More on Heaven

No, not moron Heaven (though feel free to make your own jokes about that), but more on Heaven than I noted in the post about the “I went to Heaven and came back” books / movies that contradict each other and the Bible.

Coincidentally enough, today was the last day of studying Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know and our teacher had a great list of Bible verses on Heaven.

Heaven is for real, even though the movie is not.  Read and enjoy!  If you are a Christian this will be your eternal home, so what could be more logical than to learn about it and think about it now?  And if you aren’t a Christian, you should think carefully about where you will spend eternity — because everyone will spend it somewhere, and it will be based on what you say and believe about Jesus.

Matthew 25:34 (ESV)

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)

17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.

Revelation 21:1–8 (ESV)

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:22–27 (ESV)

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 22:1–5 (ESV)

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

1 Peter 3:21–22 (ESV)

21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Luke 22:18 (ESV)

18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

Matthew 6:19–21 (ESV)

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Peter 3:1–13 (ESV)

1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Isaiah 25:8–12 (ESV)

8 He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” 10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trampled down in his place, as straw is trampled down in a dunghill. 11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim, but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride together with the skill of his hands. 12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down, lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.

John 14:2 (ESV)

2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Luke 23:43 (ESV)

43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

1 Corinthians 2:9–10 (ESV)

9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

John 3:13 (ESV)

13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

Matthew 18:10 (ESV)

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Revelation 4:1–11 (ESV)

1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” 9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

2 Corinthians 5:1 (ESV)

1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Hebrews 11:10 (ESV)

10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

Matthew 13:43 (ESV)

43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Psalm 33:6 (ESV)

6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Revelation 5:9 (ESV)

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

Revelation 2:7 (ESV)

7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Matthew 5:8 (ESV)

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Revelation 7:9 (ESV)

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Luke 15:10 (ESV)

10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 10:20 (ESV)

20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Ezekiel 1:25–28 (ESV)

25 And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings. 26 And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. 27 And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Revelation 14:1–3 (ESV)

1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

Luke 20:34–36 (ESV)

34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Matthew 19:21 (ESV)

21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Acts 7:55 (ESV)

55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

 

Repent.

Kevin DeYoung is a terrific pastor who wrote a great piece on repentance: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand.  I encourage you to read it all.  It is a key part of Jesus’ message that is so easy to leave out.

Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

God’s word to the peoples of the world is not only an offer of grace, nor even less simply a call to live rightly, nor even less still a promise to make all our dreams come true if we just have faith. We have not heard all that God wants to say to us unless we have heard his command to repent.

Ezekiel said “Repent and turn from your transgressions” (Ezek. 18:30). John the Baptist said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Jesus said “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Peter said “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). And Paul said God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

Repentance has never been easy. No one likes to be told “Die to yourself. Kill that in you. Admit you are wrong and change.” That’s never been an easy sell. It’s much easier to get a crowd by leaving out the repentance part of faith, but it’s not faithful. It’s not even Christianity. Of course, there is a whole lot more to following Jesus than repentance, but it’s certainly not less. “Repent,” Jesus said, or “you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).

If you don’t repent, you will perish.

His section on how repentance isn’t remorse, embarrassment or apology is important, because we often confuse those things and think we’ve repented.

. . . So regret is easy, embarrassment is easy, and apology is easy. Repentance, on the other hand, is very hard and, therefore, much rarer. Repentance involves two things: a change of mind and a change of behavior.

Repentance means you change your mind. That’s what the Greek word metanoia means– a changed (meta) mind (noia).

You change your mind about yourself: “I am not fundamentally a good person deep down. I am not the center of the universe. I am not the king of the world or even my life.”

You change your mind about sin: “I am responsible for my actions. My past hurts do not excuse my present failings. My offenses against God and against others are not trivial. I do not live or think or feel as I should.”

And you change your mind about God: “He is trustworthy. His word is sure. He is able to forgive and to save. I believe in his Son, Jesus Christ. I owe him my life and my allegiance. He is my King and my Sovereign, and he wants what is best for me. I believe it!”

Repentance is hard because changing someone’s mind is hard. In fact, when we’re dealing with spiritual matters of the heart, God’s the only one who can really change your mind. People are simply not predisposed to say “I was wrong! I was wrong about God and about myself. My whole way of looking at the world has been in error. I want to change.” That’s repentance. And it’s amazing when it happens.

. . .

Repentance also involves a change of behavior. It’s like a train conductor driving his train down the tracks straight for the side of a mountain. It’s one thing for him to realize and admit that his train his going in the wrong direction. It’s another thing to stop the train and it get it going in the opposite direction.

. . .

If we preach a “gospel” with no call to repentance we are preaching something other than the apostolic gospel.

If we knowing allow unconcerned, impenitent sinners into the membership and ministry of the church, we are deceiving their souls and putting ours at risk as well.

If we think people can find a Savior without forsaking their sin, we do not know what sort of Savior Jesus Christ is.

There are few things more important in life than repentance. So important, that Revelation, and the gospels, and the epistles, and the Old Testament make clear that you don’t go to heaven without it.

Please use discernment on all these Heaven books and movies!

It is so sad that people flock to books and movies like “Heaven is for Real.” Please let your friends know how these “I went to Heaven and came back” books are all false. The are un-biblical, anti-biblical and they don’t even agree with each other. If you want to know about Heaven then read the Bible and this: In Light of Eternity by Randy Alcorn. It is a terrific, simple read and thoroughly biblical.

Or least get this FREE booklet by the same author, Heaven: Biblical Answers to Common Questions.  It should be must-reading for anyone reading those other books or seeing the movies.

Please watch and share this:

About all those “I went to Heaven and came back” books . . .

I know these books are popular and have brought comfort to some people, but I encourage discernment in reading anything, and especially popular Christian books.  Here’s a good overview by Phil Johnson about this genre.

Blogger Tim Challies has labeled the genre “Heaven Tourism,” candidly dismissing one bestseller in the category as “pure junk, fiction in the guise of biography, paganism in the guise of Christianity.”  This is not a totally new phenomenon. Various survivors of near-death experiences have been publishing gnostic insights about the afterlife for at least two decades. Betty Eadie’s Embraced by the Light was number one on the New York Times Bestseller List exactly 20 years ago. The success of that book unleashed an onslaught of similar tales, nearly all of them with strong New Age and occult overtones. So psychics and new-agers have been making hay with stories like these for at least two decades.

What’s different about the current crop of afterlife testimonies is that they are being eagerly sought and relentlessly cranked out by evangelical publishers. They are bought and devoured by millions who would describe themselves as born-again Bible-believing Christians. Every book I have named in the above list comes from an ostensibly evangelical source.  . . .

These books are coming out with such frequency that it is virtually impossible to read and review them all. But that shouldn’t even be necessary. No true evangelical ought to be tempted to give such tales any credence whatsoever, no matter how popular they become.

Don’t miss this next point.

One major, obvious problem is that these books don’t even agree with one another. They give contradictory descriptions of heaven and thus cannot possibly have any cumulative long-term effect other than the sowing of confusion and doubt.

But the larger issue is one no authentic believer should miss: the whole premise behind every one of these books is contrary to everything Scripture teaches about heaven.

In an upcoming book dealing with this subject, John MacArthur says,

For anyone who truly believes the biblical record, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that these modern testimonies—with their relentless self-focus and the relatively scant attention they pay to the glory of God—are simply untrue. They are either figments of the human imagination (dreams, hallucinations, false memories, fantasies, and in the worst cases, deliberate lies), or else they are products of demonic deception.

We know this with absolute certainty, because Scripture definitively says that people do not go to heaven and come back: “Who has ascended to heaven and come down?” (Proverbs 30:4). . . .

All three biblical writers who saw heaven and described their visions give comparatively sparse details, but they agree perfectly (Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 1 and 10; Revelation 4-6). They don’t agree with the Burpo-Malarkey version of heaven. Both their intonation and the details they highlight are markedly different. The biblical authors are all fixated on God’s glory, which defines heaven and illuminates everything there. They are overwhelmed, chagrined, petrified, and put to silence by the sheer majesty of God’s holiness. Notably missing from all the biblical accounts are the frivolous features and juvenile attractions that seem to dominate every account of heaven currently on the bestseller lists.

. . .

Evangelical readers’ discernment skills are at an all-time low, and that is why books like these proliferate. Despite the high profile, high sales figures, and high dollar amounts Christian publishers can milk from a trend such as this, it doesn’t bode well for the future of Christian publishing—or for the future of the evangelical movement.

. . .

Some good news:

Spoiler alert: Heaven’s a lot more glorious than any of these current bestsellers suggest.

If you want an outstanding book on Heaven, read In Light of Eternity: Perspectives on Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  It is fairly short and easy to read but thoroughly biblical.

Oh, and the Bible is a good book to read as well.

Hat tip: Sola Sisters

Do you ask yourself questions like this?

Randy Alcorn had a great list of questions to think about in light of eternity.  Everyone spends eternity somewhere.  Don’t let the distractions of the world keep you from the most important questions in life.  See Questions in Light of Heaven – Blog – Eternal Perspective Ministries.

  • Do I daily reflect on my own mortality?
  • Do I daily realize there are only two destinations—Heaven or Hell—and that I and every person I know will go to one or the other?
  • Do I daily remind myself that this world is not my home and that everything in it will burn, leaving behind only what’s eternal?
  • Do I daily recognize that my choices and actions have a direct influence on the world to come?
  • Do I daily realize that my life is being examined by God, the Audience of One, and that the only appraisal of my life that will ultimately matter is his?
  • Do I daily reflect on the fact that my ultimate home will be the New Earth, where I will see God and serve him as a resurrected being in a resurrected human society, where I will overflow with joy and delight in drawing nearer to God by studying him and his creation, and where I will exercise, to God’s glory, dominion over his creation?
Think carefully and often about matters of eternity, because eternity matters.

If you are going to read a book about Heaven, make it “In Light of Eternity”

A friend of mine and I will be teaching In Light of Eternity: Perspectives on Heaven by Randy Alcorn to the High School youth over the next few weeks as part of a study called “Heaven and Hell.  Mostly Heaven.”  I highly recommend this book.  It is very easy to read, chock-full of Bible verses (in context!) and it is likely to change your view of Heaven for the good — and towards a more accurate assessment of it.  He addresses myths that even some Christians hold, such as that Heaven will be boring.

In the mean time, read Randy’s article about some other books on Heaven that appear to be less accurate: “Heaven Is for Real”, “90 Minutes in Heaven”, and other books about visits to Heaven or Hell.

Everyone spends eternity somewhere.  If you are a Christian, you should spend time thinking about your eternal home.  If you aren’t a Christian, you should give this some serious thought.  What could be more important?

Ugh: “Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound”

Sad but true: via StreetFishing: Author: Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound

The majority of Protestants and evangelicals believe that good people and people of other religions can go to heaven, according to author David Campbell.

Campbell, who co-wrote American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, contends that surveys of 3,000 Americans, used to write the book, show that American people of faith, though devout, are very tolerant. So much so that most believers also believe that good people, despite their religious affiliation, can go to heaven.

I wouldn’t describe those people as “tolerant.”  A more accurate term would be “ill-informed,” “wrong,” or even “rebellious.”

The Bible teaches 100+ times that Jesus is the only way to salvation and you can’t flip too many pages in the Old Testament without seeing strong warnings not to worship other gods.  Here is just one of those passages:

1 John 5:12-13 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Those things aren’t what make the claims true, of course.  We have other evidence for that.  But no Christian should ever claim that other paths lead to God.  At best people who say that are “saved and confused.”

Biblical ignorance in the church is appalling, especially on matters as clear and foundational as this.  It isn’t like I’m expecting people to compare and contrast the various views of eschatology (end times).  This is simple “everyone is a sinner, Jesus is the Savior” stuff.  If churches can’t get that right, then why do they exist?

If you are a Christian, please commit to doing everything you can to study more yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Roundup

The next closing ceremony for the Kairos Prison Ministry weekend at the Carol Vance prison in Sugarland, Texas is Sunday, October 10th from 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm.  If you and/or your friends would like to attend, please let me know.  It is a truly unique experience.  If you want to know a little more about prison ministry it is a great way to learn.

A Man from Heaven: How would he spend his money? – Classic thoughts from Spurgeon via Randy Alcorn.  If you are a Christian then your true citizenship is in Heaven.  Does your wallet reflect that?

Suppose any one of you had come from Heaven…Some would be curious to see what his bodily form would be like. They would expect to be dazzled by the radiance of his countenance.

However, we will let that pass. We want to see how he would live. Coming newly from Heaven, how would he act? Oh, sirs, if he came here to do the same as all men do on Earth, only after a heavenly sort, what a father he would be, what a husband, what a brother, what a friend! I would sit down and let him preach this morning, most assuredly; and when he had done preaching, I would go home with him, and have a chat.

I should be very careful to observe what he would do with his wealth. His first thought would be, if he had a shilling, to lay it out for God’s glory. “But,” says one, “I have necessities to buy with my shilling.” So be it, but when you go pray this: “Oh! Lord, help me to lay it out to your glory.” There should be as much piety in buying your necessaries as in going to a place of worship.

. . .

Now think, my brother, you will be in Heaven very soon. Since last year a great number have gone home: before next year many more will have ascended to glory. Sitting up in those celestial seats, how shall we wish that we had lived below?

It will not give any man in Heaven even a moment’s joy to think that he gratified himself while here. It will give him no reflections suitable to the place to remember how much he amassed, how much he left behind to be quarreled over after he was gone; he will say to himself, “I wish I had saved more of my capital by sending it on before me, for what I saved on Earth was lost, but what I spent for God was really laid up where thieves do not break through and steal.”

For the record: Extensive Timeline: Al Qaeda in Pre-War Iraq

Barack v The First Amendment, US 2010 – Don’t you dare criticize the government or health care reform or it will cost you dearly.  Hello?!  ACLU?!  Anybody home?!

Is Planned Parenthood overbilling state and local governments? — People who destroy innocent human beings for a living are capable of theft?  Shocking!  It reminds me of what I tell people when we investigate thefts at work: People who don’t mind stealing also don’t mind lying about stealing.

From my other blog: Terry Jones and theologically Liberal Christians: Birds of a feather? — Well, at least when they claim special revelation from God they are similar.

Oh, please. Planned Parenthood staff get counseling for dead infant found on doorstep? — the moral schizophrenia of pro-abortionists never ceases to amaze me.

. . . why in the world would staff need counseling in the death of a born baby when they routinely abort babies into the 2nd trimester and not to worry, “can still help” mothers pregnant beyond 16 weeks with abortion referrals?

So had the mother of this dead born baby come to the Winston-Salem PP only one day prior for an abortion, the same staff would have helped her get one.

The “counseling was being made available” was a line of bull. I’m confident in actuality PP does not want employees to explore their feelings about dead babies.

If you join the Dropbox file sharing utility (it is free) we both get 250 MB extra (I think that means a total of 2.25 GB for you).  It use this application a lot to share files between computers.  It is also an instant online backup.  Whatever files you save in your Dropbox folder are automatically saved to their server as well.

Progressive church – Hat tip: Biblical Christianity

Chevy Volt

funny pictures-Bad Idea: Agreeing to play a game of Monopoly with Basement Cat for your eternal soul.

Roundup

Friendly reminder: Everyone will spend eternity somewhere.

Do gun-free zones prevent multiple-victim public shootings? – No!  This common sense, people.  You just need to stop and think like a bad guy for about 10 seconds.  Just because people are criminals doesn’t mean they don’t process things through a risk / reward filter. 

“Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.”

The article has a list of MVPSs in Europe. They all occur in gun-free zones, where guns are prohibited by law.

When a government bans guns, the only people who have guns are criminals. And they know that there is no one to stop them when they open fire. That is why violent crime more than doubled in the 4 year period after the UK banned handguns.

Free audio Bibles – you can download the New Testament from the Faith Comes by Hearing site or Podcast it via iTunes. 

Thorough yet concise overview of Pope stuff — “several examples of how many popes acquired their office, the behavior of popes, and the unbiblical teachings of popes . . . the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope . . . questions to ask about the papacy”

How to find a church – Christians need to be in church.  There are remarkably few valid excuses not to do so.  If you can’t find a good church, then find the one that is the least bad and try to improve it.

Study says kids of Lesbians are “healthy” and have “fewer behavior problems” – Well, gee, if a study says it, then it must be true and we should make that the new societal ideal.  Or perhaps there are some other things you should know about the study . . .

Abortion activist complains, "There aren’t enough of us" – of course, the sad and morbidly ironic reply is, “Maybe if you hadn’t pushed for all those abortions . . .”

The sound of ice cream trucks went from being joy-inducing to really annoying 37 years ago.  This would make them more interesting. 

 

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Q&A: How can I be better prepared for evangelism? – read a free chapter of Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, a modernized version of C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Screwtape Letters.  Both are great books.  Here’s a snippet (the writer is a senior demon coaching a junior demon, so everything is backwards):

Let Fletcher be a “good example” until he’s blue in the face—as long as he doesn’t explain the forbidden message. Look around you, Squaltaint, and you’ll see innumerable Christian sludgebags who’ve been good neighbors and model coworkers for decades. But they’ve never actually told those around them what it means to be a Christian. Many of them imagine by now the message has somehow magically gotten across, but of course it hasn’t. Excellent.

Fletcher made the statement to Ryan he’d like to share the gospel with his wife and mother-in-law “when the time is right”? This frightened you, but it can work to our advantage. Don’t let him grasp the Enemy’s notion that evangelism is one beggar telling another where to find bread. Instead, turn evangelism into something more complex or obscure, something that will happen one day, but never today.

Fill him with an irrational dread of bringing up the Carpenter and the forbidden mes sage in conversation. If the vermin analyzed it, they’d be on to us. What else but our efforts could explain why they get so apprehensive about doing for someone what they believe is the biggest favor in the universe—telling them about the Enemy’s plan to save them from hell and give them heaven?

Don’t let Fletcher ask himself why a man from Portland should care about what a man from Chicago thinks of him as they both fly to Philadelphia. Why, when he will never see this man again (unless he accepts the message, in which case he’ll be deeply grateful), should he be so frightened of the man’s rejection? Why would they feel so hesitant about telling people what’s clearly in their best interests? Don’t let the obvious absurdity settle in, or he may catch on it’s we who are playing tricks on his tiny mind, fueling this irrational fear.

Whaling on false teachers in less than 5 minutes! – some productivity tips from my other blog plus some responses to my Super Fans (TM).

OBAMA’S SOCIALIST AGENDA

Is Barack Obama a Socialist? To avoid the question is to avoid personal accountability to our nation, our individual rights, and our freedoms. If Barack Obama is a socialist, the evidence will speak unequivocally, his policies will confirm it implicitly and his stated agenda will answer the question undeniably. Socialism is the government forcibly taking from those who have earned what they have and giving it to others. It crushes initiative, innovation and spirit while fomenting class warfare, racial strife and social welfare as it devours a nation. Heed the words of a statesman: Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. – Winston Churchill

Militant Gays Demand to Donate Risky Blood – as usual, this is about politics and hurt feelings, not helping others.  As noted in Why didn’t the media cover the new CDC study on HIV transmission?, if a communicable, preventable disease rate is 44 times higher for one particular group (gay and bisexual men) that just might be a reason to put some safeguards in place.  Even if testing has improved, can you imagine the impact and lawsuits if tainted blood slipped through?

NAACP Offended at Black Holes: Hears Black Whores – Hallmark’s Hoops and Yo-Yo cards are really funny.  They had a card with an astronomy theme that referenced “black holes” and some thin-skinned, hopelessly political correct professional victims insisted that it said “black whores.”  Yeah, right, another sample from Hallmark’s line of prostitution cards.  Sheesh. Listen to the card yourself at the link and note the context.

From the “I am not making this up” category: Publisher’s Warning Label: That Constitution and Declaration are No Longer Valid Thinking

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I’m experimenting with Dropbox, a free file sharing utility.  If you store anything in your Dropbox folder on your c:\ drive it will be copied to the web for access from any computer.  2GB for free, plus an extra 250 MB for signing up through that link.  Very easy to use.  Handy for sharing files with others or accessing files from remote computers.

Envision Jesus with His disciples. If you cannot picture Him teasing them and laughing with them, you need to reevaluate your understanding of the Incarnation. We need a biblical theology of humor that prepares us for an eternity of celebration and spontaneous laughter.
—Randy Alcorn, from his award-winning book “Heaven”, on whether we will laugh on the New Earth

Hat tip: David

Pro-aborts will really, really hate Pampers’ “Hello baby” iPad app.

Great piece on the 50th anniversary of The Pill by the Other McCain.  Other than the bad health side effects, the rampant increase in venereal diseases and their impact on romance and reproductive capabilities, the increased odds of marrying a loser, missing out on your most fertile years, etc., it was a terrific invention.  Read it all.

Can atheists trust the truth-detecting ability of their own minds? — Not if naturalism is true, because it prizes survival value over truth value.

Reason #87 government should not be trusted with more, let alone what it has: The DMV charges $1 extra if you mail in your registration or $3 extra for doing it online.   Sure, it is much better to drive to the DMW and wait for an hour to be treated by surly employees.  Isn’t that kinda anti-Green of the government to promote more driving?  Any remotely efficient enterprise would encourage online transactions.

Arizona native Stan on illegal immigration — this isn’t as complicated as the ill-informed open borders folks make it out to be.

Great response to the “Los Suns” (Phoenix Suns) who were pandering to the illegal alien / open borders crowd: On May 11th, everyone demand free admittance and free food at the Arizona Suns game.

How would the Arizona Suns react if everyone decided to behave like illegal aliens — and demand everything from the Suns for free.

Do the Suns enforce proper admission procedures at their basketball games?

If so, then they are racists.  They’re Nazis — according to what the illegal aliens and Leftists say.

If the Suns are enforcing their admission policies, and are requiring people to complete paperwork, stand in line, wait their turn, and produce documentation allowing them entry into the stadium, then the Suns are racists…the Suns’ management are Nazis.

How dare they refuse entry to anyone who wants to come in?

How dare they not give free food and beverages to the hungry and thirsty?

Net neutrality is a horrible idea — typical marketing spin by those trying to eliminate competition and increase government control

NYC premiere of movie exposing abortion industry canceled allegedly due to threats — Pro-choicer want the choice to kill innocent human beings but don’t want you to have the choice of what movies to watch.  Please watch this trailer — it is a great overview of the abortion industry.

Ray Comfort and the banana video

While seeking to give an example of the design of the universe, evangelist Ray Comfort mistakenly claimed that bananas were always in their current form.  He later apologized, formally and publicly. 

But many of the New Atheists can’t overlook this apparently unforgivable mistake.  One atheistic site crowed as follows:

The “original” banana was short and stubby and filled with large, hard seeds. It didn’t “fit perfectly in the human hand” and it wasn’t easy to eat. The reason we have the much friendlier bananas of today is that humans cultivated bananas and selectively bred them to the now so familiar form.

That was amusing on a couple levels.  First, he points to the Intelligent Design of the current bananas.  Gotta love that.  Second, he acts like it was common knowledge.  Go give polygraphs to all the New Atheists mocking Ray Comfort and see how many knew about the history of the banana. I’d guess that 99% of them had no idea.

And even if they did know, they are deliberately missing the larger point. Ray was demonstrating the obvious design of the universe. He picked a bad example then apologized for it clearly and publicly. He showed 100 times the class of the New Atheists and demonstrated his integrity at the same time.  But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a wealth of legitimate evidence to point to. 

Oddly, these same atheists are quick to rationalize away the nearly century-long, willfully perpetrated fraud related to Haeckel’s embryos, not to mention other frauds.

Ray Comfort has a terrific site here.  He preaches the Gospel well and isn’t afraid to mention the very real existence of Hell.

Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and a couple hundred thousand not-so-famous people . . .

. . . all died today.  I hope that many of them trusted in Jesus for their salvation before they died, because:

Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment

Their eternal destiny is fixed.  I saw one blogger say he hoped Fawcett was at peace now.  I share that sentiment, but it is a very binary process.  If she didn’t trust in Jesus then her situation is worse than it was yesterday.

Another couple hunded thousand people will die tomorrow.  I pray that they will be ready.  The seriously confused and/or fake Christians will say they are all going to Heaven.  Will the real Christians tell them the truth?

Everyone will spend eternity somewhere.  If you haven’t done so already, today is a great day to repent of your sins and trust in Jesus for forgiveness and eternal salvation.

Side note: Our church did some flood relief after Tropical Storm Allison a few years back.  We did a lot of work at one elderly couple’s house.  They worked for Farrah’s family at some point.  The only picture in their bedroom was an 8×10 of Farrah with a sweet personalized note she wrote to them.  You could tell they treasured it.

Where’s Gandhi?

gandhiI don’t mean that title in the “Where’s Waldo?” sense, rather in the “What are the criteria for the location of Gandhi’s eternal soul?” sense.

Another blogger asked Christians, “Did Gandhi go to Hell because he did not believe in Jesus?” and Rob Bell used an accusation of Gandhi being in Hell as a foundation for his book opposing the doctrine of Hell.

I think the question was slightly misworded.  It isn’t the sin of not believing in Jesus that sends us to Hell.  It is all the other sins against God that send us there.  The only way out is through faith in Jesus.  If we ignore that pardon we are on our own.

Gandhi sinned against a perfect and holy God many times and those sins must be paid for. Good deeds do not wipe out sins in God’s economy.  Gandhi either repented and believed in Jesus or he didn’t . If he did, then Gandhi’s sins were transferred to Jesus’ account and Jesus’ perfect righteousness was transferred to Gandhi’s. Gandhi would be in Heaven.

If Gandhi did not repent and believe in Jesus then he would be in Hell as punishment for his own sins.

Yes, some people will people cry, “Not fair!,” but they don’t understand fairness. Fairness would be if we all got what we deserved and no one received grace.  Grace, by definition, is not fair.  Grace is what distinguishes Christianity from all other belief systems.

What was disappointing but not surprising about the comment thread were the responses of others, including those who claimed to be Christians.  They provide opinions about what God should do and ignore or misinterpret scripture.  It is like, “Uh, that’s nice, but what does the Bible say?”

I’m a Cristian (well actually an Episcapalien) and I don’t believe in hell.

Jesus believed that Hell was real and spoke of it more often than He spoke of Heaven.  I wonder where this Episcopalian draws his conclusions about Jesus?

Then there was this straw man argument:

If we as Christians focus more on who is going to Hell rather than how to do God’s will, then we do not share Jesus’ views at all.

That assumes that teaching the doctrine of Hell means you are doing it at the expense of the rest of God’s will or that teaching it would not be God’s will.  Was Jesus violating the Father’s will when He taught of Hell?

I am certain that God would not turn his back on this remarkable man just because he happened to have been born and raised in a predominantly Hindu culture.

That is a teaching foreign to the Bible.

If Gandhi is in hell, I don’t want to go to heaven.

That is a common misconception.  Hell is not a party of unrepentent sinners.  So many people go to incredible lengths to optimize every little bit of our tempory comforts in this life yet blithely dismiss an eternity in Hell.

If you think that people go to heaven just because they say they believe in Jesus, then YOU’ve missed the point of the Bible, Neil.

My response: Not to nitpick, but people go to Heaven because they do believe in Jesus, not because they say they do.  The Bible teaches that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Are you claiming that Gandhi never sinned?  Do you realize how judgmental you are being? Insisting that someone is in Heaven requires just as much judging as saying someone is not in Heaven. Please re-read the comments carefully and note that I never claimed I knew where Gandhi is. I merely noted what the Bible teaches. You are playing God and insisting that you know where Gandhi is, and implying that if he is not in Heaven that the real God is somehow unfair.

I want to emphasize what so many universalists and people like the commenter in question don’t seem to notice: Insisting that someone is in Heaven requires just as much judging as saying someone is not in Heaven.

Then the commenter said how I was being self-righteous, to which I replied, “But considering that my theme has been that we need Jesus’ righteousness to be saved and can’t be righteous enough on our own, I find it odd that you would say I’m being self-righteous.”

So where’s Gandhi?  It depends on where his faith was placed.

Judging is a two-way street

Only God truly knows the condition of someone’s heart.  People get mighty upset if a person’s professed Christianity is questioned.  Some of that is justified, but they miss a larger point: Many people will insist that someone is saved and not realize they are being just as judgmental.

Think about it: Claiming that someone isn’t saved implies that you know their heart.  But claiming someone is saved implies the same thing.  So a little consistency should be in order. 

By the way, despite myths to the contrary, Jesus never said not to judge.  He said not to judge hypocritically.

Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:16-20 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

He tells us to judge, but it isn’t easy or perfectly accurate. 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Christians are in a constant process of maturing, so we should not expect people to all be at the same stage.  But if they claim to be Christ-followers yet deny his teachings, have no interest in viewing the world and the Bible as He does, pick and choose the parts of the Bible they like, ignore correction and teach the opposite of what the Bible does on many issues, then what conclusions should you draw? 

There really is no way around making judgments.  The questions are whether they are well informed and what we do with them. 

Exploring Christianity – Part 4 – Hell

Welcome to visitors from the evolution site!  Thanks for the link.  Be sure to read all of this.  Deep down you know that you’ll be accountable to your creator for your countless sins.  You can pay for them yourself for eternity or trust in what Jesus did for you on the cross. The evidence is clear: He lived, died and rose again.  Eternity is mighty long time.  Don’t let your foolish pride get in the way.

Also, feel free to view any of the apologetics links to the right.

Be sure to read the commenting policy before commenting.  We have several atheists who comment here regularly and we have friendly discussions.  But I’m not really interested in addressing an endless stream of fallacies from the Big Book of Atheist Sound Bites.  Life’s too short to re-hash those ad nauseum.

And remember, even if your definition of evolution is  true (when you aren’t busy equivocating on the term) it doesn’t prove there is no God.  And even if it is true then evolution is 100% to blame for our concept of Hell, my change from atheism to Christianity, everything I write here, etc.  Where else would it have come from?  So any “pride” you feel is completely irrational, and, ironically enough, your concept of rationality is irrational.  Your worldview provides nothing to ground it.

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See below to see the latest installment of my friend Nicholas’ interview with me about Christianity or click here for the whole thing.

Nicholas wrote: What happens to those who, through no fault of their own, never experience the Gospel of Christ?  Have entire populations been hell-bound from birth having never had a chance to experience the Bible?

That is a difficult and important question that many Christians wrestle with, including me.   I can explain my theological views but still wonder on occasion exactly how it plays out in real life.  I’ll lay out what I see as the Biblical, orthodox case while conceding that some Christians take a different view.  I’ll be wordy, as usual, and come at it from a clinical standpoint then from a couple other angles.

Once I became a Christian I kept thinking about how I had rejected the Gospel for so many years even with all the advantages I had – growing up with Christian parents, going to church, having a Christian wife and living in a country with religious freedom.  (I didn’t commit my life to Christ until my late 20’s).  Why did I get so many chances when others may not hear the Gospel at all?  Then it hit me one day: That’s why it is called grace. I didn’t deserve anything from God, regardless of when and how I came to believe.  No one else deserves it either, though in our human reasoning we may rationalize that we do.  We deserve judgment.  God is merciful in not judging us immediately.  Grace is unmerited favor.

It is important to point out something basic to ground the discussion: A righteous, ethical judge has no moral obligation to pardon a guilty and justly convicted person. God is a perfect and righteous judge.  He is the epitome of love and mercy, but He is also perfectly Holy and He loves justice.  We are all sinners in thoughts, words, actions and lack of good actions.  Just 10 sins per day for 50 years would add up to 182,500 sins.  Now what righteous judge could overlook that?

So how does the Bible address this?  Chapters 1-3 of the book of Romans (as well as the rest of the book) lay out much of the reasoning.  In Romans 1 we see some of the most important “big picture” passages in the Bible, showing how God reveals himself to us in his creation:

Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

So in that passage and others the Bible teaches that God has made his existence plain to us and that we are “without excuse.”  If anyone thinks they’ll stand before God and deny that He revealed himself to them in creation they are mistaken.  So every person in every culture for all time has had the light of creation.  Still, countless people reject the existence of God or make up their own gods.

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