Monthly Archives: April 2013

Where did the gift of healing go? – 3 John 1:2

We have been studying the spiritual gifts in Sunday School the past couple months as we try to finish a 2-year study of 1 Corinthians. The more I study the gifts, the more I have become convinced that the signs and wonders gifts (healing, tongues, and miracles) all ceased during the apostolic age. For example, the apostle John writes the following in his last letter:

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul (3 John 1:2).

If the gift of healing was still around, why would John pray that his friend, Gaius, may be in good health? If I knew the gift of healing still existed today, I would write and tell my friends and family to go to the people with this gift so they could be healed. Instead, when I write I state that I hope the letter finds them in good health. It seems that even the apostle John realized that the gift had already ceased during his lifetime.

Now I realize this verse alone is not rock-solid proof that the gift of healing had ceased. But it is one of the many pieces of evidence from Scripture that seem to point that way.

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Grumbling against God – Numbers 17:10-13

And the LORD said to Moses, “Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die.” Thus did Moses; as the LORD commanded him, so he did. And the people of Israel said to Moses, “Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, shall die. Are we all to perish?”(Numbers 17:10-13).

I read this and am reminded of how thankful I should be. Thankful that I have direct access to the Lord. I do not have to go through an intermediary like the priesthood of the Old Testament. The very God of the universe listens to my prayers. The very God of the universe has made my sinful flesh his dwelling place. Yet, I grumble. If the Israelite were concerned about being consumed by God because of their grumbling, how much more concerned should I be?

While this all reminds me of what a wretched, ungrateful sinner I am, it also reminds me of how great my Savior is. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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False prophet of just false prophecy? – Mark 13:22

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect (Mark 13:22).

The Christian world today is flooded with people getting supposed new revelation from God. Yet, they readily admit that modern prophecy can be in error. For example, here how John Piper describes modern revelation:

It is a Spirit-prompted, Spirit-sustained, utterance that is rooted in a true revelation, but is fallible because the prophet’s perception of the revelation, and thinking about the revelation, and report of the revelation are all fallible (John Piper, The New Testament Gift of Prophecy).

Now, I have a great deal of respect for Dr.  Piper which is why I picked a quote from him. We know from Scripture that false prophets will arise in the church today to lead people astray. So, how are we supposed to recognize them if it is not by seeing that their prophecy is false? In the Old Testament, the test for a false prophet was pretty cut and dried:

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

Why in the New Testament age, when we have both the Scriptures and the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit has it begun so difficult to determine who is and who is not a false prophet?

This topic deserves some more posts in the future, but I have work to do today. In the meantime, be in the Lord’s house this Sunday studying God’s word and worshiping him with other believers.

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Conformed to the image of Jesus – Romans 8:29

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).

This process of being conformed into the image of Jesus is painful and slow and, most often, it feels like nothing is happening. My sin continues to stalk me. My ungratefulness towards God continues to plague me. It is only my absolute trust the God is doing this work, and, therefore, he will accomplish it that gives me any hope.


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Growing in Christ

Christianity can never outgrow Christ, but it grows in Christ; theology cannot go beyond the word of God, but it must ever progress in the understanding and application of the word of God (History of the Christian Church by Philip Schaff, l. 3742).

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David is still dead – Acts 2:29

In Acts 2:29, the apostle Peter said

Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

He was referring to Kind David who was dead and contrasting him with Jesus who is alive. We Christians are blessed to serve a God who is alive as opposed to a dead prophet.

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For the sake of your goodness – Psalm 25:7

Psalm 25 records a lament of David in which he cries out:

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! (Psalm 25:7).

Like King David, my only hope is in God’s goodness. Thankfully, God is very good and he is mighty to save!


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Law not Gospel. Making molehills out of mountains – Part 8

Do you trust the Bible or your heart and mind? Today we finally come to the end of the review of the blog article A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On. If you would like to start back at the beginning of this series, here are the links to parts 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5, 6. and 7. We pick up near the end of the author’s hypothetical letter to her son who has revealed he is a homosexual:

God gave you the Bible, and he also gave you your heart and your mind, and I believe he’d like you to use all three. It’s a good system of checks and balances he designed (Glennon).

In previous installments, we demonstrated through her own words, that Glennon has decided to trust her own heart and mind over the Bible. She gets to decide which parts of the Bible are worth embracing and which parts are to be ignored or mocked. Nowhere does the Bible teach us that our own hearts and minds are on par with Scripture. Rather, God tell us this about our hearts:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9).

Glennon continues:

Prioritizing can still be hard, though. Jesus predicted that. So he gave us this story: A man approached Jesus and said that he was very confused by all of God’s laws and directions and asked Jesus to break it down for him. He asked, “What are the most important laws?” And Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love others as yourself.” He added that every other scripture hangs on this one. So use that ultimate command as a lens to examine all other scripture. And make damn sure that you are offering others the same rights and respect that you expect for yourself. If you do that, you can’t go wrong (Glennon).

Yes, Jesus did say those things. It is recorded in Matthew 22:34-37 and Luke 10:25-28. (As an aside, be wary when people refer to the Bible, but don’t actually reference it; this can be a sign they are misusing it). The Bible teaches us that if we love God, we will obey his commandments:

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments (1 John 5:3).

You know, commandments like do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not lie, do not be drunkard, and, yes, do not commit homosexual acts. But, now we come back to the basic problem of sin that Glennon wants to ignore. Most importantly, do you see that she is giving you the Law, not the Gospel. Glennon has completed missed Jesus’ message—the true Gospel. You cannot love God with all your heart, mind and soul. The Pharisees could not. I cannot. Glennon cannot. It is the Law that shows us we need a Savior:

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).

So, we can try to pretend that sin does not exist, but our conscious and our experiences with other humans will remind us this is a lie. We can craft an idol with our minds of a false God who overlooks everyone’s sins (except maybe Hitler and a few people like him perhaps). Or, we can fall on our knees in repentance and beg for God’s mercy for Jesus sake. Because Jesus died that horrible death on the cross to redeem sinners. And then, when we understand God’s forgiveness, we can warn others of the coming judgment and the only way of salvation—repentance and faith in the real Jesus.

Glennon’s view of Christianity is not mine. They are diametrically opposed, so we cannot both be right. I would suggest you really read the Bible and see what it says. Decide for yourself before it is too late because:

It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

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Everybody’s in, baby? Making molehills out of mountains – Part 7

In today’s installment, we continue our review of the blog article A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On. If you would like to start back at the beginning of this series, here are the links to parts 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5 and 6. The author now begins to give us her interpretation of being born again:

What we do understand is that we are reborn. And here is what I believe it means to be reborn: The first time you’re born, you identify the people in the room as your family. The second time you’re born, you identify the whole world as your family. Christianity is not about joining a particular club; it’s about waking up to the fact that we are all in the same club. Every last one of us. So avoid discussions about who’s in and who’s out at all costs. Everybody’s in, baby. That’s what makes it beautiful. And hard. If working out your faith is not beautiful and hard, find a new one to work out (Glennon, emphasis in original).

That is not Christianity, but universalism (the idea that everyone goes to heaven). It is not worship of God, but worship of self. It is not believing in the real Jesus presented to us in the Bible, but believing in a make believe Jesus. That is not what Jesus taught about being born again (see John chapter 3 for that). The real Jesus taught about the eternal fires of hell:

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire (Matthew 18:8-9).

If “everybody’s in, baby” as Glennon claims, why did Jesus teach that many people will find destruction while few will find eternal life?

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13-14).

The reason Jesus taught about sin and repentance is because he believed that God’s judgment and wrath are real. And, because he believed God’s judgment and wrath are real, he was willing to die on the cross to redeem his people. And despite Glennon’s claim, not everyone is getting in to heaven. Do you want to believe Glennon or Jesus? And, I mean the real Jesus of the Bible, not some blond-haired, blue-eyed, surfer Jesus (h/t Matt Slick).

Glennon also tells you that you can put your faith in anything:

If working out your faith is not beautiful and hard, find a new one [faith] to work out (Glennon).

But our salvation is not about our faith, but what we put our faith in. Over the years, my pastor has given the analogy of walking out on an ice-covered lake. It does not matter one bit how strong my faith is in that ice. My faith will not hold me up. If I put my rock-solid, unwavering faith in ice that is thin, I will fall through. But, if I put my weak, trembling faith in ice that is thick, I will be supported. It is not our faith that saves us, but what we put our faith in. If we put our faith in a false Jesus, we will not be saved.

Finally for today, Glennon encourages us not to fear:

And if spiritual teachers are encouraging you to fear anyone, watch them closely, honey (Glennon).

The Bible teaches us that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). Jesus taught that we should definitely fear:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Jesus warned us to fear the false prophets who bring a false message from God:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15).

The Apostle Peter warned us that there will be false teachers:

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. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed (2 Peter 2:1-2).

As this series has repeatedly shown, the article A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On repeatedly blasphemes Jesus and the true gospel. Do not be deceived by these lies. I want you to fear false teachers who bring these false doctrines of universalism. Be very afraid, because your very soul and all eternity is at stake.

Closing remarks tomorrow. In the meantime, go read all of 2 Peter 2 and hear the strong language Peter uses about false teachers. Is that message at all consistent with Glennon’s claim that “everybody’s in, baby”?

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Tu quoque. Making molehills out of mountains – Part 6

Today we will address a common logical fallacy people use when they really do not want to discuss the Bible, but instead want to try to make you feel bad for actually believing in  God’s Word. If you would like to start back at the beginning of this series, here are the links to parts 1, 2, 3, 4  and 5. I am reviewing the blog article A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On in which the author has decided that homosexuality is not a sin.

I was immediately reprimanded for my blasphemy by a woman who reminded me of 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. But I was confused because this woman was speaking. In church. And she was also wearing a necklace. And I could see her hair, baby. She had no head covering. All of which are sooooo totally against the New Testament Bible Rules. And so I assumed that she had decided not to follow the parts of the Bible that limited her particular freedoms, but to hold fast to the parts that limit the freedoms of others. I didn’t point this out at the time, because she wasn’t a bad person. People are doing the best they can, mostly. It’s best not to embarrass anyone (Glennon).

I want you to notice that Glennon is not interacting with any Biblical texts that may or may not address the topics of women speaking in church, wearing jewelry and covering their hair. This is an example of the logical fallacy called tu quoque. Basically, Glennon is effectively calling the women at church a hypocrite. Now, even if the woman is hypocritical, Glennon has not really addressed the issue of whether or not homosexuality is a sin as described in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

As another example of the tu quoque fallacy, imagine if a 2-pack-a-day chain-smoker told me that I needed to lose weight for health reasons. Calling that smoker a hypocrite might be accurate since they too are not taking care of their own health. However, the chain-smoker’s hypocrisy does not change the fact that I should quit eating a whole bag of chocolate chips every week and drop a few pounds. Glennon has made up her mind to disregard 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and wants to shift the focus to other parts of the Bible that are not directly relevant to the issue of homosexuality that she is addressing. I discussed 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in some detail in Part 3 of this series, but here it is again:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

It would be fascinating for her to actually try to interact with this text. There are some questions that would be fascinating to ask Glennon or people who hold similar views on this text including:

  1. Does everybody inherit the kingdom of God? If not, who does not? Why not?
  2. If homosexuality is not a sin, are any of the other activities on this list sins?
  3. Why did Paul say, “Do not be deceived?” Is not your position consistent with the problem in the Corinthian church that Paul is addressing?
  4. If someone stole your identity, your car, swindled all of the money from your bank and retirement accounts, committed adultery with your husband, and was unrepentant of all these things, would you expect them to inherit the kingdom of God? Why or why not?

Since women’s head coverings, jewelry and speaking in church are not the actual topics of Glennon’s article, I will not take the bait and make this article series any longer by chasing after those red herrings. And, if you want to go learn more about logical fallacies, there is a fun little book called The Fallacy Detective that is an awesome resource.

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