The Prophecy of Daniel 8
Apologetics Press - The Prophecy of Daniel 8: "One extremely valuable line of evidence that confirms that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is the presence of accurate, predictive prophecy contained in its pages. Not only are the prophecies of the Bible fulfilled in minute detail with complete accuracy, but these fulfillments are often accomplished centuries after the prophecies were made. Even the skeptic understands that if this is the case, a supernatural agent must be responsible for the writing of the Bible. That is why the skeptic attempts to discredit the prophecies by claiming that they were written after the events, or by claiming that they were not fulfilled in detail. By attempting to disparage the prophecies using these methods, the skeptic admits that if the prophecies were written centuries before the events, and if they are fulfilled in detail, then a supernatural agent is responsible for them. As the prophet Jeremiah wrote: ‘As for the prophet who prophecies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent’ (28:9). Completely accurate, fulfilled prophecy is a characteristic that verifies the divine inspiration of the Bible."
Organizing the Sermon - Part 1
ThyWordIsTruth.com - Preach the Word! - Chapter 18: "A Kentucky mountaineer was renowned for his shooting prowess. All over the hills trees exhibited his marksmanship – bullet holes in the dead center of small white circles drawn on the tree. An admirer of his persistent precision asked how he was always able not only to hit the bullseye, but always able to hit it dead center. The sharpshooter replied, ‘I just shoot the tree and then draw the circle around it.’ Many a sermon has been organized in the same manner – ‘I just shoot at the hearers and then draw a circle around wherever it hits.’
Like the mountaineer marksman, an unorganized sermon fires without aim or purpose and then draws a circle around whatever it hits. Even superior sermon content does not guarantee a good sermon; it takes proper organization to accomplish its purpose. It is the purpose of organization (the outline) to provide the best possible method of getting the thesis of the sermon to come alive in the minds of the hearers. Without proper organization, the sermon becomes at best a lecture. Biblical facts become blinders instead of lenses helping us to see the glory of God. People can starve to death while we read the list of ingredients on a loaf of bread!
Organization is the aspect of sermon preparation that is the real measure of the preacher’s devotion to the duty of preaching. Sermon ideas fall like rain upon those who are students of God’s word, observers of God’s world, and lovers of God’s people. More material for each idea can be gathered in a short time than can be used in even a long sermon. It is then that the hardest work begins – organizing the sermon. Put differently, after the carpenter has gathered his materials, the time-consuming task of building begins. The materials can be thrown together without regard to plumb or square, and without aim or purpose, or they can be carefully assembled according to the blueprint to produce a beautiful edifice.
Proper organization keeps the preacher from being a slave to his notes. It is far easier to remember thoughts that are related in a logical and orderly fashion. If the preacher cannot remember what he wants to say long enough to say it, how can he expect his hearers to remember it longer than it takes to hear it?
Proper organization helps the sermon by bringing clarity to it. If the subject matter is unclear in the preacher’s mind and disorganized in presentation, how can the preacher expect his hearers to get a clear understanding?
Proper organization helps the hearers to remember what has been said and to carry away the sermon’s idea from which they derive sustenance for their souls and support in their struggles.
Lack of organization robs the preacher of credibility. ‘He is disorganized’ is the preacher’s kiss of death. His hearers have concluded that he is either unable to organize his thoughts or is too busy – or worse yet, too lazy – to do so. In the former case they are frustrated; in the latter case they are angry. In either case they have lost their willingness to listen."
What does 666 mean in Revelation 13?
What does 666 mean in Revelation 13?: "Revelation is written using vivid symbols and figures that are intended to grab our imagination and paint a picture in our minds. With such language, we need to pay particular attention to numbers and periods of time. They often have symbolic meanings that must be deduced from the evidence. For example:
3 is the number of God.
12 is the number of God’s people.
10 is the number of completeness.
7 is the number of perfection.
8 is the number of renewal.
These numbers are often combined to create additional symbols. 144,000 for example is 12 times 12 times 10 to the 3rd power, and is used to denote ALL of God's people. Another combination gives us 666 -- what is 666?
First, we need to be careful with symbolic numbers, because numbers can be made to symbolize anything if one is willing to work hard enough. For example, let A = 100, B = 101, C = 102, etc. and note that 107 (H) + 108 (I) + 119 (T) + 111 (L) + 104 (E) + 117 (R) = 666! But if we apply a meaning to 666 that would have meant nothing to Revelation's first century audience, then we can be almost certain that we have attached the wrong meaning to the symbol.
What then does 666 mean? Revelation 13:18 tells us that 666 is the number of the beast, a human number. What does that mean? The number 7 means perfection and completeness. The number 6 depicts something that has fallen hopelessly short of perfection. Man was created on the sixth day and he fell from perfection. The number 3 is the number of divinity (the Godhead are three.) Thus three sixes depict something that has fallen hopelessly short of divine perfection. Does that figure accurately portray the terrible beast described in Revelation 13? Yes! That beast represents the false perverted religious side of Rome. God is 777! Rome is 666!"
Misconceptions About the Church
The church is a product of the Restoration Movement. Wrong. The church predates the Restoration Movement.
The church is a product of the Reformation Movement. Wrong. The church predates the Reformation Movement.
Constantine was a great champion of the church. Wrong. The church was better off when Rome was its enemy.
There are many churches. Wrong. There is one church and only one church.
The name of “our” church is “Church of Christ.” Wrong. It is not our church, and “church of Christ” is its description.
The church is a man-made organization. Wrong. The church was established by God.
The church is a building. Wrong. Christians are the dwelling place of God.
Denominations are part of God’s plan for the church. Wrong. Denominations have never been part of God’s plan for the church.
The church was an accident. Wrong. The church has always been part of God’s plan.
The church is something that you can join. Wrong. We are added to the church by God when we are saved.
Belonging to a church is optional for a Christian. Wrong. If you are not in the church, then you are not a Christian. ￼￼￼￼
Love is Patient (William Barclay)
Love is patient. The Greek word (makrothumein) used in the New Testament always describes patience with people and not patience with circumstances. The fourth-century Church father John Chrysostom said that it is the word used of those who are wronged and who have it easily in their power to avenge themselves and yet who will not do it. It describes people who are slow to anger, and it is used of God himself in his relationship with men and women. In our dealings with others, however difﬁcult and however unkind and hurting they are, we must exercise the same patience as God exercises with us. Such patience is not the sign of weakness but the sign of strength; it is not defeatism but rather the only way to victory. The American Baptist Harry Emerson Fosdick points out that no one treated the President, Abraham Lincoln, with more contempt than did his secretary for war, Edwin Stanton. He called him ‘a low cunning clown’, he nicknamed him ‘the original gorilla’ and said that the traveller and explorer Paul Du Chaillu was a fool to wander about Africa trying to capture a gorilla when he could have found one so easily at Springﬁeld, Illinois. Lincoln said nothing. He made Stanton his war minister because he was the best man for the job, and he treated him with every courtesy. The years wore on. The night came when the assassin’s bullet murdered Lincoln in the theatre. In the little room to which the President’s body was taken stood that same Stanton, and, looking down on Lincoln’s silent face, he said through his tears: ‘There lies the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen.’ The patience of love had conquered in the end.
State of the Bible 2012 | Fox News
State of the Bible 2012 | Fox News: "The good news about the Good Book is that it's still the No. 1 seller of all time, with an estimated 6 billion copies sold.
The not-so-good news though, according to a new survey by The American Bible Society, is that it's lost a bit of its prominence in affecting people's lives.
The "State of the Bible 2012" looked at the trends surrounding the most influential book of Western civilization. The survey found that while 82 percent of Americans revere the Bible as sacred literature, that number is down slightly from a year ago when 86 percent thought so.
And when asked whether The Bible contains "everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life," 69 percent agreed either strongly or somewhat. That number was down also from the previous year, when 75 percent responded the same way."
ThyWordIsTruth.com - Preach the Word! - Chapter 8: "Sermon preparation is to the preacher what meal preparation is to the homemaker – no sooner is one prepared and served than it is all to do over again. How old it gets. How can I prepare something fresh? Something that they will like? Something that will provide a balanced diet? How can essential but distasteful dietary elements be palatably prepared but still retain essential vitamins and minerals? Fortunately for the homemaker, there are recipe books and meal planning aids that enable her to keep attractive and nutritious meals on the table and still keep the house clean and run the family taxi. But what does the preacher do? A sermon outline book provides skeletal information and organization for themes selected by someone else for other people and other occasions. Commentaries provide more than skeletal information, but it is neither organized for a sermon nor adapted to a specific audience. How can the preacher prepare two sermons week after week, month after month, year after year, and maintain his congregation’s appetite and spiritual health?
While there are many aspects of sermon preparation that vary from preacher to preacher and even from sermon to sermon, there is one immutable rule – a price must be paid; the preacher must be dedicated to the task. It must be his first priority. The sculpting of the sermon is the work of an artist. All preachers can dream of great sermons; it requires love’s labor to make that dream come true. The preacher must constantly keep the sermon seed in his mind, water it, weed it, nourish it, sweat over it until the wording is precise and persuasive, and then get it in his mind (harvest it) for preaching. There are no shortcuts. There are no substitutes. The price must be paid. The only question is whether the preacher will pay it in preparation or the congregation will pay it in listening." More...
God and Politics
ThyWordIsTruth.com - Questions Class - Lesson 22: "A. Religion plays a central role in modern politics. If you don't believe it, just listen to the politicians.
1. Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992 on what he called a "New Covenant" platform. In the reelection year of 1996, Clinton spoke about Christ in nine different statements.
2. George Bush has referred to America as the "light of the world" that the "darkness" (our national enemies) cannot extinguish. During the campaign, he said that Jesus was his "favorite political philosopher. " During his State of the Union address, he said "there's power, wonder working power" in the American people.
3. Politicians in both parties campaign in churches and actively court the so-called religious vote.
B. Our question today is not whether politicians should be involved in religion (as if we could stop them) , but rather whether religion should be involved in politics.
1. What role, if any, should the church play in politics?
a) Some religious groups, for example, regularly turn their pulpits over to candidates.
b) They have July 4th celebrations as part of their worship in which they freely mix the cross and the flag.
2. What role, if any, should individual Christians play in politics?
a) Should we vote? Should we campaign? What attitude should we have toward the political system?
b) Historically, the Lord's church has not been actively involved in the political process.
(1) Is that the correct approach or should we be following the denominational approach? (I hope you know the answer to that question!)
(2) Or perhaps we should heed the warning: "When religious leaders enter into electoral politics, it is more likely that religion will be debased than that politics will be elevated."" More...
ThyWordIsTruth.com - Questions Class - Lesson 7: "Legalized gambling hurts the poor, who are three to seven times more likely to bet on the lottery than the rich. A lottery is a regressive tax that soaks the poor of money they can ill afford to lose. One study estimated that the lottery was equivalent to a 60% to 90% tax on lower income groups. In Maryland, the poorest one third buy half the lottery tickets. A lottery winner takes food off the table of 1000’s of poor people. That is where the money comes from. The state may tell you that the money goes to education, but even if that were true it would not justify this state sponsored evil. And what does the lottery really do for our children when it takes food off the table of our poorest residents? Whatever you do, don’t fall for the lie that the politicians care about our children when those politicians set up a state lottery! What is wrong with gambling? Here are 15 reasons why you should not gamble. (See the article for the complete list.)"
Fun Morality Enters the Church
In a 1958 essay called "The Emergence of Fun Morality," social scientist Martha Wolfenstein called attention to signs of a new morality displacing traditional concerns with doing the right thing. The advent of fun morality—and the cultural institutions and artifacts that enabled it—soon meant that not having fun was an occasion for anxiety. As Dr. Wolfenstein observed: "Whereas gratification of forbidden impulses traditionally aroused guilt, failure to have fun now lowers one's self-esteem." As this moral inversion has gathered momentum, cultural institutions previously unconcerned with promoting fun gradually succumbed to the assumption that unless they could be entertaining, they would be left in the dust. By the time of the last two or three decades of the twentieth century, numerous cultural institutions—once committed to being sources of moral meaning, definition, and authority—had surrendered. Political candidates felt compelled to appear on Saturday Night Live and on jokey talk shows. University professors emulated stand-up comics. Many clergy supervised the overhaul of worship services to make them more like variety shows. Art museums (and many artists) outdid one another in seeking to make art fun. Journalism—first on TV, then in print—traded depth and moral seriousness for flashy superficiality. The idea of cultural authority and the sorts of limits and disciplines it would promote capitulated to the claim that all of life is market-driven, a claim that makes sense in a purpose-free cosmos.
Myers, Ken (2012-02-29). All God's Children & Blue Suede Shoes (Kindle Locations 194-195). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.
Dying Before Baptism?
Apologetics Press - Dying Before Baptism?: "The New Testament clearly states that water baptism is necessary for salvation. But one of the most frequently used arguments against the necessity of baptism for salvation is the idea that “God would not do that.” The question is asked, “What if a sincere believing person is on his way to be baptized and dies right before he gets to the water? Are you telling me that God would send that person to hell just because he did not make it to the water?” At first glance, this argument may seem legitimate. Upon further investigation, however, it is easy to see that it is simply a play on emotions, and in no way disproves the necessity of baptism for salvation.
The “God-would-not-do-that” argument can be used against almost any commandment in the Bible. For instance, the Bible repeatedly says that a person must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 10:11; John 8:24; et al.). Suppose, then, that a Christian had just begun to tell the story of Jesus to an older gentleman, when suddenly that gentleman has a massive heart attack and dies without getting to hear the rest of the story, and thus did not have the opportunity to believe. Should we, therefore, do away with the biblical command to believe in Jesus Christ, simply because a theoretical scenario can be concocted in which a potential convert dies moments before his compliance? To ask is to answer. Nor, with a wave of the hand, can we do away with the biblical command to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38)."
THE 23rd CHANNEL
THE 23rd CHANNEL
The TV is my shepherd, I shall
It makes me to lie down on the
It leads me away from the scriptures.
It destroys my soul.
It leads me in the path of sex
and violence for the sponsor's
Yea, though I walk in the shadow
of my Christian responsibilities,
There will be no interruptions;
for the TV is with me.
It's cable and it's remote control,
they comfort me.
It prepares a commercial before
me in the presence of my
It anoints my head with humanism.
My coveting runneth over.
Surely laziness and ignorance
shall follow me all the days
of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house
watching TV "forever".
Destroy all churches - Washington Times
EDITORIAL: Destroy all churches - Washington Times: "If the pope called for the destruction of all the mosques in Europe, the uproar would be cataclysmic. Pundits would lambaste the church, the White House would rush out a statement of deep concern, and rioters in the Middle East would kill each other in their grief. But when the most influential leader in the Muslim world issues a fatwa to destroy Christian churches, the silence is deafening."
Wise Words from the Spiritual Sword (July 2007)
We need sermons on conversion and the cases of conversion recorded in the book of Acts. We need sermons on what to do to be saved and to stay saved. We need to hear what God's word says about grace, faith, obedience, and baptism (what, who, and why). We need sermons on the church, the establishment of the church, the identity of the church, the organization and government of the church, and the worship and work of the church. We need preaching on prayer, the Lord's Supper, giving, and singing. We need preaching that sets forth the biblical principles of why we do not use instrumental music in worship. We have teenagers in every congregation across the land, as well as people in their twenties, thirties, and older, who have never heard these matters discussed, either in the classroom or from the pulpit. Then we wonder why we have members who question the necessity of baptism, think the church is just another denomination, have no scruples against observing the Lord's Supper on Saturday evening, and do not understand why instrumental music in worship is to be rejected. The seriousness of this situation is compounded by the fact that we now have men serving as elders who have never been taught these fundamental, doctrinal truths of apostolic Christianity and who are now leading (or permitting others to lead) the congregations over which they serve as bishops into apostasy. Do they think God will excuse them for their ignorance and passivity with reference to these m a tiers? Do preachers who fail to teach the truth on these matters not fear God? On one occasion Jesus spoke of "a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock" (Lk. 6:48). That is precisely what preachers, elders, and all Christians need to be doing today—digging deep and building on the bedrock, fundamental truths of the doctrine of Christ. What utterly tragic consequences occur when we do otherwise!
The Gospel According to Seinfeld
Fixing the Indemnity - Reformation21 Blog: "These performers have adopted the style of the American stand up comic. The swaggering up and down; the conversational banter; the faux outrage; the mocking cynicism about anybody who might value decency and order as traditionally conceived; the studiedly slovenly dress style; the portentous pauses while waiting for a laugh; the ugly profanity; and, in some well-known cases, a preoccupation with talking about sex. All of this is, I am told, standard fare among the professionally controversial comics. And, of course, their audiences/congregations respond in similar kind, coming in on cue with mocking laughter; whistles; whoops and calls. This is not plain preaching as Perkins, Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones would have understood it."
If one repents is he saved by grace or by works?
ThyWordIsTruth receives many emails excoriating it for teaching that baptism for the remission of sins is essential to being saved. The reason given is always a variation of the contention that salvation by grace excludes any act on the part of man. This is the first time that one has contended that repentance cannot occur before salvation because it would then be a forbidden “work.” Even if it were only five seconds before salvation, it is asserted that that would be five seconds when the penitent would not be depending upon Jesus for his salvation.
The writer is forced to this position by another false doctrine – Calvinism. Calvinism asserts that before a man is saved he can do nothing good in the sight of God; he is totally depraved having inherited the guilt of Adam’s sin. If he loves his wife and children, pays his bills, speaks the truth, and is a good neighbor and citizen, his acts are evil because he can do nothing good. He remains in this depraved state until the Holy Spirit “calls” him and gives him faith, at which time he is saved. Salvation, Calvinists contend, is wholly an act of God and man not only need not do anything to be saved, he cannot do anything to be saved. Since repentance is an act of man, Calvinists are forced to the position that repentance cannot precede salvation.
Calvinism is both unscriptural and anti-scriptural. It contradicts everything that God reveals about Himself in His word. For example, Jesus invited ALL who labor and are heavy laden to come to him for rest (Matt. 11:28). God is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance (2 Pet. 2:39). Yet Calvinists believe and teach that the non-elect cannot come to Jesus under any circumstances and that God is not only willing for the non-elect to perish; He destined them from creation to spend eternity in a hell prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). This doctrine leads to another doctrine that is surely blasphemous -- the doctrine of the limited atonement. This doctrine contends that Jesus did not die for all (But see 2 Cor. 5:14), but only for the elect. The non-elect can never benefit from the cross. Is this what the Scripture teaches? Read John 3:15-16; 4:14; 11:26; 12:46-47; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:11-17. "Whosoever" (not just the elect) is included in the call over and over. God is truly not willing that any should perish! Some Calvinists, seeking to avoid such an ungodly doctrine contend that the atonement was in fact for all, but the non-elect just cannot take advantage of it. This weak argument reminds of the old saying, "There is more than one way to skin a cat." That my be true, but the end result is the same for the cat! In the same manner, the modification of the doctrine of limited atonement makes no difference to the non-elect. They are still condemned to a Devil's hell! The truth is that the doctrine makes God responsible for the lost non-elect. Could an omnipotent God not have predestined ALL to salvation? If He could have but did not, the only logical conclusion that He is responsible.
There is one more guise to avoid the many ways in which Calvinism contradicts scripture. In his three volumes on Great Doctrines of the Bible, Martyn Lloyd-Jones begins a section on the works of God by admitting that there are things that sound contradictory to that which God revealed about Himself in Scripture. His solution was to say that they were not contradictory because the word of God cannot contradict itself anymore than God can contradict His nature. He suggested that the problem was that we just did not and could not understand the whole nature of God. What man can understand is when two things are contradictory, such as A cannot both exist and not exist at the same time in the same place. If, as he says, God cannot contradict himself, and if his Calvinistic conclusions are logically contradictory, he and his readers would be better served by reexamining his premises and giving up Calvinism. This would also be the better course for our writer.
Trying to evade a position that is illogical and unbiblical, the writer proclaimed that repentance and salvation occurred simultaneously. He cited Eph. 2:8-9 as authority for his position even though the passage does not mention repentance. Again citing no authority, he argues that since one is saved by grace, repentance becomes a “work” in the sense that Paul used the term in the passage.
What does “works” mean in relation to salvation as Paul uses the term here and elsewhere? For Paul such “works” were a means of self-righteousness. The “works” in view sprang from man’s arrogant striving after self-righteousness, that is, man’s believing that he can save himself. Anyone who believes that he can save himself is eternally doomed. Eph. 2:8-9 is clear on that fact. God is the One who saves. The salvation he provides is based on pure grace because, other than the God-man, not one person is perfect. Perfection is the only way to be saved by "works" because one who never sins needs neither a Savior nor a sacrifice. By grace motivated by love God through Jesus Christ provided both a Savior and a sacrifice for the sins of mankind (John 1:17).
If man must do something (obey a command of God) to receive that salvation is he saving himself? The Calvinist’s doctrine forces him say yes. Man is totally depraved until God calls him. (Incidentally, babies are born in the same condition, according to the Calvinist.) At the moment God calls him, a call he cannot refuse, he is then and there at that moment one who trusts in Jesus for his salvation. Salvation is forced upon him by an act of God. One of the logical conclusions from that doctrine is that prior to that saving moment man can’t repent because that would be obedience to a command of God which would be a good act. But for the Calvinist, a good act before God’s saving call is impossible. Recognizing that he has to work repentance in somewhere, our writer makes it simultaneous with God’s irresistible call. He doesn’t tell us if the repentance is forced upon the called one at the same time his salvation is forced upon him, even though their doctrine logically demands it.
The opinion that underlies the position that one is not required to repent before salvation is based on the assumption that such prior repentance would be a “work” and is thus prohibited. That conclusion further has to assume that it is the time of repentance that renders it a work and not the act of repentance. If that assumption is not true, and it is the act of repentance that renders it a forbidden work, then repentance is of necessity a "work" whether it is prior to, simultaneously with, or some time after salvation. The logical conclusion from that assumption is that man can never scripturally be asked, told, or commanded to repent because no man can ever scripturally be asked, told, or commanded to do a work that earns salvation. What does the Bible teach about repentance?
The Bible teaches that repentance precedes salvation. On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), the hearers who had been pricked in their hearts cried out asking “What must we do?” They were obviously inquiring about what they had to do to be saved. Hear Peter’s answer. “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (v. 38). Peter’s first word in response was “repent.” He continued, “. . .and be baptized. . .for the remission of sins.” Salvation is forgiveness of sins. Both repentance and baptism came before forgiveness of sins. Therefore, repentance and baptism came before salvation. Inspired Peter apparently did not know that repentance and baptism prior to salvation were forbidden works. Jesus through Peter commanded repentance prior to salvation. If repentance is ever a forbidden work, why did God command it (Acts 17:30)? Why did Jesus, the basis of grace and the source of salvation, say, “ 3) No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4) Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5) No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
For a further discussion of the relationship between grace, faith, and baptism, listen to the sermon on this website entitled
Truth vs. Desire
ThyWordIsTruth.com - First Corinthians - Lesson 8: "Commentators differ on whether the Corinthians were arrogant in spite of what was going on -- or because of what was going on. Was the problem simply their tolerance, or had the incestuous couple become a cause celebre of the Corinthians' new freedom in Christ? Was it simply tolerance or had they tried to give a theological basis for the sin so as to condone it?
Today, for example, we have the issue of marriage and divorce and remarriage, which Paul will consider in detail in Chapter 7. Jesus' commands in this area are impossible to misunderstand, and yet there is much controversy in this area. Why? There is controversy because of the never ending battle between truth and desire. Every person faces a choice: either we will conform our desires to the truth, or we will conform the truth to our desires. It is this latter path that leads us to controversy over the plain language of Scripture.
There is no better example than the homosexual agenda today and the impact it has had on the denominational world. Denominations have moved from toleration of homosexuality to openly embracing it by ordaining active homosexuals as priests, preachers, and bishops. Is that a result of conforming desire to truth or truth to desire?
But that controversy will never exist in the Lord's church, right? We should pray so, but history is not on our side. Who would have thought 30 years ago that we would be facing the problems we are today?"
Medical "Ethics" for a Brave New World
Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say - Telegraph: "Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.
A group of ethicists has argued that killing young babies is no different from abortion. The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born."
A Cogent Observation by C. S. Lewis
Novelty, simply as such, can have only an entertainment value. And they don't go to church to be entertained. ...The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God. But every novelty prevents this. It fixes our attention on the service itself; and thinking about worship is a different thing from worshipping. ... ... Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the [speaker]. You know what I mean. Try as one may to exclude it, the question "What on earth is he up to now?" will intrude. It lays one's devotion waste. There is really some excuse for the man who said, "I wish they'd remember that the charge to Peter was 'Feed my sheep, not experiment on my rats, or even, Teach my performing dogs new tricks.'" (From Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer)
It does make a difference...
…what we sing. This article recently appeared in The Apologetics Press. It emphasizes the problems we have with songs used in worship if what they say is not carefully considered.
The original may be seen at http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=937&topic=83.
It is sad that congregations continue singing songs that are clearly unscriptural. Take "Lamb of God" for instance. It declares that the Roman soldiers "sacrificed" the Lamb of God. The argument is made that the song is scriptural because "sacrifice" just means "murdered." "Sacrifice" in this context always involves a death, but the fact of a death, especially a voluntary death as in the case of Christ, neither makes "sacrifice" mean "murder" nor "murder" mean "sacrifice." In fact, when one admits that to sing the song "sacrifice" must be understood as "murder" he has admitted that "sacrifice" as used in the song cannot be used. Of course, the song is still sung with "sacrifice." Those who sit around and observe can't read minds and probably assume that one who uses "sacrifice" while singing understands what "sacrifice" means and uses it in its well-understoond Biblical use. How could they do otherwise, especially when it is a song about Jesus death? The argument is no different from that a denominational preacher made against the essentiality of baptism for salvation. In a radio sermon he said, "If you just read Acts 2:38 you would think that baptism is essential to salvation. But now let me tell you what it really means." That is no different from saying, "If you just sing or read that the Romans soldiers sacrificed the Lamb of God, you would think that they offered Jesus as a sacrifice for the sins of the people, but now let me tell you what it really means." One who so argues has no logical or reasonable response to the denominational preacher's argument on baptism. both arguments have identical structure. The only difference is that one addresses the purpose of baptism and the other addresses who offered the sacrifice on Calvary. Can "sacrifice" in "Lamb of God" refer to anything other than the offering of Christ as a sacrifice when it is often sung immediately before participating in the Lord's Supper in which we thank God for the sacrifice of his Son? Somehow I imagine that if the song used "murder" we would not sing it at all. It is not Jesus' murder, but Jesus' voluntary sacrifice that is memorialized around the Lord's Table.
In his commentary on John 10:18, Lenski wrote:
18) Voluntary in the highest degree is the act of Jesus in laying down his life and, therefore, it merits the Father’s love in an equal degree. No one takes it from me, on the contrary, I myself lay it down of myself. We need not trouble about the reading with the aorist ἦρεν: “no one took it,” etc., R. V. margin, as this lacks both sufficient authority and harmony with the thought. “No one” has no reference to the Father but only to hostile powers. His enemies will, indeed, crucify Jesus, and it will seem as if they take his life from him; but this is not the fact. The very contrary is true: it is Jesus himself who of himself by a free volition of his own yields himself to their hands (18:4–11 and Matt. 26:52–54; 19:28–30 and Luke 23:46). Jesus makes this so emphatic, first for his believers, that they may remember it when the time comes; secondly, for the Jews who are so anxious to kill him, that they, too, may remember when the time comes. Both are then to recall that by his voluntary death Jesus wins the supreme love of his Father.
But this emphatic statement calls for further elucidation. Did not Jesus say in 5:19 that the Son is able to do nothing “of himself,” ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ? How, then, can he now say that he lays down his life “of himself,” ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ? Here is the answer: Power have I to lay it down, and power have I to take it up again. This commission I received from my Father. Both are true: first, that Jesus can do nothing of himself, i.e., without the Father or contrary to the Father; secondly, that he can of himself give his life, i.e., as a free and voluntary act carried out by him alone. In the loving behest with which he sent his Son on his redemptive mission the Father himself gave him right, authority, and power to follow his own will. No one English word has the exact meaning of ἐξουσία here used in diverse connections; hence the difference in translation, which seeks to keep the same word for the two connections. “Power” fits well for taking up the life but not well for laying down the life; “right” or “authority” fit the dying but hardly the rising. What Jesus means is entirely plain: he is free to do both, lay down and take up his life again. Note that ἐξουσία is derived from ἔξεστι, which means “it is free”; and thus the noun shades from the idea of the right and authority to act to that of the power to act. While Jesus uses two parallel statements to express his thought, it would be a mistake for us to separate them in our minds by speaking of his liberty to do the one act and yet not the other. No such choice presents itself to his will as to lay down his life and not take it up again; but only to lay it down in order to take it up again (v. 17), or to do neither. In these matters it is idle to raise hypothetical questions, and it is worse to raise them while splitting normal units by abstractions.
Jesus must go one step farther and state how he comes to use his ἐξουσία as he does, how he makes the choice, instead of keeping his life to lay it down in order to take it up again. This is due to the “commission” he has received and accepted from his Father. The ἐξουσία resides in Jesus himself as God’s Son—no one could compel him to lay down his life. The Father, of course, would be the last to think of such compulsion. If Jesus, then, lays down his life in order to take it up again, i.e., to go through the bitterness of death in our stead, it is, and in the very nature of the case can be, only by his own free volition. But something induces him to use his free volition in this way. We might say that it is his love for us, his desire to save the world. His motive is far higher. It is one which is so high that it includes anything he might say regarding his love for us. He decides as he does because he desires to please his Father. He and his Father are one in their will to save the world. Thus the Father gave him this ἐντολή to lay down his life and to take it up again in order to redeem us, and Jesus accepted it from his Father. By pointing to his taking this commission from his Father, Jesus reveals to us his deepest or, let us say, his highest, motive.
The translation “command” may mislead. Commands are peremptory, issued by a superior to a subordinate. Commands are compulsory and shut out free volition. No command of that kind prompts the act of Jesus. Such a command would rob his act of the very thing that makes it so pleasing to his Father (Eph. 5:2). Nor is this ἐντολή a moral obligation and a “command” in this sense, something that Jesus ought to do, as we ought to obey the Decalog and, failing which, he would in some way be morally remiss. Jesus is under no moral pressure whatever, either in the matter of passing through death for us, or in the first place accepting his Father’s commission. He was just as free to decline as to accept. This ἐντολή is a commission which the Father requests the Son to assume and which he freely assumes because he and his Father are one in their desire to save the world. When offering this commission to his Son the Father appeals to love; by accepting that commission the Son responds with his love. Both the offer and the acceptance lie on the highest possible plane. And now we know how Jesus became our Good Shepherd by giving his live for us, and what it is that makes him such a shepherd. We have looked into both his heart and into that of his Father.
Jesus is very clear about who offered the sacrifice on Calvary. All that happened that day was voluntary. Jesus laid down his own life, offering himself as a sacrifice. Truly it was by wicked hands that he was crucified and slain, but the Roman Soldiers offered no sacrifice that day.