When Two Bloggers Meet

MichelleRarely does my disability bother me. But Michelle Lesley, one of my favorite bloggers, is speaking at my church’s Women’s Conference this weekend. Problem is, the conference is on Cape Cod, well outside The RIDE area, so there’s no way I can get down there.

The leaders of the women’s ministry, thankfully, had mercy on me. On their way  to the Cape this morning, they brought Michelle by our apartment for a lovely two-hour visit.

What a wonderful time of talking about weddings, discernment, Bible Studies and (of course) blogging! Michelle told me how she does her blog, emphasizing her passion for her Wednesday Bible Studies. Together we lamented the fact that we attract more readers with our articles on false teachers than with the Bible Studies we write. (Why does that happen,  ladies?)

Throughout the conversation, I appreciated the responsibility God has given both me and Michelle to minister to women through the medium of blogging. Of course, Michelle has additional platforms for discipling women that I  don’t, but the Lord has blessed us with this wonderful outreach, allowing us to bring God’s Word to women all over the world.  We both take joy in this way of serving Christ.

I appreciate my friends from church for making the visit possible. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her face-to-face for the first time, yet knowing we’ve been friends for quite a while. I don’t foresee seeing her in person again before Christ’s return, but how glorious to know that she and I will spend eternity together praising the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pray for Michelle this weekend as she ministers to the women from my beloved church family. And pray for the ladies to draw closer to the Lord and His Word through the teaching she presents.

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He Said, “Look Mommy — I’m Wearing A Dress!”

glory-cloudA few days ago, someone told  me that her three-year-old godson met his mother when she came to pick him up from preschool, greeting her with the words, “Look Mommy — I’m wearing a dress!” Horrified, his mother asked him why he was in a dress. He pointed to his teachers and claimed, “Them gave it to me!”

“Oh no,” the teachers argued, “we gave him a choice. We want our children to use costumes to express themselves.”

My friend said that her godson, if he’s not telling the truth about something, normally changes stories when he’s later asked again. But this time, he firmly stuck to his narrative that the teachers made him wear a dress. Therefore, his parents believe that the school pressured him into wearing the dress, perhaps letting him “choose” between two or three dresses.

It turns out, as I suspected it would, that this little boy attends a preschool that accepts state monies. I pretty much believe that the purpose of giving him a dress was to desensitize him, as well as the rest of the children, to transgender issues.

I do believe public schools have a mandate to normalize LBGTQ orientations. Since Obergefell legalized same sex marriage just over two years ago (it seems like it’s been so much longer!) and Bruce Jenner declared himself to be a woman named Caitlyn, I’ve noticed a greater push to force Americans to embrace these sexual deviations wholeheartedly. And the best way to reach this goal, obviously, is to indoctrinate young children.

And people wonder why I so strongly advocate homeschooling?

As troubling as the attack on Biblical views of gender and sexuality is, however, I have confidence that the Lord has complete control. While He hates the sin engulfing our world today (and please, I mean much more than simply sexual sin), He’s allowing a rise in lawlessness to demonstrate our need for Him.

Is His Second Corning imminent? I hope so. Actually, I really believe it’s probable. But I also believe I would be presumptuous to make a dogmatic prediction. I can, however, assert that the Lord is using our collective sin as a judgment on our culture. Please see Romans 1:18-32 as substantiation for my position.

Certainly I reject the idea of coercing a three-year-old to cross-dress. If I was his mommy, he’d never set foot in that school again! But as reprehensible as the school’s actions were, I don’t wring my hands in helpless dismay. The Lord, even though He hates such perversion, remains completely sovereign. In His perfect time, He will bring His righteousness to us so that all creation will bow before Him, confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord.

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Calvin Didn’t Fit My Agenda

 

I thought I’d introduce John Calvin the way I introduced the other Reformers in my Tuesday blog posts. I’d share an account of his conversion. Based on the conversion stories of Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, John Huss and Martin Luther, I just assumed that the Lord brought Calvin to Himself through Scripture. Such a scenario, of course, would have made a nice symmetrical pattern, allowing me to emphasize the importance of God’s Word in the regeneration process.

I’m not saying Calvin’s reading of the Bible didn’t have a role in his conversion. It may well have. Before pursuing a career as a lawyer, Calvin entered the University of Paris in 1523 to study for the priesthood. Clearly, his privileged position of having educational opportunities gave him access to the Bible that very few people enjoyed in the 16th Century. So it’s entirely possible that Scripture caused his conversion.

The problem is that, thus far, I’ve read and/or heard seven or eight accounts of Calvin’s conversion, and they’re all vastly different. Some emphasize the martyrdom of an elderly evangelical man that he watched, while others go on and on about his overwhelming sense of personal sin.

And then we have this short YouTube clip from Ligonier of Ian Hamilton discussing the event:

So did the Holy Spirit use the Bible to subdue Calvin’s soul? It’s probable, based on Romans 10:14-17.

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (ESV)

But since historical record fails to offer a clear explanation of how John Calvin came to saving faith, I don’t think I’d be intellectually honest to impose Romans 10:17 on the story. Obviously, this Reformer did depend on God’s Word throughout the remainder of his life, permitting him to become probably the most recognized developer of Reformed Theology.

 
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Perspectives In Titus: The Teachers Of Deception

Titus 1 10&11For the past few Mondays, our study of Paul’s letter to Titus has focused on the appointment of elders in every city of Crete. As we come to verses 10-11 today, we finally learn Paul’s reason  for wanting Titus to ordain these elders, as well as the purposes of the strict qualifications he placed on elders. I’ll quote these verses in their immediate context, and from there we can start talking about the problem of false teachers in Crete.

For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. ~~Titus 1:7-11 (ESV)

As you can easily see from the passage, Paul felt an  urgency for Titus to establish solid leaders in Crete because Crete had a variety of people who resisted godly authority, evidently talking foolishness and spreading false doctrine. Elders would, he implies, provide a way to remedy the damage.

In verse 10, Paul begins to explain the problem. Notice how Paul contrasts “empty talkers” with an elder’s responsibility to hold firm to the trustworthy word. The empty talkers may be fluent in Christian terminology, convincing people that they are spiritual,  but their words are mere pretense. Godly leaders, in contrast, teach substance rather than fluff, drawing on the very Word of God. Paul wanted elders who refuted the false teachers by living lives that placed them above reproach as well as by teaching sound doctrine.

The empty talk of the insubordinate teachers naturally included deception. As an example, Paul’s reference to the circumcision party alludes to Jews living in Crete. Like the Judaizers in Galatia and Philippi, these Jewish “Christians” taught that Gentile converts had to undergo circumcision in order to be genuinely saved.

The false teachers in First Century Crete, just like false teachers in the 21st Century,  deceived people by influencing their minds. According to Robertson’s Word Pictures,  the Greek word for deceivers is a rare  compound that denotes deceiving minds. Essentially, Paul tells Titus that these false teachers messed with the minds of Cretan believers.

As we progress to verse 11, we see the strategy for responding to the people who caused the disturbances in the Cretan churches. Paul tells Titus quite clearly that such false teachers must be silenced. The Greek word for silenced literally means muzzled. The elders Titus was to appoint had to muzzle these deceivers by both godly conduct and accurate teaching.

By saying these false teachers upset whole families, Paul means that they subverted households. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown suggest that these households were local congregations. Either way, their deceptions disrupted close bonds and apparently turned people away from the faith.

By “shameful gain,” Paul probably means that they derived financial benefit from injecting false doctrine into their ministry, Barnes states his belief that they devised doctrines that boosted their popularity, thus winning the confidence of those they then collected money from. Not only did they cause upheaval to entire families with their false doctrines, but they taught their deceptions as a way to profit materially.

False teachers permeate the 21st Century church using empty talk and deception to introduce division in even the best congregations. We need, whenever possible, to join churches that have elders and pastors who live godly lives and teach Biblical doctrine. And those of us who already belong to such churches should pray regularly for our pastors and elders to continue guarding us through God’s Word.

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Why My Hope Is In The Lord

Hello. My name is DebbieLynne and, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, I’m a sinner.

By His grace, the Lord doesn’t see my sinfulness, however. Jesus mercifully took my sins on Himself, accepting the Father’s wrath and (incredible as it may sound) covering me with His righteousness! He, therefore, is my hope. I can’t trust in myself to gain entrance into heaven, but I rest assured of salvation because of what He’s graciously done for me.

Today’s hymn celebrates Christ’s abundant grace in saving His own. As you listen, let your heart celebrate.

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Saturday Sampler: March 19 — March 25

Flower SamplerContinuing her series in Growing 4 Life, Leslie A. writes Learn to Discern: Who Do You Follow? She raises several important points that women should seriously consider as we pray to develop our discernment .

Unbelief doesn’t need one more miracle says Jennifer at One Hired Late in the Day. I’d been considering writing a similar article, but I really couldn’t improve on hers. If you want a solid explanation of the doctrine of justification, Jennifer’s blog post certainly gives it clearly.

“Authentic” seems to be the latest buzzword among evangelicals. In Has “Be Authentic” Replaced “Be Holy”? Rebekah Womble explains what postmodern people mean by authenticity, contrasting their understanding of the characteristic with the holiness that Christ calls us to practice.

Dinitatians typically believe in the Father and the Son, but not the Holy Spirit. In his blog post, Are Cessationists Dinitatians? Eric Davis of The Cripplegate refutes the popular notion that non-Charismatics don’t believe in the Holy Spirit. I love his list of 20 things Cessationists believe about the Holy Spirit.

Do you sometimes wonder what you should pray in praying for your pastor? Steve Altroggie, blogging on The Blazing Center, enumerates 8 Prayers You Should Regularly Pray For Your Pastor to offer us good direction in the matter.

John Ellis’ article, How NOT to Argue Online in adayinhiscourt convicted me. But it also encouraged me in arguing my case in ways that honor the Lord .

Responding to one of Beth Moore’s recent Tweets, Elizabeth Prata writes How does the Holy Spirit lead us? in her blog, The End Time. Her essay is lengthy, admittedly (and perhaps could have been broken into two separate ones), but her point is so crucial to Christian women that I strongly recommend it as essential reading.

In Don’t Get Your Theology from Movies, Michelle Lesley explains why even Movie Subscription Services that advertise themselves as Christian fail at helping us negotiate life’s issues. I’ve never seen anyone address this matter quite this comprehensively before, but Michelle does an excellent job.

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Sometimes Discernment Means Naming Names

Twisting ScriptureI know very well what I wrote yesterday, so I appreciate the irony of writing a post dealing with Beth Moore just one day later. But if you’ll hang in there with me while I make my case, I think you’ll see that today’s article actually bears out the very point I made about discernment. Understanding sound doctrine protects us against false teachers and teachings that deviate from the truth.

Tomorrow’s Saturday Sampler will include a link to a blog post Elizabeth Prata wrote addressing Beth Moore’s recent Tweet.

Immediately, I sighed, wondering if Beth Moore will ever go away. Surely, every evangelical on the planet has seen the warnings about her by now, and they know that, when she bothers to use the Bible at all, she mishandles it terribly. In the Tweet here, however, she completely ignores Scripture altogether in favor of trusting subjective impressions.

Thanks Beth, but I’ll let   God’s Word override any “warnings” I may want to imagine as coming from the Holy Spirit.

Sadly,  far too many women still don’t understand the multiple problems with Beth Moore, making it necessary for bloggers like Elizabeth Prata to repeatedly write articles exposing her faulty doctrine and unbiblical practices. I seriously doubt Elizabeth Prata takes pleasure in writing such essays, but she sees Moore’s alarming extent of influence and desires to help women escape this sort of deception.

A few months ago, as those of you who follow my Monday Bible Studies might recall, I showed you Jude’s instructions for ministering to others who have been deceived by teachers like Beth Moore.

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. ~~Jude 20-23 (ESV)

Jude’s instructions begin with an exhortation to build ourselves up in the faith, meaning that we must study and understand its tenets. Likewise, praying in the Holy Spirit requires knowing the Scriptures that He inspired. Rescuing people from false teachers and false doctrine necessitates a firm acquaintance with God’s Word.

Next, Jude encourages us to show mercy to doubters. Here he specifically refers those who doubt the false teaching that has been inflicted on them. They don’t quite know what to believe, so they need patience and compassion.

The people in verse 23 have, in varying levels, succumbed to deception. Consequently, some of them need harsher rescuing. Yes, they need to receive correct teaching, but they frequently also require that we show them why a false teacher (for example, Beth Moore) is in violation of God’s Word.

Therefore, when Beth Moore puts out a Tweet like the one at the beginning of this article, bloggers like Elizabeth Prata absolutely must call her out. When you read Elizabeth’s blog post tomorrow, please notice how Elizabeth uses good doctrine to refute Moore’s deception.

Of course, the more we know Biblical doctrine, the easier it will be to spot lies and half-truths that people like Beth Moore spit out. Sound doctrine inoculates us against falsehoods by giving us the standards against which to measure anything we hear. As we study God’s Word and understand its doctrines, we can easily spot ideas that don’t line up. Developing this type of discernment liberates bloggers like Elizabeth Prata from the disagreeable task of having to constantly refute Beth Moore.

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