Terminology Tuesday: Revelation

*Refers both to the process by which God discloses the divine nature and the mystery of the divine will and purpose to human beings, and to the corpus of truth disclosed. Some theologians maintain that revelation consists of both God’s activity in salvation history through word and deed, culminating in Jesus (who mediates and fulfills God’s self-revelation) and the ongoing activity of God to move people to yield to, accept and personally appropriate that reality. General revelation maintains that God’s existence and particular attributes can be ascertained through an innate sense of God’s reality and conscience as well as through observation of the universe and history. Special revelation refers to the more specific divine self-disclosure to and through certain persons that brings about human salvation.

*Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 102

God Bless

Brian Mason

“There Is No God”?

The problem with atheists is that they believe the scientific impossibility that nothing created everything. Huh? How does the atheist redefine “nothing” to be something. Some will try to but cannot….what faith it takes to believe that!

Psalm 14:1 14 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.

God Bless

Brian Mason

Terminology Tuesday: Postmodernism

Postmodernism can be a very frustrating thing to deal with if someone is seeking the truth. A very common stance for the postmodernist is to say “if you think it is true, it is true for you and not necessarily true for me”. To the person of this belief there can be no wrong, and this is a dangerous position to take. Previous taboo beliefs and practices are given the same authority as traditional values and norms, often to the point of relegation to the recent. Now to the definition;

*The view used to designate a variety of intellectual and cultural developments in late-twentieth-century Western society. The postmodern ethos is characterized by a rejection of modernist values and a mistrust of the supposedly universal rational principles developed in the Enlightenment era. Post-moderns generally embrace pluralism and place value in the diversity of worldviews and religions that characterizes contemporary society.

God Bless
Brian Mason

*Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 93

What Is “Justification” and “The Gospel of Jesus Christ”?

Since we are coming to the most important season in the Christian faith, that being the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, It seems very appropriate for the content and timing of this article. Going over the collection of writings on Beacon Apologetics I can only say to you that this is the most important message that I could ever write about; The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The word “Gospel” is as defined by Dictionary.com:

“The story of Christ’s life and teachings, especially as contained in the first four books of the New Testament, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

Notice that definition includes the words “especially as contained in the first four books of the New Testament”? The reason that I bring attention to that is that the entire Bible is God’s Word about the coming Messiah Jesus and the message he brought.

The Gospel is summed up by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4;

1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

The apostle Paul spoke of Faith and Resurrection in 1 Cor 15:14;

14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

The main importance of the resurrection is the divine act of God called Justification. Justification is the act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins. Jesus’ shed blood on the cross is the foundation of justification. See Romans 5:9;

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

And Romans 5:18;

18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.

Jesus being God in flesh was the only person that could rid mankind of sin. Dying in our place he paid the ultimate penalty of the breaking of God’s Law. Read 1 Peter 2:24

24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

If you are an unbeliever you can still repent of your sins and receive the Gospel, and I will offer a prayer:

Dear Jesus,
I ask you to forgive me of my sins. I am now turning from the way I have been thinking and acting – my sinful human nature, and I am turning to you.
I truly believe in you, Jesus. I believe you are the Son of God that you died on the cross for all believers and by the hand of God, you resurrected from the tomb three days later. I believe that you are in Heaven “alive in flesh” and at the right hand of your Father God.
I receive you into my heart and ask you to take charge of my life from now and for always!
I confess with my mouth and truly believe in my heart that you are my Lord and Savior…forever!
In your Holy name, Jesus
Amen

That was simply an example prayer that I say, and of course it MUST come from your heart. I would like to leave you with from the book of Romans 10: 9-10

9 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;
10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

An important point I want to make is Jesus atoned for our sins. We do not need to add works for Salvation as that would be denying what Jesus suffered for us on the cross! Works based Salvation is a heresy! We are saved by God’s Grace!

As Christians we are commissioned to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I warn you that many people will take great offence to the Gospel, and some may even call themselves Christian!

God Bless
Brian Mason

Why We Should Not Rejoice in the New Pope!

Perhaps before we rejoice on the “election” of a new pope we should take in consideration what the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 1: 6-17

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.

Rome does not preach the correct Gospel. It is a false Gospel teaching us we cannot be saved without “works”! This denies what God is telling us. We are saved by “Grace”.

Apparently Galatians and Romans were written as filler? Do you think the Gospel is pared down to two sentences? We must read the scriptures in their entirety.

Got it off my chest! However I cannot stress this enough…WE MUST PRAY FOR THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH TO REPENT! I am certain that most people reading this will say I am coming across as judgmental and divisive, and I would suggest that I am. I do not want to see a stream of Roman Catholic followers going to hell. How “unloving” would that be? AMEN!

God Bless

Brian Mason

Terminology Tuesday: Magisterium

With a lot of attention being focused on the Roman Catholic Church and of course the “election” of a new pope, you will hear the word “magisterium” being thrown around, so here is the definition of the word;

*The prerogative of the church to proclaim and teach the good news about Jesus. In many church bodies the term refers more specifically to the group of persons, generally vocational theologians and church officials, who together possess the authority to determine the content of and to pass on to others the official doctrine, teachings and practices of the church. Magisterium is used in a more limited sense to refer to the authoritative teaching body within the Roman Catholic Church, consisting of the bishops under the authority of the pope. The bishops fulfill various kinds of “ordinary” magisterium in an ongoing manner. The “extraordinary” magisterium emerges when bishops are assembled into a council or the pope proclaims new dogma (ex cathedra).

God Bless
Brian Mason

* Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 74

Context Please! What did Jesus mean by “Carrying a Sword”?

Matthew 10: 32-36 (HCSB) reads;

32 “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. 34 Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

A “sword”! Wait a minute…didn’t Jesus come as a peacemaker? In fact in the book of Luke it reads;

Luke 22: 36-38 (HCSB)

36 Then He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money-bag should take it, and also a traveling bag. And whoever doesn’t have a sword should sell his robe and buy one. 37 For I tell you, what is written must be fulfilled in Me: And He was counted among the outlaws. Yes, what is written about Me is coming to its fulfillment.” 38 “Lord,” they said, “look, here are two swords.”“Enough of that!” He told them.

So here is the context for the two scriptures above;

In Matthew 10: 32-36 Jesus was indicating to the disciples that division would come, and even with family members. This division would come as a result in the belief in Jesus and His Word.

In Luke 22: 36-38 Jesus is not contradicting his stance on non-retaliation as his words in Luke 6:29 (HCSB), when Jesus rebuked Peter for his use of the sword reads;

29 If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.

Jesus was sending His disciples on their way, and knew that with the message they were going to preach they would need to have a way of self-defense. The “two swords” was nothing out of the ordinary culturally speaking; the “two swords” had many other uses besides self-defense and the size of them was more like large knives.
Biblical scholars agree mostly that when Jesus said “Enough of that!” Jesus was exclaiming a rebuke of the disciples for taking His words literally.

We must always look at the context of scripture before making a judgment on it. What Jesus was teaching his disciples was revolutionary and it was not going to be accepted with open arms. Remember the Gospel was what put Jesus on the cross! The majority of the Apostles met horrific deaths and tortures at the hands of the Romans.

God Bless

Brian Mason

The Baha’I Faith and the Problems With It: Problem # 2

In the first installment of my article of the Baha’I faith I wrote about problem # 1 of many issues with this religion. Problem # 1 as a refresher was that; The Baha’i faith does not believe that Heaven or Hell are actual “places” that people go to after death. This of course is in contradiction to the Christian Bible. So today I am going to write about the second problem, and that is, the Baha’I belief in salvation.

Problem # 2
The Baha’I’s position of salvation is that the followers do not believe that salvation is a free gift from God. It is a synergistic role between God and man, with God initiating salvation but man must abet in the process. This “process” is not recognized as being a onetime thing.
This problem is the same as problem number 1 as it contradicts what the Bible clearly states. Read:

Romans 6: 22-23 (HCSB)
22 But now, since you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification[r]—and the end is eternal life! 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2: 6-10 (HCSB) clearly states that since salvation is a gift from God there is no reason to have to work for it;

6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

Since Resurrection Sunday is getting closer and closer my next installment on the problems with the Baha’I faith I will write about their position on the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Please continue to pray for the believers of this false doctrine filled religion so that the Holy Spirit will come over them and they can see the light of God!

God Bless

Brian Mason

Terminology Tuesday: Pluralism

*The advocacy and embrace of a social system that promotes the autonomy and ongoing development of diverse religious, ethnic, racial and social groups within the system. In theology, pluralism suggests that there are many paths to and expressions of truth about God and several equally valid means to salvation.

God Bless

Brian Mason

*Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 92

Why Do Roman Catholics Pray To Mary and the Saints?

A few days ago I found a prayer in the form of a tract that was given to someone near to me that is a Roman Catholic. It is called a Novena Prayer. By definition ***A novena (from Latin: Novem, meaning Nine) is an institutional act of religious pious devotion in the Roman Catholic Church, often consisting of private or public prayers repeated for nine successive days in belief of obtaining special intercessory graces.
The prayers are often derived from devotional prayer books, or consist of the recitation of the rosary (a “rosary novena”), or of short prayers through the day. Novena prayers are customarily printed in small booklets, and the novena is often dedicated to a specific angel, saint, a specific Marian title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or it invokes one of the personages of the Holy Trinity.
Within the Roman Catholic discipline, novena prayers for public use must have an Imprimatur, Nihil Obstat, and Imprimi potest. These ecclesiastical sanctions are usually granted by a bishop or any ranking prelate for publication and approval.

This particular “novena” reads this:

****Novena Prayers To Our Lady of the Snows
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen
Our Father Hail Mary Our Lady of the Snows, Pray for us.
ST. JOSEPH, pray for us.
ST. THERESE, THE LITTLE FLOWER, pray for us.
ST. EUGENE DE MAZENOD, pray for us.
GLORY BE TO THE FATHER.

Hebrews 12: 1-2 is very clear we are to have our eyes fixed on Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Mary herself, was greatly blessed, however she still needed a savior as she too was a sinner, see Luke 1:46-49,
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.

As for praying to Mary and the Saints, this is contrary to Biblical scripture as Jesus says in Matthew 4: 10,

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

Where in the Bible does it say that Mary is to be prayed to let alone the Saints? The Bible actually condemns such action. Read Exodus 20: 4-6

4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Here is a sample of Rome’s teaching of Mary the “mediator”:

“Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.'” (CCC, par. 969)

Here is what the Word of God says in the Bible:

1 Timothy 2: 5-6
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

Does anyone see the obvious contradiction here?

I ask we pray for the Roman Catholic people, to see the true God and not worship Mary as they have raised her to level of Goddess. They will deny this but their own false doctrines states this clearly:

Mary is the Queen over all things: CCC 966, “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.”

Again check the Word of Jesus:

John 14: 6,
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

I see no other way!

God Bless

Brian Mason

*** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novena
**** Missionary Obiates of Mary Immaculate National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows Belleville Il, 62223-1160