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Friday, June 19, 2020

While Rome Burns…

While many in the church spent the past few weeks whining about having to wear a mask or throwing temper tantrums because they have to social distance, the Supreme Court of these United States handed down a ruling in the Bostock vs. Clayton County case. The decision that the court handed down, will have repercussions for everyone in this country, and especially the church, for the foreseeable future. This is what Kyle Blanchette, writing for National Review, in its online edition of June 18th, 2020 had to say specifically about Neil Gorsuch and his reasoning in siding with the majority.

Friday, June 12, 2020

How Do You Feel?

"We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued," the statement said. "Causing pain was never our hearts' intention, but it doesn't change the fact that indeed, it did just that. So today, we speak up and make a change." Lady A.

Just this morning, I saw a news report that the country music group formerly known as “Lady Antebellum” is changing its name to “Lady A.” The reason offered by the group is that they wanted to distance themselves from the supposed association of the name with the slavery issue that dominated political discussions immediately preceding the American Civil War. Let me point out, in case anyone reading this article is unaware of this fact, that antebellum is the Latin word that means “before the war.” That’s it. Nothing more is implied by the term. It is what people reading the term infuse into it that make it either benign or problematic.

Monday, June 8, 2020

As We Continue To Wait

Sometimes I have a lot to say. But there are times when I have a lot to say, that someone else has said it much better than I ever could. Such is the case with the article linked here. For those of you who don’t know him, Costi Hinn is the nephew of infamous “faith healer” Benny Hinn. He used to travel around with his uncle being, in his words, a receiver in his campaigns. A receiver is one of those men you see on the videos who “receive” the people that Benny is “slaying in the Spirit.” After breaking with his uncle, Costi was truly regenerated by the Spirit and is now teaching and preaching the truth. He has collaborated with Justin Peters on a number of videos exposing the “Word of Faith” charlatans.

At any rate, in this article he tackles the elephant in the room that is facing all of us in the church today: worship and the COVID19 pandemic. Different churches have approached this problem differently. Some have appropriated the approach others are using and that seems to work for their particular situations. Others are taking a more or less measured approach depending on their leadership and membership. But whether one approach or another, there are always ways in which things could have been done better. After all of this, by the grace of God, is over we are likely to look back and point to the things we did wrong.

As you read the article, please consider our situation. We still have some folks who have not come back to the assembly. And it is important to be sensitive to them and not look down as though they were somehow lesser Christians than the rest of us. And that also goes for social media. Think of what Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7--God has given us a mind that is, in the original Sofranismos: sound and self-controlled.

Navigating Different COVID19 Convictions

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Root Cause

There are many of us in the church who think of eschatology as an esoteric topic that is best left to those who have the time to invest in its study. Not only do I not have the time (or, perhaps I should say I do not want to take the time), but I find the subject rather difficult and requiring more intense and dedicated study that I can ever give it. Add to that the fact that, when one deals with something that is yet to happen, the likelihood of being wrong is quite high! Thus, although the Bible teaches concerning the things that are yet to come, there are many areas, such as the events preceding the Second Coming, that are quite difficult and in which there is no way to know whether one is right, until the events take place. Without a doubt, whether one is right about one eschatological position or another, we will all find out once the end comes.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

"The Christian's Responsibility in a Pagan Society"

“A politicized faith not only blurs our priorities, but weakens our loyalties. Our primary citizenship is not on earth but in heaven. …Though few evangelicals would deny this truth in theory, the language of our spiritual citizenship frequently gets wrapped in the red, white, and blue. Rather than acting as resident aliens of a heavenly kingdom, too often we sound [and act] like resident apologists for a Christian America…Unless we reject the false reliance on the illusion of Christian America, evangelicalism will continue to distort the gospel and thwart a genuine biblical identity…American evangelicalism is now covered by layers and layers of historically shaped attitudes that obscure our original biblical core.” John Seel

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Atheist of the Gap

One of the accusations that atheists often levy against Christians, is that we believe in a so-called “God of the gap.” That is, whenever an evolutionist or other atheist is unable to explain something about creation (of course, in their worldview it wouldn’t be creation, but I digress), the Christian will supposedly step in and claim that “ha, see that proves that evolution cannot account for everything in creation; therefore God must exist.” Thus, the atheist accuses the Christian of believing in a god who can only exist in the gap in human knowledge. Someday, the atheist claims, science will be able to explain the supposed gap, and then what’s going to happen to God?

Friday, May 1, 2020

“We’re All In This Together?”

Nearly 19 years ago, the United States was attacked by 19 terrorist who flew four aircraft into the twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Virginia, and into a field in Pennsylvania. After that attack, the United States went to war against, first the Taliban in Afghanistan and then against the Iraq of Saddam Hussein. The latter war effectively ended several years ago, although there are still U.S. troops in Iraq. But the war in Afghanistan still continues to this day, howbeit with a much smaller footprint.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

“God Didn’t Do This”

“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk” (Revelation 9:20, KJV).

At a recent news conference, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, declared with great bravado and confidence that “the number’s down because we brought the number down; God did not do that, faith did not do that, destiny did not do that; a lot of pain and suffering did that.” He made these remarks while telling the press that the number of cases and deaths attributed to the COVID19 virus had declined. Unfortunately for the governor and the rest of his state, although the “curve” of cases and deaths seemed to decline at one point, they quickly shot up again. New York alone accounts for nearly 15,000 of the deaths that have been recorded in the United States attributed to the virus. The cases in that state, are thankfully once again declining.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The God of Science!

I came across the video above where Todd Friel speaks of a recent article in the New York Times entitled “The Religious Right’s Hostility to Science Is Crippling Our Coronavirus Response.” In it, the author complains that the “religious right” has done all it could to dismantle the scaffolding of science and that, due to that fact, our current crisis has been made worse. Of course, whenever a liberal (and the New York Times is perhaps the preeminent liberal paper in the country) wants to complain about Christianity, which is equated almost without exception with the religious right, they will link it with Trump and the Republicans as if by reflex. To the liberal left, Christianity is the Republican party and the Republican party stands for Christianity.

Throughout the article, the author bemoans that Christians and the Trump administration specifically, have made a shambles of science and that they are guilty of not listening to expert opinion—read scientific “consensus.” The irony in all this is that the left likes to think of itself as the enlightened caste who have left the childish belief in a “god” for the more intellectually stimulating and rewarding scientific consensus. Paul spoke of how the “god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers” in 2 Corinthians 4, and the god of this world takes a lot of forms. And for today’s society, especially in the West, that form is the scientific community and its enlightened consensus. Whatever some liberal scientist has to say is law to today’s empty headed liberal. It is with a great deal of irony that one has to look at the folks who are so proud of their “open minds,” but who in reality have allowed their brains to fall out of that opened window.

As brother Friel correctly points out in the video, Christianity is not, cannot be opposed to real science. And that is simply because real science is God’s science. As Cornelius Van Till said in a different context, but that holds true in every area of life, all truth is God’s truth. If science has said anything that is true, then it has only discovered the truth that God created into that particular substance, discipline or philosophy. And science is no exception. The scientific truths that have been discovered over the centuries, have been discovered simply because God allowed man to do so. But instead of recognizing that fact, like the scientists who made some of the greatest discoveries in history, today’s scientist has made of science itself a god to which they must bow and to which everyone must offer the pinch of incense.

If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have nothing to fear from science. And if any “scientist” tells you that God does not exist, or that if He does exists, He is not in control or is somehow helpless, you can go ahead and laugh (do it inside, you don’t want to be rude)! And after you compose yourself, politely and lovingly tell the person that they know nothing of the God of heaven and that you have the answer to his ignorance. We cannot be arrogant, but cannot stand by and allow folks to go happily into hell thinking that they have all the answers. The love of Christ and the God who is there demand that we live always with eternity in the front of our minds.

Friday, March 13, 2020

"His Eye is on the Sparrow"

"I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then, I shall  fumigate, help clear the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid place and person where my presence is not needed in order to become contaminated, and thus perchance infect and pollute others and cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, He will surely find me and I have done what He has expected of me, and so I am not responsible either for my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person, but shall go freely." Martin Luther

Saturday, February 22, 2020

What Would RC Do?

Not long ago I saw a posting on Facebook that asked the question in effect "what would RC do"? The context of the question was a video that came with the posting about one of RC's classes on YouTube. In the episode in question, RC was discussing with his class that he once encountered a lady, in his earlier years, to whom he originally referred as "colored." In the course of their conversation, the lady told him that she preferred to be addressed as "negro" (you can likely guess the time frame in which the conversation took place). After thinking about it for a bit, RC tells his class, he decided that if that is what the lady wanted to be called, then that's what he would call her.

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Bible

“The tragic fruit of neglecting the Word of God is not just ignorance…[it] is a barren life. And not just barren, but a powerless and dissatisfied life is inevitable when you neglect the Bible habit of the Christian life, of reading the Word of God. And today we’re living in a time when people want everything the easy way. You used to have to percolate coffee; you don’t have to do that anymore. You can just stick the spoon in the jar and slap it in the hot water and give it one stir, and you’ve got coffee. In the same way people today are seeking spiritual shortcuts. Instead of faithfully studying and seeking a true knowledge of the Word of God, they pursue some kind of an experience that will just shortcut the whole thing.” Jack Macarthur

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Perils of "Political" Christianity

Well known and respected pastor John Macarthur made a very insightful comment the other day which set my thinking wheels to a higher gear than usual. In a question and answer session at the congregation where he preachers, Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, he was asked about politics and the atmosphere that permeates that world. In our politically charged society, especially in the campaigning season ahead of the 2020 elections, that is a question that occupies the minds of many, if not nearly all of us. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Allure of "Relevance and Practicality"

Not long ago, John Macarthur was asked what he thought of Steven Furtick, the "pastor" of the so-called Elevation Church. After a pause, Macarthur uttered a single word: “unqualified.” It was obvious that brother Macarthur was nonplussed about the question and that he is not, to say the least, a fan of Mr. Furtick. Anyone who has listened to Mr. Furtick "preach" and who is not a sycophant who attends Elevation Church or a like-minded mega church, understands why brother Macarthur used that single, suggestive word in describing this individual.