23 February 2018

This 'n' That

Consider the trail you are leaving behind you. Does it lead to truth?
Men die. Women die. All of us, unless the Lord should come for His Church, will die a physical death. Let us pray, then, that we would leave behind a legacy of faithfulness to Christ and His Word, no matter the cost.

This is what has long disappointed me about groups such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). These are organizations, yes, but they are made up of men and women who profess Christ, but whose willingness to compromise His truth is troubling. The early ecumenical compromise of groups such as these should serve as a warning to us, even as individuals. May our legacy not be tainted by our striving to placate everyone. May we seek only to please and bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ alone.

As one example of such compromise, I've long been troubled by this interview Billy Graham did with Robert Schuller, wherein he clearly states that a person can be saved apart from knowledge of Jesus Christ. Such a message is a false, damning gospel, no matter who speaks it. I hear or read people justifying this statement of Graham's by attributing it to his declining health. Considering the interview took place back in 1997, I'm not certain that's a robust argument.

An eagerness for unhealthy ecumenism and compromise can be traced throughout the history of the BGEA. This is clearly documented in Iain Murray's book, Evangelicalism Divided. I urge everyone to read this book. There, Murray writes,
Achieving 'common ground' with Roman Catholicism is one of the things for which [writer] Mark Noll commends Graham. But agreement with non-evangelicals has gone still further. In 1978, McCall's magazine quoted Graham as having said, 'I used to believe that pagans in far countries were lost if they did not have the gospel of Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that.' (Murray, Iain H. Evangelicalism Divided. The Banner of Truth Trust: 2001. 73)
BSF as an organization, too, has long sought to befriend the Roman Catholic Church, as described in founder A. Wetherell Johnson's biography.

The purpose of my words here is not to appear judgmental of a specific man or woman, for we are all weak and fallen individuals. I write this instead as a means of encouraging us to test all things against scripture, for fruit can sometimes appear shiny on the outside but be found a host to worms on the inside. God's Word never returns void, but that does not mean we remain silent when that Word is compromised. Visible wayward fruit ought to remind us that none of us are above deception. We are all sustained in the truth by God's grace alone, and He must be our daily lifeline, through the reading and study of scripture and through prayer, so that we remain true to His Word and His will.

Well, if you're still reading (I suspect I lost some of you forever), I do hope that you enjoy this week in review (kind of):

19 February 2018

Out of the House of Bondage

Sin enslaves the soul. O how a man wears himself out in the service of sin—it wastes his body, breaks his sleep, and distracts his mind. Sin says to one, defraud; to another, be unchaste; to another, take revenge; to another, make a false vow. But sinners are content to be under the command of sin; they are willing to be slaves; they love their chains; they wear their sins, not as fetters, but as ornaments; they rejoice in iniquity. What freedom has a sinner to his own confusion, when he can do nothing but what sin will have him do? He is enslaved in the house of bondage.

Satan is a tyrant over the souls of men. He fills their heads with error and their hearts with malice. He rules men's minds and blinds them with ignorance. He rules their wills, and captures their hearts to obey him. Every man by nature is in the house of bondage; he grinds in the devil's mill and is at his command. How could those swine but run, when the devil entered into them? When the devil entered into Judas, and bade him betray Christ, he would do it, though he hanged himself. It is a sad and dismal case to be in the house of bondage under the power and tyranny of Satan. He hurries men on to perdition!

But God takes his elect out of the house of bondage, beats off the chains and fetters of sin, and brings them into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The saints are made spiritual kings to rule and conquer their corruptions. It is a matter of the highest praise and thanksgiving to be taken out of the bondage of enslaving lusts and made kings to reign in glory forever! Jesus Christ redeems captives, he ransoms sinners by price, and rescues them by force as David took a lamb out of the mouth of the roaring lion. Oh, what a mercy it is to be brought out of the house of bondage to be made subjects of the Prince of Peace!

—Thomas Watson

Further Reading
Resting in the Immutability of God
Vessels of Mercy
To Him Who Is Able

16 February 2018

This 'n' That

I definitely cannot eat wooden blocks right now.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been enduring a flareup of TMJ (well, technically TMD [temporomandibular disorder], but most people refer to it as TMJ, even though that is actually the joint, not the disorder. You get the idea). It's a mild case, so I truly can't complain, but it is astonishing how 1) you crave things you haven't craved in months or even years, like Tootsie Pops or chips, but know that eating such things will cause pain and prolong the problem and 2) if you do cheat, you know you shouldn't have. It doesn't take long for that jaw to tighten up and remind you that it needs time to heal, too!

Our bodies may be fallen and, as such, prone to illness and injury, but God nevertheless designed them to still know what is best. Right now, my jaw knows what is not good for me. If I eat even a slice of toast, I end up taking a pill to relieve the pain that I've caused. That's right, I cannot even eat toast without regretting it. And let me tell you, I am getting really tired of hot cereal for breakfast! When morning rolls around, all I want is toast with my breakfast. When afternoon rolls around, I often think about hard candy or crunchy snacks. I want what I cannot have.

It's often like that with us, isn't it? We want what we cannot have. Therein lies the magnificence and miraculousness of regeneration. We who once craved and delighted in our sin, by God's grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit, find that, upon our salvation, our desire for our sin disappears. Oh yes, we do still sin, and consciously so; indeed, while on this earth we will always find ourselves in a Romans 7 struggle! Still, our desire and the inner craving of our heart is for holiness so that we might bear fruit that is worthy of the gospel by which we have been saved. This is the power of Christ. This is the power of the Gospel. This is a good gift from a loving, generous God. How thankful we must be for such grace. How worthy is He of our praise for His outpouring of that grace!

Okay, I guess I'll go look for something soft to eat. Marshmallows? Applesauce? Let me know if you have any good ideas, and in the meantime, please also enjoy your week in review (kind of):

13 February 2018

Erasing the Grey (Repost)

In light of the release of the third film in the Fifty Shades trilogy, I thought it might be helpful to repost this article and episode of Equipping Eve. This was written (and the episode was recorded) at the height of the popularity of the book, Fifty Shades of Grey, and in anticipation of the release of the first film three years ago. Three years later, every word rings true. This is simply not material that should be capturing the minds and hearts of Christians.

Erasing the Grey

This weekend, the movie theaters will be flooded with women who are eager to feed their carnal, fallen flesh with a feast of salacious, sinful immorality, otherwise known as Fifty Shades of Grey. The book-turned-movie that has been dubbed by the secular media as “mommy porn” has captured the lusts of millions, and there is no doubt that this has affected the professing Christian church just as much as it has secular society. Ladies, sisters in Christ, do not allow yourself to be found among the masses.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Phil 4:8)
Fifty Shades of Grey, whether it is the book or the film, does not comply with Paul’s command in the verse above. The story is not true, it is not honorable, it is not right, it most certainly is not pure or lovely, it is not of good repute and she who thinks Fifty Shades of Grey is worthy of any title of excellence or praise is a woman who is indeed deceived.

10 February 2018

Equipping Eve: Unshakeable Joy

“Consider it all joy.” “Rejoice in the Lord always.” The Christian life is a serious thing, and we are not promised lives of ease. Yet, Scripture calls us to rejoice in all circumstances, and when one considers the blessings that are ours in Jesus Christ, why would we not?

Further Listening

09 February 2018

This 'n' That

With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, I feel compelled to share a very important truth with you: Jesus is not your boyfriend.

I know it's shocking, but it's true. I realize that, somewhere, someone is currently writing a blog post about how our prayers are like love letters to Jesus. And in another corner of the blogosphere, someone is composing a well-intentioned post to single Christians to remember that Jesus is the best valentine they can have. And in still another, more dimly lit corner, author John Eldredge is still mooning over his heart-shaped cow pies from Jesus.

Nevertheless, Jesus is not our divine boyfriend. He is our friend, to be sure. More than that, He is our Savior, Redeemer, Lord, Shepherd, Life, Truth, King. He is indeed a personal God, yet, because He is God, we do not go on playdates with Him or belittle Him by cheekily describing our coffee dates with Jesus as though He were the divine equivalent of our college roommate. We praise Him because He is worthy of our praise. We worship Him because He is the only One worth worshiping. We revere Him because He is who He is.

So, as Hallmark's favorite holiday approaches, don't be deluded by the mushy-gushy "Christian" nonsense that will no doubt be found in abundance all over the internet. Look to your King, your gracious, saving, loving, personal, yet almighty King, and look to Him with biblical fidelity. Nothing could be purer or more sincere.

Okay, while I go track down a bag of my favorite Valentine candy, why don't you spend a little time enjoying your week in review (kind of):

02 February 2018

This 'n' That

When it comes to science and medicine, I continually find myself fascinated. Daily, in fact. There have been so many helpful and desperately needed advances in medicine over the decades and centuries. From better understanding of natural remedies, to creating lifesaving or quality of life-improving medications and devices, we most certainly are blessed to live in a time such as this.

True, many chronic conditions remain just that—chronic. But many are now tolerable thanks to modern medicine. Take, for example, the 2016 approval of the artificial pancreas. This was a huge advancement in the treatment of Type I diabetes, and researchers have not stopped with this initial device. I was reading this article in Massachusetts General's magazine, Proto, and was excited to see that there is ongoing development of a device that would not only regulate insulin, but also glucagon. While no man-made device will ever function exactly like the God-created human body, it is amazing to see how God has gifted fallen men to discover and create as they have.

And that leads to yet another thing that makes me marvel: the unbelief of so many doctors and scientists. I once attended a cardiology seminar, and heard the young cardiologist say something to the effect of: "You see, the heart evolved to..." I almost laughed out loud. How could this man, so intelligent and obviously gifted, deny the reality of a Creator?
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. (1 Corinthians 3:19)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)
Ah, yes, that is how they can deny the existence of their Creator! Sin. The Fall. Deception. Pride. Man simply cannot accept that he is not the highest being.

Still, God uses even fallen men to advance His purposes. We certainly see that throughout Scripture with men like Pharaoh and Pilate and others. So we, as redeemed children of the King who must live in this broken world, take advantage of the gifts God has given us through modern medicine. We thank our good and gracious Father for the way that He heals through these advances and through the hands of these men whom He has gifted, even if they refuse to acknowledge His sovereignty. Finally, we take comfort in knowing that, even if earthly medicine cannot cure our ailments, one day we will be with our Lord Jesus Christ in glory. There will be no more tears, no more sickness, no more death, no more sin. Oh, what a glorious day that will be!

Well, since I live in Allergy Alley, I suppose it's probably time for me to take some sort of a pill. While I do that, why don't you sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):