Links & Quotes

link quote

“When you bounce your eyes away from a sexual image, immediately pull from your memory a pure image. Maybe a wedding picture, or a vacation experience with your family, or your buddies. There are thousands of positive images you can pull from your memory within seconds to replace the sexual images you’re tempted with.” —Steve Arterburn

“satan shows the best, but hides the worst, because his best will not [counterbalance] his worst; but Christ’s will abundantly.” —Matthew Henry

William Wilberforce said something about slavery that could just as easily apply to abortion today: “It naturally suggested itself to me, how strange it was that providence, however mysterious in its ways, should so have constituted the world as to make one part of it depend on its existence for the depopulation and devastation of another.” Check out this Live Action post: Lessons From Wilberforce.

“But do you want to get better? It seems like a stupid question. Of course we want our organization, our work and our health to improve. But often, we don’t. Better means change and change means risk and risk means fear.” —Seth Godin

Our worldview makes a huge difference in the way we live. Check out this post from Stand To Reason on how Christianity improved the lives of women.

A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that the number of people in America identifying themselves as Christians has dropped. Check out the results of the survey here, and then listen to what John MacArthur has to say in this video—

Book Reviews From 2013

12 Quotes From “Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire”

Pouring Holy Water On Strange FireIn Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire, Frank Viola uses an extensive array of sources, both ancient and contemporary, in his critique of John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire. You can read my full book review by clicking here. I hope you will enjoy these quotes as much as I did.

“For some do certainly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe, and join themselves to the church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic utterances. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the church throughout the whole world has received from God, in the name of the Jesus Christ (2.32.4) … For this reason does the apostle declare, who speak wisdom among them that are perfect, terming those persons perfect who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all tongues, as he used himself also to speak. In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of tongues, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of God, whom also the apostle terms spiritual, they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit (5.6.1).” —Irenaeus, Against Heresies

“Now was absolutely fulfilled that promise of the Spirit which was given by the word of Joel: ‘In the last days will I pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy; and upon My servants and upon My handmaids will I pour out of my Spirit.’ Since then the Creator promised the gifts of His Spirit in the latter days; and since Christ has in these last days appeared as the dispenser of spiritual gifts … it evidently follows in connection with this prediction of the last days, that this gift of the Spirit belongs to Him who is the Christ of the predictors … Let Marcion then exhibit, as gifts of his god, some prophets, such as have not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God, such as have both predicted things to come, and have made manifest the secrets of the heart; let him produce a psalm, a vision, a prayer—only let it be by the Spirit, in an ecstasy, that is, in a rapture, whenever an interpretation of tongues has occurred to him; let him show to me also, that any woman of boastful tongue in his community has ever prophesied from amongst those specially holy sisters of his. Now all these signs of spiritual gifts are forthcoming from my side without any difficulty, and they agree, too, with the rules, and the dispensations, and the instructions of the Creator; therefore without doubt the Christ, and the Spirit, and the apostle, belong severally to my God. Here, then, is my frank avowal for any one who cares to require it (Bk. 5, Ch. 8).” —Tertullian, Against Marcion

“Anyone who cuts out portions of Scripture is guilty of very grievous sin … I say once more, there, that to hold such a view [cessationism] is simply to quench the Spirit.” —D. Martin Lloyd-Jones

“Therefore to say that because we now have all the writings of Scripture complete we no longer need the miraculous inspiration of the Spirit among men as in former days is a degree of blindness as great as any that can be charged upon the scribes and the Pharisees. … There is no degree of delusion higher than that which is evidenced by those who profess to teach from the divinely inspired Scriptures that the immediate, continual illumination and working of the Spirit in men’s hearts ceased when the canon of Scripture was complete. To deny the present prophetic gift in the church is to deny also that very manifestation of Christ today to His own which the Scriptures teach is the only means to the reality of Gospel Christianity.” —William Law

“But He has left to us the same power He possess. This [the indwelling Holy Spirit to continue Jesus’s life and ministry and to perpetuate miracles] is the mighty gift of our ascended Lord. This is the supreme need of the church today … the constitution of the church is identical with the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. … We cannot leave out any part of the gospel without weakening the rest; and if there ever was an age when the world needed the witness of God’s supernatural working, it is the day of unbelief and satanic power.” —A.B. Simpson

“The devil only bothers to counterfeit that which is real and a threat to his kingdom.” —Frank Viola

“A Bible-based sermon can be equal in truth if rooted in Scripture, but not equal in authority to the Bible.” —Frank Viola

“Spirit can embrace intellect, but human intellect won’t comprehend Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer

“We need to learn that truth consists not in correct doctrine, but correct doctrine plus the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer 

“We cannot make too much of this matter of revelation, illumination, seeing. It is basic in salvation (Acts 26:18). It is essential to effective ministry (2 Corinthians 4:6) and it is indispensable to full knowledge and full growth (Ephesians 1:17)…. The kind of seeing to which we refer is an epoch, an encounter, a revelation, a crisis. There is no power on this earth which could have changed that rabid, fanatical, bigoted Saul of Tarsus, a ‘Pharisee of the Pharisees,’ into ‘the apostle of the Gentiles’ (Romans 11:13)…. Argument would not have done it. Neither persuasion nor persecution nor martyrdom would have effected it. But it was done! That ‘conversion’ stood the test of all persecutions, sufferings, and adversities possible to man for the rest of his life…. Indeed, a fundamental and preeminent work of the Holy Spirit has to do with spiritual enlightenment and supremely as to the significance of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. It is all in the Scriptures, but still our eyes may be holden…. We can be governed by objective truth. It can be ‘the truth’—orthodox, sound, Bible truth. We can be governed by that simply because it is taught; we do it objectively. But there is something more than that. There is such a thing as the Holy Spirit taking hold of the truth of God and making it something that lives in us…. Many Christians are just Christians: that is, after they are saved, their Christian life consists in doing as they are told by the minister because it is presented to them as the thing they should do. But there is a much higher level of life than that. The thing is right, but it is altogether transformed when the Holy Spirit brings it home to us in an inward way, and adjusts us to it. We no longer do it because it has got to be done: we do it because the Lord has done something in us, and shown us that that is the thing that He wants done… it is no more mechanical, it is vital!” —T. Austin Sparks

“To downplay and criticize a genuine desire to know our Lord in greater capacity and to receive clear direction from God’s Spirit in greater measure is contrary to the exhortation and examples found in Scripture. Certainly, spiritual contentment and complacency would have drawn from Paul the strongest reproof. And it did so from Jesus in the book of Revelation.” —Frank Viola

“One thing the charismatic movement has been sent to do, I believe, is to alert us all to the fact that God, when trusted, will show His hand in many thrilling ways, and we should be expecting Him to do that, though without dictating to Him what He must do in particular situations.” —J.I. Packer

Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire (book review)

Pouring Holy Water On Strange FireI fully admit that I’m a little biased on this one. After all, what would you expect from a fourth generation Pentecostal? But even with that disclaimer, I thought Frank Viola did a masterful job in his critique called Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire.

Viola’s book is a critique of John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire, in which MacArthur attempts to make the case that the way Pentecostals and Charismatics advocate and practice their faith is unscriptural. MacArthur would fall into the camp of the cessationists, who claim that all of the operational gifts of the Holy Spirit enumerated in the New Testament ceased when the apostles died, or when the canon of Scripture was closed. I’ve always found this a strained argument at best, or as Mark Driscoll says, one needs to do “exegetical origami” to reach the cessationists’ conclusion.

Frank Viola systematically critiques Strange Fire thought-by-thought, section-by-section. He does so fairly and academically, using respected Bible commentators, the writings of Church fathers, logic, personal examples, as well as other respected contemporary voices who express similar concerns against MacArthur’s arguments.

This is a good book for any student of the Bible to read. It’s not a lengthy tome, so you will not get bogged down in reams of academia, but you will be able to weigh the evidence that both cessationists and Pentecostals use.You can download the ebook version by clicking here.

Book Reviews From 2012

5 Quotes From “The Truth About Forgiveness”

Yesterday I reviewed John MacArthur’s book The Truth About Forgiveness. Here are five of my favorite quotes from this book.

“These days everything wrong with humanity is likely to be explained as an illness. What we used to call sin is more easily diagnosed as a whole array of disabilities. All kinds of immorality and evil conduct are now identifies as symptoms of this or that psychological illness. Criminal behavior, various perverse passions, and every imaginable addiction have all been made excusable by the crusade to label them medical afflictions. Even commonplace problems, such as emotional weakness, depression, and anxiety, are also almost universally defined as quasi-medical, rather than spiritual, afflictions. …In place of evil, therapeutic society has substituted ‘illness’; in place of consequences, it urges therapy and understanding; in place of responsibility, it argues for a personality driven by impulses. The illness excuse has become almost routine in cases of public misconduct.”

“The world’s wisdom: Guilt is a virtual mental defect. Don’t let it ruin your self-image. …Guilt functions in the spiritual realm like pain in the material realm. Pain tells us there is a physical problem that must be deal with or the body will suffer harm. Guilt is a spiritual pain in the soul that tells us something is evil and needs to be confronted and cleansed.” 

“God does not love us ‘for what we are.’ He loves us in spite of what we are. …God loves us because He is love; love is essential to who He is. Rather than viewing His love as proof of something worthy in us, we ought to be humbled by it.”

“There can be no salvation for those who aren’t convinced of the seriousness of their sin. There can be no word of reconciliation for sinners who remain oblivious to their estrangement from God. True fear of God cannot grip those who are blind to the depth of their sinfulness. And no mercy is available for those who do not tremble at God’s holy threats. In other words, to attempt to eradicate the human conscience is one of the most spiritually destructive pursuits any individual or society can engage in.”

“You need to forsake your sin regularly, seeking not the pardon of an angry Judge but the forgiveness of your loving Father—displeased and grieved, yet loving all the same.”

The Truth About Forgiveness (book review)

One of my favorite quotes about forgiveness comes from the pen of C.S. Lewis. He wrote: “We all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it.” How true that is! In this short, but power-packed book, The Truth About Forgiveness, John MacArthur shares how beautiful and freeing true forgiveness is.

You may know John MacArthur as a preeminent Bible teacher. If so, you will not be disappointed in the content of this amazing book. Pastor MacArthur eloquently explains the need for forgiveness, how unworthy we are of God’s forgiveness, how unthinkable it is that God forgives us anyway, and how we should now live as people who regularly ask for forgiveness.

Pastor MacArthur’s Bible teaching skills are on full display as he digs deeply into well-known scriptural stories, and places us squarely in the middle of the character’s lives. In fact, one story he so beautifully portrays through the lens of forgiveness, but I had never seen it that way before!

This is not a long treatise on forgiveness, but it is a easy-to-read guide into new thinking about forgiveness. Trust me, after reading The Truth About Forgiveness, you will never look at forgiveness the same way again.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

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