Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Repentance and Procrastination

"God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination."

Augustine of Hippo

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Bible Was Not Given to Give Us Information

When someone tells me that the Bible was not given to give us information but to transform our lives, I always like to ask if they were informed of that by Scripture.


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Questions for Romans 11: All Israel will be Saved

Today I led a Bible study through Romans chapter 11. Below are the questions we used as we went through the text. In this chapter Paul is speaking of several different groups; National Israel (ethnic Jews), the elect Jews, the elect Gentiles, ethinic Gentiles, all of the elect (both Jews and Gentiles), and all mankind (both Jews and Gentiles). In order to understand this chapter it is important to be constantly asking which group Paul has in mind. If you are up for it, read the chapter and answer these questions. It is a wonderful chapter worth diving into.

Romans 11: 1-6
-What people is Paul referring to when he asks, “Has God’s people been rejected?”
-What is Paul’s answer to this question?
-What group of people is Paul referring to when he speaks of his people whom he "foreknew?"
-What group of people is referred to as the "remnant?"
-Paul says it is “no longer of works.” Has it ever been of works?

Romans 11: 7-16
-What did Israel fail to obtain (see Roman 9:30-32)?
-What did the elect obtain?
-What happened to the rest, and who did it to them?
-What was His purpose in doing that to them?
-What does Israel’s rejection mean for the Gentiles?
-What would Israel’s acceptance mean?

Romans 11: 17-24
-What have the Gentiles been grafted into?
-Why should the Gentiles not boast against the Jews?
-What will happen to the Gentiles if they do not stand fast in the faith?
-What will happen to ethnic Israel if they believe?

Romans 11: 25-27
-What is the mystery that Paul wants us to understand?
-In verse 25, when Paul says “all Israel will be saved,” which group was he referring to.
a. All ethnic Jews who will have ever lived.
b. All the elect (both Jews and Gentiles).
c. A group of ethnic Jews alive in some future generation.

Romans 11: 28-36
-What group of people are the enemies of God for the Gentile’s sake?
-Because of election, what group of people is beloved for the sake of their forefathers?
-What does the fact that God’s calling and gifts are irrevocable have to do with national Israel?
-Who has God consigned to disobedience?
-On whom will God have mercy?
-What is Paul’s point in ending the chapter like he does?

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Monday, October 11, 2010

On Ruining Perfection

‎"Don't paint lilies or garnish the gospel." - Charles Spurgeon

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Progress by Turning Back

‎"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

C.S. Lewis

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Counting the Cost and Modern Evangelism

Jesus tells people to count the cost before following Him (Luke 14:28), but much of modern evangelism, by hiding the hard truths, says don’t give them a chance.


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Friday, October 08, 2010

Love and Polemics

When someone attempts to use Paul’s definition of Love in 1 Cor. 13 to tell you that you that you shouldn’t argue against false teaching, they fail to see that that passage is part of a polemic against false teaching.


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Opium and Preaching

For years opium has been popular because it gives people a false sense of peace and stupefies them to any legitimate fears, which seems to be the same method used to gain popularity by many modern preachers.


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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sad Moments in Church History: Kublai Khan

In the early 1300’s the Kublai Khan of China requested, through his friendship with Marco Polo, that the Pope send 100 monks to teach them about Christianity. This request was never fulfilled because the church was too busy with their military operations. Mark this: sad moments in Church history.


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Monday, October 04, 2010

C.S. Lewis on the King James Bible and Modern Translations

Here is an interesting perspective on the King James Bible and the need for modern translations by C.S. Lewis. This was originally published as an introduction to J.B. Phillips book, Letters to Young Churches: A Translation of the New Testament Epistles.

It is possible that the reader who opens this volume on the counter of a bookshop may ask himself why we need a new translation of any part of the Bible, and, if of any, why of the Epistles. ‘Do we not already possess’, it may be said, ‘in the Authorised Version the most beautiful rendering which any language can boast?’ Some people whom I have met go further and feel that a modern translation is not only unnecessary but even offensive. They cannot bear to see the time-honoured words altered; it seems to them irreverent.

There are several answers to such people. In the first place the kind of objection which they feel to a new translation is very like the objection which was once felt to any English translation at all. Dozens of sincerely pious people in the sixteenth century shuddered at the idea of turning the time-honoured Latin of the Vulgate into our common and (as they thought) ‘barbarous’ English. A sacred truth seemed to them to have lost its sanctity when it was stripped of the polysyllabic Latin, long heard at Mass and at Hours, and put into ‘language such as men do use’ — language steeped in all the commonplace associations of the nursery, the inn, the stable, and the street. The answer then was the same as the answer now.

The only kind of sanctity which Scripture can lose (or, at least, New Testament scripture) by being modernized is an accidental kind which it never had for its writers or its earliest readers. The New Testament in the original Greek is not a work of literary art: it is not written in a solemn, ecclesiastical language, it is written in the sort of Greek which was spoken over the Eastern Mediterranean after Greek had become an international language and therefore lost its real beauty and subtlety. In it we see Greek used by people who have no real feeling for Greek words because Greek words are not the words they spoke when they were children. It is sort of ‘basic’ Greek; a language without roots in the soil, a utilitarian, commercial and administrative language.

Does this shock us? It ought not to, except as the Incarnation itself ought to shock us. The same divine humility which decreed that God should become a baby at a peasant-woman’s breast, and later an arrested field preacher in the hands of the Roman police, decreed also that He should be preached in a vulgar, prosaic and unliterary language. If you can stomach the one, you can stomach the other. The Incarnation is in that sense, an incurably irreverent doctrine: Christianity, in that sense, an incurably irreverent religion. When we expect that it should have come before the World in all the beauty that we now feel in the Authorised Version we are as wide of the mark as the Jews were in expecting that the Messiah would come as a great earthly King. The real sanctity, the real beauty and sublimity of the New Testament (as of Christ’s life) are of a different sort: miles deeper or further in.

In the second place, the Authorised Version has ceased to be a good (that is, a clear) translation. It is no longer modern English: the meanings of words have changed. The same antique glamour which has made it (in the superficial sense) so ‘beautiful’, so ’sacred’, so ‘comforting’, and so ‘inspiring’, has also made it in many place unintelligible. Thus where St Paul says ‘I know nothing against myself,’ it translates ‘I know nothing by myself.’ That was a good translation (though even then rather old-fashioned) in the sixteenth century: to the modern reader it means either nothing, or something quite different from what St Paul said. The truth is that if we are to have translation at all we must have periodical re-translation. There is no such thing as translating a book into another language once for all, for a language is a changing thing. If your son is to have clothes it is no good buying him a suit once for all: he will grow out of it and have to be re-clothed.

And finally, though it may seem a sour paradox — we must sometimes get away from the Authorised Version, if for no other reason, simply because it is so beautiful and so solemn. Beauty exalts, but beauty so lulls. Early associations endear but they also confuse. Through that beautiful solemnity the transporting or horrifying realities of which the Book tells may come to us blunted and disarmed and we may only sigh with tranquil veneration when we ought to be burning with shame or struck dumb with terror or carried out of ourselves by ravishing hopes and adorations. Does the word ’scourged’ really come home to us like ‘flogged’? Does ‘mocked him’ sting like ‘jeered at him’?

We ought therefore to welcome all new translations (when they are made by sound scholars) and most certainly those who are approaching the Bible for the first time will be wise not to begin with the Authorised Version — except perhaps for the historical books of the Old Testament where its anachronisms suit the saga-like material well enough. … It would have saved me a great deal of labour if this book had come into my hands when I first seriously began to try to discover what Christianity was.

-C.S. Lewis-

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Friday, October 01, 2010

God and Public Policy

It seems these days that the only people who are allowed to influence the State and its public policy with their views of God, are those who believe that God does not exist and those who believe that even if He does exist He would want a completely secular government where he is removed from the picture.


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Capitalism and the Nature of Man

Why is it that people attack capitalism by stating that it is driven by greed and assume that man is basically evil and cannot be trusted with their success, yet in their “redistribution of wealth” models they assume that man is virtuous and will continue to be industrious to produce wealth for the country to redistribute even when their success is taken away from them and used at the government’s discretion?


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