Tuesday, July 31, 2012

History of Revival 3

      For about a thousand years, the church gradually fell into darkness and began practicing stuff that is not in the Bible. Rome has fallen, causing a rise in illiteracy and education declined.  The entire Bible was translated into latin and “tradition” entered the church without life or meaning attached to it. Even better, those that dare question or leave the church were condemned a heretic and put to death. The church controlled every aspect of human life. J. H. Merle D'Aubigne Wrote, “The semblance of an identical and exterior organization was gradually substituted for that interior and spiritual communion, which is the essence of the religion of God. Men forsook the precious perfume of faith, and bowed down before the empty vessel that had contained it. They sought other bonds of union, for faith in the heart no longer connected the members of the Church; and they were united by means of bishops, archbishops, popes, mitres, canons, and ceremonies.”2 The church would stamp out “heretics” through what is called the inquisition. What they would do is kidnapped suspected people spreading ideas that are contrary to what the church believes and teaches, force a confession out of people, and kill them if they refuse to repent. Many have been murdered through the inquisition.

        Also during this time period were the crusades (A very sad event that has marred the reputation of Christianity and the Gospel). Beside all the bad things that occurred during this event, this encouraged travel and the embracing of different cultures. What all this encouraged was the renaissance. The mantra of the renaissance was ad fontes, which means “going back to the fountain” in Latin. The Europeans went back and read the writings of the Greeks, Romans, and other ancient civilizations. During the crusades, many of the warriors were bringing back with them the writings of people such as Aristotle and Plato (The Muslim House of Wisdom had the classic writings when Europe was in the dark ages) and began to read them for themselves. For the Reformers, they went back to the original manuscripts of the scriptures. The overarching theme of the Reformation was whether the Bible or the Roman Catholic Church was the ultimate source of authority. Today, this doctrine is called sola scriptura.  Scripture alone was(and is) the final source of doctrine and practice for the church and the believer.

      After reading through the Bible, the doctrines that the church enjoys today have been brought back into the Christian life. Martin Luther listed five of them which include sola scriptura(scripture alone), sola gratia(Grace alone), sola fide(faith alone), soli deo Gloria(to God alone be glory), and soli Christo(Christ alone).  The churches are now doing services in one’s natural language rather than it being in Latin (Which only the clergy could understand) and each was hearing the Gospel in his own native tongue. Education was reestablished through the work John Calvin and Martin Luther did in establishing schools for children. Over a period of time, Reformed Christianity had an influence on the arts and the Scientific Revolution. Who knew that such a move of God would have such an impact on world history and how we live today?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

History of Revival part 2

      During the 4th century AD, God was at work in the western part of the known world. In 389 A.D., St. Patrick was born in the village of Bonnavem Tabernine(Somewhere in the British Isles, exact location unknown) to wealthy, Christian parents. His grandfather was a pastor and his father was a deacon in the church. When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates (Which was a common thing to have happened to young men) and taken into slavery. During his time as a slave, God worked in his heart and he managed to escape his captors and go back home. One day he recieved a vision from God to go to Ireland to preach the Gospel to a land infested with pagan gods and ideas. The celtics of Ireland were a rowdy crowd who were considered barbarians, fighters, and pagan worshiping people. There was a story where he showed up in the middle of a pagan Druid festival. One of the customs of this festival was that no fires were to be lit whatsoever until the king lights one up in a ceremonial opening. So, Patrick went up on a hill and lit a fire himself, in direct violation of the festival. One of the Druid priests confessed, “Oh, High King, unless the is fire which you see be quenched this same night, it will never the quenched; and the kindler thereof will overcome…all the folk of your realm.”1 That was a true saying. The Gospel was proclaimed throughout Ireland and thousands were being saved. Several churches were started as a result of Patrick, schools were started, and a bunch of monasteries were established. It is believed that he baptized 120,000 Irishmen and started about 300 churches. This is what preserved Christianity during the middle ages.

But wait... There is still more to come! :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

History of Revival part 1

Throughout the past two thousand years, there have been move of God among many men and women, transcending cultural, political, and racial boundaries. Hearts of stone were softened, those considered barbarians and savages were changed for the better, and entire societies were transformed by the power of God. From the time Christ ascended into heaven, God has been on the move to build His kingdom, and the gates of hell cannot prevail over it.

          The first revival after the ascension of Christ has been recorded in Holy Scripture for us to read. In the book of Acts, God pours out his spirit at Pentecost on the followers of Jesus and Peter giving his first sermon, resulting in three thousand getting saved. If that wasn’t enough, the sick were being healed (Acts 3:1-8, Acts 5:12, 5:15-16), the dead were being raised (Acts 9:36-42), and people were added to the body of Christ( Acts 2:37-41, Acts 4:4, Acts 5:14). The Gospel was not only preached in the streets of Jerusalem, but it also went out to many parts of the Roman Empire. After Stephen was stoned to death, there arose a great persecution against the church of Jesus and scattered those the regions of Judea and Samaria(Acts 8:1). Philip began preaching in Samaria(Acts 8:4-8), led an Ethiopian government official to Christ( Acts 8:26-38), and traveled to Azotus where he preached in the towns till he came to Caesarea(Acts 8:40). Paul, who met Jesus on the road to Damascus, preached the Gospel to a lot of the known world. He actually began preaching to those at the Synagogues in Damascus (Acts 9:19-22) to traveling to Cyprus, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Macedonia, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus. He preached the Gospel, started churches, and performed signs and wonders in these cities. The Gospel has been going forth mightily and powerfully and nothing could stop its spread.

       The era of the Roman Empire was a time of intense persecution yet the Gospel went forth. Many Christians suffered the most painful and grueling ways to die and yet embrace it joyfully and with gladness. Because Christians refused to join the variety of mystery cults (Zoaroasterism, Mithraism, and Mysteries of Eleusis being examples) and ultimately refusing to bow to the Emperor of Rome, Christians would be persecuted for that. What happens is that these religions would have festivals that Christian would consider immoral and one would be bowing down to another god other than the one true God. Some people would be hanged by fishing hooks and are therefore skinned alive, some are boiled to death, and some are throw to the lions at gladiator games for entertainment. But guess what, the persecution helped the Gospel advance and the church did expand. A lot of times the soldiers performing the execution of Christians were so affected by how these Christians embraced their martyrdom that they are saved later on. One example would be the story of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste where 40 Christians were left to die in the middle of a frozen lake. They were singing , “40 good martyrs, 40 good soldiers for Christ.” One left to the bath houses for anyone who would recant and it become “39 good martyrs…” The jailer who was watching this was so affected that he joined them and the song went back to “40 good martyrs…” Even persecution can be a tool that God can use to bring the Gospel to the utter most parts of the earth.

To be continued....

Friday, March 16, 2012

wonders of vitamin D

Taking a little break from writing on politics and worldview.

In the day and age that we live in, we are bounded too much indoors. Unlike our ancestors who lived and worked outside(Most on farms and plantations), we live and do our work without much consideration to the outside world. This trend comes with a cost. Without regular exposure to sunlight, your body is lacking an important element; vitamin D. If more people are informed and obtaining this vitamin, there would be less cases of various types of cancer and the general population would be healthier than it is now.

First, what exactly is vitamin D? It is a fat-soluble prohormone that absorbs calcium and phosphorus. Meaning, it is used to build strong and healthy bones. There are five forms of this vitamin; D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5. The important vibrations of these are D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is found in foods such as fish, fortified milk, and eggs. Vitamin D3, the most important form, is obtained from exposure to sunlight. This is in a nutshell the essence of this vitamin.

Secondly, What the deal with vitamin D nowadays? Research has shown that vitamin D does more than build and strengthen your bones. Recent research has shown that it is effective in the fight against cancer, hypertension, and osteoporosis.1 Not only that, it is also a regulatory vitamin. According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin D contributes to the secretion and regulation of insulin in the pancreas, brain activity, and muscle strength. The study also noted 36 organ tissue also benefits from this vitamin including the stomach, kidneys, bone marrow, lungs, intestines, and skin.2 If anyone is diabetic, the more vitamin D one has, the more he is able to control your condition. Many people diagnosed with diabetes have low levels of vitamin D. According to Australian research, this vitamin can help play a role by increasing insulin levels.3 A study from the Creighton University School of medicine has shown that vitamin D can reduce one’s risk of cancer by 77%. This includes colon cancer and breast cancer.4 This vitamin comes with many wonders and has amazing benefits.

Third, there are practical ways to obtain this vitamin. The best way to obtain it is to go outside and lay in the sun. There are a few misconceptions about this though. First, vitamin D does not go through glass or a window. It gets filtered by the window when light goes through. If you were planning on lying next to your living room window where the sun is shining through, probably not a good idea in regards to obtaining this vitamin. Second, some say that the sun causes skin cancer. It is only spending too much time in the sun when one gets sunburned and has an excess of vitamin D. one only needs to spend 10-20 minutes under the sunlight to get plenty of this vitamin. Other sources of vitamin D include fish oils (example, cod liver oil) and fortified milk. Still, sunlight is the best way to get it. If one lives in climate where it is cloudy most of the time( such as Seattle, WA or Boston, MA), one may need to either find a tanning place or take a good vitamin D3 supplement. Mercola has a vitamin D3 spray that costs only $15.00(http://products.mercola.com/vitamin-d-spray/). I find that the spray is the best when it comes to getting vitamin D when the weather won’t allow one to. Go out and enjoy the sunshine.

In closing, this shows that vitamin D can prevent and treat many diseases and conditions. If more people are aware of the benefits of this vitamin, there would be fewer cases of illness and people may be living longer. Let us get the soccer ball, go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

1. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d/NS_patient-vitamind.

2. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/11/01/Vitamin-D-is-a-Key-Player-in-Your-Overall-Health.aspx

3. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/27/us-vitamind-diabetes-idUSTRE73Q6VH20110427

4. http://www.naturalnews.com/021892.html

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Church in need of Reformation

In the year 1517, something amazing has occurred. An Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to a church in Whittenburg, Germany. What this sparked was the Protestant Reformation. It led to erroneous doctrine of the Catholic Church to be exposed and the restoration of Biblical truth. Today, the church of America needs reforming. False theology of the Word of Faith movement, the therapeutic Gospel, and the Emergent church are rampant in churches from sea to shining sea. Another thing that most Christians, including Calvinists, seem to miss is the involvement in reforming the culture. As one can see; there are abortion clinics opened all around, homosexuals are pushing for their “right” to get married, and elements of God and Christianity are gradually being removed from the public square thanks to intimidation from liberal/ atheistic groups. If the church in America is going to be reformed, it needs to get themselves outsides of the walls of the church and involved in reforming and evangelizing society.