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Where Have You Placed Your Hope?

Every human being places his hope in something, and every human being asks that hope to deliver something. Where have you placed your hope?

We’ve all been hardwired for hope. We all project our lives out into the future to imagine things as we would like them to be. We all carry around with us personal hopes and dreams. We all surrender our hearts to some kind of expectation. We all silently wish that things could be different than they are. We all hope in something and we all hope for something. So much of how we look at life and how we live our lives is connected to the things in which we place the fundamental hopes of our lives.

Hope always has three elements—an assessment, an object, and an expectation. First, hope looks around and assesses that something or someone could be better than it is; that that something or someone is somehow broken. If things were as perfect as they could be, you wouldn’t need to hope. Second, hope always has an object. It is the thing that you bank your hope on. You ask the object of your hope to fix what is broken or to deliver what is desired or needed. Third, hope has an expectation. This is what you ask the object of your hope to give you, what you hope the object of your hope will deliver.

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 16:48 -- john_hendryx

The Heart of the Matter for Secularists. How Do You Know that Racism is Wrong?

Is racism universally (that is, objectively) wrong, or is this something that people should be free to decide for themselves?  In other words, is racism something that you think should be wrong at all times for everyone in all cultures and communities, or is this merely your personal preference? 

If there is one thing Christians can wholeheartedly agree with young postmodern secularists, it is that, in large part, they are motivated by altruism, a strong desire to advance human rights, and to care deeply for the universal welfare of humanity. There is a tendency among young postmoderns to want to treat with benevolence all people regardless of their ethnicity.  This is truly to be admired. 

At the same time, however, without blinking an eye, secularists will openly tell you that there is no objective right or wrong - that all morals should be left to the individual to decide. That there is no cosmic or ethical order outside of subjective preferences. But if morality is nothing more than our expression of personal preference or feelings, and does not exist independent of them, then why do people (even secularists) find universal judgments to be irresistible in practice? Their views of racism is a good example. Even the most ardent materialists are unable to refrain from passing moral judgments, even as their philosophy tells them otherwise. They live as if we are accountable to a moral standard that exists beyond themselves. 

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 14:29 -- john_hendryx

Treating the Underlying Disease

Something has gone terribly wrong the world and it must be made right. There is genocide, terrorism, corruption, authoritarianism, racism, world wars, human trafficking, slavery, abortion, environmental disaster, exploitation of children, greed, abuse, anger, addictions, etc. There is a lot of moral outrage over these things, yet most people do not have any coherent explanation of why humanity is in such a mess. Many believe much of what ails us are things like psychological trauma, self-esteem problems and addiction, and while there may be some superficial truth in this, our problem really runs much deeper than this. These behavioral problems are but the symptoms, not the underlying disease.

What's amazing it that people keep trying the same solutions that have never worked. Each week the masses on social media are outraged at the latest contemporary scandal or injustice but seem to only offer superficial ways of treating the symptoms (anger, law), but rarely offer a cure for the underlying disease (the gospel). The solutions offered are usually vague, non-descript and amorphous. Fact is, you can put in place all the good laws in the world but they will do next to nothing to change the evil of men's hearts. It may restrain evil to an extent, and that's good (and necessary), but it will never, ever resolve the underlying cancer that causes the problem in the first place. 

The problem with the world starts with me. Good and evil run right down the center of my own heart. Lord have mercy on me. There is no hope for me if I am left to myself.  Thank God for Jesus Christ, who saves sinners like me... and who is coming as the sovereign King to bring all things in the light and make all things right. 

 

 

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 13:07 -- john_hendryx

Moral Outrage and the Quest for Power

It is not difficult to notice the overwhelming number of people who express their moral outrage toward social and political issues on social media. They find it natural to pronounce judgment on issues that offend them. Ironically, many of these same persons find the idea of the final judgment of God to be offensive. I've had numerous friends express to me that the concept of a final judgment of wheat and tares, sheep and goats, to be a stumbling block for them.

Why? Outrage presupposes the concept of justice. But if the pursuit of justice is virtuous in human courts then why is it so offensive that God, who is objective, who exercises perfect justice, and who knows all the secrets of men, something to stumble over? We will not let God be God, yet eagerly willing to take on the role of God ourselves.

There is a universal desire for justice in the human soul, regardless of where you are born. It is not something that must be taught, but rises up within each one of us. This points to the fact that a universal law has been implanted in each one of us. The desire for justice points to the reality of God. For moral outrage is absurd, if you believe in moral relativism. Either there is an objective right and wrong OR it is a mere personal preference. And if it is but a preference, then how can you consistently express moral outrage at others who are merely expressing their preference? If there is no objective, universal morality that transcends human opinion, then, to be consistent, all that's left is power .. the desire to impose your preference on others.

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Sat, 05/16/2020 - 13:12 -- john_hendryx

Dear PCA, Don’t Let Revoice Fool You: A Response to Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions – Part 4

By Dr. Jared Moore

Introduction

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is Part 4, the final part ( Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 ) of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice . I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed . I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches.

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 15:19 -- john_hendryx

Private Prayer is the Christian's Strongest Refuge in Trouble

by Thomas Brooks

In times of great trouble and trials, in times of great afflictions and persecutions, private prayer is the Christian’s food and drink. It is their chief city of refuge or shelter and hiding place in a stormy day. When the saints have been driven by violent persecutions into holes and caves, dens, deserts and howling wildernesses, private prayer has been their food and drink. Under Christ it has been their only refuge.

When Esau came forth with hostile intentions against Jacob, secret prayer was Jacob’s refuge (Genesis 32:6-9, 11). He recalls God’s promises, they must be prayed over in private. When Jacob and all that was near and dear to him, were in eminent danger of being cut off by Esau and the men of blood that were with him, he takes himself to private prayer as his only city of refuge against the rage and malice of the mighty.

When Jeremiah was in a solitary and loathsome dungeon, private prayer was his food and drink, it was his only city of refuge (Jeremiah 33:1-3). God encourages him by private prayer, to seek for further revelations of those choice and unique favours, which He purposed to confer on His people in future times.

When Manasseh was in chains, in his enemies’ country, when he was stripped of all his princely glory and led captive into Babylon, he takes himself to private prayer as his only City of refuge (2 Chronicles 33:11-13). By this means he prevails with God for his restoration to his crown and kingdom.

Private prayer is a city of refuge that no power nor politics, no craft nor cruelty, no violence nor force is ever able to overcome. Though the joint prayers of the people of God together were often obstructed and hindered in the times of the ten persecutions (of the early Church), yet they were never able to obstruct or hinder secret prayer.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 14:37 -- john_hendryx

Dear PCA, Don’t Let Revoice Fool You: A Response to Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions – Part 3

 

By Dr. Jared Moore

Introduction

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is Part 3 (Part 1, Part 2) of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice. I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed. I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches.

Revoice’s mission is “to support and encourage gay, lesbian, bisexual, and other same-sex attracted Christians—as well as those who love them—so that all in the Church might be empowered to live in gospel unity while observing the historic Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.”[1] The latter part of this statement about gospel unity, like their FAQ, sounds like something faithful Christians can affirm; however, if we look closer at the language they use and compare it with the writings of their leaders, we will see that their theology is neither biblical nor Reformed.

Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions

In their FAQ, Revoice writes,

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 16:58 -- john_hendryx

Post Truth

We live in a post-truth era. In this secular age, truth is determined, not by any objective criteria, but is a social construct arbitrarily defined by a subjective community preference. But having no objective truth to look to, all that's left is power. Instead of having common ideals, this has only given rise to clans and blood feuds, as we are now witnessing. Whoever has the most power wins, which is the early signal for an authoritarian state.

Once we set aside the obvious truth that man is inherently evil, we will increasingly abandon the rule of law, the separation of powers and limited government. And by removing restraints on government, we are creating the very conditions that even secularism claims to fear .. Fascism and other forms of authoritarian government, the elevation of will over law, which requires concentrated and unconstrained state power. Thus, genuine anti-fascism opposes the expansion and consolidation of government power, and by this measure limited constitutional government (flawed as it may be because of human nature) is one of the most successful anti-authoritarian systems of government ever established. It rightly recognizes human limitations and sin. Above all else, the Founders feared arbitrary power. This fear was rooted in knowledge of history, human nature, revelation and their experiences with self-government and the British.

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 12:17 -- john_hendryx

The Failure of Secular Epistemologies

by Jason Lisle

Non-Christian worldviews would make knowledge impossible.  By this, I certainly do not mean that non-Christians can’t know anything.  Clearly they can.  But this is despite their worldview and not because of it.  My point is that if reality were the way non-Christians claim it is, then knowledge would be impossible. The reason is that these unbiblical worldviews cannot justify those things necessary for knowledge.  So while a non-believer might offer a reason for a belief, he or she cannot ultimately justify the reason itself from a non-Christian foundation.

For example, “I know Saturn has rings because I have observed them with my eyes through a telescope.”  But this assumes that our eyes are reliable – a Christian concept.  A person might say, “I know two contradictory claims cannot both be true because this violates a law of logic.”  Quite right, but apart from Christianity there is no reason to believe that laws of logic are universally and invariantly reliable.

As a specific example, consider the most common secular worldview – that the universe is the result of a big bang, followed by billions of years of cosmic and then biological evolution.  In this worldview, people are merely the inevitable unplanned result of chemistry acting over time.  There is no grand scheme of things, no ultimate mind upholding the universe, and no ultimate objective meaning.

Can a person holding such a view ever have good reasons for his beliefs?  Evolutionists do rely upon laws of logic, upon their mind and senses, and upon morality.  And these are good reasons – in the Christian worldview.  But in the secular worldview, can these reasons be justified?  If not, then a secularist would be irrational to believe them.

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 18:54 -- john_hendryx

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