Saturday, June 30, 2007

Innocent as a New Born Babe?

I came across an interesting article this evening in the British newspaper The Telegraph. It seems that babies are not as innocent as everyone (well, psychologists anyway) had originally thought. In this article researchers explain that children as young as six months already have the capacity to lie, something psychologists previously thought was not possible until about the age of four.

Why, it's almost as if human beings come into the world with a natural inclination to sin!

"Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me" Psalm 51:5

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Death of Shame

There was a time in this country (in virtually any country for that matter) where a picture of a man kissing another man would have been the stock and trade of the blackmailer. A time when a person who had engaged in such behavior would have felt shame for having done it and would have wanted anything other than for a record of their exploits to be published for all to see.

Those days are gone.

This AP report highlights a firestorm created because a New Jersey high school obscured a picture in the yearbook of a male student kissing his 'boyfriend'. This student was 'embarassed' by having the photo NOT shown and is demanding a public apology from the school board, which I predict will shortly grovel at the altar of political correctness and give him one (they've already issued a written apology but that's not enough for the poor fellow).

What a sad day we live in when those things once done furtively and in secret are now flaunted publically and those who dare to be offended are the ones labled perverted. The scriptures tell us that when a people forget God they will begin to call good evil and evil good. They will not only feel no shame at their sin but will actually glory in it. This is the sitation in which we find ourselves in early 21st century America.

Only the Lord's intervention can save us from the destruction for which we're headed. I pray that He will be gracious and send revival.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Roman Catholic Idolatry

I received an e-mail the other day that, quite frankly shocked me. I of course know that Roman Catholics 'venerate' Mary but had no idea the lengths to which it apparently goes in some cases. Here is the text of the e-mail this gentleman sent with personally identifying information replaced with parentheses:

"I am not superstitious so I did not send this e-mail to you for that reason.

I sent it because I truly believe that more time needs to be spent in prayer with the Blessed Mother, Mary the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. She is the most direct link that we have with God.

I have not seen a picture of the Blessed Mother that has not touched my heart in awe. And over the past 3 years, (my wife) and I have traveled to 4 countries under the guidance of (our priest) and have been able to cast our eyes upon some Magnificent portrayals of Mary.

Hail Mary full of Grace,"

Below this was the picture of the Virgin Mary that you see in this post. Below the picture was this:

The President of Argentina received this and called it "junk mail", 8 days later his son died.

A man received this letter and immediately sent out copies...his surprise was winning the lottery.

Alberto Martinez received this letter, gave it to his secretary to make copies but they forgot to distribute: she lost her job and he lost his family.

This letter is miraculous and sacred, don't forget to forward this within 13 days to at least 20 people.

Do Not Forget to forward and you will receive a huge surprise!!

Not much commentary is needed here. Suffice it to say that the errors of the Church of Rome prevalent in Martin Luther's day are with us still despite what those within Protestantism displaying a more ecumenical stance towards Rome would have us believe. However, scripture is also as clear today as it was then. We have but one mediator, Jesus Christ, and our worship is to be directed to Him and Him alone. My prayer is that the eyes of this man and others in bondage to this kind of superstitious mumbo-jumbo will be opened to the Truth and that they will cast themselves upon Christ who alone can save them.

Monday, June 4, 2007

"Perspectives on Pentecost - New Testament Teaching on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit" by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.

This is a short book at only 122 pages but is packed with some very powerful theological arguments. Because of the depth of Gaffin’s arguments and his frequent references to scripture passages (which are not always included in the text) it took me longer to read this book than books twice as long normally do. This book must be read methodically and with an open Bible, it’s not a book to take to the pool for an hour’s diversion! However, it is worth the effort.

I’ve long been of the opinion that the so-called sign gifts (tongues, prophecy & healing) were not for the church after the apostolic age so I must admit to reading the book with a bias already in place for the author’s thesis. However, he does such a thorough and scriptural job of presenting his case, it seems it would be hard to disagree with him having read the book.

He begins the book by discussing in depth the events of Pentecost as recorded in Acts, making the point that “…everything said in the New Testament about the Spirit’s work looks forward to or traces back to Pentecost.” (p. 14)

He goes into much detail developing the point that the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost was a unique event in the history of redemption. Just as the resurrection of Christ was a unique event, never to be repeated, so too the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. It was not a ‘bonus’ to believers or representative of the experience all believers throughout time should expect but an event used by God to establish the church and initiate the work of the risen Christ in the world. It was not, Gaffin would say, primarily or even secondarily about the experiences of the individual believers present that day. He says: “Pentecost is nothing less than the establishment of the church as the new covenant people of God, as the body of Christ.” (p. 21)

In later chapters, Gaffin discusses specific manifestations of the Spirit such as prophecy and tongues. Here he takes a position I’d not previously considered, that prophecy and tongues are really two sides of the same coin, both being revelatory gifts. According to Gaffin, tongues, once translated for the congregation, are nothing more than prophecy. Once that connection is made, one only needs to ask if prophecy is still for today and the issue of tongues is answered as well. The author makes the point that the words of a prophet are “the words of God and are to be received and responded to as such.” (p. 72)

That being the case, the question of the cessation of prophecy (and tongues) is bound up in the question of whether or not the canon is closed. In other words, does God still speak today in addition to His revealed word, the Scriptures? Gaffin says: “…for prophecy, correctly conceived of, to continue on into subsequent generations of the church, beyond its foundational period, would necessarily create tensions with the closed, finished character of the canon. In fact, such a continuation would exclude a completed canon in the strict sense.” (p. 100)

Gannon’s final premise is that prophecy and tongues were revelatory gifts given to the church temporarily during its founding apostolic era. He sees them as inseparable from the ministry of the apostles (even though they were not exercised only by apostles) and believes they have been permanently withdrawn from the church just as the office of apostle has been.

This is book is a very powerful argument for the cessation of prophecy and tongues and I would recommend it to anyone interested in this topic, regardless of his or her present understanding of this controversial issue.