Snakes, demons and gasoline (part 6)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 6)

(This article is part of a continuing series. The previous article can be found here).

What, if any, limitations did God put upon miracles, according to the Scripture? We noted in the previous article that miracles were certainly limited in that only apostles could confer miraculous gifts to others.

But someone might respond, “If there are still apostles living today, then miraculous gifts could still be exercised and passed on by them.”

The Mormon religion, for example, believes that there are modern-day apostles. If this was the case, then it would seem at least possible for miracles to be both performed and passed on by the laying on of their hands. Could this be true? Continue reading “Snakes, demons and gasoline (part 6)”

Contemporary Christian music

Recently I was astonished to hear someone say his main method of teaching was to use “Contemporary Christian music” in his Bible classes. He pointed out that the lyrics of many rock, rap and country songs were sinful and degrading, while the Contemporary Christian songs featured lyrics that were “spiritual.”

There is no question that a great deal of popular music is trashy, mean-spirited and hateful. The Christian should turn that music off just as surely as he would walk out of a movie that is laced through with ungodly content.

You do walk out of such movies, don’t you? Continue reading “Contemporary Christian music”

Our highest love

I guess it’s not a very well known song these days. It makes use of archaic verb endings, and is as “contemporary” as a Mozart sonata. It is the first phrase that sticks out like an iceberg in the Kalahari:

“Lord of our highest love, let now thy peace be given,
Fix all our thoughts on thee above, our hearts on thee in heaven” (Gilbert Tickle).

It is a “Communion song,” the following verses a study on the emblems of the Lord’s Supper. But that first phrase still calls us: We might love many things, family, country, or music, or the out of doors, not bad things in themselves, but the Lord is, or should be our highest love. Continue reading “Our highest love”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 5)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 5)

(This article is part of a continuing series. The previous article can be found here).

As we now turn our attention to the duration of miracles, we must first note some other significant limitations about the miracles recorded in the early days of the church:

Miracles were limited to apostolic ministry.

In the book of Acts – which records the early weeks (chapters 1-7), months (8-9), and years (10-28) of the church’s existence – there are numerous miracles recorded. Without fail, aside from those worked directly by God, these miracles were wrought either by (1) an apostle, or (2) someone on whom an apostle had laid hands. But did those on whom the apostles laid hands confer this gift to others? Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 5)”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 4)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 4)

(This article is part of a continuing series. The previous article can be found here).

Are miracles still occurring today? That is not the same question as, “Do people still claim to witness miracles today?” People claim to witness miracles regularly. But a claim must be substantiated.

This is a somewhat touchy subject because if you say, “God is no longer working miracles as He did in the first century,” people might hear that as, “God is not active in people’s lives,” or, “God is no longer capable of performing a miracle,” or, “God does not provide healing at all,” or perhaps worse, “God doesn’t care about us.” Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 4)”

Joyful noise

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing. Know that the Lord, he is God; It is he who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:1-3 NKJV).

Eastern music – that is to say, the music of Asia – is different from that common in the Western hemisphere. Not only do they feature different instruments which produce varying tones, but their chords, rhythms, and melodies are far removed from the “top 40” hits, symphony performances, and other popular music with which most Europeans and Americans are familiar. Continue reading “Joyful noise”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 3)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17.) (Part 3)

This article is a continuing series; the preceding article can be found here.

Have you ever seen someone raised from the dead by the word of a prophet?
Have you ever witnessed someone drinking a sufficient amount of poison as would kill them, but with no effect?
Have you ever heard someone instantly speak fluently in a language with which they were previously unfamiliar?
Do you know of a person who goes to cancer clinics and pronounces patient’s cancer to be in full and instantaneous remission? Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 3)”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 2)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 2)

In the previous article (here), we gave four reasons why modern snake-handling as a religious act is not what Jesus was referring to in Mark 16:17-20. In this second article, we will continue the exploration of the modern phenomenon of snake-handling, and why it is not the fulfillment of what Jesus prophesied.

Jesus certainly said that miracles would accompany the disciples in their ministry. He listed several examples of the kinds of things they might expect: Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 2)”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 1)

“These signs shall follow them that believe…” (Mark 16:17)

Some years back, when I lived in Appalachian Kentucky and conducted a weekly radio program, I aired a program that argued against snake-handling as a biblically-sanctioned religious activity. Some might say that was a more dangerous stunt than the snake-handling itself. During the course of that program (I still have all the manuscripts), I said concerning Mark 16:20:

This passage no more authorizes the use of snakes in worship than it authorizes the drinking of bleach…Yet, if the passage teaches one, it surely teaches the other, does it not? Why snakes and not bleach? Why not snakes and bleach? I’ll tell you why, because you can get away with handling a snake for a long time – especially if you know what you’re doing – but you can’t get away with drinking bleach even once!

Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 1)”

Suggestions for song leaders

You will run across several kinds of song leaders:

  • The “super humble” song leader, whom you can’t hear. Yet such an approach instills hesitancy on the part of the congregation, who generally do not want to be the “only” ones singing.
  • “I’m the show, look at me.” On the other hand, the song leader should not draw undue attention to himself.
  • It’s good ‘nuff for the folks I go with. This song leader feels no need to develop or improve himself.
  • Scolding Song leader – “Come on, people, sing like you mean it!” This is usually deplorably bad psychology and will have the opposite effect that the song leader seeks; rather than sing better, the congregation shuts down.
  • My genre or the highway. Contemporary? Traditional? Stamps Baxter? Classics? He forces his favorites onto the congregation and will never contemplate leading songs enjoyed by other members of the congregation.

Continue reading “Suggestions for song leaders”