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influence words of Christ

“THE LIGHTHOUSE OF ALEXANDRIA”

Neal Pollard

Sostratos the Cnidian built this world-famous lighthouse in 297 B.C., located on the coast of the island of Pharos (Negev, The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, Rev., 1986: 27). It made the Greek poet Sopater’s list of the original seven wonders of the world. Examined with the other six, this lighthouse seems to have been the only wonder which also served a practical purpose. It would have towered nearly 400 feet above the sea, about forty stories tall. What an imposing figure it would have been, and some, though these claims are mildly disputed, said its light could be seen from as far as 100 miles away on the sea. Its architecture and inscription were rooted in Greek mythology, dedicated to Poseidon and various protectors among the gods. Eventually, it suffered the structural damage associated with aging. Two earthquakes in the fourteenth century damaged it and made it unsafe to explore. It was finally torn down by a sultan in the fifteenth century, who used stones from its ruins for part of the wall of an Egyptian fort that remains to this day. Diving expeditions in the last ten to fifteen years have discovered ruins in the sea that almost certainly include remnants of this famous lighthouse (see also http://www.touregypt.net, http://www.new7wonders.com).

Though it was impressive for a time, this lighthouse suffered the fate inevitable for material things on this earth. The once imposing figure of this lighthouse was eventually eclipsed by time, war, and natural events. This beacon lives now only in the ancient writings that recall it.

There have been many ideas and philosophies of men that have been erected throughout human history. Each of them have purported to point the way of man toward his purpose. Solomon spoke of some of them in Ecclesiastes: wealth, pleasure, education, occupation, etc. So many have lived and died following a guiding light that ultimately could not stand the test of time.

Jesus mentions another light–Himself! He calls Himself the light of the world (John 8:12). The apostle John wrote to testify of this light (John 1:4-5). In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus illuminates the way for His disciples and says that His followers would reflect His light and be light to the world (Matt. 5:14ff). This is the light for all people, places, and times. Only it will endure and stand the ultimate test in eternity. It will not be destroyed, ravaged by weather or catastrophe, or successfully overtaken by men. Let us be thankful that we have been given this timeless, illuminating light to show us the way from earth to heaven.

Categories
Current Events doctrine evangelism faithfulness words of Christ

An Aggressive Agenda

Neal Pollard

They use every opportunity to make it a part of the conversation.  It is as if they have a one-track mind.  However they can promote their cause, they do.  They will not quit until they convince you that what they believe is right and that you should accept it, too.  They are bold and willing to risk and sacrifice to get their point of view not only heard but accepted.  That there are still several places in the world where what they are preaching is unacceptable does not daunt or deter them.  Say what you will, they believe in their conviction and will continue to spread it.  They are purpose-driven.

Can you imagine Jews and those of the Roman Empire saying this about the Christians in the first century?  Armed with a living hope (1 Pet. 1:3), they, even in the worst times, “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).  They were accused of having “turned the world upside down” with their teaching (Acts 17:6). They had the reputation as “the sect…that [was] spoken against everywhere” (Acts 28:22). Yet, they would not stop until they had shared the good news everywhere (Col. 1:23).  They were not interested in popularity or even acceptance.  They were trying to get their point of view not only heard but accepted because it originated from the very mind of God.

Aren’t there people in this world who seem to have such a singular obsession? They are in special interest groups, and they have the cooperation and acceptance of rich and powerful people in the media, politics, education, and even athletics.  They are indefatigable, tirelessly and relentlessly pursuing their agenda.

What about the church of the 21st Century?  Do we have an aggressive agenda? Are we willing to share the Word of God, whatever it costs to whomever we can?  It necessitates this question. Do we truly believe it is both right and essential?  If it captures our minds, hearts and souls, we will not be able to keep quiet about it.  May we develop the reputation for steadfast single-mindedness!

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authority Bible doctrine words of Christ

SOLA SCRIPTURA?

Neal Pollard

Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice. Church traditions and customs, pronouncements of church officials, civil law or any other purely human source, including human reason, must yield to clear scriptural pronouncements” (Reid, Daniel G., et al.  Dictionary of Christianity in America, 1990: n.p.).  Did the Protestant Reformers, who, incidentally, got unfortunately got so many things wrong, originate that idea?  Because they were wrong on many doctrinal conclusions, does that automatically make the idea of “sola Scriptura” incorrect? It seems to me that at least three questions are in order regarding this subject.

What does “by Scripture alone” mean?

It means that the Bible does not share authority with anyone or anything else.  One author says it meant “’the freedom of Scripture to rule as God’s word in the church, disentangled from papal and ecclesiastical magisterium and tradition.’ It viewed the Word as supreme over tradition and the sacraments” (McArthur, John. Expository Preaching, 1992. Dallas: Word Pub., 47). A creed book, discipline, or annual church conference may vote and decide about what a religious group’s view on a matter should be.  They may even change their view from a previously held, correct view.  Or, a religious group may claim to have received latter day revelation and may produce a book they claim to be co-authoritative with the Bible.  Or, they may say “the church” and “church tradition” is co-authoritative.  The idea of “by Scripture alone” rejects competing or co-authoritative standards.

It does not eliminate the need to “handle aright” or involve hermeneutics (the science of interpretation).  That is a cognitive necessity.  You cannot read even the simplest of instructions or follow the most basic of tasks without employing logic, reason, and deduction.  That is not the same thing as a person, group, or book that claims to rival or co-authorize with Scripture.

What is the alternative?

That question has really already been answered.  The alternative is to suggest that Scripture alone is insufficient or inadequate, that is not the sole authority on matters of truth and right.  Some would even call the idea of following only Scripture as destructive heresy. Yet, the alternative to Scripture alone is Scripture along with something else, whether a man, group, council, church, or governing body.

Why is it so important?

This is the crux of the matter.  Scripture is God-breathed, making one spiritually complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  If Scripture is sufficient, what need is there for anything beyond it?  On what basis would we accept anything more or less than or different from the Bible?  How could fallible man be equal to or co-authorize with the perfect law of the Lord?  Let us accept no substitute or rival to the Bible!

The reader is encouraged to consider some excellent thoughts on this subject from here: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/557-what-is-sola-scriptura

 

Categories
Bible words of Christ

TIPS FROM JESUS

Neal Pollard

These are far from comprehensive, but they form a sample of Jesus’ vast wisdom:

  • “Come to Me and I will give you rest” (Mat. 11:28-30)
  • “Give and it will be given to You” (Luke 6:38)
  • “Seek the Kingdom first and all these things will be added to you” (Mat. 6:33)
  • “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself” (Mark 8:34)
  • “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16)
  • “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)
  • “The greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 23:11)
  • “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15)
  • “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Mat. 6:14) “Do not worry” (Luke 12:22)
  • “All men will know you are My disciples if you love one another” (John 13:35)
  • “Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:26)
  • “Take heed; keep on the alert!” (Mark 13:33)
  • “Be on your guard against every form of greed” (Luke 12:16)
  • “Unless you repent, you will perish” (Luke 13:3)
  • “First take the log out of your own eye” (Mat. 7:5)
  • “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27)
  • “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Mat. 6:19)
  • “All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Mat. 21:22)
  • “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (Mark 10:15)

This is truly just the “hem of the garment.” Spend some time with the gospels and the life of Christ. It will enrich you with infinitely more than money. It will allow you to bless others, but none will be more blessed than you if you take these to heart and live them out in your life!