It is never good to ignore the burden of working through the process of forgiveness but on the other hand, it would be equally wrong to ignore the blessing that is found. Join Charles and Daniel as they discuss the joy that comes from forgiveness!
Tough questions: they come when we least expect them. They are questions that may or may not bother us, but they certainly bother the skeptic. What do we do? How do we answer those unexpected challenges to our strongly held faith in Christ and God’s Word. We could avoid them. We could ignore them. Sometimes we give what we think is a lame answer which leaves us feeling like an inadequate, unprepared failure.
The truth is we cannot expect to avoid them forever; unless you spend your life in a cave, which I don’t recommend. And it seems that skeptics can find us anywhere. Ignoring them will not work either. Skeptics will not be ignored. And it is possible that they genuinely want answers.
Besides all this, we are challenged, called, and even commanded to “be ready always”. What do we do then? How do we share the Truth in an environment which has become more and more hostile to Biblical truth. Is it possible to be ready for such a responsibility? These are questions begging for answers.
That is why Passion4Christ2016 will focus on “TRUTH: defending your faith in a secular age”. This is your opportunity to set aside time to prayerfully engage the questions we face in an increasingly secular and godless culture. You can look forward to clear Biblical exposition, a Q&A panel, and those times around the table to discuss the issues you and I face. It is also your opportunity to meet and hear Matt Schackleford, a fine expositor and the Senior Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Canal Winchester, OH who will be our guest speaker for the week. We are all learners together, and our greatest resource is God’s Word. The fellowship of other Christians blessed by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit will be the best possible environment for sharpening our hearts and minds for the task.
None of us can ever hope to have all the answers, but each of us can be Biblically prepared to present Christ and His Gospel to an unbelieving world desperately in need of His salvation. After all, our purpose is not to win arguments but to win souls for Christ. Join us at P4C2016 as we prepare ourselves for this eternal business.
Its hard to forgive. Saying it isn’t would be an unwillingness to embrace the burden that comes from the process of forgiving those who have wronged you and the healing that is needed for deep rooted bitterness. Join Charles and Daniel as they talk about it…
Several years ago a series of books was published with a story line involving the circumstances surrounding the Second Coming of Christ. Written from a premillenial, dispensational perspective, this eschatological tome went into great detail describing what will happen when the “rapture” occurs and the aftermath for those “left behind”.
A woman who was a co-worker of mine asked what I thought of the books. My reply?; “They are interesting fiction.” Whether you agree with my assessment or with the theology behind the series, there are serious issues involved with developing one’s view of a particular Biblical subject or theology from fictional writing.
This brings us to a more recent development in the production of quasi-biblical fiction: a cinematic effort to tell the story of the child Jesus. The movie “The Young Messiah” is based on a book written by Anne Rice. The movie purports to give an historically reliable account of the child Jesus at the age of seven when his parents were returning to Palestine with him from Egypt. The narrative weaves the pursuit of the child by a Roman soldier and instances of miracles performed by the surprised and uncertain young Messiah. It has opened to some good reviews, even getting a positive nod from Focus on the Family.
Bible-believing Evangelicals should be savvy enough to see through the ruse and discern what is really happening. We can learn a lesson from the early church which rejected spurious “gospels” and letters that claimed authenticity and inspiration while making obvious uninspired statements and offering fictitious accounts of the child Jesus which were fantastic if not absurd. If the early church rejected these extra canonical sources while holding on to the Apostolic tradition, why should we give credence to a modern day resurrection of such things? The truth is that these apocryphal accounts appealed to the emotion and imagination then just as they do now, not to the converted and Biblically trained mind. The inspired Scriptures say very little about the childhood of Jesus of Nazareth, but as with all they address, what they say is sufficient. Stories of the Christchild’s supposed forays into early expressions of deity have nothing to do with the veracity of the Jesus of the gospel accounts, His glorious person, or His saving work. What is worse in this instance is the sense of reality given to such a story when it is displayed on the large screen of the theater. We are easily moved by life-sized dramatization and skillful story telling, when we ought to be firmly convinced by inspired truth. Claims of authenticity and historically verifiable accounts must not be taken at face value, and the emotions inspired by the actions of a little boy on the screen should not be trusted as Biblical Christian experience. So do not expect genuine conversions to Christ to be the result of such an event. Hot flashes and flushed faces may occur, but these are not indications of a saving knowledge of the Christ of Scripture.
Whether you spend your money to watch such a movie is certainly a choice made between you and the Lord. But let us get our theology, and in particular our Christology, from the Word of God, judge all things by it, and be ready to give an answer to those who may well be confused by the theology of cinema.
We are naturally attracted by outward beauty, whether it is a person, natural creation, a nice house, even ministries. We are captivated by things that are attractive. Supermarkets do not allow the packaging of their products to deteriorate. Their lights are bright and the food is colorful. Cigarettes, alcohol, the lottery all fail to show us their dark side. Cancer, drunkenness, unpaid bills are hidden by images of successful, happy, and wealthy people.
Because we are naturally drawn to outwardly attractive things, while overlooking their undesirable elements, it is easy for us to be deceived. And because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different kinds of things attract and even deceive different kinds of people. Perhaps you have walked through a flea market or gift shop and wondered, “Who buys this stuff?!” Or maybe you have seen someone set up on the side of the road selling their wares and thought, “Surely nobody buys that. What would you do with it?” Hey, “one man’s trash is another…” You know.
We have grown accustomed to this in politics as well. Clothes, photo opps, speeches, and surroundings are used to frame a candidate to make him or her attractive to as many people as possible. Yes policies, beliefs, philosophies, and ideologies all play a part. But the frame can be as or more important as the subject. It seems that the public would grow immune to hype, rhetoric, pugnacity, and empty promises. Instead it appears that in some ways the electorate is more gullible than ever.
Shrewd public figures know how to tap in to fear, anger, and other emotions and tendencies, grabbing a contrived high ground and playing a political version of “king of the mountain”; successfully staving off attempts to be knocked from the perch while drawing more fans to the side of bombastic behavior.
Why is it so difficult for the electorate to see through the fog and remember the old and oft-quoted cliche “all that glitters is not gold”? Many a gold rusher mined loads of pyrite only to find that the attractive substitute was worthless and that their hours of exhaustive labor had produced nothing but fatigue.
Recently my son was talking with a man near a polling location who told him for whom he was voting. My son’s advice was; “You had better look long and hard before you make that decision”. Isn’t that good advice for all of us? Shouldn’t we place the thinking cap back on our heads; the one we throw off at the first sight of an attractive and glittering candidate who says the right things but fails the test of closer examination?
When coins were the primary means of currency, it was not unusual for counterfeiters to make coins out of cheap metals then cover them with a coat of gold or gold colored metal. The naive would often take such “currency” without testing it. But the savvy person tested the coins given to them by biting them to see if the coating would come off. That became a customary means of determining if what you were paid was authentic.
In more ancient history, pottery was made and sold in the open market. Well-made and intricately designed pieces could fetch a nice price. Some hucksters would take flawed pieces of pottery and fill the flaws with wax. The wax could easily be painted or polished to cover the repair, giving it the appearance of a more valuable work of art. Testers would take a piece of poetry and hold it up to the light of the sun and with their trained eye see if a piece was authentic. Those without wax patches were labeled “sincere”, without wax. You may recognize the Latin phrase as the one from which the English word sincere is derived.
I want to challenge my readers to give long hard Biblical thought to the issue of choosing a leader. Do not be naive. Hold the potential leader up to the light of God’s Word and look closely, critically, and prayerfully. It is not enough to be attracted by catch phrases, winsomeness, and attractiveness.
In the end it is God who puts down one and raises up another. But He uses means to accomplish His end, and in this case, we are the means. We will be held accountable for how we exercise our privilege. May the Lord help us to choose wisely.
Last week we looked at how ‘judging’ used in different context can mean different thing. This week we want to look at Christ’s actual prohibition of judging and what that means for our everyday life. Join Charles and Daniel as they discuss it…