Monthly Archives: September 2012

What Is Our Responsibility?

What is our responsibility? What does God expect of us when He says “preach the Word” or “preach the Gospel”? When we are faithful and obedient to preach God’s Word, we will either be accepted or rejected. As in the parable of the sower, the Gospel will be received different ways. When the Gospel is rejected, we are commanded not to cast our pearls before swine. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6) “But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7:5-6) Our responsibility to unbelievers includes not bringing their abominations into our house. “You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is something banned.” (Deuteronomy 7:26)

We are not to go out and burn and destroy people and things we disagree with. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,  (2 Corinthians 10: 4-5)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).

“And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.” (Mark 16:20)

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

“Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God.” (Colossians 1:25)

” [ “Preach the Word” ] I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:1, 2)

But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,”
Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones;
And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it. (Jeremiah 20:9)

“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” (Acts 20:27)

So how are we to deal with those who claim to be believers but who are dividing the church? “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning” (Titus 3:10)

What happens when these people have positions of authority in the church? “Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.” (3 John 9)

If we are invited to another assembly that does not believe as we do, we should take the responsibility to preach truth and correct error. We don’t go there to gain advantage, to raise money, to enhance personal reputation. We don’t go there to create problems or make trouble but we have to deal with obvious disobedience. To ignore open sin is to commit sin. Remember that God Himself says, “These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes. Now consider this, you who forget God, Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.” (Psalm 50: 21-22)

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Review of Descended: Jett by Dana Pratola

DESCENDED ~ Jett

This book reminded me of Tamed by Sarah Witenhafer, especially in that neither of these books is just a thin rehash of the Modern Romantic Fantasy about a reclusive rich guy with a BIG secret. Multilayered characters are a huge plus for me, since I struggle to read fiction in modern settings. Pratola gave me a boost, especially with the amazing Esposito and the astonishing twist he gives to the story.

Pratola keeps up the suspense with a clever mockery of the tabloid mentality we all fall into sometimes. Jett suffers in the press and so does artist Haven when she becomes his grandmother’s protege. But Haven has a bit of a tabloid view as looks at the surface of things and making judgments. She lets her emotions make decisions for her brain. She hates abuse but it colors her objectivity and keeps her from appreciating Jett’s potential almost to the end of the book.

Jett has a sort of tabloid view of God. He’s a genius who devours language-learning, technology development and every kind of knowledge but waits years before studying and trying to absorb the truth about his grandmother’s and Haven’s faith in God. He’s an excellent picture of the modern intellectual who thinks he knows it all but wants to stick to shallow thinking about his Creator.

http://www.amazon.com/DESCENDED-~-Jett-ebook/dp/B008W2NPUA

Image of Dana Pratola

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Can Communism Be Christian?

Breads

I cannot begin to count the number of times someone has pointed me to the book of Acts and the early Church as support for “Christian Communism.”

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” Act 2:44, 45

Sadly, this is all of Scriptures most of these people know. They ignore the extreme poverty of this Jerusalem Church, how Paul had to bring them food from Gentile Churches just to survive. When the Romans destroyed the temple, along with all Jerusalem, in AD 70 the experiment in “Christian Communism” ended. Some Christian groups have, for a short time, attempted “Christian Communism” and all have ended in dismal failure. Probably the most famous of these failures were the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation. They nearly starved to death until they allowed private ownership and private property.

So what do the Scriptures teach about economics? In the Millennium “they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.” Micah 4:4 Though the LORD God is ruler and owner of all by right of creation, He grants the right of personal ownership to nations, families and individuals.

We should also have compassion on the poor. This compassion should include personal donations to the poor and laws to help people out of their poverty. Though this is not a “welfare state” where a secular humanist government replaces God, it is public help.

Since Paul wrote, “if any would not work, neither should he eat,” 2 Thess 3:10 public assistance should only be for those who are incapable of working.

Modern Communism, by contrast, takes by force. Instead of being “communal,” a willingness to share, it murders any who resist. Modern Communism is hatred and force on the lowest level. It is the antithesis of love, and God is Love.

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Am I a Liberal?

Charles Augustus Briggs

Am I a Liberal?

John MacArthur, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Michelle Malkin, Ronald Reagan and thousands of others have demonstrated over and over again that liberalism is evil. Their educational efforts are so successful that liberalism has tried a new method of deceiving people. Use the same doctrines, teach the same dogma, just change the name.

“Progressive” is an older term with the same meaning. Probably the oldest term is simply “leftist.” These terms come from the French Revolution, as we wrote about earlier in a blog titled Right and Left. https://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/right-and-left/

Before condemning someone unjustly it is important to allow the Holy Spirit to examine our own lives. What do we believe? Just as there are very few men like Hitler, Lenin, Marxor Chairman Mao in the world, so there are very few like John Calvin or the Apostle Paul. Most of us are liberal in some area of lives.

The Word of God and the truth of God’s Word can be likened to the center point in a sphere. When we move away from the truth it can be in any direction. One person can move away from God in one way while another person departs in the opposite direction.

Liberalism in America began in Colonial America. While many believed in some form of liberalism, the loudest voice, their most visible champion, was Thomas Paine. As the founder of the American version of Secular Humanism, Thomas Paine died clinging to his secular humanist principles.

Liberalism began as a religious principle and is still first and foremost a religious principle. It began as a denial of the inerrant authority of the Word of God. Probably the most famous and one of the most important, though certainly not the earliest, was the public attack of liberalism by Charles Augustus Briggs which resulted in his 1893 heresy trial. Dr. Briggs took a professorship at Union Theological Seminary and gave an inaugural address on 20 Jan 1891 titled The Authority Of The Scripture. The following are lines from that famous sermon which caused him to be found guilty of heresy by the Presbyterian Church.

“The first barrier that obstructs the way to the Bible is superstition….

But superstition is no less superstition if it takes the form of Bibliolatry.

The second barrier, keeping men from the Bible, is the dogma of verbal inspiration.

It is claimed for these originals by modern dogmaticians that they are verbally inspired. No such claim is found in the Bible itself, or in any of the creeds of Christendom.

The third barrier is the authenticity of the Scriptures.….

Refusing to build on the authority of the living Church, they have sought an authority in the dead Church; abandoning the authority of institutional Christianity, they have sought a prop in floating traditions. These traditions assign authors to all the books of the Bible, and on the authority of these human authors, it is claimed that the Bible is divine.

It will ere long become clear to the Christian people that the Higher Criticism has rendered an inestimable service to this generation and to the generations to come. What has been destroyed has been the fallacies and conceits of theologians; the obstructions that have barred the way of literary men from the Bible.

The fourth barrier set up by theologians to keep men away from the Bible is the dogma of the inerrancy of Scripture. This barrier confronts Historical Criticism. It is not a pleasant task to point out errors in the sacred Scriptures. Nevertheless Historical Criticism finds them.

[Inerrancy of Scripture] is a ghost of modern evangelicalism to frighten children.”

Once the authority of Scripture is rejected, Pandora’s box is opened. With no moral anchor or compass you can justify anything.

Since almost no one is that depraved, almost everyone still retains some Scriptural principles. In the United States, there are laws against murder and theft. Why? Without any concept of the sacredness of life or the value of property, a civilized society cannot exist.

So even though there are various kinds of evil, America is warfare between Conservative and Liberal values. Conservative values are based on a literal reading of the Bible, the US Constitution and the founding documents of the United States. Liberal values are based on a wide range of documents and personal feelings, so the following list might not apply to your brand of liberalism.

One other important point: few if any people completely accept one extreme and reject the other. Liberalism is based on collectivism. Conservatism is based on individualism. Yet the most rugged individualist needs other people. And the most dedicated collectivist recognizes the need of individual responsibility. So while some issues are either/or, most issues are matters of degree.

Marriage: Liberals believe the human body is an amusement park and sex is the greatest joy. “If it does not hurt anyone, anything goes.” Orgies and homosexuality are not only allowed, but also encouraged. Conservatives believe marriage a union between man and woman until death do us part. While sex in marriage is enjoyable, it is also responsible. Sex outside of marriage is sin and there are consequences for sin.

Abortion: The strongest emotions of the Liberal/Conservative controversy center around abortion. This is because the issue centers on “what is man?” If man is a random accident and we are responsible to no one other than people (or sentient beings if you believe in extraterrestrials) then abortion is simply a matter of personal choice and government should have nothing to do with preventing abortions. If God created man and each of us is individually responsible to God at a final judgment, then abortion is murder. Most Americans are uncomfortable with either position and choose something in the middle that does not make sense when thought through.

The Responsibility of Government: Liberals know that many Americans reject what they believe, so they use government to force their beliefs on unbelievers. This is masked as Government providing goodies. Liberals believe in government (that they control) controlling education, healthcare, food supply, transportation and whatever else we can imagine as “good,” clean air, clean water and clothing. Conservatives understand that the government only has what it first takes from someone. The market will not give everyone the same food, clothing, education, housing or healthcare. But it does provide a continually rising standard. As stated many times, a rising tide raises all the boats. A poor American is better off than a middle class man in the Congo. Conservatives view the federal government as more than ten times the size it should be.

Liberals look for equality of outcome. Conservatives look for equality of opportunity. Liberals are Marxist. Conservatives are Free Enterprise.

Liberals look to lawyers and the courts as the ultimate arbiters. Conservatives point out that America does not have a Common Law court system like England. Courts should not be making laws. The responsibility of Courts in the US is to apply the law to the facts of the case. What other courts decided on similar cases should not matter to Judge and Jury deciding a case in front of them

Liberals want to limit, as much as possible, private gun ownership. Since the US Constitution allows private gun ownership, liberals rely on thousands of state and local laws to harass gun owners. Conservatives recognize that the militia of the 2nd Amendment is every male over 18 years old under the order of his state Governor and is not authorized to operate outside of his home state without explicit permission from his governor. The difference between a militia and regular army is who pays for it. Service in a militia is usually not paid for; it is a tax on your time and you must provide your own weapon.

Liberalism has controlled the US since Woodrow Wilson. So attempting to teach our children the Bible or the actual meaning of the Constitution is an attack on the established religion of Liberalism, also known as Secular Humanism. So, how Liberal are you?

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Purity: What Does It Look Like in 2012? Guest Post by Shelley Hitz

Water Bottle
Nothing else seems to quench my thirst like a nice cool glass of water on a hot day. As we talk about purity, let me start with an illustration involving two bottles of water.

Let’s say it is a hot day and you are really thirsty. I approach you and let you know that I have two bottles of water and offer you either one. The bottles (the containers) look the same. They have both been chilled, but you notice that one bottle has less water than the other. It has been opened! Which bottle of water would you choose? Most likely, you are going to reach for the unopened bottle, right?. Why would you most likely choose the unopened bottle? Well, for starters you have no idea where the other bottle has been. Someone could have already taken a drink out of the bottle. Maybe there is backwash. What if the person was sick with something contagious? Plus you get more water to quench your thirst with the unopened bottle.

Purity Matters

If purity matters with something as simple as a bottle of water, how much more important is sexual purity in our culture today? Sometimes I think we value the purity of our water even more than our sexual purity.

Why do I say that?

Look around at our media choices today. What we would have labeled as soft porn years ago is now plastered on magazine covers, billboards, music videos, television shows, video games and more. I believe sexual purity is not just in what we do, but also in what we take into our minds through our media choices. I know all too well the lure of sexual temptation, especially online. Years ago, I got caught in the trap of internet pornography. And it wasn’t the hard core stuff that hooked me. It was stuff that seemed innocent and that I could rationalize. But, the content was sexually provocative and was the bait that Satan used to hook me into a vicious cycle of porn addiction.

Ephesians 5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

Wow…Not Even a Hint

Remember the water bottles? Let’s not give in to compromise in this area of sexual purity, but let’s be willing to take a stand for purity in all areas of our lives. Not out of a desire to be religious or legalistic, but out of a desire to please the Lord and honor Him in every area…even in our media choices.

“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” I Corinthians 6:20


Shelley Hitz has been ministering alongside her husband, CJ, since 1998. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements. Shelley’s openness and vulnerability, as she shares her own story of hope and healing, will inspire and encourage you.

Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 including the book she co-authored with S’ambrosia Curtis, “A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography: It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem.” During their book launch on 9/26/12 – 9/27/12, you can download a free Kindle copy and also enter to win over $450 worth of resources. Find out more at http://www.christianwomenandporn.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Womans-Guide-Breaking-Pornography/dp/061569389X

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Love Does Not Rejoice in Iniquity

We are to speak the truth in love. At the same time, Jesus began his ministry by knotting together a whip of cords and driving animals out of the temple (John 2). He did the same thing the week before He was crucified. Though the Bible does not say this, I believe that Jesus probably cleansed the temple every time he came to Jerusalem. So what does God expect from us? How are we to handle open sin?

Jesus preached the same truth over and over again. Yet at the end of his life on earth, his disciples still did not understand. Paul commands Timothy to “preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

God loved Israel so much that he sent them prophet after prophet. The message of Isaiah was the same message of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc. We are commanded to “preach the Word, be instant in season and out, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

There are Jews who believe just like I do in the OT, yet they reject the entire NT and do not trust in Jesus as the Messiah. Some of few of those Jews actually believe the NT to be good history. They just reject Jesus as the Messiah and believe the NT is not inspired.

Yet Jesus still says “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father, except through Me.” John 14:6

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Her Name Was Eva and She Was in Love — Guest Post by Brad Francis

File:Eva Braun walking dog.jpg

She had met her beloved at the studio where she worked in Munich, and had first been introduced to him as Herr Wolff. She remembered him as a “gentleman of a certain age with a funny mustache, a light-colored English overcoat and carrying a big felt hat.” He liked her eyes. He said they reminded him of his mother’s. She was only 17 when they met; he was 40. Was it love at first sight? Maybe, maybe not. There would be many different women for Herr Wolff in the years to come, but Eva’s devotion for the man with the funny mustache seemed to only grow.

In 1932, Eva was rushed to the hospital. She had pointed her father’s pistol at her own chest and had pulled the trigger. Adolf—for that was Herr Wolff’s real name—started to pay more attention to her after that, at least initially. Three years later, when he failed to make enough time for her in his life, Eva wound up in the hospital again. This time it was sleeping pills. Adolf made more time for her after that. He didn’t want a scandal. She couldn’t have been happier.

Adolf’s love for Eva did seem to be growing at last. Near the end, she was one of the select few who joined him in the fortified Führerbunker in 1945. They were married in a small ceremony right there in the bunker. Eva was elated. Their marriage would last less than forty hours, but they were together at the end. For Adolf, that meant a bullet to his right temple; for the bride, now Mrs. Eva Hitler, the end was a cyanide capsule.

 Eva Braun was not a member of the Nazi party. There is no evidence that she supported the insane ideologies of her beloved. By all accounts, Eva was uninterested in politics and the war. The one exception was when she learned that the Führer intended to ban all women’s cosmetics and luxury items from Germany in 1943. She confronted him and he backed down. These items would no longer be manufactured, but there would not be an outright ban.

 How does a young, pretty girl like Eva fall in love with a monster? How much did she turn a blind eye toward to maintain her adoration for a man like Adolf Hitler? It’s almost unthinkable to consider that anyone—except, perhaps, the most committed Aryan anti-Semite—could love that man. For somebody who didn’t necessarily share those ideals? Imagine the level of self-delusion required to maintain a love affair with someone so immoral, so godless, so destructive.

 When I look at the state of the church in the United States of America, I see a lot of similarities to Eva Braun. I see countless American Christians who are so in love with their culture—a culture that is secular, godless, selfish, and embodies an ideology dramatically opposed to the message of the gospel—that they are willing to turn a blind eye to myriad sins to maintain this love affair. This is not about boycotting vulgar television shows or JC Penney spokespeople; this is about falling out of love with a godless culture and worldview that represents the goals of the enemy much more than the truths of Scripture.

This is a call for a divorce. Only by divorcing ourselves from the culture we grew up in and love so much will we be able to truly follow Christ with everything we are. If you want to know why the church is so ineffective in the United States, look no further than churchgoers who are so enamored with their culture that we put it before the things of God. John warns us that anyone who loves the world does not have God’s love in them (1 John 2:15) and that truth should concern us greatly.

There is a dramatic difference between loving the lost people of our world and loving the world itself. When we love the lost, we are living for Christ; when we love the world, we are living for us. There is an urgent need for us to follow Christ and Christ alone, not to follow the world and pay lip service to Christ. There is a need to return to the truths of Scripture, not to filter those truths through the lens of lukewarm American Christianity. There is a need to realize that this world is not our home and that our allegiance belongs to Christ and Christ alone.

 If we look in the mirror and we see the face of Eva Braun peering back, we would do well to remember where her infatuation led: death, lying beside her dead husband, their world crumbling around them. If we do not break up with our world and start being faithful to our Bridegroom, will our fate be any different?

Check out Brad’s books on Amazon through his author page here:

http://amazon.com/author/bradfrancis 

Brad’s blog is here:

http://christfictionandvideogames.blogspot.com

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