Saturday Sampler: October 7 — October 13

Symetry Sampler 02Looking at how believers should handle personal sin, Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure rhetorically asks, Do genuine Christians need to confess their sins and seek forgiveness and cleansing? You undoubtedly know the short answer, but Ratliff provides Scriptural substantiation for that answer.

As happens every October, Reformed writers turn their attention to the 16th Century. You’ll see plenty of articles about Luther and Calvin, which makes Steven J. Lawson’s Zurich Revolutionary: Ulrich Zwingli so refreshing. You can find this article on the Ligonier blog.

Leslie A, in Growing 4 Life, passionately declares I’m Not the One Who Moved. She addresses quite a few problems in present-day evangelicalism, rightly tracing them back to an abandonment of three of the five Solas.

As the owner of Berean Research, Amy Spreeman is Holding On to Scripture as she reevaluates the role and implementation of discernment ministry. Join me in praying for Amy and her blogging partner Marsha West as they go through this season of searching God’s Word for wisdom.

Complementing Amy’s post, SlimJim of The Domain for Truth writes Beyond cage stage: Beware of being a Nurmagomedov rage phase Calvinist/Apologist. Given the angry climate on social media these days, all of us could probably benefit from his counsel.

I’m happy to share Who will separate us from the love of Christ? by Mike Ratliff. Although I’ve already placed an article of his in this edition of Saturday Sampler, the Perseverance of the Saints is taught so seldom that I adamantly believe as many people as possible need exposure to this encouraging doctrine.

C.T. Adams of Faith Contender answers a question about Universal Consciousness with a compelling argument for loving God with our minds.

Reflecting on an encounter she had with morning glories, Elizabeth Prata reprises Why can’t they see she’s a false teacher? One reason: “Deception by investment” in The End Time. If you’ve ever experienced backlash for warning someone about a popular teacher, this essay will encourage you.

History really doesn’t have to be boring. And even church history can include a little romance. Don’t believe me? Then check out Simonetta Carr’s Anne Bohemia and her Multilingual Scriptures on Place for Truth and prepare to enjoy a wonderful love story. As an added bonus, you’ll learn some lesser known tidbits about things leading up to the Reformation.

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Saturday Sampler: September 30 — October 6

Symetry Sampler

If you want to read something truly exquisite, go to The End Time to read Elizabeth Prata’s essay,The wind blows. It gives a beautiful illustration of the way the Holy Spirit works with believers.

Of course I love 14 Women of the Reformation That You Probably Never Knew About by Justin Holcomb for Core Christianity. Actually, you’ve probably heard about some of them (particularly Katherina von Bora), but most of them may surprise you. All of them, however, offer encouragement as we see how God used them to advance His kingdom.

Writing for Crossway Articles, Julie Melilli lists 10 Things You Should Know about Discipling People with Special Needs.

I Am Woman…I Don’t Have To Roar, declares Jillian McNeely in her post for Biblical Woman this week. You might take a look at how she handles 1 Peter 3:7. Christian women definitely need this perspective as egalitarian ideas increasingly infiltrate evangelical churches.

Are you single and wondering what to look for in a husband? SlimJim, a pastor who blogs at The Domain for Truth, counsels, Singles, Court Someone Who Loves God. His advice includes a reason that Christians seldom consider.

In an article for Ligonier, Michael Horton discusses the Two Planks of Sola Scriptura by drawing from the writings of Martin Luther. Before you dismiss this piece as  just another history lesson, consider the possibly that it could actually provide insight into the reasons we must stand for the sufficiency of Scripture.

Leslie A of Growing 4 Life takes a penetrating look at The Issues Behind the Issues. You’ll appreciate her straightforward candor and commitment to Biblical truth.

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Saturday Sampler: September 16 — September 22

 

Fall Garden Sampler

Taken by John Kespert at Boston Public Garden

The trouble with Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure is that I want to include the majority of his articles in Sampler! Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season certainly belongs in this week’s curation, since it addresses many themes that I want you ladies to understand. I hope you won’t neglect this one.

Michelle Lesley handles an important topic with The Mailbag: Is lust a sin for women, too? Of course the short answer is yes. But Michelle’s long answer enhances our understanding of just how seriously the Lord takes female lust.

Despising God’s Word Might Not Mean What You Think It Does, suggests Mike Leake in a post for Borrowed Light. I agree.

In an article for The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel, Justin Peters uses his own experience with Cerebral Palsy to repudiate the victim and entitlement mentality that fuels the Social Justice Movement. Thanks for Nothing reminds us what true justice is and why we really don’t want it.

Sydney, a high school age young lady who blogs at Squid’s Cup of Tea, displays her astonishing insight with Are You Texting God? Do you need to learn from her?

You’ll be encouraged, challenged and inspired by Life Lessons from A British Cemetery, which Courtney McLean writes for Biblical Woman. I guess the tombstones of Susanna Wesley and John Bunyan would have an impact on me, too!

For another healthy challenge,  consider We Need to Change How We Pray by Jordan Standridge on The Cripplegate. His perspective isn’t popular, but it’s definitely Biblical.

It’s true! You Don’t Want to Miss This Post that Leslie A writes on Growing 4 Life. She muses about the odd disconnect that keeps so many Christians from becoming all we should be in Christ.

I totally agree with Jason Marianna of Things Above Us about The Saddest Day in Church History NO ONE Talks About. Even if you deplore history, you’ll learn something that may give you better insight into how problems arise when churches embrace social justice.

The lady who blogs at Biblical Beginnings takes on a familiar challenge to Christian faith with The Rock — But Can He Lift It? Frankly, I’ve always found this question to be incredibly obnoxious, so her positive approach to it humbles me.

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Saturday Sampler: September 9 — September 15

Cinderella Sampler

In a guest post for Pyromaniacs, Darrell B. Harrison insists that God Has Spoken regarding how Christians must implement justice. Scripture speaks clearly to how we can live justly in this fallen world.

Do you remember how excited you were about Jesus when you first became a Christian? Elizabeth Prata invites us to think back to those days by Remembering our earliest grace in The End Time. She definitely provides wise counsel in this essay.

When the Holy Spirit helps us understand Scriptural principles, we naturally want to pass  those insights along. And that’s generally a good thing. But, as Leslie A of Growing 4 Life shows us, sometimes we need His wisdom on When to Stop Talking.

With compassion and fidelity to God’s Word, Michael Coughlin writes Do People Who Commit Suicide Go To Hell? as his contribution to the Things Above Us blog. You might appreciate his thought-provoking perspectives.

Look at Pilgrim Theology Versus Ethnic Theology by R. Scott Clark on The Heidelblog for a helpful understanding of why we must avoid classifying Christians by ethnicities.

It pleases me to recommend a second Elizabeth Prata post this week. The Truest Poverty Social Justice Can Never Cure brings us to the heart of the conversation. Isn’t it amazing how Scripture gives such clarity to a controversy?

John Ellis reviews Aimee Byrd’s controversial book on friendships between men and women for his personal blog, adayinhiscourt. Aimee Byrd Asks About Men and Women ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’ candidly examines the book’s strengths and weaknesses from a male perspective that few women really understand. We desperately need to consider the points Ellis makes.

Against the backdrop of suffering for Christ, Mike Ratliff studies 2 Timothy in Possessing the Treasure to remind us why we must Rekindle the Gift of God. He even uses the text to show us how to rekindle our spiritual gifts. As persecution increases against American Christians, Ratliff’s teaching is much needed.

Take a look at Colin L. Eakin’s article, When the Sunday Sermon Is Really Demon Doctrine, in Pyromaniacs. Dr. Eakin highlights the desperate need for Biblical discernment in evangelical churches today.

Speaking of discernment, Michelle Lesley takes us back to the fundamentals of it with Basic Training: Being Berean — 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture. Even if you excel at discernment, her principles might serve as a helpful refresher.

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God’s Word — Nothing Added

sola-scriptura-02

Some people believe that evangelicalism has reached a serious crisis point. I tend to agree. Professing Christians import worldly philosophies and practices at breakneck speed, leaving the faithful both breathless and  bewildered.  We wonder how we can ever restore Biblical Christianity.

As deplorable as the 21st Century Church has become, this isn’t the first time the visible church has strayed. And I tend to think that Continue reading

Saturday Sampler: August 19 — August 25

Birds Sampler

Let’s start this week’s Sampler by going to Knowable Word for Ryan Higginbottom’s Context Matters: The Lord’s Prayer. I particularly appreciate his emphasis on the fact that we mustn’t isolate portions of Scripture.

I debated long and hard about including The Mailbag: Should Christian women cover up while breastfeeding? by Michelle Lesley only because I don’t want to tempt men to read it. But I definitely believe young mothers should seriously consider Michelle’s Biblical perspective on this controversial matter.

The Believer And Suicide by John Chester appears in Parking Space 23. He handles this difficult issue with sensitivity and tact while also maintaining a solid commitment to the Word of God. Please note: throughout his article, Chester correctly identifies suicide as a sin. Nothing he writes should be construed as permission to kill yourself.

Don’t overlook Maybe We Need Less Math and More History, in which Tim Challies outlines several benefits of studying church history. How can I not love this one?

As a contributor to For The Church, Patrick Meador encourages each of us to Be a Missionary, Not a Marketer. This is one of the best responses to the church growth industrial complex that I’ve read in a long time.

John MacArthur continues laying his foundation for critiquing the Social Justice Movement on this Grace To You blog with The Long Struggle to Preserve the Gospel, Part 1  and The Long Struggle to Preserve the Gospel, Part 2. These posts help explain why this current trend weakens the mission of the Church.

Reasoning from Scripture, Elizabeth Prata of The End Time analyzes a Facebook meme in Throwback Thursday: Does God Speak In Unidentified Promptings? Ladies, we must follow Elizabeth’s example and think Biblically when we see “Christian” memes on social media.

Few American evangelicals really believe that persecution is knocking at our door. SlimJim of The Domain for Truth gives us a needed wake up call with Tolerance? Church Vandalized. It’s a short but personal account that demands our attention.

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The Mess The Church Is In Now

Catholic to Protestant

Few Christians disagree that the visible church is corrupt. It’s pretty much impossible to ignore the moral compromises infecting all denominations, as well as independent churches as scandals proliferate. Social media only makes matters worse. Some “discernment blogs” (particularly Pulpit & Pen) absolutely delight in reporting every negative tidbit they can find. To be honest, scandal sells.

Admittedly, sometimes we need to name names. I have boldly written about Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Sarah Young, Matthew Vines and others who inject false teaching into evangelical circles and thereby distort the Gospel. Additionally I have addressed popular trends like Holy Yoga, direct revelation, seeker-sensitive churches and the Social Justice Movement many times on this blog. I will continue doing so when I believe situations warrant such articles.

The visible church is unquestionably a mess.

We often forget, however, that the visible church has always been a mess. Paul wrote most of his epistles for the express purpose of confronting false doctrines and sinful practices within the First Century churches. As Roman Catholicism developed its system of justification by works, few professing Christians understood the Gospel of salvation by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

The Protestant Reformation restored the Bible to common people, although many Christians died as martyrs. Catholic authorities accused these men and women of heresy because they accepted Scripture’s authority over that of the pope.

All too soon after the Reformation, Enlightenment philosophers attracted the attention of the Puritans, enticing them to integrate rationalism into theology. From there, liberalism and psychology easily blended into churches, always at the expense of doctrinal purity.

A friend of mine once scoffed at my blog posts about church history, explaining that she cares more about the mess the church is in now. Actually, I share her concern. That’s precisely why I blog so frequently about people and trends that assault the authority, inerrancy and sufficiency of God’s Word.

But in combating the current mess in the visible church, it can help to go back in time. Certainly, our ultimate stop must be the First Century, as we stand unwaveringly  on the Word of God. We must study, interpret and apply it in context. That’s why Michelle Lesley and I write regular Bible Studies in our blogs that lead you through large portions of Scripture, showing you the progression of thought propelling each verse.

Church history can aid our application of Scripture by showing us how Christians before us dealt with messes in the visible church. We can learn from the things they did right, but also from the things they did wrong. They can teach us how to identify false teaching, and consequently how to correct it with Scripture.

The visible church most assuredly is in a mess now. Church history testifies that it’s pretty much always in a mess. If we really want to restore the church to purity, why not trust church history to teach us how to apply God’s Word?

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