Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2013

coat hanger argument

On the one hand, a favorite argument for abortion goes something  like this:

History shows that women have always tried to terminate unwanted pregnancies. When safe medical procedures are banned by law, they have resorted to dangerous–sometimes deadly–“back-alley” abortions.

(socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_06_Abortion.shtml)

And:

Those who push for more restrictions on abortion access – really, those who push for abortion to be made illegal – seem unwilling to acknowledge the disastrous alternatives.

Women would be left injured, ill, sterile, or dead.

Then on the other hand there’s the horrific news about the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s horrific murder of babies and mothers.

Kermit Gosnell abortion

For those who can stomach it, you can read the 281 page Grand Jury report in PDF form HERE and it literally comes with this warning: “Warning: This Grand Jury Report is very explicit. Read at your own risk.”  One thing is clear: Readers will notice that Kermit Gosnell’s abortion business is the epitome of the back alley styled dangerous abortionists that advocates of legalized abortion like to invoke to defend their position.

Pro-abortionists talk about how legalized abortion means safer abortion.  Yet their response to regulations is not often favorable, since advocates commit the slippery slope fallacious argument that regulations would infringe on the rights to abortion when clinics are shut down for failing health and sanitary standards by officials.  But is abortion to be allowed and legalized…at any cost?  Would we legalized coat hanger back alley abortions?  Should regulators do their job?  And where’s the officials regulating Kermit Gosnell?

According to the Washington Post,

This nightmare facility had not been inspected in 17 years – other than by someone from the National Abortion Federation, whom he actually invited there. For whatever reason, Gosnell applied for NAF membership two days after the death of the 41-year-old Nepalese woman, Karnamaya Mongar. Even on a day when the place had been scrubbed and spiffed up for the visit, the NAF investigator found it disgusting and rejected Gosnell’s application for membership. But despite noting many outright illegalities, including a padlocked emergency exit in a part of the clinic where women were left alone overnight, the grand jury report notes that the NAF inspector did not report any of these violations to authorities.”

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/04/15/why-kermit-gosnell-hasnt-been-on-page-one/)

The irony of all of this is that in order to make sure women do not resort to dangerous “unsanitary,” back alley coat hanger style abortions, authorities and medical officials have to look the other way so as not to close down abortion clinics with the result that this unregulated medical environment foster the very thing the pro-abortionist say we need to prevent: dangerous unsanitary shady and murderous abortion centers.

History tells us that any time any industry or line of work that foster a culture of looking the other way, it only makes things worst:  Crooked cops now become the gangsters, soldiers now become the terrorists and the abortionists becomes…well, still the abortionists.  But now as one who operates in an unsanitary murderous house of horror.

Kermit Gosnell is the coat hanger argument against the rhetorics of current pro-abortion advocates, the abortion industry, their governmental regulators looking the other way, our Federal government and the nation as a whole.

I pray the Lord has mercy, for our nation as a whole to repent, turn to Jesus as Lord and Saviorf, and end this abortion holocaust.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Live Action Lila Rose

When I was in college, people started talking about this incoming freshman that was going to change the pro-life club on campus.  Little did I know that semester that Lila Rose would go on that year to be threatened by Planned Parenthood with a lawsuit (I don’t think it happened) and rise to be an important figure in the pro-life movement by challenging Planned Parenthood.

Today her organization, Live Action, has released another undercover video.

May the Lord wake up our national conscience to this terrible wickedness.

Read Full Post »

50

Please see this free ebook concerning the reasons why Jesus came to die.  May this book be useful for your preaching of God’s Word.

“Fifty Reasons” eBook – Free in Eight Languages

Read Full Post »

preaching-front__64939.1295647141.1280.1280

Do you sense that your preaching has no depth, light, heat, fire, or glow that is being emitted from the pulpit?  Are you boring your audience to death?  You may present a well-intended and accurate exposition, which is the light, but is passion, which is the heat, missing?  If so, it maybe wise to take heed to Professor John Murray’s statement, “To me, preaching without passion is not preaching at all.”  J.W. Alexander statement is of help too.  Here is what he says, “The whole mass of truth, by the sudden passion of the speaker, is made red-hot and burns its way.  Passion is eloquence.”  If these statements are germane to your current situation in the area of preaching, I recommend that you read this book.  And if you are not experiencing a lack of light and heat, I still recommend this book because it is wonderfully refreshing to the soul of a preacher.

The author’s main theme in this book is in regards to “The Immediate Agency and Operations of the Holy Spirit in and on the Preacher in the Act of Preaching.”  It seems to be a long title and theme that Pastor Martin refers to often in this book.  For example, he stated: “I will seek to demonstrate that His agency (His active power) and His operations (the effects of that power) are direct and immediate in and on the preacher in the act of preaching, in contrast to those operations that come through intervening agencies.”  What he has just described is what he calls the bull’s eye topic that he seeks to unravel for the readers.

Before he gets into the details of explaining the theme or the bull’s-eye topic, Pastor Martin provides some helpful presuppositions to consider in regards to the Holy Spirit.  First the Holy Spirit is a person.  Whether it be His gifts or functions, we must always remember that they are operations of a person, not a force.   Second, the Holy Spirit is a divine person.  As the pastor so clearly states, “All that constitutes the essence of the Father’s deity and the Son’s deity can and must be equally attributed to the person of the Holy Spirit.  Hence, all the reverence, all the submission, and all the love that flows out of Spirit-renewed hearts to the Father and to the Son must also constantly flow out to this glorious divine person called the Holy Spirit.”  Third, the Holy Spirit is not only a divine person, but He is sovereign.  He possesses supreme and ultimate authority when it comes to regeneration and the dispensing of spiritual gifts.

In light of the presuppositions concerning the Holy Spirit, the writer devotes much of his material under three main headings: “1) its indispensable necessity, 2) its specific manifestations, and 3) its restrained or diminished measure.”

I will not go into details concerning the book’s details regarding this topic, but what I can tell you is that in his first main heading: “its indispensable necessity,” the writer argues that Spirit’s role is an indispensable necessity in preaching because just as how He was involved in Christ’s ministry (Luke 2:52; Isa. 61:1; Luke 3:21-22; Luke 4:1-2; Luke 4:14; Heb. 9:14), the apostles’ ministry (Acts 1:3; Luke 24:45-48; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:7-8; 1 Thess. 1:5), and the New Covenant ministry (2 Corinthians 2:14-4:18; 3:1-8; 3:5-6; Romans 8:26), He too is involved in our preaching.

Much more can be said about this book, but I will quote an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s book, Lectures to My Students, and a few exhortations from Pastor Martin in terms of what they have to say concerning the indispensability of the Spirit’s agency and operations that is in connection to the preaching ministry invested to the preacher by God.  Here are the wise sayings from a godly experienced pastor:

To us, as ministers, the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.  Without him our office is a mere name.  We claim no priesthood over and above that which belongs to every child of God; but we are the successors of those who, in olden times, were moved of God to declare his word, to testify against transgression, and to plead his cause.  Unless we have the spirit of the prophets resting upon us, the mantle which we wear is nothing but a rough garment to deceive.  We ought  to be driven forth with abhorrence from the society of honest men for daring to speak in the name of the Lord if the Spirit of God rests not upon us.  We believe ourselves to be spokesmen for Jesus Christ, appointed to continue his witness upon earth; but upon him and his testimony of the Spirit of God always rested, and if it does not rest upon us, we are evidently not sent forth into the world as he was.  At Pentecost the commencement of the great work of converting the world was with flaming tongues and a rushing mighty wind, symbols of the presence of the Spirit; if, therefore, we think to succeed without the Spirit, we are not after the Pentecostal order.  If we have not the Spirit which Jesus promised, we cannot perform the commission which Jesus gave.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2008), 255.

Now a word of discernment must be made.  In light of this quote, I believe what Spurgeon said about the flaming tongues should be perceived as an element that is giving the presentation of what took place and how the Spirit operated, not a model to follow because flaming tongues have ceased for today.  But that is beyond the scope for this post and that is a topic for another day. But what we can extract from Spurgeon’s statement  is that the indispensable necessity of the Holy Spirit’s operation back then in the lives of believers also operate in preaching for the sake of God’s glory and one’s edification.  Without Him, preaching will have no life.

As for Pastor Martin soul-stirring exhortations concerning the immediate agency and operation of the Holy Spirit in our preaching that gives a heightened sense of the spiritual realities, please take note of them below.  I pray that they will be helpful to you:

  • “But in the act of preaching it is as though you are given the ability to smell the brimstone and to hear the hopeless cry of the damned, and your soul feels the horrors of the pit that awaits the impenitent.  You preach the truth of hell as one who senses and feels the reality of what you are preaching.  What are these experiences?  They are nothing other and nothing less than the blessed reality of the immediate agency and operation of the Holy Spirit in our preaching, giving us a heightened sense of the spiritual realities in which we are trafficking as we preach” (20).
  • “One of the results of this blessed experience is that at times it will give an involuntary glow to the very countenance of the preacher.  No actor can produce it.  There is nothing in your notes that says ‘glow here.’  You cannot anticipate it; you cannot force or imitate it.  It may evoke an unplanned and unforced tear in the eye.  At other times it will inject an element of pathos and pleading power into the vocal cords and in many ways take a preacher totally out of himself.  My dear reader, if you are a preacher and do not find these things resonating with you in terms of things you have experienced, both you and your hearers are to be pitted.  This is why George Whitefield said, ‘I would not for one thousand worlds preach an unfelt Christ.’  This is what Whitefield was talking about” (21).

Read Full Post »

American Gospel by Jon Meacham

This is an interesting book on the relationship and influence of religion upon the founding fathers in the political sphere. It is written by a capable author on American history. The author’s thesis is contrary to the opinions of twentieth first century secular humanists and atheists, since he argues that historically there has been a place for religion in the public square. He also balances this view by challenging the views adopted by some Conservative Christians that the United States’ founding fathers were thoroughly Christian or sectarian as it is expressed in the political realm. His view is approximately that of my current stance: No doubt Christianity has been influential in the lives of individuals who were involved with the American independence and the new United States government but there were other ideological influences as well such as the Enlightenment, rational theism, etc. I was eager to read this book to learn more about the non-Christians among our Founding Fathers and to see where they stood theologically. Since my undergraduate studies I have concluded that Benjamin Franklin was not quite the ideal Deists as some propagandists makes him out to be especially concerning the issue of God’s providence. The book reinforces my view when it quoted Franklin saying, “I have lived sir a long time, the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affair of men.” Though he was not a Christian, Franklin was far from being the modern militant secularist today since he wrote, “He that spit against the wind, spit in his own face” against someone who was going to publish a tract against Christianity. Concerning Thomas Jefferson I thought it was ironic that as he was approaching his death Jefferson would comfort himself with the portion of the Gospel of Luke that he edited out of his own Bible version from the Song of Simeon. I also found it intriguing that the No Establishment Clause in the Constitution, seemed to be interpreted contrary to the current interpretation today when we read of instances such as the case of a Jew name Jacob Henry whose attempt to enter into state political office was challenged, indicating that the First Amendment was not invoked or understood historically as implying that there must be a ban against religious test for office at the state level. I also enjoyed reading in the book John Jay boldly stating he believed in Jesus Christ at a party in France before philosophers mocking the faith. Over all a good, informative and captivating read. The title was a bit misleading since it went beyond the founding fathers to talk about the role of public religion in the lives of later presidents such as Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy, Nixon and Ronald Regan. I was surprised to read that Eisenhower would pray in every cabinet meeting. One criticism I did have was the author’s wrongful assumption that the Bible teaches Earth was the center of the universe. While one gets the sense that the author leans more left especially with his treatment of Christian conservatives, nevertheless I think discerning readers who are Christian conservative can learn from this book that yes, there is an influence of Christian heritage among America’s founding fathers. There’s plenty of ammo here against the New Atheists types and Brights concerning the nature of America’s public religion. However, the book rightly points out that the public religion in America’s political landscape is not thoroughly Christian and is quite ecumenical. I believe Christians ought to be careful of ecumenicalism lest it changes and compromises the Christian faith and the Gospel message with this Americanized public religion.

Purchase: Amazon

Read Full Post »

Election

For the first post of this Doctrine of Salvation series, please see the first post: Summary of the Doctrine of Salvation

A good definition can be as follows: God’s sovereign selection of certain sinners for salvation before the foundation of the world that is not based on any human merit.

Before we get into the details concerning the doctrine of election, it is important for us to define some important terms that come up in many discussions concerning this topic. The first word is foreknowledge (prognosis).  Foreknowledge is in regards to a predetermined relationship of certain people before the foundation of the world; and is distinct from mere knowledge and facts.  In Romans 8:29 the use of foreknowledge is linked to predestination and in 1 Peter 1:2, foreknowledge is linked to election.  What is important to note that only twice does the term of foreknowledge in the New Testament is referring to knowledge and facts beforehand (Acts 26:5; 2 Peter 3:17).  The other references to the word foreknowledge signify foreordination and predetermination (Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29; 11:2; 1 Peter 1:2, 20).

Another important term is “predestine” (proorizo).  This term means to determine things beforehand (Acts 4:27-28; Rom. 8:29, 30; Eph. 1:5, 11). According to Reformed theology, the term “predestination” a term that is related to election is not only a term included for believers, but also unbelievers (reprobation).

The next term is election.  The Hebrew term for election is bahar (“elect” or “choose”) and its derivatives occur 198 times in the Old Testament.  With this term, God chooses a people for Himself (Psalm 135:4), certain tribes (Psalm 78:68), specific individuals (1 Kings 8:16; 1 Chron. 28:5).  In the New Testament, the Greek verb  “to elect” is eklegomai and the Greek noun for election is  eklektos, which is found around 22 times.  The primary meanings of those two words refer to salvation, not service.  Let us now move into the categories of election.

The first category is election to service.  Concerning election to service, God chose Moses for leadership (Num. 16:5-7), Eli’s father for priestly functions (1 Sam. 2:28), David’s appointment to be Israel’s king (1 Sam. 10:24), Solomon appointed to be king and to build the temple (1 Chron. 28:4-6; 29:1), Jeremiah appointed for prophetic ministry (Jer. 1:10), Zerubbabel for leadership (Haggai 2:23), the Levitical priesthood for ministry (Deut. 18:5; 21:5); and He chose kings to govern (Deut. 17:15).  Moreover, Jesus chose his apostles and followers to preach the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 3:13-15; John 15:16).  Next category is corporate election.

For corporate election, we can refer to Israel as a primary example.  Deut. 7:6 says, “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”   What is interesting is that Israel was chosen and given the privilege to serve God (1 Kings 3:8; Psalm 132:13); and were chosen not based on their merits, but solely on God’s sovereignty and love (Exod. 32:9; Deut. 4:37; 9:6; 10:15; Psalm 47:4).  On another note, God’s election of the Israel is also irrevocable (Rom. 11:28-29).  Corporate election is not only seen with Israel (not all Israel is saved), but with the church too.  The church is the community that is sovereignly chosen by God to serve Him.  They are called out from the power of sin and called to worship Him.  In 1 Peter 2:9-10, the church is mentioned and the church is described with language language that was used in the Old Testament.  For example, Peter uses, “chosen generation,” “a royal priesthood,” “an holy nation,” “a peculiar people,” and “a people of God” in juxtaposition to the church.  When the church is used in the New Testament regarding election of the church, it is referring to salvation, but when election is used to refer to Israel in the Old Testament, it emphasizes the difference concerning the nation Israel as “chosen, blessed, and commissioned” from the pagan nations that surround Israel.

Besides the corporate election of Israel and the church, there is also personal election that is mentioned in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, God is seen as seeking Adam and Eve after their sin.  He did not destroy them, but he covered them with animal skins (Gen. 3:21).  God also sought Noah because “Noah found favors in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8).  God’s personal election is clearly seen with Abraham.  God chose Abraham to be the father of Israel so that he would bring blessings to all the nations of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3).  In Gen. 18:19, Moses the write notes that Abraham is chosen also so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD; and they are to do that by doing righteousness and justice.  What is fascinating about the word “chosen” (ידע; yada) means “to know.”  So in this context, it paints the picture that God sovereignly chose Abraham for salvation.  Yada is also used in Exodus 33:17 to refer to God knowing Moses.  Yada is used in Isaac Gen. 17:19-21 to refer to God choosing Isaac rather than Ishmael.  It is also used in Psalm 65:4 concerning God to bring people near to Him and is used in Jeremiah 1:5 to refer God’s election of Jeremiah before He was formed.  The idea of personal election is clear in Jeremiah.  God chose Him and knew Him personally and lovingly.

For verses in the New Testament concerning election, please see Matthew 11:25-27; John 5:21; John 6:44; John 13:18; John 15:16a; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; Romans 9:11-13; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:4-6; Ephesians 1:4-6; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2a; and Revelation 13:8.

Another category that needs to be pursued is the concept called “foreknowledge.”  Understanding this term will help one see clearly the doctrine of election.  When it comes to this view, some believe that the word “foreknowledge” means foresight.  Hence, God looks through the corridors of heaven and down into the tunnel of time to see who will believe in His Son.  As a result, it perceives God’s election being conditioned upon whether a person believes or not.  Others see the concept as referring to a predetermined love relationship that has nothing to do whether man believes or not.  Thus, I believe foreknowing means foreloving in this context.

In conclusion, although there are passages where there are occurrences of the word foreknowledge referring to foresight and not forelove, but each verse must be examine the context of each verse and passage to determine what it means.  For example, the use of the word “foreknew” in Romans 11:2 means a predetermined love relationship.  God has not rejected the people whom He chose.  It would be odd if the word foreknew means foresight.  In Acts 2:23 and 1 Peter 1:2, the word “foresight” is best understood in the sense of “forelove.”  Another example would be Romans 8:29, which states an important phrase: “those whom He foreknew.

The word “foreknew” is not a reference simply to foreknowledge.  Hence, it cannot simply be tied directly to God’s omniscience in the sense that from eternity past, He chose some because He knew who would place their faith in Him.  According to Granville Sharp Rule, the word “forelove” equates with predeterminism.  Hence, God, set His love on His people and established an intimate relationship with His elect.

Another thing to take into consideration are the perspectives on the doctrine of election.  Besides the notion that Christ chose His people before the foundation of the world without being condition upon man’s choice, it is important to remember that election in Christ (Eph. 1:3-7), is presented as a comfort (Rom. 8:28-30), is a reason to praise God (Eph. 1:5-6, 12), is an encouragement for evangelism (2 Tim. 2:10); and election is a reason for us to not take it too hard on ourselves when people consistently refuse the Gospel.

Read Full Post »

Carrie L. Lukas Politically Incorrect guide

Purchase: Amazon

This is a good book written by a woman who has concerns with contemporary feminism. No doubt this book’s stance would be controversial. After I finished the book I read some reviews online and I thought some of the critics were rather unfair. For instance, one review I read accused the author of saying women should earn less money then men, that a working woman would be a horrible mom, etc., which reveals more about the lack of attention of detail of the reviewer than the book itself. The author is nuance enough in the book to say that polls and studies show that women sometimes pursue occupational choices based on flexibility over the concern of salary and no where does she say women should earn less money than that of the work of man. A careful reading of the book would indicate that the author realizes that sometimes moms have to work and she gently presses that the public should know about concerns of the correlation of leaving a child in day care with problems. She’s even nuance enough to say that this does not mean day care itself is the root of all children’s problem. Contrary to some feminists whom she quotes that has a hatred for marriage, the author defends that marriage is not necessarily always a bad thing for woman (though of course there can be such a thing as a bad marriage, but it’s not marriage per se that’s bad). Statistics and studies show that married adults are healthier, financially better of, have more emotional satisfying sex and live more satisfying life than those not married. She also debunks popular urban legend that marriage tend to foster domestic abuse on women, since the data indicate most abuse occur in a non-married situation where couples are shacking up. I’m glad that the book argue that divorce should not be taken lightly as some feminists make it to be. I wish the chapter on abortion could have been better written since this chapter’s main focus was for women to have access to information from both camp rather be one-sided in being pro-choice. Worthwhile read.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »