Why Don't Christians Follow Old Testament "rules" Such as Abstaining from Shrimp?

Visitor: Some people quote Old Testament "rules" about some things while they sit there on the Sabbath eating shrimp while wearing blended fiber clothes that cover a cute tattoo of an American flag. All of those things being forbidden by the same book they're using to condemn something else.....

Response: Forbidding the eating of shrimp was one directive for the Jews to be set apart from the unclean Gentiles as God's holy people. Jesus fulfilled the law and now He includes Gentiles, incorporating them into God's kingdom as well. When Jesus was crucified all that separated Jew and Gentile was done away with including these theocratic laws to separate them from Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-20). Gentiles are accepted now in Christ, having been formerly unclean .... recall Peter's vision on his rooftop seeing the sheets of animals come down (Acts 10:9-16) which God said he could now eat ... because God was showing him that He now accepted Gentiles coming into the kingdom. God declared “What God has made clean, do not call common.” (Acts 10:15). So understood properly there is very good reason these practices were changed. Gentiles were unclean and are now included among Abraham's offspring because of Christ (Acts 9:28; Galatians 3:29). Without understanding this background to your statement it just sounds like some arbitrary change of law. But It actually has deep significance for the New Covenant which the Old Testament itself promised all along (Genesis 22:18; Ezek 36:26) God did not change. This was his redemptive plan through the whole bible from the beginning.

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 19:56 -- john_hendryx

A Vision for Biblical Literacy in the Next Generation

by David and Sally Michael

Here are is an exhortation from David and Sally Michael from their conference message, “A Vision for Biblical Literacy in the Next Generation”: (MP3)

Exposure to the whole counsel of God is vital, but children must also be taught to rightly understand the Word. Our children and young people need the same prodding that Paul gave to his spiritual son:

2 Timothy 2:15—Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

In a postmodern culture where it is acceptable to define your own truth, children must realize that truth is not “what a Bible verse means to me,” but rather that truth is found in discovering the author’s original intent interpreted in light of the whole message of the Bible, leading to the God-given meaning of the text. Therefore, we must guide the next generation to be students of the Word who have the necessary tools to interpret Scripture correctly, as Paul did for Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:7—Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Start with simple questions about texts as children are young, and give them more tools as they mature. This is in direct opposition to what is happening in our culture as we move from a language-based system of learning to an image base.

It will be very difficult for children to become serious students of the Word if they are used to a steady diet of sound bite technology. Over exposure to sound bite technology will reap a crop of students who are incapable of serious, careful Bible study, who will not be equipped and competent for every good work.

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 13:34 -- john_hendryx

Fathers, Catechize Your Children

On the use of catechisms for teaching children bible doctrine in the home, here is an outstanding article for parents: “The Importance and Practice of Catechism: Fathers-Instruct Your Childrenby Dr. Kim Riddlebarger. He concludes his article with these practical reminders:

First, be consistent. The best way to learn a catechism is simply to keep at it! Take “the tortoise” and not “the hare” approach. You cannot teach your child a lengthy catechism in a couple of weeks! But over time—if you keep at ityou’ll be amazed at how much children will remember and comprehend.

Second, be creative. One of the greatest obstacles to catechism is boredom. Simply reading the question and then expecting your children to recite the memorized answer is no fun for them, and they’ll come to hate the whole idea. Go ahead and stress memorization, but whenever you can, relate the catechism to the Scriptures. Most catechisms give Scripture proofs. And if you discuss the question and answer with your kids, and then relate the catechism to real life situations, current events or to movies and TV, your kids will get the sense that theology is of great value in navigating their way through life…

Third, don’t panic. Many people tell me that they are new to this and there is always the pressure to make up for lost time. Go slow. Quality time is always better than rushed and tense sessions where the kids are tired and the parents are frustrated. Do what you can when you can and have realistic expectations. Even a small amount of catechesis is better than no catechesis.

Mon, 10/10/2016 - 14:36 -- john_hendryx

Growing in Grace & Conscious of Sin

Due to a rising sense of sin, many genuine Christians, as they grow in grace, may occasionally have doubts arise as to the assurance of their conversion. We can feel that grace is declining when our awareness of inner corruption is growing. Our pride, our lusts and other corruptions swell up in our breasts and so we wonder if our conversion is real, or at least wonder where God is in all of this. Rather than being comforted, we feel extraordinary discomfort. We become worried and irritated and wonder how it is that we feel guiltier than ever.

If you are complaining to yourself in this way, let me ask you this: Were these corruptions in you before you began to sense their reality? If you are human you answered in the affirmative. You may have noticed them before but not been humbled by them, but now your soul is vexed and brought low by them. This might seem strange but actually you are finally judging yourself aright. This is not a sign of grace decay and decline but, on the contrary, a sign that you are growing in grace. If you notice your sin more, it is because you have more light, because the Lord has made you more sensitive to it. This is actually a sign that God united you to Himself in Christ, and a sign of a thriving Christian. For if God is with you, you will be more discomforted than ever in the presence of your own sin. This means the Spirit is doing His work. The result is that we may think ourselves even more vile sinners than we previously thought.

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 13:42 -- john_hendryx

Five Big Myths About Calvinism

by John Samson

I speak for many when I say that I have not always embraced the doctrines of grace or what is commonly called Calvinism. Its actually unfortunate that a man’s name is associated with the doctrines that came out of the Protestant Reformation. Calvin was not the first to articulate these truths, but merely was the chief systematizer of such doctrines. There was actually nothing in Calvin that was not first seen in Luther, and much of Luther was first found in Augustine. Luther was an Augustinian monk, of course. We would also naturally affirm that there was nothing in any of these men that was not first found in Paul and Peter and John in the New Testament.

Tue, 10/04/2016 - 18:32 -- john_hendryx

Progressive Pogrom by Steve Hays

It's an interesting time to be an orthodox Christian. 
1. The Obama era has emboldened the religious left as well as the secular left. Their theology (if you can call it that) is synchronized with the Zeitgeist. It's striking to see their ferocious enmity for traditional Christian theology. That was epitomized by Elizabeth Barnes (who teaches feminist philosophy at the University of Virginia), when she said:
I hereby declare a party on my wall for progressive Christians sick of seeing their faith tradition co-opted by people who seem unable or unwilling to understand their own cruelty. 
That's unintentionally comical. Progressive Christianity is entirely parasitic on orthodox Christian theology. Progressive Christianity is defined in reaction to orthodox Christianity. Imagine a Muslim complain that he's sick of seeing Christians co-opt Islam. It isn't even possible for orthodox Christians to co-opt the faith tradition of progressive Christians. Rather, progressive Christians are laboring to co-opt Christian tradition, but sterilize it in the process. Orthodox Christian tradition is the frame of reference, not progressive Christianity.  
In point of fact, progressive Christianity cannot be true. If you think traditional Christian theology is bad pious fiction, then, at best, progressive Christianity can only be rewritten pious fiction. Redacting offensive fiction doesn't turn it into nonfiction, but just a different brand of fiction. Indeed, derivative fiction. A fiction of a fiction. Progressive Christianity is a secondary, reactionary movement with no intrinsic identity. 
The enmity of militant atheists towards Christianity at least has a semblance of logicality. Atheism doesn't pretend to be Christian.
Mon, 10/03/2016 - 20:08 -- john_hendryx

Sola Scriptura Examined and Defended

by Dr. James White

Dr. James White writes: Went 135 minutes today (hence the “uber-mega” designation) covering two primary topics: sola scriptura defined and defended against a recent attack upon it by Karlo Broussard of Catholic Answers (first 90 minutes), and then a “live” review of a new video against the deity of Christ from a Muslim perspective. A lot of foundational, basic teaching today that we think is very, very important for all believers!

Dr. James White: “We continued our series on sola scriptura today, looking at what sola scriptura is and is not. Touched on the issues raised by charismatic claims of “thus says the Lord” a bit as well. We really believe this is an important series, and hope our listeners will find it foundationally edifying.”

Fri, 09/30/2016 - 21:27 -- john_hendryx

Major Update to our 'Five Solas of the Reformation' Section

Image Adapted from Tim Challies' Visual Theology

We just completed a major update to the content in our Five Solas of the Reformation subsection There are 100s of free resources for download

Unwarranted confidence in human ability is a product of fallen human nature ... God's grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. We confess that human beings are born spiritually dead and are incapable even of cooperating with regenerating grace. We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life. We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature. - Cambridge Declaration

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 16:34 -- john_hendryx

Doing Math with Dice and Atheism’s Destruction of Knowledge

Guest post by Jimmy Li

Apologetics Sermon Illustration

Point: Doctor Cornelius Van Til, the father of Presuppositional apologetics, is famous for asking the following question to those who would attack the Christian faith: “On what foundation rest the guns which he directs against the Christian position?”  Cornelius Van Til was insightful to note that the presuppositions one bring to the discussion about the truth of Christianity matters.  In fact presuppositions are very crucial.  Elsewhere Van Til said,

The issue between believers and non-believers in Christian theism cannot be settled by a direct appeal to “facts” or “laws” whose nature and significance is already agreed upon by both parties to the debate. The question is rather as to what is the final reference-point required to make the “facts” and “laws” intelligible. The question is as to what the “facts” and “laws” really are. Are they what the non-Christian methodology assumes that they are? Are they what the Christian theistic methodology presupposes they are?” (Source)

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 14:15 -- john_hendryx


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