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Saturday, December 23, 2017

R.C. Sproul Memorial Service

Teacher, professor, pastor, author, husband, father, grandfather, friend, servant of God and His people—Dr. Robert Charles Sproul, better known to many simply as R.C., was all of these things and more. Having finished his race on earth, Dr. Sproul has gone on to his reward, and we now celebrate his legacy of faithful service to Christ and His church. 

After his conversion during his freshman year in college, R.C. served Christ for more than sixty years. Never one to stand down when the gospel itself was at stake, R.C. tirelessly labored to defend the sufficiency of God’s grace alone for our salvation as well as the trustworthiness of the Word of God. Yet in all this, he remained the consummate happy warrior, his infectious humor and generous spirit on full display. His bold stand for the truth evidenced the confidence he had in the sovereignty of the Lord.

 R.C. was a uniquely gifted communicator, and his ability to make complex topics easy to understand was evident throughout his teaching. God in His grace used him to awaken men and women around the world to the holiness of God, and his legacy is evident not only in the vast body of work he leaves behind but in the countless people whose understanding of God’s majestic character was deepened because they sat under his teaching. 

As we reflect on R.C.’s life and legacy, we give glory to God for using R.C. to advance His kingdom on earth. We honor R.C. best by carrying on his mission to help as many people as possible understand the character of God and rest by faith alone in Jesus Christ.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017


"Will Israel ever accept Messianic Jews? - Indeed, Messianic Jews are largely shunned by mainstream Jewish communities around the world, and are commonly seen as proselytizers. 

In recent times, tension between Israel’s rabbinate and the liberal streams of Judaism both at home and abroad have been in the spotlight due to disputes over religious pluralism. But another group, Messianic Jews, is continuously ostracized both by mainstream world Jewry and by Israel.

Every now and again a story reaches the media about a self-identified Jew whose application for immigration to Israel, or aliya, has been denied on the basis that he or she is a Messianic Jew.

Supreme Court of Israel. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 The Law of Return was enacted by the Knesset in 1950.

In 1970, Amendment 4A (a) to the Law of Return was passed, stating: “The rights of a Jew under this Law and the rights of an oleh under the Nationality Law, 5712-1952, as well as the rights of an oleh under any other enactment, are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew, except for a person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his/her religion.”

In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that Messianic Jews’ belief in Jesus makes them Christians, thus ineligible for automatic Israeli citizenship.

That ruling, however, was left open to future changes. “The ‘secular test’ is composed of various elements, and it is possible to enumerate between them the foundations of the Jewish religion, the Hebrew language, the history of the Jewish people and the rebuilding of its independence in its state. The internal weight of these elements has changed over time, and will change in the future. The secular-liberal conception is a dynamic concept that changes with the Jewish people’s path over history,” it reads.

In April 2008, the court ruled that several Messianic Jews were entitled to Israeli citizenship because they were the descendants of Jewish fathers or grandfathers, but had never been Jewish themselves, and thus had not converted.

“The question is whether the Law of Return is still suitable to current needs,” a source familiar with the issue tells the Post.

He says the situation is complicated for those who are in the “twilight zone of religions,” between Judaism and Christianity, for example, or those who converted under duress in order to save their lives. “The law has no answer to that. Nobody has given it any thought and nobody wants to touch the Law of Return, for fear that it will jeopardize the very foundation of the justification of Zionism.

“The absurd thing is that if they join a friendship association with Israel in the West, they will be very welcomed by Israel as friends, just like any Friends of Israel Christian group,” he adds, “although I believe that they would be shunned by local communities because they are too ambiguous about their Judaism, and communities in general are not afraid anymore of Christian Friends or even Muslim Friends but are very weary of all those who are in between.”

Indeed, Messianic Jews are largely shunned by mainstream Jewish communities around the world, and are commonly seen as proselytizers.

“The term ‘Jews for Jesus’ – and probably even ‘Messianic Jews’ – is a bit disingenuous,” says Rabbi David Rosen, adviser on interreligious affairs to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, who also serves as the director of the American Jewish Committee’s Department of Interreligious Affairs.

“If people believe Jesus is one of the triune persons of God, then they should be honest as identifying themselves as Christian.

Therefore, they can identify themselves as ethnically Jewish Christians or Jewish Christians if they want. But they are Christian,” he tells the Post. “Part of the problem with those who use these terminologies is that it’s very often for missionary proselytizing purposes.... That, I think, is the major source of distress for the Jewish community, where they are seen as predatory in their religious approach and disingenuous in their terminology.”

Addressing arguments that the situation of descendants of Holocaust survivors and those targeted by antisemites should be taken into account, Rosen says: “I sympathize with their plight but think it’s ridiculous to suggest that antisemitism, let alone Nazism, should determine who is considered a Jew.”

This question, in his opinion, should not be in the hands of the state at all.

“From my point of view, the state should not be interfering in questions of people’s identity at all. It should not be going into the business of who is a Jew, let alone what is a Jew,” he asserts. “The state itself originally, prior the Law of Return, followed Ben-Gurion’s approach that anyone who wants to consider themselves as a Jews should be seen as a Jew.”

He also opined that the state, as a secular democracy, should not be preferring one group over another.

“Most Jews believe the Law of Return should still remain as a declarative testimony of the fact that Israel is a home for Jews everywhere in the world. But it is very dubious as to whether the Law of Return should be defining exactly who is a Jew,” he says, noting that in his opinion, the duty of absorbing immigrants should be the responsibility of an organization of the Jewish people, such as the Jewish Agency.

There are an estimated 20,000 Messianic Jewish believers in Israel, and an estimated 350,000 worldwide.

Scharf says very few Messianic Jews apply for aliya from abroad, but the Jewish Agency does not have data on those who apply to immigrate while already residing in Israel. The Population and Immigration Bureau says it does not have statistics specifically for Messianic Jews.

The Messianic Jewish Alliance of Israel declined a request for an interview." - excerpts from Will Israel ever accept Messianic Jews? -  By Tamara Zieve
December 16, 2017 04:33  The Jerusalem Post

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Martin Luther a Racist Anti-Semite? - Q&A RC Sproul & Voddie Baucham

 "That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew" (1523) - excerpts by Martin Luther

 A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ, but that she conceived Christ through Joseph, and had more children after that. Above and beyond all this, I am supposed to have preached a new heresy, namely, that Christ was [through Joseph] the seed of Abraham. How these lies tickle my good friends, the papists! Indeed, because they condemn the gospel it serves them right that they should have to satisfy and feed their heart's delight and joy with lies. I would venture to wager my neck that none of those very liars who allege such great things in honor of the mother of God believes in his heart a single one of these articles. Yet with their lies they pretend that they are greatly concerned about the Christian faith.

 But after all, it is such a poor miserable lie that I despise it and would rather not reply to it. In these past three years I have grown quite accustomed to hearing lies, even from our nearest neighbors. And they in turn have grown accustomed to the noble virtue of neither blushing nor feeling ashamed when they are publicly convicted of lying. They let themselves be chided as liars, yet continue their lying. Still they are the best Christians, striving with all that they have and are to devour the Turk and to extirpate all heresy.

 Since for the sake of others, however, I am compelled to answer these lies, I thought I would also write something useful in addition, so that I do not vainly steal the reader's time with such dirty rotten business. Therefore, I will cite from Scripture the reasons that move me to believe that Christ was a Jew born of a virgin, that I might perhaps also win some Jews to the Christian faith. Our fools, the popes, bishops, sophists, and monks-the crude asses' heads-have hitherto so treated the Jews that anyone who wished to be a good Christian would almost have had to become a Jew. If I had been a Jew and had seen such dolts and blockheads govern and teach the Christian faith, I would sooner have become a hog than a Christian.

They have dealt with the Jews as if they were dogs rather than human beings; they have done little else than deride them and seize their property. When they baptize them they show them nothing of Christian doctrine or life, but only subject them to popishness and monkery. When the Jews then see that Judaism has such strong support in Scripture, and that Christianity has become a mere babble without reliance on Scripture, how can they possibly compose themselves and become right good Christians? I have myself heard from pious baptized Jews that if they had not in our day heard the gospel they would have remained Jews under the cloak of Christianity for the rest of their days. For they acknowledge that they have never yet heard anything about Christ from those who baptized and taught them.

 I hope that if one deals in a kindly way with the Jews and instructs them carefully from Holy Scripture, many of them will become genuine Christians and turn again to the faith of their fathers, the prophets and patriarchs. They will only be frightened further away from it if their Judaism is so utterly rejected that nothing is allowed to remain, and they are treated only with arrogance and scorn. If the apostles, who also were Jews, had dealt with us Gentiles as we Gentiles deal with the Jews, there would never have been a Christian among the Gentiles. Since they dealt with us Gentiles in such brotherly fashion, we in our turn ought to treat the Jews in a brotherly manner in order that we might convert some of them. For even we ourselves are not yet all very far along, not to speak of having arrived.

When we are inclined to boast of our position we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord. Therefore, if one is to boast of flesh and blood, the Jews are actually nearer to Christ than we are, as St. Paul says in Romans 9[:5]. God has also demonstrated this by his acts, for to no nation among the Gentiles has he granted so high an honor as he has to the Jews. For from among the Gentiles there have been raised up no patriarchs, no apostles, no prophets, indeed, very few genuine Christians either. And although the gospel has been proclaimed to all the world, yet He committed the Holy Scriptures, that is, the law and the prophets, to no nation except the Jews, as Paul says in Romans 3[:2] and Psalm 147[:19-20], "He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; nor revealed his ordinances to them....

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