Hello dear ones! I’m so very sorry I haven’t been able to post, or read yours, in the past week. Our trip is nearly over and all normal posting will return. When we get to our new corporate housing and finish unpacking I have some thoughts from our experiences. They’re all jumbled up in my head, hopefully they don’t all slip out! Our initial drive was met with rain and fog, but thankfully no snow. We’ve got so much to tend to, expired vehicle tags, license renewals, doctor visits, and more, that it’s been a bit of a head spinning time. I’m thankful that God has given us the opportunity to travel together as a family. No matter how stressful it can be, we’ve got one another to lean on. I pray that you are all doing well, beloved, and look forward to catching up on all your posts. I’ve sincerely missed you all, and pray for you daily. I’ll attempt another update before we are through. As always, dear friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
Hello again, dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well. I want to share with you today a testimony of a brother in Christ who came from a Catholic upraising and was saved out of it. He has since gone on to face persecution and even jail for the sake of the Gospel. Mr. Miano’s testimony had me in tears, of joy, and also of sorrow. Joyful that he, and his wife, were saved. Sorrowful in the reminder of all our family members who, like he describes his wife, are in church but are lost. I played the Christian for over a decade, it must have seemed strange to my family and friends as well when I became a born again believer. I recall one conversation with my oldest friend, whom I’ve known and gone to church with since we were in school.
We were in Florida, vacationing together, as she has children the same age as Kayliegh. All the kiddos were asleep, just her and her husband, mine and I were left awake. I’ve got an odd habit of sitting on the floor, it probably comes from being the youngest in my family. So there I sat, on the floor, in our rented condo professing that I would have justly, rightly, been cast into Hell should I have died in my sins before that July. I must have sounded insane. Pentecostals talk a lot about demons but very little about Hell or sin. The Lord had already been working in her husbands life, and little more than a year later she was saved through the preaching of John MacArthur. We both were blessed tremendously by the Strange Fire Conference.
My point is this, that to the many who are lost without hope in this world, you have the light. As Tony says in this clip, it was the hardest month in his marriage. Those who have been in church their whole life but have never been born again will be hard to reach. Often times the best evidence for their false conversion is the changes in a true believer. That was the case for me, when I heard Paul Washer preaching about the lost mans love for their sin, I knew I was that lost (wo)man that he spoke of. I didn’t hate my sin, I loved my sin, I was enjoying the pleasure of sin for a season. I was playing the hypocrite. If you’ve stumbled onto this blog and have never been given a new heart, with new desires, please cry out to the Lord in repentance. This does not mean that the believer will not sin, but that when we do we hate that sin. It truly is like vomit.
Dear ones, I pray this video blesses you today, as it blessed me. If you want to share your testimony for a Wednesday post please let me know in the comments, as our testimonies bless believers, and convict sinners, we are blessed to have this means to share them. As always, dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
Hello dear ones! As I busily pack and prepare for our next assignment, I thought it would be beneficial to share posts that blessed me when I’m not able to post my own. Here our brother in Christ, Jim, helps refute accusations of contradictions in the Bible. He does an excellent job explaining the text in question with care, accuracy, and sound hermeneutics. I hope this blesses you all as much as it has blessed me! As always, dear ones, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
Bible Contradiction? Where did John baptize?
Hello dear ones! I hope I’ve waited long enough from the breaking of this story for the novelty to have worn off, and the deeply serious implications to have set in. Recently Daigle, a contemporary ‘Christian’ singer, made waves by compromising on core Christian values, and refusing to stand on the Word of God. This led many to question whether or not her salvation was genuine. That then led me to try and find some sort of testimony. I could only find her repeating in interviews that she got sick and from that found her ‘purpose’ which seems to be the only ‘testimony’ from her. I at least expected to see a time or place where she says she “accepted Christ into her heart” or “made Him Lord”.
A lack of a testimony on its own is not enough to assume someone is a false convert. Compromise on its own is also not enough evidence, as new believers tend to have little Biblical knowledge, however the two combined are concerning. She seems to be a product of the Prosperity Gospel. I’m thankful for her honesty, though, as we will find it very hard to discern the wheat from the tares if the tares are pretending to be wheat. Now we can pray for her, also pray for those around her that if there’s a born again believer in her inner circle they might be bold and loving enough to address these issues. For a better understanding of false conversions I recommend LivingWaters True and False Conversion which you can watch for free here.
It’s important to note, dear ones, that we do not know anyone’s heart. We can only examine the fruit we see, and we need to do so lovingly, without the desire to ‘getcha’ but instead with the desire to see the lost saved. I actually have seen Daigle in concert, way back before I was born again. She’s a very talented artist, I pray that the Lord will grant her repentance and faith. If you find yourself in a similar situation, with no desire to defend Biblical truth or a testimony of Gods grace in salvation, please watch the video linked above. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
While reviewing movies for Kayleigh’s Reformers history lesson I came across this one. You can imagine my joy, after spending all last year and half this one reading and studying the Patristic Fathers. Polycarp was a man directly discipled by the Apostle John, who was eventually martyred for his faith. There’s a few things I look for, however, when reviewing movies for homeschooling. First, they have to have an accurate depiction of the Bible, no false Gospels. Secondly, they have to have limited amounts of violence or promiscuity. Lastly, they need to flow or she’ll just get bored.
Polycarp certainly contains a Biblical Gospel presentation, along with many, MANY, scriptural references. In fact, Polycarps character frequently uses Gods Word as a response to situations. There is absolutely no promiscuity, which actually tends to pop up in historical movies. Instead it is replete with family values, love for the brethren, Biblical teachings, and a boldness in the face of fear, rather than mushy romance and puppy love. It flows really well, and has excellent acting. There’s only one problem, this is a tale of martyrs. I think I’ll wait a couple years before playing this for Kayleigh, she’s very sensitive to death and frequently falls apart in the consideration of losing one of her parents.
Due to the intense, yet none bloody, scenes of martyrdom, I’d recommend this movie for pre-teens and up. Especially for any of you out there that love to learn about the churches history. In this movie we find historical characters such as Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, along side Polycarp of course. The 2015 movie is set in Smyrna during the second century. It follows a young girl who is rescued from slavery by Christians, which is why I would recommend it to pre-teens as well as youth groups. It will also bless adults, as it’s not based on one single age group, but a family of believers instead. I found this movie on Amazon free with our Prime subscription. However, the official website is Here where you can see a recommendation from a well known evangelist, Ray Comfort. I hope this movie blesses you as much as it blessed me. Let me know if you get a chance to watch it. As
Beloved, I am finally able to review the third book of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. If you missed the other two reviews you can find them here, and here. This was a much greater undertaking than I expected. The truths found in The Institutes are not needlessly difficult to grasp, Calvin did an excellent job making this understandable for common folks like myself. That being said, however, it is the type of book with which you want to enjoy, take time to consider, take notes, make references, not one to skim through quickly. Very meaty. John Calvin, as many of you know, was a French pastor and theologian during the Reformation. He wrote the Institutes in 1536 using Gods Word and church fathers to clarify Biblical principles and refute the heresies of his day, most of which are still alive and well.
In this book Calvin addresses a wide range of issues central to justification by faith alone. He continued throughout this book to strongly emphasize the Holy Spirits role in salvation, as well as show Scripturally why works do not merit favor. In particular Calvin dealt with the false doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, although he does address other heretical persons. Specifically, in regards to the Roman Catholic Church, he takes on the unbiblical nature of confessions, purgatory, indulgences, and merit. Here he even slips in some fascinating historical changed within the Roman Catholic doctrines, which is helpful for anyone lost in works righteousness that believe the church or the pope are somehow infallible. I imagine it didn’t make him very popular at the time, when most of the church was being taught they could pay to get their loved ones out of purgatory.
He goes on to further explain the effects of Gods grace on believers, and how to live the Christian life. He deals with self denial, and the way we ought to view worldly riches. He goes deep into justification, Christian liberty, prayer, and resurrection. In this book Calvin also defends the doctrine of election and predestination, which means I finally found the controversial stuff in the books! He does a wonderful job explaining this through expounding upon the Word of God. This is found in chapters 21 through 24 if anyone should be curious about just that topic alone.
I simply can not overemphasize how helpful The Institutes have been thus far. Wherever you find yourself on the five points, or the doctrines of grace, these books are still going to bless you. I read a fascinating comment under the Ben Shapiro and John MacArthur Sunday Special which you can see here. If you’ll allow me to get a little off subject I promise to bring it back around. The comment was from someone who might have been a continuist based on their reference to miracles. This person humbly confessed that due to their bias they had refused to listen to MacArthur and felt they were wrong in doing so. After seeing how lovingly he presented the Gospel, the person had changed their mind about the great preacher. What does that have to do with The Institutes? Glad you asked, dear ones!
Often times when we find ourselves at odds with one another in an area of doctrine we write one another off. I think if I had known about these books back in 2015, when I was first saved by Gods grace, I never would have read them. I’m thankful that God first used many reformed theologians to teach and edify me before I heard of these books. They have been tremendous blessings, filled with biblical rebukes of falsehoods still held today, overflowing with a love for brethren, a desire to see the lost saved, and doctrine explained in a way which someone like me can actually comprehend. All of that to say, I do hope, beloved, that we can set aside any disagreements to be richly fed by brothers and sisters that went before us. We will, none of us, ever agree fully on all things, but that certainly doesn’t mean we don’t allow iron to sharpen iron.
I recommend this book to any believer, or none believer, teens and up. Believers will be blessed by the attention to detail, the comprehensive structure of each chapter, and the care and love that went into writing this. None believers will hear the Law and the Gospel, while having misconceptions refuted, and questions answered. One more book left in the Institutes, I’m so excited to get to reading! If you’d like to read these books they are in the public domain. That means, of course, that you can find them in PDF here, audiobook here, kindle version here, or the good old fashioned paperback here. This will make its way into my library in paperback form as soon as we stop traveling. It’s the type of book that is important enough to warrant a purchase. I hope these reviews have blessed you, dear ones, and as always be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.
Hello again, dear ones, I hope this post has found you all doing well! Every Scripture we discuss is important, and I always feel an urgency when I right a Twisted Tuesday posts. I usually fight the urge to suggest this one is the most important, or most abused, especially after researching the issue, but anytime Gods Word is taken out of context we need to correct it. This one is one of those verses that is actually ignored, for the most part, until it’s yanked kicking and screaming out of context to prove a point. I’m referring to Matthew 18:15-17.
These verses are referring to Church discipline, which is essential to the health of any church. It has, unfortunately, not been put into place in most churches today. I say most churches, as it seems to be one thing that’s agreed upon throughout denominations and even by many cults. No one wants to be rebuked publicly, so no one wants to rebuke others. This is very sad, not only as it’s been given here by Christ as a command to His church, but also because it hurts believers not to be held accountable. Goats and wolves are much more comfortable in churches where they’ll see zero accountability for sin. As such, predators can make their ways into our pews, youth groups, and children’s church without fearing public rebuke. I may have mentioned before that when I was a youth in church, long before ever being saved, I witnessed multiple explicit relationships between adults and young teenagers. It was undeniably obvious, yet no one, not a single elder, leader, or pastor, did anything to stop it.
That’s not the only way a lack of Church discipline harms members. Besides allowing the wolves to devour the flock, it allows the ‘goats’ to continue pretending to be sheep. This is why I was able to stay in church for over a decade without ever having my salvation addressed, or questioned. How many millions are lost, and deceived, like I was, because they’ve never had their sinful behavior addressed? Obviously, as a redeemed saint I still sin, and when I do it is very grievous. How blessed it is to know that, if I am sinning, my brothers and sisters would come up beside me and help me. This makes Church discipline a win win, if your lost and rebuked you can work through your salvation with fear and trembling. If your saved, fall into sin, and are rebuked like King David was by Samual, you can repent and find accountability and safety within your Church family.
It’s a shame, then, that this verse is saved for something completely different. If you’ve ever discussed the heretics of TBN you’ve likely had this verse thrown at you. “Have you taken this brother or sister aside before you rebuked them openly?” Can you imagine Paul being asked this, after his letters were sent far and wide? He warned brethren of many, in several different situations. Christ Himself, as well as John the Baptist, also called out religious leaders publicly, referring to them as ‘serpents’ and ‘hypocrites’. We know, as we’ve discussed so many times before, that if we see an issue with Scripture the problem is with our understanding. Gods Word is inerrant. Is this a contradiction? No, not at all.
Christ is telling leaders how to lead brothers and sisters in Christ out of sin. He is not telling believers to wait to warn one another of false teachers, or heretics, wolves in sheep’s clothing, until that person has been taken aside. First, we’re addressing a teaching that is unBiblical, and warning the body of Christ to avoid those teaching it. This is different than addressing a brother or sister that has fallen into sin, such as gossip. Second, it’s not possible for us to take these teachers aside. You and I are (hopefully) not members of their churches, and most of them have body guards and security that would stop us from coming within a foot from them. Lastly, it is not needed to bring these people aside with two or three, or to even publicly rebuke them. Their false teaching is public, they’ve already shown the world their sinful, blasphemous, or heretical teaching.
What we can do is use discernment, when someone is a leader, or ‘pastor’, that is teaching falsehoods. We can rebuke their teaching so that we help others see true doctrine. It’s possible those teachers will hear such rebuke and respond, as Beth Moore has. When a sister in Christ warned others that what Moore was teaching was unBiblical, Moore emailed back and forth with her asking why what she was saying was wrong. Even Benny Hinn has apologized after being rebuked, although he has since continued his false teaching, as has Moore. Whether the teachers repent or not, we must correct falsehoods. Gods Word is clear, coherent, and accurate. Only when it is taken out of context does it become muddied.
Have you heard this verse taken out of context, beloved? I’d love to hear how you handled it. I pray this post has helped edify you all. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.