Carl Trueman – Adam and Eve and Pinch Me

It is encouraging to see that Dr. Albert Mohler is one of the two leaders of the TGC seminar on Adam (the other being Dr. Bryan Chapell). Kudos to TGC for a very good choice. Dr. Mohler has made it clear that evolution is not simply wrong but has gone so far as to describe it as a myth which is ‘not only incompatible with any historical affirmation of Genesis, but … also with the claim that all humanity is descended from Adam and the claim that in Adam all humanity fell into sin and guilt.’ He has also stated that ‘[t]he Bible’s account of the Fall and its consequences is utterly incompatible with evolutionary theory. The third chapter of Genesis is as problematic for evolutionary theory as the first two.’ In other words, he thinks that evolution excludes the biblical view of an historical Adam and therefore of original sin. In short, consistent affirmation of evolution ultimately requires denial of the gospel. You can read the whole statement here. As always, I appreciate Dr. Mohler’s forthright candor on this issue, as on so many others. And I find his argument on the significance of evolution for orthodox conceptions of the gospel to be persuasive, compelling and timely.

Dr. Tim Keller, one of the two most senior TGC leaders, also sees the church’s attitude to evolution as a watershed issue for the gospel. Unlike Dr. Mohler, however, he has made it clear over the last few years that he is not only committed to some form of theistic evolution (though maintaining an historical Adam, reconstructed in light of evolutionary theory) but also regards the church’s failure to take evolution on board as potentially catastrophic. His comments to this effect at a Biologos-sponsored colloquy were reported by Christianity Today here; and Mike Kruger offers an excellent response to that particular gathering here.

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Michael Boling – Reflections on Numbers 26-27

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Numbers 26-27

Numbers 26 contains another census of the people ordered by God. Since there had been several judgments levied upon Israel including plagues and people being swallowed up by the earth, God spoke to Moses and Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest and told them to take a census of the people, specifically those twenty years old and up, by their father’s house counting only those in that category who are able to go to war. The finally tally was 601,730.

It was to these God commanded the land of promise to be divided as their inheritance with the larger tribes receiving a larger inheritance and the smaller tribes receiving a smaller inheritance. The Levites were not numbered in the census and were given no inheritance of land.

The daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, the son of Joseph stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest in the presence of all the leaders of the congregation at the doorway to the tent of meeting. They noted that their father had died in the wilderness, but he was not part of the rebellion against God. He died in his own sin, leaving no sons. These daughters were understandably worried as to where their inheritance would be, if anything and why would they have no inheritance simply because they had no sons. Their request was to be given a possession from among their father’s brothers.

Moses brought their case before God and the Lord told Moses that what the daughters of Zelophehad spoke of was correct. They should receive an inheritance among their father’s brothers. God told Moses to tell the people that if a man dies and has no son, the inheritance would pass to his daughter. If has no daughter, the inheritance would go to his brothers. If he has no brothers, the inheritance would go to his father’s brothers. If his family has no brothers, the inheritance would go to his nearest relative.

God told Moses to go up to Mount Abarim so he could view the land of promise so that after he observed the land, he could be gathered to his people (or die). God commanded Moses to take Joshua the son of Nun with him and to lay his hands upon Joshua. He was to be set before Eleazar the priest and before the congregation to be inaugurated as the next leader of the people of Israel upon Moses’ death. Moses did as God commanded.

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Intelmin Week in Review: 20-26 May 2013

Here is what made it on Intelmin this past week. It was yet another busy week with lots of great articles, book reviews, and videos to share. Thanks for stopping by.

Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell – BSA and Gay: Phase One

The Feasts of the Lord – The Fullfillment of the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost)

Tedd Tripp – Listening at Home

Andrew Shanks – What’s the Difference Between Erotica and Song of Solomon?

John Knight – Beyond the Rhetoric: Gosnell and the Late-Term Reality

Carl Trueman – Tragic Worship

Daniel Darling – 5 Ways Adult Children Can Honor Their Parents

Steve DeWitt – Arrows Out

Michael Kruger – The Difference Between Original Autographs and Original Texts

Lindsey Carlson – The Plastic Fruit of Online Living

Daniel Darling – Why Your Spiritual Growth Matters to the Community

Dr. Danny Faulkner – Universe by Design: Twentieth-Century Cosmology

Dr. Danny Faulkner – Universe by Design: Twentieth-Century Cosmology

Dr. Albert Mohler – Boy Scouts at the Brink: The Moment of Decision Arrives

Marc Ambler – Biblical Creation—Truly, a Theory of Everything (ToE)

Charles Hodge – Theology Proper

Mike Leake – Tornadoes and Theology

Sam Storms – Tornadoes, Tsunamis, and the Mystery of Suffering and Sovereignty

Dr. Albert Mohler – The Goodness of God and the Reality of Evil

Glenn Stanton – FactChecker: Is the ‘I Only Need Jesus!’ Declaration Christian?

Winston Hottman – The Gospel and the (Im)perfect Marriage

Michael Horton – Christless Christianity: Getting in Christ’s Way

Glenn Stanton – FactChecker: Does Abba Mean ‘Daddy’?

Tedd Tripp – The Power of Presentation

E.H. Askwith – The Historical Value of the Fourth Gospel

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Stephen Charnock – Discourse on the Wisdom of God

rp_stephencharnock.jpeg Romans. 16:27.—To God only wise be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.

THIS chapter being the last of this Epistle, is chiefly made up of charitable and friendly salutations and commendations of particular persons, according to the earliness and strength of their several graces, and their labor of love for the interest of God and his people. In verse 17, he warns them not to be drawn aside from the gospel doctrine, which had been taught them, by the plausible pretences and insinuations which the corrupters of the doctrine and rule of Christ never want from the suggestions of their carnal wisdom. The brats of soul-destroying errors may walk about the world in a garb and disguise of good words and fair speeches, as it is in the 18th. verse; by “good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” And for their encouragement to a constancy in the gospel doctrine, he assures them, that all those that would dispossess them of truth, to possess them with vanity, are but Satan’s instruments, and will fall under the same captivity and yoke with their principal (ver. 18); “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” Whence, observe,

1. All corrupters of divine truth, and troublers of the church’s peace, are no better than devils. Our Saviour thought the name, Satan, a title merited by Peter, when he breathed out an advice, as an axe at the root of the gospel, the death of Christ, the foundation of all gospel truth; and the apostle concludes them under the same character, which hinder the superstructure, and would mix their chaff with his wheat (Matt. 16:23), “Get thee behind me, Satan.” It is not, Get thee behind me, Simon, or, Get thee behind me, Peter; but “Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence to me.” Thou dost oppose thyself to the wisdom, and grace, and authority of God, to the redemption of man, and to the good of the world. As the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth, so is Satan the spirit of falsehood as the Holy Ghost inspires believers with truth, so doth the devil corrupt unbelievers with error. Let us cleave to the truth of the gospel, that we may not be counted by God as part of the corporation of fallen angels, and not be barely reckoned as enemies of God, but in league with the greatest enemy to his glory in the world.

2. The Reconciler of the world will be the Subduer of Satan. The God of peace sent the Prince of peace to be the restorer of his rights, and the hammer to beat in pieces the usurper of them. As a God of truth, he will make good his promise; as a God of peace, he will perfect the design his wisdom hath laid, and begun to act. In the subduing Satan, he will be the conqueror of his instruments: he saith not, God shall bruise your troublers and heretics, but Satan: the fall of a general proves the rout of the army. Since God, as a God of peace, hath delivered his own, he will perfect the victory, and make them cease from bruising the heel of his spiritual seed.

3. Divine evangelical truth shall be victorious. No weapon formed against it shall prosper: the head of the wicked shall fall as low as the feet of the godly. The devil never yet blustered in the world, but he met at last with a disappointment: his fall hath been like lightning, sudden, certain, vanishing.

4. Faith must look back as far as the foundation promise. “The God of peace shall bruise,” &c. The apostle seems to allude to the first promise (Gen. 2:15),—a promise that hath vigor to nourish the church in all ages of the world: it is the standing cordial; out of the womb of this promise all the rest have taken their birth. The promises of the Old Testament were designed for those under the New, and the full performance of them is to be expected, and will be enjoyed by them. It is a mighty strengthening to faith, to trace the footsteps of God’s truth and wisdom, from the threatening against the serpent in Eden, to the bruise he received in Calvary, and the triumph over him upon Mount Olivet.

5. We are to confide in the promise of God, but leave the season of its accomplishment to his wisdom. He will “bruise Satan under your feet,” therefore do not doubt it; and shortly, therefore, wait for it. Shortly it will be done, that is, quickly, when you think it may be a great way off; or shortly, that is, seasonably, when Satan’s rage is hottest. God is the best judge of the seasons of distributing his own mercies, and darting out his own glory: it is enough to encourage our waiting, that it will be, and that it will be shortly; but we must not measure God’s shortly by our minutes.

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Michael Boling – Betrothal, the Believer’s Relationship with Jesus, and Eschatology (Part 1)

Betrothal, the Believer’s Relationship with Jesus, and Eschatology (Part 1)

For most Christians, the last two concepts in the title of this article are at least somewhat familiar. Our relationship with Jesus is a phrase commonly by Christians and eschatology is quite simply that fancy theological term for all things related to the end of time. Betrothal on the other hand is a term I would venture to say most Christians have only a passing understanding of. Perhaps they have heard that term used from their yearly bible reading in Hosea 2:19 or more likely from Luke 2:5 and the story of Mary and Joseph. Even then, the word betrothal is often translated as espoused or pledged, thus the reason many are not familiar with the word or concept of betrothal.

So what does the term betrothal mean and why is it of any importance for understanding our relationship with Jesus and/or eschatology? Was betrothal merely an Ancient Near East (ANE) custom that has absolutely no significance for us today or is that concept and process dripping with theological importance and something we should study in order to recognize the value of such a model both for the original hearers of the biblical message and for our lives today? With that as a background, this article will explore the betrothal process examining the various elements of this marital process. In the next part of this series, we will take the understanding gained from understanding what betrothal was all about in order to see how it applies to how we are to relate to Jesus and how he relates to us. Finally, in the third and final installment of this series, we will look at how the betrothal model relates to eschatology.

First let’s begin with some definitions. Betrothal is typically defined in most dictionaries as engagement to be married or a mutual promise to marry. When defined in that manner, betrothal does not appear to be any different than the more modern term of engagement. As definitions often do, the ANE process of betrothal is quite a bit more pregnant with meaning than the average dictionary definition provides.

So what exactly did betrothal mean in the ANE? Betrothal did involve a mutual promise to marry; however, that definition barely scratches the surface of what was actually involved. The process of betrothal consisted of two distinct and vitally important events, the first being the Kiddushin and the second being the Nissuin.

The word kiddushin comes from the Hebrew root word kadosh, meaning holy or set apart. Thus, at the kiddushin, the man and woman are betrothed or promised to one another, more appropriately defined as being set apart for one another. At this important event, a number of activities took place. The bridegroom provided the bride with a dowry, typically money or something of monetary value. Additionally, both parties signed a document known as a Ketubah which outlined the “mutual obligations of the bride and groom. At one time, this marriage contract gave the bride important legal protection. Today, the purpose of the Ketubah is to remind the couple of their moral responsibilities to each other.” (See Judaism.about.com) At this point, the bride and bridegroom were considered to be legally married without the physical “benefits” of marriage. Furthermore, the bridegroom drank wine from a special glass reserved for only the lips of the bridegroom and bride. Once the bridegroom took a drink, he handed the glass to the bride. If she drank from the glass, it was understood she accepted the terms of the Ketubah. The glass was then set aside for the Nissuin.

Once both parties had agreed to the terms of the Ketubah and the document had been signed, a period of waiting and preparation began. During this period which typically lasted at least a year, the bride and bridegroom, though married, lived apart from one another. Each individual was focused on preparing themselves for the Nissuin, a day only the father of the bridegroom knew. A main responsibility of the bridegroom was to prepare a place for him and his bride to live. Additionally, the bridegroom is instructed on how to be a husband by not only his father, but also from the men of the community. The bridegroom also underwent a period of preparation in which she is instructed in matters of marriage by her mother and the women of the community. Quite often, the bride was responsible for making her own wedding garment.

At a time when the father of the bridegroom deemed it appropriate based on his confidence the bridegroom and bride were ready, the Nissuin or marriage ceremony took place. The word Nissuin literally means “to carry” which is of great significance considering the bride actually was waiting for her bridegroom to come carry her to their new home. The Nissuin was quite a celebration and “It was customary for one of the grooms party to go ahead of the bridegroom, leading the way to the bride’s house – and shout – “Behold, the bridegroom comes.” This would be followed by the sounding of the shofar. At the sounding of the shofar the entire wedding processional would go through the streets of the city to the bride’s house.” (See Nissuin) The bridegroom was responsible for erecting the chuppah under which the wedding ceremony would occur. During the Nissuin, the glass that was drank from at the Kiddusin by the bridegroom and bride was once again filled with wine. Both the bridegroom and bride would drink from the glass after which the bridegroom would step on the glass shattering it to signify the establishment of the couple as husband and wife. At the conclusion of the Nissuin, the bridegroom and bride would consummate the marriage thus fully becoming husband and wife. A sign of the bride keeping herself pure would be the stained bed sheet indicative of the bride being a virgin. The Nissuin ceremony was immediately followed by the wedding supper, a time of great celebration and feasting.

As you can see, the betrothal process involved far more than our modern day effort of “popping the question” and the giving of the engagement ring. A betrothal arrangement in ancient times involved both families and the community at large being involved in the events of the Kiddusin and Nissuin. Betrothal was a solemn commitment that could only be broken through a certificate of divorce, something that was only granted for infidelity on the part of the bridegroom or bride. Hopefully you have begun to notice some interesting parallels between the betrothal process and our relationship with our bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is those parallels that will be examined in part 2 of this series so stay tuned!

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Michael Boling – Reflections on Numbers 18-20

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Numbers 18-20

God spoke to Aaron, telling him that he and his son’s and his father’s house were to bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary and the iniquity associated with their priesthood. The sons of Levi were to attend to his needs and the needs of the sanctuary as outlined in previous chapters.

Certain offerings and portions of offerings were to be reserved for Aaron and his sons. God told Aaron that he would have no inheritance in the land of promise, meaning they would not be provide a portion of the land as would the other tribes. God would be their portion.

Guidelines for the offering of a red heifer were also provided by God. The red heifer was to be without blemish and was to be slaughtered outside the camp by the priest. Some of the blood from the red heifer was to be sprinkled seven times directly in front of the tabernacle of meeting. The red heifer was then to be burned in the presence of the priest with cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet tossed into the fire. Following the burning of the red heifer, the priest was to wash himself and his clothes, being unclean until evening. Someone who was clean would be responsible for gathering the ashes and storing them outside the camp in a clean place for the purification of the people.

A reiteration of cleanliness laws are also noted especially concerning what must take place should one touch a dead body or when someone dies in in a tent. God provided guidelines for how the unclean person was to cleanse themselves.

The people journeyed and came to the Wilderness of Zin, staying at Kadesh. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, died there and was buried. At this location, there was no water resulting in the people contending once again with Moses about their situation. They claimed Moses had brought them to that place to die in the wilderness, declaring they should have stayed in Egypt.

God spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to gather the people and to speak to the rock and it would yield water before the eyes of the people. Moses did not do as God commanded. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck the rock. Water did gush forth; however, this lack of obedience displeased God. For disobeying God’s command, God told Moses and Aaron they would not lead the people into the land of promise. The place was called the water of Meribah.

Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, asking permission for the people of Israel to pass through his land, noting that as they passed through, the people would not touch any of the produce of the land. They would instead travel along the King’s Highway. Edom refused their request. Even after Israel offered to pay for the ability to travel through their land, Edom refused to provide Israel passage forcing Israel to turn away.

God spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor near the border of Edom, telling them that Aaron would be gathered to his people and would die, not being able to enter the land of promise. Moses was told to take Aaron’s priestly garments and to place them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. Moses did as God commanded and Aaron died on Mount Hor. The people of Israel mourned the death of Aaron for 30 days.

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Daniel Darling – 5 Ways Adult Children Can Honor Their Parents

How should an adult grown (presumably married, but not necessarily) child relate to his or her parents? There is a tension in Scripture between obeying the Scripture which says to “leave and cleave” in forming your own adult identity and family (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5) and obeying the Scripture which says to “honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2).

Every family has it’s own rhythm. Every family has its own share of circumstances, from abusive to permissive to annoying, etc. So how one adult child handles his or her parents isn’t necessarily a blueprint for another. Still, the Scriptures seem to indicate an intentional approach to the way we love our parents as adults.

This is a journey I’ve traveled in the last few years. I seem to have endured the typical cycle: being cared for and nurtured by my parents as a child, distancing and forming my own identity as a teen (though still wanting their money and food), thinking my generation will solve all the mistakes my parents made, and finally where I am today: appreciating my parents and figuring out how I can love them better. I’m guessing you’ve traveled a similar road.

As I’ve pondered this important relationships, I’ve come up with five general guidelines for the way adult children should handle their parents. Like most of my lists, this is not exhaustive and I know that after reading this some outraged and enterprising blogger will create a response. So be it. Here’s the list:

1) Always respect your parents, even when it is difficult. By honoring, I think the Bible is saying more than simple respect. But it’s not saying less. I’m amazed at how I hear otherwise good, godly people treat their parents. I’ve been in nursing homes where kids are literally yelling and berating their parents. I realize that sometimes parents are not the easiest people to love, but this is why love is something we do and is not something we feel. Your parents, regardless of their flaws, brought you into the world. They nurtured and cared for you and loved you the best way they can. Give them some respect, treat them with kindness and deference, and realize that one day you’ll be the one with the walker and the really bad elastic pants. You don’t want your kids yelling at you that way, do you?

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Michael Boling – Talking With Your Kids About Sex and Relationships

quotescover-JPG-51 This past weekend, I read three books dealing with the same subject matter – the need for parents to talk with their children about God’s design for sex and godly relationships. What all three books had in common was the urgent nature of their message, one that can no longer be ignored. We live in a sex saturated society. Only the most naïve of parents (the head in the sand types) are unaware of that stark reality. The statistics are rather depressing. For example, the average age when a child is first exposed to pornography is right around the age of eleven. That is not the late night Showtime pornography mind you. Conversely, that is hard-core pornography. Gone are the days when a kid had to go over to their friend’s house in order to find the place where their dad hid the girlie magazines. We live in a time when pornography is accessible from any and every electronic device imaginable. Porn can be obtained often from a simple Google search.

I have written lately on the need for parents to be engaged in their children’s lives. I have also shared some suggestions on what getting involved looks like in practice. I want to add to my previous comments in this post.

Engagement with children cannot be sporadic or just a singular event. The level of engagement required, especially when it comes to sex, has to be consistent and frequent. As Jonathan McKee notes in his excellent book More Than Just the Talk, communication with your children on matters related to sex has to be a constant dialogue. Having a one way conversation or monologue just won’t cut it. Furthermore, sitting your child down for that dreaded “sex talk” thinking you have now set your child up for success in all matters related to sexuality is a false pipedream.

One thing is quite clear. Children crave information. If they are not getting godly advice and counsel on God’s design for sex and godly relationships from you as parents, they will get on the nearest electronic device and Google their questions. I will submit what they will find on their Google search will not qualify as sound, biblical, godly advice on sex and relationships. If they do not have access to electronic devices, they will simply go to their friends for answers, a group of people as equally clueless and misguided as the information found on a Google search. Google is useful, but not when it comes to how your children obtain their concepts of sex and relationships as I am sure Focus on the Family will not be the first selection that comes up on the screen.

Now having a conversation with your child about sex is certainly no piece of cake. After all, kids know everything straight out of the womb, right? Well at least they think they do. The rolling of their eyes when you try and initiate a conversation with them about sex and God’s plan in this area of their life indicates their “know it all” attitude. Trust me. I know what this is like as I have a 13 year old daughter who is convinced she has heard it all and knows everything about these issues because she attended a puberty class in sixth grade. Unfortunately, many parents get frustrated with their child’s response, react in a not so godly manner to their child’s “know it all” attitude, and then throw up their hands in disgust, likely never returning at any point in the future to this all important topic. Then they are amazed when they find out their child is viewing pornography or has been having sex with someone from the church youth group…yes the church youth group. If you are shocked by that statement, you might be part of the naïve crowd of parents out there.

Engaging your child about God’s design for sex and sexuality will not result in your child being a perfect little angel. Thinking in that manner is also naïve. However, statistics show that kids of parents who regularly engage their children on these topics from a biblical perspective are far less likely to fall into sexual immorality. Why? Because they understand God’s plan for them and appreciate that His way is far better than the world’s way. They are better able to grasp that waiting until marriage to have sex is the best way. Teaching your child that staying pure is not just about them, but also about staying pure for their future husband and wife puts a whole new spin on things. Such a perspective roots out the selfish attitude that is at the core of sexual promiscuity.

Let’s face it parents. The modern dating model is flawed and we are doing a terrible job of training up our children regarding matters of sexuality. The battle lines have been drawn and the world is attacking our children with a never ending barrage of smut wrapped up with a pretty little bow. The time is now for you to get off the sidelines and to become engaged in the lives of your children. If you don’t, then trust me that a parade of others will gladly take your place, holding your child’s hand in an effort to lead them down a path that is far from what God desires for them. Thinking that one “sex talk” will cut it is incorrect. Thinking your child can control themselves out on a date in the back seat of a car with little Johnny from youth group is incorrect. Thinking that television show, movie, or music is not having a negative influence on your child is incorrect.

Your children need you and they need you now to be godly parents. They need you to be the guiding force in their life, especially when it comes to sex. They need you to invest in their lives with the truth of Scripture. They need you to set the example in the home of what being a godly man and woman looks like. These are things that cannot be put off any longer. The time to have dialogue with your child about sex is now. The time to re-think your approach to the modern dating model is now. The allure of the world is strong, but by the grace of God and a concerted effort to train up your child in the ways of God, that allure can be revealed for what it is, namely depravity and a road full of heartaches.

If parents continue to walk around with blinders on thinking their children would never engage in premarital sex, then the status quo will continue. A lack of engagement by parents is far too often the status quo and that approach is failing miserably. I encourage parents to begin having those difficult conversations with their children. If you are clueless as to how to begin, rest assured you are in good company. I am learning how to do this myself. Thankfully there are some excellent books available that can assist you in your efforts. I highly recommend all of the following books:

More than Just the Talk by Jonathan McKee

Sex Matters by Jonathan McKee

Teaching True Love to a Sex at 13 Generation by Eric and Leslie Ludy

When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy

I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris

The information contained in these books will greatly assist you in talking to your kids about sex and godly relationships. Some of the suggestions presented in these books could result in a paradigm shift in your thinking, a needed one I will submit especially in the area of the modern dating model and its many pitfalls. Additionally, some of the statistics provided in these books will likely shock you. They certainly shocked me as I was under the false impression that sexual issues had not crept into the church as much as they really have in recent years.

I know this all comes across as a bit “preachy”. Some may be thinking “How dare he tell me how to raise my children. There is no way my little Susie is viewing porn, watching sexually explicit material on television, or listening to music that promotes sexual promiscuity. She is a church going, youth group attending young lady.” In some cases that may be true; however, if you are thinking that, I urge you to at least find out what your child is doing with their spare time. The statistics demonstrate that your child likely is doing the very things you think they are not doing and if they are not actively doing any of those things, they are being exposed to such garbage more often than we probably are aware. Just look at the magazines in the check-out lane in your local grocery store. The headlines are appalling and your children are noticing those headlines and are pondering what they mean. Since most parents are not actively engaged with their children regarding sex, kids are finding answers somewhere and where they are finding answers to their questions is probably not in the pages of Scripture.

Here is the bottom line: Our children need parents who care and who are willing to take the time and effort to teach and instruct them in godly principles. Parents need to take every opportunity to reveal the false teaching of the world when it comes to sex. Trust me. There are plenty of opportunities each and every day to compare and contrast the world’s failed policies with God’s perfect policies. Take advantage of those times with your children. Develop a dialogue with your children as they are yearning for it whether they will have the courage to admit it or not. I urge you to take time to pray for and with your children and by all means take time to read God’s Word yourself and with your children. Conversations outside the framework of God’s Word will fall short of the intended goal, that of instructing them in God’s ways.

We have to be passionate about raising our children and I trust this discussion and call to action as well as the resources provided will serve you well in your efforts.

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Dr. Albert Mohler – The Giglio Imbroglio: The Public Inauguration of a New Moral McCarthyism

A new chapter in America’s moral revolution came today as Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio withdrew from giving the benediction at President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony. In a statement released to the White House and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Giglio said that he withdrew because of the furor that emerged yesterday after a liberal watchdog group revealed that almost twenty years ago he had preached a sermon in which he had stated that homosexuality is a sin and that the “only way out of a homosexual lifestyle … is through the healing power of Jesus.”

In other words, a Christian pastor has been effectively disinvited from delivering an inaugural prayer because he believes and teaches Christian truth.

The fact that Giglio was actually disinvited was made clear in a statement from Addie Whisenant of the Presidential Inaugural Committee:

“We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection, and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part because of his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”

That statement is, in effect, an embarrassed apology for having invited Louie Giglio in the first place. Whisenant’s statement apologizes for the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s failure to make certain that their selection had never, at any time, for any reason, believed that homosexuality is less than a perfectly acceptable lifestyle. The committee then promised to repent and learn from their failure, committing to select a replacement who would “reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance.”

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Book Review – Becoming Worldly Saints

Becoming-Worldly-Saints Be in the world but not of the world. That is a statement anyone who has attended church for any amount of time has likely heard or read at least once. But what does it exactly mean and more importantly, how does the proper examination and understanding of such a statement impact our lives, both in service to God and in day to day life. Are we to shun all worldly pursuits for a more monastic lifestyle or is there a biblical balance God has in mind? These are the subjects Michael Wittmer explores in his helpful book Becoming Worldly Saints: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life?.

The title of this book is certainly catchy. Becoming a worldly saint is an approach I would venture to say many would think rather untenable. After all, we are commanded to think on things above, to store up our treasure in heaven, and to be holy as God is holy right? Is not this earth a cesspool of iniquity, a place we are merely sojourning through as aliens and strangers? Not so fast suggests Wittmer and rightly so.

In order to explore what it means to live on this planet while at the same time seeking things above, Wittmer divides his thoughts into three sections. These three sections follow the overarching theme of Scripture, namely that of creation, fall, and redemption. He aptly notes most have fallen for the trap of either spiritualism or naturalism, commenting “Naturalism affirms our present existence, but robs it of any ultimate meaning. Spiritualism leaves room for the existence of God and a heavenly purpose, but it shortchanges who we are and why we’re here.”

It is that piece of why we are here that garners the most attention from Wittmer and where the strength of this book resides. There is an element of Greek philosophy that has crept into our theology over the years, namely that this earth is evil and thus humanity needs to escape the terror that is planet earth. Such an approach to life on earth is not contained in Scripture and Wittmer does a great job of outlining the errors contained in such a concept. We were created by God and placed by God on this planet to have dominion, to be fruitful and multiply, and to do those things to the glory of God. Sin marred the picture; however that ushers in not an escape from planet earth to the heavenlies (a Greek mindset), but rather the promise of redemption and a new heavens and new earth (biblical mindset).

As we live life in this era of sin and death, looking forward to that time when God once again will dwell with His people on that new heavens and new earth, we are to have a balance between the things of God and enjoying God’s creation to His glory. Wittmer outlines what this looks like, namely the need to love God, love others, subdue the earth, rest on the seventh day, and to do what God has called you to do with the gifts He has given to all of us.

I appreciated that Wittmer address the issue of Sabbath rest as this command of God seems to have been stricken from the 10 commandments in the minds of far too many believers. Wittmer aptly notes “Sabbath is a gift because it is a day of enjoyment.” Since the Sabbath is a creation ordinance, then it precedes anything “Jewish” or “Christian” for that matter and thus is given by God as a means to rest in Him and to remember He is creator and sustainer of all things. It was good to see Wittmer even address the topic of the Sabbath, a subject far too many seem to ignore these days and he rightly notes that our freedom in Christ is not an excuse to neglect a day God set aside long ago for His creation.

So are we to enjoy life? Absolutely. The key as Wittmer saliently speaks to is we must do all for the glory of God. We can tend to our backyard garden, we can enjoy our hobbies, and we can enjoy “worldly” pursuits provided of course they do not become idols that lead us away from God who made us to enjoy such things. When we enjoy God’s creation, we can keep in mind that one day all things will be made new and God will dwell with His people.

This is a book I highly recommend as it strikes a needed balance between calls to be mindful of spiritual things and calls to enjoy life. Both can be pursued by the believer as long as God is the continual focus. Wittmer does an excellent job of walking the reader through what that looks like in practice and his approach stirs one to action in this life while looking forward to an eternity spent with God in a redeemed creation.

This book is available for purchase from Zondervan Academic by clicking here.

I received this book for free from Zondervan Academic for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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