But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. (Matt. 28:5–6a)Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
Crown Him with Many Crowns
|photo credit: abcdz2000 via photopin cc|
We had launched in February and this would be our first Easter. I think we only had about 200 people coming at the time. The Egg Drop was to be the Saturday before Easter. We planned to drop thousands of eggs out of a helicopter. We only needed two things, good weather and people. I remember Steven, Elijah and I flew to Florida to do a youth event the week before. We arrived back in Charlotte the day before the event. We were greeted by Larry Brey at the airport, he broke the news… our mailer didn't make it out in time because of some post office error. We were so bummed. That night my husband and several volunteers hit some parking lots with flyers. We had no idea what to expect the next day.
God came through (it was one of the first of many special times to come), the event was a huge success. We had over 2,000 people attend. If the mailer had gone out, the event would have been a disaster. The weather was perfect and there are many families who attend Elevation today because of the Egg Drop.
(Source)Every year since, it seems that more and more megachurches—or 'wannabe' megachurches—are utilizing the Egg Drop gimmick. Though the atoning death and resurrection of Christ ought to be grand and miraculous enough to attract those to a church who are being drawn to Christ (John 6:44), the megachurch mindset instead insists on pragmatic, worldly, contrived publicity stunts.
Baked skinless chicken, salad, fruit and a glass of simple wine hardly seems like food fit for a king. But it does seem to be a meal fit for a pope.
Pope Francis is becoming well known for his simple tastes: As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, he carried his own bags when traveling, preferred public transportation to chauffeur-driven limousines, and, the stories go, cooks meals for himself.
His humble lifestyle extends to the kitchen, a stark contrast with his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who before becoming pope relished feasting on fettuccine with shrimp, zucchini and saffron.
|photo credit: amanky via photopin cc|
I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs -- I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are. (Source)In this latest interview with Odyssey, Bell states that God is "inviting us to see things in new ways."
I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs -- I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are. (Source)Bell went on to declare that members of the 'narrow' evangelical subculture need to 'adapt' to the new ways of viewing God and the world. He further stated that those who "have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. . . need to repent" for doing so in the name of God.
Thank you for asking that. We’re here in West Hollywood, epicenter of a lot of gay culture and you’re asking—some people are gay (pause) and you’re our brothers and you’re our sisters, and we love you.In its report on Rob Bell's latest comments, Christian News Network shared the following:
We love you. (audience applauds) And it’s really, really, really, important that we’re clear. I had a good friend—when I was in my teens—who was gay. And hadn’t told anybody. An’ I was the first person he told.
And (pause) probably the most loving, generous, holy—one of the most—he was extraordinary, is extraordinary. But at an early age I was like, some people are gay; an’ God loves them just like God loves me.
And they’re passionate disciples of Jesus, just like I’m trying to be. So, let’s all get together and try to do something about the truly big problems in our world; that I believe Jesus would us to band together, and tackle together.
So there you go.
However, not all are enthusiastic about Bell’s teachings or that fact that such books are so prevalent and popular in Christendom.
“The best-selling books in Christianity today are almost categorically across the board emergent books,” lamented Pastor Eric Ludy in his sermon The Evil Side of Artistic. “Entire tables will be set up in Barnes and Noble entitled ‘The New Christian,’ and they’re all this [type of emergent] thinking. So, I’m not talking about a little side project … This is the thinking that is permeating the Church of Jesus Christ.”
“What has happened to our Gospel?” he asked with concern in his voice. “You do not tamper with the truth, otherwise you are tampering with the Son of God who gave up His life. This was precious blood that was spent. Precious! And we [need] give up our blood to protect this message.”
(Source)Rob Bell is known for questioning, redefining and challenging the beliefs of orthodox Christianity. His book, Love Wins, caused a stir by redefining Hell, and his newest book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, is said to "tackle misconceptions about God." The only thing shocking about this latest news, then, is that anybody is shocked by it in the first place.
And he [Christ] is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. (Col. 1:18)
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Eph. 5:23–24)In fact, Jesus Christ is far more than just the Head of the Church, He is the Head of all things:
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Eph. 1:18–23)The Roman Catholic Church denies this biblical truth and instead elevates a mere man to the position of head of the church. From Vatican I:
So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema. (Vatican I, Session 4, Ch. 3)Vatican II further affirms this:
The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. (Vatican II, LG 22)Thus, no matter what pleasing words may be spoken by Pope Francis I, no matter how friendly his themes may sound to weak-willed Christians, the truth is that his very willingness to bear the title and office of 'Vicar of Christ', to dare to allow himself to be revered as the head of the church, means that he is walking contrary to Scripture, and in rebellion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Such a man, unless he repents and turns to Christ, will one day face unspeakable judgment.
It’s been brought to my attention, by a reliable source who conducted thorough research, that there are a number of unbiblical and very questionable things in “The Bible” television series–about the deity of Christ, the character of God, and the reality of sin (among other things). In light of this recent revelation, I cannot endorse this series. If you choose to watch it, I would urge you to do so with a discerning heart, testing all things. (Source)Yet, as noted, Comfort appears to be in the minority with his humble willingness to withdraw any praise or endorsement of 'The Bible' miniseries. Further, in the midst of the drama and special effects, it seems that another fact has been overlooked or ignored by many evangelicals who are promoting this program, and that is that executive producer Roma Downey proclaims herself to be a devout Roman Catholic.
"But, EBenz, you're a girl!"
"And, um, EBenz, you're not Roman Catholic!"
And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. (Rev. 22:7)The return of Jesus Christ is the Christian's blessed hope. It is an event that the believer ought to anticipate with great joy and eagerness. The reality of the imminence of the Lord's Second Coming ought to compel the Christian to live a life of holiness that is worthy of the gospel which saved him—a life that glorifies God.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11–14)And while no man may know the day or the hour of Christ's appearing (Mark 13:32), the Christian nevertheless may rest in Christ's promise that He will return for His own.
In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:2–3)How sad it can be, then, to hear some professing Christians declare that they do not wish for Christ to return soon. Whether they respond with the tired mantra that one ought not "be too heavenly minded to be any earthly good," or whether they fear that they may miss the marriage of their children, the birth of their grandchildren or whether they dread the judgment of their loved ones, it is a sorrowful thing to find a Christian who does not light up with joy at the prospect of seeing his Savior face to face.
But mostly I want us all to stop talking about Heaven and Hell, about who's going to be in either one, about the Rapture of the Saints, about whether Jesus will return with a sword or on a unicorn. . . .Yes, let Christians be about their Father's business, but let them be busy with these matters precisely because Jesus Christ is coming soon.
If we believe Jesus is going to make a special trip to strap jetpacks on us, we aren't forced to care about our brothers and sisters (the heathen who are staying behind to be destroyed anyway), about the creation we've been given, about any of the tasks God assigns us through the prophets and through Jesus himself. . . .
Until Jesus comes again in glory, whatever that means, whenever that happens, we are supposed to be about our Father's business.
Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Rev. 22:12–13)Whether 'soon' means that Christ will appear next week, next year or next century ultimately is immaterial. Man cannot be promised that tomorrow will arrive, and so today is the day of salvation. When the unregenerate are confronted with their own sin and unworthiness before a holy God, when they are made to realize that one day they must stand before His throne and face judgment, then they are prepared to understand why it is they need a Savior. It might just be that the truth of the Lord's impending return will cause the sinner to bow the knee in repentance and faith now so that he might enjoy God forever.
The position of St. Peter after the Ascension, as shown in the Acts of the Apostles, realizes to the full the great commission bestowed upon him. He is from the first the chief of the Apostolic band — not primus inter pares, but the undisputed head of the Church.
If then Christ, as we have seen, established His Church as a society subordinated to a single supreme head, it follows from the very nature of the case that this office is perpetual, and cannot have been a mere transitory feature of ecclesiastical life. For the Church must endure to the end the very same organization which Christ established. But in an organized society it is precisely the constitution which is the essential feature. A change in constitution transforms it into a society of a different kind. If then the Church should adopt a constitution other than Christ gave it, it would no longer be His handiwork. It would no longer be the Divine kingdom established by Him. As a society it would have passed through essential modifications, and thereby would have become a human, not a Divine institution. None who believe that Christ came on earth to found a Church, an organized society destined to endure for ever, can admit the possibility of a change in the organization given to it by its Founder.
(Source)It is most interesting that the Roman Catholic Church states that, "If then the Church should adopt a constitution other than Christ gave it, it would no longer be His handiwork." Indeed. What, then, is the organizational chart of the true Church, the genuine Body of Christ?
And he [Christ] is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. (Col. 1:18)
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Eph. 5:23–24)Dr. John MacArthur recently wrote a series of articles on his blog exposing the heresies of the Roman Catholic Church. In addressing the office of pope, MacArthur appealed to one of the earliest Reformers, Jan Hus. Preceding Martin Luther by a century, Hus wrote in his book, De Ecclesia (The Church):
"Neither is the pope the head nor are the cardinals the whole body of the holy, universal, catholic [i.e., true] church. For Christ alone is the head of that church.” Pointing out that most church leaders in his era actually despised the lordship of Christ, Hus said, “To such a low pitch is the clergy come that they hate those who preach often and call Jesus Christ Lord." (Source)MacArthur elaborates with his thoughts, stating:
As the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope is often called the “Holy Father” and the “Vicar of Christ”—names and roles that only apply to God. He claims the ability to speak ex cathedra, exercising Godlike infallibility to add to and augment Scripture (Revelation 22:18). He wields unbiblical, unholy authority over his followers, usurping the headship of Christ and perverting the work of the Holy Spirit. (Source)Such realities make it difficult for the Christian to deny that the office of Pope is one that should be denounced and condemned by true believers, not one to be celebrated. How, then, ought the Christian respond to the following tweet posted early this morning by purpose-driven pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church?
Of all the dreams that ever deluded men, and probably of all blasphemies that ever were uttered, there has never been one which is more absurd and which is more fruitful for all manner of mischief, than the idea that the Bishop of Rome can be the head of the church of Jesus Christ. No, these popes die, and how could the church live if its head were dead? The true Head ever lives, and the church ever lives in Him.
– Charles Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 14, p. 621.
Christ did not redeem his church with his blood that the pope might come in and steal away the glory. He never came from heaven to earth, and poured out his very heart that he might purchase his people, that a poor sinner, a mere man, should be set upon high to be admired by all the nations, and to call himself God's representative on earth. Christ has always been the Head of the church.Further Reading
– Charles Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 60, p. 592.
Since almost no one within Christianity (save the cults) is claiming revelation that is equivalent to the Bible, we are left with a dilemma. Is it possible for God to speak in a non-authoritative way? Is it possible for Him to speak something less than His inspired word? The continuationists seem to have invented a novel type of divine revelation; one that contradicts Scripture and defies reason. In the Bible, and logically, either God is speaking or He is not.Gilley's article is a worthwhile and helpful read for the Christian seeking to better understand this issue. View article →
At one time, the church at Ephesus was a stalwart body, sound in doctrine and intolerant of sin and error. Yet, in a sobering letter t...