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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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THE WORLD’S THEOLOGY

James Montgomery BoiceJames Montgomery Boice:

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools,” (Romans 1:22 ESV)

The world’s theology is easy to define. It is the view . . . that human beings are basically good, that no one is really lost, that belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation.

Speaking the Truth

War on ChristiansLouis DeBroux:

“It is truly frightening to see the level to which political correctness has infected the minds of the American people, instilling in us fear to speak out against obvious lies and insane policies lest we be labeled as a racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, xenophobe, or some other form of menace to civil society. … Each day, we are treated to more and more news stories in which truth is not only ignored, but actively shunned, with those proclaiming truth castigated and hunted down with verbal pitchforks by the angry liberals of the social and media elite. … These behaviors are destructive to society and to us as individuals. Just because we blithely ignore the truth does not mean that the consequences won’t find us. … For those of us who embrace biblical Christianity and traditional morality, we must be active defenders of that faith, and of our freedom to express it publicly and privately. We can and should treat those that disagree with us with dignity and respect, even as we challenge their erroneous positions. We can, as they say, disagree without being disagreeable. But a failure to defend these principles means capitulation and defeat without a fight, and all of the damaging consequences that go with it. If we fail to fight, we should not be surprised, nor complain, when the destruction arrives on our doorstep.”

Read more here. . . .

Politically Correct or Just Plain Dumb?

Tomb of Common SenseFrom the Patriot Post:

In a case that is astounding for its depths of ludicrousness, Evergreen State College in Washington has refused to stop a 45-year-old man from exposing himself to girls as young as six — all because “he” identifies himself as a “she.” The girls’ locker room at the college is used by a duo of high schools as well as a swim club with students as young as kindergarten age. Yet, when a concerned parent and a coach contacted the police after children witnessed the man naked in the locker room, Evergreen State’s reply was that it would not prevent the man from being on the premises because it condones his sexual disorientation. Worse still, the county prosecutor’s office indicated it is unlikely to prosecute the man for indecent exposure. And the depths of politically correct degradation extend even deeper in that the police report lists the gender of the man in question as female.

The New Atheists

Sean McDowell:

We may disagree with the content and approach of the New Atheists, but we should be grateful for the chance to engage these issues with a culture that is paying closer attention than any time in recent history.

Love of Pleasure

According to J. C. Ryle:

“Youth is the time when our passions are strongest—and like unruly children, cry most loudly for indulgence. Youth is the time when we have generally our most health and strength: death seems far away, and to enjoy ourselves in this life seems to be everything. ‘I serve lusts and pleasures’, that is the true answer many a young man should give if asked, ‘Whose servant are you?’”

Cain and Able Were Brothers

No man believed so firmly in the philosophy of development and progress than H G Wells, the novelist. Wells was a scientific humanist who believed that the advance of knowledge, culture, and science would create an earthly paradise. When the Second World War broke out, he wrote his last book with this very significant title, Mind at the End of Its Tether. He simply did not understand what he considered to be the failure of human progress. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains:

This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:27-29 ESV)

I need not tell you that we are meeting together tonight in a time of great confusion, a time of grave and terrible crisis. Everybody is aware of this; you cannot read a paper, you cannot listen to a news bulletin without hearing of some added crisis, some new problem, and some fresh tragedy. The world is in an alarming state and condition. We are truly in an age of exceptional crisis. But I want to put to you that we are not only in a time and age of crisis, we are living in a time when all of us are being tested, and all of us have been sifted and examined and proved. What I mean by that is this, that the state of the world tonight is testing the outlook, the point of view, of every one of us who is in this congregation. Indeed of everybody that is in the world. Everybody has got some view of life, even the most thoughtless people, people who scarcely ever think at all, they have got a kind of philosophy and their philosophy is not to think. What is the use of thinking?’ they say. So they have got their point of view, their point of view is ‘Let us eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’. So I am saying that everybody’s point of view, everybody’s attitude towards life, is on trial at the moment. . . .

So I put that as my first question: Are you surprised at the fact that the world is as it is at this very moment? Or, let me phrase that in a slightly different way: Are you disappointed that the world is as it is? Not only surprised but disappointed, because again there are many people in the world who are grievously disappointed at the present state of affairs. And they are disappointed for this reason, that having adopted the kind of idealistic philosophy, or view of life, which was very popular in the last century – you know that idea that believed in evolution, or progress and development, the view which said that as the result of popular education which came in 1870 and all the marvelous scientific advances and discoveries, more travel, ability to mix with other nations – they were very confident that the twentieth century was going to be the golden century, the crowning century of all the centuries! Did not Tennyson write about the coming of the parliament of men and the federation of the world, of the days when men would beat their swords into ploughshares and war would be no more? War, we were told – and they taught this, not only the poets but the philosophers and the politicians – war, they said, was due to the fact that people did not know one another. . . . They had forgotten, you see, that Cain and Abel were brothers. . . . (“A Kingdom Which Cannot Be Shaken”)

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. . . .

The Long Term Effects Of Secularism

Quoting Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse:

We cannot sustain ourselves economically because the Western democracies are committing financial suicide with federal spending and entitlement programs that they then push off onto future generations instead of paying today.

We in the democratic West are also committing demographic suicide by having so few children that we are not replacing ourselves, therefore reducing the size of the future generations we hope will pay our bills.

And let’s not even consider the problem of multiculturalism, which teaches that our own civilization is no better and probably worse than any other. This ideology robs us of the confidence to instill our core values in the next generation.

By contrast, the Christian version of Western civilization had no trouble sustaining itself in each of these areas. It is an open question whether exclusive secularism can sustain itself.

Read “Drowning in Red Ink” at tothesource. . . .

James Montgomery Boice On The World’s Theology

James Montgomery Boice

Quoting James Montgomery Boice:

The world’s theology is easy to define. It is the view . . .

• that human beings are basically good,

• that no one is really lost,

• that belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation.

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22)

John MacArthur: The Quest To Be Without Guilt

John MacArthur

Quoting John MacArthur:

Evolution is simply the latest means our fallen race has devised in order to suppress our innate knowledge and the biblical testimony that there is a God and that we are accountable to Him (cf. Romans 1:28). By embracing evolution, modern society aims to do away with morality, responsibility, and guilt. Society has embraced evolution with such enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever they want without guilt and without consequences. (The Battle for the Beginning, W Publishing Group, 2001, p. 24)

Charles Spurgeon On Worldly Influence

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

From the desk of Charles Spurgeon:

“So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” (Philippians 2:15)

I believe that one reason why the church at this present moment has so little influence over the world, is because the world has so much influence over the church! Nowadays, we hear professors pleading that they may do this, and do that—that they may live like worldlings. My sad answer to them, when they crave this liberty is, “Do it if you dare. It may not cost you much hurt, for you are so bad already. Your cravings show how rotten your hearts are. If you are hungering after such dogs food—go dogs, and eat the garbage!

Worldly amusements are fit food for pretenders and hypocrites. If you were God’s children, you would loathe the thought of the world’s evil joys. Your question would not be, “How far may we be like the world?” but your cry would be, “How can we get away from the world? How can we come out of it?”

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) (Charles Spurgeon, “The Soul Winner“)

The American Culture Of Narcissism

Dr. Ross Porter, licensed Clinical Psychologist, is the founder and Executive Director of Stillpoint Family Resources. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology) and M.Div. (Master of Divinity) degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary, where he first became interested in the integration of psychology and spirituality. Dr. Porter writes and presents workshops and seminars on issues dealing with psychology and spirituality. He has created the The Virtue Project, a unique and practical vision of healing and hope that integrates psychological truth with theological and philosophical wisdom. The following excerpt is from Dr. Porter’s article on “Reclaiming Virtue and Wisdom”:

There was a time when reality-testing was a hallmark of good mental health. The presumption was that a psychologically well person could distinguish between what was objectively good behavior and what was inappropriate; what was natural and what was unnatural; what was creative and what was destructive. Psychologically unhealthy people, in contrast, struggled consistently with making these same kinds of fundamental discernments. Responsibilities, both to self and others, were understood and taken seriously. Duty was not a four-letter word, and giving back was not the punch line of a joke.

We need no Gallup poll to confirm current American culture is not our grandparent’s generation. The increasingly self-indulgent, secularized, nihilistic America that followed The Great Depression and World War II has left our culture both psychologically immature and morally confused about meaning and purpose. Like never before in America, subjectivity is becoming the sole source of both reality and truth. And there’s the problem, pure subjectivity does not provide a shared standard for judging reality or truth.

How does this exhibit in our culture? Americans increasingly fall prey to a phenomenon known as the “self-serving bias”, exhibiting a reliable tendency to interpret events in ways that are favorable to them, or show them in the best possible light; even when objective facts don’t justify these judgments. So all successes are attributed to me, but all failures are blamed on others. If I get the job it’s because I’m wonderful, but if I don’t it’s because I was discriminated against. If I stay with my wife it’s because I’m wonderful, but if I leave it’s because she wasn’t meeting my needs. If my son excels in school it’s because he’s my son and I’m wonderful, but if he rebels it’s because of the school. This is consistent with what Paul Vitz has called “selfism”, and what Christopher Lasch has called “the culture of narcissism.”

Read “Reclaiming Virtue and Wisdom” here. . . .

Truth Redefined

Kelly O’Connell is an author, attorney, and radio show host. In his article “Who Defines ‘Truth’ When Politicians Re-Write the Dictionary?” he points out three areas of American life – Education, Church, and Political Correctness – where the false has been declared true:

The very notion of truth itself has been tied, stretched out and crucified for political advantage in America. This is why we are in a dreary swamp, a national malaise. Our current struggles are all the more remarkable considering most result from wrong ideas. A simple attitude adjustment, ie a “reality check”—would eliminate most of our seemingly permanent issues fairly quickly. Our troubles occur because disreputable political doctrines are raised over common sense. For example, huge deficits undermine America’s ability to continue its military and humanitarian roles, home and abroad. And yet, the notion of serious spending cuts is regarded by liberals as more horrible than an offer to barbecue holy cows in downtown Bombay.

The problem in America today is our “official” national narrative is based upon a torrent of false, leftist ideas, directed by political theory towards relentless failure on every front. In other words, the elites uphold the tenets of Marxism. A key example is Political Correctness. This devilish doctrine claims no action is bad, in itself—as long as fostered by an ideologically acceptable group. . . .

Continue reading this article. . . .

Doing Business With The Devil

“An Infidel Experiment” was the title of an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of May 2, 1885, written about the city Liberal, Missouri. Creating “a town without a church, where unbelievers could bring up their children without religious training,” and where Christians were not allowed was the objective for founding Liberal in 1880. A “good, godless” city founded on “trustworthy” atheistic ideals reaped only corruption. The reporter of the article had witnessed drunkenness, common use of swearing by young and old, lack of respect for parents, infidelity, and immorality. Abortion was so widespread that doctors spent much of their practice trying to save women from its consequences. In only 5 years, the majority of Liberal’s citizens had become disenchanted with doing business with the devil.

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