Sermon Sunday – Jonathan Edwards – The Way of Holiness

June 26, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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The Way of Holiness

by

 Jonathan Edwards
 (1703-1758)

“And an highway shall be and a way, way, it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.” —  Isaiah 35:8

This Book of Isaiah speaks so much of Christ, gives such a particular account of the birth, life, miracles and passion, and of the gospel state, that it has been called a fifth Gospel. In this chapter is contained a glorious prophecy of the evangelical state:

 

  1. We have a description of the flourishing state of Christ’s kingdom in the two first verses, in the conversion and enlightening of the heathen, here compared to a wilderness, and a desert, solitary place:

    The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.

     

  2. The great privileges and precious advantages of the gospel, in the five following verses wherein the strength, the courage, the reward, the salvation, the light and understanding, comforts and joys, that are conferred thereby, are very aptly described and set forth:Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert , And the parched ground Shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

     

  3. The nature of the gospel, and way of salvation therein brought to light. First, the holy nature of it, in the eighth and ninth verses:

     

    1. And an highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there. 
    2. The joyful nature of it, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” [v.10].

Observations

 

  1. Observe in our text the subject spoken, that is, the way to salvation: “An highway shall be there, and a way.” This highway is the common and only way to heaven, for the way to heaven is but one. There is none ever get to heaven except they walk in this way some men don’t get to heaven one way and others another, but it i. one highway that is always traveled by those that obtain heaven.It is the same narrow way that Christ tells us of. Some don’t go to heaven in a broad way, and others in a narrow; some in an easy and others in a difficult way; some in a way of self­denial and mortification, and others in a way of enjoyment of their lusts and sinful pleasures; some up hill and others down: but the way to heaven is the same, and it is the highway here spoken of. There is only one highway or common road, and no by-paths that some few go to heaven in, a’ exceptions from the rest.

    If we seek never so diligently, we shall never find out an easier we, to heaven than that which Christ has revealed to us. We cannot find a broader way, but if we go to heaven, the way is so narrow that we must rub hard to get along and press forward. The kingdom of heaven must suffer violence; it must be taken by force, or else it never will be taken at all. If we don’t go by the footsteps of the flock, we shall never find the place where Christ feeds, and where he makes his flock to rest at noon.

    It appears that the way here spoken of is the way of salvation, by the last verse of the chapter. When speaking of this way, it is said, “the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion,” etc. “Zion” is the common appellation by which, in the Old Testament, the church both militant and triumphant is signified.

     

  2. In the words observe the holy nature of this way described: first, by the name by which it is called, “the way of holiness”; “and it shall be called the way of holiness.” Secondly, the holiness of those that travel in it, and its purity from those that are unclean, or unholy; “the unclean shall not pass over it.” No wicked person shall ever travel in this way of holiness. To the same purpose is the next verse, “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there.” That is, none of the wicked men of this world, which are like lions or ravenous beasts more than like men: in their eager raging and lustful appetites and evil affections, or by their insatiable covetousness, are like hungry wolves, are violently set upon the world and will have it, whether by right or by wrong. Or make themselves like ravenous beasts by their proud, invidious, malicious dispositions, which is directly contrary to a Christian spirit and temper. They are more like wild beasts than Christians, that are wrongful and injurious, are all for themselves and the satisfying their own appetites, and care nothing for the welfare of others, their fellowmen that are of the same blood, make a god of their bellies, and therein resemble tigers and wolves.”Now,” says the Prophet, “none such shall go upon this highway to Zion; such unclean and ravenous beasts shall not be found there. No, but the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion.” This way is a way of holiness and not to be defiled by wicked persons. That in Rev. 21:27 will serve well for an explication of these words: “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

     


    DOCTRINE

    Those only that are holy are in the way to heaven.

    Many are not sensible enough of the necessity of holiness in order to salvation. Everyone hopes for heaven, but if everyone that hoped for heaven ever got there, heaven by this time would have been full of murderers, adulterers, common swearers, drunkards, thieves, robbers,, and licentious debauchers. It would have been full of all manner of wickedness and wicked men, such as the earth abounds with at this day. There would have been those there that are no better than wild beasts, howling wolves, and poisonous serpents; yea, devils incarnate, as Judas was.

    What a wretched place would the highest heavens have been by this time if it were so: that pure, undefiled, light and glorious place, the heavenly temple, would be as the temple of Jerusalem was in Christ’s time, a den of thieves; and the royal palace of the Most High the holy metropolis of the creation, would be turned into a mere hell. There would be no happiness there for those that are holy. What a horrible, dreadful confusion would there be if the glorious presence of God the Father; the glorified Lamb of God; and the Heavenly Dove, spirit of all grace and original of all holiness; the spotless, glorified saints; the holy angels; and wicked men, beasts and devils were all mixed up together!

    Therefore, it behooves us all to be sensible of the necessity of holiness in order to salvation; of the necessity of real, hearty and sincere inward and spiritual holiness, such as will stand by us forever and will not leave us at death, that sinners may not be so foolish as to entertain hopes of heaven, except they intend forthwith to set about repentance and reformation of heart and life. Wherefore, this is what we are now upon: to show the necessity of holiness, and this we shall do in these three things.

     


 

  1. Show what holiness is. 
  2. That those that have it not are not in the way to heaven. 
  3. The reasons why it must needs be so.

 


 

  1. What is holiness? I shall answer to this question in three things which fully comprehend the nature of holiness, which are not in themselves distinct as so many parts of holiness, but the same thing in three different lights, to give us the fuller understanding of it. 
    1. Holiness is a conformity of the heart and the life unto God. Whatever outward appearance men may make by their external actions, as if they were holy, yet if it proceeds not from a most inward hearty and sincere holiness within, it is nothing. Amaziah did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart all that he did was not acceptable to God, who searcheth the hearts and trieth the reins of the children of men, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth.And whatever holiness they may pretend to have in their hearts, whatever hypocritical pangs of affection they may have had, it is all to no purpose except it manifest itself in the holiness of their lives and conversations: Jas. 1: 26­27, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” And in the second chapter, eighteenth verse: “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” And in the nineteenth and twentieth verses, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” So that there must be a conformity of both heart and life to God, in order to true holiness.

      Holiness is the image of God, his likeness, in him that is holy. By being conformed unto God is not meant a conformity to him in his eternity, or infinity, or infinite power. These are God’s inimitable and incommunicable attributes; but a conformity to his will, whereby he wills things that are just, right, and truly excellent and lovely; whereby he wills real perfection, and goodness; and perfectly abhors everything that is really evil, unjust, and unreasonable. And it is not only a willing as God wills, but also a doing as he cloth: in acting holily and justly and wisely and mercifully, like him. It must become natural thus to be, and thus to act; it must be the constant inclination and new nature of the soul, and then the man is holy, and not before.

       

    2. It is a conformity to Jesus Christ. Christ Jesus is perfectly conformed unto God, for he is God. He is his express image. Now Christ is nearer to us in some respects than God the Father, for he is our Mediator and is more immediately conversant with us; John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Jesus Christ, he has been with us in the flesh and as one of us he appeared in the form of a servant, and we have seen his holiness brightly shining forth in all his actions. We have seen his holy life; we have a copy drawn, and an example set for us.Now holiness is a conformity unto this copy: he that copies after Jesus Christ, after that copy which he has set us and which is delivered to us by the evangelists, is holy. He that diligently observes the life of Christ in the New Testament need not be at a loss to know what holiness is. Christ commands us to follow his example: Matt. 11 l :29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

      Have you ever read the four Gospels, and did you not observe in the life of Christ wonderful instances of humility, love to God, love to religion; wonderful instances of zeal for God’s glory, steadfastness in resisting temptations, entire trust and reliance on God, strict adherence to all his commands; astonishing instances of condescension, humility, meekness, lowliness, love to men, love to his enemies, charity and patience? Why, this is holiness. When we imitate Christ in these things, then are we holy, and not till then.

       

    3. Holiness is a conformity to God’s laws and commands. When all God’s laws without exception are written in our hearts, then are we holy. If you can go along with David in Psalm 119, where he speaks of his love and delight in God’s law, in your own experience; when a man feels in some good measure what David declares concerning himself towards the law of God, then may God’s law be said to be written in his heart. By God’s law I mean all his precepts and commands, especially as they are delivered to us in the gospel, which is the fulfillment of the law of God. If you feel Christ’s Sermon upon the Mount engraver on the fleshly tables of your hearts, you are truly sanctified.The new covenant is written in the hearts of those that are sanctified, of which the prophet Jeremiah speaks, 31:31,33, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. This shall be my covenant, that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

      The commands and precepts which God has given us are all pure, perfect, and holy. They are the holiness of God in writing, and, when the soul is conformed to them, they have holiness of God upon their hearts; 11 Cor. 3:3, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart.” When the soul is molded and fashioned according to the image of God, the example of Christ and the rules . gospel, then it is holy, and not else.

     

  2. Those that have not this holiness are not in the way to heaven. Those that are not thus conformed to God, to Christ, and God’s commands, are not in the way to heaven and happiness; they are not traveling that road; the road they are in will never bring them there. Whatever hopes and expectations they may have, they will never reach heaven to eternity except they alter their course, turn about, and steer [towards] another point; for the way is a way of holiness, and the unclean shall not pass over it. Christ said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into heaven, but yet he left it absolutely possible with God that it might be; but he said positively and without exception that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. None but those that are holy are in the way to heaven, whatever profession they may make, whatever church they may be in: for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.Whatever external acts of religion they may perform, however they may be constant attendants on the public or family worship, and live outwardly moral lives; yea, what is more, if they speak with the tongues of men and angels, though they could prophesy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though they have faith that they can remove mountains; though they bestow all their goods to feed the poor, and though they give their very bodies to be burnt: yet if they have not charity or holiness ­ which is the same thing, for by charity is intended love to God as well as man ­ though they have and do all those things, yet they are nothing; they are as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal (see I Cor. 13). It is good that we should be thoroughly convinced of the most absolute and indispensable necessity of a real, spiritual, active and vital yea, immortal ­ holiness.

     

  3. We shall now, in the third place, give the reasons why none that are not holy can be in the way to heaven, and why those who never are so can never obtain the happiness thereof. 
  4. ‘Tis contrary to God’s justice, to make a wicked man eternally happy. God is a God of infinite justice, and his justice (to speak after the manner of men) “obliges” him to punish sin eternally; sin must be punished, the sins of all men must be punished. If the sinner retains his sin, and it is not washed off by the blood of Christ, and he purified and sanctified and made holy, it must be punished upon him. If he is sanctified, his sin has been already punished in the passion of Christ, but if not, it still remains to be punished in his eternal ruin and misery; for God has said that he is a holy and jealous God, and will by no means clear the guilty. It is reckoned amongst the rest of God’s attributes which he proclaims in Ex. 34:7 and Num. 14 18. 
  5. ‘Tis impossible by reason of God’s holiness, that anything should be united to God and brought to the enjoyment of him which is not holy. Now is it possible that a God of infinite holiness, that is perfect and hates sin with perfect hatred, that is infinitely lovely and excellent, should embrace in his arms a filthy, abominable creature, a hideous, detestable monster, more hateful than a toad and more poisonous than a viper? But so hateful, base, and abominable is every unsanctified man, even the best hypocrite and most painted sepulchers of them all.How impossible is it that this should be, that such loathsome beings, the picture of the devil, should be united to God: should be a member of Christ, a child of God, be made happy in the enjoyment of his love and the smiles of his countenance, should be in God and God in them? It is therefore as impossible for an unholy thing to be admitted unto the happiness of heaven as it is for God not to be, or be turned to nothing. For it is as impossible that God should love sin as it is for him to cease to be, and it is as impossible for him to love a wicked man that has not his sin purified, and it is as impossible for him to enjoy the happiness of heaven except God love him, for the happiness of heaven consists in the enjoyment of God’s love.

     

  6. It would defile heaven and interrupt the happiness of the saints and angels. It would defile that holy place, the Holy of Holies, and would fright and terrify the sanctified spirits, and obstruct them in their delightful ecstasies of devotion, and his praise would quite confound the heavenly society. How would one unsanctified person interrupt their happiness, and fill those regions all over with the loathsome stench of his sin and filthiness! 
  7. The nature of sin necessarily implies, misery. That soul that remains sinful must of a necessity of nature remain miserable, for it is impossible there should be any happiness where such a hateful thing as sin reigns and bears rule. Sin is the most cruel tyrant that ever ruled, seeks nothing but the misery of his subjects; as in the very keeping of God’s commands there is great reward, so in the very breaking of them there is great punishment.Sin is a woeful confusion and dreadful disorder in the soul, whereby everything is put out of place, reason trampled under foot and passion advanced in the room of it, conscience dethroned and abominable lusts reigning. As long as it is so, there will unavoidably be a dreadful confusion and perturbation in the mind; the soul will be full of worry, perplexities, uneasinesses, storms and frights, and thus it must necessarily be to all eternity, except the Spirit of God puts all to rights. So that if it were possible that God should desire to make a wicked man happy while he is wicked, the nature of the thing would not allow of it, but it would be simply and absolutely impossible.

    Thus I have given some reasons of the doctrine, why it must needs be that those that are not holy cannot be in the way to heaven. Many more reasons might be offered, which the time will not allow to take notice of at this time; but these alone would have been enough to certify us that none but those who are holy ever attain to a crown of glory, if God had not expressly said that without holiness no man should see the Lord.

 


APPLICATION

We shall apply this doctrine in three uses:

 

  1. of inference; 
  2. of trial or self­examination; 
  3. of exhortation.

 


 

  1. Use of Inf. If it be so that none but those that are holy are in the way to heaven, how many poor creatures are there that think they are in the way to heaven who are not? There are many that think that they are undoubtedly in the way to heaven, and without question shall enter there at last, that have not the least grain of true holiness, that manifest none in their lives and conversations, of whom we may be certain that either they have no holiness at all, or that which they have is a dormant, inactive sort which is in effect to be certain that there is none. There are a great many others that are not so distinctly and plainly perceived, that have nothing but what is external, the shell without the kernel. Vast multitudes are of these two kinds.What a pitiable, miserable condition are they in: to step out of this world into an uncertain eternity, with an expectation of finding themselves exceeding happy and blessed in the highest heaven, and all at once find themselves deceived, and are undeceived, finding themselves sinking in the bottomless pit!

     

  2. Use of Trial. If none are in the way to heaven but those that are holy, let us try and examine ourselves by this doctrine to see whereabouts we are, and see whether or no we are in the way to heaven. To know which way we are going, whether towards Canaan or Egypt, whether towards heaven or hell; for if we think ourselves in the road to heaven, and are going to the place of torment all the while, and continue deceived, without doubt fire and brimstone will undeceive us. If we find ourselves in the broad way to destruction, how dare we stir a step further? If we would know whether we are holy or no, let us try ourselves by these five following things: 
    1. Meditate on the holiness of God, and see if you cannot see a conformity, a likeness in your mind. There is no likeness or comparison in degree-we speak not of that-but yet there is a likeness in nature between Cod and the soul of the believer. The holy soul, when it thinks and meditates upon God’s nature, finds a pleasure and delight, because there is an agreeableness in his new nature to the divine perfections. If those that think themselves in the way to heaven, that are unholy in the meantime in their hearts, would compare themselves and their nature to the holy nature of God, such a glorious light as the holiness of God would quickly discover their rottenness and unsoundness. 
    2. See if you can see any resemblance in your life to the life of Christ. It is not supposed that ever any copy comes near to this original, nor ever will; but yet they may perceive whether the same spirit, the same temper and disposition, in a lesser degree be in them, that was manifested by the life and conversation of Jesus Christ. 
    3. Is there an agreeableness between your souls and the Word of God? The Bible is the epistle of Christ that he has written to us now, if the same epistle is also written in our hearts that is written in the Scriptures, it may be found out by comparing. Have you love to all God’s commands and a respect to them in your actions? Is it your delight to obey and hearken to the will of God? Do you obey them of choice? Is it what you would choose to do if God had not threatened to punish the breach of them? 
    4. Do you find by a comparison a likeness and agreeableness between your hearts and lives, and the hearts and lives of those holy men that we are assured were such by the Word of God? Do you walk with God as Enoch did, or distinguish yourselves by your piety in the midst of wicked examples as Noah did? And when you read the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets, wherein holiness is drawn to the life, you may viewing so exact a picture discover whether you have not the root of the matter in you, though it be much obscurer in you than in them. When we read the Psalms of David, we may clearly see what David’s holiness was by that spirit that is breathed there; when we read the Epistles of the apostles, we may know what is a truly evangelical spirit, and whether such a spirit reigns in our souls. 
    5. Do you in a measure imitate the saints and angels in heaven? They spend their duration to the glory of God; they love him above all things, are delighted with the beauties of Jesus Christ, entirely love one another, and hate sin. And those that are holy on earth have also a resemblance and imitation of them: they are of an heavenly temper, of heavenly lives and conversations.

     

  3. Use of l Exhortation. Exhort all to holiness. You have heard what holiness is and of the necessity of it, the absolute necessity in order to escaping hell; what we must have or die forever, must be forever forsaken Now, nothing is so necessary to us as holiness; other things may be necessary to discover this life, and things that are necessary men will strive for with all their might, if there is a probability of obtaining of them. How much more is that to be sought after, without which we shall fare infinitely worse than die ten thousand deaths!This is motive enough without any other; for what can be a greater motive than necessity? But besides that, if it were not necessary, the amiable and excellent nature of it is enough to make it worthy the most earnest seeking after.

Holiness is a most beautiful, lovely thing. Men are apt to drink in strange notions of holiness from their childhood, as if it were a melancholy, morose, sour, and unpleasant thing; but there is nothing in it but what is sweet and ravishingly lovely. ‘Tis the highest beauty and amiableness, vastly above all other beauties; ’tis a divine beauty, makes the soul heavenly and far purer than anything here on earth-this world is like mire and filth and defilement [compared] to that soul which is sanctified-’tis of a sweet, lovely, delightful, serene, calm, and still nature. ‘Tis almost too high a beauty for any creature to be adorned with; it makes the soul a little, amiable, and delightful image of the blessed Jehovah. How may angels stand with pleased, delighted, and charmed eyes, and look and look with smiles of pleasure upon that soul that is holy!

Christian holiness is above all the heathen virtue, of a more bright and pure nature, more serene, calm, peaceful, and delightsome. What a sweet calmness, what a calm ecstasy, cloth it bring to the soul! Of what a meek and humble nature is true holiness; how peaceful and quiet. How cloth it change the soul, and make it more pure, more bright, and more excellent than other beings.

The Way of Holiness

by

 Jonathan Edwards
 (1703-1758)

“And an highway shall be and a way, way, it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.” —  Isaiah 35:8

This Book of Isaiah speaks so much of Christ, gives such a particular account of the birth, life, miracles and passion, and of the gospel state, that it has been called a fifth Gospel. In this chapter is contained a glorious prophecy of the evangelical state:

  1. We have a description of the flourishing state of Christ’s kingdom in the two first verses, in the conversion and enlightening of the heathen, here compared to a wilderness, and a desert, solitary place:

    The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.

  2. The great privileges and precious advantages of the gospel, in the five following verses wherein the strength, the courage, the reward, the salvation, the light and understanding, comforts and joys, that are conferred thereby, are very aptly described and set forth:Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert , And the parched ground Shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
  3. The nature of the gospel, and way of salvation therein brought to light. First, the holy nature of it, in the eighth and ninth verses:
    1. And an highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way o holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there.
    2. The joyful nature of it, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” [v.10].

Observations

  1. Observe in our text the subject spoken, that is, the way to salvation: “An highway shall be there, and a way.” This highway is the common and only way to heaven, for the way to heaven is but one. There is none ever get to heaven except they walk in this way some men don’t get to heaven one way and others another, but it i. one highway that is always traveled by those that obtain heaven.It is the same narrow way that Christ tells us of. Some don’t go to heaven in a broad way, and others in a narrow; some in an easy and others in a difficult way; some in a way of self­denial and mortification, and others in a way of enjoyment of their lusts and sinful plea sures; some up hill and others down: but the way to heaven is the same, and it is the highway here spoken of. There is only one highway or common road, and no by-paths that some few go to heaven in, a’ exceptions from the rest.

    If we seek never so diligently, we shall never find out an easier we, to heaven than that which Christ has revealed to us. We cannot find a broader way, but if we go to heaven, the way is so narrow that we must rub hard to get along and press forward. The kingdom of heaven must suffer violence; it must be taken by force, or else it never will be taken at all. If we don’t go by the footsteps of the flock, we shall never find the place where Christ feeds, and where he makes his flock to rest at noon.

    It appears that the way here spoken of is the way of salvation, by the last verse of the chapter. When speaking of this way, it is said, “the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion,” etc. “Zion” is the common appellation by which, in the Old Testament, the church both militant and triumphant is signified.

  2. In the words observe the holy nature of this way described: first, by the name by which it is called, “the way of holiness”; “and it shall be called the way of holiness.” Secondly, the holiness of those that travel in it, and its purity from those that are unclean, or unholy; “the unclean shall not pass over it.” No wicked person shall ever travel in this way of holiness. To the same purpose is the next verse, “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there.” That is, none of the wicked men of this world, which are like lions or ravenous beasts more than like men: in their eager raging and lustful appetites and evil affections, or by their insatiable covetousness, are like hungry wolves, are violently set upon the world and will have it, whether by right or by wrong. Or make themselves like ravenous beasts by their proud, invidious, malicious dispositions, which is directly contrary to a Christian spirit and temper. They are more like wild beasts than Christians, that are wrongful and injurious, are all for themselves and the satisfying their own appetites, and care nothing for the welfare of others, their fellowmen that are of the same blood, make a god of their bellies, and therein resemble tigers and wolves.”Now,” says the Prophet, “none such shall go upon this highway to Zion; such unclean and ravenous beasts shall not be found there. No, but the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion.” This way is a way of holiness and not to be defiled by wicked persons. That in Rev. 21:27 will serve well for an explication of these words: “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

    DOCTRINE

    Those only that are holy are in the way to heaven.

    Many are not sensible enough of the necessity of holiness in order to salvation. Everyone hopes for heaven, but if everyone that hoped for heaven ever got there, heaven by this time would have been full of murderers, adulterers, common swearers, drunkards, thieves, robbers,, and licentious debauchers. It would have been full of all manner of wickedness and wicked men, such as the earth abounds with at this day. There would have been those there that are no better than wild beasts, howling wolves, and poisonous serpents; yea, devils incarnate, as Judas was.

    What a wretched place would the highest heavens have been by this time if it were so: that pure, undefiled, light and glorious place, the heavenly temple, would be as the temple of Jerusalem was in Christ’s time, a den of thieves; and the royal palace of the Most High the holy metropolis of the creation, would be turned into a mere hell. There would be no happiness there for those that are holy. What a horrible, dreadful confusion would there be if the glorious presence of God the Father; the glorified Lamb of God; and the Heavenly Dove, spirit of all grace and original of all holiness; the spotless, glorified saints; the holy angels; and wicked men, beasts and devils were all mixed up together!

    Therefore, it behooves us all to be sensible of the necessity of holiness in order to salvation; of the necessity of real, hearty and sincere inward and spiritual holiness, such as will stand by us forever and will not leave us at death, that sinners may not be so foolish as to entertain hopes of heaven, except they intend forthwith to set about repentance and reformation of heart and life. Wherefore, this is what we are now upon: to show the necessity of holiness, and this we shall do in these three things.


  1. Show what holiness is.
  2. That those that have it not are not in the way to heaven.
  3. The reasons why it must needs be so.

  1. What is holiness? I shall answer to this question in three things which fully comprehend the nature of holiness, which are not in themselves distinct as so many parts of holiness, but the same thing in three different lights, to give us the fuller understanding of it.
    1. Holiness is a conformity of the heart and the life unto God. Whatever outward appearance men may make by their external actions, as if they were holy, yet if it proceeds not from a most inward hearty and sincere holiness within, it is nothing. Amaziah did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart all that he did was not acceptable to God, who searcheth the hearts and trieth the reins of the children of men, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth.And whatever holiness they may pretend to have in their hearts, whatever hypocritical pangs of affection they may have had, it is all to no purpose except it manifest itself in the holiness of their lives and conversations: Jas. 1: 26­27, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” And in the second chapter, eighteenth verse: “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” And in the nineteenth and twentieth verses, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” So that there must be a conformity of both heart and life to God, in order to true holiness.

      Holiness is the image of God, his likeness, in him that is holy. By being conformed unto God is not meant a conformity to him in his eternity, or infinity, or infinite power. These are God’s inimitable and incommunicable attributes; but a conformity to his will, whereby he wills things that are just, right, and truly excellent and lovely; whereby he wills real perfection, and goodness; and perfectly abhors everything that is really evil, unjust, and unreasonable. And it is not only a willing as God wills, but also a doing as he cloth: in acting holily and justly and wisely and mercifully, like him. It must become natural thus to be, and thus to act; it must be the constant inclination and new nature of the soul, and then the man is holy, and not before.

    2. It is a conformity to Jesus Christ. Christ Jesus is perfectly conformed unto God, for he is God. He is his express image. Now Christ is nearer to us in some respects than God the Father, for he is our Mediator and is more immediately conversant with us; John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Jesus Christ, he has been with us in the flesh and as one of us he appeared in the form of a servant, and we have seen his holiness brightly shining forth in all his actions. We have seen his holy life; we have a copy drawn, and an example set for us.Now holiness is a conformity unto this copy: he that copies after Jesus Christ, after that copy which he has set us and which is delivered to us by the evangelists, is holy. He that diligently observes the life of Christ in the New Testament need not be at a loss to know what holiness is. Christ commands us to follow his example: Matt. 11 l :29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

      Have you ever read the four Gospels, and did you not observe in the life of Christ wonderful instances of humility, love to God, love to religion; wonderful instances of zeal for God’s glory, steadfastness in resisting temptations, entire trust and reliance on God, strict adherence to all his commands; astonishing instances of condescension, humility, meekness, lowliness, love to men, love to his enemies, charity and patience? Why, this is holiness. When we imitate Christ in these things, then are we holy, and not till then.

    3. Holiness is a conformity to God’s laws and commands. When all God’s laws without exception are written in our hearts, then are we holy. If you can go along with David in Psalm 119, where he speaks of his love and delight in God’s law, in your own experience; when a man feels in some good measure what David declares concerning himself towards the law of God, then may God’s law be said to be written in his heart. By God’s law I mean all his precepts and commands, especially as they are delivered to us in the gospel, which is the fulfillment of the law of God. If you feel Christ’s Sermon upon the Mount engraver on the fleshly tables of your hearts, you are truly sanctified.The new covenant is written in the hearts of those that are sanctified, of which the prophet Jeremiah speaks, 31:31,33, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. This shall be my covenant, that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

      The commands and precepts which God has given us are all pure, perfect, and holy. They are the holiness of God in writing, and, when the soul is conformed to them, they have holiness of God upon their hearts; 11 Cor. 3:3, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart.” When the soul is molded and fashioned according to the image of God, the example of Christ and the rules . gospel, then it is holy, and not else.

  2. Those that have not this holiness are not in the way to heaven. Those that are not thus conformed to God, to Christ, and God’s commands, are not in the way to heaven and happiness; they are not traveling that road; the road they are in will never bring them there. Whatever hopes and expectations they may have, they will never reach heaven to eternity except they alter their course, turn about, and steer [towards] another point; for the way is a way of holiness, and the unclean shall not pass over it. Christ said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into heaven, but yet he left it absolutely possible with God that it might be; but he said positively and without exception that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. None but those that are holy are in the way to heaven, whatever profession they may make, whatever church they may be in: for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.Whatever external acts of religion they may perform, however they may be constant attendants on the public or family worship, and live outwardly moral lives; yea, what is more, if they speak with the tongues of men and angels, though they could prophesy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though they have faith that they can remove mountains; though they bestow all their goods to feed the poor, and though they give their very bodies to be burnt: yet if they have not charity or holiness ­ which is the same thing, for by charity is intended love to God as well as man ­ though they have and do all those things, yet they are nothing; they are as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal (see I Cor. 13). It is good that we should be thoroughly convinced of the most absolute and indispensable necessity of a real, spiritual, active and vital yea, immortal ­ holiness.
  3. We shall now, in the third place, give the reasons why none that are not holy can be in the way to heaven, and why those who never are so can never obtain the happiness thereof.
  4. ‘Tis contrary to God’s justice, to make a wicked man eternally happy. God is a God of infinite justice, and his justice (to speak after the manner of men) “obliges” him to punish sin eternally; sin must be punished, the sins of all men must be punished. If the sinner retains his sin, and it is not washed off by the blood of Christ, and he purified and sanctified and made holy, it must be punished upon him. If he is sanctified, his sin has been already punished in the passion of Christ, but if not, it still remains to be punished in his eternal ruin and misery; for God has said that he is a holy and jealous God, and will by no means clear the guilty. It is reckoned amongst the rest of God’s attributes which he proclaims in Ex. 34:7 and Num. 14 18.
  5. ‘Tis impossible by reason of God’s holiness, that anything should be united to God and brought to the enjoyment of him which is not holy. Now is it possible that a God of infinite holiness, that is perfect and hates sin with perfect hatred, that is infinitely lovely and excellent, should embrace in his arms a filthy, abominable creature, a hideous, detestable monster, more hateful than a toad and more poisonous than a viper? But so hateful, base, and abominable is every unsanctified man, even the best hypocrite and most painted sepulchers of them all.How impossible is it that this should be, that such loathsome beings, the picture of the devil, should be united to God: should be a member of Christ, a child of God, be made happy in the enjoyment of his love and the smiles of his countenance, should be in God and God in them? It is therefore as impossible for an unholy thing to be admitted unto the happiness of heaven as it is for God not to be, or be turned to nothing. For it is as impossible that God should love sin as it is for him to cease to be, and it is as impossible for him to love a wicked man that has not his sin purified, and it is as impossible for him to enjoy the happiness of heaven except God love him, for the happiness of heaven consists in the enjoyment of God’s love.
  6. It would defile heaven and interrupt the happiness of the saints and angels. It would defile that holy place, the Holy of Holies, and would fright and terrify the sanctified spirits, and obstruct them in their delightful ecstasies of devotion, and his praise would quite confound the heavenly society. How would one unsanctified person interrupt their happiness, and fill those regions all over with the loathsome stench of his sin and filthiness!
  7. The nature of sin necessarily implies, misery. That soul that remains sinful must of a necessity of nature remain miserable, for it is impossible there should be any happiness where such a hateful thing as sin reigns and bears rule. Sin is the most cruel tyrant that ever ruled, seeks nothing but the misery of his subjects; as in the very keeping of God’s commands there is great reward, so in the very breaking of them there is great punishment.Sin is a woeful confusion and dreadful disorder in the soul, whereby everything is put out of place, reason trampled under foot and passion advanced in the room of it, conscience dethroned and abominable lusts reigning. As long as it is so, there will unavoidably be a dreadful confusion and perturbation in the mind; the soul will be full of worry, perplexities, uneasinesses, storms and frights, and thus it must necessarily be to all eternity, except the Spirit of God puts all to rights. So that if it were possible that God should desire to make a wicked man happy while he is wicked, the nature of the thing would not allow of it, but it would be simply and absolutely impossible.

    Thus I have given some reasons of the doctrine, why it must needs be that those that are not holy cannot be in the way to heaven. Many more reasons might be offered, which the time will not allow to take notice of at this time; but these alone would have been enough to certify us that none but those who are holy ever attain to a crown of glory, if God had not expressly said that without holiness no man should see the Lord.


APPLICATION

We shall apply this doctrine in three uses:

  1. of inference;
  2. of trial or self­examination;
  3. of exhortation.

  1. Use of Inf. If it be so that none but those that are holy are in the way to heaven, how many poor creatures are there that think they are in the way to heaven who are not? There are many that think that they are undoubtedly in the way to heaven, and without question shall enter there at last, that have not the least grain of true holiness, that manifest none in their lives and conversations, of whom we may be certain that either they have no holiness at all, or that which they have is a dormant, inactive sort which is in effect to be certain that there is none. There are a great many others that are not so distinctly and plainly perceived, that have nothing but what is external, the shell without the kernel. Vast multitudes are of these two kinds.What a pitiable, miserable condition are they in: to step out of this world into an uncertain eternity, with an expectation of finding themselves exceeding happy and blessed in the highest heaven, and all at once find themselves deceived, and are undeceived, finding themselves sinking in the bottomless pit!
  2. Use of Trial. If none are in the way to heaven but those that are holy, let us try and examine ourselves by this doctrine to see whereabouts we are, and see whether or no we are in the way to heaven. To know which way we are going, whether towards Canaan or Egypt, whether towards heaven or hell; for if we think ourselves in the road to heaven, and are going to the place of torment all the while, and continue deceived, without doubt fire and brimstone will undeceive us. If we find ourselves in the broad way to destruction, how dare we stir a step further? If we would know whether we are holy or no, let us try ourselves by these five following things:
    1. Meditate on the holiness of God, and see if you cannot see a conformity, a likeness in your mind. There is no likeness or comparison in degree-we speak not of that-but yet there is a likeness in nature between Cod and the soul of the believer. The holy soul, when it thinks and meditates upon God’s nature, finds a pleasure and delight, because there is an agreeableness in his new nature to the divine perfections. If those that think themselves in the way to heaven, that are unholy in the meantime in their hearts, would compare themselves and their nature to the holy nature of God, such a glorious light as the holiness of God would quickly discover their rottenness and unsoundness.
    2. See if you can see any resemblance in your life to the life of Christ. It is not supposed that ever any copy comes near to this original, nor ever will; but yet they may perceive whether the same spirit, the same temper and disposition, in a lesser degree be in them, that was manifested by the life and conversation of Jesus Christ.
    3. Is there an agreeableness between your souls and the Word of God? The Bible is the epistle of Christ that he has written to us now, if the same epistle is also written in our hearts that is written in the Scriptures, it may be found out by comparing. Have you love to all God’s commands and a respect to them in your actions? Is it your delight to obey and hearken to the will of God? Do you obey them of choice? Is it what you would choose to do if God had not threatened to punish the breach of them?
    4. Do you find by a comparison a likeness and agreeableness between your hearts and lives, and the hearts and lives of those holy men that we are assured were such by the Word of God? Do you walk with God as Enoch did, or distinguish yourselves by your piety in the midst of wicked examples as Noah did? And when you read the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets, wherein holiness is drawn to the life, you may viewing so exact a picture discover whether you have not the root of the matter in you, though it be much obscurer in you than in them. When we read the Psalms of David, we may clearly see what David’s holiness was by that spirit that is breathed there; when we read the Epistles of the apostles, we may know what is a truly evangelical spirit, and whether such a spirit reigns in our souls.
    5. Do you in a measure imitate the saints and angels in heaven? They spend their duration to the glory of God; they love him above all things, are delighted with the beauties of Jesus Christ, entirely love one another, and hate sin. And those that are holy on earth have also a resemblance and imitation of them: they are of an heavenly temper, of heavenly lives and conversations.
  3. Use of l Exhortation. Exhort all to holiness. You have heard what holiness is and of the necessity of it, the absolute necessity in order to escaping hell; what we must have or die forever, must be forever forsaken Now, nothing is so necessary to us as holiness; other things may be necessary to discover this life, and things that are necessary men will strive for with all their might, if there is a probability of obtaining of them. How much more is that to be sought after, without which we shall fare infinitely worse than die ten thousand deaths!This is motive enough without any other; for what can be a greater motive than necessity? But besides that, if it were not necessary, the amiable and excellent nature of it is enough to make it worthy the most earnest seeking after.

Holiness is a most beautiful, lovely thing. Men are apt to drink in strange notions of holiness from their childhood, as if it were a melancholy, morose, sour, and unpleasant thing; but there is nothing in it but what is sweet and ravishingly lovely. ‘Tis the highest beauty and amiableness, vastly above all other beauties; ’tis a divine beauty, makes the soul heavenly and far purer than anything here on earth-this world is like mire and filth and defilement [compared] to that soul which is sanctified-’tis of a sweet, lovely, delightful, serene, calm, and still nature. ‘Tis almost too high a beauty for any creature to be adorned with; it makes the soul a little, amiable, and delightful image of the blessed Jehovah. How may angels stand with pleased, delighted, and charmed eyes, and look and look with smiles of pleasure upon that soul that is holy!

Christian holiness is above all the heathen virtue, of a more bright and pure nature, more serene, calm, peaceful, and delightsome. What a sweet calmness, what a calm ecstasy, cloth it bring to the soul! Of what a meek and humble nature is true holiness; how peaceful and quiet. How cloth it change the soul, and make it more pure, more bright, and more excellent than other beings.

Harold Camping, the church, and the world

May 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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This past Saturday, after months and years of warning people about the Day of Judgment, Harold Camping was proven to be a false teacher. After months of laying out the specific mathematical calculations he used to determine that the rapture would happen on May 21st, 2011; after spending millions of dollars on billboards all across the country (and around the world) warning drivers of their impending doom and having his followers hand out t-shirts and buttons telling people of the rapture to happen, Mr. Camping’s supposed final moments came and went with little fanfare (well, from Mr. Camping anyway). Continue Reading Harold Camping, the church, and the world…

Newslinks 09/05/10

September 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Work of Humanitarian Agencies Praised on 5th Anniversary of Katrina
Five years after Hurricanes Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, survivors and those working on their behalf say work is far from finished.  increasing demand.

Disaffected Lutherans Constitute New Body

Presbyterian Court Rebukes Minister for Gay Weddings

D’Souza: Christians Need to Tackle Secular Culture from ‘Belly of Beast’

Beck: Most Americans Don’t Recognize Obama’s Christianity

Gov’t-Funded Study on Sex, Abstinence Released Following Protest Continue Reading Newslinks 09/05/10…

What has God done for me?

March 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Many people today, inside and outside the church, have become focused on self. They are all about them and what they can do. They often don’t know or care what God has done for them. Those who aren’t professing Christians can’t see that their very life is a gift from God. Sadly, this affects the gospel. When people don’t understand what God has done for them or why He did it, is cheapens the gospel and lessens the effect the good news can have in a person’s life. When pastors don’t preach the true gospel, the people listening don’t receive what they need to hear to help them understand who God is and what He’s done for them. Continue Reading What has God done for me?…

Newslinks 01/10/09

January 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

 

DHS Plans to Catch Only One in Four Travelers Committing ‘Major’ Criminal Violations While Entering U.S. on International Fights in 2010
(CNSNews.com)
– Documents produced by the Department of Homeland Security indicate that in fiscal 2010, the department is planning to catch only 26 percent of travelers committing major criminal violations while seeking to enter the United States through international airports. DHS documents also indicate that the department will fail to screen against law enforcement databases 15 percent of travelers entering the United States in 2010 through all official ports of entry.

Pro-Abortion Advocates Praise Abortionist, Blast Pro-Life Efforts
(CNSNews.com)
— The pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America is asking visitors to its Web site to cast votes for the person who has done the most for their movement. Nominations include abortionist LeRoy Carhart, who is one of the few to perform late-term abortions in his Nebraska clinic.

Combat-Related U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan Double Over Last Year, IEDs Major Cause
(CNSNews.com)
– There were 272 combat-related deaths of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan in 2009, as this story went to press on Dec. 31. That number is more than double the 135 combat-related deaths in 2008. The majority of the combat-related deaths in 2009 were caused by roadside bombs, also known as improvised explosive devices.

More question legality of Senate healthcare bill
Constitutional historian David Barton says American courts would have to overturn their last 80 years of jurisprudence to uphold the constitutionality of the healthcare bill in Congress.

Senate abortion support may lead to legal battles
Healthcare reform could lead to court battles if the Senate bill becomes law.
Treasury lifts bailout cap
A regulatory policy expert says the Obama administration is pursuing an odd strategy designed to prop up the housing market – make even more bad mortgage loans.
Church votes to split from ELCA over homosexual clergy
The congregation of the First Lutheran Church of Harvey, ND, has cast the first of two votes to split from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

 Prospects rosy for adult stem-cell treatments
The past decade spelled success in research with adult stem cells.

Pray for America Campaigns Kick Off 2010

Rick Warren’s End-of-Year Plea Raises $2.4M for Church

Malaysian Gov’t to Appeal Christian ‘Allah’ Ruling

Obama Returns from Church-Less Christmas Vacation

Montana Becomes 3rd State to OK Doctor-Assisted Suicide

Report Finds Over 1,200 Crimes Against Churches in 2009

U.S. Pastors Encouraged to Join Nat’l Marriage Week Effort

Pastor Chuck Smith to Be Released from Hospital

Ministry Launches Effort to Plant Prayer Rooms Across All U.S. Colleges

Muslim Mob in Pakistan Wounds Christian Family

Obama’s 2010 budget includes ‘poverty traps’
Remember when candidate Barack Obama said he wanted to “spread the wealth around”? One researcher suggests he’s been successful in doing that.

Perspective: The faith of Tebow, the ire of the left
The media’s secular left already dislikes Tim Tebow’s public faith. Think about their reaction if he shows up in a pro-life Super Bowl ad…

A fine line – sex offenders in church
A North Carolina judge has struck down part of a state law restricting activities of registered sex offenders.

NARAL recognition a badge of honor
A national pro-life group views its recent recognition as a distinct honor.

Is Napolitano on the ropes?
Immigration reform proponent William Gheen is calling for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in the wake of the attempted hijacking of a U.S. airliner Christmas Day. Time to replace Napolitano (commentary by Star Parker)

Car Bomb Explodes Near Iraqi Church; Dozen People Injured

Malaysian Gov’t Appeals Ruling on Christian ‘Allah’ Use

U.K. Teacher Suspended after Offering to Pray for Student

Stephen Baldwin Takes His Faith to the Celebrity Big Brother House

Moody Bible Institute, Michigan Theological Seminary Complete Merger

Homeland Security’s National Operations Center ‘Unable’ to Do Its Job, Inspector General Finds
(CNSNews.com)
– The Homeland Security Department’s National Operations Center (NOC) is “unable” to do its job of ensuring coordination among the 22 federal agencies that make up the Department of Homeland Security and focuses too much on disaster management rather than terrorism prevention, according to its own inspector general. After Hurricane Katrina, “the NOC began to dedicate most of its resources to emergency management rather than terrorism prevention. Many NOC staff contend that this shift in focus is detrimental to NOC intelligence and law enforcement functions,” the report says.

Pro-Life Advocates Plan to Protest Opening of Largest Abortion Clinic in U.S.
(CNSNews.com)
– A coalition of pro-life advocates and religious leaders plans to gather in Houston on Jan. 18 to oppose what is expected to be the largest abortion clinic in the country. Planned Parenthood is renovating a former bank into a 78,000 square foot facility, which will include a surgical wing equipped to provide late-term abortions. “It’s an abortion super center,” one pro-life activist said.

White House to State AGs: No ‘Legitimate Constitutional Concerns’ in Senate Health Care Bill
(CNSNews.com)
– The White House on Tuesday dismissed the concerns of 13 state attorneys general about the constitutionality of a clause in the Senate health care bill that singles out Nebraska for special treatment when it comes to covering the cost of expanding Medicaid coverage. “I have not seen the letter from the attorneys general” but “I do not believe that anybody has legitimate constitutional concerns about the legislation,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Pelosi Pledged to Give Public ‘Ample Amount of Time’ to Read Final Health Bill
(CNSNews.com)
– While Nancy Pelosi is now dodging a request from C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb to open up House-Senate negotiations over the final version of the health-care bill so C-SPAN’s cameras can show them to the public, back in July she pledged she would give the public an “ample amount of time” to read the final bill before brining it to a vote. Listen to her say it.

Democrats and Republicans Oppose Obama Move Giving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Unlimited Funding
(CNSNews.com)
– Democrat and Republican lawmakers alike are blasting the Treasury Department’s Christmas Eve announcement that it will send unlimited tax money to failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thereby eliminating the current $400 billion cap on emergency aid that Treasury can give without having to come back to Congress for authorization. This means Treasury can continue to manage the companies, which were seized last year, until the end of President Obama’s current term.

State Department Using ‘Diversity Visas’ to Encourage Immigration to U.S. from Terror-Ridden Yemen
(CNSNews.com)
–The State Department has awarded 1,011 special “diversity visas” allowing Yemeni nationals to immigrate to the United States since 2000, the year of the terror attack on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden. The “diversity visas” are designed to encourage immigration from countries that do not otherwise send significant numbers of people to the United States.

Control-conscious Dems seek unorthodox route
Congressional Democrats will apparently bypass a conference committee in order to get healthcare reform passed more quickly.

Perspective: Obama and the Vampire Congress
Instead of a promised ethical and transparent administration, Democrats have delivered a creepy legislative environment that could double as a Twilight movie set.

Sour notes – ‘homophobia’ and music ed
The Illinois Family Institute is weighing in on an intriguing article that appeared in the December issue of the Music Educators Journal.

Restrictive home school legislation up for vote
New Hampshire lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that one attorney has described as “the most anti-home school legislation ever conceived” in that state.

Schools agree to end Bible distribution
Public school officials in Wilson County, Tennessee, have agreed to stop distributing Bibles to students during the school day on school grounds.

Persecution List: N. Korea, Iran Top Oppressors of Christians

Churches Called to ‘Do Something’

Southern Baptist Pastor Counters 2012 Doomsday ‘Prophecies’

Orthodox Christmas Marked Amid Protests in Bethlehem

Best Christian Workplaces Announced for 2010

U.S. Embassy in Nigeria Had ‘Major Problems,’ State Department Inspection Found
(CNSNews.com)
– The most recent State Department inspection, conducted in 2002, found that the U.S. consulate in Lagos was “in serious trouble” due to chronic staff shortages, while the U.S. embassy in Abuja relied primarily on junior staff, contract employees, and State Department retirees on temporary assignment to fill “key positions.” The report found that the lack of key staff hampered any and all “substantial progress” at the embassy, preventing it from making improvements in any of its functions.

U.S. Paid for Full-Body Scanners at Nigeria’s Four International Airports in 2007
(CNSNews.com)
– The four international airports in Nigeria are equipped with full-body scanners — the same technology that the United States and other countries are now scrambling to put into place following the attempted bombing of an American airliner on Christmas Day by a Nigerian terrorist. The scanners in Nigeria were paid for by the United States and installed in 2007, according to the State Department’s 2008 Country Reports on Terrorism.

One in Five Gitmo Suspects Returns to Terror, Pentagon Finds
(CNSNews.com)
– A Defense Department spokesman told reporters on Wednesday that Pentagon officials are working to declassify a report showing that almost 20 percent of the prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are either confirmed or suspected to have engaged in terrorism again. That’s almost double the recidivism rate reported in December 2008.

Less Than One Percent of ‘Known or Suspected Terrorists’ Were Put on ‘No Fly’ List
(CNSNews.com)
– As of one month ago, less than one percent of the people designated as “known or suspected terrorists” by the U.S. government had been put on the “No Fly” list that the Department of Homeland Security uses to screen air travelers, according to data provided to the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Dec. 9.

Man in Charge of Analyzing Terror-Threat Info Did Not Interrupt Ski Vacation After Attempted Airplane Bombing, Report Says
(CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama did not interrupt his Hawaiian vacation when a Nigerian man tried to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner over Michigan on Christmas Day, and neither did Michael Leiter, the director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center. Leiter — appointed by President George W. Bush — was mentioned Thursday on cable TV outlets as someone who eventually may be fired as a result of the major security breach.

Ray Stevens’ Song ‘We the People’ Becoming Anthem of Tea Party Movement
(CNSNews.com)
– Grammy Award-winning music artist Ray Stevens has recorded a song that is fast becoming the anthem of the Tea Party Movement.
“We the People” is about Obamacare and the health-care reform bills that have passed both houses of Congress.

Brit Hume: Media Backlash Over His Remarks to Tiger Woods About Christianity Reflects ‘A Double Standard’
(CNSNews.com)
– Fox News analyst Brit Hume said he was “not surprised” by the media backlash over his remark that Tiger Woods look to Christianity for help in redeeming his personal life. Hume says there is a “double-standard” when it comes to speaking publicly about Christianity versus other religions.

Obama appoints transgendered LGBT activist
President Obama has named Amanda Simpson to a post in the Commerce Department, making Simpson perhaps the first-ever transgender appointment in a U.S. presidential administration.

Jesus Christ – ‘two most explosive words,’ says Hume
Fox News analyst Brit Hume says he doesn’t regret urging Tiger Woods to become a Christian so the golfer can find forgiveness for marital infidelity.

Perspective: Sarah Palin – Wrong prescription for America?
The former GOP VP candidate isn’t smart enough to be president, you say? Not articulate enough? Has poor judgment? Don’t get me started…

‘Wrecking ball’ wrong approach to reform
The president of a non-partisan seniors’ advocacy group says two U.S. senators who decided not to seek re-election are the first victims of a senior citizen tsunami.

War on terror primarily a ‘war against young Muslim men’
Terrorism expert Robert Spencer disagrees with the premise of a newly released U.S. government study on homegrown terrorism that contends extremism is contrary to the true teachings of Islam.

Obama Administration Underestimated the Immediate Threat Posed by ‘Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama and his White House counterterrorism adviser on Thursday accepted responsibility for attempted terror attack on Christmas Day that could have knocked an airliner out of the sky over Michigan. “We didn’t know [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] had progressed to the point of actually launching individuals here,” John Brennan said Thursday. “We knew that they sought to strike the United States and that they were recruiting operatives to do so,” Obama said.

Obama Declares America ‘At War’ with Al Qaeda, Offers New Security Initiatives
(CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama is directing all intelligence to be “distributed more rapidly and more widely” among federal agencies; he wants greater integration of intelligence analysis; and he’s order security agencies to immediately add more people to the terrorism watch list, specifically the “no fly” list.

More Independents Choosing ‘Conservative’ in Obama’s First Year, Survey Says
(CNSNews.com)
– According to a compilation of all Gallup political identification surveys from 2009, 40 percent of Americans identified themselves as conservatives, more than the 36 percent who answered moderate and far more than the 21 percent who answered liberal. The percentage of American Independents who identified as conservatives – 35 percent – increased at the fastest rate in 10 years between 2008 and 2009.

Catholic Bishops Launch New Push for Immigration Reform, Pathway to Citizenship
(CNSNews.com)
– The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is launching a new push to get immigration-reform legislation enacted in 2010. The group backs a Democrat-sponsored bill that grants a pathway to citizenship for people who came to this country illegally.

Pelosi ‘crazy,’ ‘very confused’ on church teachings
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent interview with Newsweek Magazine is creating a stir in the pro-life community.

Children best served by mom’s lesbian relationship?
An official with the Illinois Family Institute says it’s outrageous that a judge has permitted a mother to take her children from their dad in order to move in with her lesbian partner.

‘Obama Doctrine’ detrimental to U.S.
National defense analyst Frank Gaffney agrees with the assessment of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich that Americans are less safe than they were a year ago when Barack Obama took office.

Perspective: To profile or not to profile
Observing strange behavior is a legitimate and needed part of law enforcement and airline security. It is not “profiling.”

U.S. missionary’s NK incursion: Publicity stunt?
An advocate for persecuted Christians calls U.S. missionary Robert Park’s incursion into North Korea on Christmas Eve a “publicity stunt” that’s likely to do more harm than good.

N.J. Senate Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Bill

World Vision: Anti-Gay Bill Could Undermine HIV/AIDS Work

Egyptian Police Arrest Suspects in Drive-By Church Shooting

Tetrapod Footprint Discovery Busts Evolutionary Paradigm, Says Biochemist

Christian Retailers Target Mega-Retailers in Federal Probe

California gay marriage opponent fears for his life
An outspoken gay marriage opponent serving as an official litigant defending the state’s ban on same-sex weddings on Friday asked a judge to remove him from the lawsuit because he feared the trial would generate publicity that could endanger him and his family.

Pro-life group scrutinizing Catholic charity
American Life League is challenging the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Churches attacked amid ‘Allah’ dispute
Malaysian officials say attackers have fire-bombed one church and tried to set another ablaze amid a growing conflict over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Fellowship trains to fight slavery
The Polaris Project is bringing the next generation into the anti-slavery and anti-trafficking movement.

U.S. missionary’s NK incursion: Publicity stunt?
An advocate for persecuted Christians calls U.S. missionary Robert Park’s incursion into North Korea on Christmas Eve a “publicity stunt” that’s likely to do more harm than good.

 

This is the year!

January 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Well, it’s about that time. The Christmas season is over and the ball has dropped to signify another year has begun. Aside from the annual commercials selling every type of weight loss machine, drink, and diet plan imaginable, there is one more thing that should be happening right about now. This time of year should also bring the beginning of all of the “prophetic words” from the numerous “pastors” and “preachers” that talk about how this is the year for ________ (insert the new, popular word/term for financial prosperity here…). This is the year of blessing, wealth, prosperity, health, overflow, abundance, and/or fullness. This is the year when that peace/love/hope/power/healing/miracle/joy you’ve been waiting for is going to happen! If you will send these men and women your seed/offering/gift in faith and believe that what they are telling you is true, oops sorry, I mean believe in faith, then you will know greater power/glory/honor/fame/money/prestige/happiness/joy/love/peace/prosperity/your best life now. All that for your best “faith seed”! Seems like a pretty good deal doesn’t it?

If it wasn’t so heretical, it would actually be kind of fun. Like biblical Mad Libs… Continue Reading This is the year!…

The name of God is blasphemed because of you

November 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Christianity | 6 Comments
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Rom 2:1  Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

Rom 2:2  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

Rom 2:3  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Rom 2:4  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Rom 2:5  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

Rom 2:6  who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:

Rom 2:7  to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

Rom 2:8  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

Rom 2:9  There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,

Rom 2:10  but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Rom 2:11  For there is no partiality with God.

Rom 2:12  For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;

Rom 2:13  for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

Rom 2:14  For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

Rom 2:15  in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

Rom 2:16  on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Rom 2:17  But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

Rom 2:18  and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

Rom 2:19  and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

Rom 2:20  a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

Rom 2:21  you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

Rom 2:22  You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

Rom 2:23  You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?

Rom 2:24  For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.

Rom 2:25  For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

Rom 2:26  So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Rom 2:27  And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.

Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

 

I know this is a long passage. To be honest, I could have made it longer by putting up chapter 1 as well. The therefore at the beginning of the chapter connects it to what Paul was talking about in chapter 1. At the end of the first chapter, Paul talks about those who have turned away from God. They knew God and turned their back on Him. They didn’t/don’t honor Him as God and now they speculate foolishly about God and His creation. They call themselves wise, even though their fools. They worship the creature instead of their Creator. Because of this, God has given them over to their lusts. He’s allowed them to drift farther and farther away from Him because that’s what they wanted. They have gotten so far from Him that “women have the natural function for that which is unnatural” and “the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Paul then goes on to give a list of things that describe these people.

 

In the second chapter, Paul continues explaining and gets to the heart of the matter. It is something that grieves me to see happening today. Paul continues talking to the hypocrites and tells them that the name of God is blasphemed because of them. They have been judging others and practicing the same sins they’ve been judging. This doesn’t mean that Christians shouldn’t judge. I know many will throw out Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”. But, Jesus also said, in John 7:24, “judge not by appearance but by righteous judgment”. We are to judge with righteous judgment, and that judgment only comes from God. When we line up our lives and those of others to the Word of God, if there are discrepancies, we have a responsibility to point them out with the right attitude. We don’t become their judge and we don’t hold it over them, but we do let them know the truth of their predicament and what could happen if they continue to live in sin.

 

Paul also says that it’s not someone who calls themselves a Jew that’s a Jew. It doesn’t matter if you do the rituals. That’s not what makes you a Jew. If you call yourself a Jew and transgress the Law, you are no better than a Gentile. But the one who has had his heart circumcised by the Spirit is a Jew. Someone who calls themselves a Christian and does all the outward things to “prove” they’re a Christian but doesn’t obey the gospel, isn’t a Christian at all.

 

There are numerous people today in the church who live like this. They go to Sunday school and church on Sunday. They are there on Wednesday nights. They can pray out loud in front of others like nobody’s business. They can speak the “lingo” and have all the right Christianese phrases, but they hearts are far from God. They can mimic their pastors and teachers, but don’t know (or care) whether what is coming from them is correct. They feel good about themselves and want others to feel good about them. They chase prosperity and health and teach others to do the same thinking that they’re fulfilling the great commission. They judge others and practice the same sins. They think that they are above the judgment of God and are arrogant and self-righteous. They boast in the Law or in their own works. They know God’s will and choose not to obey it. They are confident that they’re living a righteous life and get upset when someone gives even the slightest hint that they might not be.

 

The most horrible effect of this, other than the fact that they’re deceived into thinking they’re Christians, is the fact that God’s name is being blasphemed because of them. The name above all names. The name by which every man, woman, and child will be saved. The name at which every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The name that is so holy to the Jews that they won’t even write it out. This name is being blasphemed because of those who call themselves Christians and don’t live like it. Paul tells the Romans that they non-believers are watching them and blaspheming the name of God because they see “believers” acting just as immoral and unholy as they are. Sadly, it’s still going on today and it seems to be even worse than ever.

 

I’ve talked to many friends who are waiters or waitresses at restaurants and they all agree that Sundays are the worst day to work. It’s not because of the fact that they miss church. It’s because of the “church crowd”. I’ve heard on numerous occasions that the “Christians” who come from church are some of the most rude, obnoxious, ungrateful people to serve. They don’t tip well (if they tip at all), and they have an air about them like they’re royalty. How does this look to those servers who aren’t Christians? They see the attitude of the “church-goers” and how they are treated by them, and have a horrible view of God and the church because of it!

 

There have been numerous times over the years of those leading a church being caught up in a sexual scandal. The world sees this and scoffs. To their eyes, God obviously isn’t powerful enough to help His people stay away from that. They see pastors/clergy/preachers as hypocrites (and they are) because they preach truth, righteousness, and chastity in the pulpit, and then disobey what they’ve just preached.

 

Another reason the name of God is blasphemed is because of the false prophets, false teachers, televangelists, and prosperity preachers. People like Peter Popoff talk all about God and say the right things in their “crusades” and bilk thousands of people out of millions of dollars a year. When it was shown that Popoff was a fraud, he wasn’t the one that was affected. It was God’s name that was blasphemed and Christianity was ridiculed. Popoff was just “another one of them preachers”. The same goes for the numerous (and the numbers seem to be growing) prosperity preachers. People like Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Bill Winston, Jerry Savelle, Benny Hinn, and many others preach a man centered message that skews the truth of scripture and portrays a false Jesus. They teach that Christians should be healthy and wealthy because “it’s their right as Christians”. They teach that we have some sort of “mandate” from heaven to be rich and healthy. They teach that God needs our permission before He can take action here on earth. It’s all false. There is nothing in scripture that supports this. People who preach this type of message sound like a broken record. They preach the same messages and same scriptures over and over again. They take scriptures out of context to support their false teaching and constantly ask for money to support their ministry so that their followers can be “blessed”. But where does all the money that gets “sown” into their “ministries” go? I’m sure that some of it goes to good things, but is a 6 million dollar mansion necessary? Another more recent example of this is the Lakeland “revival” that took place in Florida. Todd Bentley, the leader of the revival, claimed that thousands were saved and healed. There were even claims that people rose from the dead. There was no documentation to show any of this. In fact, there were some cases of people dying because an expected healing didn’t come. And the shenanigans that went on just gave non-Christians another reason to blaspheme God’s name.

 

There are many instances of false prophets as well. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say they’ve had a “Word from the Lord” and it hasn’t come to pass. Many of these people are the same ones that preach the prosperity message. There are others though. I lost track of the number of times that I heard someone say that God told them that John McCain and Sarah Palin would win the election because “they were raised up for such a time as this”. One prominent person who “prophesied” this was Dutch Sheets. In case you’ve been in a cave somewhere, that didn’t happen. So, according to the scriptures, those who “prophesied” this are false prophets. So what was the response of Mr. Sheets when his “prophecy” didn’t come to pass? It was because God’s people didn’t stand up and vote like they should have. Mr. Sheets said that this election was not the will of God. Um…whose will was it then? Doesn’t scripture say that God is the one that puts kings and rulers into place and takes them out? First, as a false prophet in the Old Testament, Mr. Sheets would have been stoned to death by the nation. Second, if I understand Mr. Sheets correctly, he’s saying that the reason the “Word” that God gave him didn’t come to pass was the fault of God’s people. Where is this in scripture Mr. Sheets? If we look in the Bible where would we find this? As a matter of fact, let’s just look at the book of Genesis and the “Words” God gave.

 

In Genesis 3, God tells Adam and Eve of the seed of the woman. Women don’t have seed. And yet, in God’s time, a young virgin woman conceived by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word came to pass, even though Herod tried to kill all the kids two years old and younger. Even though many other things tried to thwart the plan of God.

 

In Genesis 12, God tells Abraham that He will bless him and make him out of a great nation. In Genesis 15, God tells Abraham that He will give him a son of his own. Abraham had a son just like God promised, even though Abraham tried to do it on his own. It didn’t thwart God’s plan that Abraham had Ishmael. The promised child was still born. God’s Word still came to pass. God’s will wasn’t dependant on His people.

 

In Genesis 28, God gives Jacob a promise that his descendants would be given the land that he was resting on and that his descendants would be a great nation. That’s come to pass too, despite God’s people.

 

In Genesis 37, God gives Joseph two dreams. Both of them consist of Joseph’s family bowing down to him. In Genesis 40, Joseph receives the interpretation of two dreams. In Genesis 41, Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh. All of these things came to pass. Jacob and his sons ended up bowing to Joseph when he was made second in all Egypt. The cupbearer was restored to his position while the baker was hanged. There were seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Not only that, but the famine helped bring Israel into Egypt where another one of God’s plans was fulfilled. In Genesis 15, God told Abraham during the making of their covenant that his descendants would be strangers in a land that wasn’t theirs for four hundred years. When Israel left Egypt on the Passover, it was 430 years after they entered. They entered Egypt as 70 people and came out as millions. They were a nation.

 

Everything that God has ever spoken has come to pass, regardless of God’s people. Much of what the prophets of the Old Testament has come to pass. What hasn’t come to pass yet will come to pass in the future.

 

To be honest, I’m tired of hearing that people have a “Word from God”. Many of times, these “Words” use scripture out of context and twist the meaning to make it fit that “Word”. When these things don’t come to pass, how does that do anything to edify the body? What do non-Christians think when they see these people “prophesying” in the name of God and it doesn’t come to pass? IF all of these people are hearing from God and it’s not coming to pass, is God really all knowing or all-powerful? If this wasn’t God’s will, then is God running around making up backup plans? If all these people aren’t hearing from God, they are false prophets. If they’re not hearing from God, who are they hearing from? If they “hear from God” and they’re wrong, why should I believe other things that they say?

 

This is a sad commentary on how far the church has drifted from the truth. We love to hear what we want to hear and there seem to be a growing number of preachers who will speak exactly what we want to hear. They don’t tell us what we need to hear. They tell us what will keep us coming back and giving money. They will make us feel invincible and above God. They will build us up on a foundation of false scripture and present to us a false Jesus that loves what we love and hates what we hate. These are the people that Peter warned about in his second epistle. It is a call to repentance. The church is still losing its influence and we seem to be oblivious to it all. We need to stand up for the truth even if it means disciplining people, calling false prophets/teachers what they are, and holding our preachers up to the standard of the Word. We must not take anything for granted and when things don’t line up, we have to ask questions. Where are the real Christians? It’s time to start standing up for the truth!

Religion at its best

August 3, 2007 at 11:49 am | Posted in Christianity | 5 Comments
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I’ve taken the liberty to copy an article from WorldNetDaily. The reason that I copied it is so that the context of the article can be seen as I write my response. The bold and narrow assertion made by Pope Benedict XVI recently is not only offensive, it goes against the very thing that it proposes to uphold. This discussion could go on for pages, so I will try to stay to the issue at hand. I will keep short the background information in hopes that readers will study what is said on their own.

Pope Benedict XVI has ignited controversy across the world by approving a document saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation. Continue Reading Religion at its best…


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