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Hope for Prodigal Children

Burk Parsons:

As a pastor, I am often faced with the difficulty of counseling deeply saddened fathers and mothers with prodigal sons and daughters. Parents who enter my study for counsel and prayer are usually trying to come to grips with the harsh reality about a prodigal (lavishly wasteful) son or daughter. The child they have loved, prayed for, educated, nurtured, protected, and discipled has left everything to chase after the fleeting pleasures of the world, forsaking not only their father’s home but their father’s faith. There are likely many parents and grandparents reading this who have prodigal children or grandchildren, and they are greatly burdened for their souls, praying they would come to the end of themselves, trust Christ, and come home.

My greatest concern, however, is for those parents who are not burdened for the souls of their prodigal children. Because their children were raised in good families with good Christian principles, having been taught the way they should go in life, many parents have concluded that they are just fine despite their prodigal lifestyles and unbelief. They may rightly believe that God is sovereign and that He is the only one who can save their children, yet they have forgotten that God has ordained the ends as well as the means to those ends. As such, He calls parents of prodigal children of every age not to presume their salvation and pretend everything is spiritually fine, but to pray for their salvation, preach the gospel to them, and plead with them to repent and believe. When Christian parents don’t face up to the difficult reality that they have prodigal children who are wasting their lives by chasing after the temporal pleasures of the world, they likely won’t face their children with the truth of the gospel, and, what’s more, their children won’t face the difficult reality that they are facing eternal condemnation.

In His sovereignty, God uses parents to speak God’s truth and God’s gospel to the hearts and minds of their children. If parents, who are primarily responsible for training up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, choose not to admonish for fear of driving their faithless children farther away from home, their fear might ultimately reveal their own faithlessness as well. Parents must not give in to the temptation to presume their prodigal children are bound for glory, and neither should they ever give up praying for, preaching to, and pleading with their children to come to the end of themselves, trust Christ, and come home—where they will be overwhelmingly welcomed by the heavenly Father and by their earthly father, who will run to them with open arms and a prodigal (lavishly wasteful) celebration as they both rejoice coram Deo, before the face of God.

~Hope for Prodigal Children, http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/hope-for-prodigal-children/, Copyright by Burk Parsons, Ligonier Ministries, http://www.ligonier.org

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A Reformed Perspective On Disney’s Beauty And The Beast

Gospel Teacher/Jack Klumpenhower:

“Talking about Jesus, Beauty, and the Beast

After we watch Beauty and the Beast, how might we talk to our kids about Jesus? And what should we do about that “gay moment” in the movie?”…

Read more: http://jackklumpenhower.com/talking-Jesus-beauty-beast/

Do Christians Divorce As Often As Non-Christians?

And that's that

Not committed Christians:

People who seriously practice a traditional religious faith—whether Christian or other—have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population.

The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice.

Read more: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/factchecker-divorce-rate-among-christians (note the astronomically lower divorce rate among practicing Jews!)

12 Lies American Evangelicals Believe

Tyler O’Neil, from an October 2016 article:

“Evangelical Christians are supposedly united in their belief that only those who believe the gospel — that Jesus Christ died on the cross for humanity’s sins and rose from the dead three days later — will be saved. But not all who identify as evangelicals even believe this.

According to a September study by LifeWay Research, Americans don’t know much about theology. While most Americans identify as Christians, they seem confused about the details of their faith.

“Contradictory and incompatible beliefs are OK for most people,” explained Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. Even those who identify as evangelicals often fell into some of the worst theological errors.

Here are twelve lies about God, morality, and salvation which Christians in the study believed, and why they are wrong…”

Read more: https://pjmedia.com/faith/2016/10/24/12-lies-american-evangelicals-believe/?singlepage=true

STR on Religious Pluralism

What is Religious Pluralism and Why is it False?

They Can But Will Not

StateLibQld 2 206941 Stubborn young Hereford being unwillingly lead by his attendant, RNA Show, Brisbane, 1940

 “Answer. It is granted that to punish men for doing what they cannot help, or to require of them an impossibility, would be manifestly unjust and cruel. But this God does not, do. He requires no more of men than, they are able to perform; and he punishes them only for doing those things which they could and ought to have abstained from doing. When we speak, in common language, of ability and inability, can and cannot, possible and impossible, we always have reference to men’s power and faculties of body or mind, and not at all to their inclinations. If a man has all the power. and faculties of body and mind which are necessary to do a thing, we say he is able to do it, whether he is willing or not. His ability and his willingness are different things, perfectly distinct.

A man may be able to perform a piece of work, which he has no heart to perform, and which he is totally unwilling to engage in. And again, a man may be perfectly wiling to do that which is not in his power, that which is entirely beyond his strength. One man may be able to march to the field of battle, but totally unwilling. And another may be perfectly willing to march to the field of blood, but through bodily infirmity may be unable. Ability and willingness must both unite in the same person, before he will perform any thing, but they are perfectly distinct, and our willingness constitutes no part of our ability.

It is true that willingness is sometimes styled moral ability; but it is evidently in a figurative and improper sense. According to the usual and proper meaning of the term, men are able to do every thing which they have bodily and mental strength sufficient to do, whether they are willing to exert that strength, and do the thing or not. Now, although God cannot justly require of men more than they are able to do, that is, more than they have bodily and mental strength sufficient to do, if they were so disposed; yet he may, and does, justly require of them many things which they have no disposition to do, many things which they are totally unwilling to perform. And though men cannot be justly punished for not doing those things which they are unable to do, yet they may be justly punished for not doing those things which they are able, but are unwilling to do. Men are able to comply with the invitations of the gospel, that is, they have all the bodily and mental powers that are necessary to do it, and God may justly require them to do it, whether they are willing or not; and if they do not comply, he may justly punish them for their disobedience. And his making some willing and others unwilling, does not interfere with the ability of any. Those who are unwilling are just as able as those who are willing, and are as justly required to comply. To substantiate the objection, it must be made to appear, that God imposes some constraint upon men, so that they cannot do the things he requires, even though they are willing, and desirous of doing them. This is taken for granted in the objection. This is the real meaning of the phrase, doing what they cannot help. The meaning is, that they desire and endeavor to do otherwise, but have not the necessary bodily and mental strength. If they had, they should do, otherwise.

They would, but cannot. But the fact is directly the reverse. They can, but will not. They have the necessary bodily and mental strength, but have no willingness. And this, God is not bound to give them. Should any say, that God cannot justly require of men any more than he gives them a willingness to do, as well as bodily and mental strength, this would abolish all law, and destroy the distinction between right and wrong. For if God cannot require of men any more than he makes them willing, as well as able, to do, then, since they always do what they have both strength and will to accomplish, he cannot justly require of them any more than they actually perform. And if they always do all that he requires, there is no such thing as sin in the world. It is right, therefore, for God to require of them all that they have powers and faculties sufficient to perform, all that they are able to do; and if they fail of complying through unwillingness, it is right that they should be punished. But men have all the powers and faculties necessary to comply with the invitations of the gospel, and all the commands of God, and want nothing but a willingness. They can comply, but will not. When, therefore, God punishes them for not complying, he punishes them, NOT for what they could not help, but solely for refusing to do what they could but would not.”

~Williams Weeks, Nine Sermons on the Decrees and Agency of God, 3rd ed., (Newark, N.J.: Published by the Ecclesiastical Board of Trustees for the Propagation of the Gospel. John R. Weeks, Printer), 77-80. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/89079-illustrations-of-moral-inability-%28Man-WILL-not-come-rather-than-merely-CANNOT-come%29, Comment #1

There’s Nothing Like The Bible

Braet von Überfeldt woman with bible 1866Eric Davis:

But I do know this: we can trust the word of God and the God of the word. When it comes to personal evangelism, I am often weak and trembling. But we don’t need to complicate it. Contained in the 66 books of Scripture are the inspired, inerrant, and sufficient words of God Almighty… There’s nothing like the Bible. No book has the power to take the dead and hell-bent and make them alive and holy-bent… We can trust the power of God’s word in evangelism, even with the most hardened people. And, if the dead are not raised as we speak the good news of Christ crucified, we can trust the God of the word. He is sovereign.

Read more: http://thecripplegate.com/evangelism-the-holidays-my-atheist-grandpa/#more-164716