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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • Recommended Reading

The Exceptional Bible

I was rereading Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Vol. 1, by Josh McDowell recently and thought I would share with you a few of the outstanding attributes which McDowell points out about the Bible. I also hope you will be encouraged to spend more time reading and studying the Scriptures.

The Bible was written over a period of 1,600 years. Approximately 40 authors from every walk of life were involved in contributing to it. Compare the continuity of the Bible with any other writings of a group of men. You will find that the Bible is truly unique in its continuity.

You will also find that although the Bible is written on material that perishes and had to be copied and recopied for hundreds of years by hand; the style, correctness, or existence has not diminished. If you compare it with other ancient writings, the manuscript evidence of the Bible is greater than any 10 pieces of classical literature combined!

“Infidels for 1800 years have been refuting and overthrowing this book, and yet it stands today as solid as a rock. Its circulation increases, and it is more loved and cherished and read today than ever before. Infidels, with all their assault make about as much impression on this book as a man with a tack hammer on the pyramids of Egypt.” (H. L. Hastings)

There is no other book of religious antiquity which provides so many explicit prophecies in the distant future which have come to pass. It is the greatest written history of the world because the Bible is HIS-STORY!

The Bible deals frankly with the sins of its characters and heroes:

  • Adam and Eve – putting off responsibility on to others;
  • Noah – drunkenness;
  • Abraham – cowardice, lying to save his skin;
  • Moses – disobedience to God;
  • David – lying, adultery, murder;
  • Peter – denying the Lord, causing division through hypocrisy and many others.

Our judicial system is based upon many of the principles found in the Bible. Our standards of morality have, until recently, been driven by the Judeo-Christian ethic.

The Bible is unique because it comes from the mind of the only true God. The Holy Spirit guided the many writers to make their works harmonious. Its primary theme is that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. Only Jesus is the Lord of salvation for all of us.

If you are really searching for the truth, then – as a person of intelligence – you should read the Bible. It has had more influence on western literature than any other book. The Bible is the foundation of western democracy and morality. But, possessing and reading the Bible is not enough. The Word of God must be received in your heart and worked out in your life.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22-25 ESV)

John Adams, the 2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence wrote:

“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.” (Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9)

The Sexual Revolution

The following consists of excerpts from an excellent article by Michael Wagner which may be viewed in its entirety through the link below:

We all want different things. And because of our fallen natures, many of our wants are for things that will harm us and those around us—we lust after power, sex, other people’s possessions, even revenge. If everyone simply pursued their own desires, it’s hard to see how civilization could survive.

Fortunately for us, God has provided rules for living—the Ten Commandments—that restrict these desires so that they don’t harm others. The Law helps to make harmonious social life possible. Rules make civilization possible—no rules, no civilization.

But many today don’t like rules and this is especially true with regard to sexual behavior. So-called “Victorian” sexual morality has been accused of being the cause of psychological “hang-ups”; Biblical morality is seen as the source of much human suffering. The solution, in this view, can only be found in individual and societal sexual liberation. The “need” to break out of the confining and suffocating constraints of traditional morality was thus a major impetus to what has been called the “Sexual Revolution,” a significant social development in the Western countries whereby modern liberal views of sexual attitudes and behavior replaced the traditional norms of Western civilization. This revolution, and the attitudes and behaviors it promoted, has been embraced by the political, academic and media establishments, as well as many common citizens. It was the Sexual Revolution that led to the legalization of abortion and the widespread acceptance of divorce, promiscuity, pornography, homosexuality and cohabitation without marriage, basically a shopping list of many current social problems. . . .

With the spread of pornography, and at the same time a dramatic increase in the production of adult literature (i.e. immoral literature), came a basically simultaneous liberalization of obscenity laws, often through judicial interpretation. . . .

Divorce went from a necessary evil to a positive good almost overnight”. Promiscuous sex outside of marriage was seen as a major component of “freedom” by proponents of sexual liberation. And as one would expect, such behavior led to a large number of “unwanted pregnancies.”

What to do? Well, kill the babies, of course. The problem was that abortion was commonly restricted or even illegal in most jurisdictions.

Many states in the USA had laws against abortion, for example. So these laws needed to be overturned. The US Supreme Court obliged by striking down all abortion laws in that country in the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. . . .

According to this view of the world, Christianity is the killjoy of life. It compels people to restrain their natural sexual appetites, which can only legitimately be expressed within monogamous marriage. Supposedly this causes Christians to be “repressed,” leading to various social and psychological problems. Sexual liberation (that is, throwing off Christian moral restraint) leads to relaxed, well-adjusted people. And these people can freely enjoy the good things in life—you know, like promiscuity, pornography, divorce and abortion. Isn’t that appealing?

No. The rules stipulated in the Ten Commandments lead to the good life, not a so-called “liberation” from the Commandments. All people are sinful, and so all people experience problems in their lives, including Christians. But those problems cannot be alleviated by throwing away God’s rules for human living. Quite to the contrary, in fact. Biblical morality is a sure guide to the good life. The happiness promised by the Sexual Revolution is a fraud. Surely that should be apparent by now. (“NO RULES, NO CIVILIZATION: The Sexual Revolution left us free . . . to be Miserable”)

Copyright Michael Wagner 2008

Read this entire article from the April 2008 issue of Reformed Perspective magazine. . . .

What Does It Mean When We Say: “We Are Saved By Grace Alone”?

Dr. Riddlebarger of Christ Reformed Church, Placentia, CA writes:

When we use the term “grace alone,” what we mean is that our salvation from the wrath of God – our deliverance from hell – is because of something good in God, and not because of anything good in us. The Biblical conception of human nature after Adam and Eve’s fall into sin is not a pretty picture, and Amerians, who seem to have an unlimited confidence in human nature and human goodness, have a very difficult time accepting what the bible says about the human condition. In a democratic culture such as ours, we believe that our vote counts, and that by exercising our right to choose, we can actually and significantly change the world around us. We are all taught from our youth that we have it within ourselves to accomplish anything, if we simply put our minds to it and give it our best efforts. And when we become Christians we carry that optimism over into our theology. If God tells us to do something, it must be because we have the ability to do what he commands! Choice becomes everything. And thus we fall headlong into one of the greatest heresies in church history, the heresy of Pelagianism, a theme to which we will return at the end of this lecture. It is really quite simple; grace alone doesn’t make much sense to an American who doesn’t think that much is wrong with the human condition in the first place. For if people are basically good, why then, do we need grace in order to be saved.

But to those who understand what the bible teaches about the effects of sin, grace alone is our only hope of heaven. And thus when we speak of grace alone (sola gratia), we are speaking of the fact that God saves us, because of his mercy and graciousness toward us, and not because of something – indeed anything – in us that makes us desirable to God. We really cannot understand grace alone unless we understand what it is, exactly, that sin has wrought upon us. (“Grace Alone: An Evangelical Problem?”)

More by this author. . . .

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