Wednesday, November 4, 2015
How many times have you heard people say things like the following?
"Hate has no place in our society."
"We need to learn to love, not hate."
When people speak out against some practice, they are accused of being full of hate or using hate speech or a hate crime.
People often act and speak as though love is always good and hate always bad.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Astrology is becoming increasingly popular.
In my youth, people almost never took the Occult, witchcraft, or astrology seriously. People considered them a joke or at most an oddity. Today all aspects of the occult are increasingly taken seriously. Evidence of this increasing popularity include:
* In the 1950's only 100-200 newspapers carried horoscope columns. Today, thousands of full-time professional astrologers cast horoscopes, most newspapers carry horoscopes, and millions of people read them with varying degrees of seriousness.
* In the 1970's the rock musical "Hair" popularized the hit song announcing "the dawning of the Age of Aquarius," one of the signs of the Zodiac.
* The popular New Age Movement promotes and justifies astrology along with many other aspects of the Occult.
* TV ads promote astrology, psychics, and the Occult generally. Movies and TV programs discuss it, promote it, and present it as a serious phenomenon.
* Many recent book fads, such as the Harry Potter books, deeply involve many aspects of the Occult. A search of occult books on Amazon.com yields a list of nearly 800 titles in the children's section alone! The point is not that all of these are harmful - many actually oppose the Occult. But the sheer number shows the popularity of the subject.
The fact is that many people, especially young people, are fascinated by all aspects of the Occult. You and your friends, your children and their friends, will all have contact with Occult influences, including astrology. You need to know what the Bible says.
The purpose of this study is to examine what the Bible says about astrology.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Human emotions play important roles in our lives. This is natural and may be quite wholesome. But we all realize that sometimes emotions cloud people's thinking, so they do things they should not. Emotions can be confusing, uncertain, even dangerous.
The purpose of this study is to consider the role emotions have in religion and to consider some ways that emotions cloud people's thinking in religion.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Numerous countries and states have granted the privilege of marriage to people of the same sex. Others are considering doing so.
This has followed after years of progressive moral decline: no-fault divorce, legalized abortion, trial marriages and the sexual revolution, and the gay rights movement. Granting marital status to homosexuals is one of the greatest downward leaps in this long progression.
The purpose of this study is to consider what view decent moral people ought to take, not just about homosexuality in general, but specifically about homosexual marriage. What effects will result if homosexuals are granted the right to marry?
What about people who do not practice homosexuality? How can this affect us?
Consider the following areas of concern:
Monday, June 1, 2015
Many Scriptures teach that we are saved by faith.
But does it follow, just because a person claims to have "faith," that he will be saved? Is it possible to have a faith that does not save?
[Hebrews 10:39; 11:1,4-8,17,30; Romans 1:16; 4:19-21; 5:1,2; 10:9,10,13-17; Galatians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:7; James 2:14-26; John 1:12; 3:15-18; 8:24; 20:30,31; Mark 16:15,16]
There are different kinds of faith.
Many people think they are saved because they "believe," with little restrictions on what they believe. This is especially confusing with those who claim we are saved by "faith alone."
* Some think its enough to "believe in god": some concept of a Supreme Being or some "force" that operates the universe.
* Others claim Hindus and Buddhists will be saved because they "believe in god": many gods, worshiped by images, etc.
* Others claim Jews and Muslims will be saved because "they believe in the same God you do."
* Many liberal, modernists don't believe in Jesus' miracles or Deity or resurrection, yet claim they "believe in Jesus": He existed and was a great teacher, maybe even a prophet.
* Many denominationalists disbelieve much of what Jesus taught yet think they will be saved because they believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who died to save them from their sins.
The purpose of this study is to consider what the Bible says we must believe to be saved.
Monday, May 4, 2015
(Note: This study is part of a series of studies relating to the premillennial view of the kingdom. Frequently this study will refer to other of the studies in the series. To understand the whole picture, and especially to see the other articles that we refer to from time to time, please go to www.gospelway.com/instruct and see the section about Man and His Future.)
Premillennialism is dangerous for many reasons. My main objections are that it (perhaps unintentionally) belittles the authority of Christ, the death of Christ, and the significance of the church and the gospel, while at the same time exalting materialistic goals, Jewish nationalism (respect of persons), and Mosaic practices. These problems affect our present service to God. [For details about these points, see the link above for our other articles on premillennialism.]
Yet premillennialism also contradicts clear gospel teachings about the second coming of Jesus. The purpose of this lesson is to examine these contradictions.
Monday, March 2, 2015
Years ago I heard a public discussion between a gospel preacher and a denominational preacher in which the denominational preacher claimed he could write letters like those in the New Testament. He was not claiming to be directly guided by the Holy Spirit to write divine commandments. He meant that, because of his spiritual maturity and wisdom, he could be "inspired" to write helpful spiritual lessons like poets are "inspired" to write poetry.
This illustrates the view that many people today take of Scripture.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Many people think the teachings presented by apostles or prophets, especially Paul, are somehow less authoritative than what Jesus Himself personally spoke.
* A "philosophy major," when I quoted Acts 2:38, said that was just Peter expressing his opinion.
* A feminist said I based all my beliefs on the teaching of "that old reprobate, the apostle Paul."
* A Muslim leader (El Dareer) in debate claimed that Paul's teaching differed from that of Jesus. Other people have claimed that Paul's teaching disagreed with that of Peter.
* A defender of homosexuality said that "Jesus said nothing about gays" - meaning that He personally said nothing, so we can disregard clear teachings in the epistles regarding homosexuality.
* Others have said that the apostles, especially Paul, did not show as good an attitude as Jesus in teaching: they expressed less love and tolerance but were more condemning of other people's views.
* For these reasons, some follow only the "Red Letters" as being necessary to salvation.
To such people, what Jesus said may be worth considering, but other teaching in the New Testament is optional. They feel free to reject the teaching of some apostle or prophet, especially Paul, if they don't like it.
The purpose of this study is to consider the teachings of the apostles and prophets, especially Paul, and compare their authority to that of Jesus' teachings.