Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Book of Daniel Taught from a Reformed Dispensational Premillennial Perspective

Posted by Christine Pack

Many Christians hesitate to approach the subject of eschatology, for various reasons. Some have grown up in churches that "majored" on prophecy/apocalyptic passages, to the detriment of other passages. And after years of sitting through prophecy conferences that terrified the wits out of them, in which prophecy teachers held them captive to frenzied sessions involving massive charts, and maps and pointers, they had had enough. Other Christians have been told dogmatically that they *must* accept a certain end times view, if they hold to certain other views. For instance, when I was theologically working through the Reformed view, which is eventually where I landed, I was told very emphatically by some of my Reformed friends that *if* I were Reformed, then I had to hold to an Amillennial* eschatology, as if it were some kind of package deal. And yet, I didn't. I was Reformed, but I wasn't Amillennial. And neither are John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Steve Lawson, Dan Phillips, Bob DeWaay and other pastors of note, none of whom can be dismissed as being unbalanced in their approach to scripture. And finally, some Christians shy away from end-times passages as being simply too confusing to understand. As one pastor friend, who self identifies as a "Panmillennialist," said to me, "After all, it all 'pans' out in the end, right?"

*Note that Amillennialists are Christians who reject the idea of Christ having a literal, thousand year reign upon the earth, and allegorize such passages to mean "a long time" as opposed to a thousand years. Amillennialists also believe that most of the prophetic passages having to do with the Antichrist were fulfilled by the year 70 A.D., at the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans. The Roman emperor Nero is believed to have been the Antichrist.

But I'm out of the closet now, I suppose, as both Reformed and Dispensational. And since landing on this peculiar position of Reformed Dispensational Premillennialism (after lots and lots of Bible study, discussion, prayer and thought), I have wanted to study the book of Daniel under a solid, balanced teacher from the Reformed Premill perspective. I found it at my mother's church, Faith Community Church in Woodstock, GA. Teaching elder David Kemp is working his way through the book of Daniel from the Reformed Dispensational position. No overwrought sessions with charts and pointers: just a calm, measured, biblical walk through Daniel with a consistent, grammatical-historical hermeneutic. In fact, with David's background in engineering, visuals for the class have been kept to a bare bones minimum.

 More About Faith Community Church and the Expositor's Seminary 

The church where David Kemp is an elder, Faith Community Church, is located in a northwest suburb of Atlanta, GA. Faith Community Church is also where the Georgia campus of the Expositors Seminary is located. Expositors is an extension of The Masters Seminary (TMS), which is located in Sun Valley, CA, and where John MacArthur serves as the seminary's president. The founders of Masters Seminary, having come to the realization that there was a strong need for expository Bible teaching in the greater Christian community, put in motion the steps that eventually led to multiple campus locations in the U.S. where young men can be solidly training in expository Bible teaching. There is also an "alumni tracker" link on the main TMS website, whereby Christians all over the world can type in their locations, and find out if there are any TMS alumni in their area. You can access the TMS alumni tracker here.

Besides the campus in Woodstock, GA, Expositors Seminary campuses are also located in:
Houston, TX 
Huntsville, AL 
Jacksonville, FL 
Jupiter, FL 
Kansas City, KS 
Lynchburg, VA
You can read about Expositors' history here. Because of Faith Community Church's strong affiliation with Masters Seminary as well as their on-site seminary, the media archives at Faith are just loaded with many years' worth of excellent, expository teaching. I highly recommend Faith Community Church as a resource for anyone looking for a solid resource for expository Bible teaching.

 The Book of Daniel 

While teaching through the book of Daniel, Faith elder David Kemp has pointed out a number of times that Christians can, and will, differ on non-essential issues (the primary ones that come to mind being mode of baptism and eschatology). However, he also points out that Christians should study these areas and be able to explain why they hold the views they do, and should also be able to explain, from the scriptures, why they hold their position (graciously of course). He also has emphasized that all scripture (even apocalyptic passages) is given for the purpose of steadying our walks and edifying us. End times views can, understandably, be tricky to navigate, given that these passages are sometimes not as straightforward, as other areas of scripture (for instance, the doctrinal epistles or historical passages). And lest we forget, apocalyptic passages deal with events that have to do with the complete and utter destruction of this world, and God's coming judgement. Sobering stuff. Nonetheless, we know that ALL Scripture is God-breathed, and thus profitable for understanding and for training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16-17). This means that the purpose of scripture is to edify, to encourage, to train, to build up: in short, scripture is given to strengthen our walks, not in order to confuse us, discourage us or frighten us. In fact, the book of Revelation, which is also an apocalyptic book (and which should be studied in tandem with Daniel), is the only book in the entire Bible that promises blessing to those who study it. So yes, apocalyptic Bible passages are about the complete destruction of the world as we know it. But in the end, God will have accomplished all of his sovereign, redemptive purposes. Justice will be meted out. God himself will wipe the tears from our eyes. And God will rule and reign in glory forever and ever with his people on a New Earth, where there will no longer be any sin or death or sadness or crying or pain (Rev 21:4). How glorious is that?

If you would also like to listen to the series, which I will be updating until the series is completed, you may access them below in the order they were given. Be blessed.

Week #1 - Introduction to Daniel, Pt 1
Week #2 - Introduction to Daniel, Pt 2
Week #3 - Daniel's Determination to Obey God (Daniel 1:1-16)
Week #4 - Nebuchednezzar's Dream (Daniel 1:17-2:12)
Week #5 - God Shows Daniel Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (Daniel 2:13-23)
Week #6 - Daniel Tells Nebuchadnezzar His Dream (Daniel 2:24-35)
Week #7 - Daniel Begins to Interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (Daniel 2:36-43)
Week #8 - Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, Pt. 2 (Daniel 2:44)
Week #9 - Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, Pt. 3 (Daniel 2:44-45)
Week #10 - Results of Daniel Interpreting the Dream (Daniel 2:46-3:6)
Week #11 - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Trouble with Neb (Daniel 3:6-18)
Week #12 - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego Protected (Daniel 3:19-30)
Week #13 - The Liberal's view of Daniel (Daniel 4:1-2)
Week #14 - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of a Great Tree (Daniel 4:3-18)
Week #15 - Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd Dream (Daniel 4:19-27)
Week #16 - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream is Fulfilled (Daniel 4:28-37)
Week #17 - The Writing on the Wall (Daniel 5:1-12)
Week #18 - Daniel interprets the Writing on the Wall (Daniel 5:13-30)
Week #19 - Identifying Darius the Mede (Daniel 5:31)
Week #20 - The Commissioners and Officials Lay A Trap for Daniel (Daniel 6:1-11)
Week #21 - Daniel In the Lion's Den (Daniel 6:12-28)
Week #22 - Daniel's First Vision, Pt 1 (Daniel 7:1-5)
Week #23 - Daniel's First Vision, Pt 2 (Daniel 7:6-8)
Week #24 - Daniel's First Vision, Pt 3 (Daniel 7:9-10)
Week #25 - Daniel's First Vision, Pt 4 (Daniel 7:11-14)
Week #26 - A Brief Review of Daniel Chapters 1-7
Week #27 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 1 (Daniel 7:15-20)
Week #28 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 2 (Daniel 7:21-23)
Week #29 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 3 (Daniel 7:24-25)
Week #30 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 4 (Daniel 7:25)
Week #31 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 5 (Daniel 7:26-28)
Week #32 - Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 1 (Daniel 8:1-10)
Week #33 - Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 2 (Daniel 8:11-12)
Week #34 - Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 3 (Daniel 8.13-14)
Week #35 - Gabriel's Explanation of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 1 (Daniel 8:15-22)
Week #36 - Gabriel's Explanation of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 2 (Daniel 8:23-27)
Week #37 - Daniel's Prayer of Repentance, Pt 1 (Daniel 9:1-3)
Week #38 - Daniel's Prayer of Repentance, Pt 2 (Daniel 9:4-11)
Week #39 - Daniel's Prayer of Repentance, Pt 3 (Daniel 9:12-19)
Week #40 - Lesson not recorded (Daniel 9:20-23)
Week #41 - 70 Weeks Have Been Decreed (Daniel 9:24)
Week #42 - Six Future Results of the 70 Weeks (Daniel 9:24)
Week #43 - From a Decree To A Messiah, Pt 1 (Daniel 9:25)
Week #44 - From a Decree To A Messiah, Pt 2 (Daniel 9:25)
Week #45 - From a Decree To A Messiah, Pt 3 (Daniel 9:25)
Week #46 - After 69 Weeks (Daniel 9:26)
Week #47 - The People of the Prince Who Is To Come, Pt 1 (Daniel 9:26)
Week #48 - The People of the Prince Who Is To Come, Pt 2 (Daniel 9:26)
Week #49 - Daniel's 70th Week, Pt 1 (Daniel 9:27)
Week #50 - Daniel's 70th Week, Pt 2 (Daniel 9:27)
Week #51 - The Circumstances of Daniel's Fourth Vision (Daniel 10:1-9)
Week #52 - The Angel is Delayed in Coming to Daniel (Daniel 10:10-13)
Week #53 - Daniel Strengthened by the Angel, Gains Understanding (Daniel 10:14-21)
Week #54 - From Cyrus to Alexander the Great (Daniel 11:1-4)
Week #55 - From Seleucus I/Ptolemy I to Antiochus II/Ptolemy II (Daniel 11:5-6)
Week #56 - From Ptolemy II and Seleucus II thru Ptolemy V and Antiochus III (Daniel 11:7-10)
Week #57 - Antiochus IV from Inauguration thru Rome Stopping Him in Egypt (Daniel 11:11-30)
Week #58 -  Antiochus IV Desecrates the Temple in Jerusalem (Daniel 11:30-35)
Week #59 -  Fast Forward to the End Time (Daniel 11:35-37)
Week #60 - The King and His Military (Daniel 11:38-39)
Week #61 - The King Continues in War but Ultimately Comes to His End (Daniel 11:40-45)
Week #62 - Michael in the Time of Distress Followed by Resurrection (Daniel 12:1-2)
Week #63 - Resurrections From the Dead (Daniel 12:2)
Week #64 - Conceal the Words and Seal the Book (Daniel 12:3-6)
Week #65 - Time, Times, and Half a Times (Daniel 12:7)
Week #66 - Final Words To Daniel (Daniel 12:8-13)


Faith Community Church (Woodstock, GA)

Expositor's Seminary (Woodstock, GA)

The Master's Seminary (Sun Valley, CA)

The Master's Seminary - Online Resources

Masters Alumni Tracker

Israel Exists Purely By The Supernatural Hand of God

25 Wrong Reasons For Dissing Dispensationalism (Dan Phillips)

What Dispensationalists Believe (Fred Butler)


Why Every Calvinist Should Be A Premillennialist (John MacArthur)

Eschatology: Certain or Uncertain? (Bob DeWaay)

Faith Community Church - Media

Grace To You (Sun Valley, CA) - Audio and Video

Masters Seminary Lectures

Pastoring 101

photo credit: wolf4max via photopin cc
Here's what should happen when seminary students show up for their first day of class: they are handed two live sheep. The professor then tells them this: Your assignment is to look after these sheep for the next semester. You are to feed them, care for them, tend them, comb their fur, and protect them from wolves. If at the end of the semester you return both of these sheep to me, alive and in good condition (i.e, they are not frightened, malnourished, missing any limbs or half drowned because you left them alone and they fell into the river), then next semester you will have earned the right to graduate to the next step: learning how to minister to actual people.
1 Timothy 3:1-13 - Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons 
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.  
In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.  
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.  
A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Titus 1:5-10 - Qualifications for Elders 
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.



What Is Spiritual Abuse? (Got Questions?)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Israel Exists Purely By The Supernatural Hand of God

Posted by Christine Pack

I am not xenophobic or racist. But when I know that the kind of hatred evidenced by the video posted below exists in the world, I cannot help but be disturbed by it. Christians, as a whole, and taking into consideration how their biblical worldview shapes their thoughts, do not make videos like this, demanding and celebrating the death of those outside their faith. (And incidentally, neither do Jews, Taoists, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians, Unitarians, Mormons, etc., etc., etc.) Islamic hatred is in a category all its own.
Oh martyrdom seeker,
Make them cry,
Make the fire engulf them.
Turn them into body parts, roast them,
Bringing joy to the hearts of the steadfast people. 
Oh martyrdom seeker,
It is our duty to defend our people.
You are the voice of honor within us.
With your explosive belt,
We will defend our free women. 
We want the dead to fill the streets,
And the blood to intensify the pain.
Make the Zionist withdraw
From the wrath of my avenging people.  
Oh bearer of good tidings,
Wrap the explosive belt around your waist.
The story of the Intifada will only be told
When the roof of a bus goes flying.  
Oh bearer of good tidings,
Wrap the explosive belt around your waist.
The story of the Intifada will only be told
When the roof of a bus goes flying. 
(Video courtesy The Israel Project)

 Israel Preserved By God 

Islam's most hated enemy, Israel, exists purely by the hand of God. Do you doubt this? Then consider this fact: since the beginning of recorded history, people groups whose homelands have been destroyed, and whose survivors have been disseminated into other nations, have ceased to exist within three generations. In 70 A.D., almost two thousand years ago, Israel's homeland was destroyed and her people were dispersed throughout the world. It wasn't until 1948, three years after the end of World War II, with pro-Israel sentiment at an all-time high in the world because of the atrocities committed against Israel at the hands of Hitler, that Israel's homeland was re-established through a United Nations resolution. And yet, between 70 A.D. and 1948 (again, almost two thousand years), Israel continued to exist, with her cultural heritage, beliefs and language still intact. This is an undisputed truth, and a truth that undergirds my Reformed Dispensational view (a view held by only a tiny sliver of Christians within the Christian community). God is not finished with Israel, and from a plain reading of scripture, I do not see the Church replacing national Israel.

Israel will continue to exist, as evidence of God's great kindness toward sinners. One day, God will open the eyes of the Jews, and will cause them to understand that Jesus Christ was their Messiah.
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." (Zechariah 12:10)
As John MacArthur teaches in his series on being a Reformed Dispensational (Why Every Calvinist Should Be Premillennial), Reformed Christians, more than any other, should surely understand the sovereign hand of God in terms of salvation. Yes, Israel rejected their Messiah. But do we not all know lost loved ones who have rejected their Messiah? Are we not told to continue to pray for them? Never does God say to stop praying for anyone. It is never for us to decide who God can and cannot save. And...... Romans 11, where the Apostle Paul draws a clear distinction between the church and historic Israel ("I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew......" Romans 11:1)
I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. 
What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; just as it is written, 
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
Down to this very day.” 
And David says, 
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.
“Let their eyes be darkened to see not,
And bend their backs forever.” 
I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. 
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? 
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, 
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
“This is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.” 
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. 
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

 Additional Resources 

 Why Every Calvinist Should Be Premillennial (John MacArthur, Grace To You)

The Book of Daniel Taught from a Reformed Dispensational Premillennial Perspective (Faith Community Church, Woodstock GA)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Josh Duggar's Infidelity Outed in Ashley Madison Website Hack

Posted by Sola Sisters

Screenshot from the TLC website
After being "outed" by the recent Ashley Madison website hack, Josh Duggar, eldest son of the 19 Kids and Counting Duggar clan, released a statement admitting that he was addicted to pornography and had been unfaithful to his wife, Anna, with whom he has four young children. As sad and distasteful as discussing this is, I feel the need to write about this in sort of an informational way, because I think so few Christians, who have only experienced the Duggars through their popular TV show, understand the Duggars' worldview.

When I first heard that Josh Duggar was "outed" in the Ashley Madison hack, I felt sick, and hoped that it wasn't true. This was before the information was verified. But now that it has been verified, it is not wrong or unloving to raise questions about the systematized legalism of Bill Gothard's ATI/IBLP teachings as well as the longstanding relationship between the Duggars and ATI/IBLP. Nor is it wrong to publicly call into question the problems that legalistic systems (like ATI/IBLP) tend to engender in their adherents: chiefly, there is no meaningful or biblical way of dealing with in-dwelling sin. After all, if you have a system to "work" for righteousness, why would you ever cry out to Christ for cleansing and sanctification or help in walking in obedience? or even for salvation, for that matter? You'd just get busy "working" the system, by cranking up your rule-following and hoop-jumping. Take note of the very astute observations by one homeschooling mother, Nikki Roscizewski, who said:
"Growing up in the home school circle I knew a lot of families like the Duggars. The problem I always saw was the pride of being ultra conservative and anyone outside the circle of ATI ultra conservativism was treated like a leper. We were a conservative family but we weren't ATI and we weren't proud in our conservative views. Proud meaning that we did not act puffed up. The kids I grew up with who were brought up in ATI now as adults don't hold to there views anymore. It leads me to believe that the things they were so proud of like not owning a Tv or the fact that they wore skirts and dresses were in obedience to Gothard not God. I even questioned some of my friends about there family rule about wearing skirts and dresses and they told me they were Gothard girls. That scared my dad enough that he said we would never join ATI based on what we saw in our own friends. My mom and I wore skirts and dresses and were very modest in our dress but we did it out of personal conviction not the influence of Gothard.........We need to train our children what is appropriate and not appropriate to look at. I remember watching the Duggars a few years ago and one of the girls and Michelle said they have a code word when they are out and about.. If the girls see someone dressed immodestly the boys are trained to turn their heads when the word is said. When I saw that I just thought that I want to train my boys to know for themselves when to turn their heads. It is a shame that your sister has to tell you when to turn your face I don't think your wife will want to do that when you are married........Christian parents (often) don't have their children's hearts because they only say "no" and don't allow their kids to know why. I have known too many kids that have turned from the faith because they never knew why their families did what they did. We have some great conversations in our house about issues of the day and things that are out there. If our kids can think for themselves from a biblical world view and know we are on their side and can ask us anything without being brought down, then I think our kids have a better fighting chance to survive all of the junk that is out there.......We have such an awesome opportunity to teach our kids to live in the world and survive the culture without being a bitter compromiser."
The Duggars have long been associated with ATI/IBLP, which is an ideology (more on that below). Unfortunately, I think that many who have liked the Duggars in the past (and yes, they are very likeable) don't necessarily understand this, nor do they understand the beliefs that comprise this ideology, and which undergird the Duggars' worldview.

Some of us who spoke up about what we saw as an insincere apology on Josh Duggar's part this past May when his childhood molestation of his sisters came to light were virtually demonized for doing so. We were also chastised for raising concerns about how Duggar's parents (Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar) handled his molestation. It was frustrating, to say the least, to have been portrayed (by fellow Christians no less) as being "professional victims" and "unloving" and "harsh" and "unforgiving," simply because we said, Hmmm, not so sure this was handled correctly, and that Duggar truly is penitent. 

So this is chiefly an informational article about the Duggar family and their ties to Bill Gothard's (pseudo) Christian parachurch organization which is, again, ideologically driven, and is at its core extremely works righteous and legalistic, bordering on cult-like.

 Bill Gothard / ATI / IBLP 

➤ Bill Gothard is the creator and director of a parachurch organization known as IBLP (which stands for Institute in Basic Life Principles). IBLP is alternately known as ATI (Advanced Training Institute).

➤ Created in 1961, ATI/IBLP are part of a multi-faceted system which "sells" an entire way of life to Christians, with a focus on homeschooling (including ATI/IBLP homeschool curriculum), debt reduction, character training, Bible memorization and extrabiblical rules designed to keep sin at bay. ATI/IBLP conferences have been ongoing for decades (note the busy current schedule under "Events" in the attached graphic).

➤ Bill Gothard, a life-long bachelor, resigned in 2014 under fire from the institute he founded (IBLP) over multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and molestation of the young women employed to work for him.

➤ Gothard's view of grace is nothing like the biblical understanding of grace. He has historically taught, and still teaches, that grace is  "the desire and power to do God's will." This is works righteousness.

➤ Gothard has historically taught, and still teaches:
• An extrabiblical view of authority/submission 
• That only parent-approved courtship dating is allowed for teens/young adults
• Unbiblical views on spiritual warfare 
• That women should not go to college
• That victims of sexual abuse are to blame for their abuse
IBLP homeschooling materials: "Many surgeries are performed to correct conditions which can be traced directly or indirectly back to sin or guilt."
• That Christians cannot listen to secular music or go to movies 
• That pork should not be eaten by Christians  
• That Christians have a moral obligation to circumcise their male children
➤ Gothard systematized his skewed views, as noted above, into ATI/IBLP. ATI/IBLP are organizations headed by Gothard, and which produce and sell homeschooling materials. Thus, ATI/IBLP teachings, with their inherent legalism and extrabiblical rules, have been embraced on a large scale by many homeschooling families.

➤ The Duggar family (of the popular TLC show "19 Kids and Counting") has been associated with Bill Gothard and IBLP for more than 15 years. They have regularly spoken at IBLP conferences, and their daughters have been leaders with the IBLP program "Journey To The Heart." Many Christians have been introduced to the ATI/IBLP teachings through the Duggars, who speak regularly at ATI/IBLP conferences.

➤ Christian parents have been enticed by the formulaic structure of IBLP, which gives the impression that following the "system" will ensure that their children will become true, born-again believers ("insert Tab A into Slot A..."). This last one, as a parent, I completely understand: after all, what Christian parent doesn't want their child, or children, to be saved? But children aren't widgets, and there is no "formula" for raising Christian children that guarantees the outcome. If anything, legalism (i.e., following laws/rules for righteousness in God's eyes) causes the flesh to rear up more than ever, as Paul noted in the book of Romans:
"Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death." (Romans 7:9-11) 

 Key Points 

➤ Gothardism is an ideological cult bound up in legalism and works righteousness. And my saying that doesn't mean I hate those ensnared in it. It means that I've got my discernment filter set on "high" when examining anything said by any of its adherents. After all, they are speaking from their platforms as professing Christians,* and so what they say and do will reflect on the rest of us. (*Please note that I am not saying that ALL ATI/IBLP adherents are lost. I do know, in real life, some former ATI/IBLP adherents who were genuinely born again believers while involved in the movement, although they were, by their own admission, terribly immature and undiscerning at the time.)

➤ Lest anyone think that the annual ATI/IBLP conferences are just like the many other Christian conferences which take place very year, and in which speakers can and often do have differing viewpoints, that is NOT the case with Bill Gothard's tightly controlled ATI/IBLP empire. ATI is selling an ideology and an entire lifestyle, and their speakers are in alignment with Gothard-driven legalism, or else they would not be allowed to speak. 

➤ Christians with legitimate concerns about Gothardism shouldn't automatically be characterized (and thus dismissed) as closet liberals who hate homeschooling families. I'm saying this as a conservative, Bible-believing, young earth Christian who formerly homeschooled.

 Bottom Line 

★★I am sincerely praying that the Duggars (including Josh and Anna Duggar) awaken to the fatal flaws of legalistic Gothardism, and get out of it★★

 Miscellaneous ATI / IBLP Terms 

Gothardism - a term given to adherents of cult leader Bill Gothard's pseudo-Christian systemetized legalism, known alternately as both "ATI" and "IBLP."  It is not associated with a denomination or particular church, but is a parachurch organization.

Grace - as redefined by Bill Gothard: "the desire and power to do God's will."

Faith - as redefined by Bill Gothard: "visualizing what God intends to do in my life.”

ATI - Advanced Training Institute

IBLP - Institute In Basic Life Principles

Disease - According to IBLP homeschooling materials: "Many surgeries are performed to correct conditions which can be traced directly or indirectly back to sin or guilt." (online source)

Journey To The Heart - an ATI/IBLP retreat for young women. Two of the Duggar daughters have served as retreat leaders with Journey To The Heart.

Cabbage Patch Dolls - back in the 1980s, Bill Gothard warned (really) that Cabbage Patch dolls were possessed by Satan. (online source)

Pork - must not be eaten by Christians. (online source, #5)

 Important Links 

The Duggar Disaster (by Pastor Carl Trueman)

Growing Up Gothard
 (The Gospel Coalition)

 Additional Resources 

Pastor Carl Trueman: Concerns With Quiverfull / Patriarchy (Sola Sisters)

TLC Pulls 19 Kids Over Josh Duggar Misconduct Scandal (Aquila Report)

The Duggars and the Evil Outside (Aquila Report)

In-Depth Discussions of Patriarchy with Author and Christian Researcher Karen Campbell:
⁃ Quiverfull/Patriarchy, Part I (9 radio programs) 
⁃ Quiverfull Patriarchy, Part II (14 radio programs) 
⁃ Militant Fecundity (Aggressively Raising Up A "Christian Army") vs. Seeing Children As A Blessing (4 radio programs) 
What Are The Quiverfull and Patriarchy Movements? (Got Questions?)

Homeschool Advocate Michael Farris Responds to Sex Scandals of Homeschool Leaders Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips) (Christian Post)

Influential Patriarchy Leader Doug Phillips Resigns, Being Sued By Former Nanny For Sexual Misconduct (Sola Sisters)

Conservative Leader Bill Gothard Resigns Following Abuse Allegations (Religion News Service)

The Duggars, Bill Gothard, Vision Forum, and The Quiverful Movement (I am aware that some of the links in this article are no longer active, but this article still gives a quick thumbnail sketch of Bill Gothard, the Duggars, Vision Forum, Patriarchy and the Quiverfull Movement, and how they are connected)

 Midwest Christian Outreach 

A Matter of Basic Principles: Bill Gothard and the Christian Life

Josh Duggar, Mike Huckabee and Fodder for Progressives

Is Jesus a Sinner According to Bill Gothard’s Teachings?

If Bill Gothard is Wrong, Then What’s Right?

Bill Gothard: Who Knew What and When? A Question of Accountability


Bill Gothard’s Analogous Teachings

Bill Gothard; Déjà vu All Over Again

Bill Gothard and the Continuing Sex Scandal

Bill Gothard - Truly Repentant?

Leveraging Lunacy: How Bill Gothard Rode a Wave of Evangelical Goofiness

Four part series on Bill Gothard
 - Part 1, Bill Gothard's Evangelical Talmud
 - Part 2, Bill Gothard's Chain of Authority
 - Part 3, Bill Gothard and the Law
 - Part 4, Bill Gothard's Mystical Approach to Medical Issues

An Evening With Bill Gothard

 Websites by Former Gothardites 

Recovering Grace

Abuse Allegations Against Bill Gothard, Founder of Institute In Basic Life Principles
 (Dr. John Cornish and Kari Underwood, co-founders of Recovering Grace)

Under Much Grace

 Facebook Discussions Re: Christian Reconstruction, Theonomy, Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Bill Gothard, the Duggars 

Bill Gothard discussion - 7-2-12

Quiverfull / Duggars discussion - 9-21-14

Quiverfull / Patriarchy discussion - 9-24-14

Christian Reconstruction / Theonomy / Quiverfull / Patriarchy discussion - 10-19-14

 Secular Articles 

When Having Kids Is A Religious Experience
 (ABC News)

Quiverfull: More Children For God's Army (Newsweek writer Kathryn Joyce)

Inside the Duggar Family's Conservative Ideology (Newsweek, Kathryn Joyce)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

For J.T.P. - The Forbidden Chapter in the Tanakh...

Posted by Christine Pack

 Is God Finished With The Jews? 

The Apostle Paul, a Jew who had converted to Christianity, wrote a great deal of the Christian New Testament. Paul loved his fellow Jews so much, and desired so much for them to come to saving faith in the Messiah, that he wished he could have given his own life in order for the Jews to be saved:
"I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen." (Romans 9:1-5)
"Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for (the Jews) is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:1-4)
But just as God said He would, after the Jewish people rejected (and crucified) the Messiah God sent them, He went outside of his chosen people with the gospel proclamation. From Romans 10:
"But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, 'I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, by a nation without understanding will I anger you.' And Isaiah is very bold and says, 'I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.' But as for Israel He says, 'All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.'" (Romans 10:19-21) 
God went outside of the Jewish nation, not because He no longer loved them, but because:
(1) He was being merciful to all the other lost, pagan people groups of the world in offering them the way of salvation, and  
(2) He desired to provoke the Jews to be jealous again for God's love, when they saw how great his mercy was. 
Does this mean God is forever finished with the Jews? No! Many Christians today believe that God, in the very final days and after having thrown wide open the way of salvation for two thousand years to all the pagan (Gentile) people groups of the world, will bring back into the faith his beloved Jews, based on this passage from Romans 11:
"For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written:
'The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.'  
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all." (Romans 11:25-32)
Do you know any Jews? Keep telling them this, and keep praying for them. God is not done with them yet.

 The Forbidden Chapter in the Tanakh 

Even today, there is evidence that God is once again moving among the Jewish people. The video at the link below is entitled "The Forbidden Chapter In The Tanakh" and refers to the 53rd chapter of the book of Isaiah. The 53rd chapter in Isaiah is referred to as "forbidden" not because this passage has been deleted from the Jewish Old Testament (Tanakh), but because it is removed (forbidden, hidden away) from the regular readings in the synagogues today. But why? More on the "why" later; for now, please just take a few minutes to watch this video, which is linked in the caption of the picture below. It is very encouraging.

Isaiah 53 clearly prophesied a Messiah to come, a Messiah who would suffer and die (make atonement) for the sins of His people.  From Isaiah 53:
"He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." (verse 4) 
"He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities." (verse 5)
"Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed." (verse 5)
"But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him." (verse 6)
"By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?" (verse 8)
"When his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days." (verse 10)

"By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities." (verse 11)
"He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (verse 12)
Today's Jews reject this understanding of the Messiah, and which Isaiah 53 proclaims in plain language. But you have just read it for yourself. Does it not say that a servant (Isaiah 52:13) will come forth, and will make atonement for sinners?

One view held by Jews today is that this passage is an allegorization of the Jewish nation, that the Jewish nation is the "suffering servant."

Another view is that the person referenced in this passage referred only to the human, infant son of the king ruling at that time. But how can a mere human make a substitutionary atonement for sinners, as this passage from Isaiah states? We know by plain common sense that an ordinary human being can't offer up his life as atonement for other people's sins, right?

However, because Isaiah 53 is so controversial within Jewish circles, this passage is deleted from the regular readings in the synagogues. And those few Jewish leaders and writers who do try to address this passage are forced to twist and allegorize it in a way that doesn't even make sense. But just watch the Jews in the video above who are reading this passage for the very first time, without having their minds tainted with a skewed version of what this passage means. It means what it means! They can see that instantly.

 Messiah Is Prophesied In Other Old Testament Passages 

Prophesies about the Messiah were not just in Isaiah 53. Consider also Daniel 9, where it was prophesied that the person of the Messiah had to come before the second destruction of the temple (and that occurred in 70 A.D.).

And Micah 5 said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. None of these passages *work* for the view held today by Christ-rejecting Jews who want to allegorize the nation of Israel into somehow being the Messiah for the world in a corporate way. The nation of Israel wasn't "born" in Bethlehem; how could it be? The nation of Israel were first a pagan people group whom God in his great mercy selected out of a lost world to be His own. They didn't come from Bethlehem, they came from Ur (modern day Iraq), out of a pagan people group associated with moon worship.

This is the gospel message that the Old Testament tells: God had so much love for the humans He made in His own image that He used the Jews, the pagan people He chose out of all the pagan cultures of the world, to be His people, and through whom the Messiah, a Saviour, would someday come. He meant for the Jews to be a light to the nations. But He also knew beforehand that even though He (God) had given many, many prophecies that could only point to Jesus as the culmination of all of redemptive history, that the Jews would reject this Messiah. Their Messiah. Was this a horrible accident? No, it was so that God, in an almost infinite display of mercy, could then open up the gospel message to the rest of the world. But He's not done with Israel. One day He will enfold them back into His family, and they will again be sons and daughters of God.

Look at that beautiful video linked above. Jews who haven't been conditioned to twist themselves like pretzels and jump through hoops in order to allegorize Isaiah 53 into the nation of Israel know instantly, upon a plain reading of the passage, that it is describing and pointing to a person, not a nation. And that this Person had to, somehow, have the constitution to be able to withstand upon the Cross, in some mysterious way, the eternal hell of each and every person saved. This required a Person possessing a supernatural nature, because no-one who was only human could have borne that kind of suffering. And yet this Person also had to be human, in order to be mankind's representative. Jesus was both fully God and fully Divine. Adam represented us corporately in the Garden.....and he failed. Christ came and represented us corporately on the Cross.....and He did NOT fail.

God gave us the Law so that we would know what His standard for holiness was and is. It is perfection. It is not trying real hard to be good enough. It's not hoping that we have enough good deeds to offset our sins. It is not even just praying and asking for forgiveness. God set up a very specific way of approaching him in the Old Testament, and that was a sacrificial system whereby an animal was killed in place of the human who deserved death for his sin. God is holy-holy-HOLY, and sin is serious. God set up this system and gave us the Law so that no serious seeker could look at these things and say, God doesn't really think sin is a big deal. God doesn't really care how I approach Him. And besides, I am a good person. I have kept God's Laws perfectly. I don't need a Saviour. I can save myself.

We're sinners. We've all broken these Laws. We've all lied. We've all stolen. We've all taken the Lord's name in vain. We've all coveted. We've all had impure thoughts.

And yet, Jesus accomplished on the Cross what God set out in eternity past to do, and that was to atone for sins, so that those stained with sin could be cleansed, washed clean, made holy and righteous in God's eyes.
"'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.'" (Isaiah 1:18)
It takes humility to look at one's own heart and admit that no good thing dwells there. That you need a Saviour. But run to Him today! Believe on Christ, as the sinless, perfect One who lived a pure life of righteousness on your behalf, in order to give himself up as your ransom. Will today be the day of salvation for you?  The Bible closes with a beautiful plea, and a promise; a plea, to come, freely, and take what the Lord offers. You don't have to pay a price, and if you did, you couldn't afford it. Jesus paid the price on your behalf.
"Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb.....The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost." (Rev 22:1, 17)
"And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Rev 22:7)

 Additional Resources 

What Is Progressive Revelation? (Got Questions?)

More.....and more.....and more archaeological evidence of the early canonicity of the New Testament

Discrepancies Between the Gospel Accounts? Not So Fast..... (Answers in Genesis)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What Does God Require of Me?

One of the most important questions in all of life is: What does God require of me?

First, let’s start with your nature, who you are.

A. You are sinful by nature.

Do you consider yourself to be a good person? Most people do. I have talked to many people one-on-one about their spiritual state, and almost everyone says ‘Yes, I am a good person.’

Unfortunately, the Scriptures do not say that about you. Let’s start with God’s Law as a standard of what’s truly good. If you believe you are a good person, I have a simple test for you to take. It’s called the ‘Good Person’s Test’, and it’s based on the Ten Commandments (from Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5):

1. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me.

Have you always loved God above everything else? Without fail and without exception? Be honest.

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.

Have you made a god in your mind that suits your? Have you truly known the biblical God? Or have you changed him to make him more suitable to your lifestyle?

3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

Have you ever used the name of your Creator disrespectfully or as a filthy cussword? God is Holy, and His Name is glorious. Have you ever tossed his name around casually, used it as a swear word, or used it to express anger or disgust?

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Have you kept one day a week aside for the Lord and for His worship? Have you done this every week and given God his proper worship?

5. Honor your father and your mother.

Ever since you were a child, have you always honored your father and your mother? Always? Did you ever disrespect them or their decisions, even once?

6. You shall not murder.

Jesus said: “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

The Bible also says: “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1John 3:15)

God judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart, not just the outward actions. Ask yourself: have you ever hated?

7. You shall not commit adultery.

Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

Again, this shows that God judges your heart. Be honest with yourself. Have you ever looked upon someone with a lustful heart?

8. You shall not steal.

Ask yourself, have you ever stolen anything, no matter how small? What do you call someone who steals? A thief.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (You shall not lie).

This is a big one. Have you ever told even ONE lie? What do you call someone who lies? A liar.

10. You shall not covet.

Have you ever looked at something someone else owned with jealous desire?

If you’re a visual learner, here’s a video presentation from Way of the Master of this same concept:

The breaking of God’s Law is sin. Based on the Ten Commandments, if God were to judge you based on that standard alone, how would you fare? Would you still consider yourself to be a good person? If you try to answer 'yes' to that question, consider this Scripture:
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”(1John 1:8)
Also consider:
“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. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Now that you’ve examined your own heart, let’s consider God:

B. God is a Holy, Just God. His Law is perfect, and it is He who exercises His Righteous Judgment.

Consider the following Scriptures:
“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12)
“For the LORD is our judge, The LORD is our lawgiver, The LORD is our king; He will save us.” (Isaiah 33:22)
Not only is God our lawgiver, He is also perfect. Jesus said:
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
God as the perfect, holy Judge, will judge you one day. Consider this:
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”(Hebrews 9:27)
“You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48).
C. Because you have broken God’s holy Law, you deserve death.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
This is a hard one to swallow. Many people (maybe even you) object to the idea that you deserve death for your sins. I’d like to cover the two main objections people have.

First, many people say that because God is good, He would not give them death for their sins. But this is bad logic. It is precisely BECAUSE God is so good and so just that He will give you what you justly deserve.

Think about it this way: Imagine a murderer killed your family, and was caught. The man is brought to court, and on the day of his trial, you sit in the front of the courtroom anxiously awaiting justice to be served. The judge enters, and he hears the case. The murderer admits that he killed your family, and along with the forensic evidence, it’s plain to all that he did it. However when it comes time for the sentence, the judge says, ‘I am a good judge. There’s no punishment needed for this man’s crimes. Case dismissed. You’re free to go.’ Do you see that this judge would not be a good judge at all, but would be a wicked, corrupt judge?

If that’s the case with a human judge, how can we consider our Holy, Just, Perfect God to be Good if we think He will sweep our sins away and not deal with them? It’s impossible.

The Scriptures tell us:
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 17:15)
It is God’s GOODNESS that will prevail, and that means that His justice will be satisfied.

The Scriptures tell us:
“The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:1-3)
Therefore, because you have broken the laws of the very Creator who made you, you are deserving of death. His wrath (fierce and righteous anger) is upon you for your treachery and your evil acts committed against Him.

D. God Himself made a way for you to be right with Him.

If everything I’ve said so far is true, then what shall you do on Judgment Day, the day on which you are face to face with your sovereign, creator God, the One who made you and has a righteous claim on your life? When your day before the Lord comes, what will be your plea? In honesty, your answer must be that you are 'Guilty' of breaking the law of God.

If that’s true, then how does any man obtain peace with God? After all, God’s justice demands death.

Here then, is the Good News:
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was born. He is God the Son, and He condescended to come to this world. (Read Matthew 1-3). He lived a sinless, perfect life. He fulfilled the Law of God completely. After approximately 3 years of ministry, Jesus was crucified on a cross, and He died there.
“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:4-11, my emphasis)
Jesus Christ bore your sins on the Cross! He DIED for you. He took your place. He drank up the wrath of God, and God’s justice is satisfied.

It doesn’t end there, though: Jesus rose from the grave! After the crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a tomb, and three days later He arose!

How could this be?

Why did He die? After all, He was, and is, God.

But since He did die, how then could He be raised from the dead?

Why He died. He died, or more accurately, He gave up his life willingly, as a ransom payment for sinners. He did this out of the great love with which He loves sinners. He lived a perfect, sinless life, a life that none of us, in our fallen and sinful condition, could ever live. Because of this, he would have never died, because the Bible tells us that “the penalty of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). All of us have sinned by breaking God's moral laws, and all of us are therefore under the penalty of death. But Jesus never sinned. He incurred no death penalty, and therefore had within his possession a life of perfect righteousness. Jesus took that sinless life and offered it up to God as a complete and perfect payment for our sins.
“No one takes my life from Me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:18)
Why He rose from the dead. Simply put, death couldn't hold him. Death had no claim on Him because He had broken no Law.
“God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:24)
After Jesus rose from the dead, He spent a brief time here on earth afterwards, teaching his Apostles, then He ascended to Heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God the Father.

With all this being said, what will YOU do? You cannot earn this salvation from God:
“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.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, my emphasis)
You cannot strive to somehow may yourself appealing to God, who then saves you. No! Instead, listen to this:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:8-10)
You don’t deserve salvation. You deserve death. Yet God offers salvation!
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”(John 3:14-18, my emphasis)
“Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.'” (Mark 1:14-15, my emphasis)
“But what does it say? 'THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART'–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, 'WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for 'WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'” (Romans 10:8-13, my emphasis)
Friend, if you have read through all of this, you have read the Gospel (the word Gospel means the ‘Good News’). Indeed this news is VERY GOOD. It’s the best news you will ever hear.

God has provided the perfect sacrifice to make a way for you to be right with Him, if you will just repent (turn away from sin) and believe. Turn from your wickedness and throw yourself on Jesus Christ, the Savior. There is NO OTHER WAY.
“Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'” (John 14:6, my emphasis)
There is no other way to have peace with God, forgiveness of your sins, and true joy except through the death of Jesus Christ on your behalf.

There is no “Sinner’s Prayer” in Scripture. Instead people have been born again for thousands of years the same way:

Repent from your sins. Turn AWAY from wickedness. Turn TOWARDS God. Throw yourself at His feet and beg God to be merciful to you, a sinner. Cry out to God. Plead with Him. Believe the Good News that Jesus Christ saves undeserving, wretched, miserable sinners, just like me, and just like you.

The amazing part of this is that all who humbly recognize their own sinfulness and need for a Savior, and who place their faith in Jesus' perfect payment made on their behalf, will not only be cleansed and forgiven, but will become sons and daughters of God. They will also be given new hearts and new desires, including the desire and the will to increasingly turn from sin. Glory to God for his great and unfathomable goodness and mercy.

Let me close with two passages of Scripture, which contain a warning, and an offer:
“Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.'” (Luke 13:1-5)
“The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let him who thirsts come and take the water of life without charge.” (Revelation 22:17)
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Note from Sola Sisters: If you have any questions regarding anything you’ve just read, please feel free to contact us via email ( We will be happy to answer any questions you have.

 Additional Resources 

The Only Road To Heaven (John MacArthur)