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Showing posts from May, 2009

Demarest——What are the stages of glorification?

In summary, Demarest describes the Christian's hope of coming glory in these four stages:
The "intermediate state" of the saints after death.  Angels escort bodiless believers to heaven (Luke 16:22). Though bodiless, believers will retain their personal identities (Matt 17:3) and will enjoy fellowship with other believers, being "at home with the Lord" (2 Cor 5:8).  Though this is not yet the complete state of glory, it is heaven.

The resurrection of the saints' transformed bodies at Christ's Second Coming (Tit 2:13).  Our bodies will be redeemed (Rom 8:23, cf. v. 11).  This is the imperishable body (1 Cor 15:54).  Our present troubles are nothing compared to this coming state (2 Cor 4:16–18)!

The vindication of the saints before the judgment seat of Christ, who will examine their works as evidence of faith, gratitude, and love (Rom 14:10–12; 1 Cor 3:12–15; 2 Cor 5:10).  He exposes the believers' hearts, and He will praise them accordingly (1 Cor 4:5;…

Is Democracy Good for Christianity?

John MacArthur answers this question:
A remarkable sidelight to the staggering political changes that have remade our world in recent months is the emergence of a vibrant Christianity from behind the Iron Curtain. All over the Communist bloc, where atheism was official dogma for half a century, the church is growing and alive. I have personally seen evidence even in China that the church there is thriving--even though for the most part it has been forced underground.

By contrast, in "free" Europe, where democracy has ruled, the evangelical church is almost completely dead. Biblical Christianity there has long since ceased being a significant force. Atheism and humanism have taken over. Public policy is governed almost totally by philosophies that are intolerant of and even hostile to the truth of Scripture.

It is happening in America, too.

How do we explain this anomaly? Are our "freedoms" helping the church or hurting it?Continue reading >>>

Mixed Metaphors

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(HT: Fail Blog)

The sign has the correct apostrophe for "it's."  It correctly has "Sunday" as a plural (as in, "Don't just come this Sunday/ some Sunday, join us each Sunday!").  But it mixes the metaphors.  Rockets rarely  need surgery.

10 People Every Pastor Should Fear

This from the Gospel-Driven Church.  (HT: The Irish Calvinist.)
1. The guy who "subtly" reminds you how much he gives to the church.
He thinks he is buying influence, and because some of his money pays your salary, he thinks he is buying more access to you and more pull with you than others have. Relieve him of this illusion if necessary.

2. The young guy who likes it when you rant against stuff or preach angry.
Beware of pleasing young men too much. Young men are notoriously stupid. (I know, 'cause I am one.)

3. The guy or gal who doesn't like it when you rant against stuff or preach angry.
Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. If you're sincerely and reliably preaching the Word, toes are going to be stepped on from time to time. If you're not being self-indulgent about it and you are speaking the truth, beware those who think you should be more "positive" like those fellows on TV.

4. The lady with the unbelieving or spiritually unsophisticat…

Spanking: Stories and Parental Love

Whoever spares the rod hates his son,     but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him (Pro 13:24)

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,     but the rod of discipline drives it far from him (Pro 22:15) Doug Wilson posted some interesting spanking stories on his blog: read them and enjoy. (HT: Challies)

I did want to highlight a couple of his statements that you may find helpful if you struggle with the spanking issue:
Disciplined children are not abused children; they are secure children. Not surprisingly, secure children grow up into secure young men and women. Abused children are not really being disciplined—they actually become as undisciplined (in the biblical sense) as their angry and undisciplined parents. Abuse is not an excess of discipline—it is a total absence of righteous discipline.  Some may contend that abuse happens when spanking goes too far, and that is correct.  What is not correct is to then conclude that spanking is simply milder abuse or an ignorant parent …

I just added 600+ books to my library for free

When Medicine and Faith Collide -- What About the Child?

Al Mohler has posted a good response to the recent news item involving the 13-year-old boy battling cancer and the mother who refused to seek treatment for him.

Two deaths after Todd Bentley's Lakeland Revival

Remember the false prophet and false healer Todd Bentley?  I'm still shocked over his antics and statements, and over how many people were buying into his nonsense.

Sadly, two people are now dead who claimed their healing, and it sounds like a third may follow.

(HT: Hear God Speak)


Just as a reminder, here were, in order, highlights of the so-called Lakeland Revival we examined:
July 18, 2008: We watched videos and then chatted:
Todd Bentley heard the "audible voice of God" and discovered he was demon possessed after his profession of faith.Bentley announced the physical appearing of Jesus Christ in Lakeland, then said it would be spiritual (or invisible), then said it would be the (visible) Glory, then began to call down angels.  (To date, nothing appeared on stage, if you were wondering).Bentley described some of the ways he has "healed" people:
he banged a crippled woman's legs up and down like baseball bats,
he kicked an elderly woman in the face (!),
he ch…

Creationist arguments we should * not * use...

This is an important list to keep up with if you intend to discuss creation or evolution.  It's from Answers in Genesis, and I'm just going to do the ol' copy-n-paste:

Why should a Christian ministry maintain a list of arguments creationists should avoid? As a ministry, we want to honor God and represent Christ well when defend His Word. This means using honest, intellectually sound arguments that are based in Scripture, logic, and scientific research. Because there are so many good arguments for a recent creation (which the Bible clearly teaches), we have no need to grasp at straws—arguments using questionable logic and tenuous or no evidence. Answers in Genesis is not willing to distort evidence or resort to bad logic to defend the Bible.
Furthermore, there is little harm in avoiding questionable arguments—or, at least, stating that certain interpretations of evidence are doubtful—since there are plenty of valid arguments with well-documented evidences against molecules-…

Academic Studies

(From Letters of John Newton via Grace Gems email from May 22.)

Dear friend, I truly pity those who rise early and study late--with no higher prize and prospect in view, than the obtaining of academic honors! Such pursuits will before long appear (as they really are) as vain as the foolish games of children! May the Lord impress them with the noble ambition of living to and for Him. If these scholars, who are laboring for pebbles under the semblance of goodly pearls, had a discovery of the Pearl of great price--how quickly and gladly would they lay down their admired attainments, and become fools--that they might be truly wise! Their academic studies, if taken in the aggregate, are little better than splendid trifles!

Friend, what a snare have you escaped! You would have been nothing but a scholar--had not God visited your heart and enlightened you by His grace! Now I trust you account your former academic gains, but loss--compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus. Wh…

RC Sproul: Christ is the only way

John Piper on MacArthur, Driscoll, and the Song of Solomon

HT to Reformed Baptist for this audio:




Yesterday Jonathan Christman posted the above audio at his blog, where he has been tracking the debate that has arisen regardng appropriate speech for pastors. He reports that the audio is from the 2009 Basics Conference that took place on May 11-13 at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio. In it, John declares his agreement with MacArthur with regard to the proper interpretation of the Song of Solomn and what makes for appropriate speech for pastors, but he disagrees with MacAthur's apparent view that such problems should automatically disqualify Driscoll from pastoral ministry.

New Free Music Stream

The Resurgence Blog announced the launch of Re:Sound, coming June 4.  Here is the info directly from the blog:

I am pleased to finally announce the official launch of Re:Sound (ReSound.org) on June 4th at the Advance 09 conference in Raleigh, NC. After a great deal of blood, sweat, and legal fees, I could not be more excited to bring you the musical wing of The Resurgence. Just as Pastor Mark has established Re:Lit to make available culturally accessible, biblically faithful resources in print, we will do the same with music. Re:Sound music will be a consistent stream of music that is theologically unified, stylistically diverse, and musically excellent. Better yet, these resources will be FREE for any non-commercial or ministry use. Connect with Re:SoundGo to ReSound.org to sign up for the Resurgence newsletter and get a reminder when Re:Sound goes live. You can also follow Re:Sound on Twitter. Re:Sound Launch Celebration at Advance09As a way to celebrate the launch of Re:Sound, we’re h…

Writing Wednesdays—Absolutely...actually...

ABSOLUTELY Don’t use this word to mean “very” or “yes,” as in: Will there be a church retreat this year? Absolutely!
That pie was absolutely delicious. The word speaks of condition or fullness: USE:The Internet here is absolutely nonfunctional. However, even with this proper usage, consider dropping the word. Adverbs are another evidence of clutter in your sentences. The Internet here is nonfunctional.
ABSTRACTIONS
You can usually reword abstract words and achieve a better effect.For instance, don't make a suggestion, come to a conclusion, voice an accusation, or make a discovery; just suggest, conclude, accuse,anddiscover.Failures, performances, and examinations are distant and faceless, whereas speaking of the high school seniors who failed to perform well on their final exams creates clarity by focusing the reader.
These sentences require weak verbs. We could write the dull and cluttered report, "The intention of the committee is to audit," or we could be clear about our ch…

Missing Links

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Answers in Genesis has posted a preliminary comment on the missing link story. The "missing link" looks a lot like a modern day lemur, save a couple of variations, has opposable thumbs like every other primate alive today, and bears relatively little in common with humans (outside of common mammalian and primate features). In short, it seems to be just another animal, not really anything special.

Let's not forget, however, that there are so many holes in the evolutionary chain connecting people to other primates that to speak of "the missing link" is comical.

That is to say nothing of "the missing link" (*wink*) between the inorganic rocks of the primordial earth and life. As an example, consider this video describing the ATP synthase (A what? A microscopic atomic-powered generator?!?) that is essential for mitochondria to produce the energy for cells to function (HT: James White for the vid):





The idea that a single cell could evolve without a Creator…

Church, not college, main reason young adults abandon faith

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This looks very interesting.

Britt Beamer (researcher from America's Research Group) and Ken Ham (of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum) have come together to write "a shock and a wake-up call for the church."

And no, it is not specifically on the topic of creationism.

Here is the teaser straight from the AiG blog:
We interviewed people aged between 20–29 who went to church when they were younger, but no longer go to church. And we only included participants who attended conservative evangelical churches so that the results are the best they could possibly be.But we discovered that in the church things are much worse overall.The purpose of the research was to find out why they left church—what caused them to do this.The results are shocking and a real wake-up call. If God’s people take this research to heart, it could revolutionize our churches. Here are just a couple of the many things we found:1. Over 40% in the survey had decided to leave the church by the end of…

For those who believe the 'mark of the beast' to be an implant

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Check out the "killer chip:" comply, or else.

You can run, but you cannot hide ... and if you try, one push of a button will cause a lethal poison to immediately begin flowing through your body.
(HT: I Hate the Media)

CA schools teaches 5-yo's 'Gay is OK,' parents left with little options

Do you remember that Prop 8 supporters were accused of lying about the effects gay marriage would have in schools?  Watch this refresher from the CA Super of Public Instruction:






Okay, in passing I must note that this commercial was attacking a straw man.  His statement, "Prop 8 has nothing to do with schools or kids" is true, but fails to address parental concerns.  The point of the Pro-8 ad wasn't that the Prop 8's failure requires homosexual indoctrination within schools, but that it opens the door to homosexual indoctrination (as we've seen in Massachusetts).  It is true that teachers could avoid discussing the issue, but they would have to validate "gay" marriage should the question arise.

Alright, enough of that; the election is over.  Let's now look at the other side of the issue.  Did the passage of Prop 8 halt homosexual indoctrination?  Of course not.  According to OneNewsNow, a daring school district is proving that point with a new curric…

Five Distortions of the Gospel

James MacDonald posted "Five Distortions of the Gospel" a couple of weeks ago.  If you (like I) didn't notice this, go and read it.  These  "distortions of the gospel . . . were the result of trying to get the gospel to more people," and include:
The Cake Mix GospelThe Cultural GospelThe Cool GospelThe Carnal GospelThe Careful Gospel

Proclaiming God's love...

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...should go better than this:


(HT: Fail blog)

News of Man's Depravity

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Here are a few stories evidencing man's sinfulness:

Owner of Stolen Car Sued in Hit-Run Death.  But Lord, if You hadn't provided me a running car to steal... (HT: Overlawyered)
EPA mad that White House calls CO2 natural.  My favorite line?  "But nowan internal White House memoreveals glimpses of sanity within the administration."  'Bout time.  What's goofy about this?  The control the EPA demands.  It's all about pride.
Girl kicked out of grad school for her religious views.  The continual redefinition of "tolerance" into "I have to affirm every possible lifestyle and belief" is simply the pride of man desiring to be free from any restrictions.
[Video]People still justify killing in the name of religion.  (Content caution: there are some graphic pictures.  Parents, watch the video alone first.  HT: Jihad Watch)We still call murder good. (HT: Cent)Finally, this (HT: Dan Philips):

Nobility, Approachability, and the Vitality of Truth

Does the medium affect the message? Are "blue jeans and flips" honoring Christ by making preachers more accessible, or do they dishonor the message by not lifting it high? Dr. Hegg provides a thoughtful post pondering the issue on his blog.

(David Hegg is the new pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, CA, and professor at the Master's College down the road.)

LHCC Youth: What is the Gospel? (Part 1 of 2)

Faithful reader Jae requested that I place my notes online from the youth meeting last week. 

I've tried to make this a two-week version of a presentation I posted here back in August, so long-time readers (both of you) may recognize the similar material.    Here is the basic outline from the new presentation. 

"Gospel"
Old English word meaning “good news.”
gōd spell (“good tale,” “good talk”—Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed.).In fact, we might as well say “I believe the Good News”This is not just any “good news”
It’s the Good News to the world! It is a message of God’s glory, and that His glory may be enjoyed by us.
If there is good news, then…
The bad news: Isa 59:2: Your iniquities have separated “you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
Rom 3:10–12: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not eve…

Writing Wednesdays—A(n) Accident

A, AN Whenever you can cut the indefinite article, do it. You can use plurals or abstract nouns to get around them to shorten your sentences. As such, even these tiny words can cause clutter.
If you need "a"or "an," however, use them before each noun except when two or more of them bear a relationship. For instance: USE: A husband and wife should sit together during a church service.

NOT:A husband anda wife should sit together during a church service. Use “a” before words that have pronounced consonants as their first letters, before words starting with the “yew” sound, or before abbreviations that are popularly spelled out. Finally, use it before plural nouns only when followed by few or many.
Go to apharmacy to pick up the medication.

I learned of the treatment at auniversity.

The school was credentialed by a NY agency.

Afew other blogs may explain these concepts better. Use “an” before words beginning with vowels, before words with unpronounced consonants, or befo…

TTLB Finally Functional

I don't know if anyone noticed, but the "Truth Laid Bear" status widget at the bottom of this blog has been a non-functional entity from day one.

Perhaps this blog has been so small up until this point as to not even register on their server.

Now it does. My friends, I have proudly climbed the ecological ladder of blogdom to reach the category of "Insignificant Microbe."

There you have it.

The Controversial Gospel

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to teach the youth at our new church. I've spent the last couple of weeks thinking about and working on a project for school on the Gospel, and considering the importance of the Gospel in our churches, it seemed natural to teach on that.

Yet, there are a few statements that I made that caused a ruckus (in a good way). Controversy is a good teaching tool. ;) Have you thought about some of these truths?
Religious people will be in Hell, as will regular, everyday people.
No one goes to Hell for simply not believing in Jesus.You do not go to heaven simply because Jesus died on the cross and rose again.
The Gospel will probably cause you trouble: it is not about having an easy life.Those who could be satisfied with a Heaven that lacks Jesus Christ would find the Heaven of Scripture to be Hell, and probably won't be there.
These are the more controversial points. Of course, we discussed what makes the Gospel so good, and how it is indivisible from …

Two book deals you should be interested in

The first is free: Christian Audiobook is offering Foxe's Book of Martyrs for download.

The second is Dr. Greg Harris' Darkness and the Glory, which is the book of the month at Grace Books International.  (UPDATE: I forgot about this, but John MarAcrtur recorded an endorsement of this book, which you can watch here.)

The world is literally changing... are you ready as a believer?

HT: Paul from Bethel.

Introducing Writing Wednesdays

William Zinnser wrote,
Don't assume that bad English can still be good journalism, or good business writing, or good technical writing, or good travel writing, or good sports writing.  It can't.  Good English is your passport to wherever you need to go in your writing, your work and your life (On Writing Well, p. xi).
I've made some awful mistakes in the thousands of posts I've placed on the internet.  Many times I'm too rushed to be cautious about my language, and I am repeat spelling offender.  Yet, of my posts, the worst are the ones unbelievers have the opportunity to read. 

I say the same for any poor Christian who has his keyboard shod with the Gospel of peace.  In a place where we cannot express ourselves through non-verbal means, we must select our words with the utmost care.

I'm still learning, as are you.  As such, starting next week and extending for the next few months, I'm going to set Wednesdays aside to post some tips that I have found useful.…

Non-Participation in the National Day of Prayer?

Thursday, May 7, is the National Day of Prayer. The question is whether this civil ceremony is an event in which biblical Christians need to involve themselves.

Dennis Swanson of the Master's Seminary argues for the negative, and calls the blending of biblical faith with civil religiosity "an exercise in false religion."

Joel Osteen Wins 'Worst Easter Sermon Award'

Listeners calling into the "Fighting for the Faith Radio" program (heard on the internet-based Pirate Christian Radio) voted Joel Osteen's Easter message as the worst one delivered on this year's holiday. According to the Christian News Wire,
This year's winner of the first ever, Worst Easter Sermon Award went to Joel Osteen's sermon "You Have Come Back Power".

Commenting on Osteen's sermon Rosebrough stated, "Jesus didn't die and rise again on the cross so that you can have 'come back power over life's set backs'. Osteen completely missed the point of Jesus' life, death and resurrection and as a result he missed the entire point of Christianity."Maybe one of my seminary buddies can help: Isn't there a theological term for "come back power?"

Other messages examined in the contest included:
A sermon that explored the "deep" spiritual lessons of the movie Slumdog Millionaire.A sermon entitled &quo…