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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Atheism and Liberal, Missouri

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the summer of 1880, George H. Walser founded the town of Liberal in southwest Missouri. Named after the Liberal League in Lamar, Missouri (to which the town’s organizer belonged), Walser’s objective was “to found a town without a church, [w]here unbelievers could bring up their children without religious training,” and where Christians were not allowed (Thompson, 1895; Becker, 1895). “His idea was to build up a town that should exclusively be the home of Infidels...a town that should have neither God, Hell, Church, nor Saloon” (Brand, 1895). Some of the early inhabitants of Liberal even encouraged other infidels to move to their town by publishing an advertisement which boasted that Liberal “is the only town of its size in the United States without a priest, preacher, church, saloon, God, Jesus, hell or devil” (Keller, 1885, p. 5). Walser and his “freethinking” associates were openly optimistic about their new town. Excitement was in the air, and atheism was at its core. They believed that their godless town of “sober, trustworthy and industrious” individuals would thrive for years on end. But, as one young resident of that town, Bessie Thompson, wrote about Liberal in 1895, “...like all other unworthy causes, it had its day and passed away.” Bessie did not mean that the actual town of Liberal ceased to exist, but that the idea of having a “good, godless” city is a contradiction in terms. A town built upon “trustworthy” atheistic ideals eventually will reek of the rotten, immoral fruits of infidelity. Such fruits were witnessed and reported firsthand by Clark Braden in 1885.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885
Braden was an experienced preacher, debater, and author. In his lifetime, he presented more than 3,000 lectures, and held more than 130 regular debates—eighteen of which were with the Mormons (Carpenter, 1909, pp. 324-325). In 1872, Braden even challenged the renowned agnostic Robert Ingersoll to debate, to which Ingersoll reportedly responded, “I am not such a fool as to debate. He would wear me out” (Haynes, 1915, pp. 481-482). Although Braden was despised by some, his skills in writing and public speaking were widely known and acknowledged. In February 1885, Clark Braden introduced himself to the townspeople of Liberal (Keller, 1885, p. 5; Moore, 1963, p. 38), and soon thereafter he wrote about what he had seen.
In an article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, titled “An Infidel Experiment,” Braden reported the following.
The boast about the sobriety of the town is false. But few of the infidels are total abstainers. Liquor can be obtained at three different places in this town of 300 inhabitants. More drunken infidels can be seen in a year in Liberal than drunken Christians among one hundred times as many church members during the same time. Swearing is the common form of speech in Liberal, and nearly every inhabitant, old and young, swears habitually. Girls and boys swear on the streets, playground, and at home. Fully half of the females will swear, and a large number swear habitually.... Lack of reverence for parents and of obedience to them is the rule. There are more grass widows, grass widowers and people living together, who have former companions living, than in any other town of ten times the population.... A good portion of the few books that are read are of the class that decency keeps under lock and key....
These infidels...can spend for dances and shows ten times as much as they spend on their liberalism. These dances are corrupting the youth of the surrounding country with infidelity and immorality. There is no lack of loose women at these dances.
Since Liberal was started there has not been an average of one birth per year of infidel parents. Feticide is universal. The physicians of the place say that a large portion of their practice has been trying to save females from consequences of feticide. In no town is slander more prevalent, or the charges more vile. If one were to accept what the inhabitants say of each other, he would conclude that there is a hell, including all Liberal, and that its inhabitants are the devils (as quoted in Keller, 1885, p. 5).
According to Braden, “[s]uch are the facts concerning this infidel paradise.... Every one who has visited Liberal, and knows the facts, knows that such is the case” (p. 5).
As one can imagine, Braden’s comments did not sit well with some of the townspeople of Liberal. In fact, a few days after Braden’s observations appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was arrested for criminal libel and tried on May 18, 1885. According to Braden, “After the prosecution had presented their evidence, the case was submitted to the jury without any rebutting evidence by the defence (sic), and the jury speedily brought in a verdict of ‘No cause for action’ ” (as quoted in Mouton, n.d., pp. 36-37). Unfortunately for Braden, however, the controversy was not over. On the following day (May 19, 1885), a civil suit was filed by one of the townsmen—S.C. Thayer, a hotel operator in Liberal. The petition for damages of $25,000 alleged that Clark Braden and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article in which they had made false, malicious, and libelous statements against the National Hotel in Liberal, managed by Mr. Thayer. He claimed that Braden’s remarks, published in the St. Louise Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, “greatly and irreparably injured and ruined” his business (Thayer v. Braden). However, when the prosecution learned that the defense was thoroughly prepared to prove that Liberal was a den of infamy, and that its hotels were little more than houses of prostitution, the suit was dismissed on September 17, 1886 by the plaintiff at his own cost (Thayer v. Braden). Braden was exonerated in everything he had written. Indeed, the details Braden originally reported about Liberal, Missouri, on May 2, 1885 were found to be completely factual.
It took only a few short years for Liberal’s unattractiveness and inconsistency to be exposed. People cannot exclude God from the equation, and expect to remain a “sober, trustworthy” town. Godlessness equals unruliness, which in turn makes a repugnant, immoral people. The town of Liberal was a failure. Only five years after its establishment, Braden indicated that “[n]ine-tenths of those now in town would leave if they could sell their property. More property has been lost by locating in the town than has been made in it.... Hundreds have been deceived and injured and ruined financially” (Keller, p. 5). Apparently, “doing business with the devil” did not pay the kind of dividends George Walser (the town’s founder) and the early inhabitants of Liberal desired. It appears that even committed atheists found living in Liberal in the early days intolerable. Truly, as has been observed in the past, “An infidel surrounded by Christians may spout his infidelity and be able to endure it, but a whole town of atheists is too horrible to contemplate.” It is one thing to espouse a desire to live in a place where there is no God, but it is an entirely different thing for such a place actually to exist. For it to become a reality is more than the atheist can handle. Adolf Hitler took atheism to its logical conclusion in Nazi Germany, and created a world that even most atheists detested. Although atheists want no part of living according to the standards set out by Jesus and His apostles in the New Testament, the real fruits of evolutionary atheism also are too horrible for them to contemplate.
Although the town of Liberal still exists today (with a population of about 800 people), and although vestiges of its atheistic heritage are readily apparent, it is not the same town it was in 1895. At present, at least seven religious groups associated with Christianity exist within this city that once banned Christianity and all that it represents. Numerous other churches meet in the surrounding areas. According to one of the religious leaders in the town, “a survey of Liberal recently indicated that 50% of the people are actively involved with some church” (Abbott, 2003)—a far cry from where Liberal began.
There is no doubt that the moral, legal, and educational systems of Liberal, Missouri, in the twenty-first century are the fruits of biblical teaching, not atheism. When Christianity and all of the ideals that the New Testament teaches are effectively put into action, people will value human life, honor their parents, respect their neighbors, and live within the moral guidelines given by God in the Bible. A city comprised of faithful Christians would be mostly void of such horrors as sexually transmitted diseases, murder, drunken fathers who beat their wives and children, drunk drivers who turn automobiles into lethal weapons, and heartache caused by such things as divorce, adultery, and covetousness. (Only those who broke God’s commandments intended for man’s benefit would cause undesirable fruit to be reaped.)
On the other hand, when atheism and all of its tenets are taken to their logical conclusion, people will reap some of the same miserable fruit once harvested by the early citizens of Liberal, Missouri (and sadly, some of the same fruit being reaped by many cities in the world today). Men and women will attempt to cover up sexual sins by aborting babies, children will disrespect their parents, students will “run wild” at home and in school because of the lack of discipline, and “sexual freedom” (which leads to sexually transmitted diseases) will be valued, whereas human life will be devalued. Such are the fruits of atheism: a society in which everyone does that which is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6)—a society in which no sensible person wants to live.

REFERENCES

Abbott, Phil (2003), Christian Church, Liberal, Missouri, telephone conversation, April 7.
Barnes, Pamela (2003), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, telephone conversation, March 12.
Becker, Hathe (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.
Brand, Ida (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.
Carpenter, L.L. (1909), “The President’s Address,” in Centennial Convention Report, ed. W.R. Warren, (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), pp. 317-332. [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/wwarren/ccr/CCR15B.HTM.
Haynes, Nathaniel S. (1915), History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois 1819-1914 (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/nhaynes/hdcib/braden01.htm, 1996.
Keller, Samuel (1885), “An Infidel Experiment,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Special Correspondence with Clark Braden, May 2, p. 5.
Moore, J.P. (1963), This Strange Town—Liberal, Missouri (Liberal, MO: The Liberal News).
Mouton, Boyce (no date), George H. Walser and Liberal, Missouri: An Historical Overview.
Thayer, S.C. v. Clark Braden, et. al. Filed on May 19, 1885 in Barton County Missouri. Dismissed September 10, 1886.
Thompson, Bessie (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.




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MORMON PROPHETS BY STEVE FINNELL


If Mormons believe that all Mormon prophets are appointed by God, then why do they not believe every word, every doctrine taught by all of the Mormon prophets?

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT PROPHETS

Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words  in his mouth, and he shall speak  to them all that I command him.

2 Peter 1:20-21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

God puts His words in the mouths of prophets. All prophets from God are given God's word through the Holy Spirit.
God's prophets speak without error.

WHY DO NOT ALL MORMONS BELIEVE ALL THE WORDS SPOKEN BY MORMON PROPHETS?

"In the beginning the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it" (The Journal of Discourses, Volume VI, Sermon by Joseph Smith)

If you are Mormon and do not believe this, why not? Is it because it is contrary to the Bible?

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret... It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for certainty the Character of God, and to know...that he was once a man like us...Here, then, is eternal life...to know the only wise and true God; and you have to learn to be Gods yourselves...the same as all Gods have done before you... (Prophet Joseph Smith,Jr., "King Follett Discourse," Journal of Discourse. V.6, pp. 3-4)



"Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saints and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He MICHEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about holy men have written and spoken--He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom WE have to do .....(Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, V. 1, p. 51)


"No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith... every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are"(Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, V. 7, p. 289)

If you are a Mormon and deny the quotes by Mormon  prophets are true, then, how can you be a Mormon in good standing with the Mormon Church?


All of the above quotes by Mormon prophets are contrary to the truth found in the Bible. You either have to believe that the Mormon prophets are from God or that the Holy Bible is from God. You cannot believe both.

THE TRUTH, IS, THAT THE BIBLE AND THE BIBLE ALONE CONTAINS GOD'S TRUTH!   

HOW DO I KNOW I AM SAVED? by steve finnell


How do I know I am saved? The Bible tells me so.

John 3:16-18 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (NASB)

Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. (NASB)

Acts 3:19 Therefore repent and return , so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that in times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (NASB)

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; (NASB)

How do I know I am saved? The Bible tells me so. Faith, immersion in water (baptism), confession and repentance. Repentance is simply turning from sin and unbelief, and turning toward God and making the commitment to change.

Salvation takes as long as it takes to believe and be baptized in water. NO GOOD WORKS ARE REQUIRED. KEEPING THE LAW OF MOSES IS NOT REQUIRED. DOING GOOD DEEDS IS NOT REQUIRED.  

THE POSSIBILITY OF APOSTASY? BY STEVE FINNELL


Perseverance of the saints, commonly referred to as, once saved always saved, is a major tenet of Calvinism. The question is can a Christian fall from God's grace and be lost?

APOSTASY, IS IT POSSIBLE?

John 15:2-6.....If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up, and they gather them, cast them into the fire and they are burned.

Being cast into a fire does not sound like, once saved always saved.

Hebrews 2:1-3 For this reason we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift from it....3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation......

Why would the writer of Hebrews warn of drifting from salvation if it was an impossibility?

Galatians 5:1-4 It was for freedom that Christ set us free....4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

The apostle Paul said that some Christians had fallen from grace. Falling from grace was a reality for them.

Colossians 1:22-23 yet He has reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach---23 if you indeed continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul was made a minister.

The apostle Paul said the Colossians  would be holy and blameless on the condition that they continued in the faith. Paul  said nothing of "once in grace always in grace."

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

Blood bought Christians were warned to, not, stop believing. Apostasy means, to cease to believe.

Hebrews 6:4-6 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

If Christians fall away (deny the gospel), they will not repent. Those Christians who deny the benefits of the shed blood of Christ simply will not repent; not because God prevents them. They have just lost the will and desire to repent.

1 Timothy 4:1-4 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons....

The Holy Spirit says some will fall away. Calvinism teaches apostasy is impossible. Who do you believe the Holy Spirit or the professors of Calvinism?

Galatians 1:2-9....To the churches of Galatia...6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel....9....if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

Paul stated that some of the Galatian Christians were falling away. They were practicing the teachings of the Judaizers. Some of the Jewish Christians  were perverting the gospel by incorporating the Old Testament ceremonial practices with in gospel of Christ.

PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS IS A MAN-MADE DOCTRINE.

Two things have to occur in order to convince men that the doctrine of, once in grace always in grace, is a Biblical truth.
1. You need a willing student.
2. A skilled professional is needed, with a doctorate in MAN-MADE TRADITIONS.

What is impossible? It is impossible to prayerfully search the Scriptures for the truth and still hold the view that apostasy is impossible.

A TULIP NOTE: Some say, "I believe in the doctrine of ,Perseverance of the Saints, however, I reject the other four points of Calvinism."

1. T--Total Depravity 
2. U--Unconditional Election
3. L--Limited Atonement
4. I--Irresistible Grace
5. P--Perseverance of the Saints

You cannot separate any of the five points of Calvinism and keep the tulip from wilting. You you either believe them all or none of them.    

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY, A FALSE ASSUMPTION by steve finnell


The assumption of the Virgin Mary according to the Catholic church is that Mary was bodily taken to heaven after her death.

Why would anyone assume something that is contrary to Scripture? Why take for granted a fact that is demonstrably false?

John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven , but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.(NASB)

The Virgin Mary has not made the trip to heaven.

Acts 2:34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven... (NASB)

Davids body is still in the grave and so is the body of the Virgin Mary.

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.....(NASB)

Mary's flesh cannot nor has it inherited the kingdom of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.....16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first....(NASB)

Christians will be bodily resurrected from the grave when Jesus returns, until then then they will remain in the grave as will the Virgin Mary.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,(NASB)

There will be no bodily resurrections of the dead until Jesus returns. The Virgin Mary was not granted a special resurrection from the grave.

NOTE: Today, the belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal in the East and in the West; according to Benedict XIV(Defestis B.V.M viii, 18) it is a probable opinion, which to deny were impious and blasphemous.(Ref. Catholic Encyclopedia:Assumption of Mary)

Would it be blasphemous to reject an opinion or blasphemous to reject the written word of God?      
     

CAN THE DEAD PRAY FOR THE LIVING? BY STEVE FINNELL


Can the living solicit the dead to pray on their behalf? It is possible for the Virgin Mary and other dead Christians to petition God for living Christians?

THE DEAD KNOW NOTHING OF THE LIVING!

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know they will die;but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for there memory is forgotten.

The dead are not cognizant of the wants and needs of the living. The dead are not even aware that the living exist.

Job 14:10,12,21 "But man dies and lies prostrate. Man expires, and where is he? 12 So man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no longer, He will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep. 21 "His sons achieve honor, but he does not know it; Or they become insignificant,but he does not perceive it.

The dead know nothing. The dead are not aware of the activities or accomplishments of their relatives that are alive. Dead Christians cannot pray for things they are unaware.

CAN MEN CONSULT THE DEAD? YES.

Saul asked a medium from Endor to bring Samuel from the dead so he could talk to him. (Samuel 28:1-12)

Leviticus 19:31 'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.

The only way to consult the dead is through mediums. God prohibits this. (Deuteronomy 18:11-12)

1 Chronicles 10:13 So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium,making inquiry of it,

The only way to ask a dead person to pray for you, if that were possible, would be through a medium. Saul died because he contacted the dead through a medium.

Isaiah 8:19 When they say to you, "Consult mediums and the spirits who whisper and mutter." Should not the people consult their God?Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

When men have wants and needs they should consult God the Father. Praying to or asking dead Christians to pray for them is not an option. The dead can only be consulted by mediums.

PRAY TO GOD THE FATHER. THE VIRGIN MARY AND OTHER DEAD CHRISTIANS CANNOT HELP YOU!

    

Monday, August 22, 2016

INSIGHT INTO BIBLE TRUTH #246
"ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED" 
by David Vaughn Elliott 

What a wonderful, comforting promise! Once I am in Jesus, I can never be lost. If I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, I am forever saved. No matter what happens in my life, good or bad, I cannot lose my salvation. I am secure for eternity. 

But is this wonderful promise from God or from men? Do you remember when the serpent promised Eve: "You surely will not die"? But she did die! We must investigate the source of the promises we are offered. 

Listen to the prophet Ezekiel: "The soul who sins will die... When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die" (18:4, 24). If the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, he will die as a sinner. 

Reasons to Reject "Eternal Security"

Someone will say, "That was under the Old Testament, before Jesus died to save us by His love, blood, and grace." That is very true, but listen to the Holy Spirit in Hebrews 10:26-29: "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" 

This Scripture describes those who "go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth." Not just heard it; not just believed it; they received it. They received Jesus, who is the truth. Even more clearly, it says they were "sanctified." Not just knowing the truth. They were sanctified, cleansed, forgiven, saved. They received Christ and were saved, but later on they willfully sinned. Yes, things are different under the New Testament. The punishment for backsliding Christians is worse than the punishment was for Jews who backslid! "Severer punishment." Why? Because there is no greater love than God giving His only Son to save us by his blood and grace. When a person sins willfully who has been cleansed by the blood of Christ, "there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries." That once-saved person became lost.

Hebrews says, "if we go on sinning willfully." God has given us a will. We do not lose our will when we are born again. Nobody can force me to become a Christian. And nobody can force me to remain a Christian. Not even God. In both cases, it is a matter of choice, of free will. "Let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost" (Rev. 22:17). And, it is still a matter of our will after we are sanctified. Christians can "go on sinning willfully" and look forward to "the fury of a fire," the lake of fire. 

Listen to what the apostle Peter, by the Holy Spirit, says: "For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, 'A dog returns to its own vomit,' and, 'A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire' " (2 Pet. 2:20-22). You cannot escape the pollutions of the world by simply reforming your life. You are still in your sins until Jesus cleanses and saves you. It also speaks of "a sow, after washing." As we sing, true to the Scripture, "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus." So, here are saved people who return to their former life. Are they still saved? On the contrary, "the last state has become worse for them than the first." Ever see a dog lick up its own vomit? Disgusting! That is the picture of a person once-saved-now-lost.

Arguments in Favor of "Eternal Security"
Someone will say, "Once a son, always a son; you may be a bad son, but you are still a son, and your inheritance is secure." But what does the parable of the prodigal son teach? Yes, he was a son and he even received his inheritance from his father. However, he left home. His father did not force him to stay. Some time later, the son woke up spiritually and returned home, confessing his sins. His father received him with great joy. But what was the state of that son before he returned home? Listen to the father: "For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found" (Luke 15:24). Until the son returned home, he was "lost" and "dead." He was still a son, but he was a lost son! 

Someone else will quote what Jesus said on another occasion: "I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand" (John 10:28-29). A wonderful promise of security in Jesus. But did you notice that Jesus did not say that the saved person will not be able to jump out of his hand? Rather, he was saying that no third person will have the power to snatch a saved person from Jesus' hand. Remember when "many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore" (John 6:66)? No one forced them to leave Jesus. But neither did Jesus force them to stay. 

Another person points to the oft-repeated promise of now having eternal or everlasting life, such as 1 John 5:13: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." It does not say that you will get eternal life. It says they "have eternal life," present tense. It is already a possession. I assume anyone would agree that having eternal life and having one's name written in the book of life are two ways of saying the same thing. Now notice Rev. 3:5: "He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life." Overcoming is a condition for not having our name erased from the book of life. You can have your name in the book of life and later have it removed. 

Should I even mention the argument sometimes used when a Christian turns away from Christ? It is said that their later state is proof that they were not saved to begin with. Of course, there is no Scripture to be quoted to uphold this cop-out. On the contrary, the Bible is filled with exhortations for Christians to continue in the way of Christ their entire life. "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life... He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death" (Rev. 2:10-11). "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12). "The gospel... by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain" (1 Cor. 15:1-2). Scripture says we must "hold fast." Otherwise, we believed in vain -- it did us no good to be saved. 

We must not abuse the grace of God: "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11-12). Grace is not license. Grace teaches us to live holy lives. Hebrews has already told us that those who turn back to their sinful life after being saved have "insulted the Spirit of grace." They abuse grace; they do not understand what grace is all about. 

A Vital Point

Before moving on, a very important clarification must be made. This whole matter is not just a question of refuting a false doctrine taught by some churches, whether the teaching be called perseverance of the saints, eternal security, or once-saved-always-saved. This issue is a very personal matter. It must be recognized that there are Christians in churches which reject this doctrine, who yet live as if the doctrine were true. The whole question is not just a matter of teaching sound doctrine; it is a vital personal question of our attitude toward our daily walk with the Lord. 

How Are We Saved in the First Place?

Grace leads to another question. How is grace first applied to our lives? It is one thing to question if a saved person is saved forever. Of at least equal importance, we must ask: How is a person saved in the first place? If a person is not saved in the first place, he/she cannot remain saved. Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus promised: "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16). A few weeks later, the apostle Peter, baptized in the Holy Spirit, told the multitudes: "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). All too often today, these texts are missing from tracts and sermons on salvation. Only verses about faith are quoted, and then people are invited to "pray this prayer." Sad to say, much of the religious world has emptied baptism of its true significance and has substituted a prayer as being the moment sins are forgiven. 

All too often, sinners are promised that via a prayer for salvation they are saved and will never be lost. But we must ask, "Where in the Bible do we find a lost sinner receiving salvation through prayer?" 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins." But this promise is addressed to Christians, not to sinners. As for the salvation of sinners, the case of Saul of Tarsus (Paul) is extremely instructive. He had a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus, but he was not saved there. Rather, when Paul asked Jesus what he should do, the Lord replied: "Get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do" (Acts 9:6). In Damascus, he prayed and fasted for three days, but he was not yet saved. Rather, the Lord sent Ananias to him (Acts 9:9-16). When Ananias came to Paul, among other things, he exhorted him, "Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name" (Acts 22:16). Call on the Lord, yes -- at baptism. Having a vision of Jesus did not save Paul. Prayer and fasting did not save Paul. Paul's sins were not washed away until he was baptized, calling on the Lord. Can it be any different with you and me?

Two false promises wrapped up together. People are promised salvation through a prayer, and they are promised that after the prayer they can never be lost. It is time for people to open their Bible -- all of it, not just a favorite verse -- and find out for themselves what God really promises us. It is time to become like the Bereans who "received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). 

Study the book of Acts to see what it tells the lost sinner to do about faith (belief), repentance, baptism, and prayer. Study Paul's letters to the churches to see how saved Christians are to live their lives. Nobody can earn salvation. Nobody deserves salvation. But neither can anybody live any way they want to live and still claim the grace of God.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
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GOD DOES NOT HAVE OPINIONS  by steve finnell

God does not have opinions, He only presents facts. (NOTE: The words of Jesus and the apostles were that of God the Father: John 8:28, John 8:26, John 14:10, John 14:24, John 7:16, John 12:49-50, John 14:25-26, John 16:12-15.) NOTE: ALL SCRIPTURES IS INSPIRED BY GOD THE FATHER 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Man's opinions are not from God the Father. God has facts, men have opinions.

GOD'S FACTS: Acts 2:38 Peter replied: "Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NIV Copyright 1974 by New York International Bible Society)

John MacArthur's Opinion:
In Acts 2:38, Peter appears to link forgiveness of sins to baptism. But there are several plausible interpretations of this verse that do not connect forgiveness of sin with baptism. It is possible to translate the Greek preposition eis—”because of,” or “on the basis of,” instead of “for.” It is used in that sense in Matthew 3:11; 12:41; and Luke 11:32.

There is no English translation of the Bible that translates "for," (eis) as "because of," or "on the basis of."

God presents facts, but men have opinions.
     

CHURCH LEADERS AND TRUTH? by steve finnell


The sad fact is that church leaders are often the last people to accept the words of Jesus as the truth.

John 12:42-43 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. (NASB)

Do church leaders today reject the truth because they fear being ostracized and put out of the church? 

John 12:48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him, the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.(NASB)



Men will be judged by the words of Jesus at the last day.

Men will not be judged by the opinions of church leaders. 

Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved....(NASB)

Why do some church leaders deny that you have to believe in order to be saved? Why do church leaders deny that you have to baptized in order to be saved?

They loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God!

1 Corinthians 6:10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.(NASB)

Why do church leaders not teach and preach that unrepentant Christians will not inherit the kingdom of God?

They loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God!

Matthew 4:9 Then Jesus said to him, "Go Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God , and serve Him only.'" (NASB)

Why do church leaders deny that praying to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints is an act of worship? Why do some church leaders claim they do not pray to the Virgin Mary nor to others?

They loved the approval men rather than the approval of God!

     

Sunday, August 21, 2016

THE BATTLE OF QUOTES!  by steve finnell


When it comes to quoting the Bible versus quoting men who do you trust?

Max Lucado Quote:

 3) “What of the ones who die before they have a chance? What if I entrust my soul to Christ and before I can tell anyone or arrange to be baptized, a swarm of killer bees attacks me and I die?”
The answer to this question is found in the character of God. Would a God of love reject an honest heart? No way. Would a God of mercy and kindness condemn any seeking soul? Absolutely not. Having called you and died for you would he cast you away because of a curious sequence of events? Inconceivable. Is it possible for an unbaptized believer to be saved? Yes, definitely. Should every believer be baptized? Yes, definitely.

Jesus Quote:

Mark 16:16 He who believes and has been baptized shall be saved...(NASB)

Bible Quote:

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.(NASB)

Ananias Quote: Acts 22:12-16.....16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.! (NASB)

NOTE: Saul believed three days prior to his baptism. Why was he still in his sins? Because Jesus said "He who believes and has been baptized shall be saved." 

The opinions of men are opinions, but they do not void the word of God.