11/10/15

From Mark Copeland... "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD" The Sins Against The Holy Spirit


                        "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD"

                    The Sins Against The Holy Spirit

INTRODUCTION

1. We have seen where the Holy Spirit is certainly active in God's
   scheme of redemption...
   a. Revealing and confirming the Word of Truth - He 2:3-4
   b. Convicting hearts of sin through the Word - Jn 16:7
   c. Regenerating those who respond to the gospel - Jn 3:5
   d. Indwelling those who obey the gospel - Ac 2:38; 1Co 6:19
   e. Leading those who walk in the Spirit - Ga 5:16-18,25
   f. Producing the fruit of the Spirit in those so led - Ga 5:22-23
   g. Strengthening those seeking to please God - Ep 3:16
   h. Serving as a seal, marking Christians as God's own - Ep 1:13
   i. Serving as an earnest (guarantee) of our inheritance - Ep 1:14

2. Because of the Spirit's activity, it is possible for us to sin
   against the Spirit...
   a. We can resist the Spirit - Ac 7:51
   b. We can quench the Spirit - 1Th 5:19
   c. We can grieve the Spirit - Ep 4:30
   d. We can insult the Spirit - He 10:29
   e. We can blaspheme the Spirit - Mt 12:31-32

[Lest we be guilty of sinning against the Spirit, let's examine how such
sins are possible...]

I. RESISTING THE SPIRIT

   A. THE WARNING...
      1. Stephen condemned his listeners for resisting the Spirit 
         - Ac 7:51
      2. How did they do this?  By persecuting (i.e., resisting) the
         prophets - Ac 7:52
         a. Who foretold the coming of Christ
         b. In whom the Spirit of Christ was working - cf. 1Pe 1:10-11
      -- Resisting the Spirit-led prophets resulted in their resisting
         the Spirit!

   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. The same Spirit led the apostles of Christ to preach the
         gospel- cf. 1Pe 1:12; Ro 15:19
      2. We can resist the apostles today
         a. By refusing to obey their word - cf. 1Co 14:37
         b. By refusing to abide in their doctrine - cf. Ac 2:42
      -- Are we guilty of resisting the Spirit, by resisting the words
         of the apostles?

[Certainly those who refuse to obey the gospel are guilty of resisting
the Spirit, but even those who are Christians can be guilty.  Christians
can also be guilty of...]

II. QUENCHING THE SPIRIT

   A. THE WARNING...
      1. Written to the church at Thessalonica - 1Th 5:19
      2. How could they become guilty of this?
         a. To quench means to extinguish, suppress, stifle
         b. To whatever extent the Spirit was at work, they were not to
            suppress it
      3. Two examples...
         a. The Thessalonians were not to despise prophecies 
            - cf. 1 Th5:20 ("Do not despise the words of the prophets" NRSV)
         b. Timothy was encouraged not to neglect his gift - 1Ti 4:14;
            2Ti 1:6
      -- Suppressing (or neglecting) the Spirit's work is quenching 
         the Spirit!

   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. The Spirit is at work in our lives today
         a. Teaching and guiding us through His revealed word 
            - cf. Ep 6:17
         b. Strengthening us through His indwelling - cf. Ep 3:16,20
         c. Producing the fruit of the Spirit as we are so led 
            - cf. Ga 5:22-23
      2. But we neglect or stifle the Spirit's effort...
         a. When we fail to read and heed the Word of God
         b. When we fail to pray, asking for strength
         c. When we fail to produce the fruit of the Spirit
      -- Are we guilty of quenching the Spirit, through our own neglect?

[Another sin against the Spirit that Paul warned Christians about is...]

III. GRIEVING THE SPIRIT

   A. THE WARNING...
      1. Written to the Ephesians - Ep 4:30
      2. What does it mean to grieve?
         a. To make sorrowful, to affect with sadness
         b. To offend
      3. How could they grieve the Spirit?
         a. By corrupt speech - cf. Ep 4:29
         b. By bitterness, anger, evil speaking - cf. Ep 4:31
      -- When Christians sin, they grieve the Spirit who indwells them!

   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. The Spirit desires to produce good fruit in Christians...
         a. The fruit of graceful words that lift up others 
            - cf. Ep 4:29
         b. The fruit of graceful conduct that bless those around us 
            - cf. Ep 4:28,32
      2. But we make the Spirit sorrowful every time...
         a. Unwholesome words proceed from our mouths
         b. We engage in conduct unbecoming those who have been sealed
            (marked) for the day of redemption!
      -- Are we guilty of grieving by our speech or conduct the Spirit
         who indwells us?

[As bad as it is for Christians to quench the Spirit (through neglect)
or grieve the Spirit (through disobedience), it can get worse!  We can
even be guilty of...]

IV. INSULTING THE SPIRIT

   A. THE WARNING...
      1. Written to the Hebrews - He 10:29
      2. What does it mean to insult the Spirit of grace?
         a. KJV, ASV, "despite the Spirit of grace"
         b. NRSV, "outraged the Spirit of grace"
      3. The context pertains to willful sin - cf. He 10:26-31
         a. Persistent sin with full knowledge and no desire to repent
         b. Conduct that tramples Christ underfoot, and regards His
            blood a common thing
         c. For which remains a fearful and fiery judgment
      -- Christians can become so hardened by sin that they insult the
         Spirit through outrageous conduct!

   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. We need to be aware of the danger of apostasy - He 3:12-14
         a. We can become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin
         b. We can thereby depart from the living God
         c. We must hold the beginning of our confidence (faith)
            steadfast till the end - cf. Re 2:10
      2. We become guilty of insulting the Spirit...
         a. When we sin willfully, with full knowledge of our sin
         b. When we have no desire to repent - cf. He 6:4-8
      -- Sinning through ignorance or weakness grieves the Spirit, but
         sinning willfully insults the Spirit!

[Finally, we note that Jesus warned about...]

V. BLASPHEMING THE SPIRIT

   A. THE WARNING...
      1. Jesus told the Pharisees of the unforgivable sin - Mt 12:31-32
         a. He had just healed a demon-possessed man - Mt 12:22-23
         b. The Pharisees attributed His power to Beelzebub (Satan) 
            - Mt 12:24
         c. He illustrates the absurdity of their charge - Mt 12:25-28
         d. He explains the implication and necessity of casting out
            demons by the Spirit of God
            1) The kingdom (rule or reign, power) of God has come 
               - Mt 12:28
            2) For such to be complete, the strong man (Satan) must be
               bound - Mt 12:29
            3) This Jesus ultimately accomplished through His death and
               resurrection - cf. Jn 12:31-33; Ro 14:9; Col 2:15; He 2:
               14-15; Re 1:18
      2. What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?
         a. It is attributing Jesus' power to an unclean spirit 
            - cf. Mk 3:28-30
         b. It is ascribing the work of the Holy Spirit 
            to Satan (B.W.Johnson)
      3. Why is this sin unforgivable?  When one concludes that Jesus'
         power was of the devil...
         a. He has rejected the evidence which produces faith in Jesus
         b. He has rejected the efforts by God to save those in sin
      -- When one is willing to believe that Jesus was in league with
         the devil, saving faith is not possible!
         
   B. THE APPLICATION...
      1. We must be careful not to reject the testimony of the Spirit
         a. He is the means by which God bore witness to Jesus 
            - cf. Ac 10:38
         b. Otherwise we can neglect that "great salvation" 
            - cf. He 2:3-4
      2. If we reject the testimony of the Holy Spirit...
         a. We reject heaven's last effort to save man (Ferrell Jenkins,
            The Finger Of God, p.45)
         b. We reject the evidence which convicts of sin (ibid.)
      -- The consequences of rejecting the Spirit's testimony are
         serious, depriving one of the forgiveness found only in Christ!

CONCLUSION

1. Sins against the Holy Spirit can lead progressively into apostasy...
   a. Resisting the Spirit can lead to quenching the Spirit
   b. Quenching the Spirit can lead to grieving the Spirit
   c. Grieving the Spirit can lead to insulting the Spirit
   d. Insulting the Spirit can lead to blaspheming the Spirit
   e. Blaspheming the Spirit leads to a condition where forgiveness is
      not possible

2. Note the sad condition of those in full-blown apostasy - cf. He 6:4-6
   a. This passage describes those who at one time:
      1) Were enlightened
      2) Tasted the heavenly gift
      3) Become partakers of the Holy Spirit
      4) Tasted the good word of God
      5) Tasted the powers of the age to come
   b. Yet they had fallen to the point:
      1) Where it was impossible to renew them to repentance
      2) Where they were crucifying again the Son of God, putting Him to
         open shame

How to prevent such a sad end?  Make sure that we are not guilty of "The
Sins Against The Holy Spirit"!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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The Death of Biblical Minimalism by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=1661

The Death of Biblical Minimalism

by Dewayne Bryant, M.A.

It is a good time to be a Christian. Information is more readily available and accessible than ever before. Whether it appears in books, in articles in print and on Web sites, or in podcasts and other media formats, Christian apologists are producing vast amounts of material in defense of the Christian Faith. In the field of archaeology alone, new discoveries are unearthed every year, adding to our body of knowledge about the biblical world. Because of new information, old theories are being continually revised and refined. In some cases, this information is completely overturning critical theories.
The May/June 2011 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is an exciting one. On the cover, some of the topics of the issue are listed, at the top of which are the words, “The End of Biblical Minimalism.” Minimalists are those who believe that only the barest minimum of the Bible is true, and then only if it can be incontrovertibly corroborated by extrabiblical evidence. This perspective is one that is eminently skeptical of the Bible. This is not how ancient documents are generally treated, which naturally raises suspicion that the Bible is being treated with a double standard for no other reason than that it is the Word of God. Speaking a little more generously than usual, minimalist Philip Davies claims that the Bible is indispensible for the historian, even though its “stories may be false, true, or a mixture of fact and fiction” (Davies, 2008, p. 5). For those who see the biblical text as a purely manmade production, the Bible is a mixture of a few facts and mostly fiction. As senior Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein puts it,
The historical saga contained in the Bible—from Abraham’s encounter with God and his journey to Canaan, to Moses’ deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage, to the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah—was not a miraculous revelation, but a brilliant product of the human imagination (Finkelstein and Silberman, 2001, p. 1).
The article, “The Birth and Death of Biblical Minimalism” written by archaeologist Yosef Garfinkle, traces the biblical minimalist position from its inception 30 years ago to the present time, where discoveries have undermined it to the point of it becoming untenable. He focuses on one of the hot-button issues in archaeology: the existence of the United Monarchy.
For biblical minimalists, the United Monarchy is very nearly a fiction. They believe that if David and Solomon existed, they were nothing more than petty chieftains. Hoffmeier summarizes the minimalist position this way: “[I]f David and Solomon did exist, they were simply pastorialist chieftains from the hills of Judea, and the military exploits of David and the glories of Solomon were gross exaggerations from later times” (Hoffmeier, 2008, p. 87). In other words, there were no grand palaces and no royal inscriptions. In short—no kingdom.
Garfinkle focuses on one particular archaeological site called Khirbet Qeiyafa, where he serves as co-director of the dig. In ancient times, it was a heavily fortified town on the Israelite/Philistine border in Judah. This one site, as small and out-of-the-way as it is, has done a great deal to dismantle biblical minimalism. Garfinkle states: “The argument that Judah was an agrarian society until the end of tenth century B.C.E. and that David and Solomon could not have ruled over a centralized, institutionalized kingdom before then has now been blown to smithereens by our excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa” (Garfinkle, 2011, p. 50). Discoveries at the site clearly demonstrate that a large bureaucracy was needed to construct the town. The site had massive walls, far beyond the ability of a couple of petty chieftains to construct. Also found at the site was the earliest example of Hebrew (although it is written in a different kind of script). This kind of writing could only be produced by a scribe who had been trained for government service. Since the site was in a remote location, it must have been important enough to justify sending a scribe from Jerusalem. That could only be done if there was a government of sufficient size with the resources and ability to train professional scribes. As Finkelstein himself states: “The power of the chief was limited…. The economic and military capacity of a chiefdom was severely limited” (Finkelstein and Silberman, 2006, p. 99). Khirbet Qeiyafa could not have been built, fortified, or administrated by a chieftain. It required a king.
As one of the chief proponents of the idea that the United Monarchy is largely fiction, Israel Finkelstein has developed what is called the “Low Chronology.” This approach states that whatever evidence that exists that might point to a tenth century B.C. kingdom under David and Solomon has been misinterpreted. Instead, the credit for building activity thought to have taken place during the time of the United Monarchy should go to the ninth century king Ahab instead. Though architecture can be difficult to date accurately at times, Finkelstein has yet to win many converts. With the information being unearthed at Khirbet Qeiyafa, he may even find himself losing what support he already has.
Finkelstein is commonly labeled a minimalist, although he denies that label. He does share many things in common with biblical minimalists, such as a skeptical attitude toward the Bible and a clear bias in interpreting the archaeological evidence. This goes against standard procedure among scholarship. Generally, ancient texts are given the benefit of the doubt unless sufficient reason exists to doubt their veracity. Since the Bible has a long track record of accuracy, to dismiss it out of hand shows a clear bias against it. Second, evidence should drive interpretation and lead to conclusions—not start with conclusions and interpret all the evidence to support those conclusions. Finkelstein’s skepticism points to a preconceived conclusion that seeks evidence to justify itself, which, naturally, can only be done poorly. 
Radiocarbon dating provides a solid link between the ancient evidence and the biblical text. Garfinkle states: “Independent dating suggests that the kingdom of Judah rose in approximately 1000 B.C.E., as indicated by the radiometric results from Qeiyafa. The northern kingdom of Israel, on the other hand, developed around 900 B.C.E., as indicated by the radiometric dates obtained from that region. The Biblical tradition and the radiometric dating actually support each other” (Garfinkle, 2011, p. 52). [EDITOR’S NOTE: For a discussion of the weaknesses of radiocarbon and radiometric dating techniques, see DeYoung, 2005.] The radiometric dating of wood fragments and olive pits at the site indicates that the site was built in the late eleventh century and destroyed in the early tenth century. Since this is precisely the time of the reign of king David, it would appear that David ruled a well-organized kingdom.
This small site has yielded a wealth of evidence that clearly demonstrates the shortcomings of biblical minimalism, although it remains on life support thanks to the hyper-skepticism of a few noted archaeologists. Even William Dever—who is no friend to the traditional interpretation of Scripture—has fiercely opposed the minimalists, whom he calls “revisionists.” He says, “the ‘revisionists’…declare that ‘the Hebrew Bible is not about history at all,’ i.e., it is mere propaganda. For them, if some of the Bible stories are unhistorical, they all are—a rather simplistic notion” (Dever, 2001, p. 97). It is the typical case of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”: the Bible is a religious book, therefore it cannot be historically accurate. Ongoing excavations argue otherwise.
There are many other discoveries besides those at Khirbet Qeiyafa that argue for the presence of a centralized government in ancient Israel at the time David ruled. The Izbet Sartah Inscription is an example of writing dating to the time of the judges (Hess, 2002, p. 86). The inscription seems to be a practice exercise used to learn the alphabet. This is particularly noteworthy, since Izbet Sartah was a small village in the hill country in the eleventh century B.C. Even in this small village, at least one scribe was practicing his alphabet. The same goes for tenth century inscriptions, such as the Tell Zayit Inscription and the Gezer Calendar, which also appear to be practice exercises used in training scribes. These examples of writing would never have appeared without considerable governmental organization.
In his book On the Reliability of the Old Testament, Kenneth Kitchen surveys the history of minimalism over the past two centuries. He notes that “our present-day minimalists are not a sudden, new phenomenon without precedent. It all began a long time ago, and the present efflorescence is merely a development of some 150/200 years that has in a way come to a head, but simply more scathing of others and more extreme in its views than were its precursors” (Kitchen, 2003, p. 449, italics in orig.). Emerging at a time when the study of the ancient Near East was in its infancy, it could only be expected that time would prove the minimalist’s assumptions false. As mountains of evidence have come to light, minimalism is looking more and more like a thing of the past. Biblical scholarship has a long track record of confounding the critics, and it isn’t stopping anytime soon.
Though much of the minimalists’ work is respected by other scholars, they are supremely guilty of allowing their biases to dictate their interpretation of the evidence. They make selective use of the facts and ignore or reinterpret evidence that disagrees with their position. Some of them grew up in fundamentalist homes, giving the impression that their interpretations are more the result of rejecting the faith of their early years rather than sound scholarship. This approach can be maintained only so long before the body of evidence will get to the point of being beyond their ability to manipulate. The archaeologist’s spade will continue to unearth more evidence season by season, year after year. It is only a matter of time before the minimalist position will become a relic enshrined in the museum of discarded ideas.

REFERENCES

Davies, Philip R. (2008), Memories of Ancient Israel: An Introduction to Biblical History—Ancient and Modern (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press).
Dever, William G. (2001), What Did The Biblical Writers Know & When Did They Know It? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
DeYoung, Don (2005), Thousands...Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Finkelstein, Israel and Neil Asher Silberman (2001), The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts (New York, NY: Touchstone).
Finkelstein, Israel and Neil Asher Silberman (2006), David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition (New York, NY: Free Press).
Garfinkle, Yosef (2011), “The Birth and Death of Biblical Minimalism,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 37[3]:46-53,78, May/June.
Hess, Richard S. (2002), “Literacy in Iron Age Israel” in V. Long, D. Baker, and G. Wenham, Windows into Old Testament History: Evidence, Argument, and the Crisis of “Biblical Israel” (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), pp. 82-102.
Hoffmeier, James K (2008), The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Hudson).
Kitchen, Kenneth A. (2003), On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).


On the Death of Christopher Hitchens by Kyle Butt, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1617

On the Death of Christopher Hitchens

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Christopher Hitchens, outspoken atheist and journalist, died of complications with esophageal cancer on Thursday, December 15, 2011. In some instances, death is not necessarily an event to be mourned. Psalm 116:15 explains: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” The apostle Paul insisted that it was better for him to die and be with Christ than to continue his earthly life (Philippians 1:23). In other cases, however, death is profoundly sad. Such is the case with the passing of Christopher Hitchens. A veil of immense sadness drapes itself over his death due to the fact that he was an evil man who chose to fight against his Creator. These words afford no pleasure to the Christian, and while I express my deepest sympathy to the family at their immense loss, the world needs to be reminded that Hitchens was not a hero in any shape, form, or fashion. He was a wicked man who wasted his God-given life to fight against truth, and he should be remembered as such.
Writing this article about a month after his death, I have been afforded the opportunity to see what others have written about his life. Most have praised his superior intellect, quick wit, and willingness to enter into any number of political, governmental, or religious frays. His fellow atheist, Richard Dawkins, suggested that he might have been “the finest orator of our time” and a “valiant fighter against all tyrants including God” (“Christopher Hitchens…,” 2011). Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, who debated Hitchens on religion, said: “He was an extraordinary, compelling and colourful human being whom it was a privilege to know” (2011). Such comments by Blair, Dawkins, and so many others attempt to throw a favorable light on Hitchens’ life. But that light turns a sickening color when it shines on Hitchens’ real impact on society and the devastating harm that he did.
Hitchens dedicated a massive amount of his time and energy to spreading the lie that there is no God, and that the God depicted in the Bible is a cruel tyrant. He ranted and raved about God’s alleged moral inconsistency, and he accused the God of the Bible of having a “sick mind” (Hitchens, 2007, p. 219). Hitchens advocated the murder of unborn children in the form of abortion as a check on population growth (2007, p. 222). Furthermore, he made a complete mockery of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (2007, pp. 208-210). He promoted sexual promiscuity and tacitly approved of other deviant sexual practices such as homosexuality and adultery (2007, pp. 40, 54). His writings against Christianity were filled with contradictions, inaccuracies, and misrepresentations of the truth. Christopher Hitchens ranked among the highest eschelons of enemies of truth.
In our sentimental, 21st-century, pluralistic society we are pressured to tone down such speech and find something good and laudable to commend in the life of Hitchens. We should not yield to such pressure, but we should heed the words of Isaiah: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight” (Isaiah 5:20-22). Hitchens was an evil man who lived a life in defiance of his Creator, and who used his divinely bestowed wit to bite the heavenly hand that sustained his existence. Neither God, nor any faithful Christian, has any delight or pleasure in the passing of such a man (Ezekiel 18:23). It was God’s desire that Hitchens repent of his rebellion and turn to the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). But Hitchens would not do so. Is it not amazing that for all Hitchens did to destroy belief in God, our loving, heavenly Father would have still accepted Hitchens as His child if Hitchens would have repented and turned to Him (Acts 2:36-47)? But Hitchens would have none of it. As one writer said: “[H]e maintained his devout atheism after being diagnosed with cancer” (2011). How sad. How very profoundly, utterly, tragically sad. What a waste.

REFERENCES

“Christopher Hitchens Dies at 62 After Suffering Cancer” (2011), BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16212418.
Hitchens, Christopher (2007), god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: Twelve).

Dinosaur Fossils and a Flood by Kyle Butt, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2672

Dinosaur Fossils and a Flood

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

In a recent LiveScience article, Robin Lloyd detailed a new fossil discovery in the well-known Hell Creek Formation in Montana. The discovery of three juvenile Triceratops dinosaurs, fossilized together in the same bone bed, was a surprise to the scientific community. Until the find, scientists believed that Triceratops was a loner that did not group together with its own kind. In fact, Triceratopsfossils have been found in large fossil beds with other dinosaurs, but not with other Triceratops fossils (Lloyd, 2009). The recent find of three juvenile Triceratops together has led to speculation that the young dinosaurs may have traveled in packs or gangs, but may have become more solitary as they matured.
While speculation about the dinosaurs’ past behavior is interesting, there is something more significant in the recent article. In the first sentence, Lloyd wrote: “Three juvenile Triceratops, a species thought to be solitary, died together in a flood...” (2009, emp. added). As with most other fossil finds, we are informed that the cause of death and fossilization for these specimens was a flood. Lloyd further noted: “It looks like at least three juveniles died there at same [sic] time as a result of flooding, common in this location laced at the time with flood plains and river channels” (2009).
The fact that most dinosaur fossils are explained by a flood fits perfectly with the biblical account of Noah’s Flood and its destructive force. And while the scientific community is quick to label the floods that caused dinosaur fossilization as “local,” “regional,” “common in this location,” or “area flash flooding,” the reality cannot be denied that the global Flood described in the book of Genesis remains the best explanation for the massive fossil graveyards that pepper the globe (see Butt and Lyons, 2008).

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2008), “What Happened to the Dinosaurs?,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3647.
Lloyd, Robin (2009), “Gang of Juvenile Dinosaurs Discovered,” LiveScience, [On-line], URL:http://www.livescience.com/animals/090324-social-triceratops.html.

Kentucky Schools Go P.C. by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1817

Kentucky Schools Go P.C.

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

There appears to be no end to the capricious desire of the social engineers of “political correctness” to sanitize our society by expunging every indication of America’s Christian heritage. Western civilization’s reckoning of time is based on the Gregorian calendar that reflects a Christian worldview by dating the whole of human history in terms of the birth of Christ. “B.C.” (“before Christ”) refers to the years that preceded the birth of Christ. “A.D.” (anno Domini—Latin for “year of our Lord”) refers to the years that have transpired since the birth of Christ. In recent years, academicians and atheists have solved the “problem” by embracing the designations “C.E.” and “B.C.E.,” i.e., “Common Era” and “Before the Common Era.”
Now school textbooks in the state of Kentucky are expected to incorporate the secular dating abbreviations of B.C.E. and C.E. as recommended by the Kentucky State Board of Education. The move is simply another step in a long series of steps across the country that champions a systematic cleansing of America’s Christian roots. Promoters of the politically correct agenda maintain that their actions are simply the natural result of their “sensitivity for tolerance and diversity.” However, the truth is they are hostile toward the moral principles of Christianity. Their actions are actually weakening the foundations of our civilization, and expunging the very features that made us a strong and prosperous nation. Indeed, the P.C. stance flies directly in the face of American history and the will of the Founders. (NOTE: For a discussion of the abbreviations B.C. and A.D. and their relation to America’s origins, see Miller, 2004).

REFERENCES

“Kentucky Goes P.C. on B.C.A.D.” (2006), World Net Daily, April 18, [On-line], URL: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=49786.
Miller, Dave (2004), “A.D. and B.C. are no Longer P.C.,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2664.

Of Water or of Land? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=293&b=Genesis

Of Water or of Land?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Those who reject the inspiration of the Bible have searched it tirelessly for hundreds of years in attempts to find a legitimate contradiction or discrepancy. Time and again their efforts have done nothing to strengthen their case, but have done much to strengthen the Bible’s credibility. In what appears to be skeptics “grasping for straws,” one of their latest allegations has been to assert that a contradiction exists between Genesis 1:20-22 and 2:19. These infidels claim that 1:20-22 teaches that birds were formed out of the water, whereas 2:19 teaches that they were formed out of the ground. What, if anything, can be said about their allegations?
The simple fact of the matter is that those who claim such a contradiction exists have misquoted the text and misunderstood its wording. We readily admit that Genesis 2:19 teaches that “out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air.” However, contrary to skeptics’ accusations, Genesis 1:20-22 does not contradict this statement. Rather, it reads: “Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound (swarm, ASV) with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.’ So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind… And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth’ ” (NKJV). Where does this passage say that birds were formed from the water? It does not. It simply teaches that God caused some living creatures to appear in the water, and He caused birds to fly above the Earth. This passage does not teach that the waters were the cause of the fish, but theelement of the fish, just as the air is the element of the birds (Barnes, 1997).
Bible scholars and apologists consider this “alleged Bible contradiction” such a lame attempt to disprove the Bible as the Word of God that relatively few have even bothered responding to it. Surely, they recognize that at some point in time common sense will allow everyone to see the shallowness of the critics’ accusations. The only reason this brief article was written is so that those who are contemplating the Bible’s inerrancy will not blindly swallow the critics’ allegations without first carefully reading what the passage says and what it does not say.
REFERENCE
Barnes, Albert (1997), Barnes’ Notes (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

From Jim McGuiggan... CHRISTIAN "LUNACY"


CHRISTIAN "LUNACY"

In Ephesians size matters. Paul isn’t content with talking about mercy or grace or love or power. He adds superlatives. He talks about the exceeding greatness or riches of or the unimaginable nature of God’s love or mercy or power or grace. The will of God, he tells us, stretches from one eternity to another and the stage on which we shows himself (limited though it is) is the entire universe. The God we’re face to face with in Ephesians beggars description and his wisdom is something the principalities and powers in the spiritual realm must be instructed in and are privileged to catch a glimpse of (3:10).
And why would such a one bother with the likes of us? Yes, we’ve been told why but while that means we’re not left utterly in the dark, how much light does it really give us? He’s infinitely above and beyond us. It isn’t just his power and wisdom—it’s his character, his love and mercy and grace, they drive us to pile up words on words and phrases on phrases in a vain attempt to grasp and express something of the meaning of it all. It doesn’t surprise us to hear David ask in Psalm 8, "What are humans that you bother with them?" But incredible as it seems and however often we look around to see if anyone else can believe it or if we’re the only ones who find it difficult to take in—incredible as it seems, it’s true! He cares about us.
Well, all right then, so it’s true, but can we gain access to him or must we always speak of him and deal with him at a great distance? If we do gain access to his presence, what is it that gives us this privilege? What hoops do we have to jump through? What great feats do we have to accomplish? What Herculean tasks do we have to undertake to be assured of entering into the company of the Great God? What assures us, even now, of his favor and that in a coming day that communion we now enjoy by faith will have an added dimension—his very presence? What gets us from the gutter, through the door and into the palace?
A wooden stake, a public gallows, on a little hill just outside ancient Jerusalem!
Why is that? Is there some magic in wood? Is there a mysterious power in a hanging tree? Does the cruel and brutal death of some young man make God cry and go all weak and sentimental? There have been millions of deaths like that down the centuries! How does that one, that particular one, enable us to enter God’s presence in peace (2:17-18)? What is it about that death that opens the gates to breathless wonder?
It’s that one because in that one as in no other, in that death as in no other event in all of creation’s history that God makes himself known.
It isn’t God’s love of shed blood that opens his home to us! It’s God himself—his nature and character. His shed blood didn’t make him a loving or welcoming God—it proclaimed that he has eternally been like that! The hanging tree didn’t turn God into a gracious God—it revealed the truth that he already was and remains this!
Nowhere else in time or limitless space can we find the proof that God wants us to be home with him. Nowhere else, only at the hanging tree! There’s no crime in exploring the vastness of God's creation (though motives matter) but no matter how far we go it’s only here on this planet that we’ll find the truth that explains why we exist at all and how we will find new life, new life beyond this life, new life now as well as new life in the future.
If galaxies, constellations or black holes or supernovas don't speak to us now it’s not because they don't speak of Him. For they do speak of him and though we don’t realize it they speak of us also. God not only created this incredible universe he created humans capable of oohing and aahing over it, humans capable of rejoicing in it and humans capable of coming to admire the God who made it all.
But such magnitude can frighten us and make us feel we’re too tiny to matter. The good news is that this planet “too tiny to matter” is the "visited planet". It was here God’s young Prince dwelled with us, loved with us, rejoiced and suffered with us and died for us and it’s here that he will return to and dwell with us again.
It’s only because of that that sinners like us dare to imagine this as our home and that we are welcome here. We’re not (as some fool spoke of us) “fungus clinging to the surface of a nowhere planet.” Denigrate and despise God’s human creation, keep on telling them they are the mindless product of countless mindless and pointless events and then try telling them to act reasonably and compassionately; try telling them that and then tell them that vulnerable humans are worth protecting, worth listening to, worth working for, worth teaching. Tell them “even their highest thoughts are nothing more than chemical reactions” and that we must stamp “UNYIELDING DESPAIR” on them as their inescapable future. Try sowing that seed and expect something other than thorns and thistles and stinking swamps.
And here is the Christian’s “lunacy”: Every Sunday they gather and defy everything that preaches ultimate death and despair and they do it as they proclaim the death of their Lord Jesus until he returns. They proclaim the meaning of that death and they do it with full confidence for the Holy One himself vindicated the young man on the wooden stake by raising him from the dead and making him Lord of all principalities and powers and might and dominion and every name that is named not only in this world but in the world to come.
In Christ alone our hope is found!

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan


From Gary... Bible Reading November 10



Bible Reading  

November 10

The World English Bible


Nov. 10
Isaiah 57-60

Isa 57:1 The righteous perishes, and no man lays it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.
Isa 57:2 He enters into peace; they rest in their beds, each one who walks in his uprightness.
Isa 57:3 "But draw near here, you sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the prostitute.
Isa 57:4 Against whom do you sport yourselves? against whom make you a wide mouth, and put out the tongue? Aren't you children of disobedience, a seed of falsehood,
Isa 57:5 you who inflame yourselves among the oaks, under every green tree; who kill the children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?
Isa 57:6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they are your lot; even to them have you poured a drink offering, you have offered an offering. Shall I be appeased for these things?
Isa 57:7 On a high and lofty mountain have you set your bed; there also you went up to offer sacrifice.
Isa 57:8 Behind the doors and the posts have you set up your memorial: for you have uncovered yourself to another than me, and have gone up; you have enlarged your bed, and made you a covenant with them: you loved their bed where you saw it.
Isa 57:9 You went to the king with oil, and did increase your perfumes, and did send your ambassadors far off, and did debase yourself even to Sheol.
Isa 57:10 You were wearied with the length of your way; yet you didn't say, It is in vain: you found a reviving of your strength; therefore you weren't faint.
Isa 57:11 "Of whom have you been afraid and in fear, that you lie, and have not remembered me, nor laid it to your heart? Haven't I held my peace even of long time, and you don't fear me?
Isa 57:12 I will declare your righteousness; and as for your works, they shall not profit you.
Isa 57:13 When you cry, let those who you have gathered deliver you; but the wind shall take them, a breath shall carry them all away: but he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain."
Isa 57:14 He will say, "Cast up, cast up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of my people."
Isa 57:15 For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Isa 57:16 For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always angry; for the spirit would faint before me, and the souls who I have made.
Isa 57:17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I angry, and struck him; I hid my face and was angry; and he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.
Isa 57:18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners.
Isa 57:19 I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace, to him who is far off and to him who is near," says Yahweh; "and I will heal them."
Isa 57:20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea; for it can't rest, and its waters cast up mire and dirt.
Isa 57:21 "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."

Isa 58:1 "Cry aloud, don't spare, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and declare to my people their disobedience, and to the house of Jacob their sins.
Isa 58:2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways: as a nation that did righteousness, and didn't forsake the ordinance of their God, they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.
Isa 58:3 'Why have we fasted,' say they, 'and you don't see? why have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge?' "Behold, in the day of your fast you find your own pleasure, and exact all your labors.
Isa 58:4 Behold, you fast for strife and contention, and to strike with the fist of wickedness: you don't fast this day so as to make your voice to be heard on high.
Isa 58:5 Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to Yahweh?
Isa 58:6 "Isn't this the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?
Isa 58:7 Isn't it to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor who are cast out to your house? when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Isa 58:8 Then your light shall break forth as the morning, and your healing shall spring forth speedily; and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of Yahweh shall be your rear guard.
Isa 58:9 Then you shall call, and Yahweh will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking wickedly;
Isa 58:10 and if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul: then your light shall rise in darkness, and your obscurity be as the noonday;
Isa 58:11 and Yahweh will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in dry places, and make strong your bones; and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters don't fail.
Isa 58:12 Those who shall be of you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
Isa 58:13 "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of Yahweh honorable; and shall honor it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words:
Isa 58:14 then you shall delight yourself in Yahweh; and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father:" for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it.
Isa 59:1 Behold, Yahweh's hand is not shortened, that it can't save; neither his ear heavy, that it can't hear:
Isa 59:2 but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
Isa 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness.
Isa 59:4 None sues in righteousness, and none pleads in truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
Isa 59:5 They hatch adders' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he who eats of their eggs dies; and that which is crushed breaks out into a viper.
Isa 59:6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
Isa 59:7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their paths.
Isa 59:8 The way of peace they don't know; and there is no justice in their goings: they have made them crooked paths; whoever goes therein does not know peace.
Isa 59:9 Therefore is justice far from us, neither does righteousness overtake us: we look for light, but, behold, darkness; for brightness, but we walk in obscurity.
Isa 59:10 We grope for the wall like the blind; yes, we grope as those who have no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the twilight; among those who are lusty we are as dead men.
Isa 59:11 We roar all like bears, and moan sore like doves: we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.
Isa 59:12 For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them:
Isa 59:13 transgressing and denying Yahweh, and turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
Isa 59:14 Justice is turned away backward, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and uprightness can't enter.
Isa 59:15 Yes, truth is lacking; and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Yahweh saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.
Isa 59:16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his own arm brought salvation to him; and his righteousness, it upheld him.
Isa 59:17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; and he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a mantle.
Isa 59:18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, wrath to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense.
Isa 59:19 So shall they fear the name of Yahweh from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come as a rushing stream, which the breath of Yahweh drives.
Isa 59:20 "A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from disobedience in Jacob," says Yahweh.
Isa 59:21 "As for me, this is my covenant with them," says Yahweh: "my Spirit who is on you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seed's seed," says Yahweh, "from henceforth and forever."
Isa 60:1 "Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of Yahweh is risen on you.
Isa 60:2 For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but Yahweh will arise on you, and his glory shall be seen on you.
Isa 60:3 Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Isa 60:4 "Lift up your eyes all around, and see: they all gather themselves together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the arms.
Isa 60:5 Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
Isa 60:6 The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praises of Yahweh.
Isa 60:7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar; and I will glorify the house of my glory.
Isa 60:8 "Who are these who fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?
Isa 60:9 Surely the islands shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, for the name of Yahweh your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has glorified you.
Isa 60:10 "Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you: for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favor have I had mercy on you.
Isa 60:11 Your gates also shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, and their kings led captive.
Isa 60:12 For that nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; yes, those nations shall be utterly wasted.
Isa 60:13 "The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
Isa 60:14 The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending to you; and all those who despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The city of Yahweh, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Isa 60:15 "Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man passed through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.
Isa 60:16 You shall also suck the milk of the nations, and shall suck the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, Yahweh, am your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Isa 60:17 For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron. I will also make your officers peace, and righteousness your ruler.
Isa 60:18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land, desolation nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.
Isa 60:19 The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light to you: but Yahweh will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.
Isa 60:20 Your sun shall no more go down, neither shall your moon withdraw itself; for Yahweh will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.
Isa 60:21 Your people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
Isa 60:22 The little one shall become a thousand, and the small one a strong nation; I, Yahweh, will hasten it in its time."

Nov. 10
2 Timothy 4

2Ti 4:1 I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom:
2Ti 4:2 preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts;
2Ti 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.
2Ti 4:5 But you be sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.
2Ti 4:6 For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come.
2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.
2Ti 4:8 From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.
2Ti 4:9 Be diligent to come to me soon,
2Ti 4:10 for Demas left me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
2Ti 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.
2Ti 4:12 But I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
2Ti 4:13 Bring the cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus when you come, and the books, especially the parchments.
2Ti 4:14 Alexander, the coppersmith, did much evil to me. The Lord will repay him according to his works,
2Ti 4:15 of whom you also must beware; for he greatly opposed our words.
2Ti 4:16 At my first defense, no one came to help me, but all left me. May it not be held against them.
2Ti 4:17 But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
2Ti 4:18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
2Ti 4:19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the house of Onesiphorus.
2Ti 4:20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but I left Trophimus at Miletus sick.
2Ti 4:21 Be diligent to come before winter. Eubulus salutes you, as do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers.
2Ti 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.