Some (Really Good) News From the Local Church

By Jessica Lea -April 23, 2021

good works

Wolves in the church. Sexual misconduct. Divisions over racepolitics, and COVID-19. There is plenty of bad news about the church to go around. But as one pastor recently pointed out, faithful Christians are quietly carrying out good works all around him—and God is on the move.

“I realise there are very serious threats to sheep within our flocks, we should be on guard,” said Pastor Chris Thomas in a Twitter thread Tuesday. “I know that there are theological distinctions that need to be defined and defended, we need rigorous debate. But can I tell you what I saw today?”

Thomas is the teaching pastor at Raymond Terrace Community Church, located in Raymond Terrace, a town in New South Wales, Australia. What he observed this week led him to conclude: “I know there is much to be fearful of, much to mourn about the state of faith in this world, but take heart my friend—Jesus is building his Church, and the gates of hell have not, nor will they, frustrate his plans for her.”

Good Works of the Faithful Church

Plenty of controversies are running through evangelicalism right now. There is the debate over critical race theory, the debate over complementarian theology, and the debate over the COVID-19 vaccine. There is the question of which is more concerning: cultural Marxism or Christian nationalism? There is story after story of ministry leaders perpetuating or concealing abuse. And that is just to name a few of the hot topics.

But the Holy Spirit is moving in his church, and faithful believers are still doing good works, even if those are unseen or unacknowledged. In his Twitter thread, Thomas listed several ways he has lately observed Christians love, encourage, and serve one another. “I saw a 70 year old woman drop by our church to sharpen colouring pencils so that the little children could do their Bible story lessons next Sunday,” he said. “I saw a single Mum photocopying her lesson plan as she prepared to visit our local school where she runs religious education classes. I saw a group of 14 teenagers gather after school to brainstorm the program for this Term’s children’s outreach program they run.” He continued:

I saw a brand new Christian share her testimony for the first time. Then I heard her husband, who is completing a “Exploring Christianity” course with one of our Elders, ask, “When can I share my story?” I saw someone weeping as they bowed their head with another. I saw a single woman carrying a young baby so that the tired mother could chat with others over a cup of tea.

“I saw pews of people with Bibles strewn across their laps, eager for the Word,” said the pastor. “I saw hands raised in worship, knees bent in worship, seats filled in worship. I saw exhausted mothers who open their hearts to children who’ve been abandoned and abused, wipe the tears from their eyes and embrace again the very ones who push them away.”

Sometimes God’s activity in the local church is not so quiet. Earlier this week, ChurchLeaders reported on the work the Holy Spirit is doing in Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Over 1,000 baptisms have happened in the past four months, a blessing senior pastor Robby Gallaty attributes in part to God challenging the sin in his own heart. Yet regardless of whether the good works of faithful Christians are seen by many or by few, we all need help remembering that God is on the move, despite the brokenness all around us. 

Several people commented on Thomas’s Twitter thread, saying they are witnessing similar good works in their communities and thanking him for the reminder of God’s faithfulness. “Thank you for helping me see what you saw,” said one. Said another, “I can feel these words in my soul…the work of the Lord is not thwarted by humanity…He is moving…thank you brother for sharing.”

“It struck me how often I fail to stop and name the every-day occurrences of God’s kingdom breaking through,” Thomas reflected. “My eye is drawn to the macro, while God is moving in countless ways through the micro, right in front of me. What grace! What glory!”

“So Help Me God”: What is the Purpose of an Oath?

 

“Let it once be revealed…that there is no future state & my advice to every man…would be…to take opium”-John Adams

On February 28, 2019, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) was swearing in witnesses before a House Judiciary Subcommittee.

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) made a point of parliamentary inquiry: “I think we left out ‘so help me God.’”

Cohen replied: “We did.”

Johnson asked “Can we have the witnesses do it again for the record?”

Cohen responded: “No,” then added: “If they want to do it, but some of them don’t want to do it, and I don’t think it’s necessary, and I don’t like to assert my will over other people.”

Johnson responded:

“Well it goes back to our founding history, it’s been part of our tradition for more than two centuries and I don’t know that we should abandon it now.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) interrupted:

“If any witness objects he should not be asked to identify himself. We do not have religious tests for office or for anything else … and we should let it go with that.”

Cohen then moved on.

That was it.

Gone.

Over two hundred years of precedent of witnesses ending their oath with the phrase “so help me God” abruptly discarded.

Why did the founders include “So Help Me God” in the oath?

Human nature!

Greek philosopher Plato explained that human nature was such, that if a person could escape accountability, they would act unjustly, with selfish immorality.

Plato wrote in The Republic, 380 BC:

“According to the tradition, Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia;

there was a great storm, and an earthquake made an opening in the earth at the place where he was feeding his flock.

Amazed at the sight, he descended into the opening, where, among other marvels … looking in saw a dead body of stature … having nothing on but a gold ring; this he took from the finger of the dead and reascended …”

Plato continued:

“Now the shepherds met together, according to custom, that they might send their monthly report about the flocks to the king;

into their assembly he came having the ring on his finger, and as he was sitting among them he chanced to turn the collet of the ring inside his hand, when instantly he became invisible to the rest of the company and they began to speak of him as if he were no longer present.

He was astonished at this, and again touching the ring he turned the collet outwards and reappeared; he made several trials of the ring, and always with the same result–when he turned the collet inwards he became invisible, when outwards he reappeared.

Whereupon he contrived to be chosen one of the messengers who were sent to the court;

whereas soon as he arrived he seduced the queen, and with her help conspired against the king and slew him, and took the kingdom.”

Plato added:

“No man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice.

No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a god among men.

Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point.

And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust.

For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right …”

Plato concluded that it would be illogical for a person with Gyges’ ring not to yield to the temptation:

“If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another’s, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot.”

Only the belief in God–an eternal, invisible, just God–and that one is personally accountable to Him in the next life, could someone resist the temptation of the ring of Gyges.

William Linn, unanimously elected the first U.S. House Chaplain, stated May 1, 1789:

“Let my neighbor once persuade himself that there is no God, and he will soon pick my pocket, and break not only my leg but my neck.

If there be no God, there is no law, no future account; government then is the ordinance of man only, and we cannot be subject for conscience sake.”

The tradition in America has been for oaths to end with “So Help Me God.”

The military’s oath of enlistment ended with “So Help Me God.”

The commissioned officers’ oath ended with “So Help Me God.”

President’s oath of office ended with “So Help Me God.”

Congressmen and Senators’ oath ended with “So Help Me God.”

Witnesses in Court swore to tell the truth, “So Help Me God.”

Even an oath proposed by Lincoln for individuals wanting to be U.S. citizens ended with “So Help Me God.”

Lincoln announced his plan, DECEMBER 8, 1863, to let back into the Union those who had been in the Confederacy:

“Whereas it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the United States …

Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States … make known to all persons who have … participated in the existing rebellion …

that a full pardon is hereby granted … with restoration of all rights of property … upon the condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath … to wit:

“I, ______, do solemnly swear, in the presence of ALMIGHTY GOD, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder,

and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves …

and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves …

so help me God.”

A situation was faced by Justice Samuel Chase, who was Chief Justice of Maryland’s Supreme Court in 1791, and then appointed by George Washington to be a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, 1796-1811.

In 1799, a dispute arose over whether an Irish immigrant named Thomas M’Creery had in fact become a naturalized U.S. citizen and thereby able to leave an estate to a relative in Ireland.

The court decided in M’Creery’s favor based on a certificate executed before Justice Samuel Chase, which stated:

“I, Samuel Chase, Chief Judge of the State of Maryland, do hereby certify all whom it may concern,

that … personally appeared before me Thomas M’Creery, and did repeat and subscribe a declaration of his belief in the Christian Religion, and take the oath required … entitled, An Act for Naturalization.”

The purpose of an oath is to call a Higher Power to hold you accountable to perform what you promised.

It is a fearful understanding that you are inviting divine judgement upon yourself if you lie or break your promise.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gave the definition:

“OATH: A solemn affirmation or declaration, made with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed.

The appeal to God in an oath implies that the person imprecates (invokes) His vengeance and renounces His favor if the declaration is false,

or if the declaration is a promise, the person invokes the vengeance of God if he should fail to fulfill it.”

An example of an oath is in Genesis 31:49-53, taken between Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban:

“… for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee …

Behold this heap … this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee …

I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. ”

An unorthodox view of taking an oath was mentioned by Bill Clinton at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 4, 1993:

“Just two weeks and a day ago, I took the oath of office as President.

You know the last four words, for those who choose to say it in this way, are ‘so help me God’ …

Deep down inside I wanted to say it the way I was thinking it, which was, ‘So, – help me, God.'”

(Get the book Three Secular Reasons Why America Should Be Under God)

Judicial courts thought oaths would lose their effectiveness if the public at large lost the fear of the God, as He gave the commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

New York Supreme Court Chief Justice Chancellor Kent noted in People v. Ruggles, 1811, that irreverence weakened the effectiveness of oaths:

“Christianity was parcel of the law, and to cast contumelious (insulting) reproaches upon it, tended to weaken the foundation of moral obligation, and the efficacy (effectiveness) of oaths.”

George Washington warned of this in his Farewell Address, 1796:

“Let it simply be asked where is the security for prosperity, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in the Courts of Justice?”

In August of 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville observed a court case:

“While I was in America, a witness, who happened to be called at the assizes of the county of Chester (state of New York), declared that he did not believe in the existence of God or in the immortality of the soul.

The judge refused to admit his evidence, on the ground that the witness had destroyed beforehand all confidence of the court in what he was about to say. The newspapers related the fact without any further comment …”

De Tocqueville continued:

“The New York Spectator of August 23d, 1831, relates the fact in the following terms:

‘The court of common pleas of Chester county (New York), a few days since rejected a witness who declared his disbelief in the existence of God.

The presiding judge remarked, that he had not before been aware that there was a man living who did not believe in the existence of God;

that this belief constituted the sanction (validity) of all testimony in a court of justice:

and that he knew of no case in a Christian country, where a witness had been permitted to testify without such belief.'”

President Dwight Eisenhower addressed the American Legion Back-to-God Program, February 20, 1955:

“Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism.”

Oaths to hold office had similar acknowledgments.

The Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1776, signed by Ben Franklin, stated in chapter 2, section 10:

“Each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz:

‘I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and Punisher of the wicked, and I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.'”

The Constitution of South Carolina, 1778, article 12, stated:

“Every … person, who acknowledges the being of a God, and believes in the future state of rewards and punishments … (is eligible to vote).”

The Constitution of South Carolina, 1790, article 38, stated:

“That all persons and religious societies, who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshiped, shall be freely tolerated.”

The Constitution of Mississippi, 1817, stated:

“No person who denies the being of God or a future state of rewards and punishments shall hold any office in the civil department of the State.”

The Constitution of Maryland, 1851, required office holders make:

“A declaration of belief in the Christian religion; and if the party shall profess to be a Jew the declaration shall be of his belief in a future state of rewards and punishments.”

In 1864, the Constitution of Maryland, required office holders to make:

“A declaration of belief in the Christian religion, or of the existence of God, and in a future state of rewards and punishments.”

The Constitution of Tennessee, 1870, article IX, Section 2, stated:

“No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this State.”

Justice James Iredell, nominated by George Washington to the Supreme Court, defined an oath as a:

“solemn appeal to the Supreme Being for the truth of what is said by a person who believes in the existence of a Supreme Being and in a future state of rewards and punishments.”

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court stated in Commonwealth v. Wolf (3 Serg. & R. 48, 50, 1817:

“Laws cannot be administered in any civilized government unless the people are taught to revere the sanctity of an oath, and look to a future state of rewards and punishments for the deeds of this life.”

It was understood that persons in positions of power would have opportunities to do corrupt deep-state backroom deals for their own benefit.

But if that person believed that

  • God was watching;

  • that He wanted them to be just and honest; and

  • that He would hold them accountable in the future;

then that person would hesitate doing wrong, thinking “even if I get away with this my whole life, I will still be accountable to God in the next.”

This is what is called “having a conscience.”

But if that person did not believe in God and in a future state of rewards and punishments, when presented with the same temptation — with no ultimate accountability — they would yield to it.

In fact, if there is no God and this life is all there is, a person, according to Plato, would be an idiot not to.

John Adams wrote again to Judge F.A. Van de Kemp, December 27, 1816:

“Let it once be revealed or demonstrated that there is no future state, and my advice to every man, woman, and child, would be, as our existence would be in our own power, to take opium.

For, I am certain there is nothing in this world worth living for but hope, and every hope will fail us, if the last hope, that of a future state, is extinguished.”

Democrat Presidential Candidate William Jennings Bryan reasoned, September 17, 1913:

“There is a powerful restraining influence in the belief that an all-seeing eye scrutinizes every thought and word and act of the individual.”

President Reagan stated in 1984:

“Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience.”

Sir William Blackstone, one of the most quoted authors by America’s founders, wrote in Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765-1770:

“The belief of a future state of rewards and punishments, the entertaining just ideas of the main attributes of the Supreme Being,

and a firm persuasion that He superintends and will finally compensate every action in human life (all which are revealed in the doctrines of our Savior, Christ),

these are the grand foundations of all judicial oaths, which call God to witness the truth of those facts which perhaps may be only known to Him and the party attesting.”

Signer of the Declaration John Witherspoon wrote:

“An oath … implies a belief in God … and indeed is an act of worship …

In vows, there is no party but God and the person himself who makes the vow.”

The Gospel is:

God is just, and therefore must judge every sin;

but

God is love, and He, Himself, provided the Lamb to take the punishment for our sins.

Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul admonished in his letter to the Philippines, 2:12:

“Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.” (NLT)

This was the view of Secretary of State Daniel Webster, who, when asked what was the greatest thought that ever passed through his mind, replied:

“My accountability to God.”

Benjamin Franklin wrote to Yale President Ezra Stiles, March 9, 1790:

“The soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its conduct in this.”

Franklin also wrote:

“That there is one God, Father of the Universe … That He loves such of His creatures as love and do good to others:

and will reward them either in this world or hereafter,

That men’s minds do not die with their bodies, but are made more happy or miserable after this life according to their actions.”

John Adams wrote to Judge F.A. Van der Kemp, January 13, 1815:

“My religion is founded on the love of God and my neighbor; in the hope of pardon for my offenses; upon contrition …

In the duty of doing no wrong, but all the good I can, to the creation, of which I am but an infinitesimal part.

I believe, too, in a future state of rewards and punishments.”

Some tried to extinguish “a future state.”

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is remembered for his line “God is dead.”

He exposed how hypocritical it was for atheists to claim to be “moral” (“Twilight of the Idols,” The Portable Nietzsche, ed., trans. Walter Kaufman, NY: Penguin Books, 1976, p. 515-6):

“When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet.

This morality is by no means self-evident: this point has to be exhibited again and again, despite the English flatheads.

Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands.

Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know, what is good for him, what evil: he believes in God, who alone knows it.

Christian morality is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth only if God has truth — it stands or falls with faith in God.”

Nietzsche criticized English atheist Mary Ann Evans, who used the pen name “George Elliot”:

“G. Elliot: They are rid of the Christian God and now believe all the more firmly that they must cling to Christian morality.

This is an English inconsistency: we do not wish to hold it against little moralistic females à la Eliot.

In England one must rehabilitate oneself after ever little emancipation from theology by showing in a veritably awe-inspiring manner what a moral fanatic one is. That is the penance they pay there …

When the English actually believe that they know ‘intuitively’ what is good and evil, when they therefore suppose that they no longer require Christianity as the guarantee of morality, we merely witness the effects of the dominion of the Christian value judgment and an expression of the strength and depth of this dominion:

such that the origin of English morality has been forgotten, such that the very conditional character of its right to existence is no longer felt. For the English, morality is not yet a problem.”

Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, in his book The Brothers Karamazov (1880), had the character Ivan Karamazov contend that if there is no God, “everything is permitted.”

In the draft of an article “Socialism and Christianity,” Dostoevsky criticized Europe for having

“rejected the single formula for their salvation that came from God and was proclaimed through revelation, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,’

and replaced it with practical conclusions such as, ‘Chacun pour soi et Dieu pour tous’ (Every man for himself and God for all), or ‘scientific’ slogans like ‘the struggle for survival.'”

(Kenneth Lantz, The Dostoevsky Encyclopedia, 2004, Greenwood Publishing)

Rufus King, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, wrote in “Reports of the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of 1821, Assembled for the Purpose of Amending The Constitution of the State of New York,” October 30, 1821:

“In our laws … by the oath which they prescribe, we appeal to the Supreme Being so to deal with us hereafter as we observe the obligation of our oaths.

The Pagan world were and are without the mighty influence of this principle which is proclaimed in the Christian system – their morals were destitute of its powerful sanction while their oaths neither awakened the hopes nor fears which a belief in Christianity inspires.”

John Adams warned October 11, 1798, in his address to the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division of Massachusetts’ Militia:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.

Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net …

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Noah Webster wrote in A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary and Moral Subjects (New York, 1843):

“The virtue which is necessary to … render a government stable, is Christian virtue, which consists in the uniform practice of moral and religious duties, in conformity with the laws of both of God and man.”

Harvard Professor Clay Christensen, the Robert & Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, observed February 8, 2011:

“If you take away religion, you cannot hire enough police.”

John Adams wrote in a Proclamation of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer, March 6, 1799:

“No truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration … than … acknowledgment of … a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributor of rewards and punishments.”

(Get William J. Federer’s book Three Secular Reasons Why America Should Be Under God)

https://newsmaven.io/americanminute/world-history/so-help-me-god-what-is-the-purpose-of-an-oath-zAlRFLlosEaq-Y3sqoYjXA/

Does God Exist? Is There Evidence for God’s Existence or Do We Stand on Blind Faith?

Sealed in Christ / 2019-10-16

If God exists, why doesn’t He plainly make Himself known?

Many people would like to know the answer to this question. Many more want proof of a material kind when it comes to God. They want to see Him, touch Him, know for a fact that He exists. I think that’s entirely understandable, especially when you consider the ramifications of handing your life over to someone or something that isn’t actually visible. Not to mention the consequences of not doing so, should He turn out to be exactly who He has claimed to be all along.

But I would say, hasn’t He already made Himself known? The secular historical writings, archaeological discoveries, and nature itself offer many factual and reliable evidences of God’s existence. And not the existence of just any god, but the God of the Bible.

“Wait a minute”, you might say, “I don’t believe in creation and I definitely don’t put any stock in the validity of the Bible.” I get it, really. But, please hear me out.

Can man prove the existence of God beyond a shadow of a doubt?

The answer to this question is a resounding, NO. And whether most know it or not, this is true of every non-tangible thing in our universe, even within our own environment. And yes, even some tangible things. The knowledge we have of these things to this point is based not on actual proof, but on the observable effects that evidence their existence.

Image result for proof vs. evidence

Take Dark Matter, for instance. We know it exists; not because we can see it, but because we can observe its effects in the motion of the planets. Not only that, the evidence is so overwhelming that Science actually declares it to be fact, though it cannot definitively explain it or prove its existence. How about gravity? We experience its effects and therefore we know it exists, though we cannot see, touch, or feel it. This can also be said of wind. What is wind? It’s completely invisible, intangible, shapeless, odorless, and colorless. But we can measure its effects and this becomes evidence of its existence.

Let’s go a step further. We know that we (our bodies) consist of physical and chemical attributes; but, how do we explain things like love, hate, jealousy, regret, grief, happiness, sadness, moral conscience, intelligence, rationality, etc? Dare we claim these are the result of chemical reactions in the brain that cause us to feel and think apart from conscious will and thought? And what about that? Do we have a conscious will? Or are we just victims of whatever happens to be going on inside of our physical bodies at any given time?

Arguably the presence of such things as emotion, rational thought, and a conscious will are observable evidences that we humans exist on a plane transcendent to that which is tangible and measurable; even that we have an element –a soul if you will– which exists independently, yet in tandem with our body. Based on overwhelming evidence, both secular and religious alike, I don’t think it far-fetched to conclude even that we are a soul, first and foremost. One that is temporarily housed within a physical body, and which lives on after the body expires.

These are just some examples of things we reason through and/or accept to be true, based on evidential and observable effects rather than absolute proof. There are many, many others. Things like Antimatter, Expansion of the Universe, and the Speed of Light to name a few. In fact, absolute proof of anything is a rare commodity in our world. Dare I say, non-existent? We can only know for certain what we observe. And even then, in many cases, observable behavior can vary based on circumstances at the time of observation.


Forbes.com, a respected and well-known global media company, published an article in 2017 that addresses this issue head on:

You’ve heard of our greatest scientific theories: the theory of evolution, the Big Bang theory, the theory of gravity. You’ve also heard of the concept of a proof, and the claims that certain pieces of evidence prove the validities of these theories. Fossils, genetic inheritance, and DNA prove the theory of evolution. The Hubble expansion of the Universe, the evolution of stars, galaxies, and heavy elements, and the existence of the cosmic microwave background prove the Big Bang theory. And falling objects, GPS clocks, planetary motion, and the deflection of starlight prove the theory of gravity.

Except that’s a complete lie. While they provide very strong evidence for those theories, they aren’t proof. In fact, when it comes to science, proving anything is an impossibility.

Excerpt from: Scientific Proof is A Myth
by Ethan Siegal (Ph.D. astrophysicist, author, and science communicator and professor)


Jesus Himself acknowledged this enigma in the following passages:

John 10:24-25 – “The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, ‘How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell is plainly.’ Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.’ 

John 5:36 – “..for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.”

Absolute proof, in the strictest sense, is a misnomer. In most cases, observable evidence is all we have to go on. But observable evidence has the potential to present a credible and compelling case that is in itself a proof of sorts. Jesus knew this, and when challenged by the Jewish leaders of His time to tell them plainly if He was indeed the Christ, He didn’t ignore their question. He offered the irrefutable evidence of Who He was based on the miracles and works He was performing.

Update from comment section:
Comment:
 “In other words, “proof” doesn’t mean what the word sounds like.
My reply: “Proof still means proof. And some things can be proven. I can prove to you that I have tickets to the theatre for instance, because I can show you the tickets. But when it comes to intangible things “proof” doesn’t apply. The most we can do is prove the effects of that thing, and that becomes credible evidence for its existence.”

In Conclusion

Throughout history God has deliberately placed evidence of His existence everywhere. He has not, and does not even now expect us to be driven by blind faith when it comes to spiritual matters. If that were so, we would be perfectly justified in believing anything of our choosing, and this is clearly not what the Bible teaches. I would encourage you to take an impartial and in-depth look at this evidence through the avenues in which God has chosen to reveal Himself and to validate the biblical text –some of which include secular historical writings, archaeological discoveries, and nature itself– as noted above. I think you’ll be astonished at what you’ll find.

https://sixthsealministries.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/does-god-exist-is-there-evidence-of-gods-existence-or-do-we-stand-on-blind-faith/

What good is it if someone claims to have faith but does not have works?

Can this kind of faith save them?

Sealed in Christ / 2019-10-09

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it? So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works. You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that—and tremble with fear.

“But would you like evidence, you empty fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? You see that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Now Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” ~James 2:14-26

Judging by the attention this passage gets on the internet, it seems this is a very perplexing subject among Christians. To be honest, I’ve struggled myself now and then to find the balance that James is trying to convey here. But I believe I’ve come to peace with my understanding of its true meaning, and I think the image below captures it best:


First, let’s look at this logically. Faith alone is a matter of profession, right? And I think we would all agree that works are a matter of action. My question then, would be:

  • Would Noah’s faith alone have saved him and his family (and by extension, all of humanity) through the flood, had he not built the Ark?
  • Would Abraham’s faith alone have been enough to birth the nation of Israel, had he not first acted on that faith and left his home to go to the land God was giving Him?
  • Would Israel have survived the night of Passover on faith alone, had they not applied the blood of the lamb to their doorposts?
  • Would Israel have ever gotten out of Egypt on faith alone, had Moses (or someone else of God’s choosing) not obeyed God and returned to Egypt?
  • Would we have the scriptures today recording all these events, had men moved by the Holy Spirit not written?
  • How about all those mentioned in Hebrews 11? Not one of them accomplished anything on faith alone. Rather, their faith was made complete through their actions, making it possible for them to accomplish the things for which they are commended.

Over and over throughout the Bible we are commanded to act. Even Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me you will keep my commandments”. In fact, this is the one of the most compelling illustrations of the relationship between faith and works.

  1. We keep His commandments because we love Him.
  2. We love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself on our behalf to save us from our sins. Then called us and granted us the faith to believe.
  3. We acted on that faith and were reconciled to Him and He now resides within us.
  4. Because He resides within us, we are able to love Him.
  5. Because we love Him, we keep His commandments.
  6. Thus, our obedience, in tandem with our faith, proves the genuineness of our salvation and His residing presence.
But what are we to make of Ephesians 2:8-9, which says…

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.”

Or how about, Romans 4:1-5:

“What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has discovered regarding this matter? For if Abraham was declared righteous by works, he has something to boast about—but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed Godand it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation. But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness.”

Salvation by Grace through Faith Alone

These verses seem to throw a wrench in this faith/works concept, don’t they? At first glance, at least. Read in context, however, the first thing we notice about these verses is the presence of the concepts regarding grace and justification, which is conspicuously absent from James 2:14-26. James is not concerning himself with this teaching, because he is addressing those who already seem to have an understanding of these things. Not so with Paul.

In both Ephesians and Romans Paul makes it clear that he is addressing Gentile believers, some of whom may have feared exclusion from the faith because they were not Jewish. Others were misled into believing they must be circumcised and/or adhere to the Jewish Law, in addition to their faith. All of which Paul refutes in His letters. On the contrary, he reassures them that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone for all, apart from identity or works of the Law.

James, on the other hand, is writing to Jewish believers who are moving in the opposite direction of those Paul is addressing. These are those who profess faith and acceptance in Christ, but live as though they are not obligated to do anything else in keeping with their salvation. A concept James says isn’t genuine Christianity. And to which he replies, Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works (James 2:18). 

Works of the Law vs. Good Works in Christ

It’s important also to note that James in contrast to Paul, is not referring to works of the Lawbut to good works in Christ. The Bible tells us, “We are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.” ~Ephesians 2:10. And, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” ~Philippians 2:13 NASB (emphases mine).

In other words, since we were created for good works, and the will and desire for those good works are instilled in us through the work of the Holy Spirit upon salvation, it stands to reason that our new nature would direct us toward these good works, just as it directs us away from sin. Therefore, at the very least, we should experience some degree of discontentment in our walk with Him if we choose to do nothing more than believe. If not, we should be concerned about the validity of the faith we profess. This is what James meant when he said, “You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that—and tremble with fear”. James 2:19

In Conclusion

We cannot earn salvation, it is entirely a work of grace through faith. But faith by itself, that does not result in good works, proves itself to be a dead faith, unable to save anyone. Because good works authenticate saving faith.

“You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:14-16 (Emphasis mine)


Additional Reading:

Faith and Works: Paul vs. James – “Faith alone saves, but faith that is alone is not the genuine article. It’s not saving faith.” ©1995 Gregory Koukl

Endnotes:
  1. Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.
  2. Cover Image by Nici Keil from Pixabay

https://sixthsealministries.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/what-good-is-it-if-someone-claims-to-have-faith-but-does-not-have-works-can-this-kind-of-faith-save-them/

Little Red Riding Hood Exposing The Wolf In Sheep Clothing

Guarding the Flock Against Wolves in Grandma’s Clothing

 

by Godinterest

Most of us have grown up with many popular fairy tales told to us as children. The legendary story “Little Red Riding Hood” In most versions (although definitely not all of them) there is one common theme: a wolf attacks a young woman through deception.  Like parables, such stories are never intended to convey meaning in every detail. Yet, much of it may draw, even in unsuspecting ways, the reader to precepts or principles pertinent to circumstances behind the story. Such is the following on Little Red Riding Hood.

There is actually a lesson in that theme for God’s people today.

1. The Church. Satan’s wolves do more than disguise themselves as Granny. As Paul warned, they often present themselves as “ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15). Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

“That’s a lie!” said the wolf. “You won’t die!”

2. The Law. One of the most common deceptions by these types of wolves is the claim that the law was done away with. Using selective sections of the apostle Paul’s writings, these wolves deceive people into crying,  “Oh, what freedom you have!”

This was the very same tactic that Satan employed in the Garden of Eden.

3. False prophets. While these people appear to be godly–they come in sheep’s clothing–Christ said that inwardly they were “ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). These are people who claim to be children of God–but who don’t teach and live the word.

Another  Fake Jesus Christ was recently arrested and remanded in Uganda on Thursday, November 9th, for belonging and managing an unlawful society by the Magistrate’s court.  According to a report by Uganda’s Newspaper, Daily Monitor, the accused claimed not to be under any authority including the police, local council administration or the president of Uganda. The man purporting to be Jesus was arraigned in court alongside his three followers who preferred to be identified with their alias names.

“Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”

4. The world. Wake up from your Slumber. Frequently in Scripture believers are exhorted to wake up, to be revived, and they are warned of the dangers of spiritual sleep. Christ warned us “Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). The world is under the sway of Satan.

As a believer in Jesus, we are promised a new life covered under the protection of God in which NOTHING can separate us from His love. Rest knowing that no matter what hardship you face, God is your provider and protector!  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of the wolf, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

5. Wealth. These wolves say, “all this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.” Christ warned of the “deceitfulness of riches” (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19). Your response should be   “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“There was something wolfish about them?”

6. Marriage  How many times have we heard the story of the little red riding hood (aka Christian Sister or Brother) who fell in love with a big bad Wolf?    ‘It wasn’t beauty, it was the beast, she or he says in regret.  Being equally yoked is not meant to inhibit our dating lives. Rather, it is a command designed for protection and honor. Being unequally yoked is more dangerous than you think — and waiting for someone with whom you share the same spiritual heritage is far more rewarding than many believe.

Hey, Little Red Riding Hood, where are you going, so alone, so… alone?

7. Relationship. Without Jesus, you can do nothing. An intimate relationship with God is required. That means fellowship with God daily. The big bad wolf was disguised to trick little red riding hood, but the wolf could not mislead her because Little red riding hood knew her grandmother intimately. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. – John 10:27”

“You can huff and puff but I will not worship you!”

8. Worship.  Shadrach,  Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “We don’t need to answer your last question. If our God, whom we honor, can save us from a blazing furnace and from your power, he will, Your Majesty. Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with anger toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face turned red and he ordered that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than normal. However,  God commissions His angels to save His chosen ones from calamity, to guard them against “the pestilence that walketh in darkness” and “the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”

These eight types (or packs, if you will) of “wolves” have plagued Christ’s followers throughout history.

These are just a few of the tricks and deceptions that are used by Satan and his wolves. Some wolves are masters of deception and disguise. They talk like Christians. They use the Bible. They seem like nice people. They are so loving! But they will draw you in to eat you for dinner!

God’s people must learn the lesson of Little Red Riding Hood. Let’s never allow ourselves to fall prey to the Satan’s deceptions.

The Truth

As you can see, there are many prospective of this classic Fairy Tale. It is not a story intended just for children. The important thing is how do you view this story and how can it help you out of your chaos and onto your true path.

A wolf is just a lesson and lessons repeat. Situations and similarities show up in our lives over and over again. If you are asking yourself why? That part is easy. It is because you have not learned the lesson.

When are you going to get off that hamster wheel and break the cycle? When are you going to learn the lesson so that you can move forward on your path through the woods, to Grandmother’s house?

https://godinterest.com/2019/11/27/little-red-riding-hood-exposing-the-wolf-in-sheep-clothing/