We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Londonderry Air

One of my favorite pipe tunes is the Londonderry Air, which most people know from the song Danny Boy.  The tune itself comes from Ireland in the mid-19th century (although by looking at Wikipedia I found there is some debate as to when it was written).

Other than Danny Boy, the first time I heard a song to the tune was in a Catholic Church (I play for weddings and funerals, mostly for people of Irish descent), and I’ve heard the same song several times but never listened to the lyrics nor had access to a hymnal at these times.

So imagine my surprise this past Sunday when our organist was playing this tune as part of her pre-service selections!  I noted to a woman by us that I was surprised to hear it because (aside from pipes or the song Danny Boy) it was the first time I heard it outside of a Catholic Church!  She told me she has the song a hymnal at home and it isn’t Catholic.  So the conversation continued from there as she sung part of it and gave me the name of the song so I could look it up.

Well, from what I found on the Internet, the original song seems to have been just one verse which included the whole tune, and was written by Dottie Rambo.  Here is the song:

He Looked Beyond My Faults

Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise,
For it was grace that bought my liberty.
I do not know just how He came to love me so;
He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.
I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary
To view the cross where Jesus died for me.
How marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul;
He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.

I think this is a very good, albeit short, hymn.

Now, as you search the ‘net you will find that many people have written a second and even a third verse, using the second part of the Air as the chorus (“I shall forever…”), and some of them aren’t bad.  I liked this one the best:

If not for grace, my soul would be a drifting ship
With no safe harbor from the angry waves
But Calvary's cross shines brightly through the darkest storm
And just in time, His mercy rescues me!

If someone knows the Catholic song, I’d be curious as to the lyrics and whether or not they are doctrinally sound for real Christians.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Youth Minister

We must reform our view of the qualification for—and even the legitimacy of—a “youth minister.”  The normative pattern in Scripture implores young people to emulate the values of their elders.  They must respect them, be instructed by them and follow their example. . . .  Thus, older men in the church bear the first responsibility for training youth; the older women to follow “likewise” in their steps.  We must therefore reject the appalling notion of the model of youth minister as a recently graduated extrovert who looks and acts just like a high schooler himself.  If our youth cannot “relate to” older men, then we are seeing evidence of older men having dropped the ball years ago.

Christopher Schlect, Critique of Modern Youth Ministry, pg.15

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Faith vs Hope

Faith involves trusting God in the present.
Hope is future faith; trusting in God for what is to come. 
Hope is trusting God for the future.
Hope is to look for the Lord to eventually do something later.

Jay Jentink, pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Cedar Rapids, IA, in sermon on 1/29/17

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hymns Using “Ebenezer”

Back when we attended Lutheran Churches (LCMS) one of my favorite hymns was “Thy Strong Word,” which was sung to the tune “Ebenezer.”  Strong meat in that song, and in 1991 I decided it needed to be transcribed to the bagpipes.

In December 1995 we moved to Iowa and we never again heard that hymn, but I continued to practice it on my pipes. In 1999 we began attending a Plymouth Brethren assembly and there I heard the tune again — only with different lyrics!  The hymn is “O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus,” which is another very meaty hymn.  In the two churches we have attended since leaving that PB assembly we have continued to sing that song.

This past Saturday (18 Feb) we joined with several other couples for an evening “hymn sing,” which we’ve been doing every 6-8 weeks for about two years.  “O The Deep, Deep Love…” is one chosen almost every time, but this week it got me thinking about the other lyrics we used to sing with that tune, so I thought about writing this post showing the completely different theological point in each hymn, and yet how both are so very encouraging with their depth of teachings.

Our Lutheran hymnal has only four stanzas for “Thy Strong Word,” but when I looked on the ‘net so I wouldn’t have to type them out (cut & paste is so convenient), I discovered two more stanzas.  So here are all six:

Thy Strong Word

Thy strong word did cleave the darkness;
At thy speaking it was done.
For created light we thank thee
While thine ordered seasons run.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

Lo, on those who dwelt in darkness,
Dark as night and deep as death,
Broke the light of thy salvation,
Breathed thine own life-giving breath.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

Thy strong Word bespeaks us righteous;
Bright with thine own holiness,
Glorious now, we press toward glory,
And our lives our hopes confess.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

From the cross thy wisdom shining
Breaketh forth in conqu'ring might;
From the cross forever beameth
All thy bright redeeming light.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise to thee who light dost send!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia without end!

Give us lips to sing thy glory,
Tongues thy mercy to proclaim,
Throats to shout the hope that fills us,
Mouths to speak thy holy name.
Alleluia! Alleluia! May the light which thou dost send
Fill our songs with alleluias, Alleluias without end!

God the Father, light-creator,
To thee laud and honor be.
To thee, Light from Light begotten,
Praise be sung eternally.
Holy Spirit, light-revealer, Glory, glory be to thee.
Mortals, angels, now and ever Praise the holy Trinity!

Now for the other hymn:

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free,
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me, Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward To my glorious rest above.

O, the deep, deep love of Jesus—
Spread his praise from shore to shore!
How he loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, Died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, Watcheth o’er them from the throne.

O, the deep, deep love of Jesus, 
Love of every love the best;
’Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
’Tis a haven sweet of rest.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ‘Tis a heav’n of heav’ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, For it lifts me up to Thee!

I hope you find these hymns as wonderful as do I.  (And the tune is great!)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Don’t Cheapen the Bible

What we must do is to educate the masses of the people up to the Bible, not bring the Bible down to their level.  One of the greatest troubles in life today is that everything is being brought down to the same level; everything is being cheapened.  The common man is made the standard and the authority; he decides everything, and everything has got to be brought down to him. . . .  Everywhere standards are coming down and down.  Are we to do this with the Word of God?  I say, No!

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Knowing the Times, pg.112

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Just Because It Is Attractive, That Doesn’t Mean It’s From God

No matter how attractive the movement may appear, if it is not founded in righteousness and nurtured in humility, it is not of God.  If it exploits the flesh, it is a religious fraud and should not have the support of any God-fearing Christian.  Only that is of God which honors the Spirit and prospers at the expense of the human ego.  “That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

A.W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest, pg.120

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Random Things Needing Discernment

Cru, aka Campus Crusade for Christ, is now financing and promoting abject heresy!!!

On thing that is proof you have a goat-herd leading your “church” is that he will focus on sex to attract more goats with titillation.  Here’s another example.

“IF” Gatherings — spreading false teachings like wildfire.

Really, really beware of the false prophet/teacher Jennifer LeClaire.

If your church leaders attend the C3 conference, you need to find another church.

Another article about tithing, for use the next time your church says Christians are supposed to tithe.

The Real Tim Keller.  Can you say “false teacher”?

Catholics and their worship of Mary as another god.

The continuing saga about apostate Clayton Jennings.  The guy just doesn’t quit his nastiness.  Ah, but his female fans virtually worship him.

The Berean Examiner has continued the series of testimonies by those who have left the NAR.  Just browse the site.

Let’s see, a “Christian” establishment is helping Muslims to worship their pagan god?

Matt Chandler and his Village Church are to be avoided; discernment there is lacking.

Another poor CCM song examined.

More proof that the United Church of Christ is a totally apostate organization.

A reminder about what goes on at The World Race.

Dave Ramsey should stick with financial advise and leave the Bible alone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lovingly Confront Cultists

A loving approach to cultists may be thought contradictory to 2 John 9-11: If anyone does not bring the teaching of Christ’s true deity and humanity, do not take him into your house or welcome him.  Since itinerate teachers were not given salaries, but hospitality, to put them up was to support them in their non-Christian cause.  The principle here is not to share or support their deceptive work (verse 11).  Christians ought not to give money or goods to cultists.  However, compassionately and patiently seeking to help them understand and receive the gospel in no way aids or abets their cause.

Gordon R. Lewis, Confronting the Cults, pg.12

Monday, February 20, 2017

Growth of Rastafarianism

The Rastafarians grew to prominence among the poor people of the Caribbean because their beliefs turned Christianity into a black-centered religion.  The twelve tribes of Israel were interpreted as the black races of the world; slavery in Babylon became a symbol for the dominance of whites; and Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, was acclaimed (somewhat to his embarrassment) as the promised Deliverer who would one day take the oppressed “Israelites” back to their homeland.

John Allan, Shopping for a God, pg.27

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Catholic Dogmas Refuted

On 3 February I posted the article, “Some Roman Catholic Dogmas” to demonstrate the chronology of when these man-made dogmas came into existence.  One of my readers suggested that I amend the article to put in Scripture which refutes each point.  That’s the purpose of this entry.

While I will cite Scripture for some of these, other will have links to articles (either mine or others on the ‘net) which have the Scriptures in their examinations of the topics.

300 A.D.  Prayers for the dead.  Hebrews 9:27 says after death comes judgment.  No prayers of intercession can help someone after they have died.

300 A.D.  Making the sign of the cross.  There is nothing unbiblical about this; it’s just a tradition of men.  There is also no requirement to do this, so if the RCC says it is necessary, then they are wrong.

375 A.D.  Veneration of angels and dead saints.  No biblical support for venerating angels.  Should we hold them in respect? Yes, but virtual worship?  NO?  Rev. 22:9.  “Saints” are all who believe, not special people set apart by Rome.  We do not venerate them either.

375 A.D.  Use of images in worshipThis is idolatry.

394 A.D.  The Mass as a daily celebration.  Apparently, at this particular period in history, the Mass was no more than a celebration of the Lord’s Supper (I may be wrong), since it was over 800 years before transubstantiation was declared dogma.  Nevertheless, Jesus said “as often as you do this,” but gave no command as to how often the Lord’s Supper was to be celebrated.

431 A.D.  The title “Mother of God” assigned to Mary.  This title was assigned not to heighten Mary’s position, but to emphasize that Jesus was God.  At this point there was no problem with this title.  The problem is where they went with it later.

526 A.D.  Extreme Unction (Last rites).  Absolutely no biblical warrant, with nothing similar being found in Scripture.  The rite is supposedly supported by Mark 6:13 and James 5:14-15, but these dealt only with anointing of the sick, not blessings over various parts of the body for supposed sins by these parts, nor confession by a dying person, etc.  While in Scripture anointing with oil was an established practice, it seems to have been for medicinal purposes or symbolism, since the oil itself had no miraculous properties (and there was no example of the oil being prayed over first to give it some mystical power.)  It takes extreme eisegesis to come to the conclusion that such a rite conveyed grace.

593 A.D.  Doctrine of Purgatory — Gregory I. 

786 A.D.  Worship of cross, images, and relics.  Relics are no where even mentioned in Scripture as being important for anything.  This is nothing less than idolatry.

995 A.D.  Canonization of dead saints.  Again, no biblical warrant for “canonizing” anyone.  All Christians are saints.

1079 A.D. Celibacy of priesthood.  Forcing priests to be celibate is totally unbiblical (actually, the who priesthood is unbiblical, since the Bible teaches the priesthood of believers )(Other passages are Rev. 1:6 and 5:10).  There is no reason why a priest cannot marry.  In fact 1 Tim. 4:3 speaks of false teachers who forbid marriage.

1090 A.D.  The Rosary.  This is nothing but a superstition amulet for repetitive prayer (Matthew 6:7).  Not only that, but it also includes praying to Mary, and focusing on all the unbiblical attributes Rome has assigned to her.

1190 A.D.  Indulgences.

1215 A.D.  Transubstantiation — Innocent III.

1215 A.D.  Auricular Confession of sins to a priestAs noted above, there is no biblical warrant for the Catholic priest, nor is there biblical warrant for confession sins to him.

1220 A.D.  Adoration of the wafer (Host).

1414 A.D.  Cup forbidden to the people at communion.  The Bible teaches that the people all participate in the bread and the cup.  To forbid one is to go against the Lord. 

1439 A.D.  The doctrine of the Seven Sacraments confirmed.  The sacraments are as follows: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance and Reconciliation (confession), Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, Matrimony.  Rome claims these sacraments are a source of grace.  Baptism is commanded in the Bible but it imparts no grace, and the Catholic teaching on baptism is unbiblical.  Confirmation is a man-made ordinance with no biblical warrant and no grace is imparted.  Eucharist is the Lord’s Supper (Communion) and again was commanded but the the Catholic version is idolatry and unbiblical; no grace is imparted even in biblical eucharist.  Penance is a man-made with absolutely no biblical warrant, and confession has been addressed above.  Anointing the sick has been also addressed above. There is no biblical warrant for “Holy Orders” as a sacrament; men are appointed as Elders/Bishops (same office) and Deacons but such appointment is not sacramental nor does it impart grace.  The priesthood has been addressed above, and was established to continue the Jewish system because Rome claims that the Church replaced Israel, which itself is an unbiblical position.  Marriage is nowhere hinted at in the Bible as being sacramental, and no grace is imparted via marriage.

1545 A.D.  Tradition declared of equal authority with Bible — Council of Trent.  When Scripture discusses tradition in the New Testament, the meaning is the teaching of Christ and the Apostles handed down to the churches.  Rome’s meaning is traditions of men developed long after the New Testament Church was established.  Rome’s traditions have no biblical warrant, were not instituted by Christ, and therefore cannot be on an equal authority with Scripture.

1546 A.D.  Apocrypha added to the Bible.

1870 A.D.  Infallibility of the pope in matters of faith and morals — Vatican Council.

1950 A.D.  Assumption of the Virgin Mary (bodily ascension into heaven shortly after her death.

I hope this will be beneficial in understanding the unbiblical nature of the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Examples of Eisegesis With the Cult of Mary

I found this in my files.  It is explaining to a friend an email conversation I had with a priest in 2010.  You can see how bizarre some of the Roman Catholic teachings can be.  I will show the priest’s comments in blue, followed by my comments to my friend (original was not color-coded).

The “until” of Matthew 1:25 - that Joseph “knew her not until [Greek eos]…" - is similar to Jesus' promise to remain with us “until [Greek eos] the completion of the age” (Matthew 28:20, Darby Translation).  This doesn't imply He will abandon us afterwards...
In other words, Jesus didn't abandon us so Mary didn't abandon her virginity.  (?????)

What you seem to imply is that Mary plays the harlot by having children by another lover (Joseph in this case) after having Jesus by the Holy Spirit, since: If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man's wife, will he return to her? ...  You have played the harlot with many lovers; and would you return to me? says the LORD.  Jeremiah 3:1
This is the first time I have heard this argument for Mary's perpetual virginity.  This is the official R.C. position!  Talk about twisting Scripture!  And even twisting logic without Scripture!

Mary's reply to Gabriel implies she and Joseph were committed to virginity: “How can this be [How can I become the Messiah's mother], since I do not know man” (the literal translation of Luke 1:34, comment added)?  If Mary committed herself to virginity, then to accuse her otherwise would be offensive, would it not?
How in the world does the R.C.C. take this to "imply" a commitment to virginity?  All it says is that she hadn't had sex - YET! It takes some real illogic and twisting to find this "implication."

How we treat Mary affects our relationship with Jesus.  If He intended the words, “Behold, your mother” John 19:27), for all Christians - all disciples whom He loves (John 19:26) - then to reject Mary as our mother is to disobey and thus reject Christ.
More twisting of Scripture, so obvious that anyone with half a brain should be able to see it.  Nowhere does Scripture tell us that the conversation was directed to anyone other than John, “the disciple whom He loved."  They have to make John 19:26 mean every Christian instead of John, which doesn't make any sense.  But this is how R.C. make Mary our "mother."

Some more convoluted teaching, unbiblical assertions, and horrid eisegesis to force Scripture to support RCC doctrine:

John's love moved him to identify the ark of the New Covenant with a woman, the mother of the Redeemer (Revelation 11:19-12:6). It is God Himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary…."Full of grace, the Lord is with thee…." Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her.  The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace.  “Rejoice...O Daughter of Jerusalem...the Lord your God is in your  midst”  (Zephaniah 3:14, 17a).  Mary...the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells.  She is “the dwelling of God...with men” (Revelation 21:3).  Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world.  [CCC 2676]

To really get to know Mary, we must love her as Christ did. This helps us to discover Mary in other scriptural passages [OH, DO WE HAVE TO DISCOVER HER IN THESE PASSAGES?].  Many Church fathers noticeably loved Mary as their mother and identified figures of her in the Old Testament.  For example, as Jesus is the new Adam, they saw Mary as the new Eve. ...

As Eve was an immaculate virgin before the fall [my question to him-If she was a virgin the whole time in the garden prior to the fall, wasn't she disobeying God's command to be fruitful and multiply if she wasn't trying to do so?  And didn't God intend for them to become “one"?], so Mary was conceived immaculate and remained a virgin.

The parallel between Genesis 2:23-3:24 and Revelation 11:19-12:17 confirms Mary as the new Eve: Adam calls Eve woman; Christ call Mary woman (also, John 2:4,19:26); God clothed Eve with skins; Mary with the sun; woman with birth-pangs (also, Micah 5:3); the serpent battles the woman and her seed; serpent is cursed; God promises to put enmity between the serpent and the woman; God fulfills that promise; mother of the living; mother of the true living, those who keep God's commandments; Eve and her seed put out of garden; woman and child flee into desert; Eve accompanies Adam at the tree of knowledge; Mary accompanies Jesus hanging on the tree (John 19:25; 1 Peter 2:24); an angel vanquishes man from the tree of life; Satan from heaven.

Mary is also the ark of the New Covenant.  Jesus taught us to think this way, explaining that His body was God's true temple (John 2:19-21).  The ark contained three things: “the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant” (Hebrews 9:4).  Mary's womb carried the real manna, Christ's body, the true bread from heaven (John 6:48-51); the true high priest, to whom Aaron's rod pointed (Numbers 17:1-13); and the incarnate Word - not just the Decalogue, God's ten words.  …

When John saw the ark of the New Covenant in the heavenly temple (Revelation 11:19)...a great sign appears, a virgin with child (Isaiah 7:14), the mother of the Redeemer (Revelation 12:1,5), the new Eve!  Moses covered the Old Testament ark with gold (Exodus 25:10-22); Mary's title - Kecharitomene, "full of grace" (Luke 1:28, Douay-Rheims) - indicates that God fully overshadowed her with pure, sinless favor or grace (charis).  Scripture requires her Immaculate Conception!…

Every child should be conceived in an act of pure love.  To be the product of passion, lust, rape, or incest is a grave injustice to an innocent child [since when is conception from passion a sin?].  Were Mary to have relations with Joseph (which she had a right to before conceiving Jesus) it would mean her love for God, in which she conceived Jesus, wasn't virginal-spousal.  But Jesus had to be conceived in an act of virginal-spousal love; thus Mary had to remain a virgin.

We must take Scripture at its word. Mary is called a virgin before conceiving our Lord (Luke 1:27), and while conceiving and bearing Him: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son” (Matthew 1:23).  In conceiving Christ, Mary became the ark of the New Covenant [just an illogical assertion from a priori bias].  Were Joseph to touch the ark (Mary) in an unpriestly manner, he would have met the fate of Uzzah, who died touching the sacred vessel (2 Samuel 6:1-8). Mary's body was more sacred than the Old Testament ark [Really? where does Scripture say that?].  “the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by [the gate of Mary's womb]; therefore it shall remain shut” (Ezekiel 44:2, comment added).

As Adam named Eve woman when she was a sinless virgin (Genesis 2:23), so the New Adam named Mary woman (John 2:4; 19:26), indicating that she was still a sinless virgin at this point.  Love notices these details! [talk about eisegesis!]

 More likely, Marian cult followers make up these details!  How in the world do they get that stuff out of these passages?  They make it up out of their little pink heads!

For the assumption of Mary, they claim that she is already seen in heaven in Rev. 11:19-12:17, and the fact that in 2 Maccabees 2:1-8 the O.T. ark "was removed, never to be found...so Mary's body was assumed into heaven never more to be found on earth." ....
David's rejoicing in bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:15) prefigured our Lord's joy in bringing Mary's body into the heavenly Jerusalem.

The last one I'll give you (I don't want you to die laughing from all this nonsense) is this one:

To understand Mary's queenship, I suggest reading 1 Kings 1-2. There, Solomon enthroned his mother, Bathsheba, as Israel's queen-mother, gebirah.  He promised her, “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you” (1 Kings 2:20).  This figure is fulfilled when the new Eve is enthroned in heaven, crowned as the queen-mother of the new people of God (Revelation 12:1,17).

A BIG problem is how they interpret Revelation - in a very bizarre fashion!  The convoluted way in which Song of Solomon is used to prove her virginity and how other scriptures are used to prove her immaculate conception, co-redemption and co-mediatorship, have much in common with the twisting of Scripture by JWs and Mormons.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tolerance Causes Truth to Suffer

In the world of modern evangelicalism, it is allowable to advocate the most unconventional, unbiblical doctrines—as long as you afford everyone else the same privilege.  About the only thing that is taboo nowadays is the intolerance of those who dare to point out others’ errors.  Anyone today who is bold enough to suggest that someone else’s ideas or doctrines are unsound or unbiblical is dismissed at once as contentious, divisive, unloving, or unchristian.  It is all right to espouse any view you wish, but it is not all right to criticize another person’s views—no matter how patently unbiblical those view may be.  When tolerance is valued over truth, the cause of truth always suffers.

John F. MacArthur, Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern, pg. 22