31 July 2014

'Stripping Down' the Barriers of Evangelism?

Photo credit
Ladies, do you 'hang out' in the men's public restroom? Men, how about you? Do you frequent the ladies' room? No? Why not? Could it be because you do not belong there?

Christianity Today (CT) regularly features a column entitled 'Three Views', wherein three influential voices within professing Christendom offer their opinion regarding CT's latest controversial issue. The question most recently posited was: Would Jesus Hang Out in a Strip Club? It quickly becomes clear in reading the article that the ultimate question is: Is it okay for professing Christians to 'hang out' in a strip club?

Two of the three voices, Dawn Herzog Jewell and Mike Foster, answered with a resounding 'yes' while Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition took the negative stance. Carter makes some salient points in his brief argument:
It's hard for me to believe there are Christians who think Jesus would hang out in a strip club. Are we talking about the Jesus who had a high opinion of women and a low view of lust? Hanging out at a strip club doesn't sound like something he would do.

But since the question is being asked, I assume there are people who think he would. I have to assume they think that since Jesus ate with sinners, he'd have no problem eating at a buffet next to a stripper pole.

Jesus did sit and eat with sinners (Mark 2:16–17). In Luke 15, we again find the oft-quoted claim made by the Pharisees: "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." What is often left out is the lengthy reply Jesus gave. After hearing their charges, Jesus tells three parables—about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a prodigal son. . . But there is no evidence that Jesus ever ate with sinners or even spent significant time "hanging out" with them without calling them to turn from their sin. . . .

I wonder if what many people want to know is not whether Jesus would hang out at a strip club, but whether he'd have an issue if they hung out there. For those people, I'd recommend meditating on the words of Matthew 5:28–29.

It seems that Carter may have hit at the crux of the issue when he queried, "I wonder if what many people want to know is not whether Jesus would hang out at a strip club, but whether he'd have an issue if they hung out there."

30 July 2014

Rescued from Darkness

photo credit: Denis Collette...!!! via photopin cc
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13–14)

Further Reading
Dedicated Pastors Produce Discerning Sheep
Resting in the Immutability of God
You Cannot Sneak Into Heaven Without a Cross

27 July 2014

25 July 2014

No Compromise Radio: Monergistic Regeneration Extols Sovereign Grace

Additional Resources
NoCo90: The Misuse of Matthew 18
NoCo90: I Wasn't Led
NoCo90: The Myth of Free Will

This 'n' That

Well, I recently returned from 'vacation'. I use the term loosely because mine is always a working (schoolwork, that is) vacation. But, it gives me an opportunity to visit one of my favorite parts of the country and the campus is pretty and peaceful (most of the time, anyway). And while there have been some mildly disappointing administrative changes in the program, and while I am, after all this time, anxious to complete my studies, I nevertheless am thankful for the opportunity to study, learn and grow in a multitude of ways.

Each year that I am on campus, I take pictures. These pictures look nearly the same year after year because, though it may sound silly, what I love most about visiting the campus is enjoying the beauty of nature when I'm there. To begin with, the campus is loaded with rosebushes, and I love roses.

And of course, you can't beat a Southern California sunset, no matter where you may be or whatever the setting.

But, as much as I love school, I'm happy to be back home. I missed my kitties, my bed, and my church. There really is no place like home, even on this fallen world. Can you imagine what it will be like when we finally are in our eternal home? I can't wait.

Until then, though, we still have much to do, starting with enjoying your (still a bit abbreviated) week in review (kind of):

24 July 2014

A Stronghold for the Oppressed

photo credit: howzey via photopin cc
But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity. The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. (Psalm 9:7–10)

Click here to hear a wonderful teaching on Psalm 9 from Pastor Don Green.

Further Reading
What If 'My God' Is Bigger Than 'Your God'?
Sanctification: A Positive Certainty
Jesus Christ, Creator

23 July 2014

Woman Lets 'Jesus' Take the Wheel, Drives Over Motorcyclist

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports:
Lying helplessly in the street and watching the car that just knocked him off his motorcycle bearing down on him, Anthony Oliveri was resigned to his fate.
photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

“When I looked at that bumper and looked at that tire, I told myself, today is the day you die,” he said Thursday of the July 11 crash.

He closed his eyes and the car ran over his midsection, breaking all the ribs on his left side, cutting his spleen, bruising a kidney and leaving him with road rash and severe injuries to the muscles in his left arm and leg.

The car eventually came to a stop when it drove into landscaping between two fast-food restaurants several blocks east of the crash at West Jefferson Boulevard and Jackson Street.

The car’s driver, 25-year-old Prionda C. Hill, told police she let go of the wheel shortly before the crash because “God told her he would take it from here,” according to the probable cause affidavit filed Thursday in Allen Superior Court.

As a result of the crash, Hill, of the 2100 block of Weisser Park Avenue, was charged with failure to stop after an accident resulting in injury or death, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and two counts of criminal mischief.

(Source, emphasis added)
This is what happens when people start to listen to the voice in their head that claims to be God. How is the voice in Prionda Hill's head any different from the voice that told Beth Moore to take a 'Sabbath moment' playdate with God? Or how is it any different from the other direct revelations and prophecies that Beth Moore purports have been spoken to her by God? How is it any different from the 'Jesus' that allegedly spoke to Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling? How is it any different from any of the other wildly fantastic claims of direct, audible communication from God made by charismatics today?

21 July 2014

Bishop Who Urged Charismatics and Catholics to Unite Dies in Motorcycle Accident

Bishop Tony Palmer. Photo: Stand Up for the Truth
It's likely that few have forgotten the figurative ecumenical bear hug that was shared earlier this year between Pope Francis and charismatic charlatan Kenneth Copeland. The two were joined together virtually by means of the iPhone of Bishop Tony Palmer, whose message to the masses gathered at Copeland's church urged the charismatics and Catholics to unite as one. In fact, Palmer has been quoted as stating, "Brothers and sisters, Luther's protest is over. Is yours?"

Today it has been reported that Palmer died following a motorcycle accident in the UK. In spite of, and perhaps because of, the unbiblical nature of Palmer's agenda, the news is tragic. It should cause Christians to reflect upon the brevity of this life and the urgency with which we must be sharing the true and saving gospel of Jesus Christ—a gospel that may actually divide men, but that saves souls.

Christian Today reports:
Evangelicals and other Christians worldwide are mourning the sudden death of a bishop in a breakaway Anglican church who had become a close personal friend of Pope Francis.

British-born Tony Palmer has died in hospital following hours of surgery after a motorcycle accident in the UK.

He moved with his family to South Africa when he was ten but currenty lived with his wife Emiliana and two children in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. He was a bishop with the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, which embraced the middle ground of Anglican identity.

In January this year Pope Francis sent Bishop Palmer to a charismatic conference hosted by television evangelist Kenneth Copeland, where he unveiled a video message of unity and love that the Pope had suggested he do.

The news of his death was disclosed by Archbishop Charles Hill, patriarch and presiding prelate of Ambassadors for Christ Ministries of America, who wrote on Facebook yesterday (20th): "We are in prayer for the family of Bishop Tony Palmer who was in a motorcycle accident this morning in the UK after hours of surgery he went home to be with the Lord. He was a good friend and brother in the vineyard."

HT: Stand Up for the Truth

Further Reading
The Ecumenical Bear Hug of Pope Francis and Kenneth Copeland
Pope Francis Lies to All People, Says Belief in God Not Necessary for Forgiveness
Pope Francis: 'When We Encounter the Cross, We Turn to Mary'
Pope Francis Does Not Know God

18 July 2014

This 'n' That

On a shelf in my office (okay, it’s a cubicle, but ‘office’ sounds more prestigious, doesn’t it?) sits a small rear view mirror. Its purpose is to warn me of oncoming coworkers. As I glanced up the other day to see whose approaching footsteps I was hearing, I was reminded of an oft-used seeker-driven mantra. It may go something like this: ‘Why look in the rear view mirror of your past? God doesn’t!’ or ‘Your past doesn’t define you, so stop looking at it.’

photo credit: mark sebastian via photopin cc 
Yet, if we are honest, and if we are Christians, we know that occasionally glancing into our past is not a bad thing, even if it is littered with sin. Why? Because reminding ourselves of our former, unregenerate lives necessarily must lead us to praise God yet again for His great mercy and forgiveness. After all, in this is love in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Looking at the past reminds of us our justification in Christ and the gracious, merciful forgiveness granted to us in Him.

Further, when we remember where and who we were, we can better see and thank God for who we are. He did not save us and then leave us. No, He saved us and transformed us and is continuing to sanctify us. Looking at our past allows us to see the ongoing work of sanctification in our lives.

So while we ought not dwell on the past, or be burdened by it to the point of paralysis, we do well to reflect on it. And if we do so in light of the great, unfathomable mercy and character of God, then we will be driven to praise—and that, beloved, is the greatest by-product of all.

I've been quite busy this week (I'll share why next week), so today's round-up is a bit shorter than usual. Nevertheless, I hope you'll enjoy this slightly more brief week in review (kind of):