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Do you believe God sent the hurricane(s)?

Yes, I believe God ordains all that comes to pass (Eph 1:11) If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?" (Amos 3:6). After losing all ten of his children after a great wind had caused the collapse of his son's house, Job says, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). After being covered with boils he says, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10). Our world has been under judgment since the Fall, so there is sickness, death and calamity.

Jesus declared that disasters are reminders that we all live in our fallen world, of life's precariousness and ought to cause us all to repent:

(Quote) "...those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1–5)

Does this mean we (the church) should sit on our hands? No, I am thankful that God also ordains that his church would engage in acts of mercy and pray ... and that the prayers of His saints will play a role in, and affect the outcome of events and be instrumental in the salvation of souls. God ordains both the means and the ends.

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:51 -- john_hendryx

The Double Cure

When the Holy Spirit regenerates a man and joins him to Christ, He shows him the heinousness of his sin. Seeing he cannot save himself from it, the sinner appeals to Christ to deliver him both from 1) sin's guilt and 2) from its power; from God's wrath and from sin's bondage; to not only justify him, but to sanctify him --- to apply the double cure. Christ did not die for our sin so we could have peace with sin but so that we would go to war with sin. No regenerate man says 'Lord forgive my guilt but leave me in my bondage to my sin.' No, by the grace of God, he flees from sin to Christ for salvation - salvation from God's wrath as well as deliverance from our sinful self, for the power of the Spirit to put off sin. So unlike some modern teaching, salvation does not merely consist of being delivered from God's wrath but includes much more. Many in the justification-only crowd and some liberal theologians have used this theology as an excuse to live in sin. But as J. I. Packer once said, "A half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth."

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 14:23 -- john_hendryx

Amillennialism and The “Future” Kingdom of God

A common misunderstanding about amillennialism is that “covenant theologians regard the kingdom of God as a wholly invisible and wholly present reality with no future, earthly fulfillment.” It is argued that because amillennialists have no place in their eschatological scheme for Jesus reigning upon a earthly throne in Jerusalem, they therefore by necessity have no place for an earthly, consummated kingdom. Far to the contrary, the amillennial position on the nature of God’s kingdom is that it is both a present and future reality – i.e., that it is both already-and-not-yet, inaugurated but not consummated – and that both these present and future elements of the kingdom include spiritual as well as earthly dimensions. This fulfillment, however, will not take place during a future millennial period but rather at the end of the age when Christ returns and heaven and earth are renewed. To say that because amillennialists do not affirm Christ’s earthly reign “from a throne in Jerusalem” then they cannot affirm an earthly future for God’s kingdom is to confuse a particular (premillennial) understanding of what Christ’s reign will look like with the broader category of God’s kingdom. Such an assertion would be similar to an amillennialist saying that because premillennialists do not affirm that Satan is currently bound so they cannot affirm the current, spiritual presence of God’s kingdom.

The follow excepts conclusively show that the above position is the amillennial position.

Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 14:13 -- john_hendryx

The Nashville Statement and Acting in Love Toward our Neighbor

Just a couple of comments on one of the articles in the Nashville Statement

ARTICLE 10
WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree

------
If I may add my 2 cents to Article 10:

Those within the visible church who APPROVE of homosexual immorality are not acting in love toward our neighbor but, for fear of man's opinion, are denying him or her the gospel, which is the only hope for any of us. Those churches who approve are, therefore, guilty of doing harm and/or murdering souls.

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand." - Ezek 3:18

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 14:18 -- john_hendryx

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

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