Saturday, October 30, 2010


After a broadcast of Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee, the station announcer informed the listening audience that, "The book of Zechariah contains more Masonic prophecies than any of the other minor prophets."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Greatest Prayer

"There is a greatest prayer, the greatest that can be offered. It is the substratum of every true prayer. It is the undercurrent in the stream of all Spirit-breathed prayer. Jesus Himself gives it to us in the only form of prayer He left for our use. It is small in size, but mighty in power. Four words - 'Thy will be done.' "
____ S.D. Gordon

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lost a good friend this week

My friend, neighbor and brother in Christ, Philip Proulx, passed away this week.

Philip (nicknamed "Pep") had retired as a public school teacher and principal,  but continued teaching the youth Confirmation class at Church of the Valley, Presbyterian Church. He enjoyed our beautiful Mojave Desert, working at the church, and leading a weekly Bible study. He especially loved teaching the high school age youth, and taking them on educational field trips.

Pep once made the front page of the local newspaper. When the church office was robbed, he chased the robber across the parking lot, tackled him and held him down until the police arrived. When the bandit was in custody, he looked at Pep and said, "What kind of a church IS this, anyway?!"

A few months ago, Pep was diagnosed with leukemia of the skin. For a while, he seemed to be making an almost miraculous recovery, but that was not to be. He died on Tuesday.

Pep leaves behind his beloved wife Charlene and their three sons with their families.

We all miss him very much.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Bride of Christ longs for His Second Coming

 "If you be Christ's bride you will be longing sometimes for his second coming; less or more you will desire the day of judgment, and long for his appearance. The epilogue of all the spouse's sweet discourses is, 'Make haste, my beloved, be thou like a roe, or a young hart, on the mountains of Bether, till the day break and the shadows fly away.' And the conclusion of the whole Bible is, 'Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,' Rev. 22:20.

"Can you say you have longed for his coming? I see the devil reigns here, corruption reigns here, and never will things be right till he come again in the clouds and set heaven and earth in a flame, when these nuptial solemnities shall begin to be celebrated, and the marriage solemnized while eternity lasts."

___Ralph Erskine

Thursday, October 14, 2010

James versus Paul: Competing Theologies?

St. Paul and St. James Battle it out.

The question is: Does the Bible teach that we are saved by Faith Alone, or a combination of Faith and Works? It gets complicated when it appears that two authors of New Testament epistles have different views on the matter.

A friend (blogger name "Captain Howdy") tells me that his take is that this is an example of a contradiction in the Bible. Here is an excerpt of the exchange of comments on Ray Comfort's blog:

Captain Howdy:
Ray tells us--"Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, without any works."

Everyone turn in your Bibles to James chapter 2--

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

So Ray just told us that salvation is by faith alone, but James tells us that salvation is by both faith AND works!

Hmmm..who to believe...who to believe...?
There are two keys to understanding what some claim is a "contradiction" between Paul's and James' teaching on "justification," and they are easily discerned by reading their respective arguments.
1. The first key is is the different senses in which each is using the word JUSTIFICATION (and it's variants: "justify" and "justified") Paul is talking about being declared legally righteous in God's sight, while James is talking about a person's actions backing up, or justifying, his verbal profession of faith.
2. The second key is this: What errors are each refuting? Paul is arguing (Romans 1:16-5:2) against the notion that there is something we can do that contributes meritoriously to our being declared legally righteous before God. James is arguing (James 1:22-2:26) against antinomianism. That is the notion that the life of someone who prosesses true faith in Christ will not necessarily exhibit works as evidence of (justification of) that faith. "Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
Notice also how Paul (in Romans 4) and James (in James 2:21-24) each use different incidents in Abraham's life to illustrate their respective points. See how these two narratives from Genesis 15 & 22, as cited by Paul and James, complement and support each other.
The law of (non-)contradiction is:
"A" can not be "non-A" at the same time and in the same sense.
I have shown that Paul and James were each using the word "justification" in a different sense. Therefore, there is no contradiction.
The debate is still a live issue today however. The slogan of the Reformers, "Salvation by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, because of Christ Alone, for the Glory of God Alone" is challenged  not only by Roman Catholics, but various sects such as Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons and even segments of Evangelicalism. Skeptics see the issue as a contradiction in the Bible, nullifying it's authority.
Reformed churches have consistently believed and taught that God graciously saves us solely through faith in Christ and His perfect life and His death on the cross on behalf of sinners. We believe that this faith is a gift from God and is a faith that produces works necessarily.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. __Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV
Cartoon by Richard Gunther

Thursday, October 7, 2010


This is an edited excerpt from a recent exchange of comments on FISH WITH TRISH, Trisha Ramos' blog. Click here to view the entire conversation.

Taxandrian: Hey, if you want to waste your time proclaiming your message to those who aren't susceptible to it [i.e. atheists]; be my guest.

Craig:  No one is "susceptible to it" unless and until they have been born again by a sovereign act of the Holy Spirit. Then they will irresistibly receive the Gospel and embrace Christ. (John 1:10-12; John 3:8; John 6:44)

Taxandrian: But are you prepared to deal with non-believers who 'stand their ground and won't back down'?

Craig: It won't be a matter of my dealing with them. The question is: are those who consistently reject Christ and the "offer of the Gospel," and stand fast in that rejection until their last breath, prepared to deal with eternity in hell. (John 3:18,19,36)

Taxandrian: Another question: if one follows all of God's commandments, does that guarantee a ticket to Heaven?

Craig: Jesus Christ obeyed all of God's commandments, and went to the cross where he endured the wrath of God against sinners, although he did no sin himself. That, plus his death, resurrection on the third day, and his ascension to God's "right hand" secured Heaven for everyone who trusts in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:8-9)

Jesus Christ now calls everyone, everywhere to confess his sin and trust in Him for his salvation and deliverance.

This is why I can, with utmost confidence, [deliver the message that calls] everyone, everywhere who will acknowledge his sin and bring his guilt and need to Jesus Christ, to do just that. And I can assure him, without any qualification, that in doing that he will most certainly be saved eternally "by the blood of Jesus Christ."

Azou: Man, feel free to be ineffective. We're just telling what methods are specifically not working on us.

Craig: Hey there, Azou. In the end, everyone enjoying eternal life in Heaven will have gotten there by one "method" and one only. That "method" is the Son of God's having lived a perfect life, and having suffered and died on the cross. My job is simple. I am just the messenger telling law breakers just like myself the Good News of what Christ has done for them, and how they can obtain the benefit of what Christ has done (Forgiveness of their sins, eternal life, and being adopted into God's family). The fact that some refuse to receive this is not due to any deficiency in the message or the method.

Jesus said: "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mark 16:15-16)

"A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy." (Prov. 29:1)
"So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isa. 55:11)
Comments appearing in this post have been edited in order to capture the flow of the conversation, and to insert scripture references. Cartoon by Richard GuntherCB

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ray Comfort's Gospel

 In answering an inquirer's "simple question," Ray explains the essence of the Gospel message that he preaches.

A Simple Answer to a Simple Question

"I would like a simple answer to a simple question. Do you believe that people who die without believing in Jesus Christ as their savior will be saved and go to Heaven?"

"God promised that He would liberate the human race from death, and that He would do this through the suffering death of the Jewish Messiah (see Isaiah 53). The result would be peace with God for all who would humble themselves, repent and trust the God-given Savior (see Isaiah 55:1-3). Peace with God would mean everlasting life for humanity.

The Old Testament said that the result of conversion would be a new heart with new desires--desires that wanted to please the God, with Whom we were once at enmity (a "heart of stone" towards Him):

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

The salvation of God (eternal life) would be offered to all men: to the Jew first, then to the Greek, the Indian, as well as Chinese, Russian, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, Kiwis, Aussies and even to atheists--those who are red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight. Anyone can be saved from death and Hell (see Romans 10:13).

There is only one stipulation. They must come to the God-provided Savior, not through a man-made religion which cannot wash away sin. Jesus Christ is the only One who can forgive sin and give peace with God because He was God manifest in human form. There is a big reason for this exclusivity.
Fortunately, we are told that God is "rich" in mercy. In His kindness He provided a Savior--someone to pay our fine in His life’s blood. That happened at the cross.
All man-made religions are "works righteousness" religions. They think that they can get to Heaven by being good, praying, fasting, doing good works, through repentance, etc. (see Romans 10:2-3). This is because they don’t understand one very important truth. God is utterly perfect. His Law therefore demands moral perfection. It says that lust is adultery in His eyes and hatred is murder. His moral Law (the Ten Commandments) shows us that He is a Judge and we are desperate criminals in His sight. That changes everything. Now, anything we offer the Judge isn’t “good works,” but a despicable attempt to bribe Him, and that is an abomination in His sight (see Proverbs 21:27). The only thing that can save us is the mercy of the Judge.

Fortunately, we are told that God is "rich" in mercy. In His kindness He provided a Savior--someone to pay our fine in His life’s blood. That happened at the cross.

This is what that Savior said about Himself: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father but through me" (John 14:6). Old and New Testament Scripture is consistent: "They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them" (Jeremiah 32:38), "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Tragically, whoever dies in their sins will get fearful justice. Whoever dies in Christ will have mercy and thus have everlasting life. It’s very simple. See Romans 2:6-9.

So let's not complain about God being unfair because people perish if they die in their sins. Instead, we should become missionaries and spend our lives telling this God-hating world the good news of eternal salvation for all humanity. I did."

(The transcript is from a post that appeared on Ray Comfort's blog. I don't know the date of the post. It has been re-formatted here. CB)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Myth of Neutrality

This is a re-post from the White Horse Inn blog.

"With the rise of the New Atheism and the willingness of writers like Christopher Hitchens to actively and relentlessly criticize Christianity, we have entered into a new era. I,  for one, welcome it: not least because the New Atheists have done us all a significant favor by deconstructing the myth of neutrality."
Click here to read the article :   The Myth of Neutrality

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Joseph visited the Biosphere this weekend. Here are a couple of pictures he took.

"Rain Forest"