Hebrews 6:9-12

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 27, 2021 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” -Hebrews 6:9-12

In the previous section of this letter, the author gave warnings to his audience against falling away from the Christian faith. Fortunately, here he believes that this will not be the case for them, although being warned is still appropriate.

Addressing his audience as loved ones (“dear friends” in the NIV quoted above) in verse 9 shows that the author does at least have some idea of the people he is writing to. This is a prime example of speaking the truth in love – he dealt them some hard truth but did it all out of love and concern for them. He is convinced that they are better than those he warned them about. The warnings of falling away from the faith probably don’t apply to these believers; but they should still be warned, just in case.

The author states that his readers do know “the things that have to do with salvation.” This is both a warning to make sure that is true for them, and it’s a commendation that they have matured in their faith enough to know the basic truth of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Why is the author so confident that his readers won’t fall away from the faith? He sees the evidence of their faith as stated in verse 10. God’s character is that He is perfectly just; He will deal fairly with all people. If these believers have truly matured in their faith as the author suspects, God will treat them accordingly and not forget what they have done.

This is not to say that they will be saved by their works, but that their works are evidence of their faith (as in James 2:14-26). These believers have shown their love for God by how they have helped and continue to help God’s people. These believers have served others in the past and they keep serving others out of their love for God. They’re demonstrating that loving others shows a true love for God. This is the same idea we see in 1 John 4:19-21:

“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

In verse 11, the author continues to show his concern for this group of believers. He expresses his strong desire that the people continue to live in this way for their entire lives – “show this same diligence to the very end.” In the same vein as previously when he stated that a person must continually grow and mature in their faith, they must also continue to do the works that are the outward evidence of that faith; anything else would be the same idea as backsliding in their faith. Now, that does not mean that if you begin doing one particular work of service to a fellow believer, you have to continue that forever. But it does mean that our level of commitment to serving our fellow believers out of love for God should continue to increase as we mature in our faith, even if the specific details and methods of that change over time as God calls us to different things.

The hope of all believers is that we will one day live forever with God in heaven. When we have faith, this is not an uncertain hope but a certain one. It’s not something that may or may not happen, but we have complete assurance that our hope will be fulfilled in this way. This hope is the entire point of the Christian faith - that one day our lives will be completely consumed with giving God the glory that He is due.

The author gives one more warning in verse 12 that they do not become lazy. This goes along with the idea in verses 10-11 that they should continue to be diligent in serving those around them out of love for God. Becoming lazy would be the opposite of this. Instead, they should imitate others who are living a life for God and who will receive that perfect inheritance of eternal life. The verb used here for “inherit” has the idea of having a certain possession of something; again, this is not an uncertain thing but a certain one.

Note the triune ideas of faith, hope, and love in this passage. We see faith in verse 12, hope in verse 11, and love in verse 10. This is reminiscent of the end of the “love passage” in 1 Corinthians 13. Verse 13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” That is what our Christian life is all about – because of God’s love for us and our love for Him, we have a certain hope for our future because of our faith.

What examples of faith, hope, and love do you have in your life? Look to those around you and see who is living out the ideas of this passage – serving others out of love for God and maturing in their faith – and imitate those actions you see in their lives, just as the author of Hebrews is encouraging his readers to do.

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Apologetics 8: Teach that Repentance May Be Found

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 24, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
~2 Timothy 2:24-26

Last week, I spoke about the mindset of those caught in error according to Paul in this passage. Let me remind you: 1) They don’t know the truth. 2) They are not thinking straight. 3) They were ensnared by the devil. 4) They are recruited to doing the devil’s will. To break this, Paul gives instructions for the apologist to be gentle, able to teach, patient, and to correct in humility. When we do this, God may grant the person repentance so they can know the truth, come to their senses, and be freed from the devil. I want to emphasize on repentance here and what this looks like. This is the phrase that leapt out to me in this passage, and it is the key to the whole thing: “if God perhaps will grant them repentance.”

There is often a debate about repentance in the church. Is repentance a work or a fruit? This verse actually offers a third option: a gift. I will argue that it’s all three. It is something we do; repentance is a choice we make that we will cease doing that which is sinful, abandoning it, and then start doing the right thing in its stead. But there is more to it than that. Repentance is also a fruit. A person who is saved and born again will bear repentance as a lifestyle. But above all, repentance is a gift. It is something that God gives us. It still must be appropriated by us. There still must be action on our part to do it, but it all starts with God giving it to us.

That said, there is a subtle warning here: “if God perhaps…” There is no promise that if we are gentle, if we teach, if we are patient, and if we are humble, the person is going to be saved. Look at Samuel. He was all these things before King Saul, and Saul never repented. God had rejected him. This is a humbling reminder that we cannot and will not “argue” anyone into the kingdom. We must present the truth, but it is ultimately God who chooses whom He will save or not. That said, salvation comes from believing, and how can they believe if they do not hear, and how will they hear unless there is a preacher, and who will preach unless sent? God will save despite our shortcomings and our failures, but we are still commanded to go. But this means that if the person doesn’t receive our message, that failure isn’t on our part. The person is still responsible for listening to the truth and responding to it.

So, what should repentance look like? I’m not going to talk about individual repentance from specific sins here. For most of my audience, that’s “common knowledge.” In dealing with apologetics and this passage, repentance is talking about a “returning to your senses,” “to think clearly,” or in other words “to have your worldview filters changed out and fixed.” I am going to showcase what repentance does NOT look like, then I will show you what it DOES look like.

When we repent of false thinking, it does NOT look like adding the truth to your previously established worldview. When it comes to origins, this seems to be the first thing people do. They start out as atheists or pure Evolutionists, then they discover God is indeed real, whether they are authentically saved or not. But instead of abandoning the worldview of Evolution that for all practical purposes is atheistic in nature, they just add “God” to their models, and that’s how the Old Earth models were developed. Many people go through “Old Earth Creation” models in their path to sanctification, but as God grants them more repentance, they realize they can’t stay there any longer and completely abandon their former way of thinking.

Todd White is a guy I’m going to bring up again later on, but in July 2020, he preached a sermon that caught a lot of attention, when he discovered that you can’t go about witnessing to people by saying they are blessed without ever addressing their sin problem. He had been doing this for 16 years and admitted he had been doing it wrong this whole time after he “discovered” Charles Spurgeon and Ray Comfort. White proclaimed he repented several times in that sermon. But then some people called out to him to showcase true repentance by abandoning what he was repenting from and leaving that former lifestyle and way of thinking. The next week, he preached the most narcissistic message I have ever heard from a pulpit and doubled down on staying his course. All he was going to do was add the truth he learned from Spurgeon and Comfort to his agenda. That is not repentance. It actually makes him a far more dangerous false teacher because he’s closer to the truth, without having it.

Repentance doesn’t merely abandon the former way of thinking. It also abandons all the children of the former way of thinking. I picked up this notion from Don Richardson in Eternity in Their Hearts in his chapter on “Strange Ideas,” namely Evolutionary thinking. He noted that many scientists today no longer believe specifically what Darwin taught, but they did not by any means abandon the line of thinking he got rolling. In my observations, the modern geologic paradigm is that all geology must follow the lens of uniformitarianism as made popular by Hutton and Lyell. This was strictly taught until 1980 when Mt. St. Helens erupted. Canyons were carved in days, and landscapes were changed in an instant. The uniformitarians lost their fundamental and foundational claim in an instant. But that didn’t stop them. Still adamant to deny Noah’s Flood, they just tweaked the models and say they now understand that local catastrophes can occur. They really didn’t depart from Lyell’s models, all the while claiming they no longer teach what he taught. They just tweaked Lyell’s models. And in practice, local catastrophes are only invoked when the uniformitarian principles don’t work, and again, Noah’s Flood being the primary catastrophe is still out of the picture prior to analysis. That’s not repentance from error.

True repentance completely abandons the former way of thinking. Now, this may take place over time. Sometimes you have to draw poison from a would as opposed to completely neutralizing it. Very often this kind of repentance requires multiple steps. And to be honest, it never will be fully realized on this side of the veil. There will always be a tendency to go back to it because of sinful old habits. On a rare occasion, God will instantly deliver someone, but most of the time it takes time. We must give grace and look for when God is working on such a person. That doesn’t mean we let error slide, but we recognize that they are a work in progress just like we are. We who have the truth need to show what living in the truth looks like. And one of the problems we have is when we have found truth, we can it, sit on the can, and then poison the rest from getting to it. Instead, we need to open up the truth and share it around, including to those who reject it.

Next week, we’ll look at how truth will set a mind free in detail and how that leads to someone coming to their senses.

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The Problem: Reformed Preaching

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 21, 2021 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

To start this post off, I want to lay out some pre-understandings:

  • I am a Reformist (more commonly referred to as Calvinist)
  • This is not attacking anyone or a theology
  • Ecclesiastes 3 makes it clear there’s a time for everything

What I want to address is how most reformed preachers deliver their messages. I’m talking about the Voddie Bauchums, Paul Washers, even R.C. Sproul. I covered the T.U.L.I.P. theology of Reformation before, and the foundation of Reformed theology is applicable, but I sense that how we should be giving the gospel to people has been lost.

It's Not Up To Us

We aren’t called to try and save people; that is God’s job. The only task God gave us was to make disciples to the ends of the Earth (Matthew 28:16-20). Nothing there says we need to add flavor to the Word. Why is it, then, that we do it?

Stop Pointing Out Sin

“Woah! What?!”

No, I’m not saying we should be “progressive.” But realistically, do we need to tell a homosexual, rapist, etc. that their deed is sinful and they will go to hell if they don’t repent?

I have started calling this John-ism because John the Baptist had this demeanor about him. We can then also look at where that got him (Matthew 14:1-13).

The objective here is to understand when we should call people out on their sins and when we should love them despite their sins.

This is one thing that drove me crazy as well when I first became a Christian. Everyone would say “be loving,” but no one could define “loving,” so let's do that. To be loving to someone:

  • We must make sure our conversations with them are calm.
  • Do not accuse them of their actions.
  • Tell them we love them enough to help them with their struggles (best not to lie if you aren’t willing to commit, though).
  • Less talking, more listening.
  • Be like Jesus at the well to the Samaritan woman (John 4).

There’s a song I discovered recently called “Dear Mr. Christian” (stylized that way) that I feel addresses this perfectly in the chorus. It is Christian hip-hop so if that’s not your cup of tea I’ll cut to the point of the song: we as Christians as a whole are prone to point fingers and chastise instead of listen.

Remove You

Many street preachers like Ray Comfort love to give people the “Good Person Test.” Why?

This ties into “Stop Pointing Out Sin” but deserves its own area too. While there’s a time and place to address sin, a first meeting with them is typically not that time or place. If our goal is to go and make disciples, we should do so as Jesus did. How did Jesus then approach Simon Peter and Saul? Jesus didn’t start off by telling Simon that he was focusing on himself instead of others or Saul that he was a murderer.

For Simon, Jesus simply told him to cast his net out again and to follow him (Luke 5:1-11). With Saul, Jesus asked why the persecution but then quickly told him to follow His instructions (Acts 9:1-6). We can argue that asking why Saul was persecuting is the same as calling him a murderer, but even still, Jesus didn’t say to him “You’re a murderer, repent!” Instead He essentially asks, “Why are you hurting me?”

So then what can we do? I personally don’t see value in street preaching and telling everyone they’re “lying, thieving, adulterers at heart” as people like Ray Comfort will inform everyone, especially for those who have never read the Bible. Instead, we need to again look at how Jesus handled the situation.

The Pharisees got more blunt comments made towards them because they knew the law and defiled God’s instructions. They were the ones called to uphold the moral laws God gave, and yet they twisted them and added to them to please themselves. This is about the same as seeing an elder from your church chugging beers at a rave party every weekend. The expectation would be that you address their drunkard sin and raise the matter appropriately.

As referenced previously, the woman at the well (John 4:1-30) is a good example of how Jesus can walk us through those who haven’t heard the gospel. He didn’t ignore the sins she was carrying (like multiple marriages). The focus was more on what she can do about it versus the depravity of her spirit. Before he got to her sins though, he simply developed a conversation with her and showed compassion.

Start Living Like Jesus

No, I’m not saying to start saying you are Jesus, but we are called to model our Savior and Lord. So then why aren’t we?

I remember when I started exploring the Internet for Christian theology, I stumbled on a forum that touted itself as Christian-focused. While I don’t remember the specifics, what I can recall is mentioning to a poster that we are to live as much as possible as Jesus did (i.e.: Philippians 2:5-8; John 13:14-15; Ephesians 5:2). The response was basically, “Stop talking heresy to me!” I am not saying Reformist or Arminian teachers aren’t living like Jesus, but we need to pay extra attention to their words and watch their actions.

I’ll drive this point home with one more illustration. There’s an organization called End Abortion Now, created and led by Jeff Durbin who is a popular Calvinist. Their overall approach to ending abortion is to go to Planned Parenthood buildings with picket signs and a megaphone, talking about how Planned Parenthood murders babies.

While there are legal and biblical foundations to this claim, just how loving is this to those they are trying to save? They do save babies and they have shown proof of that, but how many more could be saved if they talked with the mothers and fathers about why they’re doing this instead of immediately blaming them? Some are done for selfish reasons like a Pharisee, but others are done out of fear, ignorance, or weakness.

Whether it's Reformed teaching or not, the important piece to always think about in anything you hear, read, or see is “Is this Biblical?” There’s good intentions in many things mankind does (or doesn’t do). That in itself, however, doesn’t make it Biblical or Christ-like. There is a reason why Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Hebrews 6:4-8

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 20, 2021 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.” -Hebrews 6:4-8

In the last few sections of the letter, the author of Hebrews has been talking about maturing in the Christian faith – moving from “milk” to “solid food,” keeping the foundations of the elementary teachings and building on them rather than staying stagnant or backsliding in our faith. Here in this passage, he continues this idea and shows how serious it is to not make progress in our faith.

What does verse 4 mean when it says “those who have once been enlightened”? In the second century, the Church would use this same verb to refer to baptism. But that usage is not seen in the first century when Hebrews likely would have been written. Instead, a better interpretation is to simply mean coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is called “the light of the world” in passages such as John 8:12 and 2 Corinthians 4:6. Being enlightened is to believe that Jesus truly is the light of the world and our Savior.

What is “the heavenly gift” in the next phrase? This does not have a clear meaning in Scripture. It could refer to Holy Communion based on the verb “tasted” used with it, but that verb can also be used in a figurative sense as in Psalm 34:8. This phrase does clearly mean some good gift that comes from God, so this could refer to God’s grace or the gift of salvation that we can receive. It could even mean receiving the gift of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, especially with the phrase “who have shared in the Holy Spirit” following it.

Verse 5 continues to describe those who have been enlightened. They have “tasted the goodness of the word of God.” They are the ones who have heard the gospel message and received it into their lives. The word of God can also refer to the entire Bible, as all words that we receive from God are good. It can also refer to Jesus – these people have experienced the goodness of Jesus in their lives, whether in person for those in the early Church or through faith in His salvation.

Finally, these people have also experienced “the powers of the coming age.” Again, this is a phrase that is not clearly defined. It may refer to how the people of Israel looked forward to the time period when the Messiah would come and the power that He would bring, but this was written after Jesus’ death and resurrection so that age would no longer be “coming.” But perhaps the power referred to is that of the Holy Spirit, which they may have believed was not yet fully realized in their lives.

In verse 6, the author talks about those “who have fallen away.” The verb here is only found in this location in the New Testament, but its meaning is clear: those who were among the followers of Jesus but are no longer following Him. The writer is saying that it is impossible for these people to repent, that is to turn back completely to following Jesus. He doesn’t say that they can’t be forgiven but that they are no longer able to fully embrace and live the Christian life once they have experienced it then turned away from it. When people do this, it is like they’re crucifying Jesus all over again; they once regarded Him as their savior but then they put that idea to death in their own hearts.

There has been much discussion regarding this passage among scholars. Some believe it refers to genuine believers who then fall away, that they may never come back; but this doesn’t agree with other New Testament passages that say that no one can take Jesus’ followers away from Him (see John 6:37 and John 10:27-29). Others believe this passage is a hypothetical situation that may not have actually happened. Or, perhaps these believers who fell away were not genuine believers in the first place. But the point is that when we profess faith in Jesus Christ, that is not something we should turn from lightly!

Verses 7-8 turn to an agricultural metaphor for this. The land can’t produce a crop by itself; it needs the rain to do so. We as humans cannot come to faith on our own, but we need the Holy Spirit in our lives. The land that produces good crop is a believer who is genuine in his or her faith, whereas the land that produces thorns and thistles is a person who does not have faith in Jesus. Those who do not show evidence of a genuine faith in Christ are more likely to be those who are simply going through the motions, and they are not truly followers of Jesus.

Where is your faith? Have you been enlightened by the word of God? Have you tasted God’s goodness in your life? Have you experienced repentance? If so, do not fall away from that! Keep moving forward and growing and maturing in your faith. Continue to dig into God’s Word and help your field to produce good crops; do not give up that practice and fall away from this true faith that you have received. If you have not yet experienced this enlightenment to faith, contact a Christian friend, a pastor, or us here at Worldview Warriors and we’ll help you get on the right path to tasting the goodness of God in your life!

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Apologetics 7: Why Are the Lost “Lost”?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 17, 2021 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
~2 Timothy 2:24-26

Last week, I introduced this passage. Today, I want to emphasize the characteristics of the lost according to this passage. One of my great struggles in being an intellectually wired person is that I often operate in a way that through intellectual means, I can win someone over to the truth. There are people who have come to Christ that way, including Josh McDowell and Voddie Baucham. However, behind the scenes, there was something else going on. God was going a supernatural work that wasn’t going to happen through intellectual means alone. God was delivering them. But from what?

Verses 25-26 state that these people do not know the truth, they are not thinking clearly, and they have been taken captive by the devil to do his will. This is a critical thing for us to understand. In the many testimonies I have heard of people going into or out of a false teaching, I have noticed two things: those who leave the truth and go to something else all but invariably do so through education or ‘enlightenment.’ But those who come out of any of the false ideas and land in the truth tend to describe the process in terms of deliverance, freedom, or a fog being lifted. I have stated this numerous times in showcasing why the Bible must be true, but I haven’t truly let that fact sink into me, because it shows something serious: that this is a spiritual issue, not a mere intellectual discussion. This observation is seen among most if not all false teachings. Those who went into them do so because of education or enlightenment. Those who come out do so with clear minds and speak in terms of deliverance.

Paul describes four aspects of a person in doctrinal error. I will quickly address each here but then delve much deeper into them in the next few posts.

1) They do not know the truth – not merely on a factual basis but on a complete worldview basis. They do not have the correct standard by which to test any statement for validity. Paul calls for us to treat these people gently so that God may grant them repentance so that they may know the truth. If God has to grant them repentance so they may know the truth, that means they don’t have the truth now. No one believes what they believe if they know it is a lie, unless the truth is so repulsive to them that they refuse to go there. Those in doctrinal error do believe they are right. They deceive themselves with all sorts of stories of how they are right So we must, in humility, correct them so they may see the truth. You will see two responses to this: total embracing of the truth or virulent rejection of it. Far better that someone reject the truth knowing what they are rejecting than to embrace a falsehood thinking it’s true.

2) They are not thinking straight. Paul says here those who believe lies are corrected, come to repentance, and will come to their senses. If you look at our culture today, we are looking at pure and total insanity. We are seeing precisely what Paul meant in Romans 1 about God handing people over to a “reprobate” or “depraved” mind. Paul calls for us to correct and teach those in error so that they may come to repentance and as a result have their minds cleared so they can think straight. But this is a biggie: this is a gift from God, not something they can conjure up on their own. This is why Christians and non-Christians keep talking past each other. We literally do not think with the same dictionaries and vocabulary. And Christians who have not had their thinking renewed yet because they are still holding onto the world’s ideas won’t hear it either. I keep having battles with other Christians and they simply cannot think clearly at all about certain topics. Hey, there may be topics where I can’t think clearly either because in that field, my mind hasn’t been renewed yet. Let’s not forget about Paul in this case either. He persecuted the earliest Christians. But why? Paul said he was stubborn, arrogant, and ignorant. He was an intellectual that you would never be able to reason through. Yet through a supernatural encounter with the risen Christ, he came to his senses.

3) They are caught in the snare of the devil. This is hunting terminology. Let me make clear that Satan cannot force anyone to believe his lies; he can only set up traps for them. But we so easily walk into them. We choose to take the bait and that hook is there, entrapping us and binding us. Most of the time, we have no idea we’ve been trapped. The same is true about many people. They don’t even know they have been trapped, so they deserve our pity and our desire that they be freed from it.

4) They have been taken captive to do the devil’s will. This is the dirtiest part of the devil’s tactics. He’s not merely interested in getting us to sin against God; he wants us to lead others to do so as well. This is the hard part for the apologist. We MUST confront and call out false teachers Yet, these false teachers are trapped by the devil’s lies and have been enlisted as “slave labor” if you could call it that to do his bidding. But remember, this ties back to the other three points. They THINK they are free, and they think they are doing their own thing. Again, look at what we see going on today. Just one example: many young adults are in great favor of socialist ideas – these adults who have never worked a day in their life and had everything given to them. When you listen to them argue their points, they can’t think at all. I get students all the time who cannot think at all as a result of being in “the system.” It’s sad. I do what I can to teach them how to think, but one year with me is only going to rescue a few, not many. They cannot think straight and as a result, they have made good puppets for the devil to manipulate and control as he sees fit.

The job of the apologist is to share the truth with kindness, gentleness, and correction so that God may grant them repentance. With that repentance comes a total change of mind, a worldview change. This statement from David Wilkerson keeps convicting me: “Some would rather see people dead than saved.” That mere mindset is a trap of the enemy and if we are thinking along these lines (yes, that includes me), then we need this verse applied to us. We need that God might grant us repentance so that we may know the truth and come back to our senses as well. Next week, I’ll explore what this repentance should look like followed by how the lost are lost. We’ll look at the lack of truth, spiritual insanity, and the traps/enslavements of the devil. After that, we’ll explore the first part of this passage and the surrounding context.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Hebrews 6:1-3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 13, 2021 2 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” -Hebrews 6:1-3

Last week in Hebrews 5:11-14, we discussed the concepts of elementary teachings and maturity. There, the author addressed his audience as not yet being ready for spiritual food but still immature and in need of milk, so we may expect that “milk” is what he’ll give us here. But, that’s not the case! He helps them move toward maturity by giving them some “solid food” teaching.

This passage begins with a concise summary of what we are called to do: “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity” (verse 1). We are not called to stand still in our faith but to move forward toward maturity. He considers “repentance from acts that lead to death” as elementary teaching; don’t lay that foundation again, but move beyond it. We still need that foundation of repenting from our sin as the basis for our mature faith, but to be a mature believer, we should have already accepted, understood, and applied that concept in our lives.

“Faith in God” is also considered elementary teaching, not because it’s not important because it is the most foundational aspect of being a follower of Jesus Christ. This means more than simply acknowledging that there is a God; it means living our lives in a manner that shows we trust Him in all things. We as Christians often stress “faith in Jesus” whereas the author of Hebrews calls out “faith in God,” but since Jesus is God, this is emphasizing that we need to be having a personal relationship with all of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The word “instruction” at the beginning of verse 2 begins a new part of the author’s list. The Greek word that the NIV translates as “cleansing rites” is the word for baptism. But it’s plural here, which indicates that it’s referring to other purification ceremonies and not Christian baptism. Jews had a variety of purification ceremonies in their practices, as did many religions of the day. Therefore, one elementary teaching for people to become Christians would be to learn the distinction between Christian baptism and all those other purification ceremonies.

Next, we see “the laying on of hands.” This was a common practice in that era. This act was often associated with the commissioning of a person for some new adventure. We see it illustrated in Scripture with laying hands on new converts (Acts 8:15-17) and laying hands on Timothy by the leaders (1 Timothy 4:14) and by Paul (2 Timothy 1:6). A new believer would have likely been prayed over with the laying on of hands when they came to faith in God, and so this would have been a foundational concept for them.

The final two topics of this list, “the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment” go together. These are a reminder that this life is not all we will ever experience. While we will die a physical death in this body, that is not the end; we will be raised to life again because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will all be judged one day for our actions in this life, and our eternity will be based on that judgment. One foundational reason to have faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus is so that our eternal judgment is that we spend eternity in heaven with Him and not separated from God in hell. This, too, was elementary teaching of coming to faith in God.

Verse 3 concludes this section: “And God permitting, we will do so.” This verse expresses two things. First, the believers were determined to help new believers move beyond these elementary teachings and into maturity. Second, it is only with the help of God that they can do this. All of this is impossible without God’s involvement in it. We can be as determined as ever to become mature in our faith, but it is impossible for us to do this on our own without the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The author of Hebrews and his audience realized this, and the author wanted to affirm this before moving on in his letter.

So, the list of elementary teachings is: repenting from our sin, having faith in God, and being instructed regarding cleansing rites/baptism, the laying on of hands, and resurrection and eternal life. Where are you at on these elementary teachings of the faith? Do you believe all of them? Have you received instruction on them and feel like you grasp them all well?

If you don’t feel like you’ve grasped these well, then perhaps you’re still at the “milk” stage of your faith. That’s perfectly ok! Don’t let anyone look down on you because of where you’re at in your faith; we all have to start somewhere! The important thing is to recognize where you’re at and take the appropriate steps to move forward toward maturity. Talk to your pastor or a spiritual mentor (and if you don’t have one, find one) and ask for instruction wherever you feel weak in these areas.

If you have grasped these foundational concepts, then you may be ready for “solid food” in your faith. Don’t feel like you have “arrived” because of this; even at the “solid food” stage, we all have more growing to do! No one will ever reach full Christian maturity while on this earth, but we can all strive to become as mature as we are able. The important thing is to keep moving forward and growing in your faith. Make sure you are continuing to receive instruction that helps you to grow and mature.

This week, take stock of where you’re at in your faith, and I encourage you to take whatever steps are needed for you to grow just a little bit more. God permitting, we will do so!

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Apologetics 6: 2 Timothy 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 10, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
~2 Timothy 2:24-26

Last spring, I was going through the New Testament looking for any Scripture verses that did not make sense without the straight-forward reading of Genesis, and I came across this passage. It did not relate to my study, but it stood out and I knew I had to deal with it. I immediately put it in my notes to write on this and I’ve been chewing on it since. When I started working on this apologetics series, I knew it was time to get into this passage. Then in June, I took a personal retreat and took a more thorough examination of the surrounding context and I was just blown away. I’ll be blunt here: this has been a VERY difficult thing for me to practice. So, in this post, I am writing specifically to Charlie Wolcott, because yours truly needs to hear this message more than my audience. I’ll take as much time as I need to unpack these three verses and the surrounding context because there is a LOT of content here.

I watch “The Chosen,” and I need to give a spoiler here on Season 2. In Season 2, Episode 1, Jesus has been sharing with James and John that they will soon have the power to heal people as He does while they were in the Samaritan town of Sychar. But towards the end of the episode, some Samaritans pass by them and mock them, spitting at them. James and John go after them, all for defending Jesus’ name, and Jesus has to physically restrain them while the two brothers ask Jesus if they could call fire down from heaven. Jesus gives them a stern rebuke and dubs them “Sons of Thunder” at that point. But one thing that caught my attention was how Jesus rebuked them for thinking they were special because Jesus had chosen them, but then He told them flat out that they weren’t special at all. I felt that rebuke.

I grew up in the church and on the mission field. I don’t know what it’s like to be pulled from the mire. I don’t know what it’s like to have been indoctrinated into false teachings and have God rescue me from it. I’m glad He preserved me from that because I would have fallen for false teachings if it was simply “the rule” for when I was growing up. It wasn’t until the last 10-15 years that I learned that Christians do interpret the Bible differently (some cases are legit, but many are not). I was stunned to learn that there were Christians who did not read Genesis plainly (it still baffles me why they could consider this to be a valid option). Yet I am still one of the ones God has chosen for His kingdom work in this generation. That fact needs to humble me more than it has.

When it comes to standing for the truth and for sound doctrine, there are two major categories of people: Pharisees and Bereans. The Pharisees were known for their adherence to sound doctrine, but they totally missed the point of it all. They added their own traditions as equal to the Law, and yet in their zeal to carry on their traditions, they rejected the heart and intention of the main Law itself. The Pharisees are often considered the picture of “legalism” because of this (though Jesus called them out on hypocrisy more). The Bereans were believers who heard Paul and Silas speak and instead of merely taking them at their word, they went through Scripture and tested and searched to see if what they said was true. It is easy to confuse these two, on both ends. It is easy for the apologist to think he is being a Berean and cross the line into Phariseeism. But it is just as easy for someone who is in error to hear a Berean say, “Hey, this doesn’t line up,” and accuse the Berean of being a Pharisee. We have to remember that we can only control our side of things. We can’t control what people think of us or how they read us.

When we deal with apologetics, our ultimate goal and purpose in life is to glorify God. I was taken aback when I heard Paul Washer state in one sermon excerpt that he is not as concerned about whether someone goes to Heaven or Hell as he is that God is glorified in any of it. Evangelism and apologetics in particular have lost their purpose in their role. Today it is about numbers and converts, and for the most part, the Gospel has been watered down to make it more “palatable” to the heathen to make the numbers look good. This is unhealthy. We must do things God’s way, proclaiming God’s message as God gave it, and also in the manner in which God told us to do it. The question that remains is this: is what we are doing glorifying God or not? It only glorifies God if it is God’s message and proclaimed in God’s manner.

After glorifying God, the other primary purpose in this text is that we are to rebuke and teach so that the other person may find repentance. My next several posts will explain how and why the lost are lost, and that will showcase why Paul gives us why we should be nice to the enemies of sound doctrine. But this should be our motive for apologetics: to teach the truth so that people may find repentance. No one embodies this better today than Ray Comfort. You may not like his style or his apologetics, but I don’t know of anyone who longs to see people saved more than he does. Instead, what we end up seeing is, “This is wrong, this must be marked out, and that’s the end of it.” I can see a lot of that in me, hence the need for me to write this to myself. Or we see, “No one is perfect, and we don’t know the truth, so no one should proclaim it as exclusive.” That is just as wrong and marking error without correction than. So how do we deal with all this? Next week, we’ll explore the four characteristics of the lost from this passage as a whole before digging into each one in detail. After that, we’ll look at the Christian methods to deal with them.

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Unspoken Prayer Requests

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 7, 2021 0 comments

by Chad Koons

Have you stopped believing in “unspoken prayer requests”? If so, then you are in good company. Let’s cut to the chase and review 5 great reasons why unspoken prayer requests should be forever stricken from our vocabulary.

1. Unspoken requests are simply not Biblical. This sounds heavy, but it’s true. A great example for this point would be the Apostle Paul. Paul requested prayer many times – Romans 15:30-32, Ephesians 6:18-20, and Colossians 4:2-4, just to name a few. Since he lived within the ancient world where letters and messengers were the means of correspondence, Paul’s prayer warriors didn’t always know every detail of what was going on with him. Yet Paul knew his situation and therefore gave them direction in how to pray! Read the passages above and you’ll see that Paul made specific requests. You will never find where Paul told the churches that he has an “unspoken request.” Paul’s prayer warriors knew what to pray because he told them! If we are wise, we will follow this example.

2. If it’s worth asking for prayer, then it’s worth being selectively transparent. Often, we use the unspoken prayer request because of privacy. And rightfully so, because not everyone should know your business! But some people should know what you’re going through, especially if you are asking them to pray for you. We all have a circle of family and friends who love and care for us. These are the people with whom we must be vulnerable; we should be transparent enough to share our specific prayer requests with them. Forget the unspoken, social media, shotgun blasts; instead, we need to confide with those whom the Lord has given us. Trust them with the information they need to go the Lord on your behalf! Paul had relationship with those whom he asked for prayer, and he put much faith in their specific prayers. Which brings me to #3…

3. We need to respect our prayer warriors. Whenever someone asks me to pray for their unspoken prayer request, it’s always an awkward feeling. I am left wondering and pressured with, “So… what should I pray for?” I cannot go to the Lord unless I know what I’m going to Him about. I’m not going to waste my time, or worse yet fumble around before the King of all kings! I take prayer seriously, as we all should. I’ll pray for you, sincerely I will, but if you can’t tell me what I’m praying for, then maybe I’m not the guy to do it. Think about this: when you ask for prayer, you are asking someone to present themselves before the throne of God Almighty on your behalf. Do we realize the gravity of this? Unspoken requests put your prayer warriors in awkward position, somewhere between sympathy, bewilderment, and struggle. This is not something I would ask anyone to experience on my behalf. Your prayer warriors are going before the Lord for you, so make sure that you have respected their time, fervency, and faith by not putting them in that awkward “unspoken” position.

4. Recognizing the gift of prayer itself. Within earthly kingdoms, it is a fearful and honorable thing to be summoned before the king, and nobody treats that summons lightly. In the same way, prayer is a fearful and honorable thing. It is an awesome gift from the Lord, so please ask for and use it wisely. The Lord calls us to come boldly before His throne (Hebrews 4:14-16), so we must respect this holy opportunity. When the apostle Paul considered the prayer of those supporting him, he approached it with the utmost respect. “For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19). Paul understood the gravity of the gift of prayer. He realized that it was not mere good vibes, positive thoughts, nor was it something to enter into flippantly. He recognized that prayer was a holy endeavor where we meet with our King, that prayer is a vehicle through which much power is made available! Unspoken requests are vague and not developed enough to bring before the Lord. Which brings me to my last point…

5. Prayer must be specific and based on His Word. Did you know that there is a protocol when it comes to prayer? When we pray, we must pray according to His will and know that He hears us (1 John 5:14-15). We cannot do this unless we know the will of God. What is God’s will? It’s actually not mysterious; God’s will is found in the Bible! The Bible is specific about many things, therefore you must find out what the Bible says about your situation before you go before the Lord with it.

Instead of issuing a non-specific “unspoken prayer request,” begging God, or giving up, how about doing what it takes to search the Bible regarding your situation? Take the time, put in the effort, and even Google it if you need to. And once you know what the Lord has said about it, then you can pray boldly, specifically, and according to His will! What is God’s will? Again, God’s will is found within His Word.

Now for a practical example. Since many people battle anxiety, let’s just use that. If you battle anxiety, you would need to search the Bible and find out what it says about anxiety. You will find verses in Matthew, Philippians, 1 Peter, and 2 Corinthians that talk about anxiety and how to deal with it. Now that you know what the Word of God says regarding anxiety, you can take those Scriptures before the Lord. Having armed yourself with the will of God, here’s what you could say:

“In Matthew 6:25-34, the Lord Jesus commanded me to not be anxious or worry, therefore I realize that I must obey that command. Philippians 4:6-7 tells me not to be anxious about anything, but instead to tell the Lord what I need and to be thankful, and then the peace of God will guard my heart and mind. According to 1 Peter 5:7, I now know that the Lord doesn’t want me to keep my anxiety, but instead He wants me to cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me! 2 Corinthians 10:5 says that I am to destroy every argument and opinion that is contrary to the knowledge of God, and that I am expected to take every thought captive and make it obey Christ!”

Now that I know the will of God regarding anxiety, I will now pray according to the Word and will of God:

“Lord, I will no longer be anxious. You said to cast my cares upon You, so here are my cares, I cast them upon You (taking a moment to tell him what your cares are). I thank You for hearing me and I thank you because you are taking them away from me! Because I cast my cares upon You, I believe that Your peace will now guard my heart and mind. I will obey your command and I will no longer worry. I will focus instead upon You and Your Kingdom. I refuse and destroy every anxious thought that comes against me because they go against the Word of God. I will take my thoughts captive and I will make them obey Christ in Jesus’ name!”

It’s not magic. It’s not positive thought. No, it’s far better; it’s praying specifically according to the Word of God! Prayers like this get answered. They are specific, based upon the will of God, and full of faith.

This, my friends, is so much better than non-specific, wishy-washy, half-hearted prayer. When you search the Bible to see what He has to say about it, then you may go before His throne and pray with boldness according to His will!

So please, never again utter the words, “I have an unspoken prayer request.” Confide in those whom the Lord has given you, find out what the Bible says about it, and go before the Lord with this awesome gift of prayer! The Lord is waiting.

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Hebrews 5:11-14

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 6, 2021 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” -Hebrews 5:11-14

Have you ever been reprimanded by a teacher? I’m sure we all have at some point in life. The feel of this section of Hebrews 5 is like that; the author is reprimanding his readers because they are not at the point of maturity where he thinks they should be.

It is disputed by scholars whether verse 11 should go with this section of verses or with the previous section. Does the phrase “We have much to say about this” mean the previous thought, or the upcoming thought? It could really go either way. But regardless, the author is essentially calling his audience lazy. People are often lazy and want to take the path of least resistance; we often want to do the minimum in order to get by. That place is often comfortable for us, because we’re not challenged there.

The author is saying that his audience doesn’t even bother to try and understand what he’s trying to teach them. The NIV tries to make this reprimand a bit nicer by saying “you no longer try to learn,” but the Greek word used here means slow to learn, lazy, or sluggish. He literally writes, “You have become slow to learn/lazy/sluggish for hearing.” That’s a bit harsh!

But rather than leave it at that insult, the author then explains where he feels that his readers have fallen short. In verse 12, we see that he believes the readers should be more mature than they actually are. They have apparently been followers of Jesus Christ for quite some time now, and they should be teaching others by this point. That doesn’t necessarily mean the audience of this letter is all teachers, but rather the author is emphasizing progressing and maturing in the faith. There comes a point when the student needs to become the teacher, and the audience of this letter to the Hebrews has apparently surpassed that point in the author’s view.

They have not even mastered the “elementary truths of God’s word.” This phrase in the Greek would be like us telling someone they haven’t even mastered their ABCs yet; it refers to concepts that are that simple and foundational. They need to go back to the very beginning – again. They have already been taught these elementary truths, but they’re clearly just not getting them and not maturing from them.

Just like the flowing of a river, a follower of Jesus Christ does not stand still in his or her faith. We are either moving forward and growing more mature, or we are slipping backward and declining. The author here is drawing attention to the fact that his readers did not move forward onto solid food; they slid backwards into needing milk instead. The “milk” represents elementary and foundational instruction in the ways of following Jesus, whereas the “solid food” is more advanced instruction. You wouldn’t teach a high schooler the same content as you’d teach a first grader; the high schooler would be bored and not learn anything new. Similarly, mature believers should be instructed with mature teaching adequate for their level, not the “milk” of new believers.

In case the readers didn’t understand this analogy with milk and solid food (they are apparently immature believers, after all), he explains it a bit more in verse 13. Any believer who is still learning the elementary truths of the faith must be treated as such; you wouldn’t feed a newborn solid foods, they can’t handle it. Infants are not capable of understanding complex human speech, and spiritual infants are not capable of understanding complex spiritual truths. They may be able to understand some basics, but nothing beyond that.

In contrast, mature believers need solid food (verse 14). The word for “mature” here is teleios, which has the idea of being mature, complete, and whole. This is in stark contrast to the infants. The infants are not learning anything, and perhaps have even slid backward in their faith, whereas the mature believers are constantly using and training themselves in the faith. They are able to do what immature believers cannot do – distinguish good from evil. When a person can do that, he or she will more often do the right thing, because they know what is right and what is wrong. Those who are spiritual immature don’t necessarily know right from wrong, so they won’t be able to serve God as well as those who know the right thing to do.

Where are you at in your faith? Are you still in spiritual infancy, or are you a more mature “adult” Christian? But more importantly than where you are at currently, where did you come from? Were you more mature then backslid and have gone back to the “comfortable” place of drinking milk where you don’t have to be challenged and grow? Or are you moving forward to a place of more maturity?

It’s not about where you’re at; it’s about which direction you’re going.

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Apologetics 5: Conviction, Candid, and Willing to Engage

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 3, 2021 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

"To be an effective warrior in the battle for truth today, several old fashioned, Christlike virtues are absolutely essential: biblical discernment, wisdom, fortitude, determination, endurance, skill in handling Scripture, strong convictions, the ability to speak candidly without waffling, and a willingness to enter a conflict."
~John MacArthur: The Truth War, page 146

This is the last post on this quote from John MacArthur from his book The Truth War, but I’m not done with dealing with apologetics after this. I will hit three subjects today: having strong convictions, speaking candidly, and being willing to engage in combat. I’ll start by saying we have a great model for these three virtues in the Apostle Paul. He was so adamant, so strong, so candid, and so zealous that when the Gospel began moving through him, cities would gather to riot to try to stop him. So, let’s dig in.

We must have strong convictions. There is one question that puts this virtue to the test: “Could you be wrong?” You have to be careful with this because this is a trap question. It doesn’t matter how you answer it, and you are in trouble. If you answer yes, then you lost the sting of your message and you have surrendered any prospect for why anyone should listen to you. If you answer no, then you are perceived as being a close-minded bigot who isn’t open to “other options.” Well, just in case you haven’t picked up on it, truth is exclusive. It’s not open to “other ideas.” Any “other idea” is a lie. Anything other than the truth is a lie. It’s not hard to see this, unless you’ve bought into the lie of relativism, which is a very strong aspect of our post-modern society. We must have strong convictions. Our message is that Jesus is the only way. He is the ONLY option. The world hates that message because it means they can’t do it their way. We have to be so convinced that Jesus is the only option that the mere thought of any other way is absurdity at best. Understand this: most of your “debate” opponents KNOW this is what our claim is. They want to see if you actually believe it or not.

There is a great appeal to showcase false humility in our culture today, both socially and religiously. The false humility I am taking about is what reduces our convictions to mere opinions. This is the approach of many of the “Emergent Church / Progressive Christian” teachers and many other intellectual skeptics/scoffers. They will appear humble. They will be nice and seem genuine, yet everything that comes out of their mouth is “Did God really say?” Let me also make this clear: they believe they are right. They will pretend to be humble and say, “We really don’t know…” but they actually are coming from a position of knowledge that what God said isn’t true. They, too, are dogmatic and close-minded to “other ideas,” especially ideas that are true. Paul Washer said this in the “Unpopular” documentary: “All the religions of the world believe they’re the only way, or they’re not really teaching anything.” Why does anyone believe anything they claim? It’s simple: they believe they are right. If they are allowed to believe they are right, why can’t we do that about our own beliefs? We must have strong convictions if we are going to go out an proclaim it. The Apostle Paul was convinced – so convinced he went above and beyond, crawling across glass so that some might be saved. He would not budge, and that conviction was needed for his mission.

We must be candid about what we believe. This follows the paragraph above. We have to be upfront and real about what we believe. If we believe Jesus is the only way, we can’t go about saying “that’s just my opinion.” If we really believe Jesus is the only way, and we believe what the Bible says about what happens to those who don’t submit to Christ, then our zeal for evangelism will be ever so heightened. One of the reasons so few evangelize is because the reality of Hell is far from our minds. When that happens, we aren’t being honest with our own beliefs.

We have to be upfront, candid, and frank about what we believe when we defend our position. We also have to call out opposing ideas for what they are. We can’t sugarcoat anything. The Bible doesn’t let us share “our opinions.” We must share God’s message, or we are being false witnesses if we say we are proclaiming Christianity. Christianity FOLLOWS Jesus; it’s not opinions about Him. And we must declare Him as He is, not as we’d like Him to be. The Apostle Paul refused to sugarcoat anything. He told the elite Athenian philosophers in front of everyone that they did what they did in ignorance and were wrong in their doing. Paul had to be candid about his faith because if he waivered even in the slightest, it would be a result of pleasing men, not God.

Finally, we have to be willing to enter conflict. We have to be wiling to stand up to false teachings and those who bring them, even if they come from other believers. Paul stood up to Peter to his face for separating Jew and Gentile based on audiences and who was present. When Paul went to Athens, it was after escaping riots in Thessalonica and Berea that tried to shut him down. Yet even in Athens, his spirit was provoked and when he was supposed to be resting and escaping trouble, and he went right back into the heat of the battle and proclaimed Christ. Paul was stoned outside the city gates of Lystra and popped back to life and went right back into the city. While he loved peace and sought peace, he was not afraid of an argument or making a stand against false teachings.

Today, we have to be willing to enter a conflict. Peace often cannot be had unless we pass through a war. There is no pacifism in Christianity. We are to be “peace-makers,” not “peace-lovers.” The former goes out and makes peace happen, often by striking down wolves. The latter refuses to make a stand and at the slightest hint of trouble, they raise the white flag. The people of Jabesh-Gilead surrendered when Nahash came to take them, submitting to terms of having their right eyes gouged out. King Saul got word of it and by the Spirit’s leading, he mustered the troops and rescued the town. Peace followed on the other side of the war. But as long as our enemy is out and about, there will be no peace until he is driven back. As long as lies and false teachings are being taught within the church, there cannot be peace. We MUST be willing to stand up to those false teachings and those who bring them.

Next week, I’ll move on from this quote, but I’ll add on something that I’ve been struggling with and that I know God wants to work into me: to defend the faith in such a way that we lead the other person to repentance from their errors.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.