Archive for December, 2006

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Those who should know better

December 30, 2006

I think most have heard by now that Saddam Hussein was executed.

In Genesis 9:6 God says, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”

Romans 13:1-4 reads,

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Yet, Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, denounced the execution of Saddam Hussein because it may cause more violence. We might expect this from a non-Christian or new Christian, but a schooled Biblical priest? This consideration may sound good but it’s without Biblical ground. I know that the Gospel and primacy of the Bible are unrecognizable in Roman Catholic theology. But if they no longer stand for Biblical justice either, where do they stand? Shouldn’t they know better?

For more on Biblical Capital Punishment see here and here.

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Prayer for Church and State

December 21, 2006

This article brings up several questions but also some answers. Pastor Fields of New Jersey opened the New Jersey senate’s session with a timely but, to some, shocking prayer where he condemned same-sex marriage and used the name of our Lord Jesus. What questions does this raise? Where was Pastor Fields right and noble and where would we not imitate him?

Is there an improper time/place to proclaim the truth of God?
Paul told Timothy to be ready to preach in season and out of season 2 Timothy 4:2. Whether or not the public opinion would approve, Paul told Timothy to preach the gospel. This would hold true for Pastor Fields, especially when the Senate was addressing the subject of same-sex marriage that day. If Pastor Fields had agreed previously to avoid such political statements then this proclamation becomes more difficult. He lied if such an agreement was made. But should the agreement have been made? We should not agree to shape our speech or prayer according to a worldly definition of “tolerance”. This probably would have prevented Pastor Fields from praying, so be it.

Should we endeavor to make our prayers “non-specific” when Satanists are present?
There is certainly no provision to water-down either our gospel or the revelation of God due to the company we are in. I see no reason why Pastor Fields should have changed his prayer so that the name of Jesus Christ would not offend.

Is there a “spirit” of same-sex marriage? And if so, should we be cursing it?
The occasions in the Bible where there is a “spirit of” a sin are rare. Acts 16:16 mentions the spirit of divination. There is a spirit of slavery (Romans 8:15) and spirit of stupor (Romans 11:8), the spirit of the world (1 Corinthians 2:12), spirit of the antichrist (1 John 4:3), spirit of error (1 John 4:6). The spirit of whoredom occurs in Hosea 4:12 & 5:4, concerning the seeking of idols instead of the true God but not sexual sin. Sexual immorality is a sin of the person (1 Corinthians 6:18). I did not find anywhere referencing a spirit of sexual immorality. If there were though, there is also strong objection to cursing in general but also the cursing of the “glorious ones” (Jude 8,9). I think it is clear at that point that we do not want to be cursing any spirits, angels or fallen angels.

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More dead guys?

December 14, 2006

I have heard from R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur and company that the church today doesn’t read enough “dead guys”.

One quite helpful article for daily Christian living is “How to Spend the Day with God” by Richard Baxter (1615-1691), updated by Matthew Vogan and posted on PuritanSermons.com.

Another treasured resource is the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Many great classics have been translated to English, put on the internet and converted to different file formats (including Palm Reader for Palm Pilot), all for free.

Enjoy the dead guys and remember the One Lord Jesus Christ they continue to point to!

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Sabbath days

December 1, 2006

The completion of the work of Jesus Christ has many implications. One of those is the setting aside of the Sabbath days of feasts and festivals in the Old Testament. We read about this in Colossians,

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17, ESV)

The phrase in the ESV, “or a Sabbath”, is plural in the Greek, “or Sabbath days”. These Sabbath days of feasts and festivals were shadows of the reality in Christ.

Now, God’s inspired word is quite enough to believe anything He wrote there. And, it is fulfilling and a source of great joy to find out how deeply these writings go. God has been writing about the fulfillment of the New Covenant throughout the Bible.

As I was reading through Ezekiel a few days ago God blessed me with the remembrance of several passages, including the one from Colossians above. One was Jeremiah 31:33-34 (ESV) where a result of the New Covenant is that “all know [the LORD]”. In the new covenant we know the Lord. Another passage I remembered, but had to look up, was 1 Corinthians 1:30 (ESV). There we learn much about who Christ is to us, including that He is our sanctification.

These passages serve as a special insight into the Sabbath days because of the following two verses from Ezekiel:

Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. (Ezekiel 20:12, ESV)

and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God. (Ezekiel 20:20, ESV)

Two purposes of the Sabbath are knowing the Lord and knowing the Lord is our sanctification. These two are completely fulfilled in Jesus Christ. So Paul’s words in Colossians have all that much more depth because we see some of the aspects of how Jesus Christ fulfilled the Sabbath days – by allowing us to know the Lord and by becoming our sanctification.