28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:28-34 ESV)
The rabbis of Jesus’ day engaged in an ongoing debate to determine which commandments of the Law were “light” and which were “weighty” (Matthew 23:23). It reminds me of the debate in certain circles of the visible Church today in which some are concerned with how far they can push their “Christian Liberty.” This concept is no more biblical than that of the rabbis attempting to compartmentalize their religion. Does our Lord’s answer to the Pharisee in Mark 12, Matthew 22, and Luke 10 have any significance to the Christian?
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Ephesians 5:11
Not surprisingly, the movie “Son of God” has created quite a stir in the Christian community. Before I gave the theater my money I read several reviews, blog posts, Facebook comments and viewed TV interviews of husband and wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey promoting their film. Roma is a familiar face to many and is best-known for her role on the successful TV show “Touched by An Angel.” Mark Burnett is the executive producer of a string of hit TV shows such as “Survivor,” “The Voice, “Celebrity Apprentice,” “Shark Tank,” and he has won several Emmys.
When I first heard that another full-length feature film about the life of Christ was coming to the silver screen, I was skeptical for several reasons. First, Mark and Roma are Catholic and I was concerned that the movie would be produced from this perspective; a perspective that in many cases I disagree with.
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. Matthew 17:1–8, ESV
From what I have observed, and please correct me if I am wrong, it seems that telling a false prophet or false teacher from those who are true is not as difficult as some think. Those who are true understand and teach the centrality of our Lord Jesus Christ in all things. It really is all about Him and His glory. On the other hand, those who are false will focus nearly all of what they preach and teach from the perspective of Man. Instead of teaching our role in the Kingdom as subjects of God, they expound things for the benefit of what is fair or what seems right to men, making excuses for fleshly indulgences and not calling it sin. They refuse to accept that the Bible teaches that sin is what separates Men from God and those who die in their sin will spend eternity in Hell. Of course these teachings echo the lie that our enemy told Eve in the Garden, “Has God really said?”
Eric Holmberg – Christian Apologist, Filmmaker, Writer, Reformer – writes:
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. George Orwell, 1984
In Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, the fascist government of Oceania and its enigmatic dictator Big Brother attempt to brainwash the masses to accept non sequiturs like “war is peace” and “ignorance is strength.” But in the real world such paradoxical memes inevitably lead to mindlessness – or madness – or are forced to eventually give way to the constraints of cognitive dissonance: the psychological stress that results from holding conflicting ideas or values simultaneously. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown that people are profoundly motivated, consciously or subconsciously, to achieve consonance – to reduce this conflict or dissonance – by eliminating or at least suppressing one of the conflicting ideas.
Tami Jackson, writing on The Black Sphere:
The assault on our national character took a giant offensive drive with Roe v. Wade: SCOTUS, with no reliance on precedence or sound jurisprudence, ruled that a woman’s convenience out-weighed the right to life of her unborn child.
With one careless ruling, America commenced aborting babies.
Far from the Leftists’ mantra, “Safe and Rare,” abortions were not safe to mother nor child, and were less and less rare. Over 56 million unborn children “terminated” since 1973 is not rare: that is an infanticide of Hitlerian proportions.
Each year since 1973 has brought new, grisly abortion methods and later term procedures.
This is what he showed me:behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. Amos 7:7, ESV
In John Bunyan’s classic The Pilgrim’s Progress, the characters’ names usually define their character. For instance there is Ignorance. He refuses to believe Christian and Hopeful when they tell him that unless he goes through the narrow gate to begin his pilgrimage, he will not be allowed into the gate of the Celestial City. Then there is Talkative who equates making a fuss about one’s sin with actual repentance. Early in Christian’s pilgrimage, he comes across two other pilgrims named Formalist and Hypocrisy who come from a country called Vain-Glory. They tell Christian that the shortcut that they took to the path, bypassing the narrow gate, was necessary because it was too far to travel from Vain-Glory to it. All were revealed to be counterfeit Pilgrims and none of them made it into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ save Christian, Hopeful and Faithful.
Καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν, ἐν αἷς ποτε περιεπατήσατε κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος, τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας· Ephesians 2:1–2, NA28
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked according the world system of this age, according to ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 2:1–2, translated from the NA28 Greek text
I was requested recently for input into a discussion between professing Christians that had begun about what is proper worship and what is not using some of the presentations from the recent Strange Fire conference, but had taken a “strange turn” between a few attacking the theology of those who held to the Sovereignty of God in all things, especially salvation and those who were defending it. By the time I got to the discussion the “back and forth” and become quite terse and there was one very intense person insisting that “Sovereignty” was not a Biblical word, but a man-made, theological word since it was not found her King James Bible. She was refuted quite well by several people so I didn’t get involved in it. However, I did send my friend an exegetical analysis of Ephesians 2:1-9 showing that those who insist on Salvation according to Free Will must be inconsistent with Ephesians 2:8,9. It was from that “experience” that I decided we should take a closer look at two words found throughout the New Testament, “trespasses” and “sins.”
A quick update of the ongoing trials affecting Apprising Ministries.
Apprising Ministries shares a short message of encouragement from Charles Spurgeon.
Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute in Basic Living Principles (IBLP), has resigned amid abuse allegations. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, of the popular 19 Kids and Counting television show, adhere to the IBLP principles and are slated to speak at several upcoming IBLP conferences in 2014.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Pope Francis has hinted that the Catholic Church could recognise gay civil unions and called for women to have a greater role in the church in an interview that marks his first year as pontiff.
In a wide-ranging interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis reiterated that gay marriage could not be accepted by the Catholic Church.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:3–4, ESV
Every professing Christian, whether he or she is trained theologian or not, has constructed some kind of Christology in their mind, in their heart. Sadly, with the dearth of clear and correct doctrine being taught in our churches, most seem to believe that whatever their own concept of Christ is it is okay. After all, to have correct doctrine isn’t that important…right? Some think that Jesus came to give His followers a “better life” here and now. This would include becoming prosperous and influential. Others see Jesus as mostly concerned about the environment and that He is the ultimate tree hugger. Still others see Jesus as primarily a teacher of ethics. This same Jesus is concerned with accepting all into His kingdom regardless of whether they have repented of their sins or not. Are any of these examples representative of the Jesus we meet in God’s Word?
In this new article Apprising Ministries shows you that with the questionable teachings of these three keynote speakers the SBC is opening up a door they will come to regret.
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. Galatians 6:14–17, ESV
The Apostle Paul did indeed bear the marks of persecution on his body. He had been found to be worthy to suffer shame for the name as had Peter and John (Acts 5:17–42). Paul had been stoned, beaten, imprisoned, run out of town, and would die as a martyr. Why were they persecuted so? They preached the truth. They preached against sin and works theology. They preached the Cross. They preached the exclusivity of the Gospel and against pluralism. They held that God’s truth was absolute. This is the message the natural, unregenerate person hates. This is the message the pseudo-Christians hate as well because the clear bright light of God’s truth reveals their compromises and false doctrines.
Apprising Minstries with more detail concerning the Breaking Out conference of T.D. Jakes, which begins tomorrow.
Οὐχ ὅτι ἤδη ἔλαβον ἢ ἤδη τετελείωμαι, διώκω δὲ εἰ καὶ καταλάβω, ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην ὑπὸ Χριστοῦ [Ἰησοῦ]. Philippians 3:12–13, NA28
Not that I have already received or have been completed, I press on that, if possible, to apprehend it because Christ Jesus has apprehended me. Philippians 3:12–13, translated from the NA28 Greek text
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12, ESV
Biblical scholars consider Philippians 3:12 to be a very challenging verse. Here is a word-for-word translation: “Not that already I received or already I have been completed, I pursue but if also I might apprehend on which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus.” What is Paul talking about?
Apprising Ministries walks you through why you needn’t be fooled by the pious sounding words of sinful ecumenicists like Beth Moore.
Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” Luke 9:18–20, ESV
Those with discernment will have to admit that in these last days it appears the table is being set for one big religion as our dear brother Ken Silva shows us. Today I witnessed much discussion about Beth Moore’s “prophecies,” but mostly about her warning her followers about those troublemakers (those with discernment who point out the unbiblical nature of what she is saying) who doubt what she is saying. Much of the discussion has been directed toward this “big, persecuting church” in the last days in relation to the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, let us not forget that there are many who claim to be “christian” who agree that those doing the discernment work are “interfering” and “over reacting.”
Have you ever run over a dead skunk in the road? I have, during a heat wave. The smell got into my tires and permeated our garage for days! I’ll go out on a limb and say that no one takes pleasure in the highly offensive smell of skunk spray, dead or alive. My point in telling you this is that to God the stench of sin is much worse than skunk. For an example of just how much the Lord hates sin, grab a cup of coffee and read First and Second Kings. Given our penchant for getting things fast, here’s an illustration of the way in which God dealt with Baasha, one of Israel’s most ruthless kings:
Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins, behold, I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Anyone belonging to Baasha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens shall eat. (1 Kings 16:1–4)
God had already destroyed Jeroboam for his flagrant sins, yet Baasha repeated the same mistakes. God rebuked the Israelites for their sinful ways and vowed to punish them.
As you’ll see in this well-documented piece at Apprising Ministries there’s real reason to wonder how far phony unity is already stretching within mainstream evangelicalism.
The liberal L.A. Times would have us believe that there is a category called LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) evangelical Christian. Since the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin against God, this is a contradiction in terms. According to the writer, Kurt Streeter, instead of repenting (turning) from their sin and doing what’s right in God’s eyes, some in the LGBT community have made a choice to ignore the clear teaching of Scripture and to falsely claim they’re evangelicals.
Chelsea McInturff and Samantha Curley were eager for a public conversation about film, gay sexuality and Christian life, but they weren’t sure whether it was the right time — or the right place.
They stood nervously inside an auditorium at Pasadena’s evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary last spring, worried the drama they were about to screen –— about a teen coming out as lesbian — would end up offending an audience of students and professors who didn’t necessarily approve of its story line.
“Should we even do this?” they recently recalled wondering. “Maybe we should we just skip this one and move on.”
Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Exodus 24:3–8, ESV
With what seems as the demise of the Biblical/Christian Worldview, those of us who belong to the Lamb of God must stop assuming that our culture, our environment knows or grasps what we mean when we talk about sin and God being Holy, Righteous, and Just. In Romans 1, we see that the natural Man knows the truth in his or her heart of hearts, but they suppress it. In turn, God gives them over or gives them up to a debased or reprobate mind. This is spiritual blindness. These given over to their lusts and desires are no longer convicted of the evil of their sin. They see what they desire as good even though God says it is evil and what God says is good as evil. They lose their fear of God’s judgment. Over time, they become resentful and full of hate towards any who teach or preach the Gospel to them. This is why so many flock to seeker-sensitive “churches.” There they are stroked and made to feel good without having to deal with the real Jesus. Their religion, Christless Christianity, is friends of the world and eager to welcome those of other ‘religions’ except for those troublesome orthodox Christians who preach the Law and Gospel, which includes the truth about sin and total separation from God for the unredeemed along with the only way to be reconciled to Him.