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Have You Been Scammed by Your Own Heart?

All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Proverbs 16:2 NIV

כָּֽל־דַּרְכֵי־אִ֭ישׁ זַ֣ךְ בְּעֵינָ֑יו וְתֹכֵ֖ן רוּח֣וֹת יְהוָֽה׃

A study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism asked thousands of people what news was most important to them. International news beat out celebrity and “fun” news by a margin of two-to-one. Economic and political news finished even higher. But what happens when readers were asked not what’s important, but what they actually read?

Derek Thompson with The Atlantic claims most Americans lie about what they actually read. He explains: [On June 17, 2014], the most important story in the world, according to Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_gustavofrazao'>gustavofrazao / 123RF Stock Photo</a>every major American newspaper this morning, is the violent splintering of Iraq.

So what did we actually read on June 17, 2014? The top stories across the big media outlets focused on the World Cup, a YouTube game, gluten and postpartum depression, the Miss America Pageant, and the Video Music Awards. Thompson concludes, “Ask audiences what they want, and they’ll tell you vegetables. Watch them quietly, and they’ll mostly eat candy.”

If we are truthful about ourselves, we discover we are rather dishonest. Consequently, we wouldn’t par too well if we were asked to submit to a spiritual fitness test based on a thorough self-examination of our inner truthfulness. We tend to overestimate our goodness and underestimate how much we need to repent and grow.

In Proverbs 16:2 Solomon beckons us to sign up for an investigation of our inner lives lest we be scammed by a dishonest heart. (more…)

Christ at the Checkpoint Position Paper by Israeli Messianic Jews

 

 A Position Paper of the Messianic Jewish Community regarding the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (CatC) 

 1. The Word of God: the Tanakh and the New Covenant Scriptures together, are the one true, infallible, and unalterable standard of truth and life for all believers. As Yeshua our Messiah declared, “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17) and “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Therefore we affirm that “all the promises of God are ‘Yes’” and ‘Amen’ (not abrogated) in Yeshua (II Cor. 1:20), and that “the gifts and calling of God” for His chosen people, Israel, “are irrevocable” (Romans 11:28b-29 in context). “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew!” (Romans 11:2). Rather, “to them belong [present tense!] the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises” (Romans 9:4).

2. The Messiah Yeshua’s calling for His Body — in the Land of Israel and throughout the world — is to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19) by proclaiming “repentance for the forgiveness of sins…in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:47). Every movement or activity which does not promote or which, on the contrary, distracts us from that central purpose and calling is not of God, no matter what biblical or spiritual language may be used to describe it. Yeshua never commanded, or even suggested, that His followers were to “bring in” the Kingdom of God on earth. Yeshua Himself promised to establish His Kingdom upon His return (Matthew 25:31, 34), and we, who are heirs of His Kingdom and proclaimers of it in the present age (James 2:5; Acts 28:23, 31), are instructed to pray for that day to quickly come (Matthew 6:10; cf. Philippians 3:20-21).

3. Christ at the Checkpoint is, therefore, a false messianic movement, arrogating to itself the role of Messiah in establishing the Kingdom while promoting a humanistic, political “liberation theology.” [All the “evangelical” CatC speakers reflect the same approach and goals, as is evident from the Kairos Document which Yohanna Katanacho, CatC Committee member, helped compose and Bethlehem Bible College endorsed]. Although cloaking its “mandate” in biblical language (“the teaching of Jesus on the Kingdom of God”) and using seductively positive terms (“Peace, justice, and reconciliation”), this movement has one overriding purpose: to sway Evangelical believers worldwide away from belief in the eternal promises of God to Israel by slandering the Jewish people and delegitimizing the Jewish state; painting Israel as a wicked, oppressive, apartheid “entity”—especially in contrast to the supposedly ‘democratic, tolerant and peace-seeking’ Palestinian Authority and people. There is no Gospel here! (more…)

Why Israel Exists ‘for the Palestinians’—and the Rest of the World | Christianity Today

Why Israel Exists ‘for the Palestinians’—and the Rest of the World | Christianity Today.

I am including the final installment of the dialogue between Jew for Jesus head David Brickner and Pastor and author John Piper regarding Israel’s divine right to the land. This four-part article has been helpful to lay out the issues on the table even though many aspects of this discussion left much unsaid.  Today Piper attempts to maintain the exclusivity of God’s promise to the Jewish people and yet also hold to the position that the whole world will inherit Israel as well.  Though the Gentile world enjoys the blessings of the land of Israel during the messianic kingdom, the prophecies in Ezekiel make it clear that the land of Israel is divided among the twelve tribes of the elect nation.

Pastor John Piper

Pastor John Piper

Piper displays the confusion among Reformed theologians who try to affirm Israel as the object of God’s blessings and at the same time extend those blessings to the world while maintaing Israel as a unique chosen nation. Somewhere in the theological mix as explained by Reformed theologians, the elect status of Israel is lost in the universal blessings God promises to the world.  Brickner’s words still stand true, ” “You are taking away with one hand what you give with the other.”

This is the conclusion of a four-part discussion between Bethlehem Baptist Church pastor John Piper and Jews for Jesus executive director David Brickner on the relationship and attitudes American Christians should have toward Israel. See parts onetwo, and three. (more…)

God Doesn’t Keep Jews in a Pickle Jar | Christianity Today

Jews for Jesus Director David Brickner has an online conversation with John Piper, author and pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and speaker at Christ at the Checkpoint Conference.  This online conversation centers on the Jewish people’s divine right to the land of Israel.  ScriptureSolutions highly recommends to its readers to check out these articles and read the Christian ZIonism side represented by Brickner and the anti-Christian Zionist side purported by John Piper.

God Doesn’t Keep Jews in a Pickle Jar | Christianity Today.

This is part three of a four-part discussion between Bethlehem Baptist Church pastor John Piper and Jews for Jesus executive director David Brickner on the relationship and attitudes American Christians should have toward Israel. See Brickner’s initial letter and Piper’s first response.

Pickle Jar

Dear John,

Thank you for your insightful comments on a number of the issues brought up in my first letter to you, many with which I happily agree. We both uphold the need and priority of Jewish evangelism as integral to world mission. We both affirm the ongoing election of Israel (the Jewish people) and God’s faithfulness to his covenant people and his promises. We both look forward to the second coming of Jesus and his glorious restoration of all things, including his people Israel. I do want to take issue with two of your comments before voicing my main concern.

(more…)

Can Modern Christianity Be Too Loving?

Is is possible that a Christian can be too loving?  Can a follower of Jesus emphasize the love of the Lord so much that he or she leaves out other essential qualities of the Lord in their theology?

In Lynne Hybels’ recent blog on God’s Politics she asks, “What is an evangelical?” In one of her summary statements, Hybels notes:

I am a Christian today because of what I found in Jesus.

In the lover of my soul and the radical activist, I found the Christianity my mind and my soul had longed for.

In my humble opinion this is what it means to be an evangelical.

But whatever the label, I believe it’s the Christianity that our world desperately needs to see.

Hybels focuses on God’s compassion for others and the compassion of Christians towards other people as the true meaning of what it means to be a Christian.  In essence I agree with her.  Still I question any Christian writer who focuses mainly on love as the main description of Christianity.

Focusing Only on God’s Love Can Be a Formula for Theological Disaster

If  the most important expression of God is love, then what shall we make of the afterlife?  Will a loving God go so far as to express His love in such a way as to make sure everyone enters heaven?  If God’s chief character is love and His sense of holiness and justice is ignored, then what else can one conclude? If that’s what a person believes, that person is a universalist.  He or she believes everyone will be saved.  There is no other alternative. How can a God who is all loving send anyone to hell? 

Rob Bell, in his book Love Wins is a universalist as I understand him. In the fourth chapter of his book, he asks whether God gets what He wants? If God wants everyone to be saved, as Bell asserts, then the all powerful God will make sure everyone will be saved. If not, then either God is powerful enough to save us all despite His loving desires or He is not truly loving if He refuses to exercise His power to guarantee everyone a spot in heaven.

Since the Bible does not teach universalism, I interpret this belief as one in which the Christian ends up being too loving.

Since ScriptureSolutions is committed to biblical teaching and preaching, it is important that Christians are hearing the truth being taught from the pulpit. If one’s pastor is teaching universalism then the congregant has every right to ask whether their minister is being faithful to the Word of God.

Salvation Calls For a Personal Decision to Drink the Water of Eternal Life

To prove his position on universalism, Pastor Bell gathers together all the passages that refer to the Lord’s intent to ultimately restore “everything and everybody” (pg. 107). For instance, he quotes from Colossians 1:19-20: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”  To Bell this verses and others like it provide us the evidence God will be reconciled with all people. (more…)

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