July 26, 2013
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An interesting look at a question that the Heidelberg Catechism addresses…
Heidelberg Catechism #42
Q. Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?
A. Our death does not pay the debt of our sins. Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.
Theological: For the believer in Jesus Christ, death is transformed. What used to be a just penalty for sin has become a portal into a fuller version of eternal life. O death, where thy sting? O grave, where thy victory? This, like so much Christian verity, must be approached in faith. The death of the righteous (from a biological point of view) looks the same as the death of the wicked. Having recently sat by the bed of my dying father, however, I can tell you that death for the Christian is a bitter wonder, a nasty joy. There’s More…
December 31, 2011
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Heads pawed, eyes claws-ed
Then I said: “Ah, Lord God, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” Jer 14:13 ESV
With heads bowed and eyes closed, the music was just right. The preacher shuffles and gently casts his gaze over the reverently silent congregation before he beckons, “Put your hand up if you have tried everything and now you want to accept Jesus into your heart. See, you have a God shaped hole in your heart and only Jesus can fill it.” A hundred to two hundred hands go up in the air. They ask Jesus into their hearts that day-a decision they may well repeat a few more times through that year.
A major denomination which has 11,500 churches throughout the US – in 1991, their first year of what they called “the decade of harvest,” they got 294,000 decisions for Christ. They found that only 14,000 remained in fellowship. That is, they couldn’t account for 279,000 of their decisions for Jesus. And this is normal modern evangelical statistics when it comes to crusades and local churches. Many converts don’t fall away. They get followed up and squeezed into a local church where they’re surrounded by a good social life, and they stay within the church given assurance they’re saved when there is no grounds for their salvation, because they do not have the things that accompany salvation. –True and False Conversions by Ray Comfort
God shaped hole in heart
When we hear Christian clichés like ‘Accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour;’ ‘Ask Jesus into your heart;’ ‘Invite Christ into your life;’ or ‘Make a decision for Christ’ and find that such theology is not scripturally based then we realise something must have been omitted. In order to be saved, a man must repent (Acts 2:38).Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of repentance and trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31, Heb 6:1). How could it sound so right, yet be so un-right? Yeah. Welcome to the shaken and stirred Gospel Lite! Read More
November 22, 2010
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God has recently given us the opportunity to discuss some theological issues with other Christians who believe differently than we do on a number of points, most notably the doctrines of grace. [This post was adapted from Monergism] In such a circumstance, given the overwhelming supply of scriptural evidence that comes to bear on the topic, it seemed to me that the best approach would be a simple categorized scripture list: the fact that the entire paper would be scriptures, with the exception of a few brief explanatory notes, would underscore the truth that this is God’s own word and teaching; and the fact that it would be categorized would facilitate the ready comparison of scripture with scripture so as to lead one to a full-orbed understanding of the biblical teaching. Although I found a few good scripture lists of that nature available online, none of them was laid out in quite the progression that I was looking for, and so I developed my own. I’m posting it here with just the scripture references. Below, for your convenience I have provided a condensed version and a full version of the study. The study is also available in print from Monergism Books. Read More
August 11, 2010
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Is there still any reverence for the Holy and sacred things of God these days? What ever happened to the good old sermons about sin, righteousness and judgement? They called some of these ‘fire and brimstone’ sermons and phased them out of most churches, radios and television. Have you ever listened to Jonathan Edwards’ sermon ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God’? Not even so called christian broad casters feature such sermons any more. These sermons are deemed ‘volatile’ and dont draw ratings they say. But they make a fatal error as they gladly proclaim a new gospel. One that is billed as the best thing since sliced bread called Gospel lite -the health, wealth and prosperity gospel.
Flip to a typical modern christian church sermon broad cast and what do you see? A young man who should be a pastor struts around an arena with spandex and jiggles as he lays his closed bible on the Plexiglass pulpit that casts a silhouette against the laser lit giant screen behind him. It’s Sunday and the topic is self esteem and positive confession…for the fifty second time that year. ‘This is our year of destiny’ reads the banner that has always been flown year in and year out. New visitors and tourists stagger in awe as they trudge through the church programme.The message elates them and sure enough tickles their fancy enough to bring them back But There’s More
March 28, 2010
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In a bid to inject a much needed machismo, gloss and finesse to Christianity and make it more appealing to men, a growing number of Evangelical Churches are involving fight night television viewing parties and sermon series that use ultimate fighting. Other ministers have gone further to hosting or participating in live events.
MEMPHIS — In the back room of a theater on Beale Street, John Renken, 37, a pastor, recently led a group of young men in prayer. “Father, we thank you for tonight,” he said. “We pray that we will be a representation of you.”
An hour later, a member of his flock who had bowed his head was now unleashing a torrent of blows on an opponent, and Mr. Renken was offering guidance that was not exactly prayerful. But There’s More