September 27, 2015

The Pope – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

For the past several days, Americans have been inundated (virtually nothing else on Fox News) with indefensible, extravagant, preposterous, propaganda regarding the “Pope.” Amazed Arkansans need to become aware the powerful, pervasive influence that Catholic thinking exerts on many parts of our homeland. In our part of the country, considerably less than 5% are Catholic. The percentage is well above 25% in the North East, North Central, southern Louisiana, southern Texas, southern California and most of New Mexico.

The phenomenon we are observing may be easier to comprehend if we understand more about what the Catholic Church thinks of the Pope.

Outlandish Claims

The New York Catholic Catechism, under the heading: “Pope,” says:

“The Pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on earth…by divine right the pope has supreme and full power in faith and morals over each and every pastor and his flock. is the true Vicar of Christ, the head of the entire church, the father and teacher of all Christians. He is the infallible ruler, the founder of dogmas, the author of and the judge of councils; the universal ruler of truth, the arbiter of the world, the supreme judge of heaven and earth, the judge of all, being judged by one, God himself on earth.”

In his encyclical, “The Reunion of Christendom,” Pope Leo XIII stated that the pope holds…

“upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”

According to Wikipedia, “the Council of Trent, held between 1545 and 1563 in Trento (Trent) and Bologna, northern Italy, was one of the Roman Catholic Church’s most important ecumenical councils.” The Council of Trent declared:

“Sitting in that chair in which Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, sat to the close of life, the Catholic Church recognizes in his person the most exalted degree of dignity, and the full jurisdiction not based on constitutions, but emanating from no less authority than from God Himself. As the Successor of St. Peter and the true and legitimate Vicar of Jesus Christ, he therefore, presides over the Universal Church, the Father and Governor of all the faithful, of Bishops, also and of all other prelates, be their station, rant, or power, what they may be.”

The Catholic book, “My Catholic Faith” which is based on the Baltimore Catechism, on page 251, says,

“The Pope can make and unmake laws for the entire Church; his authority is supreme and unquestioned. Every bishop, every priest, every member of the Church is subject to him.”

Jesus Himself spoke about religious titles and commanded…

“Do not call anyone on earth your father [Pope]; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9-12)

We are continually exposed to such terms used to address the “Pope;” including the “Supreme Pontiff,” the “Holy Father.” Never was such terminology used of mere man in the New Testament. The term “Holy Father” is used once in God’s word. Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane when He says,

“…Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.” (John 17:11)

Outlandish Titles

For a mere man to assume the authority and titles which belong only to God, is the height of arrogance and blasphemy.

Jesus was charged by the Sanhedrin when He justified the accusation that He was the Son of God.

“Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy;’” (Matthew 26:65)

This reaction is appropriate and justified if Jesus was not the Son of God. His miracles, especially His resurrection, as well as hundreds of fulfilled prophecies unmistakably prove the validity of His claim. The sentence of death would be justified, without such proof.

“You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.” (Mark 14:64)

Can the Pope justify his outlandish claims? He will not. He cannot, nor does he lower his arrogant dignity to try. The claims are thoroughly refuted by scripture.1  The appropriate attitude is not the fawning, kowtowing reverence paid by the media. The Apostle John, in the book of Revelation, correctly described such conduct as…

“the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of  Satan.”

1 DVD entitled “Catholicism” is available upon request.

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September 20, 2015

Wonderful Words – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Your testimonies are wonderful: therefore my soul observes them.” (Psalm 119:129)

I recently heard a liberal theologian ridicule Bible-believing Christians as “bibliolaters.” Wow. That sounds pretty bad. I looked it up and Miriam-Webster says the word was coined in 1847 and means, “one having excessive reverence for the letter of the Bible.” Perhaps this supposed scholarly reference should add an example. King David, (the “man after God’s own heart”) quoted above, would make an excellent illustration of this definition.

Faithful Christians should understand that it is not possible to place the Bible on too high a pedestal.

Your testimonies are wonderful,” King David says, and “his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6), whose testimonies they are.

Scripture is wonderful from a wonderful counselor. How wonderful?

They were written in the heart of God even before the creation.

Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89). Jesus responded to irreverent attitudes toward the word saying, “the Scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)

The writer of the book of Hebrews reveals that, “…at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,…” (Hebrews 1:1).

The Apostle Paul explains that, by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight …as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit,” (Ephesians 3:3-5)

He says this revelation came, “not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit,” (I Corinthians 2:13)

Finally, it was complete, and the last of the prophets concluded it with an all-embracing warning:”

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

These inspired writers would have to plead guilty to the charge of “bibliolater.” Their reverence for the word may be labeled excessive, but their attitudes are set forth as examples and are certainly in contrast to those who refuse to submit to the Divine authority of the word.

Refusing to submit, they attack an attitude of reverence. What a surprise. God’s words do not go away because of ridiculing atheists, nor do popular theologians diminish them.

David said: “…every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” (Psalm 119:160) Jesus said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)

“forever settled” in the past;

“cannot be broken” in the present;

“everlasting” in the future!

All we will ever need for guidance is to be found in God’s “wonderful” testimonies:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

“Excessive reverence”? Guilty, and confident that the attitude is appropriate. It is not possible to have too high a view of Scripture,

“…For You have magnified Your word

above all Your name.”

(Psalm 138:2 NKJV)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

September 13, 2015

Meditate Day and Night – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The responsibility for accomplishing the forty-year long project, leading Israel into the promised land (full of giants and walled cities) had fallen on Joshua’s shoulders. Did he feel adequate for the job? It didn’t matter how he felt about it. Three times in three verses God commands, “Be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9.)

That should be clear enough, but how do you do that? How do you fearlessly succeed (where Moses had failed) in accomplishing a seemingly insurmountable task? As is typical of God’s always practical directions, “how to” instructions are included, beginning with “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8)

This divine directive contains the first use of the Hebrew verb for “meditate,” (hagah), and, significantly, it is a command to meditate on the Scriptures. What is required has nothing to do with mere quietness, daydreaming, or contemplating your navel, but is thoughtfulness with a purpose…“so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.”

Meditation for its own sake, without being centered on God’s Word, is often useless or even harmful. Witness the Western proliferation of Eastern “meditation cults” (T.M., etc.) in recent years, which lead their devotees into pantheism and occultism.

God’s prophet warns against those who…“Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” (same word as ‘meditate’). Then he admonishes, should not a people consult their God?” (Isaiah 8:19). Likewise David condemns those who “…imagine [same word again] a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1).

The blessed man is the one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2). In other words, only if we are continually guided by the Holy Scriptures will we be happy and successful.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for “meditate” (melatao) is used only twice. Once, it is translated “imagine” (Acts 4:25) and is in a quotation of Psalm 2, as above. The last time it is used, however, its emphasis reverts back to the context of its first usage, as in our text above. Paul instructs…

Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine … Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all..” (I Timothy 4:13, 15 NKJV).

The modern fad promises wonderful benefits from the goal of meditation to, “clear our minds of things,” but God wants us to “meditate on these things,” the life-giving, life-directing doctrines of His Word. The world’s humanistic nonsense must be rejected. God’s divine wisdom is different and is accompanied by God’s realistic promise… “for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

September 6, 2015

I Am the Resurrection and the Life – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I recently read a story about a painting called “Checkmate” painted by Friedrich August Moritz Retzsch that used to hang in the Louvre Art Museum in Paris.

The painting depicts a chess match between the devil and Goethe’s Dr. Faust, who had sold his soul to the devil. It appears as if the devil has won. Faust has only the king, the queen, and a weak pawn left. The look on Faust’s face is one of abject despair. From across the chessboard the devil leers at him in anticipation of his expected victory. Ready to say, Checkmate!

A tour guide was taking a group through the gallery explaining the painting and its meaning. As the group moved on to another room, a young man who was a chess Champion from Russia stayed behind to study the painting. Suddenly, the tour group heard a shout from two corridors away, “It’s a lie! It’s a lie! The King has another move!”

I’m not a chess player. Nor do I know for certain the accuracy of this story. But I do know the King. And I know the devil is going to lose. The King and those on His side will win.

In one of the great “I AM” statements in the Bible Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26).

The Master made this affirmation to Martha following the death of her brother, Lazarus. When Jesus heard that his friend Lazarus was sick and that Mary and Martha called for him, he waited two days before leaving for their home in Bethany.

When he arrived, Martha met him and said, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Jesus responded, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha thought he was referring to the final resurrection and expressed faith that he would rise again in the last day.

But Jesus had other plans. There was no need to wait. Because He who was “the resurrection and the life” had arrived. This audacious claim moved their hope from some far off event to the present time. Following his prayer to the Father, Jesus cried, “Lazarus, come forth!” And indeed he did.

It is ironic that as they journeyed from Bethany to Jerusalem, the apostles were concerned about Jesus’ safety. And theirs as well. They might be killed. Yet, they stood in the presence of life. But didn’t fully comprehend it.

On Friday, when Jesus died on the cross and was buried in Joseph’s tomb, it seemed that His life was over. Fearing for their own lives, the disciples ran like scalded dogs. Hiding behind close doors, they fearfully wondered what would happen next.

But Sunday erased their fears and restored their hope. Jesus proved beyond all doubt that he was “the resurrection and life” as he rose from the grave.

Man’s greatest fear has always been death. And his greatest desire is the hope of life beyond. Homer Hailey in his book That You May Believe expressed it this way.

“The great pyramids of Egypt are monuments to man’s effort to provide for the future. Buried with the Pharaohs in these magnificent tombs were articles and servants to be used in the next world. From these gigantic tombs of one of the greatest of ancient civilizations to the burying grounds of the prehistoric American Indians, one finds artifacts buried with the dead to be used by them in the next life.”

“All of these,” observed Hailey, “are mute witnesses to man’s desire to live beyond this life; but until the coming of Jesus Christ, there was no clear positive voice that carried assurance of a resurrection.”

In the midst of a dying world Jesus makes this claim of resurrection and offers the hope of eternal life to you and me.

Checkmate, devil! You lose.

Adapted from the Preachers Word