As Scripture presents promise after promise, fulfillment after fulfillment, glory after glory, the Christian rejoices, delights, and takes strength from the Word of the Lord concerning the one who came to Earth and the one who is coming again. He rejoices in it because He believes God. He rejoices in the Word of the Lord because He believes in the Lord of the Word.
Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise…
Matthew 25:1-2 NKJV
When God called Moses to meet with Him on Mt. Sinai, He told Moses to bring Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 elders. They went up, saw the Lord, and lived. They even went so far as to eat and drank in the presence of God. Nevertheless, Nadab and Abihu perished in their sin. Even though that one day on the mountain they saw God and lived they were not saved. Why?
The Lord Jesus Christ in the week of his betrayal told many great things to his twelve disciples. He had told them that He Himself was the way the truth and life. He told them that if they had seen Him then they had seen the Father. He told them He was leaving them to prepare a mansion in Heaven for them. When the night of His betrayal came after three years of ministry, miracles, signs, wonders, and preaching, eleven of the twelve would be saved, one would betray Jesus. Why?
Both the wise and the unwise virgins in Christ’s parable had been sitting in the church under the preaching of the word.
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By Tim Challies — 4 months ago
As a grandparent, you can love your grandchildren freely and unconditionally and without expectation. You can pray for them and you can speak with them to teach them about your Savior. You can model godly living and godly dying.
It’s probably a reflection of my age and stage of life that I find myself thinking more and more about grandparents and grandparenting. In as much as I can read the future, I’m not particularly close to being one myself, but I’m the kind of person who likes to be prepared—to think about future realities so I can be ready if and when they come. I’m especially interested in knowing how to be a distinctly Christian grandparent. And so, as Aileen and I get into the stage of life where we are probably closer in time to holding grandbabies than our own babies, I find myself looking to the Bible to see what it says about being a grandparent. (Also, I was recently asked to deliver a series of messages on the Christian family and didn’t want to overlook a key component of a strong family!)
Frankly, I haven’t found that it provides much explicit guidance on the matter. The passages on parenting are given to parents, not grandparents. It falls primarily to mom and dad, not grandma and grandpa, to raise the children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Grandparents need to be willing to allow parents to be parents, and to be careful not to overrule or criticize their children as they carry out the task of parenting. I understand that grandparents ought to be very willing to take on a secondary and supporting role.
But what does that supporting role look like? Based on what I have found in the Bible, based on what I’ve observed in the lives of Christians, and based on a number of grandparents I’ve spoken to, I believe it’s one of influence—of spiritual influence. Let me offer two ways I believe grandparents can take on a role of spiritual influence in the lives of their grandchildren.
Influence Through Prayer
The first kind of spiritual influence comes through prayer. As elderly folk let go of other responsibilities in life and perhaps lose the ability to be as active as they once were, they gain the opportunity to pray more. Not only that, but they’ve had many years to grow in their knowledge of God and their relationship with him, so we trust they are praying better than ever before, that they are more intimate with God than ever before, that they are in a closer friendship with God than ever before. They ought to know the power of prayer and to believe in its necessity.
By John Stonestreet and Kasey Leander — 4 months ago
In addition to their own jarring polemics and personal misfires, the New Atheists failed to realize that religion, especially Christianity, was the proverbial branch upon which they were sitting. For example, the freedom of expression depends on a number of assumptions, that there is objective truth, that it can be discovered, that it is accessible to people regardless of race or class, that belief should be free instead of coerced, that people have innate value, and that because of this value they should not be silenced. Every one of these ideas assumes the kind of world described in the Bible and mediated across centuries of Christian thought. Not one of these assumptions can be grounded in a purposeless world that is the product of only natural causes and processes.
Though it’s not always clear when a movement is over, there are many indicators that suggest this is the case of the “New Atheism,” a cultural wave that rose in the 2000s and aggressively attacked religion in the guise of scientific rationalism. Despite the name, the New Atheism wasn’t really new, at least not in the sense of presenting new arguments. Instead, leveraging the global shock of 9/11, New Atheists pushed an anti-religious mood along with a vision of a society free from the cobwebs of religion, defined by scientific inquiry, free speech, and a morality not built on God or religious traditions.
In 1996, prominent New Atheist Richard Dawkins articulated this mood in his acceptance speech for the “Humanist of the Year” Award: “I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world’s great evils,” he said, “comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.” There was a commercial aspect to the New Atheism, with bumper stickers and T-shirts carrying well-worn slogans, such as one coined by Victor Stenger: “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.”
Though, at the time, it grew into somewhat of a cultural force and platformed a group of minor celebrities, the New Atheism now seems to have run out of steam. Divided by progressive politics and haunted by the obnoxious tone of many of its own founders, the movement is being devoured by other ideologies. Concepts like freedom of expression, scientific realism, and morality without God have all met their antitheses, often in clashes featuring the New Atheists themselves.
One watershed moment was a conflict over the role of science. Just last year, the American Humanist Association revoked Richard Dawkins’ “Humanist of the Year” award for his long history of offensive tweets. For example, Dawkins told women who experience sexual harassment to “stop whining” and parents of babies with Down syndrome to “abort and try again.”
By Dr. Peter Jones — 7 months ago
Written by Dr. Peter Jones |
Friday, July 1, 2022
The church must either announce the holiness of sex publicly through clear Gospel preaching about the person of God, while showing love to both God and the neighbor (the essence of Twoism); or it must remain silent under the culture’s determination to eliminate all distinctions and to call gospel preaching hate speech (the essence of Oneism). Christians speak the truth about God not for the sake of “Christian nationalism” but for people to meet the love of God both in the person of God as their Creator and Redeemer.
This irony is a warning for all Christians who are quite capable of similar sinful actions and who are constantly reminded that sinners in the hands of an angry God, including androgynous practitioners, can also know his forgiving grace if they turn to Jesus, God’s Son, confess their sin, and own him as their only atoning sacrifice.
The Gods of Sex
Why is the LGBTQ agenda now proudly affirmed as a valuable lifestyle choice? Why must kindergarten children be taught how gays think and act? Why does Disney risk losing the parents of their young customers by promoting the LGBT agenda in its movies? Why are there huge annual pride parades in so many large cities? Why are Drag Queens reading to children in our public libraries? Why is Baylor University (among other Christian colleges) happy to make its mark on Christian higher education by chartering Prism to create an LGBT student organization on campus?
In order to answer these questions, please allow me to go back a little in my own experience to show you the roots of the fruits we see so richly exhibited on the branches of paganism through which we walk today.
Pagan Spirituality Lands on Western Shores
Homosexuality is but one option in what might be called “androgyny.” Embedded in the ever-thickening LGBTQ+ alphabet soup is a wide variety of sexual options, all of which erase the male/female distinction: homosexuality, bi-sexuality, transgenderism, a-genderism, drag, and cross-dressing, to name but a few.
The open practice (one might say worship) of androgyny is a relatively recent development. I came to the States as a young European believer in 1964. I found a culture peppered with thriving Christian universities, seminaries, publishing houses, and television and radio stations. Churches were on every corner, pressing the truth of the Christian faith on the culture. Androgyny was nothing but an obscure word used by scholars of the Greek myths. There was no televised Ru Paul Drag Race; no eight-year-olds being encouraged to choose their own gender. But shortly after I arrived, this began to change, as the Cultural Revolution welcomed Eastern spirituality.
Bob Dylan’s astute 1963 song caught the “eschatological” character of the cultural change— The Times They Are A’Changin:
Come mothers and fathersThroughout the landAnd don’t criticizeWhat you can’t understandYour sons and your daughtersAre beyond your commandYour old road isRapidly agin’Please get out of the new oneIf you can’t lend your handFor the times they are a-changin’.
“Changin’” in what way? By the late Sixties, I was a young theological student studying “Death of God” theology. I, my fellow students, and even our professor concluded that the times were at a high point of atheistic secularism. Like Nietzsche, the atheists were killing God. However, in 1974, David Miller, one scholar in the Death of God movement, wrote a book called The New Polytheism, in which he triumphantly announced that the death of God would stimulate the “rebirth of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome.” In the same vein, a generation later, Jean Houston (spiritual counselor who supposedly brought up the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt for Hilary Clinton in the White House) declared: “Now open your eyes and look at all the gods in hiding.” In other words, the so-called “Death of God” was the death of the God of the Bible but also the demise of secularism. It was the beginning of the postsecular era and the rebirth in the modern world of the old pagan notions of the divinity of Nature and of the self. It hailed the New Age epoch where people learned to say: “I am spiritual but not religious.”
What is the essence of New Age spirituality? It is historic paganism. Two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul accurately described the only two religious options we have: “worship of creation” or “worship of the Creator” (Romans 1:25). This distinction is known in theology as the Creator/creature distinction. I have come to use the terms Oneism and Twoism to describe these options. Oneism is the worship of all things created and relies on belief that there are no ultimate distinctions. Twoism holds that distinctions are knitted into our existence, with the fundamental distinction being that between the creation and the Creator. From this “otherness” flow all the distinctions embedded in the creation.
Eastern Oneism’s popularity in the West has caused many Westerners raised on biblical Twoism to take up yoga, trust the enneagram, walk the labyrinth, practice mindfulness mediation or seek the philosophical meaning of life in the teachings and practices of Eastern Buddhism and Hinduism. Multiculturalism seeks to bring all ideas together but, alas, Oneism and Twoism are fundamentally opposed. It is this irreducible conflict that causes the major divisions of contemporary culture.
In the early stages of our culture’s newfound curiosity about Eastern religions, people were seeking to come to terms with their personal sense of meaning, but before long there came a yearning for a much fuller expression of this individualistic spirituality. The Jungian and Gnostic scholar, June Singer, made a programmatic statement that others have since put into practice: “What lies in store as we move towards the longed-for conjunction of the opposites [the joining of the opposites]?…Can the human psyche realize its own creative potential through building its own cosmology and supplying it with its own gods?” [emphasis mine]. Singer called for a coherent, all-encompassing, attractive and religiously pagan account of the nature of existence, which she saw as essentially one, based on androgynous sexuality. She realized that a cosmology or worldview would not function without an essential place for sexuality. She saw androgyny as a means of erasing distinctions and accomplishing “our own new alchemical opus.” She saw androgynous sexuality as being a “witness” to “primordial cosmic unity.” Singer is a true Jungian, conscious of promoting the important sexual element in the coming “new humanism” that Carl Jung envisaged: “The androgyne [the human being aware of being both male and female] participates consciously in the evolutionary process, redesigning the individual…society and…the planet.”