Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Virgin Birth

Hello again, my friends, I hope this post finds you all doing well. Today I’d like to continue in our series on the essential doctrines of the faith. If you’ve missed previous posts in this series I will link to them below. We’re going to be briefly discussing the virgin birth, the doctrine that Jesus Christ did not have an earthly father. This doctrine is, honestly, one of my favorites to consider. The truths of it go all the way back to the Garden, to the fall of man, when a promise was given. I’m getting ahead of myself though!

Historical Church Series -The Early Heretics: Introduction

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: Salvation by Grace Alone

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Deity of Christ

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines: Monotheism

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Resurrection of Christ

Let me start by explaining why this doctrine is so fundamental, and why denying it is so dangerous. When we discussed the deity of Christ and His resurrection we touched on a similar issue. We have to have the right, true, Biblical understanding of who Christ is. Christ was born of a virgin (Luke 1:26-27, Matt. 1:23-25) just as God had said He would be in Genesis and through His prophet (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14). This matters, because our Messiah, the Saviour who was sacrificed for our sins had to be a perfect sacrifice. Only God is perfect. God the Son became man, entering His own creation to live a righteous, sinless life, and die for the unrighteous. If Christ was not born of a virgin then He was the son of Adam, not the son of God, and His sacrifice can not save. You see, dear ones, the virgin birth was more than a miracle, it was the promised sign (Isaiah 9:6). It was more than the promised sign, it was the first evidence that Jesus Christ was no mere man, but in fact God (Titus 2:13)! The Word was made flesh (John 1:1-3).

Oddly enough, many of the cults have a correct view of the virgin birth, while distorting other aspects of Christ’s being. The Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Seventh Day Adventist’s each believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. JW’s accept this, but follow it by a rejection of the deity of Christ, suggesting that Jesus was born of Gods power but was not a member of the Godhead. Roman Catholics accept that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, but then turn Mary into a mediator between man and Christ, encouraging prayers to her rather than to God. Other cults, like the Mormons, Scientologist, Christian Science, and Islam, flat out deny that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. The Mormon church teaches that God had physical relations with Mary, which brought about the pregnancy. All others reject that Christ was born in any miraculous fashion. It needs to be stated that most of the liberal churches deny miracles, including this essential doctrine.

For more reading on the virgin birth and its importance, I recommend this article from Ligonier. I hope this series is a blessing to you all, and will help when addressing the cults, or just those in confusion. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Saturday Homeschooling Lessons – Geography and Gardening Update

Happy Saturday, dear ones! I hope this post finds you all doing well. I have to start this post by telling you all about Kayliegh’s new favorite song, Fal$e Teachers by Shai Linne. I’ll link to this song below, it’s a rap of the theological issues of the prosperity gospel. Shai is apart of a group that was encouraged by reformed teachers like Sproul and McAurthor, and put the Biblical truths they learned into lyrics. I don’t actually enjoy listening to music, I prefer to listen to podcasts. However, this song is fantastic, even if you listen to a different genre of music. I hope it blesses you!

Since we’re going through Biblical history from Acts working out, I wanted to add some geographical lessons to bring a bigger, fuller picture to her mind. I found some really fun and educational worksheets which I’ll include at the bottom. My favorite is the mystery country, which lists facts about a place and asks what country it fits. I love giving her an idea of just how big our world is, and how many nations there are that need to be reached with the Gospel. I also hope to add foods, flags, and animals for each area of the map we discuss.

The garden is doing great, jalapeños are ready to be picked! The broccoli is now over two feet tall, I hope that’s normal. Kayliegh is learning how difficult it is to keep the weeds out, and why that’s so important. I think this has helped her see, also, that the grocery store isn’t magically stocked with fresh fruits and veggies, but from hard working farmers. It’s been such a blessing to watch her nuture things the way that plants need to be cared for. We’re also learning about simple machines, so I’ve also included some worksheets for that. I hope these are helpful for y’all, and that you have a great weekend. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

WorldGeographyStudentBooklet

WorldGeographyBundleFreeSample

SimpleMachinesReview

SimpleMachineCutandSort

Mormon Missionary Evangelism Update

Hello, again dear friends! Yesterday, as I had mentioned, I had scheduled two Mormon missionaries to come and talk with me. Unfortunately, about an hour before hand, they let me know they weren’t going to be able to stop and talk. They could only bring me a pamphlet. When they arrived they wouldn’t come inside, and only stayed for a minute. They asked if someone else from their church could come by and talk with me. I agreed, but have yet to hear from them in regards to a time. I was disappointed that I was unable to sit and share the Gospel with them, however they both gladly took a Gospel tract from me. I wasn’t sure why they were unwilling, last minute, to stop and talk with me as previously planned. After researching it, I think it might be due to the fact that my husband works nights and would have been asleep. Wisely, the young men on missions are discouraged from being in homes alone with women.

Just as a side story, when I worked as a clerk in Downtown Dallas we had a man who tended our office plants. He was very, very happily married, and gushed about his wife and their many years together. Often times he would tell us stories of when he use to tend the household plants of mansions. It was the house wives, not the vegetation, that gave him the most trouble. Think Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. He eventually had to stop that line of work, and switched to industrial plant care. All that is to say that we ought to flee any form of temptation, and to that point, born again believers need to be teaching our young people to do the same. Do we guard our youth as vigorously as we ought to? While we thinking on these things, let us also pray for our pastors and elders, for fortitude against temptation.

I wish that I had more to report, that there was audio or some encouraging fruit. Two things I can say, for certain, came of all this. First, I was greatly helped by all your prayers and my own need for being in prayer. What a blessing it is, truly, to be reminded of my deep and desperate need for Gods strength! Second, I’ve not studied so rigorously in a very long time. Gods Word is a never ending well of truth. Galatians, just Galatians alone, is enough to refute every single cult. I hope to hear back from these gentlemen, and perhaps to have one of their young ladies come and hear to good news of the Gospel. I once believed I was earning my way to heaven. I believed I was saving myself through the sinners prayer. But I knew, I wouldn’t have dared to say the words out loud, but I knew I had no assurance of salvation. Praise God, He is mighty to save! What is impossible with man is possible with God, we cannot earn it, we could never be righteous, but Christ has bought us! He has died in our place, bore our sins and death, rose again for our justification, and has reconciled us to Himself. Oh, amazing grace, how sweet the sound!

My beloved brethren, brothers and sisters in Christ, I thank my God daily for you all. One day, in eternity, we will meet and throw our arms around one another’s necks. But, in this fallen world, God has already blessed me with your encouragement, and prayers! May the Lord we serve bless you, today, my friends. As always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Preparing for Mormon Missionaries

As I said, dear friends, when I started the Twisted Tuesday series on essential doctrines, our new apartment is right next to a Mormon temple. It should not, therefor, have taken me by surprise when two young men knocked on my door last week. This blog is not predominantly about me, unless I feel that there is something encouraging or edifying in my life to share. So, I should briefly explain some things before I continue with what happened last week. I hope this will be helpful to others who struggle in this area, regardless of the reasons. I’m not just socially inept, I’m a hermit.

The recent neurological diagnosis shed a lot of light into this area of my life. It’s actually a sensory issue, new people with different sounding voices, smells, styles of communicating can be overwhelming. Without getting to deep into the subject, my brain processes senses as attacks. Sunlight, wind, heat or cold, loud or repetitive noises, flashing lights, lots of movement, certain textures, or anything new and different. I can manage with one or two, it usually takes several of these factors before I shut down. Imagine getting sand in your eye, and needed to stop walking so you can get it out. All of the sensations that are typical for you would be sand in my eye. It’s not enough to stop me from living a fruitful life, but it tends to make me weary of socializing. The medication and treatment has helped, I can often ignore the sand in the eye sensation now.

I think there’s a second factor that has created the perfect storm, and it’s environmental. We live in a time where we need not even speak vocally to one another to convey a point. My FedEx delivery fellow doesn’t wait at the door, they knock and flee. Neighbors don’t talk to one another, we avoid eye contact wherever we go. Even our cashiers are automated now. I could, and before getting saved did, live comfortably with the most minimum amount of human contact. Once God, by His grace, made me a new creature, born again and desperately desiring fellowship with other saints and, even more desperately, to see the lost be saved, my attitude shifted. I was not magically enabled to work through the neurological and societal walls that made regular conversations so difficult, however I was compelled by love to leave my comfort zone. My husband and my daughter have helped tremendously, even from the beginning by encouraging me when I was simply able to say “good morning” to a neighbor. Yes, it started that small, my friends. I could talk to family, friends, co-workers, and I could even forcefully talk to strangers when the occasion presented itself. The change came from the heart, I wanted to do this, I needed to do this.

Now, we get to the knock on the door. The reason for the interruption in Tuesday’s series. I answered the door. I do that now. Previously, if some strangers knocked on the door, I’d quietly wait for them to leave. They told me they were from the Mormon church and wanted to share Jesus Christ, and peace with me. I asked them to, but they said they would have to come back, so we set up an appointment. Tomorrow at 12. Dear ones, the moment I shut the door I felt my heart drop. Where did the boldness come from to set up an appointment with two strangers come from? The Holy Spirit. In my great weakness He is strong, I believe that God will be glorified tomorrow. This week I have felt my inability more so than ever before, and as such I have felt my great need for God. I cherish this deep discomfort, the opportunity to share Christ with these two young men who have come to my door, has shown yet again that I am nothing without Christ.

I’ve spent the weekend and past couple days preparing. An elder at the church we’re visiting has given me good advice and assistance. I ask that you would all pray for me, and these two boys, as tomorrow comes. If you have advice, or something educational I can watch or read it would be greatly appreciated. I will attempt to record as much of the conversation as possible to share with you all. I do ask, again, that you would pray for me. I have a great need, I serve a great God. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Homeschooling Worksheets – Essential Doctrines and Polycarp

Hello again, dear friends! I hope you’re having a blessed weekend thus far, and will be edifies and encouraged through fellowship. Below I’ve attached three lessons, along with a list of the shorter Westminster Catechism. I love this particular pdf because it comes equipped with Scriptural references. This time I’ve created a short lesson on Polycarp for anyone hoping to teach their children about the early church. I’ve included this weeks Twisted Tuesday lesson, and last weeks which was not posted. So, below is a lesson on Monotheism, the Resurrection, and Polycarp of Smyrna which includes a word-search I had way to much fun creating! I want to also create lessons on the heresies and heretics of the time, and would love your opinions on what age range that would be appropriate for. You’re thoughts are always such a tremendous blessing to me! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Polycarp of Smyrna

Montheism

Resurrection of Christ

ws_catechism

Historical Church Series: Early Church Heretics – Docetism and Ebionism

Hello, beloved, I hope this post finds you all doing well! Today we’re actually going to deal with two specific heresies, double trouble, Docetism and Ebionism. On Tuesday we talked about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and how it’s an essential doctrine of the faith. If you missed that post, you can find it here. Alongside these two heresies I’d like to introduce you to another early church leader, Irenaeus.

Let’s start with Irenaeus, who was born around 130 ad in Smyrna, and directly discipled by Polycarp of Smyrna. He would eventually become the Bishop of Lyon, and would spend his days fighting heresy and evangelical work south of France. He would eventually be martyred by Severus, in Lyons, after nearly 80 years of serving the Lord. This man, trained by one who sat under the teaching of the Apostle John, lived and died for the glory of God. Let’s discuss the heresies he fought against so uncompromisingly.

Ebionism was the fruit of the Judaizers we talked about here. They came along in the second and third century, teaching that salvation came through keeping the Law. They also denied the virgin birth, the eternal divinity of Christ, and the Trinity. While they would eventually split into two groups, one with a gnostic bent, and the other with the original Jewish works righteousness, they were all considered heretics. It’s believed that Irenaeus was the first to address this cult, in his work Against Heresies. They do not deny the resurrection of Christ, but do not believe that it saves. You can see a modern day version of Ebionism in the Seventh Day Adventist’s.

Docitism, a heretical group which would eventually morph into Gnosticism, believed that Christ was not a real, flesh and blood, man. As such, they deny the resurrection of Christ in bodily form. The duality of docitism fit in much more comfortably with the Platonism of the age. It was appears early on by Apostles and Apostolic Fathers, leading to a more clear explanation of the humanity of Christ. That clarification is still needed today, as the modern docitism found in New Agism still declares that Jesus Christ was spirit and you can achieve Christ “consciousness”.

I hope this series continues to edify and encourage you, dear friends, to stand firm in your faith. The truth of God’s Word has always remained, never has He left His church without a defender. The gates of Hell will not prevail. If, and when, we face persecution, we will not stand alone but with the brothers and sisters in Christ that have come before us. From the end of Acts until this present day, Christ is building His church. There are many voices crying for an end to Christianity, this is nothing new. Be bold, and courageous, filled with love and deep concern for the lost. Until tomorrow, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Resurrection of Christ

In continuing our series on the essential doctrines of the faith, beloved, I’d like to address the resurrection today. If you’ve missed the previous posts in this series I’ll link to them below. The point of this series is to edify and embolden the faithful to share the Gospel with a lost and dying cultish world. You don’t need to have a perfect understanding of all the cults teachings to speak truth into confusion. All you need is a Biblical and historical understanding of Christianity. As such, today we’ll be discussing the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This doctrine is under attack, and has been for decades, but not by the cults only. In fact, some of the cults have a Biblical doctrine of the resurrected King, while professing churches in the ‘mainline’ arena do not.

Historical Church Series -The Early Heretics: Introduction

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: Salvation by Grace Alone

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines of the Faith: The Deity of Christ

Twisted Tuesday – Essential Doctrines: Monotheism

The doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is obviously referring to His defeating death, and rising on the third day. It was not possible for death to hold Him, His sacrifice was perfect, His prophecies that He would rise were true (John 2:18-22). To deny His literal resurrection is the call Christ a liar (Romans 3:4), which would make Him a sinner (Hebrews 4:15). If He was a sinner, He was not God, nor was His sacrifice perfect, meaning we are all lost without hope (1 Cor. 15:13-17). This is why the resurrection is such an essential doctrine, without proper Biblical theology in this, you remove yourself from orthodoxy, and place yourself under condemnation with no hope of salvation (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Before we move forward, I need to make some definitional distinctions. We’re going to be talking in terms of liberal and conservative churches. These terms have more than one meaning, there’s the religious meaning and the political meaning. We’re strictly discussing the religious implications, not the political. In other words, when I call a group liberal, for this context of this post, I mean those professing believers who do not believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, Word of God. Whereas a conservative professing believer would take all, or most, of the Bible to be written by men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, thus without error. In the case of the resurrection, the liberal churches do not believe it actually happened. In this way, they are in agreement with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who teach Christ was resurrected Spirit, not in a bodily form.

While liberalism has spread to Mormonism, and Roman Catholicism, both have core doctrines that include a Biblical resurrection of Christ. Roman Catholics have left orthodoxy in the transubstantiation, or the repeated ‘sacrificing’ of Christ in the sacraments. Mormons have confused this doctrine by misunderstanding the Trinity, as do the Oneness Pentecostals. However, it is only the Jehovah’s Witnesses, alongside the liberal churches, who refuse to accept the Biblical doctrine of Jesus Christ rising bodily from the dead. This is one area where I believe the cults are not as deadly as those claiming to be born again. We know when we talk to someone knocking at our door early in the morning, nicely dressed, traveling in pairs, that we’re talking to someone who is promoting a cult. When we talk to a co-worker, relative, or friend that has been deceived by liberal teaching, but professes Christianity, it’s harder to nail down the errant theology.

I hope that this series continues to be a blessing to you, dear ones, and that you’ll be encouraged to boldly share Christ crucified, raised from the dead, as told in Gods Word. If you have not yet watched the Jeff Durbin vs. Andy Stanley debate I’m going to link to it below. They discuss the importance of Gods Word in regards to apologetics. Apologetics sounds like a term meaning we apologize for our faith, but what it is actually referring to is giving a reasoned defensive of our faith. Doing this without a proper understanding of the essentials is very difficult, doing so without believing in Gods inspired Word is impossible. Reasoning about an authority without accepting that authority is not reasonable. Have a great day, beloved brethren, and as always be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.