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Dear Pastors, this Sunday I urge, I challenge you to ask the congregation WHY they are sinners. Now, I don't want you to answer for anyone. Allow feed back...dialogue instead of monologue...or at least with the monologue. I don't know what to tell you if you have 2000 members...maybe split into a more manageable group?
Anyhow, I think you will be surprised by the answers. Many people won't know how to answer.
In 2032, after the combined internal weakening (sometimes called "hope and change" by socialistic America-hating politicians) of America and several high impact terrorist attacks such as the downing of the World Trade Center in 2001, the Boston Massacre in 2013, the NY subway bombing in 2015, and the nuclear incident in D.C. in 2021; America finally succumbed to its years of multiculturalism. Without a distinct American identity, America increasingly adopted the Euro-style social elitism that provided more and more for the non-worker by the hand of the working class. Eventually the economy collapsed and America's military readiness faltered.
Today (April 15, 2013), in Boston Massachusetts two explosions occurred which appear to be the work of either foreign or domestic terrorists. The left-wing media is speculating that the attack was by a right-wing "extremist". Obviously, at the time of this writing, no one really knows. It is not the typical tactic of so-called "right-wing extremists" as if and when they protest or do violence; it is generally directed at the government. This attack was apparently on the spectators and participants of the annual Boston Marathon -- an event that you'd think a "right-winger" would appreciate since it is an American staple, having started in 1897 and being the world's oldest annual marathon. Add to this that Boston is historically the home of the American Revolution. And lastly, this event was held on "Patriots Day"; a day that commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, fought near Boston in 1775. This just doesn't seem like the work or target of an over zealous "patriot".
I've begun reading a book that I've had for a while called The Mystery Of Providence. No, it's not a history on Rhode Island. Providence, theologically speaking is the concept that everything that happens is within the plan of God. Some people may equate this to fate or karma. Fate and karma are understood more as random consequences or controlled by nature balancing out.
Providence is a rarely taught doctrine in our day. It offends our pride, our sense of independence and even our sense of self worth. I mean, if everything that happens, good or bad is somehow part of God's plan; then why do we even exist? What is the point? Are we just puppets to an all-consuming deity?
There is now overwhelming social pressure to not only tolerate, not only accept, not only support, but now to aggressively promote same-sex marriage. Just get on Facebook and see how quickly you will be unfriended if you say anything openly against homosexual marriage. But it could be even worse. You might be directly attacked not only by homosexuals but by their duped heterosexual supporters. You will be told to shut up and treated as if you merely have a phobia -- a fear of homosexuality. I mean, there is no possible way these people could entertain that you have a legitimate reason to oppose gay marriage.
Blue Point Bible Church in Blue Point New York has recently called Michael Miano to be its new pastor. So??? Well, Miano is a full preterist. This means he believes and teaches that Jesus already came back. You might think this kind of belief would rock this church which has been in existence since the 1800s. But Blue Point was already an unabashed fulfilled eschatologyi congregation.
Miano won't have many knocks in the congregation with his eschatology but I thought it would be interesting to hear how Miano plans to successfully grow this congregation. After all, many "big name" full preterists have attempted to pastor churches but have failed or had less than ideal results.
So, whether you agree or disagree with full preterism, listen to how Miano plans to try to do something practical in this congregation.
Our weekly study group did a study on what might be considered freewill vs "determinism". I want our group to consider if and how much God is in control. Here is an 11 slide powerpoint presentation you can view.
While Bergoglio is the first pope elected from the Americas (the so-called New World), there was talk of there being a first American pope or pope from the United States of America. I want to address why that would have been a bad idea at this time.
Gordon Clark, originally opposed by the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary when Clark tried to be confirmed within the OPC denomination -- enters into a new controversy even though he has been dead since 1985. Clark was initially opposed mainly because of his concept of "primacy of intellect". In this concept, Clark who was more a philosopher than a theologian advocated an almost humanistic notion that via the intellect, man could rightly conclude truth. Taken with Clark's other teachings which included that there is no such thing as paradox and that the Bible is the Word of God written, a person could approach the Bible as a logician would approach a mathematical equation. (NOTE: a paradox is only an apparent contradiction, not an actual contradiction. So, while the Bible may contain paradoxes, we Christians believe the Bible contains no contradictions)
SCRIPTURALISM: The Bible First, Then God
Murderous crackpots have used religion to foment their followers to kill. Granted, the Bible has accounts of God instructing people to kill or go to war in specific instances but that is missing from Christianity. No where in Christianity do you see Jesus or the apostles advocating killing anyone; either for their beliefs or even actions. Of course Jesus was no pacifist. He instructed in Luke 22:35-36 that while He once sent the apostles out without defense, He was now instructing them to sell their clothes to buy a sword. But no where in Christianity is there this thought that at some future date, Christians following their pastors will rise up and slaughter those who don't "obey".
While doctrine is certainly important, there are aspects of life that need a special attitude. We are defined by our identities; who we are at the most basic level. Who are we? Or grammatically incorrect; "Who do we be?"
One of the major claims within Christianity is that Jesus is not merely a prophet or a wise man, but that Jesus is God Himself come in human form. Among the most aberrant heresies against historical, biblical Christianity is the denial of Jesus' divinity. Among the more modern deniers of Jesus' divinity are Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses. But before them, were some "Christan" sects, such as the Nestorians.
The question before the Church in 3rd and 4th centuries was how Jesus is God. Is Jesus the man merely a vessel into which divinity was "poured"; especially as it relates to the "dove/Holy Spirit descending on Him" in Mt 3:16 and Mk 1:10. At what point is Jesus, divine or God?
We must first ask what makes an "ism" within theology? For LuthernISM, CalvinISMi, or ArminianISM. All of the men these "isms" were named after certainly would rather had their names not become an ISM. So, why did they? They didn't use those terms to describe their views; although these terms help us to quickly sum up a perspective or at least get the general idea.
However, the "isms" come along especially when an advocate begins to propose perspectives they often claim are "their" teaching or "their" view.
Talbotism is still in the making but it is a perspective around the teachings and practices of a man named Kenneth Talbot. Talbot and some of his followers like to deride people for pointing out the rise of his own personal "ism" and his own "followers"; who have been called "Talbotites", "Talbotians", and "Talbotists". But the fact remains, Talbot is making his own personal "ism". This is especially evident in the fact that Talbot has created his own denomination, his own seminary, and his own church. This far exceeds what Martin Luther and John Calvin did in personalizing their perspectives; so if those men have had their names turned into "isms", certainly Talbot's name is more a candidate.
What if God's plan was for His people only? What if God's plan was to save only the Elect and the Elect were only the "sons of Abraham"? And what if the Gentiles who were to be "brought in" were merely the wayward "Jews" such as the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:7-9.
How would this affect you?
A man who goes by the name "RiversOfEden" discusses this possibility during this 70 minute podcast
In this 70 minute podcast, we speak with Michael Miano from freakedoutmovement.com. Miano has the interesting background of having been a gang member and having spent some time in prison.
We discuss his life before and after Christianity and his eventual adoption of the theological perspective called Full Preterismi. He recently debated ex-Full Preterist, Sam Frost and discusses that event.
*my purpose in this interview was simply to have Mr. Miano introduce himself and give a little background. It was not my purpose to "debate" anything he said.
What is moral? To be moral means to do and believe the right things. So, what are the right things in a society without religion or deities? Isn't social morality ever-changing? What was "right" yesterday is considered bigoted and intolerant the next?
Perhaps the baseline of morality could be considered anything that is for the common good of society. That would mean it would have to have a positive effect for the most people for the most amount of time (see here for details). Thus, while there are many things that could be considered "good" for some people, for a limited amount of time; this ultimately may not be "good" for society.
This is an unpleasant topic to have to discuss so close to the holiday that even non-religious people celebrate as a time for family and friends, but the reality is people are going to be duped if they continue to get their news from the mainstream media on this topic.
To be clear, I'm NOT claiming any special insight into this except that the sheer FACTS just don't support the spin the media is putting on it.
When America and the WW2 Allies defeated Germany and Japan, we did something we did not dare do in Iraq or Afghanistan; we changed their cultures. Germany had been completely infused with Nazism and Japan with Imperial Shintoism. One of the main focuses after the defeat of Germany and Japan was to dismantle the very culture that gave rise to those aggressive nations. Instead, with Iraq and Afghanistan; we have and are spending a lot of time trying to say that Islam's not the cause of the hostility. We look for other sources, such as the existence of Israel in the middle of otherwise Islamic countries or the tension of the relative opulence of the West compared to the Middle East; anything but Islam.
The principal way of reshaping the cultures of Germany and Japan was a radical rewrite of their constitutions so as to eliminate the elements that lead to the hostile and repressive mindset.
In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, America and the Coalition allowed those countries to contain within their constitutions, the very element that led and continues to lead such nations to be hostile to principles of freedom and equality. Let us compare just the first lines of the preambles of the U.S., the post-war German, post-war Japanese, post-war Iraqi, and post-war Afghanistan constitutions.
In this generation where people are easily labeled haters and bigots simply for expressing support for traditional values, the true Hate are those who would, through loud social conformance attempt to shut down opposition to their agenda. Whether we're talking about politics, religion or something more personal, everyone benefits when all the issues are laid out before us and true logic is applied; logic that takes into consideration demonstrative reality and not merely rhetoric.
The "green" movement, or environmentalism often talks about "sustainability" as in sustaining our supposed limited resources. Although there is evidence that some so-called fossil fuels such as crude oil actually are being mysteriously replenished (ref); we are being told that if we don't conserve and even look to other yet unproven sources of fuel, that we can't sustain our current lifestyles.
But what I find interesting is that many of these same liberals seem to be oblivious to the FACT that a society cannot sustain itself on other peoples' money. The welfare mentality of the United States and many other nations cannot be sustained. You cannot have more consumers than you do producers. Eventually, the supply will run out.
I've been saying for a while now that I'm moving toward a less theological stance. I am eager to interact with people who are honest even before I interact with people who are "religious" or even Christian. Not that religious people and Christians can't be honest, but after having to endure the corrupt expression of religion from Kenneth Talbot of Whitefield Theological Seminary I am turned off by any semblance of fraud.
So, I am moving toward discussions with honest people; people of integrity and principle. People who actually will publicly interact and not hide away or send their cronies and followers out with talking points.
Now, the first issue is to address the claim that Christ took away all sin, since people do indeed continue to break not only the 10 commandments but Jesus' commandments as well as other biblical precepts.
WHAT IS SIN?
The study of sin is called Hamartiology. Sin in the most simplistic form is disobedience to God's desire, which does not require a stated command. This was the point of many of Jesus' lessons; that people could keep the letter of the Law but were breaking the intent or desire of God. God should not have to write out every little thing that constitutes a sin.
Hillsdale College has been providing two free online courses on the U.S. Constitution. I plan on checking them out soon. I'd like to hear from others that may have already taken these courses. Here is a video from Hillsdale urging people to get involved.
You can go to http://constitution.hillsdale.edu/ to register for these free online courses.
Every October 31st, while much of the western world dresses up in ghoulish costumes, many Christians commemorate another important event that happened on October 31st, 1517. This was the day Roman Catholic monk, Martin Luther is traditionally said to have posted his 95 Theses (or 95 points of protest) on a church door in Wittenberg Germany. This would be considered the spark that led to the Protestant Reformation.
During his various disputes with the Roman Catholic Church, Luther debated against a man named Johann Maier von Eck in 1521 at Worms Germany. Eck's infamous question to Luther was:
Now, the premise of the question isn't necessarily wrong, especially if we believe that God sustains not only His Word but the basic understanding of His Word by His new covenant people. Eck's question should not be flippantly dismissed...not even by Protestant/Reformed Christians.
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