The FBQ page on this website has been deleted, and all of the FBQ's postings have been incorporated into the main blog. The original posting dates have been retained so they can be accessed by date, or, they can also be accessed by clicking on the "FBQ's" tag in the list of categories on the right hand side of this page. The primary reason for this change was to streamline the site, and make it easier to find things. I apologize if this has caused anyone any inconvenience.
For thousands of years people have been fascinated by angels, those spiritual creatures who having been created by God, now inhabit the spirit realm. Not only are they popular art subjects and valentine decorations, but some people claim they have visited with, spoken with, and received revelations from angels.
Muhammad, the founder of Islam claimed to have been visited by the angel Gabriel who supposedly revealed to him a verse from the Quran. According to LDS teaching the Mormon angel Moroni was once a man, who later became an angel (which, by the way, seems to contradict the Mormon teaching that all good male Mormons will become gods rather than angels), and as an angel, he allegedly revealed to Joseph Smith the golden plates that later became the Book of Mormon. Ellen G. White (a self-professed prophetess who, along with her husband James and others, founded the Seventh Day Adventist Church) claimed she was in contact with and received revelations from angels. Some New Agers believe that angels are channeled through human mediums and pass on messages from the spirit realm, and there are some today who claim to receive messages from angels and who also profess to be Christians.
This all begs the question, why? Why are people anxious to speak with angels? Why is it necessary to receive messages from angels? Why do people accept those messages as accurate or relevant? And are they really speaking to the Heavenly Host or some other spirit? The answers to these questions are found in the pages of Scripture, God's Holy Word, the Bible. Now I grant you that those who do not profess to be Christian are not likely to turn to the Bible, nor accept its teachings – especially when those Biblical teachings contradict what they already believe.
Christians, however, should turn to the Bible, especially if they have a biblical foundation for their faith – which, as Christians, they naturally would. Christians accept biblical doctrine as factual truth, and examine their beliefs, their faith in the light of biblical doctrine. Christians know that experience is always interpreted by doctrine, and doctrine is never interpreted by experience. This is one of the facets of Christianity that sets Christians apart from other religious beliefs.
That all being said, what does the Bible have to say about angels?
Angels are created beings (Genesis 2:1) and they are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14). They are intelligent, exercise their will, and show emotion (Matthew 8:29; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 1:12; Luke 2:13; James 2:19; Revelation 12:17; Luke 8:28-31; 2 Timothy 2:26; Jude 6). Angels praise and worship God. They serve Him and rejoice in what He does (Psalm 103:20; Psalm 148:1-2; Isaiah 6:3; Job 38:6-7; Luke 2:13; Revelation 5:8-13; Revelation 22:9). Angels are very powerful and are often employed by God as instruments of His judgment (2 Kings 19:35; 1 Chronicles 21:15; Acts 12:23; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 7:1; Revelation 8:2).
There are two primary types of angels, the Heavenly Host, or “good” angels, and the “bad” angels – Satan and the demons (Revelation 12:7; and others). The good angels protect God's elect (Psalm 91:11; Psalm 34:7; Daniel 6:22; Hebrews 1:14; and others). They are not to be worshiped (Revelation 19:10), and there are recorded instances where they spoke to humans during biblical times, sometimes giving direction, and sometimes giving revelation (Matthew 1:20; Matthew 2:13; Acts 8:26; Revelation 1:1; and others).
Clearly, angels play a varied and important role in the interaction between God and His people. But what about today? The Bible speaks about angels during the Old and New Testament periods, and even their role at the end of time. But does the Bible say anything about angels during the here and now? Well, in a word, yes – especially in the way they are described as interacting with humans during our modern times.
Scripture says in Galatians 1:8-9, “8) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9) As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” It is pretty obvious that there is a possibility that an angel could speak to humans even after the close of Scripture. However, as we read in this passage, whatever that angel says, it must be completely in line with what Scripture says. No deviation of any kind is allowed, and if there is any deviation between Scripture and that angels message, then that angel is cursed, and a cursed angel is not an angel from heaven but rather a demonic angel attempting to pervert the Word of God.
You might be asking at this point, since angels do have the ability to speak to us in our modern times, should we seek interaction with them? Again, we turn to the Scriptures for our answer. In Deuteronomy 18:9-14 we read, 9)“When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10)There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11)or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12)For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. 13)You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. 14)For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.
Note that the Scripture absolutely forbids mediums, spiritists and those who call upon the dead. In fact, the Lord considers these practices to be an abomination, and forbids His people from engaging in them. Upon first glance, when we see the terms “medium,” “spiritist” and people who “call upon the dead” we think of seances and necromancy and other occultic practices. But the fact of the matter is this – just as demons are created spirit beings, so are their counterparts, the heavenly angels. The Scripture does not make any distinction between seeking contact between demons and angels. Nor are there any examples of any of God's people attempting contact with any of the holy angels. Therefore, in light of the Scriptures, any attempted contact with a holy angel by a human is strongly condemned by God.
The Scriptures therefore teach us two important aspects of angelic interaction with humans. One, it can never be initiated by a human, and two, when it does happen it must be initiated by God and it must fall within certain parameters established by God, most notably that any such communication cannot deviate from Scripture in any way, shape, or form. If it does, it is not communication coming from a holy angel, but from a demonic fallen angel.
Given these Scriptures and how they apply to angelic interactions with humans, I personally have to wonder why anyone would think they were necessary. Scripture clearly says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that, “16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” And Hebrews 4:12 tells us that, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Add to these Psalm 119:160, “The entirety of Your word is truth.”
Clearly the Bible is completely sufficient for everything a Christian may require that is spiritually based. Why then would anyone think they might require additional messages from angels? Pointing to a created being such as an angel for validation of what a person is doing takes away from the sufficiency of God's Word. For example, Scripture tells us to worship God and no one or nothing else. Scripture tells us to pray unceasingly, to spread the gospel and to make disciples. That is what we, as Christians, are supposed to do. The Bible does not limit how we are to do these things other than to forbid going outside God approved examples shown in Scripture. We can become missionaries, we can go door to door, we can open a soup kitchen, and resource distribution ministry, we can open a school, etc. As long as we are accomplishing the goal our Lord set for us and we are not besmirching His Holy Name in the process or bringing the gospel into disrepute, He will support us.
To say that an angel has come to us and told us to do any of these things, and to use that angelic interaction as support for our actions, takes away from the sufficiency of Scripture, and thus the sufficiency of God. It is the equivalent of ignoring and disrespecting the creator while pointing to the created as our reason for doing something.
Additionally, if that angelic interaction with a human imparts to that person (or persons) something that is in addition to the entirely true and completely sufficient Word of God which we know as Scripture, well, Scripture addresses that as well. Deuteronomy 4:2 states, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it”(see also Deuteronomy 12:32). Proverbs 30:5-6 tells us, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” And Revelation 22:18-19 imparts this serious and deadly warning: “18) For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
1 John 4:1 tells us, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” This is not advice, nor is it a suggestion. As Christians we are told to not believe every spirit, but test every spirit – because there are a lot of false prophets out there seeking to keep people away from the true gospel and the true Christian mission.
This is only part of the article, and I would highly recommend reading the entire thing. It is without doubt an extremely interesting article.
Archaeology and the Historical Reliability of the New Testament
by Peter S. Williams
(From the Be Thinking website)
Peter S. Williams examines the historical reliability of the New Testament in the light of the findings of archaeology.
“On the whole … archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the Scriptural record. More than one archaeologist has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine. Archaeology has in many cases refuted the views of modern critics.” – Millar Burrows, Professor of Archaeology, Yale University
Charlotte Allen observes that “Archaeology, which was then a young science, was by and large ignored by the academic biblical scholars of the [nineteenth] century. For the great German exegetes of the era … a voyage to Palestine was beside the point, as the life of the historical Jesus was for them solely a matter of interpreting texts.” Today, scholars know that archaeological data can be a valuable aid to interpreting texts, as well as providing independent adjudication of a text’s historical veracity.
Allen affirms that archaeological excavations in the Holy Land have “tended to support the historical value of the Gospels, at least as sources of information about the conditions of their times.” As Nelson Glueck states, on the one hand “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever contraverted a biblical reference”, whereas on the other “Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”
Archaeologist William F. Albright observes:
The excessive scepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth-and-nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history.
Likewise, Joseph Free confirms: “Archaeology has confirmed countless passages which had been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contrary to known facts.” Theologian Craig L. Blomberg notes how:
archaeology can demonstrate that the places mentioned in the Gospels really existed and that customs, living conditions, topography, household and workplace furniture and tools, roads, coins, buildings and numerous other ‘stage props’ correspond to how the Gospels describe them. It can show that the names of certain characters in the Gospels are accurate, when we find inscriptional references to them elsewhere. Events and teachings ascribed to Jesus become intelligible and therefore plausible when read against everything we know about life in Palestine in the first third of the first century.
Archaeologist Jonathan L. Reed observes that “The many archaeological discoveries relating to people, places, or titles mentioned in Acts do lend credence to its historicity at one level; many of the specific details in Acts are factual.” And as Lee Strobel observes:
In trying to determine if a witness is being truthful, journalists and lawyers will test all the elements of his or her testimony that can be tested. If this investigation reveals that the person was wrong in those details, this casts considerable doubt on the veracity of his or her entire story. However, if the minutiae check out, this is some indication – not conclusive proof but some evidence – that maybe the witness is being reliable in his or her overall account.
We will review archaeological evidence under the following three categories:
• Culture – Beliefs and Practices
• Places – Urban centers and individual buildings
• People – Titles, Names and Relationships
CONTINUE READING HERE
Tonight's film is not so much a movie, but rather a get together to celebrate the Cathedrals, one of the best known Southern Gospel quartets, with Bill Gaither's
50 Faithful Years - The Cathedrals
You'd recognize the sound anywhere - the rich, deep bass voice, the clear resonating lead singer, the close 4-part harmonies, the excitement that only a Southern Gospel Quartet can create. Put it all together and you have the Cathedrals, probably the best-known gospel quartet.
The sound of the group has always been woven around the two creators of the group, Glen Payne - lead, and George Younce - the bass. Over the years, there have been several different combinations of great talent singing the other parts, but the voices of George and Glen have always been the reason for the unique sound.
"Faithful" is truly the word that characterizes these men. For Fifty years now, these two have given their lives to singing the Gospel. First of all, they've been faithful to their Lord. They could have sung about many things, but instead chose to sing of their Redeemer. They've been faithful to their families, and if you've ever been around their families, you see the results of that faithfulness. They've been faithful to their art form, and still today continue to perfect their performance and communications skills. They've been faithful to the beautiful people who have enjoyed their concerts and recordings down through the years. Enjoy!
Tonight's Friday Night Lecture is
How to Deliver the Gospel to Mormons
with the late Dr. Walter Martin
In this lecture, Dr. Walter Martin discusses different Mormon beliefs and how to break through them to deliver the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
Moral relativism is the philosophical belief that there is no objective moral standpoint that is inherently correct that can be applied to all people, all cultures, all societies for all time. This belief holds that with regard to an individuals morality, personal beliefs and specific situations will determine the correct morals for that situation. Perhaps Friedrich Nietzsche explained moral relativism best when he said, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” In other words, whatever works for you is right. Perhaps you can see the problems inherent in moral relativism.
Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason wrote an article for Salvo Magazine entitled, “Seven Things You Can't Do As A Moral Relativist”, in which he (obviously) lists these seven things. They are:
1. Relativists can’t accuse others of wrongdoing.
During a conversation I recently had with with an individual, a professing Christian, who made the comment that morality was relative. Our conversation was so illustrative of the points being made by Mr. Koukl, I have to share it in conjunction with his above list. We had been discussing the homosexual marriage issue (he was for and I was against) that is being foisted upon America – and more importantly upon Christians – by a small but very vocal segment of our society. The person I was speaking with (I'll call him “Fred”) stated that. “People are people and morality is relative. Although we would consider the genocide of Indians to 'immoral' today, In the 1840's is was not. While gay marriage may be distasteful to some, it simply can't be immoral. What is immoral about two willing people of the same sex living together?”
“Fred” went on to explain that at his church he was a music minister and had always had gay men in key positions. He was aware of it, and even the pastor was aware of this, however, he said, “we don't meddle in parishioners private lives. Being gay is not a sin, Having sex outside wedlock is.”
As I went to explain that morality is not relative and, in fact, cannot be relative without disastrous results, is pointed to a recent news article as what happens when morality is considered relative, the gang rape of a young woman on a public beach, surrounded by hundreds of onlookers who did absolutely nothing other than video record the rape and then post it online. [Panama City Gang Rape: A Kitty Genovese for the YouTube Era, by Charlotte Lytton 04.16.15]
“Fred” tried to explain that what was different in the example of the Panama City gang rape is that in that incident there was a victim, therefore it was morally wrong because rape is a criminal action. However, that only addresses who is criminally responsible for that act, not who is morally wrong. I responded by asking “Fred” who he thought was morally wrong then? Was it the rapists? Was it the hundreds of onlookers who stood by and did nothing other than video record the rape? How about those who allowed the video to be posted to their website? How about the people who watched or downloaded the video? Are any of these people morally wrong? I asked “Fred” if he thought, as he apparently did, that an act is only immoral if there is a victim, then who decides if there actually is a victim? If a court of law allows a child molester to go free and makes the determination that the three year old that the molester actually raped, wasn't legally raped because there wasn't enough evidence to convict him, then no crime actually occurred and therefore there is no actual victim. Then, according to “Fred's” moral relativist belief, that rape of a three year old would not be immoral since the court determined that no rape took place.
Of course, “Fred” had no answer, and in fact, he told me that he could not argue with that. He did not, however, reject his moral relativism belief. “Fred's” responses, his arguments in our conversation perfectly illustrate Mr. Koukl's list of seven things a moral relativist cannot do. “Fred” could not accuse those involved in the Panama City gang rape of wrongdoing. He could not call what they did wrong or evil, he could not place any blame upon them for the rape or the video recording of it and he could not say that what the rapists or video recorders did was unfair or unjust; and clearly, “Fred” was unable to hold a meaningful moral discussion.
This is the problem, the failure of moral relativism. Since nothing is really immoral or moral, other than what the individual “believes” is moral or immoral in a given situation or at a particular moment in time, the moral relativist cannot, as Mr, Koukl states, improve their morality because they have no objective or absolute moral standard.
As Christian's – and I will even go so far as to make the distinction of “True Christian's,” we have an absolute, unchanging moral standard, and that standard is God. In fact, every person has that standard of God's absolute morality written on their heart, their DNA so to speak. The problem arises when the individual chooses to ignore that absolute moral standard in favor of their own personal wants and desires which they rationalize and justify by waving the banner of moral relativism, and that brings us back to the issue “Fred” and I started our conversation with. Homosexual marriage. It is morally wrong, and the only thing that an approval of homosexual marriage will do, is to lend a governmental approval of the immoral sexual wants and desires of a select group of individuals. And if that approval is lent by the government, then how can they disapprove of any other immoral sexual wants or desires of any other group?
Moral relativism is the key to a Pandora's Box that once opened, cannot legislatively be closed. Ever.
The seven fatal flaws of moral relativism
Seven Things You Can’t Do as a Moral Relativist
What is moral relativism?
What is moral relativism?
From Gary Randall's Faith and Freedom Blog:
New York Times On Bigotry And The Bible
by Gary Randall, Thursday, April 16, 2015
The "truths," the New York Times' article explains, is "homosexuality and Christianity don't have to be in conflict in any church anywhere."
Many leaders in the mainline Christian denominations are cheering.
Hopefully leaders in the evangelical community are not exhaling, believing their silence has gotten them off the hook.
The oracle of progressive "truths" continues: "That many Christians understand them as incompatible is understandable, an example of not so much of hatred's pull, as of tradition's sway. Beliefs ossified over centuries aren't easily shaken," The New York Times publishes.
The Time's article explains that continuing to hold these "ossified" beliefs and teachings is "a choice" some Christians and their churches make because they are choosing to "prioritize scattered passages of ancient texts over all that has been learned since---as if time had stood still, as if advances of science and knowledge meant nothing."
The Bible and those who believe it "disregard the degree to which all writings reflect the biases and blind spots of their author, culture and eras" we are told.
The Bible, they say, is neither "inspired" or "infallible." It's merely notions from the past.
Welcome to the Brave New World, relative and evolving "truth," and the shifting definition of religious freedom.
Frank Brurni, witting in the New York Times says holding to old biblical teachings "ignores the extent to which interpretation is subjective, debatable."
"Therefore," he concludes "our debate about religious freedom should include a conversation about freeing religions and religious people from prejudices that they needn't cling to and can indeed jettison..." while "rightly bowing down to the enlightenments of modernity."
In the mind of the secularist, this is about freeing the Bible believing Christian from the bondage of biblical teaching.
He quotes David Gushee, a so-called evangelical Christian who teaches Christian ethics at Mercer University, who says, "Human understanding of what is sinful has changed over time."
Gushee teaches his Christian ethics students that "many Christians thought slavery wasn't sinful, until we finally concluded it was. People thought contraception was sinful when it began to be developed."
Dr. Gushee says, "Conservative Christian religion is the last bulwark against full acceptance of LGBT people."
Bruni also quotes Matthew Vines, another “evangelical” author, who wrote the best selling book "God and the Gay Christian" and who explains that Paul's rejection of same-sex relations in Romans I "is akin to his rejection of drunkenness or his rejection of gluttony."
"Vines," Bruni says, explains "that the New Testament, like the Old Testament, outlines bad and good behaviors that almost everyone deems archaic and irrelevant today. Why deem the descriptions of homosexual behavior any differently?"
Bruni shares a conversation he recently had with Mitchell Gold, a prominent and wealthy furniture maker and homosexual activist.
Bruni says, "Gold told me that church leaders must be made 'to take homosexuality off the sin list'."
The shifting definition of religious freedom, in the minds of the activists and their allies, now includes a list of acceptable and non acceptable beliefs we are free to believe.
To continue reading the entire article by Gary Randall, and I would encourage you to do so, please click here: http://blog.faithandfreedom.us/2015/04/new-york-times-on-bigotry-and-bible.html#.VTVY0PB709k
Today's Sunday Morning Sermon is titled, The Modern Blasphemy Of The Holy Spirit, with Pastor/Teacher John MacArthur. Enjoy!
Tonight's Saturday Night Movie is Me Again (2012)
Things don't go as expected when a disenchanted pastor wishes for a different life. Starring: David A.R. White, Ali Landry, Bruce McGill, Della Reese and Andrea Logan White.
Tonight's Friday Night Lecture is titled:
God or No God The Quest for Absolute Meaning
and features Dr. Ravi Zacarias speaking at Texas A&M University. I am not sure of the date of this lecture. Enjoy!