"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Immoveable: Standing Firm in the Last Days

The following is a guest post regarding a new book by author Tim Riordan.

What is going on in the world? This question seems to be on the minds of many people today as we consider world events. Some people face these times of uncertainty with great fear and dread while others engage these times with wonder and expectation. For those of us who are Christians, there is another question on our minds: “Do world events have anything to do with Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus?” While God is clear in His Word that no one knows the time or day when Jesus will return (Matthew 24:36), He also tells us in the same passage to “keep watch.” He gave us specific prophecies in the Bible related to world events telling us these would be indicators that His return was near, and He stated that these anticipated happenings would grow in increasing intensity: “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8). The miracle of birth begins slowly, maybe even weeks before the actual delivery. Early contractions are so insignificant that many young mothers may not even notice them. As the prophecies of Matthew 24 begin to be fulfilled, they will start small and grow in significance. There is no doubt that we are seeing a growth in intensity of world turmoil, and some of these specific prophecies are becoming more pronounced with every passing day.

If we are living in the last days, what does this mean for the Church? What does it mean for you and your family? It is because of my burden for the Church and my belief that we could be facing very challenging days in the near future, I wrote my new book, Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. I believe that God has given Christians equipment, or armor, to help us endure the evil days leading up to Christ’s return and to bear fruit during a time of unparalleled opportunity. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” I shared these thoughts about this verse in my book: “While ‘the day of evil’ can refer to a time of intense temptation or spiritual conflict that can come at any point in any Christian’s life, it seems that God may be calling us to think about THE day of evil. Is it possible that this passage is calling Christians approaching the last days to prepare for battle by putting on spiritual armor?” With that question going through my mind, I began studying Bible prophecy about the last days comparing it to the teaching of the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6. The connection was significant, and I believe there are important implications relating the spiritual armor for the last generation before the return of Christ. These implications are not only important for us, but also for our children and grandchildren.

I encourage you to consider our times and the clear teaching of Scripture. Study Bible prophecy with an eye on the evening news and consider how the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6 will help you prepare for what is to come. What do you need to do to put on the spiritual armor of God so you will stand firm in the last days? Being immovable is really not an option for the Church. The world is desperate to see strong, healthy believers standing firm in the last days. When the winds of heresy and deception blow, will you be immovable holding firmly to the truth of God? The only way you or I will stand firm is if we put on the armor of God and allow the immovable Lord Jesus Christ to live victoriously through us.

Dr. Tim Riordan serves as pastor of SonRise Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia and is the author of Songs from the Heart: Meeting with God in the Psalms and his newest book Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. For more information on his books or ministry, visit his website at www.timriordan.me.

A Statement from SWBTS Regarding Future Admission of Muslims

Southwestern Seminary's board of directors issued a statement yesterday after concluding their investigation into President Paige Patterson admitting a practicing Muslim into its seminary. The entire statement can be read here.

In essence, the seminary's board seems to be saying three things:

(1). President Paige Patterson (administration) violated the charter and by-laws of the seminary when he admitted a practicing Muslim into the seminary. With  lawyer-esque language, the SWBTS's board of trustees said, "there are inconsistencies between the seminary’s bylaws and the actions of its administration and board." Translation: Our bylaws were violated.

(2). President Paige Patterson should have requested from the trustees an exception to the bylaws prior to admitting a practicing Muslim. The statement reads: "(we) acknowledge an exception should have been requested until such time that the bylaws could have been amended for launching various initiatives." Translation: Trustees had no knowledge of, nor did we give permission for, the admission of a practicing Muslim.

(3). The Seminary will begin the process of changing the bylaws in order to allow future admission of practicing Muslims into the seminary. The statement reads: "(We) are taking steps to amend the seminary’s bylaws to improve accountability that will allow for flexibility in pursuing ministry opportunities such as the one at the Darrington Unit." Translation: We agree that practicing Muslims should be admitted into the seminary in the future and will change the bylaws to make this possible.

The statement concludes with a statement of support for President Patterson, stating that "Any violations of the seminary bylaws were done in a good-faith..."

So, the solution to a practicing Muslim being admitted into Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in violations of the school's charter and bylaws is to change the bylaws to make this practice acceptable. 

This is an interesting development.

The Legacies of Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank

I am writing this from the Arusha Coffee Club in Arusha, Tanzania, Africa near the base of Mount Kilamanjaro. We will soon be heading back to the United States after spending several days on the African continent. Prior to coming to Tanzania, we spent a couple of days in Amsterdam. One of the things we did while in that historic city is visit the houses of two people who lived in or near Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of World War II.

Near Amsterdam, in a little community called Haarlem, sits the cottage that housed Corrie Ten Boom's family. I've been amazed by Corrie Ten Boom's story for years, and it was an honor to tour the house where she and her family hid Jews from the Nazis who sought to exterminate the Jewish race. The Ten Boom family was Dutch, and the risk they took in turning their house into a "hiding place' was incalculable. Corrie and her family were caught sympathizing with the Jews, and at the age of 52, Corrie was sent to a Nazi concentration camp. Somehow, she miraculously survived from being sent to the gas chambers, but the rest of her family perished in the camps. Corrie Ten Boom would come to America later in life, and one of our friends and fellow church members, Audrey Villialobos worked as her personal secretary.

The lines in front of Corrie Ten Boom's house were non-existent. The tour was gripping. It is a humbling experience to realize you are the age of a woman who risked her own life to save the lives of others during World War II. Other than the Churchill Museum in London, I consider the tour of Corrie Ten Boom's house to be one of the more emotionally moving places I've been to across the Atlantic.

Just a few hours after visiting Corrie Ten Boom's house we were in Amsterdam touring another house. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl in Amsterdam during World War II, and along with other members of her family, she hid in the back of a warehouse from the Nazi's. She was only twelve, but she recorded her thoughts in 'The Diary of Anne Frank.' Anne and her family eventually would be caught by the Nazis and she would die in the concentration camps. Her diary, discovered by her surviving father after the war, would be published in 1947 and become an international sensation.

The line outside Anne Frank's house was literally a mile long. Literally. Thanks to the ingenuity of Carol Williams who had purchased entry passes for us prior to arriving in Amsterdam,  we were able to skirt the lines. The Anne Frank house told a fascinating story of personal hiding from the Nazis. It was much more 'professional' in terms of a museum when compared to Corrie Ten Boom's house. Steven Spielberg took profits from his movie "Schindler's List" and made the Anne Frank house the beneficiary.

But the difference between Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Boom goes far beyond their respective houses. Corrie Ten Boom was hiding others. Anne Frank was hiding herself. Corrie Ten Boom willingly put her life in danger for others; Anne Frank's life was in danger unwillingly. Corrie Ten Boom is the epitome of selfless sacrifice; Anne Frank epitomizes the ability to write well of one's difficulties in life.

It is not surprising the world flocks to the house of Anne Frank. I find it very surprising that the world doesn't come in similar numbers to the house of Corrie Ten Boom. It seems we put a higher value on self-preservation than we do self-sacrifice. After being at both houses in Amsterdam, I came away from one house sympathizing with the difficulties of a young Jewish girl and from the other house I came away with a renewed desire to live my life for the sake of others.

Were the world to be enthralled by the story of Corrie Ten Boom we'd all be living in a better place. May the lines outside the Ten Boom house increase.