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.

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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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Sex and a Fire Well Contained

There is a popular illustration that is often preached to help warn believers and non-believers of the dangers of sexual sin. It is often told that sex within the confines of marriage is like a fireplace, which, when in a controlled environment, provides blessing, warmth, and visual stimulation that is not harmful or dangerous. Any kind of fire outside of that contained and safe environment will spread, consume, and destroy, because that is how fire behaves. This illustration, and many others like it, is not entirely wrong when depicting the proper context for sex in a marriage relationship. And other times it is heavily used to warn the masses from the devastating, earthly consequences of sexual sin. Although I would not dogmatically disagree with this illustration, I find that it falls short in recognizing how adultery functions first in the heart, and perhaps how most people view sexual sin in reality. Allow me to give my illustration.

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Taste and See!

Taste and See!

A review by Stuart Brogden

Barry Cooper has written a short but most excellent book, entitled Can I really trust the Bible? And other questions about Scripture, truth and how God speaks. While many very good and expansive apologetics books have been written, this small volume provides the reader an accessible wealth of information and insight as to the nature of the collection we call the Bible. Cooper gives us 5 short chapters, answering three questions, “Does the Bible claim to be God’s word?”, “Does the Bible seem to be God’s word?”, and “Does the Bible prove to be God’s word?” from 5 different perspectives:

  1. The world, the word, and what Jesus thought of the Bible.
  2. The word, the Word, and the rightness of writing.
  3. Consistency, conspiracies and corruptions.
  4. Canon, contradictions and criticisms.
  5. Tasting, seeing, and the sweetness of Scripture.

Our author introduces his book with a short look back at Winnie the Pooh and his penchant for honey – and how Pooh proved honey. The jar had a label claiming it was honey, but could the label be trusted? The contents looked like honey, but you can’t tell for sure by looking. The only way to be sure the jar contained honey was to taste it and see!

In explaining how the Bible is trustworthy, Cooper reminds us that the Bible does not claim to contain all knowledge about God – but that it contains all we need to know about God. And, still in chapter one, he points out Jesus’ attitude towards Scripture – He does not differentiate between the words of God and the word He caused men to write. The inspired word is trustworthy – not all any human author of Scripture wrote is inspired, only that which God intended and caused to be included in the canon of Scripture. In explaining the need we have of God’s written word, our author explains that giving it to us in writing allows God’s people to be sure and definite of knowing God’s word. If someone comes along claiming to speak for God, God’s word tells us how to respond – as the Bereans did, by searching the Scriptures to see if things are true; to test all things and cling to that which is good. Having God’s word in writing provides us this defense.

And since the Bible is the word of God, it is reasonable that He provided for its protection, preservation, and its identity as His word. The Roman Catholic Church claims that it decided what was in the canon of Scripture. Some evangelicals have been put off or discouraged by these claims. But Cooper rightly points out that the early church (hundreds of years before anything recognizable as the Roman Catholic Church) “didn’t willfully “declare” certain books to be from God; they could only recognize what was already apparent.” If God is God, sovereign over all He created, why should we be surprised when He uses His creation to produce, preserve, publish, and declare His word?

In chapter 4, Cooper gives us 7 quick arguments to refute claims that the Bible has errors:

  1. It’s not an error if it’s not in the original documents. There are scribal errors in every translation, but the enormous number of copies across the ages allows us to know what the autograph said.
  2. It’s not an error if we misunderstand the author’s intention. The Bible contains several genres of literature and literary customs of the authors’ eras. We cannot understand the Bible if we do not try to comprehend the historical and literary context of each passage.
  3. It’s not an error if it’s a paraphrase. Biblical authors often sum up accounts to provide something easy to listen to or read – same as when you summarize a movie you’ve seen.
  4. It’s not an error if it’s “phenomenological language”. When people describe things from their perspective, rather than objectively reporting facts, that phenomenological language. Cooper observes that a weatherman who talks about the sun rising is not called a liar – his audience knows what he means. He is using a literary custom of our day and telling it from his and our perspective.
  5. It’s not an error if someone else says it. This is when the Bible records someone telling a lie – the Bible is not in error. It is accurate in that it reports the lie. The liar is in error.
  6. It’s not an error if the Bible doesn’t speak definitively or exhaustively on every subject. Scripture doesn’t cover every topic, but it is authoritative on everything it does cover.
  7. It’s not an error if it ain’t written proper. Unlearned men speaking in sentence fragments are not errors. The issue is truthfulness – not passing a journalism exam.

Lastly, our author exhorts us to taste the Scriptures, to see if they are sweet to our souls as honey is to our tongues. Since the Spirit of God is the Author of Scripture, and since He lives in everyone who has been born of God, He will work in each child of God to develop our taste buds and give us understanding as we read and ponder the Word of God. Cooper warns us, the Bible “hasn’t been given to us so that we can know about God. It has been given to us so that we can know God.” He then quotes A.W. Tozer:

The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.

This, dear reader, is the bottom line: Those who have been made alive in Christ will experience what Cooper and Tozer wrote about. Those who have not been born again will not be able to. Our goal is not to convince unbelievers the Bible is true. Our goal is to know the Bible is true by our our knowledge of the Word Himself – and make noise about Him and His gospel to those who are not of His sheepfold, trusting that He will bring all the sheep home that the Father has given Him. This is what His word tells us – and His word is trustworthy.

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Independence Day and the state of the church in America.

Mark Anthony Escalera:

An article written by Pilgrim 4 years ago, and even more applicable today.

Originally posted on Defending. Contending.:

Today marks the 234th anniversary of our nation’s birth, but this occasion brings to mind two problems that I see within Christendom; both of which have the same solution.

Firstly, why do we (every year at this time) feel the need to mix nationalism with the church? On this Sunday, Christians will be running from church to BBQs and parties; some won’t even need to leave the church property as all the festivities will be rolled into one like a church in my local area advertising the events they’re having at their “community freedom festival” which include:

Pony rides / Face painting / Food and drinks / Sno-cones, popcorn, cotton candy / Games and prizes / Bounce houses / Giant slide / Dunk tank / Crafts for the kids / Live music / And much more.

Remember, dear readers, this is a “church.” The only reference on their advertisement that…

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Some Really, Really Bad Sins

A fellow pastor in Scotland, Bro. Jon Gleason posted this on his own blogsite and as we have done a few times in the past, I felt this was one worth sharing and giving much consideration.  Thank you, Jon, for your faithfulness to the Lord.

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Some Really, Really Bad Sins

In I Corinthians 10, we have a list of really bad sins.  We get these sometimes in Scriptures, describing our lives before we were saved, or describing the extent to which sin takes people when they turn away from God.  In this case, we’re told that these sins are recorded in Scripture for an example to us, warning us not to do the same things.

 

I Corinthians 10:5-6, 11-12

5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things were our examples….

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

So Paul here tells us that the sins listed in verses 6-10 are sins that brought destruction on the children of Israel when they were in the wilderness, and that these things are examples we must not follow.  They are written (in the Scriptures) to teach and warn us against doing the same things.  Let’s take the time to look at them.

I Corinthians 10:6

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Paul doesn’t here tell us exactly which event in the Old Testament he is describing, but there are several that could apply.  “We should not lust after evil things.”

This one isn’t hard to understand.  We know this.  If we find out a Christian is lusting after evil things, we aren’t going to say, “Oh, that’s ok, his circumstances make it all right for him to do that.”  We know there is no excuse.

We would tell someone who is doing this that he needs to repent and confess his sin.  We wouldn’t give sympathy to someone for sinning in this way, we’d tell him he needs to stop.  We know that God destroys people for this kind of sin.  We know the examples from the Old Testament that “are written for our admonition.”  We’d warn him.

I Corinthians 10:7

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

This sin is also easy for us to see clearly.  Oh, there are forms of idolatry that are deceptive, for we’re told that covetousness is idolatry.  But once idolatry is clearly recognised as such, no Christian would permit another Christian to make excuses for it.  It is wrong, and we know it.  If we try to make excuses and say that our circumstance is different, is a situation that creates an exception and makes it ok to commit idolatry, we know we are lying to ourselves.

We know this is a dangerous sin.  The Old Testament examples are clear.  This is one we wouldn’t dare to take lightly.

I Corinthians 10:8

Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

This is another easy one.  Sure, people make excuses for their immoral behaviour, but we can see right through those excuses, and so can they.  We know that when people do this, it is simply because they want to, not because they have to or because God put them in an impossible situation where they had no other choice.  Sin is sin, and we know it.

Some churches just let these things go, but even they know it is wrong.  No one who takes the Bible seriously at all will condone this or give any sympathy to a person who makes excuses for their sin.  A person doing this needs to repent — it is a really, really bad sin, one Christians should never ignore.

I Corinthians 10:9

Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

In the Old Testament account (Numbers 21), we’re told that the people spoke against God by saying He had brought them into the wilderness to die.  Thus, they accused God of either malice or incompetence — in other words, blasphemy.

We know that is wrong.  No one who claims to be a Christian should speak against God in this way.  We know that unbelievers might say things like this, but it is sin, and any Christian who does this needs to repent.  We wouldn’t hesitate to warn people against making accusations like this against God.  We know this is a really, really bad sin.  If we love God, we wouldn’t listen to someone who claims to be a Christian speaking this way about Him, would we?  We would remind them of the Scriptural warnings and examples.

I Corinthians 10:10

Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

Murmuring and complaining.  We know this is a really, really bad sin.  We wouldn’t accept excuses for this, would we?  Would we?

Would we give someone sympathy for this sin?  Would we let them use the excuse that their circumstance is bad enough that it is ok to sin in this way?

Would we fail to warn them that this is a really dangerous sin that can bring destruction?

Would we neglect to tell a complainer that their sin is listed right in there with fornication and idolatry?

Or do we let them decide, and so we decide right along with them, that murmuring and complaining isn’t a really, really bad sin after all?

Maybe we even decide it is a sin we ourselves can get away with.  After all, there aren’t really any Scriptural examples / warnings about this, are there?

Murmuring and complaining.  It is a really, really bad sin.  It is listed right there in I Corinthians 10 with evil lusts, idolatry, fornication, and blasphemy.  We have no right to decide it isn’t really that bad after all.  The murmurer does not need sympathy, the murmurer needs to change his thinking and his words, to repent.