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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Two Views Of Regeneration

Hello everyone,

It has been a slow day here at the Preaching Today blog. We have only had 26 visitors but after some of the numbers we were seeing I knew it would not last for ever.

Today I saw and article on the, "Camp on This" blog that I thought I would share here:

TWO VIEWS OF REGENERATION


When people ask me what is the heart of the doctrines of grace, I usually respond by saying one central essential thing: "salvation is of the Lord" (cp, Psalm 37:39; Jonah 2:9). That is the glory of our new life in Christ... it is all of Him; He saved us and not we ourselves. (Titus 3:5). It is all of grace (Eph. 2:8-9) for apart from we can't do anything (John 15:5); and before we are saved by His grace through faith in Christ alone, we were dead in trespasses and sin, by nature children of wrath, sons of disobedience, slaves to our own lusts, passions and desires (Eph. 2:1-3; Titus 3:3, Rom. 3:10-18).

John Hendryx has done an amazing, concise work on the two views of regeneration. I hope this will encourage you in the greatness of our Lord's saving work for His elect and that it would cause you to glory afresh in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

Defining the Terms
Monergism: The doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in regeneration - that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until regenerated, and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration. Monergism is when God conveys that power into the fallen soul whereby the person who is to be saved is enabled to receive the offer of redemption. It refers to the first step (regeneration) which has causal priority over, and gives rise to, the spiritual ability to comply with all the other aspects of the process of being united to Christ, (i.e., the ability to apprehend the Redeemer by a living faith, to repent of sin and to love God and the Mediator supremely) It does not refer to the whole process that it gives rise to (justification, sanctification), but only the granting of the spiritual capacity to comply with the terms of the covenant of grace.

Synergism: "...the doctrine that there are two efficient agents in regeneration, namely the human will and the divine Spirit, which, in the strict sense of the term, cooperate. This theory accordingly holds that the soul has not lost in the fall all inclination toward holiness, nor all power to seek for it under the influence of ordinary motives." This unscriptural view is the greatest threat to a true understanding of salvation in the Church today.

The following comparison highlights some of the major points of difference in these systems:

Two Views of the Cause of Regeneration
Synergism
Faith is the cause that triggers regeneration

Faith and affections for God are produced by the old nature.

God and Man work together to produce the new birth. God's grace takes us part of the way to salvation, man's unregenerate will must determine the final outcome.

God is eagerly awaiting the sinner's will.

The persons of the Trinity have conflicting goals in accomplishing and applying salvation: The Father elects a particular people; The Son dies for a general people and the Holy Spirit applies the atonement conditionally on those who exercise their autonomous free will.

Restoration of spiritual faculties comes after the sinner exercises faith with his natural (innate) capacities. Has the ability to see spiritual truth even before healed. (see 1 Cor 2:14). Has spiritual capacity to receive the truth, prior God's granting any spiritual ability.

Monergism
Regeneration is the cause of faith. (has causal priority)

Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature. It is the immediate and inevitable product of the new nature.

God, the Holy Spirit, alone produces regeneration with no contribution from the sinner. (A work of God)

God effectually enables the sinner's will.

The persons of the Trinity work in harmony - The Father elects a particular people, Christ dies for those the Father has given Him and the Holy Spirit likewise applies the benefits of the atonement to the same.

"Light" itself is not enough for a blind man to see, his vision must first be restored. (John 3:3,6). Needs spiritual ability to receive truth prior to receiving it.

Two Views of Humanity
Synergism
The fallen sinner has the ability and potential inclination to believe even prior to the new birth

The Gospel is an invitation

Christ died for all our sins except unbelief

There is enough good left in fallen man to turn his affections toward Christ.

Sinner needs help, is spiritually handicapped.

Natural man is sick and disabled like a drowning man so God would be unfeeling if He didn't help by casting a rope.

Needs salvation from the consequences of sin - unhappiness, hell, psychological pain

The natural man is sovereign over his choice to accept or reject Christ - God conditionally responds to our decision.

Some fallen men either created a right thought, generated a right affection, or originated a right volition that led to their salvation while some other fallen men did not have the natural wherewithal to come up with the faith that God required of them to obtain salvation. Therefore salvation is dependent on some virtue or capacity God sees in certain men.

Man's nature & affections do not determine or give rise to his choices. He can still make a saving decision prior to the new birth while still in his unregenerate state. In this scheme God gives enough grace to place man in a neutral position which can swing either for or against Jesus. (An act of chance?)

Monergism
The fallen sinner has no ability or inclination to believe prior to the new birth.

The Gospel is not merely an invitation but a command (1 John 3:23)

Christ died for all our sins including unbelief

Fallen Man has a mind at enmity with God; loves darkness, hates the light and does not have the Holy Spirit. "There is no one who seeks God" (Rom 3:11); Sinner would never turn to God without divine enablement and new affections.

Spiritually dead sinner needs new nature (mind, heart, will), regeneration.

Natural man is spiritually impotent and morally culpable for both original sin and actual sins committed. Our inability is not like a physical handicap or a drowning man for which we would not be culpable but, rather, it is like a man who cannot repay a squandered financial debt. Inability to repay, therefore, does not relieve us of the moral responsibility to do so.

Needs salvation to remove the offense we've made against a holy God and from the power and bondage of sin.

The natural man can contribute nothing towards his salvation. Faith is a response rendered certain following the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit.

We respond to God's unconditional decision. (Acts 13:48)

No Fallen man will create a right thought, generate a right affection, or originate a right volition that will lead to his salvation. We would never believe unless the Holy Spirit came in and disarmed our hostility to God. Therefore salvation is dependent on God's good pleasure alone (Eph 1:4, 5, 11), not something He sees in us.

Man's nature determines his desires/affections and give rise to the choices he makes. "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit." Luke 6:43 Only Christ can "make a tree good and its fruit will be good."
(Also see John 8:34, 42-44; 2 Pet. 2:19).

Two Views of the Gospel
Synergism
Sinners have the key in their hands. Man's will determines whether or not Christ's death is efficacious.

It would be unjust of God to not give everyone an equal chance.

After God makes one's heart of stone into a heart of flesh the Holy Spirit's call to salvation can still be resisted.

Salvation is given to fallen sinners (unregenerate) who choose and desire Christ of their free will.

The grace of God is conferred as a result of human prayer

God has mercy upon us when we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, apart from his regenerative grace.

Commands to repent and believe the gospel imply the ability of the sinner to do so.

God helps those who help themselves.

Unregenerate man contributes his little bit.

Repentance is considered a work of man.

One of the greatest gifts God gives humans is to never interfere with their free will.

With Man's will salvation is possible.

Monergism
God has the key in his hand. God's eternal counsel determines to whom the benefits of the atonement apply.

If God exercised His justice then none of us would stand since each of us has rebelled against an infinitely holy God. He owes us nothing and is under no obligation to save any person. Regeneration is, therefore, an act of pure, undeserved mercy because the justice we deserved, He poured out on His Son (thereby turning His wrath away from us).

After God makes one's heart of stone into a heart of flesh, no person wants to resist. By definition our desires, inclinations and affections have changed so we willingly and joyfully turn in faith toward Christ.

Apart from grace, there is no fallen sinner (unregenerate) who fits that description. A desire for God is not part of the old nature.

It is grace itself which makes us pray to God (Rom 10:20; Isa. 65:1)

To desire and seek God prior to the new birth is an impossible supposition. (Rom. 3:11; 1 Cor 2:14) It is the infusion and quickening of the Holy Spirit within us that we even have the faith or the strength to will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock and believe in the finished work of Christ.

The Command toward sinners to repent and believe does not imply ability. Divine intent is to reveal our moral impotence apart from grace (Rom 3:20, 5:20, Gal 3:19,24). The Law was not designed to confer any power but to strip us of our own.

God only helps those who cannot help themselves. (John 9:41)

Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling.

Repentance is a gift of God. (2 Tim 2:25)

The greatest judgment which God can inflict upon a man is to leave him in the hands of his own free-will. If salvation were left in the hands of the unregenerate sinners, we would indeed despair of all hope that anyone would be saved. It is an act of mercy, therefore, that God awakens the dead in sin to life since those without the Spirit cannot understand the things of God at all. (1 Cor 2:14)

With man's will salvation is impossible but with God all things are possible. (Matt 19:26; Rom 9:16; John 6:64,65) "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." (John 3:6)

Note: God acts unilaterally, taking the sole initiative in a free act of sovereign grace toward the sinner—grace that is altogether prior to, and effectually produces, justifying faith. The response of faith from the sinner is penultimate as it stands next to the ultimate sovereign grace of God in Monergism. As the first act of a newborn baby is to breathe, so the act of faith is the first act of the regenerated sinner, in his/her new birth in Christ.
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Monday, April 28, 2008

MOVIE SUGGESTIONS

It is heard at times to find a movie that you as a christian can watch. It is also hard to find a movie you can watch with you entire family. I have found a few suggestions that people may want to research and see if any of these movies would be good for a family night.



MOONDANCE ALEXANDER







In my family we always discuss the movie when we are done watching it. Here is the link to a discussion guide for Moondance: Discuss



ACE OF HEARTS




To get more information about the above movies check out: www.foxfaith.com



THE GENIUS CLUB

To watch the trailer for this movie follow this link: Genius



SMUGGLER'S RANSOM

Here is the link to see the trailer: Smuggler


SAVING GOD

Here is the link to see the trailer: God


To get more information about these movies follow this link: Cloud Ten
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quote Of The Day

A Christian is not his own master, since all his time belongs to God.
Time takes no holidays.
-- St Ignatius of Antioch
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Good Intentions But Wrong Practice

Many times we can have very good intentions yet somehow we end up doing the wrong thing.

Most people would agree that helping those who have a need is a good thing, but can you seek to help them in a wrong way? Consider the following story:

From the Abilene Reporter News

Churchgoers will be 'the sermon' Sunday

On Sunday, 1,750 Abilene churchgoers will leave the brick and mortar of their familiar buildings behind. Dressed in work clothes, not their Sunday best, they will spread out across 110 work sites.

They will not listen to a sermon that day. Instead, they will be the sermon, doing good deeds for neighbors living in difficult situations.

The date marks the fourth consecutive year churches in Abilene will participate in We Are The Sermon Day.

You can read the rest of the article at this link: Churches

Now that may sound good but consider the Churches that are participating:

Southern Hills Church of Christ organized the event in 2005. This year, five Abilene churches will participate: Southern Hills, Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, Westgate Church of Christ, Hillcrest Church of Christ and Wylie Baptist Church.


You have Church of Christ Congregations and Baptist Congregations:

Typically a Church of Christ church believes:

Baptismal Regeneration: Immersion into water is necessary for salvation

Conditional Salvation; A person who is saved can loose their salvation based on what they may do or not do..

The concepts of Original Sin, Total Depravity, Predestination, and others are rejected by the Church of Christ as doctrinal innovations that are not based on Scripture. Some examples:

Contrast that with the Baptist Churches.

Reject Baptismal Regeneration.

Eternal Salvation: They believe that a person who is saved cannot loose that salvation.

Baptist have traditionally believed in the concepts of Original Sin, Total Depravity and Predestination

These are huge differences that cannot just be overlooked and ignored.

The sad fact is that today many Christians don't care about doctrine. In fact for many good intentions is more important than a little thing called truth!
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Christians and the Treatment of Animals

Since I have been a Christian, one of the things that has always bothered me is how many Christians view animals. The basic opinion is that killing animals for sport is perfectly OK and if you have a problem with it, then you are some kind of liberal.
Well, I am theologically very conservative and I believe that many Christians should reconsider their attitudes.

When God created man, he did give him dominion over the animals, but I believe this dominion includes a responsibility to be good stewards of the land and the animals.

The Christian Vegetarian Association is an organization that challenges many of the popular opinions found in Christianity. I do not agree with all of their positions but, I believe every Christian should check out their materials and at least be challenged.

Here are some statements from their materials:

God’s Animals
Jesus said that God
feeds the birds of the air (Matt. 6:26)
and does not forget sparrows (Luke 12:6).
The Hebrew Scriptures forbid inhumane
slaughter or cruelty toward beasts of
burden (Exod. 23:5; Deut. 22:6–7, 25:4).
Yet, in the United States, virtually all
food derived from animals is obtained
through intensive factory farming
methods. In fact, nearly ten billion land
animals are slaughtered each year, over
a million every hour, and the number
of aquatic animals killed for food is far
greater. These animals suffer greatly
from stressful crowding, barren environments
that frustrate their instinctive
drives, mutilations and amputations
without pain relief (including debeaking,dehorning, tail docking, and castration),
and other painful procedures (Bernard
Rollin, Ph.D., Farm Animal Welfare).

For example, farmers crowd egglaying
hens in cages so small they can’t
spread their wings. Some birds are immobilized
when their feet get caught
in the wire mesh; unable to reach food,
they starve to death. Millions of chicks
are mailed via the U.S. Postal Service
each year. Although mortality rates are
high, chicks are deemed cheap and not
worth the cost of humane transport.
It seems that contemporary farmers
embrace any practice that increases
productivity, regardless of how much
animal pain and suffering it inflicts.

During transport to slaughter, animals
are often handled roughly and
exposed to extremes of heat or cold.
Finally, slaughter typically involves terror
and, often, great pain (Gail Eisnitz,
Slaughterhouse). Illustrating the industry’s
callousness, animals too sick to
walk are painfully dragged to slaughter
rather than humanely euthanized.
Typical of the industry’s attitude, Hog
Farm Management advised, “Forget the
pig is an animal. Treat him just like
a machine in a factory.”
If we eat the products of factory
farming we are, Fr. John Dear notes,
“paying people to be cruel.”



I know many will immediately reject the above statements, but I pray that you will at least think about them.

Here is the link to the web site for the Christian Vegetarian Association
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Professional Panhandler

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Charismatics, Please Stop!

As I read and see more charismatic materials the more upset I become. The complete foolishness of their words and actions need to stop! They don't care about the bible they seek the next miraculous encounter no matter how bizarre it may be. Discernment is gone and the scriptures are ignored. Doctrine and Theology is forgotten and experiences are made the focus.
Many Chrismatics claim they want to follow the bible, if this is so they need to speak out against what is happeing in their movement.

Consider the following:

This was found at the Truth War blog

Here is a video produced by Extreme Prophetic, a so-called signs and wonders ministry. In this video Patricia King (false prophetess) is claiming that Joshua Mills (false prophet) gets an angel (never shown) that comes to him and releases the 'glory from heaven' in the form of sapphire and diamond glitter as well as anointing oil flowing from his hands.

Anyone with half a brain and even a little Biblical discernment can tell these are nothing more than cheap magic tricks designed to separate you from your money, all in the name of God of course.


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A Little Leaven

I hope everyone is having a great Friday so far.

I want to point everyone to a great blog. A Little Leaven is a blog that will open your eyes to just how bad things are in the American Church:

Here is the description of the blog:

- A Museum of Idolatry - This Is What Happens When the Church Fails to Remain Faithful to the Correct Preaching and Teaching of God's Word

Here is the link:
http://www.alittleleaven.com/

Take some time to look at all the post and be prepared to have some righteous anger and hopefully be moved to tears for the awful condition of the church today.

Have a great day and make sure you check back in to the Preaching Today blog on a regular basis.
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Darwin's Notes and Thoughts Go Online

The last week has been an interesting week for the Preaching Today blog. We have had more visitors to the blog than ever before. In fact, we have broken every record for the number of visitors to this blog not only for daily visitors but also the total for the month. What has brought so much attention to our blog? The issue of evolution and intelligent design. Tonight I have some new news to report about Charles Darwin that may be of interest to our readers:


















The following was reported at Npr.org

Studying Charles Darwin's documents has evolved from visiting the library at Cambridge University to accessing the information online. The British university has just made a trove of about 20,000 papers from Darwin's life and studies accessible on the Web.

"It's really unprecedented that so much new material by and about Charles Darwin is suddenly made available to the public," John van Wyhe, director of the Darwin Online collection, tells Renee Montagne.

The material has been available to scholars for years at Cambridge.



"What we've done is taken much of that material and made it available for free to the whole world," van Wyhe says. "The amount of material is so vast that you could click on it for months and not see all of the images."



To read the rest of the article follow this link: Darwin

Here are links to related resources:

The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online

About the Darwin Papers

Darwin Correspondence Project
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12 Ways to Improve Your Blog

I found the following at the Between Two Worlds blog.
Here is the link: Blogging

I love blogging.
I know that sounds odd, but I feel about blogging the same way some of you feel about preaching. I get excited about it. I think it matters. I think the Lord uses it. I even think it’s some people’s calling.

So I was honored to sit on the panel at the Band of Bloggers gathering last week. However, the discussion was only an hour, so naturally I had more I wished I could have said.
If there had been more time, I would have mentioned these suggestions for how to blog better by putting readers ahead of yourself.

1. Blog uniquely.
Even though the gospel is the focus and flavor of a lot of blogs, it’s still important for each one of these blogs to be unique. If people can get pretty much the same thing I offer at a hundred other sites, then what am I really offering them?
Everyone has a unique perspective. I want to capitalize on mine for the glory of God. And when I read your blog, I want to hear yours.
Serve your readers by offering something they aren’t getting anywhere else.

2. Don’t let the importance of truth minimize the importance of presentation.
Truth needs to be proclaimed, but trueness alone doesn’t make what I have to say worth saying. I need to say true things well.
It motivates me to concentrate on presentation when I realize that badly written truth is almost as bad as being just flat wrong.
Falsehood well said, doesn’t serve readers. It won’t lead people toward what is worthwhile because it’s, well, false. Truth poorly said is similarly unhelpful. It won’t lead people toward what is worthwhile, because it’s unclear or boring.
In order for our message to spread—in order to transfer value from us to an audience—each blog post should be a purposeful marriage of quality content and engaging presentation.

3. Be familiar with the blog genre and write for it.
It will serve our readers if we write for the way they read, rather than the way we think they should read. More important than changing people’s reading habits is getting them to read our content at all. That’s how our message will spread—and that’s the main point, right?
If your experience is anything like mine, every minute you spend educating yourself about how to blog well is worth it.

4. Use interesting and informative titles.
Titles are our first and sometimes only chance to grab our audience’s attention.
Many readers decide whether to read a post based solely on the title. Let’s serve them by making our titles as useful as possible.

5. Write to process your thoughts, but don't post to process.
Every post should offer value to our readers—this is what it means to serve people with a blog. To be valuable, content will generally be the result of processing thoughts, not the processing itself.

6. Set yourself some kind of limit as you write.
Limits force us to think about each specific word we write in a way we’d never have to if we always accepted the first thing we came up with. A good limit can be as basic as a word count you won’t go over or as difficult (and absurd) as not using the letter m.
How you choose to constrain yourself doesn't have to be the theme of your blog or even public knowledge. The point is to be creative and come up with your own constraint that serves your readers best by improving your content most.
Then, of course, you need to abide by whatever limit you’ve chosen, so that you are continually requiring yourself to write as if each word matters (because each word does matter).

7. Think nugget-sized posts. Short, punchy content is less time-consuming to read than full essays (obviously). Most people only give a blog a few brief moments a day (not as obvious, but true). It’s my goal (and I commend it for your consideration) to serve my readers by offering content that can be delivered in their timeframe, not mine (regardless of whether I wish they would spend more time on my site).

8. Syndicate your whole feed.
If your entire post isn’t in your audience’s feedreaders, many of them will read the first few lines and be done, because they won’t click through.
The whole point of a feedreader is to aggregate many posts so that readers don’t have to go to each individual website. It doesn’t serve them (and can actually come across as self-serving) when a blogger counteracts this.

9. Keep in mind that the blogosphere is not a boys club.
More preachers' blogs should be appealing to women. The demographic of T4G attendees should only be the niche of a few blogs. The rest of us may be a part of that niche, but we should blog outward.
If your goal in blogging is to be at all pastoral, then your readership should be roughly similar to the people you pastor.

10. Let the general flavor of your blog be positive, not contentious.
(Warning: In order to become all things to all men, I’m going to be harsh when I make this point.)
If the majority of your content is made up of disagreeing with people, you should question your motives for blogging.
If you actually derive pleasure from bashing others, you should just quit.
If your blog regularly makes you enemies, that doesn't necessarily mean you're being persecuted for Jesus. It may just mean you're a jerk.
(OK, I’ll go back to being nice now.)

11. Be both confident and reasonably open-minded.
Bloggers tend to be a confident breed. We write what we write because we think what we think, and we think what we think because we’re right, right?
This can be good, especially when we’re confident about true and wonderful things. But it’s unfair to readers and sometimes even hypocritical when a blogger writes in order to change other people’s minds but seems completely unwilling to have his own mind changed.
It’s good to not be wishy-washy. It’s good to say what you mean clearly with unassailable assertions. It’s good to take a stand. But it’s also good, even as we stand confidently, to show a willingness to take steps toward better ideas.

12. Recognize that it’s OK to take blogging seriously and to try to succeed.
If a blogger does everything to the glory of God, then he will blog for the sake of the Gospel, whether he’s writing about theology or fishing in Alaska. And if we’re blogging for God, we have only one choice: pursue excellence.
The servant who buried his talent, thought he was doing the wise thing. He wasn’t. As a Christian blogger, I don’t want to be that servant. If I’m going to blog the gospel, I want to do whatever I can to blog it excellently so that what I have offered to my readers is also worth offering to God.

We’ve been given a great platform for the gospel in blogging—how could we not take it seriously?
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ORIGINAL SIN AND THE DEPRAVITY OF MAN

I have been teaching on the Kings of Israel at Victory Baptist Church, which is located about 20 minutes south of Abilene, TX.

The stories of the kings are filled with sin, murder, deceit, and idolatry. Many Christians today seem to view mankind as basically good who sometimes do wicked things. Some would say we are sinners because we sin. The problem with these ideas is that you have the people of Israel who have witnessed miracles and have seen God manifest himself in a visible way as he glorious presence filled the tabernacle and the temple. In-spite of all this they continue to turn to false worship and wicked behavior, why? If you have a biblical theology this makes perfect sense. People are by nature sinful and wicked. The biblical formula is, we sin because we are sinners! We are born sinners and then sin becasue it is our nature. This is the doctrine of original sin and the depravity of man. I believe many christians need to learn this doctrine:


1689 Baptist Confession Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof (Chapter 6)

1. Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honour; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.

2. Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.

3. They being the root, and by God's appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.

4. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

5. The corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and the first motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.



II. That we may further see the nature of original sin, consider,

[1] The UNIVERSALITY of it. It has, as poison, diffused itself into all the parts and powers of the soul. "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint." Isa 1:5. Like a sick patient, that has no part sound, his liver is swelled, his feet are gangrened, his lungs are withered; such infected, gangrened souls have we, until Christ, who has made a medicine of his blood, cures us.

(1.) Original sin has depraved the intellectual part—the MIND.
As in the creation "darkness was upon the face of the deep," so it is with the understanding; darkness is upon the face of this deep. As there is salt in every drop of the sea, bitterness in every branch of wormwood, so there is sin in every faculty. The mind is darkened, we know little of God. Ever since Adam ate of the tree of knowledge, and his eyes were opened—we lost our eye-sight! Besides ignorance in the mind, there is error and mistake; we do not judge rightly of things, we put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Isa 5:20. Besides this, there is much pride, disdainfulness and prejudice, and many fleshly reasonings. "How long shall your vain thoughts lodge within you?" Jer 4:14.

(2.) Original sin has defiled the HEART.
The heart is deadly wicked. "The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" Jeremiah 17:9. It is a lesser hell. In the heart are legions of lusts, obdurateness, infidelity, hypocrisy, sinful lusts. It boils as the sea—with passion and revenge. "The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live." Ecclesiastes 9:3. The heart is "the devil's workshop," where all mischief is framed.

(3.) Original sin has defiled the WILL.
Contumacy is the seat of rebellion. The sinner crosses God's will, to fulfill his own. "We will burn incense to the queen of heaven." There is a rooted enmity in the will against holiness; it is like an iron sinew, it refuses to bend to God. Where is then, the freedom of the will, when it is so full not only of indisposition—but opposition to what is spiritual?

(4.) Original sin has defiled the AFFECTIONS.
These, as the strings of a violin, are out of tune. They are the lesser wheels, which are strongly carried by the will, the master-wheel. Our affections are set on wrong objects. Our love is set on sin, our joy is set on the creature. Our affections are naturally as a sick man's appetite, who desires things which are noxious and hurtful to him. So we have impure lustings, instead of holy longings.

[2] The ADHESION of original sin.
It cleaves to us, as blackness to the skin of the Ethiopian, so that we cannot get rid of it. Paul shook off the viper on his hand—but we cannot shake off this inbred corruption. It may be compared to a wild fig-tree growing on a wall, the roots of which are pulled up, and yet there are some fibers of it in the joints of the stonework, which will not be eradicated—but will sprout forth until the wall is pulled in pieces. Original sin comes not, as a lodger, for a night—but as an indweller. "Sin which dwells in me." Rom 7:17.
It is an evil spirit, which haunts us wherever we go. "The Canaanite would dwell in that land." Josh 17:12.

[3] Original sin retards and hinders us in the exercise of God's worship. Whence is "all that dullness and deadness in religion? It is the fruit of original sin. This it is, which rocks us asleep in duty. "The good that I would, I do not." Rom 7:17. Sin is compared to a weight. Heb 12:2. A man who has weights tied to his legs cannot run fast. It is like that fish Pliny speaks of, a sea lamprey, which cleaves to the keel of the ship, and hinders its progress when it is under sail.

[4] Original sin, though latent in the soul, and as a spring which runs under ground, often breaks forth unexpectedly. Christian, you can not believe that evil which is in your heart, and which will break forth suddenly—if God should leave you. "Is your servant a dog that he should do this monstrous thing?" 2 Kings 8:13. Hazael could not believe he had such a root of evil in his heart, that he should rip up pregnant women. "Is your servant a dog?" Yes, and worse than a dog, when that original corruption within is stirred up. If one had come to Peter and said, Peter, within a few hours you will deny Christ, he would have said, "Is your servant a dog?" But alas! Peter did not know his own heart, nor how far that corruption within would prevail upon him. The sea may be calm, and look clear; but when the wind blows—how it rages and foams! So though now your heart seems good—yet, when temptation blows, how may original sin reveal itself, making you foam with lust and passion. Who would have thought to have found adultery in David, and drunkenness in Noah, and cursing in Job? If God leaves a man to himself, how suddenly and scandalously may original sin break forth in the holiest men on the earth!
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemistry of the Cell
















The following article was found at probe.org

What do mouse traps, molecular biology, blood clotting, Rube Goldberg machines, and irreducible complexity have to do with each other? At first glance they seem to have little if anything to do with each other. However, they are all part of a recent book by Free Press titled, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael Behe. Michael Behe is a biophysics professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and his book, released last summer, has been causing a firestorm of activity in academic circles ever since.


The stranglehold that Darwinism has had in the biological sciences for decades has already been weakened over the last 30 years due to the new creationist movement and more recently by the push from intelligent design theorists. But Behe's new book may end up being the straw that broke the camel's back. Usually books like these are released by Christian publishers or at least a secular press that is small and willing to take a chance. Also, creationist books are rarely sold in secular bookstores or reviewed in secular publications. Darwin's Black Box has gained the attention of evolutionists not normally accustomed to responding to anti- evolutionary ideas in the academic arena. People like Niles Eldredge from the American Museum of Natural History, Daniel Dennett, author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University and author of The Blind Watchmaker, Jerry Robison of Harvard University, and David Hull from the University of Chicago have all been forced to respond to Behe either in print or in person.


In summary, the reason for all this attention is that they readily admit that Behe is clearly a reputable scientist from a reputable institution and his argument is therefore more sophisticated than they are accustomed to hearing from creationists. Mild, backhanded compliments aside, they unreservedly say he is flat wrong, but they have gone to much greater lengths in the literature, from the podium, and in the electronic media to explain precisely why they think he is wrong. Creationists and intelligent design theorists are usually dismissed out of hand, but not Behe's Darwin's Black Box.


Behe's simple claim is that when Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, the cell was a mysterious black box. We could see the outside of it, but we had no idea of how it worked. In Origin, Darwin stated,
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.


Simply put, Behe has found such a case. Behe claims that with the opening of the black box of the cell through the last 40 years of research in molecular and cell biology, there are now numerous examples of complex molecular machines that absolutely break down the theory of natural selection as an all-encompassing explanation of living systems. The power and logic of his examples prompted Christianity Today to name Darwin's Black Box as their 1996 Book of the Year. Quite a distinction for a book on science published by a secular publisher!
In this essay I will be examining a few of Behe's examples and detailing further just how the scientific community has been reacting to this highly readable and influential book.


Irreducible Complexity and Mousetraps


Behe claims the data of biochemistry argues strongly that many of the molecular machines in the cell could not have arisen through a step-by-step process of natural selection. In contrast, Behe claims that much of the molecular machinery in the cell is irreducibly complex.


Let me first address this concept of irreducible complexity. It's really a quite simple concept to grasp. Something is irreducibly complex if it's composed of several parts and each part is absolutely necessary for the structure to function. The implication is that such irreducibly complex structures or machines cannot be built by natural selection because in natural selection, each component must be useful to the organism as the molecular machine is built. Behe uses the example of a mousetrap. A mousetrap has five parts that are absolutely necessary for the mousetrap to function. Take any one of these parts away and the mousetrap can no longer catch mice.


The mousetrap must contain a solid base to attach the four other parts to, a hammer that clamps down on the mouse, a spring which gives the hammer the necessary power, a holding bar which holds the now energized hammer in position, and a catch to which the holding bar is secured, holding the hammer in coiled tension. Eventually, the jiggling action of a mouse, lured to the catch by a tasty morsel of peanut butter, causes the holding bar to slip away from the catch, releasing the hammer to spring down upon the unsuspecting mouse.


It's fairly easy to imagine the complete breakdown of functionality if you take away any of these five parts. Without the base, the other parts can't maintain the proper stability and distance from each other to be functional; without the spring or hammer, there is no way to actually catch the mouse; and without both the catch and holding bar, there is no way to set the trap. All the parts must be present and accounted for in order for a mouse to be caught and the machine to function at all.


You can't build a mousetrap by Darwinian natural selection. Let's say you have a factory that produces all five parts of a mousetrap but uses them for different purposes. Over the years as the production lines change, leftover parts of no-longer-made contraptions are put aside on shelves in a storage room. One summer, the factory is overrun with mice. If someone were to put his mind to it, he might run by the storage room and begin to play around with these leftover parts and just might construct a mousetrap. But those pieces, left to themselves, are never going to spontaneously self-assemble into a mousetrap. A hammer-like part may accidentally fall from its box into a box of springs, but it's useless until all five parts are assembled so they can function together. Nature would select against the continued production of the miscellaneous parts if they are not producing an immediate benefit to the organism.
Michael Behe simply claims that we have learned that several of the molecular machines in the cell are just as irreducibly complex as a mousetrap and, therefore, just as unable to be constructed by natural selection.


The Mighty Cilium


One of Behe's examples is the cilium. Cilia are tiny hair-like structures on the outside of cells that either help move fluid over a stationary cell, such as the cells in your lungs, or serve as a means of propelling a cell through water, as in the single-celled paramecium. There are often many cilia on the surface of a cell, and you can watch them beat in unison the way a stadium crowd performs the wave at a ball game.


A cilium operates like paddles in a row boat; however, since it is a hair-like structure, it can bend. There are two parts to the operation of a cilium, the power stroke and the recovery stroke. The power stroke starts with the cilium essentially parallel to the surface of the cell. With the cilium held rigid, it lifts up, anchored at its base in the cell membrane, and pushes liquid backwards until it has moved nearly 180 degrees from its previous position. For the recovery stroke, the cilium bends near the base, and the bend moves down the length of the cilium as it hugs the surface of the cell until it reaches its previous stretched out position, again having moved 180 degrees back to its original position. How does this microscopic hair-like structure do this? Studies have shown that three primary proteins are necessary, though over 200 others are utilized.


If you made a cross-section of a cilium and made a photograph of it with an electron microscope, you would see that the internal structure of the cilium is composed of a central pair of fibers surrounded by an additional 9 pairs of these same fibers arranged in a circle. These fibers or microtubules are long hollow sticks made by stacking the protein tubulin. The bending action of cilia depends on the vertical shifts made by these microtubules.


The bending is caused by another protein that is stretched between the pairs of tubules called nexin. Nexin acts as a sort of rubber band connector between the tubules. As the microtubules shift vertically, the rubber band is stretched taut, the microtubules continue to shift if they bend. Whew! I know this is getting complicated, but hang with me a little longer. The microtubules slide past each other by the action of a motor protein called dynein. The dynein protein also connects two microtubules together. One end of the dynein remains stationary on one microtubule, while the other end releases its hold on the neighboring microtubule and reattaches a little higher and pulls the other microtubule down.


Without the motor protein, the microtubules don't slide and the cilium simply stands rigid. Without nexin, the tubules will slide against each other until they completely move past each other and the cilium disintegrates. Without the tubulin, there are no microtubules and no motion. The cilium is irreducibly complex. Like the mousetrap, it has all the properties of design and none of the properties of natural selection.


Rube Goldberg Blood Clotting


Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist in the earlier part of this century. He became famous for drawing weird contraptions that must go through many seemingly unnecessary steps in order to accomplish a rather simple purpose. Over the years, some evolutionists have alluded to living systems as Rube Goldberg machines as evidence of their construction by natural selection as opposed to being designed by a Creator. Things such as the Panda's thumb and the intricate workings of the many varieties of orchids are said to be contrived structures that an intelligent creator surely would have found a better way of doing.


If you have never seen a cartoon of a Rube Goldberg machine, let me describe one for you from Mike Behe's book, Darwin's Black Box. This one is titled the "Mosquito Bite Scratcher." Water falling off a roof migrates into a drain pipe and collects into a flask. In the flask is a cork that floats up as the glass fills. Inserted in the cork is a needle that eventually rises high enough to puncture a suspended paper cup filled with beer. The beer then sprinkles onto a nearby bird that becomes intoxicated and falls off its platform and onto a spring. The spring propels the inebriated bird onto another platform where the bird pulls a string (no doubt mistaking it for a worm in its intoxicated state). The pulled string fires a cannon underneath a small dog, frightening him and causing him to flip over on his back. His rapid breathing raises and lowers a disk above his stomach which is attached to a needle positioned next to a mosquito bite on a man's neck allowing the bite to be scratched, causing no embarrassment to the man while he talks to a lady.


Well, this machine is obviously more complicated than it needs to be. But the machine is still designed and as Behe claims, it is also irreducibly complex. In other words, if one of the steps fails or is absent, the machine doesn't work. The whole contraption is useless. Well, there are a few molecular mechanisms in our bodies that are very similar to Rube Goldberg machines and therefore irreducibly complex. One is the blood-clotting cascade. When you cut your finger an amazing thing happens. Initially, it begins to bleed, but if you just leave it alone, after a few minutes, the flow of blood stops. A clot has formed, providing a protein mesh that initially catches the blood cells and eventually closes up the wound entirely, preventing the plasma from escaping as well.


This seemingly straightforward process involves over a dozen different proteins with names like thrombin, fibrinogen, Christmas, Stuart, and accelerin. Some of these proteins are involved in forming the clot. Others are responsible for regulating clot formation. Regulating proteins are needed because you only want clots forming at the site of a wound not in the middle of flowing arteries. Yet other proteins have the job of removing the clot once it is no longer needed. The body also needs to eliminate the clot when it has outlived its usefulness, but not before.


Now it's easy to see why some, when considering the blood-clotting cascade, wonder if a Creator could have devised something simpler. But that assumes we fully understand the system. Perhaps it absolutely needs to be this way. Besides, this doesn't in any way diminish the fact that even a Rube Goldberg machine is designed just as the blood clotting system seems to be.


Silence of Molecular Evolution and the Reaction


Clearly, the irreducible complexity inherent in many biochemical systems not only precludes the possibility that they evolved by Darwinian natural selection, but actually suggests the strong conclusion that some kind of intelligent design is necessary. Behe makes a very significant point by recognizing that the data that implies intelligent design doesn't necessarily mean one knows who the designer is. Inferring that intelligent design is present is a reasonable scientific conclusion. Planetary astronomers, for example, claim that we will be able distinguish a radio signal from space that was sent by an intelligent civilization from the surrounding radio noise even though we won't initially understand it and won't know who sent it.


Yet the astounding complexity of the cell has gone largely unnoticed and greatly unreported to the general public. There is an embarrassed silence. Behe speculates as to why; he says,
Why does the scientific community not greedily embrace its startling discovery? Why is the observation of design handled with intellectual gloves? The dilemma is that while one side of the elephant is labeled intelligent design, the other side might be labeled God (p.233).
This may also help to account for another curious omission that Behe highlights, the almost total lack of scientific literature attempting to describe how complex molecular systems could have arisen by Darwinian natural selection. The Journal of Molecular Evolution was established in 1971, dedicated to explaining how life at the molecular level came to be. One would hope to find studies exploring the origin of complex biochemical systems in this journal. But, in fact, none of the papers published in JME over the entire course of its life as a journal has ever proposed the origin of a single complex biochemical system in a gradual step-by-step Darwinian process.


Furthermore, Behe adds,
The search can be extended, but the results are the same. There has never been a meeting, or a book or a paper on details of the evolution of complex biochemical systems (p. 179).
Behe's sophisticated argument has garnered the attention of many within the scientific community. His book has been reviewed in the pages of Nature, Boston Review, Wall Street Journal, and on many sites on the Internet. While some have genuinely engaged the ideas and offered serious rebuttal, most have sat back on Darwinian authority and claimed that Behe is just lazy or hasn't given the evolutionary establishment enough time. Jerry Coyne in Nature (19 September 1996, pp. 227-28) put it this way:


There is no doubt that the pathways described by Behe are dauntingly complex, and their evolution will be hard to unravel. Unlike anatomical structures, the evolution of which can be traced with fossils, biochemical evolution must be reconstructed from highly evolved living organisms, and we may forever be unable to envisage the first proto-pathways. It is not valid, however, to assume that, because one man cannot imagine such pathways, they could not have existed.


But that's precisely the point; it is not one man but the entire biochemical community that has failed to elucidate a specific pathway leading to a complex biochemical system.
I highly recommend Behe's book. Its impact will be felt for many years to come.

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'Expelled' propelled to box office top 10

Documentary scores estimated $3.2 million in opening weekend

Opening on about half the screens of other top 10 movies, "Expelled," Ben Stein's documentary on academia's censorship of any ideas hinting of intelligent design, scored an impressive $3.2 million in its opening weekend – more than all but eight other movies.

"Expelled" rolled out in 1,052 theaters, compared with 3,151 for the top grosser, "The Forbidden Kingdom."

The movie, promoted heavily in conservative and Christian circles throughout the U.S., performed much better than the weekend's other new current-affairs documentary, "Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?" That movie, the second feature from "Super Size Me" filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, banked a mere $143,299 in 102 locations, for a terrible $1,405 average. "Expelled" brought in nearly $3,000 per screen.


Here is the link to the article:

Expelled
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

RC Sproul interviews Ben Stein about Expelled

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Expelled Disappoints at the Box Office

I was at the theater Friday night to see, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. I thought the movie was great and that the message was a very important one. However, the box office numbers are not as great. The following was found at the drudgereport:

The only other newcomer in the Top 10 was conservative commentator Ben Stein's #8 documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed which makes the intelligent design argument. Playing in 1,052 theaters, the pic distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures earned $1.2M Friday for what should be a $3.4M weekend. But the per screen average for Friday was a feeble $1,130 (that $3,000 ballyhooed on the Internet would be for the entire weekend), showing there wasn't any pent-up demand for the film despite an aggressive publicity campaign.

So much for the conservative argument that people would flock to films not representing the "agenda of liberal Hollywood". (Just for comparison purposes: Michael Moore's most recent Sicko did $4.4 mil its opening weekend from only 441 theaters, and his Fahrenheit 9/11 did $23.9M its opening weekend from 868 venues.)


If you are a Christian and are concerned about how Evolution is being taught as a fact and no one is allowed to question it, then you need to go see Expelled this weekend!
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

We have slowed down a little on posting new things and I hope to get back into my posting something on a more frequent basis. I want to thank the people who have visited the blog and who are checking back each day. We will continue to work to improve this blog and hopefully to make it worth your time to visit.

I want to share some things I studied in a devotional I use.


The Christian life is often described as a walk. The bible tells us how are are to walk, consider:

Walk Worthy: Ephesians 4:1

Walk not as the Gentiles: Ephesians 4:17

Walk in Love: Ephesians 5:2

Walk as the Children of Light: Ephesians 5:8

Walk Circumspectly: Ephesians 5:15

There is much to think about and to study. If you take the time to read these passages and study them please share your thoughts here on the blog or e-mail me at
tsrk30@sbcglobal.net

Have a great night
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Is There Such a Thing as Bad Expositional Preaching

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Monday, April 14, 2008

IT IS OVER!

I am so glad the weekend is over! I had to work over night at my job and then preach both Sunday morning and Sunday evening. When it was all said and done I went about 35 hours without sleep! I cannot describe the feeling of trying to preach after being awake so many hours. It is a horrible feeling physically, your body wants to shut down. Mentally you are struggling to just communicate on a basic level, much less trying to expound a text of scripture! Spiritually, I was scared to death knowing I was going to be standing in the pulpit not as prepared as I should be and knowing that mentally I was not as alert as I should be. It is an awesome responsibility to stand before God's people and proclaim God's word. The day I find my self no longer fearful of the act of preaching God's word is the day I need to quit!


Remember I am still looking for people to suggest their favorite Reformed Baptist sermons from sermonaudio. Pick a Reformed Baptist Church on sermonaudio and listen to about 3-5 sermons and then choose another. If you find one that you love the teaching and you know that you are going to listen to it on a regular basis then send em the name and link. I want to create a list of the best Reformed Baptist teaching on sermonaudio.

Here is the link to the Reformed Baptist on sermonaudio

The devotional has 1 Kings 19:1-21 has the text for today. It is a good chapter to use the Chapter Summary Method of study on. I may post my study on the chapter later today.

I hope everyone has a great day and please feel free to contact me anytime:

tsrk30@sbcglobal.net

325-695-8202
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Chapter Summary Method

Last Sunday night I challenged the congregation of Victory Baptist Church to study each chapter of Malachi using the Chapter Summary Method. For the reader of this blog I encourage you to participate in this study. Here is what you need to do:

Listen to the message: The Chapter Summary Method. In this message I will teach you the 10 steps that are involved in the Chapter Summary Method of Bible Study.

You can listen at this link:

Chapter Summary

After you listen take the time to use the study method on Malachi chapter 1.

Send you notes to me at tsrk30@sbcglobal.net

I will e-mail you back and let you know how you did and what you can do to improve.

Check back to the Preaching Today blog as I post some of my notes from my personal study.

Post your comments here on your thoughts about the Chapter Summary Method.

I look forward to reading your comments and getting your studies via e-mail.
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Beltways Prophetic Conference

Just wanted to let everyone know that I attended the first night of the conference and I'm still in shock.

I did take some notes but because of the way it was presented it is very hard to put in any kind of order. Not to worry though we are going to order the conference DVD and will have it in about four to six weeks.

I will tell you about "my experience" because that's what its all about, getting an experience.

At one point in the conference we were to pair up with some one we had never met before. Not a problem, I like to meet new people, so I paired up with a man named James.

After you paired up you were to pray for God to give you a prophesy to give this person. I have to tell you that this is where I wanted to run for my life. The suddenness of it all sent a surge of panic through me like never before. As I sat there trying to figure out what to do, the sound biblical training and preaching I have received over the last several years kicked in. I kept telling myself scripture alone that's how we are to hear from God.

Now after the short time of prayer in which we were to hear from God we were to tell this person what we had for them. Not a problem I had decided which scripture I was going to use but I had to follow their one rule:

It has to be positive not negative.

So I chose Psalm chapter one.

I told James that to be blessed he shouldn't walk in the counsel of the ungodly nor stand in the way of sinners nor sit in the seat of the scornful and that his delight and pleasure should come from Gods word and that he should meditate on it day and night.

He then began to tell me how he had been doing all these things and that since his wife had passed away he had been spending more time in the word than ever before. He took this as a confirmation that he was on the right track.

Before I could tell him that all I had given him was Psalm 1 the chaos began again and we were to get a new partner and he was away in the crowd. Before you say it, I know I blew it not letting him know but he can truly say he heard from God.

I have to make this clear before I go on. I never left my seat to seek these people out they just came to me.

Now it was time for the second man. His name was also James, now if I was a charismatic I would say this was a sign from God. I just thanked God for the same name so as to make it easier to remember when time came to post on the blog.

We went through the same steps as before only this time we were to give them a fact that had come to us such a number, name or anything that could make a personal connection with them. It had to be one word and then they would try to get something out of it.

As I listened to this it reminded me of late night cable television where the psychics would have someone on the phone and suggest something and the person would draw a connection to their life and the psychic would garner more and more information until they knew everything about them and the person would hang up thinking they had had an encounter with the super natural not to mention having given up $2.95 a minute for 30 minutes. Enough of my late night TV viewing as a teen.

As we prayed I began to think of the scripture I wanted to use and decided on John 14:27.
I told James #2 that Jesus had given us His peace and it was not as the world gives and not let his heart be troubled or be afraid. When I had finished he seemed to really like what I had to say until I told him it was from John 14 and then he looked very disappointed. I wanted to say you just heard from God why the long face but before anything else could be said it was over and he was off and so ended this craziness.

Now you may be asking ,what did they have for you?
Well not much. Just general stuff that if I had taken the time I could have found something in my life to make a connection but I already spend to much time thinking of me and not enough time thinking on the things of God.

Tonight is the second night of the conference and my plan is to be there to learn more. We will keep you posted.
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Under The Blood

A prayer of C. H. Spurgeon


Jehovah our God, we thank Thee for leaving on record the story of Thine ancient people. It is full of instruction to ourselves. Help us to take its warning to avoid the faults into which they fell! Thou art a covenant God, and Thou keepest Thy promises and Thy Word never faileth. We have proved this so hitherto:

'Thus far we find that promise good, Which Jesus ratified with blood.'

But as for ourselves we are like Israel of old, a fickle people, and, we confess it with great shame, there are days when we take the timbre and we sing with Miriam 'unto the Lord who triumphed gloriously,' and yet, we grieve to say it, not many hours after, we are thirsty, and we cry for water, and we murmur in our tents) the brackish Marah turns our heart and we are grieved with our God. Sometimes we bow before Thee with reverence and awe when we behold Thy Sinai altogether on a smoke; but there have been times when we have set up the golden calf and we have said of some earthly things, 'These by thy gods, O Israel.' We believe with intensity of faith and then doubt with a horribleness of doubt.

Lord, Thou has been very patient with us. Many have been our provocations, many have been Thy chastisements, but:

'Thy strokes are fewer than our crimes, And lighter than our guilt.'

'Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.' Blessed by Thy name!

And now fulfil that part of the covenant wherein Thou has said, 'A new heart also will I give thee and a right spirit will I put within thee. I will put My fear in their hearts and they shall not depart from Me.' Hold us fast and then we shall hold fast to Thee. Turn us and we shall be turned; keep us and we shall keep Thy statutes.

We cry to Thee that we may no more provoke Thee. We beg Thee rather to send the serpents among us than to let sin come among us. Oh! that we might have our eye always on the brazen serpent that healeth all the bites of evil, but may we not look to sin nor love it. Let not the devicesof Balaam and of Balak prevail against us, to lead Thy people away from their purity. Let us not be defiled with false doctrine or with unholy living, but may we walk as the separated people of God and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Lord, we would not grieve Thy Spirit. Oh! may we never vex Thee so as to lead Thee in Thy wrath to say, 'They shall not enter into my rest.' Bear with us still for His dear sake whose blood is upon us. Bear with us still and send not the destroying angel as Thou didst to Egypt, but again fulfil that promise of Thine, 'When I see the blood I will pass over you.'

Just now may we be consciously passed over by the Spirit of condemnation; may we know in our hearts that 'there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.' May we feel the peace-giving power of the divine absolution. May we come into Thy holy presence with our feet washed in the brazen laver, hearing our great High Priest say to us, 'Ye are clean every whit.' Thus made clean may we draw near to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Further, our heavenly Father, we come before Thee now washed in the blood, wearing the snow-white robe of Christ's righteousness, and we ask Thee to remember Thy people. Some are sore burdened; lighten the burden or strengthen the shoulder. Some are bowed down with fear; peradventure they mistrust; forgive the mistrust and give a great increase of faith that they may trust Thee where they cannot trace Thee. The Lord remember any who bear the burden of others. Some cry to Thee day and night about the sins of the times, about the wanderings of Thy Church. Lord hear our prayers! We would bear this yoke for Thee, but help us to bear it without fearing so as to distrust Thee. May we know that Thou wilt take care of Thine own cause and preserve Thine own truth, and may we therefore be restful about it all.

Some are crying to Thee for the conversion of relatives and friends; this burden they have taken up to follow after Jesus in the cross-bearing. Grant them to see the desire of their heart fulfilled. God save our children and children's children, and if we have unconverted relatives of any kind, the Lord have mercy upon them for Christ's sake. Give us joy in them-as much joy in them as Christians as we have had sorrow about them as unbelievers.

Further, be pleased to visit Thy Church with the Holy Spirit. Renew the day of Pentecost in our midst, and in the midst of all gatherings of Thy people may there come the downfall of the holy fire, the uprising of the heavenly wind. May matters that are now slow and dead become quick and full of life, and may the Lord Jesus Christ be exalted in the midst of His Church which is His fulness, 'the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.' May multitudes be converted; may they come flocking to Christ with holy eagerness to find in Him a refuge as the doves fly to their dovecotes.

Oh! for salvation work throughout these islands and across the sea and in every part of the world, specially in heathen lands. Bring many to Christ's feet, we pray Thee, everywhere where men are ready to lay down their lives that they may impart the heavenly life of Christ. Work, Lord, work mightily! Thy Church cries to Thee. Oh, leave us not! We can do nothing without Thee! Our strength is wholly Thine! Come to us with great power, and let Thy Word have free course and be glorified.

Remember every one that calls Thee Father. May a Father's love look on all the children. May the special need of each one be supplied, the special sorrow of each one be assuaged. May we be growing Christians, may we be working Christians, may we be perfected Christians, may we come to the fulness of the stature of men in Christ Jesus. Lord Jesus Thou art a great pillar; in Thee cloth all fulness dwell. Thou didst begin Thy life with filling the waterpots to the full; Thou didst fill Simon Peter's boat until it began to sink; Thou didst fill the house where Thy people were met together with the presence of the Holy Ghost; Thou cost fill heaven; Thou wilt surely fill all things; fill us, oh! fill us to-day with all the fulness of God, and make Thy people thus joyful and strong, and gracious and heavenly!

But we cannot leave off our prayer when we have prayed for Thy people, though we have asked large things; we want Thee to look among the thousands and millions round about us who know Thee not. Lord, look on the masses who go nowhere to worship. Have pity upon them; Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Give a desire to hear Thy Word. Send upon the people some desire after their God. O Lord take sinners in hand Thyself. Oh! come and reach obstinate, obdurate minds; let the careless and the frivolous begin to think upon eternal things. May there be an uneasiness of heart, a sticking of the arrows of God in their loins, and may they seek too the great Physician and find healing this very day. Ah! Lord, Thou sayest 'To-day, if ye will hear His voice,' and we take up the echo. Save men to-day, even to-day. Bring them Thy Spirit in power that they may be willing to rest in Christ. Lord hear, forgive, accept and bless, for Jesu's sake. Amen.
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A VERY LONG WEEKEND AHEAD

It is Friday and I am preparing for a very difficult weekend. Most people who read this blog know that I am the Pastor of Victory Baptist Church. Victory is a small Reformed Baptist Church located about 20 minutes south of Abilene, TX.

I am a bi-vocational pastor and my other job is the United States Air Force. I work over 40 hours a week and then I preach over 4 hours a week. Finding time is difficult already and this weekend it is going to be even more so. I usually work Monday- Friday 7:00am to 4:30pm but beginning tonight I go to work at 11:00pm and work until 7:00am. This means come Sunday morning when it is time to teach Sunday school and preach for the morning service I am going to have already been up all night. These hours is going to make studying very difficult as well. So if you think about it please pray for me this weekend.


SermonAudio.com was featured in USA Today. I am so glad that Victory Baptist Church agreed a number of years ago to place our sermons on Sermonaudio. It has been the best decision we have ever made. I would challenge all Churches to place their sermons on Sermonaudio. You may place your sermons on your church web site but how many people are actually going to find your site and listen? Sermonaudio has a built in audience and usually day or night there is about 2,000 people on sermonaudio looking for sermons.

Here is a link to Sermonaudio:
www.sermonaudio.com

Here is a link to the sermonaudio page for Victory Baptist Church:

vbc.sermonaudio.com


Here is the link to the USA Today article:

Religious teaching straight to your iPod


Within the article I found the following statement very interesting:

A survey last year by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that more people used the Internet to look for religious and spiritual information than to download music, participate in online auctions or visit adult websites.

Think about that statement for a few moments. More people are on the Internet right now looking for spiritual information then looking for porn!

If that is true then as Christians we need to ask ourselves a very important question, what are we making available to these people? Are we creating blogs that are providing people important spiritual information? Are we waring people about the false faiths?

Are we providing the best teaching we can for people to place on their I-pods and Mp3 players?

What our out teenagers doing? Are they using the Internet to speak out about their faith and challenge their generation or are they simply creating web pages that talk about their favorite hobbies?

The world is searching but what will they find? What are you doing to help them find the truth?

I hope the members of the Preaching Today blog will be challenged by the USA Today article and we will work even harder to use this blog for God's Glory
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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Common Objections to Reformed Theology

The player may take 30 seconds to load on this page. If you do not see the player just wait and it should appear.




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Monday, April 7, 2008

Gnostic Gospels


















I hope everyone had a good Monday. Today I listened to a great program on my Ipod and I thought I would share so others can listen as well.

If you listen please take a few moments and post your comments.

The Gospel According to Barnes & Noble

What are the "Gnostic Gospels" and why do books featuring these documents appear to dominate the religion and spirituality shelves of major bookstore chains? How do these documents differ from the traditional Gospels found in the New Testament? In addition to the regular WHI panel, this program also features an interview with Richard Bauckham, author of the widely acclaimed book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.

To listen follow this link: Gnostic

RELATED ARTICLES

The New Gnosticism, by Michael Horton

An Gnosticism in the Mainline, by Peter Jones

The Historical Jesus, by Paul Zahl

Is the New Testament Reliable? (PDF), by Shane Rosenthal


RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Jesus & The Eyewitnesses, by Richard Bauckham

Fabricating Jesus, by Craig Evans

The New Testament Documents, Are They Reliable?, by F.F. Bruce

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Test

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HELP CREATE A LIST

I hope everyone had a great Lord's Day.

Most of the readers to this blog are probably familiar with Sermonaudio.
For those who are not, let me share some information about the site:
They are currently the largest and fastest-growing library of audio sermons on the web with over 173,800 FREE MP3 sermons which can be streamed online for immediate listening or optionally downloaded to your computer or portable MP3 player for listening at a later time.
You can search through all sermons very quickly by broadcaster, Bible reference, topic, speaker, date preached, and keyword.

There are over ONE million+ sermon downloads every month!

Sermonaudio is an amazing tool that should be used by Christians everywhere.
Because there are some many Churches and sermons to choose from on the web-site I have come up with a great idea.

Let's create a list of the best Reformed Baptist Churches on sermonaudio.
The reason I am suggesting Reformed Baptist Churches is because the Preaching Today blog is a ministry of Victory Baptist Church which is a Reformed Baptist Church.
Here is how I suggest we create the list.
Begin listening to sermons from these churches:

Try to listen to a few each week. After a period of time determine how much you like the teaching and if you would recommend others to listen as well.
Then send me the link to the church you are recommending. My e-mail is tsrk30@sbcglobal.net

I will compile a list and then post links to the churches.
There is some great preaching out there but finding it can be difficult.
My first suggestion is
I listen to this on my Ipod on a regular basis and I always learn something and challenged.
If you listen please send me your thoughts and comments.
Let's work together to compile the list of some of the best teaching available on sermonaudio

Have a great week and happy listening.













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Listen to Oprah's New Age Denial of Christ for Yourself

Pastor Hammack put an article on Oprah Winfrey's latest involvements in "religion" and the scary use of her popularity in spreading her false gospel. Listen to the following link for a pretty in-your-face, up-front and personal clip that includes some of her heretical beliefs and denial of Christ as the only way. Amazing...wake up Christians and learn your Bibles...you need to know the truth to be able to spread the truth!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA
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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Book Review: Part 3- The Saving Life of Christ by Major W. Ian Thomas

Wow, what a great and refreshing book! This was a quick review of some high points in the book...see part I & II I posted a week or so to get caught up. The books is a very helpful reminder that the key to the victorious Christian life is Christ! Not your zeal...not your efforts...not your skill, good looks or anything else in you! It's Christ Himself Who is the key to success. We should rely on Him to work in and through us to accomplish His sovereign will...after all, He is our strength and our victory.

Too many of us (incl me!) have trusted Him for salvation...and also for our eventual glorification...but unfortunately we seem to take over the sanctification part. Listen to this final quote from the book:

"So you discover that the life which you possess as a born-again Christian is of Him, and it is to Him, and every moment that you are here on earth it must be through Him-- of Him, through Him, to Him, all things! 'I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice' (Rom 12:1).

The Lord Jesus Christ claims the use of your body, your whole being, your complete personality, so that as you give yourself to Him through the eternal Spirit, He may give Himself to you through the eternal Spirit, that all your activity as a human being on earth may be His activity in and through you; that every step you take, every word you speak, everything you do, everything you are, may be an expression of Christ, in you as man."

It's all Christ...let's quit trying to be Him and let Him do His work, His way, in His timing...and for His glory.

Read the book, it's an encouragement!
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Oprah's Spirituality: Exploring A New Earth












We have two goals here at the Preaching Today Blog:

1. To inform Christians about what is happening in the world and in the Church.

2. To warn Christians of false teachings.

One of the most powerful people in America is Oprah Winfrey. Sadly many professing Christians are influenced by her, as a result I am posting the following to inform and to warn:

The following is taken from probe.org

Over 2,000,000 people from 139 countries have participated with Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle in a live Web-based seminar covering each chapter of Tolle’s recent book entitled, A New Earth Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose{1}.


















Why is this book so popular? Will it lead you deeper in your walk with Christ? Or, is it counterfeit spirituality promoting a false view of God? In this article, we will address these questions as we embark on an exploration of Tolle’s “new earth.”

Many church goers have expressed confusion over whether A New Earth is compatible with Christianity. The answer is no. It is not consistent with or compatible with Biblical Christianity.

Let’s begin our exploration of Tolle’s new earth with an overview of its central messages.
The underlying premise is that all material things (from planets to pebbles to flowers to animals) result from a universal, immaterial life force expressing itself in material form.

Humans are a part of that expression. However, we have evolved to the point where we have the potential to become Aware of our oneness with the universal life force. The purpose of all mankind is to become aware that their Being is an expression of the One Life Force.

However, the vast majority of people are unconscious and unaware of the source of their being. Every human being has an illusory self image or ego which is completely conditioned by the past, always wanting and never satisfied. We also have an individual and collective accumulation of old emotional pain Tolle calls the “pain-body.” Our ego and our pain-body are actively trying to keep us away from true awareness. When we identify ourselves with our ego, our thoughts about the past and future, our wants and our hurts, we cannot experience our true Beingness.

In Tolle’s view, this lack of awareness of our true essence and false identification with our egos has the world and the human race on the brink of extinction. Fortunately, the universal life force is manipulating this crisis to create an opportunity for many people to move from an unconscious state to consciousness.

In order to become conscious, we must recognize that we are not our thoughts and/or egos. We must learn to accept and be present in the Now, because the past and the future exist only as thoughts. When most people are operating from their true essence rather than their egos, we will have drastic social and physical upheavals on this earth resulting in a whole new world order; that is, “a new earth.”

If you are thinking this sounds a lot more like Eastern mysticism than a deeper walk with Christ, you are on the right track. So why is this message so popular even among many regular church attendees?

To read the rest of this very important article follow this link:
Oprah


We need to be ready to help people who are being influenced by this false teaching.
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THE ANSWER ABOUT KINGS

A few weeks ago I posted an article that was about the dangers of teaching from 1 or 2 Kings. You can read the article at this link:
Kings


I did a live web-cast in which I gave and answer to the question I presented in the post.

Here is the link to the audio from that web-cast

Kings
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The Prosperity Gospel

In light of the conference that Beltway Park Baptist Church in Abilene, TX is going to have 10-12 April 2008. I thought I would post the following video.

The conference is featuring men who are clearly associated with the Charismatic Movement. In most cases this movement brings the Prosperity Gospel along with them.

Here is what John Piper had to say about this movement.

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CREATION

I am teaching through the Puritan Catechism at Victory Baptist Church located south of Abilene, TX

Tomorrow we come to question 9

Q. What is the work of creation?

The work of creation is God's making all things (Gen. 1:1) of nothing, by the Word of his power (Heb. 11:3), in six normal consecutive days (Exod. 20:11), and all very good (Gen. 1:31).


Whenever the subject of creation is mentioned there is controversy today. Even within many Churches there are different views on the subject. Here are some of the different views of creation and how the universe got here.


The first view is known as:

Naturalistic Evolution
The theory of evolution is a naturalistic theory of the history of life on earth (this refers to the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism and is used in teaching the theory of evolution in schools and universities). Merriam-Webster's dictionary gives the following definition of evolution: "a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations. SOURCE:
http://www.conservapedia.com/Evolution

What is meant by methodological naturalism?

Methodological naturalism is a strategy for studying the world, by which scientists choose not to consider supernatural causes - even as a remote possibility.
According to Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga, "The philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism holds that, for any study of the world to qualify as "scientific," it cannot refer to God's creative activity (or any sort of divine activity)."
The possibility of divine intervention in nature is not only neglected, but positively dismissed.
SOURCE:
http://www.conservapedia.com/Methodological_naturalism


This view claims that the universe and life came into being by chance and purely naturalistic mechanisms.


This view would claim that in the beginning all the matter of the universe was compacted in to a very small signal point. One day for some unknown reason it exploded and it formed the universes and planets etc. This is known as the Big Bang Theory:

The main evolutionary theory on the origin of the universe is called the Big Bang. The theory posits that all of the matter in the universe started as a point of infinite density and temperature known as a singularity. It is believed that approximately 13.7 billion years ago this singularity experienced a rapid inflation of matter that eventually evolved into stars, galaxies, and planets. The Big Bang was not an explosion in the conventional sense of the term, but an expansion of space and time. However, like an explosion, it was highly energetic and chaotic.
Source:
http://creationwiki.org/index.php/Big_bang

The point I want to get across is that this view sees everything occurring based on purely naturalistic mechanisms.


The next view is known as:

Theistic Evolution

Theistic evolutionism is the belief in both Darwinism and the Bible. It is held that the book of Genesis is a non-literal story written simply to teach that man is fallen, and not meant to describe the specific circumstances regarding the origins of the universe.

Theistic evolutionists fully accept that evolution is the scientific description of how organisms change over time and the result of descent with modification. At the same time, the theistic evolutionist is a theist - who believes in a God who is both personal and concerned with His creation. Theistic evolutionists could thus belong to any of the three main monotheistic faiths, or to any other theistic faith.


Simply put this view accepts all naturalistic evolutionary claims but they just insist God made them happen.

The next view is known as the Day Age Theory:

Progressive creationism, also known as day-age creationism, holds that the account of Genesis is true, but argue that the Creation "days" were not 24-hour days. Instead it is believed they lasted for long periods of time -- or as the theory's name implies: the "days" each lasted an age. According to this view, the sequence and duration of the Creation "days" is representative or symbolic of the sequence and duration of events that scientists theorize to have happened, such that Genesis can be read as a summary of modern science, simplified for the benefit of pre-scientific humans.
SOURCE:
http://creationwiki.org/index.php/Progressive_creationism

Simply put this view sees God as the creator and creating but that the 6 days referred to in Genesis are not literal 24 hour days but represent long periods of time.


Here are some links that look at the meaning of the word day that is used in Genesis 1 and 2

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v19/i1/days.asp

http://creationwiki.org/index.php/Days_of_creation#Variable_Meanings


The next view is:

The Gap Theory

The Gap Theory generally says that an indefinite span of time exists between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. The time span can be, and usually is, very large (Millions or Billions of years) encompassing the so-called “geologic ages.”
SOURCE:
http://creationwiki.org/index.php/Gap_theory


The gap theory also claims that God pronounced a cataclysmic judgment upon the earth during this period (Gap) as the result of the fall of Lucifer (Satan) and that the verses following Genesis Chapter 1 describe a re-creation or reforming of the earth from a chaotic state; this re-creation, then, is not the first creative work of God.
SOURCE:
http://creationwiki.org/index.php/Gap_theory


Here are some links to articles about the Gap Theory

What About the Gap & Ruin-Reconstruction Theories? (from The NEW Answers Book)

The Gap Theory (Webcast by Geoff Stevens)

Can evolution’s long ages be squeezed into Genesis?

Gap Theory — An Idea with Holes?

The Gap Theory—Part A

The gap theory—Part B

Morning has broken … but when? (Was Creation’s first day the beginning?)

What does ‘Replenish the Earth’ mean?

Genesis unbound (critique of John Sailhamer’s sophistic version of the gap theory)

Replenishing the Earth (ICR Back to Genesis article)


The next view is:

God Created everything in 6 literal 24 hour days

This is the view of the Catechism and I believe it is clearly what the bible teaches.

I would point everyone to the Answer In Genesis website. The offer many articles and videos on this subject:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/

Here is the link to the Video On Demand section.
VIDEO
If you have not visited this section you should and you should spend a lot of time there!
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