9 οὗ ἐστιν ἡ παρουσία κατ’ ἐνέργειαν τοῦ σατανᾶ ἐν πάσῃ δυνάμει καὶ σημείοις καὶ τέρασιν ψεύδους 10 καὶ ἐν πάσῃ ἀπάτῃ ἀδικίας τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις, ἀνθ’ ὧν τὴν ἀγάπην τῆς ἀληθείας οὐκ ἐδέξαντο εἰς τὸ σωθῆναι αὐτούς. 11 καὶ διὰ τοῦτο πέμπει αὐτοῖς ὁ θεὸς ἐνέργειαν πλάνης εἰς τὸ πιστεῦσαι αὐτοὺς τῷ ψεύδει, 12 ἵνα κριθῶσιν πάντες οἱ μὴ πιστεύσαντες τῇ ἀληθείᾳ ἀλλ’ εὐδοκήσαντες τῇ ἀδικίᾳ. 2 Thess 2:9–12, NA28
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, 10 and with all deception of unrighteousness for the ones being destroyed, because they refused to love of the truth and so be saved. 11 And, therefore, God send to them a powerful delusion for them to believe the falsehood, 12 that all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess 2:9–12, translated from the NA28 Greek text
God’s truth, which is the truth and there is no other, is true whether people believe it or not. I pray for wisdom and discernment every morning before I go to work. God answers this in surprising ways sometimes. One way He does this is when I receive an email or comment from one who is opposed to what we teach here. As I read what they have to say, I often have to retreat into prayer right then in order to grasp the direction the deception is coming from. Other times I can see it quite readily. In these cases, it is very easy to spot the error because their suppositions or arguments are based on one or more invalid assumptions about God’s truth. Never forget, it is very easy to build a very deep case on an invalid or wrong point. When people do this, their entire case is nothing but a house of cards ready for the strong wind of truth to come in and blow it away. In the other cases in which I must retreat into prayer in order to ascertain how to respond to the attack, I have found that our enemy or one of his minions has caused this through some level of spiritual protection for those serving him. However, their power is nothing when compared to God’s. We may not, on our own, be able to see through the mist or haze or whatever that protects the lie(s), but when we humbly and boldly take the attack to the throne of grace, God is good and will reveal the truth to us in His timing. Through this, we will know how to respond or whether to respond at all.
Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἡμᾶς Χριστὸς ἠλευθέρωσεν· στήκετε οὖν καὶ μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε. Gal 5:1, NA28
For this freedom Christ freed us, therefore, stand fast and be not held again by a yoke of slavery. Gal 5:1, translated from the NA28 Greek text
Galatians 5:1 is often used by some to teach a version of Christian liberty that is not biblical. There are some who teach that this liberty, which is for all genuine Christians, is a freedom to ignore God’s moral Law. This is a form of antinomianism. Those who teach this are giving license to believers to sin. This is not what Paul and James were talking about when they spoke of freedom in Christ and the law of liberty.
1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Cor. 4:1–2
In our church we have been studying the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament for the last several weeks and our teaching pastors have done a fine job of relating God’s truth there to the Gospel and the New Covenant truths from the New Testament. As always, we have been looking at why it is vital to know what we believe and why we believe it. In light of that we have also looked at the disturbing truths from God’s Word that show us clearly that his Truth is not knowable by those to whom it is not given.
David Crank, pastor of Faith Church in St. Louis, recently wrote on his blog the following:
You need to know inside and out that you don’t have to ACT like a Christian, if you prayed to invite Christ into your life, you ARE a Christian.
This statement, along with the rest of his blog post, demonstrates that David Crank does not understand true salvation or the God who gives it.
10 Ἥξει δὲ ἡμέρα κυρίου ὡς κλέπτης ἐν ᾗ οἱ οὐρανοὶ ῥοιζηδὸν παρελεύσονται, στοιχεῖα δὲ καυσούμενα λυθήσεται, καὶ γῆ καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ ἔργα οὐχ εὑρεθήσεται. 11 Τούτων οὕτως πάντων λυομένων ποταποὺς δεῖ ὑπάρχειν ὑμᾶς ἐν ἁγίαις ἀναστροφαῖς καὶ εὐσεβείαις 12 προσδοκῶντας καὶ σπεύδοντας τὴν παρουσίαν τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμέρας δι’ ἣν οὐρανοὶ πυρούμενοι λυθήσονται καὶ στοιχεῖα καυσούμενα τήκεται. 2 Pet. 3:10–12, NA28
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with great suddenness and the elements will be burned up and destroyed and the earth and the works in it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed, what sort of people ought you to be in holiness and godliness, 12 awaiting and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and destroyed, and the elements burned up and melted. 2 Pet. 3:10–12, translated from the NA28 Greek text
With all of the natural disasters going on right now and those which have been going on over that past several weeks and the continued secularization of our societies with its accompanying evils that are so obviously part of the judgment of God against those who are in utter rebellion against everything having to do with him and his holiness and goodness it is easy for those of us who are in the Body of Christ to begin to “lose heart” as it seems at times that the time is coming when it may even become a crime to name the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
The Christian Post recently enlisted Deborah Fikes, Representative to the United Nations and Executive Advisor for the World Evangelical Alliance, and Ambassador for The Climate Group’s Clean Revolution campaign, to compose an article suggesting a new method that churches may use to “engage” the youth. Fikes believes that “common ground” can be attained if churches would become more involved in the climate change “problem.”
Breitbart reports that a growing dissatisfaction with the public school system has resulted in an increase in the number of children who are homeschooled. Since 1999, the number of homeschooled children has increased by 75% and, “as homeschooling has become increasingly popular, common myths that have long been associated with the practice of homeschooling have been debunked.”
The entertainment industry is now promoting transgender themes to young people. The New York Daily Mail reports this disturbing story:
Children’s network The Hub is introducing a new super-heroine named SheZow in an animated series debuting Saturday.
The catch is that SheZow’s alter-ego is actually a 12-year-old boy named Guy, who transforms into a female costumed crime-fighter by uttering the phrase “You Go Girl!” and using a power ring inherited from his dead aunt.
Host of Stand Up for the Truth, Amy Spreeman, reports on what happens when educating our youth is turned over to special interest groups:
A school district in Maine is apologizing after middle school students learned about homosexual foreplay during what was supposed to be a “Diversity Day” presentation.
“I don’t want my child taught heterosexual foreplay, let alone homosexual foreplay,” said an outraged parent Kristy Howard.
The principal of Gorham Middle School sent a letter to parents apologizing for the graphic nature of the presentation by PRYSM, Proud Rainbow Youth of Southern Maine.
Christian News Network reports:
The enrollment of an openly homosexual student at a prominent Baptist theological seminary is being called into question by those who wonder why the institution is seemingly overlooking immoral behavior by those it will be sending out into the ministry.
As previously reported, The Atlantic recently published an essay written by Liberty University graduate Brandon Ambrosino, in which the former student outlined his personal experience of coming out as a homosexual on campus.
Do Not Be Surprised welcomes its first guest blogger, Hariton “Harry” Deligiannides of Bethlehem Bible Church in West Boylston, MA, who writes:
Dead people can be confirmed, but that doesn’t give them life. Dead people can be baptized, but that doesn’t give them life. Dead people can pray the sinner’s prayer to accept Jesus into their heart, but that doesn’t give them life. Only the one who is our life (Col 3:4), the Author of life (Acts 3:15), THE life (John 14:6) and the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) can give them life.
μηδεν κατ εριθειαν μηδε κατα κενοδοξιαν αλλα τη ταπεινοφροσυνη αλληλουσ ηγουμενοι υπερεχοντασ εαυτων Philippians 2:3, NA28
Do nothing according to rivalry nor empty conceit, but in humility esteem others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3, translated from the NA28 Greek text
One of the main contentions of the Emergents is that it is an arrogant thing to teach from the Bible as if it is absolute truth. They say that the truly humble are those who confess to know nothing precisely, but only in a nebulous sort of way. This is primarily an attempt to appear humble to the world by seeking common ground with everyone, which is only possible if truth is held loosely so there is room for compromise. In the world’s eyes this does appear to be humble, but is this biblical humility? Carefully read the following passage (John 8:30–32) and pay special attention to v. 32, which I have put in bold.
30 ταυτα αυτου λαλουντοσ πολλοι επιστευσαν εισ αυτον. 31 ελεγεν ουν ο ιησουσ προσ τουσ πεπιστευκοτασ αυτω ιουδαιουσ· εαν υμεισ μεινητε εν τω λογω τω εμω, αληθωσ μαθηται μου εστε 32 και γνωσεσθε την αληθειαν, και η αληθεια ελευθερωσει υμασ. John 8:30–32, NA28
30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will free you.” John 8:30–32, translated from the NA28 Greek text
Many CRN readers have been concerned to know why there have been no posts from Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries for nearly three months. (CRN is a sister ministry of Apprising Ministries.) In a blog post yesterday, he and his wife explain:
My wife Donna and I wanted to give you this short update. The past few months have been very difficult on us, both emotionally and physically.
Although we have no health insurance, I’ve been hospitalized with a very serious, and potentially life-threatening, bone disease in my spinal cord. It’s known as Osteomyelitis, Discitis and has currently incapacitated me.
Please know we’ve not forgotten about our readers and certainly have no plans to abandon this ministry. However, as of yet, I’m still not feeling strong enough to post any articles.
As you might expect, we need to focus right now on my treatment and expected recovery. Please keep us in your prayers because I’m not out of the woods yet.
We also hope you will keep in mind that a ministry like this relies solely upon the generosity of God’s people for its support.
That something of such a very serious nature, which causes excruciating back and leg pain coupled with severe spasms, would happen to me never occurred to us.
It has really taken its toll, not only upon us, but also upon the ministry as well. At this time donations are reaching a critical low, so if you would like to help us out in this time of need, your support would be deeply appreciated.
If you feel so led, you may donate via PayPal by clicking here; or you can make your checks/money orders payable to Connecticut River Baptist Church with Apprising Ministries in the memo and send them to:
Connecticut River Baptist Church
P.O. Box 340
Claremont, NH 03743
Please join us in remembering Ken and Donna in your prayers.
At the Grace To You blog, Executive Director Phil Johnson writes:
Rodney Howard-Browne, self-styled “Holy Ghost Bartender,” has taken notice of the Strange Fire conference sponsored by Grace to You (October 16-18, 2013). He seems unnerved by the prospect that twenty-first-century charismatic phenomena are going to be examined in light of Scripture. Howard-Browne’s trademark giddiness has gone missing. Recently, he wrote this stream-of-consciousness rant on his Facebook page.
1 τουτο δε γινωσκε, οτι εν εσχαταισ ημεραισ ενστησονται καιροι χαλεποι· 2 εσονται γαρ οι ανθρωποι φιλαυτοι φιλαργυροι αλαζονεσ υπερηφανοι βλασφημοι, γονευσιν απειθεισ, αχαριστοι ανοσιοι 3 αστοργοι ασπονδοι διαβολοι ακρατεισ ανημεροι αφιλαγαθοι 4 προδοται προπετεισ τετυφωμενοι, φιληδονοι μαλλον η φιλοθεοι, 5 εχοντεσ μορφωσιν ευσεβειασ την δε δυναμιν αυτησ ηρνημενοι· και τουτουσ αποτρεπου. 2 Tim. 3:1–5, NA28
1 But know this, that in the last days hard times will be imminent. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boasters, proud, speakers of evil, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, irreverent, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderous, without self-control, savage, not lovers of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, having become conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Turn away from these. 2 Tim. 3:1–5, translated from the NA28 Greek text
Life is a continual hunt or search for circumstances that will result in contentment. That is the focus for the natural man. When societal norms become relaxed from the “bonds” that restrict certain forms of self-expression we witness rising levels of aberrant behavior that are simply attempts by seekers of this “contentment” to find, experience, and practice them hoping to finally reach some level of passion or peace or whatever that will last and leave them in that “contented” state. We see this in Christianity as well. What we understand as Orthodox Christianity is not very satisfying to the unregenerate. However, religiosity is an integral part of the human makeup, therefore, with this volatile combination, we witness increasing levels of bizarre forms of “Christianity” as those desperately seeking what “satisfies” go after the “feelings” as they vainly try to fill that hole in their soul that demands fulfillment.
αποκριθεισ δε ο ιησουσ ειπεν αυτω· μακαριοσ ει, σιμων βαριωνα, οτι σαρξ και αιμα ουκ απεκαλυψεν σοι αλλ ο πατηρ μου ο εν τοισ ουρανοισ Matt. 16:17, NA28
And Jesus answered him saying, “Blessed are Simon son of John for flesh and blood did not not reveal this to you, but my Father in Heaven.” Matt. 16:17, translated from the NA28 Greek text
My discussions with several readers over the past few weeks has centered on our puzzlement over the seemingly strange mixture of theology in some people who appear to be very genuine in their faith while holding to obviously heretical doctrines or following false teachers with joy. We must never forget my brethren that just because someone says that they have faith and believe does not mean that he or she actually does. One’s genuiness in Christ is not revealed by confession. The Bible teaches of only one way to know if one is truly in Christ. That is perseverance in the faith to the end. Christians are not saved through the good works in their walk or even by the fact that they do persevere, but their Christian authenticity is proven through these things. Faithfulness is a mark of genuineness.
11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Heb. 5:11–14, NASB
Apostasy: [Middle English apostasie, from Old French, from Late Latin apostasia, defection, from Late Greek apostasi, from Greek apostasis, revolt, from aphistanai, aposta-, to revolt : apo-, apo- + histanai, to stand, place; see st- in Indo-European roots.] Noun pl -sies abandonment of one’s religious faith, political party, or cause [Greek apostasis desertion]
Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2004, 2006
Another good way to understand apostasy and what causes one to abandon his or her religious faith is “to forget.” In the history of civilization, the battle between intellectual honesty and intellectual barbarity is one that has cycled back and forth for millennia. When intellectual honesty is on top, truth is seen as succinct and knowable and authoritative. When intellectual barbarity is on top, truth is seen as relative and completely unknowable. In case you weren’t sure, we are now in an intellectual barbarian stage in the early 21st Century.
It is no secret that the population of America’s “nones”—those who either do not believe in God or do not affiliate with any particular religion—is growing. In August 2012, CRN reported on The Clergy Project, “a confidential online community for active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs.”
At the time of that report, the group boasted over 300 members. Today the homepage announces 455 members, as the organization continues to exist to help men and women in the clergy “move beyond their faith” as they “freely discuss issues related to their transition from believer to unbeliever.”
Designed to be a “safe haven” for those who profess faith in God while harboring unbelief in their hearts, a similar motivation as that which drives The Clergy Project is finding other avenues of outlet. CNN reports on a soon-to-be-launched 1-800 hotline for religious doubters:
Who can people call when religious doubts arise, but they’re afraid to talk to their faith leaders or families?
A group that helps people “recover” from religion says it’s ready to pick up the phone.
Recovering from Religion, which has about 40 support groups in the U.S. and Britain, plans to launch a hotline that will offer doubters an anonymous place to ask difficult questions and find communities of like-minded nonbelievers.
The group plans to staff the help line 24 hours a day and is modeling it after services like suicide prevention hotlines.
Christian News Network reports:
A high school valedictorian from South Carolina ripped up his approved speech on stage this past weekend, and minutes later, delivered the Lord’s Prayer in defiance of the school district’s decision to no longer include prayer at graduation ceremonies.
Προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν ψευδοπροφητῶν, οἵτινες ἔρχονται πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ἐνδύμασιν προβάτων, ἔσωθεν δέ εἰσιν λύκοι ἅρπαγες. Matt. 7:15, NA28
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but within are ravenous wolves.” Matt. 7:15, translated from NA28 Greek text
The Church in our time appears huge, but this is only in appearance. It is thousands of miles wide, but only a fraction of an inch deep. Much of what claims to be Christian is not and proves it by what is actually its focus and what (or who) it actually worships. The focus has its foundation in pragmatism and its worship is nothing more than self-aggrandizement. They give lip service to their own version of “Jesus” who bears little if any resemblance to the Jesus we read of in God’s Word. This counterfeit Christianity is the majority while the true Church, which is made up of those saved by grace through faith because of God’s election and effectual calling is the minority. This should not surprise us because the Word of God tells us that this will be case as this age comes to a close to make way for the age to come.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb. 9:13–14, NASB
Central to Covenant Theology is understanding that the Old Covenant represented the former age. The Ceremonial Law given to the Israelites by Moses consisted of earthy copies of the “heavenly things,” which made up the Old Covenant (Hebrews 9:23). These were “shadows of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1). Our Lord spoke often of the age we are in now as “this age,” with an age still to come. The New Covenant is God’s economy in this age. Instead of our faith revolving around the earthy copies of the “heavenly things,” partakers of the New Covenant participate in the reality of “heavenly things” within it. These are the “good things that have come” (Hebrews 9:11). However, those in the New Covenant still look forward to “the age to come” (Hebrews 6:5), which will be their “Sabbath rest” (Hebrews 4:1,9). With this in mind, shouldn’t Christians remain focused on God’s promises of this “Sabbath rest,” which is to come instead of falling for the deception of the Emergents like Brian McLaren who teach that God’s will is for us to be focused on the here and now within a Social Gospel?
28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. 1 John 2:28–29, NASB
There are two types of people in the world: God’s children and everyone else. One of the reasons I love to read the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation is that John, the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:7), wrote very profound words that have no gray areas. Of course he wrote as the Spirit breathed these words through him, but God used this man’s entire makeup in that process. John was very pastoral, but he was also a Christian apologist of the highest order. He was one of the three Apostles who made up the inner circle closest to our Lord during His earthly ministry. Before Jesus called him to be his disciple, he was a disciple of John the Baptist along with Andrew, Peter’s brother. Jesus called him and his brother James, the Sons of Thunder. John had great faith, but like most of us, he could get full of himself and focus inward instead of being humble and lined up with our Lord’s will alone.