Peter Grice – The Neglected Doctrines of Resurrection and Bodily Transformation

Today in Protestant circles we still hear a lot about the immortality of the soul, despite this doctrine being passionately rejected by Martin Luther 500 years ago. But we rarely hear of the immortality of the body, an important feature of resurrection, nor do we even hear that much about resurrection in general! Will all rise physically from the dead, like Jesus did—or only the saved? And if all rise in physical bodies, will the bodies of all be fitted with immortality, never to die again — or only those of the saved?

These kinds of questions are essential for assessing any doctrine of salvation and damnation, and yet they are often absent from the hell debate, and from broader discussion. Both heaven and hell are widely seen as ethereal destinations, to be arrived at immediately upon dying. But this truncated version of the biblical schedule of events renders resurrection and final judgment superfluous, even incoherent. Why were the unsaved sent straight to hell before Judgment Day, the very point at which they will be sentenced to hell? And if the saved and the unsaved already reside in the place where they’ll spend eternity, why bring them out? If they are brought out in resurrection, only to be shortly sent back there but this time in a physical form, how can those realms be suited to both physical and nonphysical habitation?

To continue reading Peter Grice’s article, click here.

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D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones – He and He Alone

For to me to live [or living] is Christ. – Phil. 1:21

We stand here face to face with one of the sublimest and greatest statements ever made, even by this mighty Apostle of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There is a sense in which anyone who faces this verse must feel that he stands on very sacred ground. Indeed, I am ready to admit that I would almost regard it as sacrilege to approach a verse like this in an unworthy manner. Here we have not only the statement of an experience which was true, which was a fact and a reality, but at the same time, and for that reason, we also find ourselves face to face with a standard of judgment. Any God-given experience is sacred, and nothing is further removed from the spirit of the New Testament than approaching a statement like this in a purely objective manner, handling it with our rough hands, bringing our critical or dissecting apparatus to bear upon it. There is something so sublime about it, so delicate and pure, that one is – as always with such verses – confronted with a kind of dilemma. On the one hand, one is afraid of handling it in a detached, so-called scientific manner yet, on the other hand, of course, there is also the danger that, if we do not analyse it up to a point, we fail to realise its inner meaning and its true purpose. One is compelled to do both – to analyse it and try to understand it, while always remembering that it is a living experience and a statement of fact which puts us under judgment.

Now Paul, as we have seen, is comforting the Philippians who were concerned and troubled about him. He has told them how this imprisonment of his has turned out ‘rather unto the furtherance of the
gospel’, and added, you remember, that it was his earnest expectation and hope ‘that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.’ That is the background of the statement. Paul means that as far as he is concerned, it is immaterial whether he is to be put to death, or whether he is to go on living. The two possibilities are there and he does not know which it is going to be, but, he says, it is all right. He is not concerned and they need not be either, for, ‘to me to live is Christ and to die is gain’. And then he proceeds to work it out a little further, for he says that if he were to express his own personal preference, it would be to depart, yet for their sakes it is better for him to remain. At this point, however, we are concerned with this particular statement that the Apostle makes with respect to life and to the meaning of living.

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Dave Jenkins – Gosnell an American Tragedy: How Christians Should Engage the Pro-Life Issue

Introduction

When I first graduated high school, I decided I wanted to study philosophy. One of the first classes I took at a community college in the Seattle, Washington area was moral philosophy. In that class, I heard the world’s take on every moral and social issue. One of the topics that came up was abortion. As I listened to the topic of abortion being taught, I quickly became horrified and sickened to my stomach. As I interacted with people throughout the school I began to note that the vast majority of them did not hold to the pro-life position.

Currently there is a trial for a man who has been accused of doing horrible things to unborn children. Apparently there was a media blackout, and so naturally Facebook and Twitter exploded with people’s thoughts about this event. This incident got me thinking about sitting in that moral philosophy class over ten years ago and how in that timespan the debate hasn’t abated but rather has become more heated. The events of the Gosnell case, much like when I was sitting in that secular moral philosophy class learning about how the world views moral and social issues, have once again saddened and horrified me about the moral and spiritual trajectory of our society.

Life is important and special since the Lord God breathed life into Adam and into the lives of every human being since. Abortion is murder because the Lord breathes His life into every human whom He created in His image and likeness. Abortion is an issue of worldviews as people from across the political, religious, theological and philosophical spectrum have divergent opinions, believing their position to be the right one. More important than opinion is the Truth from the mouth of the Creator who created, gave, and sustains life.

In order to understand why abortion is such an important issue we need to understand what an abortion is, the biblical evidence for the pro-life position, why abortion is wrong, statistics on abortion and why Christians should engage this issue proclaiming the truth of the Word of God.

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Dr. R. C. Sproul – The Voice of the Church

When Planned Parenthood adopted a strategy to win the debate on abortion and establish the legal right for women to have abortions on demand, it asked a strategic question: “From where will our strongest opposition come?” The organization anticipated that opposition would come most fiercely from the Roman Catholic Church. In order to offset the impact of the Roman community, Planned Parenthood adopted a strategy to encourage Protestant churches to support a woman’s right to abortion on demand. It encouraged the use of the mantras “A woman’s right to choose” and “A woman’s right over her own body.” A further part of the strategy was to use the slogan “prochoice” rather than “pro-abortion.” In other words, the effort to legalize abortion on demand was wrapped in the flag of personal liberty.

The Planned Parenthood strategy was eminently successful. For the most part, the mainline liberal churches backed the feminist crusade in favor of “choice.” What was most distressing was the silence of evangelical churches, churches committed to the authority of the Bible and the classical Christian faith. It took many years for the evangelical church to come to a consensus on the evil of abortion but, more tragically, many evangelical churches still refuse to speak out against the destruction of babies made in the image of God.

Several years ago, I produced a series of video lectures, out of which emerged my book on abortion. We made an effort to get these educational materials to evangelical churches, to help them instruct their members concerning this profoundly serious ethical issue. I was saddened to receive the same response over and over again. Innumerable evangelical pastors told me they could not use our materials in their churches because the issue of abortion is so controversial. If they took a stand against abortion on demand, they said, they would divide their churches. What? Divide these churches? What could be a greater evil than such a division? The answer is this: Remaining silent on the most serious ethical issue that the United States has ever faced.

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Michael Horton – Singing the Blues With Jesus

It was my turn to preach in chapel. I was given John 11:1-44 at the beginning of the semester, and since, in God’s providence, it was just two days after my father finally died after a long year of tremendous suffering, we held a memorial service in conjunction with chapel that day. I had long been impressed with Jesus’ raising of Lazarus and commended it to our seminary community, as well as family and friends, gathered for different reasons but each with his or her own challenges in life.

America likes winners, not losers; triumph, not tragedy. Friedrich Nietzsche and Ted Turner have argued that Christianity is for losers, but pop Christianity in America has been trying desperately to convince everybody that this just isn’t the case. Become a Christian and you’ll be unfailingly happy, upbeat, in charge, with health, wealth and happiness; self-esteem, victory over debt and bad marriages and families. Meanwhile, we put our elderly, the terminally ill, those caught in the cycle of poverty, and others who remind us of our mortality where we can’t see them or at least where our lives do not ordinarily intersect when we do not intend them to.

Unlike the old churchyards through which one passed on the way to Sunday services, our churches today are likely to avoid contact with the tragic side of life. We call death “passing away,” we change the name “graveyard” to “cemetery,” with euphemistic names (Forest Home) that also sound, eerily enough, like the names of the convalescent hospitals they were in before they “passed.” They are not the dead among us, awaiting the Resurrection, but those who have “crossed over” and have thereby been good enough not to have done something more disturbing and unpleasant, such as dying. Or at least if they die, they do not hang around.

Often, before we can really feel the force and pain of sin and death, we are told to be happy and look on the bright side. One church-growth guru cheerfully announces that we have gone from having funerals to memorial services to “celebrations,” not realizing that this is a fatal index of our inability to face the music, whether we’re talking about the tragedy of sin itself or the suffering, death, and ultimate condemnation that it brings in its wake.

Why is it that in our churches-in the preaching that avoids sin, suffering, the cross, and death, in the music that is always upbeat and seems so alien to the “blue note” that one finds in the Psalms, in the church growth that always targets the upwardly mobile suburbs, and in the “celebrations” that cannot seem to come to grips with the tragedy of death and the common curse that has invoked it-we seem to follow the world in refusing to face the music?

We aren’t morbid when we take sin, suffering, and death seriously as Christians. Rather, we can face these tough realities head-on because we know that they have been decisively confronted by our captain. They have not lost their power to harm, but they have lost their power to destroy us. This biblical piety is not morbid because it doesn’t end at the cross, but it also doesn’t avoid it. It goes through the cross to the Resurrection. This is why the Christian gospel alone is capable of refuting both denial and despair. The hope of the gospel gives us the freedom to expose the wound of our human condition because it provides the cure. We see this in John’s remarkable retelling of the story of Lazarus’s resurrection.

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Thomas Watson – A Godly Man is a Lover of the Word

“O how love I your law.” (Ps. 119:97)

Part A: Godly Man Loves the Word Written

Chrysostom compares the Scripture to a garden set with ornaments and flowers. A godly man delights to walk in this garden and sweetly solace himself. He loves every branch and part of the Word:

1. He loves the counselling part of the Word, as it is a directory and rule of life. The Word is the direction sign which points us to our duty. It contains in it things to be believed and practiced. A godly man loves the directions of the Word.

2. He loves the threatening part of the Word. The Scripture is like the Garden of Eden: as it has a tree of life in it, so it has a flaming sword at its gates. This is the threatening of the Word. It flashes fire in the face of every person who goes on obstinately in wickedness. “God will wound the head of His enemies, the hairy scalp of the one who still goes on in his trespasses.” (Psa. 68:21). The Word gives no indulgence to evil. It will not let a man halt half-way between God and sin. The true mother would not let the child be divided (I Kings 3:26), and God will not have the heart divided. The Word thunders out threats against the very appearance of evil. It is like that flying scroll full of curses (Zech. 5:1).

A godly man loves the menaces of the Word. He knows there is love in every threat. God would not have us perish; he therefore mercifully threatens us, so that he may scare us from sin. God’s threats are like the buoy, which shows the rocks in the sea and threatens death to such as come near. The threat is a curbing bit to check us, so that we may not run in full career to hell. There is mercy in every threat.

3. He loves the consolatory part of the Word – the promises. He goes feeding on these as Samson went on his way eating the honeycomb (Judges 14:8,9). The promises are all marrow and sweetness. They are reviving to us when we are fainting; they are the conduits of the water of life. “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” (Psa. 94:19). The promises were David’s harp to drive away sad thoughts; they were the breast which gave him the milk of divine consolation.

A godly man shows his love to the Word written:

(a) By diligently reading it. The noble Bereans “searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). Apollos was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:12). The Word is our Magna Carta for heaven; we should be daily reading over this charter. The Word shows what is truth and what is error. It is the field where the pearl of price is hidden. How we should dig for this pearl! A godly man’s heart is the library to hold the Word of God; it dwells richly in him (Col. 3:16). It is reported of Melanchthon that when he was young, he always carried the Bible with him and read it greedily. The Word has a double work: to teach us and to judge us. Those who will not be taught by the Word shall be judged by the Word. Oh, let us make ourselves familiar with the Scripture! What if it should be as in the times of Diocletian, who commanded by proclamation that the Bible be burned? Or as in Queen Mary’s days, when it spelled death to have a Bible in English? By diligent conversing with Scripture, we may carry a Bible in our heads.

(b) By frequently meditating on it: “It is my meditation all the day” (Psa. 119:97). A pious soul meditates on the truth and holiness of the Word. He not only has a few transient thoughts, but leaves his mind steeping in the Scripture. By meditation, he sucks from this sweet flower and ruminates on holy truths in his mind.

(c) By delighting in it. It is his recreation: “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” (Jer 15:16) Never did a man take such delight in a dish that he loved as the prophet did in the Word. And indeed, how can a saint choose but take great pleasure in the Word? All that he ever hopes to be worth is contained in it. Does not a son take pleasure in reading his father’s will and testament, in which he bequeaths his estate to him?

(d) By hiding it: “Your word I have hidden in my heart” (Psa 119:11) – as one hides a treasure so that it should not be stolen. The Word is the jewel; the heart is the cabinet where it must be locked up. Many hide the Word in their memory, but not in their heart. And why would David enclose the Word in his heart? “That I might not sin against you.” As a man would carry an antidote about him when he comes near an infected place, so a godly man carries the Word in his heart as a spiritual antidote to preserve him from the infection of sin. Why have so many been poisoned with error, others with moral vice, but because they have not hidden the Word as a holy antidote in their heart?

(e) By defending it. A wise man will not let his land be taken from him but will defend his title. David looked upon the Word as his land of inheritance: “Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” (Psa 119:111) And do you think he will let his inheritance be wrested out of his hands? A godly man will not only dispute for the Word but die for it: “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God.” (Rev 6:9)

(f) By preferring it above things most precious: (1) Above food: “I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.” (Job. 23:12). (2) Above riches: “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.” (Psa. 119:72). (3) Above worldly honour. Memorable is the story of King Edward the Sixth. On the day of his coronation, when they presented three swords before him, signifying to him that he was monarch of three kingdoms, the king said, “There is still one sword missing.” On being asked what that was, he answered, “The Holy Bible, which is the ‘sword of the Spirit’ and is to be preferred before these ensigns of royalty.”

(f) By talking about it: “My tongue shall speak of your word.” (Psa. 119:172). As a covetous man talks of his rich purchase, so a godly man speaks of the Word. What a treasure it is, how full of beauty and sweetness! Those whose mouths the devil has gagged, who never speak of God’s Word, indicate that they never reaped any good from it.

(g) By conforming to it. The Word is his compass, by which he sets his life, the balance in which he weighs his actions. He copies out the Word in his daily walk: “I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). St Paul kept the doctrine of faith, and lived the life of faith.

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Rachel Jankovic – The Real Life of the Pro-Life Home

I know myself, and I know that I couldn’t be any more angered by abortion. So when I first started seeing things about the Gosnell trial, I skipped right over it. I am sure that many of you feel the same way now. What can we possibly do about it, and how can reading about the horror of what happened in that “clinic” help us be any more faithful in our own lives?

But when I finally did read a bit about it, I found myself surprisingly challenged and encouraged, and here is why. The Gosnell situation shines light on the darkness of abortion in a way that nothing else has in a long time. Stories like this one (and the recent video sting of that clinic in the Bronx) make me realize that I am just far enough away from the reality of abortion to forget to fight it, and that I needed this kind of reminder. Let me try to explain myself.

Feeding the Volcano of Self

Abortion in our country is not a standalone moment, brought about by women who somehow haven’t heard of adoption. Abortion is that dark crisis choice served up to millions of women every year, courtesy of our cultural religion of self-fulfillment. It is the bloody path taken by many women who feel that they really “had no choice” (at least if they were going to finish law school, if they were going to have a career, if they were going to be slim in their bikinis in time for Spring Break). Everyone acts like abortion is a sad thing, but a necessity. But the truth is that abortion is the sacrifice that our religion of selfishness requires.

In some ancient pagan religion, the volcano would periodically require that its worshippers throw in a virgin. She would have no choice, and sometimes even she could understand that. The god had to be fed. Abortion fills that place for us. Our god is a stupid volcano of selfish desire, sexual “liberty,” freedom from God’s law, and a refusal to accept responsibility or live our lives for another. This god requires a sacrifice, and so we offer it the unborn and their tragic mothers.

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Joe Carter – 9 Things You Should Know About Planned Parenthood

Today, President Obama will give a speech at Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s 75th anniversary gala, making him the one clinic per affiliate must perform abortions. PP performs over 320,000 abortions a year.

2. The motto for this year’s gala is “Our past is our prologue.” Part of the past the organization will be celebrating includes its founding by the notorious racist and eugenicist Margaret Sanger. Sanger wanted to control the reproduction of immigrants, the poor, certain religious groups, and anyone else she thought was from an “unacceptable” heritage. Sanger referred to such people as reckless breeders who were “unceasingly spawning a class of human beings who never should have been born at all . . .” In 1939 Sanger started the “Negro Project” and attempted to get Christian ministers to aid her effort. As she wrote in a letter to a fellow eugenicist, “we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

3. Last year PP reported excess revenue of $87.4 million and $1.2 billion in total assets. Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood’s CEO, makes nearly $400,000 a year.

4. The amount of taxpayer money PP got in 2012 ($542,000,000) equates to $61,836 an hour, 24 hours a day for 365 days.

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Michael Boling – Dr. Gosnell, Abortion, the Church and Adoption

The hot button issue of abortion is nothing new in today’s society. The passing of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case legalizing abortion is unfortunately celebrating its 40th anniversary. Outside of the yearly demonstrations on the anniversary of the passing of Roe v. Wade and demonstrations at local abortion clinics around the country, the approximately 1 million abortions that take place annually in the United States happen seemingly behind the scenes as an accepted fact of life. Some states have begun to pass legislation in an attempt to tighten the reins on abortion clinics, in particular those operated by Planned Parenthood with some degree of success.

The recent trial of abortion clinic doctor Kermit Gosnell has thrust the issue of abortion back into the spotlight despite overt attempts by the liberal media to squash any coverage of this trial, either on the national news or even on social media outlets. Who is Kermit Gosnell and why should we care you might ask. Dr. Gosnell has been accused of horrific acts against babies that, according to eyewitness, were clearly alive following the abortion procedure. According to a NY Daily News internet article, “Gosnell, who is charged with eight counts of murder, trained his employees to cut the necks of the aborted babies to sever their spinal cords.”[1] As if that was not horrific enough, the Philadelphia Inquirer in reporting on this story noted “Prosecutors have cited the dozens of jars of severed baby feet as an example of Gosnell’s idiosyncratic and illegal practice of providing abortions for cash to poor women pregnant longer than the 24-week cutoff for legal abortions in Pennsylvania.”[2]

This alone should at a minimum make any person with even a minimal conscience squirm in their seat. It should be rather obvious why liberal news outlets have no desire for this story to be front page news as it damages the talking point that an unborn baby is merely a lump of tissue and a woman should have the right to discard this nuisance in the name of women’s rights. Anything that would demonstrate that an unborn child is really a child would blow a hole in the liberal talking points on this issue.

So what should believers think about this and more importantly, what should we do not just in response to the abortion issue, but more importantly, what are some alternatives that can be offered to those who might seek an outlet such as the abortion clinic of Dr. Gosnell? But wait, there’s more!

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Dr. Albert Mohler – We’re All Harry Blackmun Now — The Lessons of Mississippi

Does a baby have to look like a baby to be recognized as a person?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When voters in Mississippi voted down the human personhood amendment last week, they sent a clear and undeniable message — the pro-life movement is not as pro-life as it thinks it is. The truth is that, even in what may be the most pro-life state in the union, the most basic moral logic of the pro-life movement is not fully embraced or understood.

The voters spoke loudly. Statewide, 58 percent of voters cast ballots against the amendment. This came after polls had indicated that the amendment, once thought almost certain to pass, was fast losing support among Mississippians in the last days of the campaign.

The idea behind the personhood amendments is clear. Proponents frame the constitutional amendments as a moral statement, as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, and as a means of prompting legislation that will defend unborn life. Similar efforts failed twice in Colorado in recent years, but Mississippi looked like a sure thing. The state is already, as one leading pastor there told me, “the safest place in America to be an unborn child.” The state adopted pro-life legislation in the wake of Roe v. Wade, and there is only one abortion clinic in the state. The candidates for governor nominated by both major parties both supported the amendment. Continue Reading

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