Monthly Archives: October 2008

What happen on October 31, 1517

October 31, 1517, Protestant Reformation began. The Roman Catholic Church distorted the gospel and deceived the people.  The Roman Catholic Church had complete control over many for over 1000 years.  Through his study of the Scriptures, especially Romans, Martin Luther, an Augustinian Monk, became convinced of salvation by grace alone through faith alone and began to see the heresies of the Catholic Church.  He began his public protest by nailing his 95-Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church, which helped start The Reformation.

We recognize it as the beginning of the movement which resulted in the rediscovery of the true gospel (by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone), the reestablishment of the sole authority of Scripture and the reinstatement of the supremacy of the glory of God in all things.

Check out the Ninety-Five Theses, and the video at the end.

The Ninety-Five Theses of Martin Luther from Wittenburg, October 31, 1517

1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent”‘ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.
4. The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
5. The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.
6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or, to be sure, by remitting guilt in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven.
7. God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest.
8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.
9. Therefore the Holy Spirit through the pope is kind to us insofar as the pope in his decrees always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.
10. Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.
11. Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Mt 13:25).
12. In former times canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.
13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties, are already dead as far as the canon laws are concerned, and have a right to be released from them.
14. Imperfect piety or love on the part of the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater the fear.
15. This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, to say nothing of other things, to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.
16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.
17. It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase.
18. Furthermore, it does not seem proved, either by reason or by Scripture, that souls in purgatory are outside the state of merit, that is, unable to grow in love.
19. Nor does it seem proved that souls in purgatory, at least not all of them, are certain and assured of their own salvation, even if we ourselves may be entirely certain of it.
20. Therefore the pope, when he uses the words “plenary remission of all penalties,” does not actually mean “all penalties,” but only those imposed by himself.
21. Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences.
22. As a matter of fact, the pope remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to canon law, they should have paid in this life.
23. If remission of all penalties whatsoever could be granted to anyone at all, certainly it would be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to very few.
24. For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty.
25. That power which the pope has in general over purgatory corresponds to the power which any bishop or curate has in a particular way in his own diocese and parish.
26. The pope does very well when he grants remission to souls in purgatory, not by the power of the keys, which he does not have, but by way of intercession for them.
27. They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.
28. It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone.
29. Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed, since we have exceptions in St. Severinus and St. Paschal, as related in a legend.
30. No one is sure of the integrity of his own contrition, much less of having received plenary remission.
31. The man who actually buys indulgences is as rare as he who is really penitent; indeed, he is exceedingly rare.
32. Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
33. Men must especially be on guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to him.
34. For the graces of indulgences are concerned only with the penalties of sacramental satisfaction established by man.
35. They who teach that contrition is not necessary on the part of those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessional privileges preach unchristian doctrine.
36. Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.
37. Any true Christian, whether living or dead, participates in all the blessings of Christ and the church; and this is granted him by God, even without indulgence letters.
38. Nevertheless, papal remission and blessing are by no means to be disregarded, for they are, as I have said (Thesis 6), the proclamation of the divine remission.
39. It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the bounty of indulgences and the need of true contrition.
40. A Christian who is truly contrite seeks and loves to pay penalties for his sins; the bounty of indulgences, however, relaxes penalties and causes men to hate them — at least it furnishes occasion for hating them.
41. Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love.
42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend that the buying of indulgences should in any way be compared with works of mercy.
43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences.
44. Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better. Man does not, however, become better by means of indulgences but is merely freed from penalties.
45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a needy man and passes him by, yet gives his money for indulgences, does not buy papal indulgences but God’s wrath.
46. Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.
47. Christians are to be taught that they buying of indulgences is a matter of free choice, not commanded.
48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting indulgences, needs and thus desires their devout prayer more than their money.
49. Christians are to be taught that papal indulgences are useful only if they do not put their trust in them, but very harmful if they lose their fear of God because of them.
50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence preachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.
51. Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.
52. It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence letters, even though the indulgence commissary, or even the pope, were to offer his soul as security.
53. They are the enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid altogether the preaching of the Word of God in some churches in order that indulgences may be preached in others.
54. Injury is done to the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or larger amount of time is devoted to indulgences than to the Word.
55. It is certainly the pope’s sentiment that if indulgences, which are a very insignificant thing, are celebrated with one bell, one procession, and one ceremony, then the gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.
56. The true treasures of the church, out of which the pope distributes indulgences, are not sufficiently discussed or known among the people of Christ.
57. That indulgences are not temporal treasures is certainly clear, for many indulgence sellers do not distribute them freely but only gather them.
58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, for, even without the pope, the latter always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outer man.
59. St. Lawrence said that the poor of the church were the treasures of the church, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.
60. Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure.
61. For it is clear that the pope’s power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself.
62. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last (Mt. 20:16).
64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
65. Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets with which one formerly fished for men of wealth.
66. The treasures of indulgences are nets with which one now fishes for the wealth of men.
67. The indulgences which the demagogues acclaim as the greatest graces are actually understood to be such only insofar as they promote gain.
68. They are nevertheless in truth the most insignificant graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross.
69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of papal indulgences with all reverence.
70. But they are much more bound to strain their eyes and ears lest these men preach their own dreams instead of what the pope has commissioned.
71. Let him who speaks against the truth concerning papal indulgences be anathema and accursed.
72. But let him who guards against the lust and license of the indulgence preachers be blessed.
73. Just as the pope justly thunders against those who by any means whatever contrive harm to the sale of indulgences.
74. Much more does he intend to thunder against those who use indulgences as a pretext to contrive harm to holy love and truth.
75. To consider papal indulgences so great that they could absolve a man even if he had done the impossible and had violated the mother of God is madness.
76. We say on the contrary that papal indulgences cannot remove the very least of venial sins as far as guilt is concerned.
77. To say that even St. Peter if he were now pope, could not grant greater graces is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.
78. We say on the contrary that even the present pope, or any pope whatsoever, has greater graces at his disposal, that is, the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written. (1 Co 12[:28])
79. To say that the cross emblazoned with the papal coat of arms, and set up by the indulgence preachers is equal in worth to the cross of Christ is blasphemy.
80. The bishops, curates, and theologians who permit such talk to be spread among the people will have to answer for this.
81. This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult even for learned men to rescue the reverence which is due the pope from slander or from the shrewd questions of the laity.
82. Such as: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and the dire need of the souls that are there if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a church?” The former reason would be most just; the latter is most trivial.
83. Again, “Why are funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continued and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded for them, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”
84. Again, “What is this new piety of God and the pope that for a consideration of money they permit a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God and do not rather, because of the need of that pious and beloved soul, free it for pure love’s sake?”
85. Again, “Why are the penitential canons, long since abrogated and dead in actual fact and through disuse, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences as though they were still alive and in force?”
86. Again, “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is today greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build this one basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?”
87. Again, “What does the pope remit or grant to those who by perfect contrition already have a right to full remission and blessings?”
88. Again, “What greater blessing could come to the church than if the pope were to bestow these remissions and blessings on every believer a hundred times a day, as he now does but once?”
89. “Since the pope seeks the salvation of souls rather than money by his indulgences, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons previously granted when they have equal efficacy?”
90. To repress these very sharp arguments of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to make Christians unhappy.
91. If, therefore, indulgences were preached according to the spirit and intention of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved. Indeed, they would not exist.
92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace! (Jer 6:14)
93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!
94. Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.
95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).

Romans 11:36

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Grace and Peace to you

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Christians and Halloween

Halloween October 31 Halloween.  It’s a time of year when the air gets crisper, the day gets shorter, and for many young Americans the excitement grows in anticipation of the darkest, spookiest holiday of the year.  Retailers rejoice too as they warm up their cash registers to receive an average of $41.77 per household in decorations, costumes, candy, and greeting cards.  Halloween will bring in approximately 3.3 billion dollars this year.

It’s a good bet retailers won’t entertain high expectations of getting $41.77 per household from the Christian market.  Many Christians refuse to participate in Halloween.  Some are wary of its pagan origins; others of its dark, ghoulish imagery; still others are concerned for the safety of their children.  But other Christians choose to partake of the festivities, whether participating in school activities, neighborhood trick-or-treating, or a Halloween alternative at their church.

The question is, How should Christians respond to Halloween?  Is it irresponsible for parents to let their children trick-or-treat?  What about Christians who refuse any kind of celebration during the season–are they overreacting?

The Pagan Origin of Halloween

The name “Halloween” comes from the All Saints Day celebration of the early Christian church, a day set aside for the solemn remembrance of the martyrs.  All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day, began the time of remembrance.  “All Hallows Eve” was eventually contracted to “Hallow-e’en,” which became “Halloween.”

As Christianity moved through Europe it collided with indigenous pagan cultures and confronted established customs.  Pagan holidays and festivals were so entrenched that new converts found them to be a stumbling block to their faith.  To deal with the problem, the organized church would commonly move a distinctively Christian holiday to a spot on the calendar that would directly challenge a pagan holiday.  The intent was to counter pagan influences and provide a Christian alternative.  But most often the church only succeeded in “Christianizing” a pagan ritual–the ritual was still pagan, but mixed with Christian symbolism.  That’s what happened to All Saints Eve–it was the original Halloween alternative!

The Celtic people of Europe and Britain were pagan Druids whose major celebrations were marked by the seasons.  At the end of the year in northern Europe, people made preparations to ensure winter survival by harvesting the crops and culling the herds, slaughtering animals that wouldn’t make it.  Life slowed down as winter brought darkness (shortened days and longer nights), fallow ground, and death.  The imagery of death, symbolized by skeletons, skulls, and the color black, remains prominent in today’s Halloween celebrations.

The pagan Samhain festival (pronounced “sow” “en”) celebrated the final harvest, death, and the onset of winter, for three days–October 31 to November 2.  The Celts believed the curtain dividing the living and the dead lifted during Samhain to allow the spirits of the dead to walk among the living–ghosts haunting the earth.

Some embraced the season of haunting by engaging in occult practices such as divination and communication with the dead.Some embraced the season of haunting by engaging in occult practices such as divination and communication with the dead.  They sought “divine” spirits (demons) and the spirits of their ancestors regarding weather forecasts for the coming year, crop expectations, and even romantic prospects.  Bobbing for apples was one practice the pagans used to divine the spiritual world’s “blessings” on a couple’s romance.

For others the focus on death, occultism, divination, and the thought of spirits returning to haunt the living, fueled ignorant superstitions and fears.  They believed spirits were earthbound until they received a proper sendoff with treats–possessions, wealth, food, and drink.  Spirits who were not suitably “treated” would “trick” those who had neglected them.  The fear of haunting only multiplied if that spirit had been offended during its natural lifetime.

Trick-bent spirits were believed to assume grotesque appearances.  Some traditions developed, which believed wearing a costume to look like a spirit would fool the wandering spirits.  Others believed the spirits could be warded off by carving a grotesque face into a gourd or root vegetable (the Scottish used turnips) and setting a candle inside it–the jack-o-lantern.

Into that dark, superstitious, pagan world, God mercifully shined the light of the gospel.  Newly converted Christians armed themselves with the truth and no longer feared a haunting from departed spirits returning to earth.  In fact, they denounced their former pagan spiritism in accord with Deuteronomy 18:

There shall not be found among you anyone…who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.  For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord (vv. 10-13).

Nonetheless, Christian converts found family and cultural influence hard to withstand; they were tempted to rejoin the pagan festivals, especially Samhain.  Pope Gregory IV reacted to the pagan challenge by moving the celebration of All Saints Day in the ninth century–he set the date at November 1, right in the middle of Samhain.

As the centuries passed, Samhain and All Hallows Eve mixed together.  On the one hand, pagan superstitions gave way to “Christianized” superstitions and provided more fodder for fear.  People began to understand that the pagan ancestral spirits were demons and the diviners were practicing witchcraft and necromancy.  On the other hand, the festival time provided greater opportunity for revelry.  Trick-or-treat became a time when roving bands of young hooligans would go house-to-house gathering food and drink for their parties.  Stingy householders ran the risk of a “trick” being played on their property from drunken young people.

Halloween didn’t become an American holiday until the immigration of the working classes from the British Isles in the late nineteenth century.  While early immigrants may have believed the superstitious traditions, it was the mischievous aspects of the holiday that attracted American young people.  Younger generations borrowed or adapted many customs without reference to their pagan origins.

Hollywood has added to the “fun” a wide assortment of fictional characters–demons, monsters, vampires, werewolves, mummies, and psychopaths.  That certainly isn’t improving the American mind, but it sure is making someone a lot of money.

The Christian Response to Halloween

Today Halloween is almost exclusively an American secular holiday, but many who celebrate have no concept of its religious origins or pagan heritage.  That’s not to say Halloween has become more wholesome.  Children dress up in entertaining costumes, wander the neighborhood in search of candy, and tell each other scary ghost stories; but adults often engage in shameful acts of drunkenness and debauchery.

So, how should Christians respond?

First, Christians should not respond to Halloween like superstitious pagans.  Pagans are superstitious; Christians are enlightened by the truth of God’s Word.  Evil spirits are no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year; in fact, any day is a good day for Satan to prowl about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  But “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).  God has forever “disarmed principalities and powers” through the cross Christ and “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through [Christ]” (Colossians 2:15).

Second, Christians should respond to Halloween with cautionary wisdom.  Some people fear the activity of Satanists or pagan witches, but the actual incidents of satanic-associated crime are very low.  The real threat on Halloween is from the social problems that attend sinful behavior–drunk driving, pranksters and vandals, and unsupervised children.

Christians should exercise caution as wise stewards of their possessions and protectors of their families.Like any other day of the year, Christians should exercise caution as wise stewards of their possessions and protectors of their families.  Christian young people should stay away from secular Halloween parties since those are breeding grounds for trouble.  Christian parents can protect their children by keeping them well-supervised and restricting treat consumption to those goodies received from trusted sources.

Third, Christians should respond to Halloween with gospel compassion.  The unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world lives in perpetual fear of death.  It isn’t just the experience of death, but rather what the Bible calls “a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume [God's] adversaries” (Hebrews 10:27).  Witches, ghosts, and evil spirits are not terrifying; God’s wrath unleashed on the unforgiven sinner–now that is truly terrifying.

Christians should use Halloween and all that it brings to the imagination–death imagery, superstition, expressions of debauched revelry–as an opportunity to engage the unbelieving world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  God has given everyone a conscience that responds to His truth (Romans 2:14-16), and the conscience is the Christian’s ally in the evangelistic enterprise.  Christians should take time to inform the consciences of friends and family with biblical truth regarding God, the Bible, sin, Christ, future judgment, and the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ for the repentant sinner.

There are several different ways Christians will engage in Halloween evangelism.  Some will adopt a “No Participation” policy.  As Christian parents, they don’t want their kids participating in spiritually compromising activities–listening to ghost stories and coloring pictures of witches.  They don’t want their kids to dress up in costumes for trick-or-treating or even attending Halloween alternatives.

That response naturally raises eyebrows and provides a good opportunity to share the gospel to those who ask.  It’s also important that parents explain their stand to their children and prepare them to face the teasing or ridicule of their peers and the disapproval or scorn of their teachers.

Other Christians will opt for Halloween alternatives called “Harvest Festivals” or “Reformation Festivals”–the kids dress up as farmers, Bible characters, or Reformation heroes.  It’s ironic when you consider Halloween’s beginning as an alternative, but it can be an effective means of reaching out to neighborhood families with the gospel.  Some churches leave the church building behind and take acts of mercy into their community, “treating” needy families with food baskets, gift cards, and the gospel message.

Those are good alternatives; there are others that are not so good.  Some churches are using “Hell House” evangelism to shock young people and scare them into becoming Christians.  They walk people through rooms patterned after carnival-style haunted houses and put sin on display–women undergoing abortions, people sacrificed in a satanic ritual, consequences of premarital sex, dangers of rave parties, demon possession, and other tragedies.

Here’s the problem with so-called Hell House evangelism:  To shock an unshockable culture, you have to get pretty graphic.  Graphic exhibits of sin and its consequences are unnecessary–unbelieving minds are already full of such images.  What they need tosee is a life truly transformed by the power of God, and what they need tohear is the truth of God in an accurate presentation of the gospel.  Cheap gimmickry is unfitting for Christ’s ambassadors.Candy

There’s another option open to Christians: limited, non-compromising participation in Halloween. There’s nothing inherently evil about candy, costumes, or trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. In fact, all of that can provide a unique gospel opportunity with neighbors. Even handing out candy to neighborhood children–provided you’re not stingy–can improve your reputation among the kids. As long as the costumes are innocent and the behavior does not dishonor Christ, trick-or-treating can be used to further gospel interests.

Ultimately, Christian participation in Halloween is a matter of conscience before God.  Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, you must honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world and by showing mercy to those who are perishing.  Halloween provides the Christian with the opportunity to accomplish both of those things in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It’s a message that is holy, set apart from the world; it’s a message that is the very mercy of a forgiving God.  What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?

© 2006 by Travis Allen
Internet Ministry Manager
Grace to You

Available online at: http://www.gty.org/Resources/articles/1126
COPYRIGHT ©2008 Grace to You

You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commerical purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/MeetGTY/Copyright).

Romans 11:36

Contending for The Faith
Grace and Peace to you

in Him with love
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Free John MacArthur Sermons

http://static.zooomr.com/images/4449506_425d512279.jpgIt has come to my attention that Grace to You, John MacArthur’s ministry will now have a new policy starting November 5th that all of his sermons via MP3′S will now be FREE, no charge. why is this exciting news, he is in my opinion and many many others, the best bible expository preacher and teacher we have on this planet. God has used this godly man to effect so many lives, including yours truly. Visit Grace to You on Wednesday November 5th to start getting your free downloads of all his sermons. 3500 sermons and counting.

Quoting MacArthur

“I am deeply concerned as I watch what is happening in the church today. Biblical Christianity has lost its voice. The church is preaching a gospel designed to sooth rather than confront sinful individuals. Churches have turned to amusement and show business to try to win the world. Those methods may seem to draw crowds for a season. But they’re not God’s methods, and therefore they are destined to fail. In the meantime, the church is being infiltrated and corrupted by professing believers who have never repented, never turned from sin, and therefore,never really embraced Christ as Lord or Savior.”

John MacArthur, Faith Works

Romans 11:36

Contending for The Faith
Grace and Peace to you

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Worship

http://faith.propadeutic.com/authors/RogersAdrian.jpg“The Father seeks to commune with you in worship. He is not looking for your money, your glory, or your strength. He is looking for your heart. C. S. Lewis said, “It is in the process of being worshiped that God communicates His presence to men.” If you are not worshiping God, but you are serving Him (or so you think), you are making a big mistake. To pray without worship is mockery. To sing without worship is sounding brass. To work without worship is an insult to God. To teach without worship is ignorance. To serve without worship is hypocrisy.To witness without worship is perjury. God wants your worship.” Adrian Rogers

Romans 11:36

Contending for The Faith
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Politics, Activism, and the Gospel

http://static.zooomr.com/images/4449506_425d512279.jpg By John MacArthur    (From Grace Gems)

With the nation focused on the November elections, we thought a post on politics might be appropriate. The point of this article is not that we should abstain from any participation in the political process, but rather that we must keep our priorities straight as Christians. After all, the gospel, not politics, is the only true solution to our nation’s moral crisis.

We can’t protect or expand the cause of Christ by human political and social activism, no matter how great or sincere the efforts. Ours is a spiritual battle waged against worldly ideologies and dogmas arrayed against God, and we achieve victory over them only with the weapon of Scripture. The apostle Paul writes: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

We must reject all that is ungodly and false and never compromise God’s standards of righteousness. We can do that in part by desiring the improvement of society’s moral standards and by approving of measures that would conform government more toward righteousness. We do grieve over the rampant indecency, vulgarity, lack of courtesy and respect for others, deceitfulness, self-indulgent materialism, and violence that is corroding society. But in our efforts to support what is good and wholesome, reject what is evil and corrupt, and make a profoundly positive impact on our culture, we must use God’s methods and maintain scriptural priorities.

God is not calling us to wage a culture war that would seek to transform our countries into “Christian nations.” To devote all, or even most, of our time, energy, money, and strategy to putting a facade of morality on the world or over our governmental and political institutions is to badly misunderstand our roles as Christians in a spiritually lost world.

God has above all else called the church to bring sinful people to salvation through Jesus Christ. Even as the apostle Paul described his mission to unbelievers, so it is the primary task of all Christians to reach out to the lost “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me [Christ]” (Acts 26:18; cf. Ex. 19:6; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9).

If we do not evangelize the lost and make disciples of new converts, nothing else we do for people–no matter how beneficial it seems–is of any eternal consequence. Whether a person is an atheist or a theist, a criminal or a model citizen, sexually promiscuous and perverse or strictly moral and virtuous, a greedy materialist or a gracious philanthropist–if he does not have a saving relationship to Christ, he is going to hell. It makes no difference if an unsaved person is for or against abortion, a political liberal or a conservative, a prostitute or a police officer, he will spend eternity apart from God unless he repents and believes the gospel.

When the church takes a stance that emphasizes political activism and social moralizing, it always diverts energy and resources away from evangelization. Such an antagonistic position toward the established secular culture invariably leads believers to feel hostile not only to unsaved government leaders with whom they disagree, but also antagonistic toward the unsaved residents of that culture–neighbors and fellow citizens they ought to love, pray for, and share the gospel with. To me it is unthinkable that we become enemies of the very people we seek to win to Christ, our potential brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Author John Seel pens words that apply in principle to Christians everywhere and summarize well the believer’s perspective on political involvement:

A politicized faith not only blurs our priorities, but weakens our loyalties. Our primary citizenship is not on earth but in heaven. … Though few evangelicals would deny this truth in theory, the language of our spiritual citizenship frequently gets wrapped in the red, white and blue. Rather than acting as resident aliens of a heavenly kingdom, too often we sound [and act] like resident apologists for a Christian America. … Unless we reject the false reliance on the illusion of Christian America, evangelicalism will continue to distort the gospel and thwart a genuine biblical identity…..

American evangelicalism is now covered by layers and layers of historically shaped attitudes that obscure our original biblical core. (The Evangelical Pulpit [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993], 106-7)

By means of faithful preaching and godly living, believers are to be the conscience of whatever nation they reside in. You can confront the culture not with the political and social activism of man’s wisdom, but with the spiritual power of God’s Word. Using temporal methods to promote legislative and judicial change, and resorting to external efforts of lobbying and intimidation to achieve some sort of “Christian morality” in society is not our calling–and has no eternal value. Only the gospel rescues sinners from sin, death, and hell.

Romans 11:36

Contending for The Faith
Grace and Peace to you

in Him with love
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The divine hammer!

Spurgeon, “Preach, Preach, Preach Everywhere”

You do not know who the elect are.

You do not know whose heart will be
broken by the divine hammer of truth.
But it is your responsibility to use the
divine hammer on the hard heart.

And as the gospel is preached it will
attract to itself, by its own power,
through the Holy Spirit, those whom
God has ordained unto eternal life.

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord,
“and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”

Jeremiah 23:29

Romans 11:36

Contending for The Faith
Grace and Peace to you

in Him with love
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The free grace of God!

(Letters of John Newton)

“By the grace of God I am what I am!”
1 Corinthians 15:10

The true Christian is sensible and mindful of
indwelling sin. He confesses that in everything
he comes exceedingly short, and that his best
services are not only defective–but defiled. He
accounts himself as an unprofitable servant–and
is abased in his own eyes. He knows that all that
distinguishes him from the vilest of men–is the
free grace of God!

He derives all his hope and comfort, as well as his
strength–from Jesus, whom he has known, received
and loved, and to whom he has committed his soul.
He renounces all confidence in the flesh, and esteems
all things as loss–compared to the surpassing greatness
of knowing Jesus Christ his Lord, for whose sake he has
lost all things–considering them rubbish, that he may
gain Christ!

Compliments of Grace Gems!

Romans 11:36

Contending for The Faith
Grace and Peace to you

in Him with love
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The Biblical View on Abortion

http://static.zooomr.com/images/4449506_425d512279.jpg By John MacArthur

The Biblical View on Abortion Part 1

The Biblical View on Abortion Part 2

Romans 11:36

Contending for The Faith
Grace and Peace to you

in Him with love
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Ten Reasons Why it is Wrong to Take the Life of Unborn Children

http://www.desiringgod.org/AboutUs/JohnPiper/images/piper_hands.jpg By John Piper

Click Here Ten Reasons

Romans 11:36

Contending for The Faith
Grace and Peace to you

in Him with love
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I HAVE LEARNED….

(from grace Gems)

I’VE LEARNED that our background and circumstances may
have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for
who we become.

I’VE LEARNED That just because two people argue,
it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I’VE LEARNED That two people can look at the exact
same thing and see something totally different.

I’VE LEARNED That no matter the consequences,
those who are honest with themselves get farther in life.

I’VE LEARNED That even when you think you have no more
to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength
to help.

I’VE LEARNED That credentials on the wall do not make you
a decent human being.

I’VE LEARNED That it’s hard to determine where to draw the
line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings,
and standing up for what you believe.

I’VE LEARNED That it takes years to build up trust,
and only seconds to destroy it.

I’VE LEARNED That sometimes when I’m angry I have the
right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I’VE LEARNED That either you control your attitude,
or it controls you.

I’VE LEARNED That it’s not WHAT you have in your life
but WHO you have in your life that counts.

I’VE LEARNED That you can get by on charm for about
fifteen minutes. After that, you had better know something.

I’VE LEARNED That it’s taking me a long time to become
the person I want to be.

I’VE LEARNED That you can keep going long after
you think you can’t.

I’VE LEARNED That learning to forgive takes practice.

Romans 11:36

Contending for The Faith
Grace and Peace to you

in Him with love
Lenny
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