Friday, July 31, 2009

The Uncertainty of Riches

(Ht: Pulpit Magazine)

(By John MacArthur)

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. (1 Tim. 6:17)

A very real danger facing American Christians is the temptation to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches. To base their hope on the uncertainty of riches, instead of God, is foolish. Proverbs 11:28 warns that “he who trusts in his riches will fall.” Proverbs 23:4–5 adds, “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.”

Rather than trusting in riches, believers are to fix their hope on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. God provides far more security than any earthly investment. Psalm 50:10–12 describes His incalculable wealth: “Every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all it contains.” God is not stingy; He richly supplies His children with all things to enjoy. Ecclesiastes 5:18–20 reads,

Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.

The highest form of joy for the believer is to bring glory to the Lord. True gladness, then, comes when believers give heed to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19–21:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Later, in that same passage, Jesus gives the command three times not to be anxious (vv. 25, 31, 34). When we trust in God rather than riches, we have no reason to worry.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ed Welch on Depression

(Ht: Justin Taylor)

Those interested might want to pick up a copy of his book, Depression--A Stubborn Darkness: Light for the Path.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is It Racist For a White Man to Arrest an Educated Black Man In America

(taken from First Thoughts blog)

Is it wrong or racist for a white cop to arrest an educated black man in America?

RR Reno of First Thoughts gives his thoughts here. I agree, do you?

Well, it seems that the tender sensibilities of a famous Harvard professor were offended. He and his driver put their shoulders to his front door. A neighbor called the police. The officer responded and adopted the usual officious and superior manner of policemen. As a man who knows only deference and adulation, the professor lost his temper and shouted insults, pulled rank (“DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”), and accused the policeman of being a moral cretin (“RACIST!”). The confrontation escalated, and the verbally gifted professor launched into a tirade of abuse. The officer did what officers do in order to assert themselves and show that they are in charge: He arrested the professor and took him away.

Call me racially insensitive, but the arrest of Henry Louis Gates had nothing to do with race—except for the fact that Gates decided to mount an all out verbal assault based on his own presumptions about race. No, his arrest was the result of the boorish and arrogant behavior of a very privileged and rich man who is used to getting his way.

I’ve known people like Henry Louis Gates. He is the coddled product of elite American society: Yale undergrad, Cambridge University in England with the support of famous fellowships, back to Yale, then Cornell and Duke, and finally Harvard. Immensely talented, widely recognized, media favorite, friend of the President of the United States—Gates has long been one of America’s golden boys.

Thus his outrage: A policeman with a working class Boston accent and no advanced degrees telling him to show identification!

The Mayor of Cambridge is black. The Governor of Massachusetts is black. The President of the United States is black. It’s time to stop playing the race card, Professor Gates. Face up to the facts. You lost your temper, and from your position of superiority you verbally abused a guy who does the dirty work to protect your privileged position in American society. It’s time to stop posing. Give Sgt. James Crowley the apology he deserves.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Be Slow Like God

(HT:Justin Taylor)

God is:

Exodus 34:6
"The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.'"

Numbers 14:18
"The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation."

Nehemiah 9:17
"You are a God ready to forgive,gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them."

Psalm 86:15
"But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."

Psalm 103:8, Psalm 145:8
"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."

Psalm 145:8

"The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."

Joel 2:13
"Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster."

Jonah 4:2
"That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster."

Nahum 1:3
"The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet."


Proverbs 14:29
"Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly."

Proverbs 15:18
"A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention."

Proverbs 16:32
"Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city."

Proverbs 19:11
"Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense."

James 1:19
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Wedding Dance

I don't think they are Baptist... What do you think. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You need knowledge by MacArthur

(HT: Truth Matters)

“. . . in your moral excellence, knowledge.” - 2 Peter 1:5

Moral excellence cannot develop in an intellectual vacuum.

It’s a frightening thing to realize the extent to which our culture downplays knowledge in favor of emotions. These days people are more likely to ask, “How will it make me feel?” instead of, “Is it true?” Sadly, the church has bought into the spirit of the age. Many people go to church, not to learn the truths of God’s Word, but to get an emotional high. The focus of theological discussion also reflects the contemporary hostility to knowledge. To a shocking extent, truth is no longer the issue; the questions being asked today are, “Will it divide?” or “Will it offend?” To ask if a theological position is biblically correct is considered unloving, and those who take a stand for historic Christian truth are labeled as divisive.

But knowledge is inseparable from moral excellence and Christian growth. It should be obvious that people can’t put into practice truths they don’t know; we must first understand the principles of God’s Word before we can live them out. Peter knew well the importance of knowledge in developing a stable Christian walk and the assurance of salvation that accompanies it. Therefore, he urged his readers to add knowledge to their moral excellence. Gnosis (“knowledge”) refers to insight, discernment, and proper understanding of truth. Lacking such knowledge, believers become “children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14). The resulting turmoil is not conducive to spiritual growth or the development of a settled assurance of salvation.

The Bible commends child-like (i.e., trusting, humble) faith, but not childish faith. Paul exhorted the Corinthians, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking . . . in your thinking be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20). “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord,” urged Hosea. When we do so, “He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth” (Hos. 6:3). I pray with the apostle Paul, “that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9).

This may make you cry!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Platt nails it.

“Those most effective in reaching the many are those most passionate in reaching the one.”
Will we risk all and die in our devotion, or retreat and die in the wilderness?
David Platt

I Will Rise

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lord see my shells

An American Tragedy: How Not to Finish Your One Life

I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: “Look, Lord. See my shells.” That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life.

John Piper

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Purpose of Worship in the "Worship Service"

(HT:old truth)

Quoting Robert Godfrey . . .

The call for entertainment in worship in our time is often cast in a particularly seductive form. Entertainment is often sold in the name of evangelism. We are told that we must make worship interesting and existing for the unconverted so that they will come to church and be converted. At first glance that argument is very appealing. We all want to see many brought to faith in Christ. Who wants to be against evangelism? But we must remember: entertainment is not evangelism, and evangelism is not worship. People are evangelized, not by a juggler, but by the presentation of the Gospel. And while evangelism may occur in worship as the Gospel is faithfully proclaimed, the purpose and focus of worship is that those who believe in Christ should gather and meet with God.
In 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 the apostle Paul comments on the presence of an unbeliever in a worship service. He does not call for the church to entertain the unbeliever or make him feel comfortable. Rather, in the clear and understandable articulation of the truth, the unbeliever should be convinced that he is a sinner. "So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, 'God is really among you!'" Faithful worship, where the primary purpose is the meeting of God with his people through his Word, may well have the secondary result that unbelievers will come to faith. But worship must not be constructed for the unbeliever. Rather, it is for God and the church.

The whole service in the church, then, must not be shaped for either entertainment or evangelism. Instead, it must serve to unite the people of God for their meeting with God.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Summer Basketball Fix

The Greatest Player Ever. He was a Tar Heel.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bono's defintion of Grace?

(Ht: Ortlund)

"[Grace is] my favourite word in the lexicon of the English language. It's a word I'm depending on. The universe operates by Karma, we all know that. For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. There is some atonement built in: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Then enters Grace and turns that upside down. I love it. I'm not talking about people being graceful in their actions but just covering over the cracks. Christ's ministry really was a lot to do with pointing out how everybody is a screw-up in some shape or form, there's no way around it. But then He was to say, well, I am going to deal with those sins for you. I will take on Myself all the consequences of sin. Even if you're not religious I think you'd accept that there are consequences to all the mistakes we make. And so Grace enters the picture to say, I'll take the blame, I'll carry the cross. It is a powerful idea. Grace interrupting Karma."

Bono, in U2 by U2, page 300.

What Do You think of Bono's idea of Grace?

Retro News: KJV Translator Makes TV Accessible to Thousands


Don't forget to smile.... :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What kind of things do and do not prove the genuineness of saving faith?

(John MacArthur)

Churches today are filled with people who hold to a faith that does not save. James referred to this as a "dead faith"-meaning a mere empty profession (James 2:17, 20, 26). Paul wrote to the people in the church at Corinth to test or examine themselves to see if they were truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). As important as it was in Paul's day, how much more important it is for people in our churches today to put their faith to the test and to make sure they have not been deceived.

But where do we start? By what criteria do we determine true from empty faith? What are the distinguishing marks of genuine saving faith? Surprisingly, there are a number of popular standards or tests that really don't prove the genuineness of one's faith one way or the other. So before we look at the tests that prove genuine faith, let's take a look at some popular tests that neither prove nor disprove the genuineness of one's faith.

Here is a list of seven conditions that do not prove or disprove the genuineness of saving faith. One can be a Christian and possess these things or one may not be a Christian at all and still possess them. While they don't prove or disprove one's faith, they're important to know and understand so you will not be deceived.

Seven conditions that do not prove or disprove genuine saving faith.

1. Visible Morality

There are some people who just seem to be good people. They can be religious, moral, honest, and forthright [trustworthy] in their dealings with people. They may seem to be grateful, loving, kind and tenderhearted toward others. They have visible virtues and an external morality. The Pharisees of Jesus day rested on visible morality for their hope and yet some of Christ's harshest words were directed at them for this very thing.

Many who possess visible morality know nothing of sincere love for God. Whatever good works they appear to possess, they know nothing of serving the true God and living for His glory. Whatever the person does or leaves undone does not involve God. They're honest in their dealings with everyone-but God. They won't rob anyone-but God. They're thankful and loyal to everyone-but God. They speak contemptuously and reproachfully of no one-but God. They have good relationships with everyone-but God. They are like the rich young ruler who said, "All these things [conditions] have I kept, what do I lack?" Their focus is on visible morality, but that visible morality doesn't necessarily mean salvation. Jesus told one of the Pharisees "you must be born again" (John 3:6), not "you must put on an external morality." People can "clean up their act" by reformation rather than regeneration-so reformation in itself is not a mark of saving faith.

2. Intellectual Knowledge

Another condition that can be misleading is intellectual knowledge. People can possess an intellectual understanding and knowledge of the truth and yet not be saved. While the knowledge of the truth is necessary for salvation, and visible morality is a fruit of salvation, neither of these conditions by themselves translate into true saving faith. People can know all about God, all about Jesus, who He was, that He came into the world, that He died on the cross, that He rose again, that He's coming again, and even many details about the life of Christ-and still turn their backs on Him.

That's what the writer of Hebrews was warning against in Hebrews 6:4-6. There were people in the church who knew all about God and understood gospel truths. They even had a measure of experience with gospel truth. They'd seen the ministry of the Holy Spirit at work in people's lives-and yet knowing all of that, they stood in grave danger of turning away and rejecting Christ.

In Hebrews 10 the writer warns this kind of man that he is treading underfoot the blood of Christ by not believing what he knows to be true. There are many people who know the Scriptures but are on their way to hell! A man cannot be saved without the knowledge of the truth, but possessing that knowledge alone does not save.

3. Religious Involvement

Religious involvement is not necessarily a proof of true faith. According to Paul there are people who possess an outward form (a mere external appearance) of godliness but who have denied the power of it. They have an empty form of religion. Jesus illustrated this when He told of the virgins in Matthew 25. They waited and waited and waited for the coming of the bridegroom, who is Christ. And even though they waited a long time, when He came they didn't go in. They had everything together except the oil in their lamps. That which was most necessary was missing. The oil is probably emblematic of the new life; the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They weren't regenerate. They had religious involvement but were not regenerate. A person can be visibly moral, know the truth, be religiously involved, and yet not possess genuine saving faith.

4. Active Ministry

It is possible to have an active and even a public ministry, and yet not possess genuine saving faith. Balaam was a prophet who turned out to be false (Deuteronomy 23:3-6). Saul of Tarsus (later becoming the apostle Paul) thought he was serving God by killing Christians. Judas was a public preacher and one of the twelve disciples of Christ-but he was an apostate. In Matthew 7:22-23 Jesus said, "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" Those whom Jesus spoke of had been involved in active and public ministry-but Jesus said he never knew them. Sobering words indeed.

5. Conviction of Sin

By itself, even conviction of sin is not a proof of salvation. Our world is filled with guilt-ridden people. Many even feel badly about their sin. Felix trembled under conviction at the preaching of the apostle Paul, but he never left his idols or turned to God (Acts 24:24-6). The Holy Spirit works to convict men of sin, righteousness, and of judgment, but many do not respond in true repentance. Some may confess their sins and even abandon the sins they feel guilty about. They say, "I don't like living this way. I want to change." They may amend their ways and yet fall short of genuine saving faith. That's external reformation, not internal regeneration. No degree of conviction of sin is conclusive evidence of saving faith. Even the demons are convicted of their sins-that's why they tremble-but they are not saved.

6. The Feeling of Assurance

Feeling like you are saved is no guarantee you are indeed saved. Someone may say, "Well, I must be a Christian because I feel that I am. I think I am one." But that is faulty reasoning. If thinking one is a Christian is what makes one a Christian, then no one could be deceived. And then, by definition, it would not be possible to be a deceived non-Christian, and that doesn't square with the whole point of Satan's deception. He wants people who are not truly saved to think they are. Satan has deceived multiplied millions of religious people into thinking they are saved even though they are not. They may say to themselves, "God won't condemn me. I feel good about myself. I have assurance. I'm ok." But that doesn't necessarily mean a thing.

7. A Time of Decision

So often people say things like: "Well, I know I'm a Christian, because I remember when I signed the card," or "I remember when I prayed a prayer," or "I remember when I walked the aisle" or "went forward in church." A person may remember exactly when it happened and where they were when "it" happened, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Our salvation is not verified by a past moment. Many people have prayed prayers, gone forward in church services, signed cards, gone into prayer rooms, been baptized, and joined churches without ever experiencing genuine saving faith.

These are seven common conditions or tests that don't necessarily prove or disprove the existence of saving faith.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Mark of Saving Faith by John MacArthur

(By John MacArthur)

Yesterday we looked at seven common conditions or tests that don't necessarily prove or disprove the existence of saving faith. What then are the marks of genuine saving faith? Are there some reliable tests from the Word of God that enable us to know for certain whether one's faith is real? Thankfully there are at least nine biblical criteria for examining the genuineness of saving faith.

Nine conditions that prove genuine saving faith.

1. Love for God

First of all a deep and abiding love for God is one of the supreme evidences of genuine saving faith. This gets to the heart of the issue. Romans 8:7 says "the carnal mind is enmity [hostility, hatred] against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." Thus, if a man's heart is at enmity with God there is no basis for assuming the presence of saving faith. Those who are truly saved love God, but those who are not truly saved resent God and His sovereignty. Internally they are rebellious toward God and His plan for their life. But the regenerate person is set to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. His delight is in the infinite excellencies of God. God is the first and highest affection of his renewed soul. God has become his chief happiness and source of satisfaction. He seeks after God and thirsts for the living God.

By the way, we must be careful to distinguish the difference between that kind of true love for God that seeks His glory from the kind of self-serving love that sees God primarily as a means of personal fulfillment and gain. True saving faith doesn't believe in Christ so that Christ will make one happy. The heart that truly loves God desires to please God and glorify Him. Jesus taught that if someone loved their father and mother more than they loved Christ, they were not worthy of Him. In Matthew 10:37-39 Jesus put it like this: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 10:37-39)

The question then is this: Do you love God? Do you love His nature? Do you love His glory? Do you love His name? Do you love His kingdom? Do you love His holiness? Do you love His will? Is your heart lifted when you sing His praises-because you love Him? Supreme love for God is decisive evidence of true faith.

2. Repentance from Sin

A proper love for God necessarily involves a hatred for sin that leads to repentance. That should be obvious. Who wouldn't understand that? If we truly love someone we seek their best interests. Their well being is our greatest concern. If a man says to his wife, "I love you but I could care less what happens to you," we would rightly question his love for her. True love seeks the highest good of its object. If we say that we love God, then we will hate whatever is an offense to Him. Sin blasphemes God. Sin curses God. Sin seeks to destroy God's work and His kingdom. Sin killed His Son. So when someone says, "I love God, but I tolerate sin," then there is every reason to question the genuineness of his love for God. One cannot love God without hating that which is set to destroy Him. True love for God will therefore manifest itself through confession and repentance. The man who loves God will be grieved over his sin and will want to confess it to God and forsake it.

In examining our faith we should ask: "Do I have a settled conviction concerning the evil of all sin? Does sin appear to me as the evil and bitter thing that it really is? Does conviction of sin increase in me as I walk with Christ? Do I hate it not primarily because it is ruinous to my own soul or because it is an offense to the God I love? Does the sin itself grieve me or am I only grieved over the consequences of my sin. What grieves me most-my misfortune or my sin? Do my sins appear to me as many, frequent and aggravated? Do I find myself grieved over my own sin more than the sins of others?" Genuine saving faith loves God and hates what He hates, which is sin. That attitude results in real repentance.

3. Genuine Humility

Saving faith is manifested through genuine humility. Jesus said blessed are those who are poor in spirit, and those who mourn [their sin], and those who are meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:3-6)-all marks of humility. In Matthew 18 Jesus said that "unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). True saving faith comes as a little child-humble and dependent. It is not the man who is full of himself who is saved, but the man who denies himself, takes up his cross daily and follows Christ (Matthew 16:24).

In the Old Testament we see that the Lord receives those who come with a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18; 51:17; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2). James wrote: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). We must come as the prodigal son, broken and humble. Remember what he said to his father-"Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son" (Luke 15:21). Those possessing genuine saving faith do not come boastfully to God with their religious achievements or spiritual accomplishments in hand. They come empty-handed in genuine humility.

4. Devotion to God's Glory

True saving faith is manifested by a devotion to God's glory. Whatever believers do, whether they eat or drink, their desire is to see God glorified. Christians do what they do because they want to bring glory to God.

Without question Christians fail in each of these areas, but the direction of a Christian's life is to love God, hate sin, to live in humility and self-denial, recognizing his unworthiness and being devoted to the glory of God. It is not the perfection of one's life but the direction of a life that provides evidence of regeneration.

5. Continual Prayer

Humble, submissive, believing prayer is mark of true faith. We cry "Abba, Father" because the Spirit within us prompts that cry. Jonathan Edwards once preached a sermon titled, "Hypocrites are Deficient in the Duty of Secret Prayer." It's true. Hypocrites may pray publicly, because that's what hypocrites want to do. Their desire is to impress people-but they are deficient in the duty of secret prayer. True believers have a personal and private prayer life with God. They regularly seek communion with God through prayer.

6. Selfless Love

An important characteristic of genuine saving faith is selfless love. James wrote, "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well" (James 2:8). John wrote, "Whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17). If you love God you will not only hate what offends Him, but you will love those whom He loves. "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death" (1 John 3:14). And why do we love God and love others? Because this is the believer's response to His love for us. "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Jesus said we will know that we are His disciples by our love for each other (John 13:35).

7. Separation from the World

Positively, believers are marked by a love for God and for fellow believers. Negatively, the Christian is characterized by the absence of love for the world. True believers are not those who are ruled by worldly affections, but their affection and devotion is toward God and His kingdom.

In 1 Corinthians 2:12 Paul wrote that "we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God." In 1 John 2:15 we read: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15). True saving faith separates one from the pursuits of this world--not perfectly, as we all fail in these areas, but the direction of a believer's life is upward. He feels the pull of heaven on his soul. Christians are those whom God has delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of His Son. The believer is marked by the absence of love or enslavement to the satanically controlled world system (Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:13; James 4:4).

8. Spiritual Growth

True believers grow. When God begins a true work of salvation in a person, He finishes and perfects that work. Paul expressed that assurance when he wrote in Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

If you are a true Christian, you are going to be growing-and that means you are going to be more and more like Christ. Life produces itself. If you're alive you are going to grow, there's no other way. You'll improve. You'll increase. The Spirit will move you from one level of glory to the next. So examine your life. Do you see spiritual growth? Do you see the decreasing frequency of sin? Is there an increasing pattern of righteousness and devotion to God?

9. Obedience

Obedient living is not one of the optional tracks given for believers to walk. All true believers are called to a life of obedience. Jesus taught that every branch that abides in Him bears fruit (John 15:1-8). Paul wrote that believers "are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). That speaks of obedience. We are saved unto the obedience of faith (see 1 Peter 1:2).

How can we know our faith is genuine? Examine your life in the light of God's Word. Do you see these characteristics in your life? Do you have a love for God, hatred for sin, humility, devotion to God's glory, a pattern of personal and private prayer, selfless love, separation from the world, the evidence of spiritual growth and obedience. These are the real evidences of genuine saving faith.

Patton on a Christian's Character Witness

(taken from:

I was discussing religion with a gentleman this evening. It was a very interesting conversation in which he recounted to me how he used to be a Christian in a Baptist church. But he left Christianity for Buddhism not too long ago. He explained that the reason why he left Christianity was because of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In short, he felt that Christians were on the wrong side of this issue.

This is representative of so many in our cultural Christianity. This gentleman’s argument was simple:

Christianity is determined as valid or invalid upon the character of its adherents.

In other words, if Christians do not act a “good” way, then Christianity itself is discredited. In this man’s mind, Christians were on the wrong side of the conflict, therefore he left Christianity for something more suitable in keeping with the character that he supposed should accompany those who follow the true God.

I am going to make a statement here that I suppose is going to make many of my readers upset. This especially goes for those who are more “emerging” in their thinking. Here it goes:

Christianity is not validated upon the character of its adherents.
Did you get that? Let me repeat.

Christianity is not validated upon the character of its adherents

(What do you think?)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Is the Bible True?

Listen to Ravi's thoughts....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jeff Spry on the "King James Only" Controversy

Selected quotes from Jeff's paper at

A very real but sad truism regarding the church of today is that we may be knowledgeable about the Bible
but we are mainly ignorant about the text of the Bible. Why are there different translations? Why are there
controversies over specific words (or the lack thereof)? Why are there controversies over entire passages,
such as the ending of Mark? Why does my pastor’s Bible read differently or “omit” a verse? Ignorance in
areas such as this are the perfect breeding ground for controversy and emotional damage.
The “King James Only” movement, by its very nature, brings disruption and contention right into the pews.
People, including pastors, are often drawn unnecessarily into heated and passionate arguments over “God’s
one true Bible.” Grand conspiracy theories are tossed about as factual historical statements. Time that
should be spent in ministry are wasted on this intramural debate over an issue whose foundation is built on
ignorance of history and Bible transmission, sensationalism, emotionalism, tradition and preference for a
seventeenth-century Anglican translation of the Bible.
Responsibility for the destruction of many churches lay directly at the feet of the KJV Only camp.
Churches have split as the proponents of this falsehood have brought fear and defensiveness into the body
of Christ.
The KJV Only controversy feeds on ignorance. Therefore, the solution to the turmoil is education. We
discuss this knowing controversy can ensue. But discuss it we must in order that peace and unity may
abound. This peace is not to be found at the cost of compromise but from a single-minded devotion to the
things of God. Our relationship with Christ is not based on a particular Bible translation. It must be
believed that men and women had true and faithful and meaningful relationships with God through Christ
for fifteen hundred years before Robert Barker printed that first page in 1611. You can live a fruitful and
joyfully blessed life without ever opening a King James Bible.

The Inspired KJV ONLY – Most KJVO advocates would fall into this group. They
believe that the KJV itself, as an English translation, is inspired and therefore inerrant. The
affirmation you hear from this group is found in the following equation:

The King James Version ALONE = The Word of God ALONE

It is extremely important to realize that this is the starting point in the thinking of most KJV Only
believers. It is this belief that gives so much “heat” instead of “light” in this controversy. In the
minds of the people of this group, an “attack” on the KJV is an attack on the very Word of God.
To use another version is to “deny” and “reject” the “real” Bible.
Furthermore, it must be recognized that once the above equation is firmly entrenched in one’s
mind, then all the remaining arguments fall into place. The most popular argument is to list verse
after verse after verse from the KJV and then “reveal” how the modern versions have been
corrupted because they change or omit words or entire verses. It seemingly never crosses the mind
of the person making these charges that he or she should be concerned about making the KJV as
the starting point and standard by which all other translations are measured. It is perfectly logical
and reasonable to ask “Why should the KJV be the standard?” The only answer is found in the
above equation. This is circular logic at is best (or worst).

What do you think?