Always the decisive conflict in religion will be where important concepts are joined in opposition, concepts so vital that they are capable of saving or wrecking the Christian faith in any given generation. At this critical juncture in church history, the real conflict is between those who hold to an objective Christianity capable of being grasped in its entirety by the human intellect and those who believe that there are far-in areas of religious experience so highly spiritual, so removed from and exalted above mere reason, that it takes a special anointing of the Holy Spirit to make them understood by the human heart. The difference is not academic merely. Should the advocates of religious intellectualism succeed in setting the direction for the church in this generation, the next generation of Christians will become helpless victims of dead orthodoxy.
In conversation with one of the better-known devotees of neo-intellectualism in evangelical circles, I asked the question bluntly, “Do you actually believe that everything essential in the Christian faith may be grasped by the human intellect?” The answer was immediate–”If I did not, I would be on my way toward agnosticism.” I did not say, but might properly have said, “And if you do, you are on your way toward rationalism.” For such indeed is the truth.
Having as the High Priest of our profession the incarnation of all divine wisdom and having as our source book of religious knowledge the holy Scriptures, the soundest and saltiest work ever written, why do we tend so easily to become confused about things spiritual? I believe the causes are four, and I propose to state them in this and the next chapters.
The first cause of religious confusion is our failure to understand that the truth as it is in Christ Jesus is a moral and spiritual thing and not something intellectual merely. Let a man approach the burning bush of divine truth with the desire to grasp it in his hand and the intensity of the fire will blind his eyes and cauterize his hands and face to the point of insensibility. Before the awesome vision of revealed truth, the human intellect should kneel and hide its face in trembling adoration. Because Moses was afraid to look upon God, the Lord could speak to him face to face as a man speaks to his friend; but God hides His face from the man who does not instinctively hide his own.
Intellectual pride, then, with its corollary, irreverence, is one cause of religious confusion. Satan’s original doctrine, “You will be like God, knowing . . .” (Genesis 3:5) has been accepted by millions of religious persons through the centuries and commands a big following today even among professedly orthodox Christians. In spite of all Christ said while among men and all His inspired apostles wrote after His ascension, we seem never to learn that the inner essence of truth cannot be apprehended by the mental faculties. We still come at the awesome supernatural reality headfirst.
I wish it were possible to anoint the head of every Christian preacher so that he would never sin again while the world stands. Perhaps some would consider that a happy way to deal with the subject. But, in fact, if any person can be removed from the possibility of sin, he or she can only be some kind of a robot run by pulleys, wheels and push-buttons. A person morally incapable of doing evil would be, by the same token, morally incapable of doing good. A free human will is necessary to the concept of morality. I repeat: If our wills are not free to do evil, neither are they free to do good….A.W. Tozer
From the villain in the C.S. Lewis story “That Hideous Strength”, ”The world I look forward to is the world of perfect purity… What are the things that most offend the dignity of man? Birth and breeding and death..” I would add God into that mix for many. It is as if they are not willing to credit anything for change, those who call themselves “progressive”, are so often the very ones who do all that they can to prevent any real progress for humanity. So often their policies are policies that lead to the death of humanity and a loss of morality to all men.
They treat the environment as if it were sacred and do their best to forbid the ability of any to practice their faith. Especially if it is a faith that say’s that God gave control of the world’s resources to man to oversee and benefit from. These are the same people who promote promiscuity and perversion, and yet condemn those who commit such to the final death. No promise of eternal salvation in their eyes.
One of my favorite authors when I was growing up was H.G. Wells, especially the “Time Machine.” It was fascinating to see different levels of society and when the time machine reached the very end of civilization, there were two classes. One a class of people who could be considered perfect by the standards of the day. Beautiful people who cared for nothing, did whatever they wished, had no responsibility nor any wants. Everything was taken care of for them, but at the same time, they had no curiosity, no desire except to fulfill their physical desires. The catch was that they had a master that they didn’t even realize that they had. This was who provided for all their needs. Unfortunately for them, they were the sacrifice that fed the master.
The gods of today always require a sacrifice but so often many people don’t even realize that they are being asked for one. Promiscuity leads to many things, including disease and pregnancy. Disease leads to death, and pregnancy to them leads to abortion and death for the child created by the promiscuity. The constant pressure to improve your situation in life by buying more stuff, leads to debt that is often inescapable and people wind up with nothing. The search for beauty is a black hole that leads to indebtedness for some, and death for others who are so obsessed with perfection that they are willing and need to go under the knife in order to reach that perfection. We are bombarded with things that we are told we need, when in truth, if we have faith in God, we are promised that He will provide our needs.
The good news is that our God gave a sacrifice for us and that we don’t have to give one on this earth in order to have the opportunity for eternal life with Him. He sent His son to earth to be that Sacrifice and Jesus made it willingly. He gave Himself in order that we could be saved. Unlike the gods of today who insist that we must do things their way, He has given us the opportunity to ask for Him to help us. Nothing is forced upon us and it is offered freely.
While C.S. Lewis’ villain looked forward to a world of perfect purity, and says that “birth, breeding and death” offend the dignity of man, these are the very vechicles of creation. Birth and the bringing of new life into a family or the world is one of God’s miracles and to witness it is to know that it is something special. Breeding, two becoming one and the product of that is also one of the miracles of God’s creation. Death, while something that many fear, is a step to a new life for a believer of God and to one who has accepted Jesus as their Savior.
How sad it must be to think that all that you can expect is here on earth alone and that there is nothing else. It is to say that nothing is important but what you can get for yourself. To not be able to envision the wonder of what God has created.
How sad to think that it is progress to have and use the ability to kill those you think are not worthy to survive. The morality of me leaves little for those in need. And so often while those who claim the mantle of progressiveism, what they really practice is regressiveism. They want man to kill those that they consider weak, ugly, non-intelligent or non-productive. They want the environment protected to the point that man does not interact with it. They want what they want and yet never see the consequences of their wants. They seem to forget that many of the great works of man were created by imperfect people and that an environment that is not inhabited by man is still inhabited and whatever their idea of perfection is, they cannot control God! Man does not control tornado’s, earthquakes, volcano’s, floods or any other aspect of nature. These things will still happen and the environment will not be static and remain in whatever idea of perfection that they have. They may think that by encouraging the abortion of the weak, ill and disabled, or even the euthanizing of them later, that perfection will enter in. They fail to recognize that what they consider perfection is just a reproduction of sameness. They champion diversity and yet do everything that they can to stamp out diversity of everything, whether it is physical or diversity of thinking.
Growing up in the country you learn a few things that perhaps those who never have that experience don’t seem to realize. A tree that is challenged by whatever weather and circumstance that affects it in the wild is much stronger that a tree that is planted in a nursery and nurtured until it is ready to set out in someone’s yard. Drought makes it’s roots grow deeper in order to reach water, wind shakes it and make the roots reach for a better hold. All these things make it able to endure. People are the same way, and no matter how much progressives want to provide their version of equality to mankind, by doing so they take away that very ability to grow stronger and endure the difficulties that will appear in the future. And they will appear, since man is not and never will be God, there will always be something unexpected to come along and if we take away people’s ability to survive, we leave them vulnerable.
Personally, I will put my strength in the Lord and accept His promise that He will provide what I need. I look forward to sharing the future with Him and death is just the doorway that I hope to walk through and meet Him on the other side.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:4-5KJV
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Rain, Rain and more Rain…It has been definite monsoon time, early, but trying to not let us slow us.Went to first village Jaganath Thanda and pastor was leading us in along canal bank–only way into village. Came to place the bank washed out and a 3 wheeled auto fell into the torrent of water… We will have to come in February!All along the roads, low water places are covered and is quite an adventure…Midtanpalli–Came to dedicate a good church given by Canyon DEl Oro AG in Tuscon, AZ. One young woman “Rupika” stood to share with huge smile. Since coming to Christ 9 months ago at age 22 life has been so blessed!! She took us to homes!!I asked her what Rupika meant? “It is the name you only gave me 9 months ago when you baptized me!!”We named her Rebecca!! Ha!! Translation…We went to her house… Rebecca married at age 13, her husband died when she was 16, and now 22 has found Christ and no more fear or sickness that plagued her. Many had seen the difference in her and today, her mother, aunt and several others made firm commitments to follow Christ and pull the deities-gods out of their houses!!Kotapahad “Kings house Destroyed” village–Mud and water everywhere.They harnessed a team of oxen to oxcart and we all climbed on and walked 1/3 of mile thru muck and mire with all the Christians following in a long line to the place a nice church is being built. Incredible memory as we watch those 10 year old oxen dip their horns to get under the yoke and such strength to pull…As the Christians all got a brick to sit on, on the foundation of a beginning of a church under stormy clouds, we taught and prepared hearts. Every person joyfully gave for the church 111,250 rs and we match to build!!Oxcart man in his dirty, simple lungi, gave 40,000. What an awesome memory with laughter and joyful people to build Gods house and 7-10 hindus were among the gathered that accepted Christ and also gave. Whole village is less than 10 years old in Christ!!Sublade Village–”Sharp Blade” village–All are 8 years or less in Christ and together we taught and challenged and they gave 175,000rs and we matched to build a strong first church in the village! These are spirit filled people who know how to come into the presence of God!!By Pastor Kerry MauldinOn 21/2 hour drive back to our cots (55 miles) We had an exhibition. We came to place where torrents of water were crossing the road and in dark, holes were washed and people were trying to stand in knee deep water and direct motorcycles across with their loads.We set in jeep watching and learning. No one got hurt, but watching made you want to laugh, but was not funny…Lord help us….We made it back and it has poured all night! I think of so many multitudes we see everyday who live under little plastic tarps over thatch with dirt floor. Several sleep in the church beside us when they as travelers are stranded…So thankful for your prayers and standing with us!!Melody, Jim, Joshua and Kerry
One of greatest sounds in the world is hearing hundreds of voices praying in unison…We were in Pullicherla (tiger) Village and stop at a school. They have 329 students and many were there. Jim is in his element in front of all those kids, teaching “I Am Somebody” , because God loves me…Sharing Christ and all those children, sitting crosslegged barefoot on the ground in perfect rows, wearing all alike uniforms and the boys with ties…eyes closed and sincerely praying as a higher pitched unison calls out to Jesus…These are the blessings!! A young woman started the school and now has 2 buses and is currently meeting under the trees with the children, but in process of building a 5 room school house with more rooms to come. She needs about $9000 to complete and we prayed with her standing on the land and brick construction going on…She is bold and most of students are hindu…We gave 2 churches today and dedicated Dasari Nemalipuram that Stigler AG gave. They needed flooring and we taught and 2 strangers to the villages each gave 10,000rs and we matched what was given for steps and floor…That 2 strangers gave for a church that was not even there church.Most of the people are in cotton fields. Masses of people are packed into tractor wagons to point of overflowing and come from all over to be cotton pickers!! I only imagine back in 1930′s the migrant workers flooding areas to pick fruit or cotton and camped in little tents and cooking fires and working long days in the fields…The fields truly are ripe for the harvest. We must work with urgency!!Love, prayers and so so much thanks for praying!!Melody, Jim, Joshua and me…
One of my sister-in-laws is having some serious health problems and is going to have a heart cath done this afternoon! Please keep her in prayer and hold her up! We know that is one of the things that Jesus has instructed us in and how greater a gift can we give than the giving of love by way of prayer?
Dear Lord, You are the creator of all things, You are the designer of every thing that exists. No being knows more about how we are made, You are also the Great Physician and have instructed us to take our needs before You in prayer. We are following Your instructions Dear Lord and asking that You give Jane and all our family strength and heal her if it is possible and in Your plans Lord! We give You praise, glory and honor Dear Lord, in Jesus wonderful name we so pray! Amen and amen.
“Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (James 3:12)
The answer to these rhetorical questions obviously is: “No.” A fig tree cannot become an olive tree in one growing season, or in a million of them. Nor can a grapevine evolve into a fig tree, no matter what happens to it (grafts, mutations, chemicals, radiations, anything).
In the very first chapter of the Bible, each kind of plant God created was given the genetic information by its Maker to “reproduce” only its own “kind” of plant, not to diverge into some other kind, although its offspring could develop into many varieties of the parental kind (but even that only within strict limits). The same was true with the animals. Ten times in Genesis 1, God, in five verses, tells us that each created kind of plant and animal was coded to reproduce just its own kind (Genesis1:11-12, 21, 24-25).
Just in the event that some skeptic might reject Genesis 1 as factual, the same theme is reiterated in the New Testament, not only in our text but in Paul’s great chapter on death and resurrection. “God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds” (1 Corinthians 15:38-39).
This biblical truth is confirmed by every scientific observation ever made on plants and animals—whether living, dead, or fossilized. No one has ever seen a frog evolve into a prince, or a vine into an olive tree, either in the present or in the fossil record of the past. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that man should fear before him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). HMM
To Die Is to Live
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Mark 8:35)
The principle expressed in this verse must be of paramount importance, for it is found repeated in one way or another probably more often than any other single principle in the New Testament. Note the following examples representing at least four separate messages from the Lord Jesus:
Matthew 10:39: “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
Matthew 16:25: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Luke 9:24: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”
Luke 17:33: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”
John 12:25: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”
This remarkable divine paradox—that to die means to live—is also found expressed in many other ways in the epistles. Paul says, for example: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live” (Galatians 2:20). Note also such Scriptures as Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 6:9-10;Philippians 1:21-24; 2 Timothy 2:11-12.
There are many pietistic Christians who interpret such passages as implying a so-called “deeper life” which is attained by certain Christians and not by others through some mystical experience. However, Jesus did not say to lose one’s life for a deeper life, but for “my sake and the gospel’s”! Christ wants us to live in simple obedience to His will as recorded in His Word, proclaiming in all we say and do that He is Creator, Savior, and coming King. HMM