Steve’s Thoughts

Study Bibles

I am often asked if there is a particular study Bible that I would recommend.  While I don’t have one in particular that I recommend, there is one little thing to always check if you are looking at purchasing one.

Check the dating of the Gospels.

The Gospels should be dated in a manner that has Matthew earliest, then Mark, Luke and finally John.  If Mark is dated earliest, it is because the editors do not accept the biblical inspiration and authority of the Scriptures.  Instead, they believe that Mark was written first and Matthew and Luke “came up with” (redacted) their version of the Gospel using Mark’s and whatever other sources and opinions that they decided on using.

Just a tip!

2 Kings 11:2

Chris has posted an article on his site related to our study last Wednesday evening.  It has a definite “Sandwich” flavor to it!  I highly recommend reading it:

Catching Up

Now that Stan has resumed preaching in Matthew for the next three months, I have a bit more time to catch up on the blog.  The first thing that I will be doing is posting some summaries of my sermons in November from Acts.  I’m actually back-dating the blog entries to correspond to the week preached (I don’t think that creates a moral issue…), so you may have to go back as I go forward!

If I have time, I may try to update from our notes on Dominion and Dynasty as well.

The Love of Christ for His Bride

On Friday evening, we took part in the beautiful expression of Christ’s love for the Church as we witnessed the marriage of Heath and Brigette.  During my preparations for the message at the wedding, I came accross this passage from Zephaniah 3:17 which I believe is a beatiful picture of the God’s redeeming love for His bride:

The LORD your God is in your midst;

He is a warrior who can deliver.

He takes great delight in you;

He renews you by his love;

He shouts for joy over you.

May we celebrate this sort of redeeming love in our savior, and also practice such love in our marriages as we ought to love one another with the love of Christ.

ntInsight Greek Software

Several of you are aware that I have been developing a software program for biblical Greek analysis and study.

I hope to have a beta release in the next month, but thought I would go ahead and post a couple of screenshots for those who have asked.  Click on the images for a larger, full resolution image.

First, this is the main screen allowing users to view Greek morphology and select meanings of words and grammatical categorizations.

Second, this is the advanced Morphological Search page.

I have most of the bugs worked out and all I have left to do is test the data and application upgrade process.

So, if you are interested, please check back and hopefully I will have the beta ready soon.  If you would like to be included on email updates about the project, please send me an email through the Contact Us section!

The Gospel and Race Relations

The Master’s Community Church is hosting a conference Thursday, October 23-Saturday October 25 on “The Gospel and Race Relations”.  While we also have a certain big day (wedding) that Friday night, please forward the information on to others and I highly encourage you to attend the other sessions.

Thursday, 7:00 PM: Dr. Thor Madsen of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will be presenting “Race Relations in the New Testament”.

Friday, 7:00 PM: Dr. Tom Coric of Fellowship Baptist Church in Olathe will present “The Progress of the Gospel and the Destruction of Racism in Acts”.

Saturday, 9:15 AM: Pastor Victor Clay of Dynamic Life Baptist Ministries will present “The Gospel and Race Relations in the local Church”.

I am very thankful to see this topic addressed in the conference.  The book From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series has been very convicting to me and helped me realize that there are still many issues that need to be overcome by our churches in America today. For instance, see my previous post here.

For more information on the conference, and directions to The Master’s Community Church, visit their website.

Hank’s Redefinition of Heaven and Hell

Recently, I flipped over to a Christian radio station during the rush-hour drive home.  The “Bible Answer Man” show was on and Hank Hanegraaff was attempting to discredit some person who said that the Bible was false because it presents a view that God will punish people in Hell for eternity, which is not fair according to the nature of their crimes.

Hank’s response was shocking to me.  Instead of resting on biblical support and presenting the case that enmity with God is indeed a terrible crime worthy of eternal punishment, he instead put forth an argument similar to the following quote (from his website) that Hell basically really isn’t so bad…at least not as bad as heaven would be for them.

“Secondly, I believe that the concept of choice demands that we believe in hell. Without hell there’s no choice, and without choice heaven would not be heaven, heaven would be hell. The righteous would inherit a counterfeit heaven and the unrighteous would be incarcerated in heaven against their wills, which would be a torture worse than hell. Imagine spending a lifetime voluntarily distancing yourself from God only in the end to find yourself involuntarily dragged into His loving presence for all eternity! The alternative to hell is worse than hell itself in that it is taking humans who are made in the image of God and stripping them of freedom and forcing them to worship God against their wills.”

Hank is not shy about his disdain for the biblical doctrine of election.  On his radio show that day, he stated that the Calvinistic view of election is likened unto Divine rape.  So, in his thinking, he believes that heaven is worse than hell for many people, for as he says above, heaven “would be a torture worse than hell” because a person would be “involuntarily dragged into His loving presence for all eternity”.

(I think a logical conclusion of Hank’s position is that parents who do not let their teenage children drink alcohol, takes drugs and have pre-marital sex are putting their children through Hell, or even raping them of their freedom…since nothing could be worse than being forcibly spared from evil desires.)

I know plenty of people who are Arminian in doctrine and preach the Gospel message of salvation from sin and rescue from the curse of Hell.  Thankfully, they do not redefine the Scriptures and state that Heaven is worse than Hell for anyone.

As for my reaction to Hank – the Bible Answer Man – I must say that I am confident that God does not “rape” people against their wills, but I am quite confident and thankful that he rescues people in spite of their willful enmity against Him.  For believers in the Gospel, He has raised us up from our deadness to Him (while we were rejecting Him), while we were children of His wrath, and he has made us alive together with Christ!

Ephesians 2:1-9: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

I am not posting this simply to say Calvinism is right and Arminian thought is wrong.  The blogosphere is full of bickering back and forth about that.  I am concerned however when prime-time “Christian” programming presents ideas that are far, far removed from Christian thought and blatantly contrary to the Scriptures. (Where in the Scriptures is there an argument that “You’d be better off in Hell”?)

May God grant that the testimony of the Church is according to His truth.