Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Why Do Americans Believe That Jesus Is A Commodity?

800px-Johnson_Matthey_500_grammes_silver_bullion
A commodity has several definitions. The most useful is an interchangeable item that satisfies a want or need in the marketplace. For example, a pound of pure (99.9%) metal has a value. It does not matter where it came from or who made it. The same types of coffee beans, grains, or even computer chips, are interchangeable with each other. It doesn’t matter which computer chip you use as long as it is the same model. They have value because of what they are, not because the individual has value as an individual.

Americans are viewing Jesus as a commodity, something that “fits” and meets their needs, and not as the thrice holy God who created the universe along with everyone and everything in it. The relationship is backwards. Instead of submitting to God, they want God to submit to them, to be useful, to go into the “slot” they need Him to fill.
On the lowest and worst level, some people view Jesus as nothing more than an eternal fire insurance policy. These people want Jesus to keep them out of hell, as long as Jesus does not interfere with their existing lifestyle. Any thinking person condemns this attitude. However, many who condemn the “life insurance” attitude in others unknowingly have that same attitude in their own hearts, just in a different form.

A second attitude is found in people who accept Jesus because He makes them feel good. These people really are somewhat better. These people might actually love Him for what He gives them. The prosperity gospel is among the ideas that fit into this category. Sadly, this attitude causes the person to become blind to the true weaknesses of his condition. And at the same time, he is among the first to condemn others.

The next category is made up of people who simply want some kind of god to fill a traditional role. These people are often very involved in politics, schools, lodges, sports, or any other group of people. They are “people-oriented.” God is necessary, as long as God is generic enough to be acceptable to everyone in the group. Their God is not as important as their place in society and their acceptance by other people.

The answer is for man to think of himself as the commodity. He must fit into God’s plan and purpose, to function as part of the body of true believers. To do that, he must apply this Scripture: Let a man examine himself to see if he is in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5) This examination process should allow the Holy Spirit, using the Word of God and other believers, to test both our faith and our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our relationship with Jesus the Messiah should mirror a marriage. It is not a 50/50 relationship. We should love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind. The God of Glory is not just another commodity we add to our lives.

Image Credit: 500 gram silver bar produced by Johnson Matthey released into the public domain by en:User:Kallemax. Wikimedia Commons.

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There’s Honey in the Rock, My Brother! by Mary C. Findley

Anyone who says that God is a big bully is picking and choosing what he reads in the Bible. Read the whole thing, cover to cover, over and over, to see the whole God. Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, you’ll see violence and misery and pain and suffering, but look at what else you’’ll see!

In that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is in the remotest part of the rivers of Egypt and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.  They will all come and settle on the steep ravines, on the ledges of the cliffs, on all the thorn bushes and on all the watering places.
In that day the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from regions beyond the Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), the head and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the beard.
Now in that day a man may keep alive a heifer and a pair of sheep; 22 and because of the abundance of the milk produced he will eat curds, for everyone that is left within the land will eat curds and honey.
(Isaiah 8: 18-21)

God promised judgment on Israel for sin. Over and over He sent prophets, humbled kings, removed evil influences, but the people continued to sin. So here in this passage in Isaiah God says invaders will come and a large portion of the land will be ruined. In other verses he talks about burning, about thorns choking the land, but here he talks about the bees that will settle everywhere. Rudyard Kipling describes swarms of bees that live in cliffs in his Jungle Books. They are deadly, terrifying. Normally everyone keeps away from them.

But look at what the remnant of God’s people can do! There might be destruction, burning, judgment. There might be so many thorns that they can only keep a few head of livestock. But those bees, those terrifying stinging killers God sent as part of the judgment? The people can get honey from them.

That’s how God is. He punishes the sin, but He loves the sinner. He judges wickedness, but he shows mercy and comfort. He sends enemies, trouble, and pain to the disobedient, but his heart grieves over the desolation and anguish and He sends curds and honey in the midst of the thorns and the burning.

This is a parallel passage to Matthew 23, where Jesus speaks about the coming judgment. Both passages talk about the judgment and what the Messiah will do. Here it is again – the love and the judgment.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

God isn’t a bully. Man is a fool, fighting the outstretched hand of help, spitting in the face of the Messiah. But from the bees that drive in the enemy and cause desolation,  he still gives us the honey.

image from morguefile by ronnieb

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The Need to Understand Original Sin — post by Michael J. Findley

Bourdon,_Sébastien_-_Moses_and_the_Brazen_Serpent_-_1653-1654

People have always loved the approval of others. But to give up part of the truth of God’s Word just to win that approval will bring on the judgment of God.

Claiming the book of Genesis, at least the first eleven chapters, to be “allegorical” or “mythical” will win the approval of many. But if there was no historic Adam and Eve and no historical sin and Fall, why should we believe in Jesus Christ?

Without original sin, there is no need for a virgin birth, no need for an atonement and certainly no resurrection. And as Paul said, if Christ is not risen from the dead, we are yet in our sins. But, if the record of Adam and Eve is a myth, is there any sin?

Painting “Moses and the Brazen Serpent” by Sebastien Bourdon

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Christianity, Science and True Knowledge

Not all knowledge is true science. Paul wrote to Timothy in I Timothy 6:20 that he should be on guard against and stay away from those who used “oppositions of science falsely so called. ” This is one of the more interesting references in the Bible to false science. He was telling Timothy to stay away from people who opposed the Word of God with false knowledge. Our lives are brief and we should not waste time studying things which are not true. Since true religion is the foundation or basis of true science, true religion is where our studies should begin if we are to understand true science. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and knowledge of the holy is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).

The following is a basic overview of Christian doctrines. It is not what anyone claims that the Bible says, but what it actually says. These are the foundations of true science. Without these foundations, a person is not studying, teaching or practicing science. He is a believer in a false religion, studying, teaching and practicing mythology.

Cosmology

The material universe had a beginning. God spoke it into existence. God used His Son and His Spirit to make the universe.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:1-3).

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Hebrews 11:3).

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1).

God is eternal.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God (Psalm 90:2).

Lord, thou hast been our dwellingplace in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God (Psalm 93:2).

God is holy.

For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy (Leviticus 11:45).

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (I Peter 1:15, 16).

God created the material universe very good. That is, without sin (holy) and good for man.

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:31).

God created the material universe out of nothing.

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself (Isaiah 44:24).

The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts [armies] is his name (Jeremiah 10:16)

The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name (Jeremiah 51:19)

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:3).

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things (Acts 17:24,25).

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Hebrews 11:3).

Anthropology (The Study of Man)

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Genesis 1:26-27).

Man was created by a direct act of God.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him ” (Genesis 2:18, NASB, NIV).

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man (Genesis 2:21, 22).

Man was created without sin.

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:31).

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Genesis2:25).

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).

Sin entered the universe through Adam’s choice.

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:15-17).

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them (Genesis 3:8-21).

The result of Adam’s sin is death.

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).

The curse of sin is on the entire material universe.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (Romans 8:22).

Because we are born sinners, we are powerless to heal the curse of sin.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eye (Romans 3:9-18).

Christology (The Study of Jesus Christ)

Jesus was born of a virgin according to the prophets.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:22,23).

Jesus the Messiah was born without sin.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus the Messiah led a sinless life.

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14,15)

God provided atonement for the sin of all mankind through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (I Corinthians 15:21,22)


Time

The existence of the material universe is both finite and brief. The geneologies in Genesis are consistent and clearly teach that the earth was created shortly before 4,000 BC. The year 2010 in a modern western calendar corresponds to the Jewish calendar year 5770, counted from Creation. Jesus Christ will return and the material world will be destroyed as a judgment for sin.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew (24:35).

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them (Revelation 20:11).

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea (Revelation 21:1).

Any who do not believe these simple, obvious doctrines willingly bring judgment on themselves. Like those on the Titanic who refused to board the lifeboats, they will not understand reality until it is too late. As Peter said, they “willingly are ignorant. “

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:3-7).

Unlike the record of Jesus the Messiah, the idea that the universe had an Intelligent Designer has three forms of testimony outside the Scriptures. The first two are scientific. First is the fact that no basic law of physics contradicts anything in the Bible. The second testimony is the millions of observed scientific phenomena. The last form of testimony consists of other ancient records.

True science is not technology. Technology is the application of scientific principles to fabricate material objects. No known aspect or instance of technology contradicts any doctrine in the Bible.

True science is the belief (accepting as true after examining the facts, a legal term) that the material world was created in a point of time, that the material world will end, that each and every person has a purpose and will be judged for the decisions he makes in this life. True science acknowledges the limitations of material measurements and analysis. True science acknowledges that science is finite and that the most important human questions cannot be answered by science. True science acknowledges that the ancient world of 5,000 years ago was totally and completely different than the world we know today. The present is not the key to the past. True science acknowledges that the ancient world underwent at least one worldwide global catastrophe within the last 5000 years.

True science acknowledges that the surface of the earth that we see today was produced catastrophically. True science acknowledges that each historic document from the beginning of time was written for a purpose at the time it was written. Though technology evolves, such as the evolution of the airplane, there has never been any evolutionary development of civilization. True science acknowledges that the only legitimate use of the word evolution is technological, driven by human intelligence, such the evolution of the automobile, the printing industry or organized sports. True science acknowledges the scientific fact that there has never been any scientific evidence for any form of biological evolution.

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What is Salvation?

“The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

“There is none righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10)

Since we are all sinners, we need to have our sins atoned for. Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb of God “gave his life a ransom for many.”

First we must recognize that we are sinners in need of salvation. Then we must understand that as a sinner there is nothing we can do to atone for our own sin or bring about our own salvation. But salvation is like a marriage, it is not a 50%/50% relationship, it is a 100%/100% relationship.

Though salvation is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5) we still have total responsibility to serve God. “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)

Our works are technically called Sanctification, since only God can work the work of Salvation.

God also commands us to be fruit inspectors. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20) But we must be very careful to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit. The parable of the wheat and the tares illustrates our difficulty. Tares are a variety of weed which look very much like wheat until the time comes to produce seeds. The Bible teaches us that seemingly wicked men, such as Abraham’s nephew Lot are actually righteous. Others that appear to be righteous, even talking with God, such as Balaam, are actually evil. In the matter of salvation, we must be very careful to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

The fruit (works) we are to look for is a love for the Lord, a desire to fulfill the great commission and the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith).

Our beliefs on the doctrine of salvation are written down in detail in our books, Findley Family Video Biblical Studies and Antidisestablishmentarianism. The Biblical Studies books are written for homeschool so there is a student and a teacher’s edition. The only difference is that the teacher’s edition contains the answers. They include our commentary on Great Doctrines of the Bible by Evans. All of these are available in ebook format and all four books (Our three and Evans, which can be obtained free online) can be purchased for less then $10 total.

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The Greatest Commandment


“Master Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

Everything we do, every decision we make must have these two guiding principles. Does it glorify God? Does it show that I love my neighbor as myself? This blog post is inspired by a variety of topics that come across my Facebook page.

People have said in many different ways that they want their Facebook experience to be, in effect, “light and fluffy.” They don’t want to talk about religion or politics. A cute picture or a funny story receives many, sometimes hundreds of “likes,” reposts, and comments. Sometimes we like and repost such things too. But important posts, prayer requests for persecuted Christians or links to important news items, rarely show any evidence that anyone has even seen them.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we are not keeping these two commandments when we keep our lives “light and fluffy.” As believers, we are part of the Church, engaged in warfare. As believers we are faced with daily choices. Are our bodies temples of the Holy Spirit, or are they simply, as the Secular Humanist bumper stickers claim, amusement parks?

The Scriptures have detailed teaching about how a church should conduct itself and what it should expect of its membership, and vice-versa. Failure to follow these Scriptures is sin. A church or an individual needs to condemn failure to follow clear Scriptures or the making up of practices the Scriptures do not teach or allow for.

The Word of God clearly commands us not to fellowship with believers living in open sin. Though it grieves God’s heart, some people in positions of church leadership are living in open sin. Sadder still, unbelievers mock and ridicule the Word of God in the majority of the church buildings of Western Europe and the United States. We can neither glorify God nor love our neighbor in these services. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us discern exactly what type of ministry we should join and support.

But some people say they won’t go to a church service if it does not meet their “needs,” whatever that means. Would you attend a church where men were segregated from women and children? What about a service without pews or chairs, where you had to stand for the entire service? What about a church that met in a different place each service because of threats on the worshipers’ lives?

There are three standards in the word of God for choosing to fellowship and support a local work by joining in membership. First, does it preach the Word of God? This means the whole council of God, not just what I want to hear. Second, is there a place for ministry? If the abilities and gifts God has blessed you with cannot be used in one fellowship, seek out another place where they can be used. Third, can I faithfully attend the services? The perfect fit a thousand miles from your house is not such a perfect fit.

These should not be such high standards. Instead, Christian Churches are filled with people “whose god is their appetites.” Philippians 3:9. These people will only attend a church which meets their appetites. The sad part is, what might be acceptable for one believer, might be a stumbling block and a sin for another believer.

The following is a brief list of some of the issues we have seen which cause people to leave a church. 1) The church is not the right size. These are “Goldilocks” Christians. This church is too big. This church is too small. They go through life forever searching for the church that is “just right.” 2) The music or worship service is not “contemporary” enough. They often tie this to other issues. They say the church is cold, unfriendly, judgmental, sometimes after attending for years and suddenly discovering that all these things have bothered them for years. Do they really mean to say, “I hate this church and I know this church hates me because I hate its music”? 3) The Church isn’t “giving” enough. What they usually mean by this is that other members are not giving them enough. 4) The Church is “legalistic.” This word is so overused that it has lost it’s meaning. In the Bible the word legalism simply means works salvation. Sometimes people simply mean that this particular church has standards they do not like.

So maybe our facebook pages, and our churches, and our lives, should not consist of what is light and fluffy, of what is pleasing to us, but rather of things that fulfill the Greatest Commandment.

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Principles of Writing Fiction

It’s hard to say when people began writing fiction, but it has been used for millennia to communicate truth. Seems strange to say that something that isn’t true can teach truth, but good fiction always has done that. Using characters, settings or events that didn’t actually happen, writers create a vehicle by which to make a point. Jesus Christ taught parables, beginning with “A certain man … or “A sower …,” or “A woman …, ” a clue that what he was about to say was not about a particular person, but was going to make a point about people. Even the Old Testament had parables, such as the Parable of the Trees, warning a king not to get too big for his britches.

Writers of the genre contemporary fiction write about the time they live in. Charles Dickens was immersed in the culture of his times and used his fiction for social commentary, to try to change what was wrong with life as he lived it. Writers like Georgette Heyer use historical fiction to go back to a time and place where things were done differently, to deal with certain social customs, or just to show the readers the color and life of a lost way of living. Science Fiction writers bridge from existing technology to what may be sooner or later. Robert A. Heinlein colonized Mars, updating the pioneer/settler storyline with futuristic adaptations.

Fantasy writers usually base their works on smidgins of reality or convention, classic creatures of Greek mythology or simple agrarian economies. Then they add an element of magic, spirit intervention or other supernatural influence. Allegories are a subcategory of fantasy, but they differ in including an element of teaching, usually related to religion. Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory. Things and people stand for something other than the reality. Pilgrim becomes Christian, symbolizing the salvation experience. His journey is Christian growth. Pilgrim’s Progress was inspired by Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, another story of a Christian and his armor fighting and serving God. This in turn was derived from Ephesians 6, a parable of sorts describing the Helmet of Salvation, the Sword of the Spirit, and the rest of the equipment the Christian needs to wrestle against the dark forces of this world.

The point is that the best fiction, the right fiction to read, is based on Scriptural principles. It treats good and evil as the Scriptures do. Articles, excerpts and essays in this section will show how that should be done.

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