Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Norway Massacre – Who is Anders Behring Breivik?



The Norway Massacre – Who is Anders Behring Breivik?

Is anyone surprised that the media has jumped all over the tragedy in Norway to force feed their own agenda down our throats. Before they could even spell his last name correctly they were declaring him to be a white supremacist. He may be a White Supremacist but if white supremacy were his primary motive why did he kill scores of white people.

He was quickly tagged a fanatical Muslim hater. He may hate Muslims but if this hatred was his primary motive why did he kill Norwegians instead of Muslims? I’m sure he was probably a member of the NRA, also a member of a conservative fundamentalist church and he likely loved to watch Fox News and read World Net Daily.

Most troubling of all is the media’s portrayal of Breivik as a “fundamentalist Christian.” The assumption is that because he called himself a Christian therefore all conservative Christians are gun-toting, off-the-deep end nut cases ready to plug a bullet in anyone who opposes them or disagrees with them. The insanity of this assumption so undeserving of the time it is taking me to type these words. Would you start trembling in your sneakers if you saw a Norwegian walking toward you in the mall? I would think every reader to have sense enough to realize that just because Breivik was a Norwegian all Norwegians are not mass killers. So too, just because he claimed to be Christian doesn’t make all Christians mass murderers.

His claim to be Christian is troubling on many fronts. First of all, for those who are truly Christian this is an oxymoron. Those who use weapons to murder scores of innocent people are not inspired to do so by Christ. Christ is a giver and lover of life. Those who steal away the lives of others and snuff out the lives of innocents are Satanic, not Christian. A self-proclaiming Christian does this in Norway and gets 21 years in prison. An abortionist who builds his fortune killing the unborn does so legally in the United States and is rewarded with multiple mansions, yachts, exotic vacations, etc.

It is likely Mr. Breivik was using the word ‘Christian’ in a typical European way. It is a convenient word that is used to identify someone who is non-Islamic. The word is used in a political sense rather than a religious sense.

Breivik wrote in his manifesto: "I'm not going to pretend I'm a very religious person, as that would be a lie". He indicates a belief that religion is a crutch for the weak minded who need a source from which to draw strength. He prefers to identify himself as a “cultural Christian." (1) This moniker is used to promote the preservation of European culture. For those who are interested in joining his movement he says "It is enough that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian atheist (an atheist who wants to preserve at least the basics of the European Christian cultural legacy...") (2) A Christian atheist! I’m sure Christian everywhere are guffawing at the insanity of such a statement.

The Norwegian killer proclaims that he does not “necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God.” (3) His ‘Christianity’ has no Christ, no cross, no empty tomb and no true repentance or salvation. Indeed, his mind is so warped he declared that he was going to pray to God to help him in his murderous scheme.

It is a horrendous wave of shock that has swept over the peace loving Norwegians. Norway, like the rest of Europe, is but a shadow of the religious country it used to be. The great cathedrals and churches are cavernous and empty on Sunday mornings. The people of Norway seek in vain to explain what happened because most of them no longer have an accurate concept of the true nature of man. They think man is essentially good. Men are no longer responsible for their own actions. A man who does something unlawful was unduly influenced by his environment or some sort of dysfunctional family situation.

True Christians realize that man is essentially evil and what happened in Norway was a result of the evil of sin lodged in the heart of an evil man.

Breivik may be a white supremacist, he may be anti-democratic, he may certainly be a stark-raving lunatic. But let us not be so shallow as to think him a true Christian. Jesus said we can know a true Christian by his fruit. The way of Christ is to preserve and build up life not destroy it.

1. Juergensmeyer, Mark (24 July 2011). "Is Anders Breivik a 'Christian' terrorist?". Religion Dispatches. Retrieved 30 July 2011.

2. Schmalz, Matthew N., Anders Behring Breivik: Christian terrorist? Right-wing extremist? Madman? Washington Post, On Religion, July 25, 2011

3. Anders Breivik’s Manifesto

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jeff Markin: Back from the Dead, Reborn Into the Light

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

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ten Personal Observations - St. Thomas Island

1. Iguanas roam freely over the island.
2. Excessive alcohol consumption has been detrimental to the local community.
3. Small, scrawny, homeless chickens freely roam the streets looking for food.
4. An afternoon storm can rise up unexpected out of nowhere.
5. A taxi driver won't hesitate to double your fee if he thinks you have money and you are gullible.
6. The dead on this island are buried above ground.
7. The water along the beeches is clear and clean and contains little or no seaweed.
8. Poverty would be deep and devastating were there no tourism here.
9. Shop owners fear theft because their external doors are bolted with three or four locks
10. Everyone smiles at tourists but smiles are often forced and vacuous.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ten Questions For My Calvinist Friends



Ten Questions for my Calvinist Friends

John Calvin’s theological system was centered around five points constructed in the acrostic: TULIP. His theology is most often mirrored with Jacob Arminius’ interpretations. Both Calvinists and Arminians often get a bad rap because of those who have taken either theological system to extremes. But the basic system of John Calvin can be summarized in this way:

Total Depravity – Man are so utterly infected with sin that he is rendered completely helpless. He is deeply infected in heart, mind and body. Man is so saturated by sin and his heart is so depraved that it is not possible for such a sinful heart to seek a holy God. Therefore, men have no part in their own salvation. They are completely at the mercy of God. If God chooses to save them they will be saved. If God chooses to damn them they will be damned.

Unconditional Election – There is nothing within any individual that merits salvation. A man’s salvation is arbitrarily decided by an all sovereign God. Man’s will has nothing to do with his salvation. He may want to be saved but still be lost or he may want to choose the way of sin and yet be saved against his own will. Nothing man wants or decides can overcome the sovereign will of God.

Limited Atonement – Jesus didn’t die for all men, he only died for those who have been predestined for eternal life by the will of the Father. When Christ hung on the cross he was saving only the sheep and not the goats. He bore the sins of many but not the sins of all.

Irresistible Grace – God’s sovereignty overwhelms the will of men so that they cannot resist when he calls. There is a general, external call to all men but the internal call to the elect can never be rejected. It may be compared to a law officer coming to your door to arrest you. You may not want to go with him but he has chosen that you go so you shall whether you agree or not.

Perseverance of the Saints – You cannot lose your salvation. If you have been chosen by the Father and purchased by the shed blood of the Son and called out by the voice of the Holy Spirit you are saved and made eternally secure. Nothing can take away your salvation. If you experienced saving grace but returned to your old sinful ways you were not really saved in the first place. You experienced a false conversion. It can be likened to ‘Motel California’, once you’ve checked in you can’t check out?

My Calvinist friends come in at all different levels. Some are 3-point Calvinists, some 4-points Calvinists. Most are 5-point Calvinists. I can probably claim to be a 1-point Calvinist. I believe strongly that the heart of man is totally depraved and cannot in and of itself respond to the call of God. I believe no man comes to God lest the Spirit of God first call him. It’s like sitting in the doctor’s office. You don’t walk in to see the doctor until he calls you in. I believe this is prevenient grace, the Spirit of God preparing the heart to receive salvation as a farmer prepares the earth for planting in the spring. Men cannot determine the time and manner in which they come to Christ. I believe not so much that men have free will as I believe that God frees their will through prevenient grace.

I agree with Jacob Arminius when considering the Perseverance of the Saints. I have trouble balancing the sovereignty of God with the free will of man. I know God will finish the good work he has started in us. I know that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. I know that we are granted eternal life, not when we die, but when we confess our sins and accept salvation. But I resist the idea that when we are saved we become prisoners and we are locked behind bars. I don’t think it’s so much a matter of whether we can or cannot decide to walk away from Christ. I think rather it is more a matter of whether we will or will not. I can’t imagine arriving at heaven, spending a day and then deciding I’d rather go to hell. If we experience true genuine salvation and enter into a personal relationship with Christ, who in their right mind would decide they didn’t want that?

My heart leans heavily toward Arminianism because I cannot seem to reconcile the middle three points of Calvinism. I may yet be convinced if perhaps one of my Calvinist friends would give me convincing answers to the following questions:

1. If God has already determined who is and who is not to be saved, why do Calvinists witness to and pray for others? If man cannot be saved by any of his own effort why would we think he could be saved by our efforts of witnessing and praying? His salvation is unaffected by our effort because he was chosen before the foundations of the world. Is it not a waste of energy and time?

2. I have three sons. Suppose all three are drowning and I have an opportunity to save them. But, I arbitrarily decide to save two and let the third die. Would my love for my sons be considered somewhat deficient? Isn’t the love of God perfect? If so, how can he demonstrate love by arbitrarily determining some of his children will perish while others will not?

3. The good news isn’t so good for some. When Paul and Barnabas preached to the pagans they were told that there was good news (Acts 14). Christ had died for their sins. This is problematic because Christ actually didn’t die for all pagans, he only died for some pagans and the good news is actually bad news for some.

4. If some are predetermined to damnation before they were even born how are they accountable for the punishment they will receive? If a man is penitent and falls to his knees, sincerely seeking repentance, shall we say to him, “You may or may not be saved. God alone knows if you are of the elect?”

5. Is God a loving God? Is he just and is he good? Does God love the elect unconditionally but despise the non-elect? Is God’s system of justice inferior to man’s system of justice? In the American system all men are declared deserving of a fair trial. Is God fair and just when he unconditionally chooses some for heaven and some for hell? If God is good how is it that he can create some to go to heaven and purposely create others to send to hell? What is the predetermined quota God has determined for heaven and hell? If that number is already set, why does the Bible indicate that God decided to send more to hell than to heaven “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14)

6. Why did Jesus teach about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? There is a sin for which there is no forgiveness but if the non-elect can never be forgiven anyway what is the point?

7. What is the explanation for the evil and suffering that men experience in this life? Is suffering not the instrument that draws men toward God? Did he not say, “Take up your cross?” But if you are of the non-elect, for what purpose do you suffer? Does God delight in torture?

8. Historically, the Calvinist view seemed to have its roots in Augustine approximately 380 A.D. Are there any church fathers before Augustine who taught the tenets of Calvinism? Did Jesus teach Calvinism to his disciples? The words of Jesus are capsulated in John 3:16 "For God so loved the world (not just the elect)that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever (not just the elect) believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is blatantly obvious that Jesus is not willing that anyone should perish. Jesus never taught election.

9. Is it possible that God predestines us for salvation based on his foreknowledge? He knows who will and who will not commit to become Christ followers? Therefore, he arranges for the ‘elect’ certain circumstances conducive to their own salvation. He knows that given the right opportunities these ‘elect’ will make a decision for Christ. (Molinism)

10. If men are deprived of free will to accept Christ (hyper-Calvinism) then why are they granted free will to reject him? Why does God, in his goodness and love, not predestine all men to eternal salvation rather than just some men?

Jacob Arminius did not oppose Calvinism to defend the free will of man, he opposed Calvinism to defend the love and goodness of a holy God.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The power of a mustard seed

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

Saturday, July 16, 2011

MAV - Miniature Air Vehicles. Latest in spy technology.

Miniature Air Vehicles are patterned after natural creatures like the hummingbird or certain insects. These instruments can track or target certain individuals while going unnoticed in dense, urban areas. That hummingbird you see in the window may be the last thing you see. The MAV could conduct an assassination and then self-destruct so the perpetrators would be virtually untraceable.

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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Disappointed with Obama? Let Me Introduce You To Another.


Fall of Rome

We spend so much of our lives seeking after things that will satisfy, or at least we think they will satisfy: affection, approval and acceptance. We want validation, we want affirmation, we want consolation. We often look for the wrong things in the wrong places.

When we see Christ for whom he really is. When we see him in all his beauty, in all his power, in all his holiness and righteousness we won’t want to look at the weak, frail, impotent things the world has to offer.

Occasionally history produces men deluded into believing they are great, even divine. Hitler, Napoleon and Mohammed are examples. More recently, Saddam Hussein thought he was worthy of worship but he was dragged out of a spider’s hole and executed. Osama bin Laden wanted to conquer the world for Islam but he was tracked down and shot like a common criminal.

It was said of Alexander the Great that he wanted to conquer the world and he nearly did before the age of 32. Legend says that when his army had conquered their last foe he sat down and wept because there were no others to conquer.

The bones of these men will turn to dust. Men live short, brief lives and then their candles are snuffed out. The great conquerors of the world fall one after another.

Nations are much like men. They have personalities and ambitions all their own. It seems the curtain is falling on our own country as our leaders fuss and bicker like juveniles while the country drifts toward bankruptcy. Imagine the greatness this country once experienced and now we are on the verge of cupping our hands and pleading for a handout from any country that can help us.

Our history books are full of great men and great empires fallen on the ash heap of ages past.

May I introduce you to a Ruler who will never know defeat? His empire will last forever. There is no enemy strong enough to destroy him. There is no mind wise enough to outsmart him. Jesus Christ is Supreme. He is supreme over all the men of the earth. He is supreme over all the angels and all the other mysterious creatures that inhabit the heavens. He is supreme over all nations and all governments. He determines the destiny of all men and he chooses who will rule and who will be victorious and who will go down in defeat.

Men have done their best to hide him away but behind the curtain there stands the sovereign conqueror of the ages. Every knee will bow to him. Every tongue will confess him to be the Son of the Living God. He lifts up the sun in the eastern sky every morning and he is the one who turns the lights out every night. He spins this earth like a top and he can stop it on a dime anytime he chooses.

Lance Armstrong is a great cyclist. He won the Tour de France seven years in a row. (1999-2005) Armstrong is an atheist. He said, “If there were a God…” I wouldn’t have gotten cancer had to have a radical surgery to save my life. The secular humanist says, “Bad things wouldn’t happen to good people if there was a god.” The Christian says, “I have no idea why God didn’t crush me with the hammer of his justice this day because of the thoughts I had and the words I spoke yesterday.” The truth is, we are deserving of not a single good thing that happens to us.

I pray that you would get just a glimpse of the supremacy of Christ today.

John Piper once said, “All the planets of your life—your sexuality and desires, your commitments and beliefs, your aspirations and dreams, your attitudes and convictions, your habits and disciplines, your solitude and relationships, your labor and leisure, your thinking and feeling—all the planets of your life are held in orbit by the greatness and gravity and blazing brightness of the supremacy of Jesus Christ at the center of your life. And if he ceases to be the bright, blazing, satisfying beauty at the center of your life, the planets will fly into confusion, and a hundred things will be out of control, and sooner or later they will crash into destruction…. Oh, that the almighty God would help us see and savor the supremacy of his Son. Give yourself to this. Study this. Cultivate this passion. Eat and drink and sleep this quest to know the supremacy of Christ.”

Earthly leaders will disappoint you. Political parties make promises they can’t keep. Take comfort in knowing that behind the leadership of men there is One who is sovereign. He is pure, he is powerful, he is wise and he is always governed by his own goodness. He will never lose a conflict. He will never make a bad decision. He will never lose control. He will never fail.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Supremacy of Christ: Power, Purity and Promise


The Supremacy of Christ


He is the greatest man to ever walk the earth. He was perfect in his morality. He was unsurpassed in his purity. He was ultimately compassionate and just. His justice stirred him to clear the temple of those who would desecrate it. His compassion was revealed when he wept at the news of the death of a friend. His humility was displayed when he threw the towel over his shoulder and washed the feet of his disciples. His thirty-three years on this earth were brief. His three year ministry is just a microscopic spec on the timeline of eternity. Yet, his words and his actions profoundly changed the world forever. Jesus is the true author of genuine hope and change and he bought that possibility for all of mankind by submitting to a brutal death on a cross protruding from a small piece of earth called Golgotha.

1. He is supreme in his power. He could awaken or paralyze a storm by the mere sound of his spoken word. His power was such that the mere touch of his hand could bring the dead back to life. The power that emanated from him was capable of healing those who could reach the hem of his garment. He amazed his followers by turning water into wine, feeding five thousand people with a few fish and loaves and cleansing the leper by the mere touch of his hand. Never has any living man been able to demonstrate power like Jesus did.

He often chose NOT to reveal his power. He once looked out over the hills of a sinful city, Jerusalem, and instead of calling down deserved destruction as was done at Sodom and Gomorrah, he was overcome with compassion and cried out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37) He didn’t prevent the brutal death of John the Baptist, he could have. He could have resisted his arrest by the Roman soldiers, he chose rather to accept the will of the Father.

They hung him on the cross. They mocked him and tortured him and in their arrogance they challenged him, if he was indeed the Son of God, “come down from the cross and save yourself!" (Mark 15:30) They laughed and slapped each other on the back as they invented new ways to humiliate Jesus. But then their laughing stopped. It was the power of Jesus hanging on the cross that caused the earth to shake. By his power the skies turned dark. It was the incomprehensible power of Jesus that ripped the veil of the temple in half from top to bottom. And in his mercy he checked his own power but please know:

He could have called ten thousand angels

To destroy the world and set Him free.

He could have called ten thousand angels,

But He died alone, for you and me.

2. He is supreme in his purity. Jesus never sinned. Some would argue that he was the Son of God, it was not possible for him to sin. I would beg to differ. Scripture tells us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

There has never walked on upon this earth one who was sinless and pure like Jesus. We must know Him in his purity because his holiness qualifies him to be our Savior. If Jesus was not sinless the lamb slain upon the cross is weak and helpless to save us from our sin.

Satan knew that the purity of Christ would save the souls of the lost. So he led him out into the wilderness for forty days of temptation. Satan did everything in his power to steal away the innocence of the Lamb. He took him to a high spot and offered him the kingdoms of the world as if they were his to offer. But Jesus refused to take the easy way and instead he chose to purchase his kingdom with his own blood and the purity of Jesus was preserved and we should praise him and worship him because of the supremacy of his purity.

3. He is supreme in his promise. We are so careless to break promises. 50% of Americans marry and promise their spouse everlasting love and then break that promise. We find ourselves in serious trouble financially or relationally or emotionally and we make promises to God, “If only you will get me out of this mess.” And when we feel comfortable again we forget our promises to him.

Please know this: Jesus never broke a promise. “He has given us great and precious promises….that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:4)

a. Do you question where you are going? He promises to give direction to our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

b. Are you tired? Do the hardships in your life make you feel weary? Do you feel like throwing in the towel? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

c. Do you feel weak? Is the road too hard? Is the task too overwhelming? Is the mountain too steep? Have the dark clouds rolled in and taken away your joy? Do you feel like the little five year old boy I heard recently who said, “I’ve lost my happy.” “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

We must know him in the supremacy of his promises because he has said that “he will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory.” (Philippians 4:19) He has promised us that “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:37-39)

We must know the supremacy of his promise because it is by this promise that we are saved. If we grasp and act on this promise we will live with Christ for all of eternity. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

The Supremacy of Christ: Power, Purity and Promise

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Knowing Christ

My wife and I have been married for many years. We have both recently been made aware that after so many years of living together in the deepest intimacy a marriage relationship can offer, there are still things about each other that we don’t understand. Is it possible to ever know all there is to know about your spouse?

Likewise, many have enjoyed an intimate spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ for many, many years yet hardly know him. Do you really know him? Not just as a personal savior but do you really know Him for who he is? We can know him through the word he has given us but we cannot know him by accident. Just as it takes effort to know and understand a spouse, it also takes effort to know and understand Christ. He is so vast in his nature and so complex in his person that he can never be fully known. It will be our greatest challenge throughout eternity to try to know Him.

But we do know a little about Christ. We know that he is exalted about all others. We know that he is supreme.

Christ is Supreme in His Diety – He is equal with God in all of his attributes. He is radiant in His glory. Christ is the exact image of the nature of God the Father.

“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” – John 14:7

Christ is Supreme in His Eternal Nature (eternality) - This is incomprehensible. Think long on it and it will drive you crazy. Jesus Christ never had a beginning. It is an imponderable truth.

“He was with God in the beginning” of the creation.” – John 1:2

Jesus is God! The whole world and all the worlds unknown and all of creation and its creatures are frail and vulnerable and fragile and could be shattered into a million pieces by a simple word spoken by the eternal One.

He lived eternities before the beginning and he will live eternities after the end.

Christ is Supreme in His Unchangeable Nature. Is Christ holy? He shall always be holy. Is Christ love? He shall always be love. Is Christ good? He shall always be good. His holiness will never be overcome by carnality. His love will never be replaced with hatred. Throughout all of eternity, his goodness shall reign and he shall never, never be touched with the darkness of evil.

His character is constant.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8 The seasons come and go. The sun shines and then the sky darkens. Friends change. Families fluctuate. Circumstances are unpredictable. Relationships evolve. The cards are always being shuffled. Transition is a norm in the American lifestyle. But Jesus Christ never changes. His feet are firmly fixed in some unknown foundation of the vast universe and he cannot be moved.

Christ is Supreme in His knowledge. We revel in our knowledge. The information age makes available a never ending source of knowledge. There seems to be nothing Google does not know. Gather all the billions and trillions of bits of information together and compare it to the knowledge of Christ and it’s like comparing a single drop of water to all the water held in all the oceans of earth multiplied by a trillion quadrillions. His knowledge knows no limit.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, why would you ask me any question at all. You know ALL things.” – John 21-17

“His understanding is infinite.” – Psalm 147:5

There are some things God has never experienced. He has never been confused. He has never been perplexed. He has never been puzzled. He has never been surprised. He could never be a scientist who searches out the meaning of natural laws. God is the source of all those laws. He could never be a historian to search out the story of man. God wrote the story and he knows every single detail. God could never experience the thrill of the archeologist finding a buried artifact. God hid all those pieces and he knows exactly where they are and what story they tell. God has never made a mistake. He has never experienced sickness. He has never explored anything. He has never investigated. He has never discovered. He is infinite in all his knowledge and wisdom.

Supreme wisdom flows like a great river from the heart of God. Those who drink of its waters are blessed with understanding and they comprehend His eternal truth. Americans find themselves in terrible moral decay: our financial system is in ruins, our legal system is plagued with unfairness, our leaders are diseased with the cancer of greed and corruption, our population is blinded by a lust for material things. Why have we murdered 51 million unborn babies? Why do Americans incarcerate more or its population than any other nation on earth? Why are 35% of our children born out of wedlock? It is because we do not drink from the waters of everlasting wisdom made available by an omniscient God.

Christ is Supreme in His Authority. He is qualified and he is worthy to have all authority. He is all wise, he is all powerful and he is morally perfect. No other can offer those qualifications. He can never do the wrong thing. He can never make a wrong decision. He can never be corrupted by flattery or bribed by money. It is not possible for him to show favoritism. He cannot be selfish and self-serving.

He never seeks a majority vote. He never has to seek approval or get permission. He never has to sit down and ponder and reason regarding a solution to a certain problem. He knows how to end warand poverty. He knows how to cure cancer. Christ is supreme in his authority because he is worthy.

Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” - Matthew 28:18

Ten thousands of angels sang, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” – Rev. 5:12

Jesus does as he pleases and we must be forever grateful that what he pleases to do is always good and honorable.

“All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" – Daniel 4:35

Christ is Supreme in His Providence. God knows everything there is to know about you. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” – Luke 12:7

Christ didn’t just plunk you down on this earth and make some provisions for you and then walk away. He has a plan for you. You may not know his plan. It may take time for you to understand and you may sometimes experience doubt. Rest assured and do not doubt that God has a plan.

“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.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Do you sometimes feel he has forgotten you? Do you sometimes feel he isn’t listening? Know this; He knows every time a bird falls from the sky. He is fully aware every time one of his creatures becomes more road kill along the highways. He is fully aware of the smallest fish in the most remote area of the ocean where the eyes of men have not yet seen.
“Look at the birds of the air…your heavenly Father feeds them.” – Matthew 6:26

We have not yet scratched the surface of what it means to know Christ.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jumping off 'The Ledge'

Many Christians, especially Presbyterians and Baptists, have embraced and attempted to live by the teachings of the Westminster Confession since it was formulated by the Church of England in 1646. It attempts to answer a mystifying question that has dogged man for thousands of years. What is our purpose? Why were we born? Why are we here? The answer given by the Westminster Confession is simple and direct: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God.” We were created to praise the Creator. Unfortunately, most in our modern culture worships the creation rather than the creator. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…” (Romans 1:25)

The Westminster Confession reinforces the idea that men were created to worship: “Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone: not to angels, saints, or any other creature.” American society is becoming more and more pantheistic, substituting the worship of nature rather than worship the true God.

New Age guru, Shirley McClain, was given a five hour block by ABC to promote her mystic beliefs. McClain promoted the idea of God being a part of everything and everything being a part of God. She claimed to have some sort of Aquarian revelation while walking along the beach one day. She lifted her hands toward the heavens and said, “I am god.” She felt a bit sheepish at first but as she repeated it again and again she said she finally embraced her inner god nature.

A major contradiction in this belief that we are all threads in a god quilt is the failure to reconcile good and evil within our very nature. If God is holy, sinless and perfect in his purity, how can he then also be sinful and unspeakably wicked? Light and dark cannot simultaneously exist in the same space, nor can purity and sinfulness coexist in the same entity. Therefore, if man is sinful in his nature his claim that “I am god” is an absurdity. Christ died on the cross to bridge the great gap that separates us from the living God. We can experience reconciliation with God through repentance and forgiveness but we can never become god. It’s an age-old problem that goes all the way back to Eve’s desire to become God in the Garden of Eden. The same problem surfaced again at the Tower of Babel. It is still prevalent today.

Who is surprised that Hollywood and the modern media would give a platform for such tripe? A true Christian would not slough off his God-given responsibility to be a conscientious steward of the earth God has given. God created the earth and saw that it was good and was very pleased. The first responsibility of Adam was to tend to the garden in which he lived. We still have an obligation to care for and respect the creation.

But, many have gone beyond being good stewards. They have violated the chief purpose of God for man by glorifying nature rather than God. Hollywood and the media have given Al Gore and others an inordinate amount of time to use their studios as a bully pulpit to promote the worship of Gaia, the earth goddess.

Men were created to worship. Worship is an involuntary response like breathing or blinking our eyes. When we worship God, the Creator, we are able to maintain a proper perspective of God, his creation and our place in it. When we choose to worship others or other things our minds become more and more distorted. An apathetic failure to fulfill the chief purpose of man will bring major distortion but an aggressive determination to substitute God with a false idol will bring gross distortion and a dreadful response from a God who is terrible in his justice.

This brings us to another twisted Hollywood promotion. Matthew Chapman, who ironically happens to be the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin, has directed a movie called “The Ledge”. In a nutshell, the movie depicts a fundamentalist Christian husband whose wife yields to seductions of an atheist friend. Just as Hollywood used “Brokeback Mountain” to promote the acceptance of the sin of homosexuality, it now uses “The Ledge” to promote acceptance of the sin of unbelief.

The Christian is depicted as the evil one forcing another to commit suicide while the atheist is the classic victim. The non-believer is sexy and attractive to the leading female while the Christian husband is stiff, stodgy and overbearing. This is typical for Hollywood to trash the Christian and glorify one who declares there is no God.

If man’s chief end is to glorify God, is this not a perversion of the true purpose of man? Chapman says, “I hope atheists who are still in the closet will take heart from the film and think, I am not alone.” The intent of the film is to unite atheists and encourage the acceptance of the general public of their God-denying beliefs.

It borders on blasphemy. Chapman puts his viewers on the ledge and encourages them to jump off into an abyss of moral decay because we have failed to fulfill the primary purpose of man, to bring glory to the true and living God. Think of it, millions of people will shell out multi-millions of dollars to see this film and each of the dollars they spend will have written on it, “In God We Trust.”
Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Confusion, Conceit and Corruption

William E. Henley wrote a very popular piece of poetry entitled Invictus:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

This poem is masterfully written. I love its cadence. This author doesn’t believe in God and though many would depict him as a very confident man, there lies a thin line between confidence and arrogance. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) There is some evidence that William E. Henley ended his own life.

My neighbor and his wife were experiencing serious marital problems. One day I asked him how things were going. He replied, “Not well. My wife has a religious problem.” My curiosity prompted me to ask him to explain. He said, “She thinks she is God.”

It is a problem that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. We want to be our own gods. We resent having to submit to authority and we try to escape by becoming gods to ourselves. Masters of our own fate, captains of our own souls. When we invent other gods to replace the one true God we invite turmoil into our lives and our culture. Isaiah addressed this in his 5th chapter.

1. Moral Confusion and Perversion. “WOE to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isa. 5:20) We live in an age where it is common to call evil good and good evil.

Pastor Joe Wright of Central Christian Church read this “Prayer for Our Nation”, popularized by Paul Harvey, to the Kansas House of Representatives in January of 1996.

“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good" but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We confess:

We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.”

After receiving over 6,000 calls of protest for his ‘intolerance’, Pastor Joe’s staff stopped counting. This prayer captures the moral confusion of our modern age.

2. Arrogant Pride. “WOE to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” Men like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are often arrogant in their disbelief. Atheists are untruthful when they say they worship no god. Everyone worships a god, often the god they worship is themselves.

The arrogant pride of unbelief is an unpleasant stench that emanates from many who are rich and famous:

Jodie Foster: “I absolutely love religions and the rituals. Even though I don’t believe in God.”

Angelina Jolie when asked if there was a God: “For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn’t need to be a God for me.”

Woody Allen: “I can’t bring myself to do it. If I’m sitting next to a guy and he has true belief, I look at him and think, poor thing, you really are deluded.” Allen declares those who believe in Christ to be delusional.

For these who may be arrogant and proud of their opposition to the living God: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

3. Corrupt Leaders. “WOE to those who are heroes (leaders) at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.” (Isa. 5:22-23) These verses address corruption among leaders.

Many Americans were confused when a former president declared his honesty in the political realm yet displayed extreme dishonesty in his personal life.

Mark Sanford, former governor of South Carolina lied to his staff and family when he said he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. He was actually meeting a mistress in Argentina.

John Edwards was a viable presidential candidate until he had an affair with a member of his campaign staff while his wife fought a brave fight against cancer.

Newt Gingrich had strong criticism for Bill Clinton’s affair with Monika Lewinsky, all the while hiding the fact that he was participating in the same dishonesty.

More recently, Anthony Weiner lied to his pregnant wife, his staff and the nation, denying juvenile behavior on the internet.

Many Americans are wondering if the guilty have been acquitted in the Casey Anthony trial and the O.J. Simpson trial.

Has there ever been a culture more sinful, more arrogant, and more corrupt than our modern American culture? Billy Graham was writing World Aflame when he let his wife, Ruth, read a chapter describing the sinfulness America. After reading she lay the manuscript down and said, “Billy, if God doesn't come soon and bring judgment upon the United States, He's going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!"

Might David’s prayer rest on our lips: “Search me, O God, and know my heart…” (Psalm 139:23) “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:2) Pray that God will delay his judgment and cleanse us from our confusion, conceit and corruption.

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

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Danger of Defying God: Is God Judging America?

‘Woe’ is a little three letter word filled with meaning and emotion. It means to ‘curse’ or to ‘damn’. It is the assignment of justice. The emotion behind the word may be anger, but it is also used with much sorrow. Think of those who were watching as the twin towers fell on 9/11. Their gasps and cries expressed shock and dismay. They were overwhelmed with sorrow at the loss of life within the towers as they crumbled to earth. Sorrow was finally followed by anger toward a cowardly enemy. This is the emotion Isaiah feels as he repeats this little word several times in chapter 5.

1. Greed for Material Things. “WOE to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing: ‘Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants.” (Isa. 5:8-9) God is declaring a judgment on the Jewish people because materialism had become their idol. They worshiped things rather than the Creator.

There are parallels between ancient Israel and modern America that cannot be ignored. We have become a very materialistic society. The accumulation of wealth has become our idol. We willingly sacrifice our families and our health at the altar of materialism.

Our houses have become desolate. Millions of homeowners have been foreclosed on in the last several years despite President Obama’s $75 billion plan to save homes. Our community (Columbus, Georgia) has many “fine mansions left without occupants.”

Because of their disobedience and betrayal God brought famine into the land.

2. Lust for Drunken Pleasure. “WOE to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.” (Isa. 5:11) God punished a society that had decided to replace worship of God with a lust for pleasure. We run after alcoholic beverages and various drugs to help relieve the pain and boredom in our lives. We pursue our own desires and have “no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands.” (Isa. 5:12) These are cheap substitutes for the true Healer.

“There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the broken soul.” (African-American Spiritual)

The true God is patient and longsuffering but he cannot tolerate such disrespect indefinitely. So, God removed the restraints upon the Babylonians and they came into the land of Israel and carried them off into exile. “Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; their men of rank will die of hunger and their masses will be parched with thirst.” (Isa. 5:13)

It is not hard to imagine thirst and lack of water in this part of the country. Florida, Alabama and Georgia have been raging a water war for over 20 years. Lake Lanier is a huge lake north of Atlanta that serves the city and those inhabitants that live south along the Chattahoochee River. There are approximately 5 million people who draw from the lake before its waters reach my area. It is very difficult to determine how to divvy the water fairly. Complicating the matter is the fact that Georgia has suffered drought conditions over the last several years. Few Americans have ever felt real thirst and hunger and they feel very comfortable that these elements will always be available in abundance.

Has American society outdone all others in its ability and willingness to seek pleasure and ignore God? If God released the Babylonians upon the Jews because of their defiance will God not also release judgments upon Americans if we don’t repent and turn back to God? There is no ‘teacher’s pet’ in this formula. God’s justice will not allow him to judge sin in one culture and ignore it in another.

3. Sin of Defiance. “WOE to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes.” (Isa. 5:18) A cart rope was made of unbelievably strong material. Its purpose was to attach a loaded cart to a beast of burden. The people of Israel were like mules pulling a cartload of iniquity behind them. They loved their sin and expended a great amount of effort to drag it about wherever they went.

They said, “Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it.” (Isa. 5:19) These people were defiant in their disobedience. They shook their fists in the face of God and challenged him to bring the judgment he promised. They said, “This is our sin. We love it more than we love you. What will you do about it?”

They were behaving as the Roman soldiers did when they spit upon Jesus and mocked him as he dragged his cross to Golgotha. “The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” (Luke 23:36-37) No good can ever come from mocking God. “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them” (Deuteronomy 32:35)

Our God, provoked to anger, is terrible in his wrath!

God forgive us for our arrogance. We sing, “God Bless America” and then assume that he will regardless of our own actions. We no longer hide our sinfulness and we have no shame for our evil ways.

Recently, a 56 year old man, scantily dressed in women’s underwear, boarded a passenger jet from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Phoenix, Arizona. When he arrived in Phoenix he was escorted away. It was astonishing that this man would pull such a stunt but the attitude he revealed was beyond belief. He had no shame. He was not hiding his face from the cameras. He was proud to have his picture made and wanted all to see.
We have become “haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning”. (Romans 1:30) We foolishly shake our fist in the face of God. We dare him to prove himself by reacting to our challenge.

Christians must sound a warning as Isaiah did, “They have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against his people.” (Isa. 5:25-26)

It sounds dark and hopeless but it is not. There is a solution to the dilemma in which we find ourselves. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

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

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What More Could He Have Done?

Isaiah tells the story of a man who planted a vineyard (Chapter 5) He chose some very fertile land in which to plant. Israel and the Jordan River Valley is home to some of the most productive land in the world. He worked extremely hard to build his vineyard.

“He dug it all around and removed its stones.” (v. 2) Wheel barrow after wheel barrow of rocks had to be removed. He worked for days to extract all the stones. There is a old saying that when God was spreading rocks about the earth in accidently spilled a great number in the area we call Israel. The owner of the vineyard had to hire a crew to remove all the rocks. He cut terraces in the land and used the rocks to fortify them.

“He then planted the choicest vine.” (v.2) He dug deep into his pockets and bought a very expensive, top-of-the-line vine stock. It was a vine known to produce the very best grape.

“He built a tower in the middle of it.” His vineyard was nearly complete and it covered many fertile acres. He was the envy of his neighbors. The tower was a two-tier affair. A watchman stood guard at the top of the tower to guard against thieves and wild animals and the bottom of the tower was used to store tools and implements to work in the vineyard.

“He then hewed out a wine vat.”(v.2)Tremendous effort was required to build this vineyard. The owner was very pleased with his finished product. He was anticipating filling his vat with bushels of grapes and dropping the rock on them to crush from them juices that would make the best wine in the area. He had risked a lot of money. He had contributed a great amount of time and effort and now it was time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

“He looked for it to yield grapes.” (v.2) But a tragic thing happened, instead, “it yielded wild grapes.” The fruit of this vine was weak. It produced tasteless berries that would provide a worthless wine. The owner was disappointed but also perplexed: “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” he asked.

Isaiah’s song is tragic. It is the story of the country he loved so much. God chose the most fertile land in the world and gave it for the people he had chosen. He removed the rocks, the pagan peoples who were intent on destroying his people. He built a watch tower to protect his people from invaders. He did everything that could possibly have been done to plant a people who would produce spiritual fruit and glorify him.

What does a farmer do with a fruitless vineyard that produces worthless berries? He curses his vineyard. He vacates the watchtower. He removes the hedge about it and ceases to prune the branches and hoe the rows. Briars and thorns eventually overtake it. It is trampled by wild animals and vagrants. Finally, the rains cease and the vineyard is wasted and produces nothing of any value.
This vineyard (Israel) was planted at the crossroads of the world to bear witness of the glory of God. Their failure was miserable and they were worthy to be judged of God. So, famine overtook the land and God rose up an enemy (Babylon) to take them into exile. Their homes were emptied, their streets quiet and lonely.

This prophecy was for the people of Israel but I can’t help but see parallels for my own country. Several hundred years ago our forefathers came here (America) with intentions of building a society that would grant them freedom to worship as they pleased and in which they could bring glory to the God they loved. God honored the desire of their hearts by leading them to a very fertile land with abundant resources. They had been afforded a great opportunity to become that “city upon a hill” which would be a light to show the way to a darkened world. The blessings God showered upon the American people were phenomenal.

But, America, much like Israel, began a slow descent into disobedience and unbelief. What started as a slow, gradual process is now a very slippery slope. Like a water slide at Six Flags, we are plummeting into rebellion and defiance against the God who blessed us.

The briars and thorns are now overtaking the vineyard. The judgment of God rests upon America. Our economic system is in shambles, our politicians habitually lie to us, our citizens are addicted to pleasure and leisure, our families are fragmented, our judicial system is filled with weak-minded judges who are far more interested in promoting personal agendas rather than uphold foundational laws.

I think Jesus was weeping when he looked down upon the city of Jerusalem and said, “"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34) He foresaw the judgment that would come upon the city forty years hence.

O America, America. You despise the prophets sent to you and you ignore the message of truth. I think God must shed tears as he looks upon a once godly nation. “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:136)

Isaiah gives the reason the vineyard was cursed in verse 24. “They have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.” Many Americans have a twisted perception of God. They correctly see him as a caring Father whose love is longsuffering and patient and his mercy is incomprehensible. Many believe this perception gives them license to reject the laws of God. But his love for his children will not cause him to compromise his perfect justice. If God is not just God he is not God at all. His sorrow will finally turn to anger and his justice will be fearful and terrible.

He is now asking us, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?”
Kevin Probst - Teaches History, Government and Apologetics at the high school level in Columbus Georgia.