These are Joel Osteen's words from an interview he did at FoxNews.
WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?
OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.
And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.
WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know.
I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.
For full transcript click here.
Click here for details on the Mormon religion.
Click here to see a comparison of Christianity and Mormonisim.
Monday, December 31, 2007
These are Joel Osteen's words from an interview he did at FoxNews.
Yes, the Chargers' 30-17 win Sunday at Oakland in the regular-season finale was a day for adding to their streaks and milestones, but the talk in the locker room quickly shifted gears to focusing on the AFC playoffs.
Tagged by Justice at 12/31/2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Tagged by Justice at 12/28/2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Is Mormonism now a part of the American mainstream? That question raises a host of issues -- including the question of what constitutes the "mainstream" now anyway?
There are two questions here. One has to do with the status of Mormonism, the second with the definition of the mainstream.
I must answer the Mormon question first, and from two perspectives. As an evangelical Christian theologian, I must clarify that Mormonism is in no way consistent with orthodox Christianity. It borrows Christian themes and texts, but its most basic beliefs directly contradict the central teachings of Christianity.
Mormonism holds that God is an exalted man, with a physical body. Christianity teaches that God is Spirit. Mormonism denies the historic Christian understandings of the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, and the doctrine of salvation. Christianity promises salvation through Christ's atonement and the sinner's justification by faith. Mormonism promises deification. Christianity calls for personal faith in Jesus Christ. Mormonism calls for obedience to its own teachings as the path to exaltation. Mormonism replaces belief in the sole authority of the Bible with other writings, including the Book of Mormon. This list is only a brief summary of the vast chasm that separates Christianity from Mormonism. Put simply, Mormonism is not just another form of Christianity. It is a rejection of historic Christianity.
That is a theological summary, but there is a sociological dimension as well. From that perspective, Mormonism can certainly claim to have achieved a comfort level in contemporary American culture -- especially in what might be called "Middle America." Most Americans would feel quite comfortable with Mormon neighbors. The Mormon effort to identify with American culture has been stunningly successful, and the movement's idealization and inculcation of family values has won it the admiration of millions of Americans -- including many evangelical Christians. The convergence of Mormon and evangelical Christian concerns on a host of cultural, moral, and political issues is no accident. The preservation and conservation of the family is a prime concern of both groups.
Now to the question of the "mainstream." When sociologist Will Herberg wrote his famous work, Protestant-Catholic-Jew in 1955, he was describing what then appeared to be the mainstream of American religious life. The Protestants he described were members of the "mainstream" or "mainline" denominations that, for the most part, became associated with groups such as the National Council of Churches. Evangelicals were largely, if not entirely, left out of that picture.
Fast forward to the present and those "mainstream" denominations have been losing members by the millions while evangelicals have been in a period of rapid growth. The new American mainstream certainly now includes the evangelicals. From a sociological or political perspective, no one can ignore the evangelicals. By the same token, in vast areas of America -- especially in the West -- Mormonism is certainly a part of the cultural mainstream as well.
Both evangelical Christians and Mormons have, to some extent, worked hard to enter that mainstream. To a considerable extent, both certainly hope to remain there. Yet, I wonder about the prospects for that. As "mainstream" America moves in any number of directions, and as our current cultural shifts take shape, both evangelical Christians and Mormons may find themselves outside the mainstream once again. Issues including family life, sexuality, the definition of marriage, and any number of social, cultural, and moral controversies may drive both groups out of their cultural comfort zones -- and fast.
The challenges of modernity confront both groups. How long will this "mainstream" remain the mainstream? Time will tell.
Tagged by Justice at 12/21/2007
Logan is a 13 year-old boy who lives on a ranch in a very small town in Nebraska. Logan listens to Christian Radio station 89.3FM KSBJ which broadcasts from Houston, TX. Logan called the radio station distraught because he had to take down a calf . His words have wisdom beyond his years.
Since airing the audio of the phone call and now the making of the video clip, it has taken on a life of its own. People are forwarding it all over the world. We encourage you to share the love of Christ with anyone you can.
If you are wondering if this is real or a hoax - it has been verified.
Tagged by Justice at 12/21/2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
This is from the White Horse Inn and is one of the best discussions I have heard on the subject. It is only about 45 minutes long and is worth your time.
What is worship? We've seen in these programs on this theme of "to God alone be glory" that we were created to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Of course, the Fall threw this design out of whack and ever since we seek to glorify and enjoy ourselves. The ultimate goal of our redemption in Jesus Christ is to restore in the midst of creation a choir that sings God's praises, answering back "Amen" to all that he is and has done. If we had plenty to sing about before the Fall, we have even more reason for praise and thanksgiving after we have been redeemed from its curse. What a wonderful and very important subject for us to talk about "what is true worship?" Beyond the worship-wars and all the superficial issues and questions about organs and guitars we want to go to the theology of worship. What does it mean to worship the true God in the way that he's prescribed?
Click here to listen to the roundtable discussion.
This is a hilarious list that had me and my wife in tears. It was put together by C Michael Patton over at the Parchment and Pen blog.
20. ”I am not overweight. The word ‘glory’ in Hebrew is kabod which according to HALOT literally means ‘heaviness.’ The Bible also says that we are to reflect God’s glory. Therefore, I am just doing what the Bible says.”
19. “Looking at you makes me reconsider preterism, because you are heaven on earth.”
18. “Paul said that it was better to marry than to burn. Therefore, I am under God’s mandate to marry you.”
17. “Here, let me take care of those tithes.”
16. “You may not have chosen me, but I have chosen you.”
15. “I could not help but notice you were exegeting me instead of the text during the sermon.”
14. ”Your name must be grace, because you are irresistible.”
13. ”There are six things that motivate me to talk to you, yea seven that turned my head.”
12. “Until this moment, I thought I had the gift of singleness.”
11. During communion say, “Can I get you another drink.”
10. “The Bible says that God is not concerned with outer appearance . . . neither should you.”
9. “The Good Book said that I might be visited by angels unaware, but something must be wrong with my interpretation, because I am perfectly aware of you.”
8. “I noticed you crying during alter call, can I help?”
7. While giving her a TULIP say, ”This Totally depraved person has been Unconditionally drawn to you, Limiting himself to your Irresistible beauty that is Persevering beyond all others.”
6. “God may be the bread of life, but you are the butter.”
5. “The site of you leaves me apophatic.”
4. “Well, gouge out my eyes and cut off my hands. If I hang around you much longer, I won’t have any limbs left.”
3. “You must have missed The Fall line, because you are lookin’ righteous.”
2. Sing this to the tune of George Strait’s “Chair”: “Excuse me, but I think you’ve got my rib.”
1. “Are you homo or homoi?”
FOXNews.com today published 21 questions that it says represent “some widely held beliefs and misconceptions about Mormonism” and answers provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since some (not all) of the Church’s answers were less than forthright, I will offer straight answers to the same questions. Fox’s questions appear first in bold type, followed by the Church’s responses in italics, and then followed by my answers.
Q: Why do some call the Church a cult?
A: For the most part, this seems to stem from a lack of understanding about the Church and its core doctrines and beliefs. Under those circumstances it is too easy to label a religion or other organization that is not well-known with an inflammatory term like ‘cult.’ Famed scholar of religion Martin Marty has said a cult means a church you don’t personally happen to like. We don’t believe any organization should be subjected to a label that has come to be as pejorative as that one.
The above answer makes no attempt to understand why some people call the LDS Church a cult. The term is characteristically used by evangelical critics of Mormonism to denote a religious group that professes to be Christian but that deviates from essential Christian doctrine in one or more areas. By “essential Christian doctrine” evangelicals mean those teachings that historically Christians of all of the major denominations have taught: monotheism; God as Creator of all things other than himself; the Trinity; the Incarnation; salvation by grace alone; and the virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension, and second coming of Jesus Christ. Since Mormonism departs from historic Christianity on some of these doctrinal issues, we have no choice but to conclude that it is a “cult” as defined above. If you don’t like the word cult, feel free to substitute in your mind an equivalent expression, such as “heretical sect” or “unorthodox church.”
Click here to read Rob Bowman's response to the rest of the questions.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I love these words and line of thinking from J.C. Ryle. He is dealing with the words from Hebrews 12:2 and I love this paragraph from that message.
"Looking unto Jesus" is a very simple expression: it is soon spoken and soon written; it contains no words hard to be understood. But it is an expression rich in contents, and filled to the brim with food for thought. Here is a brief account of the Christian's character: he is one who "looks to Jesus." Here is the secret of running successfully the race that leads toward heaven: we must be ever "looking to Jesus." This is the way to begin well; this is the way to go on prosperously; this is the way to end in peace. Here is the photograph of patriarchs and prophets, of apostles and martyrs, of holy fathers and holy reformers, of holy saints, in every land and age: they were all men who "looked to Jesus." Here is the marrow of all creeds, and articles, and confessions of guilt: to "look to Jesus." Reader, if you and I wish to be saved, let us begin by asking ourselves the simple question, Am I looking to Jesus?
To read more click here.
There were a number of consistent response patterns revealed in the research. Those patterns included the following:
Born again Christians were far more likely than non-born again adults to accept each of the six narratives as fully accurate. On average the difference between the two groups was forty percentage points! In relation to four of the six stories tested, the born again group was twice as likely as their counterparts to view the story in question as literal truth.
Protestants were more likely than Catholics to accept each of the six stories as literally true. Catholics especially struggled to put their faith in the Old Testament stories. Examining a dozen Bible evaluated in this manner by The Barna Group in surveys in October and December, about half of all Catholics trusted the Old Testament stories evaluated, compared to about three-quarters believing the New Testament stories. Meanwhile, among Protestants, in relation to all six of the scriptural narratives, those who attend mainline churches were significantly less likely than those attending other Protestant congregations to say that they trusted the stories as told.
People who live in the South were more likely than residents of all other regions to embrace the truth of all six stories.
Downscale individuals were substantially more likely than upscale people to characterize each of the six stories as factually reliable.
Those who portrayed themselves as mostly conservative on political matters were substantially more likely than those who called themselves mostly liberal to consider each of the six stories to be literally true. The average difference between the two segments was 26 percentage points.
For full results of study click here.
1. He was omnipotent over disease. Matt. 8:1-4; Luke 4:39
2. He was omnipotent over demons. Matt. 8:16-17, 28-32; Luke 4:35
3. He was omnipotent over men. Matt. 9:9; John 17:2
4. He was omnipotent over nature. Matt. 8:26
5. He was omnipotent over sin. Matt. 9:1-8
6. He was omnipotent over traditions. Matt. 9:10-17
7. He was omnipotent over death. Luke 7:14-15; 8:54-56; John 11:4
8. He was omniscient, knowing the whereabouts of Nathanael. John 1:48
9. He was omniscient, knowing the plot of Judas. John 6:70
10. He was omniscient, knowing the hearts of the Pharisees. Matt. 12:25; Luke 5:22; :8;7:39-40
11. He knew the thoughts of the scribes. Matt. 9:3-4
12. He knew the sincerity of one scribe. Mark 12:34
13. He knew the history of the Samaritan woman. John 4:24
14. He knew the problems of his disciples. Luke 9:46-47
15. He was omnipresent. Matt. 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13; 14:20
16. He was worshiped as God by the angels. Heb. 1:6
17. He was worshiped as God by the shepherds. Luke 2:15
18. He was worshiped as God by the wise men. Matt. 2:2, 11
19. He was worshiped as God by a leper. Matt. 8:2
20. He was worshiped as God by a ruler. Matt. 9:18
21. He was worshiped as God by a Canaanite woman. Matt. 15:25
22. He was worshiped as God by a mother. Matt. 20:20
23. He was worshiped as God by a maniac. Mark 5:6
24. He was worshiped as God by a man born blind. John 9:38
25. He was worshiped as God by Thomas. John 20:28
26. He was worshiped as God by some Greeks. John 12:20-21
27. He was worshiped as God by his apostles. Matt. 14:33; 28:9
28. He forgave sins. Mark 2:5, 10-11
29. He judges. John 5:22
30. He saves. Matt 18:11; John 10:28
31. Stephen called him God. Acts 7:59
32. The eunuch called him God. Acts 8:37
33. Paul called him God. Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:15-17; 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:13
34. Peter called him God. 1 Pet. 3:22; 2 Pet. 1:17
35. Jude called him God. Jude 25
36. James called him God. James 2:1
37. John called him God. 1 John 5:20; Rev. 1:18; 19:16
Sunday, December 16, 2007
1. He had a human parentage. Luke 1:31; Gal. 4:4
2. He had a human body. Matt. 26:12
3. He looked like a man. John 4:9
4. He possessed flesh and blood. Heb. 2:14
5. He grew. Luke 2:40
6. He asked questions. Luke 2:46
7. He increased in wisdom. Luke 2:52
8. He prayed. Mark 1:35; Luke 11:1
9. He was tempted. Matt. 4:1; Heb. 2:18; 4:15
10. He learned obedience. Heb. 5:8
11. He hungered. Matt. 4:2; 21:18
12. He thirsted. John 4:7; 19:28
13. He was weary. John 4:6
14. He slept. Matt. 8:24
15. He loved. Mark 10:21
16. He had compassion. Matt. 9:36
17. He was angered and grieved. Mark 3:5
18. He wept. John 11:35; Luke 19:41
19. He experienced joy. Heb. 12:2; Luke 10:21
20. He was troubled. Mark 14:33-34; John 11:33; 12:27; 13:21
21. He sweat drops as of blood. Luke 22:44
22. He suffered. 1 Pet. 4:1
23. He bled. John 19:34
24. He died. Matt. 27:50; 1 Cor. 15:3
25. He was buried. Matt. 27:59-60
Tagged by Justice at 12/16/2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Tagged by Justice at 12/14/2007
As believers we live in a world that is flawed and sinful. What hope is there? Trust fully in Christ my friend! With Christimas and a new year fast approaching trust in Christ alone. He really came as God in a manger later to die on a blood-stained cross for the sins of all who will believe and put their trust in Him. Put yourself, your flesh behind today and serve Him only.
The devotion this morning from C. H. Spurgeon gives me great hope and joy inspite of this evil, sinful world that we are living in today. Truly Christ makes all things new. Be encouraged, stand strong, place your full trust in the newness that only Christ has to offer. Spurgeon writes:
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. (Revelation 21:5)
Glory be to His name! All things need making new, for they are sadly battered and worn by sin. It is time that the old vesture was rolled up and laid aside, and that creation put on her Sunday suit. But no one else can make all things new except the Lord who made them at the first; for it needs as much power to make out of evil as to make out of nothing. Our Lord Jesus has undertaken the task, and He is fully competent for the performance of it. Already he has commenced His labor, and for centuries He has persevered in making new the hearts of men and the order of society. By and by He will make new the whole constitution of human government, and human nature shall be changed by His grace; and there shall come a day when the body shall be made new and raised like unto His glorious body.
What a joy to belong to a kingdom in which everything is being made new by the power of its King! We are not dying out: we are hastening on to a more glorious life. Despite the opposition of the powers of evil, our glorious Lord Jesus is accomplishing His purpose and making us, and all things about us, "new" and as full of beauty as when they first came from the hand of the Lord.
Tagged by Expositor at 12/14/2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Many people who profess to be Calvinists are surprised to learn that while John Calvin was opposed to the bad things that have sometimes come to be associated with Christmas, he wasn’t against keeping the holiday as a celebration of the birth of Christ and saw it as a matter of liberty for the churches and the individual.
We can gain insight into Calvin’s views by reading two letters, one written on January 2, 1551; the other in March of 1555. The relevant portions are below, followed by the full contents of both letters. One may observe that Calvin’s understanding of the Regulative Principle of Worship is not so much focused on the kind of uniform, narrowly limited kind of worship that came to be the legacy of Puritanism, but on protecting the liberty of local congregations and individuals. One must never forget that liberty of conscience, under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ speaking in the Scripture, is a fundamental of fundamentals for John Calvin.
Click here to read more.
Tagged by Justice at 12/13/2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Tagged by Justice at 12/07/2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
The gospel of Luke ends with a supremely jarring statement: “Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God” (24:50-53).
What is jarring about this passage is, as Luke reports the departure of Jesus from this world, the response of His disciples was to return to Jerusalem with “great joy.” What about Jesus’ departure would instill in His disciples an emotion of sheer elation? This question is made all the more puzzling when we consider the emotions the disciples displayed when Jesus earlier had told them that His departure would come soon. At that time, the idea that their Lord would leave their earthly presence provoked in them a spirit of profound remorse. It would seem that nothing could be more depressing than to anticipate separation from the presence of Jesus. Yet, in a very short period of time, that depression changed to unspeakable joy.
We have to ask what is it that provoked such a radical change of emotion within the hearts of Jesus’ disciples. The answer to that question is plain in the New Testament. Between the time of Jesus’ announcement to them that He would soon be going away and the time of His actual departure, the disciples came to realize two things. First, they realized why it was that Jesus was leaving. Secondly, they understood the place to which He was going. Jesus was leaving not in order that they might be left alone and comfortless, but that He might ascend into heaven. The New Testament idea of ascension means something far more weighty than merely going up into the sky or even to the abode of the heavenlies. In His ascension, Jesus was going to a specific place for a specific reason. He was ascending into heaven for the purpose of His investiture and coronation as the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is King in the highest possible sense of kingship.
In biblical terms, it is unthinkable to have a king without a kingdom. Since Jesus ascends to His coronation as king, with that coronation comes the designation by the Father of a realm over which He rules. That realm is all creation.
The King is already in place. He has already received all authority on heaven and on earth. That means that at this very moment the supreme authority over the kingdoms of this world and over the entire cosmos is in the hands of King Jesus. There is no inch of real estate, no symbol of power in this world that is not under His ownership and His rule at this very moment. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, in chapter 2, in the so-called kenotic hymn, it is said that Jesus is given the name that is above all names. The name that He is given that rises above all other titles that anyone can receive, is a name that is reserved for God. It is God’s title Adonai, which means the “One who is absolutely sovereign.” Again, this title is one of supreme governorship for the One who is the King of all of the earth.
The New Testament translation of the Old Testament title adonai is the name lord. When Paul says that at the name of Jesus every knee must bow and every tongue confess, the reason for the bowing in obeisance and for confessing is that they are to declare with their lips that Jesus is Lord – that is, He is the sovereign ruler. That was the first confession of faith of the early church.
The lordship of Jesus is not simply a hope of Christians that someday might be realized; it is a truth that has already taken place. It is the task of the church to bear witness to that invisible kingdom, or as Calvin put it, it is the task of the church to make the invisible kingdom of Christ visible. Though invisible, it is nevertheless real.
These are some of the findings of a Harris Poll of 2,455 U.S. adults conducted online by Harris Interactive® between November 7 and 13, 2007.
Interesting findings in this new Harris Poll include:
- 82 percent of adult Americans believe in God – unchanged since the question was last asked in 2005;
- Large majorities of the public believe in miracles (79%), heaven (75%), angels (74%), that Jesus is God or the son of God (72%), the resurrection of Jesus (70%), the survival of the soul after death (69%), hell (62%), the devil (62%), and the virgin birth (Jesus born of Mary) (60%);
- Roughly equal numbers – both minorities - believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution (42%) and creationism (39%);
- Sizeable minorities believe in ghosts (41%), UFOs (35%), witches (31%), astrology (29%) and reincarnation (21%);
- While many of these numbers for people who hold these beliefs are the same or little changed from 2005, the overall trend is upwards with slightly more people believing in miracles, angels and witches than did so two years ago.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Tripp demonstrates though sound biblical principles how humanity is made by God to transcend far beyond the mere physical realm and is likewise created to be "glory junkies;" those whose visionary lives are governed by God's grand purposes rather than existing only within their narrow self-interested confines. Writes the author, "It is a fundamental denial of your humanity to narrow the size of your life to the size of your own existence, because you were created to be an "above and more" being. You were made to be transcendent." Tripp then shows Christians how to "transcend" through daily, moment-by-moment, practical methodology that transforms individuals into the image of Christ.
It is within this purpose-driven framework, this Quest for More, that Paul Tripp compels believers to see beyond the worldly deception of personal achievement, success, materialism, in order to break free from this ungodly fulfillment that is too easily satisfied with a mediocre walk with Christ. Instead the author invites committed sojourners to a life characterized by an unyielding passion that pursues God simply for the pleasure of His glorious company and in the process, affect eternal change in a hurting, hopeless world.
Tagged by Justice at 12/05/2007
Hear Edward T. Welch Talk About His Book Running Scared.
In Running Scared, Edward T. Welch reveals God's plan for encouraging those in the grips of fear. One of the haunting dilemmas of the human condition is that fear is "an inescapable feature of earthly life." Every person who has lived on this earth has encountered fear.
Tragically, for this reason our race for the good life finds us all too often 'running scared.'
In his new release, Running Scared, Edward T. Welch investigates the roots of fear in the human soul and the ramifications of living in the grips of anxiety, worry, and dread.
Welch encourages readers to discover for themselves that the Bible is full of beautiful words of comfort for fearful people (and that every single person is afraid of something). Within the framework of thirty topical meditations, Welch offers sound biblical theology and moment-by-moment, thoughtful encouragement for life-saving rescue in the midst of the heart and mind battlefield of rampant panic-stricken responses.
This comprehensive primer on the topic of fear, worry, and the rest of God will have readers retreating to scripture for invariable constancy, stalwart care, and robust comfort, instead of as Welch terms it, "hitting the default switch" by responding with characteristic human independence, control, and self-protectiveness. Running Scared affirms that, through Scripture, God speaks directly to our fears:
- On money and possessions
On people and their judgments
On death, pain, and punishment
Welch's lively text provides convincing evidences that humanity's struggle against active and dormant fears are countless. The good news is that God provides both the remedy and the cure for this malady in the person of Jesus Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, and through powerful, life-altering promises in Scripture. Far more than merely another psychology "self-help" guide, serves as a biblical roadmap to a life of serenity and security.
Tagged by Justice at 12/05/2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Fort Worth's Broadway Baptist wrestling with listing gay members in directory
A Fort Worth church continues to struggle with how to handle photographs of gay members in a pictorial directory that's to be part of its 125th anniversary celebrations.
Broadway Baptist Church has debated whether the directory should include gay couples, or gay people individually but not as couples, or whether to omit all individual and family photos.
Members were to vote Sunday after morning worship. But in a clear indication that they are divided over how accepting to be of homosexuality, they met for an hour and then postponed any decision until deacons make a recommendation on Feb. 24.
For full article click here.
Tagged by Justice at 12/03/2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Here R.C. Sproul, Al Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias discuss post-modernism, modernism, liberalism, and the emergent church.
Tagged by Justice at 12/01/2007