Monday, June 30, 2008

Biofuel use 'increasing poverty'

The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty, an aid agency report says.

Oxfam says so-called green policies in developed countries are contributing to the world's soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest.

The group also says biofuels will do nothing to combat climate change.

Its report urges the EU to scrap a target of making 10% of all transport run on renewable resources by 2020.

Oxfam estimates the EU's target could multiply carbon emissions 70-fold by 2020 by changing the use of land.

The report's author, Oxfam's biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey, criticised rich countries for using subsidies and tax breaks to encourage the use of food crops for alternative sources of energy like ethanol.

"If the fuel value for a crop exceeds its food value, then it will be used for fuel instead," he said.

"Rich countries... are making climate change worse, not better, they are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process."

Story continues here ...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Marching to a different drummer - by Ravi Zacharias

The Old Testament character Daniel was taken to the foreign land of Babylon to be “re-educated” in the pagan traditions of the Babylonians. But in spite of the tremendous trials he faced, Daniel was able to keep a hold of his faith in God. How was he able to do this? Join us as Ravi Zacharias explores some important lessons that we can learn from the life of Daniel.

The mp3 file

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Anglican rift: Conservative v Liberal

The Anglican Communion is closer than ever before to a major split, as conservative bishops gather in Jerusalem to discuss their vision for the future.

Most of those attending the Jerusalem conference (Gafcon) will be boycotting July's Lambeth Conference - held once every 10 years.

They are divided on a number of issues from the ordination of gay priests to the need to convert members of other faiths.


Conservative: The Bible is clear that sex is a gift from God and is intended for a life-long committed relationship of marriage between a man and a woman. Any sex outside marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual is therefore against God's plan for his children and his will.

Liberal: When we talk about human sexuality we are actually talking about questions of the goodness of the body, and the goodness of creation. Sexuality is part of a person's being. People are called to be in relationships, sometimes sexual relationships, and that's how we understand the goodness of creation. We are emerging from 1700 years in the West of a deeply distrustful stance toward creation and everything that creation contains, including the human body and sexual relationships (even those traditionally called "marriage"). A dominant view of the Church in that time period has been that a celibate life is closer to the angelic life than the married life, and that marriage was for those who could not successfully aspire to the celibate life. Such an attitude is based on a profound unease, or dis-ease, about creation. So ideas about "active homosexuality" - even framing the question that way - betray a view that is still being shaped by an uncertainty about whether the creation and the body are in fact good or not.


Conservative: Ordinands who believe they have sexual desires towards people of the same sex are able to be ordained priests so long as they maintain the Biblical standard of no sex outside marriage, just like single heterosexual priests. They may openly declare that they believe they are gay, but must remain celibate.

The issue of celibacy also applies to bishops. In the case of the openly gay bishop who admits to having sex with his partner, this is unbiblical, divisive and is against both scripture and the historic teachings of the church. Those who are gay bishops and those who took part in their ordination have already separated themselves from the Anglican Communion.

Liberal: It is important for the Church to look for and support the same things in all relationships: fidelity, mutuality, honesty, love. And it is incumbent on the Church to seek to support couples - be they heterosexual or same-sex - in the cultivation of these virtues in their relationships. When it is true that candidates for ordination are in relationships then the same criteria should be used by the Church regardless of sexual orientation, so we would be looking at all ordination candidates in the same way. Are the virtues of fidelity, mutuality, honesty and love in evidence in this person's life with respect to his or her committed relationship? That is more important than the gender of the person who is in the committed relationship with the ordinand.


Conservative: All Christians are followers of Jesus Christ and take the Bible as the word of God. The Anglican Communion, in its provinces have churches/Christians who, of course, hold different views about the interpretation of scripture. Being "Anglican" means that whilst we hold tensions within our churches, no church/province within that Communion/fellowship is at liberty to make unilateral decisions that will break the fellowship apart, or create division within the church. Whilst the Communion does not have a united Statement of Faith, the Instruments of Communion and the Lambeth Conference and their resolutions have provided the Church with a consensus view on the Communions teachings and doctrine.

Liberal: While most Christian denominations have moved towards the enshrinement of their beliefs in doctrines, Anglicans have continued to hold to a traditional way of believing that derives their moral guidance from their active worship life. So rather than needing to share a universal doctrine, the Anglican Communion needs to continue to worship together, to share the sacraments together, to be shaped and instructed by Christ in the context of worship. If the Communion undertakes the discipline of common worship the need for universal doctrine is obviated.


Conservative: National churches are at liberty to reflect on, debate, and discuss theological issues and doctrine, but if they wish to remain in the Communion, the widest possible consultation must happen in advance of a decision by which they themselves may rule themselves out of communion by virtue of that change of policy/doctrine. Therefore, consensus and unity in the church have always been the way in which the historic Apostolic Faith as been decided upon.

Liberal: Constituent members of the communion, as they make decisions that may have ramifications for the larger Church, must simply bear in mind the good of the whole. This is a very simple idea but if each member of the communion followed it, it would advance the good of the Communion.


Conservative: Some parts of the evangelical wings of the Church and certainly the Anglo-Catholic wings would have problems here, although this is generally felt to be a second order issue. There will be diocese/Provinces at Gafcon and Lambeth who will and will not appoint women Bishops.

Liberal: The ordination of women as priests and bishops is consonant with the doctrine of the incarnation [that humankind is made in the image of God, male and female, Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2] and has greatly enriched the life of the church over the last three decades.


Conservative: The Great Commission [Jesus's instruction to the disciples to spread his teaching] remains as relevant in 2008, whatever the political and religious tensions, as it did 2,000 years ago. The Church in Africa is experiencing huge growth - in Muslim countries among others. It is a Biblical mandate which orthodox churches believe in.

Liberal: The only need is that which St Paul expressed, that each of us should be ready to give witness to the faith that is within us. St Paul saw no need to seek to convert, but simply to make clear the origins and the dimensions of one's own faith. God leads each of us in the spiritual path that leads to communion with the Divine.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Religious Americans: My faith isn't the only way

The contents of the article may easily be a description of any secular society of the West. It is a very insightful picture of sad reality.

WASHINGTON - America remains a deeply religious nation, but a new survey finds most Americans don't believe their tradition is the only way to eternal life -- even if the denomination's teachings say otherwise. The findings, revealed Monday in a survey of 35,000 adults, can either be taken as a positive sign of growing religious tolerance, or disturbing evidence that Americans dismiss or don't know fundamental teachings of their own faiths.

Among the more startling numbers in the survey, conducted last year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life, in conflict with traditional evangelical teaching. In all, 70 percent of Americans with a religious affiliation shared that view, and 68 percent said there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their own religion.

Story continues here ...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Isaiah 40:31

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

listen to chapter (Read by Max McLean. Provided by The Listener's Audio Bible.)

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Makes you stop and think....

The wonder of God's creation, the wisdom in all living creatures, the love...
We have a cat. And, really, the cat has us :) So he decided to bring us some food, and what you can see is the fresh supply on the hall floor.
Isn't it cute? A pet caring for his owners? And if a pet, a cat, has it in him to look after us, how much more we can rely on our Creator to provide and care?
Mat 12:12
Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

Luk 11:13

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Luk 12:24

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Luk 12:28

But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A conversation with an atheist

This took place on Wednesday, in #apologetics. I removed lines that described some channel activities, not connected with the conversation. It would be funny, if... Well, see for yourself, how sily atheism really is.

03[18:47] * mikew has joined #apologetics
[18:50] [mikew]why do you believe in a fully debunked myth?
[18:51] [Wiser]lol...deep in thought
[18:51] [Wiser]me too.
[18:51] [BK__]mikew, why do you ask leading questions?
[18:51] [MrPeabody]debunked myth?
[18:51] [BK__]mikew has just committed the fallacy of the complex question
[18:51] [BK__]sort of like saying "do you still beat your wife?
[18:52] [Wiser]is wondering what the was...
[18:52] [mikew]well your religion is exactly the same as other pagan religions that we both agree as myths.
[18:52] [BK__]Mike must first demonstrate that said "myth" has been debunked prior to asking the question
[18:52] [BK__]"exactly the same" ... well, it cannot be *exactly* the same, now can it?
[18:53] [Wiser]mikew if i might offer a point're assuming someone thinks something is a myth..when in fact they may not.
[18:53] [blueDL]mikew: you an atheist?
[18:53] [mikew] shows how your religion was stolen from pagan mythology.
[18:53] [mikew]yes
[18:53] [BK__]what is my religion, Mike?
[18:53] [blueDL]why do you hold to a belief system that has been completely debunked?
[18:53] [mikew]xianity
[18:53] [BK__]specifically, what kind?
[18:53] [mikew]atheism is a lack of a belif in a sky daddy so it cant be debunked
[18:53] [BK__]in other words, I have a specific set of beliefs ... do you know what they are, Mike?
[18:54] [MrPeabody]Psalm 10:4 The wicked, in the pride of his countenance, saith, He will not require it. All his thoughts are, There is no God.
[18:55] [blueDL]mikew: sure it can. All you have to do is show that the presuppositional bases of your belief system is stealing from the very belief system you claim to be debunking.
[18:55] [mikew]im guessing you are an xian so you believe a sky daddy made the world in 7 days (despite evidence to the contrary) and then turned into a person to die on a cosss
[18:55] [Wiser]just wondering someone with "no belief" feels they can teach someone...a new belief?....from what?
[18:55] [blueDL]btw, 'sky daddy' is offensive. Please desist.
[18:55] [BK__]blue, are Van Tillian? :)
[18:55] [Wiser]if you havent got it in the first can you share?
[18:55] [mikew]atheism is based on evidence and so we dont have beliefs, just facts
[18:55] [blueDL]mikew: do you believe that?
[18:56] [Bilbofett]hey mikew, I have a lack of belief in you, so I guess no one can debunk that. I guess you don't exist :)
[18:56] [mikew]I know
[18:56] [BK__]mikew, I have a lot of beliefs and you haven't answered the question
[18:56] [blueDL]mikew: how do you know?
[18:56] [mikew](i dont have beliefs)
[18:56] [Bilbofett]do you believe that?
[18:56] [Wiser]lol...evidence of what..?
[18:56] [Wiser]creative force?
[18:56] [mikew]well i dont know exaclt becos christians argue about what they believe
[18:56] [Wiser]universal power?
[18:56] [BK__]as do non-Christians, mike
[18:57] [MrPeabody]Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that doeth good.
[18:57] [BK__]so my point is this - how could you point me to a link that debunks my belief system, when you don't even know the details of that belief system
[18:57] [mikew]but we argue because were freethinkers and think for ourselves whereas you argue because you were brainwashed differently
[18:57] [BK__]demonstrate that to be the case, mike
[18:57] [Wiser]lol....somehow mike, your arguments lack conviction
[18:58] [mikew]i dont have to demonstarte anything. have you heard of russels teapot?
[18:58] [BK__]you made an assertion, mile
[18:58] [BK__]mike
[18:58] [Bilbofett]mikew I grew up as a non-christian and was one longer than I've been a christian. I changed my mind. You haven't. Which one of us has a closed mind?
[18:58] [BK__]you have burden of proof
[18:58] [Wiser]you call yourself free, yet you assume beliefs of others..
[18:58] [Wiser]when in fact you have no clue what they believe or don't believe...
[18:58] [mikew]john loftus grew up as a christian and he changed his mind
[18:58] [Wiser]how is that fact, but rather assertions..
[18:58] [mikew]and bart erhman did
[18:58] [blueDL]mikew: CS Lewis grew up as an atheist and changed his mind. What's your point?
[18:59] [Bilbofett]mikew the bible teaches that true christians never leave and are christians for life. Bart and John were not real christians.
[18:59] [Wiser]what of Saul/Paul
[18:59] [mikew]but atheists change their mind becos os evidence
[19:00] [BK__]which ones, Mike?
[19:00] [mikew]did paul exist or was he made up by the early church?
[19:00] [BK__]which atheists change their mind because of evidence?
[19:00] [Wiser]why would anyone "make up" a persecutor ?
06[19:00] * blueDL is waiting for an original thought/argument.
[19:00] [mikew]john loftus. he realised that the universe was to big for a god and bart erhman becuase he found that the bible is not the same as the origional
[19:01] [blueDL]mikew: how does Ehrman know that? He doesn't have the original.
[19:01] [BK__]*ding* !
[19:01] [mikew]that bart erhmans point
[19:02] [blueDL]so, to make a claim about something unseen... isn't that faith?
[19:02] [BK__]mike, which atheists change their minds because of evidence? All of them? Some of them? One of them?
[19:02] [mikew]most of them. it is a proven fact that atheists are more intelligent than those who believe in god
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[19:03] [BK__]how do you know "most of them" change their mind based on evidence? (and the IQ of atheists on the whole is irrelevant to the truth of Christianity)
[19:03] [mikew]
[19:03] [BK__]irrelevant, mike
[19:04] [blueDL]mikew: that doesn't say that atheists are more intelligent.
[19:04] [mikew]when you go on an xian site it is all about the holy spirit however when you go on an atheist one it is all about science, logic and reason
[19:05] [BK__]demonstrably false, Mike
[19:05] [mikew]rubbish
[19:05] [BK__]just visit (among many others)
[19:05] [Dominus]Eh not all atheists are scientists.
[19:05] [BK__]"rubbish" is not a rebuttal
[19:05] [mikew]no but most scientists are atheists. have you read the god delusion?
[19:05] [Dominus]There are plenty of irrational atheists :)
[19:06] [BK__]again, irrelevant, mike
[19:06] [blueDL]mikew: yes. It's tripe and easily refutable. What's your point? That Dawkins, a scientist, is an atheist? We know that.
[19:06] [mikew]irrelevant = i dont like it because it is true and inconvienient for you
[19:06] [BK__]no, irrelevant = not relevant to whether Christianity is true
[19:07] [BK__]look up "appeal to authority" on one of your atheist web sites, mike
[19:08] [mikew]i bet if is said the world was flat youd all appeal to authority then.
[19:08] [BK__]try me
[19:08] [BK__]and the point remains, your argument thus far has been largely an appeal to authority
[19:09] [BK__]thus it has been fallacious in nature
[19:09] [mikew]the world is flat (i know it isnt but lets pretend for arguments sake, youd then say 'oh, no scientists says that')
[19:09] [BK__]I don't agree that the world is flat
[19:09] [BK__]what makes you say it is flat (for the sake of argument)?
[19:09] [mikew]that appealinhg to your own authority
[19:09] [BK__]no, it isn't appealing to anything yet
[19:10] [BK__]it is a simply statement of belief
[19:10] [mikew]no. a belief is something in the face of evidence. the world is round is a fact
[19:10] [@bluewurx]mikew: BK's point is that so far you haven't given us any facts, but rather used bad argumentation to try to make your point.
[19:10] [mikew]o.k what about the fact that the bible is full of contradictions.
[19:11] [BK__]beliefs aren't "in the face" of evidence necessarily - you can believe something that is true, or believe something that is not true
[19:11] [BK__]so is the earth still flat, Mike?
[19:11] [mikew]richard dawkins says christian belif is blinf faith
[19:11] [BK__]CS Lewis says it isn't
[19:11] [@bluewurx]mikew: what about the fact that every contradiction you can bring up has been well refuted?
[19:12] [mikew]no, because in the real world you can appeal to authority
[19:12] [@bluewurx]Dawkins says a lot of things. Again, appeal to authority.
[19:12] [@bluewurx]mikew: is your whole argument then that you are an atheist because Dawkins told you to be one?
[19:12] [BK__]sure, you *can* appeal, but it is fallacious to do so
[19:12] [MrPeabody]Psalm 19:1-3 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language; Their voice is not heard.
[19:12] [mikew]you appeal to the bible, isnt that an appeal to authority?
[19:12] [Dominus]mikew: why do you see Dawinks as your God?
[19:12] [Dominus]Dawkins, even.
[19:13] [Dominus]You seem to be very religious about it,.
[19:13] [BK__]no, mike ... not in the same sense as you are appealing to Dawkins
06[19:13] * @bluewurx nods at BK__
[19:13] [mikew]he is intelligent, one of the top scientists in the world and shreds your belifs to bits
[19:13] [Dominus]But you're not... so how can you tell he's not deceiving you?
[19:13] [BK__]mike, is Dawkins ever wrong?
[19:14] [mikew]he did once write an article saying adultery is ok which i disagreed with but these are rare events
02[19:14] * @Micah has quit IRC (Ping timeout for Micah[])
[19:14] [BK__]so it is possible that an appeal to Dawkins would be a bad idea, right?
[19:14] [BK__]'cause he can be wrong
[19:14] [Dominus]If we have to believe Dawkins, humans are nothing but hungry sex machines.
[19:15] [mikew]well your god can be wrong ( but you appeal to him/her
[19:15] [@bluewurx]mikew: perhaps you can give us some supportable facts for your atheism? So far, all you've done is give us ad hominemns and appeals to authority. Any 1st-year debate student could see that you are losing the argument.
[19:15] [BK__]again, is it possible that an appeal to Dawkins is a bad idea, since he can be wrong?
[19:16] [mikew]but then where do you get your information from as nobody is perfect
[19:16] [BK__]how do you know that nobody is perfect?
[19:16] [mikew]tell mr someone who is prefect
[19:17] [BK__]so is it possible that someone is perfect, 'cause you just said that nobody is perfect
[19:17] [mikew]well if there is then ive never met them. you certainly arent perfect
[19:18] [BK__]That's correct ... I am not perfect, nor are you, nor is Dawkins. So once again, an appeal to Dawkins isn't really the way to go, is it?
[19:19] [mikew]well dawkins has good argumets. when you think about it were all atheists when it comes to allah, buddah, the bogie under the sea. ive just gone one god further
[19:19] [BK__]but Dawkins could make a mistake in his arguments, no?
[19:19] [BK__]so an appeal to Dawkins isn't really a good idea if one wants to be *certain* of something, right?
[19:19] [Dominus]BK__: well, to be fair, what you're doing is an ad hominem.
[19:19] [mikew]so couldd you and dawkins has a better track record for being right
[19:20] [BK__]I am trying to get mike to see that an appeal to authority is fallacious, Dominus
[19:20] [Dominus]This discussion is going nowhere unless someone starts citing Dawkins, either proving or disproving his statements.
[19:20] [Dominus]BK__: yes, using another fallacy :)
[19:20] [BK__]I am not cutting down Dawkins - just stating that he is not perfect, and therefore not a source of inerrancy
[19:21] [mikew]neither is the bibe. shows thousands of errors in it
[19:21] [BK__]and no, we actually don't need to cite Dawkins at all
[19:21] [Dominus]If you don't mind running around in circles for a while, I guess you don't :)
[19:21] [BK__]Mike, there has to be something above and beyond appealing to scientists or websites, would you not agree? In other words, the truth or falsity of a claim must be evaluated on its own
[19:22] [mikew]thats what i do as i think for myself
[19:22] [BK__]yet you referred to Dawkins a lot, mike ;)
[19:23] [mikew]because he is a great source of information and vey intelligent and scientific
[19:23] [BK__]so, with that said, do you have anything you want to argue yourself, without referring to websites or scientists?
[19:23] [BK__]since you think for yourself, and all that ;)
02[19:24] * Algoberry has quit IRC (Ping timeout for Algoberry[])
[19:24] [mikew]all my information comes from websites. why are there so many errors in the bible. If the bible was the word of god then websites like wouldnt exist.
[19:25] [@bluewurx]mikew: the fool says in his heart there is no God. There will *always* be sites like that one.
[19:25] [BK__]but we aren't arguing against a website - we are arguing with *you*, Mike. And your conclusion about this website not existing if the Bible is the word of God does not logically follow.
[19:27] [mikew]O.K would you believe a book with zombies, dionosaurs, dragons, sea monsters and extra-terrestrails in?
[19:27] [BK__]that depends on specifically what the book said - whether it gave me a reason to believe in these things, etc.
[19:27] [BK__]how about you?
[19:28] [mikew]i wouldnt but all of them can be found in the bible
[19:28] [BK__]why wouldn't you?
[19:28] [mikew]because those things are silly
07[19:28] [@annafk]mikew, how old are you?
[19:28] [BK__]is that a statement of fact, or just an opinion?
[19:28] [mikew]none of your busuiness
[19:29] [mikew]it is a fact that all of those things are in the bible, that website i linked to cites chapter and verse for each one
07[19:29] [@annafk]could you please answer, anyway?
[19:30] [mikew]why?
07[19:30] [@annafk]because I would like to know
[19:30] [BK__]I am even looking at the website, mike, so I couldn't tell whether or not what it says is correct - I just want to know why *you* wouldn't believe a book that said they are real, if that book happened to present reasons to believe they were? In other words, what is it that leads you to believe something is either true or not?
[19:31] [BK__]sorry ... I am *not* looking at the website, is what I meant to say :)
[19:31] [mikew]bury your head in the sand and not look at my sources
[19:31] [Dominus]mikew: do you believe in the dodo?
07[19:31] [@annafk]we know your sources
[19:32] [BK__]I don't have the time to read all your sources, mike. That's why I want you to present your own argument, rather than pointing to someone else's.
07[19:32] [@annafk]do you really think that you are coming here with anything new?
[19:32] [Dominus]Here's your chance, mikew. Just cite something from that website.
[19:32] [Dominus]Then back it up reasonably.
[19:32] [mikew]yes
03[19:32] * Looking up mikew user info...
[19:33] [@bluewurx]mikew: how do you know those Web sites are correct?
[19:33] [mikew] Beast With Seven Heads Take all the horror scripts from hollywood, put them in a blender and you have the Book of Revelation. It contains some pretty radical monsters such as this 10-horned, 7-headed beast: - Revelation 17:3: So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. Extra-Terrestrials 1 Peter 2:11:"Dear friend
[19:35] [BK__]what is the point, mike?
07[19:35] [@annafk]so... ?
[19:35] [Dominus]"The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a metre tall, weighing about 20 kilograms, living on fruit and nesting on the ground."
[19:35] [mikew]if there were 7 headed monsters and extra terrestrails wandering around when the bible was written why arent there today?
[19:35] [BK__]hey, it's a quote war! :)
[19:36] [Dominus]mikew: if there were dodos wandering around in the 16th century, why aren't there today?
[19:36] [@bluewurx]mikew: your quote cut off. YOu can only have so many characters per line. You cut off at 'Dear friend'
[19:36] [mikew]it said "I urge you, as aliens and strangers to this world."
[19:36] [@bluewurx]oh, brother.
[19:37] [BK__]what do you think the word "alien" means there, mike?
[19:37] [mikew]well freethoughtpedia says extraterretrial
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03[19:37] * CStar sets mode: +o DrOakafk
[19:37] [BK__]so that's what you think it means?
[19:37] [@bluewurx]mikew: what do you think it is?
[19:37] [@bluewurx]did the author think it meant extraterrestrial?
[19:37] [mikew]freethoughtpedias explanation sounds good to me
[19:38] [BK__]because it is freethoughtpedia's explanation, or for some other reason?
07[19:38] [@annafk]there we have the depth of atheism as presented by teens
[19:38] [@bluewurx]mikew: my wife has an resident alien card. Is she an extraterrestrial?
[19:38] [mikew]well it makes sense, alien is often used to mean extraterrestrial
[19:39] [BK__]it *can* mean that, but why do you think it *must* mean that in this context?
[19:39] [mikew]and it appears that pile wrote the artcile by looking at the history and he is the guy incharge of freethoughtpedia
[19:39] [@bluewurx]mikew: answer my question please.
07[19:40] [@annafk]mikew, you no longer need to tell me your age
[19:40] [mikew]you seem to go along the lines of 'if it might be true the we will assume the bible is true'
07[19:40] [@annafk]it shows
[19:40] [@bluewurx]mikew: answer my question please.
[19:41] [BK__]mike, why do you think it *must* mean that?
[19:41] [mikew]99% of the time alien is sued to mean extraterrestrial. I am not alone in thinking this as freethoughtpedia backs me up
[19:42] [@bluewurx]99% of the time? Is that a fact?
07[19:42] -]Ops #apologetics: this is fun 4,1[Ops Only[
[19:42] [mikew]sort of
[19:42] [BK__]have you considered looking at what the word means in the original language?
[19:42] [@bluewurx] 1. gen. Belonging to another person, place, or family; strange, foreign, not of one's own.
[19:42] [BK__]there are resources to help you do that
[19:42] [@bluewurx] 2. a. esp. Of a foreign nation and allegiance.
[19:42] [mikew]im sure the person who wrote the article on freethoughtpedia did that
[19:42] [@bluewurx]mikew: stop me when we get to the right definition for you....
[19:42] [BK__]thanks, blue
[19:43] [@bluewurx] 3. a. Foreign in nature or character; belonging to something else; of foreign or other origin.
[19:43] [BK__]I don't think he did, Mike
[19:43] [@bluewurx] 4. Of a nature or character differing from (of obs.), far removed from, inconsistent with.
[19:43] [BK__]But there is one way to find out, right?
[19:43] [@bluewurx] 5. Of a nature repugnant, adverse or opposed to.
[19:43] [mikew]what a cop out...o well, some people use the word to mean this.
[19:43] [@bluewurx]btw, I'm quoting the OED, which is considered *the* pre-eminent dictionary of the English language.
[19:43] [BK__]Mike, the original Greek word is "pä'-roi-kos"
03[19:44] * annLittle has joined #apologetics
[19:44] [BK__]
[19:44] [BK__]this is the actual word used in 1 Pet 2:11
[19:45] [mikew]this is just a typical christian response. lets put it like this, freethoughtpedia is written by atheists whereas you are biased and trying to fudge it so that it fits your beliefs
[19:45] [@bluewurx]mikew: I think we have just shown you how fallacious that 'extraterrestrial' argument is. When you first encountered it, did you ask what the opposing view was?
[19:45] [BK__]I wish this were a "typical" Christian response, actually. But no, this is a response that includes looking at the original language the verse was written in.
07[19:46] [@annafk]obviously Peter meant StarTrek characters :)
[19:46] [@bluewurx]we're all just Klingons!
[19:46] [mikew]You obviously dont know what yo are talking about and i have wiped the floor with you
[19:46] [mikew]bye
02[19:47] * mikew has quit IRC (CGI:IRC)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Submission and Headship in the Home where I Grew Up

John Piper

Last Sunday's message was on the meaning of submission in marriage. I did not have time for this closing illustration. So consider this an application at the end of that message. The point is that my mother's submissive role in relation to my father was not owing to lesser competencies. It was owing to the God-given nature of manhood and womanhood and how they are designed in marriage to display the covenant relationship between Christ and the church.

I grew up in a home where my father was away for about two-thirds of each year. He was an evangelist. He held about twenty-five crusades each year ranging in length from one to three weeks. He would leave on Saturday, be gone for one to three weeks, and come home on Monday afternoon. I went to the Greenville airport hundreds of times. And some of the sweetest memories of my childhood are the smile of my father's face as he came out of the plane and down the steps and almost ran across the runway to hug me and kiss me (no skyways in those days).

This meant that my sister and I were reared and trained mostly by my mother. She taught me almost everything practical that I know. She taught me how to cut the grass without skippers and keep a checkbook and ride a bike and drive a car and make notes for a speech and set the table with the fork in the right place and make pancakes (notice when the bubbles form on the edges). She paid the bills, handled repairs, cleaned house, cooked meals, helped me with my homework, took us to church, led us in devotions. She was superintendent of the Intermediate Department at church, head of the community garden club, and tireless doer of good for others.

She was incredibly strong in her loneliness. The early sixties were the days in Greenville, SC, when civil rights were in the air. The church took a vote one Wednesday night on a resolution not to allow black people to worship in the church. When the vote was taken, she stood, as I recall, entirely alone in opposition. And when my sister was married in the church in 1963 and one of the ushers tried to seat some black friends of our family all alone in the balcony, my mother indignantly marched out of the sanctuary and sat them herself on the main floor with everyone else.

I have never known anyone quite like Ruth Piper. She seemed to me omni-competent and overflowing with love and energy.

But here is my point. When my father came home, my mother had the extraordinary ability and biblical wisdom and humility to honor him as the head of the home. She was, in the best sense of the word, submissive to him. It was an amazing thing to watch week after week as my father came and went. He went, and my mother ruled the whole house with a firm and competent and loving hand. And he came, and my mother deferred to his leadership.

Now that he was home, he is the one who prayed at the meals. Now it was he that led in devotions. Now it was he that drove us to worship, and watched over us in the pew, and answered our questions. My fear of disobedience shifted from my mother's wrath to my father's, for there, too, he took the lead.

But I never heard my father attack my mother or put her down in any way. They sang together and laughed together and put their heads together to bring each other up-to-date on the state of the family. It was a gift of God that I could never begin to pay for or earn.

And here is what I learned -- a biblical truth before I knew it was in the Bible. There is no correlation between submission and incompetence. There is such a thing as masculine leadership that does not demean a wife. There is such thing as submission that is not weak or mindless or manipulative.

It never entered my mind until I began to hear feminist rhetoric in the late sixties that this beautiful design in my home was somehow owing to anyone's inferiority. It wasn't. It was owing to this: My mother and my father put their hope in God and believed that obedience to his word would create the best of all possible families -- and it did. So I exhort you with all my heart, consider these things with great seriousness, and do not let the world squeeze you into its mold.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Method of Dealing with Inquirers

by Charles Hodge

Every Christian, and especially every minister, will have this work to do. It is a very responsible work. It is a very difficult work.

I. General principles suited to all cases. The directions given will be determined by the views we entertain of the nature of religion.

1. Rationalists endeavor to suppress all concern.

2. Romanists teach men to submit to the church, and practice religious duties and penance.

3. Protestants direct inquirers to come directly to God in the way appointed in the gospel. But this general direction is modified by the peculiar views of those who give it.

1. Some place the essence of religion in submission to God, and hence the general directions to submit.

2. Some place it in the choice of God as a source of happiness, and hence the direction, “Choose God as your portion.”

3. Some again place it in a volition to make the happiness of the universe the end of our being.

4. Others, in the return of the soul to God through Christ and by faith in him. Hence the general direction to “believe.”

This is the proper direction,

(a) Because faith is declared to be the condition of salvation. Believers are saved. Unbelievers are lost.

(b) Because this is the apostolic direction.

(c) Because neither pardon nor sanctification is otherwise to be obtained.

(d) Because Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the gospel.

But what is faith? What is the precise thing to be done? The exercise of this involves immediate conviction of sin.

II. Special directions.

1. As to skeptical doubts.

(a) Do not rely on speculative arguments mainly. Whether in dealing with heathen, philosophers, or errorists or Romanists, the true place of speculative arguments is simply to remove difficulties, to show that the truth is not inconsistent with reason or fact. They are not to be used to prove the truth, i.e., to afford its positive evidence.

(b) But rely upon the exhibition of the truth, and upon pressing it on the conscience.

1. Because the ground of faith is the witness of the Spirit with the truth.

2. Because the truth is self–evidencing.

3. Because arguments are human, while truth is divine.

2. As to Fatalists, who say nothing can be done. They plead the doctrine of election.

1. Here again moral considerations should direct our effort. The intellectual difficulty is not first to be removed.

2. The sinner should be urged to act as he does in other cases.

3. As to those who rely on the excuse of inability, or feel they can do nothing.

1. It is vain to tell men they are able.

2. This is not necessary to produce a sense of guilt.

4. The true method is to admit the fact and fall as the leper at the feet of Jesus.

5. As to those who plead hardness of heart, want of conviction of sin. Show the true place of conviction.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

J.C. Ryle on Rev 3:22

Visible Churches Warned

‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches’ (Rev. 3:22).

I suppose I may take it for granted that every reader of this message belongs to some visible church of Christ. I do not ask now whether you are an Episcopalian, or a Presbyterian, or an Independent. I only suppose that you would not like to be called an atheist or an infidel. You attend the public worship of some visible, particular or national body of professing Christians.

Now, whatever the name of your church may be, I invite your special attention to the verse of Scripture before your eyes. I charge you to remember that the words of that verse concern yourself. They are written for your learning, and for all who call themselves Christians. ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches’.

This verse is repeated seven times over in the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation. Seven different letters does the Lord Jesus there send by the hand of His servant John to the seven churches of Asia. Seven times over He winds up His letter by the same solemn words: ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches’.

Now the Lord God is perfect in all His works. He does nothing by chance. He caused no part of the Scriptures to be written by chance. In all His dealings you may trace design, purpose and plan. There was design in the size and orbit of each planet. There was design in the shape and structure of the least fly’s wing. There was design in every verse of the Bible. There was design in every repetition of a verse, wherever it took place. There was design in the sevenfold repetition of the verse before our eyes. It had a meaning, and we were intended to observe it.

This verse appears to me to call the special attention of all true Christians to the seven ‘epistles to the churches’. I believe it was meant to make believers take particular notice of the things which these seven epistles contain.

Let me try to point out certain leading truths which these seven epistles seem to me to teach. They are truths for the times we live in, truths for the latter days, truths which we cannot know too well, truths which it would be good for us all to know and feel far better than we do.

1. I ask my readers to observe that the Lord Jesus, in all the seven epistles, speaks of nothing but matters of doctrine, practice, warning and promise.

I ask you to look over these seven epistles to the churches, quietly and at your leisure, and you will soon see what I mean.

You will observe that the Lord Jesus sometimes finds fault with false doctrines and ungodly inconsistent practices, and rebukes them sharply.

You will observe that He sometimes praises faith, patience, work, labor, perseverance and bestows on these graces high commendation.

You will sometimes find Him enjoining repentance, amendment, return to the first love, renewed application to Himself, and the like.

But I want you to observe that you will not find the Lord, in any of the epistles, dwelling upon church government or ceremonies. He says nothing about sacraments or ordinances. He makes no mention of liturgies or forms. He does not instruct John to write one word about baptism, or the Lord’s Supper, or the apostolical succession of ministers. In short, the leading principles of what may be called ‘the sacramental system’ are not brought forward in any one of the seven epistles from first to last.

Now why do I dwell on this? I do it because many professing Christians in the present day would have us believe these things are of first, of cardinal, of paramount importance.

There are not a few who seem to hold that there can be no church without a bishop, and no godliness without a liturgy. They appear to believe that to teach the value of the sacraments is the first work of a minister, and to keep to their parish church the first business of a people.

Now let no man misunderstand me when I say this. Do not run away with the notion that I see no importance in sacraments. On the contrary, I regard them as great blessings to all who receive them ‘rightly, worthily and with faith’. Do not fancy that I attach no value to episcopacy, a liturgy and the parochial system. On the contrary, I consider that a church well administered, which has these three things, and an evangelical ministry, is a far more complete and useful church than one in which they are not to be found.

But this I say, that sacraments, church government, the use of a liturgy, the observance of ceremonies and forms, are all as nothing compared to faith, repentance and holiness. And my authority for so saying is the whole tenor of our Lord’s words to the seven churches.

I never can believe, if a certain form of church government was so very important as some say, that the great Head of the church would have said nothing about it here. I should have expected to have found something said about it to Sardis and Laodicea. But I find nothing at all. And I think that silence is a great fact.

I cannot help remarking just the same fact in Paul’s parting words to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:27–35). He was then leaving them for ever. He was giving his last charge on earth, and spoke as one who would see the faces of his hearers no more. And yet there is not a word in the charge about the sacraments and church government. If ever there was a time for speaking of them, it was then. But he says nothing at all, and I believe it was an intentional silence.

Now here lies one reason why we who, rightly or wrongly, are called evangelical clergy, do not preach about bishops, and the Prayer Book, and ordinances more than we do. It is not because we do not value them, in their place, proportion and way. We do value them as really and truly as any, and are thankful for them. But we believe that repentance towards God, faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ and a holy conversation are subjects of far more importance to men’s souls. Without these no man can be saved. These are the first and most weighty matters, and therefore on these we dwell.

Here again lies one reason why we so often urge on men not to be content with the mere outward part of religion. You must have observed that we often warn you not to rest on church membership and church privileges. We tell you not to be satisfied all is right because you come to church on Sunday, and come up to the Lord’s table. We often urge you to remember, that he is not a Christian who is one outwardly, that you must be ‘born again,’ that you must have a ‘faith that worketh by love,’ that there must be a ‘new creation’ by the Spirit in your heart. We do it because this seems to us the mind of Christ. These are the kind of things He dwells upon, when writing seven times over to seven different churches. We feel that if we follow Him we cannot greatly err.

I am aware that men charge us with taking ‘low views’ of the subjects to which I have adverted. It is a small thing that our views are thought ‘low,’ so long as our consciences tell us they are scriptural. High ground, as it is called, is not always safe ground. What Balaam said must be our answer ‘What the Lord saith, that will I speak’ (Num. 24:13).

The plain truth is, there are two distinct and separate systems of Christianity in England at the present day. It is useless to deny it. Their existence is a great fact and one that cannot be too clearly known.

According to one system, religion is a mere corporate business. You are to belong to a certain body of people. By virtue of your membership of this body, vast privileges, both for time and eternity, are conferred upon you. It matters little what you are and what you feel. You are not to try yourself by your feelings. You are a member of a great ecclesiastical corporation. Then all its privileges and immunities are your own. Do you belong to the one true visible ecclesiastical corporation? That is the grand question.

According to the other system, religion is eminently a personal business between yourself and Christ. It will not save your soul to be an outward member of any ecclesiastical body whatever, however sound that body may be. Such membership will not wash away one sin, or give you confidence in the day of judgment. There must be personal faith in Christ, personal dealings between yourself and God, personal felt communion between your own heart and the Holy Spirit. Have you this personal faith? Have you this felt work of the Spirit in your soul? This is the grand question. If not you will be lost.

This last system is the system which those who are called evangelical ministers cleave to and teach. They do so, because they are satisfied that it is the system of Holy Scripture. They do so, because they are convinced that any other system is productive of most dangerous consequences, and calculated to delude men fatally as to their actual state. They do so because they believe it to be the only system of teaching which God will bless, and that no church will flourish so much as that in which repentance, faith, conversion and the work of the Spirit are the grand subjects of the minister’s sermon.

2. I ask my readers to observe that in every epistle the Lord Jesus says, ‘I know thy works’. That repeated expression is very striking. It is not for nothing that we read these words seven times over.

To one church the Lord Jesus says, ‘I know thy labour and patience’, to another, ‘thy tribulation and poverty’, to a third, ‘thy charity and service and faith’. But to all He uses the words I now dwell on ‘I know thy works’. It is not ‘I know thy profession, thy desires, thy resolutions, thy wishes’, but ‘thy works’. ‘I know thy works’.

The works of a professing Christian are of great importance. They cannot save your soul. They cannot justify you. They cannot wipe out your sins. They cannot deliver you from the wrath of God. But it does not follow because they cannot save you, that they are of no importance. Take heed and beware of such a notion. The man who thinks so is fearfully deceived.

I often think I could willingly die for the doctrine of justification by faith without the deeds of the law. But I must earnestly contend, as a general principle, that a man’s works are the evidence of a man’s religion. If you call yourself a Christian, you must show it in your daily ways and daily behavior. Call to mind that the faith of Abraham and of Rahab was proved by their works (James 2:21–25). Remember it avails you and me nothing to profess we know God, if in works we deny Him (Titus 1:16). Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘Every tree is known by its own fruit’ (Luke 6:44).

But whatever the works of a professing Christian may be, Jesus says, ‘I know them!’ His eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good (Prov. 15:3). You never did an action, however private, but Jesus saw it. You never spoke a word, no, not even in a whisper, but Jesus heard it. You never wrote a letter, even to your dearest friend, but Jesus read it. You never thought a thought, however secret, but Jesus was familiar with it. His eyes are as a flaming fire. The darkness is no darkness with Him. All things are open and manifest before Him. He says to every one, ‘I know thy works’.

a. The Lord Jesus knows the works of all impenitent and unbelieving souls, and will one day punish them. They are not forgotten in heaven, though they may be upon earth. When the great white throne is set, and the books are opened, the wicked dead will be judged ‘according to their works’.

b. The Lord Jesus knows the works of His own people, and weighs them. ‘By Him actions are weighed’ (1 Sam. 2:3). He knows the why and the wherefore of the deeds of all believers. He sees their motives in every step they take. He discerns how much is done for His sake, and how much is done for the sake of praise. Alas, not a few things are done by believers, which seem very good to you and me, but are rated very low by Christ.

c. The Lord Jesus knows the works of all His own people, and will one day reward them. He never overlooks a kind word, or a kind deed done in His name. He will own the least fruit of faith, and declare it before the world in the day of His appearing. If you love the Lord Jesus, and follow Him, you may be sure your work and labor shall not be in vain in the Lord. The works of those that die in the Lord ‘shall follow them’ (Rev. 14:13). They shall not go before them, nor yet by their side, but they shall follow them, and be owned in the day of Christ’s appearing. The parable of the pounds shall be made good. ‘Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour’ (1 Cor. 3:8). The world knows you not, for it knows not your Master. But Jesus sees and knows all. ‘I know thy works’.

Think what a solemn warning there is here to all worldly and hypocritical professors of religion. Let all such read, mark and digest these words. Jesus says to you, ‘I know thy works’. You may deceive me or any other minister; it is easy to do so. You may receive the bread and wine from my hands, and yet be cleaving to iniquity in your hearts. You may sit under the pulpit of an evangelical preacher, week after week, and hear his words with a serious face, but believe them not. But, remember this, you cannot deceive Christ. He who discovered the deadness of Sardis and the lukewarmness of Laodicea, sees you through and through, and will expose you at the last day, except you repent.

Oh, believe me, hypocrisy is a losing game. It will never answer to seem one thing and be another; to have the name of Christian, and not the reality. Be sure, if your conscience smites you and condemns you in this matter, be sure your sin will find you out. The eye that saw Achan steal the golden wedge and hide it is upon you. The book that recorded the deeds of Gehazi and Ananias and Sapphira is recording your ways. Jesus mercifully sends you a word of warning today. He says, ‘I know thy works’.

But think also, what encouragement there is here for every honest and true–hearted believer. To you also, Jesus says, ‘I know thy works’. You see no beauty in any action that you do. All seems imperfect, blemished and defiled. You are often sick at heart of your own shortcomings. You often feel that your whole life is one great arrear, and that every day is either a blank or a blot. But know now, that Jesus can see some beauty in everything that you do from a conscientious desire to please Him. His eye can discern excellence in the least thing which is a fruit of His own Spirit. He can pick out the grains of gold from amid the dross of your performances, and sift the wheat from amid the chaff in all your doings. Your tears are all put into His bottle. Your endeavors to do good to others, however feeble, are written in His book of remembrance. The least cup of cold water given in His name shall not lose its reward. He does not forget your work and labor of love, however little the world may regard it.

It is very wonderful, but so it is. Jesus loves to honor the work of His Spirit in His people, and to pass over their frailties. He dwells on the faith of Rahab, but not on her lie. He commends His apostles for continuing with Him in His temptations, and passes over their ignorance and want of faith (Luke 22:28). ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him’ (Ps. 103:13). And as a father finds a pleasure in the least acts of his children, of which a stranger knows nothing, so I suppose the Lord finds a pleasure in our poor feeble efforts to serve Him.

I can well understand the righteous in the day of judgment saying, ‘Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee, or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? Or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick or in prison, and came unto Thee?’ (Matt. 25:37–39). It may well seem incredible and impossible that they can have done anything worth naming in the great day! Yet so it is. Let all believers take the comfort of it. The Lord says, ‘I know thy works.’ It ought to humble you. But it ought not to make you afraid.

3. I ask my readers to observe that in every epistle the Lord Jesus makes a promise to the man that overcomes. Seven times over Jesus gives to the churches exceeding great and precious promises. Each is different, and each full of strong consolation: but each is addressed to the overcoming Christian. It is always ‘he that overcometh’, or ‘to him that overcometh’. I ask you to take notice of this.

Every professing Christian is the soldier of Christ. He is bound by his baptism to fight Christ’s battle against sin, the world and the devil. The man that does not do this breaks his vow. He is a spiritual defaulter. He does not fulfill the engagements made for him. The man that does not do this is practically renouncing his Christianity. The very fact that he belongs to a church, attends a Christian place of worship, and calls himself a Christian, is a public declaration that he desires to be reckoned a soldier of Jesus Christ.

Armor is provided for the professing Christian, if he will only use it. ‘Take unto you’, says Paul to the Ephesians, ‘the whole armor of God’. ‘Stand, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness’. ‘Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God’. ‘Above all, take the shield of faith’ (Eph. 6:13–17). And, not least, the professing Christian has the best of leaders: Jesus the Captain of salvation, through whom he may be more than conqueror; the best of provisions, the bread and water of life, and the best of pay promised to him, an eternal weight of glory.

All these are ancient things. I will not be drawn off from my subject, in order to dwell on them now.

The one point I want to impress upon your soul just now is this, that the true believer is not only a soldier, but a victorious soldier. He not only professes to fight on Christ’s side against sin, the world and the devil, but he does actually fight and overcome.

Now this is one grand distinguishing mark of true Christians. Other men, perhaps, like to be numbered in the ranks of Christ’s army. Other men may have lazy wishes and languid desires after the crown of glory. But it is the true Christian alone who does the work of a soldier. He alone fairly meets the enemies of his soul, really fights with them and in that fight overcomes them.

One great lesson I want men to learn from these seven epistles is this, that if you would prove you are born again and going to heaven, you must be a victorious soldier of Christ. If you would make it clear that you have any title to Christ’s precious promises, you must fight the good fight in Christ’s cause, and in that fight you must conquer.

Victory is the only satisfactory evidence that you have a saving religion. You like good sermons perhaps. You respect the Bible, and read it occasionally. You say your prayers night and morning. You have family prayers, and give to religious societies. I thank God for this. It is all very good. But how goes the battle? How does the great conflict go on all this time? Are you overcoming the love of the world and the fear of man? Are you overcoming the passions, tempers and lusts of your own heart? Are you resisting the devil and making him flee from you? How is it in this matter? You must either rule or serve sin and the devil and the world. There is no middle course. You must either conquer or be lost.

I know well it is a hard battle that you have to fight, and I want you to know it, too. You must fight the good fight of faith and endure hardships if you would lay hold of eternal life. You must make up your mind to a daily struggle if you would reach heaven. There may be short roads to heaven invented by man, but ancient Christianity, the good old way, is the way of the cross, the way of conflict. Sin, the world and the devil must be actually mortified, resisted and overcome.

This is the road that saints of old have trodden in, and left their record on high.

a. When Moses refused the pleasures of sin in Egypt, and chose affliction with the people of God, this was overcoming he overcame the love of pleasure.

b. When Micaiah refused to prophesy smooth things to king Ahab, though he knew he would be persecuted if he spoke the truth, this was overcoming he overcame the love of ease.

c. When Daniel refused to give up praying, though he knew the den of lions was prepared for him, this was overcoming he overcame the fear of death.

d. When Matthew rose from the receipt of custom at our Lord’s bidding, left all and followed Him, this was overcoming he overcame the love of money.

e. When Peter and John stood up boldly before the council and said, ‘We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard,’ this was overcoming; they overcame the fear of man.

f. When Saul the Pharisee gave up all his prospects of preferment among the Jews, and preached that very Jesus whom he had once persecuted, this was overcoming he overcame the love of man’s praise.

The same kind of thing which these men did you must also do if you would be saved. They were men of like passions with yourself, and yet they overcame. They had as many trials as you can possibly have, and yet they overcame. They fought. They wrestled. They struggled. You must do the same.

What was the secret of their victory? Their faith. They believed on Jesus and, believing, were made strong. They believed on Jesus and, believing, were held up. In all their battles, they kept their eyes on Jesus, and He never left them nor forsook them. ‘They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony,’ and so may you (Rev. 12:11).

I set these words before you. I ask you to lay them to heart. Resolve, by the grace of God, to be an overcoming Christian.

I fear much for many professing Christians. I see no sign of fighting in them, much less of victory. They never strike one stroke on the side of Christ. They are at peace with His enemies. They have no quarrel with sin. I warn you, this is not Christianity. This is not the way to heaven.

I often fear much for those who hear the gospel regularly. I fear, lest you become so familiar with the sound of its doctrines, that insensibly you become dead to its power. I fear, lest your religion should sink down into a little vague talk about your own weakness and corruption, and a few sentimental expressions about Christ, while real practical fighting on Christ’s side is altogether neglected. Oh, beware of this state of mind. ‘Be doers of the word, and not hearers only’. No victory—no crown! Fight and overcome! (James 1:22).

Young men and women, and specially those who have been brought up in religious families, I fear much for you. I fear lest you get a habit of giving way to every temptation. I fear lest you become afraid of saying, ‘No!’ to the world and the devil and, when sinners entice you, think it least trouble to consent. Beware, I do beseech you, of giving way. Every concession will make you weaker. Go into the world resolved to fight Christ’s battle, and fight your way on.

Believers in the Lord Jesus, of every church and rank in life, I feel much for you. I know your course is hard. I know it is a sore battle you have to fight. I know you are often tempted to say, ‘It is of no use,’ and to lay down your arms altogether.

Cheer up, dear brothers and sisters. Take comfort, I entreat you. Look at the bright side of your position. Be encouraged to fight on. The time is short. The Lord is at hand. The night is far spent. Millions as weak as you have fought the same fight. Not one of all those millions has been finally led captive by Satan. Mighty are your enemies, but the Captain of your salvation is mightier still. His arm, His grace and His Spirit shall hold you up. Cheer up. Be not cast down.

What though you lose a battle or two? You shall not lose all. What though you faint sometimes? You shall not be quite cast down. What though you fall seven times? You shall not be destroyed. Watch against sin, and sin shall not have dominion over you. Resist the devil, and he shall flee from you. Come out boldly from the world, and the world shall be obliged to let you go. You shall find yourselves in the end more than conquerors; you shall ‘overcome’.

Considering the relevancy of this whole subject, let us look into how this whole doctrine touches upon us in practical terms:

1. For one thing, let me warn all who are living only for the world, to take heed what they are doing. You are enemies to Christ, though you may not know it. He marks your ways, though you turn your back on Him and refuse to give Him your hearts. He is observing your daily life, and reading your daily ways. There will yet be a resurrection of all your thoughts, words and actions. You may forget them, but God does not. You may be careless about them, but they are carefully marked down in the book of remembrance. Oh, worldly man, think of this! Tremble, tremble and repent.

2. Let me warn all formalists and self–righteous people to take heed that they are not deceived. You fancy you will go to heaven because you go regularly to church. You indulge an expectation of eternal life, because you are always at the Lord’s table, and are never missing in your pew. But where is your repentance? Where is your faith? Where are your evidences of a new heart? Where is the work of the Spirit? Where are your evidences of regeneration? Oh, formal Christian, consider these questions! Tremble, tremble and repent.

3. Let me warn all careless members of churches to beware lest they trifle their souls into hell. You live on year after year as if there was no battle to be fought with sin, the world and the devil. You pass through life a smiling, laughing, gentleman–like, or lady–like person, and behave as if there was no devil, no heaven and no hell. Oh, careless churchman, or careless Dissenter, careless Episcopalian, careless Presbyterian, careless Independent, careless Baptist, awake to see eternal realities in their true light! Awake and put on the armor of God! Awake and fight hard for life! Tremble, tremble and repent.

4. Let me warn everyone who wants to be saved, not to be content with the world’s standard of religion. Surely no man with his eyes open can fail to see that the Christianity of the New Testament is something far higher and deeper than the Christianity of most professing Christians. That formal, easy–going, do–little thing, which most people call ‘religion’, is evidently not the religion of the Lord Jesus. The things that He praises in these seven epistles are not praised by the world. The things that He blames are not things in which the world sees any harm. Oh, if you would follow Christ, be not content with the world’s Christianity! Tremble, tremble and repent.

5. Lastly, let me warn everyone who professes to be a believer in the Lord Jesus, not to be content with a little religion.

Of all sights in the church of Christ, I know none more painful to my own eyes, than a Christian contented and satisfied with a little grace, a little repentance, a little faith, a little knowledge, a little charity and a little holiness. I do beseech and entreat every believing soul that reads this tract not to be that kind of man. If you have any desires after usefulness, if you have any wishes to promote your Lord’s glory, if you have any longings after much inward peace, be not content with a little religion.

Let us rather seek, every year we live, to make more spiritual progress than we have done, to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus; to grow in humility and self–acquaintance; to grow in spirituality and heavenly–mindedness; to grow in conformity to the image of our Lord.

Let us beware of leaving our first love like Ephesus, of becoming lukewarm like Laodicea, of tolerating false practices like Pergamos, of tampering with false doctrine like Thyatira, of becoming half dead, ready to die, like Sardis.

Let us rather covet the best gifts. Let us aim at eminent holiness Let us endeavor to be like Smyrna and Philadelphia. Let us hold fast what we have already, and continually seek to have more. Let us labor to be unmistakable Christians. Let it not be our distinctive character, that we are men of science, or men of literary attainments, or men of the world, or men of pleasure, or men of business, but ‘men of God’. Let us so live that all may see that to us the things of God are the first things, and the glory of God the first aim in our lives, to follow Christ our grand object in time present, to be with Christ our grand desire in time to come.

Let us live in this way, and we shall be happy. Let us live in this way, and we shall do good to the world. Let us live in this way, and we shall leave good evidence behind us when we are buried. Let us live in this way, and the Spirit’s word to the churches will not have been spoken to us in vain.