Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Think About it!!!

   One must reasonably reject the idea that our existence and our very thoughts, ambitions, frustrations, joys, and sorrows are the meaningless result of a giant explosion/expansion of energy. James Perloff put it very well when he wrote: "But remember; 'The princess kissed the frog, and he turned into a handsome prince.' We call that a fairy tale. Evolution says frogs turn into princes, and we call it science ( because it takes a very long time)...Is that science? Or is it, like the fraud of Piltdown Man, the forgeries of Haeckel's embryos, the misrepresentations of Inherit the Wind, and the coercions of the Supreme Court, merely part of a long effort to deny God?"  -Dave Hunt
( excerpt from the his book: Creator, Cosmos, and Human Destiny)

What kind of things do and do not prove the genuineness of saving faith?

(Are You A Christian?)
      Churches today are filled with people who hold to a faith that does not save. James referred to this as a "dead faith"-meaning a mere empty profession (James 2:17, 20, 26). Paul wrote to the people in the church at Corinth to test or examine themselves to see if they were truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). As important as it was in Paul's day, how much more important it is for people in our churches today to put their faith to the test and to make sure they have not been deceived.
      But where do we start? By what criteria do we determine true from empty faith? What are the distinguishing marks of genuine saving faith? Surprisingly, there are a number of popular standards or tests that really don't prove the genuineness of one's faith one way or the other. So before we look at the tests that prove genuine faith, let's take a look at some popular tests that neither prove nor disprove the genuineness of one's faith.
    Here is a list of seven conditions that do not prove or disprove the genuineness of saving faith. One can be a Christian and possess these things or one may not be a Christian at all and still possess them. While they don't prove or disprove one's faith, they're important to know and understand so you will not be deceived.

Seven conditions that do not prove or disprove genuine saving faith.

1. Visible Morality
There are some people who just seem to be good people. They can be religious, moral, honest, and forthright [trustworthy] in their dealings with people. They may seem to be grateful, loving, kind and tenderhearted toward others. They have visible virtues and an external morality. The Pharisees of Jesus day rested on visible morality for their hope and yet some of Christ's harshest words were directed at them for this very thing.
Many who possess visible morality know nothing of sincere love for God. Whatever good works they appear to possess, they know nothing of serving the true God and living for His glory. Whatever the person does or leaves undone does not involve God. They're honest in their dealings with everyone-but God. They won't rob anyone-but God. They're thankful and loyal to everyone-but God. They speak contemptuously and reproachfully of no one-but God. They have good relationships with everyone-but God. They are like the rich young ruler who said, "All these things [conditions] have I kept, what do I lack?" Their focus is on visible morality, but that visible morality doesn't necessarily mean salvation. Jesus told one of the Pharisees "you must be born again" (John 3:6), not "you must put on an external morality." People can "clean up their act" by reformation rather than regeneration-so reformation in itself is not a mark of saving faith.
2. Intellectual Knowledge
Another condition that can be misleading is intellectual knowledge. People can possess an intellectual understanding and knowledge of the truth and yet not be saved. While the knowledge of the truth is necessary for salvation, and visible morality is a fruit of salvation, neither of these conditions by themselves translate into true saving faith. People can know all about God, all about Jesus, who He was, that He came into the world, that He died on the cross, that He rose again, that He's coming again, and even many details about the life of Christ-and still turn their backs on Him.
That's what the writer of Hebrews was warning against in Hebrews 6:4-6. There were people in the church who knew all about God and understood gospel truths. They even had a measure of experience with gospel truth. They'd seen the ministry of the Holy Spirit at work in people's lives-and yet knowing all of that, they stood in grave danger of turning away and rejecting Christ.
In Hebrews 10 the writer warns this kind of man that he is treading underfoot the blood of Christ by not believing what he knows to be true. There are many people who know the Scriptures but are on their way to hell! A man cannot be saved without the knowledge of the truth, but possessing that knowledge alone does not save.
3. Religious Involvement
Religious involvement is not necessarily a proof of true faith. According to Paul there are people who possess an outward form (a mere external appearance) of godliness but who have denied the power of it. They have an empty form of religion. Jesus illustrated this when He told of the virgins in Matthew 25. They waited and waited and waited for the coming of the bridegroom, who is Christ. And even though they waited a long time, when He came they didn't go in. They had everything together except the oil in their lamps. That which was most necessary was missing. The oil is probably emblematic of the new life; the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They weren't regenerate. They had religious involvement but were not regenerate. A person can be visibly moral, know the truth, be religiously involved, and yet not possess genuine saving faith.
4. Active Ministry
It is possible to have an active and even a public ministry, and yet not possess genuine saving faith. Balaam was a prophet who turned out to be false (Deuteronomy 23:3-6). Saul of Tarsus (later becoming the apostle Paul) thought he was serving God by killing Christians. Judas was a public preacher and one of the twelve disciples of Christ-but he was an apostate. In Matthew 7:22-23 Jesus said, "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" Those whom Jesus spoke of had been involved in active and public ministry-but Jesus said he never knew them. Sobering words indeed.
5. Conviction of Sin
By itself, even conviction of sin is not a proof of salvation. Our world is filled with guilt-ridden people. Many even feel badly about their sin. Felix trembled under conviction at the preaching of the apostle Paul, but he never left his idols or turned to God (Acts 24:24-6). The Holy Spirit works to convict men of sin, righteousness, and of judgment, but many do not respond in true repentance. Some may confess their sins and even abandon the sins they feel guilty about. They say, "I don't like living this way. I want to change." They may amend their ways and yet fall short of genuine saving faith. That's external reformation, not internal regeneration. No degree of conviction of sin is conclusive evidence of saving faith. Even the demons are convicted of their sins-that's why they tremble-but they are not saved.
6. The Feeling of Assurance
Feeling like you are saved is no guarantee you are indeed saved. Someone may say, "Well, I must be a Christian because I feel that I am. I think I am one." But that is faulty reasoning. If thinking one is a Christian is what makes one a Christian, then no one could be deceived. And then, by definition, it would not be possible to be a deceived non-Christian, and that doesn't square with the whole point of Satan's deception. He wants people who are not truly saved to think they are. Satan has deceived multiplied millions of religious people into thinking they are saved even though they are not. They may say to themselves, "God won't condemn me. I feel good about myself. I have assurance. I'm ok." But that doesn't necessarily mean a thing.
7. A Time of Decision
So often people say things like: "Well, I know I'm a Christian, because I remember when I signed the card," or "I remember when I prayed a prayer," or "I remember when I walked the aisle" or "went forward in church." A person may remember exactly when it happened and where they were when "it" happened, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Our salvation is not verified by a past moment. Many people have prayed prayers, gone forward in church services, signed cards, gone into prayer rooms, been baptized, and joined churches without ever experiencing genuine saving faith.
These are seven common conditions or tests that don't necessarily prove or disprove the existence of saving faith. What then are the marks of genuine saving faith? Are there some reliable tests from the Word of God that enable us to know for certain whether one's faith is real? Thankfully there are at least nine biblical criteria for examining the genuineness of saving faith.

Nine conditions that prove genuine saving faith.

1. Love for God
First of all a deep and abiding love for God is one of the supreme evidences of genuine saving faith. This gets to the heart of the issue. Romans 8:7 says "the carnal mind is enmity [hostility, hatred] against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." Thus, if a man's heart is at enmity with God there is no basis for assuming the presence of saving faith. Those who are truly saved love God, but those who are not truly saved resent God and His sovereignty. Internally they are rebellious toward God and His plan for their life. But the regenerate person is set to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. His delight is in the infinite excellencies of God. God is the first and highest affection of his renewed soul. God has become his chief happiness and source of satisfaction. He seeks after God and thirsts for the living God.
By the way, we must be careful to distinguish the difference between that kind of true love for God that seeks His glory from the kind of self-serving love that sees God primarily as a means of personal fulfillment and gain. True saving faith doesn't believe in Christ so that Christ will make one happy. The heart that truly loves God desires to please God and glorify Him. Jesus taught that if someone loved their father and mother more than they loved Christ, they were not worthy of Him. In Matthew 10:37-39 Jesus put it like this: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:37-39).
The question then is this: Do you love God? Do you love His nature? Do you love His glory? Do you love His name? Do you love His kingdom? Do you love His holiness? Do you love His will? Is your heart lifted when you sing His praises-because you love Him? Supreme love for God is decisive evidence of true faith.
2. Repentance from Sin
A proper love for God necessarily involves a hatred for sin that leads to repentance. That should be obvious. Who wouldn't understand that? If we truly love someone we seek their best interests. Their well being is our greatest concern. If a man says to his wife, "I love you but I could care less what happens to you," we would rightly question his love for her. True love seeks the highest good of its object. If we say that we love God, then we will hate whatever is an offense to Him. Sin blasphemes God. Sin curses God. Sin seeks to destroy God's work and His kingdom. Sin killed His Son. So when someone says, "I love God, but I tolerate sin," then there is every reason to question the genuineness of his love for God. One cannot love God without hating that which is set to destroy Him. True love for God will therefore manifest itself through confession and repentance. The man who loves God will be grieved over his sin and will want to confess it to God and forsake it.
In examining our faith we should ask: "Do I have a settled conviction concerning the evil of all sin? Does sin appear to me as the evil and bitter thing that it really is? Does conviction of sin increase in me as I walk with Christ? Do I hate it not primarily because it is ruinous to my own soul or because it is an offense to the God I love? Does the sin itself grieve me or am I only grieved over the consequences of my sin. What grieves me most-my misfortune or my sin? Do my sins appear to me as many, frequent and aggravated? Do I find myself grieved over my own sin more than the sins of others?" Genuine saving faith loves God and hates what He hates, which is sin. That attitude results in real repentance.
3. Genuine Humility
Saving faith is manifested through genuine humility. Jesus said blessed are those who are poor in spirit, and those who mourn [their sin], and those who are meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:3-6)-all marks of humility. In Matthew 18 Jesus said that "unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). True saving faith comes as a little child-humble and dependent. It is not the man who is full of himself who is saved, but the man who denies himself, takes up his cross daily and follows Christ (Matthew 16:24).
In the Old Testament we see that the Lord receives those who come with a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18; 51:17; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2). James wrote: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). We must come as the prodigal son, broken and humble. Remember what he said to his father-"Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son" (Luke 15:21). Those possessing genuine saving faith do not come boastfully to God with their religious achievements or spiritual accomplishments in hand. They come empty-handed in genuine humility.
4. Devotion to God's Glory
True saving faith is manifested by a devotion to God's glory. Whatever believers do, whether they eat or drink, their desire is to see God glorified. Christians do what they do because they want to bring glory to God.
Without question Christians fail in each of these areas, but the direction of a Christian's life is to love God, hate sin, to live in humility and self-denial, recognizing his unworthiness and being devoted to the glory of God. It is not the perfection of one's life but the direction of a life that provides evidence of regeneration.
5. Continual Prayer
Humble, submissive, believing prayer is mark of true faith. We cry "Abba, Father" because the Spirit within us prompts that cry. Jonathan Edwards once preached a sermon titled, "Hypocrites are Deficient in the Duty of Secret Prayer." It's true. Hypocrites may pray publicly, because that's what hypocrites want to do. Their desire is to impress people-but they are deficient in the duty of secret prayer. True believers have a personal and private prayer life with God. They regularly seek communion with God through prayer.
6. Selfless Love
An important characteristic of genuine saving faith is selfless love. James wrote, "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well" (James 2:8). John wrote, "Whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17).
If you love God you will not only hate what offends Him, but you will love those whom He loves. "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death" (1 John 3:14). And why do we love God and love others? Because this is the believer's response to His love for us. "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Jesus said we will know that we are His disciples by our love for each other (John 13:35).
7. Separation from the World
Positively, believers are marked by a love for God and for fellow believers. Negatively, the Christian is characterized by the absence of love for the world. True believers are not those who are ruled by worldly affections, but their affection and devotion is toward God and His kingdom.
In 1 Corinthians 2:12 Paul wrote that "we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God." In 1 John 2:15 we read: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15). True saving faith separates one from the pursuits of this world--not perfectly, as we all fail in these areas, but the direction of a believer's life is upward. He feels the pull of heaven on his soul. Christians are those whom God has delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of His Son. The believer is marked by the absence of love or enslavement to the satanically controlled world system (Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:13; James 4:4).
8. Spiritual Growth
True believers grow. When God begins a true work of salvation in a person, He finishes and perfects that work. Paul expressed that assurance when he wrote in Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."
If you are a true Christian, you are going to be growing-and that means you are going to be more and more like Christ. Life produces itself. If you're alive you are going to grow, there's no other way. You'll improve. You'll increase. The Spirit will move you from one level of glory to the next. So examine your life. Do you see spiritual growth? Do you see the decreasing frequency of sin? Is there an increasing pattern of righteousness and devotion to God?
9. Obedience
Obedient living is not one of the optional tracks given for believers to walk. All true believers are called to a life of obedience. Jesus taught that every branch that abides in Him bears fruit (John 15:1-8). Paul wrote that believers "are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). That speaks of obedience. We are saved unto the obedience of faith (see 1 Peter 1:2).
How can we know our faith is genuine? Examine your life in the light of God's Word. Do you see these characteristics in your life? Do you have a love for God, hatred for sin, humility, devotion to God's glory, a pattern of personal and private prayer, selfless love, separation from the world, the evidence of spiritual growth and obedience. These are the real evidences of genuine saving faith.

Available online at: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Questions/QA145_What-kind-of-things-do-and-donot-prove-the-genuineness-of-saving-faith?q=Saved+or+self-deceived
COPYRIGHT (C) 2010 Grace to You

Monday, May 30, 2011


     This documentary is based on the New York Times best-selling book Epicenter by Joel C. Rosenberg. Filmed on location in the Middle East, Joel C. Rosenberg and Skip Heitzig conduct exclusive interviews with a variety of key leaders from military, government, business, and Christian ministry, as well as skeptics and critics of evangelical Christian views of the "last days." These interviews will give a historical context and a foundation for how current events will shape our future. With growing interest in prophecy, this documentary will answer questions such as "Are we living in the last days?"

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Old Testament Allusions to the Rapture

Perhaps some of the strongest arguments in favor of a Pre-Tribulation, Pre-Seventieth
Week of Daniel Rapture are found in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament we see “a
shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things” (Hebrews 10:1).
The Holy Spirit explains that these Old Testament types are preserved for our learning:
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we
through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans
“Now all these things happened to them (Old Testament characters) as examples,
and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have
come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Bible students are well aware that there are numerous Old Testament types that
foreshadow a New Testament fulfillment. A classic example is when Abraham took his
son, his only son Isaac, whom he greatly loved, to the land of Moriah to offer him there
as a sacrifice – concluding that God was able to raise him from the dead (Genesis 22;
Hebrews 11:17-19). Abraham is a beautiful type of our heavenly Father, and Isaac, his
beloved son, is a striking picture of Jesus, who willingly laid down His life on Mount
Moriah 2,000 years later.
Though the Rapture was hidden in part from Old Testament believers, the types found
throughout foreshadow a future Rapture when God removes His people prior to pouring
out His wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. Let’s now review some of these beautiful types
that foreshadow the Rapture:

1) In Noah’s day there were those who passed through the flood (Noah and his family in
the ark); there were those who perished in the flood (the unbelieving world); and there
was Enoch who was “translated” or “caught up” before the judgment of God was poured
out. Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:24) and pleased Him (Hebrews 11:5), just as
Christians who abide in Christ please God (1 John 3:22). Interestingly, from the time God
told Noah to enter the ark, until the time when the waters of the flood were on the earth,
God granted seven more days for the world to repent (Gen. 7:1-10). Perhaps this is a
foreshadow of the final seven-year period culminating in the final judgment (Rev. 19:11-

2) In Lot’s day, Lot and his family were “removed” before God rained down His
judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). God did not just “preserve” them
through His wrath, He removed them prior to judgment. Jesus said that just before His
return it would be like the days of Noah (Luke 17:26) and like the days of Lot (Luke
17:28). Judgment in Sodom COULD NOT occur until Lot was removed (Genesis 19:22)!
Remarkably, “while [Lot] lingered, the [angels] took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand,
and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him
out and set him outside the city…Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you
arrive there (v. 16, 22). In other words, they were forcibly removed prior to judgment and
judgment could not commence until they safely arrived in the new city!

3) Joseph (a type of Christ in many ways) takes a gentile bride before the 7-year famine
begins (Genesis 41:45). Notice in the account of Joseph that after he received his gentile
bride, his brethren (the Israelites) and the entire world suffered a SEVEN YEAR
FAMINE (Genesis 41:54-57). During this time of famine many came to Joseph for food.
Similarly, after Jesus receives His Bride, his brethren the Jews (and many in the world),
will turn to the Lord Jesus for relief (Rev. 7). How fitting that the Great Tribulation is
called the time of “the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah
30:7). It is also referred to as “the time of the Gentiles” (Ezekiel 30:3) and many gentiles
will also be saved out of it (Rev. 7). The famine is a type of the Tribulation (Amos 8:11),
and Egypt is a picture of the world. This account strongly suggests that Jesus will get His
bride before the 70th Week of Daniel – before the famine that will come upon the entire

4) In Joshua chapter 2, Rahab trusts the Lord and befriends the Jewish spies. By faith
Rahab puts a scarlet thread in her window (a symbol of Christ’s blood) and she and her
family are “brought out” of Jericho before the city is burned with fire (Joshua 6). Rahab
is a prostitute (Heb. 11:31) and a Gentile woman (Joshua 2), yet she is found in the
Messianic line (Matt. 1:5). Rahab is therefore a beautiful picture of the church (the bride
of Christ). Though formerly a prostitute, Rahab, by faith, was made clean and delivered
from God’s wrath. Amazingly, in this account, we again see seven days of warning
preceding judgment (God’s gracious delay to encourage repentance). The armies of God
marched around the city six days, and on the seventh day they marched around the city
seven times, and then the city was finally destroyed (Joshua 6).

5) In 1 Samuel 25:39-42 Abigail is informed that King David (foreshadowing King Jesus)
wants to take her as his bride. She immediately responds and “rose is haste” with five of
her damsels to “depart” and go to David for the marriage. Compare this with Matthew
25:1-13 where five wise virgins who truly had oil went forth to meet the Bridegroom
(Jesus) away from their dwelling place (earth). Interestingly, the name Abigail means the
Father’s joy!

6) The Song of Solomon is an amazing picture of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:29-
32). In the Song of Solomon 2:8-13, the Bride (the church) hears the voice of her Beloved
(Jesus) coming for her, then in verse 10 and 13, the Bridegroom speaks and calls His
bride to “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” This is a beautiful foreshadow
of our marriage and honeymoon in heaven!

7) Isaiah 26:20-21 also gives us a possible picture of the Rapture preceding the
Tribulation: “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the
LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the
earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.” Apparently,
believers are tucked away in heaven before the Tribulation falls on the earth. This may
also apply to the Jews who hide away in Petra during the Tribulation?

8) In Daniel chapter 3, King Nebuchadnezzar (a type of the Antichrist, cf. Rev. 13)
demands that the entire population bow down to his image. Daniel’s three friends (Jews)
are preserved through the fiery tribulation, but Daniel is nowhere to be found. Daniel was
“ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men
of Babylon” (Dan. 2:48), yet he is missing from the account. Why? Daniel was
apparently away. Might he be a type of the Church?!

9) In Zephaniah 2:2-3 we read: “Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the
chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the
LORD'S anger come upon you. Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have
upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden
in the day of the LORD'S anger.” Believers will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s
anger (cf. Isaiah 26:20-21). See also: Zephaniah 1:7.

10) Malachi chapter 3 deals with the Day of the Lord. Interestingly, Malachi 3:18
implies two comings: “Then shall ye (believers) return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” It becomes clear when we read the entire context of Malachi 3 that believers shall return to the earth.
In order to return and discern, believers must have first been caught away to heaven.
Issac and Rebekah, as well as Ruth and Boaz, also provide beautiful pictures of Christ
taking a Gentile bride – one who counts the cost and leaves their own family – but is not
required to suffer through great tribulation or famine. Other examples could be
expounded on, but these should be sufficient to show that Christians will be removed
before God’s wrath is poured out and likely before the 70th Week of Daniel.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Is Roman Catholicism Biblical?

     In today's spirit of ecumenism, many evangelicals have called for the Protestant Church to lay aside its differences with Rome and pursue unity with the Catholic Church. Is that possible? Is Roman Catholicism simply another facet of the body of Christ that should be brought into union with its Protestant counterpart? Is Roman Catholicism simply another Christian denomination?
While there are many errors in the teaching of the Catholic Church (for example its belief in the transubstantiation of the communion wafer and its view of Mary), two rise to the forefront and call for special attention: its denial of the doctrine of sola Scriptura and its denial of the biblical teaching on justification. To put it simply, because the Roman Catholic Church has refused to submit itself to the authority of God's Word and to embrace the gospel of justification taught in Scripture, it has set itself apart from the true body of Christ. It is a false and deceptive form of Christianity.
The Doctrine of Sola Scriptura
     In the words of reformer Martin Luther, the doctrine of sola Scriptura means that "what is asserted without the Scriptures or proven revelation may be held as an opinion, but need not be believed." Roman Catholicism flatly rejects this principle, adding a host of traditions and Church teachings and declaring them binding on all true believers--with the threat of eternal damnation to those who hold contradictory opinions.
     In Roman Catholicism, "the Word of God" encompasses not only the Bible, but also the Apocrypha, the Magisterium (the Church's authority to teach and interpret divine truth), the Pope's ex cathedra pronouncements, and an indefinite body of church tradition, some formalized in canon law and some not yet committed to writing. Whereas evangelical Protestants believe the Bible is the ultimate test of all truth, Roman Catholics believe the Church determines what is true and what is not. In effect, this makes the Church a higher authority than Scripture.
     Creeds and doctrinal statements are certainly important. However, creeds, decisions of church councils, all doctrine, and even the church itself must be judged by Scripture--not vice versa. Scripture is to be accurately interpreted in its context by comparing it to Scripture--certainly not according to anyone's personal whims. Scripture itself is thus the sole binding rule of faith and practice for all Christians. Protestant creeds and doctrinal statements simply express the churches' collective understanding of the proper interpretation of Scripture. In no sense could the creeds and pronouncements of the churches ever constitute an authority equal to or higher than Scripture. Scripture always takes priority over the church in the rank of authority.
     Roman Catholics, on the other hand, believe the infallible touchstone of truth is the Church itself. The Church not only infallibly determines the proper interpretation of Scripture, but also supplements Scripture with additional traditions and teaching. That combination of Church tradition plus the Church's interpretation of Scripture is what constitutes the binding rule of faith and practice for Catholics. The fact is, the Church sets itself above Holy Scripture in rank of authority.
The Doctrine of Justification
     According to Roman Catholicism, justification is a process in which God's grace is poured forth into the sinner's heart, making that person progressively more righteous. During this process, it is the sinner's responsibility to preserve and increase that grace by various good works. The means by which justification is initially obtained is not faith, but the sacrament of baptism. Furthermore, justification is forfeited whenever the believer commits a mortal sin, such as hatred or adultery. In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, then, works are necessary both to begin and to continue the process of justification.
     The error in the Catholic Church's position on justification may be summed up in four biblical arguments. First, Scripture presents justification as instantaneous, not gradual. Contrasting the proud Pharisee with the broken, repentant tax-gatherer who smote his breast and prayed humbly for divine mercy, Jesus said that the tax-gatherer "went down to his house justified" (Luke 18:14). His justification was instantaneous, complete before he performed any work, based solely on his repentant faith. Jesus also said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life" (John 5:24). Eternal life is the present possession of all who believe--and by definition eternal life cannot be lost. The one who believes immediately passes from spiritual death to eternal life, because that person is instantaneously justified (see Rom. 5:1, 9; 8:1).
     Second, justification means the sinner is declared righteous, not actually made righteous. This goes hand in hand with the fact that justification is instantaneous. There is no process to be performed--justification is purely a forensic reality, a declaration God makes about the sinner. Justification takes place in the court of God, not in the soul of the sinner. It is an objective fact, not a subjective phenomenon, and it changes the sinner's status, not his nature. Justification is an immediate decree, a divine "not guilty" verdict on behalf of the believing sinner in which God declares him to be righteous in His sight.
     Third, the Bible teaches that justification means righteousness is imputed, not infused. Righteousness is "reckoned," or credited to the account of those who believe (Rom. 4:3-25). They stand justified before God not because of their own righteousness (Rom. 3:10), but because of a perfect righteousness outside themselves that is reckoned to them by faith (Phil. 3:9). Where does that perfect righteousness come from? It is God's own righteousness (Rom. 10:3), and it is the believer's in the person of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:30). Christ's own perfect righteousness is credited to the believer's personal account (Rom. 5:17, 19), just as the full guilt of the believer's sin was imputed to Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). The only merit God accepts for salvation is that of Jesus Christ; nothing man can ever do could earn God's favor or add anything to the merit of Christ.
     Fourth and finally, Scripture clearly teaches that man is justified by faith alone, not by faith plus works. According to the Apostle Paul, "If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace" (Rom. 11:6). Elsewhere Paul testifies, "By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9, emphasis added; see Acts 16:31 and Rom. 4:3-6). In fact, it is clearly taught throughout Scripture that "a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Rom. 3:28; see Gal. 2:16; Rom. 9:31-32; 10:3).
In contrast, Roman Catholicism places an undue stress on human works. Catholic doctrine denies that God "justifies the ungodly" (Rom. 4:5) without first making them godly. Good works therefore become the ground of justification. As thousands of former Catholics will testify, Roman Catholic doctrine and liturgy obscure the essential truth that the believer is saved by grace through faith and not by his own works (Eph. 2:8-9). In a simple sense, Catholics genuinely believe they are saved by doing good, confessing sin, and observing ceremonies.
Adding works to faith as the grounds of justification is precisely the teaching that Paul condemned as "a different gospel" (see 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6). It nullifies the grace of God, for if meritorious righteousness can be earned through the sacraments, "then Christ died needlessly" (Gal. 2:21). Any system that mingles works with grace, then, is "a different gospel" (Gal. 1:6), a distorted message that is anathematized (Gal. 1:9), not by a council of medieval bishops, but by the very Word of God that cannot be broken. In fact, it does not overstate the case to say that the Roman Catholic view on justification sets it apart as a wholly different religion than the true Christian faith, for it is antithetical to the simple gospel of grace.
As long as the Roman Catholic Church continues to assert its own authority and bind its people to "another gospel," it is the spiritual duty of all true Christians to oppose Roman Catholic doctrine with biblical truth and to call all Catholics to true salvation. Meanwhile, evangelicals must not capitulate to the pressures for artificial unity. They cannot allow the gospel to be obscured, and they cannot make friends with false religion, lest they become partakers in their evil deeds (2 John 11).

Adapted from John MacArthur, Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1994). http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A190_Is-Roman-Catholicism-Biblical?q=Roman+Catholicism

Light to every man

    God has revealed Himself to every man in two ways. The first is creation (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-25; 10:18; Colossians 1:6, 23; Job 12:7-10; Acts 17:26-30; Revelation 14:6-7; etc.). Just as a building demands a builder, creation demands a Creator. The creation reveals God's power and glory and declares to each person that he is accountable to this awesome Maker: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). The second is conscience (Genesis 3:22; Job 38:36; Psalm 40:8; Proverbs 1:20-33; Acts 9:5; Romans 2:14-15; Romans 1:32; John 8:9; etc.). The Holy Spirit convicts every person’s conscience of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). The moral law, written on every heart (Romans 2:15), shows each person that there must be a moral Lawgiver and it reveals our need for a Savior/Deliverer.
   Those who respond to the revelation of creation and conscience will receive more light unto salvation (John 3:19-21). However, while most people acknowledge that there is a
Creator, when the Holy Spirit convicts many choose to appease their conscience
through religion, ritual, or good works. Others sear their conscience to silence it rather
than turn to and trust in their Creator who died to save them.
   Creation and conscience is called General Revelation. A good example of this at work is when Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh. Jonah’s message was simply that
judgment was coming (Jonah 3:4). Based on the above Scriptures we know that the
Ninevites already had general knowledge of the Creator and a God-given conscience –
revealing right from wrong. The Ninevites responded to General Revelation, turned to
the Lord, and were saved (Jonah 3; Matthew 12:41)! As God promises: "whoever calls
on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13), "Look to Me, and be saved, All
you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other" (Isaiah 45:22).
   Did the Ninevites understand that the Lord would become a man and pay for our sins?
No. Did they say "Jesus save me"? No. But, they recognized that they had sinned
against their Creator and truly repented toward the One true God – thus making Him
their Lord.
   God only saves through Jesus, but that does not mean that all who respond to creation
and conscience and cry out to God have full understanding of this. They are only
accountable to respond to the light given to them (Luke 12:47-48; John 15:22; Acts
17:30; James 4:17). If they do respond, they will receive further illumination (Mark 4:25).
Interestingly, young children and the mentally-handicapped almost always acknowledge
a Creator to whom they are morally accountable to. Their conscience is awake and
sensitive. New Tribes Missions reports that even the most isolated people groups know
these truths.
   Jesus Christ (as Creator, Lawgiver, and Savior) is "the true Light which gives light to
every man coming into the world" (John 1:9). The light Jesus gives to every man is
creation and conscience. If any person responds to this light, they will meet the Lord!
 (More articles: http://www.eternal-productions.org/articles.html)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Is Your Worldview?

   There are four great questions that man tries to answer in life. These are called the great philosophical questions. Who am I? Where did I come from? Why I am here? Where am I going when I die? The way you answer them depends upon your worldview-the way you view the world.
   There are two ways to look at the world. Some people look at the world and say, "You know, it's amazing, a big bang made this world from nothing!" This view is the humanist worldview, which says man is God. Humanism is the philosophy from which the idea of evolution comes, believing that there is no Creator-no God.
   The second way to view the world is that since there is incredible design, there must have been a designer. This is the creationist worldview which says God is God: man in not God. These two worldviews are absolutely at war with each other.
   How do we answer the four great questions of life? If evolution is true, we are nothing important. Actually, we are a bit of protoplasm that washed up on a beach after a Big Bang about 20 billion years ago. There is no purpose in life; so we might as well have fun. If it feels good-do it. After all, we are just going to end up in a grave to get recycled into a worm or a plant.
  But the Bible says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." If that is true, we have a whole different set of answers to those four questions. God's creation of the world means that we had better find out who He is and what He wants. We were created in His image with a responsibility to obey Him. When we die, our choice in life will determine where we will spend eternity-in hell separated from God, or in heaven with Him.
 (Creation Science Seminar Notebook; pg. 22) http://www.drdino.com/about-cse/at-a-glance/

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

God Caused Meaning

"Humans in particular seek a "reason to exist" and for the most part find it difficult to accept that we are simply here to consume the earth's resources and die." Read on: http://www.icr.org/meaning-in-life/

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Powers of Darkness

Recognizing Satan's Tactics in the Light of God's Word.

The intent of the Holy Bible is not to focus on Satan and his work. However, we do find much in the Bible that exposes his character and works. Satan was at one time an angel, but he turned against God, his creator, and wanted to be like Him. The practices of the dark kingdom of Satan are not new. They are typical of his efforts through the ages to rival the kingdom of God. He is offering an alternative to what God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, is accomplishing.
We read in Exodus of the power of the magicians of Egypt who tried to reproduce the miracles that God did by the hand of Moses. In the book of Job, Satan is exposed as very jealous of Job's faithfulness to God. He used cruelty and deprivation to try to force Job to turn from God.
Satan's methods are characterized by: fear, threats, promises of pleasure or power, intimidation, and suspicion. Some of the first things he introduces to us seem very interesting and intriguing. He suggests, "Would you like to know the future or have insight that others are not able to have?" He may offer cures that are beyond the realm of science. Astrology or fortune-telling may seem innocent enough, but this is soon followed with certain magic words or formulas, observing certain days and fearing unlucky numbers. The thought is introduced that there are certain spirits to be respected and feared because of the power they may have over us. Thus Satan snares the unwary into the realms of fear of him and his spirits.
Too many individuals have been caught up in curiosity of things that, at first, appear to be rather innocent. By experimenting with the Ouija board, horoscopes, palm reading, and many other such practices, they have made themselves vulnerable for evil spirits to further trouble them.
The goal of Satan is to erode and finally destroy the Christian's faith in God. The Christian experiences victory by having a faith in Christ and in Him alone. The desire for knowing the unknown or the lust of power motivates one to sometimes experiment with that which is of the Satanic realm. A simple trust is God puts one at rest with what is unknown and makes one completely confident in" the power of Christ.
That which is begun out of curiosity or experimentation soon entraps one in a web of fear; fear of what might happen, fear of greater powers, fear of other people, fear of Satan himself. These fears envelop the individual who has allowed himself to become involved in dubious practices. In response to this fear Satan claims to have an antidote. He offers more power if one will subject himself to certain rituals or other obediences. Fear of other spirits can be counteracted with a possession or greater power ourselves, he says. Thus a person is introduced to successive tiers of power that, rather than causing the individual to reach greater levels of peace, cause a never ending downward spiral into the depths of satanic abomination. The security promised by Satan proves elusive, being replaced by the need of protection from a still higher power in this wicked domain. This is the system of Satanism.
Satan's plan is to supplant God. Satan was created to worship, not to be worshipped. He is not a supreme power; he cannot overcome the Lamb of God; he cannot give security; he is not interested in our well-being. Nevertheless he continually works to exercise power over people to bring them into subjection to him. He tries to create mistrust toward God and His kingdom. He is endeavoring to establish an organization with himself as the master. This is developed through a system of fear and illusions of power. He works marvels to create awe in people's minds (2 Corinthians 11:14,15). The effect of this system is to destroy peace, and security in individuals, homes, and governments. It captures people, causing them to feel seriously threatened if they try to escape.
Satan is the bitterest, most malicious, most vicious, most terrible enemy you have. He is totally without honor. He is a liar. There is no truth in him - "He is a liar, and the father of it [untruth]" (John 8:44). He is a murderer, a destroyer. He is the very embodiment of hatred and evil. He is totally wicked through and through, with absolutely no redeeming good.
Satan is the instigator of all evil. There is neither crime nor sin too evil or too filthy for him. He is the cause of all hatred, all murder, all child or wife abuse, all drug abuse, all immorality, all broken homes, all contention, all witchcraft, all dishonesty. He delights to cause crimes of passion and evil, crimes committed against innocent people who happen to fall into the hands of depraved or perverted persons. He is ruthless and unforgiving. Suffering does not inspire compassion in him. Bloodshed and death are tools he uses to gain his ends. He has come "to steal, to kill, and to destroy" (John 10:10).
Satan's eternal destiny is already decided. There is a place of eternal fire prepared for him and his angels (Matthew 26:41). He is interested in getting as many people as he can to suffer that torment with him. He knows he can do this by undermining and finally destroying our faith in God. He will do this either by openly challenging God's Word or by subtly encouraging lukewarm, careless, permissive Christianity.
There is deliverance from the clutches of Satan. He would have you to believe that there is no way out. The Bible tells us that Jesus has come to set the captive free. He has come to give life. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). In His life on earth Jesus demonstrated His power over Satan by resisting the temptations of Satan and by casting out evil spirits by God's word (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 9:25,26). Jesus conquered the power of Satan by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.
Can we avail ourselves of this victory and overcome the arch enemy of our souls?. First, we must realize that we have been captured by Satan and are bound by his fear. We must admit that this is sinful and that we are lost if we remain in this state. As we realize that we are unable to deliver ourselves from Satan's grasp, we must cry out to God for deliverance with all our heart. We must repent of, and turn away from our sins. We need to accept by faith the atoning blood of Jesus Christ for our sins. We must yield ourselves to God, accept His forgiveness and faithfully obey His Word. As we meet these conditions He gives us peace with Him, quiets the uneasiness in our hearts, forgives our sins, gives us a new nature and makes us one of His children. This is what it means to be born again. Anyone who resists the call of God is still in Satan's kingdom, and the deceiver will eventually take that person with him to everlasting torment.
If you do not understand the plan that God has made for you, study God's Word, pray to Him with an honest heart, and He will show you the way. God is calling you to Himself and wants you to escape from Satan's bondage. May God bless you. Read Psalm 91.
Additional reading:

Luke 11:20-23   One stronger than Satan
Romans 6:20-23   Free from sin
Isaiah 61:1  Liberty to the captives
Romans 8:1,2  Free from condemnation

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Are There Any Errors in the Bible?

By Norman L. Geisler
The Bible cannot err, since it is God's Word, and God cannot err. This does not mean there are no difficulties in the Bible. But the difficulties are not due to God's perfect revelation, but to our imperfect understanding of it. The history of Bible criticism reveals that the Bible has no errors, but the critics do. Most problems fall into one of the following categories.
Check the rest out at: http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbbible.aspx?pageid=8589952771

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Obama calls for Israel’s return to pre-1967 borders!

By: Shannon Haas
This article link from CNN was just sent to me concerning a major 45 minute speech that was given by President Obama yesterday backing the “two-state solution” that has been unofficially promoted by many others in the recent past.
Taking this scenario into light of Bible prophecy is very chilling when considering that God has declared that the land of Israel belongs to the Jews.  In Genesis 13:15 the Lord declared to Abraham His covenant promise to the Jewish people by saying: “for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendents forever.”  Again, in Leviticus 25: 23 God says: “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine…..”.  There are many other Scriptures that could be shared showing that God has forever appointed Israel as a land exclusive to them.  In fact in Numbers 34: 1-12, Joshua 15: 1,2, and Ezekiel 47: 15-20 & 48: 1, 28 He states the very specific geo-graphical boundaries of what entails Israel’s promised land. He said this would be an “everlasting” promise.  The very fact that we are trying to divide the land into a quote, “two-state solution” is ultimately another betrayal of Israel.  Any diplomatic relations between the Arabs and Israel has always been a result of undermining and has been detrimental to Israel.  Anyone with an open mind can see from the CNN article and video clips that this action will (as all so-called “peace agreements” have in the past), only result in taking more land from Israel that clearly belongs to them.  The former P.L.O. leader Yasser Arafat has said himself; “Peace for us, means the destruction of Israel”.  And this is no radical view as some would be tempted to think, but is a universal idea and Islamic teaching throughout all of the middle-east.  The Muslim Koran and other highly esteemed authoritative Muslim writings state repeatedly that Jews and Christians are to be done away with in what they call “holy war” (Jihad) by the sword.
God in His Word declares that He would re-gather His people Israel in the last days from all the nations of the earth (Jeremiah 31: 8-12 & Ezekiel 37), and that He would defend them against all odds (Zechariah 12: 6, 8). This is exactly what we have seen in the past century with the Jewish people re-inhabiting the land and declaring their independence in 1948.  Despite what the media and the majority of the world has said, Israel has had to repeatedly defend themselves against the Arabs attempts to “exterminate” Israel.  Israel has certainly become “a cup of trembling” and a “burdensome stone around the necks of the nations” (Zechariah 12: 2-3).  As Jesus said, Jerusalem will be trampled  by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  Luke 21:24.  In all these underhanded attempts to establish so-called “peace” we can certainly see how we are headed towards the end.  “For when they (the world) say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:3).   The only lasting solution to this Middle-East peace problem is to repent, come to the Truth, and obey God according to His Word.
Although America has financially established and protected Israel since her re-establishment in 1948, we have also in recent times betrayed Israel multiple times (by both Republicans and Democrats).  We would be wise to take heed to many Scriptures such as: Gensis 12:3 where God declares: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  If we continue to increase our opposition to Israel and compromise with the Arabs because of selfish; “oil interests” or “political correctness”, America will not go un-judged.  I believe we are at the brink of financial meltdown and terrorist attacks in the coming months or years if we fail to repent and decide to turn and do things the Lord’s way.  I don’t believe this is an extreme statement by any means, and believe the writing is on the wall (with all the signs we see within our nation and within the world). 
As we have all heard, things are really ratcheting up over in the mid-east with the events in Egypt and Libya (and actually all over that area with protests and such).  I believe it is for a much greater purpose in allowing more radical leaders (if one can imagine that), to take control with the Muslim Brotherhood to ultimately destroy Israel.  That’s what many of the leaders such as the President of Iran have declared.  Why are we in Libya in the first place?  It seems that many other countries (such as Iran) are the head of the snake, and we should be pursuing pro-nuclear nations such as those instead.  The Iranian President and other Arab nations have unilaterally declared that “the U.S. is big satan, and Israel is little satan”.  The eradication of Israel would first mean the elimination of the U.S. first to complete the Islamic agenda.  One could also talk extensively about Russia’s recent alignment with Iran and the exchange of weapons with their Muslim allies, but for the sake of time, I will not go into all that. 
So anyway….I think we are on a polar opposite, anti-biblical agenda with our current  U.S. administration that will ultimately lead to what Psalm 83 and many other Scriptures state will happen in the last days.  The Bible declares that all the nations of the earth will one day be assembled to go against Israel (Zechariah 12: 1-9) (this would include the U.S.).  So what is our current Presidents’ real agenda? What about the U.N.?  I think the recent statements and actions they have taken speak volumes of pro-Palestinian agenda with little regard for Israel. 
Isaiah 17 describes that Damascus, Syria will one day “be a ruinous heap” and it’s interesting to see the current spot-light and role Damascus plays as essentially a safe-haven hub for the major terrorist organizations of the world. Israel will one day soon be prompted to defend themselves once again as we see increasing pressure placed on them to yield to unreasonable and unscriptural demands.  As always, in their defense Israel will see retaliation, condemnation, and outcry by the entire world that will usher in the coming end-time Armageddon events described by Jesus in the Gospels, and within Revelation and portions of Daniel. 
Much more could be said about the rapture of the church to come, the time of false peace by anti-Christ, the uniting of all religions under one banner, global governance, and the great tribulation period.  Jesus warned,”Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24: 4). It would be wise for anyone who has not repented and placed their trust and life in Him to do so before it is too late.  We are all sinners, but Christ took our deserved punishment on the cross (Romans 6:23).  Check out the claims of the Bible for yourself.  Follow the evidence wherever it leads you and God will not let you down.  Jesus said that if we truly deny ourselves and seek the truth, then we will find Him which leads to eternal life.  Ultimately, it is the true and living God of the Bible Who will be on Israel’s side as all this continues to unfold in the future. 
Shannon R. Haas

Friday, May 20, 2011

The End Of The World is Coming Again

  I happened to pick up a copy of USA Today on Friday and discovered the at we have less than a week before God starts to create world-wide earthquakes to destroy the earth.

Harold Camping, the Harold Camping who failed in his prophecy of the same world ending events in 1994, barely blinked and still claimed to be a true prophet is at it again.

This time, his organization has plastered their message in full page ads like the one I saw in USA Today, on billboards up and down the highways of America, on buses and trains and his followers are handing out thousands of leaflets with the May 21st, 2011 message in just about every major city in the country.

This doomsday news is being broadcast daily on Camping's radio network, Family Radio (Family Stations Inc.)

One man gave his entire retirement savings to Camping for advertising. Another couple have spent all their assets so that they will be broke on May 21st, the promised day of rapture for the "true' Believers.

We can only hope for the rapture, but its not coming on May 21st because Camping proclaimed it.  He is a false prophet without the integrity to admit it and his rhetoric has blinded many thousands of people to the truth of God's Word.

Camping responded in his USA Today ad to the following scripture [he only quoted verse 32] by saying the that "neither the son"  referred, not to Christ, but to the son of Perdition, Satan.  That is utter nonsensical  prattling of a fool. Read it in full context for yourself. 

Mark 13:32-37
32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

The bible warns that in the last days, false teachers and evil men will come with doctrines of demons to fool even the elect of God.

Doomsday prophets have been crying out their false messages since Christ has risen and they will continue to do so until the actual end arrives.

Harold Camping is among such men. Pray for those he has led astray. Do not be deceived.  He is a false prophet.

I think you can plan that early June cruise vacation.. Place your faith in Christ within you and trust that you are in His fellowship, keep yourself ready for His coming or your going, whenever either occurs and you will do well with Him.. and have a life of peace and joy..

Your brother in Christ.

Ed Decker (http://www.worldviewweekend.com/mobile/view-article.php?articleid=7186)