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When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Lk 1:41)
And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. (Heb 7:9"“10)
During the past couple of weeks there have been two news items in the mainstream media which have astounding spiritual implications for every American whether they are a Christian or not. As reported through the Moriel website, at some point during this past year the U. S. effected the 53 millionth abortion since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling 38 years ago. A parallel story Ã‚Â was also published announcing that the health department in New York City reports that 40% of all pregnancies in that city end in abortion. (NY Times article here.) This second story in particular indicates that this behavior is accelerating in its pace and it will take much fewer than 38 years to reach the next 53 millionth abortion. I know that simply explaining biblical truth will probably not change individual behavior much less this staggering, overall trend, but it is important to blow the horn of warning regardless of whether it is heeded or not.
Moriel just published Jackie Alnor's article, "Discernment Ministries vs. Apologetics Ministries: Is There A Difference?" to which Jacob added the following...
The line between apologetics and discernment is indeed nebulous. In the earlier years with Dr. Walter Martin, etc. "apologetics" mainly meant cult evangelism. With the apostasy of the last 25 - 30 years however,Ã‚Â much of what had been considered "evangelicism" is also now cultic and just as heretical as the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons.
by Jackie Alnor
The field of the Christian study of apologetics stems from the command of scripture to:
"Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." [Jude 3]
Jude was not addressing some uniquely called individuals in the church to some special office like pastor or evangelist, but makes it clear in the first verse that he was calling all believers to the task. "To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ." [Jude 1]
Yet over the years the defense of the faith against "every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God" [2 Cor. 10:5) has become specialized due to the superabundance of cults, heresies, and isms that attack the faith from within and without the professing church.
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness...Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. "” 1 Corinthians 10:1"“5, 11
In the example of Israel being led out of Egypt to the Promised Land, one of the most vivid scriptural illustrations of being saved out of the old life for the new, a very tragic thing occurs along the way. A significant number within the ranks of God's people so large that it is difficult to fully comprehend became so spiritually corrupt that God forbade them admittance into the Promised Land. Only a very few of the original group gained entrance. Some today would assert, "Well, it is obvious they were never saved to begin with", yet the Apostle Paul says "all were baptized into Moses", "all ate the same spiritual food"¦the same spiritual drink", and that they were all following the Old Testament incarnation of Christ. At the very least it seems problematic to state they were spiritual counterfeits with such impeccable qualifications. I would suggest there is much in this example to teach us about this present age in the final hours leading up to Christ's Return which illuminates the working of the apostasy "“ the "great falling away" "“ we are witnessing within the Body of Christ.
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (2 Thessalonians 2:1"“2)
These verses provide an opening to a larger teaching about the final person of the Antichrist to come, but if we rush past too quickly we might not appreciate the valuable gem of insight Paul provides. The overwhelming, repeated characteristic about the Antichrist and those who operate in the character and likeness of Satan is deception. It started with Satan as the serpent in the Garden with Eve and it continues throughout the whole of Scripture until the anticipated Last Days when deception multiplies to a level never before experienced. But notice that Paul provides us with the contents of the basic deception toolkit: "a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us". All deception embraces one or more of these approaches.
Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11"“14)
A few months back in the article "The Problem with "˜Discernment'" we looked at how the word "discernment" is used in order to understand what differentiates the gift of discernment from the general biblical admonition for all Believers to be discerning. Specifically we focused on the fact that in Philippians 1:9-11 where Paul encourages "that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment", the underlying Greek word for "discernment" is "aisthesis", whereas in 1 Corinthians 12:10 in Paul's list of the gifts of the Spirit, what many translations render as the gift of discernment he uses "diakrisis", a completely different Greek word which the NASB renders as "distinguishing". Whereas "aisthesis" is defined as perceiving with the senses as well as the mind "“ a process involving knowledge based on experience, "diakrisis" is the ability to distinguish the spiritual nature of something to determine whether it truly comes from God, from Satan, or the flesh. It is therefore quite interesting to note that the author of Hebrews speaks of the spiritually mature as having attained "diakrisis" not as the result of a supernatural gift, but as a natural by-product of a maturing faith.
"Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold." ( Mt. 24:12)
It does not matter what our former life was like or how buried in evil and sin our background may have been, but there is a common crossroads of crisis at which every Believer eventually arrives. At some point we find ourselves staring into God's Word knowing that we have fallen short. We have to face the fact that Scripture plainly reveals that some aspect of our life or behavior is incontrovertibly in conflict with God's Word and ways, and it is usually that one thing which is the absolute most difficult personal issue, the sin which we are the most hesitant to even acknowledge because it has become such a basic part of our character that we can hardly imagine changing it. I arrived at one of these intersections when it came to certain relationships. I knew that what God commanded in His Word and how I lived and behaved in regard to this issue was at the very least a contradiction, and if I were totally honest, was in actuality hypocrisy.
A Reader Writes:
I watched this [Internet video on a "Greek Jesus or Hebrew Yeshua"] and found it fascinating...The man giving the seminar believes strictly in the text of the Old Testament (does not believe Jesus is the Messiah), but because he is a Hebrew scholar, he is able to shed light on some interesting aspects of the New Testament. Turns out much of the New Testament may have been written first in Hebrew, translated into Aramaic, and then into Greek. Very convincing evidence of this. Hope you can watch....
These other arguments some have tried to influence you with such as the New Testament being written in Hebrew, etc. are unsubstantiated and the cause of propagating such notions is generally the domain of pseudo-scholarly charlatans.
Saturday, July 03, 2010 - 03:44 PM
Recently New Zealand's national press was awash with a story about a disabled, wheel chair bound man who had given his life savings to an Elim Church. An appeal to the Elim church's pastor, by the management of the man's hospital care facility, fell on deaf ears. The witness to the world in general was of a rapacious church willing to take all the money it could get from a man they knew to be disabled and obviously in more need of the money than the Elim church. Truth Watch remonstrated directly with the pastor and also sent the following letter to each member of the Elim movement's national board. Meantime the church, smarting under the unwanted limelight, returned the bulk of the poor man's money, but the damage had been done. The best response we could get from the Elim Board was a stilted, ad hominen response, from the board's chair; "You guys must live sad lives". Of course, we are sad, but not in the sense intended by the Chair. Everytime the Gospel of Jesus Christ is trampled in the mud of church sponsored greed, we weep.
Prof. Johan Malan, Mossel Bay, South Africa (July 2010)
We are living in a time of unprecedented technological achievements, in which handy aids and instant solutions are offered for virtually all problems. Strenuous efforts are no longer needed to get something done. In the area of communication, all information is literally available in a moment with the push of a button. Searching for hours is not necessary as the internet unlocks to us the whole world. It has become a way of life to put in less effort and to find instant solutions for everything "“ unfortunately also for spiritual problems.