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, pg.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 our society becoming morally bankrupt, and that believers who are open to the idea of trick-or-treating are in reality 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 around the fifth century. Halloween contains occult elements, from sorcery to witchcraft to demonism. All these concepts are condemned in the Judeo-Christian worldview (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6; Deuteronomy 18:9-12; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Acts 8:9-24; 19:19; 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 simply another day of the week. God is our Creator. He transcends time. Everything rightly belongs to Him (Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26). Consequently, He deserves our undivided attention on a daily basis. 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 itself sinful. To illustrate the point, note that 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. The act is not inherently a compromise of the gospel because no homage is given to unscriptural entities. Halloween could even serve as a great opportunity to pass out biblically sound gospel tracts.

          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). The comments provided in this article neither serve as an endorsement nor condemnation of trick-or-treating. Whatever decisions that people make is between them and God. If a professing Christian does embrace the sinful aspects and 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, doctrine being promulgated amongst Christian circles 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 or she experiences were passed on from his or her parents. Common proof texts used to substantiate the idea of generational curses would include Exodus 20:5 and Deuteronomy 5:9. In truth, a careful examination of Scripture will reveal this teaching to be totally 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. We are judged according to our conduct (Exodus 32:31-33; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 1:17; Romans 14:12), not the actions of other people. We are clearly held responsible for our own choices. As a matter of fact, Jesus indicated that children are in a sense better models of purity than adults (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.

          So, what about the Old Testament passages that people misuse to teach the concept of generational curses? The two parallel passages recording the Ten Commandments do not say that God would give generational curses to people. Rather, God would cast judgement on idolaters. That sin could contaminate future generations. God punishes the 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. Nobody has to be trapped in sin. 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 Adam and Eve 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 (Romans 5:1-11; Romans 8:1). This generational curse nonsense has no doubt caused much unnecessary fear and anxiety in the lives of professing 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.

1 John 1:1-4 And The Deity Of Christ

"There's one thing demons will inevitably deny in all their demonic systems, and that is they will deny the deity of Jesus Christ. They will deny God in human flesh. In a word, they deny the incarnation.

...He's just saying basic to testing the validity of any teacher as coming truly from God is that teacher's doctrine of Christ. In fact, go back with me to chapter 1 for a moment and John says in verse 1, "That he beheld, and actually touched, the Word of life." That is a term expressing the very deity of Christ, for Christ emanates from God as His living Word. He was in verse 2 with the Father. One with the Father, sharing the same essence with the Father and dwelling in an affable light with the Father before He came to earth. He was manifested to us. The end of verse 3 tells us that our fellowship consequently is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

John's language then starts out with the fact that Jesus Christ emanates from God as the very living Word of God. There is the written Word of God on the one hand, Scripture. There is the living Word of God, namely the One John says that was from the beginning that we heard, we saw and we touched. That One, that Word of life was the eternal One, the eternal life, verse 2, who was with the Father prior to His incarnation and was then manifested to us in the flesh that we could see and hear and touch. Now that we know Him, and that you know Him, we have fellowship with Him and our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son Jesus Christ. He is therefore the very Word of God incarnate, He is the eternal life who became flesh, He is one with the Father, manifested to us. He is namely the Son in the Trinity who is Jesus Christ. So John starts out with a very definitive Christological statement in his epistle."

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 our Lord 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 linguistic, contextual, or manuscript 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)?")

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Ignoring Contentious Individuals Is A Good Piece Of Advice

  • Being A Godly Example Is More Important Than Wasting Time In Pointless Arguments:
          -"But do not follow foolish stories that disagree with God’s truth, but train yourself to serve God." (1 Timothy 4:7)
  • We Do Not Need To Engage Unteachable People, As Such Only Results In Fruitless Controversy:
          -"Stay away from foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they grow into quarrels." (2 Timothy 2:23)
  • Debating With Contentious People Is Not An Edifying Practice And Does Not Help The Cause Of Jesus Christ:
          -"But stay away from those who have foolish arguments and talk about useless family histories and argue and quarrel about the law. Those things are worth nothing and will not help anyone." (Titus 3:9)
  • The Consequences Of Engaging Contentious People Are Bad:
          -"This person is full of pride and understands nothing, but is sick with a love for arguing and fighting about words. This brings jealousy, fighting, speaking against others, evil mistrust, and constant quarrels from those who have evil minds and have lost the truth." (1 Timothy 6:4-5)

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

  • Discussion:
          -Consider this passage which is in the context of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ appearing to His disciples from the Gospel of John:

          "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 in the quoted Scripture 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 problematical for the stories circulated in an attempt to discredit the resurrection of Jesus Christ.