One Nation Under God #2 – Abraham Lincoln Quote

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...
English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. Latviešu: Abrahams Linkolns, sešpadsmitais ASV prezidents. Српски / Srpski: Абрахам Линколн, шеснаести председник Сједињених Америчких Држава. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taken from the book, In God We Trust, by Dr. Richard G. Lee:

Abraham Lincoln, anguished by the ravages of civil war, declared a “Proclamation of a National Fast Day” on March 30, 1863:

Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

… We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.  But we have forgotten God.  We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.  Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

 

 

When I was in high school, probably about 14-15 years ago, I read Jeremiah 18:1-12 and I instantly thought of America, although Jeremiah was talking about Israel.  It seemed to me that America’s history was that of Israel, that God still works with nations as he did in the Old Testament era, that he works and deals with people collectively, as well as individually, that in this temperol age, the actions of one affect the whole, just as Adam’s rebellion brought sin and death to all men, and the second Adam’s act of righteousness brought salvation to all men.

In high school, I saw the signs that we were moving away from being a nation under God, even though my public high school had public prayer led by students blasted over the football speakers, and that we could hear the prayer from outside our locker room as we waited to enter the grid-iron, and before we left our huddle to go the field, right after checking Special Teams’ Rosters, we’d hold hands and say the Lord’s Prayer; even then I saw that we were moving away.  It didn’t seem to be the America that my Grandparents cherished from their youth… reading Abraham Lincoln’s words make me feel even further removed.  In high school, what stood out to me was our acceptance of abortions.

Now it’s the acceptance of all religions as being equally valid and true; such pluralism is what hurt King Solomon’s reign and Israel’s protection in the Old Testament.  I think we always need to accept that there will be religions that stand against the Lord of the Bible that Abraham Lincoln spoke about in his this speech I quoted.  The fight to kill the unborn is as strong as ever.  Now homosexuality is the new fighting ground, and if a person speaks out against the perils of homosexuality, there will be persecution, though that person will be made out to be the persecutor.  Recent mass-shootings indicate the level of godlessness that has swept over our nation.

We reap what we sow, and I agree with Lincoln… I wish we as a nation could turn back to the Lord.  Christians, we must pray for our leaders, all of them!  This is commanded in Scripture – Look it up; it’s 1 Timothy 2:1-7.

Christians we must stand in the gap right now, stand like Ezekiel did.  (Ezekiel 22:30)  Everyone, we must repent.  To echo Lincoln’s words by quoting Scripture, from 1 John 1:9-1:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

The invitation is there… God is drawing you to himself through the work of Jesus Christ.  Repent, believe, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, if you haven’t already received Him.

Are the copies of the New Testament Documents Full of Errors?

Here’s a video I threw together today addressing a question I received about the reliability of the copying process of the New Testament documents:

I think you might also like to watch the following videos on this topic:

Josh McDowell – How Many Manuscripts Are There?

Great Animation on the Reliability of Scripture (Must Watch)

Qur’an and the Injeel #5

I made a reference in the last blog post in this series that mentioned that the Qur’an claims that the prophets of the Old Testament were prophets of Allah and that the Injeel (The Gospel of Jesus) is also from Allah.  I received a comment asking to provide the citations in the Qur’an in case Muslims deny that the Qur’an teaches this.

The following is a Muslim run website that lists the verses in English that mention the Injeel (The Gospel):  http://www.quranfromallah.com/Topics/Quran-Gospel.html

The first verse listed is a key verse, Surah 3:3, which reads, “It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Quran) to you (Muhammad SAW) with truth, confirming what came before it. And he sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel).”  I’d suggest remembering this Qur’an citation.

This verse directly says Allah sent the Qur’an to confirm the Torah and the Gospel.  If the Qur’an is to confirm the Gospels, then it shouldn’t contradict the Bible, but since it does contradict the Bible, Muslims claim that the Qur’an was sent to “correct” the Bible, to “correct” the corruption that has occurred in the Bible.  The Qur’an however doesn’t say that Allah sent the Qur’an to “correct” what came before, but to “confirm” what had already been given.

We’ll need to ask Muslims some questions.  Who corrupted the Bible?  When was it corrupted?  Why was it corrupted?  What part of the Bible has been corrupted?  Muslims do not have answers to these questions!  I have only met one Muslim who has given an answer to me.  He told me that the apostle Paul corrupted the Bible, because Paul was not a true believer.  He was a pagan.  I shared with the Muslim that this is impossible.  Paul was a contemporary with Jesus and Jesus’ apostles.  If he was changing or corrupting God’s Word, the other apostles would have stopped it.  I also shared that the apostle John definitely outlived Paul.  John would have been able to correct any of Paul’s distortions after Paul’s death, if he actually did corrupt them.  The Muslim responded, “I don’t know anything about John.  I don’t want to speak about what I don’t know.”

Please visit Crescent Project.  The bulk of this series is outlining the Bridges series from Crescent Project.

Which take is better?

Both of these takes were filmed, unrehearsed with just two bullet-points of notes, namely answer a complaint or two I have received from people concerning “Contradict” and be sure to read Colossians 1:15 in my response.  Take 1 was much longer than Take 2, but longer isn’t always better.  Which take is better and why?

Take 1

Take 2

The Qur’an and the Injeel #3

Please visit Crescent Project.  The bulk of this series is outlining the Bridges series from Crescent Project.

This series has shown where the Qur’an states that the the Gospel of Jesus, the Injeel (the Arabic name Muslims use for the Gospels) is from Allah.  This is phenomenal!  From the authoritative word of Allah for Muslims, there is the direct teaching that not only Jesus but other prophets from the Old Testament delivered the word of God to humanity.  It has also been shared in this series that Muslims believe that Allah has revealed his word in succession as previous scriptures were distorted, corrupted, or changed by men.  The differing understandings and views that Muslims and Christians have concerning the Injeel (The Gospels) has also been shared.  To read the rest of this series scroll down, or click on the Islam label at the bottom of this post.

Theological Response

One response to a Christian apologist could give to Muslims for why the Injeel has not been corrupted is a theological response.

When Muslims say the Injeel has bee corrupted, Fouad Masri, founder of Crescent Project, suggests saying, “Astaghfurallah”!  This means, “God forbid.”

Why should this response be given?  It would appear that such a response is instantly setting up a fight, using the name of Allah and throwing it back in a Muslims face that he or she is WRONG!  In fact, this is done from a loving position.  Muslims say “God Forbid” whenever something is said or done that goes against Allah or his will.  The idea is that Christians apologists should respond with “God Forbid” to direct them to the truth that what they just said went against God’s word, because it suggests that humans are stronger than God.

From a theological study of the Qur’an, who is stronger, man or God?  Clearly God.  From a theological study of the Qur’an, is the Injeel (The Gospels) from Allah and is the Injeel Allah’s Word?  The answer is yes.  It then stands to reason, if they were God’s words when they were written down, how could man have the power to change them?  If man can corrupt God’s word, how do you know then if the Qu’ran can’t be corrupted.  God will save and protect his word.
At this point a Christian can encourage a Muslim to know that in the Injeel God has promised to keep his word.  Encourage a Muslim to read the Injeel.  Copies of the New Testament can even be purchased which have the title “Injeel” on the cover and they are written in both Arabic and English.  It would be the perfect time to share the Injeel with a Muslim, ensuring him or her that God’s word cannot be corrupted, because God will preserve his word – man is not stronger than God.
Many Muslims have not read the Injeel, because they have always been told that it is corrupted!  They are taught that it is corrupted because it clearly contradicts what the Qur’an teaches.  Yet, the Qur’an says the Injeel is the word of Allah.  Christians must begin to interact with Muslims to show them that the Qur’an mandates that the Injeel be kept and read and that it came before the Qur’an and God’s word cannot be changed by men, since God is stronger than men and God has promised to keep his word.  Once Muslims begin to read the Injeel, in the view that it is the word of God and can be trusted, they will learn what the Injeel’s teachings about God and the prophets runs contrary to that of the Qur’an, and if they were in fact reading it as God’s word that came before the Qur’an then in hope they will see the Qur’an for what it truly is, the word of a man.

Romans 6:23 Journals from High School Students

Romans 6

One of our school’s 60 memory verses is Romans 6:23.  For the day we were looking at this verse, the assignment was to read Romans 6:23 in context.  I let them students pick if they wanted to read the whole chapter, or just read some of the verses preceding and following it.  The prompt was to write a reflective journal on their reading.  They could write if reading Romans 6:23 in context added any additional meaning to the verse for them.  They all had study bibles and I shared that if a verse or section stood out to them or led them to have questions, that they could read the footnotes and share what they learned.  I also prompted them to consider looking up cross-references for verses that they wanted to learn more about.  Finally, I gave the option of making an application journal, writing law and gospel applications for their lives, a practice we did with the memory verses last year.  Here are a few of the journal posts from one of my classes:

1.)  Romans 6:23 in context is a closing statement to, in my opinion, an excellent essay on the meaning of Christianity; that we, being saved, are to go on sinning no more. I believe Paul, who wrote it, makes an excellent case that having been saved by grace we are to go on living no more in sin but accept righteousness, as exemplified by his question, “how can a man live in his death?”

I also believe it makes an excellent case for the Reformed theology as well. As we were slaves to sin, we are now counted as “slaves to righteousness”; irresistible grace. It also offers a strong caution against those who proclaim that because they are saved, they may live on in the way they had, like adulterers, homosexuals and addicts; “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God.”

We should look to this passage and this chapter as a guideline for our Christianity. Do we aspire to conquer our sin, or do we continue to be mastered by our own humanity?

 

2.) I think Romans chapter 6 is somewhat of a downer. It says that we use to be slaves to sin and that now we basically should be happy because we are now slaves to another master; righteousness. I think it would be better described not as slavery, because in my opinion that is not really what being righteous is. But, Romans 6:23 makes me feel a lot better because that righteousness is a gift, and not a form of slavery, and I think that is a better way to portray it; a gift of eternal life from Jesus Christ, and not a form of slavery.

 

3.)  Death to Sin, Alive in Christ

“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too many life a new life.” The verse says it all. We are given new life because Christ had died for us. “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” We don’t have to earn it; we just have to have faith.
Slaves to Righteousness
“Whether you are slaves to sin which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, through you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted…When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.” God has freed us from the control from righteousness. We were once slaves to sin but God had saved us. There are so many verses in the Bible that tell us how if we sin, and do not have faith in God, we are not saved. But if we have the gift of God, which is salvation, it is by faith we are saved. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How can one believe that we have to do good works to get to heaven? It is right here in the bible. God is telling us we are saved through faith. It is a gift. We do not have to earn it. “The gift of God is eternal life…” It says it is a gift. We do not have to earn this gift. It also says that the wages of sin is death. If we do not let God take control or have faith in him and know he is forgiving, then we will not be dead forever.

 

4.)  Proverbs 10:16 “The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.” Proverbs 10:16 and Romans 6:23 are parallel verses with the same meaning. They are both talking about how we deserve death for our sin, but we are saved by the righteousness of God. I liked Romans 6: 21 which says: “What benefit did you reap at the time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” I liked this verse because it’s pointing out how useless the things of this earth our, and how our sinful desires bring us nothing but death in the long run.

 

5.)  I really like verse 19.
“I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.”

I like when it says “I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves.” It shows that we are sinful and cannot even begin to understand God’s love for us and how much we mean to him even though we are all terrible people.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
That is our verse and it shows perfectly matching with the verse I liked earlier in the chapter, that we are sinful but God saves us always.

 

6.)   The passage is talking about how weak we are as humans. We are enslaved to sin and those sins that we have committed had maybe felt good at the time, but in the end they result in death. It then says that now we have been freed from sin and are of God now and instead of death, we will reap holiness. We are dead in our sins, but through Jesus Christ, we are set free and have the hope of eternal life, and that is so comforting. Knowing that I am dead in my sins and alive in Christ gives me hope that I can get through life and enter into Heaven and leave this sin behind. I think 6:23 points us to our baptism. We lay down in death with Jesus, but resurrect with him when we come out of the water. When we are baptized, we are clothed in his righteousness and are made holy in God’s eyes, which is what this chapter is talking about. I looked up cross-references in Matthew and Ezekiel, and they both talk about being dead, but having eternal life. It’s amazing to see this concept throughout the Bible, even in the Old Testament.

 

baptism

 

7.)  Romans 6 is all about slavery concerning if you are a slave to sin or to righteousness. You’re either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. If you are a slave to something or someone that means you obey them, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-…” If we are slave to sin we inherit death but if we are slaves to righteousness we inherit life, “The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.” Proverbs 10:16