Monday, October 29, 2018

Why Contemporary Christian Music For Worship?

"I also believe the real motive for adopting CCM for praise and worship was not, as we were often told, to evangelize those from outside the church, but was rooted in a need to satisfy our own desires for our favourite music."

Dan Lucarini, Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement, p.18

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Christian Discourse On Halloween

          Halloween is hotly debated subject matter amongst Christian circles. Some believe the festival to be harmless and entertaining. Others maintain that it is evidence of a morally bankrupt society, and that Christian who allow their children to go trick-or-treating are compromising the faith. Halloween has certainly been a source of controversy within the church. There exists a stark contrast of perspective on this issue. Therefore, a brief exercise of discernment would be wise.

          Regardless of the effort that an individual may place into commercializing this holiday, it cannot be denied that Halloween has pagan roots. It is of Celtic origin. It was observed in Ireland and Scotland, and was adopted by the Church of Rome in the fifth century. Halloween contains occult elements, from sorcery to witchcraft to demonism. Such concepts are condemned in Scripture (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6; Deuteronomy 18:9-12; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Galatians 5:19-21). Partaking in occult activities is idolatry, which can range from Ouija boards to tarot cards to fortune telling and so on.

          People cannot, however, utterly disassociate themselves from Halloween, as it is another day of the week. God is our Creator and transcends time. Everything rightly belongs to Him (Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26). That includes Halloween. We should be in prayer on a daily basis. We should be glorifying Him on a daily basis. There are holy ways of going about matters in this life. There are also sinful and unwise ways of addressing issues. Moreover, anything can be abused and misused.

          The act of dressing up as a cowboy and going door to door with the intention of receiving candy is not in and of itself sinful. To illustrate the point, the Apostle Paul declared that eating meats offered to idols is morally permissible, provided that fellow brethren are not offended (1 Corinthians 10:25-33). If eating causes one to "participate" in the sacrifice itself, then why would the Apostle Paul tell his audience that it is fine for them eat the meat offered to idols? In the same manner, whether or not a person goes trick-or-treating is a matter of conscience. No homage is given to false gods.

          A person whose conscience is violated by such a cultural tradition has every right to express disagreement. Yet, we should strive to not become stumbling blocks to each other. This can serve as a lesson in Christian love, fellowship, discipline, and humility. Paul said, "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind...Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way" (Romans 14:5; 13). If a Christian does embrace the sinful themes of Halloween, then he or she is indeed guilty of worldly compromise and needs to repent.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Supernatural Fingerprints Embedded Throughout The Bible

"The continuity of Scripture declares a divine editor and revealer - 66 books, 40 authors and hundreds of years of history. The authors are separated by time, space and education. They come from all walks of life and most of them never met one another, yet they came together to form one central story of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

He is shown as pre-incarnate. He is shown in prophecy as coming. He is shown as here in His first advent. He is shown as coming again in the future.

One man could produce a work with continuity but this combination of authors and times has to be divinely assembled. Man could not produce such a work."

Rev. Stanley L. Derickson, The Supernatural Origins Of The Word Of God

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Debunking Generational Curse Theology

          There is a popular, but false, notion being promulgated amongst professing Christians known as the generational curse, which is the belief that spiritual defilements are passed on from parents to children. For example, one might believe that the outbursts of anger that he experiences were passed on from his parents. Sometimes these traits are even attributed to possession by demons who need to be cast away. Common proof texts used to substantiate the idea of generational curses would include Exodus 20:5 and Deuteronomy 5:9. However, a careful examination of Scripture will reveal this teaching to be totally unsound and unfounded.

          First of all, the Word of God emphatically tells us that we cannot inherit the guilt of other people (Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chronicles 25:4; Ezekiel 18:20). In other words, God holds us accountable only for our sins, not those of other people. God punishes people for their own sins, not that of their parents. We are judged according to our conduct, (Exodus 32:31-33; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10), not the actions of other ancestors. We are clearly held responsible for our own choices, not that of others. As a matter of fact, Jesus indicated that children are better models of purity than adults in terms of their innocence (Matthew 18:1-5; 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16). Though we have inherited a sin nature from the fall of Adam and Eve, behaviors are learned and chosen. We are held accountable for our own decisions made in this life, and those only.

           The two parallel passages recording the Ten Commandments do not say that God would give generational curses to people. Rather, God would cast judgment on idolaters. That sin would contaminate future generations through parental influence. The family is the foundational unit of all society. God punishes people who continue in their sin and rebellion against Him. He also shows mercy to those who love Him and keep His commandments (Exodus 2:6). Consequences can be passed on to future generations, not curses. Our actions can change the course of events for people alive in future generations. The forgiveness of God and salvation is not beyond the reach of anybody. There is a "curse" only in the sense that moral corruption has been passed on to mankind as a result of the fall of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. Atonement is available to all through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He bore the "curse" on our behalf (Galatians 3:10-13).

          If we can inherit the sin of our parents, then would that also mean that we could inherit their righteousness? Can we inherit the mercy of God? The idea that people can inherit hexes or curses from their parents is both irrational and unbiblical. It is nothing but pagan superstition. If one walks according to the Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ, then there is no condemnation for him (Romans 5:1-11; Romans 8:1). This generational curse nonsense has no doubt caused much unnecessary fear and anxiety in the lives of Christians. The Lord is faithful, rich in mercy, abounding in love, and slow to anger (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 103:8-14). Our fellowship with God has nothing to do with our family ancestry. If it did, then that would make Him a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Nowhere does Scripture even provide us with instructions as to how to break so-called generational curses.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Critical Exposure Of The Message Version

  • Introduction:
          -The Message Bible, put together by Eugene H. Peterson, was first published in segments from 1993 to 2002. It is not so much a translation of Scripture, but more so a paraphrase. It is an attempt to simplify the language of the Bible to suit the language of contemporary culture. When a person invests time into comparing the Message to well-known, reputable translations of the Bible, however, he or she will encounter many rather significant differences in the meaning of the text. This work appears to contain intentional doctrinal alterations, which of course disqualifies it from being a trustworthy study tool. As a matter of fact, the modernized, slang type language occupied throughout this version reveals a complete irreverence for God. Following are examples of textual perversion within the Message Bible.
  • Matthew 6:9:
          -The Message: "Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are."
          -New American Standard: "Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name."
          -NET Bible: "Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored"
          -King James Version: "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."
          -Comments: Why would Jesus Christ, the revelation of God (Hebrews 1:1-3), pray that God reveal Himself?
  • Matthew 6:13:
          -The Massage: "Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes."
          -New American Standard: "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
          -NET Bible: "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
          -King James Version: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
          -Comments: This is a perfect example of the Message watering down God given truth.
  • John 10:30:
          -The Message: "I and the Father are one heart and mind."
          -New American Standard: "I and the Father are one."
          -NET Bible: "The Father and I are one."
          -King James Version: "I and my Father are one."
          -Comments: The unique rendering of John 10:30 presented by the Message Bible would change our understanding of the relationship between the Father and the Son.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
          -The Message: "Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit."
          -Compare to the renderings of the New American Standard, NET Bible, and the King James Version.
          -Comments: Notice how the author of the Message utterly omits homosexuality from the list of sins, thus distorting the meaning of the text. In 1 Timothy 1:10 of the version being examined here, the word "homosexuality" has been replaced with "sex." That is a change from a specific act to a broad category. Also, he inserted with no contextual justification the phrase "use and abuse the earth" into 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
  • Colossians 2:9:
          -The Message: "You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything."
          -New American Standard: "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form."
          -NET Bible: "For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form."
          -King James Version: "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
          -Comments: Why would the inspired Apostle Paul need to make mention of astrology which is condemned by God?
  • Additional Commentary On The Message Version:
          -"...there are numerous websites and articles devoted to the translation errors in The Message, too numerous to reiterate here. Suffice it to say that The Message has engendered more criticism for its lack of serious scholarship and outright bizarre renderings than just about any other Bible version to date. One common complaint from many who read The Message or hear it read aloud is “I didn’t recognize it as the Bible.” Other critics declare The Message to be not a paraphrase of what the Bible says, but more of a rendering of what Eugene Peterson would like it to say. In an interview with Christianity Today, Peterson described the beginning of the creative process that produced The Message: “I just kind of let go and became playful. And that was when the Sermon on the Mount started. I remember I was down in my basement study, and I did the Beatitudes in about ten minutes. And all of a sudden I realized this could work.” (Got Questions, "What is The Message (MSG)?")

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Thoughts On Consulting Experts

        Our perception of facts changes as new discoveries are made, whether they pertain to scientific or mathematical inquiry. What is at this moment termed common knowledge in our culture could be deemed mistaken in future generations. The process of investigation for truth requires persistent work and effort. It requires determination, as well as a great sense of humility. We should be staying informed and testing new ideas. That is how we conduct research, which is the process of uncovering truth. Even so, we do not have all the answers to the questions of life.

        We have finite minds that are liable to error. The same is equally true of the greatest thinkers in mankind. Experts do not know everything. Being a specialist in one sphere of learning does not make that person an expert in every aspect of a particular field. Professionals may also have to cite other professionals who are more qualified in different areas. They can even contradict one another, using the same data (which is subject to interpretation). Some fields have few experts working in them.

        It would be wise to consult the most trustworthy and authoritative figures which are relative to the subject matter. Such people would not likely act by themselves. Respectable experts objectively examine published resources and attend academic conferences to discuss questions. Competent scholars hold themselves and each other accountable. They publish their conclusions for the public to praise or criticize accordingly.

        God gave us counselors to guide us in truth (Proverbs 24:6). Though we are fallible beings, our reasoning capacities are reliable. We must carefully weigh the work of various professionals against others. This must be done objectively. The evidence backing up a scholarly view is of greater importance than the scholarly view itself. We do not know everything, however. The wisdom provided by experts is valuable only insofar that it conforms to already established facts and is consistent with the nature of reality. Scripture is the final standard of authority for the Christian (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Myth Of Life Existing On Other Planets

"Howard Smith, a senior astrophysicist at Harvard, made the claim that we are alone in the universe after an analysis of the 500 planets discovered so far showed all were hostile to life.

Dr Smith said the extreme conditions found so far on planets discovered outside out Solar System are likely to be the norm, and that the hospitable conditions on Earth could be unique.

“We have found that most other planets and solar systems are wildly different from our own. They are very hostile to life as we know it,” he said."

Heidi Blake, "Alien life deemed impossible by analysis of 500 planets"

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Christ's Burial Garments Are An Argument For The Resurrection

          "and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself." (John 20:7, NKJV)

          The significance of the facial cloth being separated from Christ's burial garments is not known for sure, but the details mentioned do have an interesting apologetic thrust supportive of Him being resurrected bodily from the grave. 

          If the resurrection story was an elaborate hoax, then why would the handkerchief that once rested on His face be moved and folded neatly in a separate spot of the tomb? Why would thieves waste their time doing such? Why would Jesus waste this much time, if He were an impostor who needed to escape quickly so as to bolster the credibility of some falsehood?

          Without a doubt, this point is a problem for the theories circulated in an attempt to discredit the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Enlightenment Got It Wrong: The West's Debt to Christianity

"It's a rock-solid Western conviction: All men—and women—are created equal. But where does it come from? Well, not the Enlightenment.

Few modern historians have done more to educate the public about the ancient and classical world than Tom Holland. His 2004 book, "Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republisc," won the prestigious Hessell-Tiltman prize, which is awarded to history books of "high literary merit."

Subsequent books about the rise of the Persian Empire and the rise of Islam have received similar accolades. Put simply, when it comes to the ancient world, Holland knows his stuff, and no one doubts it.

That's why it's wise to pay attention to what he has to say about how the coming of Christianity, and in particular the writings of St. Paul, shaped our world.

Writing in the storied British literary and political journal, the New Statesman, Holland told readers how the Christianity of his childhood gave way to an obsession with ancient empires. "When I read the Bible," Holland wrote, "the focus of my fascination was less the children of Israel or Jesus and his disciples than their adversaries: the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Romans."

While he "vaguely continued to believe in God, [Holland] found Him infinitely less charismatic than [his] favourite Olympians: Apollo, Athena, Dionysus."

Like many historians, Edward Gibbons and other Enlightenment writers convinced Holland "that the triumph of Christianity had ushered in an 'age of superstition and credulity.' and that modernity was founded on the dusting down of long-forgotten classical values."

At this point his readers were probably thinking, "quite right!" But the story doesn't end there, as suggested by the title of the article, "Why I was wrong about Christianity."

He wrote that, "The longer I spent immersed in the study of classical antiquity, the more alien and unsettling I came to find it." Especially its callous disregard for human life. The Spartans, he noted, practiced "a peculiarly murderous form of eugenics." Julius Caesar may have killed a million Gauls and enslaved another million.

It wasn't only the body count, Holland says. It was also "the lack of a sense that the poor or the weak might have any intrinsic value." This led Holland to view the Enlightenment's insistence that it owed nothing to Christianity as not credible.

Let's assume that most people in the post-Christian West still believe "that it is nobler to suffer than to inflict suffering" and that every human life has equal value. We don't get that from the Greeks and Romans.

As Holland notes, it was St. Paul who proclaimed the "foolishness of the Gospel."

It was the honest evaluation of the historical record that led Holland, an agnostic, to write that "In my morals and ethics, I have learned to accept that I am not Greek or Roman at all, but thoroughly and proudly Christian."

Here's praying that he becomes Christian in other ways, as well. In the meantime, I'm grateful for this unexpected bit of apologetics. It's a much-needed reminder that even modern criticisms of Christianity are indebted to Christianity itself."

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Dangers Of Anti-Intellectualism

         Scripture says that although our mind is liable to error, it is a gift of God. It needs to be guided by His divine revelation and grace. God is a rational and intelligent being. So are we, but not to the same extent. He has created the universe in an orderly fashion. We are made in His image and His likeness (Genesis 1:26). Therefore, to be anti-intellectual means failing to show appreciation for the abilities that He has bestowed upon us. Our minds are a gift of God to be used. This presupposes it being the means by which civilization is built up and us glorifying Him.

          It is a truth that God cares more by an infinite margin about our hearts than about the number of college degrees that we may obtain in this life. He wants to restore our fallen bodies. However, that does not mean the use of our rational faculties is to be pitted against our emotions or soul. An anti-intellectual attitude is not an acceptable approach to the Christian life. Hosea 4:6 says that the people of God are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. The Apostle Paul told his audience to not be children in understanding, but wise and examples of purity (1 Corinthians 14:20).

          Ignorance can be a rather dangerous thing. It certainly is nothing to be proud of. Toddlers get their fingers burnt when they touch a hot stove as a result of their uninformed curiosity. We should know and understand our worldview, which is the means by which we interpret events around us. God gave us a mind. We learn and understand new concepts by utilizing it.

          If literally everybody were to stop seeking higher levels of education, then that would inevitably collapse our civilization because nobody would be competent to work jobs that require obtaining those more advanced skills. Examples would include the legal and medical fields. This demonstrates an anti-intellectual worldview to not be workable. If a person has so much distrust in scholarship, and takes that level of skepticism to its logically consistent end, then he will inevitably be led to agnosticism. Nothing can be known for sure. That is insanity.

          An anti-intellectual worldview is psychologically unhealthy. An anti-intellectual worldview is cultic, as is evidenced by the Watchtower Society forbidding adherents from investigating the truthfulness of its claims. An anti-intellectual worldview is both irrational and unbiblical. Wanting a career is not inherently sinful. It is also not wrong to learn from people that we disagree with. In the real world, we will encounter people with non-Christian worldviews. What we should be on guard against is turning our pursuits into idols. What we should be on guard against is our tendency to become prideful as a result of our material achievements.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Connections Between Homosexuality And Pedophilia

The most comprehensive gay networking website, the Queer Resource Directory (, links every gay group in the country including NAMBLA [the North American Man-Boy Love Association] and other homosexual groups that focus on youth. NAMBLA marches in gay pride parades with the consent of the gay leadership. Many of the homosexual movement’s most prominent leaders endorse NAMBLA and its goals. Gay authors and leaders such as Allen Ginsberg, Gayle Rubin, Larry Kramer (founder of ACT-UP), Pat Califia, Jane Rule, Michael Kearns, and Michel Foucault have all written in favor of either NAMBLA or man-boy relationships. Harry Hay, whom many consider the founder of the American homosexual movement, invited NAMBLA members to march with him in the 1993 "March on Washington" gay rights parade. He also marched in the 1986 Los Angeles gay parade wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words "NAMBLA walks with me."

Leading mainstream homosexual newspapers and magazines such as the Advocate, Edge, Metroline, The Guide, and The San Francisco Sentinel have not only published pro-NAMBLA articles and columns but also many have editorialized in favor of NAMBLA and sex with children. The editor of The Guide, Ed Hougen, stated in an interview with Lambda Report, "I believe they [NAMBLA] are generally interested in the right of young people to be sexual . . . . I am glad there is a group like NAMBLA that is willing to be courageous." The San Francisco Sentinel was more blunt: "NAMBLA’s position on sex is not unreasonable, just unpopular. [W]hen a 14 year old gay boy approaches a man for sex, it’s because he wants sex with a man."

There is also the matter of NAMBLA’s membership status in the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), recognized at one time by the United Nations as the official Non-Government Organization (NGO) representing the gay community worldwide. When NAMBLA’s ILGA membership became public, a whirlwind of international controversy erupted. Some gay leaders viewed this attention as harmful to the gay movement’s image and goals and urged the expulsion of NAMBLA for purely political purposes.

However, the media failed to report that ILGA itself had hosted workshops on pedophilia and passed resolutions in 1985, 1988, and 1990 to abolish age of consent laws claiming that "same sex age of consent laws often operate to oppress and not to protect" and supported "the right of every individual, regardless of age, to explore and develop her or his sexuality."

Eventually, reacting to congressional legislation threatening the reduction of $119 million in financial support, the United Nations kicked out ILGA in 1995 for refusing to sever ties with a half dozen member groups that advocated or promoted pedophilia. Revealingly, even though ILGA did expel NAMBLA (many say it was for show), it could not muster enough support among its membership to expel other more powerful and discreet pro-pedophile organizations from Germany and other countries. It is extremely revealing that the majority of members of the world’s leading homosexual coalition, the ILGA, decided they would rather be excluded from UN deliberations than vote out groups that advocate sex with children.

...[O]ver the last fifteen years the homosexual community and its academic allies have published a large quantity of articles that claim sex with children is not harmful to children but, as stated in one homosexual journal, "constitute an aspect of gay and lesbian life." Such articles have appeared in pro-homosexual academic journals such as The Journal of Homosexuality, The Journal of Sex Research, Archives of Sexual Behavior, and The International Journal of Medicine and Law. The editorial board of the leading pedophile academic journal, Paidika, is dominated by prominent homosexual scholars such as San Francisco State University professor John DeCecco, who happens to edit the Journal of Homosexuality.

Indeed, the Journal of Homosexuality is the premier academic journal of the mainstream homosexual world and yet it published [in 1990] a special double issue entitled, Male Intergenerational Intimacy, containing dozens of articles portraying sex between men and minor boys as loving relationships. One article states that parents should view the pedophile who loves their son "not as a rival or competitor, not as a theft of their property, but as a partner in the boy’s upbringing, someone to be welcomed into their home." . . .

A 1995 content analysis by Dr. Judith Reisman of the Institute for Media Education, focusing on advertisements in the nation’s most influential homosexual newspaper, The Advocate, reveals that 63% of the personal ads sought or offered prostitution. Many of them openly solicit boys. The Advocatealso advertises a "Penetrable Boy Doll . . . available in 3 provocative positions." Reisman found that the number of erotic boy images per issue of TheAdvocate averaged fourteen. . . .

Indeed, NAMBLA and other pro-pedophile literature can be found wherever homosexuals congregate (homosexual bookstores, bathhouses, festivals, gay bars, etc.) [examples follow] . . . .

The most popular gay fiction books on the market today are rich with idyllic accounts of intergenerational relationships according to writer Philip Guichard in a Village Voice article. Doubleday published a book in 1998, The Gay Canon: Great Books Every Gay Man Should Read, which recommends numerous works that portray sex with boys in a positive manner. The Border bookstore chain sells a book, A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition, which includes a chapter devoted to the history of pro-pedophile literature as an indisputable part of homosexual literary history [examples follow] . . . .

"Mainstream" homosexual conferences commonly feature speeches about intergenerational sex as it is now called. For example, at one of the nation’s largest homosexual gatherings, the annual National Gay Lesbian Task Force convention, featured a workshop at its 2001 confab entitled, Your Eyes Say Yes But the Law Says No, which included a speech by an S&M activist about laws affecting intergenerational sex. The convention also featured another workshop entitled Drag 101: How to Turn Kids in Make-up into Kings and Queens.

Pick up any gay newspaper or gay travel publication and one finds ads for sex tours to Burma, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other countries infamous for boy prostitution. . . . The most popular travel guide for homosexuals, Spartacus Gay Guides, is replete with information about where to find boys for sex and, as a friendly warning, lists penalties in various countries for sodomy with boys if caught. . . .

Homosexual Internet sites are no different. A quick search using the words "gay" and "boys" easily locates thousands of homosexual sites that promote sex with young boys and/or contain child pornography. Indeed, it is the mainstream homosexual groups who filed suit to block Virginia Legislation, passed in 2001, restricting Internet use that proves harmful to children (such as chat rooms commonly used by pedophiles to find victims)….

The Holy Grail of the pedophile movement is the lowering or elimination of all age of consent laws. The main warriors in this political and legal battle are "mainstream" homosexual groups [examples follow]...

Steve Baldwin, "Child Molestation and the Homosexual Movement", cited by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D., "Immoralism, Homosexual Unhealth, and Scripture A Response to Peterson and Hedlund’s “Heterosexism, Homosexual Health, and the Church” Part II: Science: Causation and Psychopathology, Promiscuity, Pedophilia, and Sexually Transmitted Disease", Section IV.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Properly Understanding The Value Of Authority

        It can be seen that members of our modernized society have the tendency to oppose rightfully ordained and established authorities. It appears that many display a growing attitude of hostility toward people who have been appointed to positions of leadership, whether it be parents, teachers, employers, police officers, or whatever other biblically sanctioned governing powers exist. Our culture has forgotten the meaning of obedience, along with what is means to provide discipline. The secular philosophy of moral relativism has no doubt contributed to our perspective on authority being corroded. After all, the concept of authority is rendered subjective, and thus to no avail, in a morally subjective worldview. The idea that the individual is to be the final arbitrator of truth has been a major springboard for grandiloquence in people. In fact, authority has been perceived by some to be a means of violating human rights. What is authority? What are its proper applications? Why is authority necessary for society to function peacefully?

        The New Testament as a general rule of thumb requires peaceful submission, not rebellion in the name of some alleged Christian liberty. Scripture exhorts us to respect and obey government, provided that the specific laws enforced in a particular context do not violate the commandments of God (Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; Hebrews 13:7). Quite simply, authority is the power to enforce rules or make decisions. It was established by God. He is the ultimate source of all law and order. Therefore, a person who claims to be anti-government is in a very real sense also retaliating against God Himself. A leader acting corruptly in an office does not prove the existence of that position to be evil, anymore than the mishandling of a rule in itself proves it to be wrong. Being authoritative does not translate into being authoritarian. What we should be on guard for is the abuse of various laws and the wrongful possession of the offices designated to enforce them. Inequitable laws ought not be adhered to, since they are morally wrong. We must reject unlawful rules and regulations. Authority must be properly applied.

        The purpose of authority is to regulate order, which also includes the punishing of criminals. Rules are not meant to suppress and coerce, but rather are applied so as to protect and serve. In an ideal state, government is not something that a person should fear, insofar that he or she has nothing to hide. The existence of earthly authorities is evidence of human civilization not being utopian. It is evidence pointing to the sinful nature of man. If we were not defiled by sin, then there would be no need for the appointment of earthly heads. Nevertheless, all authority is to be subjugated to the divine authority of God. The aforementioned details describing the proper role of authority are applicable to all different types of authority, regardless of whether they be local, regional, or national. Authority should be respected. Authority should be honored. Authority derives its value from God.

          If there were no figures of authority existing in our world, then how could peace be maintained? Anarchy only results in further anarchy. Neither would it be wise to give the majority supreme authority, since doing such would inevitably lead to the ruthless persecution of minority groups. God is our supreme authority, who has graciously inscribed His precepts into our minds. His laws are a reflection of His character. Authority figures are supposed to uphold His truth, not invent additional decrees for their own purposes. Being in a position of authority means being in a position of greater responsibility. If a person literally has the freedom to act in accordance to his or her own whim with no binding restrictions, then that is not freedom. That definition is an utter distortion of the concept. Freedom demands self-control. Freedom is conditioned by morality, and therefore cannot exist in a morally subjective worldview. Governments cannot function in a logically consistent relativistic framework, and would therefore serve no purpose. It would be illogical to even have laws in a morally relativistic framework.

        God instituted authority to enforce rules, and so preserve our liberties. It is designed to maintain peace and order. It is designed to serve. Authority is designed to work for the best interests of the people. Governments are to be obeyed, as long as the commandments of God are not contradicted. Our freedom is protected by just laws, which are to be enforced by just authorities. There is a distinction between legal and lawful. This is a consequence of mankind's sinful condition. God, the King and Lord of us all, has revealed to us laws with the intention of ensuring protection and peace. Whatever spiritual battles that we may end up fighting with the principalities and powers of this world should not discourage us from wanting to enter into the fullness of God's presence eternally in paradise.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Distinguishing Between Sociology And Morality

"A common mistake of relativists is to confuse behavior with value. That is, they confuse what is with what ought to be. What people do is subject to change, but what they ought to do is not. This is the difference between sociology and morality. Sociology is descriptive; morality is prescriptive."

Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p. 182

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Theological Analysis Of Roman Catholic Marian Prayers

  • Defining The Issues: 
          -For centuries, there has been much debate between Roman Catholics and Protestants on the issue of offering religious devotion to saints through prayer petitions, ceremonies, and the creation of iconography. In fact, Rome has made a reputation for itself with its obsession with the spirits who have departed into the supernatural realm. 
          -While critics accuse the Roman Catholic Church of idolatry, proponents vigorously defend themselves by asserting that they are merely giving honor to whom honor is due. On the contrary, arguments made by Roman Catholic apologists for venerating saintly figures in Christianity fail for the simple reason that their own words and actions testify against them. Their behaviors toward Mary, saints, and the angels so closely resemble worship which belongs only to God Himself.
          -Roman Catholics claim that they do not pray directly to saints and angels, but ask them to intervene on their behalf in prayer. However, a person would have to pray to them if he asks them for something because they are not physically present. Moreover, it would seem redundant to ask people in heaven for support when they are in turn going to ask God Himself. Said petitions to Mary for instance are clearly written with language directed to her as a prayer. 
          -The biblical concept of prayer is always a form of worship. In Scripture, people always worshiped through prayer. It was always directed to God alone. We never see followers of God praying to other entities for any reason. Asking is a component of prayer, but also encompasses factors such as praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and repentance from sin (Psalm 23; 25; Matthew 6:6-14; Luke 18:9-14).
  • The Memorare Prayer: 
          -"Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me."
            *This prayer is essentially a petition to Mary for spiritual protection. The person offering up this request to the mother of Jesus can allegedly rest assured of being answered. It entails a person approaching Mary in a heartbroken, remorseful manner, as though he has transgressed against her and she is a source of forgiveness. That really does sound like idolatry. If people can place this much trust in Mary, then why not simply place all trust in God alone, as did the psalmists of the Old Testament (Psalm 73:24-26)? God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1-2). He is our confidence (Proverbs 3:26). Never are these things said of Mary in Scripture. Christians stand before God, humbly pleading for His mercy. Jesus Christ lives forever to make intercession to all who approach Him by faith (Hebrews 7:24-28). This kind of prayer to Mary contains elements that should be uttered to Christ alone.
  • The Hail Holy Queen Prayer:
          -"Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!"
            *In God should we be placing our trust (Psalm 33:20-22). He is our hope (Psalm 63:5; 1 Timothy 1:1). He is our helper (Hebrews 13:5-6). The Lord Jesus Christ is our advocate before God (1 John 2:1-2). He is our redeemer (Matthew 1:21; 2 Peter 1:1), and does not need any help. Additionally, this Roman Catholic prayer contradicts themes on access to God set forth plainly in Hebrews 4. We now have direct access to God through Christ. The prophets and the apostles never once mentioned entrusting this much confidence to mere creations. There is no denying that such prayers elevate Mary to the level of a goddess. This kind of petition to Mary infringes on the self-sufficiency of Jesus Christ as mediator.
  • Consider This Excerpt From A Papal Speech: 
          -"The history of Christian piety teaches that Mary is the way which leads to Christ and that filial devotion to her takes nothing from intimacy with Jesus; indeed, it increases it and leads to the highest levels of perfection. The countless Marian shrines throughout the world testify to the marvels wrought by grace through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Lord and our Mother." (JOHN PAUL II, GENERAL AUDIENCE, Wednesday, May 7, 1997)
            *Nowhere does the Bible teach that Mary is the way that leads to Christ. Also, asserting that Mary is our mother is nothing but cultic superstition. God will not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8), which includes Mary. Christ plays an exclusive role in dispensing salvific grace (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). The only way for us to approach the Father is through the Son. Mary cannot help us get to heaven in any fashion whatsoever.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Lying Signs And Wonders Of The Charismatic Movement

"It is ironic that Charismatics, who consider themselves experts on the Holy Spirit, completely misunderstand the purpose of the Holy Spirit’s ministry. Does the Bible teach that the Holy Spirit came so that we could have a wonderful, subjective experience? So that we could have wonderful religious sensations? So that we could feel electric current in our bodies? So that we could have an exciting, mind-blowing experience? So the our worship services would make people go, “Wow, how thrilling”? Does the Bible teach that the Holy Spirit came so that people would focus on the Holy Spirit? So that people would hang banners with representations of doves in their churches and have seminars on Spirit-baptism, etc.? No, not at all. Listen carefully to what Jesus Christ says about the Spirit’s ministry: “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come…He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (Jn.16:13-14). The Holy Spirit came to point me to Christ and to glorify Christ. After Peter was baptized in the Spirit, did he stand up and tell the crowd about his wonderful experience? Did he say, “Men and brethren, I have just received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and I want to tell you how wonderful it is. When it came upon me, it was like being thrilled with a vital electric current. I felt such a beautiful love and peace course through my whole body, right down to the balls of my feet”? On the contrary, Peter made no reference to himself or his feeling. His message was Jesus Christ and Him crucified: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God…” (Ac. 2:22). . . .

The Bible teaches that signs are public, visible, miraculous events. Their purpose was not to give believers exciting worship services or a wonderful experience but to authenticate a divine message or messenger, to prove publicly that the person performing miracles was sent from God."

Brian M. Schwertley, The Charismatic Movement: A Biblical Critique, pg.10-11, 30-31.

Man Becomes Puffed-Up In His Ignorance

"...the less ability a man has, the more he tries to raise and swell himself out, as those of short stature exalt themselves on tip-toe, and the weak use most threats."

Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory, Book 2, Chapter 3