Tag Archives: Christianity

Writer Alert! Here’s your chance to win a free book!

king of glory 2 11 2018 25

One of my goals for this year was to revise my writing and publishing advice book, Write for the King of Glory. I’ve learned a few things since the first edition of this book, and you are the ones to benefit if you want to learn how to make your writing distinctively Christian plus get an inside look at one indie writer’s publishing journey from start to finish.

If you didn’t know there was a first edition, here’s what it looked like:

king of glory 25

I’ve learned a few things about publishing (and cover design) since the first edition, and I’d love to share them with you. I’d also like to get more reviews. But most of all I’d like to give away some ebook copies of this book. So just respond to this post with your email or send your request to my email (mjmcfindley@gmail.com). I’m happy to send you a copy in whatever format you like!

Here are the links so you can check it out on your favorite site. But remember, you can have one for free! Just ask!

myBook.to/Write-King-Glory

books2read.com/Write-for-king-of-glory

http://bit.ly/2EPDCGX

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Narrow Gate: How to Thrive During the Great Falling Away by David Bergsland

The Narrow Gate

David Bergsland neither contacted me nor does he know me. In order to be honest, he reviewed our book Antidisestablishmentarianism, a book as long as 3 or 4 doctoral dissertations. For that I feel a great moral obligation to review not just one, but several of David Bergsland’s book. This influence, though considerable, is the only influence he has over me.

To begin, the topic is after my own heart, though I am writing on other topics and have no time for this subject. David Bergsland has biographical information on twitter, Amazon and Smashwords. He has a facebook page and blog as well as a twitter account.

As someone who writes massive books, I greatly appreciate a smaller work that I can read in less than an afternoon. Ten different English translations of the Word of God are used and properly documented.

The opening chapter states; “The way the church teaches, the gate is not very narrow. There are several common practices in the modern church that seem to provide a wide open gate. But it is an illusion. That gate is narrow.” He supports this position with Scripture.

Though he is not a Baptist, he takes the Baptist position on Baptism. “Baptism is not a magic act of power. It is the result of an adult decision.” He also says, “there is no evidence that baptism provides salvation, it is a ceremonial event of public proclamation and a ritual of cleansing.”

“If you have any personal concerns about whether your baptism was real or not, get dunked-as in fully immersed-as an adult.”

This next issue he brings up I personally believe has destroyed the modern Church in America and England. “How many people do you know who came down front to an altar call (especially at a large crusade), prayed the sinner’s prayer, and nothing happened?”

“The most common figures are that somewhere between 6% and 10% of people who come down for an altar call become church members.

As we will talk about in a bit, becoming a church member has little to do with entering the Kingdom of God. There are no statistics about true conversions resulting from an altar call. It may be only a percent or two.”

My concern is that most of these “altar calls” actually inoculate against the gospel. I do not see David Bergsland drawing this conclusion. It is my own.

“I’m not sure what to do with this modern phenomenon [of mega-churches]. I’ve never been a part of one which truly preached the Gospel.” I can truly amen that statement.

“The megachurches I’ve attended were major problems and more like a cancerous tumor than healthy growth.”

“The only megachurch is scripture was the church at Jerusalem and God scattered that one.”

David Bergsland then changes to God’s standards, not our mistaken beliefs. “The gate is quite a bit narrower than we are commonly taught.”

As David Bergsland points out, we do not want to hear “Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.” Because “many will seek to enter and will not be able.”

The horrifying part is  “This is a limited time offer,” to use a modern advertising slogan. As David Bergsland points out, that in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the Church age will end. And what happens next will have little resemblance to the Left Behind series.

Jesus had the most problems with “the heavily involved, defenders of doctrine, self-righteous hypocrites” who go to church constantly, “helping to set policy, zealously watching for infractions, and running the church.”

The next great sin engulfing the American Church is lawlessness. David Bergsland uses pages of examples to back up his belief that the modern American church will both welcome and help to usher in the government of the Anti-Christ.

David Bergsland next deals with the problem of knowing the information of the Scriptures without knowing God or having the power of God. This builds on the earlier points and is the core of the book.

He also extends the Biblical parallel of the family. That is how we instruct children and how God instructs us.

The Scriptures, music, worship, communion, community interaction and fellowship can all be used to replace, as substitutes for the true relationship with Christ Jesus.

Probably the most important point is that “This type of relationship takes time.” The baby/parent relationship is “good for the baby-not so good for the parent.”

The last section of this book is a number of very helpful illustrations and person experiences.

It is a very short, easy read on a very important topic. You can easily read this in less time than a morning Church Service. I highly recommend this. It certainly stands out among modern Christian books which are, for the most part, not worth reading.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Narrow-Gate-David-Bergsland/dp/147823279X

 Image of David Bergsland

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How Can I Become A Christian? Part Three: How Difficult Is it to Become a Christian?

tired racer

After reading the first two posts in this series, some people will say I am making becoming a Christian too difficult. The thief on the cross and the Philippian jailer were both saved with very few words. The thief on the cross was, however, a Jew, and any Jew would have heard and understood at least parts of the law. He acknowledged that he was justly being put to death, he repented of his sin, and asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, which was acknowledging Jesus as a King and acknowledging the resurrection.

But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

(Luke 23:40-43)

The Philippian Jailer it is said, only asked, “What must I do to be saved?” and Paul’s only response was, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” Since he was a Roman soldier, living in a Roman Colony, he had no background to understand repentance, sin, and who or what a Messiah was. While these things are all true, he had the opportunity to hear Paul and Silas as they sang in prison all night, though he slept through part, perhaps all, of the singing. He claimed belief and accepted baptism.

Though baptism has little meaning to us today, in that time baptism was the outward symbol of accepting a new religion and meant abandoning the gods he had previously worshiped.

Since Judaism was a legal religion at this time period, and Christianity was considered a sect of Judaism, baptism did not put his life in danger, but was a very bold statement, to leave the religion he grew up with. While an average Roman might not know much about Judaism, every Roman knew the Jews did not worship their Roman or Greek gods. In many Roman households it would have meant ostracism.

Also, the Scripture says Paul and Silas “spoke the word” to the jailer and his household at that time. Paul stayed with the Philippian jailer, teaching his household until he was forced to leave the city. We know from Paul’s letter to the Philippians that there was a church there. So, while the initial decision to believe might have been easy for this jailer, his new way of life would have been a complete break with his pagan past. It also would mean fellowshipping with other believers and learning the doctrines of Christianity.

And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

(Acts 16:29-34)

With both the thief on the cross and the Philippian jailer, the decision to believe was simple but represented a complete change and a new birth.

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How Can I Become A Christian? Part Two: God and Money

billsUShand

A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?”  But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”

(Luke 18:18-27)

Jesus knew the true condition of this man, that he had made riches His religion. Elsewhere He says “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24)

In the case of the rich young ruler it was actual riches but the attitude of serving money doesn’t require that you have much money.

People pressure us constantly for money. In the OT Law we are required to give money to God in the form of tithes, sacrifices, and gifts to others such as alms to the poor.

Becoming a Christian means loving the Lord our God with all we have.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 22:36-40)

Putting money first is a sin which separates us from God.

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.  Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

(Mark 12:41-44)

God is interested in our heart attitude, not how much money we have or make.

“You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

(Matthew 6:30b-33)

To become a Christian does not mean that we will instantly become full adult believers and have the right attitude toward money in every aspect of our lives. But like the rich young ruler, it does mean that money can symbolize accepting or rejecting the Lord.

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How Can I Become A Christian? Part One: The Basics

praying people at the church

Free image from http://www.kozzi.com

This question, “How can I become a Christian?” was posted as a comment to one of our blogs. As a Christian, we are both thrilled and concerned. We are thrilled that someone would like the joy and peace of knowing the Lord. We are also concerned that this might be some type of scam. Since we are commanded to preach the Word, we must be honest in presenting the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to guide the new believer as well as protect us from a potential scammer.

The question “What is a Christian?” is the foundation of Fundamentalism. It is astounding that such a seemingly basic question has so many answers throughout the Word of God. The first reason is that Jesus knows the hearts of men and knows how much we know already. He begins by pointing out to us our personal sins, the ones we might have so deeply hidden that we do not realize they are even there. The sins we are least willing to repent of are the sins which separate us from a thrice holy God.

The second important point is that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God both cuts away our sin and is a soothing, healing balm to the repentant sinner. God is willing to meet us “where we are” if we are willing to “cast all of our cares on Him.”

The next important point is we must follow Jesus. Men are willing to “accept Jesus” like they buy a new car. He’s there when I need Him, but if I’m busy doing something else, then I’ll just park Him in the garage for awhile. This, sadly, describes most of America’s Christianity. People who emphasis their “liberty” use it as an excuse to “do my own thing.” Christ is just something to use when we need Him.

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Can Communism Be Christian?

Breads

I cannot begin to count the number of times someone has pointed me to the book of Acts and the early Church as support for “Christian Communism.”

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” Act 2:44, 45

Sadly, this is all of Scriptures most of these people know. They ignore the extreme poverty of this Jerusalem Church, how Paul had to bring them food from Gentile Churches just to survive. When the Romans destroyed the temple, along with all Jerusalem, in AD 70 the experiment in “Christian Communism” ended. Some Christian groups have, for a short time, attempted “Christian Communism” and all have ended in dismal failure. Probably the most famous of these failures were the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation. They nearly starved to death until they allowed private ownership and private property.

So what do the Scriptures teach about economics? In the Millennium “they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.” Micah 4:4 Though the LORD God is ruler and owner of all by right of creation, He grants the right of personal ownership to nations, families and individuals.

We should also have compassion on the poor. This compassion should include personal donations to the poor and laws to help people out of their poverty. Though this is not a “welfare state” where a secular humanist government replaces God, it is public help.

Since Paul wrote, “if any would not work, neither should he eat,” 2 Thess 3:10 public assistance should only be for those who are incapable of working.

Modern Communism, by contrast, takes by force. Instead of being “communal,” a willingness to share, it murders any who resist. Modern Communism is hatred and force on the lowest level. It is the antithesis of love, and God is Love.

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What is Salvation?

“The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

“There is none righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10)

Since we are all sinners, we need to have our sins atoned for. Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb of God “gave his life a ransom for many.”

First we must recognize that we are sinners in need of salvation. Then we must understand that as a sinner there is nothing we can do to atone for our own sin or bring about our own salvation. But salvation is like a marriage, it is not a 50%/50% relationship, it is a 100%/100% relationship.

Though salvation is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5) we still have total responsibility to serve God. “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)

Our works are technically called Sanctification, since only God can work the work of Salvation.

God also commands us to be fruit inspectors. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20) But we must be very careful to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit. The parable of the wheat and the tares illustrates our difficulty. Tares are a variety of weed which look very much like wheat until the time comes to produce seeds. The Bible teaches us that seemingly wicked men, such as Abraham’s nephew Lot are actually righteous. Others that appear to be righteous, even talking with God, such as Balaam, are actually evil. In the matter of salvation, we must be very careful to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

The fruit (works) we are to look for is a love for the Lord, a desire to fulfill the great commission and the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith).

Our beliefs on the doctrine of salvation are written down in detail in our books, Findley Family Video Biblical Studies and Antidisestablishmentarianism. The Biblical Studies books are written for homeschool so there is a student and a teacher’s edition. The only difference is that the teacher’s edition contains the answers. They include our commentary on Great Doctrines of the Bible by Evans. All of these are available in ebook format and all four books (Our three and Evans, which can be obtained free online) can be purchased for less then $10 total.

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