Michael Licona – Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock: What to say to Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses When They Knock on Your Door

Someday it will happen to you. You are about to sit down for a late breakfast on a Saturday morning. The french toast smells delicious! A glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee will make the start of a great day. You pour the syrup and prepare to take that tasty first bite, when there is a knock
on your door. Perhaps it’s the neighbor’s child asking for your daughter. Maybe it’s the guy next door who would like to borrow your Craftsman Tools — again. You open the door and . . . oh! . . . it’s the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses!

Sharply dressed and very friendly, they ask if they can come in and tell you about God’s good news. But you are unsure. You remember your Sunday School teacher talking about these visitors who claim they are Christians. Some of the points the teacher made are vague in your mind and many are forgotten. You desire to share with them and feel that you should — but — you do not want to get into a conversation unprepared. So you politely say, “I’m too busy” and close the door.

Ah, yes. Where were you? That’s right, back to your breakfast. You slice off a piece of French toast with syrup and take a bite. Mmmm! However, while sipping your coffee you feel a sense of disappointment. You know that you just passed up a valuable opportunity to share your faith because you
were unprepared. You say to yourself, “If Jesus were here he would have spoken to them.” If you want to be ready the next time they come, this book is for you. Its purpose is to provide the knowledge you need to see why these groups do not represent God’s truth and to share this information effectively with Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses the next time they knock on your door!

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F.F. Bruce – The Book of Zechariah and the Passion Narrative

It is widely recognized that the narrative of the last few days of the life of Jesus was the earliest part of the Gospel story to take shape as a connected whole. There were many reasons why this should be so. For one thing, the events of those days must have been indelibly impressed on the memory of those men and women who spent them in Jesus’ company. When they came together for fellowship and worship they would recall the days that led up to the crucifixion, and the days that followed it; and others who had not been present at the time would be eager to hear the details. This was especially true of those occasions when Christians took the bread and wine of thanksgiving as their Master’s memorial: “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup”, said Paul, “you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. xi. 26)―words which appear to mean not simply that participation in the Lord’s Supper was in itself an acted proclamation of His death, but that every such participation was regularly accompanied by a repetition of the passion narrative. In this way even recent converts to the new faith must soon have become tolerably word-perfect in their ability to tell the story.

Nor was it only at Christian meetings for worship that the story was repeated; it was told time and again as an essential part of the apostles’ preaching. Paul reminds his Galatian converts how before their very eyes “Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified” (Gal. iii. 1)―so vividly, we may gather, did he describe the crucifixion as he preached the gospel to them. In like vein he reminds the Corinthian Christians how, when first he visited their city with the gospel, he “decided to know nothing” among them “except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. ii. 2). And when, later in the same epistle, he reminds them of the terms in which he preached the Gospel to them, he says that he delivered to them “as of first importance” what he himself had received―to begin with, “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. xv. 3).

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F.F. Bruce & W.J. Martin – The Deity of Christ

The belief in the deity of Christ is derived directly from statements concerning Him in the Bible. The references are so many and their meaning so plain, that Christians of every shade of opinion have always regarded its affirmation as an absolute and indispensable requisite of their faith. It is proclaimed in the very first sermon of the infant Church (Acts 2:36) where Peter, to the loftiest title known to a Jew, adds a loftier still—Lord and Christ (Messiah); while in the last vision of the Book of Revelation the Lamb occupying one throne with God (Revelation 22:3) can betoken only essential oneness.

Christ’s claim to be equal with God underlies His teaching right from the start. The disciples could not long have missed the implication of the change in the very frame of His message from that of the Old Testament prophets, whose familiar introduction, ‘Thus saith the Lord’, was now replaced by ‘But I say unto you’ (no fewer than nine times in the early part of the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew, chapter 5).

In content and scope His teaching embraced much that was new about the nature of God. Not only the disciples but also the Jews soon recognized that He was affirming His equality with God (John 5:18). He was beginning to reveal that the ‘unity’ of God involved a true uniting of three ‘persons’ in the Godhead, of whom He was claiming to be one. (Godhead’ simply means ‘the divine nature’; ‘head’ is an abstract ending, commonly appearing as ‘hood’, and it was just by chance that ‘Godhead’ became current instead of the equally proper ‘Godhood’.)

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Michael Roberts – Why Church History Always Matters

reformation wall_2 “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” But how does one know such a danger exists unless one already possesses an interest in, and respect for, people who lived and thought and wrote in the past? And in order to avoid this historical pitfall, the assumption must exist that people in the past actually have things to say to us that we need to know, an assumption that may not be as accepted as it once was. C.S. Lewis talked about the threat of “presentism,” the idea that our current time is the most developed and that therefore those who preceded us were somehow deficient. To the extent that still exists today—and I suspect there is quite a bit of it—the resulting attitude is probably more along the lines of Henry Ford: “History is bunk.”

But is that an appropriate or even legitimate attitude toward those who have gone on before? To demonstrate that kind of indifference, or even disrespect, for past people and events seems less like a developing sophistication and progress, and more like myopia and a lack of humility. Have we become so narcissistic that we forget we are still standing on the shoulders of giants?

In Scripture, the people of God are commanded to remember his redemptive acts in history, particularly their deliverance from Egypt (Ex. 13:3; Deut. 5:15; 7:17-19). And the psalmist writes in Psalm 77: “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old” (v. 11). The Bible itself considers the past to be important, even vital, for godly thinking and living. It is not enough to recount God’s present blessings; his faithfulness and power shown in earlier generations are to be reflected on as well, since it is God’s activities in history that are the reason for our present status as redeemed and reconciled people.

Redemptive history is important for a number of reasons. One is to remember the difference between God and ourselves. He is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sovereign. We exist for him, not he for us. We are accountable to him. We are dependent upon him for everything we need, enjoy, and far too often take for granted. We are to remember God’s great acts in history because it is the context in which our praise to him is offered.

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Mark Bowron – Satan’s Ten Commandments: The Georgia Guidestones

The Georgia Guidestones is a large granite monument in Elbert County, Georgia (USA). A message comprising ten guides is inscribed on the structure in eight modern languages, and a shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient languages’ scripts: Babylonian Cuneiform, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

The structure is sometimes referred to as an “American Stonehenge.” The monument is made from six granite slabs weighing more than 240,000 pounds combined. One slab stands in the center, with four arranged around it. A capstone lies on top of the five slabs, which are astronomically aligned. An additional stone tablet, which is set in the ground a short distance to the west of the structure, provides some notes on the history and purpose of the Guidestones.

In June 1979, an unknown person or persons under the pseudonym R. C. Christian hired Elberton Granite Finishing Company to build the structure. R. C. Christian (Christian Rosenkreuz) is the semi-legendary, perhaps allegorical, founder of the Rosicrucian Order (Order of the Rose Cross), presented in the three Manifestos published in the early 17th century.

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Daniel Darling – How God Uses Relationships to Make You Better

Everyone wants to be better. Self-improvement gurus call it, well, self-improvement. Wise people and many in the church call it growth. The Bible calls this process sanctification. And for the Christian, sanctification is not merely the process by which you become a nice, better person. Pretty much all religions and even quasi-non religions do that. Even Richard Dawkins, I’m thinking, is okay with growth.

Sanctification is something deeper, better, richer. The Bible asserts a bold idea that Christians–those who believe, know and follow Jesus Christ–have something deeper going onside them. They have God in them through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Christianity, at it’s truest form, is not really about getting better by self-improvement, but about dying to your old self and seeing the life of Christ form in you. It’s a spiritual thing. It’s a supernatural thing. But how does God accomplish this? Or, perhaps a better question, what tools does God use?

Well, we know first of all that the agent of change is the Holy Spirit. And we know that He uses the Word of God to penetrate our hearts, cut us deep, and bring about change. The Word delivered, both in private reading and corporate preaching, brings about renewed thinking and renewed thinking brings about new behaviors, new loves, new affections.

But there is another tool that we often overlook, a powerful factor in sanctification. We change through God-ordained, dynamic relationships. In fact, I might argue that relationships, outside of the Word itself, are the primary instrument by which God changes us. This is why the New Testament is pretty clear that faith in Christ is best lived out in community.

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Intelmin Week in Review – 22-28 April 2013

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

Book Review – Contentment, Prosperity, and God’s Glory by Jeremiah Burroughs

Ken Ham, Steve Golden, Jeremy Ham, and David Chakranarayan – Does the Bible Tell Christians to Judge Not?

Jon Bloom – Faith That Made Jesus Marvel

Stephen Altrogge – How To Pray For The Man Who Kills Babies

Chris Castaldo – Cultivate Gospel Conversations by Listening

David Mathis – What’s the Big Deal with the Puritans?

Joe Rigney – Envy Hunts in a Pack

Book Review – Radical Dating by Diane Montgomery, Gabrielle Pickle, and Sarah Bubar

Horatius Bonar – The Everlasting Righteousness

Mark Howard – Peter: Hope for Pastors

Dr. Albert Mohler – Same-Sex Marriage as a Civil Right: Are Wrongs Rights?

Michael Boling – The Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost)

Kevin DeYoung – Advice for Raising Godly Children

Cameron Cole – 5 Tools Needed to Reach Today’s Teens

Dave Jenkins – Grief, Loss, and Suffering

Paul Helm – Molinism 101

Martin Luther – Commentary on Galatians

Sarah Flashing – A Gracious Defense: How Do You Do It?

Ravi Zacharias – Why I Am Not An Atheist

Mitch Chase – Preach the Old Testament as if Jesus Is Risen

Douglas Wilson – Our Gosnell Gulag

Russell Grigg – Dawkins’ Dilemma: How God Forgives Sin

Dr. John MacArthur – Principles for Living to God’s Glory: Entanglement

Ken Ham, Steve Golden, Jeremy Ham, and David Chakranarayan – Does the Bible Tell Christians to Judge Not?

We live in a world that increasingly strives to (supposedly) promote the idea of tolerance, but actually becomes intolerant of Christian absolutes as it does so. Whether it involves religion, behavior, or human sexuality, there is a growing anti-Christian sentiment in America and other Western nations. Ultimately, built into this “tolerance” is the concept that truth is determined by each individual, not by God. This has led many people to conclude that making judgments on anyone (especially coming from Christians) is wrong because the Bible says ””judge not”” (Matthew 7:1). Interestingly enough, those who reject the notion of God or the credibility of the Bible often attempt to use God’s Word (e.g., by quoting verses out of context) to excuse their actions when they are presented with the gospel and the plight of sinners for rejecting it.
The Authority on Judging

Scripture makes it very clear that there is one supreme Judge of all—the Lord God—and that He alone has the authority to determine right and wrong motives and behaviors.

Many Old Testament passages attest to the truth of God as Judge:

“God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalm 7:11)

“He shall judge the world in righteousness, and he shall administer judgments for the people in uprightness.” (Psalm 9:8)

“Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God himself is Judge. Selah” (Psalm 50:6)

“For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us.” (Isaiah 33:22)

The Old Testament is rife with passages that establish God as the ultimate Judge. When we come to the New Testament, we find that the Father has committed authority and judgment to the Son. Jesus spoke of this authority before He ascended to heaven after the Resurrection (Matthew 28:18).

““For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.”” (John 5:22)

““I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”” (John 12:46–48)

“Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

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Jonathan Dodson – Why the Missional Church Isn’t Enough

The missional church in the United States is not missional enough. The local focus of mission is shortsighted. If we only make disciples who make disciples in our cities, thousands of unengaged, un-discipled peoples of the earth will not hear the gospel. To be sure, many ethnic groups are migrating to cities, which brings some of the nations right into the neighborhood. However, there remain many ethnic groups that do not migrate to Western cities. Western churches must send missionaries, not only across the street, but also across the world.

The State of Global Mission

Shockingly, 80 percent of deployed missionaries go to already evangelized areas. Consider these staggering statistics:

  • Roughly 30 percent of the global population is unevangelized and largely untargeted by so-called missional churches.
  • This amounts to about 1.6 billion people not hearing the gospel in 38 different nations.
  • There are still at least 13,000 unreached people groups and millions of people who have not heard a first proclamation of the gospel.
  • Thousands more do not have the Scriptures in their language. Add to that the incalculable corruption in many nations that fosters poverty, disease, crime, sex trafficking, and so on. Other frontiers of mission must not be lost in the missional movement of the West. We need churches that will be missional both locally and globally.
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Greg Koukl – Never Read a Bible Verse

If there was one bit of wisdom, one rule of thumb, one single skill I could impart, one useful tip I could leave that would serve you well the rest of your life, what would it be? What is the single most important practical skill I’ve ever learned as a Christian? Here it is: Never read a Bible verse. That’s right, never read a Bible verse. Instead, always read a paragraph at least.

My Radio Trick
When I’m on the radio, I use this simple rule to help me answer the majority of Bible questions I’m asked, even when I’m totally unfamiliar with the verse. It’s an amazingly effective technique you can use, too.

I read the paragraph, not just the verse. I take stock of the relevant material above and below. Since the context frames the verse and gives it specific meaning, I let it tell me what’s going on.

This works because of a basic rule of all communication: Meaning always flows from the top down, from the larger units to the smaller units, not the other way around. The key to the meaning of any verse comes from the paragraph, not just from the individual words.

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