My Personal Christian Blog

Thanks for sliding into my blog site. This blog bog is a spin-off from my website at Call me a Night Owl, as my full-time mission and hobby are jabbering from midnight until 8 a.m.ish with chatter bugs across the world. Hoot, hoot! Being a retired newspaper guy and a Curious George, I've written and assembled a whack of stuff that I hope you'll find interesting and thought-provoking. Check out the Stories bar on the right side, below, for all my articles - from my web site and this blog.

December 24, 2008

Nutsy beliefs and the true Way!

Those who profess to be Christians quite often have ideas about Jesus that are just as wrong as those people who are not Christians. For example, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is a created god and that He is also Michael the Archangel.

Mormons believe Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer and that He was married and had children. The followers of Christian Science believe that Jesus was simply a man upon whom the "Christ empowerment" came.

Roman Catholics believe that the bread and wine of the Eucharist can be transubstantiated, or changed, into the literal body and blood of Jesus, who is then ingested into one's stomach. Lutherans believe that Jesus is consubstantiated, or present, "in, with, and under" the bread and wine of communion.

Such unbiblical beliefs are a mere handful among hundreds promoted by various Christian denominations and cults.

Yet what is even more appalling is that an inquiry about Jesus today among those who call themselves evangelicals (Bible-believing Christians!) too often reveals "another Jesus" and a "false Christ."

What is the truth that is taught in the Bible?

1. Everyone has sinned.

2. We must be perfect to get into Heaven.

3. Jesus Christ came to earth as the Son of God.

4. He lived a perfect, sinless life.

5. He allowed Himself to be captured and crucified.

6. He arose again from the dead and is alive in Heaven today.

7. To get to Heaven we must ask Jesus to save us.

Until we do that, we are separated from the Savior and blocked from Heaven. How do we get saved? By praying something like this. Of course, we must sincerely believe it when we pray this. Consider it a vow.

Dear God:
I am a sinner. Others have sinned greater than I have. But, nevertheless, I stand before you now as a lost sinner, deserving of Hell. I choose to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who became a man. I choose to believe He allowed Himself to be put to death, arose again on the third day and is alive today.

The Bible says the blood of Jesus Christ washes our sins away, and I believe that. Father, I want to be cleansed of all my sins right now.

I know I am not right with God, and I want to be. I want to go to Heaven when I die. Right now at (date and time)______________, I bow at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ, and I am dumping all of my sin there. ALL of it!

I ask that the blood of Jesus Christ wash away all my sins - past, present and future. I am sorry for my sin, and I accept your forgiveness. Right now I declare that I am a Christian.

I ask, Father, that you will make me aware of when I want to sin, and give me the courage to say No. I ask, too, that you will help me understand the Bible, and to make the rest of my days on earth count for eternity.

I pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ - my new Lord and Savior. Amen.

November 20, 2008

A Priest’s Road to Truth


The Early Years

Born Irish into a family of eight, my early childhood was fulfilled and happy. My father was a colonel in the Irish Army until he retired when I was about nine.

As a family, we loved to play, sing, and act, all within a military camp in Dublin.
We were a typical Irish Roman Catholic family.

My father sometimes knelt down to pray at his bedside in a solemn manner. My mother would talk to Jesus while sewing, washing dishes, or even smoking a cigarette.
Most evenings we would kneel in the living room to say the Rosary together.

No one ever missed Mass on Sundays unless he was seriously ill. By the time I was about five or six years of age, Jesus Christ was a very real person to me, but so also were Mary and the saints.

I can identify easily with others in traditional Catholic nations in Europe and with Hispanics and Filipinos who put Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and other saints all in one boiling pot of faith.

The catechism was drilled into me at the Jesuit School of Belvedere, where I had all my elementary and secondary education.

Like every boy who studies under the Jesuits, I could recite before the age of 10 five reasons why God existed and why the Pope was head of the only true Church.

Getting souls out of Purgatory was a serious matter. The often quoted words, "It is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from sins," were memorized even though we did not know what these words meant.

We were told that the Pope as head of the Church was the most important man on earth. What he said was law, and the Jesuits were his right-hand men.

Even though the Mass was in Latin, I tried to attend daily because I was intrigued by the deep sense of mystery which surrounded it.

We were told it was the most important way to please God. Praying to saints was encouraged, and we had patron saints for most aspects of life.

I did not make a practise of that, with one exception: St. Anthony, the patron of lost objects, since I seemed to lose so many things.

When I was 14 years old, I sensed a call to be a missionary. This call, however, did not affect the way in which I conducted my life at that time.

Ages 16 to 18 were the most fulfilled and enjoyable years a youth could have. During this time, I did quite well both academically and athletically.

I often had to drive my mother to the hospital for treatments. While waiting for her, I found quoted in a book these verses from Mark 10:29-30, "And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."

Not having any idea of the true salvation message, I decided that I truly did have a call to be a missionary.

Trying to earn salvation, I left my family and friends in 1956 to join the Dominican Order. I spent eight years studying what it is to be a monk, the traditions of the Church, philosophy, the theology of Thomas Aquinas, and some of the Bible from a Catholic standpoint.

Whatever personal faith I had was institutionalized and ritualized in the Dominican religious system. Obedience to the law, both Church and Dominican, was put before me as the means of sanctification.

I often spoke to Ambrose Duffy, our Master of Students, about the law being the means of becoming holy. In addition to becoming "holy," I wanted also to be sure of eternal salvation.

I memorized part of the teaching of Pope Pius XII in which he said, "...the salvation of many depends on the prayers and sacrifices of the mystical body of Christ offered for this intention."

This idea of gaining salvation through suffering and prayer is also the basic message of Fatima and Lourdes, and I sought to win my own salvation as well as the salvation of others by such suffering and prayer.

In the Dominican monastery in Tallaght, Dublin, I performed many difficult feats to win souls, such as taking cold showers in the middle of winter and beating my back with a small steel chain.

The Master of Students knew what I was doing, his own austere life being part of the inspiration that I had received from the Pope's words.

With rigor and determination, I studied, prayed, did penance, tried to keep the Ten Commandments and the multitude of Dominican rules and traditions.

Outward Pomp -- Inner Emptiness

In 1963 at the age of 25 I was ordained a Roman Catholic priest and went on to finish my course of studies of Thomas Aquinas at The Angelicum University in Rome.
But there I had difficulty with both the outward pomp and the inner emptiness.

Over the years I had formed, from pictures and books, pictures in my mind of the Holy See and the Holy City. Could this be the same city?

At the Angelicum University I was also shocked that hundreds of others who poured into our morning classes seemed quite disinterested in theology.

I noticed Time and Newsweek magazines being read during classes. Those who were interested in what was being taught seemed only to be looking for either degrees or positions within the Catholic Church in their homelands.

One day I went for a walk in the Colosseum so that my feet might tread the ground where the blood of so many Christians had been poured out.

I walked to the arena in the Forum. I tried to picture in my mind those men and women who knew Christ so well that they were joyfully willing to be burned at the stake or devoured alive by beasts because of His overpowering love.

The joy of this experience was marred, however, for as I went back in the bus I was insulted by jeering youths shouting words meaning "scum or garbage."

I sensed their motivation for such insults was not because I stood for Christ as the early Christians did but because they saw in me the Roman Catholic system. Quickly, I put this contrast out of my mind, yet what I had been taught about the present glories of Rome now seemed very irrelevant and empty.

One night soon after that, I prayed for two hours in front of the main altar in the church of San Clemente. Remembering my earlier youthful call to be a missionary and the hundredfold promise of Mark 10:29-30, I decided not to take the theological degree that had been my ambition since beginning study of the theology of Thomas Aquinas. This was a major decision, but after long prayer I was sure I had decided correctly.

The priest who was to direct my thesis did not want to accept my decision. In order to make the degree easier, he offered me a thesis written several years earlier.

He said I could use it as my own if only I would do the oral defense. This turned my stomach. It was similar to what I had seen a few weeks earlier in a city park: elegant prostitutes parading themselves in their black leather boots.

What he was offering was equally sinful. I held to my decision, finishing at the University at the ordinary academic level, without the degree.

Upon returning from Rome, I received official word that I had been assigned to do a three year course at Cork University. I prayed earnestly about my missionary call. To my surprise, I received orders in late August 1964 to go to Trinidad, West Indies, as a missionary.

Pride, Fall, And A New Hunger

On October 1, 1964, I arrived in Trinidad, and for seven years I was a successful priest, in Roman Catholic terms, doing all my duties and getting many people to come to Mass.

By 1972 I had become quite involved in the Catholic Charismatic Movement. Then, at a prayer meeting on March 16th of that year, I thanked the Lord that I was such a good priest and requested that if it were His will, He humble me that I might be even better.

Later that same evening I had a freak accident, splitting the back of my head and hurting my spine in many places. Without thus coming close to death, I doubt that I would ever have gotten out of my self- satisfied state. Rote, set prayer showed its emptiness as I cried out to God in my pain.

In the suffering that I went through in the weeks after the accident, I began to find some comfort in direct personal prayer.

I stopped saying the Breviary (the Roman Catholic Church's official prayer for clergy) and the Rosary and began to pray using parts of the Bible itself.

This was a very slow process. I did not know my way through the Bible and the little I had learned over the years had taught me more to distrust it rather than to trust it.

My training in philosophy and in the theology of Thomas Aquinas left me helpless, so that coming into the Bible now to find the Lord was like going into a huge dark woods without a map.

When assigned to a new parish later that year, I found that I was to work side-by-side with a Dominican priest who had been a brother to me over the years. For more than two years we were to work together, fully seeking God as best we knew in the parish of Pointe-a-Pierre.

We read, studied, prayed, and put into practise what we had been taught in Church teaching. We built up communities in Gasparillo, Claxton Bay, and Marabella, just to mention the main villages.

In a Catholic religious sense, we were very successful. Many people attended Mass. The Catechism was taught in many schools, including government schools.

I continued my personal search into the Bible, but it did not much affect the work we were doing; rather it showed me how little I really knew about the Lord and His Word.

It was at this time that Philippians 3:10 became the cry of my heart, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection...."

About this time, the Catholic Charismatic movement was growing, and we introduced it into most of our villages. Because of this movement, some Canadian Christians came to Trinidad to share with us.

I learned much from their messages, especially about praying for healing. The whole impact of what they said was very experience-oriented but was truly a blessing, insofar, as it got me deeply into the Bible as an authority source.

I began to compare scripture with scripture and even to quote chapter and verse! One of the texts the Canadians used was Isaiah 53:5, "...and with his stripes we are healed."

Yet in studying Isaiah 53, I discovered that the Bible deals with the problem of sin by means of substitution. Christ died in my place. It was wrong for me to try to expeidite or try to cooperate in paying the price of my sin.

"If by grace, it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace.." Romans 11:6. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).

One particular sin of mine was getting annoyed with people, sometimes even angry. Although I asked forgiveness for my sins, I still did not realize that I was a sinner by the nature which we all inherit from Adam.

The scriptural truth is, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10), and "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

The Catholic Church, however, had taught me that the depravity of man, which is called "original sin," had been washed away by my infant baptism. I still held this belief in my head, but in my heart I knew that my depraved nature had not yet been conquered by Christ.

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection..." (Philippians 3:10) continued to be the cry of my heart. I knew that it could be only through His power that I could live the Christian life.

I posted this text on the dashboard of my car and in other places. It became the plea that motivated me, and the Lord who is Faithful began to answer.

The Ultimate Question

First, I discovered that God's Word in the Bible is absolute and without error. I had been taught that the Word is relative and that its truthfulness in many areas was to be questioned.

Now I began to understand that the Bible could, in fact, be trusted. With the aid of Strong's Concordance, I began to study the Bible to see what it says about itself.
I discovered that the Bible teaches clearly that it is from God and is absolute in what it says.

It is true in its history, in the promises God has made, in its prophecies, in the moral commands it gives, and in how to live the Christian life.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy 3:16-17).

This discovery was made while visiting in Vancouver, B.C., and in Seattle. When I was asked to talk to the prayer group in St. Stephen's Catholic Church, I took as my subject the absolute authority of God's Word.

It was the first time that I had understood such a truth or talked about it. I returned to Vancouver, B.C. and in a large parish Church, before about 400 people, I preached the same message.

Bible in hand, I proclaimed that "the absolute and final authority in all matters of faith and morals is the Bible, God's own Word."

Three days later, the archbishop of Vancouver, B.C., James Carney, called me to his office. I was then officially silenced and forbidden to preach in his archdiocese.

I was told that my punishment would have been more severe, were it not for the letter of recommendation I had received from my own archbishop, Anthony Pantin. Soon afterwards I returned to Trinidad.

Church-Bible Dilemma

While I was still parish priest of Point-a-Pierre, Ambrose Duffy, the man who had so strictly taught me while he was Student Master, was asked to assist me. The tide had turned.

After some initial difficulties, we became close friends. I shared with him what I was discovering.

He listened and commented with great interest and wanted to find out what was motivating me. I saw in him a channel to my Dominican brothers and even to those in the Archbishop's house.

When he died suddenly of a heart attack, I was stricken with grief. In my mind, I had seen Ambrose as the one who could make sense out of the Church-Bible dilemma with which I so struggled.

I had hoped that he would have been able to explain to me and then to my Dominican brothers the truths with which I wrestled. I preached at his funeral and my despair was very deep.
I continued to pray Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection...." But to learn more about Him, I had first to learn about myself as a sinner.

I saw from the Bible (I Timothy 2:5) that the role I was playing as a priestly mediator -- exactly what the Catholic Church teaches but exactly opposite to what the Bible teaches -- was wrong.

I really enjoyed being looked up to by the people and,in a certain sense, being idolized by them. I rationalized my sin by saying that after all, if this is what the biggest Church in the world teaches, who am I to question it? Still, I struggled with the conflict within.

I began to see the worship of Mary, the saints, and the priests for the sin that it is. But while I was willing to renounce Mary and the saints as mediators, I could not renounce the priesthood, for in that I had invested my whole life.

Tug-Of-War Years

Mary, the saints, and the priesthood were just a small part of the huge struggle with which I was working. Who was Lord of my life, Jesus Christ in His Word or the Roman Church?

This ultimate question raged inside me especially during my last six years as parish priest of Sangre Grande (1979-1985). That the Catholic Church was supreme in all matters of faith and morals had been dyed into my brain since I was a child. It looked impossible ever to change.

Rome was not only supreme but always called "Holy Mother." How could I ever go against "Holy Mother," all the more so since I had an official part in dispensing her sacraments and keeping people faithful to her?

In 1981, I actually rededicated myself to serving the Roman Catholic Church while attending a parish renewal seminar in New Orleans. Yet when I returned to Trinidad and again became involved in real life problems, I began to return to the authority of God's Word.

Finally the tension became like a tug-of-war inside me. Sometimes I looked to the Roman Church as being absolute, sometimes to the authority of the Bible as being final.

My stomach suffered much during those years; my emotions were being torn. I ought to have known the simple truth that one cannot serve two masters. My working position was to place the absolute authority of the Word of God under the supreme authority of the Roman Church.

This contradiction was symbolized in what I did with the four statues in the Sangre Grande Church. I removed and broke the statues of St. Francis and St. Martin because the second commandment of God's Law declares in Exodus 20:4, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image...."

But when some of the people objected to my removal of the statues of the Sacred Heart and of Mary, I left them standing because the higher authority, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church, said in its law Canon 1188: "The practice of displaying sacred images in the churches for the veneration of the faithful is to remain in force."

I did not see that what I was trying to do was to make God's Word subject to man's word. While I had learned earlier that God's Word is absolute.

I still went through this agony of trying to maintain the Roman Catholic Church as holding more authority than God's Word, even in issues where the Church of Rome was saying the exact opposite to what was in the Bible.

How could this be? First of all, it was my own fault. If I had accepted the authority of the Bible as supreme, I would have been convicted by God's Word to give up my priestly role as mediator, but that was too precious to me. Second, no one ever questioned what I did as a priest.

Christians from overseas came to Mass, saw our sacred oils, holy water, medals, statues, vestments, rituals, and never said a word!

The marvelous style, symbolism, music, and artistic taste of the Roman Church was all very captivating. Incense not only smells pungent, but to the mind it spells mystery.

The Turning Point

One day, a woman challenged me (the only Christian ever to challenge me in all my 22 years as a priest), "You Roman Catholics have a form of godliness, but you deny its power."

Those words bothered me for some time because the lights, banners, folk music, guitars, and drums were dear to me. Probably no priest on the whole island of Trinidad had as colorful robes, banners, and vestments as I had. Clearly I did not apply what was before my eyes.

In October 1985, God's grace was greater than the lie that I was trying to live. I went to Barbados to pray over the compromise that I was forcing myself to live.
I felt truly trapped.

The Word of God is absolute indeed. I ought to obey it alone; yet to the very same God I had vowed obedience to the supreme authority of the Catholic Church.

In Barbados I read a book in which was explained the Biblical meaning of Church as "the fellowship of believers." In the New Testament there is no hint of a hierarchy; "Clergy" lording it over the "laity" is unknown.

Rather, it is as the Lord Himself declared " is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren" (Matthew 23:8).

Now to see and to understand the meaning of church as "fellowship" left me free to let go of the Roman Catholic Church as supreme authority and depend on Jesus Christ as Lord.

It began to dawn on me that in Biblical terms, the Bishops I knew in the Catholic Church were not Biblical believers.

They were for the most part pious men taken up with devotion to Mary and the Rosary and loyal to Rome, but not one had any idea of the finished work of salvation, that Christ's work is done, that salvation is personal and complete.

They all preached penance for sin, human suffering, religious deeds, "the way of man" rather than the Gospel of grace. But by God's grace I saw that it was not through the Roman Church nor by any kind of works that one is saved, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

New Birth at Age 48

I left the Roman Catholic Church when I saw that life in Jesus Christ was not possible while remaining true to Roman Catholic doctrine.

In leaving Trinidad in November, 1985, I only reached neighboring Barbados. Staying with an elderly couple, I prayed to the Lord for a suit and necessary money to reach Canada, for I had only tropical clothing and a few hundred dollars to my name. Both prayers were answered without making my needs known to anyone except the Lord.

From a tropical temperature of 90 degrees, I landed in snow and ice in Canada. After one month in Vancouver, I came to the United States of America.

I now trusted that He would take care of my many needs, since I was beginning life anew at 48 years of age, practically penniless, without an alien resident card, without a driver's license, without a recommendation of any kind, having only the Lord and His Word.

I spent six months with a Christian couple on a farm in Washington State. I explained to my hosts that I had left the Roman Catholic Church and that I had accepted Jesus Christ and His Word in the Bible as all-sufficient.

I had done this, I said, "absolutely, finally, definitively, and resolutely." Yet far from being impressed by these four adverbs, they wanted to know if there was any bitterness or hurt inside me.

In prayer and in great compassion, they ministered to me, for they themselves had made the transition and knew how easily one can become embittered.

Four days after I arrived in their home, by God's grace I began to see in repentance the fruit of salvation. This meant being able not only to ask the Lord's pardon for my many years of compromising but also to accept His healing where I had been so deeply hurt.

Finally, at age 48, on the authority of God's Word alone, by grace alone, I accepted Christ's substitutionary death on the Cross alone. To Him alone be the glory.

Having been refurbished both physically and spiritually by this Christian couple together with their family, I was provided a wife by the Lord, Lynn, born-again in faith, lovely in manner, intelligent in mind. Together we set out for Atlanta, Georgia, where we both got jobs.

A Real Missionary With A Real Message

In September, 1988, we left Atlanta to go as missionaries to Asia. It was a year of deep fruitfulness in the Lord that once I would never have thought was possible.

Men and women came to know the authority of the Bible and the power of Christ's death and resurrection.

I was amazed at how easy it is for the Lord's grace to be effective when only the Bible is used to present Jesus Christ.

This contrasted with the cobwebs of church tradition that had so clouded my 21 years in missionary garments in Trinidad, 21 years without the real message.

To explain the abundant life of which Jesus spoke and which I now enjoy, no better words could be used than those of Romans 8:1-2: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

It is not just that I have been freed from the Roman Catholic system, but that I have become a new creature in Christ. It is by the grace of God, and nothing but His grace, that I have gone from dead works into new life.

Testimony to the Gospel of Grace

Back in 1972, when some Christians had taught me about the Lord healing our bodies, how much more helpful it would have been had they explained to me on what authority our sinful nature is made right with God.

The Bible clearly shows that Jesus substituted for us on the cross. I cannot express it better than Isaiah 53:5: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

(This means that Christ took on himself what I ought to suffer for my sins. Before the Father, I trust in Jesus as my substitute.)

That was written 750 years before the crucifixion of our Lord. A short time after the sacrifice of the cross, the Bible states in I Peter 2:24: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."

Because we inherited our sin nature from Adam, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. How can we stand before a Holy God -- except in Christ -- and acknowledge that He died where we ought to have died?

God gives us the faith to be born again, making it possible for us to acknowledge Christ as our substitute. It was Christ who paid the price for our sins: sinless, yet He was crucified. This is the true Gospel message. Is faith enough?

Yes, born-again faith is enough.
That faith, born of God, will result in good works including repentance: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

In repenting, we put aside, through God's strength, our former way of life and our former sins. It does not mean that we cannot sin again, but it does mean that our position before God has changed. We are called children of God, for so indeed we are.

If we do sin, it is a relationship problem with the Father which can be resolved, not a problem of losing our position as a child of God in Christ, for this position is irrevocable. In Hebrews 10:10, the Bible says it so wonderfully: "...we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

The finished work of Christ Jesus on the Cross is sufficient and complete. As you trust solely in this finished work, a new life which is born of the Spirit will be yours -- you will be born again (or saved) and are Heaven-bound.

The Present Day My present task:

The good work that the Lord has prepared for me to do is as an evangelist situated in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A.

What Paul said about his fellow Jews I say about my dearly loved Catholic brothers: my heart's desire and prayer to God for Catholics is that they may be saved.

I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based in God's Word but in their church tradition.

If you understand the devotion and agony that some of our brothers and sisters in the Philippines and South America have put into their religion, you may understand my heart's cry: "Lord, give us a compassion to understand the pain and torment of the search our brothers and sisters have made to please You."

In understanding pain inside the Catholic hearts, we will have the desire to show them the Good News of Christ's finished work on the Cross." My testimony shows how difficult it was for me as a Catholic to give up Church tradition, but when the Lord demands it in His Word, we must do it.

The "form of godliness" that the Roman Catholic Church has makes it most difficult for a Catholic to see where the real problem lies. Everyone must determine by what authority we know truth.

Rome claims that it is only by her own authority that truth is known. In her own words, Cannon 212, Section 1, "The Christian faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound by Christian obedience to follow what the sacred pastors, as representatives of Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or determine as leaders of the Church." (Vatican Council II based, Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John-Paul II, 1983).

Yet according to the Bible, it is God's Word itself which is the authority by which truth is known. It was man-made traditions which caused the Reformers to demand "the Bible only, faith only, grace only, in Christ only, and to God only be the glory."

The Reason Why I Share

I share these truths with you now so that you can know God's way of salvation. Our basic fault as Catholics is that we believe that somehow we can of ourselves respond to the help God gives us to be right in His sight.

This presupposition that many of us have carried for years is aptly defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) #2021, "Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons...."

With that mindset, we were unknowingly holding to a teaching that the Bible continually condemns. Such a definition of grace is man's careful fabrication, for the Bible consistently declares that the believer's right standing with God is "without works" (Romans 4:6), "without the deeds of the Law" (Romans 3:28), "not of works" (Ephesians 2:9), "It is the gift of God," (Ephesians 2:8).

To attempt to make the believer's response part of his salvation and to look upon grace as "a help" is to flatly deny Biblical truth,
"...if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace..." (Romans 11:6).

The simple Biblical message is that "the gift of righteousness" in Christ Jesus is a gift, resting on His all-sufficient sacrifice on the cross, "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17).

So it is as Christ Jesus Himself said, He died in place of the believer, the One for many (Mark 10:45), His life a ransom for many. As He declared, ...this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28).

This is also what Peter proclaimed, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God..." (I Peter 3:18).

Paul's preaching is summarized at the end of II Corinthians 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.." (II Cor. 5:21).

This fact, dear reader, is presented clearly to you in the Bible. Acceptance of it is now commanded by God, "...Repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15).

The most difficult repentance for us dyed-in-the-wool Catholics is changing our mind from thoughts of "meriting," "earning," "being good enough," simply to accepting with empty hands the gift of righteousness in Christ Jesus.

To refuse to accept what God commands is the same sin as that of the religious Jews of Paul's time, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:3)

Repent and believe the Good News!

Richard Bennett
A native of Ireland, he returned there in 1996 on an evangelistic tour. He now lives in Portland Oregon, USA. He teaches a workshop at Multnomah Bible College on "Catholicism in the Light of Biblical Truth."

His greatest joy is door-to-door witnessing . He has produced three series of radio broadcasts. A fourth series is about to begin in the Philippines on D.W.T.I. and D.V. R .O. radio stations. He is co-editor of this book and founder of the ministry named "Berean Beacon."

Richard M. Bennett
Berean Beacon
P.O. Box 192
Del Valle, TX 78617-0192

November 8, 2008

Is Jesus God?

By Paul Tatham

Does the Bible, which is the earliest and most historically reliable source, actually say Jesus is God? What does it tell us about Jesus and His identity?

Let’s take a brief look at a few of the many passages that clearly and consistently answer that question, straight from the pages of Scripture.

We’ll begin by going back an additional 700 years before the life of Christ, to the Old Testament book of Isaiah.


Divine Messiah is predicted in the Old Testament Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." “Immanuel” literally means: “God with us.” Also see Matthew 1:23; Jesus was “God with us.”·

This Messiah would be born a human son, but have a higher nature, according to Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

This was a radical statement coming from a monotheistic Jewish prophet -- especially calling a human being “Mighty God”; but one that God fulfilled centuries later in Christ.·

A couple hundred years later, but still more than half a millennium before Jesus walked the earth, more was predicted about the Messiah’s divine nature.

Daniel 7:13-14 states,
“There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven . . .

"He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

"Son of Man" was the primary title Jesus used for Himself -- and this passage shows that this was a clear and strong claim of deity.

And in Mark, the earliest of the four Gospels,
Jesus Christ also included the unmistakable phrase, “coming on the clouds of heaven” and applied it to Himself (Mark 14:62). His listeners got the point, refused to believe it, and added it to their reasons to try to kill Him.


The baby Jesus was worshiped by the Magi. Matthew 2:11: “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”

Along with being led to the site where Jesus was born, these Magi were apparently informed by God about Jesus’ divine identity, and so they responded appropriately by worshiping Him.

Jesus accepted worship from His disciples.

Matthew 14:32-33:
“And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God."

In a Jewish culture, only the one true God can be worshiped; their actions show that they acknowledged Jesus as being divine. And Jesus didn’t correct them or say, “Don’t you realize that I’m just a mortal prophet? Stop worshiping me!” Rather, He accepted their worship, knowing He really was God in human flesh.·


John 8:58-59: states,
"‘I tell you the truth, 'Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am’."

At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”

This is a powerful double claim from Jesus: first, that He pre-existed His human birth and was actually alive and present (as God) before Abraham; second, that His title was “I am” -- which was the same title used for Jehovah God in Exodus 3:14. His listeners again got the point, and picked up stones to execute Him.

Another of Jesus’ claims of deity is in John 10:30-33:
I and the Father are one.

"Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ "‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’”

It could not be clearer than it is here: Jesus’ highly educated listeners understood His claim of deity.

They only had two possible responses: to humble themselves and bow before Him as the Magi and the disciples had done earlier, or reject His claim and judge Him as a blasphemer. Unfortunately they chose the latter option.

But notice that Jesus doesn’t argue with their accusation, because it was accurate. He really was claiming to be God!

Thomas’ response to the resurrected Jesus. John 20:27-29: “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’

"Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
’"This disciple realized, because of Jesus’ resurrection, who Jesus really was -- and humbly worshiped Him and declared His true identity: “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus not only accepts this declaration, but blesses all of the disciples -- and all of us today -- who come to the same realization and place of humble worship.

August 22, 2008

A Response To Barack Obama's Questions About Scripture

By Paul Tatham

During the run-up to the 2008 Democratic convention, Barack Obama suggested that it would be impractical to govern based solely on the word of the Bible, noting that some passages suggest slavery is permissible and eating shellfish is disgraceful.

He added, "Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?
"Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination?

Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount?

"So before we get carried away, let's read our Bible now," Obama said, to cheers. "Folks haven't been reading their Bible."

Good eye, Barack. The answer to the issues he raised lie not so much in reading the Bible as understanding its order.

The Old Testament (OT) in the Bible contains some procedures, practices, and prohibitions that we no longer believe are at least fully applicable today, if at all:

Some of these involve food (Ex 34:26; Dt. 14:8; Lev. 11:7), clothing (Lev 19:19; Dt. 22:12), respect (Lev. 19:32; 24:16), farming (Lev. 19:9, 19, 23).

How do we distinguish which are and which apply for today? The explanation is that there are four categories of OT law:

1. Moral laws - timeless truths such as the Ten Commandments, “love your neighbor,” etc.
2. Civil laws - Israel’s legal system such as Sabbatical Year, taxes, interest, punishing sin, etc.
3. Ceremonial law as in Israel’s religious system such as sacrifices, priests, feasts, etc.
4. Dietary laws - Israel’s food guidelines and prohibitions such as dealing with pork, cooking, etc.

Most evangelicals believe that only the first category applies today. The thinking is these laws are still in effect, because they are a reflection of God’s moral character, and that does not change. The other three categories apply only to Old Testamnent Israel.

Categorizing can sometimes be difficult. For example, the command to “love your neighbor as yourself,” in Lev 19:18 - a moral law - is followed, in the very next verse, by “do not wear clothing woven with two kinds of materials” - a civil law. These laws are not always neatly arranged.

The following guidelines may clarify what in the OT is still applicable today:

Was the OT law validated in the New Testament (NT)?

If something from the OT is reiterated in the NT, it is likely still in force, at least in principle.
This is illustrated by the Ten Commandments. All but one of the ten - the Sabbath - were reaffirmed in the NT.

The early church met on the first day of the week (Sunday), not Saturday, out of deference for the resurrection of Christ.

The NT concept that the “workman is worthy of his hire” is based on the analogy of the unmuzzled ox (Dt 25:4).

The NT injunction to love our enemies (Mt. 5:44; Rom 12:20) is a reaffirmation of the same OT principle in Ex. 23.

The NT indictment of homosexuality (Rom 1:26-27) reinforces its condemnation in Lev. 18:22; 20:13.

Christ validated a number of OT commands, thus endorsing their legitimacy for today. Furthermore, sometimes an OT law is not only reiterated but embellished.

The act of adultery, for example, is now not only wrong, but thoughts of it are also (Mt. 5:28). Not only are we to love one another, but we are to do it “as I have loved you.”

2. How do we know what OT law is invalidated in the NT?

Wisdom suggests if something from the OT is abrogated in the NT, or at least not reiterated, it no longer applies.

Israel’s dietary laws were done away with in Acts 10 (Peter’s vision of the sheet), which confirmed the words of Jesus in Mark 7 when “He declared all food clean.”

Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law. The OT sacrificial system was fulfilled by Christ’s sacrifice (“it is finished”).

And since we now have direct access to God through Christ, we no longer need intermediary priests.

Israel’s civil law was meant only for OT Israel, the world’s only true theocracy.
All world governments today are secular, including modern Israel, which ceased to exist as a theocracy when it repudiated its Savior at Calvary by declaring “away with him . . . we have no king but Caesar.” The Jews are still God’s chosen people, but they have been temporarily set aside until their restoration during the Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom.

3. What is the principle behind the law?

Although a specific law or procedure itself may be defunct, there could be a timeless principle behind it that is still alive and well.

Many of the strange OT co-mingling prohibitions, or those that deal with ceremonial defilement, for example, have at their core the overarching principle that believers should not soil themselves with “the things that are of the world.”

Although some of Israel’s dietary laws were mandated for health reasons, the underlying point was that Israel to was to be distinct people within a decadent society.

Their dietary regulations were part of their special identification. Modern believers, likewise, are to be a “peculiar people” (I Peter 2:9).

The fact that a rebellious teenager could be stoned in the OT under Israel’s now obsolete civil code carries with it the principle for today that God takes rebellion seriously and unsympathetic punishment may be its only cure.

OT justice was swift and, by today’s standards, unarguably harsh. Although ancient Israel’s approach to dealing with society’s transgressors does not directly apply to modern cultures, the principle behind it does.

Any nation today that is serious about reigning in rampant lawlessness may need to reconsider the fact that extreme problems require extreme measures.

August 20, 2008

Will A Good Life Cut It?

QUESTION: If I live a good, clean, respectable life, will I not surely be

ANSWER: This is the common belief. According to an easy understanding of the Bible, that belief is wrong.

Proverbs 14: 12 says, "There is a way that SEEMETH right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death."

Salvation is not something we merit or earn. It obligates God. He then owes it to us. The Bible says salvation is by grace (God's undeserved favor) - Eph.2: 8, 9.

When God looks at that kind of person He sees their past sins. "God requireth that which is past", says Eccl. 3:15. God does not look at us as we presently are, but He sees our life from the cradle to the grave.

We are without strength to save ourselves, according to Romans 5:6. It cannot be by works. If we could save ourselves, the Bible would not state in Ephesians 2:3, "Not by works lest any man should boast."

Attempting to quit all ones sins is noble and it will make us better people, but it will not take away our past sin we have committed.

These sins must be taken away before we can be saved. According to the Bible, the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin. See 1 John 1:7.

People who depend on their good lives to save them will never make
it to Heaven.

Are we depending on ourselves or Christ for salvation? Only He alone saves. That is why He is called "Savior."

Most people are going to Heaven, right?

By NiteOwlDave

The suggestion that most people will NOT wind up in Heaven upon death may sound outrageous to a rational-thinking person. After all, the good Book declares that God is love.

A loving God would not relegate a good person - or even a bad person - to an eternity other than Heaven, would He? And, horrors, Hell can’t be a real place!

The Heaven-Hell thing prompts much confusion between those who consider themselves Christians and those who haven’t darkened the inside of a church in 40 years.

Harold Smith, who authors an Internet The Bible Answers site, suggests the confusion over eternal destiny is the result of man’s own opinion. And, he correctly points out, our opinion counts for zilch.

It’s what the Bible says that counts, and the Bible speaks loudly about a very, literal Heaven (and Hell) and suggests strongly that most will not wind up in Heaven. Ridiculous?

Read these pointed Matthew 7: 13-14 verses.

"Enter ye in at the strait gate for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth unto destruction, and many there be which go in there at. "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

So, a wide road to Hell; a skinny one to Heaven. Gulp. The truth and the narrow road are Jesus Christ who says in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." In John 10:9 Jesus says, "I am the door; by me if anyone enter in, he shall be saved..."

In Acts 16:31, Paul and Silas told an anxious jailer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
The word "believe" means to put one’s trust in. Believing is a personal action. We don't inherit Heaven through our parents.

The Bible points out that we are separated from God until we repent of our sin and ask for His salvation made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Most people think our Christian salvation comes automatically if we attend church and live a good life. According to the Bible, it doesn’t. And woe unto a pastor or priest who says it does. And what we think has no bearing on the absolute truth of God. To the contrary.

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death," Solomon writes in Proverbs 14:12. Jesus is the way and the only way. Have you invited Christ into your life?

If not, you are on the broad road that leads to destruction, or eternal Hell. Reset your course now before it is eternally too late. How?

E-mail me at I will respond.

May 24, 2008

Eat Like Adam And Eve: Food For Thought

By NiteOwlDave

This may sound a way too simplistic, but it makes sense to this chimp that the reason there is sickness in this world is because there is sin in the world.

God Word, the Bible, says when Adam and Eve sinned, it launched a giant sickness mess which mankind has and must deal with. Some of the mess we create ourselves.

There are things that we ignore that hurt our body. Of course, there are people who take excellent care of their bodies and still get sick. We often get sick because we have done stupid things to hurt or destroy our bodies.

If we decide to become a junky or an alcoholic, we will or can blow our health. Overloading on too much fatty-rich, or sugar-rich foods can screw us into our graves before our time.

If we are a Christian, we need to think about our bodies being, as the Bible puts it, the temple of the Holy Spirit and to guard it. We should caretaker our shelter because it just makes sense.

Reports from the famous cancer research center Johns-Hopkins Hospital point out that we all have cancer cells in our bodies.

But, they are not detected until they have multiplied to a few billion. They are only detected when we are in discomfort or through tests. The body eliminates most cancer cells before they can divide becoming tumors.

By and large, cancer is directly related to nutrition. That is why it is important that we take care of our bodies to empower our immune system.

Chemotherapy is one of the most popular ways doctor's fight cancer cells. Chemo was orginally developed by the Nazi’s during World War II to put into bombs as a weapon of mass destruction. It is that powerful. According to Johns-Hopkins, a most effective way to kill cancer cells is to starve them.

What foods do the cells need to gain strength and multiply? Foods that give cancer a boost are ones high in sugar, fatty-rich and milk. Foods are generally processed. Not good, the experts say. Beef and pork can hurt us because they are high in acid.

A diet made up of 80 per cent vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, and legumes, keep the body in an alkaline environment (the opposite of acid). Also, we are advised, avoid caffeinated coffees and teas.

Wait a minute -- this is the same diet that God gave to Adam and Eve! What a surprise! And Johns-Hopkins is just finding it out.

May 19, 2008

Pied-Piper Oprah is Sadly Deceived

By NiteOwlDave

It is difficult not to like TV's Oprah. She lights up her television studio with her bubbly enthusiasm. She embraces the hurting. She's an over-comer. She gives away cars. She's a self-made bazillionaire, for crying out loud.

It's against the law not to like the Oprah. It's sad to discover that America's best-known talk show host and one of the most popular and influential woman on the planet is now preaching and promoting a big fat lie.

Her website says, "Each week on her XM Radio show, Oprah sits down with leading spiritual thinkers, teachers and authors to talk about matters of the soul, and shares insights into her own life."

The problem is that Oprah has tossed aside the biblical teaching that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to Heaven, and suggests there are many ways to Heaven. That makes Jesus a liar.

Jesus said, in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Oprah is calling down God's wrath. Likely she will not fall right away, but when she faces God the Father and our Savior Jesus Christ who died for her and the rest of us.

John 3:36 is a whamming verse."And all who trust him - God's Son - to save them have eternal life; those who don't believe and obey him (Jesus) shall never see heaven, but the wrath of God remains upon them."

Oprah's position that there are various ways get to Heaven snuffs out these familiar muscle verses, John 3:16-17.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him."

Jesus says He is the only way. The phantom of the Oprah rejects it. That's sad. Oprah could be ready herself, and help many others get saved and ready for eternal Heaven.

May 14, 2008

Why We Must Get SAVED, And How?

Why do we need to accept Jesus?

We need to accept Jesus (or get saved) because we are all sinners, which means we have all broken God's commandments. We have all lied, stolen or desired to have something that did not belong to us.

The Bible tells us in James 2:10 that if we break one of God's commandments, it is as if we have broken them all. Because we have sinned, we are headed to eternal Hell unless we ask for forgiveness and put our total trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that God wants to help us and to guide us. God wants all to accept Him. It's up to us to make that decision. We choose our eternal destination. God provided the WAY through His Son who paid and paved the path.

To some, that will sound crazy. But without free will (choice) God would not be able to demonstrate to us how much he loves us.

When we think about everything we have chosen to do wrong, it is it stunning that God will wash it all away in one instance if we allow Him to.

It's all because he loves us so much and will never think about our forgiven sin again. Never, says the Bible.

So, how do we "accept Christ" or get "saved?" Jesus is ready to come into our life right now. He's just waiting for us to invite Him in.

What do we pray?

Well, we can let our heart lead us. God hears us. He will know and understands what we mean. He knows our heart.

The Bible does give us some guidelines so we can know we have really accepted Christ. Please know that the order of these prayer thoughts are not important, but saying it and really meaning it is.

1. Believe. "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

2. We must chose to believe that without a doubt Jesus Christ is the son of the living God and that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. It's not just enough for our parents to believe it, or for us to just say we believe it. We must believe it so much that if someone were to put us in jail if we said we believe it, we would be willing to be put in jail.

Confess. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9

The Bible says that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of Go (Romans 3:23) . We must admit to God that we are a sinner and confess to him our sins.

Repent. "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" Acts 3:19

When we repent, we turn away from our sins (1 Thessalonians 1:9). This doesn't mean we say, we're sorry and do it again. This means we say we are sorry, we mean it, and we stop doing the wrong stuff. No one is perfect, God knows that, but if we are sinning and we know it, stop.

What, no formal prayer?

This should be something from our heart, it shouldn't be something we just write down, we recite, and call it done.

Talk to God and tell him that you believe that Jesus is Lord and that he died for our sins. Let him know that we confess all of our sins, that we repent and want to turn away from all of your past sins .

If you need to, get your Bible and read the verses listed above. Sit down and think about them. When you pray be sure you include all the things above, and make sure that you say what's really in your heart.

May 12, 2008

Mohammed Is Dead, Christ Is Alive

A Mohammedan in India once said to a missionary, "You will have to admit that we Mohammedans have one thing that you Christians don't have.

"When we go to Mecca we at least find a coffin. When you Christians go to Jerusalem, which is your Mecca, you only find an empty tomb."

The missionary paused then responded, "Therein, lies the major difference. Mohammed is dead, his bones lying somewhere. We worship Christ who arose from the dead and is alive for evermore."

Produce the body of Jesus and you destroy Christianity! What's that Biblical promise? Because I live, you believers shall also live.

May 11, 2008

America Faces Bloodbath? Radical Muslims March To Satan's Orders

The September 11, 2001, Muslim terrorist attacks in the U.S. were a walk in the park compared to what's coming.

America faces a bloodbath, according to an article attributed to an al-Qaida spokesman who claims such a slaughter is justified by Islamic teaching.

An article which appeared on the website of the Center for Islamic Research and Studies, Abu Gheith writes, "Muslims have the right to kill four million Americans—including two million children.

"We have not reached parity with them," the article states." The US has killed millions of Muslims around the world in places such as Iraq, the Palestine territories, Sudan, the Philippines, and Afghanistan.

"Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons, so to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims because of the (American) chemical and biological weapons."

"A former top-gun with the Southern Baptist Convention offered this gutsy—and accurate—assessment of the Islamic religion in June, 2002.

Said Rev. Jerry Vines, "Islam was founded by Mohammed, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives—and his last one was a nine-year old girl. Nine!

"And I will tell you Allah is not Jehovah either. Jehovah is not going to turn you into a terrorist that'll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

The statement prompted a ridiculous response from left-wing nut, Ingrid Mattson, a professor at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, who reflected, "It makes me wonder what's the hateful religion right now that we should be worried about."

Somewhat surprising, despite 9/11, Islam is said to be gaining membership in U.S. One must conclude that Satan is the power source behind the Muslim religion.

Doesn't it seem logical that the Islamic religion would take a hit in the number of devotees after the September 11 bloodbath when Muslim pilots ran high-jacked planes into major US buildings, and into the ground, killing 3,000? All 19 terrorists aboard the four aircraft were devout Muslims acting in the name of Allah.

Writes noted Bible lecturer and author Dave Hunt, "Logically, I thought the attack would expose Islam's violent nature.

"Instead, Muslim leaders have become popular speakers in high demand, and Islam is being hailed as a religion of peace and tolerance. More than 30,000 Americans converted to Islam in the first eight months after September 11."

Well, Satan, enjoy your ever-shortening life as the strangely-popular Prince of Darkness and your massive influence over many deceived people.

Unfortunately, the Muslims are just one of many deceived cults and religious groups raising Hell in these last days before the return of the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.

May 10, 2008

Scripture Does Not Contradict Itself

The following seems to be a handy—and solid—rule of thumb: In interpreting Scripture, we must follow a strict rule that no part contradicts any other. We must seek to harmonize apparent discrepancies.

A wise rule to follow is to make the obscure fit into the plain, or take the few and fit them into the many.

The reverse of this has produced divisions and many cults.

Here is an example: 1 Corinthians 15:29 speaks of "baptism for the dead." It is used by some cults to baptize a living person on behalf of the dead.

This is interpreting it at face value and ignoring the many verses that teach only living believers should be baptized.

Beware of what man says!

Colossians 2:8-10 states, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

"For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."

Witnessing Tips

Witnessing to the unsaved can be draining.

Ever shared your faith with a suited Mormon, tangled with a wandering Watchtower worker, or exchanged thoughts with a dug-in Satanist? It can be tough, although it doesn't have to be.

The key, as I see it, is to avoid the controversial issues that inevitably deteriorate into arguments, and try to direct a listener to focus on his relationship with Jesus Christ.

Some come to our doors denying there is a Hell, despite what the Bible warns. I often ask them if they know for sure that their sins are all forgiven and that they are right with God that very moment, never mentioning Hell.

I find that few have that assurance that can be known through the Christ of the Bible. That provides an opportunity to share one's testimony and the gospel. We must remember Christ loves those who are lost in error.

Be gracious. Good people make it to Heaven, right? Wrong, of course. Raise the question: If I live a good, clean, respectable life will I not surely be saved? Answer: This is the common belief of humanity, but it is bunk.

Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death." What we think counts for zip. What the Bible declares counts for all. To the natural mind this seems right, but it is not.

There are two major problems with thinking that we can earn our salvation. First, it makes salvation something we merit or earn. It obligates God. He then owes it to us. Salvation on the other hand is by grace, or unmerited favor (Ephesians 2: 8,9).

Second, when God looks at that kind of person He sees their past sins.

"God requireth that which is past" (Ecclesiastes 3:15). God does not look at us, as we presently are, but He sees our life from the cradle to the grave. We are without strength to save ourselves (Romans 5:6).

It could not be by works; if so, then man could boast. "Not by works lest any man should boast."(Ephesians 2:9) Quitting all our sins is very good, and it will make us a better person in society, but it will not take away one past sin you have committed.

These sins must be taken away before we can be saved. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7). People who live good lives, depending on that to save them, will never make it; but their judgment in eternity and the penalty will be less.

"Every man shall be judged according to their works." (Revelation 20:11) Are you depending on yourself or Christ for salvation? He alone can save. This is why He is called "Savior"—Luke 2:11.