And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 35 September 06, 2009
In this issue:
Invites you to our
Back to the Bible Preaching!
September 9–13, 2009
Wednesday - Saturday: 7:00 PM
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
While reading last Monday’s newspaper I was intrigued by the headline, “Pastor joins Muslims in Ramadan month of prayers, fasting” (The Bellingham Herald, 31Aug09). My curiosity turned to shock when I read the man referred to is Ben Ries of the Sterling Drive Church of Christ in Bellingham.
Upon reflection, I don’t suppose I should be surprised. The Sterling Drive church has long since turned away from the pattern of truth (2 Tim 1:13). The social gospel, institutionalism and forms of worldliness have run rampant there for years. (May they soon remove “Church of Christ” from their name!) This marks a new low – if not for the entire church, at least for their young preacher.
Muslims observe Ramadan as the holy month of fasting and prayers to Allah. Islam believes the Qur’an was delivered from heaven during the month of Ramadan, and this period of fasting is intended to renew resolve to be guided by Allah. Here is what the Qur’an says about Ramadan and those who observe it:
“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off (evil); (Fast) a certain number of days; and (for) him who is sick among you, or on a journey, (the same) number of other days; and for those who can afford it there is a ransom: the feeding of a man in need – but whoso doeth good of his own accord, it is better for him: and that ye fast is better for you if ye did but know – The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you; and (He desireth) that ye should complete the period, and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure ye may be thankful. And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright.” (Qur’an, Surah 002:183-186, emp. added)
Observers of Ramadan acknowledge the Qur’an as divine revelation and Islam’s Allah as leading his servants while hearing and answering their prayers. Does Mr. Ries know that Muslims deny Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Does that matter to him? Does he know that Allah is a false god and not the God of the Bible? (Eph 4:6) He is having fellowship with those who deny the Father and the Son (2 Jno 9-11; Eph 5:11). That does not seem to faze him (or those at Sterling Drive); Ries sees no conflict with his faith and fasting for Ramadan.
But, Mr. Ries is apparently fazed should one affirm the Bible is the final word of truth. He said of those who would be bothered by his decision, “I’m not so narcissistic to think I have everything figured out”. So, to have “figured out” that Islam is a false religion is arrogant egotism? (His implication of egotism against one who one affirms to know the truth is rather egotistical!) To Ries, truth is not absolute. Nevertheless, Jesus said He is “the truth”; Islam denies it (Jno 14:6).
Ries believes he can spread the light of what it means to be Muslim by fasting during Ramadan. He said, “As a Christian, I believe this world is broken. It’s not as it’s supposed to be.” What about spreading what it means to be a Christian? What about spreading the light of the gospel to those in the darkness of Islam? What about the sins of Muslims? Does he believe Muslims are lost? Will he teach them the plan of salvation? Does he even believe and teach the Bible plan of salvation? Doubtful. What is clear is this; just as Islam is not in submission to the will of God, neither is Mr. Ries. May both he and the Muslims soon come to repentance (Acts 17:30-31).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Ezra 10:1-4
1. Israel and Judah fell into idolatry and immorality, and God punished
their sins with captivity (586 B.C.). Remnant returned in 536 B.C. and the
temple was restored in 516 B.C. (Ezra 6:14-15).
I. PUTTING AWAY SIN.
can Never be Right with God when Sin is Present in our Lives, Isa 59:1-2; 2
Cor 6:17-18; 1 Jno 3:4 5:17; Eph 2:1-3 [Ezra 9:2, 14; 10:10]; Rev 2:5.
II. WHAT IT TAKES TO PUT AWAY SIN.
The Sacrifice of Precious Things; Ezra 10:3, 10-11, 44; Lk 14:25-33; Mk
10:17-22; Ezra 10:15.
in spite of this, Ezra 10:2.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Mark 6:14-20
While Jesus was “in His own country” (Matt 13:54), Herod Antipas (tetrarch of Galilee and Perea) heard about Jesus.
I. HEROD’S FEARS.
Afraid of Jesus, Matt 14:1-2; Lk 9:7-9; 13:31.
II. HEROD’S FAILURE TO FEAR.
was not Afraid of Sinning against God.
III. BEWARE THE LEAVEN OF HEROD, Mk 8:15 (Matt 16:6, 12). By his conduct Herod left an influence that said …
Marriage is not for Life, cf. Matt 19:4-6; Mark 6:17-18 with Rom 7:2-3.
NIV to be Revised
Biblica has announced it will publish the first revision of The New International Version of the Bible in twenty-five years. First published in 1978, the NIV accounts for 30% of the Bibles sold in North America, with 300 million copies sold worldwide. Scheduled to be completed in 2011, this version plans to modernize the language of the 1978 edition. (Press release: http://tinyurl.com/mxbf47)
Earlier this decade a separate version of the NIV was produced (Today’s New International Version) that included more “gender-inclusive language in an attempt to reach a younger audience”; it fell flat (Best-selling Bible to undergo revision, Eric Gorski, AP Religion Writer, Sep. 1, 2009; YahooNews.com). Gorski says the TNIV has become a symbol of division among evangelicals, the more conservative of whom see the TNIV as tampering with the God-inspired message when it inserts gender neutrality and making other such alterations to the text. Indeed. The NIV 2011 version will likely revisit that controversy.
Then again, the NIV also tempered with the text:
1) It is filled with Calvinism. The NIV was produced by evangelical Calvinists, and it shows. Its faulty treatment of “sarx” (flesh) in Romans 8 (translated “sinful nature”) advances Calvinism in rankest terms, offering “sinful nature” as a synonym for “flesh”. The NIV translation of Psalm 51:5 contains total hereditary depravity (original, inherited sin): “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” David was not sinful at birth! (Matt 18:3; Ro 7:9)
2) Omissions. “Dr. Everett W. Fowler in his book, Evaluating Versions of the New Testament, points out that there are 17 complete verses left out of the NIV and 180 portions of other verses omitted. It is also pointed out that it omits “Jesus” 38 times, “Christ” 43 times and “Lord” 35 times.” (Dorris and Donnie Rader, Searching the Scriptures, August, 1984)
Bible translators should respect it’s plenary (complete, absolute) inspiration. It is not for translators to insert doctrines or reassign gender to adapt to modernity. Choose your Bible version wisely.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 09/07/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA