Regrets

Is there anything that you are regretting?

HT: Wretched Radio

Steven Lawson: God’s Sovereignty over America

Steven Lawson brings us this message regarding God’s sovereignty over America. Well worth the time spent to listen it. Here’s a quote that lept out at me: “There’s no panic in heaven. There’s only plans being carried out by God.”

Do Christians Selectively Apply Scripture?

I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a lot of people regarding Christianity. By far, one of the most frequent objections I hear is the alleged double-standard when it comes to following rules from the Bible. The typical argument goes something like this: “The Old Testament says we should be stoning homosexuals, yet you, Christian, don’t believe in that. Why do you pick and choose different parts of the Bible to follow? Why the inconsistency?” It’s never an honest question, usually just an argument they don’t expect you to answer.

Is this what is really we do, however? Do Christians only selectively grant authority to whatever meets their fancy – ignoring commands they find barbarous or offensive, yet embracing ones they like? The answer, boiled down to a mere generality, is no. Valid theological reasons exist to explain why some of God’s ordinances are observed, but others are not.

In the Old Testament, there were essentially three different types of laws, if you will, delivered by God to the people of ancient Israel. While very much intertwined, the laws transcribed into the first five books of the Bible can be thought as being divided into three categories. Together, they governed the totality of ancient Jewish life.

The first of these categories would be the realm of Jewish Ceremonial Law. These ordinances dictated how, when, and where the tenets of Judaism were to be practiced. Take for example Numbers 5:4-5:

He who brings his offering shall offer to the LORD a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil; and you shall offer with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, a quarter of a hin of wine for the drink offering for each lamb. (ESV)

This passage told the Jews how to properly execute one of the types of sacrificial offerings. This passage is one of dozens just like it that govern ritual cleanliness, purity, diet, and the behavior of both laymen and priests.

So why don’t Christians make such sacrifices today? Why do Christians disregard laws that tell us not to eat shellfish because they are considered unclean? The simple reason behind this is that by default, Christians are not held liable by the Law. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus was meant to be the ultimate fulfillment of the Jewish ceremonial system. He was the lamb that was slain, once and for all – the Ultimate Sacrifice. With this, the need for rituals and sacrifices has been abolished, making it so Jewish Ceremonial laws do not apply to Christians today.

In addition to ceremonial laws that outlined religious rituals and practices, Jewish Civil law governed society and regulated legal aspects of Jewish life. These laws, for example, described how to divide land, what to do with captured enemy soldiers, how to punish a thief, among others. Any kind of legal or criminal dispute would be examined in light of Jewish Civil laws.

Many like to point out the civil laws that demand the stoning of adulterers. I will further expound on these in a moment. First, however, I would like to explain why Christians are not obligated to follow the Jewish Civil laws. Christians do not adhere to these laws because God only meant them to be applied to a specific people in a specific time: the Israelites of Ancient Israel. Since the Ancient Kingdom of Israel is not a country anymore, these dictates are obsolete and no longer applicable.

What about the seemingly harsh laws against homosexuality? Let me first pretext this question with the observation that the prescribed OT punishment against homosexuality also applied to every other type of sexual sin – be that adultery, incest, sex before marriage, or bestiality. Homosexuals were in no way singled out, with other sexual sins being given a pass. It wasn’t that way at all.

Regardless, these punishments do seem unabashedly strict to the modern mind. A crucial piece of information is missing though – the fact that we all deserve the punishment of death for our sins. God told the prophet Ezekiel that the “soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, ESV). Because of the sins that we have committed against a most High and Holy God, He should have us executed. Did you know that even one lie is enough to warrant the death penalty from God? Or one lustful thought? Or one time of taking the Lord’s name in vain? You see, according to the Bible, even the smallest sin is an infinite offense against an infinite God. With this in mind, the fact God allows human beings to live at all – that He doesn’t crush us this very moment and deliver the justice He is rightfully entitled to – is a testament to His lovingkindness.

Besides the two types of Old Testament Law that Christians are not obligated to follow today, there is a third that Christians still observe. That category is the set of laws in the Old Testament that are collectively thought of as moral laws. These are the commands against lying, blaspheming, greed, adultery, idolatry, theivery, and so on. They can be summed up quite effectively in the Ten Commandments, given in Exodus 20.

While Christians have been freed from the curse of the Law (Galations 3:13), a truly born-again believer will endeavor to follow these commands out of love and gratitude. Jesus said that those who love Him will keep his commandments (John 14:15). Christians will strive to do exactly this.

Additionally, none of the Ceremonial or Civil laws are reiterated in the New Testament, but the Moral laws are. With the exception of the directive to observe the Sabbath, all of the Ten Commandments are repeated. It would therefore be fair to assume that God expects Christians to keep His Moral Law, but not necessarily the other Old Testament laws.

The fact is, Christians don’t merely pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe. We believe in all of it. While we are not bound by the 600-plus laws given in the Old Testament, we gladly adhere to some of them.

Another Reason to Turn off the TV

Christian, are you sure that spending hours in front of the “Babylon-Tube” (hat tip to my pastor for that one) is the best way to be spending your time? Between all the filth, dirty language, and worldly values, there isn’t much that can be redeemed from Cable TV. Now to make matters even less palatable, this article reports that Comcast and DirecTV are going to be pushing pay-per-view porn advertising on male-oriented channels like ESPN and Spike TV.

Faced with increased competition from former phone companies such as AT&T and Verizon, satellite and cable companies are loosening their chastity belts and getting more aggressive about promoting adult content on other male-heavy channels such as ESPN and Spike TV. What’s more, even as they raise prices on regular channels, the price of their adult fare is about to get much cheaper and more attractive.

So, in addition to what you’d find on almost every other channel, now Cable TV will be airing porn-vertisements. How… nice. Undoubtedly, this move will contribute positively to America’s sewer-mired culture.

God’s Word calls us to be separate from the world, not a part of it (1 John 2:15). And more and more today, being a part of the world includes television watching. The reason why is that what we see on TV affects us. It shapes our values, our morals, our views on God, and defines our standards for behaviour (usually lowering them). Since so much worldly wisdom spews forth, there is no profitability in a Christian devoting himself to the tube. Not only will no spiritual growth amount from it, but excessive television viewing will likely cause the viewer to sin in mind, if not in act. And now, with the porn-vertising push, there is even more risk of that happening.

It’s for reasons like this that we Christians should be spending less time consuming worthless brain-rot and devoting more time to the Lord who has saved us. Maybe instead of watching that R-movie, why not open up your Bible instead? How about finding a quiet place to pray for a while? What about engaging in some sort of ministry for you church? All are preferable to the spiritual poison television feeds to those who view it.

We need to be devoting ourselves to God’s glory, not reveling in that which God hates.

Seventy Five-year-old Woman to be Lashed

In this charming report from the AP, we learn that a 75-year-old widow in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 40 lashes and jailtime for meeting with two younger men, in full accordance with Islamic Sharia law. Here’s an excerpt worth reading:

The newspaper Al-Watan said the woman met with the two 24-year-old men last April after she asked them to bring her five loaves of bread at her home in al-Chamil, a city north of the capital, Riyadh.

Al-Watan identified one man as Fahd al-Anzi, the nephew of Sawadi’s late husband, and the other as his friend and business partner Hadiyan bin Zein. It said they were arrested by the religious police after delivering the bread. The men also were convicted and sentenced to lashes and prison. (Emphasis mine)

This is the fruit that the so-called “Religion of Peace” brings forth. I might ask, where are the women of NOW and Code Pink? Why are not the champions of social justice outraged? Why the silence?

It is somewhat startling to note the differences between Christianity and Islam. One is a religion of peace and life, another of strife and death. Christianity grants mercy to old widows, Islam demands strict and arbitrary punishment. Most importantly of all, however, the Christian faith offers eternal life, while Islam only can only produce death and slavery to sin.

Anything but the Truth

The below video interview somewhat ties in with my previous post about what is lacking in today’s message. Notice the conspicous absense of any warning to count the cost of being a Christian, or that Christianity might actually require you to give something up. Well, I suppose that’s not quite fair, since he doesn’t talk about the Gospel at all during this interview.

Ironically though, one clip shows the pastor speaking next to a toilet. A fitting symbol, perhaps?

HT: WretchedRadio

Bible Sniffing??

I never thought I would see something like this: 

Yet more fruit from the Getting High on Jesus Movement. Yikes. These two girls really need prayer – prayer that they’ll actually read the Bible instead of just sniff its pages. At least then they won’t be getting high off the bonding glue.

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