Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Church Of Rome Has Historically Been Opposed To Bible Reading

  • Consider Canon Fourteen (As A Sample) From The Council Of Toulouse Which Was Assembled By Roman Bishop Folquet de Marselha In 1229 A.D. For The Express Purpose Of Forbidding The Laity Access To The Holy Scriptures (In Vernacular Languages):
          -"We appoint, therefore, that the archbishops and bishops shall swear in one priest, and two or three laymen of good report, or more if they think fit, in every parish, both in and out of cities, who shall diligently, faithfully, and frequently seek out the heretics in those parishes, by searching all houses and subterranean chambers which lie under suspicion. And looking out for appendages or outbuildings, in the roofs themselves, or any other kind of hiding places, all which we direct to be destroyed. Directs that the house in which any heretic shall be found shall be destroyed. We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; unless anyone from motive of devotion should wish to have the Psalter or the Breviary for divine offices or the hours of the blessed Virgin; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books." (Canons 1, 6, 14)
  • Pope Pius IV Decreed That A List Of Forbidden Books ("INDEX LIBRORUM PROHIBITORUM") Be Published During The Council Of Trent In The Sixteenth Century, Which Was A Direct Response To The Protestant Reformation:
          -"...However, translations of books of the Old Testament may be allowed by the judgment of bishops for the use of learned and pious men only. These translations are to elucidate the Vulgate so that Sacred Scripture can be understood, but they are not to be considered as a sacred text. Translations of the New Testament made by authors of the first sections in this Index are not to be used at all, since too little usefulness and too much danger attends such reading...Since experience teaches that, if the reading of the Holy Bible in the vernacular is permitted generally without discrimination, more damage than advantage will result because of the boldness of men, the judgment of bishops and inquisitors is to serve as guide in this regard. Bishops and inquisitors may, in accord with the counsel of the local priest and confessor, allow Catholic translations of the Bible to be read by those of whom they realize that such reading will not lead to the detriment but to the increase of faith and piety. The permission is to be given in writing. Whoever reads or has such a translation in his possession without this permission cannot be absolved from his sins until he has turned in these Bibles...Books in the vernacular dealing with the controversies between Catholics and the heretics of our time are not to be generally permitted, but are to be handled in the same way as Bible translations." (Rules III, IV, VI)
  • Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) Condemned Bible Societies In His Encyclical Titled Qui pluribus:
          -"This is the goal too of the crafty Bible Societies which renew the old skill of the heretics and ceaselessly force on people of all kinds, even the uneducated, gifts of the Bible. They issue these in large numbers and at great cost, in vernacular translations, which infringe the holy rules of the Church. The commentaries which are included often contain perverse explanations; so, having rejected divine tradition, the doctrine of the Fathers and the authority of the Catholic Church, they all interpret the words of the Lord by their own private judgment, thereby perverting their meaning. As a result, they fall into the greatest errors. Gregory XVI of happy memory, Our superior predecessor, followed the lead of his own predecessors in rejecting these societies in his apostolic letters. It is Our will to condemn them likewise." (# 14)
  • What Modern Code Of Canon Law States:
          -Can. 825 § 1. "Books of the Sacred Scriptures cannot be published unless they have been approved either by the Apostolic See or by the conference of bishops; for their vernacular translations to be published it is required that they likewise be approved by the same authority and also annotated with necessary and sufficient explanations." 

Scholarly Documentation Affirming Fixed Old Testament Canon Before The Time Of Christ

"No longer are there compelling reasons to assume that the history of the canon must have commenced very late in Israel’s history, as was once accepted. The emergence in Mesopotamia, already in the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE, of a standardized body of literature arranged in a more or less fixed order and with some kind of official text, expresses the notion of a canon in its secular sense…The Old Testament as it has come down in Greek translation from the Jews of Alexandria via the Christian Church differs in many respects from the Hebrew Scriptures…It should be noted that the contents and form of the inferred original Alexandrian Jewish canon cannot be ascertained with certainty because all extant Greek Bibles are of Christian origin."

https://www.britannica.com/topic/biblical-literature/Old-Testament-canon-texts-and-versions#ref597311

Commentary From The NET Bible On 1 Corinthians 10:9

"tc Χριστόν (Criston, “Christ”) is attested in the majority of mss, including many important witnesses of the Alexandrian (Ì46 1739 1881) and Western (D F G) texttypes, and other mss and versions (Ψ latt sy co). On the other hand, some of the important Alexandrian witnesses have κύριον (kurion, “Lord”; א B C P 33 104 1175 al). A few mss (A 81 pc) have θεόν (qeon, “God”). The nomina sacra for these readings are quite similar (cMn, kMn, and qMn respectively), so one might be able to account for the different readings by way of confusion. On closer examination, the variants appear to be intentional changes. Alexandrian scribes replaced the highly specific term “Christ” with the less specific terms “Lord” and “God” because in the context it seems to be anachronistic to speak of the exodus generation putting Christ to the test. If the original had been “Lord,” it seems unlikely that a scribe would have willingly created a difficulty by substituting the more specific “Christ.” Moreover, even if not motivated by a tendency to overcorrect, a scribe might be likely to assimilate the word “Christ” to “Lord” in conformity with Deut 6:16 or other passages. The evidence from the early church regarding the reading of this verse is rather compelling in favor of “Christ.” Marcion, a second-century, anti-Jewish heretic, would naturally have opposed any reference to Christ in historical involvement with Israel, because he thought of the Creator God of the OT as inherently evil. In spite of this strong prejudice, though, {Marcion} read a text with “Christ.” Other early church writers attest to the presence of the word “Christ,” including {Clement of Alexandria} and Origen. What is more, the synod of Antioch in a.d. 268 used the reading “Christ” as evidence of the preexistence of Christ when it condemned Paul of Samosata. (See G. Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles, 126-27; TCGNT 494; C. D. Osburn, “The Text of 1 Corinthians 10:9,” New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 201-11; contra A. Robertson and A. Plummer, First Corinthians [ICC], 205-6.) Since “Christ” is the more difficult reading on all accounts, it is almost certainly original. In addition, “Christ” is consistent with Paul’s style in this passage (cf. 10:4, a text in which {Marcion} also reads “Christ”). This text is also christologically significant, since the reading “Christ” makes an explicit claim to the preexistence of Christ. (The textual critic faces a similar dilemma in Jude 5. In a similar exodus context, some of the more important Alexandrian mss [A B 33 81 pc] and the Vulgate read “Jesus” in place of “Lord.” Two of those mss [A 81] are the same mss that have “Christ” instead of “God” in 1 Cor 10:9. See the tc notes on Jude 5 for more information.) In sum, “Christ” has all the earmarks of authenticity here and should be considered the original reading."

https://net.bible.org/#!bible/1+Corinthians+10

Illegal Immigration Is Weakening The Economical Structure Of America

"The economy we’re living in today is in no small part a result of the [Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965], which opened the door to mass immigration of unskilled and low-skilled workers, primarily through unlimited family chain migration. And that’s not an economy anyone should be satisfied with.

Today, we have about a million immigrants per year. That’s like adding the population of Montana every year—or the population of Arkansas every three years. But only one in 15—one in 15 of those millions of immigrants—comes here for employment-based reasons. The vast majority come here simply because they happen to be related to someone already here. That’s why, for example, we have more Somalia-born residents than Australia-born residents, even though Australia is nearly twice the size of Somalia and Australians are better prepared, as a general matter, to integrate and assimilate into the American way of life.

In sum, over 36 million immigrants, or 94 percent of the total, have come to America over the last 50 years for reasons having nothing to do with employment. And that’s to say nothing of the over 24 million illegal immigrants who have come here. Put them together and you have 60 million immigrants, legal and illegal, who did not come to this country because of a job offer or because of their skills. That’s like adding almost the entire population of the United Kingdom. And this is still leaving aside the millions of temporary guest workers who we import every year into our country.

Unlike many open-border zealots, I don’t believe the law of supply and demand is magically repealed for the labor markets. That means that our immigration system has been depressing wages for people who work with their hands and on their feet. Wages for Americans with high school diplomas are down two percent since the late 1970s. For Americans who didn’t finish high school, they’re down by a staggering 17 percent. Although immigration has a minimal effect overall on the wages of Americans, it has a severe negative effect on low-skilled workers, minorities, and even recent immigrants. . . .

But the harmful impact on blue-collar workers isn’t the only problem with the current system. Because we give two-thirds of our green cards to relatives of people here, there are huge backlogs in the system. This forces highly talented immigrants to wait in line for years behind applicants whose only claim to naturalization is a random family connection to someone who happened to get here years ago. We therefore lose out on the very best talent coming into our country—the ultra-high-skilled immigrants who can come to America, stand on their own two feet, pay taxes, and through their entrepreneurial spirit and innovation create more and higher-paying jobs for our citizens.

To put it simply, we have an immigration system that is badly failing Madison’s test of increasing the wealth and strength of the community. It might work to the advantage of a favored few, but not for the common good, and especially not the good of working-class Americans."

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration in the National Interest

America's Founding Fathers Were Nationalists

"Prior to those stirring passages [in the Declaration of Independence] about “unalienable Rights” and “Nature’s God,” in the Declaration’s very first sentence in fact, the Founders say it has become “necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands” that tie them to another—one people, not all people, not citizens of the world, but actual people who make up actual colonies. The Founders frequently use the words we and us throughout the Declaration to describe that people.

Furthermore, on several occasions, the Declaration speaks of “these Colonies” or “these States.” The Founders were concerned about their own circumstances; they owed a duty to their own people who had sent them as representatives to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. They weren’t trying to free South America from Spanish or Portuguese dominion, much as they might have opposed that dominion.

Perhaps most notably, the Founders explain towards the end of the Declaration that they had appealed not only to King George for redress, but also to their fellow British citizens, yet those fellow citizens had been “deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.” Consanguinity!—blood ties! That’s pretty much the opposite of being a citizen of the world.

So while the Declaration is of course a universal document, it’s also a particular document about one nation and one people. Its signers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to each other, in English, right here in America—not in Esperanto to mankind in the abstract."

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Immigration in the National Interest

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Practicing Biblical Hospitality

       The idea of welcoming people from neighboring households to sojourn in our own has been avoided by practically every member of society, as well as by professing Christians. In other words, we have allowed our consciences to become so calloused by our regular activities that we have unhealthily suppressed our inherent inclination to build relationships with other people. This isolationist mindset has sprung forth from the selfish belief that our home is merely our safe haven from worldly derision, place for pursuit of personal entertainment, and a resting fortress from daily toil. In fact, social dissociation has been further enhanced by the multiple social media distractions promulgated through the television, radio, and computer sets. But this essay intends on revealing what the Bible says concerning hospitality and how it can be used as a weapon for preaching the gospel.

       What needs to be understood is that the prevalent views of home that have been molded by the modern standards of civilization are utterly false. The philosophical structure of society has been crafted in such a way that it would be extremely difficult to show hospitality. Consider, for example, how commercials deceptively portray the acquisition of household furnishings as being owned upon purchase. It seems as though much of what we see, hear, or read pertains to the concept of ownership. And homes are far from being the exception to this principle! However, we as an entire populace need to come to the realization that life is not all about us. We need to care not only about ourselves, but also for the needs of the whole world. We need to care for the environment in which we thrive. Additionally, we need to recognize that we do not belong to ourselves. We are under the authority of God because He was the One who has brought us into existence. It is He who has created all the materials in which companies manufacture goods. He is the Divine Author of Life. Therefore, all things should be used in accordance to His divine will. We need to view things from the perspective of God, which in this particular case means that our homes were given to us for the purposes of combating spiritual darkness and being a shining light for the lost. Our homes can be a means by which the Lord Jesus Christ heals suffering. He satisfies all who hunger and thirst for righteousness. We worship God when we open our doors to outside people (James 1:27). We should be inviting other people into our lives, as God has allowed us to become His children.


        Why searching the Scriptures for truth ought to be considered a paramount task of discernment on our behalf is that the Bible is the God breathed textbook of the Christian religion. It is the standard by which we test all things. In the Old Testament, God commanded that His nation Israel share a portion of crops with the needy (Leviticus 23:22), and that His chosen people treat foreign residents with respect (Leviticus 19:33-34). In the same manner, we cannot allow ourselves to be confirmed to the image of this world (Romans 12:1-2). We must love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18; Romans 12:9-10). Christians have been called to exercise hospitality (Romans 12:13). We must show brotherly love (Hebrews 13:1-3). We must be hospitable to one another without grieving (1 Peter 4:9). This characteristic of holy conduct is even a requirement in order to be rightly ordained a bishop (1 Timothy 3:1-3). Furthermore, the Bible is the narrative of God offering us eternal hospitality in heaven out of His love for us (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:11-13). The truth of the matter is that our society is opposed to the spirit of the Great Commission. Rejecting opportunities to present the gospel by being hospitable is the equivalent of closing the door of salvation to possible converts, and can thereby depict the gospel as being for the self-righteous, narrow minded, and hypocritical. On the contrary, we must maintain the purity of the gospel by allowing people to be convinced through the examination of our godly character as they spend time with us.


        Using our homes as a means to reach other people with the gospel message should not be based on image management. We should not be afraid, hesitant, or embarrassed to share our personal lives with other people. We should not be concerned about factors such as having less than eye appealing furniture, the size of our houses, children, or even cooking quality. People have ordinary lives like we do, and can even take part in set up or cleaning sessions before or after group meetings. People do want to establish communication with us, but are unwilling to for the simple reason that they are discouraged by the current social trends of society. The goal behind inviting people over to stay in our dwelling places is bonding. This process of learning hospitality requires that we keep in remembrance the sovereignty of God, begin with people whom we know best (especially church brethren), and then focus on more distant acquaintances. But we must be the ones who are willing to initiate all this, for other people will not magically appear before our eyes. Weekly gatherings can comprise of a variety of activities such as game nights, watching sports, and movie nights. Even monthly or annual rhythms can be employed. Avoid bait-and-switch formulaic approaches to preaching the gospel to non-Christians. Know that the gospel is hope, not mere advice for living a lucrative life. We need to trust in the divine providence of God. We should listen carefully to our speakers. We should display interest. We should ask thought provoking questions, and speak when it is our turn to speak. Hospitality gives us the opportunity to make converts by sharing our testimonies. We can simply talk about trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without a doubt, some people will reject the gospel message. Nevertheless, we must entrust to God our futile efforts to move the hardened hearts of other people to spiritual conversion.


        This essay has discussed how hospitality is a brilliant way of supporting the Cause of Christ, and is in fact a biblically sanctioned mandate. We must courageously take a public stand against the unhealthy, selfish trends promoted by society. We must step out of our comfort zones to fulfill our obligation of serving Jesus Christ. We cannot compromise the truths of the gospel. We must offer ourselves as spiritual sacrifices that are pleasing to God, just as Christ offered Himself up as an atonement sacrifice on a cross to save us from eternal condemnation in the literal flames of hell. We must welcome people into our homes, in the same manner that God has lovingly welcomed us into His heavenly kingdom. The notion of hospitality should not be perceived as some boring chore. We should treat these times of gathering as opportunities to kindly share the good news of God's mercy. Converts can be made through observing Christian example (when shown love, kindness, mercy, etc.). Converts can be made through planting seeds of faith in the minds of those who doubt, but it is God who causes all the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). All honor belongs to Him. And practicing biblical hospitality is certainly not undoable, as society has made it out to be.

The Power And Simplicity Of Gospel Preaching

“If we were left to ourselves with the task of taking the gospel to the world, we would immediately begin planning innovative strategies and plotting elaborate schemes. We would organize conventions, develop programs, and create foundations…But Jesus is so different from us. With the task of taking the gospel to the world, he wandered through the streets and byways…All he wanted was a few men who would think as he did, love as he did, see as he did, teach as he did, and serve as he did. All he needed was to revolutionize the hearts of a few, and they would impact the world.”

David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, 87-88

Monday, November 20, 2017

Speaking The Truth In Love

         God's call for Christians to engage in apologetics is not by any means limited to a small group of self-proclaimed intellectual scholars, but is for all who believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ. It is the responsibility of the Christian church to maintain the purity of the gospel because the Lord has entrusted to us this salvific task. We have been appointed by God to function as His representatives on earth through the ministry of reconciliation. However, many Christians worldwide, including pastors, have consciously given apologetics a poor reputation because too many have advanced contemporary methods arrogantly. Furthermore, this significant abandonment of studying logical Christian defense and has made our youth highly susceptible to the secularism being promoted in our educational institutions. If we do not take measures to readjust how we conduct apologetics and instruct the ignorant members of our churches concerning the importance of knowing the contents of our faith, then we are in essence undermining the Judeo-Christian worldview.

         To preface, it needs to be understood that we must take part in apologetics from a strictly biblical perspective. The most simplistic definition of the word "apologetics" means to give an answer, and we must provide biblically sound answers to questions concerning Christianity because we are serving as ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ. Apologetics is not merely about persuading the critic or winning a debate. It is not constrained to "soul winning". Though these factors most certainly should be motivating intentions of being an apologist, the ultimate aim of apologetics is to glorify God in heaven by representing His kingdom on earth. It is not a means in itself (winning an argument for the sake of winning), but rather is a means to an end (glorifying God by advancing His kingdom). We should learn and understand the arguments of those who disagree with the Christian worldview. The repercussions of being overly closed-minded can only give other people the impression that the gospel calls them to be cruel, pompous, and hypocritical. Of course, such a portrayal of the biblical gospel message could not be further from the truth. We must treat our detractors with love. We need to respectfully answer objections to the faith without compromising the teachings of God's Word.

         Furthermore, we need to preach the unchangeable gospel of salvation to the world in a humble fashion because there exists a corresponding relationship between truth and love. Truth without love results in a puffed-up heart, whereas love unguided by truth produces empty sentimentality. Thus, partaking in Christian defense without adherence to this biblical principle would be futile. We must love our neighbor as ourselves (Romans 12:9-21). We must not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by disgraceful conduct (Ephesians 4:30-32). Our speech must be seasoned with salt (Colossians 3:8). We need to live out the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), as well as speak the truth in love (1 Peter 3:15). We must always keep a clear conscience, earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). In short, this is what it means to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. The notion of glorifying God in thought, word, and deed is not just reserved for apologetics. It is our way of life. If we do not act in accordance with our profession of faith, then society will believe that we who profess to be Christian are actually not serious about practicing our religion. People will neither be attracted nor take us seriously if we do not live in accordance with the biblical morals, customs, and values that we claim to stand for. People will develop the terrible misconception that the Christian worldview is unlivable, and that it cannot provide a sense of hope, peace, and joy. If we are going to view walking the Christian walk as the top priority, then we must also make apologetics a top priority, since the Lord Jesus Christ clearly commissioned us to partake in both (Matthew 28:18-20).

         Perhaps the greatest way to refurbish the academic foundation of Christianity in our postmodern culture is to introduce to children being catechized the ancient trivium educational system that was originally employed by Greek and Roman societies. It works in three overlapping stages: 1.) what, 2.) why, and 3.) rhetoric. In other words, our youth need to be instructed concerning the essential articles of the faith, the underlying reasons for embracing Christian doctrine, and then transition to formulating logical responses in dialogue format. Methods for this avenue of religious inculcation may include but are by no means limited to reading Bible stories, gradually incorporating difficult excerpts from Christian literature into teaching, memorization of early church creeds, and even interview sessions with speakers from different ideological backgrounds. Questions should be encouraged, and people should learn how to reason out coherent answers to opposing arguments. Additionally, all of the aforementioned details on teaching apologetics to children can be applied equally to adults who do not have the training or experience of providing satisfactory answers to arguments touted by critics or questions raised by honest inquirers in our congregations. Indeed, this proposed threefold approach to studying apologetics sounds as if it may very well be a solution to the lack of religious zeal in our degenerate churches. If we do not know the contents of our faith, then we are making ourselves vulnerable to spiritual deception. And if we are not capable of providing reasons for upholding our belief systems, then why should we continue to believe in them?

         We live in an age where contending for the gospel should be of utmost importance, but many who profess the name of the Lord Jesus Christ have recoiled from the task that He has ordained us for. Many are simply too afraid to take up the risk of persecution for Christ's sake. We are truly living in a moral disaster. Few people know how to think for themselves. Few know how to conduct independent research. Moral perversions such as homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion, and euthanasia are consuming the minds of the younger generations like wildfire. A lot of people (especially our youth) view the concept of truth as being relativistic in nature. Foundational articles of the Christian faith such as the Trinity and inspiration of Scripture have also been heavily challenged. All of this is an unspeakable series of misfortunes, and we Christians need to take the necessary steps to address these major predicaments, for ourselves and society. We have been commissioned by Christ to make disciples. We must give an answer to all who ask for the reason of the hope that is in us. We must do so in a loving, peaceful, compassionate manner. We must not relinquish fighting the good fight. We are not fighting a physical war, but a spiritual one. Apologetics, if applied appropriately, can strengthen our spiritual fortress of faith in Christ Jesus, as well as plant seeds of faith in the hearts of people who doubt.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Socialism Equals Communism

"There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide." 

Ayn Rand

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Old Testament Evidence For The Trinity

  • Strong Biblical Evidence For The Pre-Existence Of Jesus Christ
         -“All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:3-4)
  • How The Text Of 1 Corinthians 10:3-4 Supports The Deity of Christ:
         -In context, the Apostle Paul briefly brought into recollection events from the Exodus time frame. He alluded to the Jews who were freed from the authoritarian grasp of the Egyptian pharaoh and made to temporarily wander in the wilderness under the divine providence of God. The manna (“spiritual food”) and water which sprang forth from a rock smote by the rod of Moses (“spiritual drink”) were all supplied through the supernatural intervention of the Lord. The quoted rabbinic tradition gives us literary imagery of a flowing rock that lingered in the presence of the Israelites with the intention of enforcing the point that God continually guides our experiences. The rock reference is a typology of our Lord Jesus Christ, namely of His bold character and propitiatory sacrifice for the salvation of the world. All things consist because of Him. He is the same Spiritual Rock and Lord who governed the nation of Israel (i.e. Deuteronomy 32:3-4; 39; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:32), and overthrew the people who put Him to the test (i.e. Deuteronomy 6:16; 1 Corinthians 10:9). The text of 1 Corinthians 10:3-4 is supportive of the Trinity because it validates that the Lord Jesus Christ is co-eternal with the Father. He is God in the flesh. He possesses the fullness of His eternal glory. Consider also Scripture passages such as John 1:1-3 and Revelation 3:14-15. Additionally, there is no reason to not believe that the expressions “spiritual food” and “spiritual drink” are meant to mirror the elements (bread and wine) employed during the Lord’s Supper.

Monday, November 13, 2017

God Has Redeemed Us With A Price

       "Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood." (Acts 20:28)

       Prior to the Apostle Paul's departure from Miletus to Jerusalem, he summoned a farewell conference of bishops from the city of Ephesus. This meeting consisted of the apostle discussing how he had opened the door of salvation for his audience by proclaiming the entirety of God's salvation plan, the upcoming persecution that he must face as a result of his steadfast commitment to the gospel, gave an exhortation to the overseers to guard the faith against destructive heresies which could even arise from within the Christian congregations, and concluded with an inspired saying of the Lord Jesus Christ in condemnation of selfishness. Paul was for the last time reinforcing the necessity of self-dedication by attesting himself as an example of supporting the cause of Christ. He was consigning the task of preaching the gospel to the members of that community. We also learn from the text of Acts 20:28 the means by which God has enabled us to become His people.

       God has saved those who believe on Him by the shed blood of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. That was the cost for our debt of sin, and we should be forever grateful for His lovingkindness. Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected for our transgressions. He gave Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins as an atonement for the sins of mankind. We do not belong to ourselves because He bought us with an infinite price. We are now able to rightly be deemed children of God. Indeed, the gospel is, "that gracious word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated" (Acts 20:32).

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Questionable History Of Catholic Apostolic Succession

"As for Peter's alleged successors, the New Testament says nothing. From other historical sources, little is known about them through the first two centuries. Church historian Philip Schaff writes, 'The oldest links in the chain of Roman bishops are veiled in impenetrable darkness.' Consequently, it is impossible for the Roman Catholic Church to substantiate its claims of papal succession from Peter to the present Pope. 

Furthermore, through published lists of popes down through the centuries look impressive, one should be aware that a comparison of the present list with those of earlier years reveals continuing revision, the last being made in 1947 by A. Mercati. Since then no other changes have been found necessary. It is not even clear how some of the men listed have any claim at all to being Peter's successor as the Bishop of Rome, in that from 1305 to 1378 seven consecutive popes chose as their residence and seat of government not Rome, but Avignon, France! Disputes involving the lineage of the popes further obscure the picture. Roman Catholic scholars identify over 30 men as antipopes, or false claimants. Most notable among the antipopes are those involved in a 39-period called the Great Schism. In 1378 the cardinals elected Urban VI as pope. Soon after that they had announced that they had made a terrible mistake. Urban, in their opinion, was an apostate, and so they elected a new Pope, Clement VII. Urban countered by appointing a new college of cardinals. After years of dispute, further successors, and great confusion, cardinals from both sides met and elected yet another man as Pope, Alexander V. When even this did not settle the controversy, Emperor Sigismund called the Council of Constance (1418-1418) to address the problem. When the smoke finally cleared, yet another man, Martin V, was found sitting on the papal throne. Official lists of the lineage of the popes today identify Martin V as the 206th successor in the 'unbroken' lineage of the popes.


In a very real sense, it is misleading for the Roman Catholic Church even to list popes during the first five centuries of church history. Church historian Michael Walsh observes:


               'Papal authority as it is now exercised, with its accompanying doctrine of papal infallibility, cannot be found in theories about the papal role expressed by early Popes and other Christians during the first 500 years of Christianity.'

                      -An Illustrated History of the Popes

The papacy as it is known today took centuries to develop. Its origin can be found in the emergence of the bishops in the second century and events which took place during the forth and fifth centuries. Its origin can be found in the emergence of bishops in the second century and events which took place in the political structure of the Roman Empire during the forth and fifth centuries."


James G. McCarthy, The Gospel According to Rome, pgs 254-255

Friday, November 10, 2017

Explaining God's Plan Of Redemption For Mankind

       "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (John 3:16)
       
       The Father has victoriously conquered the inherent malediction of spiritual death over mankind through the once for all propitiatory sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. He voluntarily took on flesh, blood, and bones with the intention of removing the iniquities of the world. Christ gave up His life for our sins because He knew that it would be impossible for us to atone for our sins with our own imperfect righteousness. Salvation through the keeping of God's Law demands untarnished faithfulness, and we have all fallen short of His standard of perfection. So everybody is spiritually bankrupt. Consequently, the people who do not know Christ as Lord and Savior are in grave danger of experiencing eternal separation from God in the literal flames of hell. 

       All are in need of a divine Savior because an infinite debt, by definition, requires an infinite payment of redemption. Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ was punished for us by means of crucifixion on the cross at Calvary. He lovingly suffered punishment in our place. God can now save us because He has completed everything necessary for our spiritual restoration. Since the Lord cannot allow sin to enter His kingdom, we must have our transgressions pardoned and eliminated. They must be done away with through the washing of His blood. How we need to respond to this graceful, undeserved gift of the Lord is to humbly accept His proclamation of salvation, which is the gospel, by faith in the work of His Son Jesus Christ. That is how we inherit eternal life. 

       Moreover, Jesus established the Christian church during His earthly ministry so that when He departed into the supernatural realm, He had disciples to function as His representatives in proclaiming the glorious gospel to the world. We need to multiply heaven's glory across the globe by means of educating other people concerning the death, burial, resurrection, and appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ to five hundred witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). We must allow the Holy Spirit to move our hearts by conviction of sin. God does not desire that any perish, but that all be saved. He has enabled us to have fellowship with Him, and can save us without any consideration for who we are or what we have done.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Biblical Assurance Of Salvation

  • Introduction:
         -Many people in the church today are totally unaware of the biblical answer to the question of how we can know with certainty that we have been justified in the sight of God. In fact, Christians have felt relatively disheartened in their daily walk with the Lord for the simple reason of doubting the possession of eternal life. Irrespectively of whether the underlying cause to this major spiritual conundrum is heresy propagated by an unorthodox sect, willful ignorance of gospel teaching, or poorly trained ministers by incompetent theological universities, the truth of the matter is that we can know for sure that we have inherited God's gift of eternal salvation. It is accomplished by His grace through our faith in the sacrificial work of His Son Jesus Christ. Thus, justification is not a lengthy, ongoing process that is maintained through the performance of good works. In addition, sanctification is the process by which the Christian heart experiences gradual, supernatural transformation to conformity with God's character through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Glorification is the concluding process that occurs when we enter the eternal state and have received perfected bodies. The express purpose of this article is to present scriptural passages substantiating the notion that we can have assurance of salvation.
  • The Parable Of The Pharisee And Tax Collector Proves Justification To Be Instantaneous 
         -"He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity-greedy, dishonest, or adulterous-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income. But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven and beat his breast and prayed, O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14)
  • The Thief On The Cross Should Give Us Courage:
         -"Then he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. He replied to him, Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:42-43)
  • God Gave Up His Son Jesus Christ As Atonement So That We Could Enter His Kingdom:
         -"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." (John 3:16-17)
  • Those Who Have Believed On The Messiah Have Passed From Death To Life:
         -"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life." (John 5:24)
  • The Lord Jesus Christ Has The Words Of Eternal Life:
         -"Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst...For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes on him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on him [on] the last day...Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life...Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day...It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life." (John 6:35, 40, 47, 54, 63)
  • Jesus Assured His People Of Salvation:
         -"My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)
  • Words From The Apostle Paul Preaching The Gospel In A Synagogue:
         -"You must know, my brothers, that through him forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, [and] in regard to everything from which you could not be justified under the law of Moses, in him every believer is justified." (Acts 13:38-39)
  • Consider The Examples Of Abraham And King David:
         -"Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of works, he has reason to boast; but this was not so in the sight of God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. A worker's wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due. But when one does not work, yet believes on the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. So also David declares the blessedness of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not impute." (Romans 4:2-8)
  • God Is Faithful And Trustworthy:
         -"and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do." (Romans 4:21)
  • We Have Peace With God Through Faith Because Of His Son Jesus Christ:
         -"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)
  • Eternal Salvation Is Promised To Those Posses Genuine Faith:
         -"for, if you confess with you mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved." (Romans 10:9-10)
  • Even If A Christian's Life Is Not Perfect, They Can Still Escape The Wrath Of God:
         -"But if someone's work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire." (1 Corinthians 3:15)
  • The Conversion Of A Sinful Heart Necessarily Denotes Eternal Salvation:
         -"That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11)
  • The Generosity Of God's Salvation Plan:
         -"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • We Have Been Sealed By The Divine Power Of The Holy Spirit:
         -"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30)
  • We Can Approach God With Absolute Trust In His Divine Promises:
         -"For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God." (2 Corinthians 1:20-21)
  • We Have Been Consecrated Once-For-All Through The Atonement Sacrifice Of Jesus Christ:
         -"By this will, we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ one for all...For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated." (Hebrews 10:10, 14)
  • The Apostle John Wrote His First Epistle To The Christian Church With The Intention Of Telling Us How We Can Know Whether We Truly Posses Eternal Life:
         -"And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life." (1 John 2:25)
         -"I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:13)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why Should I Go To Church?

  • Following Is A Tract Explaining The Importance Of Attending A Biblically Sound Christian Congregation:
          "Why can't I just do devotions on my own? Good question! It's true that God values personal devotions. In fact, He even commands us to 'pray without ceasing' (1 Thess. 5:17). But 'going to church' is about more than personal devotion. For Christians, going to church is the gathering together of a family, or as the Apostle Paul described it, united the members of a body:

              'For as in one body we have many members, and the members all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.' (Rom. 12:4-5)

          Every Christian is a member of the body of Christ, and every member has unique talents and insights. Sharing these gifts with each other as a unified body strengthens us in our common task of glorifying God. In the joy of true community you will experience:

          1. Fellowship.
          
          Regular church attendance allows a Christian to become part of a church family-a community of brothers and sisters in Christ who share true concern for one another. Paul described this kind of fellowship in his letter to the Corinthians, "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together" (1 Cor. 12:26). When we care for our fellow Christians in this way, not only do we enjoy the security of belonging to a spiritual family, but we glorify God by revealing His character to the world.

          2. Corporate Worship.
          
          When God rescued King David from his enemies, David couldn't keep his praise to himself. He cried out, "Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!" (Psa. 34:3). Even Christ, in the darkest hours of His life, asked three of His closest friends to "watch and pray" with Him (Matt. 26:41). While private devotion pleases God, at times nothing will do except to join with fellow Christians in praise of our great God. Jesus promised: "For where there are two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them" (Matt. 18:20). God is glorified when Christians speak of His greatness with each other, and He is pleased to be in our midst.

          3. Personal Growth.
          
         Just as individual Bible study and prayer are vital to a Christian's spiritual growth, so is consistent contact with other Christians. God commands us to "consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together..." (Heb. 10:24-25). Meeting regularly with other Christians is an opportunity to be encouraged in your daily walk with Christ, to receive godly advice in areas of difficulty in your life, and to be challenged by the example of more mature Christians.

          4. Ministry.

          Paul tells us that God gave "pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-12). Attending church allows us to each receive the instruction of trained pastors and teachers, helping us minister both to the world and within the Church.
          Along with communicating the gospel to the unsaved through actions and words, Christians have a responsibility to minister to other members of the body of Christ: "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up..." (1 Thess. 5:11). Being in regular contact with other Christians in church gives you numerous opportunities to offer a word of encouragement, a listening ear, a helping hand, or to receive these things in your moment of need.

          How to Choose a Church

          Consider the following questions as you visit new churches:
          
          1. Does the church base its teachings on the Bible? Do they teach the fundamental of the gospel?
          2. Is there a sense of community? Are the people friendly? Would you like to get to know the people that you meet there?
          3. Does the church have programs that meet your family's needs? Are there classes for your children? Is there a group for your teenager to get involved in?
          4. Does the church support missions and encourage evangelism? Does it provide opportunities for outreach?

          Feel free to visit several different churches before making a decision. Meet some of the people and talk to the pastor. Ask questions. Don't forget to pick up a church brochure with a listing of services and programs, as well as a mission statement. Discuss the experience with your family and visit again if you need to. Pray that you may discern God's will for your family's spiritual growth."

More Book Of Mormon Absurdities

  • 1 Nephi 4:9 has Laban with a steel sword.  Nephi himself claims to have had a steel bow (the word translated as steel in KJV Psalms 18:34 is more properly rendered as bronze).  How is this explained since steel did not exist until well over 1000 years after the Book of Mormon was completed?
  • 1 Nephi 8 Lehi has a dream wherein a river of water (8:13) and a fountain (8:20) are major symbolic factors.  In Chapter 11, the dream is interpreted for Nephi by an angel, and  he is told that the waters represent the love of God (11:25).  However, when the angel gives further counsel (12:16), we find the "love of God" has become "filthy water", and in chapter 15:26-29, the water is called "filthiness", because it represents the "awful hell" prepared for the wicked.  Isn’t there inconsistency in God's message?
  • 1 Nephi 18:25:  How did domestic animals, such as horses, pigs, sheep, cattle and donkeys, come to be found in about 590 BC when evidence confirms these animals did not exist in the New World until after the time of Columbus?  In addition to this error, the Nephites produce wheat and barley (Mosiah 9:9) rather than the indigenous maize and potatoes.  Ether 9:19 even has elephants in the New World! How are these things explained?
  • 2 Nephi 5:  How could Nephi and just a small handful of men, in less than 20 years, build a temple like Solomon's, when it took Solomon 7 1/2 years using 180,000 workers to complete his temple?
  • 2 Nephi 5:15, 16:  What is the difference between precious "ores" and "things"?  vs 15 says that precious "ores" were in great abundance, but in the next verse he says that "precious things" were not to found upon the land! Isn’t this contradictory?
  • Helaman 9:6 says, "Now, immediately when the judge had been murdered - he being stabbed by his brother by a garb of secrecy." "Garb" is a piece of clothing; how do you stab with clothing?
  • Ether 6:5,11  Tells us that a "furious" wind propelled the "vessels or barges" (which were they?) to the Promised Land.  It took the furious wind 344 days to blow the barges to the New World.  Even if the furious wind could only push the barges at 10 mph, the distance traveled would have been 82,560 miles - three times around the globe. Is this reasonable?
  • Ether 2:20:  In regards to the making of the barge for sailing to the New World:  “And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.” Didn’t God know which way would be up?
SOURCE: http://watchmanvlds.blogspot.com/2014/10/questions-regarding-book-of-mormon-part.html

Counter Arguments to Same Sex "Marriage"

Let’s consider some counter-arguments [to same-sex “marriage”]:

1. Homosexuals can’t fulfill the most basic purpose of marriage – procreation and childrearing. There are heterosexual couples that don’t want children and those that can’t have children. But same-sex couples, by their very nature, are incapable of having children. The couples who are doing society’s vital work – mothers and fathers joined by faith and tradition, raising the next generation in love – deserve the status reserved for them alone from time immemorial.

2. Children need a father and a mother – A woman who was raised from birth by two lesbians said that, even as an adult, “I have still felt an empty space in my life, the lack of a father, and no matter the love I have had from both of my ‘mothers’ … There is a balance that comes from a mother and a father that can create the most lasting and stable family. I would not keep the blessings a father can give from any child.”

3. With gay marriage in the United States, adoption agencies are being forced to place children with homosexual couples. In Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, Catholic Charities stopped offering adoption services for that reason.

4. There is no comparison between this and natural marriage. Most homosexual liaisons are of short duration. Even those that are called “committed relationships” are rarely monogamous. According to the National Center for Health Research, in 2001, even in the age of no-fault divorce, 66% of first marriages in the U.S. lasted longer than 10 years; 50% lasted longer than 20 years. Another study described the average homosexual relationship as “transactional” – lasting less than 6 months.

5. In a study of gay men by the Journal of Sex Research, the average number of lifetime partners was 755, with some reporting more than 1,000. How can the term “marriage” be applied to what amounts to a revolving bedroom door?

6. Legalizing homosexual marriage inevitably leads to public school indoctrination and religious persecution. In the United States, photographers, florists and bakers have been fined huge sums (and, in some cases, ordered to undergo what amounts to therapy) for refusing to participate in same-sex ceremonies. Ultimately, sexual radicals would force churches to perform these ceremonies or lose their tax-exempt status.

7. On Father’s Day, the U.S. Department of Education had a fatherhood conference that included the heads of Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, two well-respected organizations doing vital work. “Outrageous” said LGBT groups. Because FRC and Focus oppose gay marriage, they are “hateful.” Thus the movement works tirelessly to stigmatize and marginalize conservative Christians.

8. In the Canadian province of Alberta, a local school board ordered a Christian school to stop reading or studying “any scripture that could be offensive to any individual.” Presumably, this includes those that condemn homosexuality, adultery, idolatry and witchcraft.


9. The sexual revolution is an insatiable beast. Nothing is ever enough. First there were anti-discrimination laws, then hate-crimes legislation, then marriage-deconstruction. Now, it’s on to what’s called “transgenderism” – which has absolutely no scientific basis. It demands that men who “feel” like women be treated like women – including using the bathrooms and showers/changing rooms of those who actually are women and girls – regardless of considerations of safety and modesty. If we don’t hold the line on marriage, who knows what will come next.

10. Same-sex marriage must be seen not in isolation, but as part of a continuum. In the United States, we went from no-fault divorce, to abortion on demand and sex education which amounts to indoctrination, to public schools distributing condoms to minors without parental knowledge or consent. Along with Bible-believers, the left has targeted the family as the chief obstacle to achieving its utopian agenda. It understands that anything which weakens the family strengthens its cause.

11. Almost 100 years ago, Georg Lukacs, a Hungarian intellectual considered one of the fathers of Cultural Marxism, wrote that traditional culture must be destroyed for the workers’ paradise to emerge. Lukacs observed: “I saw the revolutionary destruction of society as the one and only solution to the cultural contradictions of the epoch…Such a worldwide overturning of values cannot take place without the annihilation of the old values and the creation of new ones by the revolutionaries.” By the “old values,” he meant faith and family.

Without marriage, we will enter a brave new world of atomistic individualism – one where individuals live by and for themselves and social arrangements are transitory and utilitarian. Procreation will be increasingly rare.

We need to return to our roots – especially the Bible.


The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted in 1948, when most UN members were democracies) calls the family based on marriage, “the natural and fundamental group unit of society and (as such) entitled to protection by society and the state.”

To say the family is “the… fundamental group unit of society,” means it’s the foundation. Demolish the foundation, and the entire structure collapses. Survivors will buried in the rubble.

Don Feder, Marriage is the Foundation of Social Order

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Overview Evaluation Of “Jesus Mythers”

“During the past twenty years or so, a number of books and articles have appeared in the Internet arguing that Jesus is a myth who never existed. Viewing the biographical information of their authors reveals that only a handful have any academic credentials. Unfortunately, most people reading the literature written by “mythers” (as they are commonly referred to) are not accustomed to critical thinking by comparing sources…Yet they are unaware that neither Doherty nor Murdock ever went beyond earning a bachelor’s degree while Meier and Wright earned doctorates in relevant fields and teach New Testament studies at prestigious universities…they often make egregious errors and silly proposals that sound credible only to the naive. Mythers are often guilty of twisting data, propagating false claims, appealing to sources who are also not scholars, requiring an unreasonable burden of proof before acknowledging the existence of Jesus while being unaware that the scenarios they have proposed in order to address the data border on unbridled fantasy…It is noteworthy that one could count on one hand all the scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies who have been persuaded by the arguments of mythers. It is not because the majority of historians and biblical scholars are Christians…It is also noteworthy that even some atheist and agnostic scholars have blasted mythers for their poor arguments and treatment of the data. Scholars simply refuse to give them much attention and regard them to be as absurd as holocaust deniers.”

A New Kind of Apologist, pg. 179-180

Our Actions Have Lasting Consequences

“Still, there will be a connection with the long past-a reference to forgotten events and personages, and to manners, feelings, and opinions, almost or wholly obsolete-which, if adequately translated to the reader, would serve to illustrate how much of old materials goes up to make the freshest novelty of human life. Hence, to, might be drawn a weighty lesson from the little regarded truth, that the act of the passing generation is the germ which may and must bear good or evil fruit in a far-distant time; that, with the seed of the merely temporary crop, which morals term expediency, they inevitably sow the acorns of a more enduring growth, which may darkly overshadow their posterity.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables, p. 2

Biblical Sexuality

“In fact, Paul’s teachings on sexual purity and marriage were adopted as liberating in the pornographic, sexually exploitive Greco-Roman culture of the time-exploitive especially of slaves and women, whose value to pagan males lay chiefly in their ability to produce children and provide sexual pleasure. Christianity, as articulated by Paul, worked a cultural revolution, restraining and channeling male eros, elevating the status of both women and of the human body, and infusing marriage-and marital sexuality-with love.”[Rod Dreher, “Sex After Christianity,” Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time (Colorado Springs: Image, 2010)]

The “Born Gay” Argument Remains Unproven

“There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.” 

Cited in A New Kind of Apologist, American Psychological Association, “Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality: Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding,” (Washington, DC: APA, 2008)