Christmas Lights

We discovered this tree of lights in the country club section of town. It was there last year too, so it’s becoming a tradition.

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Perfect Gift For Every Man!

The perfect gift for every man: the woman language translator. It will help every man in those really tense situations when she says: “it’s fine,” the most loaded phrase in a woman’s repertoire. In other words men, if she says “it’s fine,” or “I’m fine,” she’s not and you better do some exploratory questioning. Here, watch the following for more info:

Against Dispensationalism — The Blog

I’ve added Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry’s blog, Against Dispensationalism to my blog roll. He, and the rest of the scholars at the NiceneCouncil.com, are committed to pointing out the dangers of bad theology, like Dispensationalism. They quote Dr. Robert L. Reymond, who says: “Dispensationalism has thrown down the gauntlet: and it is high time covenant theologians take up the challenge and respond to them Biblically.”

Gentry has written that Dispensationalism is beginning to die a long, painful death. Part of this is due to the wacky predictions of who the antichrist is, and when Jesus will return. In his most recent post, he lists at least 18 books that have predicted the return of Christ and such lunacy. After all, Jesus told us that no one knows when He will return except the Father in heaven. For some reason, Dispensationalists seem to always know when Christ will return.

Here is some of what Gentry writes:

This is like dispensationalism: it is such a large behemoth that its death will take a long time. Furthermore, given its inherent naivete — which allows its adherents to tolerate one failed Antichrist prediction after another and which can endure one erroneous rapture prediction after another — we can’t expect the system to die quickly. Dispensationalists are adept at grinning and bearing it.

Nevertheless, it is dying. And as we have pointed out: it dying from a brain-drain. Many of its scholars are opting out; others are radically transforming the system into what it has never been. Read the dominant dispensationalist’s vehement attacks on progressive dispensationalism. Fear is in their words: their beloved system is collapsing within.

We agree that the prophecies of the Bible do not fail of their purposes. But the prophecies of dispensationalists constantly fail. Again, review the titles listed above. As we have said many times: Dispensationalism is embarrassing itself to death.

I like the way he points out his intended purpose of the article:

In this blog article I will show that dispensationalism’s death is being effected by suicide. Apparently no amount of embarrassment and humiliation has been able to discomfit dispensational pew-sitters. Like the Eloi in “The Time Machine” they mindlessly wander about to their doom. They drift into Christian bookstores and pick up the latest mind-numbing, apocalyptic drivel. Neither wrong rapture dates nor wrong Antichrist spottings phase erstwhile dispensationalists. Their motto is: “Grin and Bear It.” But now we see that suicide might just do the trick. But first let me give a brief history lesson.

But more specifically, he shows how Dr. Chisolm, a professor at DTS, actually shows the Dispensationalism will commit suicide because of the change in the way the prophecy is viewed. Under the current system, every prophecy, according to the Dispy construct, must be fulfilled literally. Chisolm shows that this is not true at all.

The article shows that prophecy is dynamic, intending either to change or encourage the hearers rather than simply to record the future in advance. Chisholm notes that prophecy “announces God’s intentions conditionally and is intended to motivate a positive response” so that “the prophecy’s predictive element is designed to prevent (in the case of judgment announcement) or facilitate (in the case of a salvation announcement) its fulfillment” (p. 563). That is, prophecy has a hortatory dimension, which means that it seeks to encourage good behavior by promising (conditionally!) blessings in the future or to warn against bad behavior by threatening judgment. (Emphasis added).

What this means is that prophecy is not intended to show us the future, but shows us the future based upon continued obedience or lack of repentance. This means that there can be change in the prophecies fulfillment. Think of Jonah’s predication that in 40 days, all of Nineveh would be destroyed. Yet, what happened? Nineveh repented and they were sparred God’s wrath. So did the prophecy fail? Not at all. God was using the prophecy of impending judgment to bring about repentance. The prophecy brought about it’s intended purpose.

Gentry is helping us to see that those in Dispy circles are changing how they view prophecy. They are beginning to see that prophecy isn’t given to tell us the future, but to show us the future if certain conditions are or are not met.

Chisholm provides several other clear evidences of prophecy functioning as a goad to either repentance from sin or continuance in righteousness. This is prophecy’s main point: to either dynamically alter or effectively reinforce a people’s moral/spiritual condition, not to foretell the future for political pundits.

Because of this change, Dispensationalism will eventually fail. But Gentry doesn’t stop there. He shows that the predictions of Israel’s dominance of the world will not be fulfilled because those promises were conditional on her repentance and acceptance of Christ.

I believe Chisholm is correct in his view of the conditional nature and dynamic purpose of prophecy. And if he is correct, dispensationalism is no longer theologically viable.
On Chisholm’s principles we can argue that the future of Israel is not necessarily to involve a return to the land to rule the world and re-establish the temple sacrificial system. The dynamic purpose of Old Testament prophecies of Israel’s future glory were intended to encourage faithfulness. But Israel rejected all of her prophets and then when God finally sent his Son, they said: “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize his inheritance” (Matt 21:38). As a result, God gave them a final forty years after Christ to repent and turn to him.

Tragically, Israel did not repent and her temple was destroyed in AD 70. As a result, Israel’s prophetic hope of future world-dominion will not be fulfilled in the literal terms of the Old Testament hope. We should not be surprised at this for Jesus himself taught:

“I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 811-12).

“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.” (Matt 21:43).

This shows us that Israel will not rise up as a nation and rule for 1,000 years. Those days have passed, for Christ is ruling through His Kingdom now and there is no need for Israel, the descendants of Abraham, to rule again. This doesn’t mean that God’s prophecy of such failed. The prophecy wasn’t meant to be kept if the natural descendants were not obedient. It was given to spur on obedience, and the natural descendants failed in this regard.

The Marks of a Cult

Many of you who come here to my site often, know that I have strong feelings about the cults in America. That is because, while they may be represented by nice and well meaning men and women, their message is clearly destructive to those who follow those messages. What they do is take the gospel and distort it by adding different meaning to the language of orthodox Christianity.

The following is the introduction to a series put out by the Apologetics Group, which is committed to helping us see error where it rears its ugly head, be it from Mormonism, Christian Science, or fruit cakes like L. Ron Hubbard. They do say that those in a cult have the rights and freedom to worship God as they please. However, to try and use the language or orthodox Christianity, making it mean something different than the true meaning, is dubious at best. The cultist really need to be honest about who they are and are not.

For instance, Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Scientist will tell you that they believe in the Trinity when asked. But to them, the Trinity represents the ideas of truth, love and hope, or something along those lines. This is out of accord with the true orthodox position on the person of God, who has revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Ghost. He is three distinct persons, One in essence. To call Him anything less than what He has revealed Himself to be is dishonest and idolatrous. We must worship the God who is, not the gods of our own imaginations. After all, God is not concerned about our weak sensibilities, but about His glory. When we come to Him and accept Him for who He has revealed Himself to be, then He is glorified. When we do not, then we insult Him.

Watch a bit of the video and learn more at their site:

John Lennon Still Dead After 30 Years

Thirty years ago today, John Lennon was gun down outside his New York city apartment by a nutty fan, Mark David Chapman. I remember the news really well because I heard it as I drove around in my new (used) 1978 Toyota Celica. It sort of put a damper on the excitement of getting a new (used) car. I was so excited about the car and how it handled, as well as the smell. Even the stereo in it was better than anything I have ever had in a car. I picked up James Garner and we were just driving around when we heard the news of Lennon’s death.

That was really a let down for the day. Not that I was one of Lennon’s groupies, but being a disc jockey in Top 40 music, it was hard to not feel a sense of loss for a man who had contributed so much to the industry while he was with the Beatles and even some contribution in his solo career.

It is weird how the news of some pop stars seem to effect us and others do not. I distinctly remember the shock of hearing of John Belushi’s death as well. How could such a funny guy … die? There was also the death of Led Zepplin’s drummer John Bonham. I was saddened because he was such a great drummer and they would no longer tour. Michael Jackson’s death shocked me as well. I don’t know why, I never really liked him. His voice was just too high for my comfort. But alas, he was a great entertainer, and only 2 years older than me, so the suddenness of his death caught me off guard.

I guess Lennon’s death had the same effect because it was so sudden and senseless. What kind of fan guns down someone? Well, one that is crazy. But it’s so sad.

I do admit that my views on Lennon have changed over the years. After becoming a Christian, that has a tendency to happen. Lennon was not a Christian and said some very controversial things in his life time about Christianity. At one point, he was known to have said: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink … We’re more popular than Jesus now—I don’t know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity.”

Quite a foolish thing to say when you are taking on the King of kings, whose kingdom has no end. I’m not sure he knew the full implications of what he said at the time, but they were definitely not words of someone that belonged to Christ.

After reading about him a Wikipedia, I do feel sorry for him. Rebellion really had a grip on him his entire life. Even at the height of Bealtamania, he commented that he wrote the song “Help” because he needed help during the midst of it all. He knew his mortality and really did tire of people treating him like he was a god.

In an interview before his death, he said the following:

Lennon saves some of his harshest words for critics who were perennially disappointed with Lennon’s path, in both music and in his life, after leaving the Beatles.

“These critics with the illusions they’ve created about artists – it’s like idol worship,” he said. “They only like people when they’re on their way up … I cannot be on the way up again.

“What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I’m not interesting in being a dead (expletive) hero. .. So forget ’em, forget ’em.”

He also predicted that Bruce Springsteen, then hailed as rock’s bright future, would endure the same critical barbs: “And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he’s no longer God. … They’ll turn on him, and I hope he survives it.”

But Lennon also talked about trying to be a good father to his youngest son Sean, learning how to relate to a child (he admitted he wasn’t good at play) and spoke of his strong bond with wife Yoko Ono: “I’ve selected to work with … only two people: Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono. … That ain’t bad picking.”

At 40, he was also reflective of what he had accomplished so far in life and exploring life’s themes, and remained committed to his goal of peace and love on earth.

“I’m not claiming divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can … But I still believe in peace, love and understanding.”

Again, those words are really sad given that he died a few weeks after speaking them. You can read the rest of the article here. Also note, there is a full-length article for that interview which has just been released by Rolling Stone Magazine. Apparently, the writer never published the full article after Lennon was shot.

While his contributions to music are monumental, what is his overall contribution to the things that have no end? I guess that is what is so sad in all of this. I have no words of comfort for those who hope to see Lennon in glory some day. There is no absence of heaven like he sang about in Imagine. The is a true heaven and a true hell. While he may have had great talent, the one thing he lacked was faith in Christ, which makes his death all the more tragic.

More TSA Stupidity

TSA Stupidity

I know, you wouldn’t think these guys could show any less brains, but check out the following video. This man has a steel hip and gets patted down every time he goes through the scanners. So, instead of going through the pat down, he stripped down to a Speedo swimsuit and walked through the metal detector. Of course, the steel hip set off the alarms and despite being able to see the six-inch scar, the TSA agents were unable to figure out what was causing the metal detector to go off. Their solution, make him get dressed, come back through the metal detector and go through a pat down.

Hard to believe, I know.

 

He Shall Be Great

Charles Spurgeon on Luke 1:32, He shall be great.

“The man Christ Jesus stooped very low. In his first estate he was not great; he was very little when he hung upon his mother’s breast. In his after estate he was not great; but despised, rejected, and crucified. Indeed, he was so poor that he had nowhere to lay his head; and he was so cast out by the tongues of men that they called him a ‘fellow,’ mentioned him among drunken men and wine-bibbers, and even accused him of having a devil, and being mad. In the esteem of the great ones of the earth, he was an ignorant Galilean of whom they said, ‘We know not whence he is.’ His life binds up more fitly with the lowly annals of the poor than with the [royal] court-circular or whatever stood for that in Caesar’s day. In his own time his enemies could not find a word base enough to express their contempt of him. He was brought very low in his trial, condemnation, and suffering. Who thought him great when he was covered with bloody sweat, or when he was sold at the price of a slave, or when a guard came out against him with swords, and with lanterns, and with torches, as if he had been a thief…?”

“The very man who was despised and spat upon, sits glorious on his Father’s throne. As man he is anointed ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords.’ As man he has been lifted up from the lowest depths, and set in the greatest heights to reign forever and ever.”

Taken from Spurgeon’s sermon preached the in the evening of the Lord’s Day service December 2, 1883, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. No. 1760. Being his last sermon before his journey to the South of France.

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is Now Roaring!

I found this wonderful story in Modern Reformation magazine in an article by Jon D. Payne. He found the story in a book by Iain H. Murray’s A Scottish Christian Heritage. I love Murray’s works because he helps put the history of the church in perspective and I recommend any of his books to you, which you can find at Banner of Truth Trust (BTW, Banner of Truth is one of the few places I recommend for buying Christian books. As for Christian bookstores, please, if you are a true follower of Christ, stay away!!!)

Here is Payne’s quote:

“One Lord’s Day as Robert Bruce (1554-1631) ascended the elevated pulpit at St. Giles Kirk in Edinburgh, King James VI was comfortably perched in his royal gallery overlooking the congregation from the rear. The relationship between Bruce and the Steward king, though once amicable, became strained due to Bruce’s unwillingness to negotiate the truth in light of James’s unscrupulous politics–especially as it concerned the newly established Presbyterian Church of Scotland (1560). On this particular Sunday, after Bruce commenced his sermon, the king showed his contempt for Bruce by carrying on a loud and impudent conversation with his courtiers. Bruce paused for a moment, and the king quieted down. When Bruce began preaching again, however, the king continued his ill-mannered conversation. After this took place a third time, the fiery Scottish preacher looked up to the royal gallery and declared: ‘It is said to have been an expression of the wisest of kings, When the lion roars, all the beasts of the field are [quiet]: the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is now roaring in the voice of his Gospel, and it becomes all the petty kings of the earth to be silent.'”

What an absolute wonderful quote, for it truly shows us the supremacy of the Gospel over the kings of the earth. No matter what position a man may hold, be it a king or a mayor or a Senator, when the Gospel is truly preached, they should quiet down and listen. Even the most exalted king or athlete or superstar is not above his or her need for the Gospel. It is through the Gospel that Jesus is speaking to us today. Not with new revelation, but in the proclamation of the ultimate revelation that has been already been given through and in the person of Jesus Christ.

I’m sure that King James VI was angered by that statement. But he would have done himself well by coming down out of his box seat and humbled himself among the peasantry at the foot of the cross. If a man is ever going to find favor with God, he cannot do so without coming to the cross and laying aside all his pretentious entrappings about himself.

The church would do well by remembering this truth, and pastors would do well to remember it as well. The pastor is not to be the latest hit comedian, or counselor, or big buddy, or motivational speaker. He is to be a man who stands in the pulpit week after week declaring the truth of God’s word, for in doing so, he is being used by the Holy Spirit so that we can hear from the Lion of Judah.

I can’t tell you the number of times I will have preached a sermon and someone will come up to me afterward and say, “I loved it when you said …, for that really spoke to me and encouraged me.” The entire time I’m thinking, “Did I say that?” I don’t remember saying it, but the Lord took what I said and encouraged someone in the congregation with it in such a way that it applied to their particular situation. That only happens when we preach God’s word faithfully.

Now think about what takes place when a pastor becomes a motivational speaker instead of a preacher of God’s word. Instead of looking to proclaim the truth found in Scripture, especially the parts that are unpopular, he uses God’s word as a spring board into a message that will motivate people to be better people. On the surface, this sounds good and to many, they believe that this is what should take place. After all, we don’t want messages about “suffering” and “righteousness.” We want messages that tell us how good we are and how much God loves us. Of course He loves us, we are such wonderful people!

But… that is not the Gospel. The Gospel doesn’t tell us how wonderful we are, but how wonderful He is in that He came to save us because we are so wretched. Whether we are kings or queens in reality or in our own minds, we need the gospel. We need to hear the truth that we don’t want to hear. We need to hear that there is nothing in us that will bring about favor with God. We need to know that what we truly deserve, which is eternal hell. I know, this doesn’t seem fair. But that is fair, for we have offended a Holy God and if He is fair, He gives all what they deserve. What we want is His grace which is found in The Gospel itself.

Motivational sermons won’t do us a lot of good at that point. Which is sad, because those who truly had their “best life now,” will get to think about that nugget of truth for eternity, and remember that they did indeed have their best life while on earth. As Abraham said to the rich man who burned, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted and you are tormented.”

Allow me to say, I don’t want my best life now. Let the Lion of Judah Roar! Let the Gospel go forth from the pulpits in America, as unpleasant as it is, because it is much better for us to humble ourselves under His word than to listen to the wisdom of the world.  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

We need men in our pulpits who will proclaim the truth and not fear the outcome. I like what A.A. Hodge said concerning this:

“It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it.”

Unfortunately, much of the church today has drifted the way of the world, with motivational messages, and messages meant to uplift instead of conform us to the image of Christ. Conformity to Christ is not easy, it’s done through the fires of affliction and the pastor who punts on this issue is no pastor at all.

Brannon Howse writes the following:

Many such churches would claim to love truth but what they really love is a man-centered Christianity that helps them obtain success in their marriage, finances, family, and a positive attitude that produces health and a successful personal life without the pain of dying to self, picking up the Cross of Christ and being persecuted for proclaiming Truth.

II Timothy 4:3 tells us that many Christians will only want to hear what makes them feel good and appeals to their flesh; “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”

Pastors must not buy into the world’s message and preach the Gospel, because God can take the message and convert souls. Motivational talks, while they may convert our attitudes for a day or a week, lack the power to change us into children of God. What is amazing is that God can take the meekest pastor, to the most bold, to the most confident, and used them to speak to His children. He can take those who are being as faithful to the word as they can, and speak throught them to convert the lost and bring them to salvation. But they must preach His word, not the world’s word.

Is there any king or president that can do that in our day an age? They may claim to be able to keep the seas from rising and they may claim to bring peace to the land, but all they can really do is hope the Lion of Judah blesses their endeavors. Otherwise, they are truly petty in their endeavors. Just think about King James VI. How much of his life and reign to do we know about? Was it all that important?

The reason I asked that is that the Lion of Judah roared in his direction on the Sabbath day so many years ago. The only hope that King James VI had of any future is if he listened to the roar. Did he listen, or just get angry like so many kings and queens of our day do. Remember, during his day, King James VI was on top of the world. Where is he now? If he shrugged his shoulders at the roar, it’s not pretty. Will you hear the roar of the Lion? Or will you just shrug your shoulders as well, and join the ancient and unknown kings in their place in eternity?