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February 22, 2010

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Q/A Topics:
Salvation vs Faith: which order?

READER COMMENT:
"A man is not saved because he belives in CHRIST;
he belives in CHRIST because he is saved!"

I forget who said that.

VW COMMENT:
That is one of those pet comments that comes regularly from the false doctrines of the so-called "church fathers" of Protestantism and the Reformation. Those adhering to the false doctrines of Calvin: of falsely so-called "election" and Sovereign/Irresistible Grace.

One of the reasons I am -NOT- a "protestant".

Do we go by what some (forgotten) -man- said? Or by what the Bible says? The jailer came asking: How do I get saved? Paul and Silas replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." (Ac16:31)

In other words, the Biblical order is:
1) Believe (cause), and then
2) You will be saved (effect).

If a person has not 'believed' (faith) into Jesus Christ, on what basis is his (alleged) "Salvation"? Peter said that "there is no other name" (than Jesus of Nazareth) by which to be saved. (Ac4:12,10) Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through Me" after saying that He was "the Way". (Jn14:6) According to this (forgotten) man, we arrive before the Father (Salvation) first, and -then- we believe in Jesus Christ? God does not "elect" us... eeny, meeny, mynee, mo... but we are the -elect- according to "foreknowledge" (1Pt1:2, Rom8:29) God -knows- the "end from the beginning" (Is46:10) He knows who will be coming to Saving Faith; and as such He "knows those who are His". (2Ti2:19)

And the writer of Hebrews confirms the matter through the back door with, "without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Heb11:6) Is not "being pleasing to Him" another way of expressing "Salvation"..."-being- saved"? A person who is not pleasing to Him (by having been cleansed by Jesus' blood), thus being in a state of corruption, has no access to Heaven...the ultimate destination of Salvation. (1Co15:50) If the writer says it is impossible to be pleasing without faith, does not logic understand that faith comes first; thus, it is the 'qualification' -to- "be pleasing".

That's what my Bible says! And the little gnats of periodically repeated e-mails from Calvinism won't change Truth, nor my adherence to Scripture.

If a person truly -believes- according to the (above) quote, by definition, such a person is not a Christian. They came "some other way" than "by the door"; they are a thief and robber. (Jn10:1) And they certainly are -NOT- my "brother" in Christ. In effect, they claim to have come to be inside, without having gone through the DOOR.

God's 'wrath' is upon the sinner, thus the sinner comes to God in "repentance"; -through- the advocacy and propitiation of Jesus Christ, upon which we rest/trust (faith) and receive for Salvation. (Ac20:21, Jn1:12)

What we seek is God's presence; as we studied this past year in Hebrews, the Holy of Holies. The One who gets us there is our High Priest, Jesus Christ.

    "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus," (1Ti2:5)
If we could get to Heaven without faith (which is the only logical deduction from the quote), then Jesus died in vain..!!! And He is not the Savior..!! ..because He is the -basis- for and -object- of "Faith". No matter how strong they raise their voices as they proclaim from the Fire, or pound their pulpits... doesn't make it so. The strong, authoritative, loud pontifications, with earnest heart-felt conviction does not turn an un-Biblical lie into truth!

This quote, essentially, -denies- Jesus. Of such Jesus said, "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in Heaven." (Mt10:33)

Calvinism cannot get a person to Heaven! Period! No Ifs, Ands or Buts. It is a path to the Lake of Fire!

Amen!

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Video Roleplay Games?

READER QUESTION:
Lately i have found an urge to start playing an online roleplaying game. My father says i should not start playing it, not only because it is addictive but also because it is demonic. Now it is here where i am a little bit confused, or should i rather say i dont want to believe the game is demonic so i can actually play it. I am now asking for your oppinion on whether i could start playing it or not. I have been very bored lately and so i have been watching alot of TV-series when i have free time.

So my question is:
If this game is demonic of some sort in what way could it damage me. I was hoping you to shed some light on whether it could actually hurt me or if its only a time waster or anything similar. Is it much worse the watching TV-series, since its mostly timewasting (and often pagan) series on.

PS! The game is called World of Warcraft, and i am 15 years old.

VW ANSWER:
Your father is correct... it -is- 'demonic'. I googled just now and browsed down through the Wikipedia entry for it. At the top is a picture of an avatar...in all its demonically Hindu-inspired visage. As one reads down through the text, there are expressions: monsters, quests, trolls, dwarves, mages, priests, dying and being resurrected by the "spirit healer".

At the website on the opening 'home' page (as far as I cared to look and delve) are things like "blood and gore", the snowman has 'claws' for hands, the picture of the (I assume?) troll, the picture of the human with bat-like wings, the voluptuous 'fantasy' picture of the naked female cracking the whip (dominatrix)

All these things are from the demonic realm. Yes, it is addictive, and a waste of time....but the most important thing is that it is demonic.

And your question is most unbelievably incredible: In what way might it "damage" you?

Let's reason this out. What is it that -forms- a person into what they become? What is it that teaches a person's mouth what to say? We learn to speak by hearing. The accent with which we speak is based on the accent around us, that we become used to...we -hear- it and speak what we hear. Those who spend their time around cussing and swearing, come out cussing and swearing. Those who spend their time with people who use certain words, eventually will say those words themself.

The Bible speaks of "training" a child, and when he is old, that's what he will be. (Pr22:6) You are 15, and at the prime of your learning curve. The really 'good' musicians have usually imprinted the basic skills into their bodies by your age. If they are not skilled at 15, they likely never will be great when they get older. Many of the sporting events like gymnastics are performed at their 'peak' in their teens. It's like the computer expression: Garbage in- Garbage out. What we put into our essence is what we develop and become 'skilled' at... it is what we think about during our waking moments. And once matured, it is what we -are- as adults.

Paul says:

    "But sexual perversion and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no prostitute, unclean person, nor covetous person, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one beguile you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), proving what is acceptable to the Lord." (Eph5:3-10)
From what I'm seeing on the surface, this "World of Warcraft" game has just about every evil thing in it, the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" and these things are "not of the Father but...of the world" (1Jn2:16) Even its name...it looks to me like, if it was called "World of Witchcraft", it might be closer to the true spirit of it. Do you want to fill your being with evil and violence, or that which is praiseworthy?

We are in the days like the "days of Noah". Noah's days were characterized by evil, corruption and "violence" (Gen6:11)

    "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; THINK ON THESE THINGS." (Php4:8)
Not to mention....

if your father has said "No"...you should not be trying to figure out some other 'angle' for why it's OK, and come back at him with, "So-n-so says it's OK" Children are to

    "...obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." (Eph6:1-3)
Perhaps you think your father is too 'strict'? If he were to read the VW mailings, as you do, perhaps he doesn't agree with everything he reads? But if he is a Biblical Christian, his restriction upon you is, hopefully, because he is looking out for your soul. And if this is so, it is also because he (likely) -loves- you, and wants you to grow up honoring the Lord God Almighty.


FURTHER VW COMMENTS:
Back in 2004 we had a shorter version of this topic: Q/A "Children and computers/games"

I mention the "fantasy" pictures. I used that term because that's the term used at the Calendar shop I go to at the mall each year when I get the next year's calendars. You who buy calendars, you know what those shops have, in -themes-. Scenery, dogs, cats, horses, cars, motorcycles, jet airplanes, Hollywood movie stars, swim suit models, cheer leaders, occult, and a whole bunch of stuff (both good and bad) I don't remember them all now. But amongst those, somewhat next to the occult area, is also the "fantasy" zone. Artist depictions of mythological and sci-fi creatures and humans. Dragons, fairies, monsters, demons and (typically) nearly-nude humans; allegedly fantasy warriors. What happens when teens fill their minds with such images? Is not one of the next steps to explore and experiment with the opposite sex? How do such images keep an adolescent mind "pure"? They don't. When they are finally ready to be with their spouse, they will already have been messed up for a proper intimate 'relationship', which they should explore and discover -with- their spouse... not just "-having- sex".

    "Whatever things are pure... of good report..."
And like that 2004 Q/A recommends... Parents: your kids should not have their own 'private' computers in their own rooms until they are at some age where, from their history, they have proven to you that they are trustworthy... or likely, near the age where they are ready to graduate and be moving away from home as 'adults'. For as much as you -want- to 'trust' them, it is in the inherent 'nature' of kids to -lie-, and to cover up certain activities; while presenting a cherub-like 'righteous' seeming face before you, with profuse words alleging to be rightous. For instance, there's a couple of teens next door to me, and I heard the one tell her father one day when she was being questioned about something or other, "I wouldn't lie to you!" And he believed her. But from my own experience with them, being -only- a neighbor (not even in their household), I know of 'tons' of lying they have done. Parents: -always- be 'wary' of your kids. Do like Reagan did with Russia and disarmament: "Trust but verify"

With computers that means: -learn- 'how' a computer works. Learn how to configure your "Delete Private Data" settings so the "history" files are not deleted with the shortcut keystrokes quickly when they are finished with their questionable activities. Learn how to un-hide various file types in MyComputer so you can go into Documents and Settings and view everything they've got stashed away there. Learn how to navigate around the hard drive to places besides just "Documents and Settings", because there's lots of ways to hide files in various places. Don't allow them to have their own private 'persona' at bootup. As long as they are yet "children", and living under your roof, eating your food, and wearing the clothes you provide, THEY DO NOT HAVE "PRIVACY RIGHTS"! (Yes, I also advocate mothers "snooping" through their children's drawers and closets and pockets once in awhile) They should not be engaged in activity which they feel the 'need' to hide from you. If they are being secretive, they are probably misbehaving. Am I (as Jay Leno says) "way out of line"... as some of you are groaning and booing?

Remember...

    "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child..." (Pr22:15a)
Keep the computer they use in a family 'public' area, so that anybody walking by can see what they are doing, so they cannot do things in secret, and break whatever rules you setup for them.

And since that 2004 Q/A a lot of new things are now available. A great big huge --NO-- to things like Facebook, Twitter, and those things. (And also: Do they -really- 'need' a cellphone? or Blackberry, or iPod, etc.etc?) I wonder which is worse? Playing Warcraft or giving out personal info to total strangers and getting lured into trouble? Entire COPs shows are created around just this topic alone, and the 'stings' they conduct to catch the predators. Do you want your kids to experience successful 'rescues'? ...or to not have gotten in trouble in the first place?

And speaking of Jay Leno, what about TV?

I'm probably a bit more 'lax' on this topic, than about computers, because computers lend themselves to "secret" activities. And depending on the activity, "secret" might be equal to "lying"... dishonesty.

Computers are a marvelous tool, and I probably could not see myself being without. My business by which I pay the bills is all based on computer technology. And this ministry would not be what it is without computers and the internet. And when doing Bible study, with the great Bible software that is available, who would ever want to go back to the days of -book- concordances, dictionaries, and such tools?

It is harder to be "secretive" with TV. But the 'addictive' and 'time wasting' aspects are very real; and if a person does not monitor and control one's viewing habits, it might be no better than the "World of Warcraft". There is one that follows something I watch, called, "Legend of the Seeker" which, for the first few seconds I've seen of it before I get the channels flipped, appears to be of a similar genre to Warcraft and such 'fantasy' worlds. Except that Warcraft is still 'worse' because, not only is it 'visual', but is also 'doing'. As the young man said, "roleplaying". If one is "playing" a role, one is -becoming- the person whose role is being played. Doing it over and over...in a sense "practicing". We mentioned being a musician. The way a musician gains expertise is by -practicing-....and in the practice, essentially, 'training' ones' self to become better at it. Roleplaying has the same effect. Whereas TV does not engage the person 'physically'. Even Harry Potter (as it has been re-running on TV repeatedly over the past year), for as evil/demonic as it is, might not be 'as' bad. But as we know from Scripture, that line might be a very narrow one, because...

    "...as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he." (Pr23:7a)
And Jesus said about adultery...
    "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Mt5:28)
We have already observed the relationship of the brain, that when one is watching and empathizing with observed activity, that the activity in the brain is the same as though one is personally -physically- engaged in that activity. see: "the Brain and Morality" [link]

And so, as I'm sitting here, thinking where to take this discussion further, I believe a link to a 2005 Q/A is appropriate and sums up this topic. It says pretty much everything I might come up with to say now; and in re-reading it just now, I still fully agree with what was said back then.

What's OK to do/watch? [link]


SOME FINAL THOUGHTS:
Friday morning on NPR was a news item which opens another door to caution. I didn't catch 'where' this was, but a certain student and his parents are suing their school district for "spying" on him through the built-in camera in his school-issued laptop computer. Apparently the school officials spied, saw the student doing something wrong, and reported it to the parents. (It is the -parents-, who are charged by God with "raising" their children, from whom the child should not have privacy...not government officials. Yes... teachers, being paid by the government-funded education system, are 'agents' of the government)

[Saturday: This evening's local news addressed the story, from Pennsylvania. In their account the school's version of the account was that they were spying to verify that the laptop wasn't being 'stolen'. A bit different from NPR's account, eh. One wonders where, in there, the TRUTH may reside?! :]

This brings up the whole "big brother" aspect of current technology, and this current topic. It has been known for many years, now, that GM's "OnStar" technology, which is advertised as a 'benefit' to bring 'help' to stranded or accident victims, is also backwards accessible. In other words, anybody (e.g. government) can hack into the vehicle and 'monitor' anything that is going on in the vehicle. For anybody who has one of these vehicles, any conversation you have while in the vehicle is no longer "private".

That technology has been expanded. In current commercials they are showing (simulated) criminal suspects, while being pursued, the officials can remotely "turn off" the vehicle, forcing the vehicle to stop. This is being touted as a "good thing" for law enforcement, to help catch the 'bad guys'. But what happens when the 'bad guy' is the Christian, seeking to flee from Anti-christ's 'beast' agents? Like we asked in a another recent Q/A... if a person wanted to "run" from the USA, because it's getting so bad... 'where' are you going to run? and (if they can turn 'off' your vehicle) 'how' are you going to get there?

Those in the know regarding the subversive agenda of the power elites know that the education system has been indoctrinated more and more to 'use' school children to spy on their parents against 'abuse' and 'hate' speech. And things like teaching the Bible (hate literature) and such things is often considered by them as "abuse". Now, with computer camera technology, school officials can (apparently) spy directly through the students' laptops, into their home. And what if there are several kids in the family, each with their own school-issued laptop? The 'officials' can monitor everything they want to see/hear in a Christian home, to come up with 'charges' against the parents for raising their kids in a Biblical Godly manner... which happens to be contrary to the power elite's agenda.

Which brings up that other technology that has gone silent from the lips of concerned individuals. Some years ago there was talk about TVs being equipped with surveillance devices to "listen in" on whatever may be going on in the home where the TV is located. I wonder whatever has become of that?

So... not only is it necessary to adopt spiritually healthy policies in a Christian home regarding computer and TV use due to all the evil that can enter one's heart through their use, but also be aware that these devices can be a means of opening the door to the government spying on you and your family's private Christian home life.

If your children are issued laptops from school, if I was such a parent, first thing I would do would be to seek how to go about disabling that device, or uninstalling the spy software. And if you do disable it, don't be surprised if the school 'exchanges' the laptop with your child as needing "fixing".

And so, also... If you follow the suggestion of children computers being operated only in family 'public' areas, and they are using the school-issued laptop, also consider that this family 'public' area may be monitored by the school. Consider 'how' you setup your home. And considering the likelihood that the school laptops are loaded with software for remote access, consider a routine that, when your child is finished with the school-laptop mandated homework, to shut it off, close it up, and store it away in the garage or basement, away from your family activities.

Paranoid! you say? You bet!!! We are called to be...

    "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be WISE AS SERPENTS and harmless as doves." (Mt10:16)
Amen!

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