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New Horizons

October, 2002: Satan's Malevolent Strategy: Divide and Conquer

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"For Still Our Ancient Foe Doth Seek to Work Us Woe"

John Calvin urged, "We have been forewarned that an enemy relentlessly threatens us, an enemy who is the very embodiment of rash boldness, of military prowess, of crafty wiles, of untiring zeal and haste, of every conceivable weapon and of skill in the science of warfare. We must, then, bend our every effort to this goal: that we should not let ourselves be overwhelmed by carelessness or faintheartedness, but, on the contrary, with courage rekindled stand our ground in combat."

The place to begin in preparing to stand against Satan and his hosts is with a knowledge of Satan himself, in both his strengths and weaknesses. And the place to begin knowing about Satan is with the fact that he is both real and personal. Read more

The Diabolical Armor!

Diabolical armor! It sounds horrible, grotesque, demonic. What is it? The term comes from John Bunyan's little book The Holy War, in which he describes how the city of Mansoul falls under the power of the tyrant Diabolus. When news of the fall of Mansoul reaches the court of the great king, El Shaddai, he publishes the following proclamation:

Let all men know who are concerned, that the Son of Shaddai, the great King, is engaged by covenant to his Father to bring his Mansoul to him again; yea, and to put Mansoul, too, through the power of his matchless love, into a far better and more happy condition than it was in before it was taken by Diabolus.
Read more

Confession from the Pulpit

I couldn't believe my pastor was going to air his dirty laundry from the pulpit. How can he do this? I thought. I've finally gotten Cindy to come to church—this will not impress her!

Cindy was a secretary at the law firm where I was working as an intern during law school. I had been inviting her to church for nearly three months, hoping that she would come to know Christ through the teaching and fellowship there. Read more

On Charity

While preaching through 1 Corinthians recently, I was struck by chapters 8 through 10. There, the apostle Paul addresses idolatry. Apparently, some people in the Corinthian church had taken to attending feasts in idol temples, eating food that had been offered to idols; that is, they were participating in the worship of pagan deities. They had somehow convinced themselves that since idols were not really gods, any "worship" of them was meaningless, and thus a Christian could take part in these meals without compromising his confession (1 Cor. 8:4-8). Indeed, such attendance was to them proof of Christian maturity, since it showed that one fully grasped the doctrine of monotheism and accordingly had no fear of false gods. Those who went to these feasts were, in their own estimation, the "strong" Christians, and those who stayed away were the weak ones.

Not surprisingly, Paul condemns this thinking most vigorously. After all, the second commandment says, "You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them" (Ex. 20:4-5). There is no exception clause in the second commandment. It does not go on to say, "But feel free to bow down to carved images as long as you maintain a mental reservation noting idols aren't really gods at all, but only pieces of carved rock." Read more

On Controversy

Editor's note: A minister, about to write an article criticizing a fellow minister for his lack of orthodoxy, wrote to John Newton of his intention. Newton replied as follows:

Dear Sir, Read more

The Four Promises of Forgiveness: Tearing Down the Walls That Threaten Community for Children

As a former school teacher and counselor, I have witnessed countless disputes in the classroom, on the playground, and in my students' homes. I have also seen the effectiveness of God's peacemaking principles in each setting.

One student confessed to stealing from a teacher and offered double restitution. Another student took responsibility for assaulting a principal and willingly accepted the resulting discipline. A third appealed successfully to her divorced parents to change a painful custody arrangement. Like dozens of others, these students had learned to respond to conflict in a biblical manner. Read more

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