Never Forget – Already Forgotten!

11th of November is a special day around many parts of the world.

Veterans Day – This is celebrated in the United States and is a national holiday designated to honor all military veterans who have served or who are currently serving. Wikipedia notes, “Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.”

Remembrance Day - Wikipedia notes that this “is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.”

What is not commonly known is that this is a special year of remembrance. The ode at the bottom of this post was written 100 years ago on the cliffs of Cornwall in the southwest corner of England. This poem was written as a tribute to those who had already fallen in the Great War of 1914-1918. It was the first national consideration of remembrance for those who fell in battle.

World War I, or The Great War, was the war that was to end all wars, but much of it ended up being a stalemate in the muddy trenches of Belgium, France, Holland, and Germany. Many of the war dead fell to disease and it is considered one of the bloodiest periods of human warfare. It would not be until World War II that the number of dead would exceed the number who died in World War I. On a global scale, the world had not seen such carnage and bloodshed since the Mongol Invasion in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Many are not aware that tens of thousands of boys no older than 14 were allowed to go to war and fight in the trenches.  While America joined the war in late 1917 and ultimately lost approximately 117,000 to battle and disease, what is often forgotten that this was not even 1% of the total death casualty of between 17-22 million. There is a reason why this Remembrance Day is special to many countries.

America has been blessed beyond measure and does not know the shame and disgrace in modern history of having troops march, rape, and pillage their way across this land. Europe has known this and the scars of these wars can still be found on lonely hillsides and in cemeteries. Many fell and were never recovered – known only to God.

Sadly, in this modern 21st century, we are but 100 years from the carnage that ravaged predominantly Europe in World War I. In those years, many have forgotten the true price of freedom. Young people know little to nothing about why this war even took place, and certainly are not taught why we should remember. History always repeats itself, and the one aspect that will eventually doom us is that we never learn from history. The Great War was not an insignificant dot on the landscape, but one that broke nations and would eventually lead to the Second World War in which an estimated 2.5% of the world’s population died, or between 60-85 million.

Thankfully, there are still some who do not forget those who died so long ago. We will remember those “for our tomorrow, gave their today.” And for all who served, whether fallen in battle or living veterans, we salute and honor you. You have stood in the gap where many refused to go so that we can enjoy the freedom of today. Many will never know and cannot know the sacrifice that still haunts the dreams of many, but they know.

To forget their sacrifice will be the greatest disrespect we can give to all veterans, past and present.

“They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.”Laurence Binyon, For the Fallen, Ode of Remembrance

Baptismal Regeneration: A Thorough and Systematic Refutation (Part 1)

In this series, it is vitally important to take the time and refute the now resurging doctrine of baptismal regeneration. This category of soteriology is varied depending on the denomination, and the contemporary or historical figure teaching it. It is fundamentally important that we understand what causes our regeneration, and what is/are the agent(s) of it. So in embarking on this very thorough refutation, it is my prayer that the reader will not only learn something new, but realize and understand something old and enduring – the truth about regeneration from the gospel.

I have spoken with several different proponents of Baptismal Regeneration. International Church of Christ is the bigger one that seems to be gaining evangelistic force. But there are Roman Catholics, Apostolics, Oneness Pentecostals, and some Anglican that believe this doctrine. Although their material may be varied, and their conclusions may have some nuances, the end of their logic remains the same. That is, unless someone is baptized they are not regenerated, don’t experience regeneration, or regeneration is not complete without it.

Arguments Not to Use

Before diving in my first argument which I have labeled, “Theo-logic,” I would like to admonish you, reader, about some arguments that I would advise not using when discussion this subject of baptismal regeneration. Here is the list: Continue reading

A 2 Minute Silence – We Remember!

Today in my birth country of the United Kingdom and throughout the British Commonwealth, Remembrance Sunday is being observed. In a nutshell, we remember that at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an armistice was signed. The armistice concluded World War I, also known as The Great War. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Every year, this is remembered on the Sunday closest to the 11th of November.

At 11:00 AM, a two minute silence is observed to remember the Armistice and for those soldiers who fell and died in battle.

flandersfield

A poem that has found great popularity is entitled, “In Flanders Field.” It was written by Lt. Col. John McCrae of the Canadian Armed Forces, who served and died during World War I.

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.

Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D., Canadian Armed Forces

Curing “Oh My Goodness!”

We are appreciative to Pastor Jon Gleason for writing the following article which is a follow-on to a previous post on taking the Lord’s name in vain. May this be a profit to you in your life. Jon has graciously given us permission to use his articles here at Defending Contending and this one is certainly very timely.

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Curing “Oh My Goodness!”

Mark Escalera at Defending. Contending. ran (with permission) my post, “OMG” — and Other Ways Christians Take God’s Name in Vain (this continues to be, by far, my most shared post).  In the comments at DefCon someone said she has tried to break the habit of saying, “Oh my goodness!”

This also is something Christians might say from time to time that has no real profit, is often just a “sanctified swearing substitute,” and is highly dubious theologically as well:

Philippians 3:9

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

So much for “my goodness” — that pretty much covers it, doesn’t it?  The only “goodness” we have is the goodness of God, so He is our goodness, our righteousness.  What exactly do the words “oh my goodness” mean, for a Christian?  If you say this, your words are not saying what you mean by them….

It seems this is another expression we really could do without.  It isn’t something I ever said a lot, but I became convinced a while ago that I would be best looking to stop.  As with most things we want to do to please our Lord, Scripture provides some help, and I thought I would take the time here to briefly expand on my answer over at DefCon.

Step 1.  Memorise the following verse, or at least the first half of it:

Isaiah 64:6

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

 

Step 2.  Whenever you slip into the habit and say, “Oh my goodness,” remind yourself your goodness is as filthy rags.

If that doesn’t do it, engage step 3.

Step 3. Tell people close to you (friends, family) you are trying to break the habit, and ask them, every time you say, “Oh my goodness,” to respond, “…is as filthy rags.” If nothing else, you’ll stop just because you get tired of hearing that response!

If they don’t know the Lord, so much the better.  You are giving them an important part of the Gospel in a way they will not be likely to ever forget, showing them your commitment to please the Lord in small things as well as big, and demonstrating a humble awareness of your own sinfulness and need of a Saviour.

In fact, maybe you should just jump straight to step 3!

As with so many other statements that we make unthinkingly, the Christian who says “Oh my goodness” almost certainly never means any disrespect to God, never means to exalt himself or be self-righteous.  It is almost always just a habit into which he has drifted without even thinking about it.

If our Lord has blessed you with a relationship which permits it, perhaps when you hear another Christian say it you can give a gentle reminder of how that expression matches up with Scripture.  Or, if he has a sense of humour, just be ready with a quick response:  “Oh my goodness”” — “…is as filthy rags!”

OMG – Please, not again!

“OMG” — and Other Ways Christians Take God’s Name in Vain

Exodus 20:7

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

I briefly mentioned, in yesterday’s post, one way in which Christians take the Lord’s name in vain.  Unfortunately, too many of us have become very casual about this commandment, and I thought I’d take the time to mention some things we should consider.

Taking God’s Name in Vain

“Vain” means useless, or empty.  This verse, one of the Ten Commandments, tells us to not use God’s name in an empty or useless way.  God is to be respected as high and holy.  This isn’t optional.

 “OMG”

I read an article a couple of weeks ago (unfortunately, I forgot to note who gave me the link) which I thought was excellent.  I know nothing about the author, but her article (What does the Bible say about OMG?) is excellent.  Too many Christians, in moments of excitement, dismay, etc., say, “Oh my God,” — and it isn’t a prayer.  Others, more “refined,” say, “Oh my gosh,” which is effectively the same watered down a little bit.  When we do this, we are saying God’s name without any real meaning to it — using it vainly.

Text-speak and Internet usage have made this far worse.  Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter too often encourage people to speak quickly and mindlessly, and it is so very easy to type in “OMG” without even thinking about it.  Is that consistent with reverence for our God?  If you see a Christian doing this, perhaps you could send a private note asking him to stop.  He’s probably not even thought about it.

No one ever says, “Oh my Satan,” or a watered-down “Oh my Santa.”  Or, for that matter, “Oh my spaghetti” or “Oh my desk.”  Why do unbelievers always use “Oh my God”?  We know why — the god of this world is influencing them to use words that diminish reverence for the Almighty God.  Why should Christians even mimic that with a watered-down “Oh my gosh”?

“In Jesus’ Name, Amen”

I am NOT saying people should not pray in Jesus’ name.  He told us to.  I wrote about this briefly yesterday (Proverbs 10:24).  The point of praying in Jesus’ name is to pray as Jesus’ representative, and that means praying as He would have us pray.  It is not a magic spell to make our wish list come true, or vain repetition stuck at the end of our prayers.

It is intended to cause us to think about whether we are praying for things that we can and should appropriately ask in His name.  It is to remind us of the glorious privilege given to us as His servants.

“I’ll Pray For You”

If you say you are going to pray for someone, you speak as a Christian who can speak directly to God.  You are promising to speak to Him.  If you don’t do it when you said you would, you took God’s name in vain.  You talked about communication with Him in an empty and meaningless way.

It is not wrong to tell people we will pray for them.  But if we say it, we must mean it and do it.  I have a friend who is careful about this.  I don’t think I have ever heard him say, “I’ll pray for you.”  He does say, “I just prayed for you,” or, “Let’s pray about this right now.”  Something to consider….

Un-Christian Behaviour

About a week ago, News for Christians linked to Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain.  It is worth reading.  The writer appropriately refers to Romans 2:24:

For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you.

If you are called a “Christian”, you are called a follower of Christ.  You carry His name.  If your behaviour gives sinners excuses to blaspheme, you are taking His name in vain.  Those who bear His name must live by it.

T-Shirts, Bumper Stickers, Cute Sayings

I’m not going to get specific here, because those who want to nitpick can nitpick.  Rather, a suggestion:  read Isaiah 6, and see how Isaiah responded to his vision of the Almighty.  Look at Revelation 1, and see John’s response when he saw the Lord of glory.  Remember that even in these visions, not all of God’s glory and majesty was fully revealed, or these men would have died.  And ask yourself, does my bumper sticker, my t-shirt, my cute expression that I like to use, all these ways in which I speak of the Lord, do they really fit with who He is?

When I stand before Him (or rather, when I fall on my face before Him) will I be glad I used that bumper sticker and wore that t-shirt, or will I be horribly ashamed?  Am I altogether too casual and cutesy in how I speak of Him?

“God Told Me”

Many times, we hear Christians say that “God told me” to do something.  Unless it is written in God’s Word, God doesn’t tell me to believe your statement (even if you do believe it).  If there is no reason I should believe that God told you, there is no reason to say it.  The Bible doesn’t tell us to go around saying “God told me.”

If you make a statement the Bible didn’t tell you to make, and I should examine what you say (rather than take your word for it), then to claim God’s authority is to claim it vainly.  “God told me” in any context other than what the Scriptures have said is taking God’s name in vain — even if you personally believe He did tell you.  God doesn’t tell others to believe you when you say it, so it is an empty claim.  You shouldn’t say it.

“God Gave me Peace”

It’s amazing how many times God “gives peace” to people who are doing the exact opposite of what He said in Scripture.  Just because you feel comfortable about your decision doesn’t mean God has given you peace.  Perhaps all it means is that you’ve started to have better sleeping and eating habits so you physically feel better.  Perhaps it means you’ve seared your conscience so badly that it isn’t functioning anymore.

God does give peace, the Scriptures say so.  But the Scriptures never say we should make decisions by checking our “peace-meter” to see if it is measuring high enough.  “Peace-meters” are often inaccurate — God’s Word is not.  Many times, when people say “God gave me peace,” they are merely taking God’s name in vain, speaking it meaninglessly, claiming some kind of God-authority for decisions that He manifestly does not approve.

I am sure there are other ways in which we do not honour our Lord’s name as we should.  We, as Christians, need to take God’s holiness seriously, and give Him due reverence.  We should encourage and help one another to be alert to failings in this area, so that we can speak as He would have us speak.

Somewhat related later post:  Why is “Jesus Christ” used as “Blasphemous Profanity”?

And:  “God Told Me to Preach This”???

20% Special Discount Offer

Sonysmiling
I have had the privilege of introducing DefCon readers to a few new people in recent months. One of these people is Sony Elise, who runs her own editing business, and she is also a regular contributor here at DefCon. Since beginning her first editing job in high school, she has been proofreading and editing magazines, editorials, and books for over 25 years.

Sony Elise Editing Services is a new direction for her editing services starting this year. As she branches out on her own, she is offering an end-of-year special discount for the months of October through December of 20% off either of her editing packages. This is good for any book or story with a minimum purchase of $20. Having used her services several times, I know that her prices are more than competitive and you will be pleased with her work.

To obtain the discount, simply mention to Sony that you found the discount here on DefCon and you will receive the 20% discount. I realize this is unusual, but she recently was able to help a couple of pastors with their work, as well as some believers looking to break into publishing. It was my thought this might help you as well as help her also.

20discount

Pastor Ken Silva: A Defender of the Faith Passes Away

Mark Anthony Escalera:

A good brother and pastor, Ken Silva, passes away after a long illness. Ps. 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.”

Originally posted on Reformed Nazarene:

I just recently learned of the passing of Pastor Ken Silva. The following was posted by our friends at Stand Up For The Truth website:

One of our dear comrades, Pastor Ken Silva, has passed away after a long illness.

Ken died last night in his New Hampshire home. A veteran researcher and reporter, Ken founded Apprising Ministries as well as Christian Research Network, two foundational apologetics sites where he wrote about trends in the church. Ken loved the Lord and loved sharing his faith. In recent years his degenerative illness worsened, and it became more difficult for Ken to write.

Ken has also been a pastor at Connecticut River Baptist Church in Claremont, New Hampshire, since 2003.

This past July, Ken reached out to many of us in “discernment ministries,” with word on what he was going through physically, financially and spiritually:

“…Our plan is for me to…

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