Monday, May 30, 2011

Shallow Men Sharing A Shallow Gospel: The Glass Cathedral Shatters

Men are always drawn to the easy way. We sometimes make the gospel so easy it becomes no gospel at all. Conversion is so easy it is no conversion at all. John MacArthur tells of a mega-church that had 28,000 conversions in the last year, they baptized 9,600 people and they only added 123 to the church! There is something wrong with this picture. A man on the staff of that church looked at that and said, “There is something very wrong with this.” He left and learned how to do it right.
It’s easier to go the way of the flesh. It’s a lot easier to build a big mega-church and ride the prosperity gospel into a mega-mansion and drive a mega-car and go on mega-vacations and give jobs to your mega-families than it is to build the church on the solid rock foundation of Jesus Christ. The easy way doesn’t include hours on your knees praying and interceding for the lost. The easy way doesn’t include going out into the streets and among the hedges attempting to minister to the lost and dying. It’s much easier to put on your silk robe and climb into your pulpit and spout forth a humanistic gospel that offends no one and promises everyone who is present a place in the kingdom if they will only write a check to the church.
Robert Schuller, pastor of the mega-church Crystal Cathedral, criticized his own daughter, Pastor Sheila Schuller-Coleman, as being intolerant because she tried to protect the sanctity of God-sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman by asking members of the choir to agree to a covenant declaring as much. Her father’s reply to this attempt to protect traditional marriage was: “I have a reputation worldwide of being tolerant of all people and their views. I’m too well-educated to criticize a certain religion or group of people for what they believe in. It’s called freedom.”
Though Schuller seems to have a conscience about criticizing some sin, he certainly has no conscience about criticizing the major doctrine of sin embraced by traditional Christians: “I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.” This statement is just stunning in its blatant misdirection. Can you imagine the Savior coming to earth and declaring, “I don’t want to offend anyone by pointing out they might actually be sinning”?
I am aware that one statement taken out of context may be a misrepresentation of what a man actually believes. I would like to give Schuller the benefit of the doubt. He is also known for believing that “sin is a condition before sin is an action.” This statement seems to indicate his belief in original sin but it doesn’t eliminate the impression that Schuller lacks backbone when addressing sin, the greatest enemy of the God he claims to love.
Schuller’s new age Christianity is a shallow substitute for the real, genuine message of God’s Word. Jesus isn’t just a psychotherapist or a life coach who has come to make people feel good. He isn’t in the business of building a shallow self-esteem in weak-minded, wimpy people looking for a crutch to lean on only when they go through hard times. Christ came to die on a cross so that we might be genuinely saved and he will come again, not as a sacrificial lamb, but as a warrior to drive his sword into the heart of Satan.
The rock upon which Christ will build a new kingdom will not be those who have lived some superficial, shallow life based on principles that run a mile wide and an inch deep. He will build his kingdom on those who have invested the time and energy to achieve a deep and lasting relationship with him.
When Jesus had harsh words of admonition for Peter he wasn’t too concerned about his self-esteem. He was concerned about the destination of his eternal soul. The account is found in the book of Matthew chapter 16. Jesus had been explaining to the disciples how he must suffer persecution and finally die. Verse 22 records that “Peter took him aside.” Can you imagine, “taking aside” the very Son of God. “Jesus, would you please step in my office. I need to have a few words with you.” Peter had the gall to begin rebuking the Son of God. No wonder Jesus’ words were harsh, “Get behind me, Satan!”
It was Jesus next sentence that seems to address the striking truth of what is happening to many of our mega-popular pastors as they build shallow churches. “You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Many of our Christian leaders are so frightened they might offend the frail minds of men but they don’t hesitate to dress down the very God of the universe as if they are his equal.
Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy in the fall of 2010 claiming to be drowning in $46 million of debt. The 84 year old leader had planned for ten years to pass the baton on to his son. But in 2008 the mega-pastor fired his son. The ministry now lay in ashes as creditors demand they be compensated for their lost investments.
It is not uncommon for ministries built on the names of men to falter and die. When the frailties of these men are discovered or when they die their ministries generally crack and crumble. Jim Baker, Oral Roberts and Ted Haggard come to mind. The church must be built on the Rock, Jesus Christ. He must increase and we must decrease. A ministry built on Christ is eternal, a ministry built on the name of a single man is sure to die.

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

His Whispers of Hope

God took Elijah up into the mountains to reveal himself to him. Have you ever experienced a time when God decided to reveal himself to you in a special way? Elijah stood on Mount Horeb and a hurricane wind shook the mountains but God was not in the wind. An earthquake created new crevasses but God was not in the quake. A fire engulfed the mountaintop but god was not in the fire. And then Elijah experienced something extremely powerful, more powerful than the wind, quake and fire. He heard the still small voice of God. Have you ever heard the whisper of God?
A Canadian pastor fell asleep at the wheel of his car. He hit a parked truck along the side of the road. His wife was severely injured. She had a lacerated liver and a broken back. She had to have an emergency five hour surgery to stop eternal bleeding. Three days later she had to have a 12 hour surgery to fuse six vertebrae together and insert two metal rods in her back.
The pastor said, “I felt so guilty. Why didn’t I stop? How will the kids respond if their mother doesn’t make it? I’m such a failure. What will I do if she dies? How will she ever forgive me?” He said he was tormented through the dark, sleepless hours of the night and then…he heard the whisper of God. “You are my child and I still love you.”
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children” – (Romans 8:16) It’s a wonderful thing to hear the assuring whisper of God.
Do you think that Mary needed assurance when the angel revealed that she was going to be the mother of God? The young virgin was ostracized for nine months while the townspeople gossiped behind her back. She was able to endure that dark time in her life because the angel of God slipped next to her and whispered, “Mary, you are favored by God.”
Peter knew what lay in his heart. He knew how weak and fickle he was. Jesus wasn’t fooled. He told Peter as much when he said, “You’ll deny me three times.” When Peter failed Jesus, when he was standing out in the courtyard, alone and dejected…do you think he was remembering the words of Jesus. “You are Simon the son of John, but you will be called Cephas, the Rock.” Jesus believed in Peter and even though he was aware of all his weaknesses he shared words that would later bring assurance to him.
When Martha looked on the dead body of her brother, Lazarus, she heard the whisper of God, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
When the disciples realized Jesus would one day leave them they heard the whispers of assurance: “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come again to you.”
I have sometimes wondered which direction I should take and I’ve heard that whisper of God behind me…”Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” – (Isaiah 30:21)
He is always there for me:
When I am thirsty he gives me– “living water” – John 4:10
When I am lonely – I discovered “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24
When I needed covering – I hear him whisper, “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.” – Matthew 6:28
When I am sick – I ask myself, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?" - Jeremiah 8:22
When I am weak – I’ve learned that my heart can be “strong, blameless, and holy in the presence of God.” – 1 Thes. 3:13
When I pass through the waters he promises to be with me.
When I pass through the fire he whispers that I will not be burned.
When I feel tired and weary – He whispers to me… “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” – Heb. 4:9
When I feel like I’m in danger – I hear him whisper, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” – Psalm 91:11
When I am haunted by the fear of death – I hear him say, “Death has been swallowed up in victory." – 1 Cor. 15:54
When I am confused by bad things that happen – I hear him whisper “all things work together for good to them that love God.” – Romans 8:28
When the enemy looks too big to defeat – I hear him whisper, “If I am for you, who can be against you?” – Romans 8:31 “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.”
When I fear the future – I hear him say, “If I go and prepare a place for you I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” – John14:3
Is there pain in your life? If you can get quiet before God and hear his whispers of hope they will bring you assurance.

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Osama bin Laden: High-Fiving His Death

Some Americans took to the streets to celebrate when Osama bin Laden was killed. When I saw this celebration I was initially troubled. Should we celebrate the death of anyone? Doesn’t the Bible say to love your enemies? Isn’t it okay to celebrate the death of someone who lived to kill as many innocent Americans as possible? These questions have been debated in university classrooms, Sunday school classes and sports bars throughout the community of Columbus.
It’s a fallacy to compare the celebration of Americans with the celebration of Middle Easterners when the Twin Towers were destroyed in New York City. The special ops team that took out bin Laden was destroying a terrorist, a fanatically evil man who didn’t blink an eye or feel even a twinge of guilt when he destroyed 3,000 innocent men, women and children. Fanatical and disillusioned Muslims celebrated the murder of innocent children. Americans were celebrating the murder of an evil terrorist.
Emergent Church leader Brian McLaren expressed concern that our celebrations proved we were “simply spinning harder in the cycle of violence.” Is he insinuating that we are no better than the terrorists and that the taking of all life is weighed by the same laws of morality? Not so. We have not stooped to the level of the Islamic terrorists until we drop a bomb on the mosque in Mecca. Can it not be likened to a man who breaks into your house and murders your mother? That is pure evil. If you pick up a gun and defend your mother by killing the intruder are you and the killer equally guilty of breaking the moral code that protects the sanctity of life? Is it not acceptable to take a life to protect multiple innocent lives? Isn’t that actually what a just war is about?
St. Augustine of Hippo was echoing Cicero of ancient Rome when he taught the four elements of a just war (1):
1. The damage caused by the aggressor must be lasting, serious and certain.
2. Every known possibility to end the conflict must be explored before picking up arms.
3. The prospect of success must be a clear and likely possibility
4. The use of weapons must be limited to eliminating the targeted primary evil.
Taking out Osama bin Laden was a just act of war. He was identified as the aggressor and the master mind behind the fall of the Twin Towers. The damage he caused was serious and lasting. He had nearly a decade to turn himself in and face justice thereby saving the lives of hundreds who have died in the wake of 911. The mission was planned well and obviously the prospect of success was promising and the assault was limited to bin Laden’s compound.
Dennis Prager (2) addresses what seems to be a contradiction of Judeo-Christian teaching regarding our rejoicing over death. There is a Talmudic teaching that reveals a God whose love for his creatures prevents him from rejoicing when they are destroyed: “When the Egyptians were drowning in the Sea of Reeds, the angels wanted to sing. But God said to them, ‘The work of my hands is drowning in the sea and you want to sing?’” Prager points out that God was reprimanding angels, not humans.
But the book of Proverbs says, “When the wicked perish, there is joyful song.” (Proverbs 11:10) In another place in Proverbs we read, “When your enemy falls, do not rejoice, and when he stumbles, let your heart not exult, lest the Lord see and be displeased…” (Proverbs 27:14) It may sound like a contradiction but Prager points out that “the vast majority of the truly evil are not our personal enemies.” When Americans celebrate the death of a truly evil enemy like Osama bin Laden are they not actually rejoicing in the victory of good over evil. How can that be wrong?
Perhaps there is confusion over this matter because most Americans have never experience true evil. Corrie ten Boom survived Hitler’s death camps. Many years later she was confronted with one of the men who perpetrated the deaths of millions including some of her family and friends. Corrie described her struggle: "Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.” Who would know whether this man had repented of his evil? What is known is that he had ceased participating in these evil deeds. Corrie ten Boom took the high road by seeking the forgiveness that originates only in the heart of Christ.
In contrast, holocaust historian Saul Friedlander tells of a Jewish prisoner from Auschwitz named Arie Hassenberg. Arie saw the aftermath of the Allied bombing of Monowitz and said, “To see a killed German; that was why we enjoyed the bombing.” Both ten Boom and Hassenberg experienced horrendous evil at the hands of evil men. Corrie ten Boom forgave a man who had ceased from his evil practices. Hassenburg rejoiced to see a dead German because he embodied the present evil he was experiencing.
Osama bin Laden had not ceased his evil ways nor had he expressed any remorse. In fact, evidence gathered from the wolf’s lair suggest he was more active than ever in planning future attacks on innocent American women and children. To see a killed terrorist is why Americans enjoyed seeing the killing.

1. The Just War Theory of the Catholic Church By Scott P. Richert

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

The Supremacy of Christ by John Piper- symphonic sermon (Brent Fisher)

“He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.” - Colossians 1:18

“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor...Hebrews 2:9

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tiger-Mom: Rearing Children The Asian Or American Way

Amy Chua wrote a controversial article for the Wall Street Journal regarding the differences in how Asians and Americans rear their children.(1) She has kept a journal of parenting she refers to as the 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother'. She graduated from Harvard Law School and now teaches law at Yale. Amy's husband is also a professor of law at Yale and she has two daughters, Sophia and Louisa. Sophia was recently accepted at both Harvard and Yale and must make the difficult decision which school to attend.
Chua's article depicts Chinese (Asian) mothers as being more strict than American mothers. She insinuates in the article that Asian parenting methods are superior to American parenting methods. She points to the higher achievement levels of Asian students to prove her premise. Few would argue that Asian students generally perform at higher levels when compared to other ethnic groups but one must question what are the ultimate goals Asian and American mothers have for there children and in what ways do these goals differ?
Amy Chua promotes a type of 'drill sergeant' approach to enforcing discipline on her daughters. The long list of 'no's' include: no sleepovers, no play dates, no bailing out of the school plays, no TV or computer games, nothing less than an 'A' and nothing less than 'number one' in every subject except gym and drama. Her children had no alternative but to become proficient performers in piano and violin.
She is honest about the stress that built up in her children. She relates an incident that took place while the family vacationed in Moscow. After a heated confrontation with one of her daughters, that daughter "hacked off her hair with a pair of scissors and…smashed a glass in a cafe, screaming, "I'm not what you want – I'm not Chinese! I don't want to be Chinese. Why can't you get that through your head? I hate the violin. I hate my life. I hate you, and I hate this family!"(2)
As I read Chua's article I thought of the philosophy my own father had toward education. My father didn't have a college degree, in fact, he didn't even have a high school diploma but he was a very gifted man with bucket loads of common sense. "Kevin, I would love for you to get straight A's but if that means you have to give up playing baseball, and building tree houses and those hunting trips in the woods, well, I'm okay if you bring home a few B's." My father was more interested that I be a well-rounded individual rather than a piano prodigy.
It would be inexcusable to dismiss Chua's article or too be overly critical. I am certainly in favor of limiting television and video games for children. Their entertainment value is questionable and young minds are too precious to waste on the frivolous and meaningless. Who wouldn't agree with Chua that "practice, practice, practice" makes perfect. But what is the opportunity cost of investing 10,000 hours of piano practice in order to reach the concerto level? It would be tragic if junior turned 40 and never had any children or grandchildren because he was married to the piano and never developed the social skills necessary to win a wife.
Chua's take on the Western society's unabashed habit of bestowing self-esteem on unworthy candidates is spot-on. Our culture seems over-loaded with pop-stars and talented athletes that think they are somehow responsible for the rotations of the earth. When you successfully convince a child he is the world's best by age seven he will waste a lot of time during his developmental years passing on opportunities to learn skills to survive and excel because he has been convinced he has already arrived. This attitude of pseudo-self esteem is a motivational killer. Lying is always harmful. To tell a child that he/she is good or exceptional when they are not will not help them, it will destroy them. Many youth in our culture have embraced the deception that they are at the top of the ladder and there are no more steps to climb. Unfortunately, this belief imprisons and condemns them to the lower rungs.
Because my brother is a missionary to Japan I have had the privilege of knowing many Asian friends and visiting some high schools in the Tokyo area. I was most impressed by the respect these students had for their teachers and elders. But it was troubling to see how uniform they were in all that they did. It was like watching a school of fish in the ocean. They all swim in the same direction in perfect synchrony. I felt like the pressure toward group uniformity hampered the development of creativity. They were great at rote memorization and repetition but seemed to be lacking in creative thinking. I don't want to throw this wet blanket over the entire student population of Asia. There are some wonderful and outstanding exceptions to the rule.
John Barnett wrote an excellent article for American Thinker comparing American and Asian techniques for educating and parenting.(3) Barnett has many years experience teaching Asian children. He illustrates this lack of creativity by telling a story of a class of Korean students who were given an assignment to draw a picture of a dog. When they were given a picture of a dog they reproduced it almost perfectly and effortlessly. But, when no picture was provided they struggled greatly to draw a dog from memory.
Such methods of rote memory and repetition can lead to a mindlessness that is rejected by most Americans. Barnett also points out that accomplished pianists among Asian peoples are a dime a dozen but famous composers are hard to find. In the west, you never know when the next Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg is going to emerge. Because we emphasize individuality and creativity we seem to come up with a much greater number of new ideas. The economies of many Asian countries depend on their ability to improve on what we have already created.
Perhaps the Tiger Mother method works well for some but to promote it as a catch all system for the masses is a little over the top. As for rearing and educating my five-year old son, we'll stick with the American way of learning rugged individualism, fostering creativity and respect for others based on traditional Judeo-Christian values.



Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Life Didn't Turn Out the Way I Expected

Robert Redford played a character named Roy Hobbs in The Natural. His promising baseball career tragically ends prematurely when he is shot by a deranged woman. Hobb's dream of being a successful baseball player is revived and he attempts a late-in-life comeback. His statement to his wife summarizes his feelings: "My life didn't turn out the way I expected."

The quote resonates with nearly everyone who has lived enough life to have experienced the disappointments that are inevitable. A forty-five year old man made a contact with a former high school classmate, a girl he had once dated and even discussed marriage with. It was fun and interesting to catch up after a couple decades of no communication. But her revelations to him failed to bring him any satisfaction, instead, he felt depressed. She had finally married. Her husband was a very successful entrepreneur. She found great fulfillment in her three children and lived in an upscale home in California. She had traveled abroad, in fact, she and her husband owned vacation homes in Ireland and Italy. In contrast, her former beau was a simple man who lived a simple life. He drove an old truck. He never married and he had no children. The conversation caused him to say to himself, "My life didn't turn out the way I expected."

Maybe you have said as much. Did your life take an unexpected detour? Did you think that you would always be beautiful and athletic looking? Did you dream that one day you would be financially independent? Did you fail to marry or did your marriage fail? Did you think your drug addicted child was going to be a doctor or a lawyer? Did you lose a parent or child to an unexpected death? Do you now have health problems that have detracted from the joy in life you feel you deserve?

It's hard to come to terms with the fact that we bring a lot of pain upon ourselves. We often end up where we are because we made a choice back at the fork in the road. We are often warned of this in scripture: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." (Gal. 6:7-8) "I have observed that those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it." (Job 4:8) Roy Hobbs, The Natural, said, "Some mistakes you never stop paying for." When we find ourselves reaping the consequences for our former decisions the best we can do is repent and seek God's forgiveness. When our lives are all twisted because we trusted in our own plans its time to trust the Master Architect to reveal a better plan that will bring us satisfaction and contentment.

One thing we should have all learned from Harold Camping's recent false prophecy, "You can't put God in a box." When God shows us a new direction we are tempted to try to put limitations on him. We say things like, "this is too big for me to handle" or "this is impossible." So you feel doubt and defeat when God asks you to travel an unexpected path? Paul resisted these feelings when he said, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) If you hear God whispering something unbelievable, something that seems impossible know others have heard him whisper in the past. "Noah, build a boat in the desert." Say what!?! "Moses, lead 2 million slaves up out of Egypt." We tend to offer excuses because we approach God's request in our own humanity and envision attempting to accomplish his directive in our own strength. He wants us to trust him as he miraculously turns our weakness into his strength.

If we can muster the courage to say, "Here I am, Lord, send me" when we hear his whisper then Satan will immediately attempt to waylay us. It was during the fourth watch of the night when Jesus approached the boat holding a group of fearful disciples. He comforted them by saying, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Peter, the impulsive disciple replied, "Lord, if it's you tell me to come to you on the water." Peter stepped out of the boat and did a miraculous thing. He walked on water.

But then things began to go badly. Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to look at the wafting waves and he began to feel the buffeting wind. As he was going under he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out for him to offer rescue.

God will ask us to do some great things but to be successful we must keep focused on him. When we begin to focus on trouble and problems we begin to fall away from Christ. Satan wants us to focus on money problems, faulty policies and weak-minded, critical people in our lives. Jesus wants us to rise above these things and focus on kingdom work. Above all, he wants us to have courage like Peter and step out of the boat. How sad will be the day when many will answer to God for their failures to accomplish any significant thing for him. How dreadful to hear the Savior say, "You did so little because you were too fearful to step out of the boat."

T. S. Eliot said, "You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go." Truly great men of God who have been used mightily in his service are those who were willing to step out of the boat. If your life didn't turn out the way you thought it would, its not too late to choose another path. Abraham was seventy-five years old when God asked him to go on a journey that seemed to have no destination. At the end of that journey lay the Promised Land.

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Do You Do When Your Dream Dies? (audio)

What do you do when your dream dies? When God asks you to change directions, to choose a different path, what do you do? When the music stops playing and you have to learn a new tune it may feel uncomfortable but God never asks you to end one thing without redirecting you to a new beginning.

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lady Gaga's Jesus Complex

Stephanie Joanne Angelina Germanotta was born in New York City in 1986. She is much better known by the strange moniker, Lady Gaga. Her father was an internet entrepreneur and she learned Roman Catholicism from her Italian-American parents although she declares "pop culture…is my religion" now. Her ascendancy to the top of the pop charts has been nothing short of breathtaking. Barbara Walters chose her as one of the 100 most influential people in 2009 and she was crowned with Oprah's blessing when she declared Gaga to be a "cultural and spiritual leader."

Unquestionably Lady Gaga is the world's most popular pop star. She has over one billion views on her YouTube videos and 12 million Facebook fans. She is ranked number one on Twitter with over 10 million followers ahead of teen sensation Justin Bieber and President Barack Obama. Unlike many modern day celebrities who deny their roll as a roll model when they are ruthlessly scrutinized by the press, Lady Gaga firmly asserted her status as a role model at a charity function in London in 2010: "I find it so important now to be a role model and a figure."

So, just what is it that Lady Gaga is modeling for the millions who are excessively enthusiastic and blindly devoted to her? She portrays herself as being an eccentric and seems to reach out to those who are different. She lifts herself as a refuge for those who "are eccentric or have a strong identity or live in a fantastical regalious way." By the way, 'regalious' seems to be a made-up word. One of her thirteen year old fans said, "Lady Gaga has empowered us. To know that you're not the only freak is great. Now the freaks are rising up and taking a stand."

Despite rumors that Lady Gaga is a hermaphrodite, she denies it but not too strongly. When asked if she was offended by the rumor her reply was, "No. No, not really. At first it was very strange and everyone sort of said, 'That's really quite a story!' But in a sense, I portray myself in a very androgynous way, and I love androgyny." She is a very strong advocate of the LGBT community. She credits the gay community as being the crux of her fan base, "The turning point for me was the gay community".

Lady Gaga lives in a world where there are no absolutes. Her fan base consists of a younger generation that has embraced the religion of humanism which promotes relativism over absolutism. Shading the differences and erasing the boundaries between the sexes is necessary to consistently hold to relativism.

Is the influence and ideas propagated by Lady Gaga causing immeasurable harm to the youth of modern society? It would probably depend on whether they decide to take her seriously. She admits to using drugs in her teen years and said, "I still like MDMA" (ecstasy). Her attire, comments and act are all outrageous. She has worn a coat made of Kermit the Frog Muppets, a dress of raw meat that explodes with fake blood and sunglasses made of cigarettes. Her set often appears to have ascended from the underworld. She has doused herself in fake blood and her act includes streaks of fire sprouting from her crotch and bosom.

Jesus once said, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." (Matthew 12:35) Jesus taught that what comes out of the mouth is a revelation of what is in the heart. Has the sudden fame gone to Lady Gaga's head? Is it affecting her psyche? Is her fan base becoming cultish in nature? Is she feeling divine and messianic when she makes statements like "It's more self-worship, I think, not of me? I'm teaching people to worship themselves." If that statement doesn't grab your attention she will invite you to question her sanity with a statement like "I felt, and I still feel, that I was sent to this planet from my planet, Planet Goat, to create a ruckus."

Is Lady Gaga feeling immortal when she says "It is part of my destiny to take the bullets, but my heart keeps on beating. You cannot destroy me because I am an art piece." Reality is sometimes difficult to accept. It seems more and more in our society are trying to escape by divulging in such things as mind- altering drugs, internet fantasies or video games. In a rather messianic way Lady Gaga declares that she can recreate herself over and over again as she chooses a kind of multiple rebirth. She "used to pray every night that God would make me crazy. I prayed that God would teach me something, that he would instill in me a creativity and a strangeness that all of those people that I loved and respected had." Be careful what you pray for.

There are no taboos in Lady Gaga's life. Anything goes. Her whole life seems to be an attempt to blur society's concept of what is normal or abnormal. She likes to portray herself as a messianic martyr, a Christ figure crucified for the sake of her followers. Her plan to save includes self-worship, accepting yourself as you are. This is, of course, contrary to the teaching of the true Savior who encouraged others to refuse to be satisfied with who they are and promised them a transformation through his own shed blood.

Will Lady Gaga have a lasting impact on society or will she be another shooting star, experiencing her fifteen minutes of fame only to crash in self-destruction? No one should wish this on her. Lady Gaga is a soul, precious in the sight of God and she is one for whom he made the ultimate sacrifice. Would that she would come to know the real Messiah!

Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


This was sent to me through an email. Thought I'd post it and read comments:


A lot of folks can’t understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country.
Well, there’s a very simple answer.
Nobody bothered to check the oil.
We just didn’t know we were getting low.
The reason for that is purely geographical.
Our OIL is located in:
ALASKA, California, Coastal Florida, Coastal Louisiana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania And Texas
Our dipsticks are located in DC

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

The Dangerous People -

Beware Of Your Gunless Friend!

The dangerous people are not the ones
Who hit you with clubs and rob you with guns!
The thief won't attack your character traits
Or belittle your abilities to your face!
It likely will be a well-meaning friend
Who merely crushes your will to win.

No, he doesn't rob you, at point of gun,
He simply says, "It can't be done."
When pointed to thousands who already are
He smiles and says, "They're superior!"
Personality-wise, and abilities, too,
They're way ahead of what others can do!"

It matters not that his words are untrue
For, you feel "others" must know you!
So, you're robbed of your hopes, your dreams to succeed.
Robbed of the material blessing received,
Robbed of your faith that says, "I can."
And robbed by an ignorant, gunless friend.

So, the deadliest of men is not he with a gun,
But the one who tells you "It can't be done!"
For that taken by burglars can be gotten again.
But, what can replace your will to win?


Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Dream Restored: A Veggie Tale

I was at work the other day when a colleague asked me about my five year old son. “How is Kameron doing?”
“He’s doing great. Thanks for asking” I replied.
“So he is a Veggie Tale fan?” she asked.
“Yes, he is. How did you know?” I was surprised.
“You’ve been humming Veggie Tale tunes all morning.”

I’ve heard every Veggie Tale tune that has ever been composed. Over the last few years I’ve done a lot of talking to tomatoes and waltzing with potatoes. In the early 2000’s Veggie Tales sold over 50 million videos. They were especially popular among college students as Veggie Tales climbed into the top ten videos watched on college campuses.

Our short conversation spurred me to investigate the success of Veggie Tales. I was astonished by what I learned. The founder of Veggie Tales is a man named Phil Vischer. He made his first animated video when he was only nine years old. He honed in on his natural ability to tell stories through film and he committed his life to children's ministry through multimedia. He made his first children’s video in 1993 and it went viral. By 2000 Vischer was CEO of one of the largest video production companies in the United States. Big Idea employed over 300 people.
Phil Vischer was living out his dream. Life couldn’t be better. Success had come so easy and it tasted so sweet.

Strangely, he began to get occasional emails from an unknown woman saying, “Congratulations on your success but be careful of your pride.” He paid little notice and soon it became evident that there was a Grinch in the works and all was not well in Whoville. The company began to teeter and holding it together was like trying to carry a pound of jell-o with no container. The cracks began to widen and the company was finally thrust into bankruptcy after losing a lawsuit filed by Lyrick Studios. A jury in Texas decided Lyrick deserved $11 million in damages because Big Idea violated a verbal contract.

So, what do you do when your dream dies? What do you do next after your dream vaporizes right before your eyes? What does it mean when God seems to bless your efforts and breathe life into your dream only to let it crumble to dust?

In 2009, at an Echo Conference in Dallas, Phil Vischer told his story. Mustering all his story telling skills together, Phil shared the biblical account of the Shunemite Woman (2 Kings 4:8-37):

Elisha, the great prophet of old traveled from city to city preaching truth and revealing the nature of God to any who would listen. He often traveled through a town called Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there and provided him room and board when he came through. Elisha was very grateful and asked her one day what he might do to repay her for her hospitality. She said she was well cared for by her family and had need of nothing.

Later, Elisha asked his servant, Gehazi, “What might we do for this kind woman?” Gehazi said, “She has no children. Her husband is an old man.” So, Elisha called for the woman and said to her, “By this time next year you will have a son.” “Oh, man of God,” she responded, “Don’t play with my emotions like that. Don’t get my hopes up.” A year later she had a son, just as Elisha had said she would.

One day when her son was older and working in his father’s fields, he suddenly cried out, “My head hurts! My head hurts!” His father instructed one of the servants to carry him to the house. The Shunemite woman sent a servant on a dash for Elisha and she followed as quickly as she could.

But her son died. He was everything to her. He was her miracle. He was the meaning in her life. He was her hope for the future. He was her dream. Why would God give her a dream and then take it away?

She finally caught up with Elisha and after hearing her distress Elisha sent Gehazi to minister to the child. But the Shunemite woman would not leave Elisha, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I won’t go home unless you go with me.” So she and Elisha returned together.

When Elisha arrived he went in to where the boy lay. What he did for the boy sounds a lot like the modern treatment of mouth to mouth resuscitation. The boy was revived and reunited with his mother.

When it seems God has taken a dream away from you, turn to him. Notice the Shunemite woman would not leave Elisha. In her time of sorrow, she wanted to be as close to God as possible. She didn’t call for her husband. She didn’t call for the town doctor. She called for the man of God.

We must be careful when claiming ownership of our dreams and our ministry. When the dream becomes too much ours and not enough God’s we have a serious problem. Our dream, our ministry, our occupation can become an idol. Sometimes God asks us to let go. If we cling to our dream instead of clinging to Him then he reveals to us our idol. We can worship our own efforts and our own works rather than truly worship the God we love.

Phil Vischer put is this way, “If God gives you dream and breathes life into it, and then it dies, it could be that God wants to show you what’s more important to you… Him or the dream.”
C.S. Lewis once said, “He who has God plus many things has no more than he who has God alone.”

The Shunemite Woman’s dream was resurrected. Phil Vischer’s dream was also resurrected. He now runs a company called Jelly Labs he founded in 2005. The loss of his dream changed Phil Visher’s perspective on life and ministry. “The most important thing in our lives … is not the work that we can do for God, the most important thing is to make God the most important thing.”

When God takes something from us he always wants to replace it with something better. Sometimes he wants to do a work within us. He wants to replace pride with humility, self-sufficiency with faith in Him. Vischer said, “I realized at Big Ideas I was a big studdly barracuda," but now he humbly admits that at Jellyfish Labs he is a “spineless, brainless, bag of goo. I get my form, my purpose only when I am suspended in the current of God’s will. So, let go of ego. Let go of outcomes and put your plans in God’s hands and let Him direct your steps.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Monday, May 16, 2011

When Your Dream Dies

Don McLean wrote a song called "American Pie" in 1971. The song seems to be a parallel of the loss of innocence in Don's own life and the changes America was going through as she left the "Happy Days" of the fifties and plunged into the turmoil of the sixties. Protestors emerged questioning U.S. policies regarding war and civil rights. The dream of a near utopian society was dying and the reality that replaced it was troubling and difficult to accept.

McLean expresses exasperation when he writes:
"Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again."
It seems nearly blasphemous when he describes the failure of the church to rescue a society that was plunging into a darker period of its history:
"The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died."
He also expresses frustration as he copes with his own delusions about life:
"I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died."

The death of a dream is a hard pill to swallow. Young adults are sometimes floored by the reality of what the real world is like as they make the transition from the innocence of childhood to the stark reality of a "dog-eat-dog" world. The spilt blood of slain dreams may drain the life from them and some never recover from the wounds. Another onslaught of reality comes much later in life. This is often referred to as the "mid-life crisis".

For many at this stage in life, the loss of a dream causes severe pain which often leads to acts of desperation to reclaim the dream or create another dream. Divorcees will often claim that their spouse made them an expendable commodity as they tried to cope with the depression of facing the reality that they weren't going to be able to experience all they wanted in life. Those in mid-life are often overwhelmed by insurmountable debt or the unexpected dependency of their children. The promotion they always thought they would get isn't going to happen. The harsh reminder of their own mortality by the death of parents is difficult to handle. The loneliness of an empty nest can be depressing. The futility of investing decades in the life of a wayward child can be maddening.

The music died on the day they finally realized they would never write that book. Someone dreamed they would start a company or become independently wealthy. Someone somehow thought age would fail to steal their beauty or sap their strength. A younger woman dreamed she would have children until the doctor told her she must undergo the hysterectomy. The princess he married is no longer so charming and the knight she married has tarnished armor.

So what do you do when the music no longer plays, when the dream is dead? You should mourn your dreams. Your dream was worth crying over. It's okay to feel the pain of loss. It was something you loved, something you dedicated yourself to, something you sacrificed greatly for. Grieve the loss of your dream. Express the despair you feel.

But some bury the dream and sink into hopelessness. That hole is dark and ominous. They seek temporary relief through drugs, alcohol or sex. Many never recover and some become suicidal.

Some employ an escape strategy to find relief from their grief. They seem to relate to the idea that "It's always darkest right before the dawn." There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It comes this way but usually not nearly as fast as we would like it to.

Truly successful people move beyond the attempt to just find relief or escape. They are not willing to live with no music in their lives. They insist on learning from their failures and they begin to create new music to live by. When the dream dies it's time to try something else. There can be no new beginning unless it is preceded by an ending.

For the Christian, the source of hope that follows a lost dream is in Christ Jesus. He is really good at doing resurrections, just ask Lazarus. He sometimes chooses to resurrect dead dreams. He sometimes allows our dreams to die because they have become our idols. He sometimes tests us to see if he is more important to us than our dreams and then he replaces them with a reality beyond anything we could have ever hoped for. Christians never say, "I am too old for a new dream" because we understand that our lives are eternal in Christ.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Truth Comes This Way

We now live in an age when many of the ideas of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment are quickly being deposited in the dust bin of history. It seems that most people no longer have faith in the idea that truth can be known. The belief that reason will lighten our paths is fast fading. Modernists believe that truth not absolute. Reason can not possibly lead you to truth because truth is relative, it comes in various forms and

presents itself differently to different people.

I'm reminded of a moment of the Dick Cavett Show years ago when the host was entertaining Jane Fonda and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop said, "Jesus is the Son of God, you know." Fonda's quick answer was, "Maybe he is for you, but he's not for me." The Archbishop's response was profound, "Well either he is or he isn't."

Jane Fonda's response is post-modernism is a nutshell. Modernism was a child of the Enlightenment and it promoted the idea that reason and intellect, applied with great diligence, could eventually lead us to truth. Post-modernists (Jane Fonda) have given up on that idea. They believe there is no absolute or universal truth. Truth is whatever you desire for it to be. Post-modernists eliminate a common source (God) and measure (Holy Scriptures) by which to measure our actions and morals. The result is a moral confusion because "what is right for you may not be right for me and what is right for me may not be right for you."

Doug Groothius makes reference in his book, Truth Decay, regarding a bumper sticker he once saw, "I've given up on reality and now I'm looking for a good fantasy." When truth is no longer objective reality presents a problem. So, postmodernists lean toward eastern mystics who question the existence of reality. The Chinese philosopher Chuang Chou framed this way of thinking with this story, "Once upon a time I dreamed I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awoke, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man." Chou taught that one day we would all awaken and realize that what we once thought was our reality was really just a dream. The failure to embrace absolute truths makes it necessary to eliminate reality.

This post-modern philosophy is a result of the influence of our culture. Our modern world calls more for transition rather than tradition. My grandfather worked for the Erie Railroad his entire adult life. My father worked for the Post Office most of his life. But today the average American stays on the job an average of only 4.1 years and will have as many as seven to ten jobs in a lifetime. We try constantly to change our reality. If you don't like the wrinkles on your face you can have plastic surgery. The remote control allows us to switch channels every few minutes. If we don't like truth, we just change it to suit our own fancies.

I am amazed as I watch modern day celebrities reinvent themselves throughout their careers. Madonna, Mick Jagger and many others come to mind. As the culture changes they change their style and their music to suit the tastes of their fans. The post-modern God has become a sort of smorgasbord God, a creation of our own. We might make him 2 parts Christian, one part Hindu and 2 parts Buddhist.

The Christian God is not a god that can be formed or created by frail men with finite minds. God spoke to Moses in the wilderness and said, "I am who I am." He is eternal and immutable. He does not change nor does his truth change. He is what he has always been and he shall always be what he already is. Truth is absolute because the source of truth is absolute.
The use of relativism in post-modern thought is troubling. We naturally apply facts in every facet of life to find truth. If we take our car to a mechanic and he says, "You need a new transmission" we will probably take it to another mechanic for a second opinion. We naturally wonder if the mechanic is telling the truth. If a second mechanic says, "Your transmission is fine" we would never say, " what is true for one mechanic may not be true for another mechanic and that is okay". That is un acceptable. The truth is that one mechanic is telling the truth and the other is not.

This illustrates the absurdity of what Jane Fonda said to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Her idea that Jesus may be the son of God to the Bishop but not to her is absurd. Jesus said, "I and my Father are one." He also said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6) Either Jesus lied or he told the truth. Either he is the Son of God or he is not. Truth is not a diamond that can be cut or formed to satisfy our own whims.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kilroy Was Here: A Silent Response To Osama's Death.

Kilroy Was Here: A Silent Response To Osama's Death.
By Kevin Probst

As a young chap growing up in northwestern Pennsylvania, I remember how we often got into scraps with other male rivals. Quarrels were sometimes settled at the school flag pole but for those who were concerned about avoiding the wrath of the principal, they settled their differences with fisticuffs on the weekends away from school property. The victor of such a contest would often return to school on Monday morning boasting of his participation in such a contest. His boasting only served to bring contempt from his peers. The one who returned bearing battle scars but who refused to discuss the event would invariably be admired by friend and foe alike.

In those days there was great admiration and respect for the silent warrior. We live in a different culture now. Professional athletes puff out their chests and beat on their pects like savage gorillas after making a great play. A touchdown is always followed by some sort of "Look at how great I am" display in the end zone. Pride rules the day and humility is a lost virtue. Frankly, I admire the player who drops the ball in the end zone and walks off the field demonstrating a different attitude, "What I just did is what others expect me to do. It's what I get paid to do. The cooperative effort of the other ten men on this team enabled me to do this."

Our Navy Seal Team 6 just accomplished an amazing mission by outing Osama bin Laden. The differing attitudes displayed by our military and our politicians are astounding. The military warriors responsible for the victory may never be known. They are okay with that. "It's what we do. It's what we are expected to do." But our politicians mount their steeds and ride around the country beating their chests as if they deserve full credit for this great feat. All the pomp and posturing is quite disgusting. Hungering and maneuvering for a spotlight that should belong to another is juvenile and deplorable.

There is a great World War II mystery about someone named Kilroy. He is an elusive figure. His name was plastered everywhere from U.S. warships cruising in the Pacific Ocean to lonely oak trees in the forests of Germany. "Kilroy was here". The haunting omnipresence of Kilroy offered comfort to our own soldiers and a state of paranoia to our enemies.
When Americans were informed of the assassination of Osama bin Laden were we not give too much information? Why do we have to know that stealth helicopters were used? Why do we have to know the details of the operation, where Osama was shot, that his body was cleaned and dumped in the sea? Why do we have to know the location of his hideout and the squalor he lived in? Is it wise to tell the world that we have confiscated videos and computers from his home? All the information shared with us was also shared with our enemy.

What if President Obama had simply made a very brief, direct statement: "A special ops team has successfully killed Osama bin Laden. We would like to congratulate them for their bravery and their skill and for making our world a safer place. Thank you".

Why not fight terrorism with terrorism? The quiet warrior who came back from the weekend scraps was much more respected and feared than the braggadocios one. Limiting the knowledge we share with the enemy increases their fear and uncertainty. The enemy does not need to now how we conducted the operation, they don't need to know the procedures that were used to obtain information from the prisoners we had captured and they don't need to know we are now gleaning information from Osama's computers.

Rather than use the victory of a team of brave military personnel for our own political benefit, would it not be wiser to take the high road of silence? We could have inflicted greater frustration on our enemies and demanded a deeper respect had we answered them with silence? Would it not have been more unsettling for them had we told the press that Osama had been killed and there would be no further comment?

It's outrageous to think that a proper, Islamic burial might appease the anger of Muslims after we put a hole in Osama's face. Should we not have removed the body, taken valuable information from the compound and spray-painted the wall with "Kilroy was here"?

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

It Will Cost You Everything - by Steve Lawson

Christ will bolt from heaven on a white steed. He will not come as a lamb but as a warrior.

It Will Cost You Everything from I'll Be Honest on Vimeo.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Did Eve Have Sexual Relations With Satan?

There exists a fascinating theory about Eve and her offspring referred to as the "bloodline" or "serpent seed" theory. The theory, in a nutshell, goes something like this: Eve was tempted by Satan to eat of the tree of knowledge. The forbidden knowledge was in regard to human sexuality. When Eve ate of the tree her "eyes were opened" and she shared her new knowledge of sex with Adam. After acquiring this knowledge Adam and Eve became sexually active and began to produce children.

The theory states that Satan appeared to Eve as an angel of light. Perhaps he was masquerading as Christ himself. Now that Eve had a carnal knowledge of sex she was easily seduced into having sexual relations with Satan. At this point proponents of this theory would inject the phenomenal modern discovery of "twinning". A woman can become pregnant with twins fathered by two separate men. In a very rare occurrence a woman can have sexual relations with a male and then three or four days later have a sexual experience with another male. The 'twins' within her womb are fathered by two separate men.

This phenomenon, applied to Even would enable her to give birth to twins. Cain and Abel could have different fathers. Eve, seduced by the "angel of light", conceived Cain with Satan and then she had relations with Adam and conceived Abel. Those descendents of Cain have had to shoulder much of what has ever been wrong in our world.

Hitler embraced a theology that included the idea that the world had to be cleansed of the "serpent seed". There would be no Golden Age for mankind if these Satanic descendants were not eliminated. It seems Hitler arbitrarily assigned Jews and blacks as "serpent seed" and developed a system to eliminate masses of Jewish people in an attempt to 'purify' the Aryan race. Could this idea once again prime the pump of hatred in the final days by associating Christians or those who reject the mark of the beast with the "serpent seed" that must be eliminated?

The Bible clearly teaches that a person's relationship with God is determined by the spiritual state of a person, not their genealogy. Genesis 4:1 reveals that Cain was a result of a union between Adam and Eve and Satan had no part of it. "And Adam knew (had sexual relations with) Eve his wife; and she conceived (this was a result of their relations), and bare (gave birth to) Cain." 1 John 3:12 identifies Cain as being "of that wicked one (Satan)". Cain belonged to the 'wicked one', not because of his bloodline but because of his disobedience. His problem was spiritual, not genetic.

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Genesis 3:6) Satan wasn't tempting her with sex. The serpent wasn't offering himself as a temptation. Eve would fall into sin in the same manner Lucifer fell. She chose to reject the authority of God and attempted to be a god unto herself. It is still the common temptation of our modern age. Rather than submit to God men attempt to set themselves up to be their own god. Eve's temptation was for mental superiority, not sexual pleasure.

The "Serpent Seed" theory is a weak attempt to divert our attention from the real truth. If we could somehow connect our sin to genetics we might eliminate our personal accountability for sin. There is a strong movement in our culture today to blame sin on genetics. Jeremiah said that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (17:9) Paul wrote to the Romans, "…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (3:23) Each and every man, regardless of his bloodline, needs to repent of his sin and receive the saving grace of God.

At best, the "Serpent Seed" theory has no scriptural proof, it is simply one of the wild imaginations of men's hearts. At worst, it is a twisting of the truth found in God's word. We must be very careful when treading these waters because God warns us in Revelation 22:18 "If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book…"

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Great Demonstration of Human Compassion for One of God's Creatures

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dog Tease - For All Who Love Dogs

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Harold Camping: Who Is He?

Harold Camping was born in Colorado in 1921. His family moved to California when he was very young. He attended the University of Berkeley and earned a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He is notoriously known for his false prediction of the end of the world in 1994. He has achieved a great amount of attention recently as millions consider his latest prediction concerning the rapture of Christians. Camping now insists this event will take place on May 21, 2011.

Camping has established a radio broadcast system called Family Radio which serves as a very effective vehicle to spread his beliefs. Open Forum is his call-in program. You may have heard his deep, rotund voice, "And may we take our next call, please. Welcome to Open Forum."

Camping has been associated with the Christian Reformed Church for most of his life. In 1988, he withdrew from the conservative denomination and chose a course that refused to associate with any organized church. He believes that 1988 marked the ending of the 1900 year old age of the church. He questions the fact that each church denomination has a loyalty to its own set of doctrines. The multitude of conflicting doctrines brought nothing but confusion to the true body of believers, therefore, the church age has ended. He teaches that all organized churches are apostate and members should flee the organized church.

Many Christians have challenged Camping with the verse from Hebrews 10:25 that admonishes Christians to not to forsake "our own assembling together, as is the habit of some." Camping's response is that this verse is still applicable but only in the sense that Christians should meet together for edification, preferably in small groups for Bible study and to listen to Family Radio.

There are several other doctrines that Harold Camping contradicts in the conservative Christian movement. He has moved away from the Calvinist doctrine he was taught in his youth and he now places a greater emphasis on free will. He does not believe in the total depravity of humans. However, he does agree with evangelicals that one's salvation is not something that can be purchased with good works.

He also questions the doctrine that states that those who fail to commit to Christ will suffer eternal torment in hell. He leans toward the doctrine of annihilation which states that when we die we simply cease to exist.

Most fundamental Christians are irate with Mr. Camping because he teaches that it is possible to know the exact date of the end of time. These Christians often refer to the verse in Mark 13:32 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." A question most often asked on his Open Forum program is, "If the Son, Jesus Christ himself, doesn’t know the moment he will return, how would you know?" These opponents assign a great deal of arrogance to Mr. Camping but regardless of all the criticism, he remains extremely confident in his declaration.

The date Camping has predicted is based on the assumption that Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday, April 1, AD 33. Numerous biblical scholars question that date citing AD 29, 30, 31 and 32 as possible alternative dates for Christ's crucifixion.

If Harold Camping is correct in his prediction, approximately 3% of the world's population will be raptured later this month. That would have an immediate and cataclysmic impact on our society as 200 million of the world's people suddenly check out. It may sound far fetched to you but many of his followers are quitting their jobs, withdrawing all their money from their accounts and embarking on a mission to tell the world that the end is nigh.

The test of a true prophet is that they are right 100% of the time. Camping has already missed big in 1994. If Camping is right he will be regarded as a modern day Moses by those who have been left behind but if he is wrong then he may be much despised for spreading a deception that caused so much fear and anxiety.

The words of Charles Spurgeon may be appropriately for this situation: "In many cases shear fanaticism has been the result of exclusively dwelling on prophecy. Probably more men have gone mad on that subject than on any other religious question." Christians are instructed not to fret or to become obsessed with such predictions, rather, they are to continue doing what they always do and heed the instruction of Christ to "occupy until I come."

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Monday, May 2, 2011

William and Kate: Will Their Marriage Last?

Over a billion people watched the wedding of William and Kate. Long before the wedding took place, British bookies were taking bets on the date they will divorce, a stark demonstration of pessimism running strong in British society. No one could seriously believe their marriage will be normal in any way. They will face some difficulties that do not affect 'normal' marriages but they may also have advantages that other couples don't experience.

The divorce rate in the U.K. is nearly 40%. William's parents, Prince Charles and Diana ended their 20 year marriage in August of 1996 after the Queen had asked for them to divorce. The marriage had multiple problems but in the words of Dianna, "There were three of us in this marriage", referring to Prince Charles long time lover, Camilla. Young William was a teen-ager at the time and he was deeply affected by the divorce and later by the untimely death of his mother. Nicholas Wolfinger, author of “Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages,” declares that “Growing up in a divorced family greatly increases the chances of ending one's own marriage." (1) Divorce in the family may be a mark against the success of their marriage. Divorce runs deep in the family as Diana's parents also divorced when she was 8 years of age.

Kate's parents are not divorced. She rises from a strong, middle-class family who lived comfortably from the proceeds of a family business. Her parents have been married for over 30 years.

Kate is much more mature than Diana was when she married. Kate is 28 years old, the oldest woman to ever marry a future King of England. Dianna was only 20 years of age when she married Prince Charles. Lady Diana left school at age 16 and took a job working in a nursery. There were great disparities between Diana and Charles in the areas of education, common interests and age.

Prince William and Kate seem to have much more in common. They were both born in 1982 and they both attended St. Andrews. They both studied the history of art. Kate actually achieved a higher grade point average than Prince William. During their eight year courtship, they were often seen laughing and enjoying common interests and common friends. These commonalities seem to give them a notable advantage in establishing a stable marriage.

Unlike many historical monarchs, Prince William didn't marry a virgin. He and Kate lived together prior to marrying. Cohabitation doesn't usually lead to marriage. A study conducted by Columbia University discovered that only 26% or women and 19% of men who cohabitated actually married the person they lived with. (2) Another study suggested that those who cohabitate are almost twice as likely to get a divorce than those who did not live together before marriage. Prince William and Kate would have improved their chances of having a long and happy marriage had they not lived together before marriage.

To his credit, Prince William seems to have a genuine concern about the difficulties of being a royal bride. His answer to the long term relationship preceding the marriage was, "I wanted her to see and back out if she wanted to." When Diana died, William asked for and received his mother's engagement ring. It was this ring he presented to Kate, "It was my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement and the fact we're going to spend the rest of our lives together." His sensitivity and determined attitude may be a big plus for a long marriage.

Will Prince William and Kate attend church? What part will religion have in their marriage? The research of Professor Bradley Wright, a sociology professor from the University of Connecticut, suggests that of those who attend church rarely, 60% had experienced a divorce. Of those who often attend church, only 38% had experience a divorce. Taking the family to church and embracing Judeo-Christian values regarding marriage certainly improves the chances of having a successful marriage. William and Kate were married in Westminster Abbey in answer to the traditional demands of the British for royal pageantry. Will he take his family to church? Will he foster a love for God in his children? Or will William go the way of his adulterous parents? Stay tuned.

William and Kate's marriage will be long lasting if they have taken their covenant of marriage seriously and if they refuse to break that covenant no matter what difficulties they might face. They vowed before God to pledge themselves to each other forever. Christ himself emphasized the terms of any marriage, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’." (Matthew 19:5) The scriptural plan for marriage is to leave, cleave and unite together. The best chance for a successful marriage is to leave the parents and establish traditions and memories with your spouse and children. When trouble comes cleave to each other and make Christ's words the foundation of the marriage. Finally, unite together, spiritually, mentally and physically.

Might they live happily ever after.


Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.