Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When Your Son Asks...

In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?" tell him: "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders--great and terrible--upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness. (Deu. 6:20-25 NIV 1984)
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses gave a set of instructions in anticipation of the nation's entry into the Promised Land. His primary concern is the preservation of the faith for the succeeding generations. In summary, this set of instructions consists of the following:

1. They should carefully observe the Lord's law while living in the land.

2. Their loyalty should be to YHWH alone. The Shema in verse 4 is not just an affirmation of monotheism; it is also a confession of allegiance to the One True God. And so immediately after the Shema, we read: "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (verse 5)

3. The Word of God must be diligently taught to the younger ones in every opportunity and in every possible means. (verses 6-9)

4. Know that there will be bitter consequences for disobedience (verse 15)

When this whole-hearted devotion is observed at home, the children will be puzzled. They may begin to wonder, "What's all the fuss about these dos and don'ts in the law that we are meticulously  observing?"
"Why are we so loyal to YHWH? What makes him different from the gods of the neigboring countries?"
"All my classmates are free to view this film, why can't I?"

When the child could no longer keep it in, he will approach his parents and ask them about it (verse 20). Thankfully, God himself prepared an answer for the parents long before the children ask (21-25)

  • Israeli parents were to tell their offspring about their miserable condition before salvation came. "We were slaves my Son, we were weak and miserable slaves, but God set us free." In the same manner, contemporary Christian parents must say, "My son, we have never been enslaved by human tyrants but we were miserable slaves to sin until the Lord broke the bondage"(Romans 6:20).
  • Israeli parents were to tell the child, "My son, God rescued us by doing miraculous deeds proving He is the true God and not the gods of Egypt." Likewise, contemporary Christian parents ought to tell the younger ones, "The God who has done miraculous deeds in the past is the same God who saved us by his power. We were formerly serving false gods, but now we were given the privilege to worship the One True God." (1 Thess. 1:9)
  • Israeli parents were to tell the child, "We were not only emancipated from slavery; we were also placed in this land flowing with milk and honey." Contemporary Christian parents ought to tell the kids, "We were not only delivered from the power of sin, we were also granted every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Eph. 1:3)
  • Israeli parents were to say, "My son, other nations may be stronger than us; their armed forces are larger and more powerful than ours, but as long as we are faithful to the Lord, we'll be safe and sound in this place." So contemporary Christian parents ought to say, "Son, there may be so many threats to our well-being: poverty, famine, persecution, sickness, criminals, terrorists, wars... but as long as we are in God's loving arms, we are eternally safe." (Romans 8:35-39)
  • The fifth one will keep us Christ-centered and cross-centered. For an Israeli parent then would  say "if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness." Yet the New Testament reveals that no one has ever achieved that righteousness by perfectly obeying the law. As a result, the entire human race is under a curse (Gal.3:10). This is the very reason why Christ died, that he may grant us the righteousness we are unable to attain from the law (Gal.2:21). In Christ, we are righteous before God (2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Cor. 1:30). So Christ-centered and cross-centered contemporary Christian parents, you know what to say :) 

Books on Christian Parenting:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Joel Osteen: Visiting the Facebook Pages of Prosperity Preachers, part 5

Taken from the Facebook page of Joel Osteen Ministries

This lady bought Principle One of Joel Osteen's book Your Best Life Now. This principle  is "Enlarge Your Vision"; here you must believe that God gave his children "special advantages" and "preferential treatment". The way to avail of these is to declare them with your mouth, which by the way is related to Principle Three "Discover the power of your thoughts and words".

The lady in the photo is declaring that people will bless her, even her enemies. Because according to  Osteen, as the children of the Most High God, we can expect people to treat us differently. We must expect them to do good things for us.

Of course the Lord can do that if he wills. The Egyptians who were naturally cruel to their Israelite slaves suddenly turned super generous to them just before the Exodus because God supernaturally controlled their wills and desires (Exodus 11:2-3). But that wasn't the norm. Right after that, the Egyptians pursued them again relentlessly until the LORD drowned them in the Red Sea.

So in our time, we can believe that the Lord can supernaturally work in the desires and wills of the people around us (bosses, teachers, politicians, neighbors, drivers, barbers, doctors, criminals, etc.) so we can receive favors. But never expect that to be the norm. What we should expect is that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). They may stone us to death (Acts 7:57), throw us to prison (Acts 22:4), confiscate our properties (Hebrews 10:34), toss us to the lions' den, or burn us on stakes. And when these things do happen, we should not be caught surprised. The Apostle Peter wrote:
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you." (1 Peter 4:12)
When people mistreat you because of your faith, do not for a single minute think you're not getting the best out of what God has provided for you. The very opposite could be true. For our Lord Jesus Christ taught:
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bowman Disagrees with McConnell and Hanegraaff on the Origin of the Positive Confession Movement

Robert Bowman Jr. (Director, Institute for Religious Research)

It was in  D. R. McConnell's book A Different Gospel where it was first proposed that the Word of Faith Movement (a.k.a "Positive Confession"; a.k.a. "Name-it-Claim-it"; a.k.a. "Hyper-faith") traces its roots to the Metaphysical cults. Most of the subsequent critical evaluations of the movement then followed McConnell's conclusions. For example, Hank Hanegraaff wrote:  
"Essek William Kenyon, whose life and ministry were enormously impacted by such cults as Science of Mind, the Unity School of Christianity, Christian Science, and New Thought metaphysics, is the true father of the modern-day Faith movement." (Christianity in Crisis)
Veteran counter-cult researcher Robert Bowman Jr. disagrees with this assessment. His own research led him to the conclusion that the movement's origin could be traced back to the faith healing movement within the evangelical tradition in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I don't have a copy of his now out-of-print book The Word-Faith Controversy, but I'm grateful his lecture Frequently Asked Questions About the Faith Movement is available for download or online listening at the website of Calvary Santa Fe.

I was able to list at least three grounds of his objection to the McConnell proposal.

First, though it might be true that E.W. Kenyon was exposed to the metaphysical cults in Boston, the same is true for most of the people in that area. Rather, the person who probably influenced Kenyon the most at Boston is the prominent Baptist pastor A.J. Gordon who was a firm believer in faith healing. There were no Pentecostals yet then for the Azusa Street Revivals won't be held until 1906, yet faith healing was already a part of American evangelicalism. Kenyon got married in Gordon's church and it was even Gordon who ordained him.

Second, Bowman questions the soundness of the methodology McConnell used in his research. For instead of demonstrating Kenyon's debt to the metaphysical cults from Kenyon's works, McConnell lumped together Kenyon-Hagin-Copeland quotes. Though there are parallels between the metaphysical cult teachings with the statements of latter Positive Confession teachers such as Kenneth Copeland, it is irrelevant to the question of the movement's origin.

Third, when we look into the big theological issues, one would not find parallels between Kenyon and the Mind Science cults. What we find are contrasts.

  • Mind science cultists believe in an impersonal god referred to as the "cosmic mind"; Kenyon believed in a personal God.
  • Mind science cultists' method of biblical interpretation is esoteric-- that is they often find hidden, spiritual meanings in the Bible which no one else has ever seen before; Kenyon's interpretative method is very literal.
  • There is no concept of sin in mind science systems; Kenyon taught men are sinners in need of salvation.
  • Since there is no sin in the mind science cults, Jesus doesn't have to die for atonement. Jesus' death was a travesty of justice. Some of them even toyed with the idea that Jesus did not die. Kenyon taught that Jesus died both physically and spiritually to redeem humanity. That spiritual death part is unsound, but it is nevertheless in contrast with the view of the mind science cults.
Make no mistake about it; the Positive Confession teaching  is indeed a false doctrine says Bowman. His concern is this: they will rightly dismiss us if we misdiagnose the problem. That should be our concern too for it would be extra difficult for us to rescue our friends and loved ones from the claws of the Word of Faith heresy if we fail to understand the nature of the horrific monster.

You can listen to the lecture HERE

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tinubos Tidbits SMS Edition, volume 1

Vintage NOKIA 3210

  • Lying is something God can't do (Titus 1:2). Can a child of God then live a life of lies? We are called to imitate Him, not the father of lies (John 8:44)
  • salamat kung may bagong gamit. Pero kung wala, 'wag kamuhian ang luma. Ito'y tumagal sa biyaya ng Diyos (Deut. 29:5)
  • What a haunted house needs is NOT the sprinkling of holy water. Pursue Christ-likeness and your house will be blessed (Proverbs 3:33)
  • "Ang pagsisisi ay hindi lamang pagtalikod sa lahat ng kasalanan kundi pagbaling sa lahat ng mabuti; pag-ibig sa lahat ng mabuti; pagpapahalaga sa lahat ng mabuti, at pagsunod sa lahat ng mabuti." ~ THOMAS BROOKS
  • if you're enjoying electricity today, even if you didn't use it for His glory yesterday, this is God's goodness, mercy, and grace.

  •  "Huwag iisipin ninuman na ang pagpatay sa kasalanan ay sa pamamagitan ng mga konti at mahihinang tapik. Kung sinimulan mong hampasin ang isang ahas, ngunit itinigil mo kahit ito ay buhay pa, pagsisisihan mong sinimulan mo ang away. Sapagkat babalikan ka nito at tutuklawin. Ganyan rin naman ang sasapitin ng sinumang nagsimulang labanan ang kasalanan at hindi ito tinapos hanggang sa ito ay mamatay." ~ JOHN OWEN

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dalawang Magkasalungat na Buhay sa Unang Salmo

AWIT 1, Bagong Magandang Balita Biblia
v.1 Mapalad ang taong hindi nakikinig sa payo ng masama,
at hindi sumusunod sa masama nilang halimbawa.
Hindi siya nakikisama sa mga kumukutya
at hindi nakikisangkot sa gawaing masama.

v.2 Sa halip, kasiyahan niyang sumunod sa kautusan ni Yahweh.
Binubulay-bulay niya ito sa araw at gabi.

v.3 Katulad niya'y punongkahoy sa tabi ng isang batisan,
laging sariwa ang dahon at namumunga sa takdang panahon.
Ano man ang kanyang gawin, siya'y nagtatagumpay.

v.4 Hindi gayon ang sinumang gumagawa ng masama,
ito ay tulad ng ipa, hangin ang siyang nagtatangay.

v.5 Sa araw ng paghuhukom, parusa niya'y nakalaan
siya'y ihihiwalay sa grupo ng mga banal.

v.6 Sa taong matuwid, si Yahweh ang pumapatnubay,
ngunit ang taong masama, kapahamakan ang hantungan.

1. Magkasalungat na mga Prinsipyo
Kung meron mang hindi ipinagdaramot ang mga taong walang takot sa Diyos, 'yan ay ang pagbabahagi nila ng kanilang mga prinsipyo sa buhay. Feeling talaga nila mga wais sila; papayo-payo pa. Ang kanilang mga paninindigan ay kanilang ibinabahagi sa mga personal na pag-uusap, sa kanilang mga awitin, sa kanilang mga isinusulat, sa kanilang mga ipinapaskil sa kanilang timeline at sa kanilang mga itini-tweet. Natutuwa sila kapag may sumasang-ayon sa kanilang likong pamumuhay.

Pero ayon sa unang salmo, ang tugon ng taong matuwid ay pagtanggi sa mga payo ng masasamang tao at sa kanilang mga baluktot na pangangatuwiran. Sa halip, ang mga prinsipyo sa buhay ng mga taong matuwid ay kanilang hinuhugot sa Salita ng Diyos. Ito ang kanilang patnubay sa pamumuhay.

2. Magkasalungat na Kagalakan

Ang kagalakan ng taong masama ay ang kutyain ang mga bagay-bagay na may kinalaman sa kabanalan. Wala silang interes sa mga matuwid na aral. Kapag tuturuan mo ng tama, magagalit pa sa iyo at iinsultuhin ka pa. Bakit? Kasi naman, tinatanggal mo ang kanyang happiness. Ang gusto niya happy siya, at ang happiness niya ay kalikuan.

Salungat yan sa kagalakan ng taong matuwid. Kasiyahan niya ang ipamuhay ang mga prinsipyong nahuhugot niya sa Bibliya. Marami mang pinagkakaabalahan sa buhay, hindi niya kinaliligtaang pagbulayan ang mga banal na aral araw at gabi.

3. Magkasalungat na paglalarawan
Ang taong masama ay inihalintulad sa ipang tinatangay ng hangin. Ang bagong aning trigo ay tinatahipan ng mga Hudyo gamit ang winnowing fork. Bago nila imbakin ang trigo sa kamalig, pinapatangay muna nila sa hangin ang mga ipa sapagkat wala naman itong pakinabang.

Sa kabilang banda, ang taong matuwid ay inihalintulad sa punong itinanim sa tabi ng batis. Laging luntian ang kulay nito at namumunga sa tamang panahon. Salungat sa ipang walang pakinabang, ang punong matatag, luntian at namumunga ay maraming pakinabang.

4. Magkasalungat na kinabukasan

Sa oras na hahatol ang Diyos, hindi makakatakas ang masama. Ihihiwalay siya ng Diyos sa kapulungan ng mga mututuwid tulad ng paghihiwalay sa mga tupa at kambing. Habang sila ay walang hanggang mawawalay sa presensya ng Diyos, ang mga matutuwid ay sasamahan ng Panginoon magpakailanman.

 "Tingnan ninyo, ang tahanan ng Diyos ay nasa piling na ng mga tao!
Maninirahan siyang kasama nila,
at sila'y magiging bayan niya.
Makakapiling nilang palagi ang Diyos
at siya ang magiging Diyos nila" (Pahayag 21:3)

Subalit huwag iisipin ninuman na ang mga matutuwid na tinutukoy sa Awit ay nangaligtas dahil sa kanilang sariling kabanalan. Kung babasahin ang mensahe ng buong bibliya, walang matuwid, wala kahit isa. Maliligtas lamang ang tao dahil sa sakripisyong ginawa ni Kristo sa krus. Ito ay biyayang kaloob ng Diyos at tinatanggap sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya lamang. Ang kontribusyon ng Awit na ito sa kabuuan ng teolohiya ng Bibliya ay ang katotohanan na ang mga nananampalataya sa Diyos ay kakikitaan ng buhay na banal, salungat sa buhay ng mga hindi kabilang sa kanyang kawan.