Horatius Bonar – The Everlasting Righteousness

How may I, a sinner, draw near to Him in whom there is no sin, and look upon His face in peace?

This is the great question which, at some time or other, every one of us has asked. This is one of the awful problems which man in all ages has been attempting to solve. There is no evading it: he must face it.

That man’s answers to this question should have been altogether wide of the mark, is only what might have been expected; for he does not really understand the import of the question which he, with much earnestness perhaps, is putting, nor discern the malignant character of that evil which he yet feels to be a barrier between him and God.

That man’s many elaborate solutions of the problem which has perplexed the race since evil entered should have been unsatisfactory, is not wonderful, seeing his ideas of human guilt are so superficial; his thoughts of himself so high; his views of God so low.

But that, when God has interposed, as an interpreter, to answer the question and to solve the problem, man should be so slow to accept the divine solution as given in the word of God, betrays an amount of unteachableness and self-will which is difficult to comprehend. The preference which man has always shown for his own theories upon this point is unaccountable, save upon the supposition that he has but a poor discernment of the evil forces with which he professes to battle; a faint knowledge of the spiritual havoc which has been wrought in himself; a very vague perception of what law and righteousness are; a sorrowful ignorance of that Divine Being with whom, as lawgiver and judge, he knows that he has to do; and a low appreciation of eternal holiness and truth.

Man has always treated sin as a misfortune, not a crime; as disease, not guilt; as a case for the physician, not for the judge. Herein lies the essential faultiness of all mere human religions or theologies. They fail to acknowledge the judicial aspect of the question, as that on which the real answer must hinge; and to recognise the guilt or criminality of the evil-doer as that which must first be dealt with before any real answer, or approximation to an answer, can be given.
God is a Father; but He is no less a Judge. Shall the Judge give way to the Father, or the Father give way to the Judge?

God loves the sinner; but He hates the sin. Shall He sink His love to the sinner in His hatred of the sin, or His hatred of the sin in His love to the sinner?

God has sworn that He has no pleasure in the death of a sinner (Ezekiel 33:11); yet He has also sworn that the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Eze 18:4). Which of the two oaths shall be kept? Shall the one give way to the other? Can both be kept inviolate? Can a contradiction, apparently so direct, be reconciled? Which is the more unchangeable and irreversible, the vow of pity or the oath of justice?

Law and love must be reconciled, else the great question as to a sinner’s intercourse with the Holy One must remain unanswered. The one cannot give way to the other. Both must stand, else the pillars of the universe will be shaken.

The reconciliation man has often tried; for he has always had a glimpse of the difficulty. But he has failed; for his endeavors have always been in the direction of making law succumb to love.

The reconciliation God has accomplished; and, in the accomplishment, both law and love have triumphed. The one has not given way to the other. Each has kept its ground; nay, each has come from the conflict honored and glorified. Never has there been love like this love of God; so large, so lofty, so intense, so self-sacrificing. Never has law been so pure, so broad, so glorious, so inexorable.

There has been no compromise. Law and love have both had their full scope. Not one jot or tittle has been surrendered by either. They have been satisfied to the full; the one in all its severity, the other in all its tenderness. Love has never been more truly love, and law has never been more truly law, than in this conjunction of the two. It has been reconciliation, without compromise. God’s honour has been maintained, yet man’s interests have not been sacrificed. God has done it all; and He has done it effectually and irreversibly.

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Tim Chaffey – Parallelism in Hebrew Poetry Demonstrates a Major Error in the Hermeneutic of Many Old-Earth Creationists

Introduction

Poetry is a highly stylized form of writing used by many cultures, each having their own unique methods of conveying information. Americans and other Westerners are familiar with poetry based on rhyme and meter. For the ancient Hebrews, poetry was typically not based on rhyme, but on a concept known as parallelism.

The nature of Hebrew poetry was recognized in the 12th century by Ibn Ezra and by Kimchi in the 13th century, but it was more clearly defined by Robert Lowth in 1753 (Unger 1951, p. 282). This style is marked by a focus on the arrangement of concepts rather than arranging words in a rhyming pattern. Lowth listed three primary types of parallelism: synonymous, antithetic, and synthetic (Lucas 2003, pp. 67–68). These are sometimes called similar thoughts, contrasting thoughts, and additional thoughts, respectively (McQuilkin 1992, p. 205). This paper will define these types of parallelism, give examples of each type found in the poetic books of Scripture, and examine the importance of parallelism.

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Michael Boling – Reflections on 1 Samuel 18-20; Psalm 11, 59

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1 Samuel 18-20; Psalm 11, 59

Jonathan and David made a covenant with one another with Jonathan taking his robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt and giving them to David as a sign of their covenant. Saul placed David over the men of war.

As a result of the slaughter of the Philistines, the people chanted that Saul had slain his thousands and David his ten thousands. This displeased Saul and caused him to become jealous of David.
One particular day, a distressing spirit sent from God came upon Saul and he threw his spear at David; however David escaped. Since Saul was fearful of David, he sent David out from his presence and made him a captain over a thousand men.

David acted wisely in all his ways and God blessed him. This caused further distrust of David by Saul. Trying to be crafty, Saul gave the hand of his daughter Merab to David. When it became time for her to be given to David, she was given instead to Adriel. Another daughter of Saul, Michal, loved David. Word came to Saul of her love for David and it pleased Saul and she was given in marriage to David.

After a bit of attempted manipulation on the part of Saul, David went out and killed 200 Philistines, bringing back their foreskins to Saul. Seeing this act, Saul knew God was with David and that his daughter loved David. This just made Saul all the more fearful and angry.

Saul told Jonathan and his servants that they should kill David. Loving David as a brother, Jonathan told David of his father’s plans to kill him. Jonathan spoke to his father Saul in an effort to convince him to not kill David because he had done nothing against Saul. The advice of Jonathan was heeded by Saul and Saul agreed not to kill David.

War brewed again between Israel and the Philistines and David went out and defeated them.

The distressing spirit was sent again by God upon Saul and he sought to pin David against the wall with his spear yet again. As before, David escaped. Saul sent messengers to try and kill David in the night. Michal let David out through the window so he could escape, placing an image in her bed to appear as David. She told Saul’s messengers that David was sick in bed. Saul told his messengers to bring David to him so that he may kill David. What they brought to Saul was the image covered in goat’s hair.

David fled to Ramah and Saul sent messengers to capture him. They encountered a group of prophets to include Samuel and Saul’s messengers began to prophesy. Saul sent other messengers and the same thing happened. Saul sent a third group with the same thing happening again.

Saul himself went out after David and when he came to Ramah, the Spirit of God came upon Saul and he prophesied, laying down naked all day and night.

David sent word to Jonathan, asking what he had done to anger Saul. Jonathan promised David he would not die and they worked out a series of signals so David would know if it was safe to enter Saul’s presence. David hid in the field and Saul asked Jonathan why David was not present at dinner. Jonathan told his father that David had asked permission to go to Bethlehem. This angered Saul and he cast his spear at Jonathan in an attempt to kill his own son. Knowing it was not safe for David to come back, Jonathan shot an arrow into the field signifying to David he should flee. David and Jonathan wept together and David departed and Jonathan returned to his father.

Psalm 11 reflects this period in David’s life, one that was spent on the run from King Saul. In this Psalm, David notes how he is being pursued by the wicked. He also notes how the righteous can trust in God and the reality that God will rain down judgment upon the wicked for He is righteous and He loves righteousness and He will uphold the upright.

Psalm 59 also reveals what David was experiencing as Saul continually sought to take David’s life. This is a prayer to God for deliverance from the hand of the wicked, in this case from the hand of Saul and his messengers. As with Psalm 11, David notes God will judge the wicked and will laugh at those who seek to lie in wait for the righteous. God is the defense of the righteous and He will consume the wicked in His wrath.

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Callie Joubert – Can Theistic Evolutionism Explain the Origin of Morality?: A Young-Earth Creationist Response

If we accept that morality and ethics are about good and evil, right and wrong, and the truth and falsehood of moral beliefs (Holmes 1984), then it is only consistent with being a biblical Christian to exhibit thought and modes of moral reasoning that are consonant with God’s nature and revelation in Scripture. However, many people today who refer to themselves as Christians exhibit thought and modes of moral reasoning that are consonant with secular science. Or, to put it differently, their goal is to provide an understanding of the origins of life, man, and morality that could be acceptable to the naturalistically oriented mind. These Christians are generally known as theistic evolutionists.

Whereas some theistic evolutionists prefer to describe themselves as “evolutionary creationists” or “Christian evolutionists” (Lamoureux 2010), others prefer to call their position “BioLogos” (Collins 2007, pp. 201–203; Giberson and Collins 2011). In recent years theistic evolutionists produced a growing body of literature in which they advance arguments in support of their belief that “evolution, properly understood, best describes God’s work of creation” (Giberson and Collins 2011, p. 251; cf. Brannan 2007, 2011; Jarvis 2007; Lamoureux 2008, 2009, 2010; Miller 1982, 1993; G. Murphy 2006; Pope 2007; Van Till 1998, 1999, pp. 161–218; Wacome 1997). Let us look at their statement from the perspective of what it implies and what theistic evolutionists consider as main obstacles to a proper understanding of evolution.

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Paul Maxwell – Put Laziness to Rest

full_put-laziness-to-rest God often has a backwards way of dealing with brokenness in our world. Conquering, but not by the sword (Matthew 26:52). Defeating death with death (Hebrews 2:14). Preaching parables to bad listeners (Matthew 13:13). Fighting laziness with rest. Because of the complexity of laziness, we need to pay close attention to the ways God addresses our complacency.

To shout at men, “Get to work!” ironically reinforces a dysfunctional cycle of both work and rest. It fails to say what really needs to be said. It isn’t all that hard to see why God punishes his people by making them “forget festival and Sabbath” (Lamentations 2:6). Let me speak for ancient Israel and male millennials: bad resters make bad workers. Lazy men need a new theology of rest.

1. Rest from stubborn foolishness.

“‘Ah, stubborn children,’ declares the Lord, ‘who carry out a plan, but not mine’” (Isaiah 30:1). Even the lazy make plans. The grace God gives his children is in knowing the difference between the plan of the fool (Proverbs 3:29) and the plan of the wise. Those who plan well have joy (Proverbs 12:20).

With the Sabbath, God tells us to stop winging it and hoping for the best. Hope through planning. Faith and intentionality are not at odds for us. Stop all of the busy work, and carry out the Sabbath task of getting your own heart and life in order. Yes, planning itself takes time and energy. Halt as many activities as possible. But don’t stop and collapse into mindless inactivity. That’s a cycle of laziness — fake, shallow rest — not rest. Cease your vain labors so that you can truly work, and work well. Stop, so that you can reorient your rhythm from foolishness to wisdom, so that you can see and cease ineffective cycles of work and rest.

2. Rest from self-indulgence.

Laziness is an intoxication with some false god — pleasure, escape, comfort, self, or others. “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you” (1 Samuel 1:14) “that you may know that I am the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 29:6). Wine stands for the horde of idols clamoring at the gate of the human heart — every human heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Laziness prizes many things, but gains nothing. The sluggard fails to fulfill his responsibilities. He “does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing” (Proverbs 20:4).

There is great freedom in having our eyes opened — in realizing that when we are lazy, our sedentary state is not innocent. Someone or something is always pulling the chain around our neck: “Stop.” “Act.” “Indulge.” “Submit.” “Whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19). Laziness is not the reclusive passivity it pretends to be. It is active obedience to someone, to something other than Jesus Christ. The Lord of the Sabbath offers us freedom from that: “Sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

3. Rest from trying to be God.

Sabbath rest is not some mystical form of sustainable energy — a cosmic timeout that takes the edge off of life’s anxiety. No, Sabbath is rest in God. It is the practice of dependence. When you don’t have to be God, you don’t have to be in control of everything. Life’s pressures are put in a much broader context than me — my needs, my ability, my fears. What seems like an impossible situation for you is a walk in the park for the sovereign one working all things for your good (Isaiah 28:2; Romans 8:28).

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Book Review – We’re Just Friends and Other Dating Lies by Chuck Milian

Dating, finding a mate, sexual purity – these are just a few issues that most people face at some point in their life. Concomitant with these concerns are a host of other potential issues such as hurt feelings, emotional roller coasters, loneliness, unrealistic expectations, just to name a few. The modern dating model promotes the idea that the aforementioned issues are simply what one has to go through in order to find a mate and maneuvering the dating minefield is just par for the course. One may rightly ask if Scripture has anything to say about finding a mate or if humanity is simply left to their own to figure out how to attract a mate based on the current societal trends. Pastor and author Chuck Milian, in his book “We’re Just Friends and Other Dating Lies” approaches the topic of dating with a helpful guide to avoiding the typical pitfalls and minefields the modern dating model presents.

Milian presents five dating levels he believes will not just help single people avoid the dating minefield, but that will also ensure that in the process of finding a mate, one’s focus is always on glorifying God. These five dating levels are called 1) Dating for Something to do; 2) Dating Because It’s You; 3) Dating With the Future in View; 4) Dating and Engaged to You; and 5) Dating After Saying I Do. Subsumed within these five levels are guidelines for physical interaction and recommendations for appropriate social interactions. While Milian describes his approach as a biblical dating model, he is actually presenting what could rightly be called an approach that is very much like a courtship model where relationships are built on the foundation of friendship and treating each other as a brother and sister in Christ focusing on building Christ-like relationships rather than interacting merely for an emotional high or to elevate one’s social status.

As one who went through the process of betrothal with my wife as we moved towards marriage, I was pleased to see Milian focus extensively on the need for a community approach to “dating.” Having a community of family, friends, and mentors is truly invaluable for helping the two individuals who are in the process of getting to know one another to stay focused on things above. An important element of Milian’s first dating level is that of activities with others who may have similar interests with the express purpose of simply getting to know each other and to cultivate a friendship as brothers and sisters in the Lord. This approach flies in the face of the modern dating model, and thankfully so, where the typical first date is seen as a means to satisfy some fleshly urge or to prove you can “get a date.” Milian aptly reminds the reader that a firm foundation of friendship is essential to avoid future hurt feelings. Starting off on the right page, namely that of developing a godly friendship with other singles around to maintain a sense of accountability is absolutely the proper biblical approach. Enjoying another’s company simply for the sake of enjoying another’s company without any hidden strings attached not only starts a relationship off on the right foot, it also ensures the focus is not on conquest but on building one another up in biblical community. But wait, there’s more!

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

We should have seen it coming. Back in 1989 two young activists pushing for the normalization of homosexuality coauthored a book intended to serve as a political strategy manual and public relations guide for their movement. In After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s, authors Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen argued that efforts to normalize homosexuality and homosexual relationships would fail unless their movement shifted its argument to a demand for civil rights, rather than for moral acceptance. Kirk and Madsen argued that homosexual activists and their allies should avoid talking about sex and sexuality. Instead, “the imagery of sex per se should be downplayed, and the issue of gay rights reduced, as far as possible, to an abstract social question.”

Beyond Kirk and Madsen and their public relations strategy, an even more effective legal strategy was developed along the same lines. Legal theorists and litigators began to argue that homosexuals were a class of citizens denied basic civil liberties, and that the courts should declare them to be a protected class, using civil rights precedents to force a moral and legal revolution.

That revolution has happened, and it has been stunningly successful. The advocates for the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage have used legal arguments developed from the civil rights era to their advantage. Arguments used to end the scourge of racial segregation were deployed to normalize homosexuality and homosexual relationships. Over the years, these arguments have led to such major developments as the decriminalization of homosexual behaviors, the inclusion of homosexuals within the United States military, and the legalization of same-sex marriage in some states.

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Tim Challies – What Kind of God Would Condemn People to Eternal Torment?

How can you believe in a God who would condemn people to suffer the torments of hell eternally? I have been asked this question many times and, if you are a Christian, you probably have too. If you haven’t, you would do well to get working on an answer because the question may not be too far off. Hell is no laughing matter, despite cartoons and lampoons to the contrary. In all the world, in all eternity, there are few matters weightier than this one, and to every man and woman there is no issue more urgent.

You’re Asking the Wrong Question

How can you believe in a God who would condemn people to suffer the torments of hell eternally? I reply with a question of my own: “How can you believe in a God who would not?”

To ask the first question is to fundamentally misunderstand the very nature of God; it is to re-form God in the image of man, because here’s the thing: If you want a God who is good—truly good—and if you want a God who is just and holy, then you must have this God, this God who condemns people to suffer the eternal torments of hell. You cannot have the God you want unless there is a hell.

You cannot have a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful and so very good. God’s goodness doesn’t negate eternal punishment in hell; it demands it.

Scripture Is Clear About Hell

If you want a God who is good—truly good—and if you want a God who is just and holy, then you must have this God, this God who condemns people to suffer the eternal torments of hell.

On what basis can I so strongly and confidently assert the necessity and existence of eternal, conscious torment in hell, even if my heart naturally cries out in rebellion against the thought? Only because God’s Word is clear on the matter. The Bible describes hell as a place where God pours out His wrath on people who have been created in His image (Matthew 10:28; 25:46; Revelation 14:10–11; 20:10–15). God the Father has appointed His Son to be the eternal Judge who will condemn people to hell (Matthew 25:31–34, 25:41; Acts 10:42). This is not momentary or temporary torture dispensed by Satan or his demons, but eternal torment poured out by God Himself. This punishment will be inflicted upon conscious human beings, people who know who they are, what they were, what they have done (Luke 16:22–31).

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Shai Linne Responds To Paula White Ministries’ Open Letter

Hey Brad,

This is Shai Linne. I’m writing to reply to the recent open letter you wrote in response to my song, “Fal$e Teacher$“. In that song, I referred to Paula White, among others, as a false teacher. I’m glad that you responded because it serves as a reminder to us all that this discussion involves real people with real families and real souls. Therefore, this is not something that should be taken lightly. It’s very serious. Before I directly address the substance of your open letter, I first want to commend you for a few things that encouraged me as I read it.

1. I was encouraged to read your confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I loved hearing you affirm the blessed Trinity, the deity of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and salvation by grace through faith in Christ. I can’t even type that last sentence without it affecting me. Beautiful truths, indeed! Those truths are the foundation of my hope and joy. My soul leaps when I hear someone affirm these things as you did. Amen and amen.

2. I was encouraged to read of your obvious love for your mother. What son couldn’t relate to the passion behind what you wrote? If someone said anything that I perceived as negative or untrue about my mom, I would be the first to defend her. As a son who dearly loves his own mom, I could identify with you. Thank you for setting a good example for sons out there in stepping up to defend your mother.

3. I was encouraged to hear of your mother praying for your salvation, as well as teaching you the faith. Again, I can relate. I myself am the result of a praying mother. In fact, I once told my mom that I would never become a Christian. Even as I entered adulthood while continuing in rebellion against God, she never stopped praying for me. I am eternally grateful to her for crying out to God on my behalf when I was dead in my sins! So I was glad to hear you mention what you did about your mother. It’s a good model for other mothers to emulate.

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