Monday, November 29, 2010

Where is She?

November 28, 2010

You could find her in three places only
I went to her bedroom
       and she's not there
I went to the living room
       but her seat is empty
She could not possibly be beside the faucet
       because I did not order her to take a bath
Where is she?
Tears rolled down my face when I finally remembered
Its her 5th day in the ICU
Lying flat on the bed

Thursday, November 25, 2010

3rd Halo-halo Huwebes

Trigonometry and Honesty
"Today I am giving two examinations- one in trigonometry and the other in honesty. I hope you will pass them both. If you must fail one, fail trigonometry. There are many good people in the world who cannot pass trig, but there are no good people in the world who cannot pass the examination of honesty"
- Madison Sarratt of Vandervilt University
  Our Daily Bread, Vol. 31/ July 10, 1986

If they hated Spurgeon, keep in mind that they hated Christ first
(John 15:18) 
Observe that the enemies of Charles Spurgeon in the "Downgrade Controversy" denied some of the essentials of the evangelical faith:

1. the imputation of Adam's sin
2. the imputation of Christ's righteousness
3. the doctrine of everlasting conscious punishment
4. the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures
5. the Trinity

"We are now at the parting of ways, and the younger ministers especially must decide whether or not, they will embrace and undisguisedly proclaim that the 'modern thought' which in Mr. Spurgeon's eyes is a 'deadly cobra' while in ours it is the glory of the century. It discards many of the doctrines dear to Mr. Spurgeon and his school, not only as untrue and unscriptural, but as in the strictest sense immoral; for it cannot recognise the moral possibility of imputing either guilt or goodness, or the justice of inflicting everlasting punishment for temporary sin. It is not so irrational as to pin its faith to verbal inspiration or so idolatrous as to make its acceptance of a true Trinity of divine manifestation cover polytheism."

-Christian World
cited in R.J. Sheehan's C.H. Spurgeon and the Modern Church

Ano nga ba ang aking istilo sa pagsusulat?

In this site
, you can submit a few paragraphs of your work for "statistical analysis". Based on your word choice and writing style, the site will tell  "which famous writer you write like".

I submitted "God's Sovereignty Over the Wills and Desires of People Around Us", and the result was I write like William Shakespeare.

 I submitted "We Have Seen His Glory", the result was I write like Edgar Allan Poe.

 I submitted "Beautiful Extravagance", and the result was a name I never heard before-- I write like H.P. Lovecraft, "American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction" !!! (Wikipedia)

Since it was a three-way tie, I submitted another post to break it. After analyzing "How to love your son without walking in the path of Marlene Aguilar -Pollard", the final result is William Shakespeare.

The Influence of Books and Teachers

"If I had even the faintest clue when I was younger as to how profound an impact books and professors would have upon my life, I would have kept a better record of my thoughts and emotions. Why? Because some books and teachers leave indelible fingerprints on our souls. And when those fingerprints are left, it's as if your DNA has changed. Our physical body takes on characteristics because of our chemical DNA. Likewise, those whom we've read and those whose feet we have studied will transform our passions, power and purpose."
-Ravi Zacharias
Just Thinking (Winter 2003), p.1
also appeared in the book Indellible Ink:
22 Prominent Leaders Discuss the Books That Shaped Their Faith (Ed. Scott Larsen)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We Have Seen His Glory (John 1:14)

It has been about six decades since the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. The only surviving apostle, a very old man now, picks up his pen or is at least with a secretary. Its time to write his very own Gospel, the 4th Gospel. Surely it brought back some sweet memories to this man who frequently referred to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved".

He begins with an 18-verse prologue. With it, he tells his readers in very clear terms that Jesus has been existing from the very beginning; and that he was with God and he himself is God. He further tells his audience that this Jesus is Creator of all things we enjoy here on earth and that he is the author of life.

At verse 14, he writes about how this God became flesh and made his dwelling among men. But even when he was in this form of a servant, his glory cannot be hidden. John declares: "We have seen his glory".

By the time John wrote this, his Christology was already in its fullness. He fully understands who Jesus Christ is. Yet it was not always that way. John and the rest of the apostles were very slow in grasping the full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Andrew and Peter were newly acquainted with Jesus, they asked him,
"Where are you staying?" (John 1:38)
Jesus replied "Come and see".

He showed them the place where he was staying and they were with him the whole day. But three years after, they knew that Jesus doesn't even need a place built by human hands.He dwells at the Father's side since the beginning. Solomon says to God in the dedication of the temple: "Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house I built?" (1 Kings 8:27)

Nathanael's first response to Jesus was discrimination: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Yet he was surprised when he learned that Jesus saw him under the fig tree when he thought he was all alone. He therefore declared Jesus to be the Son of God. But he has not seen anything yet. Jesus told his that he will see the heavens opened and the angels of god ascending and descending on the Son of Man (John 1:51). The affairs between heaven and earth are so centered on this man that the angels of God ascend and descend on him.

At one point, the disciples asked "Who is this man that even winds and waves obey him". After ascension, one of his apostles wrote that in Jesus, all things hold together (Col. 1:17). He is the sustainer of the universe. The earth rotates on its axis because of Jesus Christ. The planets revolve around their orbits because of Jesus Christ. There is evaporation, condensation and precipitation because of Jesus Christ. Our hearts are beating and blood flows within our veins because of Jesus. We inhale and exhale unconsciously because of Jesus.

Thomas thought that when he died, it was game over (pardon me for using Nintendo language here). Later he understood that death cannot hold Jesus Christ. He laid down his life only to take it up again (John 10:17)

He turned ordinary water into the finest wine. He made the lame walk, he restored sight to the blind, he cleansed lepers, he raised the dead back to life. He fed thousands of people with fives loaves and two fish.

Peter, James, and John saw with their very eyes how he transfigured. His face shone like the sun and his clothes as white as the light. Then they heard a voice from heaven declare: "This is my Son whom I love, with whom i am well pleased; listen to him." (Matthew 17)

The old man John looked back and he remembered all these things and much more he did not even bother to record them all (John 20:30). But the things recorded in Scripture are sufficient for us to see his glory too that we might believe in the Son of God and by believing, we may have life in his name (John 20:31)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2nd Halo-halo Huwebes

 The Problem of Information Overload
Sana may maligaw na kopya ng Amusing Ourselves to Death sa Booksale. Dalawampu't limang taon na ang nakalipas buhat nang unang ilathala ito, at hanggang ngayon ay pinag-uusapan pa rin tulad nitong panel discussion na ito na pinangunahan ni Albert Mohler. Nagpakita siya ng karunungan sa panayam na ito noong panahong bagong silang pa lamang ang Cyberspace. I think waht he said which begins at 4:48 is the highlight of the interview:

Charlayne Hunter-Gault: What images come to your mind when you think about what our lives will be like in the cyberspace?

Well the worst images are of people who are overloaded with information which they don't know what to do with, have no sense of what is relevant and what is irrelevant, people who become information junkies

What do you mean?

Postman: Well the problem in the 19th century with information was that we live in a culture of information scarcity. And so humanity addressed that problem beginning with photography and telegraphy in the 1840's. We tried to solve the problem of overcoming the limitations of space, time and form. And for about a hundred years we worked on this problem and we solved it in a spectacular way. And now by solving that problem, we created a new problem that people have never exprienced before: information glut-- information meaninglessness-- information incoherence.

The Cry of Helpless Children

We cry 'Abba, Father' 
"Paul speaks here about Christian crying  'Abba, Father!'  The verb he uses is krazein, and in the New Testament it denotes a loud cry, often a cry or shriek of anguish (cf. Mk. 15:39, our Lord's cry on the cross; Rev. 12:2. a woman in childbirth). The picture is not that of a believer resting quietly in his Father's arms in childlike faith, but of the child who has tripped and fallen crying out in pain, 'Daddy, Daddy'. That cry is the mark of the presence of the Spirit of adoption, not least because it shows that in time of need it is towards our Father in heaven that we look."
Sinclair B. Ferguson
The Christian Life, page 100

"By their books we shall know them.
And by our books we shall be known."

"To a great extent, our personal libraries betray our true identities and interests. A minister’s library, taken as a whole, will likely reveal a portrait of theological conviction and vision. Whose works have front place on the shelves, Martyn Lloyd-Jones or John Shelby Spong? Charles Spurgeon or Harry Emerson Fosdick? Karl Barth or Carl Henry? John MacArthur or Joel Osteen?

"How serious a Bible scholar is this preacher? The books will likely tell. Are the books all old or all new? If so, the reader is probably too contemporary or too antiquarian in focus. Are the books read? If so, the marginalia of an eager and intelligent mind adds value to the book. It becomes more a part of us.

Is this person a Christian intellectual, feeding the mind and soul by reading? For too many pastors, the personal library announces, “I stopped reading when I graduated from seminary.”

When I think of my closest friends, I realize that I am most at home with them in their libraries, and they are most at home with me in mine. Why? Because the books invite and represent the kind of conversation and sharing of heart, soul, and mind that drew us together in the first place.

By their books we shall know them. And by our books we shall be known."

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
read the whole post here

Akanunot ya Man-Reunion Iray Mamasiken
May bagong bandang nabuo! (click here) It seems there's a bright future ahead for these young musicians... LOL! 
The report is that they have re-recorded the old songs, largely from the Greg X. Volz era. Nang ako'y magsimulang makinig sa Petra, panahon na ni John Schlitt kaya hindi ako pamilyar sa mga awit ni Volz. Sinusubukan kong makinig sa kanya at mahusay naman talaga si Lolo Greg.

Bukod sa album ay may tour pa sila ngayong 2010-2011. Siya nga pala, may live show pa sila sa TBN sa Nobyembre 20.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Holy Unbelief (1 John 4:1-6)

Ang dating nahahati sa anim na paskil ay iisa na lang ngayon

Thanks to jscreationzs for offering this photo for free at
Jscreationzs' portfolio is found HERE
1 John 4:1-6 (NIV)
"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood."

*** *** ***
A debate starts with a proposition. One will be on the affirmative side; another on the negative side. A college debate may have this proposition: “Charter change will be beneficial to our nation”. One will agree with the proposition, one side will disagree. Then the debate happens.

When the Word of God expressed in propositions is preached, we must accept it as it is. We have no right to reject it. We don’t even have the right to propose amendments to the word of God. The word of God is perfect, so to modify it or revise it is indeed to destroy it. Spiritual people are believers. They say “AMEN” to biblical propositions.

But there is also a sense where spiritual men must not believe. The Macarthur Study Bible describes it as “healthy skepticism”—“doubting the validity of what is being said". Aside from John Macarthur, I will quote other respected bible teachers who espouse the same thing:

S. Lewis Johnson: "just as belief is an aspect of spiritual maturity so is unbelief a mark of spiritual maturity. In other words, to believe not certain things is just as significant as to believe other things" (from a sermon titled "Test the Spirits")

Ray Stedman: "To be a Christian you must be a believer, but it is equally true that every Christian is also called to be an unbeliever. There is a time when unbelief is the only right thing. The very same Scriptures which encourage us to believe likewise urge us not to believe. In fact they not only urge us, they command us not to believe. This is no contradiction, any more than to say that in order to live it is necessary both to inhale and to exhale. These are contradictory things: you cannot inhale and exhale at the same time, but both are absolutely necessary to maintain life." (Life in the Son, Expository Studies in 1 John)

You see, not all propositions are true. Some are lies such as:

“Ang uling ay kulay puti”

“Ang yelo ay mainit”

“Si Bro. Manny ay guwapo” 
(I hope my mother will take the affirmative side;
How about modifying the proposition by adding the word “medyo”… LOL)

Not all propositions stated by a teacher/preacher are biblical. There are times when what is being taught has no scriptural basis. Even worse, there are times when a doctrine being stated directly opposes what the bible teaches. There are times when the holy man must withhold his “Amen”, even when everybody shouts “Amen”. In some circumstances, to believe is evil and to doubt or disbelieve is holy.

The Source of False Teachings
Apostle John commands believers not to believe every spirit. Rather we are asked to “test“ the spirits. The Greek word is dokimazo- “to try to learn the genuineness of something by examination and testing” (Louw & Nida lexicon). For not everything that glitters is gold; I know at least two store owners in our baranggay who were deceived by nice looking fake 500 peso bills. Same is true when it comes with doctrines. Not everyone who looks like an angel of God is from God.

Our text says that many false prophets have come into the world. “marami”—naglipana—nagkalat kung saan-saan at sila ay naghahasik ng lagim. They are not harmless. In his farewell address to to the Ephesian church, Paul referred to them as savage wolves (Acts 20:29).

They are the initial installments of the final anti-christ. In the end times, someone will emerge to ”oppose" and “exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped”, and shall proclaim himself to be God (2 Thess. 2:4). He will be hostile to Christ and to truth. That is the future anti-christ. Yet smaller versions of him are already in the world by means of false teachers, promoting doctrines that are hostile to God.

As to the source of these anti-God ideas, it seems clear to me that here in our text and elsewhere, that such thoughts are diabolical.

1 Tim.4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons”(Yikes!!!)

2 Cor. 11:13-15For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.

—If your idea of demons is drawn primarily from watching horror films (yung mga biglang sumusulpot sa likuran; duguan ang mukha kasabay ng nakakakilabot na sound effects; o di kaya ay yung halimaw na lumalabas sa banga—at sabi ni Matet ay “Takot ako eh,”) then you know very little about demons.

One of the main activities of Satan and his minions is deception. He was present in Eden to deceive Adam and Eve and he would be present in Gog and Magog to deceive the nations. So Scripture testifies that from the beginning of history (Genesis) to the end (Revelation), Satan and his assistants are active deceivers.

These are not merely differences in opinion:
“behind the false prophet or false teacher is an evil spirit. Men simply do not speak out of their own intellectual attainments. Quite unconsciously they are being guided--really misguided--by an evil spirit, a “spirit of error,” (Ray Stedman)

Herbert Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) now Grace Communion International (GCI) taught some perverse doctrines during his lifetime: Legalistic observance of Mosaic feasts; Saturday as the only true worship day; dietary laws; WCG’s exclusivity as the true church. He also define God as a family (Father & Son are members). After resurrection, believers become a part of that God-family. And when you finally become a member of the God family, you will not find the Holy Spirit there for he is not a person but a force.

After his death, WCG moved to more orthodox positions on various essential issues of the faith. Yet WCG never declared Armstrong as a false teacher. I have read two books written respectively by WCG/GCI’s current leaders: Transformed by Truth (Joseph Tkach Jr.) and Liberating the Worldwide Church of God (J. Michael Feazell). In both books, it is implied that Armstrong was saved and is in heaven!

I was disturbed. So I asked my WCG friend if he himself is hopeful that Armstrong was saved. He affirmed it.

In defense of Armstrong, he reasoned out that his former shepherd was just uneducated that’s why he fell into such ideas. I replied gently that though we are not the judge of men’s eternal destiny, we should also hold that a man who has rejected the gospel is presumed to be lost. I would add now based on 1 John 4 that the source of Armstrong’s false teachings is not his lack of education. By John's apostolic authority, I believe that Satan gave birth to such dangerous doctrines.

In fact, you can be very educated and still teach anti-God and Anti-christ ideas. Bart Ehrman is a case in point. He is a top scholar. He studied at some of the best evangelical theological schools: Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. He studied under top textual critic Bruce Metzger. Yet he now denies the reliability of Scriptures. He is now an agnostic.

Good education or lack of it is not the source of false doctrines-- demonic influence is.

The Creed Test
The first test that we have to do according to Apostle John is the creed test— what do they believe?; what are they teaching?

Is it consistent with Apostolic doctrine (Galatians. 1:8-9)?
Is it in harmony with previous revelation (Acts 17:11)?

In our text, John was addressing a particular Christological problem in their day—“a combination of elements, including emerging Gnosticism, docetism and Cerinthianism” (Craig Blomberg, The NT Definition of Heresy, JETS Mar. 2002). This is the reason why he laid down a Christological test.

Yet John does not intend here that the creed test will only be Christological. There are many other things that the Bible lays down as essential tenets of the faith. One helpful tool for this matter is Robert Bowman’s A Biblical Guide to Orthodoxy and Heresy (Parts 1 & 2).

The suggestion of Bruce Demarest and Gordon Lewis is also worthy of consideration. They stressed the importance of using provisional authorities like confessions of faith and historic Christian creeds:

when new in the faith. Like young children under the authority of their parents, Christians wisely depend rather heavily on their received traditions… They function as authorities until we have been able to check out their faithfulness to Scripture for ourselves” (Integrative Theology, Vol.1)

The Congregation Test 1: Worldly people listen to worldly teachers with worldly messages
In this test, we will ask these questions:
Who listens to them?
Who celebrates when they teach?

They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world,
and the world listens to them. (1 John 4:5 NIV)

For the unspiritual message of unspiritual persons will be received by an unspiritual congregation.

Nasa likas ng makasalanang tao ang ipagbunyi ang masama:
"Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:32)

What does John mean when he says “they are of the world”?
Worldliness is opposed to what is heavenly and it appeals to carnal pleasures: envy; self-seeking; sensuality. It is associated with the demonic (James 3:13-15)

False teaching is enjoyed by sensual people; by a congregation hostile to God. Ang mga nakikinig sa mga gurong makasanlibutan ay yung mga kapwa nila makasanlibutan.

Nasa likas ng makasalanang tao ang ipagbunyi ang masama :

"Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." (Romans 1:32)

So a rapper can release a perverse album and receive a platinum award.

So an ungodly book like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code could sell 80,000,000 copies.

That’s why they love documentaries such as James Cameron’s “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” which would tell them that Jesus’ bones were found in the Talpiot Tomb. They like those lies very much because if Jesus’ bones were found, that means the resurrection was a hoax. And if Jesus is dead, that means there is no Lord to obey. They could do whatever they want.

John 3:19 says ”men loved darkness instead of light” that’s why they love men from the dark.

Same is true with regards to false teaching.
Minsan, naiisip natin: “Kawawa naman, niloloko sila ng false teacher na ito”. But the bible reveals that they are not innocent. They are willing participants in the crime

2 Timothy 4:3-4: For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

From these verse we glean the following:
a. The demand for false teachers increases the supply. They collect false teachers around themselves
b. They listen to satisfy their itching ears; they want messages which are suited to their carnal desires
c. They deliberately turn their ears from what is true to listen to what is false.

~ What they want is not God. What they want is a BMW, that’s why they hired Kenneth Copeland so that someone will frequently tell them that God wants them to have a BMW.

~ They want to belittle Jesus, and so they hired an executive minister who will deny the deity of Christ. And when that executive minister dies, worldly people in the government will declare a National Day of Mourning in honor of the one who belittled Jesus Christ.

~ They love cursing that’s why they will gladly listen to their Sugong Palamura At habang pinagmumumura ng kanilang pinuno yung katunggali sa debate, nagdiriwang sila kasi mahilig sila sa pagmumura.

~ Who will celebrate at Brian Maclaren’s call for a 5-year moratorium on making pronouncements on homosexuality ? Only worldly people will celebrate that.

~ Who will celebrate Antinomianism? Who will rejoice over a notion that a a thief converted in 1999 can remain as a thief until 2009?

The unspiritual message of unspiritual persons will be receive by an unspiritual congregation.

The Congregation Test 2: Holy People listen to holy teachers with holy messages
Spiritual messages from spiritual teachers will be received by spiritual men

John 10:27: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."

John 10:5: "But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

The word of God will come upon his people with great conviction (1 Thess. 1:4-5)

In the process of testing, we should also ask,"What is the church's attitude towards this teaching?"

“if the community we have always trusted, if the church as the historic custodian of truth refuses this prophesy, we should be warned” (Gary Burge, NIVAC)

In the Roman Catholic church, the final authority is Sola Ecclesia- whatever the church says. As evangelicals, we are for Sola Scriptura. Yet it is wrong to think that the church has no value in teaching the truth.

“Those who claim that the church has no value and isn’t instrumental in teaching Scipture are wrong. The church is the pillar and foundation of truth and this “community of God” is instrumental in keeping us in check with the rest of the Christian community.” (Ray Aviles, BARM Public Square)

On his appearance on the June Cain Miller show Dr. Walter Martin pointed out that though he wrote a book on cults (The Kingdom of Cults), he was not the one who classified groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Cristian Science, etc. as cults. He said that it was the Christian Church who classified theses groups as cults.

My favorite contemporary statements on the essentials of the evangelical faith is.
Aside from contemporary statements, ancient documents are also helpful: the Heidelberg and Westminster cathechisms; The Apostles creed, Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed.

These are helpful tools for testing the spirits.
Ano ba ang paniniwala ng mga taong banal noon at ngayon?

I have a friend from Grace Communion International (GCI), formerly the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). He is very much into theology; we discuss theological issues once in a while. Recently, GCI has embraced Karl Barth soteriology. What I am trying to do is to show my friend that Barth’s view is far from the evangelical consensus. I’m trying to warn him about the effects of these recent developments within GCI. This will surely affect GCI's standing in the evangelical community. I even think that GCI’s position is worse than Barth’s now, for they mix it with their long-held error of post-mortem salvation.

Test everything. Hold on to what is good. Shun evil.
Let us ask ourselves:
Will godly Christians celebrate this teaching?
If they treasure this doctrine, why would I reject it?
If they abhor this doctrine then why should I accept it?

Godly men will accept truth; and when you offer the same to ungodly men, they will reject it. They will find no beauty in it.

“He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God" (John 8:47)

The One in us vs. the one in them
The ministry of discernment can be a very intimidating task. Some leave it ONLY for the gifted. But you know what, you may not be especially gifted in this field of ministry, but I want to assure you that you can discern. Yes you can.

1 John 4:4 "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

You have overcome them, not because of anything inherent in you. Our text sets out the reason why: because he who resides in us is greater that those whose resides in them.

Rom.8:14, “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”

The same Holy Spirit who leads you to a holy living will also lead you into holy believing, and if necessary, he will also lead you to holy unbelief.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

1st Halo-halo Huwebes

Karl Barth's Trinity: Suborthodox?
Have read about Karl Barth's replacement of the traditional formula "One God in three persons" with "one divine subject in three different modes of being". Bruce Demarest concludes that Barth's position is a form of "idealistic modalism". In one of the end notes, Demarest further labels Barth's understanding of the Trinity as "suborthodox" 
(chapter 7, Integrative Theology Vol.1-- co-authored with Gordon Lewis)

Salvation in Dim Light 
"We learn how little of God's truth may serve for conversion, if the hearer makes good use of it and it is savingly applied by the Spirit. The penitent on the cross was saved by means of mere fragments of truth, presented to him in the blasphemies of Christ's accusers and the inscription on His cross. This is a delightful thought when it is viewed in connection with the poor and ignorant, and others who live under a defective dispensation of truth. But it is unutterably solemn when viewed in connection with ourselves. How shall we escape if we die unconverted, after the light we have received and the many sermons we have heard?"
-James Buchanan 
The Dying Thief (2)
The Free Presbyterian Magazine, January 2009.
This is an edited version of what was originally published in "The Office and Work of the Holy Spirit" 

True Charity Says Hard Things
"They think it unkind to say anything that appears to condemn others. For my part I cannot understand such charity. It seems to me the kind of charity which would see a neighbor drinking slow poison but never interfere to stop him, or which would allow passengers to embark in a leaky vessel and not try to prevent them, or which would see a blind man walking near a precipice and think it wrong to cry out and tell him he was in danger" 
-J.C. Ryle
Knots Untied

Karl Barth Again
In Karl Barth's reading of Rom.5:18-19, the relation of Christ to men is as inclusive as Adam's relation to men. Followers of Barth to this day insist that "all men" are universally reconciled to God, yet they deny that they are universalists.

John Murray included an entire appendix in response to Barth in his Romans commentary. But for my ordinary brain, this is what I found to be most useful:

"unless exegesis of Paul is evacuated completely at the most vital point, this means that all men without exception must be ultimately  the beneficiaries of that grace which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life (5:21). Barth cannot hold to universalism at one point in the relationship to Christ without carrying out the implications for the ultimate salvation of all men. For if there is distributive universalism in the apodoses of verses 18 and 19, as Barth's interpretation demands, there must also be in the apodosis of verse 21, and the reign of grace through righteousness unto eternal life must embrace all men without exception. This is not Paul's teaching (cf. II Thess. 1:9; 2:10-14)..." 
-John Murray
The Epistle to the Romans

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Message for my Niece on her 18th Birthday

October 29, 2010

Genesis, with her father Pastor Teddy Tarlit of Gospel of Christ Fellowship (Binalonan)

Gen, this message is specifically written for you on your 18 birthday but I hope my other nieces, or any other Christian girl who was raised in a Christian home will find it beneficial too.

I want to start by rewinding time to the point when we were the youth of Gospel of Christ Fellowship.

When the Internet first became available in San Carlos City, rentals cost fifty pesos an hour. Very expensive for such a slow connection. For that reason, the medium I hold dear is the radio. The radio set was a precious possession for three main reasons:

i. with it, I was updated with the latest news and current events

ii. with it, I was fed with the Word of  God. Through the radio, I was acquainted with great preachers like Charles Swindoll and John Macarthur.

iii. With it, I enjoyed listening to Christian Contemporary Music (CCM). I rarely missed Eric Maliwat's program 4-2-6.

When we were the youth of GCF, we were fans of CCM artists such as DC Talk, Jars of Clay, Rebecca St. James, Petra, Jaci Velasquez, etc. One of the things we longed for is the chance of being a part of the delegation to visit Asia-Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio City where instructional materials were given for free. Included in the freebies are posters and cassette tapes of CCM.

Even when I was no longer attending GCF, I still received some copies of Encounter Magazine from a former churchmate (iba na ang may koneksyon). I want to show you something... (they say when you talk with kids, you need visual aids). This is the July 28, 2002 issue of the Encounter Magazine. A pretty teenage CCM artist appears on the cover. I assume that if Encounter Magazine puts your face on its cover, they saw you as a role model for the rest of the Christian youth. That is not so surprising since this young girl was raised by two Christian parents-- both of them are pastors (something you have in common with her)-- and she was very active at church (another thing you have in common).

Now that the Internet is so much cheaper and faster, we have subscribed for an unlimited access (atsaka matagal na ring nag-retiro yung aking radyo). Naturally, I use Google to search for my interests. My interest for news and current events have dwindled down. I am still fervent about sound biblical teaching. On CCM, we'll I'm no longer as passionate as before but I'm still a fan. So I used Google to search for these artists and my search yielded some great results like legal mp3's from Apologetix, a Christian parody band.

One day, I remembered this issue of Encounter Magazine. I checked the name of the pretty girl on its cover and it was "Katy Hudson". So I typed that name on Google's search field. Strangely, Google cannot give me results for "Katy Hudson". More strangely, Google kept on directing me to a girl named "Katy Perry". I found out later that Katy Hudson changed her name to Katy Perry.

When I searched for her and found her, she was about to release the album "One of the Boys". A few months later, she's a superstar, topping the charts with the "I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It", a song promoting lesbianism.

The supposed to be role model for the Christian youth is now very far from her roots. She used to sing that even if you throw her in a lake or throw her in prison or throw her in a lion's den, her "Faith Won't Fail”.

Now, she's #1 on a men's magazines Hot 100 list, she opposed Proposition 8 (which defined Marriage as a union between a man and a woman) and was reported to have said she would rather die than be celibate for a year.

I am not doing this out of hatred for Katy. I would be very happy if the prodigal daughter returns home. I am raising her case on your 18th birthday because Katy Perry is just a representative of what is happening in general to young men and women in America who were raised in  Christian homes. When they reach the age of independence, they leave home and soon abandon the faith of their parents.

Gen, at 18 you are still dependent on your parents for you food and education, but time will come when you have to leave home and raise your own family. You will soon leave the home where you received Christian instruction from your parents.

Gone are the days when kids inherit the vocation of their parents. It used to be that when the father is a furniture maker, the son will also be a furniture maker. When the father is a fisherman, the son will also be a fisherman. Girls too will more likely inherit the trade of their parents and marry men within their community. Gone are those days. The trend is, upon finishing college education they go where the job is. If the job is in Pampanga, youngsters will go there. If the job is in Manila, youngsters will go there. If the job is in the Middle East, youngsters will fly to the Middle East.

Gen, I hope that you will find job close to home, but who knows where you will work tomorrow?

And who knows to whom will you fall in love? Perhaps you will marry  someone who will take you to Cagayan or to Cebu or to Sabah or to Ethiopia. No one knows for sure.

What that means is that you have to strengthen your faith now. You have to prepare for the time when you will be away from you parents and your church. The world is waiting for you. I have some practical lessons for you to this end:

1. Listen to the Christian teaching from your parents, keep it and treasure it.

Proverbs 1:8 says "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching."

Of course your parents must do their part. And I assume they have been doing that for you for the past 18 years. Deuteronomy 6 says parents must instruct their children in every situation: While sitting at home; while walking in the road; when you lie down and when you get up. That is their duty-- yours is to listen and treasure what they have imparted to you from infancy up to now.

2. Consider the weight of your responsibility in passing the faith of your parents to your own children.

Gen, someday you will marry (hopefully). Deut. 6:2 says that the goal of parents in instructing their kids is "so that you, your children, and their children after them may fear the Lord"

"YOU"- Teddy and Imelda
"YOUR CHILDREN"- Genesis, Micah, and Blessie
"THEIR CHILDREN AFTER THEM"- the grandsons and granddaughters of Teddy and Imelda

THAT THEY MAY ALL FEAR THE LORD.God's design is an unbroken chain of passing the faith from generation to generation.

In the Rosario clan, you are only a 2nd generation born again Christian. Ate Cynthia, Imelda, and Virgie received the Lord while they were in College. It will be a tragedy if the chain will be broken in the 2nd link.

3. Choose your friends well.

Be with those who love the Lord. I'm not saying you must avoid unbelievers-- you would have to go out of the world to do that (1 Cor. 5:10). What I'm saying is that in the most intimate relationships, be with those who are passionately in love with the Lord.

1 Cor. 15:33 says "Bad company ruins good morals"

Proverbs 13:20 "He who walks with the wise grows with the wise"

Never forget also that your closest friend in the future will be your husband. So choose a guy who is very much in love with the Lord.

4. Remember that God is worthy of fear

Proverbs 1:7 says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..."

In some sections of Christianity, there is an overemphasis on God's love. Of course it is good to teach about the love of God. But some people do so at the expense of his other attributes like justice and holiness.

Earlier you father quoted Ecc. 12:1 says "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth..." for time will come when your arms and legs will grow weak and your sight becomes dim and your hearing becomes dull. Even super athletes like Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali must retire. Verse 14 of the same chapter says God will bring every deed into judgment.

Keep in mind that God is a threat to those who don't love him. “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:31)

I don't want to end my message with a threat, so here's the final point.

5. Remember that there is no happiness equal to the pleasures God offers

Psalm 16:11 says “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at you right hand.”

True and lasting joy is found only in fellowship with God. Where else should you go?

Suggested Reading:
by Paul David Tripp