Don’t Expect A Political Savior

Untitled-1Yes, Beto O’Rourke exposed the Democratic party’s agenda Thursday night. And yes, that agenda must keep genuine Christians from supporting any Democratic candidate. Please, as you read this article, know that I in no way want to discourage Christians from supporting voting. And adherence to Biblical  principles absolutely must shape what we do at the ballot box.

O’Rourke’s proposal to strip churches and Christian institutions of tax exemptions troubles me, but it in no way surprises me. I began this blog shortly after the Obergefell decision precisely because I knew the legalization of same sex marriage would inevitability lead to the persecution of Christians who believe the Bible. And no, I’m not a prophet. God didn’t speak to me or give me a vision, It’s simply a logical conclusion.

Beto O’Rourke did nothing more than Continue reading

I Didn’t Do Anything

How many times have you heard your kids object to discipline by protesting, “I didn’t do anything,” when it’s all too clear that they’ve done something wrong?  How many times have you made the same declaration?

We all want to escape personal responsibility.

Yet when we do something right (or appear to do something right), we do our best to make sure people know about it. In those cases, we’re perfectly happy to claim as much responsibility as we possibly can. Especially when it comes to our salvation.

But the truth humbles us as we see Christ’s complete mastery over our salvation. From beginning to end, He provides the grace. He even gives us the ability to believe in Him! As a result, He receives all the praise and glory. We didn’t do anything!

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Saturday Sampler: October 6 — October 12

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In Blog & Mablog, Doug Wilson often transcribes messages he gives at weddings. His message to Kip and Karis expresses the beautiful way that a Christian marriage reflects the Gospel. I’ve been married for 17 years, and I still need this basic teaching.

On October 6, 1536 William Tyndale died of strangulation before being burned at the stake. Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised writes Strangled and Burned: Remembering William Tyndale to show us the significance of Tyndale’s execution.

Tim Challies tells us about The Servers and Servicers in Every Church as an encouragement for us to understand people who differ from us. Interesting perspective!

As we go through Pastor Appreciation Month, it helps to know how we can minister to the men who shepherd us. Melissa at Your Mom Has A Blog draws on her experience as a pastor’s wife in Want to Tend to Your Pastor’s Heart? Show up. This short post gives one of the most compelling reasons for faithful church attendance I’ve ever read.

In He Will Light Up our Path: The Truth about Feelings and Emotions, Lara D’Entremont’s guest post in Morning by Morning uses Psalm 19 to help us discern when feelings deceive us. Ladies, we constantly need this reminder!

Sarah Ascol, as a survivor of sexual abuse, explains What was Missing from Caring Well in her report for the Founders Ministries website. I love her firm conviction regarding the sufficiency of Scripture.

Sometimes we  stray from the actual Gospel, as R. Scott Clark demonstrates in When the Good News Becomes Bad for The Heidelblog. Maybe his insights aren’t terribly fresh, but we constantly need to come back to the basic message of the Gospel, don’t we?

Please don’t neglect Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves, which appears in the Ligonier blog. It’s an excellent companion to R. Scott Clark’s piece.

Why does Paul forbid women to preach to men? Elizabeth Prata takes on this hot-button issue in an essay for The End Time as she elaborates on a video addressing the subject. Please make time for her post.

If you’ve been starting to think about your Bible reading plan for 2020, Michelle Lesley offers an interesting reason to try reading the Bible chronologically. A Weeping Profit invites you to experience Bible history as something that lets you feel the heart of God.

Prioritize Love, says Jason Vaughn in his article for Parking Space 23. As he shows us Romans 12 in context, he helps us understand why renewing our minds leads us to actively love each other.

I take no joy in including Presidential candidate promises draconian crackdown on religious liberty by Denny Burk in this week’s collection of posts. But the matter Burk reports mustn’t be ignored. The time for political action is long passed; now Christians must brace for inevitable persecution.

Let’s close with Michael Coughlin’s Psalm 119:121-124 — Deliverance in Things Above Us as an encouragement of God’s grace and faithfulness.

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Flashback Friday: The Reformation And Galatians

Originally posted June 27, 2017:

Whittenberg DoorThe Lord used the apostle Paul to bring the Gospel to the gentiles in Galatia. Sadly, after he left that region, representatives of a group known as the Judaizers descended on that fledgling church, teaching that they needed to augment their faith in Christ by following Jewish law. They especially insisted that gentile converts undergo the rite of circumcision.

Paul was infuriated that the church he had founded had so quickly abandoned the Gospel of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross in favor of a counterfeit gospel that required human effort to assure salvation. He wrote a scathing letter, scolding them for adulterating the Gospel with doctrines of men. We see the reasons for his frustration most clearly articulated in Chapter 5 of his epistle to the Galatians.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! ~~Galatians 5:1-12 (ESV)

I imagine Martin Luther found this passage helpful as he broke free from the demands of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther rightly saw that  Rome’s elaborate system of sacraments, Purgatory, Indulgences and Papal authority produced a gospel quite different from the Good News that Jesus Christ fully paid for the sin of whoever believes in Him by His death on the cross. Like Paul, Luther sought to turn Christians back to focusing on Christ’s work instead of imagining that they could supplement it through their cooperation.

Notice specifically Paul’s firm assertion that a Christian who supplements his faith in the Lord by depending on legalistic rituals actually nullifies the effects of faith in salvation through Christ’s work on the cross. At that point, a person essentially declares that salvation ultimately lies in our power, not in what Christ accomplished on our behalf.

The sacramental system of the Roman Catholic Church, despite their denials, easily parallels the false teaching of the Judaizers. As a matter of fact, the Judaizers claimed to follow Christ, just as the Roman Catholic Church does. In many respects, the Judaizers presented themselves as genuine Christians, thereby convincing the Galatians to accept their doctrinal error. Not surprisingly, then, the Catholic Church managed to convince Christians of similar errors.

But Paul’s firm refutation against the system of righteousness by works enabled Luther and the other Reformers to stand against Rome’s numerous conditions for salvation. Just as Paul proclaimed that circumcision had no bearing on anyone’s standing before God, so the Reformers proclaimed that sacraments couldn’t add to what Christ had already done. The Reformers returned to the Biblical teaching that Christ Jesus fully satisfied the Law by dying as our substitute.

Roman Catholicism gets some doctrines right, such as the Trinity, but it adds conditions for salvation in much the same way that the Judaizers did. These conditions made humans responsible for sustaining their salvation.

Human centered salvation, however, takes the glory away from the Lord Jesus Christ. It demands that He share His glory with us. Paul recognized that danger among the Christians in Galatia, and he refused to tolerate such a corruption of the Gospel! He therefore set a pattern for the Reformers to follow once they could read God’s Word and understand that Rome had corrupted the Gospel. His passion for Jesus Christ to receive all the glory inspired the Reformers to also develop that passion.
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Sometimes Jesus Gets Lost In Our Service To Our Church

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Each of us (if we’re being obedient) has at least one avenue of ministry. And we cherish that opportunity to serve both the Lord and His church. During my years as a single woman, I enjoyed a variety of ways to serve, ranging from editing the church newsletter to writing and directing drama productions to teaching children in Sunday School.

My ability to serve is a great deal more limited now, but I well remember the busy life of ministry that dominated my younger years.

I also remember realizing at one point that my heavy involvement in ministry had Continue reading

It’s October, So It’s Fashionable To Write About The Reformation

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Today I read two blog posts that talked about the Protestant Reformation. You’ll find both of them in the upcoming Saturday Sampler, so I’ll let you anticipate reading them for a few days. If you’re new to church history and/or Reformed Theology, these articles will help you get a basic understanding of the foundational issue that triggered this world changing movement. If you’ve been around Reformed Theology for a while, you’ll appreciate the reminder.

From November 1 to September 30 each year, I think we forget about the Protestant Reformation. So many contemporary concerns capture our attention. Goodness knows, Beth Moore’s Twitter feed alone creates Continue reading