Awesome quote by A.W Tozer..
“I refuse to allow my relationship with God to be limited by my understanding of theology.”
~ A.W Tozer
So true, many have a relationship with “theology” but not the Living God. Head knowledge is great but if we don’t actually have the JESUS that we are learning about in seminary then what good does that do? It puffs us up with knowledge but we will have zero power to actually live holy or walk in God’s power becuase all we have is the “letter” and not the “LIFE”.
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, But you WON’T COME TO ME that you may have life.” (John 5:39)
~ Blaze Martyr
In these days when all kinds of strange ideas are being heralded as helping the Church accomplish her task, it may be necessary to remind ourselves that:
The purpose of Christ’s Church is not to promote the Church (or worse A Church), but rather the LORD of the Church.
The goal of Christians is certainly not to exalt “Christianity” but to extol Christ.
Gospel preaching is not meant to magnify the skill of the preacher, but to proclaim the glory, wisdom and mercy of the Saviour.
And the ONLY seed available that grows into eternal life is the word of God, as found within the pages of the Bible.
Much error results with confusion on these issues; for if we misinterpret our role or our goal; pragmatism, proselytism and professionalism and will dull the sword of our evangelism.
Article by Darrell B. Harrison
Few things in this world give us insight into the theology of individuals who profess to be Christian than the death of a well-known celebrity.
In advance of a celebrity’s earthly demise, most Christians are staunch particularists, ardently dogmatic that salvation is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12). Yet, once his or her earthly life is over we become ardent universalists, equally immovable in our belief that the doctrine we believed just the day before no longer applies.
Self-Sanctification: No Atonement Required
Though the Bible is unambiguous in its proclamation that saving faith in Christ is the only means by which anyone will experience eternity with God (John 14:6;Romans 10:9), many Christians treat it as optional when it comes to the death of the celebrities they revere. This mindset represents a theological duality that was widely expressed by Christians when Prince, who was aJehovah’s Witness, died several weeks ago, and again in the aftermath of the death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, himself a devout practitioner ofIslam.
That both Prince and Muhammad Ali subscribed to worldviews that deny the deity of Jesus, is apparently of no consequence to many Christians today. The only thing that really matters is that they appear to have lived a “good life”, employing their talents, gifts, and resources to bring happiness to countless millions of people all over the world. After all, isn’t that why we’re here – to live a moral life by doing good to one another and treating each other with respect? What in the world does the deity of Jesus have to do with anything? Besides, we are all God’s children, aren’t we?
“We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the center: rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork, you must make a decision.” – C.S. Lewis
What is so disheartening about this banal mindset, is that it renders moot the necessity that our sins be atoned for.
That our sin, which the Bible says has separated us from God (Romans 3:23), can be atoned for by God (Romans 5:8), is what distinguishes Christianity from all other religious worldviews. But, if my “good behavior” is ultimately the primary factor in determining my eternal destiny, the question then becomes: why did Jesus have to die at all?
Certainly there must have been good works being performed by people long before Jesus came into the world? If that’s the case, then, why did Christ have to come to earth to begin with, let alone die a humiliating death on a cross for someone like me? Wouldn’t it have been much easier for Him to just remain in heaven and then, when I die, simply weigh my good deeds against my bad to see if I “made it in”?
A Theology of Likability
For professing Christians to so easily set aside what is undoubtedly thefundamental tenet of Christianity, namely, the deity of Jesus (John 8:58;Colossians 1:15, 2:9), in exchange for a theology rooted in the belief that our works are somehow determinant of our eternal destiny, as opposed to faith alone in the atoning work of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16), is, sadly, a testament to the reality that many Christians today have no genuine conviction about what they profess to believe (if in fact they even know what they believe to begin with).
“Secular people still believe there’s sin, judgment, and punishment. But secularism defies any universal standard established by God, much less moral culpability before this God. Of course, people make mistakes and hurt each other. But if people are held guilty, the punishment, of course, has to be in this world, not the next. Secular people don’t burn in hell, they burn in the court of public opinion.” –Barry Kosmin (as quoted in the book Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church by Michael Horton)
When a celebrity dies who possessed the level of worldly acclaim and notoriety as Muhammad Ali – and few there are today who have attained to such rarefied air – it is interesting, to say the least, to observe how quickly we who profess to be Christian will go on the defensive about where the soul of that person is spending eternity.
It is an attitude borne not out of a desire to defend the veracity of what the Bible objectively teaches about death and eternity, mind you, but to promote their own subjective determination about where the person they so ardently admired must certainly be at this present time. Invariably, the conclusion drawn by such argumentative Christians is alwaysthat their beloved idol is in heaven.
They never are in hell.
Hell Is For Hitler
Most Christians today would profess to believe in the existence of hell. But since God judges us solely on the “Santa Claus Principle”, that is, on whether we’ve been bad or good, a person would pretty much have to live a life resembling that of an Adolf Hitler to actually go to hell when they die.
It is this works-based perspective of salvation which, on the one hand, makes Christians comfortable with the idea that such heinously violent individual would be viewed as the “poster child” for people we personally deem deserving of hell, while at the same time wrestling with the unfathomable notion that someone as likable and accomplished as Muhammad Ali could actually spend eternity apart from God given that, in our human estimation, he was such a “good person”.
“Do you believe in divine judgment? By which I mean, do you believe in a God who acts as Judge? Many, it seems, do not. Speak to them of God as a Father, a friend, a helper, one who loves us despite all our weakness and folly and sin, and their faces light up; you are on their wavelength at once. But speak to them of God as Judge and they frown and shake their heads. Their minds recoil from such an idea. They find it repellent and unworthy.” – J.I. Packer, Knowing God
If we were honest, we would have to admit that the real issue here is that we love our celebrities more than we love our God.
In fact, our adoration of these individuals runs so deep that we are willing to build an entire theology around our fondness for them. As was the case with Prince, so it is with Muhammad Ali. What we believe about the eternal destiny of these individuals is shaped not by what the Word of God says, but how highly we esteem them for the life they lived and the legacy they left behind (which is idolatry).
To continue in this mindset is to demonstrate how superficial our theology of God truly is. Rather than stand on what Christ – who is God – has declared about the eternal destiny that awaits those who refuse to believe in Him (John 3:36), we would much rather engage one another in emotion-fueled arguments about whether the person we idolize, who died without having confessed Christ as Lord or whose life did not bear the fruit of a regenerated heart (Matthew 3:8), is actually with God in heaven when the truth is Jesus has already settled the issue – and definitively so (Romans 3:20, 28; 1 John 5:11-12).
“The Bible’s bad news is not to be glossed over, hidden away, or avoided. Without the Bible’s bad news, its good news will have no meaning. The center of biblical theology is nonnegotiable for evangelism precisely because God saves people through judgment for His glory. If a man does not perceive that God is holy, righteous, just and personally offended by transgressions, he will see no need for Jesus. God is holy, righteous, just, and personally offended by the sins we commit, and the more clearly we see this, the more deeply we will feel our desperate need for Jesus. God’s wrath make His mercy beautiful. Without His wrath, His mercy has no meaning and no one has any need for it.” – James H. Hamilton, Jr., God’s Glory In Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology, p. 566
You will get no argument from me that Muhammad Ali was without a doubt one of the most admired and well-respected human beings to ever live. He will be remembered for centuries to come for exhibiting many admirable moral and ethical attributes, not the least of which is the courage of his personal convictions while enduring years of targeted racial and religious discrimination.
No one likes to think of anyone dying and spending eternity in hell, not even God Himself (Ezekiel 18:23). Nevertheless, as Christians, the death of Muhammad Ali invites us to ponder an unavoidable question: do we truly believe salvation is through the substitutionary atonement of Christ alone or do we see our own morality as salvific?
The gospel leaves no room for a “hybrid salvation” (part Jesus and part good works). It is one or the other. Either faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven or it is not.
It cannot be both.
Humbly in Christ,
I was challenged by brother Thabani Mnyama Jr. to answer the question “Why do you think Christianity is the right religion?”
This is among those questions you can write a zillion books about and still feel like a whole lot is left out, unless Christ hasn’t touch you.
I’ll go about it in two different approaches. One, with comparison to other religions. Second, my own experience after coming to Christ who is the center/heart of Christianity.
First, almost all religions recognize some form of divinity, i.e. praising a supreme being or praising themselves. Generally, people of different religions have attributes they assign to their gods, have some dos and don’ts that guide their lives as a way of setting a line between what is good and evil which may or may not dictate their lifestyles, they define LOVE in a certain way, and have some sort of concept concerning what happens “afterlife”.
That said, judging all the above, namely the attributes of their gods, their perception of morality, their definition and application of LOVE and afterlife concepts proves Christianity to be the only genuine, right and true religion.
The attributes and qualities of the gods of many religions are centered on the adherents’ needs rather than on the gods themselves which conveys enough evidence that they create, shape, mold, and ordain them as their “gods” to suit their needs and their way of life. The attributes of the God of the Bible are unique, unchanged, unmanipulatable and independent. People of other religions believe in “subjective” morality and I am pretty sure their application of LOVE is some form of hate when compared to Mat 22:37-40.
Second, Christianity is best described as a relationship with our Maker through His Son Jesus Christ. I personally experienced changes I would not otherwise have experienced without Christ entering my life, through His love, mercy and grace. Whereas many religions focus on doing and living life a certain way by respecting a set of rules, Christians are changed from the inside out to lead godly lives and to honor their Maker.
(I tried so hard not to use scriptures since using them would mean all religions regard the Bible as the sole written authority for religion and divinity.)
Written by A.W Tozer, The Root of the Righteous.
“Our Lord Himself, St. Peter and St. Paul appeared to have been defeated.”
– De Tourville
It is often difficult to tell in a given instance whether we have been defeated or are victorious in a conflict. Sometimes what looks like a defeat will be seen later to have been a positive victory.
When Joseph was sold into slavery, the end appeared to have come for the young dreamer. Years later when the deep ways of God had come to light he could say to his now repentant brethren, “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Joseph’s humiliating defeat had turned into personal victory for him and preservation for his entire family. God might have accomplished the same end in a different way. All we know is that He did not.
When the three Hebrew children disappeared into the seven-times-heated furnace no doubt many who watched turned away shaking their heads in pity; but things looked different the next moment when the king discovered that the men of God were preserved whole without the smell of fire upon them. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had not been sure how the whole thing would turn out. They had told the king boldly, “God whom we serve is able to deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods.” And possibly for one breathless minute they thought their time had come. But God saw otherwise and turned their defeat into victory.
And it must not be forgotten that this principle works just the same as in reverse. When David had succeeded in stealing Uriah’s wife he no doubt felt he had scored a real conquest, but subsequent events showed instead that he had suffered a stunning defeat. He was never the same after his “conquest”. What the armies of the alien could never do on the field, David himself accomplished by one act of wrongdoing; that is, he brought about his own defeat. When he met Goliath he turned what looked like defeat into victory. When he met Bathsheba he turned a long record of victories into shameful defeat.
One thing about all this is that we cannot always be sure at the time just who is winning unless we keep our hearts very pure and our minds cool and God-possessed. When the soldiers of Pilate flung Christ to ground and began to drive in the nails, everything looked as if our Lord has ended a failure. Surely this ignominious death would not come to a man of God. There must be some mistake. The man Jesus had been an idealist, a visionary, but now His hopes and the hopes of His followers were collapsing under the brutal attacks of tough, practical men. So reasoned the onlookers. But our Lord could die with the same calm in which He had lived. He had known all along how things would turn out. He had looked beyond the cross to the triumphant resurrection. He knew His apparent defeat would eventuate in universal glory for the human race.
A.W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, 1955.
God hears our each and every prayer
and answers one by one,
Sometimes yes, sometimes no
and some answers yet to come.
God speaks in the quiet times
when we cry out in despair,
It’s in these times He’s closest
and shows how much He cares.
In that moment of surrender
when we give it all to Him,
It’s in that helpless time
that the battle we finally win.
He bears our every burden
every woe and care,
Through all life’s trials and storms
God is always there;
To comfort and console us
to catch us when we fall,
Through every situation
Jesus is our all in all.
He’s all we’ll ever need
where ever we may go,
Through life’s ups and downs
with its ebb and flow.
Speak to God often
go to Him in prayer,
For all your joys and sorrows
God does surely share.
In prayer we find comfort
in prayer we find peace,
In prayer we find joy
in prayer we find release;
From life’s worries and troubles
it’s heartaches and strife,
In prayer we find the key
to a rich, abundant life;
Not only in this world
but also in the next,
These words are true and sure
for they’re written in God’s text.
So pray and read God’s word
each and every day,
His love will lead you to
The Life, the Truth, and the Way.
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” – Romans 10:10, KJV
Confession is a good thing because when we tell the truth we let go of burdens and not have to think about hiding our secrets. Lying is a burden because you’re trying to cover one thing after another and then forgets the first lie. Imagine being in the interrogation room. You lie and then change stories over and over. No one will believe you until the truth comes out. Right? You may think you will get away with it but you will be held accountable for the private and public things you do on earth ( 1 Corinthians 4:5). It is why confessions are better. We confess to God with open heart and willing to be changed. It’s a stepping stone to being set free.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – James 5:16, KJV
Prayer is a great way to talk to God and let it out to Him. Even though He knew already, still it pleases Him to hear you.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9, KJV
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32, KJV
John 8:31-32 (KJV)
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
2 Tim 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
If anyone advocates…
If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which rise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.