Have you ever had a friend claim to be Christian, and also liberal? What’s that all about?

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I don’t know how people can give their liberal political ideologies more authority than their self-professed faith.  It would seem that their political ideologies are more important to them than what God has said.  Let me explain.  There are many worldviews.  If you don’t like the one your parents gave you, you can always develop you own, or adopt one.  Colleges seem to be one of those places where young people adopt a different worldview.

I happen to have what I, and many others, would call a, “Christian worldview.”  What that means, is that my beliefs about everything, yes everything, are determined by what God says in His word, the Bible.  I order my beliefs from the ordinances of scripture.  So, my political ideologies are determined by my Christian worldview.

So if someone asks, “Bob, why do you hate abortion?  It is a woman’s choice.”  I reply with, “Murder is wrong, and murdering a child in the womb because of your sexual immorality is reprehensible.”  I can say this and assert it. Because, I can build that opinion on systematic and Biblical theology.  When you read your Bible in context, and apply the proper hermeneutical method of exegesis to the text, you get doctrines.  Those doctrines provide the basis for our morality.  So, my morality is built on the doctrines of God, from His word.  So, my stance on abortion is that it is the murder of an infant in the womb, due to the sinfulness of the murdering mother.

Then we throw other beliefs about other moral issues in there like, theft, welfare, work, love, sexuality, and so on.  Guess what?  The Bible determines what I believe about all of those things as well.  Since that is the case, cumulatively they make up the ideologies of my Christian worldview, which is what I use in determining what is acceptable politically.

This seems foundationally simple to me.  I don’t understand those who sit across the aisle and defend something like abortion, or gay marriage, while still claiming Christ as their Savior.  “Doesn’t His word mean anything to them?  Don’t they want to be obedient to Him, because of the great love, and work He did to save them on the cross?  How can they afflict Him more while He hangs from the cross?”  To advocate horribly sinful, and abominable things, while claiming Christ as your Savior, is tantamount to throwing refuse on Him, while He hangs suffering on the cross.

I’ve tried to ask people like this to justify their positions Biblically for me.  I’ve never encountered one person who could do this.  There have been a few who have tried, but their usually open theist heretics, or some other very liberal theological bent that doesn’t hold the Bible as authoritative.  This gives them the wiggle room they need to pervert the word.  This is another sickening thing.  To see someone pervert and abuse the word of God.

I suppose a person could be very new in the faith, and not have the maturity to understand what they are doing.  This is why I can’t make the blanket statement that they are all unsaved heretics.  I can definitively say, that if a person persists in their sin, and loves the worldly life, and sinful cultures opinions, more than God’s, they are not saved.  I can’t do that with people I only know in passing.  It worries me drastically more when I’ve known someone for a very long time, and they are like that.

So you claim that you are pro-choice(abortion), for social programs, for big Federal government, for gay marriage, for no fault divorce, for euthanasia, for socialism, communism, pro-gun grabbers, pro-illegal immigration, and you think that God is O.K. with that?  We don’t know the same God.  The God I know is loving, but He is also just, holy, righteous, true, and He has communicated His will for us, to us, in His word.

To all my Family and Friends, who Think I am a Religious Fanatic,

To all of my family and friends, who think that I have become too religious, fanatical, or that I am one of those Christians who push their religion down everyone’s throat’s, please consider this; If I truly believe what the Bible says about Hell, if I believe all people who have not repented of sin and put their faith in Christ are going to spend eternity in Hell, having the wrath of God poured out on them forever, and I just live my happy little life without warning you of the Hell to come for you, how is that loving? I would be actively hating you and not obedient to God. My love for Him and you compels me to warn you! Wake up! A faith in God is fine. Everyone believes in God. Even the devil and the demons believe in God so you are in the company of demons, congratulations. The Faith that saves is more than just an intellectual affirmation that God exists and you believe in Him. You might even affirm that Jesus is God and that He died for your sins, that won’t save you either. Many people sit in Church on Sunday and say they believe, but they have not been crucified with Christ. They have not been born again as a new person. They don’t even understand what that means, because it hasn’t happened to them. They think they are, but they can’t know until God has regenerated them, and justified them, granting them true faith and repentance that leads to life. You can believe in God and live the same life you were before, because you don’t truly believe what He says, or what He has done. Truly believing in God means you will believe what He says and live life according to His truth. So what you do will seem strange to everyone who does not trust what He says in His word. If I explain to you how a parachute works and how you are to use it, but if you act as if you don’t truly believe me or trust me, or the parachute, when the airplane is in trouble, you will sit in your seat and hope for the best as you plummet to your death. If what I had told you changed your thinking towards the parachute, you will put it on and use it. Faith applied in action is true faith. It must change you. You must behave as it is true. If I were the only one who could truly see that there was a pit of fire in front of millions of people and they were all about to fall in, even if I warned them, they would insist I was crazy, but what if I wasn’t? What if they were just blind to it? Christians truly see what is actual, because God has opened their eyes. If you are not truly saved you are blind to the hell to come. We simply love you too much to not warn you. Repent, turn away from your sins, let them go, don’t hold on to any remnant of your old life, let the old man be killed and buried, be born anew as a servant of God. Believe Him and His work on the cross. Jesus is God and He has shed His precious blood to pay for your sins. Believe in and on Him for your salvation and live out the new life He has brought you into.

“…the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets;…”

…the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets;…”

Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. “The LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “The LORD said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’ “Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you.” “

(1 Kings 22:19-23 NASB)

In 1 Kings 22:19-23 we read some information that can initially be troubling to some. It is often quoted by atheists seeking to shake the faith of a believer. Properly understood, it is harmonious with the rest of God’s word. So don’t let it trouble you. Let’s see if we can shed some light on it.

We know that God is truth. We know that He is righteous and holy. Reading this passage, if not properly exegeted, could lead one to believe that God caused false prophets to lie. This would seem to conflict with what we know of the attributes of God displayed to us in the rest of His word. This seeming conflict is easily remedied when we read the scripture in context.

We understand that Satan, has to answer to God. We read this in the book of Job. Satan cannot do anything unless God allows him. This might be a tough concept, but think about it. Satan has to ask permission to do what he was doing to Job. Satan is a creature, created by God. Satan is not God’s equal, or opposite. God could destroy Satan at this very moment. God doesn’t because He is using Satan to accomplish His good will.

Ahab was one of the most wicked kings in all history. God had already pronounced judgment on him. All of Ahab’s prophets were telling him to go to war at Ramoth-Gilead, and that he would succeed.

…Three years passed without war between Aram and Israel. In the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. Now the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we are still doing nothing to take it out of the hand of the king of Aram?” And he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire first for the word of the LORD.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?” …”

(1 Kings 22:1-7 NASB)

Then, we see that Jehoshaphat asks Ahab to inquire of another prophet, a prophet of the LORD or (Yhvh) So Ahab sends for Micaiah.

…The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.” Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made horns of iron for himself and said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are consumed.'” All the prophets were prophesying thus, saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and prosper, for the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, “Behold now, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I shall speak.” When he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and succeed, and the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” Then the king said to him, “How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” So he said, “I saw all Israel Scattered on the mountains, Like sheep which have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.'” Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” …”

(1 Kings 22:8-18 NASB)

As you can see, by adding the context of the surrounding scripture we can easily understand what is happening here. God did not cause the prophets to lie. He allowed Satan to have the spirits controlling the false prophets to lie. God used their sins sinlessly to accomplish His righteous judgment against Ahab, a wicked king. The fact that God restrains evil every moment doesn’t seem to enter into our minds, but if he didn’t we would all be worse than Pharaoh or Hitler. When God allows evil spirits or men to act how they want, we get surprised, as if God is the bad guy. Our pitiful minds default to sinful criticism of the one truly good being. That is how messed up we are. I hope this helps. If you have questions, ask your Pastor and Elders, first. If they can’t answer you feel free to ask in the comments section. If I can’t answer, I’ll try to find someone who can. God bless you.

You Can’t Sell What’s Not Yours!

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I’m sure you have all read a story, seen a movie, or television show, where the plot revolves around the main character selling his soul to the devil by signing some contract. Usually it is for fame, fortune, power over enemies, or to get the girl. Come to think of it, usually it is a combination of those things. Growing up in America during the 80’s, freedom was the centerpiece of what it meant to be an American. I never felt more free than when I was about 12 years old. I was old enough to go anywhere I wanted, as far as my bike could take me, and young enough to not have the responsibilities of taking care of myself or others. I would ride my bike to, “Black’s Bridge” and play by the river. I would take my BB gun and shoot dragon flies, or whatever else would sit still long enough. My cousin and I would catch snakes and keep them in a 5 gallon bucket, only to dump them in my mom’s bed while she slept. If I had to come up with a time in my life where I felt free, that would be it. If you wanted to be a patriotic little man, you needed freedom.

As I grew I started to feel the bands of oppression tighten around me. I needed a job. I had to pay my bills. I married a woman who had two small sons. I needed a better job. I had to be a good role model. I needed to teach the boys how to be good men. My wife and I had two daughters, so I had to be more tender and help my wife help them. I had to keep my marriage strong. No time for difficulties at work. Appliances wear out and break. Everything costs money. Unexpected surgeries send us into debt. Life starts choking the feeling of freedom away pretty quick.

I found out that the laws were overly restrictive as well.  I still don’t understand how property taxes can be legal.  I also don’t understand the legal requirement to have a concealed permit to carry a firearm.  Apparently we now aren’t free to practice our religion either.  Bake a cake or get shut down.  While babies are being denied their freedom by being aborted.  We really aren’t free in America.

Only when I started thinking spiritually about it did it start to make more sense. As a young man I was Arminian and slightly Pentecostal in my theology. I had no problem with thinking a person could sell their soul to the devil. It was theirs after all. Of course I thought it was wrong to do so, but theoretically, it could happen. I also had the sense that it was impossible, niggling at the recesses of my mind. Later in life, as God worked in my sanctification, He brought me into a fuller understanding of my sinfulness and His holiness. This in conjunction with learning more about soteriology lead me to understand that I am not my own. In fact, no human being owns themselves. We are all created by God for His glory.

Now the premise of selling your soul to the devil just seems ludicrous. You simply can’t sell what you have no rights to. God has the authority.  The problem here is that my pre-conversion soul is already a slave to sin nature, because of the fall. The devil doesn’t have to buy it. It is fallen from the start.  That doesn’t mean the devil owns it.  He is a fallen creature too.

Not to mention, the devil doesn’t have the means to purchase a single soul, nor does he have the authority to purchase one. He is a creature himself. He is under the same authority we are. Theoretically, his only purpose for purchasing a soul would be to rend it from the saving hands of Christ. Since it isn’t possible for God to lose even one of the elect, this is not a concern.

If souls could be bought and sold, we as fallen creatures would make a market out of it for sordid profit, to be sure. Ignoble and greedy, we would make slaves of souls. God in His sovereignty and providence has ensured that won’t happen. We do however; need to be rescued from the slavery that we are in before conversion, the bondage of the soul to sin. God in His sovereignty made man. He made him in full knowledge that he would fall when tempted. He made man, knowing who He would save from sin and who He would not. He made man, knowing that He would curse his progeny for the original sin, with death. All people born after the fall are born as slaves to sin because of the fall. We are all sinners and dead spiritually.

The Holy Spirit makes the elect alive according to the will of the Father, so that we can sense our sin and need. It becomes real to us. In this conviction, the elect seek reconciliation with God. In the newness of life they are driven, compelled, and ravenous, for relief of the condition of condemnation. The knowledge of our own personal sin is the impetus that drives us to the foot of the cross.

The same God who made us, who knew that we would be sinners, also made a way for us to glorify Him according to His sovereign decree. God in the second personage of the Trinity put on flesh at the incarnation, being born of a virgin, by the work of the Holy Spirit, according to the will of the Father, Christ Jesus, our Passover lamb became the vessel for the wrath of God that our sins warrant. He in obedience to the Father suffered the very wrath of God, that we deserve upon the cross, to justify us. The penalty being paid by the one who was innocent, paying the penalty for the guilty who justly deserve it. All of this was planned out from the very beginning.

I hope we can see that it is ludicrous to think for a moment that our souls are our own, and free to sell. The devil is just another creature and your soul is already a slave to sin. Our only hope is to recognize our need for a redeemer. Only God can fathom the depths of our debt. We cannot rightly perceive how sinful we are. He alone can justly account the measure of wrath we deserve and He alone can atone. So don’t delay. If God has convicted you of your sin, repent of it and believe upon Jesus’ work on the cross for your justification. Pray that God will redeem your soul from sin and you will be His for eternity.  Better to belong to God than be able to sell your soul for any worldly gain.

A Review of Eric Metaxas’ “Bonhoeffer Abridged, Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy.”

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As I start my review, I confess, I knew very little of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  I knew he was considered a hero of the faith, for which he died under the cruelty of Hitler.  That was the extent of my knowledge.  This book is short.  It doesn’t contain too much information.  I didn’t feel inundated by history.  I didn’t have to labor to understand Bonhoeffer.  Metaxas did an excellent job of helping me get to know Bonhoeffer in a way that made me want to learn more.  Metaxas introduces the reader to Dietrich in his childhood with his family.  The background establishes his foundation in the faith, that would later lead him to being martyred by the Hitler and his henchmen.

Dietrich was a highly educated man and very German.  His family was well to do, and situated in the elite class of citizens.  Dietrich had many opportunities afforded  him due to his families position in German society.  One of those opportunities was travel abroad.  Bonhoeffer was well traveled.  He made a couple of trips to America.  He was not impressed with our Churches, and thought they had gone the way of the Churches in Europe, until he visited a gospel centered, African American Church.  Of course this would have been a very different time in history.  Please don’t equate what Bonhoeffer saw to the silliness that goes on now.  One of my favorite quotes from Bonhoeffer came early on in the book inspired by that Church.

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Another one of my favorite quotes came later in the book once he was a prisoner of the Nazis.

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Because of this primer of Bonhoeffer, I find myself desiring to read his works.  I definitely want to read, “Ethics.”

The parallels between the conditions in Germany and modern America were blatant.  It is obvious that we are ripe for the same scenario to play out here, today.  For those who think it can’t happen, read this book.  See us in it.

Overall, the book was true to its title.  It is an abridged biography.  The important milestones are all there.  All throughout his life, I got the sense of hope.  He was perpetually hopeful.  When he fell in love later in life, shortly before his imprisonment, I felt hopeful for him.  I knew that he was going to die soon, but because of his correspondence with his loved ones, and the way that he encouraged them, even in his state, made me feel hopeful.  I know the reason for his hope.  I was very encouraged to see how he lived and died.  He understood the reason for the hope within.

If the LDS are right about who God is, then God and His word are wrong.

If the LDS are right about who God is, then God and His word are wrong.

In the Bible we have doctrines that are expressed by Jesus Himself, The one and only God incarnate, none ever before Him and none after Him anywhere or anytime.  These doctrines are repeated and expounded upon by the Apostles in the Epistles of the New Covenant recorded in the New Testament.  These doctrines are exclusive claims to actual truths.  When someone else confesses a doctrine that asserts something other than what has already been established by the one true, immutable, and infallible God, then our only option is to reject their  assertion as heresy.

Let’s look at some of their doctrines that conflict with Biblical doctrines, and are mutually exclusive in their claims.  Christians claim there is only one true God.  There has never been any other god besides Him. He has always existed in trinity. He has never not existed.  We also claim that if you don’t believe in Him as explained here, as one being in three personages, that you can not be called part of the Church.  Because, you have put your faith in a different god.  Obviously, worshipping a different god makes you not a Christian.

Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormons) do not have one triune God.  They actually have a number of gods approaching infinity.  They choose to worship just one of the gods Joseph Smith imagined for them.  The god they choose to worship, was once a man named Elohim.  He lived on a planet orbiting a star called Kolab.  So their god is an E.T. extra terrestrial, alien from outer space.  Allegedly he was such a good follower of the mormon doctrines that he was promoted to being an exalted man.  He eventually became the god of this solar system and the Earth that we live on.  So the one god that they worship out of the billions of gods they have, was once a created man.  He was born of his father god and goddess mother.  They now call him Heavenly Father and believe he has a body of flesh and bone.  They believe that he had sex with Mary the virgin and that Jesus the spirit child was then embodied in his biological son with Mary.  Here is a quote from the Brigham Young University site,

As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret” (TPJS, p. 345). Thus, the Father became the Father at some time before “the beginning” as humans know it, by experiencing a mortality similar to that experienced on earth. There has been speculation among some Latter-day Saints on the implications of this doctrine, but nothing has been revealed to the Church about conditions before the “beginning” as mortals know it. The important points of the doctrine for Latter-day Saints are that Gods and humans are the same species of being, but at different stages of development in a divine continuum, and that the heavenly Father and Mother are the heavenly pattern, model, and example of what mortals can become through obedience to the gospel (see Mother in Heaven). Knowing that they are the literal offspring of Heavenly Parents and that they can become like those parents through the gospel of Jesus Christ is a wellspring of religious motivation. With God as the literal Father and with humans having the capacity to become like him, the basic religious questions “Where did I come from?,” “Why am I here?,” and What is my destiny?” are fundamentally answered.

Keep in mind that our LDS friends co-opt many of our words.  They mean something completely different to them.  When we talk of God the Father or Jesus we are talking about a very different God than they are.  They might believe we are talking about the same god, but they have better and more true information than we do.  The gospel to them is not the same things we think of.  Their gospel is a bunch of laws, rules, do’s and don’ts, from their book Doctrine and Covenants.  Our understanding comes from the Biblical definition.  The word, “gospel” means, “good message or news.”  When we think of the gospel of Jesus, we understand it to mean the penal substitutionary atonement wrought by Christ God Himself for the salvation of His sovereignly elected saints to bring glory to His name. In Christianity the work has been done by Jesus.  He paid for our sins.  By repenting and believing in Him, his work is imputed to us.  It is done, done, done.  We do good works because of our new affections and desires born from a regenerated spirit as born again believers.

with this article on only of few of the many differences, I hope it is obvious that the LDS are not Christian.  They are a polytheistic Arian cult, created by the false prophet Joseph Smith.

A Review of Todd Friel’s Book, “Jesus Unmasked: The Truth Will Shock You”

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The title of this book is pretty indicative of the subject matter.  The author succeeds at explaining who Jesus was and is.  He teaches that Christ is the focus of the Bible in its entirety.  He demonstrates how Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies, shadows and types.  All of this is done with simple terms when possible.  When it is not possible Mr. Friel explains the nomenclature for the laymen.

I have to make a small disclaimer here.  I am a big fan of, “Wretched Radio.”  It is a radio show and podcast.  Todd Friel is the host/on-air personality.  I have learned a lot, a lot, a lot, from the show over the years.  My review will be from the perspective of a Reformed Baptist and a fan of the show.  So don’t expect much in the way of negativity.  I honestly agree with all of what is said in the book.  I find it to be Biblically sound and interesting to read.  It is a, “must read” for everybody.  If you’ve just been born again or if you’ve been 50 years into the sanctification process this book will edify you.

In the first chapter the author deals with world views, specifically post-modernism.  This was a great place to start as a philosophy class on epistemology would not be beneficial for the target audience.  This is a short chapter that sets the tone for the rest of the book.  You get a look at the serious subject matter and a look at some of Todd’s humor that makes him such an interesting fellow to listen to.  It is obvious that he has a level of mastery of the subject matter without coming off as an aloof overlord.

The following chapters flesh out some basics of Christian theology in simple terms.  Then he gets down to the bulk of the work, which is highlighting Christ from the beginning of the Bible to the end.  Vary rarely in Christian books of around 200 pages do we get such a complete and profound picture of Jesus.  Most of the books I’ve reviewed in the recent past have been theological fluff, Christian cotton candy, hardly worth reading at all.  You know how you feel after eating junk for a month?  Yep! That’s how most “Christian books” leave me feeling after reading them.  They were time killers with not nutritional value.  I probably would have got more out of them if I’d eaten them.  Well, that is not so of this work.  I would rank it up there with, “The Holiness of God” by R. C. Sproul, or maybe, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.

The main way that the author highlights Christ throughout the entire Bible is by expounding on the prophecies, shadows, and types, that Jesus fulfills.  This can be a bit tricky.  I’ve seen some pretty bad attempts that only make the Bible look disjunct.  When done correctly, as in this case, the Bible comes alive.  The harmony of scripture sings to the heart and mind of the believer who sees the richness and majesty of the true faith established once and for all by God.  Being able to see the ark Noah built and understand that it is a look forward to Jesus.  Seeing the rock that sprang forth lifesaving water in the desert for the Israelites, and how Jesus is the better fount.  Seeing the Sabbath, from our perspective, looking back to recognize rest in Christ’s work.  These and many more examples fill the pages of this book.  The gospel is fleshed out fully and explicitly.  You won’t find a list of, “do’s” to check off, and you won’t find some silly, formulaic, “pray this prayer.”  You will understand who Jesus is, what you are, what He has done, and how you should respond.  If you have loved ones who aren’t saved, get them this book.  If you have friends or family who are young in their faith, get them this book.  If you have become a crusty old codger, get yourself this book.  It will blow the carbon out of the old exhaust and get you fired up again.

You can buy this book from the wretched store.

You can pick up a copy at Christianbook.com

You can purchase it from the publisher Newleaf

or you can get it on Amazon in different formats including audio.