Archive for August, 2015

The Catholic Church And “Mental Reservation”

August 28, 2015

I was watching an old Gunsmoke TV episode the other day, and at a point in the program when a Catholic priest was caught in a lie, he explained himself to Matt Dillon by saying it was a “mental reservation.” What he meant by that is that his lie was justified because his lie was intended to do good.

Here is how the Catholic Encyclopedia (X, 195) explains it: “… we are … under an obligation to keep secrets faithfully, and sometimes the easiest way of fulfilling that duty is to say what is false, or to tell a lie.”

Of course God never authorizes telling a lie. To the contrary, many passages read similar to Rev 21:8 – “… the unbelieving … and murderers … and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone ….”

How can you trust someone for the truth when they don’t think the truth is important, and admit they will tell lies if it furthers their goals and purposes?

By its own admission, Catholicism cannot be trusted!

The Conversion Of Saul

August 21, 2015

One might consider the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (later to become known as Paul the apostle) to be the most important conversion account in the Bible – since God saw fit to relate it to us three times (in the book of Acts chapters 9, 22, and 26).

You’ll remember that Saul was a very zealous Jew (Acts 22:3) who mistakenly thought brand new Christianity was a false religion (Acts 23:1), so much so that he persecuted Jesus’ followers even to the point of death (Acts 22:4).

Evidently the Lord recognized Saul’s sincerity, and so appeared to him miraculously on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:6). Saul immediately believed in the Lord and was told to go into Damascus and it would be told him what he should do (Acts 22:7-10). Saul was in the city for three days (Acts 9:9) before Ananias told him in Acts 22:16 “arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Lessons learned from Saul’s conversion:

· Sincerity does not necessarily make one right – Prov 14:12.

· Salvation from sin does not come at the point of faith. Saul believed in Jesus on the road to Damascus, but his sins were not washed away until at least three days later (Acts 22:16).

· A person’s sins are washed away by the blood of Christ (Matt 26:28) when that person is baptized in water (Acts 22:16).

Have you done what Saul did to become a Christian? Have you repented and been baptized “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38)?

Shacked Up Preacher

August 14, 2015

I studied with a preacher (Isaiah) the other day (no need to say which denomination he is a member of), and he told me he was previously divorced and currently living with a woman who was not his wife – he called it “shacked up.” Without me questioning him about it, he went on to say it would be good if he moved out because “God will bless you” if you live the way God’s wants you to. But he had no plans of moving out.

My friend is right that God will bless us if we live right (James 4:7, Matt 6:33), but I think he is confused about living right’s overall importance. I got the impression Isaiah thinks he can be a Christian even if he is in violation of passages that condemn divorce (I Cor 7:10) and adultery (Gal 5:19) – and just about anything else. Don’t believers realize that the unrepentant “sexually immoral” (NKJV) “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone”?

I think the lack of emphasis upon obedience (Heb 5:9, Matt 7:21, etc.) by most denominational preaching has led to this. It is the “once saved always saved” mentality (Gal 5:4, II Pet 2:20-22, etc.) gone to seed. Even though Isaiah is living in adultery and knows it, he doesn’t think God minds it that much, and certainly the denomination Isaiah is a member of lets him preach merrily right along. I don’t think some churches care too much anymore how a preacher or member lives their life.

It is sad to say most Christian type religions don’t pay much attention to the Christian religious guidebook these days. Has your church left you in this regard? Then I suggest finding a congregation that is still willing to stand for and require truth and righteousness. The NKJV of I Cor 16:13 reads “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

Thallus – Evidence For The Bible

August 7, 2015

The Bible reports in three places that there was darkness for three hours while Jesus was on the cross. Mark 15:33 records it this way – “when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

Thallus (in A.D. 52) wrote a history of the eastern Mediterranean world since the Trojan War. Julius Africanus in about A.D. 221 quoted Thallus’ history: “Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun – unreasonably, as it seems to me.” Note:

· Thallus would have been alive (and/or known others who were alive) when Christ was crucified and therefore would have known firsthand if there had been darkness or not.

· Thallus admitted the darkness occurred, but tried to explain it away by natural causes.

· Modern astronomy (with computers) can now tell us the exact moment when every eclipse would have occurred; and there was no such eclipse at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The same basic point came be made from Philegon (a Greek author from Caria writing a chronology soon after 137 A.D.) who reported that in the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (i.e., 33 A.D.) there was “the greatest eclipse of the sun” and that “it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e., noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.” (Matt 27:51 records the fact there was an earthquake when Jesus died)

Conclusions:

· Thallus and Philegon were obviously not believers, therefore not biased toward Christianity, yet both admit (in effect) a great miracle occurred.

· So non-Biblical history records an extraordinary miracle, and the easiest of all miracles to falsify. Perhaps millions would have been able to confirm or deny the miracle firsthand.

· Furthermore, the timing of this miracle validates Jesus as being who he claimed to be (the Son of God).

· This miracle also confirms the Bible as the word of God. Without non-Biblical concurrence, this event could just be written off as myth by the atheists. This is important because if there is no evidence outside the Bible for the inspiration of the Bible, then the Bible’s claim for inspiration could be just branded as circular reasoning.

· If reliable history tells us that the earth went dark for three hours at Jesus’ crucifixion, shouldn’t common sense tell us we should take notice of Jesus and his teachings?