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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
“Christianity which is from the Holy Spirit will always have a very deep view of the sinfulness of sin. It will not merely regard sin as a blemish and misfortune, which makes men and women objects of pity, and compassion. It will see in sin the abominable thing which God hates, the thing which makes man guilty and lost in his Maker’s sight, the thing which deserves God’s wrath and condemnation. It will look on sin as the cause of all sorrow and unhappiness, of strife and wars, of quarrels and contentions, of sickness and death–the curse which cursed God’s beautiful creation, the cursed thing which makes the whole earth groan and struggle in pain. Above all, it will see in sin the thing which will ruin us eternally, unless we can find a ransom,–lead us captive, except we can get its chains broken,–and destroy our happiness, both here and hereafter, except we fight against it, even unto death. Is this your religion? Are these your feelings about sin? If not, you should doubt whether your religion is “authentic.” – J. C. Ryle
HT Friends on FB for this quote.
Conrad Mbewe a pastor of a little church in Kabwata in Africa has written an interesting post on the growth of Charismatic movement in Africa to the point that there is now a fringe mystic personality that has replaced the local witch doctor. This personality called ‘the man of God’ has become an ‘anointed guru’ who brings deliverance, breaks generational curses and dishes out break-throughs at a local center where you have to come ready to sow a seed. Oh let me not spoil the article for you…
Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?I think that one reason why the Charismatic movement in Africa has been like a wild bushfire is because it has not challenged the African religious worldview but has instead adopted it. It has simply baptised it with Bible verses and Christian words that previously meant something totally different.The African Spiritual WorldviewLet me explain what I mean. The African spiritual worldview consists of four tiers.1. God2. Angels and demons3. Ancestral spirits4. Human beingsIt is because of this reality that Africans do not question the existence of God, as is the case with many people in the Western world. To an African, God is there. He is the Creator and ultimate Governor and Benefactor of the whole universe.Rather, in our spiritual worldview, although God is there he is very far away. Between him and us as human beings lie two layers in the spirit world. One is that of angels and demons (i.e. bad angels) and the other—which is even closer to us—is that of the spirits of the departed.So, although God is a benevolent, loving, and caring Being, unless the beings that dwell in these two layers that lie between him and us are appeased, his blessings cannot reach us. It is, therefore, important to appease the ancestral spirits and defeat the demons. Only after that will God’s blessings come upon us.This is where in African traditional religions witchdoctors come in. …Read More!
You have heard this countless times haven’t you? “Don’t give me doctrine, I just want to follow Jesus”, what they are really saying is “give me law, not gospel. They are asking for more imperatives and less indicatives. They just want something practical.” But how is this any different than Mormons or theological liberals? Fact is, we need a Savior, not just a moral example. The truth is …
You could not have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ without knowing its contents. You did not just follow a generic Jesus. To be saved you understood that you had no self righteousness of your own and you trusted in Christ’s finished work… which included His living the life you should have lived and dying the death you deserved. This is doctrine. The idea of simply “following Jesus” is requiring more demands of the law because you are looking for Jesus to tell you something you can do. But you need the gospel, not merely law, to be saved or to grow in grace. Indeed following Jesus springs out of a renewed heart. As Christians we only follow Jesus when we know Who we are following and as such we need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily. …Read More!
“All devices for exerting psychological pressure in order to precipitate ‘decisions’ must be eschewed, as being in truth presumptuous attempts to intrude into the province of the Holy Ghost. Such pressures may even be harmful for while they may produce the outward form of ‘decision,’ they cannot bring about regeneration and a change of heart, and when the ‘decisions’ wear off those who registered them will be found ‘gospel-hardened’ and antagonistic.” -A Quest for Godliness, JI Packer Comments
Christmas is a joyous time for many reasons (Grrr… and how I wish it came around very often). It’s the time of the year we remember the humiliation of Christ. Well I know you didn’t expect me to put it that way. But truth is that in the incarnation of Christ – the infinite Son of God being born and taking on the form of a son of man – and born in a poor family; being made subject to the law and suffering the miseries of this life, enduring ultimately the wrath of God, and the curse of death on the cross.
The Bible begins its narrative in Genesis with the chronicling of the innocence and glorious beautiful world that God created. He creates man and places him in His garden (Eden) and there man too lives unashamed, untainted and un humiliated …
[Genesis Chapter 2, verse 25] reads, “They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
This tells us that before sin came into the world, there was no shame. There was no embarrassment. The experience of humiliation was completely unknown and foreign to the human race. However, along with the first experience of sin came the awful burden of the weight of personal shame and embarrassment.
Shame and embarrassment are feelings and experiences that occur to us in various degrees. The worst kind of shame, the most dreadful form of embarrassment, is that which results in utter and complete humiliation. Humiliation brings with it not merely the reddened face of embarrassment but also the sense of despair as we lose our dignity and our reputations are cast into ruin.
Yet it was precisely into this domain of shame and humiliation that our Savior came voluntarily in the incarnation. The popular hymn, “Ivory Palaces,” depicts this descent from glory — the Son of Man’s voluntary departure from the ivory palace that is His eternal dwelling place. He chose willingly to make Himself of no reputation, to become a man and a servant, obedient even unto death.
I find the summary of the gospel message graciously penciled and underlined in Second Corinthians chapter eight and in the verse ninth verse:
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Excerpt from Humiliation to Exaltation by R.C Sproul.
My good friend Jim Bublitz went to be with the Lord earlier this year however some of his articles on his blog (The Old Truth) still speak volumes. Like this one…
You’ve likely heard the phrase in real-estate, that what matters is “Location, location, location“. The idea behind that holds true in bible study as well, and perhaps could be better stated “Context, context, context“. Failure to obey this rule will result in devastating consequence in your understanding of the bible. It’s possible that by ignoring context, we can come up with a meaning for a bible verse that is completely different than what the Holy Spirit intended. In this post we’ll take a look at one passage where today’s church has done exactly that.
You might remember me bringing up the “inspirational” wall calendar with scripture passages on it, in which one of the months said this: “If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” Apparently, nobody bothered to check the context of that text, because if they had, they would have found out that it was actually Satan speaking (Luke 4:7).
Context is so important, that the folks at Stand To Reason sell a booklet entitled “Never Read a Bible Verse“, never read one all by itself that is. You should always read the surrounding verses and chapters, etc. It’s actually dangerous to read a bible verse in isolation.