The Bible is Better than Marvel

What is it that draws fans to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? One of the many Continue reading

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Repent, America (America Bless God)

I came up with this a few years ago, and shared it on the soon-to-be-defunct Google+ :(. With the advancing of the abortion agenda in states like New York, Virginia and Vermont, it came back to my mind. America, as a nation, needs to repent of this – and other – wicked agendas and turn to God, or face His judgment. I, as a Christian living in America, don’t want God to judge the US, but His holiness demands so unless she repents. We sing “God Bless America,” but what does that mean? One of the Biblical definitions of bless is to turn one from their sin (Acts 3:26). So if that is what is meant by “God bless America,” then I sing that wholeheartedly. But if bless means ‘to prosper,’ then how can I pray that God prosper America while she promotes wickedness? So, for your consideration, I present a re-arrangement of “God Bless America” titled “Repent, America (America Bless God) to the original tune.

We see storm clouds gath’ring across the sea

Let us entreat the God Who saves, full of mercy

Let us plead that from His judgment will us spare

As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer

 

Repent, America

Seek forgiveness from Above

Turn back to Him, pray to Him

For bless’d is the nation whose God is the Lord

From the White House, to street corners

To the pulpits, repent all!

Repent, America, Why will ye die?

Repent, America, Turn and Live!

 

America bless God

Turn from your sin

Stand up for Him, implore Him

For forgiveness only He can accord

From the mountains, to the prairies

To the oceans, white with foam

America bless God, Behold the Lamb

America bless God, Look and be saved!

Have Mercy on Those Who Doubt…

Stop for a moment. What comes to your mind when you think of 1 Peter 3:15?
What about Jude 22?
You may not be familiar with the reference, so here is the whole context, Jude 22-23:
And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Jude 1:22‭-‬23 NKJV
It can be very easy for us as believers to point out error and those actively following and pursuing false teaching. But it can be just as easy, unfortunately, to not display mercy to those who doubt or are confused because of their encounters with false teaching.
My friend Jimmy, who often teaches at my church, pointed out that the “distinguishing” in verse 22 according to the Greek has to do with discerning by the power of the Holy Spirit between those who are falling into deception and those who are deliberately embracing it or even teaching it. Listen to the entire question and answer session on Jude he facilitated here: https://soundcloud.com/jimmy-coates-4/jude-q-a
 
Many believers know others who are reading or listening to something spiritually questionable to some extent. For some, the knee-jerk reaction is to leap on the person supposedly involved with the false teaching. But is this what Jesus commanded?
For many of those involved in “discernment” ministry, the modus operandi is to magnify error, followed by contesting individuals directly or indirectly, then finding out about friends, colleagues, or contacts who agree with the doctrine in question, then severing relations with said people after engaging in argument concerning said controversy.
Instead of becoming spiritual vigilantes against people that veer or could veer into false teaching, would it consume less energy and be more Christlike if we extended mercy to those who are struggling with their faith? Would there be little to no need to form discernment ministries if we as individual Christians exercised not only our Holy Spirit-granted personal discernment but also mercy toward others?
Having discernment does not just mean to be wise regarding doctrine and its source. Having discernment means to judge ourselves truly (1 Cor. 11:31) before we judge the faults of others and extend mercy based on the grace that we have been given. Knowledge will nearly always puff up, but love will always edify. And believers need to continually bear each other’s burdens to fulfill the law of Christ…with mercy.
Originally posted on The Middle of Everywhere. Reposted here with permission.

God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. ~Romans 1:18-32

According to verses 19 and 20, who knows God exists? That’s right, everybody. So, on the basis of the Word of God, there are no atheists; there are only people who suppress the truth that they know about God in their unrighteousness. In other words, they don’t want God to exist so they can live however they wish.

The following from Voddie Baucham will help frame our discussion.

“Three phrases in this paragraph support Paul’s conclusion that people are “without excuse” in terms of general revelation. First, the phrase, “is plain to them,” reminds us that the knowledge of God we receive from general revelation does not require unusual effort. The second phrase, “God has shown it to them,” reminds us that general revelation is not hidden or secret. The third phrase, “have been clearly perceived,” reminds us that general revelation (Rom. 1:18-31) cannot be missed by accident. Doing so requires suppression.

Put these three together and we see that God has provided a means of knowing about him that requires no special effort, is not hidden, and cannot be missed unless, of course, we want to miss it. And that is why those who “miss it” are said to be “without excuse.” Thus, the spiral begins when men reject God’s general revelation. Consequently, they continue downward and refuse to honor the God they know.” [1]

Many professing atheists will say there is not enough evidence to conclude the existence of God, or that God has not proven Himself to them. But the Bible says there is more than enough evidence to prove God’s existence (again, see vs. 19-20). He has demonstrated Himself through creation and the conscience. The problem is not a lack of evidence, but an unwillingness to believe. Notice the underlined portions and see that professing atheists willfully reject the truth they know about God and will therefore experience God’s judgment unless they repent. Moreover, they hate God (v. 30). They may deny it, but it’s true. Many professing atheists are “former” [2] Christians and began to profess atheism either after a tragedy they experienced, or in rebellion against their parents/the Church. This is evidence of their hatred toward God.

Many professing atheists say, “If God were to show me a sign, I would believe.” However, that is also false. Many people saw the signs, wonders, and miracles Jesus performed while He walked the earth, yet not everyone believed on Him. [3] This is further support for my claim that it’s not a problem of evidence for the supposed atheist. It’s merely a ploy to mask their unwillingness to believe. [4] If God showed them a sign, they would find a way to explain it away. Because they don’t want to acknowledge and submit to the God they know exists.

Incidentally, verses 19-20 also answer another common question. That is, what of the person deep in the jungle who has never heard of the Name of Jesus? Will God send them to hell, holding them accountable for what they don’t know? This is usually brought up by unbelievers in the context of questioning God’s justice. As if God would be unjust if He were to send them to hell. But according to these verses, we see God’s revelation is universal in creation; God has revealed Himself to everybody everywhere. While this revelation is not enough to save anyone, it is enough to damn them, “so that they are without excuse.” So God would be just in condemning them if they don’t acknowledge God’s revelation in creation. If, however, they go the opposite direction of the downward spiral seen in verses 21-32 and acknowledge God, then God will providentially get the Gospel to them. Moreover, as the Apostle Paul goes on to elaborate in this letter to the Romans, everybody is under sin. Therefore, God would be just in condemning them to hell, whether they heard the Gospel or not. But let’s delve deeper, and see if that’s what God will do.

In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come,” [5] in answering His disciples’ questions about the end of the age. In other words, Jesus will not come back until everyone has heard the Gospel. Whether from a person, or even an angel, [6] everyone will have the Gospel preached to them; no one will be able to say they didn’t know, or had never heard. How do I know Jesus’ words apply to everyone – that everyone will hear the Gospel? Revelation 5:9 records a song sung by those who are “redeemed…out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” People from every clan, language, people group and ethnicity will be in heaven, so God obviously gets the Gospel to them, and some of them believe. Rather than smear God for not saving everybody, let’s praise Him for saving anybody!

So, while progressing atheists claim to not believe in the existence of God, God says in His Word that atheists don’t exist. “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” [7] Hence, Christian, next time you are in a discussion with someone and they claim to be an atheist, don’t believe them.

Image result for god exists he has spokenshirt available from Grace Alone Witness Apparel

Endnotes

[1] Voddie Baucham, Expository Apologetics, p. 51, italics in original

[2] 1 John 2:19 clearly states that there is no such thing as a “former” Christian. If they professed faith and no longer hold to that profession, then they never truly believed.

[3] His own disciples didn’t even believe He rose from the dead when He was standing right in front of them!

[4] They also have an inability to believe, since Ephesians 2:8 says faith is granted as a gift from God.

[5] Matthew 24:13-14

[6] See Revelation 14:6-7

[7] Romans 3:4

God Is Who He Says He Is

Why is it that in this age of feelings and emotions over rational thinking, everybody gets to define who they are and identify as anything they like, even if it is in conflict with biology and their anatomy [1], except God? If creatures are taking to themselves the authority to identify as they wish, shouldn’t the Creator and Author of life all the more have that right?

Grande

 

The above image is taken from the music video of Ariana Grande’s new song “God is a Woman,” in which, she is clearly speaking of herself. A knowledge of the esoteric symbolism in the video will further confirm that she is blasphemously portraying herself as God. In fact, one doesn’t even have to have a knowledge of the symbolism to see that since it is blatantly obvious. In the video she is depicted as sitting on top of the “earth” controlling the weather; she is at the center of the galaxy; she even recites words mimicking Scripture! While I won’t address the esotericism in this piece, here are some excellent breakdowns.

God is NOT a Woman ARIANA GRANDE~ !!! by The Vigilant Christian

GOD IS 100% NOT A WOMAN! by A Call For An Uprising

Ariana Grande – God is a woman | DEMONIC PROPAGANDA – Feminism, Gnosticism & More by Nephtali1981

What’s Happening to Her? This’ll Change EVERYTHING of ARIANA GRANDE u liked forever! by Thecontroversy7

Worshipping the Feminine & the Rise of Babylon by Pastor Dean Odle

The main issues I will be addressing are the natures of God, and men and women. To address the nature of God, we must go to the only authoritative Source for information on God, that is, Scripture. Everyone attempts to define God however they wish, but let’s see what God has to say about Himself.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. ~John 4:24

So God is not a woman. Neither is God a man. God is a Spirit. However, when God chose to reveal Himself to us, He uses male designators. Jesus spoke of “our Father,” “your Father” and “My Father.” [2]

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. ~Matthew 6:9

I and my Father are one. ~John 10:30 KJV

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. ~Matthew 11:27

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. ~John 20:17

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. ~Matthew 23:9

God the Father takes on the male persona; God the Son obviously was incarnated as a man; and even the Holy Spirit is described in male terms.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. ~John 14:26

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: ~John 15:26

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. ~John 16:13

So all three Persons of the Trinity use male designators. But in order to give us a fuller picture of His nature, God reveals His motherly attributes.

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. ~Isaiah 66:13

But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. ~Isaiah 49:14‭-‬16

I should also point out that in the book of Proverbs, wisdom is often personified as a woman.

Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets ~Proverbs 1:20

Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman ~Proverbs 7:4

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? ~Proverbs 8:1

Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars ~Proverbs 9:1

Now to the nature of men and women.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. ~Genesis 1:27

Both men and women are created in the image of God and reflect it in different ways. Men in His fatherly loving discipline and leadership, and women in His nurturing capacity.

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. ~Hebrews 12:7‭-‬10

So, to repeat, God is neither man nor woman. He is transcendent, above all. He simply “is.” But both men and women, in different ways, reflect God’s glorious attributes.

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM ~Exodus 3:14

Footnotes

[1] Be it either transgenderism or even transracialism!

[2] Despite some denominations’ attempt to remove gender-related language for God

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/southern-baptists-embrace-gender-inclusive-language-in-the-bible/529935/

Championship Parades as Evidence for God

Backstrom-Cup

“Transcendent,” “unifying,” these and many other such words were used to describe the Washington Capitals recent Stanley Cup victory and ensuing celebration. While my argument could be made for any sports championship, it occurred to me over the last few days. And since the Capitals are my team and represent my city, I’m making it now. 🙂

As you may or may not know, it had been 26 years since the nation’s capital had experienced a championship in one of the four major sports (sorry to any soccer and tennis fans, they didn’t make the cut). So when the Caps clinched the Cup on June 7, the championship-starved city erupted in jubilant celebration. Fans cried, laughed, and partied in the streets painting the town red. (Haha, “Rock the Red.” Get it?)

RocktheRed Continue reading

Paul, Apostle of Christ Movie Review

PAUL-APOSTLE_-Featured-Image

On Good Friday, my brother and I went to see the new movie Paul, Apostle of Christ. I had wanted to see it since it coincided with us finishing up our study of Acts and the end of Paul’s life the upcoming Sunday in church. I was interested in seeing how accurate it was going to be, and, honestly, my expectations were not very high. As I’m sure you know, Hollywood doesn’t exactly have the best track record in producing Biblically accurate movies (see Russell Crowe’s Noah, for example). To my surprise, however, I thought Paul, Apostle of Christ was astonishingly accurate, with a few minor exceptions, which I will address. But I did appreciate the consideration for Biblical accuracy. I will also discuss what I did like and what I did not. (Potential spoilers!)

First, I liked that it was well-made with good acting, and excellent production value, in my opinion. Despite having a relatively small budget, they managed to construct a believable first century Rome. We saw tender moments, conflict and conflict resolution both between individuals and among groups, and emotional, gut-wrenching moments. When the movie ended, no one in the theatre moved. It was that powerful.

I did not like the few (relatively minor) Scriptural/chronological inaccuracies that I noticed.

  • The first is that the setting of the movie had Luke writing Acts during Paul’s second imprisonment, when I believe the evidence favors Luke writing it during his first.
  • The movie script has Paul saying, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” To which Luke responds, “That’s brilliant!” Then Paul urges him to “write it down.” You’ll recognize the quote from Philippians 1:21, which Paul had written from Rome during his first imprisonment with the pen of Epaphroditus – not Luke (according to an endnote in the KJV). It was already written down.
  • Near the end of the movie, as Paul is about to be beheaded, Luke is portrayed giving Paul’s last letter, 2 Timothy, to Aquila for him to deliver to Timothy. However, it’s unlikely that Aquila delivered the letter to Timothy, since Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:19, “Salute…Aquila.” So Aquila was probably already with Timothy, rather than delivering the letter to him.

Continue reading

He is Risen: Infallible Proofs of the Resurrection

(Image taken from a t-shirt available from Wrath and Grace)

 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central tenet of Christianity. Without it, Christianity crumbles. Or, to put it another way, if it could be proven that Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christianity would cease to exist. [1] Why? Because those who served as the foundational stones of the Church, the Apostles, [2] would be proven to be false witnesses, [3] since they clearly testified that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus sent them to preach to the very people who had Him crucified – the Pharisees and Jewish people – and proclaim His resurrection with the power to perform signs and wonders to back up their claim. It was the number one topic of their preaching in the Book of Acts.

Since Luke, the author of the Gospel bearing his name and the book of Acts, tells us that Jesus “shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs” [4], let’s look at some of those proofs primarily from his second volume.

Many of these proofs center on the disciples’ shared experiences, meaning they could not have dreamed or hallucinated Jesus’ resurrection.

What They Saw

First, according to Acts 1:3, Jesus appeared to them multiple times over a 40 day period. They occurred during this definite period of time, and then after He ascended into heaven, the appearances stopped – with the notable exception of Paul, to whom Jesus appeared “as of one born out of due time.” [5] This displays consistency among their testimonies. None of them had a private visitation at a later date to receive additional revelation, but once Jesus ascended, the visitations ended.

Multiple people witnessed Jesus alive after His death. 1 Corinthians 15:6 asserts that more than 500 people saw Jesus at the same time, possibly at His Ascension. Two people do not have the same hallucination experience, much less 500!

What They Heard

Acts 1:3 also says that Jesus spoke with them, and verses 4-9 records some of what He said. All of the Apostles heard the same thing and obeyed Jesus’ command to stay in Jerusalem. Had this been a hallucination, their accounts would differ, but they all heard and preached the same message.

More Shared Experiences

Jesus assembled with the disciples in verse 4, and we know Jesus ate with them on at least two occasions. [6] Had they hallucinated Jesus appearing and eating before them, when the experience was over, the food would have still been there. Because hallucinations don’t eat! [7]

On the night before Jesus was crucified, He promised to send the Holy Spirit after He would rise from the dead and ascend to the Father. [8] In between His Resurrection and Ascension, He reiterated that promise. [9] So, when the Holy Spirit came as recorded in the second chapter of Acts, empowering His Apostles to speak in languages they didn’t know and to boldly preach the Gospel, in fulfilment of this promise, it served as proof that Jesus in fact rose from the dead.

Lastly, the Book of Acts itself exists as evidence of Jesus’ resurrection. Luke wrote that his first volume, his Gospel, was about “all that Jesus began both to do and teach,” [10] implying that this second volume would be about what Jesus continues to do through His Church. Jesus’ ongoing work through the Church in Acts and throughout history prove He’s alive!

How can I make this claim? As I said at the beginning, the disciples preached the resurrection of Jesus to the very people who had Him crucified, who hated Him. Had there been any evidence to the contrary, His enemies wouldn’t have hesitated to present it and shut the Apostles up. [11] But since they couldn’t, they tried persecuting them. That didn’t work either, but only helped the Gospel spread even more.

One skeptical theory is that the disciples made these experiences up. However, that theory doesn’t fly when one considers that every one of them were persecuted and/or martyred for their confession of Christ. People die for lies all the time, but people don’t die for what they know is a lie. If the disciples had concocted the story of Jesus’ resurrection, at least one of them would have caved and admitted to it once the beating started. Yet none of them did. This serves as a powerful piece of evidence in favor of Jesus’ resurrection.

These are only a few proofs that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. If we examined further, we could uncover more, but these are sufficient for us to determine on the basis of the evidence that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. Returning to the verse cited at the beginning, Acts 1:3 says that Jesus “shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs.” This is the only time the word “infallible” occurs in the New Testament, and it means “that from which something is surely and plainly known; on indubitable evidence, a proof; demonstrable proofs” [12]. In modern vernacular, we could say that Jesus proved to His disciples that He was alive beyond a shadow of a doubt. So we can definitively say, “But now is Christ risen from the dead…” [13]. The disciples’ experience was not a hallucination, and Jesus was not a mirage, spirit, phantom, or zombie.

He is risen!

Footnotes
[1] If Jesus is still dead, not only would Christianity be, but so would we be, in our sins. (1 Cor. 15:17)
[2] Ephesians 2:20

[3] 1 Corinthians 15:15

[4] Acts 1:3, italics added

[5] 1 Corinthians 15:8

[6] Luke 24:41-43, John 21:1-15

[7] Neither do spirits or ghosts, so incidentally this also proves that Jesus rose from the dead bodily.

[8] John 16:7, 14:16-20

[9] Acts 1:5, 8

[10] Acts 1:1, italics added

[11] His enemies knew Jesus rose from the dead and tried to bribe the Roman soldiers to keep them quiet.

[12] Strong’s Concordance

[13] 1 Corinthians 15:20