New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 6, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 8A — HERALD-ZEITUNG — Saturday, January 6, 2001Religion
Finding the scariest channel on television
Recent surfing of the television waves has led me to the following conclusion: channel surfing can be dangerous and scary.
Perhaps the more I surf, the more I will likely quit the sport altogether. Not only is channel-scanning a source of continual strife between family members who vie for control of the remote, but it inevitably leads to sensory input that is at the very least, passive and at best, unhealthy.
Where does one begin when identifying scary channels? Some are more obvious than others. Anything that is black and white loses me. Music stations offer no staying power. Most major networks offer mindless drivel and therefore are quickly passed over. Food and shopping channels make me both hungry and poor.
The scariest channels to me, however, are the religious ones. If you can spend more than 30 seconds on any of them, you are a better tube-gazer than I am. I struggle to understand what is going through the minds of preachers and congregations alike. Is what I’m seeing authentic or is it another example of television working its magic?
Sadly, I have to believe that the audiences (both live and at home) are real people looking for something spiritually real. It scares me, though, to think that they accept as “real,” that which is spewed out of the mouths of camera-driven^ preachers. Even scarier is the high probability that few' of these sponges have enough biblical knowledge to compare or even refute that which they hear.
It’s scary to watch the emotional smorgasbord of activity that some of these audacious services present. Shaking, running, screaming, fainting, crying, laughing and tingling mark the scariest channels on TV Unfortunately, inexperienced and uninformed television viewers could be led to conclude that emotionalism equates with authentic, godly worship.
I would welcome an investigation into the home lives and evangelistic habits of people who worship the holy goose bump. I believe that when the presence of God is truly experienced in a worship environment, the condition of the worshipper is inexorably altered. Specifically, the worshipper becomes more like Jesus.
This means that their respective lives testify to his character. They are better spouses, parents, children, employees and church members. They can’t deny a growing desire to responsibly reach people who are far from God with the outstanding story of Jesus.
The congregations I see on religious television are much like places I’ve actually been. The people leave when it’s over and try to survive until the next time they can reconvene and experience another emotional high.
Life beyond the walls of Goosebump Cathedral is isolated and unfulfilling. Their corporate experience rarely includes God — otherwise God’s love and power would positively and noticeably alter their communities.
Are viewers attracted to religious television because there are no real Christians in their life?
(Tim Judkins will be speaking on "The Under-used Organ in Church ” this Sunday at the Contemporary Worship celebration of First Protestant Church.)
Appreciating astronomy, not astrology: know the stars
January is always a prime month for amateur astronomers. The brightest stars and constellations are rising in the eastern sky, dominated by Orion and his hunting dogs, Taurus the Bull, Auriga the Charioteer and Gemini the Twins.
In just this particular region are no less than seven first-magnitude stars, two being reddish-orange, another yellow and several blue-white. Binoculars will reveal our nearest galaxy, a spectacular nebula in Orion’s sword, and many beautiful star clusters, notably the Pleiades, more commonly known as the seven sisters.
What makes this January extraordinary is the appearance of three bright planets. Venus is in the west just after sunset, so brilliant you cannot possibly miss it. With little more difficulty, you can locate Jupiter and Saturn, close together and very near the Pleiades.
Through even a small telescope Jupiter shows four of its moons and Saturn, its lovely rings.
For most of its history, astronomy has been confused with astrology, and even now (especially now, I would say) it is important to distinguish between the two.
Astronomy is a science, though it can be appreciated
for its folklore and legend. Astrology is a superstition. The latter assumes that the movement of the planets against the background of the starts powerfully affects human destiny and behavior.
To say, for example, that Venus is “in” Aquarius is preposterous, because the stars that make up that constellation are separated from each other (and from Venus) by hundreds of light years and appear to us as a man carrying water (if indeed, that is what they look like) only as an accident of perspective.
All this is lost, unfortunately, on millions of horoscope readers who are more numerous than they have ever been, a strange commentary on the “enlightened” era our previous century was supposed to have ushered in. The truth is that we are living in an incredibly superstitious culture that gives credence not only to astrology, but to the whole bizarre canon of occult “sciences.” It all confirms what G.K. Chesterton predicted, that the real danger
in the 20th Century was not that we would believe nothing, but that we would believe anything.
In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, written almost 500 years ago, Calvin gave a brilliant definition of superstition. He called it “the illusion of control.” What it ultimately makes of life is a shadowy, fearful experience in which people clutch at anything that gives them the sense of controlling events.
For superstition in all its forms, the Bible expresses nothing but scorn. To the king of Babylon, Daniel says, “No enchanters, magicians or astrologers can show to the king the mysteries that he asks, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” Isaiah is equally contemptuous: “Let them stand forth and save you,” he says derisively, “those who divine the heavens, who at new moons predict what will befall you.” Shakespeare was right: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars but in ourselves.”
Who can save us from that? God can, or as Paul says in his magnificent affirmation to Timothy, “God has not give us a spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind.”
(Ken Peters is the pastor at New Braunfels Presbyterian Church.)
Examining the perseverance of the saints and its meaning
By Douglas W. Hill
Special to the Herald-Zeitung
The perseverance of the saints is a doctrine accepted by many denominations. And since all men (even Christians) sin (Rom. 3:23) it is easy to see why men so eagerly receive it; men seek some assurance of salvation. But before we accept this doctrine, shouldn’t we examine whether God approves of it or not ( I John 4:1). And since the Bereans were called “noble” by God when they put the apostle Paul to the test of scriptural examination (Acts 17:11), shouldn't we also put men and their teachings to the test to know whether they are “from Heaven or from men” ( Matthew 21:25)? Certainly, we should. So let us see if the Bible teaches that once a person is saved they are always saved.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians and describes them as “the church of God,” those who “are sanctified in Christ Jesus” and “called to be saints” (I Corinthians 1:2). Surely, all will agree that the Corinthians had become Christians and were in “fellowship with Christ” (1:9).
In Chapter Eight we read about the proper and improper use of liberties. There are some things which Christians have the right to do, but must still consider how it will influence and affect others. Paul says that if Christians use their liberties without consideration of others, then they can sin against the brethren (vs. 21). And, when a Christian sins against the brethren, he also sins against Christ (vs. 12). Does a Christian remain in a saved state when he commits sin against Christ? How
“There are some things which Christians have the right to do, but must still consider how it will influence and affect others. Paul says that if Christians use their liberties without consideration of others, then they can sin against the brethren (vs. 21). And, when a Christian sins against the brethren, he also sins against Christ (vs. 12).
can anyone be in a right or saved relationship with Jesus when they are sinning against him?
In Chapter 10, Paul sends our minds back to Israel of old. They were “baptized unto Moses” and partook of spiritual food and drink (vs. 1-4). Hence, we clearly see that they were saved, for they were partakers of Christ through these things (vs. 4). Yet, they were overthrown in the wilderness (vs. 5). They were saved, yet they fell due to their lusts, fornication, murmuring and other sins (vs. 6). Then, Paul makes application of this to Christians: “Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (vs. 12). Can Christians fall from the saved state? Paul thought so.
Finally, I do not know of anyone who would doubt that Paul was saved. We read of his conversion in the book of Acts and all agree that he was now in a right and saved relationship with Christ. But notice what Paul says in I Corinthians 9:27: “I buffet
my body and bring it into subjection lest by any means, after what I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.” What does Paul mean by “rejected”? In this context, he is comparing the Christian’s life to the Corinthian games. When they ran a race they must run by the rules (vs. 25). A Christian, in similar fashion, must run by the rules. Now, if a runner is “rejected” will he receive the crown? No. In like manner, of a Christian is rejected (as Paul said he could be if he was not careful), then he will not receive the prize of an “incorruptible crown” (vs. 25-27). Clearly, Paul believed that Christians can fall.
Some may ask, “Then, what kind of confidence can we have in salvation?”
Simply put, we can know when we are saved or not on the following terms: “And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that says, i know him,’ and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:3-4). When we walk by faith in his word, then we have confidence and firm assurance. But if we affirm that we have faith, and do not believe him enough to do what he says...what confidence can we hope to have? None.
Does the Bible support the doctrine of “once saved, always saved”? Judge for yourself what the word of God says on this issue. Your soul’s salvation depends on it (John 12:48).
(Douglas W. Hill is an evangelist at New Braunfels Church of Christ on Farm-to-Market Road 725.)
By Susan Phillips
Special to the Herald-Zeitung
Educational opportunities are abundant in Texas and have been a top priority of soon-to-be-President George Bush. Other nations are not so fortunate.
In the late 1960s, the first Protestant University on the continent of Africa was founded by missionaries with the Disciples of Christ Church. Despite the President Kabila’s dictatorship, military, economic and political chaos in the Congo, the university still maintains its schedule.
The Congo is one-third the size of the United States with abundant untapped natural resources. With a population of more than 50 million, half of the country is in rebel hands with the economy in shambles. The typical Congolese are desperate for food, medical care and education for their children. Yet the university presses on with classes beginning Oct. 23.
The greatest hope for the Congo’s future lies in education and the cost is inexpensive compared to other nations. A full scholarship for one year is $2,500. The needs are many and through coalitions with German and American-based Liaison Boards, plans for building a new campus are underway. There are hopes for a desperately needed College of Medicine.
When a nation is starving and ravaged by war, it is a miracle that this university still exists. Through God’s grace, it may one day produce a great leader to finally bring peace and prosperity to this nation in the heart of Africa.
(Susan Phillips is the daughter of one of the founders of the Protestant University, Dr. Ben C. Hobgood. For information contact the North American Liaison Board, RO. Box 545, Penney Farms, FL 32079 or b.Hobgood^ uno. com)
The Herald-Zeitung has Something for Everyone
Babies on Parade
This special 20 Page section has a very HIGH Readership.
Thursday, January 11th.
Sunday January 28th
Chamber of Commerce & the Herald-Zeitung
"A Year in Review"
We are working side by side to feature this 12 page Review of 2000 in New Braunfels. This feature will be distributed to all Chamber members, and our readers. Over 16,000 copies!
Dedications of Love
Tell your Valentine what is in your heart-A Lover's Guide to Sweetheart Deals, Valentines Day Values,
Romantic Date Ideas and more.
Placement Deadline: Monday, January 29
Publication Date: February 11
A Parents Guide to Raising Happy Healthy Children
What every parent needs to know:
Educating your kids, Discipline Strategies from Birth to College Graduation.
Placement Deadline: Monday, February 12
Publication Date: Sunday February 25
Call to reserve your space today 830.625.9144 fax 830.625.1224
7-pc Oak Style Bedroom Set
Billy Bob’s Bedg
* f ■ ......... ■ _ ^ • • yjis
•Rudesalesman 4 WM, Lowest vifly
• Mean Cashier MST WB : W: j Prices ■ gm*
•Ugly Store tiy . CtjAkvLHy ’Tri) In San Antonio! 22
1000 Bruni NBW iii will ■MOMPiooipi .
WUU manressei! tar ru...MMM,
ORTHO SUPPORT SUPREME SETS
COMMIE JI MATTRESS SETS1
iftnmprtnu • Cal ti iii —naomi tar Uwi- /
In San Antonio! .. _
7350 TEIII RO.* 543-9100 TUESDAYS