelism.” More and more children today are being raised without even a basic idea of what the Bible teaches about Christ or about why we need Christ. Thus, the ministry of Answers in Genesis—whose role is to support the church in bringing society back to the Bible—is more important than ever before.

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