Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Temptations of Jesus: It is Written

Christians who use their Bibles for more than just decorations and actually read them are familiar with the narratives concerning the temptations of Jesus by Satan. When tempted, Jesus replied with, "It is written". The Bible should be the foundation for our lives and conduct, and "It is written" should be second nature to us under many circumstances.

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, he responded with Scripture. We need to know and believe the Bibles as well as sound doctrine.
Satan Tried To Tempt Jesus by James Tissot
Jesus is an example to us. Even though he was God the Son, he knew Scripture. So did other people in the Bible. Someone may object that they were special and inspired by God, but we are to know the Bible which gives us life and guidance.

When I was a child, I was told that Satan could not enter a room that contained a Bible, which doesn't hold up when we see apostate churches loaded up with them in the pew racks. Also, Satan was able to step up his game by quoting Scripture as well, but took verses out of context as well as misquoted — just like he did in Eden (Gen. 3:1). Jesus knew what Scripture said, and responded to Satan with the corrected contexts. Note that Jesus also quoted from the books of Moses, which are under attack today; if they were incorrect, he certainly would have told us. We need to know and believe the Bible from the very first verse, as well as solid doctrine, then stand firm.
As well as showing Jesus’ total submission to the will of His Father, the Father was getting His Son ready for His Messianic ministry. Hebrews 2:18 tells us that “because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Thus, it needed to be manifest that Jesus was able to conquer Satan and all Satan’s temptations. Note that when God the Son took on human form in the Incarnation (Philippians 2:6–8), He was able to experience many things that were not possible of God in His divine essence, including being tempted, as the Gospels describe.
To read the rest, click on "The Jesus defence: 'It is written'".


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Creation from Way Up Yonder

Here in the United States, Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow. While we need to be thankful to God every day for his blessings, Thanksgiving is a special day and even a theological act. There have been times when I have suggested getting up on the hill — that is, a larger perspective. How about perspective from the International Space Station?

Sometimes we need to get far away and have a larger perspective. An astronaut who has seen Earth below provides his view of creation.
Captain Barry Wilmore image credit: NASA
I camped out on this article for a while, so at this point the 50th anniversaries have come and gone. The linked article was written prior to those events.

Captain Williams has logged many hours in space on the shuttle Atlantis and on the ISS. He reminds us that the creation itself was a miraculous event, as is our redemption in Jesus Christ. We can give him honor, glory, and worship forever. Take some time to thank him, pilgrim.
I’ve had the privilege few ever experience. To date, I’ve spent not just a few hours or a week in space, but 178 days. I lived there (most of the time on the space station) and had the opportunity to experience space. I’m often asked what perspective this gave me. Did I have a spiritual experience, a moment of enlightenment that freed me from the constraints of our planet?

I can say without question that one cannot help but be filled with awe at the beauty, majesty, and utter wonder of God’s magnificent creation while zipping around the planet 16 times a day at 17,500 mph. One of the most memorable experiences is the kaleidoscope of vivid colors that encircle the globe. It’s hard to put into words what one actually sees and experiences because our eyes detect light differently than can be recorded by cameras.
To read the full article or download the MP3, go to "To Space and Back—an Astronaut’s Perspective". 


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Evangelism and Evolution

People tend to believe in an old earth and accept evolution, often shying away from scientific evidence to the contrary and affirming recent creation. To stand for creation and the young earth invites ridicule from folks who think they are "scientifically literate" and smarter than the rest of us. This is an impediment to evangelism.

When Christians are doing evangelism and mix in long ages and evolution, we are actually being detrimental to the gospel message.
Credit: Good Free Photos
Christians should know that people need Jesus. We are to preach repentance and faith for salvation, but when we compromise on the authority of Scripture and reject creation, we are tacitly admitting that we do not fully believe the Bible. Adding long ages and evolution to evangelism is detrimental to the gospel message.
Evolutionary ideas have religious implications. The atheistic notion that nature creates itself—from the Big Bang to the diversity of life on Earth—is contrary to the biblical truth that God created nature. Last month we saw how this strikes at the very doctrine of God. Evangelism deals directly with a person’s accountability to God. A person may indeed want to mentally deflect dealing with that impending reality. Evolutionism offers a Creator-denying, and thus conscience-appeasing, worldview that allows someone to live as if God doesn’t exist.
To read this important article in its entirety, click on "Evolutionism Contradicts Christian Evangelism".


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Inspiration and the Bible

We have moments when we feel inspired to do something, such as write an article or music, design an application, or somesuch. This kind of inspiration is far different than what is meant when Christians say the Bible is inspired. In that case, it is θεόπνευστος
theopneustos, which essentially means God-breathed. There is more to it than this.


Inspired is used to refer to Laura Ingalls Wilder or the Bible. There is obviously a big difference. We can examine the importance of biblical inspiration.
John Wycliffe reading his translation of the Bible to John of Gaunt, Ford Madox Brown, 1847
There are theological liberals and unbelievers who say that the Bible is inspired like other impressive human compositions, but is not all that special. They reject the inerrancy of Scripture, which leaves them in a world of hurt. After all, they cannot be consistent by rejecting creation, the Genesis Flood, miracles of Jesus, end-times prophecy, and other things — yet claiming that they trust in Christ for their eternal destiny! Atheists and other Bible-deniers seem to want to go to Hell, attempting to justify their suppression of truth by claiming that "the Bible is full of contradictions", but this pile of meadow muffins is easily shoveled away.

The different kind of inspiration between a Laura Ingalls Wilder or Riley B. King compared to the Bible is clear, but we still want to know what defines biblical inspiration. Some people think that God dictated it, as if he gave a whistle, told the author to sit down on yonder rock and write this stuff down. Not quite, since personalities and styles of various authors can be seen, but on occasion God did give a bit of dictation. There are other areas of consideration that may seem at first glance to threaten inerrancy and divine inspiration, but are actually items that need to be properly understood.
Most evangelical Christians would say the Bible is “inspired”. Yet if we scratch beneath the surface, most would be hard-pressed to explain, much less defend, the inspiration of Scripture. Many Christians only have a vague idea how we got from the original papyrus and parchment scrolls and letters to the leather-bound collection of documents we carry to church on Sundays.

Until relatively recently, this wasn’t a huge problem. But with the rise of Internet skepticism, anybody can copy a list of “100 Bible errors” and use it to assail their unsuspecting but well-meaning Christian ‘friends’. Thus, the average Christian needs to be more prepared to defend their faith. The good news is that the doctrine of inspiration is easy to explain, and with just a little effort you can confidently believe this important idea and easily defend it against the unsupported claims of unbelievers and skeptics when you are called to share your faith with them.
To read the rest, click on "The inspiration of Scripture comes in various forms".


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Cannabis and the Christian

There are many discussions and points of view using words like cannabis, hemp, marijuana, and so forth. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion, especially from those who want to legalize pot for recreation. Some Christians want to get high, others detest the idea.


Some people think there is nothing much wrong with cannabis, others may wonder why God created it in the first place. Here are some biblical perspectives.

I have struggled to learn the differences between hemp and marijuana. Some said that it's the same plant but the younger version is where the THC (the chemical that alters your state of consciousness) comes from, and the bigger ones become hemp. Not quite. Apparently versions of cannabis are virtually indistinguishable by sight, but hemp is legal in may places and does not require special growing conditions. It also has only a fraction of THC. This article seems reliable.

Unfortunately, pro-reefer folks seem to be like climate change cultists, anti-vaxxers, and evolutionists who ignore data that they dislike and cherry-pick information that seems to confirm their biases. There are also logic problems, such as saying, "You can drink alcohol and pot is better for you". Lousy comparison. For one thing, the doobie smoker is inhaling burning leaves and their carcinogens. Today's burning leaves are far more potent than hippies smoked at Woodstock, and the THC levels have been increasing over the years. Also, it is a controlled substance under US federal law; if your state legalized it, that's a mite confusing since the feds say, "Nuh-uh, you're breaking the law". EDIT: That was very recently changed.

Someone may complain that smoking weed is not mentioned in the Bible, so we can go ahead. No, we must use biblical principles, as God's Word is our foundation in all areas of life — including our thinking. In a Bible-believing worldview, we need to remember that drug use is a component in sorcery and witchcraft. God does not condone misuse of alcohol, so getting high one way or another is against what God teaches.

This issue is very complicated and can get confusing, especially when you factor in the dubious value of using CBD for relaxation and to alleviate pain. Yes, God created cannabis, and hemp has been very beneficial for textiles as well as (possibly) hemp seeds and oil.

Now I would like to turn you over to Dr. Jerry Bergman's article for some interesting perspective. 
With the recent legalization of the recreational use of the mind-altering drug cannabis in many states, and the legalization of its medical use in most states, questions arise about the drug from a creation-worldview standpoint. The main psychoactive component of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). One major question is, why did God create drugs that are poisonous or that can cause harm? Poisonous substances include anything that can physically harm us if we inhale, swallow or touch it. They range from bee stings to cyanide poisoning.
I hope you will read the rest of "Why Did God Create Cannabis?"



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Scriptural Truth can be Clearly Seen

As we have seen, major movements seldom happen at one specific moment in time. The Reformation is considered to have begun on October 31, 1517, but some of the groundwork was established years before by people like John Wycliffe and William Tyndale. (Aspects of the Reformation continued after Luther's time.) A major focus of the Reformation was the clarity of Scripture.


One of the primary messages of the Reformers and their forerunners is that the Bible was meant to be understood by regular people, not just scholars, for salvation and instruction.
Credit: Freeimages / Jorge Avina
The expensive word for this is perspicuity. The Bible can be clearly understood regarding important doctrines even by us reg'lar folk, but it also contains a wealth of information to keep someone growing in faith and understanding for a lifetime. The Roman Catholic Church did not want the people to know what Scripture really said, and it fought to keep the Word of God out of the hands of the people. (For that matter, look at how cults tell people that the Bible can be understood only through their sources and people should not read it for themselves. Some even have their own spurious translations.) People who want to make it say that the earth is billions of years old are denying the perspicuity of the Bible. God made his Word available and understandable.
The Reformers, first and foremost, gave their lives for the supremacy of the Scriptures over the prevailing traditions of their day. Often this is referred to as Sola Scriptura (“the Scriptures alone”; see 2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16; Colossians 2:8). This doctrine was followed by Sola Fide, that is, “the just shall live by faith” (see Ephesians 2:8; Hebrews 10:38), and then by the supremacy of the common believer over an exclusive priesthood . . .
These doctrines work together. The average person’s ability to understand Scripture by faith alone is closely tied to perspicuity, and this doctrine continues its importance into our day. . . . 
Historic doctrinal statements of major Protestant denominations—Lutherans, Presbyterians, Reformed, Congregationalists, Baptists, and others—all echo the refrain that the Scripture is self-authenticating to the sincere, searching heart in matters pertaining to redemption and personal growth in godliness.
To read the entire article, click on "Truth Everyone Can See".


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Christian Worship and Evolution

The natural response of those who believe in salvation through Jesus Christ aone is worship. It should not be necessary to consider who or what God is, we should know that God is our Creator and Redeemer. When people in the Bible were in the presence of the Almighty, they were overcome with a sense of their own unworthiness, reverence, and tremendous awe. They worshiped him.


When professing Christians mix long ages and evolution with the Bible, they are seriously contaminating worship of Almighty God.
Credit: Unsplash / Diana Simumpande
Indeed, ancient Christian creeds like the Apostolic and Nicene begin by affirming that God is our Creator. Unfortunately, too many professing Christians have chosen reject biblical authority. They ride the owlhoot trail and try to mix long ages and evolution with biblical Christianity. This contaminates true worship. It also demonstrates ignorance of the Bible's plain teachings as well as adding atheistic interpretations of modern science philosophies to their worship. How confused is that? God is not weak and did not need millions of years to cause life to evolve, nor did he let us be deceived by Scripture until atheists told us what really happened regarding origins.

Before I give an excerpt of the featured article, I want to share a couple of related videos. Neither one is short, but both are interesting and helpful. Ken Ham had a debate with a Reasons to Believe representative named Jeff Zweerink. Although I think Ham left some things out that could have been said, he did a good job. You can tell that Zweerink was uncomfortable and incoherent when justifying his compromises. To watch this video and read the article, click on "Watch Ken Ham Debate Jeff Zweerink of Reasons to Believe". The other video is by Dr. Albert Mohler as he addresses the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on God's creation of male and female in his image. Although there are items specific for Southern Baptist doctrines, the message is important to the church as a whole. To hear this, click on "Male and Female Created He Them".

Now, about that problem with worship and evolution...
At Moody Bible Institute, I was taught the church’s mission could be organized into three basic functions: worship, evangelism, and the edification (building up) of believers. If a church undertook an activity that couldn’t reasonably be plugged into one of those functions, then that activity was a distraction from its mission. Have you ever considered the effect evolution has on our worship of God?
You can finish reading by clicking on "Evolutionism Poisons Christian Worship".



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