Fallen out of use

It would be interesting to tabulate the theological words, portions of Scripture and doctrines that have fallen out of the Christian vocabulary in recent times.

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An acceptance of our own personal sinfulness, guilt with regards to our alienation from God  and our unworthiness of God’s grace is not seen in believers and regarded as superfluous and unecessary by today’s preaching and teaching.

The modern man stands on his hind legs and expects to deal with God on his own terms, indeed  he, in disregard to the teaching of the Bible, sees no barrier or hindrance to prevent his acceptance by his maker and in seeking to dictate terms to the “almighty”.

The modern professor of Christianity tends to take a similar stand when forgetting his original lost estate and inherent sinfulness , ignores the prominent petition of the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive us our trespasses”.

The “putting on “of the Lord Jesus Christ and his righteousness also requires us to “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”Romans 13:14

It also means to “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” Romans 6:12

The opinion today is that sin is a problem between God and the individual and the church has no business warning  of its dangers and subtle deceptions.

It sees no role for itself in holding forth God’s just demands before a sinful world and a prone to stray and error beset  congregation.

How desperately we need to go back to the scripture  and hear what it has to say  both to fallen man and to  believers still in spiritual infancy.

We must pray that God will raise up Christian ministers and leaders who proclaim biblical truth in a biblical way.

Your only Son!

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”Genesis 22:9-14

Were any of us required to make the same sacrifice as Abraham was called to do we would no doubt throw up our hands and say that God was asking too much.

Abraham’s obedience to God entailed an added dimension in that not only was he called to kill his only son but the fact that this child was the gift of God’s own promise.

As far as we are called to imitate the faith of Abraham in being obedient and willing to return to God what He has given us in the first place ,we should be ready for such calls.

We instead grasp everything God gives us and call it our own when it is in fact under our stewardship and care.

God often tests our love and obedience and calls for our entire commitment of all we have and all we are.

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This is inevitably the way of God’s working with His people, He calls for our obedience and sacrifice and imparts abundant blessings not in a quid pro quo manner but rather in a super abundant and gracious bestowal of grace.

In answer to the prosperity gospellors  who reduce all God’s blessing to interest on our money invested , God gives out of all proportion to our deeds, giving as he sees fit for our present good and has the true and eternal blessings in store for us in heaven.

God knows infinitely more about giving than we do because He gave His only son as a sacrifice for the atonement and putting away of sin, in this Christ was the willing sacrifice who in turn gave Himself for us.

Dealing with non-believers

Jesus’ dealing with the woman of Samaria gives the ideal pattern for our testimony to un-believers in both preaching and personal witnessing.

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Jesus is tactful and yet does not fail to put his finger on her particular sin. He does not shrink from showing her the deficiencies in her religious beliefs. Jesus method of working is faithful yet not condescending. He does not skirt around issues for the sake being “seeker sensitive”.

Yet this sort of approach is avoided today for the sake of being non-confrontational and politically correct.

Today when professing Christian take a stand on morality issues they are sure to be howled down and treated as bigots and not allowed a hearing in public discussions and forums.

In this atmosphere the Church generally and Christians individually are rolling over by avoiding comment on moral issues and avoiding anything that is likely to give anyone offense.

It is not enough to be scriptural in our beliefs we must also be scriptural in our way of working and witness.

The practice of the Jesuits was to keep back and hide a great deal of their dogma and theology from prospective converts so that they would not be scared away or revolted by it. Then after they had joined them they would wean them up to their peculiar doctrines.

True Christianity should not imitate them by dissembling about scriptural doctrines and Bible truth. Truth there is much in the Scriptures that the new believer will find difficult to understand  yet to present the gospel as other than it is , is a half truth which is as good as a lie.

As Dr James White says “What you win them with is what you win them to”. If you bring people to Christ with a “doctored” or minimalist gospel you have the risk of people who find that when they actually hear what the Bible says they will feel deceived or they will be far more offended and hostile to the truth than if they were if they were presented the truth in the first place.

The Bible is an open book; it is the basis of all Christian belief and practice and therefore should be received as authoritative by all Christians even if rejected by others.

The proclamation and sharing of Christianity has no doubt declined in this relativistic age and with the result in an emotion preoccupied and anti intellectual perception of Scripture and  a body of “believers” ignorant and disregarding great fundamentals of the faith. A sad result of partial proclamation of the gospel.

Distorting God’s Word

While the trend today among certain nominal Christian groups is to “Cherry pick” the Bible and neglect large tracts of it, there are those who have professed a great zeal for the study of the Bible and profess to hold it in great esteem.indextwist

Unfortunately even this can be used to lead the unwary astray.

In his book on”cults and isms”, J. Oswald Sanders recount the story of how his grandparents lost the light  of their salvation and fell into a legalistic joy-less morass of  false doctrine.

They became entangled with a group called the “Christadelphians”. These people appeared to be zealous to the point of fanatical students of the Bible. They sometimes pored over it till the early hours of the morning. Despite this they invariably drew false conclusions, Christ dishonouring doctrines and propagated error to whoever fell under their influence.

Sanders’ grandfather especially lost the joy and the light of salvation although never wholly convinced as to the truth of this cults teaching. His grandmother did come back to the truth of the gospel.

It prompts one to ask how someone with an open Bible before them can get things so wrong and how do you know those who despite seeming students and followers of Christ , they are in fact heretical and false believers.

The Roman Catholic Church has the Bible open before them yet they add to it the Traditions and commandments of the church. These are based on far- fetched interpretations of Scripture which they twist to their own ends, often plainly contradicting the actual teaching of Scripture.

Also it depends on how we approach the study of scripture. To treat it as you would any other book and think that unaided human reason is sufficient for its study very often leads to false and erroneous deductions and teachings.

As I have said elsewhere we can read out of scripture what is not there or read into scripture what we want to be in there.

The safest course in all bible study is to seek the aid of the Holy Spirit and his illumination and approach the word with humility and teachable-ness, remembering always it is the Word of the living God.

How do we know error from truth especially when it is supposedly the product of in depth bible Study?

Any teaching which has low or false views of God must be suspect. If it exalts one of His attributes at the expense of another say his love over his justice and holiness. If any teaching makes God otherwise than He is it should be shunned.

These false gospellers inevitably have a low view of sin and a different way of Salvation, thus belittling the finished work of Christ on the cross.

They very often make some other condition of salvation and add it to or exalt it above the atoning death of Jesus; most likely they make the death of Christ to mean something merely exemplary or accidental.

Despite their professed love of Scripture they in fact refuse to hear what it truly and actually says by glossing in and taking parts of it out of context, thus ignoring the whole teaching of the Bible, the analogy of Scripture and ignore the “whole counsel of God”.

They inevitably attribute to themselves sole possession of the Truth to themselves and consign all other Christian groups and believers to the way to hell.

These are just a few of the marks of the Cults that masquerade under the name Christian but who are in fact in Satan’s thrall.

True Christians may differ but though they may greatly disagree, they hold to the same orthodox doctrines and beliefs. They are united in holding the Name of Jesus and his wondrous sacrifice in worshipful esteem. They love the Bible as the Word of God and heartily seek to what it has to say for itself by the Spirit’s gracious aid.

Most of  all they worship the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and in glad obedience give him all the glory for their salvation.

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Will the real Christian please stand up!!

Fallen out of use

The God who reigns and rules!

Under the British constitution the king or queen reigns but does not rule.

buck-houseIt seems to me that there are many in the Church today who would be glad to be able to say the same of God. They would have the blessings and glory of his reign but not be under his rule and law as to obedience. They would be glad to be able to live as they list and indulge in sin and yet still be able to call on an indulgent and unexacting Heavenly Father.

They would be glad to welcome anyone and everyone into the Church and yet not have to tell them about their sin and the Holy God they have offended.

They would by all means avoid the necessity of teaching them that their lifestyle or vices are displeasing to God and must be cast aside and striven against.

They would gladly clothe them in the righteousness of Christ, but as to  telling them that they themselves must turn away from greed, lust and covetousness, this is to distasteful to  the modern “Easy believe-ism” teacher , they would rather let God handle that task,  instead of faithfully telling them the truth from God’s inspired Word.

Regardless of the wishes of these well meaning but sorely deluded people God does both reign and rule and He is not mocked “As a man sows so shall He reap” Galatians 6:7. Whether claiming to be a Christian or not “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord”Hebrews12:14.

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Edom: the peril of false brethren

If Babylon typifies the Christian hating world it is the nation of Edom that typifies the brother who ultimately proves false and is in many ways worse.

The people of Edom were the descendants of Isaac as well as Jacob. While Esau came to a certain amount of reconciliation with his brother Jacob , his later descendants although treated respectfully and kindly by Israel, proved at last to be hateful ,vindictive and cruel to Israel  in there extremity. This is shown by the Old Testament prophecy of Obadiah.edom_petra

Seemingly secure in its mountain strongholds Edom did not seek to help its kinsman, Israel when besieged and conquered nor did it merely content itself with non-interference and simply looking on. These people forgetting their common routes seized the opportunity of Israel’s weakness and peril and proceeded to plunder, killing and turning in the refugees of their fallen brother.

As Obadiah prophesied this would not be forgotten by Israel’s God. While fallen Israel would rise again and endure, Edom would receive upon themselves the wrath of God and fall to rise no more.

Again I am compelled to say that there are many so called Christians who are playing this part in the Church today. These people prove at last that they are false brethren in that they deny the Bible as the Word of God, reject the scriptural means of God’s salvation through Christ’s atoning and satisfaction for our sins and seek to call those things good which God in his Word calls evil.emerging church

If some do not go so far as these apostates they still seek the name of Christian and “evangelical” yet still attempt to proclaim the gospel yet shaved of anything offensive to sinful man or those things which are contradicted by modern science .They also make sinful concessions to worldly trends and “New Age” morality , thus in their attempt to re-package the gospel for the modern man they present instead a message which ignores God’s just demands and makes man’s sensibilities the end of all they do.

 

In the end these false brethren will find themselves worse off than the World which never owned God in the first place.

Feeding the Sheep or amusing the Goats?

There is no question in my mind but that any gospel ministry that abdicates parts of it responsibility for any reason is failing in its God appointed duty.

The minister who sees his own role as exclusively dealing with the new comers in the congregation may be just as derelict as the one who deals solely with the job of building up believers and then delegate’s evangelism to specialists or task groups. The Church is the body of Christ. While we call and invite all to come to Christ, it is as the body of Christ that they meet sunday by sunday, not as “seekers” merely but as heares of the Word of God.

Like a steward in a large household the minister of Christ is to portion out every person their due.

The Apostle Paul, while his ministry was not limited to a single church or area, laid down an example by teaching the doctrines to be preached and declaring the role and functions to be perform by the shepherd’s of the flock who he appointed to succeed him. This he did by virtue of apostolic authority. No minister today can truly lay claim to this sort of authority rather they have their “marching orders” and must obey them with all faithfulness and diligence.

It is by failing to obey and live up to this ideal of ministry of the Pauline stamp that explains the sorry state of many churches and church groups regardless of large attendances and worldwide notoriety.

The leaders of these groups may lay claim to apostolic authority to command and dictate to their followers: They may abrogate this or that and excommunicate the people who will not get with the program, Christians though they be: Yet when it comes down to reality it is more about the cult of personality than the Word of God.

These people are far from the New Testament ideal of the self effacing and sacrificing servant and minister of the body of Christ.

When Paul came among the people he was not regarded as a great speaker. He says of himself that his “presence” was base and timid among the Corinthians (2Cor 10:1). What a contrast this is to some of the bombastic and loud mouthed preachers of today.  How much arrogance of attitude is seen amidst the gaudy lights, loud music and night clubbish accoutrements of the modern place of “worship”?

It is all calculated to attract the interest of worldly and excitement seeking sinners looking to add a “spiritual” dimension to their shallow lives.

God forbid that we who name ourselves Christians should follow the undiscerning multitude in whoring after the Beast posing as a minster of the gospel which is in fact not the gospel at all.

The Diminishing Gospel!

We are often confronted with the reduction of product amount and size while continuing to increase the price. Sometimes this is done in a very clever way by the redesigning of packaging to make it look the same as previously yet containing incrementally less product.21M_PRODUCT_SIZE_GRAPHIC(Example from Britain)

Biscuits or cookies as the Americans call them that were as big as your hand 10 years ago are now only one or two bites.

Blocks of chocolate which were sold in great slabs are now one third the size. This trend is likely to be ongoing.

While this may not be as bad as adulterating good products with cheap substitutes it still savours of cynicism and leaves people feeling cheated.

I wonder whether we are seeing this type of design in the preaching of the Word. How little depth we see in Bible teaching and preaching? How little exhortation to practice Christian behavior and living?

The little weight and value of modern preaching is little regarded by moderns because they give very little thought to whole counsel of God given in Scripture. They are more interested in the lively worship and the excitement generated by loud music.

The modern makes a profession of faith so called in Christ but have no real understanding of sin, salvation and holy living and are allowed to remain in their ignorance because modern minister shun the need to expound scripture in any great depth for fear of offending the newcomer.

A low view of Scripture, preaching, and the role of the Church explains the short weight and low value of the fruit and decline in grace we see in a great deal of its activities despite the much vaunted growth in numbers.

The sad thing is that people who have gone to church in better days are content to receive short weight and deficient scriptural teaching and not question it at all.

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The God who reigns and rules!

A little Dabble Do Ya!

As the smallest amount of poison is as deadly as the largest amount, so the least appearing sin is as damning as the greatest sin.

So in the error and false doctrines besetting the visible church it is not only those who whole-heartedly succumb to error but those who take elements of erroneous doctrine and practice and adapt them for their own use as churches who place themselves in eternal peril.

There are always those who will look at Christian doctrine and Bible teaching and discard what they regard as non essential, offensive or as something for later consumption. It is almost as if they are asking themselves  “how much or how little of the gospel can I preach to believer and unbeliever alike and still be able to regard myself as a biblical Christian”?

Others look at the emerging phenomenon in the Church and ask whether they can be adapted to our particular use and circumstances. They may seek to shear it of some of the more dubious and controversial aspects but they still feel that if it works for them it will work for me, at least to some extent.

The person while not claiming to be a “Charismatic” who cherry picks aspects of their worship or the evangelical minister who picks out ideas from the “Seeker sensitive” and market driven “mega “ churches may be on the same highway to error as the full blown proponents of these  sometimes scripturally dubious practices.

Where did this “monkey see monkey do” attitude come from?

A person can be sincere in their beliefs yet still be in error.

There are certainly sincere Bible believing people in these movements but there is also a great deal of spiritual quackery, false doctrine and a watering down of the gospel.

We can certainly imitate them in their zeal but before we jump in “boots and all” we need to measure all things by the Word of God and look at the actual spiritual fruits they bear.

While so much of church doctrine and practice is being thrown out wholesale we would be wise to look more closely at what we are actually hoping to accomplish by doing so and what vital and fundamental  scriptural truths we are departing from.

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Mega church Mini Gospel.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.2 Timothy 4:3

As I have often pointed out it is my belief that true doctrinal Christianity and the hearty proclamation thereof is largely disappearing from much of the Church today.

What is left is little more than a caricature of the gospel once delivered to the saints and Christianity very different from scriptural ideals.

However much you may disagree with me, it would pay for each one of us to look again at what we are enjoined to believe as Christian and commanded to obey and practice in the Bible and compare it with much of what is taught and practiced today.

It could be said that C.H Spurgeon was one of the first pastors of a mega church”.imagestabernacle

He had consistently large congregations flocking to hear him Sunday by Sunday and other times.

He was widely published in his writings and the printing of his sermons and was under constant scrutiny, much of it hostile.

Yet from first to last he consistently preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Although many disagreed with his Calvinistic belief, he had many admirers among the Wesleyans and other denominations.

Not only was he faithful in his preaching of the historical gospel of Christ but he was also tireless in social and charitable work as seen from his founding an orphanage and other charitable organizations.

If he could do all this and still preach and teach a large church the “whole counsel of God” without fear or favour, why cannot the “big name” Church leaders and anyone else do the same without compromising the truth, watering down the gospel way of salvation or adopting worldly market driven methods to attract great numbers of people and then not seeking their conversion and lasting salvation by preaching an uncompromised gospel.

Vision Casting!: My way or the Highway!!!

vision-bus“Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.” 2 Corinthians 1:24

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– Matthew 20:25-27

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A little Dabble Do Ya!

Lines of Supply

After the break out from Normandy, the Allies were faced with a fast retreating and demoralized and seemingly defeated German army. The enemy was retreating so far and so fast that the push on to Berlin became a race between Generals Montgomery and Patton. The Allies came to believe that the war was already won and would be over in 1944.

The difficulty lay in the ever lengthening lines of supply and the fact that the Allies did not hold ports capable of unloading large amounts of materiel.

The large port of Antwerp in Belgium was in Allied hands but they did not control the sea access through the Scheldt estuary.Acrossthescheldt

Buffalo’ amphibious vehicles taking troops of the Canadian First Army across the Scheldt in Holland, September, 1944.

This operation was given less importance than the attack on Arnhem and Operation Market garden. Many criticized the lack of priority given to the clearing access to Antwerp.

The operation was given mainly to the Canadian army with British and Polish elements.

It was fought in horrific conditions and abysmal weather. Overcoming terrible and determined resistance and by clearing of the sea of mines Antwerp was finally opened to cargo on November 29 1944.SS_Fort_Cataraqui_in_the_port_of_Antwerp

Canadian vessel Fort Cataraqui is unloaded at the harbour of Antwerp

Our supply lines as Christians often seem stretched and ready to break. The daily help we need to live as Christians added to the exigencies of spiritual problems and emergencies make the source of divine supply appear very far away.

Sin can block the lines of communication and make our cries seem to fall on deaf ears.

Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered, bled and died so that our forgiveness and Spiritual sustenance and strength could be supplied freely and fully.

However many and insurmountable the obstacles appear to be they are more in our lack of faith and prayerlessness than any supposed unwillingness on God’s part.

Indeed the Apostle Paul spoke from long experience of God’s grace when he said “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.Phillipians 4:19 E.S.V.

Christ speaks to the Church!

Christ’s letters to the seven Churches in the first four chapters of Revelation should always have a salutary effect on those churches and individuals that study them and compare them with the state of the churches in their own day.

Christ is portrayed as the all seeing and ever vigilant observer and judge of the churches works and spiritual state and zeal. This is a cause for our constant sobriety, scrupulous obedience and faithfulness knowing we are always under scrutiny of our Master and Lord.

Of the seven churches dealt with only two avoid censure.the_seven_churches_of_revelation

Despite earthy poverty, Smyrna receives Christ approbation and encouragement to endure the tribulation and forthcoming time of testing.

Philadelphia despite being in the midst of opposition remains faithful to the one who is always “True” Rev 3:7.

She is described as having “little strength” yet having kept Christ’s Word and not denied his Name.

The other churches addressed may to human view appear more successful and appear in need of nothing: they may have their commendable points but the searching gaze of Christ perceives flaws, sins and defections which spoil and endanger their witness and even continued existence.

Christ expects a great deal from the people and groups that bear His name. While He may bear with feebleness and weakness, He will never condone compromise with the World, deficiency in love, corruption, luke-warmness and deadness.

These churches were warned and counseled by Christ but subsequently had their lamps of witness forever snuffed out

If some of our churches today were placed under such direct and immediate notice and scrutiny today, how many would pass muster and continue in existence?

The only way to escape the condemnation which will befalls the erring and unfaithful church is to return to first love and first works.

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The Christian Ministry.

Traditionally the gospel ministry was regarded as a calling in a very unique sense.

Spurgeon said of the ministries that “If you can do anything else do not become a minister”.

One often hears the complaint that the attitude of Christian ministers to their work today is the same as any other person following a particular profession, say a lawyer or dentist.

By this they mean that the minister is fulfilling a function and trying to achieve a measurable result and doing a job like anyone else.

Some would say that they are now merely the C.E.O. of their particular church congregation in much the same way as a business executive and have thus become time servers, only interested in the lifestyle and material gains resulting from a successful church organization.

The fact is many have no real idea what their ministers do during the week and wonder if they actually earn their stipends. While much of this criticism is unfair many Christian leaders today give ample concern about their reasons for entering Christian ministry and methods of operation.

The minister today has less to do with the direct shepherding of souls and more to do with organizing programs and increasing attendance.

Though they are still expected to preach  for some it is a role limited to so many times a month and then punctuated by guest speakers or services where preaching as such does not occur.

The minister has it seems to me become a far more remote figure than he was in the past. While in the larger churches this is understandable, it is still a sorry side effect of numerical growth and may be an indictment of the lack of commensurate growth in spiritual graces, fruits and the decline from the Pauline and scriptural idea of Christian ministry.

To go into the ministry as a career and means to gain a comfortable life goes against the scriptural description of Christian ministry.

While no one expects a minister to live on air, it seems that an attractive salary and high standard of accommodation are essentials in getting the right sort of man to grow a large successful church.

The minister who is comfortable where he is can stay at the one church indefinitely and may be unwilling to uproot his family to answer another call. What does this say about the priorities that some ministers have to their work?

While it is easy to be over critical, the proclamation gospel is the important thing. It has always involved self sacrifice and personal inconvenience to those called to the ministry.

When Christ and his apostles suffered hardship and deprivation for the furtherance of the gospel cause and throughout history the faithful heralds of Christ’s message were treated as “the offscouring of all things”, it is shameful that the ministry should be regarded as a cozy billet a means to obtain a comfortable lifestyle by minimal effort.

Thank God there are still faithful minister who lead the way as examples of tireless effort and self denial. Let us pray that their numbers may be greatly increased.

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Lines of Supply

Ersatz; Beware of Imitations!

 

Germany experienced dire food and material shortages caused by being blockaded during the two world wars. They therefore endeavored to replace these goods with other less satisfactory materials.

Examples being making tea out of raspberry and catnip leaves or substituting roasted acorns or normal beans for coffee.into-the-darkness-chap-07-0818

In World War II, Ersatzbrot (replacement bread) made of potato starch, frequently stretched with extenders such as sawdust, was furnished to prisoners of war. (Wiki)

The soldiers at the front used powdered ashes as a replacement for pepper.

All sorts of contrivances were used to try and meet the need for replacements and keep up appearances, from wooden shoes to sausage casings full of who knew what?

Satan to, has his substitutes and shams meant to fool people and lead them away from God’s reality.

  • He takes sexual promiscuity and perversion and calls it love.
  • He takes man’s search for affluence, pleasure and material possessions and calls it the way to happiness.
  •  He takes a person’s desire for freedom and liberty and turns it into licentiousness and lawlessness.
  • He takes a person’s admiration for others and turns it into idolatry.

Etc.

There is no doubt that the world in its credulity is fooled by these substitutions of falsehoods for realities but for the Christian to be fooled by them is lamentable.

We all need eyes opened by God to see things as they are and not be fobbed off by Satan’s imitations and sin’s “gilded potsherds” Proverbs 26:23

Higher Criticism

At the current time as in the past there have always been Bible scholars who have delighted in attempting to saw through the tree branch which they themselves have supposedly been sitting on. (This is in addition to the attacks by infidels and atheist on the authority and validity of Scripture.)1960s-businessman-in-shirt-and-tie-sitting-on-and-sawing-off-tree-cmt2a1

While Christianity and the Bible welcome all honest examination there have been many who studied the scriptures only to discredit them and consign them to oblivion.

For the last 2 or 300 hundred years the Bible has been dissected and scrutinized by so called scholars seeking to de-mythologize and subject it to the strictures of human reason.

Not daring to throw it out in its entirety they have tried to whittle it down to more credible and manageable proportions and attacked selected parts of it and indirectly discredit the whole.

They have questioned and discarded the avowed Pauline authorship of several New Testament letters. They claim that Paul could not have written these because a certain word the writer uses does not appear anywhere else  and is not  used  frequently in the epistles they regard as genuine or perhaps a passage in his writing does not seem to be typical of his writing style or sound like something Paul would say.

For other writings ,because  the Gnostic heresy was established and  flourished in the second century ,it  means that any mention of similar heretical theories in the New Testament writings must have come in answer to it and therefore must place them much later in time and makes them more remote from apostolic times and renders them  less genuine and authoritative.

They make a concerted effort to place  a great deal  of the New Testament as we now have it well into the second century A.D. and by doing this rob these writings of their claim to inspiration or Apostolic authority.

The gospels are not free from attack, the claim is made that the compilers of the original materials allowed traditions and legends to creep in and be incorporated into the narrative.

They therefore exert themselves to remove from the original document the supposed later, incredible and to their mind, unacceptable additions.

These “higher critics” have invariably denied the miraculous aspects of the gospels and so have attempted to de-bunk them at every turn.

 

The Old Testament has been violently hacked, dissected and assailed. We only have to look at the “higher” critic’s efforts to remove the predictions of the future from Isaiah and Daniel and the consigning of portions of these prophecies to other but unknown authors.

The critics invariably credit the portions of the Old Testament they do not like to some later redactor or editor and thus remove the perceived difficulty.

The end result of all this effort has been to shake some Christian’s confidence in the Bible and reduce it to fallible book, with good characters, stories and teaching but not anyway authoritative for the modern man who has outgrown the thinking of past ages.

The fact remains that low views of the Bible have always led to the Church’s decline and I think this is seen in the state of many, if not most of the churches of today.

What do you think of the Bible?

Some claim to have gone beyond the Bible and hear from God directly.

A theologian said in a sermon I heard, that Christ is the Word of God not the Bible. The fact is without the Bible we know nothing about Christ and cannot infallibly know His will and truth.

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We cannot have one spark of real humility till we are abased before God, as guilty, helpless, and undone creatures, who have no hope but in the tender mercy of God in Christ Jesus.-Charles SimeonCharlesSimeon

 

 

Ersatz; Beware of Imitations!

SPAM

For most people during the Second World War, one of the dietary staples was SPAM which was an acronym for “spiced ham”.

When Britain received a supply of it from the United States, some described the taste as being similar to eating “cloth material”.

When food was in short supply it had the advantage of being easy to transport and had a long shelf life.

The ingenious cook used it as a supplement to what other  meat they could get on or off the ration.

There were many jokes made about it,such as

  • SPAM is ham that didn’t pass its physical
  • or that SPAM was a meatball that did not pass basic training.

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A World War II-era can of Spam. Photo courtesy of Hormel Foods Corporation

In the end many people gained a taste for it and for some it remained a delicacy. Yet even then feelings were mixed about this controversial food.

“After the war, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower wrote a letter to a retired Hormel executive commenting on his company’s famous product. “During World War II, of course, I ate my share of Spam along with millions of other soldiers. I’ll even confess to a few unkind remarks about it—uttered during the strain of battle, you understand. But as former Commander-in-Chief, I believe I can still officially forgive you your only sin: sending us so much of it.( quoted from “a war won on spam”” by dwight zimmerman)

The gospel of Christ may not be regarded as “haute cuisine” or even palatable by the sinful world at large but for those whose taste buds are invigorated by the Holy Spirit find it sustaining and satisfying to their spiritual hunger and the divine means to save their souls.

Spam, the nuisance kind

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This “word press’ website comes with a built in “spam filter”; I go to it periodically to remove the ads and often nonsensical messages that some person or business sends me.

These messages are most often advertising something and the people who send them are foolish if they think I will actually respond to them, but I guess some people do or why would they keep doing it.

Maybe they just like to be an irritation.

For whatever reason people do this, they are a real nuisance for many of us on the receiving end.

Like all junk mail, however impressive the outside envelope may be the actual contents are usually valueless and unwanted.

They take up space that could be used for something worthwhile and useful.

I wonder how many of us today, treat parts of the Bible and some of the doctrines taught therein as Spam.

Are there portions of scripture that we would gladly put into the recycling bin and then empty it?

Modern man and some professing Christians find parts of the Bible very uncomfortable and disagreeable.

It is embarrassing to observe the lengths some people will go to water down, explain away, ignore or treat as outdated miraculous, unpopular and condemnatory portions of God’s Word.

Sadly for them, the Bible stands as a whole. However much they may chafe at God’s commandments and the truths found in its pages, the true Christian will gladly receive them, believe and thankfully live by them.

A four legged friend!

In the film “Son of Paleface” Roy Rogers sang about “A four legged friend “who will never let you down.

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However this may be, we are sometimes let down by our two legged friends and we let them down.

Human beings are often self centered and are sometimes fickle, faithless and unreliable.

We are often warned to by Scripture to beware of placing too much faith in people.

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save”.Psalm 146:3

We are not helped by the fact that our high and unreasonable expectations of others build us up for a fall.

In a romantic partner we initially see them through rose coloured glasses and when the glasses come off and we see them in normal light, with all their flaws and failings we very often, unfairly wonder what we saw in them in the first place.

Why do so many marriages and relationships fail but because people expect perfection and lifelong bliss and receive instead life with all its day to day difficulties and mundanities.

Our friend’s circumstances may change or they may move into a new circle and our relationship fades and may even cease.

As the hymn says “Change and decay in all around I see”.

God is one who will never fail us and who sticks with us through thick and thin. He will remain with us to the end. Knowing us as He does He cannot change in His understanding and love for us.

Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18:24

While we may have at times the wrong expectations from Him ,He will infinitely surpass all our hopes.

“Many complain more of the sorrows to which they are born, than of the sins with which they were born; they tremble more at the vengeance of sin, than at the venom of sin; one delights them, the other scares them.”

– William Secker
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