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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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A Conversation about Sin

7-deadly-sinsI once had a conversation (about Jesus Christ) with a young woman in which she told me emphatically that she was not a sinner and that she had no sins over which to repent. I am curious. Do you think that this attitude is prevalent in the culture of our youth today? How do you think our unchurched family members, friends, and acquaintances define sin?

The First Mover Of All Good

From the desk of Robert Bolton:

“Were the holiest heart upon earth enlarged to the vast comprehension of this great world’s wideness; nay, made capable of all the glorious and magnificent hallelujahs and hearty praises offered to Jehovah, both by all the militant and triumphant church, yet would it come infinitely short of sufficiently magnifying, admiring, and adoring the inexplicable mystery and bottomless depth of this free, independent mercy, and love to God, the Fountain and First Mover of all our good.”

A Treasure Left Untouched By The World

Robert Murray M'Cheyne

From the pen of Robert M. M’Cheyne:

When a man’s eye is closed on Christ and the eternal world, he cannot stand the shock of afflictions; but if his eyes clearly see Jesus, you may take away houses and lands, his dearest earthly possessions, his loved ones, still his chief treasure is untouched. (M’Cheyne, The Believer’s Joy, 101)

What Is Jesus To You?

Octavius Winslow

Quoting Octavius Winslow:

What are you to yourself? Worthless? Vile? Empty? What is Jesus to you? Precious? Lovely? All your salvation? All your desire? What is sin to you? The most hateful thing in the world? What is holiness to you? Most lovely? Most longed for? What is the throne of grace to you? The most attractive spot? What is the cross to you? The sweetest resting place in the universe? What is God to you? Your God? Your Father? The spring of all your joys? The fountainhead of all your bliss? The center where your affections meet? Is it so? Then you are a child of God! Those low views of yourself…that brokenness, that inward mourning, that secret confession, that longing for…more spirituality, more grace, more devotedness, more love, does but prove the existence, reality, and growth of God’s work within you. Cheer up, precious soul! That soul never perished, that felt itself to be vile, and Jesus to be precious!

Afraid Of The Devil?

Quoting Richard Baxter:

Consider that if the devil should appear to thee, yea, and carry thee to the top of a mountain, or the pinnacle of the temple, and talk to thee with blasphemous temptations, it would be no other than what thy Lord himself submitted to. . . .

Remember that if God should permit him to appear to thee, it might turn to thy very great advantage; by killing all thy unbelief, or doubts, of angels, and spirits, and the unseen world. It would sensibly prove to thee that there is indeed an unhappy race of spirits, who envy man and seek his ruin; and so would more convince thee of the evil of sin, the danger of souls, the need of godliness, and the truth of Christianity. And it is like this is one cause why the devil no more appeareth in the world, not only because it is contrary to the ordinary government of God, who will have us live by faith and not by sight; but also because the devil knoweth how much it would do to destroy his kingdom, by destroying infidelity, atheism, and security, and awakening men to faith, and fear, and godliness. The fowler or the angler must not come in sight, lest he spoil his game by frightening it away.

Jesus Christ Is The Only Way!

You can spend all your time debating philosophical theories without end, but take time to listen to this video with an open heart and mind. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life: no man will be adopted into the family of the Father, except by Jesus. (see John 14:6) R. C. Sproul presents this theme clearly:

Ayn Rand On The Doomed Society

Author Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand

Quoting author and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982):

“When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.”

The Christian Man And The Carnal Man

Quoting Robert Leighton:

The Christian and the carnal man are most wonderful to each other. The one wonders to see the other walk so strictly, and deny himself to those carnal liberties that the most take…. And the Christian thinks it strange that men should be so bewitched, and still remain children in the vanity of their turmoil, wearying and humoring themselves from morning to night, running after stories and fancies, and ever busy doing nothing; wonders that the delights of earth and sin can so long entertain and please men, and persuade them to give Jesus Christ so many refusals—to turn from their life and happiness, and choose to be miserable, yea, and take much pains to make themselves miserable.

The Christian Self-Help Movement

Quoting C. Vaughn Doner:

As New Age individualism undermines church community and authority, all too many of our churches have degenerated from “city on a hill” communities—serving as salt and light in stewarding and leading the community—to thinly disguised marketing organizations attempting to meet the needs of the “me-centered” audience they attract. Concurrently, pastors have been demoted from the role of prophetic voice, community visionary, and biblical worldview teacher to manager, salesman, politician, cheerleader, facilitator, and amateur psychologist. Rather than serving as a base camp to train, equip, and support Christians to engage, serve, and disciple their community, our New Age Evangelical church has become more of a “spiritual service station.” We cruise in, get our oil checked and tank topped off, and we leave. Christianity has become just another part of the Self-help Movement. (The Late Great Evangelical Church)

The Arguments Against Atheism

Thomas Aquinas

There are a number of arguments against atheism which are worthy of consideration if you are witnessing to an atheist. The first is the teleological argument that says, “The universe exhibits overwhelming evidence of deliberate, intelligent, purposeful design, which implies an intelligent designer.” The fulfillment of Bible prophecy in history is another.

Then there is the cosmological argument. The premise of this argument is that every event in our universe necessarily has a cause. However, it is impossible that there should be an unending chain of causes going back. Therefore, there necessarily must be a cause distinct from the universe as we know it which is capable of causing all things and is itself uncaused.

Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world — e.g., from reason alone. There are also historical arguments for the existence of God. For example, arguments stemming from historical accounts such as Christian historical apologetics are helpful. Christian legal apologetics and archaeological evidence such as Bible archaeology are also very useful.

We also find that there are experiential arguments for the existence of God. These arguments are based on personal experience and human intuition. Belief in the existence of God is a belief not based on inference from other beliefs but is rationally justified due to one’s circumstances of immediate experience of God. The presuppositional argument, however, does not use evidences in the traditional manner. By the traditional manner, it means using evidences as an appeal to the authority of the unbeliever’s autonomous reasoning. The problem is, of course, that the unbeliever cannot reason autonomously. Without God, there would be no possibility of reason. And so the reality of the matter is that every time the unbeliever attempts to reason, he is borrowing from the Christian worldview. That is, he is being inconsistent with his stated presuppositions. And that is the crucial point. Ultimately the intellectual conflict between believers and unbelievers is a matter of antithetical worldviews. The essence of the presuppositional argument is the attempt to show that the unbeliever’s worldview drives him to subjectivity, irrationalism, and moral anarchy. And so the presuppositional argument calls for the Christian and non-Christian to set side by side their two worldviews and do an internal examination of them both in order to determine whether or not they are consistent even within their own framework. Since God does exist, and since Christianity is true, then any worldview which denies these truths is false and can be demonstrated to be so.

Intellectual Dishonesty In Our Universities

What has happened to open and honest academic debate? University professors now defend their secular progressive ideas by attacking the intelligence of their opponents. Yet, they wish to shield themselves from any criticism whatsoever. The dishonest professor of higher education rushes to advance ideas that fit his own biased worldview even when there is no evidence of objective support. They are even guilty of continuing to advance ideas which have been fully refuted by evidence. According to columnist Mike Adams:

Today, feminist professors continue to advance the idea that there are no innate differences between men and women despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. They continue to advance the idea of widespread gender discrimination in pay despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Liberal Arts professors continue to promote the idea that there is widespread racism in the loan application process despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. . . .

Sadly, this trend is not limited to the social sciences and humanities. It has infected the hard sciences as well. Intellectuals continue to promote the idea of global warming despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Even those caught in the act of fudging data are unwilling to relinquish their cause.

Apparently, no wealth of evidence is so great that “intellectuals” cannot suppress it in order to preserve their role in finding a “solution” to our collective “problems.” Yet their prideful lies are all uttered under the guise of serving the best interests of society. . . .

Psalm 14:1 says that “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.” These seem like harsh words but many have observed that the flood of strange and foolish ideas flowing from the ivory tower has followed closely on the heels of the efforts of intellectuals to expel God from the academy. . . .

I take recent academic proclamations of moral relativism as an invitation to critique the academy. And I advise students who hear a professor proclaim that all ideas are equal to drop his class immediately. If he believes such a thing his ideas are no better than that of a student. He is therefore intellectually unfit to be a professor.

Of course, the professor who insincerely proclaims that all ideas are equal is unqualified for a different reason. He is a liar and, therefore, morally unfit to be a professor. . . .

Continue reading this article here. . . .

Swiss Declare That Islam Is A Religion Of Intolerance And Dictatorship

Swiss Political Rally

In the words of Bojidar Marinov:

The small nation of Switzerland taught the civilized world a lesson once again. In a time when Europe is disarming itself through political correctness and delivering its future in the hands of Islam, the small mountain nation told the most aggressive and savage of the world religions: “No to the minarets.” In a referendum, 57 percent of the voters and 22 out of 26 cantons voted in favor of a ban on building minarets to the mosques in the nation. As of the moment, Switzerland has only 4 minarets for its 350,000 Muslims, and the building of more minarets is declared unconstitutional and against the law. The Swiss people made that declaration in a remarkable display of peaceful exercise of popular democracy vote, against the will of their own government, against the disapproval of the other European nations, and against the wrath of the Muslim world. . . .

The Swiss did not ban the minarets just because they didn’t like them, or because they would go “against the traditions.” On the contrary, the referendum went under the definite statement that “Islam is a religion of intolerance and dictatorship.” The Founders of the United States of America point repeatedly in their speeches and memoirs, and outside observers like Tocqueville discovered, that our liberties here in America are based on the Christian character of our nation. . . .

The Swiss taught us all a lesson of how to deal with Islam: Tell the Muslims, if you want your “durbatulûks” and “thrakatulûks,” you can have them back home. In a Christian land we will have Christian symbols . . . Our liberty and prosperity are based on our Christian religion, and they are a package deal. You can’t have the fruits without the roots. If you want the roots of a different religion, go back where you have the fruits of it as well.

Read more. . . .

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