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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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FALSE PROPHETS, FALSE TEACHERS, AND RECYCLED HERESIES

Samuel A CainBut false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1 ESV)

Even in this modern age, we live with an abundant supply of false prophets, false teachers, and recycled heresies. Many in the church believe that God’s Holy Word may be manipulated to appeal to a new generation of people. We have preachers on television who distort the Gospel by appealing to men’s pride and wish for the pleasures of materialism. Truth is abandoned in order to enlarge membership rolls.

R. C. Sproul wrote these lines to discuss heresy in our day:

It seems that the only real and intolerable heresy today is the despicable act of calling someone a heretic. If the one accused is guilty of heresy, he or she will probably elicit more sympathy than his accuser. Anyone who cries “Heretic!” today risks being identified as a native of Salem, Massachusetts. … Continue reading

Living in the Presence of God

From the desk of R.C. Sproul:

“We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about.”

Controversy And Anger

Robert Charles Sproul is an American Calvinist theologian and pastor. He is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries (named after the Ligonier Valley just outside of Pittsburgh, where the ministry started as a study center for college and seminary students) and can be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and internationally. Sproul has been an ardent advocate of Calvinism in his many print, audio, and video publications. A dominant theme in many of Sproul’s Renewing Your Mind lessons is the holiness and sovereignty of God.

Quoting R. C. Sproul:

Jesus’ life was a storm of controversy. The apostles, like the prophets before them, could hardly go a day without controversy. Paul said that he debated daily in the marketplace. To avoid controversy is to avoid Christ. We can have peace, but it is a servile and carnal peace where truth is slain in the streets.

The first thing to understand about anger is that it isn’t always a bad thing. Many people, especially Christians, have the mistaken notion that anger is intrinsically evil. As a result, they feel needless guilt. The idea that a Christian is never allowed to be angry is a demonic myth that tends to produce neurotic anxiety. I’ve had to struggle with this myth nearly all my life.

Accepting Correction from the Father

Quoting R. C. Sproul:

Some people have a hard time even thinking of God as “Father” because of the horrible abuse they suffered from their earthly fathers’ hands. But God is a Father who never abuses His children, although He does punish them. He chastens those whom He loves. It is wise for the child of God to fear the corrective wrath of the Father.

I loved my earthly father deeply. In fact, I idolized him. I was secure in his love, as he was constant in showing affection for me. I feared him in the sense that I didn’t want to disappoint him or let him down. I had the “fear” of respect for him. But I also feared his wrath and discipline. Even though, in general, I didn’t want to disappoint him or grieve him, nevertheless I often disobeyed him. That meant facing his discipline.

When my father disciplined me he always announced it to me by saying, “Son, we have to have a session.” That meant I had to follow him into his office, close the door behind me, and sit in a chair in front of him. He wouldn’t raise his voice. He would calmly tell me what I did wrong and why it was wrong. He instructed me in such a way that I was devastated. He always ended the session with a warm embrace. But talk about the conviction of sin … whew!

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more information, please visit http://www.ligonier.org or call them at 800-435-4343. © R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.

God Is Angry

English: Theologian, pastor and radio teacher ...

From the pen of R. C. Sproul:

If God is holy at all, if God has an ounce of justice in His character, indeed if God exists as God, how could He possibly be anything else but angry with us? We violate His holiness; we insult His justice; we make light of His grace. These things can hardly please Him. (Sproul, The Holiness of God, 176)

 

The Hardened Heart

R. C. Sproul

Quoting R. C. Sproul:

All that God has to do to harden people’s hearts is to remove the restraints. He gives them a longer leash. Rather than restricting their human freedom, He increases it. He lets them have their own way . . . It is not that God puts His hand on them to create fresh evil in their hearts; He merely removes His holy hand of restraint from them and lets them do their own will. (Sproul, Chosen By God, 145)

Thoughts On Predestination

Quoting R. C. Sproul:

“What predestination means, in its most elementary form, is that our final destination, heaven or hell, is decided by God . . . He chose some individuals to be saved unto everlasting blessedness in heaven and others He chose to pass over, to allow them to follow the consequences of their sins into eternal torment in hell.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 22)

“[I]f the final decision for the salvation of fallen sinners was left in the hands of fallen sinners, we would despair all hope that anyone would be saved.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 33)

“Calvinism assumes that without the intervention of God no one will ever want Christ. Left to themselves, no one will ever choose Christ.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 34)

“We do not believe in order to be born again; we are born again in order that we may believe.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 73)

“All that God has to do to harden people’s hearts is to remove the restraints. He gives them a longer leash. Rather than restricting their human freedom, He increases it. He lets them have their own way . . . It is not that God puts His hand on them to create fresh evil in their hearts; He merely removes His holy hand of restraint from them and lets them do their own will.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 145)

In The Hands Of A Holy God

From the desk of R. C. Sproul:

The problem is simply this: If God is just and requires perfection from me and I come short of that perfection and he is going to deal with me according to justice, then I am looking at a future punishment at the hands of a holy God. If the only way I can escape punishment is through a Savior and if I want to escape that, then I need a Savior. Some people will say that we’re just trying to preach Jesus as a ticket out of hell, as a way to escape eternal punishment. That’s not the only reason I would commend Jesus to people, but that is one of the reasons.

I think that many people in today’s culture don’t really believe that God is going to hold them accountable for their lives—that God really does not require righteousness. When we take that view, we don’t feel the weight of the threat of judgment. If you’re not afraid to deal with God’s punishment, then be happy as a clam if you want. I would be living in terrible fear and trembling at the prospect of falling into the hands of a holy God.

Entering into Mystical Union

R. C. Sproul

Quoting R. C. Sproul

The Christian life is lived in the context of mystical union with Christ. This union finds its initial origin in eternity. Our salvation is from the foundation of the world, resting in the grace of God’s sovereign election. Paul indicates this in Ephesians 1:3-6.

It is in the Beloved that our redemption is found. From eternity, God considers the elect to be in Christ. Before our mystical union is effected with us in time, it is already a present reality in the mind of God.

Just as Christ invaded time from eternity two thousand years ago, so our eternal union intrudes in time through the work of the Spirit. What has always existed in the mind of God in eternity becomes a time-bound reality in the heart of the regenerate. The result is that, in Christ, through the Spirit, we will behold the Father at our death and from there to eternity. We are sons and daughters of the Father, as it was in the beginning.

Our salvation is by Christ and in Christ. By His righteousness we are made just. By His atonement our sins are forgiven.

Read more by R. C. Sproul. . . .

God Is Sovereign!

In the following video, R. C. Sproul discusses the sovereignty of God and its application to understanding grace:

Apocalypse Today!

“In many cases sheer fanaticism has been the result of exclusively dwelling on prophecy, and probably more men have gone mad on that subject than on any other religious question.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)

Today, May 21, 2011, is the last day according to Harold Camping and some Christians. According to reports, some have shut themselves inside to pray for mercy as they wait for the world’s end. Around

ACTUALLY, THE BIBLE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!

the world, Camping’s followers believe that the Bible points to today as the Day of Judgment.

There have been many so-called “prophecy experts” who have made these sort of predictions only to be discredited time and time again. Back in the day, Oswald J. Smith predicted that Benito Mussolini was the predicted antichrist. Hal Lindsey told us that the 1948 reestablishment of Israel determined that the end was to have been in 1988. Do you remember that Edgar Whisenant assured us that there were 88 reasons why the rapture would be in 1988. Harold Camping’s doomsday message has been sent far and wide. Camping is an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who has built a multi-million-dollar nonprofit ministry based on his apocalyptic prediction.

It really bugs me when the “prophecy experts” make their unbiblical predictions. The Book of Matthew states plainly:

36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Yet, the “prophecy experts” continue to make their predictions at the cost of the Bible’s and Christianity’s reputation. They sacrifice the glory of God for their silly moment in the sun.

Once it is evident that their predictions have failed, they come forth with their excuses. Yet, the world will look at the consequences of this day and they will make light of Christ; criticize the Bible, and say that Christians are dumb and uneducated. The world will be right about one thing; Christians are uneducated about their own Bible. Damage is done to the cause of the Great Commission and the devil’s work is made easier. Lord, help us to cease such idle and unbiblical curiosity!

See follow-up article here. . . .

Recommended reading:

Last Days’ Madness by Gary DeMar

The Days of Vengeance by David Chilton

The Last Days According to Jesus by R. C. Sproul

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