Combing the Net – 1/18/2011

Racial Justice and the Goodness of God — Didn’t see this in time to get it up for MLK Day, but Russell Moore delivers another great article on one of the biggest social issues of our time.

Abortion: The Lie That Keeps on Hurting — I don’t think we can ever say too much about the evils of abortion. It destroys not only the lives of pre-born children, but of mothers, fathers, families, and communities. I encourage you to also click over to see Del Tackett’s Cross Examine episode addressing Post-Abortive Syndrome.

Counterfeit Bonhoeffer — Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the best books of 2010, but now Tim Challies points out conflicting research that alleges that the book’s portrayal of the German martyr was not accurate.

20 Lessons from the Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones — “The Doctor” is quickly becoming one of my favorite figures from the last century. I recently reviewed one of his books here. Adrian Warnock provides us with a list of lessons that can be learned from observing  the life of a great Christian leader (Hebrews 13:7).

Great NHL Commercials — The Boston Bruins have been turning out some hilarious commercials lately! Here is another one.

This might be one of the best/worst examples of how horribly wrong things can go when people mix church and politics… but I still couldn’t stop watching it!

Because I subjected you to that, I’ll leave you with this. You’re welcome!

The Divine Hesitation

Nothing new from me today, but I do want to pass along links to a series of short blogs written last week by Dr. Del Tackett, President of the Focus On the Family Institute, and creator/teacher of The Truth Project. I should point out that, although I had read his Gethsemane entry on Thursday, I hadn’t checked back on his blog until today to see that there was more to his series! I tell you this because we had a lot of similar thoughts regarding Easter (though he is the vastly superior writer), and I didn’t want anyone to accuse me of plagiarism! Anyway, he’s a great teacher, and you should check out His 3-part series when you have the chance.


Agony in the Oil Press – Part I

Agony in the Oil Press, Cont. – Part II

Then Came the Morning! – Part III

Two Words That Will Change Your Life

Allow me to indulge briefly in a short lesson in etymology. The following definition is courtesy of The Random House Dictionary, © 2009.

skeptic [skep-tik]noun

  1. a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual
  2. a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others
  3. a person who doubts the truth of a religion, esp. Christianity, or of important elements of it
  4. (initial capital letter) Philosophy
    a. a member of a philosophical school of ancient Greece, the earliest group of which consisted of Pyrrho and his followers, who maintained that real knowledge of things is impossible
    b. any later thinker who doubts or questions the possibility of real knowledge of any kind
  5. Synonyms: Atheist, doubter
  6. Antonyms: believer

And now, the same word, as defined by Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary:

SCEP’TIC, n.

  1. One who doubts the truth and reality of any principle or system of principles or doctrines. In philosophy, a Pyrrhonist or follower of Pyrrho, the founder of a sect of sceptical philosophers, who maintained that no certain inferences can be drawn from the reports of the senses, and who therefore doubted of every thing.
  2. In theology, a person who doubts the existence and perfections of God, or the truth of revelation; one who disbelieves the divine original of the christian religion.

“Suffer not your faith to be shaken by the sophistries of sceptics.” ~ S. Clarke

This word is taken originally from the Latin scepticus, meaning “thoughtful, inquiring”, which in turn derived from the Greek skepsesthai, meaning “to consider, examine, observe”. Isn’t it interesting how a word’s definition changes — one might even say “evolves” — over time? I have always believed that words hold immense power, and my recent experiences with Dr. Del Tackett’s “Truth Project” have only furthered that belief.

Is it not revealing that Atheists now use the word “skeptical” to describe themselves? That a word that once meant “thoughtful” now means “doubt” or even disbelief in the very idea of Truth? This is quite a different connotation! The subtle implication is that those who are thoughtful and carefully examine or question the truthfulness of Scripture are Atheists, which just adds to the common perception that Christianity is “anti-intellect”. In reality, given the original meaning of the word, Christians ought to be the most skeptical in regards to what we hear and read. The writer of Acts praised the Bereans, who “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

Ours is not a blind faith. Neither is it a faith which is beyond questioning. Rather, it is a faith that is strengthened when we examine the Sciptures to see if what the Bible says is true actually matches up with reality — because it absolutely DOES, and God’s Word will prove itself EVERY time!

There is one question, however, that is perhaps the most essential question that a human being could ever ask: WHAT IF?

What if there really is a God, and He really loves me? What if the Bible really is God’s Word? What if I really do have a Creator who holds me to a standard to which I can never attain? What if Jesus really died on the cross as penalty for my sins? What if He really rose from the dead?

The consequences of the answers to these questions are immense, both to believers and to the lost.

What if those of us who have believed in the name Jesus really and truly believed all those things, and evidenced them with our lives, rather than just our words? Would it change the way we live? I know that if I REALLY believed that when I am angry with someone or speak ill of him I am guilty of murder; that when I look at a woman who is not my wife and dwell on that thought for even a moment I have committed adultery; that nothing I “own” really belongs to me; that everyone I meet is an eternal being and will spend eternity either in Heaven or in Hell… my life would look radically different.

Christians, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

But if you are an Atheist — a true Skeptic — then you owe it to yourself to ask yourself the question of what if? You owe it to yourself to spend just a couple hours of your life investigating the Truth claims of Christianity. After all, what are a few hours in the context of eternity?

I urge you — whoever and wherever you are — to do whatever it takes to be in a Bible-believing and preaching local fellowship this Sunday morning, for this is the day set aside to celebrate our RISEN Savior’s victory over death! Without Easter, our faith is nothing, but the empty grave is everything! Do yourself the favor of allowing yourself to believe, if only for a couple hours, the possibility that the too-Good-to-be-true News of Christ really is True!

For those in Cookeville, I invite you to Stevens Street Baptist Church this Sunday, at 9:00 or 10:30 a.m. If you are skeptical, we invite your questions eagerly! You WILL find the Truth here! Come as you are, don’t worry about whether or not you know the words to the songs, and simply be open to the possibility that God will completely and radically change your life. You won’t regret it.

Thanks to SSBC member Dustin Rawls for putting this video together!