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(revised 10/18/19)

I would label myself theologically as:

1) Saved – a converted, born again Christian (John Chapter 3). I strongly believe that becoming born again must involve repentance of sin. I would define “repentance” as a sincere change of heart and a turning from sin (a willingness to give up sin).
2) Sanctified – separated from worldly sins, totally committed to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2)
3) Spirit filled – I prefer this to the term Spirit baptized. I do not believe tongues is a necessary initial sign of being Spirit filled (the Second Blessing).
4) Soul winning – passionately witnessing to people, carrying out the Great Commission. This does not include the Great Commandment, which postmoderns have twisted into a social gospel combined with the Great Commission. Yes, we should love our neighbor, but compassion/social justice/being missional will not get people saved – they have to hear the gospel message of what I call “the Blood and the Cross”.
5) Separatist – practicing primary and secondary ecclesiastical separation from those who teach heresies/false teachings/serious errors
6) Textus Receptus only – holding to translations of the Textus Receptus New Testament and Masoretic Old Testament in various languages. I believe that in the English speaking world, the best such translation by far is the KJV.
7) Premillenial, leaning towards Post-Trib
8) Wesleyan Holiness – I most closely identify with the Conservative Holiness movement
7) Fundamentalist

Note – in point #7 above, I am using the term “fundamentalist” as an adherent of most of the articles in The Fundamentals of 1910-1915. Some writers of The Fundamentals fell short of being biblically sound (see Footnote #1).

There were many “born again separatist fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness” churches prior to the formation of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) in 1942. Unfortunately, in the years that followed, many Wesleyan Holiness churches abandoned the practices of primary separation and secondary separation.

I must admit, I love many of today’s Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches, particularly those recommended by Bro. David Cloud. I do not necessarily agree with all IFB doctrinal positions. But IFB churches historically hold to many of the same standards Wesleyan Holiness fundamentalists held prior to 1942 – including ecclesiastical separation and “militant fundamentalism”  i.e. speaking out strongly against modernism, etc. (Unfortunately, ecclesiastical separation and militant fundamentalism are two traits Dr. Reasoner opposes – see his comments at the end of the repost below.)

I do not necessarily agree with all the theological views of Dr. Reasoner. The following article by Dr. Reasoner does nonetheless represent most of my views. Another caveat – I do not agree with everything on the website which provided this article, but I found this specific article to be “right on” for the most part. Click on the article titles for the original sources of the articles (Parts I and II). I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

WHAT IS A FUNDAMENTAL WESLEYAN? [Part I]
Dr. Vic Reasoner

Every generation must apply the timeless truths of Scripture to their contemporary questions. While it is enough under ordinary circumstances to profess faith in Jesus Christ, throughout the history of the Christian Church there have been major disagreements as to the proper explanation of our faith. We do not desire to be divisive, but we believe we are to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

1. We are earnest Christians

God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. We endeavor to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

We have no desire to break fellowship with any brother or sister whom God has accepted into the spiritual family. We seek to maintain the “Catholic Spirit” exemplified by John Wesley’s famous sermon by that title. The word “ecumenical” refers to worldwide Christian unity and cooperation. In the early days of the Christian Church there were four major ecumenical councils which reaffirmed the teachings of Scripture and kept the Church on track. These councils did not convene because the Scriptures were not sufficient, but in the face of contemporary questions the councils convened to state a scriptural response.

In more recent times, though, ecumenical gatherings have even included those who have denied the faith. In order to reach a consensus these councils have sought unity at the lowest common denominator. Unlike the early councils which promoted orthodoxy, the modern ecumenical movement has been too willing to compromise orthodoxy for the sake of union. truth is not determined by a denomination board and we dare not surrender our conscience to any ecclesiastical hierarchy.

2. We are Protestants

Although some evangelicals are now expressing a willingness to cooperate with Rome, the greatest unresolved issue is the issue of authority. We maintain, along with Luther, that the Bible is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. What Luther means by sola scriptura is essentially what Wesley meant by homo unius libri (a man of one book). When challenged that he misunderstood the scriptural teaching on the new birth, Wesley wrote in his Journal, that he turned to his Greek New Testament “resolving to abide by ‘the law and the testimony,’ and being confident that God would hereby show me ‘whether this doctrine was of God.'”

We reject the apocryphal books declared four hundred years ago to be Scripture by the Roman Church at the Council of Trent. In opposition to the Roman Catholic coupling of Scripture and church tradition as joint rules of faith we stand for the sufficiency of Scripture. There is no dual authority. John Wesley explained

The faith of the Protestants, in general, embraces only those truths, as necessary to salvation, which are clearly revealed in the oracles of God. Whatever is plainly declared in the Old and New Testament is the object of their faith. They believed neither more nor less than what is manifestly contained in, and provable by, the Holy Scriptures. The Word of God is a “lantern to their feet, and a light in all their paths.” They dare not, on any pretence, go from it, to the right hand or to the left. The written Word is the whole and sole rules of their faith, as well as practice. They believe whatsoever God has declared, and profess to do whatsoever He hath commanded. This is the proper faith of Protestants: by this they will abide and no other (“On Faith,” sermon #106).

In his statement on “The Character of a Methodist,” Wesley affirmed “the written word of God to be the only and sufficient rule both of Christian faith and practice; and herein we are fundamentally distinguished from those of the Romish Church.”

We watch with concern the developments surrounding the manifesto “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium.” The Roman Catholic Church pronounced at the Council of Trent over four hundred years ago that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is anathema.

John Wesley affirmed with Martin Luther that justification by faith alone was “the article by which the Church stands or falls” (see “The Lord Our Righteousness, sermon #20). We stand with Martin Luther and raise our voices in protest against all who deny that salvation is by grace through faith. Until this position is officially accepted by the Roman Catholic Church, we remain Protestants.

WHAT IS A FUNDAMENTAL WESLEYAN? [Part II]
Dr. Vic Reasoner

3. We are Wesleyan-Arminians

Although the name of James Arminius is still maligned, few have matched him in scholarship and sainthood. In contrast to the rigid dogmatism that so often accompanies those who contend for the faith, Wesley cautioned, “It is the duty of every Arminian preacher, first, never in public or in private, to use the word Calvinist as a term of reproach.”

When Arminianism loses the balance of the Holy Spirit it becomes humanistic, teaching we are saved by an act of our free will. Likewise, Calvinism tends toward fatalism. Wesley argued for a balance between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. He said Methodism came within a hair’s breadth of Calvinism by ascribing all good to the free grace of God, by denying all natural free will, and in excluding all human merit. Therefore, as fundamental Wesleyans we have as much in common with conservative Calvinism as with liberal Arminianism.

In agreement with Calvinism we affirm man’s natural inability to do good apart from divine grace. In contrast to Calvinism, we believe the Scriptures teach a conditional election, a universal atonement, prevenient grace, and conditional perseverance.

Wesley affirmed the position of Arminius while giving a new emphasis to the witness of the Spirit and sanctification. Wesley also observed, “Who has wrote more ably than Martin Luther on justification by faith alone? And who was more ignorant of the doctrine of sanctification, or more confused in his conceptions of it?”

As Wesleyans we believe in an infallible Book, the fall and sinfulness of mankind, a universal atonement, and prevenient grace. The work of the Holy Spirit in awakening, conviction, repentance, and faith produces all these gifts from God. We believe in justification by faith, regeneration through the baptism with the Spirit, and adoption into the family of God. We believe in the necessity of the new birth, which gives victory over outward sin and is always attested to by the direct witness of the Holy Spirit. We believe that the indwelling Spirit begins the process of sanctification and brings assurance witnessing with our own spirit. We believe the Spirit will lead us to Christian maturity as individuals and through the outpouring of the Spirit in revival, the kingdom of God will cover the earth.

4. We are fundamentalists

By the turn of the twentieth century historic Christianity was under attack. Fundamentalism at its best was a modern attempt to defend historic Christianity. With the validity of the Bible under attack, fundamentalism was originally a battle for the Bible.

Since the modern fundamentalist movement came a hundred years after Wesley we would not expect him to use their precise language. If you read secondary sources about Wesley by liberal authors, you will find he always seems to agree with them. However, if you read Wesley himself you find him saying, “My ground is the Bible. Yea, I am a Bible-bigot. I follow it in all things, both great and small.” “Believe nothing they say, unless it is clearly confirmed by plain passages of holy writ.” “If there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there is one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth.”

We recognize Adam Clarke as a pioneer in the comparison of biblical texts, known as lower or textual criticism. Yet Clarke concluded, “Men may err, but the Scriptures cannot; for it is theWord of God himself, who can neither mistake, deceive, nor be deceived” (Works, 12:132, see also Commentary, 5:11). However, we deny the value of and reject the conclusions of destructive higher criticism which starts with naturalistic presuppositions. Modern Wesleyan scholars have all too often capitulated to the higher critic in an attempt to gain acceptability for our message. But once our doctrinal source is impugned our message is stripped of its authority.

William Abraham wrote The Coming Great Revival in 1984, declaring that modern evangelicalism is at an impasse. The dilemma of evangelicalism is whether it will revert back to fundamentalism or blend in with liberalism? Abraham feels that the Wesleyan tradition has a solution to this impasse, but only if we purify ourselves of our fundamentalist corruption, repudiate the inerrancy of Scripture, and make a “bold and unqualified commitment to critical work in biblical studies.” But revival has come when the integrity of the Word of God was upheld and preached it with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. If we replace the living bread of God’s infallible Word with the barren stone of higher criticism, we have nothing to contribute to the impasse and we will move towards apostasy, not revival.

While Wesley argued for liberty concerning nonessentials, he also believed there are essential Christian doctrines which must be maintained in order to be Christian. In his preface to theNotes Upon the Old Testament, Wesley spoke of “those grand, fundamental doctrines, original sin, justification by faith, the new birth, inward and outward holiness.”

However, we must defend Christian doctrine with a Christlike spirit. Fundamentalism has too often been associated with harsh, bitter attitude, a separatist mentality, and a bizarre form of prophecy known as “dispensationalism.” [I would disagree with Dr. Reasoner regarding this  previous sentence – I believe we should have a “separatist mentality” i.e. practice ecclesiastical separation. And although I am not completely comfortable with dispensationalism, I am premillenial (unlike dispensationalists, I am leaning towards a post-Trib view). Dr. Reasoner, on the other hand, is not even in the same eschatological ballpark – he is a postmillenial preterist; see the latter part of this article.]

We are fundamentalists only so long as we define what constitutes the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. And unlike militant fundamentalism , we endeavor the practice the “catholic spirit” of love towards our Christian neighbor with whom we may disagree. Our use of the word fundamental primarily refers to the Scripture as our sole authority. [Here too I would differ with Dr. Reasoner; I admire the “militant fundamentalism” of Independent Fundamentalist Baptists today who speak out loudly against ecumenism, modernism, etc. And this militant fundamentalism was common among Wesleyan Holiness denominations before the National Association of Evangelicals was formed in 1942.]

As early as 1916 J. B. Chapman, editor of the Herald of Holiness, wrestled with this terminology. He stated that Nazarenes believed in the fundamentals and then proceeded to give his list of fundamental doctrines. However, if the question is raised whether Nazarenes are Fundamentalists, using the term as a proper noun, Chapman answered, “Yes, with reservations.” While Chapman had reservations about certain Calvinistic tendencies among Fundamentalists, there was no reservation, however, concerning the inerrancy of Scripture. We are in agreement with Chapman at this point.

Our commission is to preach the whole Book to the whole world. We are to preach a free gospel for all men and a full gospel from all sin. Anything short of this is neither apostolic nor Wesleyan.

FOOTNOTES

#1) See the quote from Bro. David Cloud, found here. I have emphasized certain points by bolding:

The authors of The Fundamentals represented the broader approach to fundamentalism. They held a wide variety of doctrine, some holding very serious doctrinal errors. For example, James Orr of Scotland denied the verbal inspiration of Scripture and allowed for theistic evolution.  J. Campbell Morgan denied the literal fire of hell and believed that men could be saved even if they do not hear of nor believe in Christ.

Some men who started out with the fundamentalist movement turned back and renounced their former position. For example, A.C. Dixon was the executive secretary of the committee that produced The Fundamentals. Historian George Dollar observes that though Dixon was a fundamentalist for many years, he “deserted because of the stigmas and battles of separatism.” Dixon helped found the Baptist Bible Union in opposition to the liberal Northern Baptist Convention, but “right in the middle of the fiercest battles against the liberals within the convention, Dixon abruptly and without warning turned in his resignation.” He went back into the very denomination that he had left and publicly called upon others to do the same. There were many sad cases like this that discouraged and confused the hearts of those who were in the battle for the truth.

FOR FURTHER READING

Harriet A. Harris, Fundamentalism and Evangelicals – many pages viewable online here. Although Ms. Harris takes a generally critical view of Fundamentalism, she nonetheless provides many helpful historical details.

(revised 01/23/15)

You say you’ve never heard of a “separatist fundamentalist” Wesleyan Holiness church? I’m not surprised – such a church is practically unheard of nowadays. Yet I would say 99% of Wesleyan Holiness churches were separatist and fundamentalist prior to 1942 (when the National Association of Evangelicals was formed, popularizing heretical New Evangelicalism). Note – I’m defining “fundamentalist” in this blog as adhering to the  Fundamentals, a series of articles between 1910-1915.

Even as late at 1970 or so, Wesleyan Holiness churches still exhibited separatist and fundamentalist traits. Specifically, they still had regular altar calls, used the King James Version exclusively, and sang hymns exclusively (no guitars, drums, etc.).

Unfortunately, today, virtually the only separatist fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness churches are in the Conservative Holiness denominations. Read on…

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Biblically sound churches need biblically sound pastors. Such men of God are increasingly rare in these End Times. How do we find true men of God? What should we ask prospective pastors?

I am developing a list of questions for a prospective pastor, for a hypothetical separatist fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness church. (These are the things I personally would look for in a pastor coming to my church.) Many of these questions are adapted from a list by Manny Silva.  Click here for his original list, entitled “Questions For a Prospective Pastor.” Manny Silva’s questions are marked with the notation “(MS)”.

A few of my questions reflect my personal theology. Most should be asked by every biblical church. Here are the questions:

1. A simple Yes or No answer: Are you a born again Christian?  If yes, can you give a specific date when you had a “crisis conversion experience”, when you repented of your sins and accepted Christ as your Saviour? Please share your testimony – when, where and how you accepted Christ. Also, please explain your concept of salvation. Does your concept of salvation line up with John Chapter 3? And do you believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven?

2. What is your educational background for the ministry? Were the schools you attended biblically sound? If not, why did you attend these?

3. Have you pastored, led youth, etc. elsewhere. If so, where?

4. Are you Spirit filled? We are not referring to “Spirit baptized” here. We are looking for a pastor who is mature in Christ, 100% committed to the Lord, walking in obedience to His Word,  and showing all the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23).  We do believe the Holy Spirit can work today miraculously. However, the supernatural manifestation gifts have been so greatly abused, that we strongly frown on the practice of these gifts in a local church. Paul himself alluded to preaching, teaching, etc. as being more important than the gifts of tongues, etc.

5. Wesleyan Holiness – Do you follow the teachings of the “separatist fundamentalist” Holiness movement (as taught in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s)?

6. Do you consider yourself “Independent”? Can you agree to not be tied to, nor accountable to, any denomination? [This would not rule out fellowship with like minded churches.]

7. Fundamentalist – Do you adhere to the series of articles entitled “The Fundamentals” (1910-1915)? This would include 1) being “militantly” opposed to false teachers, and 2) being willing to separate oneself and one’s congregation from false teachers.

8. Evangelical – Do you consider yourself evangelical? If so, do you consider yourself Classic Evangelical, New Evangelical, or Neo-Evangelical? Please define each of these three terms.

9. What is your eschatology? Do you believe the End Times/the Tribulation is coming soon? And do you believe Christ is coming soon (either before, during or after the Tribulation)? Or do you have an Emerging/Emergent eschatology?

10. What is your philosophy of church leadership? Do you believe in taking total control? Or are you submissive to elders, deacons, and/or voting by members?

11. Do you follow a doctrinal statement? If not, why not? [Emerging/Emergent churches usually do not have doctrinal statements.]

12. If you pastored a church previously, did your church have a doctrinal statement? If so, did your church really believe and  follow its doctrinal statement? Or was it just empty words? Were there any mismatches between the church’s doctrinal statement and what you preached?

13. (MS) A simple Yes or No: Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God in everything it teaches?

14. (MS) If you answered No to question 1, who and by what authority determines which parts are in error? Please give some examples of those errors.

15. (MS) Again, if you answered No, explain how anyone can have confidence in the Bible if you claim that some parts of the Bible are in error.

16.  Do you exclusively use the King James Bible? If not, why not? We are looking for a pastor that uses the KJB exclusively in the English, yet is not Ruckmanite (click here for more info from David Cloud). This pastor should hold to the Textus Receptus-KJB (TR-KJB) position, as explained here by Bro. Cloud.

17. How evangelistic are you? Do you regularly preach salvation messages (what we call “The Blood and The Cross”)? Do you have regular altar calls? Do you send out church members to witness door to door, pass out tracts, etc.?

18. Do you have a passion for missions? Please explain your philosophy of missions. Do you feel the main goal of missionaries to help fulfil the Great Commission? Or do you believe in more of a charitable “social gospel” type of mission work?

19. (MS) Do you believe in evolution? If you do, why does the Bible describe creation as the historical way we were created?  How do you explain the New Testament references to Adam by Jesus and the apostles?

20. (MS) If you believe in evolution, does that mean that you believe that Adam and Eve were not real, since you believe we were created through evolution?  What about Romans 5:12, and other similar references in the Bible?

21. (MS) Do you believe that God does not know the future? [the heresy of open theism]

22. (MS) If yes, how does that make us confident in the Biblical prophesies, if we state that God may not know the future?

23. (MS) How does the Bible teach us to pray?

24. (MS) Do you believe that lectio divina is biblical? If so, please give solid scriptural reference that supports it.

25. (MS) Is God capable of making mistakes?

26. (MS) Whether you are familiar with Brian McLaren’s writings or not, do you consider him a Christian, if he denies the substitutionary atonement of the cross, and has stated that people can find Jesus and stay within their own faith?

27. Do you oppose abortion in all cases? If not, in what cases do you believe abortion is permissible?

28. (MS) Do you agree with Tony Jones’ statement that unrepentent homosexuals can still be Christians?

29. (MS) Do you agree with Rob Bell’s teaching that when Peter sank in the water, he really lost faith in himself, and not in Jesus?

30. (MS) Do you believe in sanctioning official ecumenical gatherings and functions with a Roman Catholic Church?

31. (MS) If Yes, is it okay then to also fellowship with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons in their churches?  If not okay, what’s the difference and why?

32. (MS) Prayer labyrinths are very popular now in evangelical universities and churches.  What is your position on labyrinths and whether they are biblically sound?  And would you ever consider using one in our church?

33. (MS) Is the use of prayer beads or prayer ropes biblical?  If not, what is your thought on the fact that Barefoot Ministries [a Nazarene publisher] sells a book that promotes the use of prayer ropes (praying the rosary, in other words).

34. (MS) Do you believe that the Bible is the SOLE authority for Christian faith and practice?

35. (MS) Do you believe pastors should always encourage their congregation to be Bereans, in other words, don’t automatically take their word for it, but search and verify the scriptures, as Paul commended the Bereans?

Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many more questions should be asked when seeking a biblical pastor. Here are some more lists of questions:

1) Questionnaire for Pastoral Candidate

2) Prospective Pastoral Candidate Questionnaire, University Baptist Church (seeking a fundamentalist pastor).

2) An Open Letter to Pastor Search Committees. I found this questionaire very interesting. It states in part, “Very few Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) churches are looking for a pastor who is theologically a liberal or fundamentalist.” The document discusses fundamentalist positions, the Southern Baptist Convention, etc. [Personally I would look for a pastor who is more fundamentalist than they are seeking.]

(revised 08/24/15)

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the reality of eternity. God’s Word also uses the terms “everlasting”, “forever”, etc. I don’t know whether there will be “time” as we know it (with one year equaling 365 days i.e. one complete orbit of the Earth around the Sun). But however the word “time” is used after Christ returns, born again, resurrected Christians will live forever in God’s presence.

It is impossible to comprehend eternity. But I came up with this story which will perhaps give us a start.
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One day in Heaven a group of the born again saints came before God the Father and asked, “Could You teach us more about eternity? Can You help us better comprehend what ‘eternity’ means?”

God replied, My children, I will try to explain in terms you can understand. First of all, recall this passage from My Word:

29) Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31) So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Matt. 10:29-31)

Now, My children, how many birds  – not just sparrows but all birds – do you think there are on Earth?

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by several trillions.  Then He wrote the total number of birds down in His ledger.

Then God asked, Now, My children, how many hairs do you think are on all the heads of all mankind?

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by several trillions. Then He wrote the total number of hairs down in His ledger.

Then God said to the saints, My children, consider these two passages:

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. (Psa. 147:4)

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Gen. 22:17)

Then God said, Now, My children, how many stars do you think there are? Here’s a hint – even ungodly, atheist scientists are awed by the number of stars in My universe; some scientists estimate there are between 100 and 200 billion currently observable galaxies, each with billions of stars. (1)

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by trillions. Then He wrote the total number of stars down in His ledger.

Then God asked, My children, how many grains of sand do you think there are – not just on the seashore, but in the whole Earth?

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by trillions. Then He wrote the total number of grains of sand in His ledger.

Then God asked the saints,

How many leaves do you think are on all the plants on Earth?
How many blades of grass do you think are on Earth?
How many granules of dirt do you think are in the Earth?
How many snowflakes do you think are on the Earth?
And … how many drops of water do you think are in all of Earth’s oceans and other bodies of water?

The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with the numbers. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated each of the numbers by trillions. Then He wrote the total numbers of leaves, blades of grass, granules of dirt, snowflakes and drops of water in His ledger.

God passed around His ledger for the saints to see. As they pondered the huge numbers in awe, God called forward one of the saints. Then God gently placed ten drops of water in the palm of the saint’s hand. And God said, My children, let Me ask you just one more question. How many total atoms do you think are in My entire universe? Here’s a hint. One of Earth’s scientists has made this estimate when discussing molecules:

… the number of [known] stars in the heavens is “an unbelievably large number,” but then… you will find the same number of molecules “in just ten drops of water.” (2)

The saints conferred for awhile, then replied: “We don’t know the total number of atoms, let alone molecules – we can’t even fathom such a number.”

God chuckled, then wrote the total number of atoms in His ledger, for He knew the exact number.  When He announced the number, the saints bowed down in awe at God’s Creation. Then God said, My children, here is My point. You began by asking Me, “Can You help us better comprehend what ‘eternity’ means?”  Think of it this way. Imagine that each atom in My universe represents one year of “Earth time”. When this number of years has passed, this will literally be just the BEGINNING of eternity with Me.
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Dear reader, eternity is a long, long time. Imagine time that is infinite, that never ends. Unfathomable, but true.

Now, where do you want to spend your future – eternally in God’s presence, or in eternal torment in the Lake of Fire? Only a fool, a lunatic or an unbeliever would choose eternal torment by remaining an unbeliever. Yet most people do choose to remain unbelievers. As creatures with free will, they stubbornly refuse to believe the Bible and the message of salvation, rejecting Christ.

Dear sinner, I would plead with you to:

Repent of your sins and your ungodly, self-centered life
Believe Christ died as the “sin debt offering” (paying the penalty of eternal punishment for your sins) and rose again
Accept Christ as your Saviour today
Turn your life over to Christ as Saviour and Lord (commit your life 100% to Him)
Live for Him the rest of your life, in total obedience to His Word

Your eternal destiny is at stake.

FOOTNOTES

(1) Elizabeth Howell, How Many Galaxies Are There?

(2) Comments by David Blatner, as discussed by Robert Krulwich in Which Is Greater, The Number Of Sand Grains On Earth Or Stars In The Sky?


(revised 11/19/15)

The news headlines are foreboding for born again Christians in America. As we all know, in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court declared gay “marriage” legal in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

I was surprised that gay marriage is not new – a number of other countries have had gay marriage for quite some time now. This Wikipedia article lists countries where gay marriage is already legalized, as well as countries which are close to legalizing gay marriage.

But readers might ask, “Why is this a big deal? Christians in America have been losing their rights for decades now. After all, prayer was removed from our public schools over fifty years ago.”

Here’s the big deal. With the national legalization of gay “marriage”, the United States is entering uncharted waters morally. Never in history has a nation as large as ours legalized homosexual sin/perversion in this way.

… The Court’s decision may impact the form of biblically based churches dramatically. Churches that hold to a strict and conservative interpretation of the Bible’s teaching about gender and marriage may find themselves “Romanized”.

The elites of first century Rome would not allow the church an institutional presence in society. “The Christian churches were associations which were not legally authorized, and the Roman authorities, always suspicious of organizations which might prove seditious, regarded them with jaundiced eye,” writes Kenneth Scott LaTourette.

In our time this means local churches that do not embrace same-sex marriage would find their legal status shaky or non-existent, as well as parachurch groups, conservative Christian colleges, church-based humanitarian agencies, and all other religious institutions – Christian and otherwise – supporting the traditional view of marriage.

Without state-recognized corporate status everything from mortgages and building permits to employment and hiring practices is threatened – all of them essential for institutional function.

Journalist Ben Shapiro notes that there is already a movement on the state level “to revoke non-profit status for religious organizations that do not abide by same-sex marriage.” The Supreme Court’s decision could make churches refusing to comply “private institutions engaging in commerce,” and therefore subject to laws already in place. Refusal to perform a same-sex wedding would put a church out of business…

Mr. Henley then provides some excellent info on corporations which are lining up in favor of “same sex marriage”(and by inference disciplining/harrassing/persecuting Christian employees who stand up for traditional marriage).

Mr. Henley then goes on to analyze the state of American Christianity. Namely, where we stand currently in the slide towards full-blown persecution. He writes:

Previously, I wrote in The Christian Post about the process by which the prophetic voice is silenced in a culture: Marginalization, caricaturization, vilification, criminalization, elimination.

We have reached the stage of vilification – conservative Christians are now regarded by the consensus establishments as the villains in “transformed” America. The Supreme Court may well take us to the criminalization stage.

The biblical church therefore must learn to live as the first century Christians did in Rome.

Their faith would not permit violent resistance to the state. Rather, as Dr. Martin Luther King would demonstrate, the resistance would take the positive form of standing for truth midst the antagonism of individuals and institutions opposing their freedom. [This is the one part of Mr. Henley’s article on which I have a serious difference of opinion. I have a problem with Mr. Henley referring to MLK here. MLK led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) – which today fights for gay marriage and other LGBTQ “rights” – and thus against Christians who favor traditional marriage. The SCLC  lists a number of born again Christian agencies, under the heading of LGBTQ hate groups, even providing info on these Christian groups to the FBI. I should give Mr. Henley the benefit of a doubt – perhaps he is not aware of this…]  The first century Roman Christians knew the greatest they could do in the exclusion of marginalization, ridicule of caricaturization, loathing of vilification, infamy of criminalization, and threat of elimination was to live out their faith in the midst of a society that hated them.

Since they did not have official sanction for an institutional presence in Rome, the Roman Christians operated through organic relational communities. In homes, catacombs, and other secret places, they functioned as the body of Christ. And when they emerged up into the public glare they manifested the face of Christ.

This is what the biblical church must prepare for now. Leaders should begin thinking about what will happen if non-profit status is lost. Christian institutions must embrace a Book of Acts strategy for corporate operation. Schools must train future church leaders in New Testament strategies…

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(Revised 11/19/15)

Today many LGBT proponents of gay marriage are accusing born again Christians of hate crimes. Seems to me they’re confusing the definitions of these supposed transgressions: “bias”, “discrimination”, “bullying”, “persecution”, “hate speech”, “hate literature, and “hate crimes”.

Regarding the traditional definition of “hate crimes”, I have never heard of truly born again, biblically sound, mature, godly Christians causing violent, physical, bodily harm to LGBT people or their property. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Can LGBT people say they have never caused violent, physical, bodily harm to truly born again, biblically sound, mature, godly Christians or their property?

But I digress. The question at hand: does the Bible have hate speech towards LGBT people, as they claim? I say no! And Pastor Jack Wellman concurs. I have taken the liberty of reposting Pastor Wellman’s article below. Click here for the original posting of his article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Jack WellmanArticle by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book  Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.

Does The Bible Have Hate Speech?

Some call what is preached in the Bible hate speech.  Does the Bible actually have hate speech?

What is Hate?

There are laws in Canada that make it a crime to preach against certain things that exist in their society and these laws may soon be coming to the U.S but is there really hate speech in the Bible?  Can we say that with authority?  We know that God hates sin and it is said that God hates divorce but it never says that God hates divorced people.  Psalm 7:11 says that “God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” but the Hebrew doesn’t actually call it “hate” but the Hebrew word “za`am” means “to denounce, express indignation,” or “to be indignant” and it is the wicked because of their sin that God denounces and expresses His indignation against.  For those who have repented and put their trust in God, His anger against sin was satisfied by Jesus Christ at the cross.  Christ “was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” and “upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace” (Isaiah 53:5) which is what Paul wrote “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1) so now there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).  God hates sin because sin was very costly…costing Jesus His life and the price for our sins was placed upon Jesus at Calvary in unimaginable torment and suffering that went on for hours.  God loves the Son but He also loves those who have repented and trusted in Him too so Jesus took the wrath of God so that we wouldn’t have to bear it ourselves in hell and it was “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

Does God Hates Sin but Love the Sinner?

If we look at the Bible verses that contain the word sin + hate we can see that it is not always directly pointed toward the person but what the person does.  I hated it when my son or daughter disobeyed me but I never hated them…so in my love I disciplined them.  If I didn’t love them, I would do nothing…that would be apathy.  Regarding the sin and not as much the sinner, God has much to say about it and it’s not good; “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him” (Prov 6:16).  The psalmist added “you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you” (Psalm 5:4).  For the most part, the world is separated from God by their sins (Isaiah 59:2) and if we love the world, then the love of the Father is not in us because whoever has “friendship with the world is at enmity (or hostility) with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).  That’s why those “who love the Lord, hate evil [and] He preserves the lives of his saints” (Psalm 97:10).

What is Love?

If you knew someone who was blind and they were walking toward the edge of a cliff, it would be hateful to not warn them. You could be held legally liable for not warning them.  Just as if you saw a child drowning in a swimming pool and did nothing to save them would be criminally negligent, so it is to not warn people that if they step out of this life without Christ, they face an eternal punishment from which there is no escape.  It is not hateful to warn them of an impending judgment that is coming, on the contrary, it is the most loving thing you can ever do…even if it comes at the expense of their hating you.  It is really the message that they hate and not the messenger.  The message from Jesus’ own lips says “whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18b).  Everyone loves John 3:16 but it means nothing without John 3:18.

Conclusion

The opposite of love is not hate…it is indifference or apathy.  Do we care that people are dying every day without Christ and will suffer in hell for their sins?  Do we not care enough to point them to the One and only way that they can be saved (Acts 4:12)?  I believe if we don’t share the bad news of people’s sins separating them from a Holy God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and that “whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36b) the “good news” of salvation in Jesus Christ alone will mean nothing.  It’s actually a cruel thing to not tell others that they will stand before God and be judged someday apart from Christ (Rev 20:12-15) and that no works will ever be good enough to save them (Eph 2:8-9).  They must repent of (turn away, forsake) their sins and then put their trust in Jesus Christ.  Show them love by telling them the truth; that God is angry at the sinner every day (Psalm 7:11).  Tell them how they can be saved from God’s wrath and after they die and at the judgment (Heb 9:27) they will be saved.  And tell them to their face that it is in their “hard and impenitent heart [that they] are storing up wrath for [themselves] on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom 2:5) so they need to repent, believe, and be saved (John 3:16).

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(revised 11/19/15)

In recent days I have been very concerned about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the “same-sex marriage” issue. As we all know, “same-sex marriage” was approved for all 50 states of the U.S. (plus the District of Columbia) in 2015.

A question for born again Christian readers: are you “vexed” (troubled) by the possibility of nationally recognized gay marriage? I’m not talking about just the possibility of various Christian rights being taking away. I’m also talking about concern over sin itself.

I must admit, I have a tendency to be angry towards sinners themselves. But we need to take a deep breath, step back, and realize why we preach against sin. Sinners are headed straight down the path to Hell and the eternal Lake of Fire, if they do not accept Christ as Saviour. This is what our preaching against sin (of various kinds) should be all about – pointing out sin, and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict so sinners will turn around, repent of sin and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord.

I realize there are various ways to approach sinners and sin. And I would say different people need to be approached in different ways. Plus preachers vary in their personalities and God-given missions. John the Baptist and other prophets seemed to “rail” against sin in righteous anger. On the other hand, Jeremiah was called “the weeping prophet” (see the book of Lamentations), and Jesus wept over Jerusalem.

Following is an excellent, pertinent sermon outline I came across, by Independent Fundamental Baptist Pastor James J. Barker. The original sermon outline can be found here. I hope to add links to the Scripture passages, as time permits.

BEING VEXED IS NOT ENOUGH

Text: II PETER 2:1-9

INTRODUCTION:

1.     I would like to draw your attention to a word found twice in our text this morning – “vexed” (2:7, 8).  Lot was vexed. He did not approve of the so-called “gay lifestyle” of Sodom and Gomorrah.

2.     To be “vexed” means to be troubled, to be afflicted, to be disturbed, to be annoyed, and to be distressed.

3.     From our text we see that Lot was vexed by the filthy behavior of the Sodomites (2:6-8).  In fact, some Greek scholars even translate this word as “tortured” – i.e., Lot was being tortured by “seeing and hearing” what the Sodomites were doing.

4.     If all we had to go by was the OT, most of us would assume that Lot was not a saved man.  However, in II Peter 2:7, Lot is referred to as a just man, and in verse 8 he is referred to as a righteous man.

5.     In other words, Lot was saved.  He was carnal; he was backslidden; he was a compromiser – but he was saved.  Lot knew the Lord.

6.     As we look at the life of Lot this morning, I would like to remind you that I Corinthians 10:11 says these OT historical accounts were “written for our admonition.”

7.     Then the very next verse says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” This is an important lesson for us because in the Bible, Lot represents the carnal, worldly Christian, and the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah represent the world.

8.     Sodom and Gomorrah are referred to many times in both the OT and the NT.  We do not have time to look up all of the references, but we will look at a few in order to demonstrate that in the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah is a picture and type of the world (cf. Isaiah 1:9, 10; 3:8, 9; 13:19; Jer. 23:14; 49:17, 18; Ezek. 16:49; Amos 4:11, 12; Zeph. 2:9; Luke 17:28-32; Rev. 11:8).

9.     Did you notice that God not only compares Israel, and Judah, and Jerusalem to Sodom and Gomorrah; He also compares Babylon, Edom, Moab, and Ammon to Sodom and Gomorrah.

10. In other words, just as Lot represents the worldly, carnal believer; and Sodom and Gomorrah represent the world.

11. My message this morning is entitled, “Being Vexed Is Not Enough.”  There are many Christians who complain about the homosexuals but they let their children dress just like the world.  They oppose abortion but they let their children go to proms and get involved in dating.

I. LOT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FROM THE SODOMITES

1.     Second Peter 2:7 says that Lot was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.”  In the King James Bible, “conversation” refers to conduct and behavior.

2.     Lot was not only vexed by the way they talked, he was vexed by the way they lived – “their unlawful deeds.”

3.     I think it is easy to understand what happened to Lot.  We see this all the time.  For example, a young person goes to public school and tries to live for God and soon he or she gets discouraged – the ridicule, the derision, the sarcasm, the scorn, the contempt – it becomes to much to bear so soon the public school student begins to “blend in” rather than be different from his ungodly classmates.

4.     This peer pressure is very strong with teenagers but it is also a problem with adults.  Christians often hear dirty words and gutter language at work.  Wicked sinners will take God’s name in vain, but many Christians will not object.

5.     This is what happened to Lot.  He should have separated from the Sodomites.  He should have taken a stand for God.  He should have protected his family, but he didn’t.

6.     The Bible says, “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (2:8).

7.     Notice, Lot had to endure this ungodliness “day to day.”  He was horribly affected by what he was “seeing and hearing” (2:8).  Many Christians vex their righteous soul by what they are seeing and hearing – for example, by watching garbage on TV, and videos, and the Internet, and listening to rock music, and so on (cf. II Peter 2:8).

8.     Michael Green says, “It is customary for Christians today, living inn a secularized society, no longer to be shocked by sinful things which they see and hear.  They will, for example, without protest sit through a television program presenting material which a generation ago they would never have contemplated watching at a theatre or cinema. But when a man’s conscience becomes dulled to sin, and apathetic about moral standards, he is no longer wiling to look to the Lord for deliverance” (Tyndale Commentary).

9.     Remember, Lot had to be dragged out of Sodom (Gen. 19:16).

10. By the way, notice sodomy is called “unlawful” (II Peter 2:8).  Liberal politicians and wicked judges can pass all the laws that they want but they cannot make homosexuality lawful because God calls it “unlawful.” The Bible also calls it sinful, vile, wicked, abominable, unnatural, dishonorable, unseemly, and foolish.

11. James 1:27 tells us that we should keep ourselves “unspotted from the world,” but too many Christians are like Lot.

II.  LOT DID NOT HAVE A GOOD TESTIMONY IN SODOM

1.     You may remember the interesting conversation between the LORD and Abraham that is recorded in Genesis 18.

2.     In this portion of Scripture, Abraham is attempting to intercede for Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:16-33).

3.     Abraham is pleading for the wicked citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah.  He does not want to see them destroyed.

4.     Note that Abraham starts with 50 (Gen. 18:23, 24) and ends up with the LORD assuring him that He will not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if only ten righteous people can be found there (18:32).

5.     Perhaps Abraham thought that Lot and his extended family would be enough to spare the judgment of God. If Lot had just won his own family to the Lord, along with his daughters’ husbands and his sons’ wives, the Lord would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah, but Lot had absolutely no influence in Sodom (Gen. 19:12-14).

6.     The Scofield Study Bible says, “Lot had utterly lost his testimony” (cf. Gen. 19:9 and Scofield margin – “The world’s contempt for a worldly believer”).

7.     The reason Lot could not persuade his friends and family, and the reason he had absolutely no influence for God was he was not separated.

8.     And because Lot was not separated from all of the wickedness in Sodom and Gomorrah, he did not speak out against all of their filthy wickedness.

9.     Preachers today will not deal plainly with sin because (like Lot) they are compromised.   How can they boldly attack rock music when they themselves listen to rock music?  And when they even have it in their churches?

10. Or when they are afraid of losing members?

11. How can they preach against Hollywood if they are captivated by it themselves?

12. How can a preacher speak out against immodest dress when his wife or his daughter wears a mini-skirt?

13. How can a preacher preach about soulwinning if he never goes out soulwinning?  Some preachers say, “My area of expertise is discipleship.”  May I be frank and say that is baloney?  If preachers do not win souls soon there will be nobody left to disciple!

14. In his commentary on this text, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, “We are to preach righteousness to such a world.  We are to warn it; to tell it of the judgment that is coming because of its sin; we are to plead with men to see their danger and escape from it.  And above all, we are to give them an example of the Christian life and the Christian character, and of loyalty to God and His truth.”

15. Here is where Lot failed. And when he finally did try to warn them about the judgment of God, they did not take him seriously (Gen. 19:14-16).

16. Thanks to the mercy of God (Gen. 19:16), Lot was able to get his daughters out of Sodom, but he was not able to get the Sodom out of them (cf. Gen. 19:30-38).

17. Isn’t it interesting that in Zech. 2:9, the LORD says, “Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah.”  And that is how these nations began – with an incestuous relationship between Lot and his two daughters right after they escaped from Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:37, 38).

III.  THE STORY OF LOT IS A LESSON FOR US TODAY

1.     We often think that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning against the sin of homosexuality, and it certainly is (cf. II Peter 2:6; Jude 7).

2.     This is one of the reasons why the ungodly hate the Bible.  This is why they make disparaging remarks about fundamental Christians.

3.     There are other reasons as well.  The Bible clearly teaches that if they do not repent and turn to Jesus then they will go to hell.  That is not a message they want to hear.

4.     But the Bible’s strong condemnation of homosexuality is a big bone of contention in these days of moral relativism and apostasy.

5.     However, there is another important lesson here – one that is often overlooked.  Lot represents the modern, worldly Christian.  He is saved but he has little interest in the things of God.

6.     He has godly relatives (e.g., Lot was Abraham’s nephew) but he is more comfortable associating with the wicked crowd (cf. Gen. 13:10-13; 19:1).

7.     Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”

8.     Lot was unwilling to take a stand in Sodom and it cost him his testimony; it cost him his conscience; and it cost him his family.

CONCLUSION:

1.     While the story of Lot is a lesson for the worldly Christian, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning to the unsaved (II Peter 2:6). God will judge the “ungodly” (2:6, 10).

2.     God is patient and long-suffering, but it is unwise to exhaust His patience (II Peter 3:9).

Pastor James J. Barker
email:   jbarker4@optonline.net

(revised 01/30/15)

I feel privileged to be Facebook Friends with John Henderson, a member of the “anti-Emergent” Facebook Group Concerned Nazarenes. This Facebook Group is attempting to confront and warn members primarily of The Church of the Nazarene denomination.

I, John, and many others are concerned about the doctrinal falling away of many evangelical churches and entire evangelical denominations. Most of these churches are falling away from biblically sound doctrine into the postmodern heresies of Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Leonard Sweet, etc. etc.

Interestingly, all of the above individuals have spoken and/or taught at the heretical George Fox University and/or George Fox Evangelical Seminary, schools in the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) denomination. The EFCI was once (relatively) biblically sound.  But, in recent decades, all the Regions of the EFCI (including the once very biblically sound, Wesleyan Holiness EFC-ER) have begun trending quickly into postmodern “progressive evangelical” apostasy.

By the way, John – like myself – is Wesleyan Holiness in doctrine. We hold to the Wesleyan-Arminian position that a born again Christian can turn his or her back on God, walking away into apostasy and “losing” his or her salvation. Technically, we believe in “conditional eternal security”.

So why exactly is the EFCI (and many other evangelical denominations) falling away? There are many factors I’m sure – factors which I will not attempt to enumerate here. But I did find the following post by my friend John Henderson very pertinent. Click here for the original source of this post. Note: I am inserting comments [in brackets] and emphasizing certain points by bolding.

Point of No Return
By John Henderson
12/14/14

This is one of those things where I would welcome, would embrace, having someone tell me I was wrong and showing me how so. It has to do when a person or a group has gone so far in the wrong direction, making wrong choices, and ignoring and neglecting God that they will never return to their better days outside of a divine miracle of intervention.

It happened first in the Garden of Eden. God made it clear to Adam and Eve what the limits were and what would happen if they went beyond them. They went past them and, in the day they sinned, they died spiritually on the spot and physically a few years later. Not only were those the consequences to them but they brought sin and damnation upon all of their descendants that only the Cross of Christ could overcome.

One might argue that God’s creation was perfect and it was impossible for man to undo what God had done. That is a good argument but it was not what happened. Salvation is perfect but man can still trample the perfect redemption.

That is how it is. There is a point where a person can go beyond the possibility of repentance—not because God is powerless but because his or her conscience is so seared by unbelief and rebellion that they cannot come to repentance. Someone has likened it to no longer hearing God’s call because the heart is so filled with animosity to the things of God and the attractions of the world that His call is drowned out by the din of those things. The call has not diminished. The hearing has ignored it so long that it is as though there is no call.

We have a grandfather clock in our hallway. It chimes the Westminster chimes every 15 minutes. Frankly, I do not notice them very often because I am accustomed to ignoring them. A visitor sleeping in a nearby room will often remind me of them. I try to remember to silence the chimes when we have overnight guests.

For this reason, I think a backslider who once followed Christ faithfully is less likely to return than would be a reprobate who has never received Christ. I think of the man who wrote that great song, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” who apparently never made it back. There are statics [sic] that say younger people are more likely to receive Christ than are older people. I often wonder if I would have ever turned to Christ had I put it off at the age of 15 until a later time; had I decided to taste of the world a bit before considering Christ.

There are many sad stories of people who put off salvation so long until all opportunities are gone. I do not like to hear of them but they are out there. Many of them I knew personally.

That same thing is true of once-great churches. I have yet to learn of a backslidden church or denomination that ever returned to its original level of spiritual life, activity, and influence after having started down the road of compromise. The slide was always gradual and hardly noticeable in the beginning. After a while, people started to notice something was wrong and eventually there were those who began to warn about it. There were occasional turnabouts, but not many and not often. Once the fatal drift took hold, it was too late. The cancer of sin had eaten away too much for there to be a recovery. If there ever was to be a cure, it had to be divine, but usually God had been so excluded that He was no longer considered that relevant and His call was no longer being heard.

The good news is that it does not have to turn out like that. There is still that clarion call and most can still hear it. Some will turn to Christ who seemed beyond the call.

I was told that when news got out that I had been saved, there were some who found it unbelievable about me. One person reportedly expressed such disbelief as to say: “Not him! Not that Henderson boy! Anybody but him could be saved!” I am glad that the Holy Spirit thought differently. God may have had to reach a little farther for me but He did. The stain of sin may have penetrated deeply even at my young age, but the Blood of Jesus went deeper than the stain had gone.

I have often thought that my own point of no return was very near then. An accident that should have been fatal convinced me of that. I had come to Christ shortly before the accident—maybe a week, two at the most—and believe I would have perished in the accident if I had put off salvation. I broke my neck in three places in a diving accident and walked away with no permanent damage of any sort.

Genuine revival is still possible. Maybe it won’t look like we used to know or expect, but it can be every bit as real and far-reaching as ever. As long as the Holy Spirit is still with and in us, everything pertaining to the preaching of the gospel is still just as possible as it was in the beginning. That will not change or diminish until Jesus comes again.

(rough draft)

(image source: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/10/b6/03/10b6034de0667891454f6fd8334e501c.jpg)

I have taken up stargazing recently, and am becoming very interested in Creation Astronomy (the biblically sound Young Earth Creation view which states that God created the Sun, Moon and stars on the fourth literal 24-hour day, about 6,000 years ago).

One of the questions that has occurred to me: what is the purpose of the stars? More specifically, why did God create so many stars?

Of course I should ask, who are we to question God’s actions and decisions? But as created beings with intelligence and an inquisitive mind, the question does occur to us.

A recently acquired Facebook Friend, Jay Ryan, points out that God created  the Sun, Moon and stars for “signs and seasons”. Jay has devoted an entire book  to explaining this in more detail.  Jay Ryan explains how God created the Sun, Moon and stars for “signs and seasons”, as the following Bible verse says:

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” (Gen. 1:14)

The above verse forms the basis of what Jay describes as Classical Astronomy. In this article he explains Classical Astronomy in more detail, and points out the faults in modern day secular astronomy.

But this question still puzzles me: why did God create so many stars? And what about distant objects in space? Is it wrong for mankind to research deep space, as is the emphasis today in secular astronomy? And what is the purpose of deep space objects? (Another question I hope to deal with in another blog: why did God create such a vast universe, yet create life on just one planet?)

Here a few thoughts off the top of my head, as to why God created such a vast universe with so many stars. I am searching for Bible verses to back up these points. The points are in no specific order, and there is some overlap:

1) For mankind’s pleasure

2) To show God’s awesome power (omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence)

3) To show God’s grace and love for mankind

4) To humble mankind

5) To challenge mankind intellectually

At some point we have to sit back and say “my Lord and my God” and “we… just… don’t… know…” 99% of the answers. This one thing I know, our God is a truly awesome God. In the end we must admit, His creation of the Universe is truly beyond our comprehension.

For learning purposes, I’m compiling a list of prominent names in Creation Astronomy (a Young Earth view which I heartily endorse). There is so much evolutionary garbage out there (such as the Big Bang theory) – I want to start off learning astronomy from a true, accurate, biblical point of view, not some “fairy tale” atheistic nonsense.

Following is a VERY rough draft of my list of prominent names in Creation Astronomy. I am working on adding links for each name (I was hoping to add the links before publishing, but readers have already expressed an interest in seeing the  list.)

Some names are well known, others not so much. If interested in more info on certain individuals, try Googling them or posting a comment here asking for more info.

And, thank you to all below, for your articles, books, lectures, YouTube videos, etc. that help teach the rest of us a biblical view of astronomy. God bless you!

On to the work-in-progress list:

Chris Ashcraft (Christopher W. Ashcraft) – listed at nwcreation.net

Don Batten – wrote “100 Evidences for a Young Age…”

Dr. Jerry Bergman

Rod Bernitt

Dr. Walt Brown

Dr. John Byl

Nathaniel Coleman (pen name for Jonathan David Whitcomb)

Charles Creager Jr.

Dr. Donald B. DeYoung

Dr. Danny Faulkner

Phil Fernandez

Jeannie Fulbright

Robert V. Gentry

Dr. Werner Gitt

Guillermo Gonzalez

Vinnie Harned

John Gideon Hartnett

Dr. Jonathan Henry

Bob Hill

Dr. D. Russell Humphreys (D.R. Humphreys)

Norman Huntington (pen name for Jonathan David Whitcomb)

Dr. David King

Dr. Jason Lisle

Henry Morris IV – at ICR; not a Creation astronomer, but knows Creation astronomers I’m sure

Michael Oard

Spike Psarris

Mike Riddle

Andrew Rigg

David Rives

Diego Rodriques

Jay Ryan

Ron Samec (Ronald G. Samec)

John Sanford

Barry Setterfield

Frank Sherwin

Dr. Harold S. Slusher – “formerly of the Institute for Creation Research, is best known for his critiques of radiometric dating techniques. He is also known for the r̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶b̶i̶z̶a̶r̶r̶e̶ suggestion that the universe is much smaller than it appears, because its geometry is Riemannian as opposed to Euclidean.” [Note – the source of this quote is critical of Creationism.]
a list of books and articles
four sermons/lectures on Creation and Evolution (several mention Creation Astronomy)

Andrew Snelling

James Sundquist – not a Creation astronomer, but has written a Creation Astronomy article, provided a commentary in  a Creation Astronomy DVD, etc. He is mentioned at nwcreation.net.

Simon Turpin

James Upton

Dr. Larry Vardiman (ICR)

Jonathan David Whitcomb (pen names – Nathaniel Coleman, Norman Huntington)

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