HOW TO DISCERN A FALSE PROPHET

Mike Ritt:

Download a copy of IAAtruth’s Bible study on discerning false prophets and teachers.

Originally posted on IAAtruth - Cults and False Religions:

Copy-of-Bible-StudyJesus warned his disciples that many false Christ’s and false prophets would arise and would deceive many. We see the truth of this today with the proliferation of cults, the New Age, eastern religions, and even psychology, self-help, and some quasi-political groups. With so many different messages and messengers out there, how is a Christian supposed to discern the truth from the error?

Click on the link below to download a copy of our False Prophets Bible study, which looks at four different tests that the Bible gives which must be applied to any teaching or to any prophet claiming to be divinely inspired. Failing any one of these tests would invalidate the teaching and prove the prophet to be false.

You can also go to “Links and Resources” on the menu tab above and click on “Downloads” to download a copy.

False Prophets Bible Study – Teachers Guide

False…

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Biblical Exegesis vs. Eisegesis: Practicing Good Hermeneutics

This is a link to an excellent article by Pastor Brian Chilton. Be sure to check out the rest of the articles on his website. There is a lot of good stuff there.

Biblical Exegesis vs. Eisegesis: Practicing Good Hermeneutics.

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Theism, Atheism and Agnosticism… What’s All the Fuss?

Mike Ritt:

In recognition of National Atheist Day (April 1st), I wanted to re-post the following article that I wrote last year in honor of the unofficial celebration. Feel free to leave a comment or to share it to your favorite social media.
“If I did not believe in God, I should still want my doctor, my lawyer and my banker to do so.” – G.K. Chesterton

Originally posted on The Emmaus Road:

National-Atheist-day-2

You may not be aware of it, but every year on April first we celebrate Atheist Day! OK…the official designation might be April fool’s day, but I think that the two names are interchangeable, and I believe that I have biblical precedence for believing so. In Psalm 14:1, King David writes, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Why would David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, make such a claim? Why is it foolish to say that “there is no God?” To answer this question, let’s take a look at what atheism is and what it claims. You may be surprised to discover that this task is not as easy as it might seem.

Language is said to be arbitrary. That is, there is no natural relationship between words and the concepts that they represent. However, words, as a linguistic form, do have a history…

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What Does It Mean To Be Born Again?

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  (John 3:3 ESV)

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
(John 3:3 ESV)

Being “born again” is one of those phrases that we hear so much that it has become a staple of our Christian-speak; almost to the point of taking for granted that everyone means the same thing when they say that they have been “born again.” But what does it really mean, and what does the Bible really teach about being born again? Here is a good article by Pastor Sean Cole on the subject.

http://emmanuelsterling.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/what-does-it-mean-to-be-born-again/

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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The Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Weapon of Mass Destruction

weapon_of_mass_destructionMuch has been said in recent years about WMD’s, or “weapons of mass destruction.” Nations have engaged in arms races to see who could develop bigger and better WMD’s, until they are like two little boys standing waist deep in gasoline arguing over who has the most matches. Wars have been fought to keep other nations from developing WMD capabilities. Dictatorial and tyrannical third world nations, by virtue of their ability to slaughter tens of thousands of people with a single bomb, can now take their place at the table of world super powers.

While the world looks with keen interest at such places as Iran, Iraq and North Korea, and tries to assess the WMD capabilities of these nations, one of the largest organizations in the world has gone largely ignored, even though it has been in possession of a WMD far longer than any other world super power. That organization is the universal Christian assembly known as the “church,” and their WMD is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote in the epistle to the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

(Romans 1:16 ESV). What did he mean by “the power of God?” What is the power of the gospel? What does the power of the gospel accomplish?

The word that we translate “power” is the Greek word dunamis, meaning strength, ability or power, particularly an inherent power residing within a thing. It is where we get the word “dynamite.” In Romans, it refers to the miraculous, inherent power of the gospel to bring a person into a saving relationship with God. But why do I refer to the gospel as a WMD? Let’s take a look at some of the things that the gospel has the power to destroy.

  • THE GOSPEL CAN DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE:

1 Corinthians 1:19 - For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

The Apostle Paul did not preach the gospel “with the wisdom of words” (1 Cor. 1:17), or with “the enticing words of man’s wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:4). Matthew Henry has this to add:

“He did not preach the gospel in this manner, lest the cross of Christ should be of no effect, lest the success should be ascribed to the force of art, and not of truth; not to the plain doctrine of a crucified Jesus, but to the powerful oratory of those who spread it, and hereby the honor of the cross be diminished or eclipsed.” – Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible

Paul understood that the power of the gospel message was not in worldly wisdom or fancy oratory, but was inherent in the message itself. He recognized that there was more power in the plain preaching of a crucified Jesus than in all of the worldly wisdom and philosophy of his day. It was the preaching of this simple gospel message, by simple men, that turned the whole world upside down (Acts 17:6).

  • THE GOSPEL CAN DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL:

1 John 3:8 – “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

Satan’s purpose is always the same: he seeks to exalt himself above God by opposing God and men, and his “works” are always performed with this in mind. What are some of the ways that Satan works to oppose God and men?

1. Satan opposes the gospel message and attempts to keep men from salvation in Jesus Christ:

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:11-12 ESV)

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ESV)

2. Satan holds men and women slaves to sin and captives to his will:

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26 ESV)

3. Satan seeks the destruction of believers:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

4. Satan tries to corrupt the gospel message and the word of God through false prophets and teachers:

“And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:12-15 ESV)

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1 ESV)

 

  • THE GOSPEL MEANS THE DESTRUCTION OF SATAN HIMSELF:

Hebrews 2:14 – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.

1. Satan’s destruction foretold by Jesus:

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” (Matthew 25:41 ESV)

2. Satan’s destruction foretold by the Apostle Paul:

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (Romans 16:20 ESV)

3. Satan’s destruction foretold by the Apostle John:

“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.’” (Revelation 12:7-11 ESV)

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.” (Revelation 20:1-3 ESV)

 

  • THE GOSPEL BRINGS ABOUT THE DESTRUCTION OF DEATH AND THE POWER OF THE GRAVE:

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57 ESV)

When a person responds in faith to the gospel message, they pass from a state of spiritual death to one of spiritual life (Romans 8:10). They are then sealed by the Holy Spirit as a promise of the redemption to come (Ephesians 4:30). Matthew Henry has this to say about the redemption that is promised:

“There is to be a day of redemption; the body is to be redeemed from the power of the grave at the resurrection-day, and then God’s people will be delivered from all the effects of sin, as well as from all sin and misery, which they are not till rescued out of the grave. – Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11 ESV)

“…and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10 ESV)

 

  • THE GOSPEL IS POWER FOR DESTROYING OUR SINFUL DESIRES AND OUR SINFUL NATURE:

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV)

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:5-10 ESV)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

 

  • THE GOSPEL DESTROYS OUR HEARTS OF STONE THAT WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH GOD:

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV)

IN SUMMARY - This is not an exhaustive treatment on the power of the gospel, but it should, at least, begin to show the mighty way in which it works in the lives of believers to effect the changes that God wants to make in them to bring about their sanctification and their redemption and conform them to the image of Christ. I will close with these words from John Piper:

“We remind ourselves that the gospel alone brings forgiven sinners to final, everlasting joy. Nothing in the world can do this except the gospel of Jesus Christ. Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam – they do not have a Savior who can solve the problem of separation from a holy God through sin, and offer sinners hope by grace and not works. Only one message saves sinners and brings them safely into the presence of God – the gospel of Jesus Christ. It alone is the power of God unto salvation.”  – Sermon by John Piper entitled, The Gospel Is the Power of God unto Salvation, June 21, 1998

(Soli Deo Gloria)

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The Case for the Pre-Existence of Christ: The Birthday that was Not the Beginning

Mike Ritt:

This is a very good article, written by Pastor Brian Chilton, to remind us that although Christmas is a wonderful time to remember and reflect upon the incarnation of Jesus, his incarnation was not his “beginning.”

Make sure to read his article and leave a comment for him to let him know what you thought. Then check out some of the other articles on his blog.

- Soli Deo Gloria

Originally posted on Pastor Brian Chilton:

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Christianity vs. Christmas

 

A lot of Christians struggle at this time of year with how, or even whether, to celebrate Christmas. They see all of the commercialism and greed that has become associated with the holiday, and they wonder whether Jesus has any part in the celebration anymore.

This is a link to an article written last year that might help put some perspective on the issue. I give a little history on the Christmas holiday, but I particularly want you to check out the links at the end of the article. They address more of the Biblical/Theological issues involved.

Soli Deo Gloria

Christianity vs. Christmas.

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30 Abbreviated Arguments for the Existence of God

universe-2Apologetics is all about presenting a reasoned defense of the Christian faith. Contrary to popular belief, the Christian faith is not “blind.” Christianity is a rational belief system built upon compelling evidences. Christians are required not only to know what they believe and why they believe it, but we are also required to be prepared to share with others the reasons for the hope that is in us (I Peter 3:15).

The following article, written by Pastor Brian Chilton, is a great summary to be used as reference for some of the more popular arguments for the existence of God. I highly recommend that Christians take the time to become familiar with several of these arguments. Some of them are better than others. Most of them have been around for a long time. Do some further research on the ones that you like until you know them inside-out. But remember, arguments have never led anyone to the Lord. That is the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit. Using arguments to defend the existence of God is not the same as “arguing” with someone. I Peter 3:15 admonishes us to be prepared to make a defense for the hope that is in us, but it also instructs us to do this with “gentleness and respect.”

Click here to read the article: 30 Abbreviated Arguments for the Existence of God

Soli Deo Gloria

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The Exclusivity of Jesus Christ

Jesus is the only way to God

Jesus is the only way to God

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.   (John 14:6 ESV)

I – Not Muhammad. Not Buddha.  Not Krishna. Not Confucius. Not Moses. Not the Pope. Not Zoroaster. Not Laozi. Not Guru Nanak Dev. Not Joseph Smith. Not Mary Baker Eddy. Not Charles Taze Russell. Not L. Ron Hubbard. Not Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Not Sun Myung Moon. Not Anton LaVey, or any of a thousand other pretenders and false prophets. Only Jesus.

AM – A verb. An action. To exist. To live. To be.

THE – One in particular. Distinct from all others. Not “a” or “an”.

WAY – The manner. The method. The path. The door. The direction. The means. The road. The mode. The gate. The entrance. The opening.

AND – In addition to. Also. As well as.

The TRUTH – Not a lie. Not a falsehood. Not a deception. Not a fake, a phony, or a fraud, but a fact. A reality. A certainty. An assurance.

And the LIFE – That quality of existence characterized by growth and change. Living. Existing. Not dead or dying. Not stagnant or unproductive. Active. Abundant. Fertile. Full. Meaningful. Joyous.

NO ONE – A universal negation. Not anyone. Not Mother Teresa. Not Martin Luther. Not John Calvin. Not Saint Augustine. Not the missionaries. Not the preachers or the priests. Not your Sunday school teacher. Not your mother, or your father, or you siblings. Not your grandparents, or your neighbors, or your friends. Not you. Not me.

COMES – Approaches. Draws near. Gets closer to. Moves toward.

TO – In the direction of. In the vicinity of.

The FATHER – Abba. Daddy. The creator. The sustainer. The giver of life. The designer. The author. The provider. The protector. The judge. YHWH. Jehovah. GOD.

EXCEPT – Other than. But. Excluding. Apart from. With the exception of.

THROUGH – By way of. By means of. Via. By the use of.

ME – The one speaking. Jesus.

Jesus is the only WAY to God. He has the only TRUTH about God. He alone can give us LIFE with God.

Soli Deo Gloria

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The Faith of Our Founding Fathers -

hiddenFaithFoundingFathers_600Were our Founding Fathers a bunch of atheists and Deists who purposed to establish a new government totally separated from the influence of religion?

I had not planned on posting anything for the Fourth of July, but after reading a number of articles and posts on Facebook about our Founding Fathers being a bunch of “free-thinkers” (whatever that implies), atheists, and deists who mandated a strict separation of religious life from the political process, I decided to weigh in with my two cents. Everyone has a right to express their own opinion, and I am going to exercise my right to respond to these types of revisionist ideas.

The first amendment to our constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The rest of the first amendment deals with the freedoms of speech, the press, of peaceable assembly, and of the right to petition the government.

The prohibitions mentioned in the first amendment are all placed on “congress,” not on anyone else. This was done to keep the United States from committing the same error that some of the European nations had made by establishing a state or national religion such as existed in Germany, Spain and Great Britain. In these countries, membership in the state church was necessary for economic, social or political advancement. Our Founding Fathers placed this shackle upon congress to prevent them from doing the same thing.

Then they added the second clause, which most of the people who cry, “Separation of church and state” tend to ignore. They added the prohibition that congress could not pass any laws that prohibit the free exercise of religious beliefs. There are obvious exceptions for when a religious practice is deemed harmful to individuals or to the nation as a whole.

One example would be the practice of polygamy by the Mormons. In Reynolds v. United States (1878), the Supreme Court upheld the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862, stating that the practice of polygamy tended to violate community social norms and subvert social order. Fortunately for the Mormons, they received a revelation a few years later (1890) that polygamy was no longer approved by God.

Another example of a religious practice that would not be protected by the first amendment would be the Hindu practice of sati, in which a recently widowed woman would join her husband’s body on his funeral pyre or be buried alive with him.

These exceptions aside, neither of the prohibitions mentioned in the first amendment on congress is meant to prevent religious people from being involved in the political process, from serving in public office, or from attempting to influence public policy or their elected representatives.

Furthermore, these prohibitions do not prohibit congress from passing legislation that is favorable to religious expression or religious groups, as long as it does not violate the establishment clause of the first amendment. For example:

• Congress has appointed congressional and military chaplains since before the constitution was ever written, and has continued to appoint them in every congress up to the present.
• Congress has set aside national days of prayer, thanksgiving, and fasting on numerous occasions.
• Both in the Articles of War (June 1775) and in the Rules and Regulations of the Navy (November 1775), steps were taken by congress to insure that Christian morality prevailed, even encouraging attendance in religious services.
• On Sept. 11, 1777, Congress instructed its Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from “Scotland, Holland or elsewhere.”
• On September 12, 1782, congress endorsed the printing of the first English language Bible printed in America. (Journals of Congress, September, 1782, pages 468 and 469)
• In 1785, congress passed an ordinance for the disposition of lands acquired from Great Britain in the treaty of 1783. In this ordinance, one section in each newly laid out township was to be set aside for the support of religion.
• In July of 1787, congress passed the Northwest Ordinance, which states in part, “Religion, Morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, Schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged.” We see in this document that not only did the Founders believe that religion was “necessary” to good government, but they expected religion to be taught in the public schools!

The Northwest Ordinance

The Northwest Ordinance

These are just a few examples among many that show that the Founding Fathers were far from being antagonistic toward religion, but instead, supported it on numerous occasions.

Finally, with regard to the faith of the Founders; of the 204 unique individuals who are recognized as “Founding Fathers”:

• Seven of them were members of the clergy.
• There are only twenty-three of them about which we know nothing about their religious views.
• Only six were Unitarian or Deists, who although not Christian, were theists, and were favorably inclined towards religion in general.
• 175 were members of their local congregations.

Not only do we see the high regard for religion that the Founding Fathers had through the legislation that they passed, but we can read it in their own words. Here are just a few examples:

“…we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – October 11, 1778 Message from John Adams to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Massachusetts Militia

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come!” – Samuel Adams in a speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia, August 1, 1776

“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our CREATOR, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.” – George Mason in the Virginia Bill of Rights, Article XVI, June 12, 1776

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.” – Thomas Jefferson, Query XVIII of his Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781 (also engraved on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.)

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are ‘indispensable’ supports”.  – George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

All of this is very difficult to understand if we are to believe what we hear nowadays about the Founders all being enlightened free-thinkers who wanted to keep religion and politics as far away from each other as possible. We see by their lives, their actions, the legislation that they passed and the words that they spoke, that our Founding Fathers not only supported and encouraged religion, but the religion that they favored was not Hinduism or Buddhism or Islam, but Christianity.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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