Christmas and the Christian

christmas tree 40

Grant Swart

As the years have passed, the “festive” or holiday season, which includes Christmas day, has become a commercialized farce, along with other similar secular celebrations such as Mothers Day and Valentines Day. The original meaning and “reason for the season” has been replaced with lavish parties, extreme festivities, entertainment and expensive gifts. While there is nothing wrong with any of those things, they certainly do not represent Christmas. No longer is it “the thought that counts”, rather the value of the gift which apparently demonstrates the level of affection one has for the recipient. Rarely is the birth of our Saviour brought into the picture on Christmas.

There is a war being waged on the traditional Christmas by the secular world, atheists, legalists and followers of false religions. “Merry Christmas” is being replaced with “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”. This, of course, is being done in an attempt to promote a religiously tolerant society with the will, values and rights of man as the central focus. All the while, the battle for your bucks in the countdown of shopping days to Christmas rages on.

christmas dog 20

It was Santa Claus did it!

Back to the controversial issue among many Christians, which is the partaking or avoidance of Christmas celebrations. Continue reading

WILL WORSHIPPER

free choice

Grant Swart

Why this article?

“Will worship” and “will worshippers”. Terms I use on occasion when I write on certain aspects concerning the subject of the salvation of the sinner. It is imperative that followers of Jesus Christ understand Biblical teaching of how salvation of the sinner is accomplished, in order for them to impart the truth of the Gospel to all who would believe in Him and have everlasting life. It is our duty, and it is so because the Word of God instructs us in that matter.

Salvation can either be brought about by the effort of the sinner, or by means of a co-operation between the sinner and God, or it can be by the will and grace of God alone.

Eternal life, or eternal damnation. The biblical comprehension of this matter is ultimately important, because the means by which the sinner attains salvation (eternal life / spiritual life beyond physical death), could be determined either by a subservient God who is reliant upon the actions and decisions of the sinner, or by a sovereign God who acts independently from the eternally damned sinner whom He saves. Theological expressions for these two opposing viewpoints are “synergism” and “monergism”, but I will leave that to remain of academic interest for now, as there are other factors which would need to be included, were we to proceed along that route.

My employment of the terms “will worship” and “will worshipper”, is of course by no means unique to my writing, as there are other esteemed writers who made use of the same terms long before I did. I use the terms with specific intent, because they accurately describe the belief system of those who oppose the biblical doctrine of salvation by the grace of God alone, and who uphold the heresy that salvation is in part or in totality, reliant upon human will, works or values.

I use the terms to describe those who cling to and proclaim the pride-filled heretical and impossible notion, that salvation of the spiritually dead sinner is dependent upon a decision made by that same spiritually dead sinner, powered by his own over-valued understanding of free will and imaginary ability. Continue reading

Christmas and the Christian

christmas tree 40

Grant Swart

As the years have passed, the “festive” or holiday season, which includes Christmas day, has become a commercialized farce, along with other similar secular celebrations such as Mothers Day and Valentines Day. The original meaning and “reason for the season” has been replaced with lavish parties, extreme festivities, entertainment and expensive gifts. While there is nothing wrong with any of those things, they certainly do not represent Christmas. No longer is it “the thought that counts”, rather the value of the gift which apparently demonstrates the level of affection one has for the recipient. Rarely is the birth of our Saviour brought into the picture on Christmas.

There is a war being waged on the traditional Christmas by the secular world, atheists, legalists and followers of false religions. “Merry Christmas” is being replaced with “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”. This, of course, is being done in an attempt to promote a religiously tolerant society with the will, values and rights of man as the central focus. All the while, the battle for your bucks in the countdown of shopping days to Christmas rages on.

christmas dog 20

It was Santa Claus did it!

Back to the controversial issue among many Christians, which is the partaking or avoidance of Christmas celebrations. Continue reading

Why Discernment Ministries Fail (and Succeed) (2)

flock guardian dog 12 

 Grant Swart

This is the second installment of “Why Discernment Ministries Fail (and Succeed)”, Part 1 of which I published a year ago, almost to the day. Rather than repeating much of that which I wrote before, may I suggest that you refer to Part 1 here: Why Discernment Ministries Fail (and Succeed) (1), if you are interested in this subject, and have not previously done so. In Part 1 I attempted to establish the groundwork for bringing this installment into perspective, and it should provide an evenhanded and fair approach to the subject. A modern phenomenon, few ministries which place themselves under the banner of “discernment” have Biblically principled intent or calling, and the trend has in a very short period of time, drifted completely out of alignment with Christianity.

Regrettable and diverse are the failures of an overabundance of internet based “discernment” ministries, websites and blogspots, radio and television programs, publications, documentary films, etc. Frequently, these self-appointed and so-called discernment ministries are highly visible, easily accessible and present themselves as representatives of the truth. Often they regard themselves as whistle-blowers tasked with identifying threats to their specific brand of religion, “exposing” perceived falsehoods and acting as guardians of the Christian faith. Many of these “ministries” are the creations of self-appointed “watchmen” who claim to possess divine inspiration for their fake discernment abilities, which purportedly surpass those of the average Christian. In addition, these “watchmen” defend their position, which by the very nature of their ministries cannot be regarded as biblical, with an aggressive fervour which resembles religious and occult fanaticism.

The all too evident failure of the vast majority of these so-called “discernment” ministries, is in no small measure due to the fact that they are not founded on biblical prescripts, neither do they consistently accept or proclaim biblical doctrines. The reason for the rare success of a small minority of others is simple: they are not “discernment” ministries per se, they are truly Christian ministries in as much as they are led by heaven sent shepherds, true servants of the church, watchmen who have been appointed by God. (link here to Heaven Sent Preachers and Man Made Preachers – There is a Difference )

Isa 52:7-8  How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” The voice of your watchmen–they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the LORD to Zion.

From this passage in Isaiah, read in conjunction with Romans 10:15, we understand that it speaks of true Gospel preachers and teachers. The Spirit of God describes all true Gospel preachers as watchmen. Continue reading

Internet investigators, Conference fashionistas and Tattle-tale heroes

cymbals 1

Grant Swart

   

(1 Ti 4:16) “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine;    continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

   

                     (2Ti 2:14-17) Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.

       (Eph 4:29) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

       (Eph 4:12-14) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

clashing-cymbal1-150x150

 PREACH WHAT GOD HAS TAUGHT YOU:

Make it your business to know the doctrine of the Holy Bible. Make it your business to proclaim the amazing grace of God, glorify God by speaking the Gospel of His Son, not by spending the majority of your time mentioning names of false and deceived men who are spreading their falsely charismatic messages based on demonic and secular motivation. Teach only simple, clear and considered Biblical Truth to those whom you wish to guide. You cannot expect the immature and the misguided to recognize falsehoods, which you think you have so cleverly have uncovered by your following the tabloids and the adverts stuck on the walls of foyers of worldly churches, unless they FIRST fully understand the Truth. The Truth is not based in our opinions, or in the opinion of the speakers we tend to idolize, but in Scripture.

In this regard, let your discussion, correspondence and intentions be centered around only the inspired doctrine of God. Don’t add to that the opinions of men. Let those who by the providence and Grace of God have excess time on their hands, expend their priceless excess energy and time on edifying and supporting other believers with absolute facts about our sin, God’s grace and Christ’s atonement. Be like the sheep who hear the voice of the Shepherd, the voice which speaks with perfect clarity from the Scriptures, don’t act like those who partake in riotous demonstrations Continue reading

In the world, but not of the world, but which world is that, really?

by Grant Swart

The things of this world, wars, famine, suffering, poverty, etc., impact Christians and non-Christians alike. By remembering that we, as Christians, are “not of this world,” remembering that these things are just for a little while, we can see them in a different light. We are still in this world but we are no longer of it (John 17:14).

Believers are no longer of the world—we are no longer ruled by sin, nor are we bound by the principles of the world. In addition, we are being changed into the image of Christ, causing our interest in the things of the world to become less and less as we mature in Christ. Believers in Jesus Christ are simply in the world—physically present—but not of it, not part of its values. As believers, we should be set apart from the world, we often hear this, even refer to this and remind each other of it, but do we know what that world entails?   Continue reading

Christian Legalism (Part 3): The foolish ignorance of opposing God’s Grace

Grant Swart

“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient “ (1 Tim. 1:8-9).

At the heart of Christian legalism is a denial of the truth of the Gospel, and therefore a denial of God’s Sovereignty, of His Son and of the work of His Holy Spirit. It places God’s people into cruel, oppressive bondage and replaces the perfection and completion of the salvific work of Jesus Christ, with sick, depraved human traditions. Speaking out against the error of legalism, as I have done previously in Parts 1 and 2 of this article, by accepting the example set by Jesus, in no way constitutes creating a licence to sin. There are no two things in the world more directly opposed to one another than law and grace.

Righteousness and our acceptance by God can never come by way of legalism. Neither can justification, nor sanctification. By no means do I intend to indicate hereby that true, saved believers are antinomian (against the law), which seems to have become a fashionable term being bandied about with much self-righteous zeal. The boundaries which govern that which constitutes true antinomianism are subject to a million varied interpretations, remain practically undefined and are all subject to human interpretation. However, many legalists seem to be under the impression that every true believer who opposes legalism and works based salvation, or for that matter is found to have committed sin, is by definition antinomian.  Continue reading