Biblical Doubts?

 

“Who first coined the saying ‘A camel is a horse designed by a committee’? I don’t know, but I expect it was the same person who said ‘An elephant is a mouse designed to government specifications’.” (1)

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This bit of trivia induces laughter. However, French philosopher Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) applied this saying to truth. It developed into the creed for our culture today.

He declared that truth results as a product of a consensus of values. His declaration fostered a revolution in the nature and formulation of truth claims. Now, culture believes that all claims of truth develop within a group or culture, not from an objective standard. Ironically, no standard converted into the standard.

Cultural Truth Claims

Baudrillard’s theory developed into today’s benchmark for truth claims with far reaching effects. It brings us to the following conclusions:

  • the rejection of any objective standard for determining truth claims;
  • the belief of many interpretations of “truth”, i.e., every group and culture possesses its own “truth”; and
  • the rejection of any one explanation of life as THE truth.

One does not have to look far to see the suspicion of truth in our culture. An intense resistance to truth claims of almost any kind demonstrates the lack of trust present in our society. No one possesses THE TRUTH.

Adaptation of Christians to Culture

Sadly, the Christian Church and its members exhibit these characteristics, too. I remember when it all started. It sounded so inclusive in our group Bible studies. Instead of the leader proclaiming the truth of a passage, (s)he asked, “What does this passage mean to you?”

Everyone shared his or her opinion, and leaders failed to point to the true meaning of the passage. Everyone’s opinion had equal value. Biblical uncertainty crept into believer’s lives, because no one discerned the warning signs of skepticism.

Baudrillard’s claim turned into common practice for the Church. The church now commonly follows the culture. For example, the Church:

  • rejects any objective standard for determining Biblical truth claims;
  • accepts many, virtually any, interpretations as “truth”; and
  • denies any one explanation of a Biblical text as THE truth.

Sadly, this practice plays a significant role in the Church’s spiritual decadence. She cannot resist culture’s fallacies and decays from the inside. In fact, the Church proudly mimics the culture to the delight of multitudes of churchgoers and to the sorrow of only the few.

The Christian Church bought the lie that to win the culture She must conform to the culture.

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Because Uncertainty Comes Back

During the 1960s, “Keep the faith, brother!” became popular. People repeated the phrase and reassured each other with that expression when their hopes and dreams became frustrated.

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After the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his followers reassured one another with it. They believed that the only limitations they faced would come from their own fears. With a positive attitude and faith in themselves, they expected to attain their plans. In some limited ways, they did.

Faith governs our lives.

We exercise faith constantly. We could not live without it. It activates all human action from the simple to the complex. Faith exists within the human breast. God fixes it there as a natural faculty of man. Faith enables us to accomplish all that we do.

  • It determines the meals we eat. We believe food has value, so we eat it believing that it will benefit our bodies. When we enter a restaurant to eat, we enter with faith that the food will strengthen not poison us.
  • It chooses the cars we drive. We start them and drive them by faith.
  • We set the alarm clock and turn the light switch in faith that they will work.
  • It dictates whom we marry and our intentions for the future. We send our children to school in faith.

Sadly, people misplace their faith. Some profess blind faith in a “higher power.” These blinded people rely upon some impersonal, nebulous force to help them attain their goals. As their success by the world’s standards grows, then faith in their “higher power” grows, too. Faith in their spiritual force, they say, helped them achieve prosperity.

Others, captivated by a set of principles on success, govern their lives by them. The success gurus preach their tenets with religious fervor. Their students follow them with equal zeal and control their lives by them. As they achieve their goals, they credit their faith in the principles of success that they believed.

Some only believe in themselves. Foolishly, I practiced this self-help fallacy for many years. Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill became my blueprints for life. I firmly believed Napoleon Hill’s famous statement, “Anything the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Many still believe self-help errors, even some famous leaders in the Christian church.

As George Bernard Shaw has said:,

“We have not lost faith but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession. (1)

Indeed, mankind has misplaced their faith. A set of principles on success or an impersonal “higher power” has captivated us. We believe them instead of God. Hence, we sample only simulated success.

Genuine Success Requires Faith In God.

  • Faith In God Secures God’s Riches.

Success and prosperity by God’s standards require faith in God. Without it we waver like the waves of the sea. Apart from it, we cannot receive anything from God. To complete what He has in mind for us, we must “Keep the faith… in God.”

Faith in God through Christ dresses us with His nature. Through faith, we defeat the enemy of our souls.

Faith brings down God’s prosperity. Withdraw faith and we send no prayer to God nor do we receive answers from him. Prayer fails for want of faith. Faith secures aid from the Eternal God in time of need.

Daniel’s life exemplifies this truth. We meet the same obstacles and opportunities that Daniel did. When we rely on God as Daniel did, we experience God’s success in our lives, too.

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Success Rests in a Fat Bank Account?

Someone once said that a successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. And a successful woman is one who finds such a man.

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To many, success rests in a fat bank account. Many people believe that if you cannot save money, the seed of success is not in you. They agree with Somerset Maugham who said:

“Money is like a sixth sense, and you can’t make use of the other five without it.” (1)

The Illusion Of Success

  • It Includes Fame And Fortune.

We equate prosperity with fame and fortune. That perception permeates our society. Books on prosperity fill the shelves of our libraries and stores. They tell us step-by-step how to climb the ladder of financial success.

They promise a life of prominence and prosperity. However, they do not tell us that their ladder of success contains many splinters. Sadly, we do not feel those splinters until we slide down.

Unfortunately, most Christians have adopted the standards of the world. We have allowed them to squeeze us into their mold. These standards have determined how we evaluate others and ourselves.

We have come to believe that prosperity includes riches; only those with generous bank accounts have attained success.

  • It Depends Upon Our Possessions.

As a result, we measure prosperity by what we can see and touch: when the affairs of life go well, we enjoy “success.” When they do not, we suffer as “failures.”

Therefore, success becomes the exclusive experience of a select few. Millions never taste it—all but a few live lives filled with feelings of failure and frustration.

The poor hide hollow hopes; prosperity escapes the helpless. Countless crowds live and labor in obscurity and cannot hope to become a “success.”

In short, the belief that success lies in a fat bank account has become a respected myth.

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How to Overcome Failure and Experience Genuine Success

Who else wants genuine success in life? Frustrated with life’s failures? Imagine your life that conquers traumas and enjoys victory. Take 5 minutes and see how an uncommon guide can help you overcome failure and experience genuine success…you’ll rejoice that you did.

 

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How many books on success have you read? You have probably read at least one book on success. You may have attended a seminar or heard someone speak on how to attain it. Maybe you have studied it as I have.

And why not? Everyone wants to learn the keys to successful living. As Samuel Johnson said:

“Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified.”1

  • Imaginary Success

To reach our goals, we tried the plans and philosophies of those whom we read and heard. Their ideas squeezed us into their molds and shaped our lives. We overcame difficulties and reached our dreams. When measured by these human standards, we built our house of success.

To others, happiness equates with success. They exert great effort in pursuit of positions and possessions. The attainment of rank and goods brings a measure of happiness. However, the temporary bliss soon fades into feelings of failure and emptiness.

Yes, we can reach these kinds of success without following God’s plan. However, when we do, it resembles a house built upon the sand, a vain and meaningless achievement. In short, we miss the essentials of true prosperity.

  • Genuine Success

To build success properly, we need to know God’s design for it. God said in Psalm 127:1:

“Except God builds the house, they labor in vain that build it.”

Since God created us, He knows the ingredients for genuine success. In the Bible, God outlines His view of it and demonstrates it in the life of Daniel.

God prospered Daniel regardless of the situations he faced. We face many of the same traumas and triumphs Daniel experienced. By the grace of God, He provided a pattern for our success through the Biblical account of Daniel’s amazing, victorious life.

His life pictures for us the Biblical principles of prosperity. They differ from the popular ones we have read and heard. When we adopt God’s laws, He shapes our lives with them. Then, we discover life beyond our dreams. By the exertion of God’s power within us, He takes us far beyond our imagination.

References

  1. Donald Bolander, Gary Wright, Dolores Varner, Stephanie Greene. Instant Quotation Dictionary (Career Institute, Mundelein, IL 60060), 7.

Do You Recognize Rob Bell’s Errors On Homosexuality?

Rob Bell said it again. Bell publicly confirmed gay marriage. He created a firestorm in 2013 when he said,

“Yes, I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love. Whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man…I think the church needs to just…this is the world we’re living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.” (1)

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Then again, in February 2015 on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” program, Rob again reaffirmed his support of gay marriage as a cure for loneliness, not just for gay people but also for straight people. (2)

It doesn’t matter to Bell: man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and a man. He said that the Christian Church needs to affirm them whatever the case.

All of them deserve affirmation by the Church, he said. Rob stated that he came to this conclusion based upon events in our culture.

Error #1: Failure of the Church

During recent years, Lesbian and Homosexual activists have increased their demands for unconditional approval and acceptance from the culture and every segment within it, including the Church.

Bell stated that the Church has failed these people and believes that the Church needs to repent for its failure to affirm them.

Rob does not stand alone in his declaration. Religious leaders, including professing evangelicals like Bell, have made similar endorsements. Politicians stumble over each other in their race to announce their support for Lesbian and Homosexual marriage.

Religious denominations increasingly elevate “gay” men and women to leadership positions, even pastors. The call to approve and accept their lifestyles reaches into every segment of our culture.

Error #2: Primary Basic Beliefs

However, Rob’s statements present problems. They reveal the basis upon which he makes value judgments, the culture. He molds his judgments to the mores of society and denounces others who do not agree with him.

In his prior works, he has espoused the belief that no culture can dictate truth claims and value judgments to another culture. However, he attempts to do that very thing in the present instance.

Given his frame of reference, then, will he call for the affirmation of adultery, rape, and pedophilia next? All of these practices abound in current culture.

Today’s society flaunts sexual practices without restraints. While some segments of it respect these practices, others even recommend them as normal behavior and demand affirmation and assistance from citizens to support their lifestyles.

So, since Bell relies upon society as the foundation for his value judgments, will he affirm these as well? Has this ship sailed, too?

Rob has no firm foundation upon which to base his value judgments. To form them upon culture begs for problems. As history has proven, cultures come and go. Mores change.

Most often, the squeaky wheels in society get the oil. Dominant voices sway the weak. The shifting sands of culture provide no firm foundation to those who unwisely build upon it.

Biblical Response to Homosexuality

However, the Bible trumps culture. Society must conform to the Bible’s inerrant truths. One cannot exclude the undesirable demands of the Bible and replace them with others more preferable to society.

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4 FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT REVIVAL

Now, learn the simple truth about revival. Discover what every Christian should know about it in 10 minutes.

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George Whitefield Preaching

The current condition of the Church requires an accurate, Biblical definition of revival. The many fallacies of revival cause confusion within the Church. In addition, the spiritual decline of the Church and individual Christians demands a clear statement to give proper direction for its solution.

Biblical revival describes a time when God pours out His glorious presence upon the child (ren) of God through an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit that produces extraordinary effects in the child (ren) of God and in the world.

In essence, this definition identifies four critical, fundamental areas that call for more detailed explanation: the nature of revival, the source of revival, the objects of revival, and the effects of revival.

Nature of revival

As declared in the simple definition, revival describes an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the child (ren) of God. In revival, God manifests His glorious presence. He overwhelms people, and they fall before Him in worship, fear, and adoration. God’s presence permeates all of life.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones described this manifest presence of God in revival.

“It is a consciousness of the presence of God the Holy Spirit literally in the midst of the people. Probably most of us…have never known that, but that is exactly what is meant by a visitation of God’s Spirit. It is all beyond the highest experiences in the normal life and working of the Church. Suddenly those present in the meeting become aware that someone has come amongst them, they are aware of a glory, they are aware of a presence. They can not define it, they can not describe it, and they can not put it into words. They just know that they have never known anything like this before. Sometimes they describe it as ‘days of heaven on earth.’ They really feel that they are in heaven, they have forgotten time; they are beyond that, time has no longer any meaning for them, nor any real existence, they are in a spiritual realm. God has come down amongst them and has filled the place and the people with a sense of His glorious presence.” (1)

This describes revival. God pours out His glorious presence and manifests Himself to believers who note His presence. They feel Him. He reveals Himself in unmistakable fashion through an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. His Spirit fills them, and His awesome presence brings a wonder and amazement all of its own. It is clearly Him and not a manufactured or manipulated feeling.

Source of revival

The stated definition says, in part, “…God pours out His presence…” That phrase recognizes the role of the sovereignty of God in revival. Revival comes from God when and where He pleases.

This statement, however, flies in the face of popular opinion. All of the fallacies have one common theme. Humanity can meet certain requirements that, when fulfilled, guarantee and produce revival. Nevertheless, history and Scripture prove the error of that conclusion.

God acts sovereignly in revival for at least four reasons. First, it demonstrates that the true nature of humanity, weak in the flesh to attain God’s righteous demands, requires God’s sovereign work. Second, it reveals the attributes of God: loving, just, gracious, and merciful, to name just a few of them. Third, it shows mankind’s complete dependence upon God. Finally, it exposes the futility of formulas to produce it. In other words, revival begins and ends with God, Who maintains complete control over every aspect of it.

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12 FALLACIES OF CHRISTIAN CHURCH REVIVAL

Do you make these mistakes on Christian Church revival? Take 10 minutes and you will grasp them and how to avoid them.

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For centuries, Christians and the church of Jesus Christ have experienced revivals and spiritual awakenings. These revivals differ from a mere revival of religion or devout religious practice.

The interest in revival has mushroomed during recent years. Prayer groups for revival have sprung up all over the world. Some urge fasting and prayer for it.

Articles and books on the subject have exploded into the marketplace. Some people have announced its arrival. Despite its current popularity, ignorance and errors about revival abounds.

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