Wintery Knight on Abortion

There is a great post going around the blogosphere about how the early church was opposed to abortion. Found in the Didache, an early book written to help believers understand what they were to believe and what was forbidden, it condemns abortion. You can find a post on it over at Neil‘s, and at Wintery Knight. Go and read both. But I do have to quote Wintery Knight here. I really liked what he wrote:

Honestly, there is no real factual disagreement on abortion. People justify killing the weak the same way as they always do – because the weak are in their way and they are stronger and can get away with it. The politically correct jibber-jabber about “choice” is just to make them (the man and the woman) feel good afterward. Really, abortion is just selfishness taken to the nth degree – you create another human being by recreational sex (fun) and then you kill them in order to avoid have to take responsibility for that new life. It’s like going out and getting drunk then getting behind the wheel of a car and killing someone with the car. It may not be what they intended to do, but it was their decisions that led up to it. They’re responsible. But they don’t want to face the natural consequences of their own actions, and they are willing to do the most heinous crime imaginable in order to do so. Sex makes babies. If you can’t welcome a baby into the world, don’t have sex. I don’t. And the chance of getting a woman pregnant is of the reasons why. (One of the others is that I don’t want to hurt a woman by leaving her after sex – which is why I believe in married sex. I don’t want to hurt anyone, most of all babies.

Given the pro-life practices of the early church, I find it hard to understand how people can think that fornicating (pre-marital sex) and abortion are OK. We were not like that then, and we shouldn’t be like that now. Sex was not a recreational activity then, and it is not a recreational activity now.

You think this would be obvious in our society, but alas, the arrogance of modernity has kicked in. That arrogance is that since our society as a whole knows more than the the societies of the olden days, we are smarter and more enlightened. Truth be told, we are dumber and more in the dark. Not that I want to return to such societies, but there is no room for the arrogance of modernity. After all, who is smarter, the guy who can figure out a quicker way to start a fire, using matches, or the first guy to discover fire?

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Sinclair Ferguson On Grace

“It is legitimate to speak of “receiving grace,” and sometimes (although I am somewhat cautious about the possibility of misusing language) we speak of the preaching of the Word, prayer, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper as “means of grace.” That is fine, so long as we remember that there isn’t a thing, a substance, or a “quasi-substance” called “grace.” All there is is the person of the Lord Jesus — “Christ clothed in the gospel,” as Calvin loved to put it. Grace is the grace of Jesus. If I can highlight the thought here: there is no “thing” that Jesus takes from Himself and then, as it were, hands over to me. There is only Jesus Himself….Grasping that thought can make a significant difference to a Christian’s life. So while some people might think this is just splitting hairs about different ways of saying the same thing, it can make a vital difference. It is not a thing that was crucified to give us a thing called grace. It was the person of the Lord Jesus that was crucified in order that He might give Himself to us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.” – Sinclair Ferguson

Politically Correct Matthew 18 Police: Update

I’m glad to see this article by Brannon Howse on this subject. Anyone who takes a stand for the truth and against false teachers invariably has been hit by this argument. It is the argument that is made about criticizing false teachers in public without first going to them in private. These PCM18 police, thinking they are standing for righteousness sake, say that before we criticize someone like Joel Osteen, that we should go to him in private and discuss our grievances based upon Matthew 18:15-18.

The problem with this is that what Osteen does is done in public, therefore the sin of false teaching needs to be addressed in public. This is what the Apostle Paul does in most of his letters. He addresses public sins in his letters because they were done in public. The issue of Matthew 18:15-18 is dealing with a brother that has sinned, not false prophets that are teaching damnable error.

Given what the the PCM18 police want, how are we to deal with someone that is dead, like the heretics Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy or Charles Taze Russell? All three started cults in America and all three are dead. They are heretics, in that they taught works salvation and that Jesus is only a man, not the Second Person of the Trinity. They all three taught another gospel all together. This is damnable heresy in the fullest sense of the words because those who follow their teachings, no matter how sincere they are in their beliefs, end up going to hell because their faith is not in Christ alone, by faith alone.

How many times did Jesus warn against false prophets? Just read Matthew 7 and 23 and you get a sense of what Jesus feels about false teachers. Then there is Paul, who warns Timothy over and over again to teach only sound doctrine. I know that most people recoil at the word “doctrine,” especially the politically correct, and those in the Emergent Church. The last thing they want to hear is the word “doctrine” because they know that doctrine divides. Yes, yet it does. It’s meant to purify the church. This is why Paul told Timothy to stop those who did not teach sound doctrine. He warned the young pastor about the days in which men would come who would have a form of godliness but denying its power. If that is not Joel Osteen, then I don’t know who it applies to.

The reality is that the true pastor sets his heart on not only teaching the truth, but also showing where false doctrine raises its ugly head and pointing it out. If a pastor truly loves his people as He has commanded us to do, then we must teach both the truth and show what is false so our people are not duped by men with persuasive words. We have a responsibility to show where the error arises so that each member of the flock is well equipped for the work of the ministry. Since the work of the ministry means going into the world, then they need to be ready to deal with false doctrine as well, or at least know that something is not right when they hear it.

Otherwise, we, as pastors, are not fulfilling our calling. Let the PCM18 police scream. They have another problem on their hands, namely, Romans 1:18, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. This is truly what they want to do. Keep the truth locked a way out of a false sense of unity.

John MacArhur on Joel Osteen

Hattip: Neil. This is an excellent summary of Osteen’s theology and the danger he poses to Christianity.

Sola Fide and Other Sermons Available

I just finished posted my sermons from Sunday at Sermon Audio Dot Com. The morning sermon was on the trial of the disciples as Christ was taken from them at His death and the joys that they would experience upon His resurrection. My main illustration dealt with Asia Bibi, which I’ve written about here, and how she is facing death because she stood for Christ. The darkness shes is going through is hard, but the joy she will experience, either through being released, or taken home to the Father, will far outweigh the suffering she now faces. The same was true for the disciples and is true for all of us.

The sermon for Sunday night was on Sola Fide, by faith alone. It is one of the five Solas of the reformation and how this truth is just as necessary today as it was during the Reformation.

You can get to GPC of Jackson page by clicking here.

Featured Sermon

Also I listened to the featured sermon of the day, by Voddie Bachman out of Houston on adoption. It was absolutely superb. He covers both spiritual and physical adoption and shows the absolute importance of understanding this doctrine for our spiritual lives. Adoption is another great doctrine that came out of the Reformation.

You can get there by clicking here.

Happy Veterans Day

The older I get the more I appreciate Veterans Day and what many have done to serve our country and keep us free. I really am grateful for the men and women who have given lives so that we can live as we do. Freedom is always worth fighting for, no matter what our Poly Sci professors said in college.

I had the opportunity to serve our country for six years in the United States Coast Guard. I know, many of you are asking: “Is the Coast Guard part of the military?” And the answer is a resounding YES! The members of the Coast Guard fall under the Military Code of Justice just as much as the Marines do. The difference is our purpose. The Marines serve to liberate the beach, the Coast Guard serves to help them navigate to the beach.

The point is that I had the opportunity to serve for six years in the Coast Guard. In retrospect, I don’t think I realized what a privilege I was given while there. I was too young and immature to truly appreciate the opportunity to serve. That is probably the case with most who serve. No one forces us to join, but once we do, we have a tendency to ‘bitch’ about things when life isn’t easy.

That is the wrong attitude. Remember, we joined voluntarily, and if it was easy, then everyone would do it. We join because it is not easy. We join because it is necessary. We join because it is the opportunity of a life time.

I wish that someone had come along side me and reminded me of those truths in the midst of serving. One of the worst aspects of serving is the number of men who serve that have absolutely terrible attitudes. They hate serving, they grumble about it and before long everyone is grumbling about it. I was one of those. I look back on my time there and wish that my attitude had been better. Anyone can stand around and bitch about things. (I know that is the second time I’ve used that word, and it is unacceptable in certain circles. But the word describes the sin perfectly. Bitching is a sin, and it’s ugly just like the word that describes it).  What we need are those who don’t do that. We need those who know that serving in the military means facing adversity and dealing with it, all of it, from the grumpy captains and chiefs, to the daily grind of serving time in the scullery. Someone has to wash those pots and pans and it just so happens it’s not going to be the Chief Petty Officer.

To those who are serving now, I would say this: Remember that it is an honor to serve and a privilege. I’ve known men who wanted to serve when they were young and were denied because of physical disabilities. If you are serving then you are blessed. Serve to the best of your ability so that when you look back on your time in the service, you will have few regrets.

By the way, the same is true of the Christian life. We serve an even greater purpose when we serve Christ in our calling. Serve with the same mind of Christ, knowing that we are called to this, whether we are working in the scullery of life, or serving on the board of a charitable institution. Serve for His glory, with no regrets.

Pray for Asia Bibi

The Telegraph reports:

Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother-of-five, denies blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted for her faith in a country where Christians face routine harassment and discrimination.

Here is a woman who is really being faced with persecution. As is the case in all Muslim countries, she is being charged with something falsely because the local Muslim women didn’t like her. The end result is that she has been charged for blasphemy and is facing death by hanging. It’s everything in me to keep from saying, “but wait, these are Muslims that doing this to her. We were told they were nothing but sincere loving peaceniks.”

Here is the reality of Asia’s situation.

The court heard she had been working as a farmhand in fields with other women, when she was asked to fetch drinking water.

Some of the other women – all Muslims – refused to drink the water as it had been brought by a Christian and was therefore “unclean”, according to Mrs Bibi’s evidence, sparking a row.

The incident was forgotten until a few days later when Mrs Bibi said she was set upon by a mob.

The police were called and took her to a police station for her own safety.

Shahzad Kamran, of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, said: “The police were under pressure from this Muslim mob, including clerics, asking for Asia to be killed because she had spoken ill of the Prophet Mohammed.

“So after the police saved her life they then registered a blasphemy case against her.” He added that she had been held in isolation for more than a year before being sentenced to death on Monday.

“The trial was clear,” he said. “She was innocent and did not say those words.” Earlier this year, Pakistan’s internet service providers were ordered to block Facebook to prevent access to supposedly blasphemous images.

Truly, this happens all the time all over the world to fellow Christians. They truly are faced with persecution by Muslims who are sworn to wipe out all those who refuse to submit and become Muslim. We need to keep our brothers and sisters in prayer who face this every day. The most persecution we get here in the states is some driveling liberal saying something derogatory about us (did I just use “driveling liberal” in a derogatory way?).

The point is that Islam is not peaceful. It is a religion driven by hatred of fellow man. On top of that, it is a false religion. Fortunately for Asia, even though she faces death, she is far better off than those who persecute her. The King of kings has His hand upon her. She is His precious child. They may kill the body, but He owns her soul.

But God, who is rich in mercy…

Made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). What absolute rich words given to us in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. He has just explained to us that we were dead in our trespasses and sins, and belonged to the prince of the power of the air. We were sons of disobedience and, by nature, children of wrath.

The first three verses of chapter 2 really show us our true identity with the world. I know that we like to put a lot of stock into our identity. Just look at the rest of my blog, it’s filled with bits and pieces of my identity. But the real identity of the world is that of “children of wrath.” We are dead in our trespasses and sins, and separated from God. This deadness that Paul speaks of is not physical death, but spiritual death. Remember when Adam sinned in the garden, there was an immediate change for Adam. That change was not only in his position before God, moving from being righteous, to unrighteous, but also a spiritual death that immediately came upon him and Eve. That was, as best we can understand it, a separation from God spiritually speaking.

Realize that to be spiritual means to be alive in Christ. We tend to think that we are spiritual beings by nature, but Paul begs to differ. We are not spiritual by nature because we are fallen by nature. Since this is true, we are dead spiritually. We have no spirit before conversion because we are dead spiritually. We only have body and soul. I know that some will take 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and say that Paul refers to us by saying “may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless.” I agree he says that. But he says that of believers, not of those dead in trespasses and sins. Besides, Paul gives far more references to us being just body and soul, than he does to us being body, soul and spirit.

The point is that we need to be made alive by God. That is why verses 4 through 7 are so absolutely wonderful.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Paul is showing us that it is God who makes us alive. He does the work. This is not something that we had anything to do with before He moved. Remember our state of being before God moves is that we are dead. Spiritually speaking, we were no different than Lazarus was physically speaking when he laid in the tomb. He was dead, nothing more than a stinking corpse and Jesus called his name, bringing him to life. The same picture we have of Lazarus being brought back from the dead is the same picture we have of us being made alive in the spirit. God has to move and do the work in us for us to be made alive together with Christ. The one doing the work is God, not us.

Why does God choose some to do this? (Remember, Ephesians 1 deals with God’s election of the saints). He does so in order to show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. The goal of the Triune God  is always to be glorified and He is does this by taking children of wrath and making them into children and co-heirs with Christ.

I know this is extremely unpopular in evangelical circles, but our salvation is all His work on us and in us. It is not us. This is why Paul follows up with verses 8-10:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

His point is that there is no room for us to boast. When it comes to God’s grace, and the faith we have, both are a work of God in us, so that there is no room for boasting whatsoever. Far too many people want to claim that it was their decision and their faith that saved them. But that is not the tenor of this passage. The context of this passage is that all of our salvation was His workmanship, not ours, so that we could not boast at all.

I know of far too many Christians who want to boast about their salvation by saying that it was their decision that brought them to faith. Yet this passage prohibits that. There is no room for boasting in the Christian walk. If we believe, it is because the Spirit moved in us, caused us to be born again, worked faith in us so that we could and would believe in Christ for salvation.

Remember Jesus’ words to us:

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

The reason there are no Christians or non-Christians moving mountains is because we do not have the faith of a mustard seed. The faith that we need for salvation is worked in us by the Holy Spirit, it is a gift from God, so that we cannot boast. WE are the passive recipients of God rich mercy.

Do we deserve it? Absolutely not. Why? Because we were children of wrath. But out of His rich mercy, His Spirit moves in us, He shows us grace and works faith in us, so that we believe and are saved. That is why verse 4-7 are so precious. May God’s rich mercy be poured out in your life as well.

Islamic Leader is Lying

Once again, we see the true intent of Islamic leader Muneer Awad, who filed suit against the state of Oklahoma just two days after the state passed a law prohibiting state courts from using international law or Sharia Law to bring about justice. The intent is merely to say that state courts must use state laws. Seems simple enough.

But the leader of CAIR in Oklahoma City is suing the state law is unnecessary. See the full report here.

Just two days after Oklahoma voters approved a ballot measure banning state courts from considering Islamic or international law when ruling on cases, a local Muslim has filed a federal lawsuit saying the measure is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit against ballot measure, State Question 755 – or better known as “Save Our State” — seeks a temporary restraining order to block the results of the election from being certified by the state Election Board on Nov. 9. The measure is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1.

Oklahoma residents approved the measure with 70 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election.

But Muneer Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma who filed the lawsuit, said that the measure is unnecessary because there is no threat of an Islamic takeover of state courts. Muslims make up only 30,000 of the state’s nearly 4 million residents – less than 1 percent.

Right. If the law is unnecessary why sue? If there is no threat, why worry about it. Awad is not telling the truth. It would seem his intent is to keep the door open so the state can use Sharia Law, otherwise, he would not mind the new state law. Awad is using our court system to bring about his purposes, which is to impose Sharia Law here in the United States. That is the state purpose of their religion so don’t listen to them when they say otherwise.

Spurgeon on The ABSOLUTE Necessity of the Holy Spirit in Conversion

Taken from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon No. 201, “Delivered on Sabbath morning, June 20, 1858, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens,” and based on Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

Supporting the argument of the “absolute necessity of the Spirit’s work in order to conversion,” he writes:

“It is quite certain that men cannot be converted by physical means. The Church of Rome thought that she could convert men by means of armies; so she invaded countries, and threatened them with war and bloodshed unless they would repent and embrace her religion. However, it availed but little, and men were prepared to die rather than leave their faith. She therefore tried those beautiful things–stakes, racks, dungeons, axes, swords, fire; and by these things she hoped to convert men. You have heard of the man who tried to wind up his watch with a pick-axe. That man was extremely wise, compared with the man who thought to touch mind through matter.”

“Nor, again, can man be converted by moral argument. ‘Well’ says one, ‘I think he may. Let a minister preach earnestly, and he may persuade men to be converted.’ Ah! beloved, it is for want of knowing better that you say so. Melanchthon thought so, but you know what he said after he tried it — ‘Old Adam is too strong for young Melanchthon.’ So will every preacher find it, if he thinks his arguments can ever convert man. Let me give you a parallel case. Where is the logic that can persuade an Ethiopian to change his skin? By what argument can you induce a leopard to renounce his spots? Even so may he that is accustomed to do evil, learn to do well… If sin were a thing ab extra and external, we could induce man to change it. For instance, you may induce a man to leave off drunkenness or swearing, because those things are not a part of his nature–he has added that vice to his original depravity. But the hidden evil at the heart is beyond all moralsuasion. I dare say a man might have enough argument to induce him to hang himself, but I am certain no argument will ever induce him to hang his sins, to hang his self-righteousness, and to come and humble himself at the foot of the cross; for the religion of Christ is so contrary to all the propensities of man, that it is like swimming against the stream to approach it, for the stream of man’s will and man’s desire is exactly the opposite of the religion of Jesus Christ.”

“But again, if you will just think a minute what the work is, you soon see that none but God can accomplish it. In the Holy Scripture, conversion is often spoken of as being a new creation. If you talk about creating yourselves, I should feel obliged if you would create a fly first. Create a gnat; create a grain of sand; and when you have created that, you may talk about creating a new heart. Both are alike impossible, for creation is the work of God.”

“And there is yet one more consideration, and I shall have concluded this point. Beloved, even if man could save himself, I would have you recollect how averse he is to it. If we could make our hearers all willing, the battle would be accomplished. ‘Well,’ says one, ‘If I am willing to be saved, can I not be saved?’ Assuredly you can, but the difficulty is, we cannot bring men to be willing. That shows, therefore, that there must be a constraint put upon their will. There must be an influence exerted upon them, which they have not in themselves, in order to make them willing in the day of God’s power. And this is the glory of the Christian religion. The Christian religion has within its own bowels [insides] power to spread itself. We do not ask you to be willing first. We come and tell you the news, and we believe that the Spirit of God, working with us, will make you willing. If the progress of the Christian religion depended upon the voluntary assent of mankind, it would never go an inch further. But because the Christian religion has within an omnipotent influence, constraining men to believe it, it is therefore that it is, and must be, triumphant, ‘ till like a sea of glory it spreads from shore to shore.'”

The Move Towards Marxism — All the More Reason to Vote Conservative

I like this video because Lt. General W.G. Boykin outlines how Marxists have advanced around the world in taking control in unsuspecting countries. He also shows that some of the ground work has been laid for the same thing to happen here in the United States. Fortunately, we are better educated and have the Constitution that gives us the right to stand up against such a movement. All the more reason to vote today and vote Conservative.

BTW, I like it that Boykin simply states his case. He doesn’t use hyperbole or scare tactics. He just states the facts and shows them for what they are. I get tired of the scare tactics of the Left and the Right. Yes, things in America are bad. But they are also good. You might say, it’s the best of times and the worst of times.

What makes all this good is that the American people are not sitting idly by doing nothing. The Tea Party is showing this to be the case, so much so, that everyone who is running for office today is trying to make the case that they are more conservative than their opponents. (Liberals never present themselves as Liberals or for what they are. They know we would never vote for them if they were actually honest with us).

The point is that why what Boykin says is alarming, the good news is that we are standing up against the Left and their movement to control our lives. I’m grateful and glad we have the freedom to do so. So be encouraged and vote for the true conservative candidates in the race.