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Rebuilding the Tower of Babel

While peace and global unity are laudable pursuits (on the surface), such goals ought to be seen in the light of what took place at the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9). This event stands as a stark warning against utopianism, against man's proud and unending use of politics, economics and false religion to attain global unity apart from God. Mankind's ability to fashion such a world was forfeited at the fall and until we return to our Creator, and embrace His appointed means to reach this goal, mankind's quest for global unity will inevitably end in chaos and utter destruction.

According to Scripture, mankind will indeed finally succeed in creating this global counterfeit kingdom (Rev 13:8, 16:9, 17:8) but God will overthrow it, bring judgment on the earth, and join the family of man together under his righteous rule and bring in the only true lasting kingdom. (Rev 21)

"And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." Dan 2:43- 44

Note: I believe this same truth can be applied to just about any situation where human beings are endeavoring to do good.  When God and the gospel are removed from our charity, and we chose to do things our own way, we set up a counterfeit which does no ultimate good to the parties involved.  

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 19:12 -- john_hendryx

Life from the Dead: An Exposition of Romans 11:11-36

by Dean Davis

NOTE: The essay below is an extract from the book, The High King of Heaven: Discovering the Master Keys to the Great End Time Debate by Dean Devis (Redemption Press, 2014). It deals with one of the great biblical signs of the imminence of the Consummation: the large-scale converision of ethnic Israel in the last of the Last Days. Though other biblical texts touch on this theme (see note 1), Romans 11:11-36 gives us the single most important discussion of this holy mystery. I hope you will enjoy my humble attempt to plumb its amazing depths.

An Exposition of Romans 11:11-36

Though this passage touches only indirectly upon the Consummation, it is of great importance, since here we are supplied with yet another outstanding sign of its imminence: the latter day conversion of ethnic Israel at large, leading swiftly to the Parousia and the Resurrection of the dead. Later, I will touch on some of the practical implications of this unique revelation for Christian life and ministry. First, however, we must examine the text itself, in order to see if this really is the apostle’s message.

Introduction

Fri, 08/25/2017 - 14:18 -- john_hendryx

The Prosperity Gospel: A Global Epidemic

by Costi Hinn

Prosperity is hot topic in the church. Does God care if a pastor drives a nice car or lives in a nice home? Does God command that all who follow Him take a vow of poverty and starve their families in a protest of earthly comfort? Bible teachers sell millions of books and accumulate mass amounts of wealth, are they in the same league as other wealthy preachers? Some men will have deep convictions about attaining any measure of wealth, while others will be content use their wealth to give back to their church. Some will use their wealth to fund a child’s college tuition, or even scholarship a seminary student. Others will invest their wealth with the goal of giving even more away in the future.

Stewardship comes in all shapes and sizes but one thing doesn’t—God’s ability to weigh a man’s heart and motives. It is a man’s heart that God is most interested in and the gospel a man proclaims that God will judge most. When Heaven’s final bell rings and every man is recompensed according to his deeds, God will have the final say. The issue will not be whether that pastor took home a six-figure salary; the issue will be what that man taught and wrote while representing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In this article, the prosperity gospel is placed front and center as one of the deadliest teachings in the world today. It has attached itself to the Bible, and to Jesus Christ—though it has no business doing so. Billions chase after it in search of stability and hope. Yet, all those who live and die trusting in the prosperity gospel for salvation will be left wanting in both this life, and the next.

What is Prosperity Gospel Theology?

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 21:12 -- john_hendryx

Is Calvinism Synonymous with Fatalism?

A guest post by Steve Hays

I've posted most of the definitions at one time or another, but it's useful to collate them in one place. 
 
Is Calvinism fatalistic? Is determinism synonymous with fatalism?
 
Critics of Calvinism use "fatalism" as an inaccurate term of abuse, because it has invidious connotations that a neutral term does not. Here are some standard definitions and explanations of fatalism. Calvinism is not fatalistic:
 
Fatalism, in its most usual sense, should not be confused with predestination. Fatalism asserts an abstract necessity without regard to causal antecedents and thus is diametrically opposed to predestination, in which causes and effects, ends and means, are determined in relation to one another. The use of means is rendered futile by fatalism, but not by predestination. The Encyclopedia of Christianity, 4:180.
 
According to this view, then, determinism is the thesis that everything that occurs, including our deliberations and decisions, are causally necessitated by antecedent conditions. Fatalism, by contrast, is the doctrine that our deliberations and decisions are causally ineffective and make no difference to the course of events. In circumstances of fatalism what happens does not depend on how the agent deliberates. The relevant outcome will occur no matter what the agent decides.
 
Clearly, however, determinism does not imply fatalism. While there are some circumstances in which deliberation is futile (i.e. 'local fatalism'), deliberation is nevertheless generally effective in a deterministic world.
Wed, 08/23/2017 - 14:47 -- john_hendryx

The Law Engraved Upon Our Hearts

Our motivation makes the difference. The legalist obeys God's commands in order to attain and/or maintain their just standing before God; something that is clearly Christ's office alone. Evangelical obedience, if I may use that term, obeys out of a renewed heart. i.e. because he is born again and God's seed dwells in him (1 John 3:9). The thought of abiding in sin goes against the grain of who is is - a Spirit-indwelt believer whose heart now has the law of God written upon it.

Being set free from the curse of the law means we are no longer under its condemnation (Rom 8:1) because Jesus has fulfilled the law on our behalf (Rom 8:3-4). But this does not mean we are to cease obeying God's commands.

"this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world." 1 John 5:3-4

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 11:51 -- john_hendryx

The Visible Vs. The Invisible Church

What do we mean when we make the distinction between the visible and invisible church? And what is the reason for this distinction? Starting around the 4th century - the expression "Visible Church" was refered to by theologians, not to a building, but to the members on the rolls of a local church. In other words, all persons who are members of a local church are considered to be a part of the visible church.

On the other hand, the invisible church refers to those persons who have actually been regenerated or quickened by the Holy Sprit, God's elect or true believers. Augustine referred to the church as a mixed body, a visible people, but this people has both tares and wheat, as described by Jesus. In other words, there is no such thing as a perfect church, and there will always people in the church there with bad motives or are there for the wrong reason. There will always be people who claim to love Christ but whose heart is far from Him. Many, Jesus says, will say on that day, did we not do this and that in your name? Jesus wil then say, "I never knew you". These are descriptions of some people now sitting in your local church and Jesus says of them that he "never knew them!!!" Some persons are in church for show, to be seen by men as pious, others perhaps for a social club or to show of their ability to wax eloquent when discussing theology. These persons hearts are completely invisible to us, but of course, they are not invisible to God and only He can know who is truly regenerate, so we must be generous in our judgements.

The following is a detailed description of the orthodox doctrine of the visible and invisible church as explained by Pastor Brian Schwertley. It is well worth reading and quite helpful:

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 19:52 -- john_hendryx

A Vile Wretch

The following is an excerpt of a short conversation that ensued as a result of this Lloyd-Jones quote:

Visitor: Actually Man was made in the image of God and God said that His creation was very good!! I do not see myself as a wretch but as a child of God, who God thought was worth the blood of Jesus. He must have seen incredible worth in us to send His Son to die for us!! I have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. By His sacrifice we can once again be conformed into His image and bring glory to His name. I wouldn't call my God given image a 'vile wretch'. I think that is just false humility born out of religion and spoken by someone who does not understand their true identity in Christ!

-----

Response: Actually it not false humility. It's simply an acknowledgement of the truth. Apart from Christ we all justly deserve the wrath of God. If there is anything good in us, good inclinations, works pleasing to God etc, it is from Christ. The rest is our fault. If we don't understand that then we do not even understand the most basic reason for the gospel. Jesus came to rescue us, to free the captives from their bondage to sin. He did not come to give us advice about how to save ourselves.

We all agree we were created in the image of God. Praise the Lord. But we have made a shipwreck of God's gifts and have distorted that image with our sin. But in Christ as we behold the glory of God he transforms us into his likeness, but now all of us are woefully far from loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 16:28 -- john_hendryx

Not Politics, Not the Media: Only God Can Reconcile the Peoples of the Earth

Like many of you, my heart was broken and saddened by the abominable evils we witnessed in Charlottesville ... so, so painful when the story broke. To see that kind of heinous evil and racism today ...it is disgraceful. But it reveals again how much work still needs to be done, and it serves as a looking glass to remind us of our own sin. So let us, by grace, put all rising thoughts of hate and prejudice to death (1 John 2:9-17; 3:14-15; 4:19-20; Col 3:8) and pray with the apostle Paul: "may the Lord make [us] increase and abound in love FOR ONE ANOTHER and FOR ALL" (1 Thess 3:12) There is no greater time than the present for the church to glorify her Lord by being a holy community of love ... to break down walls, to break down barriers to embrace our brothers and sisters who have come from all walks of life ... and to dignify ALL people we meet as image bearers of God. And by God's grace, may the church stand apart from the shrill political rhetoric, the virtue signalling, and rather, (Lord help us) abound in love for one another.

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 17:05 -- john_hendryx

Why We Believe While Others Reject

Listen to Audio or watch this Video of this sermon

by John MacArthur

1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16

It was about 25 years ago in my life that I was asked to write a little book, and the original title of that little book was Focus on Fact.  You’ve probably never seen it; it didn’t last very long.  It came out in another edition with another title a couple of years later, and that title was Why I Trust The Bible.  It was 1983.  And as I was preparing to write that book about why I trust the Bible, which is really what the first one was about as well, I had to answer the question why did I trust the Bible.  What was it about the truth of Scripture that made it believable to me?  Was I smarter than everybody else?  Had I been presented a more powerful set of evidences about Scripture?  And certainly such can be presented.  Why did I have such immense confidence in the Bible?

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 15:05 -- john_hendryx

Biblical Theology Primer

Biblical Theology in the tradition of Geerhardus Vos approaches the Bible as an organic drama of God's unfolding revelation through history. In distinction from doctrinal or systematic theology, biblical theology follows the progressively unfolding revelation of God's words and deeds through history. This linear aspect of revelation unites each revelatory event and proclamation both retrospectively and prospectively. Vos described the organic continuation of revelation in history as a flower expanding from bud to blossom. The blossom is retrospectively united to the bud; the bud is prospectively united to the blossom. One of the tasks/privileges of the interpreter of Scripture is to draw out these organic prospective and retrospective relationships. At the center of this organic unity is the person and work of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Even as our Risen Lord related all of Scripture retrospectively and prospectively to himself (Luke 24:27), so Reformed biblical theology is preeminently Christocentric. We seek to display Christ in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 17:14 -- john_hendryx

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