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Monday, March 26, 2007

Holiness

A couple of quotes concerning holiness.



Henry Law, "Christ is All" 1854

"You pant to be conformed to the image of Christ. This is well. But holiness can be learned only at the cross. It is a sight of the dying Jesus--which kills lust. It is the shadow of the cross--which causes evil to wither."



Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662

"True holiness is diffusive. It extends, diffuses, and spreads itself all over the whole person . . . the head and the heart;
the lip and the life;
the inside and the outside.

The understanding is nourished on holiness,
the mind is adorned with holiness,
the will is bowed to holiness,
and all the affections are sprinkled, yes, clothed with holiness--

love is holy love,
grief is holy grief,
joy is holy joy,
sorrow is holy sorrow,
fear is holy fear,
care is holy care,
zeal is holy zeal.

Real holiness spreads itself over head, hand, heart, lip, and life."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Book Review - The Danger Of Self Love


A couple of weeks ago I finished a book by Paul Brownback entitled The Danger Of Self Love. I purchased this book several years ago in a used bookstore. I was already settled in my view on this topic and the title of the book seemed as though it would be in keeping with conclusions that I had already drawn. In fact the subtitle caught my attention, Re-examining A Popular Myth.

Paul Brownback received a B.S. from the United States Military Academy, a M. Div. from Talbot Seminary; Ph.D. from New York University. When the book was written (1982) he was president of Citadel Bible College, Ozark, Arkansas.

I was convinced by my personal study of the Scripture and reading the opposing view in a few places, (Bobgan and Adams) that the whole concept of self-love, self-esteem was nothing more than self-promotion. Any honest inquirer would have to see that the emphasis is on self. This is completely contrary to the teachings of Scripture.

When I looked through the Table of Contents I realized this would be a helpful book in providing some insight into the origins of the self-love teaching. It was indeed insightful.

I was already aware that the concept of self-love originated in the realm of secular, humanistic, evolutionary, psychological philosophy. It was not until the 1970's that the christian world began to jump on the "bandwagon". They took the psychology of the world and dressed it in Scripture that was ill-fitted to the cause and hoodwinked a whole generation of Christians who did not know their bible. You can go into any "christian" bookstore and find a huge section of books dealing with the concept of self-love. All the ills of the nations are blamed on the fact that people do not love themselves as they ought, and this by people who profess to be Bible believers. It seems to never cross people's minds that the ills of the nation could be because people love themselves too much. This is in fact the position that I would take. When I saw the book it was simply refreshing to see someone willing to take on what has become the accepted view of self-love.

James Dobson has been a major promoter of this philosophy and in doing so has done grave damage to the people he assumes to help. The worst thing about "Christians" who embrace this humanistic philosophy is that they inevitably end up talking out of both sides of their mouths. Why? Because the concept of self-love is inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible.

This whole concept has made us into a nation of emotional weaklings. The worse thing you can do to someone is assault their sense of self-esteem. It has caused us to abandon an achievement based society. Now, no matter how lazy, irresponsible, or undisciplined people are they are encouraged to love themselves. In fact we are told they are that way because they do not love themselves as they ought. I say they are that way because they love themselves more than God and others.

The book comes in at 157 easy to read pages. There are 16 chapters that are subdivided under different heading. I always like this about a book because it provides numerous good stopping points along the way. For anyone that is interested in a different perspective than what we are constantly fed in our "christian" book stores I would highly recommend this book.

Mr. Brownback does and excellent job of tracing the growth of the concept of self-love. He concisely and thoughtfully gives us the roots of this philosophy. He deals with the philosophical origins of self-love in a way that is easy to understand. He gives us the Scriptural view of self-love and reveals the absurdity of those who choose to stake out the Scripture for support for this humanistic approach to life. It is easily done and all honest minds will accept his conclusions but those who enjoy having their egos stroked by the concept of needing to love themselves will discount his faithful exposition of the Scripture.

While I have no intentions of rehashing all the arguments and points of the book he does point out one verse of Scripture that has always seemed to be a major oversight in those who want to use the Bible to support the idea of self-love.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 - This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

What the Bible condemns we are constantly encouraged to do and reminded that it is because that we fail at this point that the culture is descending into chaos. The reality is that it is because men love themselves that the culture is descending into chaos. Self-love is one of the characteristics of the last days and its presence ensures perilous times. Thank you evangelicals for encouraging that which the Bible condemns!

The following are some quotes that might whet your appetite:

"it is obvious that the psychological teaching on self-love has replaced what used to be theological territory."

"The greatest book ever written on personality, however, is the Bible."

"The fact is, though, that the Bible contains no explicit, positive teachings about self-love as it is described by contemporary theorists."

"But doesn't the Bible teach that I should love my neighbor as myself? So if I am going to love my neighbor, I must love myself first. It is interesting to note that the first contemporary self-love advocate to use this passage as biblical support for self-love was not an evangelical but Erich Fromm, a psychologist and thoroughgoing, self-declared humanist."

"All people are assumed to love themselves in some sense. The obvious message is, 'Since you love yourself, do likewise to your neighbor or wife.'"

"No one has to command me to meet my own needs; that response is built in. But when it comes to meeting my neighbor's needs, I have not been wired by nature to be automatically sensitive to his concerns. So Christ's command calls me to that kind of awareness."

"Theology is theocentric . . . psychology is anthropocentric."

"Man in the image of God is not capable of being the source of anything of value."

"The view of man as having autonomous worth leads to an error in a very practical area of Christian living. It produces a somewhat misplaced confidence."

"It is a serious theological error to see confidence in our abilities as a hallmark of mature faith, and then to view that confidence as the basis of self-esteem."

"From the scriptural perspective man cannot be viewed as autonomous, either in his existence of his ability to perform."

"Whatever our worth may be, whatever capacities we may have, whatever may be accomplished through them, as we recognize that everything of worth finds its ultimate source in God and depends on Him for life and meaning and fruitfulness, the appropriate response is not self-esteem but adoration of the God who is the source of all."

"The atonement is not a demonstration of the worth of man but of the grace of God."

"We should be painfully aware that God's acceptance of us did not communicate that there is 'something truly wonderful about us,' but rather that there is everything truly wonderful about Him, especially love and grace."
This is an important point. God did not save us because we have worth but because he has mercy!

"our relationship with God does include a conditional element, not involving our security, but affecting our fellowship, blessing, God's use of us in ministry, and eternal reward."

"Our relationship with God is conditional in many vital respects."

"Though a Christians self-image is rooted in divine grace, one cannot expect to continue to enjoy a positive self-image if he is living irresponsibly."

"The greatest problem I have in trying to establish a good self-image on the basis of performance is me. As I look inward I see much that I do not like: wrong attitudes and motives, weakness, and inclinations to sin. Then as I look at the flaws in performance those defects produce I have a difficult time standing before the mirror of God's Word and saying, 'I am a beautiful person.'"

"The greatest peril of self-love is that it is worship of self."

"We believe the biblical alternative to the wave of concern over self-image is have no self-image at all."

"both self-love and self-hate are self-centered attitudes."
Exactly!

"To call yourself an 'awful person' does not seem too bad because you are both to be pitied for your condition and praised for your nobility in admitting it. But to confess sin is different."

"The psychologist's office may be the only place where winning does not count. The problem is that sooner or later the client must walk out the front door, where he finds that there are conditions to acceptance."

"Life consists not in looking inward and feeling good, bad, or otherwise about self. Rather, it centers on God, who is to inspire awe."

"So the thrust of New Testament living is upward and outward, focused on others."

"when we have no "I" to protect, when it has been absorbed in others, there is no longer a firm basis for embarrassment."

This is a very good book and an easy read. Brownback is swimming against a swift current in this book but I would hope in doing so he makes some waves.

You can purchase the book at the following address:

http://www.amazon.com/Danger-Self-Love-Paul-D-Brownback/dp/0802420680/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-1363586-1032115?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174787109&sr=8-1

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Is It Just Me?

Or does everyone have the problem? We were gone for one week which somehow causes me to be snowed under both the week before and the week after. I have been trying to "dig out"!

Next week we are having an evangelism seminar all week and so I am trying to get things in order for that as well.

I have a couple of book reviews I want to share with you, and some other things that have been floating around in my mind. Hopefully Saturday I will get to spend a little time posting. However, I do not see next week as being slow!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Holy Hatred

The following is from a message by Thomas Brooks, entitled The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness. It was preached in 1662.

I hate every false way." Psalm 119:104

"Where there is real holiness, there is a holy hatred, detestation, and indignation--against all ungodliness and wickedness.

A holy man knows that all sin strikes . . .
at the holiness of God,
at the glory of God,
at the nature of God,
at the being of God,
at the law of God--
and therefore his heart rises against all sin.

He looks upon every sin as a grieving of the Spirit, as a vexing of the Spirit, and as a quenching of the Spirit; and so nothing will satisfy him but the ruin of them all. He looks upon every sin-- as a dishonor to God,
as an enemy to Christ,
as a wound to the Spirit,
as a reproach to the gospel,
as a moth to his holiness--
and therefore his heart and his hand are against every sin.

He looks upon every sin . . .
as that Judas who betrayed Christ;
as that Pilate who condemned Christ;
as those soldiers who scourged Christ;
as those spears which pierced Christ.
He looks upon every sin as having a hand in the death of his Savior--and therefore he cries out, "Crucify them all, crucify them all!"

Look! as every lion has his den, every dog his kennel, every swine his sty, and every crow his nest--just so, every unholy person has one sin or another, to which his heart is engaged and married; and that sin will undo him forever!

As Lysimachus lost his earthly kingdom by drinking one draught of water--just so, many lose a heavenly kingdom by indulging some one sin or another.
One flaw spoils the diamond,
one treason makes a traitor,
one wrong turn brings a man quite out of the way,
one leak sinks the ship,
one wound strikes Goliath dead,
one Delilah betrays Samson,
one broken wheel spoils the whole clock,
one dead fly spoils the whole box of ointment.

And as one bastard son destroyed Gideon's seventy sons, (Judges 8,)--just so, one predominant sin is enough to destroy the soul forever. As by taking one nap Samson lost his strength, and by eating one apple Adam lost hisparadise--just so, many men, by favoring one sin--lose God, heaven, and their souls forever! He who favors any sin, though he frowns upon many--does but as Benhadad --recover of one disease and die of another; yes, he takes pains to go to hell. Sin favored--always ends tragically.

Sometimes you shall have an unholy person angry with sin, because it has . . .
cracked his credit,
or clouded his honor,
or hindered his profit,
or embittered his pleasure,
or enraged his conscience,
or exposed him to shame here and hell hereafter;
but never because . . .
a righteous law is transgressed,
a holy God is dishonored,
a loving Savior is afresh crucified,
or the blessed Spirit grieved.

A holy heart rises against sin because of its defiling nature. An unholy heart rises against sin because of its damning nature.

A holy man is most afflicted with the evil which is in sin. An unholy heart is most afflicted with the punishment which is due to sin.

A holy person hates sin because it pollutes his soul. An unholy person hates it because it destroys his soul.

A holy person loathes sin because it makes against God's holiness. An unholy person loathes it because it provokes God's justice.

A holy person detests sin because of the hell which is in sin. An unholy person detests sin because of the hell which follows sin.

A holy heart abhors all sin. An unholy heart is still in league with some sin."



These are sobering thoughts. In a day when toleration is exalted as the crowning achievement of the enlightened mind we must keep in mind that a holy hatred for sin is one manifestation of a spiritual mind, and thus a truly enlightened mind.

Let us also be careful to always hate the sin we see in ourselves ten-fold more than the sin we see in others. This will help us to be clothed in humility and have victory over self-righteousness and arrogance.

Psalms 19:12-14 - Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

This past Sunday afternoon I spent some time reminding my people that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Science and modern technology has yet to develop a machine of any kind that is as complex as the human body. When we develop just a basic understanding of some of the processes that are continually at work in the human body we should stand in awe of the God who did it all.

Modern science has done us the favor of accessing information concerning the human body that for the believer causes us to understand that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalms 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Sunday afternoon we consider some basic fact concerning the cardiovascular system, focusing on the four chamber heart, the arteries, veins, and capillaries, the red and white blood cells and their respective functions. The platelets and their function. We took a quick look at the digestive system and concluded with a very basic look at the the structure and function of the cell, of which our bodies are composed of about 10,000,000,000,000.

Then I asked how it all happened???

One writer suggested the following:

Another theory holds that the turbulent shores of the ancient coastal waters may have served as a mammoth laboratory, aiding in the countless experiments necessary to bring about the first cell. Waves breaking on the shore create a delicate foam composed of bubbles. Winds sweeping across the ocean have a tendency to drive things to shore, much like driftwood collecting on the beach. It is possible that organic molecules were concentrated on the shorelines in much the same way. Shallow coastal waters also tend to be warmer, further concentrating the molecules through evaporation. While bubbles comprised of mostly water tend to burst quickly, oily bubbles happen to be much more stable, lending more time to the particular bubble to perform these crucial experiments. The Phospholipid is a good example of a common oily compound prevalent in the prebiotic seas. Phospholipids can be constructed in one's mind as a hydrophilic head on one end, and a hydrophobic tail on the other. Phospholipids also possess an important characteristic, that is having the function to link together to form a bilayer membrane. A lipid monolayer bubble can only contain oil, and is therefore not conducive to harbouring water-soluble organic molecules. On the other hand, a lipid bilayer bubble can contain water, and was a likely precursor to the modern cell membrane. If a protein came along that increased the integrity of its parent bubble, then that bubble had an advantage, and was placed at the top of the natural selection waiting list. Primitive reproduction can be envisioned when the bubbles burst, releasing the results of the experiment into the surrounding medium. Once enough of the 'right stuff' was released into the medium, the development of the first prokaryotes, eukaryotes, and multi-cellular organisms could be achieved.

How' that for a fairytale!

Notice the words and phrases, "may have", "have a tendency", "it is possible", "also tend", "lending more time", "was a likely precursor", "If a protein came along", "primitive reproduction can be envisioned", "once enough of the 'right stuff'", "could be achieved".

These are the kinds of phrases you find in all articles dealing with evolution. This gentleman has an imagination that is willing to go to any extreme to remove God from the picture. It is for this very reason that evolutionist continue to add more time to their model. Because thousands of years are not enough time to reasonably believe this kind of thing could happen. Millions of years are not enough, Billions of years??? I would not be surprised to discover in the next few years that they realize it has actually taken trillions of years. I for one am not disappointed with the ever expanding time frame. I hope that it means they are getting closer to the truth and will one day admit that there is not enough time for their theories to work!

The Bible has it right, "we are fearfully and wonderfully MADE." Which means we have a maker. Which means we have accountability. Which logic would demand that there is a day of judgment coming when men will give account to their maker. And the testimony of Scripture is clear that "he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." Acts 17:31

Consequently he commandeth all men everywhere to repent!