The believer who puts God first and is not afraid to lose the honor of this world to glorify his God will enjoy him forever. They will receive a Kingdom that cannot be shaken and find their glory in Jesus Christ—the greatest glory known to man.
We have all likely learned lessons by considering Israel’s defeat at Ai in Joshua chapter 7. However, a small detail in their eventual victory over the city in chapter 8 sheds light on two important truths. When the people went against Jericho, they were to take no spoil. Everything was to be destroyed except the gold and silver, which were to go into the treasury of the Lord. This requirement was the very command that Achan violated, which got 36 men killed at Ai and eventually himself.
Achan took the things devoted to destruction in Jericho, which made Israel devoted to destruction themselves, but once Achan was put to death and sin’s just penalty was met, the Lord was with Israel once again. They had been consecrated, and he would go with them and hand Ai over to them.
Here is one of the most instructive things about the defeat of Ai concerning Achan’s sin. When the Lord gives victory to Israel over Ai, the Lord permits them to take spoil for themselves (Joshua 8:2). It makes Achan’s sin even more tragic to think that if he had been patient, not only would he have gotten the spoil he desired, but more of it than he stole from Jericho. There are at least two lessons to learn from this.
The first lesson is that the first-fruits belong to the Lord. This theme of first-fruits runs throughout scripture.
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By Simonetta Carr — 2 years ago
While her sacrificial life has rightly been emphasized, she should also be remembered for her importance in the evangelization of both Burma and Thailand. In Burma, she learned to speak the language so well that she could share the gospel with other women on a daily basis. What’s more, she learned the unique Burmese writing system, which allowed her to write a Burmese catechism and translate several tracts, as well as the books of Jonah and Daniel (while her husband translated other portions of the Bible).
Ann Judson, one of the first two women to be sent as American foreign missionaries, is a familiar name for most Christians. She is particularly remembered as the sacrificial wife who hid her husband’s Bible translation inside a pillow and took it to the jail where he had been confined, bribing the jailers in order to get in.
This is just one of the memorable stories that were repeated in countless accounts during the nineteenth century, when she was held up as a role model for other missionary wives. But most of these accounts leave out much information about Ann’s own work as a missionary and educator.
“Beauty in the Way of Salvation”
Ann “Nancy” Hasseltine was born in Bradford, Massachusetts, December 22, 1789. The youngest of five children, she was lively, cheerful, and intelligent. By her early teens, she was already popular and in demand for parties and other social events. A special dance hall her father built next to their house became the center of social life for the young people of Bradford.
Aware of her intelligence, her parents enrolled Ann at Bradford Academy where she left a mark with her lively spirit. Rufus Anderson, who became a renowned strategist of missions, remembered how, during his studies at the same college, Ann used to playfully chase him “about the Academy grounds with a stick.”
Like most families in the town, the Hasseltines attended the local Congregational Church. Ann remembered learning from her mother a list of sins to avoid if she wanted to escape the torments of hell. But serious thoughts on the subject were soon brushed off by the attraction of a life of “gaiety and mirth.”
By the spring of 1806 a revival swept through the Academy. Ann was affected by the sermons she heard but put off by the heavy emphasis on hell and by the idea that God would choose who was destined there. “So far from being merciful in calling some, I thought it cruel in him to send any of his creatures to hell for their disobedience.”
This resentment brought her to the conclusion that she wouldn’t be happy in heaven, even if she made it there. “In this state, I longed for annihilation,” she wrote; “and if I could have destroyed the existence of my soul, with as much ease as that of my body, I should quickly have done it.”
She credited God for coming to her rescue. “But that glorious Being, who is kinder to his creatures than they are to themselves, did not leave me to remain long in this distressing state. I began to discover a beauty in the way of salvation by Christ. He appeared to be just such a Saviour as I needed. I saw how God could be just, in saving sinners through him.”
A few days later, she found confirmation of her discovery in Joseph Bellamy’s True Religion. “I obtained a new view of the character of God. His justice, displayed in condemning the finally impenitent, which I had before viewed as cruel, now appeared to be an expression of hatred to sin, and regard to the good of beings in general.”
Bellamy was a disciple of Jonathan Edward and one of the architects of the so-called New Divinity, a movement born out of the First American Awakening. Ann began to avidly read other similar authors, such as Edwards and Samuel Hopkins. New Divinity authors emphasized missionary work, and Ann became increasingly interested in missionary accounts.
She also began to teach young children. Her diary shows how she was inspired in this venture by a popular book of her day, Hannah More’s Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education. Resisting the decorative nature of female education in her day, when women were taught only what could serve to entertain their hosts, More believed that education should lead to a life of usefulness. And Ann, motivated by her renewed love for Christ, wanted to be useful.
By Helen Louise Herndon — 1 year ago
The sources to which “gay Christians” constantly appeal—secular psychology, sociological data, identity theory, and the personal experiences of people who identify as sexual minorities—are not sufficient to guide us into all truth…If the Bible is God’s holy, inerrant, and clear revelation, then it is the foundation of all that we should believe and do—regardless of anyone’s contrary personal experience.
“God has always saved the church, not by theological pacifists,but by sturdy defenders for the truth.” J. Gresham Machen
An abundance of books today addresses Christians. I just finished one—one I’m compelled to recommend every lay church elder be provided and required to read. Why emphasize “lay” elders? Throughout Church history, heresies or straying from God’s divine revelation came mainly through clerical leaders—not the laity. In Reformed Faith churches, lay elders may be the bulwark defending the church from vulnerability to straying. This is not intended to be anti-clerical—simply recognizing a historical reality that is unrelenting yet today. Sadly, reports coming out of trusted conservative seminaries indicate the threat exists; this article is not about that phenomenon. Rather it’s about a book promoting biblical analysis and discernment that elders need to be sensitive to and on guard against a present danger.
The book is Dangerous Affirmation: The Threat of “Gay Christianity written by M. D. Perkins. I received it courtesy of David H. Linden to whom the book is dedicated with these words: “. . . who . . . taught me that life is too short and Christ is too precious to remain silent when His church is under attack.” The author and to whom it’s dedicated are both “sturdy defenders for the truth.”
Anyone reading The Aquila Report and other Christian resources is aware a battle has come to the church via the LGBT activists and agenda. It’s not only related to sexual morality. It relates to a misnomer of Christian identity, i.e., “gay Christian” or “same-sex attracted Christian.” It’s tearing churches and denominations apart. Many congregations remain ignorant of how serious an issue it is. Members lack clear instruction via sermons, oral instruction, or published communications. If lay elders were informed and aware of the seriousness, perhaps congregations would become more instructed and discerning.
Packed with innumerable facts and biblical truths, justice cannot be attained in a simple review; but I’ll attempt to cite certain key points not to be ignored. First, an important lost principle. Much emphasis is directed on loving the sinner, making the sinner comfortable, welcoming the sinner in our churches and times of worship that the inordinate heinousness of certain dishonorable, indecent, shameful sexual desires, lusts, passions, and sexual acts are softened or ignored. It was Jesus’ Father who described all of the above with harsh terms. God’s love enters as a result of a lost sinner experiencing remorse, shame and sorrow for sin, confession, desiring to repent and cease from sin, and desiring deliverance and redemption. That’s true for all of us regardless of sinful propensities. Balancing truth with love and truth in love to all realizing how far from God’s holy character they are and what God hates is primary in receiving Christ’s atonement. We mustn’t get the cart before the horse.”
Now to some of the author’s revealing facts:
The sources to which “gay Christians” constantly appeal—secular psychology, sociological data, identity theory, and the personal experiences of people who identify as sexual minorities—are not sufficient to guide us into all truth. . . If the Bible is God’s holy, inerrant, and clear revelation, then it is the foundation of all that we should believe and do—regardless of anyone’s contrary personal experience.
. . . the purpose of Christian theology is to know God.
Gay celibate theology wants to essentialize homosexual temptation to the point it is left untouched by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Love and truth are redefined. The majesty of God is minimized and the holiness of God is outright blasphemed.
As Christians, our primary concern should be the character of God—and questioning the integrity of His Word is the first step toward impugning the character of God.
Romans 1 is the central text in understanding the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality. The passage mentions the desire/orientation (“dishonorable passions”) as well as the behavior (“committing shameless acts”) lesbianism (“for their women”) . . . and the connection of sexual lust and rejecting God (“God gave them up”).
This comes as a rebuke to anyone who claims their homosexuality is innate and immutable, which is why even “gay celibate Christians” resist this reading of 1 Corinthians 6:11.
Words matter, and God’s words matter more than any others.
It is not loving to call something good and right that the Bible labels an “abomination,” “dishonorable passion,” or “shameless act”
. . . same -sex attraction . . . it is a phrase that removes the moral framework that Paul embeds in the term dishonorable passions (Romans 1: 26)
Because homosexuality is wicked and defiling, Christians are right to be disgusted at its normalization and celebration (Isaiah 5:20)
If we look carefully, we see that the charge of homophobia is ultimately an attempt to replace the shame of homosexuality with the approval stamp of victimhood.
What if our attempts to adjust the worship of God to make people feel more comfortable at church are an offense to the One who established the church?
What’s most amazing to me about the “born gay” phenomenon is that the scientific evidence for it is thin as a reed, yet it doesn’t matter.
. . . but our temptations should not ultimately define us.
But the peace of Christ is available only to those who are surrendered to Christ by faith (Isaiah 26: 3)
False teachers always appeal to our senses, to our emotions, and to our base instincts. They minimize scripture, reframe it, change the emphasis, and twist it until it is forced to confess a lie.
Can the Christian faith and the LGBT movement really live in harmony? “For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
The aforementioned represents just some of the rich and vast coverage the author gives in order to grapple with the multitude of issues requiring attention for the sake of the church as well as the individual believers. There’s so much more to inform and instruct. Lay elders, encourage the godly men and women of the church to be “sturdy defenders for the truth” along with you.
“I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1: 3-4)
Helen Louise Herndon is a member of Central Presbyterian Church (EPC) in St. Louis, Missouri. She is freelance writer and served as a missionary to the Arab/Muslim world in France and North Africa.
By Ascension Presbytery — 1 year ago
At its July 30, 2022 stated meeting, The Ascension Presbytery voted unanimously to receive the Report of their Ad Interim Committee to Study “Still Time To Care,” by Greg Johnson. In its conclusion the Study Committee stated: “Our careful interaction with this work has demonstrated to us that there are several areas of agreement with Johnson’s thought. At the same time, our study has uncovered fundamental and foundational problems with both the biblical and confessional fidelity of Johnson’s underlying thesis and the clarity and coherence of the demonstration of that thesis.
At the January 2022 meeting, the Presbytery of the Ascension gave the following assignment to an ad-interim committee: “To study and report on “Still Time to Care” by Greg Johnson, making recommendations on its compatibility with our Standards, the AIC Report on Human Sexuality, the commended RPCNA report and the Nashville statement, advising as to the book’s implications for the church, such as counseling and Candidates and Credentials exams, and, if appropriate, recommending further action in the courts of the church.”
The members of the committee, after ensuring the book and materials were read, discussed the areas of agreement and affirmation, areas of disagreement or concern, and the practical implications of those disagreements (in counseling and other areas). We then settled on various areas to explore in a report: Sanctification, Identity in Christ, Orientation Change, the heinousness and various aggravations of different sins, and the gift of continence.
Before exploring the substance of the book and areas of concern, we first wanted to state our thankfulness for the testified work of God in the life of the author, Greg Johnson. We do not intend, nor desire, to offer pastoral care or counseling in the area of his personal battle against sin and temptation. Such would be inadvisable to attempt from many miles and many presbyteries away. Indeed, the appropriate manner of addressing sin struggles is with a trusted pastor, in close and frequent contact with the believer, and in diligent use of the means of grace.
Our concern in the report is the content of the book and the implications for ministry offered by the book and its approach, along with his call to repentance and change in our ministries, especially in light of the actions of the courts of the Presbyterian Church in America.
The reading and review of any book is no simple matter. Serious engagement requires that the reader wrestle with a work’s content, context, and purpose. Even where disagreement emerges, few books are utterly and extensively flawed – and Greg Johnson’s book is no different. Indeed, our careful interaction with this work has demonstrated to us that there are several areas of agreement with Johnson’s thought.
At the same time, our study has uncovered fundamental and foundational problems with both the biblical and confessional fidelity of Johnson’s underlying thesis and the clarity and coherence of the demonstration of that thesis. While by no means limited to that which we highlighted, we were particularly concerned with his handling of the biblical and confessional doctrine of sanctification, his misuse of identity in Christ, his aberrant views on sexual orientation, his disregard of the confessional teaching on the heinousness and various aggravations of different sins, and his lack of interaction with the confessional understanding of the gift of continence.
The church desperately needs clear, careful, biblical, and confessional interactions with these issues. Still Time to Care, however, is not these things – for that reason, this AIC cannot recommend it as a general resource for our churches. Rather, we encourage our Ruling and Teaching Elders to carefully engage with Johnson’s work – both through the lens of this report and their own critical interaction with it – such that the serious deficiencies and errors contained therein can be counteracted through the preaching and teaching within our churches.
The entire Report can be read here.