"Remember that it is not hasty reading, but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time on the flower that draws out the sweet. It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian." (Thomas Brooks)
Monday, September 29, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Latent Christianity: It Can Be a Good Thing
"While we are on the subject of science, let me digress for a moment. I believe that any Christian who is qualified to write a good popular book on any science may do much more good by that than by any directly apologetic work. The difficulty we are up against is this. We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. Every newspaper, film, novel and text book under-mines our work. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible. We must attack the enemy's line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects - with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round. Our Faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics or Astronomy, we found that its implications were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defense of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions in all the other books. In the same way, it is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian."
(C.S. Lewis on 'Christian Apologetics', published in Compelling Reason (1998).
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The Dignity of Thought - Pascal
Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapour, a drop of water, suffices to kill him. But if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this. Thus all our dignity consists in thought.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Ray Boltz is a Homosexual: Shouldn't we be Glad That He is Happy?
Many Christians are familiar with the music of Ray Boltz. In the 1990’s he published several songs which stayed on the Christian music charts for months and found their way into the “special music” section of church services everywhere. A few of his hits where “Thank You (for Giving to the Lord)” “Watch the Lamb” and “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb” Well, he has come out to let the world know that he is a homosexual.
So what should we think about the “coming out” of such a notable Christian figure, especially since he is now claiming to be happy? Besides the obvious sorrow we should feel for the destruction caused to Mr. Boltz’s family by divorcing his wife and the grief of his four children, and sorrow for Mr. Boltz himself as he is now living outside the revealed will of God, this should cause us to think for a minute about the deceptive nature of our enemy.
Scripture says that our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, and much too often we as Christians do not take this warning seriously enough. Now I do not claim to have insight into the exact reasons why Mr. Boltz decided to grab on to his lusts and forsake his obedience to the Lord, but there are a few general things which usually take place in all these instances.
First, it did not happen overnight. Falls of this nature usually progress from what we sometimes consider lesser sins. Thoughts enter the mind and instead of dealing with them they begin to be dwelt upon. Then those thoughts progress into small acts of compromise and years later there seems to be no way of reversing the trend. The warning here should be clear, with whatever sin we are dealing, one of the key battlegrounds if not the key battleground, is the mind. We must take every thought captive and not wait until they manifest in other ways.
Second, there is the questioning of God. “Did the Lord really say?” is the question that inevitably come to mind. During this point whether consciously or unconsciously something begins to cause us to put scripture in a place of lesser authority. Unfortunately, what usually takes its place and causes revision to our interpretation of the clear word of God is “happiness.” And this certainly played a part in Mr. Boltz’s story. He mentions in his coming out interview in the Washington Blade, that before he came out he was unhappy and even depressed. So much so that he had to go on anti-depressants. So why would he bring this up? Though he does not state it explicitly, it is for the simple reason that he wants us to make the same logical conclusion he has made. That if I am not happy I must be interpreting scripture incorrectly, after all God would not make me in such a way where I would be unhappy.
Third this trend of putting happiness first did not come out of nowhere. It saturates American evangelicalism, and is clearly a device of the enemy. All we have to do is listen to Christian music, Christian conferences, and even the preaching in many churches to see this is this trend. The true gospel has been substituted. Instead of preaching law and gospel where we are told the truth that we need to come to Christ because we are sinners deserving of wrath, and that the wages of sin is death, what is preached in its place is sorrow and self-esteem. The reason you need to come to Christ isn’t because you are sinner deserving wrath, but because you feel lonely, things aren’t going right in your life, and because you are unsatisfied with your life at the moment. It turns out that this is why you should come to Jesus. It’s not sin and the need of repentance. The problem with this is evident when we ask, what happens when a “Christian” becomes unhappy, lonely, or unsatisfied, what is the problem now? They already have Jesus. The problem must be with the way we interpret Jesus. And so it goes.
The problem with all this is that striving against sin, whether in us or in others, is never comfortable or pleasant. Even striving against sin can make us lonely, because some people will reject us for it, and we will even face times of heaviness and great sorrow because of it too.
The author of the book of Hebrews makes this point when he encourages his readers to press on in their fight against sin. He reminds them that they “have not resisted to bloodshed striving against sin” (Heb. 12:4).
So this would be my words of encouragement to Mr. Boltz if I had a chance to talk with him. Yes it is hard struggling against the assaults of such strong sinful lust, and it may cause you unhappiness for a time, but you have not yet resisted to bloodshed, and it would be better to enter the kingdom of heaven after a long and unpleasant fight, than to go to hell on beds of ease. Come home Mr. Boltz. Go back to your family if they will have you, and start fighting against sin again, for any temporary happiness you think you now have will be short lived. And even though living a life battling with sin may be tough, it cannot be compared to the glory that awaits us in heaven with our Savior.
I pray that Mr. Boltz is indeed a Christian who will be brought back by the chastening hand of the Lord (Heb. 12:11), but the unfortunate thing for many who find themselves in this situation is that they never come back because they are not his, and scripture is clear…
“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons (Heb. 12:8).
May we all be aware of the roaring lion and his tactics. May we guard our hearts diligently even when it is painful. For the Word of God is clear…
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10)”
I for one will not be glad that Mr. Boltz has found a home in the homosexual lifestyle, even if he does claim to have a happiness he didn’t have before. Instead, I will weep for him to come home.
Evangelism: The Law and the Gospel Cuts Deep
Monday, September 15, 2008
Jesus Never Sought to Amuse Them
Jesus pitied sinners, pleaded with them, sighed over them, warned them, and wept over them; but He never sought to amuse them!
When many of His disciples turned away, because of the searching nature of His preaching--I do not find there was any attempt to bring them back, by resorting to something more pleasant to the flesh. I do not hear Him saying, "We must keep up the gatherings at any cost! So run after the people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow! Something very short and attractive, with little, if any, preaching. Today was a service for God--but tomorrow we will have a pleasant evening for the people! Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it, and have a pleasant time. Be quick, Peter! We must get the people somehow; if not by Gospel--then by entertainment!"
No, this was not how He argued. Gazing in sorrow on those who would not hear the Word--He simply turns to the twelve, and asks, "Will you go away also?"
You can read Brown's entire article here, "The Devil's Mission of Amusement".
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Decay of Freedom
I think it can be said that no people is fit to govern itself if it does not hate to be governed. That healthy hatred of being governed, formerly so strong in the American people, is gradually being lost. No interference is resented today, no menace to family life, no government monopoly, if only it be thought to confer physical benefits. I do not think that we ought to deceive ourselves about this matter. We are witnessing today in America the decay of free institutions. And that decay is proceeding quite in the well worn track which it followed, for example, when the Roman Republic gave place to the Roman Empire about two thousand years ago.
J. Gresham Machen: from the book Education, Christianity, and the State.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Making Light of Christ - Charles Spurgeon
"But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise."—Matthew 22:5.
Oh! my hearer, thou makest light of Christ, if thou puttest him anywhere save in the centre of thine heart. He who gives Christ a little of his affections, makes light of Christ; for Christ will have the whole heart or none at all. He who gives Christ a portion, and the world a portion, despises Christ, for he seems to think that Christ does not deserve to have the whole. And inasmuch as he says that, or thinks that, he hath mean and unholy thoughts of Christ. Oh! carnal man, thou who art half religious, and half profane; thou who art sometimes serious, but as often frivolous; sometimes apparently pious, but yet so often unholy, thou makest light of Christ. And ye who weep on the Sunday, and then go back to your sins on the Monday; ye who set the world and its pleasures before Christ, ye think less of him than he deserves; and what is that but to make light of him? Oh! I charge you, ask yourself, my hearer this night, art not thou the man? dost thou not thou thyself make light of Christ? The self-righteous man who sets himself up as a partner with Christ in the matter of salvation, notwithstanding all his trumpery good works, is such a ringleader among despisers, that I would gibbet him in the very middle of them, and bid all like him tremble, lest they also be found slighters of Jesus.
Charles H. Spurgeon, From the sermon "Making Light of Christ"
Thursday, September 11, 2008
When Cults Become Seeker Sensitive Things Go From Bad to Worse
This is from The Way International. It looks like even cults are plagued with the whole seeker sensitive movement. We will file this in a new "what were they thinking" file. Make sure you hang on until minute 1:55, this is where they really break it down.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
"Christians Shouldn't Hold to a Political Party"
“Christians shouldn’t hold to a political party. After all the kingdom of God transcends political parties, and it’s not like one party is God’s party.” How many times I have heard statements like this in recent years would be impossible to number. What I find interesting about the times these statements have been made to me, is that they are usually the result of someone not liking the fact that I have stronger allegiance with one party over another. It’s almost as if it is a last ditch effort to get me to follow their allegiances which inevitably line up with a party other than the one I find the strongest.
It is true that the kingdom of God transcends political parties and that no party is inerrant, but that doesn’t mean that a Christian is breaking some kind of moral law if they join the ranks of a party in order to accomplish something greater as a group than they would be able to do on there own.
Will there have to be some compromise in certain areas? Of course there will, there is not a human organization that we could be apart of that doesn’t involve some compromise. If the criterion for Christians to support or participate in an organization is infallibility, then we should withdraw from all associations, even Christian ones.
Christians should be wise in their efforts to promote the good and restrain evil. William Wilberforce was one such man. He joined ranks and became part of parliament not because parliament was God’s organization, or because somehow parliament epitomized the kingdom of God, instead he saw it as an opportunity to create positive change to promote the kingdom of God. Because of his work, slavery was abolished and we made a giant leap in promoting justice in this world, and justice certainly is an aspect of the kingdom of God.
The hope of this world is found in Jesus Christ not political parties, but a Christian has been called to love his neighbor, and being a neighbor implies being part of community, or society, and also includes a state, a country, and even the world. If we think that the policies that govern these communities have nothing to do with loving our neighbor because “the hope of the world isn’t found in politics”, it would be like saying, “I love you but the unjust policies which govern your life, I will not work to change because that’s politics and the kingdom of God transcends that. Besides, if I happen to choose a side there is probably a political party that holds strongly to those issues and then where would I be? I would be one of those Christians who thinks that God actually has a position on these issues and that he might actually agree with one party more than another. Crazy, I know… Good luck with your oppression or any other problems you may be facing because of public policies. ‘Be warmed and be filled.’”
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Faith is Full of Inventions - Charles Spurgeon
"And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay."
Faith is full of inventions. The house was full, a crowd blocked up the door, but faith found a way of getting at the Lord and placing the palsied man before him. If we cannot get sinners where Jesus is by ordinary methods we must use extraordinary ones. It seems, according to Luk_5:19, that a tiling had to be removed, which would make dust and cause a measure of danger to those below, but where the case is very urgent we must not mind running some risks and shocking some proprieties. Jesus was there to heal, and therefore fall what might, faith ventured all so that her poor paralysed charge might have his sins forgiven. O that we had more daring faith among us! Cannot we, dear reader, seek it this morning for ourselves and for our fellow-workers, and will we not try to-day to perform some gallant act for the love of souls and the glory of the Lord.
The world is constantly inventing; genius serves all the purposes of human desire: cannot faith invent too, and reach by some new means the outcasts who lie perishing around us? It was the presence of Jesus which excited victorious courage in the four bearers of the palsied man: is not the Lord among us now? Have we seen his face for ourselves this morning? Have we felt his healing power in our own souls? If so, then through door, through window, or through roof, let us, breaking through all impediments, labour to bring poor souls to Jesus. All means are good and decorous when faith and love are truly set on winning souls. If hunger for bread can break through stone walls, surely hunger for souls is not to be hindered in its efforts. O Lord, make us quick to suggest methods of reaching thy poor sin-sick ones, and bold to carry them out at all hazards.
Charles H. Spurgeon
Friday, September 05, 2008
The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
The heavens declare the glory of God. Psalm 19:1
When we look at the universe, we wonder at this magnificence. We stand in awe as the massive spheres move perfectly in their orbits. We stand in awe at the power of our sun and realize it pales in comparison to many other stars, let alone the vastness of it all.
There is without a doubt a glory declared by the universe that causes us all to marvel, but we must realize that the glory that is declared is not the glory of the universe; it is the glory of God. The experience we are having is true knowledge of His glory. Now we must not misunderstand this, the passage does not say that the universe is God. In fact, it is clearly distinct from him in this passage, but the Glory that we are experiencing is His.
This is where the natural man steps in and attempts to suppress that truth. Many naturalists say it should be enough for us to marvel at this world and all its complexities without any appeal to God. And this is what we should expect since the natural progression from trading the truth of God for a lie is to begin to worship the creation instead of the creator (Rom. 1:26), and this they do by ascribing the glory that belongs to God to the creation itself.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Sarah Palin is a Christian so she can’t hold political office
Don't miss this outstanding post by Christopher Neiswonger at the Christian Theology blog.
Sarah Palin is a Christian so she can't hold political office.