Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do You Love Christ? True versus False Conversion

Posted by Christine Pack

J.C. Ryle
1. If we love a person, we like to think about him.
We do not need to be reminded of him. We do not forget his name or his appearance or his character or his opinions or his tastes or his position or his occupation. He comes up before our mind’s eye many a time in the day. Though perhaps far distant, he is often present in our thoughts. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! Christ "dwells in his heart," and is thought of more or less every day (Eph. 3:17). The true Christian does not need to be reminded that he has a crucified Master. He often thinks of Him. He never forgets that He has a day, a cause and a people, and that of His people he is one. Affection is the real secret of a good memory in religion. No worldly man can think much about Christ, unless Christ is pressed upon his notice, because he has no affection for Him. The true Christian has thoughts about Christ every day that he lives, for this one simple reason that he loves Him.

2. If we love a person, we like to hear about him. We find a pleasure in listening to those who speak of him. We feel an interest in any report which others make of him. We are all attention when others talk about him, and describe his ways, his sayings, his doings and his plans. Some may hear him mentioned with utter indifference, but our own hearts bound within us at the very sound of his name. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ. The true Christian delights to hear something about his Master. He likes those sermons best which are full of Christ. He enjoys that society most in which people talk of the things which are Christ’s. I have read of an old Welsh believer, who used to walk several miles every Sunday to hear an English clergyman preach, though she did not understand a word of English. She was asked why she did so. She replied, that this clergyman named the name of Christ so often in his sermons, that it did her good. She loved even the name of her Savior.

3. If we love a person, we like to read about him. What intense pleasure a letter from an absent husband gives to a wife, or a letter from an absent son to his mother. Others may see little worth notice in the letter. They can scarcely take the trouble to read it through. But those who love the writer see something in the letter which no one else can. They carry it about with them as a treasure. They read it over and over again. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian delights to read the Scriptures, because they tell him about his beloved Savior. It is no wearisome task with him to read them. He rarely needs reminding to take his Bible with him when he goes a journey. He cannot be happy without it. And why is all this? It is because the Scriptures testify of Him whom his soul loves, even Christ.

4. If we love a person, we like to please him. We are glad to consult his tastes and opinions, to act upon his advice and do the things which he approves. We even deny ourselves to meet his wishes, abstain from things which we know he dislikes and learn things to which we are not naturally inclined, because we think it will give him pleasure. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian studies to please Him, by being holy both in body and spirit. Show him anything in his daily practice that Christ hates, and he will give it up. Show him anything that Christ delights in, and he will follow after it. He does not murmur at Christ’s requirements as being too strict and severe, as the children of the world do. To him Christ’s commandments are not grievous, and Christ’s burden is light. And why is all this? Simply because he loves Him.

5. If we love a person, we like his friends. We are favorably inclined to them, even before we know them. We are drawn to them by the common tie of common love to one and the same person. When we meet them we do not feel that we are altogether strangers. There is a bond of union between us. They love the person that we love, and that alone is an introduction. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian regards all Christ’s friends as his friends, members of the same body, children of the same family, soldiers in the same army, travelers to the same home. When he meets them, he feels as if he had long known them. He is more at home with them in a few minutes, than he is with many worldly people after an acquaintance of several years. And what is the secret of all this? It is simply affection to the same Savior and love to the same Lord.

6. If we love a person, we are jealous about his name and honor. We do not like to hear him spoken against, without speaking up for him and defending him. We feel bound to maintain his interests and his reputation. We regard the person who treats him ill with almost as much disfavor as if he had ill–treated us. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian regards with a godly jealousy all efforts to disparage his Master’s word, or name, or church, or day. He will confess Him before princes, if need be, and be sensitive of the least dishonor put upon Him. He will not hold his peace, and suffer his Master’s cause to be put to shame, without testifying against it. And why is all this? Simply because he loves Him.

7. If we love a person, we like to talk to him. We tell him all our thoughts, and pour out all our heart to him. We find no difficulty in discovering subjects of conversation. However silent and reserved we may be to others, we find it easy to talk to a much–loved friend. However often we may meet, we are never at a loss for matter to talk about. We have always much to say, much to ask about, much to describe, much to communicate. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian finds no difficulty in speaking to his Savior. Every day he has something to tell Him, and he is not happy unless he tells it. He speaks to Him in prayer every morning and night. He tells Him his wants and desires, his feelings and his fears. He asks counsel of Him in difficulty. He asks comfort of Him in trouble. He cannot help it. He must converse with his Savior continually, or he would faint by the way. And why is this? Simply because he loves Him.

8. If we love a person, we like to be always with him. Thinking and hearing and reading and occasionally talking are all well in their way. But when we really love people we want something more. We long to be always in their company. We wish to be continually in their society, and to hold communion with them without interruption or farewell. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The heart of a true Christian longs for that blessed day when he will see his Master face to face, and go out no more. He longs to have done with sinning and repenting and believing and to begin that endless life when he shall see as he has been seen, and sin no more. He has found it sweet to live by faith, and he feels it will be sweeter still to live by sight. He has found it pleasant to hear of Christ and talk of Christ and read of Christ. How much more pleasant will it be to see Christ with his own eyes, and never to leave him any more! "Better," he feels, "is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire" (Eccl. 6:9). And why is all this? Simply because he loves Him.

J.C. Ryle 
Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots

 Additional Resources 

Daily J.C. Ryle

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nondenominational Meditation?

By Marcia Montenegro (Christian Answers for the New Age - CANA)

The attempt to market Eastern forms of mediation as “nondenominational” and as secular practices continues. A recent Washington Post article from September 2, 2011 has a write-up on classes on meditation led by someone from a Buddhist group in Wash. DC, the Insight Meditation Community. The classes are offered in a Unitarian Universalist Church right outside DC in Bethesda, MD.

 Excerpt from the article

“Brach says over-thinking, sometimes to the point of obsessing, is typical for those who don’t meditate habitually”


It is a hallmark of Eastern meditation, especially Buddhist, to make thinking a sort of enemy. Buddhism is not against thinking per se but teaches that our thoughts and thinking prevent us from realizing spiritual truths and “awakening” to reality. Since Buddhism believes that the perceived reality of the material world and the self are false, Buddhism therefore believes that our thoughts come from these perceptions of the false reality (and create them). Therefore, the thoughts reflect and perpetuate false views. Sometimes, thinking is termed “monkey chatter” (also in Hinduism).

 Excerpt from the article 

“Each evening concludes with a dharma talk, where Brach offers teachings on a broader issue related to living in a “mindful” way.”


Please note the word “dharma” in the above sentence. Dharma is a distinctly Buddhist concept. If anyone is teaching about “dharma,” then it is not “non-denominational.”

Here is a link to the article (the whole section is 5 pages, but the section on mediation is only one page and part of another, p. 1 and part of p.2)

There is one comment on the article – by me! Here it is:
“The section on meditation states that the classes are "nondenominational." That is somewhat misleading. I am sure the classes are for anyone but what is being taught is not nondenominational, unless one wants to say Buddhism is not a religion. Buddhism is, however, one of the major religions of the world. Mindfulness is part of the Noble Eight-fold Path. The techniques will alter one's outlook, but people should know that it will be altered in a religious way that sees the world the way Buddhism sees it. How many Americans, I wonder, know that Buddhism teaches there is no self? Mindfulness is not nondenominational and is not intended to reduce stress. It has spiritual intentions that enhance the Buddhist worldview.”

photo credit: [c] via photopin cc

 Additional Resource: 

Christian Answers For the New Age Article on Mindfulness

Wellness: The New Age Trojan Horse in Healthcare

Christian Answers for the New Age (CANA) - Research website of Former Professional Astrologer/New Ager Marcia Montenegro

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Living The Christian Life - A Mystical Secret? The Life of Hannah Whitall Smith

By Francis MacDonald, Lamps Burning blog

 Living The Christian Life - A Mystical Secret? 

Her life seemed to be an unbroken chain of tragedies. Nevertheless she penned one of the most popular Christian devotional books ever written. She had discovered the "secret of happiness" even in the midst of unspeakable loss and sorrow.

Single minded, sometimes impulsive, unorthodox and more often than not, very controversial. All this and more would fail to encompass the fascinating person and life story of Hannah Whitall Smith.

Blessed with a keen intellect, inquiring mind and indomitable will, this remarkable woman's influence is realized even today on society at large and western Christianity in particular.

The latter alone necessitates a closer look at Hannah Smith and her famous Christian classic, The Christian's Secret Of A Happy Life.

 Early Life 

Born on February 7th, 1832, Hannah Tatum Whitall Smith was the firstborn daughter of John Mickle Whitall and Mary Tatum Whitall. Her parents were devout, prominent and influential members of the Quaker community of New Jersey.

Hannah was married on November 5th, 1851 to Robert Pearsall Smith, also descended from the same Quakers of that area.

Her very early life, up to the age of about sixteen, has been described as being very unremarkable, with Hannah apparently experiencing a very happy childhood in a stable albeit very strict Quaker home. As with most of us, we are at least in part the sum total of our early childhood and life experiences, be they good or ill. This holds true of Hannah, who was undoubtedly influenced strongly by the mystical approach to God that characterized the Quaker's belief system and practices. It would appear unmistakable that such beliefs informed her worldview and were instrumental in her "discovering the secret" to a satisfying, or as she would characterize it, a "happy" Christian life.

 Crisis of Faith and Subsequent Conversion 

At around the age of sixteen, Hannah became very distressed over the issue of her relationship to God and had grave reservations that she even possessed salvation. She grew more and more disenchanted with the "Society of Friends" Quaker denomination and its insistence on legalistic demands upon its adherents. Her diary entries indicate the spiritual bondage she experienced in trying to be and do good absent a relationship with Jesus Christ. That all changed some years later at a prayer meeting revival in 1858 at which Hannah and her husband professed conversion to Christ. At great personal loss and banishment by many of their family members, both Hannah and Robert resigned from the Society of Friends.

 Early Evangelical Influences 

Hannah's first instructors under the evangelical umbrella were members of the Plymouth Brethren. She was excited to be learning the Bible but soon took offence to the Biblical notion that God would somehow choose some for salvation in Christ but leave others to perish in their sin.

She could not reconcile in her mind how an all-loving God could do such a thing and vowed she would never be able to worship and serve such a cruel divine being as she perceived taught in the Brethren's strict Biblicism. Though not fully developed, from the very beginning it appears she believed what would later become evident from her later writings, a Christianized version of the doctrine of Universal Reconciliation. It would seem Hannah had left the Quakers but Quakerism never quite left her.

Bidding farewell to the Plymouth Brethren, Hannah began attending meetings conducted by the embryonic Methodist holiness movement. In July of 1867, Hannah's husband Robert was apparently "sanctified" in true Methodist fashion at a camp meeting. Soon after they both became active members of the National Holiness Association. In short order Hannah experienced a less dramatic sanctification experience as her husband but "settled" the matter of holiness as the Methodists were wont to say.
The founder of Methodism, John Wesley preached an estimated 40,000 sermons and travelled some 250,000 miles in bringing the gospel to multitudes.
Thus, Hannah Smith and her husband Robert adopted the Wesleyan doctrine of sanctification also referred to as "entire sanctification." This somewhat complex, and Biblically debatable, view of the process of the Christian's growth in holiness (sanctification) without doubt also contributed greatly to Hannah's developing theology, as did the aforementioned adherence to the aberrant doctrine of Christian Universalism. The next major influence on the Smiths followed on the heels of these experiences in the form of a popular Christian author and speaker, whose teaching was a key impetus in the formation and subsequent flourishing of the holiness movement in the United States.

 William E. Boardman and "The Higher Christian Life" 

The Smiths were exposed to the teachings of "Deeper Life" proponent Presbyterian minister William E. Boardman at a meeting, and his impact upon them was instant and dramatic. Boardman had been experiencing tremendous success in his preaching and teaching ministry, particularly in Britain. He authored the very popular and widely read book, The Higher Christian Life (1858), which expounded his view of sanctification and which in fairness must be said differed from Wesleyan Perfectionism. In the book, he sets forth a theological view of sanctification that, if not demanding, strongly suggests the necessity of a second work of grace.

The Smiths immediately became disciples of Boardman and it appears he groomed them to become speakers promoting Holiness and the Higher Life. During the years 1873-1874, Boardman and the Smiths spread this message throughout England. Later they would take this same message to the United States as influential speakers in the Holiness Movement.

Part II coming soon...

Photo credit: {{Public domain: Information |Description= Hannah Whitall Smith |Source=Asbury Theological Seminary, B.L. Fisher Library Archives [http://divinity.lib.vanderbilt.edu/ARIL/individ.htm] |Date= |Author= |Permission={{PD-US}} |other_versions= }}

 Additional Resources 

Hannah Whitall Smith's Unhappy Life (Though Her Book The Christian's Secret of A Happy Life Is Still Considered A Classic of Christian Literature)

Coming to Christ in Simple Faith

❝They that thirst and want to come to Christ must remember that simple faith is the one thing required. By all means let them come with a humble, broken, and contrite heart; but let them not dream of resting on that for acceptance. Faith is the only hand that can carry the living water to our lips. Faith is the hinge on which all turns in the matter of our justification.

It is written again and again that 'whosoever believes shall not perish, but have eternal life' (John 3:16). 'To him that does not work, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness' (Romans 4:5). Happy are they that can lay hold on the principle laid down in that matchless hymn:

 Just I am! without one plea,
Save that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come!❞

~ J.C. Ryle

 Additional Resources 

Daily J.C. Ryle


Net Hymnal / Cyber Hymnal

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Evolution Refuted...In Less Than 3 Minutes

Posted by Christine Pack

 Note to Readers 

I can't even begin to express how instrumental Answers in Genesis was in helping to form my biblical worldview. As a new Christian, I was still pretty evolutionary in my thinking. Then along came AIG.  I remember going through their LONG list of scientists on staff and just being amazed! And here's why: I had always been told and taught, from grade school all the way up through college, that science had "proved" evolution. Evolution was "fact." So, having had this life-long indoctrination, the first time I ever heard of "Young Earthers" as a new Christian, I immediately thought "cult!" But then several years later, along came Answers in Genesis, and here were all these scientists on staff, many of them with multiple and advanced degrees in the sciences.  In other words, it's not like these were guys with their PhDs in literature or something, weighing in on subjects they hadn't studied. These were scientists who had studied Archaeology, Biology, Zoology, Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Palaeontology, etc., etc., and who, after studying the evidence, were saying, "It points to Young Earth, and here's why...." Bottom line: I just really like how these scientists, working alongside Answers in Genesis, have turned that condescending, worldly dismissal of the Young Earth view on its ear. There are no "village idiots" in this bunch, my friends. You can say a lot of things about this group of scientists, but one thing you can't say is that they're stupid. In fact, I believe that God is using the ministry of Answers in Genesis to respond to the mockers of this age:
"It is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.' Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Corinthians 1:19-20)

 Additional Resources 

Answers in Genesis FREE Weekly Download - Six Days & The Eisegesis Problem

Radioactive and Radiocarbon Dating with Dr. Andrew Snelling

The Grand Canyon: A Trickle of Water Over Millions of Years? Or A Deluge of Water Over a Brief Period? with Dr. Andrew Snelling

Answers in Genesis

Answers in Genesis Curricula

Answers in Genesis for Kids

Answers in Genesis Articles Archive

The Creation Museum

Saturday, August 27, 2011