Friday, April 29, 2011

Spread out!

"Christians are like manure: spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly." 
 Francis Chan

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Praying for Alabama.......

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Death of Jesus

By Matt Perman


Here’s a very brief summary of the six core things Christ accomplished in his death.
1. Expiation
Expiation means the removal of our sin and guilt. Christ’s death removes — expiates — our sin and guilt. The guilt of our sin was taken away from us and placed on Christ, who discharged it by his death.
Thus, in John 1:29, John the Baptist calls Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Jesus takes away, that is, expiates, our sins. Likewise, Isaiah 53:6 says, “The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him,” and Hebrews 9:26 says “He has been manifested to put away sinby the sacrifice of Himself.”
2. Propitiation
Whereas expiation refers to the removal of our sins, propitiation refers to the removal of God’s wrath.
By dying in our place for our sins, Christ removed the wrath of God that we justly deserved. In fact, it goes even further: a propitiation is not simply a sacrifice that removes wrath, but a sacrifice that removes wrath and turns it into favor. (Note: a propitiation does not turn wrath into love — God already loved us fully, which is the reason he sent Christ to die; it turns his wrath into favor so that his love may realize its purpose of doing good to us every day, in all things, forever, without sacrificing his justice and holiness.)
Several passages speak of Christ’s death as a propitiation for our sins. Romans 3:25-26 says that God “displayed [Christ] publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration of his righteousness at the present time, that he might be just and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.”
Likewise, Hebrews 2:17 says that Christ made “propitiation for the sins of the people” and 1 John 3:10 says “in this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
3. Reconciliation
Whereas expiation refers to the removal of our sins, and propitiation refers to the removal of God’s wrath, reconciliation refers to the removal of ouralienation from God.
Because of our sins, we were alienated – separated — from God. Christ’s death removed this alienation and thus reconciled us to God. We see this, for example, in Romans 5:10-11: “For if while we were enemies, we werereconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
4. Redemption
Our sins had put us in captivity from which we need to be delivered. The price that is paid to deliver someone from captivity is called a “ransom.” To say that Christ’s death accomplished redemption for us means that it accomplished deliverance from our captivity through the payment of a price.
There are three things we had to be released from: the curse of the law, the guilt of sin, and the power of sin. Christ redeemed us from each of these.
  • Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13-14).
  • Christ redeemed us from the guilt of our sin. We are “justified as a gift by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
  • Christ redeemed us from the power of sin: “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Note that we are not simply redeemed from the guilt of sin; to be redeemed from the power of sin means that our slavery to sin is broken. We are now free to live to righteousness. Our redemption from the power of sin is thus the basis of our ability to live holy lives: “You have been bought with a price;therefore glorify God in your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
5. Defeat of the Powers of Darkness
Christ’s death was a defeat of the power of Satan. “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Colossians 3:15). Satan’s only weapon that can ultimately hurt people is unforgiven sin. Christ took this weapon away from him for all who would believe, defeating him and all the powers of darkness in his death by, as the verse right before this says, “having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).
6. And he Did All of This By Dying As Our Substitute
The reality of substitution is at the heart of the atonement. Christ accomplished all of the above benefits for us by dying in our place – that is, by dying instead of us. We deserved to die, and he took our sin upon him and paid the penalty himself.
This is what it means that Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) and gave himselffor us (Galatians 2:20). As Isaiah says, “he was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities . . . the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
You see the reality of substitution underlying all of the benefits discussed above, as the means by which Christ accomplished them. For example, substitution is the means by which we were ransomed: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Christ’s death was a ransom for us — that is, instead of us. Likewise, Paul writes that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the lawby becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).
Substitution is the means by which we were reconciled: “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). It is the means of expiation: “He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21) and “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 3:24). And by dying in our place, taking the penalty for our sins upon himself, Christ’s death is also the means of propitiation.
To close: Two implications. First, this is very humbling.
Second, “Greater love has no one than this, than he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

born again! The Phenom!

MMA Great Vitor "the Phenom" Belfort:
"My life has been changed," says Belfort, who's always been religious but now feels his relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in his life.

"I always trust Him, but it's hard to do what He wants you to do, like give yourself up, [or] follow Him. And that's what I'm trying to do now. I'm trying to follow His will."
"People used to say when I had my losses that 'Vitor is over,' but you have to watch yourself as a professional. Some guys win, but people don't want to see them fight. I just pray to God to do what He wants me to do in my life."
"Jesus has saved my life," he says. "Changed everything. Born again."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Born again- middle ground..

Billy told Franklin after a talk about his lack of spiritual commitment:

I sense there is a battle for the soul of your life. You are either going to have to accept Jesus or reject Him. There is no middle ground. Your Mother and I are praying you make the right choice.
Franklin said later, "At the age of 22, i was born again."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Born Again!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3

born again-anagennao, means to regenerate, or to cause to be changed as a form of spiritual rebirth (aorist tense here points to a past completed act)

Johnny Cash said, "A few years ago I was hooked on drugs. I dreaded to wake up in the morning. There was no joy, peace, or happiness in my life. Then one day in my helplessness I turned my life completely over to God. Now I can't wait to get up in the morning to study my Bible. Sometimes the words out of the Scriptures leap into my heart. This does not mean that all my problems have been solved or that I've reached any state of perfection. However, my life has been turned around. I have been born again."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The Easter Bunny?

The Easter Bunny is a commercialized cultural commonplace around the world (though it may be losing ground to the Easter Bilby in Australia), yet for all its familiarity, the Easter Bunny's true origins are a mystery. 

Eggs and Bunnies

Eggs and rabbits have been used as traditional symbols of springtime fertility and rebirth by various cultures throughout history. Eggs symbolize new life about to emerge, while hares and rabbits are conspicuous in the spring because they breed... like rabbits. The hare's association with Easter may be a holdover from the ancient pagan spring festivals of Europe. According to Bede, an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon church historian, the British pagans used to celebrate a spring feast in honor of the goddess Eostre, who was represented by the hare.

Eostre and the Hare

When Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) sent missionaries to the British Isles, he instructed them to adapt the existing religious places and festivals for Christian use. He wrote, "Since the people are accustomed, when they assemble for sacrifice, to kill many oxen in sacrifice to the devils, it seems reasonable to appoint a festival for the people by way of exchange. The people must learn to slay their cattle not in honor of the devil, but in honor of God and for their own food…" Because the celebration of the Resurrection replaced the old spring feast of Eostre, the Christian holiday came to be called Easter, and Eostre's pet animal the hare apparently came along for the ride.


The first known mention of the actual Easter Bunny comes from Germany in the 1600s, where the cute little guy was known as the Osterhase, or "Oschter Haws." German immigrants came to America with a tradition in which the kids would build nests around the house out of hats and bonnets, and if they had been good children, Osterhase would leave brightly-colored eggs in the nests. The tradition grew and spread over time, and eventually Osterhase turned into the Easter Bunny and began giving out chocolate and candy as well as eggs.

The Resurrection

Easter is still celebrated as a major holiday all around the globe, but the truth of Jesus' gory crucifixion and glorious resurrection is often obscured by the garish cartoon bunny in the stores and the gaudy displays of springtime fashion among the religious. Traditions of cute bunnies, marshmallowy creatures, colored eggs, and little girls in pink dresses are harmless enough, but at the same time we must not let anything obstruct our view of the earth-shattering reality represented by Easter. There's nothing cute or cuddly about the fact that we killed God. When we were his enemies, he came to us, suffered in our place through the horror that was Good Friday, and rose from his grave on Easter Sunday so that we will one day rise from ours. The curse is broken, and we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus because we know we will one day experience it (1 Cor. 15:20-23). Let's be joyful, let's never shrink from speaking about Jesus' death and resurrection, and let's never trivialize it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Johnny Mac Questions Bell's salvation.....

From Grace to You:

Granted, Bell (who was raised in the evangelical movement and is an alumnus of Wheaton College) still insists on calling himself “evangelical.” He reiterated that claim recently in a March 14 interview with Lisa Miller, where he stated, “Do I think that I’m evangelical and orthodox to the bone? Yes.”
A careful examination of Bell’s teaching suggests, however, that his profession of faith is not credible. His claim that he is “evangelical and orthodox to the bone” is, to put it bluntly, a lie. Bell’s teaching gives no evidence of any real evangelical conviction. If “each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44), we cannot blithely embrace Rob Bell as a “brother” just because he says he wants to be accepted as an evangelical.
If, as Jesus said, His sheep hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27), then we ought to look with the utmost suspicion on anyone who doubts and denies as much of Jesus’ teaching as Rob Bell does, and yet claims to be a follower of Christ.
Scripture is crystal-clear about this: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3-4).
Historic evangelicalism has always affirmed the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture, while declaring (as Jesus and the apostles did) that the only way of salvation for fallen humanity is through the atoning work of Christ, and the only instrument of justification is faith in Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the gospel.
Rob Bell believes none of those things. His skepticism about so many key biblical truths, his penchant for sowing doubt in his hearers, and his obvious contempt for the principles of divine justice as taught in Scripture all give evidence that he is precisely the kind of unbelieving false teacher Scripture warns us about.
Bell is an inveterate syncretist who loves to blend “progressive” and politically correct dogmas with eastern mysticism, humanistic jargon, and Christian terminology. His teaching is full of barren ideas borrowed directly from old liberalism, sometimes rephrased in postmodern jargon but still reeking of stale Socinianism.
What Bell is peddling is nothing like New Testament Christianity. It is a man-centered religion totally devoid of both clarity and biblical authority.
Given those facts, you might think any true evangelical would reject Bell and his teaching outright. But evidently many in the American evangelical movement think they are obliged simply to accept at face value Bell’s claim of orthodoxy. No less than Mart DeHaan, voice of Radio Bible Class, decried Bell’s critics, portraying them as the divisive ones for pointing out the unsoundness of Bell’s teaching. DeHaan wrote,
I’m left wondering… are we allowing love (and truth) to win now… by using threats of group pressure and blackballing of brothers like Rob, and those who openly or secretly stand with him? Is that really the best way to maintain a strong and healthy orthodoxy? [emphasis added]
The biblical answer to DeHaan’s question is clear and fairly simple: The best way to maintain a strong and healthy orthodoxy is to “[hold] fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching . . . to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers . . . who must be silenced” (Titus 1:9-11).
We have a duty not only to expose, refute, and silence Rob Bell’s errors, but also to urge people under his influence to run as fast and as far as they can from him, lest they be gathered into the eternal hell he denies. It won’t do to sit by idly while someone who denies the danger of hell mass-produces sons of hell (cf. Matthew 23:15).
What do you think of John MacArthur's assessment of Rob Bell's salvation?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who can bring a charge?


Bring a charge (1458) (egkaleo from en = in, on, at + kaleo = call) literally means a call in and thus a summons and was the Greek legal term meaning to accuse, call into account or bring charges against.

Egkaleo - 7x in 7v - Acts 19:384023:28f26:27Ro 8:33. NAS = accused(4), accusing(1), bring a charge(1), bring charges against(1).
And thus Paul still has us in a courtroom setting, but now a remarkable change has taken place. While the justified sinner stands before the bench, the call goes out for any accusers to step forward. But there is none! How could there be? If God has already justified His elect, who can bring a charge? If God, the Supreme Judge, justifies, then who is going to successfully bring a charge against us?

We are secure from all charges against us; if we have been declared "not guilty" by the highest Judge in the land, who can bring additional charges against us?

God's elect- 

Elect (1588)(eklektos from verb eklego which in middle voice [eklegomai] means select or pick out for one's self which is derived from ek =out + lego =call)
means literally the "called out ones" or "chosen out ones". 

The idea of eklektos is the ones who have been chosen for one's self, selected out of a larger number.

In regard to election as related to salvation, Wuest comments that
"This election does not imply the rejection of the rest (those not chosen out), but is the outcome of the love of God lavished upon those chosen-out."

Someone else has written that
Election is God's eternal choice of persons unto everlasting life -- not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ - in consequence of which choice they are called, justified, and glorified.

Eklektos was used in secular Greek to describe anything that was specially chosen, such as specially chosen ("choice") fruit, articles specially chosen because they are so outstandingly well made or picked troops specially chosen for some great exploit.

The One Who justifies

acquits, vindicates, frees

Dikaioo describes the act by which a man is brought into a right state of relationship to God. 

Dikaioo is a legal term having to do with the law and the the courtroom, where it represented the legally binding verdict of the judge.  

Who can condemn us when God justifies us? Therefore we refuse to be condemned. We don't do this by ignoring our sin or trying to cover it over, or pretending that it isn't there; we do it by admitting that we fully deserve to be condemned, but that God, through Christ, has already borne our guilt. That is the only way out. That is why Christians should not hesitate to admit their failure and their sin. You will never be justified until you admit it. But when you admit it, then you also can face the full glory of the fact that God justifies the ungodly, and therefore there is no condemnation.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jack responds to ABC's 20/20 special on IFB churches.

Jack has a rather low view of women- don't you think?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Love Wins? "aion and kolazo"

Scot Mcknight speaks about Rob's use of these two words:

Rob enters in this chapter into the judgment leads to restoration theme; consequences are for correction. This is a major point in his book. In this context he brings up the Greek word kolazo (it should be kolasis since the noun is used in Matthew 25), and Rob says something that must be flagged as unfair. He says kolazo “refers to the pruning and trimming of the branches of a plant so it can flourish” (91), and the noun is combined with aionion (he uses aion) and says this is an “aion of kolazo” or a “period of pruning.” Again, check BDAG [infliction of chastisement, punishment, transcendent retribution, punishment; under kolazo, the verb, penalize, punish ... finishing with "Aristotle's limitation of the term... to disciplinary action ... is not reflected in gener. usage"]. 

My point: it is simply disingenuous to say without qualification that it means pruning, and it is unfair to readers not to say that most — if not almost all — instances refer to a kind of retributive punishment and chastisement — there is very little emphasis in this word’s usage that suggests punish to improve and much more punish full stop. Here’s the big point: this is about Life and Kolasis/Punishment in The Age to Come. The Age to Come is everlasting.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hole in the Head- watch it

Vertus Hardiman hid a shocking secret under a wig & beanie for over 80 years. He was experimented on at age of 5 by a county hospital in Indiana during 1927. Vertus was one of ten children, all experimented on with radiation that day.

"To show the magnitude of His mercy" 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Peter Hitchins and a painting

In the excerpt below, Peter Hitchins (Christopher’s brother) explains how God used an artistic interpretation of the Last Judgment to bring him to faith. It’s worth reading on a number of levels: as an example of the power of art to prod and provoke, as a sober warning to the ungodly, and as a story of converting grace.
What I can recall, very sharply indeed, is a visit to the Hotel-Dieu in Beaune, a town my girlfriend and I had gone to mainly in search of the fine food and wines of Burgundy. But we were educated travelers and strayed, guidebook in hand, into the ancient hospital. And there, worth the journey according to the Green Michelin guide, was Rogier van der Weyden’s fifteenth-century polyptych The Last Judgment.
I scoffed. Another religious painting! Couldn’t these people think of anything else to depict? Still scoffing, I peered at the naked figures fleeing toward the pit of hell, out of my usual faintly morbid interest in the alleged terrors of damnation. But this time I gaped, my mouth actually hanging open. These people did not appear remote or from the ancient past; they were my own generation. Because they were naked, they were not imprisoned in their own age by time-bound fashions. On the contrary, their hair and, in an odd way, the set of their faces were entirely in the style of my own time. They were me and the people I knew. One of them — and I have always wondered how the painter thought of it — is actually vomiting with shock and fear at the sound of the Last Trump.
I did not have a “religious experience.” Nothing mystical or inexplicable took place — no trance, no swoon, no vision, no voices, no blaze of light. But I had a sudden, strong sense of religion being a thing of the present day, not imprisoned under thick layers of time. A large catalogue of misdeeds, ranging from the embarrassing to the appalling, replayed themselves  rapidly in my head. I had absolutely no doubt that I was among the damned, if there were any damned.
And what if there were? How did I know there were not? I did not know. I could not know. Van der Weyden was still earning his fee, nearly 500 years after his death. I had simply no idea that an adult could be frightened, in broad daylight and after a good lunch, by such things. I have always enjoyed scaring myself mildly with the ghost stories of M. R. James, mainly because of the cozy, safe feeling that follows a good fictional fright. You turn the page and close the book, and the horror is safely contained. This epiphany was not like that at all.
No doubt I should be ashamed to confess that fear played a part in my return to religion. I could easily make up some other more creditable story. But I should be even more ashamed to pretend that fear did not. I have felt proper fear, not very often but enough to know that is is an important gift that helps us to think clearly at moments of danger. I have felt it in peril on the road, when it slowed down my perception of the bucking, tearing, screaming collision into which I had hurled myself, thus enabling me to retain enough presence of mind to shut down the engine of my wrecked motorcycle and turn off the fuel tap in case it caught fire, and then to stumble, badly injured, to the relative safety of the roadside. I have felt it outside a copper mine in Africa, when the car I was in was surrounded by a crowd of enraged, impoverished people who had decided, with some justification, that I was their enemy. There, fear enabled me to stay silent and still until the danger was over, when I very much wanted to cry out in panic or do something desperate (both of which, I am sure, would have led to my death). I have felt it when Soviet soldiers fired on a crowd rather near me, and so I lay flat on my back in the filthy snow, quite untroubled by my ridiculous position because I had concluded, wisely, that being wounded would be much worse than being embarrassed.
But the most important time was when I stood in front of Rogier van der Weyden’s great altarpiece and trembled for the things of which my conscience was afraid (and is afraid). Fear is good for us and helps us to escape from great dangers. Those who do not feel it are in permanent peril because they cannot see the risks that lie at their feet. (The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith, 101-104)
Let us never forget that the one who says “fear not” to the Father’s children also instructs the ungodly to “fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:3128). To say “fear not” when there is great reason to fear is not the triumph of love, but the silencing of it.

(HT: Kevin DeYoung-great site)

Friday, April 1, 2011