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Showing posts from March, 2014

Flip-flopping

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[NOTE: To my LGBT friends, once again I’m “preaching to the choir.” To put things in context re: my stance about the LGBT issue, please read my blog posts: “Attract, Not Attack” Part 1 and Part 2]



Indeed, according to World Vision president, Richard Stearns, the debate over same-sex marriage is “divisive” as well as “heartbreaking.” Thus, last Tuesday (March 25), while clarifying “that [World Vison] have not endorsed same-sex marriage,” its leadership decided “to allow a Christian in a legal same-sex marriage to be employed at World Vision.” (Read full text on the policy change here.)


To say that this policy change of a Christian organization sent shockwaves is an understatement. Remember that “World Vision is in the top ten charities in America and took in over a billion dollars last year and serves over a 100 million people in 100 countries.” (Source: Desiring God) Pastor John Piper condemned this compromising move: “Make no mistake, this so-called ‘neutral’ position of World Vision i…

Do we need to defend the faith as we make disciples?

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There are those who think that we don’t need to defend the faith nowadays. That all we have to do is make disciples. They feel that apologetics is merely an intellectual exercise. So, do we really have to choose between apologetics and discipleship? Let me point out that they are friends, not enemies. That defending the faith and making disciples are two sides of the proverbial coin.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, ESV)but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,... (1 Peter 3:15)
In his “Beyond Opinion: Living The Faith We …

“Repent and be baptized” (Part 2)

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Have you ever heard the saying, “The devil is in the details”? It means that “it is often the small details of something which make it difficult or challenging. … [It refers] to very small but ultimately important components of a larger task.” (Source: Wise Geek) I think of that saying whenever I read verses such as Acts 2:38. (“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” ESV) There are those who (mis)quote it whenever they want to prove that faith plus baptism saves. 


But, if we really needed not only to believe but also to be baptized to get into heaven, how come Peter did not mention it in his later proclamations (such as Acts 3:19)? In fact, in Acts 10, we see that the Gentiles received both forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit even before they were baptized. Peter declared to them, “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgi…

“Repent and be baptized” (Part 1)

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Acts 2:38 is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (ESV) There are those who use this verse as proof-text (a text cited without considering the context) that faith plus water baptism would save us. But that interpretation runs counter to the clear teaching of the Bible that by grace we are saved through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Even in the Book of Acts, Luke affirmed that again and again (10:43; 13:38-39; 16:30-31; 20:21). Faith in Christ saves us. Baptism does not save us.



So, what did Peter actually mean when he commanded people to “repent and be baptized”? Remember that baptism is our expression of repentance. John the Baptist declared, “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God.” (Matthew 3:11a, NLT) In the Good News Bible, it goes this way: “I baptize you with wate…

Sufficient Word

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How come even sincere Christian leaders fall for false prophets just like what happened recently when they trumpeted the supposed predictions of the self-styled Prophet Sadhu Sendar Selvaraj? I believe that one of the root causes why is because they thought that God still speaks apart from His Word. They apparently doubt that the Bible is sufficient for faith and life. 



However, according to Psalm 19, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul” (v. 7a, ESV). The word “perfect” means that the “[Scripture] lacks nothing [for] its completeness; nothing in order that it might be what it should be. It is complete as a revelation of Divine truth; it is complete as a rule of conduct. It is absolutely true… it is an unerring guide of conduct. There is nothing there which would lead men into error or sin; there is nothing essential for man to know which may not be found there.” (Albert Barnes, “Notes on Old Testament: Psalms.”) In short, the Bible is sufficient for what we believe and w…

Spiritual Junk Food

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For me, it’s appalling how people who claim to be Bible believers fell for the “prophecy” of the self-titled Prophet Sadhu Sendar Selvaraj of the Voice of Jesus Ministries. They may be sincere but they were sincerely wrong. In their desire to hear a “fresh word” from God, they glossed over glaring inaccuracies in his predictions. 


For example, Selvaraj declared that, “There is a place called Mindanao, and below that strait is a place called Compostela. The Lord said that there is an appointed typhoon to come upon that area. …many people will die.” (Source: Local Pulse) But, as my friend Rev. Dr. Doy Castillo wrote on his Facebook page, “It is important to note that Compostela is in Mindanao not below Mindanao or below some strait. Since prophecy is God’s message, wouldn’t it be reasonable to believe that the prophecy would include geographic accuracy?” (Nabuenyo) Some would accuse us of nitpicking. But, if the God of truth really spoke to Selvaraj, we should expect that our Lord won’t …