Author: Lance Ralston

The world is again in the grip of yet another realization its ways are bankrupt. The sexual revolution of the 60’s has born more bitter fruit in the ever-growing sexual harassment scandals rocking one industry and institution after another. Like falling dominoes, leaders, athletes, and celebrities face career-ending accusations. In the midst of that scandal, The Gospel offers an attractive option. While secular society has objectified women, the Community of Christ is called to honor them with dignity as joint heirs of glory and spiritual sisters. This difference is seen in God’s commands to ancient Israel. In Deuteronomy 21, a policy was laid down for how a Jewish man was to treat a female captive. The act of sex was already limited to marriage, so rape of captives was prohibited. Any Jewish man who wanted to marry a foreign captive couldn’t just “take” her. There was a process that aimed to help...

The Thomas Fire recently roared to life in the hills near Santa Paula. High winds drove it relentlessly toward Ventura where it burned hundreds of homes, including three of our members and many friends. The faith of our members is a beauty to behold. All three families were in service Sunday and gave testimony to God’s sustaining grace. We’ve already heard dozens of stories of small ways God has evidenced His mercy amid tragic loss. The months to come will reveal more. But something became clear as I listened to the stories of those who lost their homes. It marks a major advantage the Spirit-filled follower of Jesus possesses. It’s this: When we’re walking in the Spirit, our thoughts are directed to consider things we’ll soon face. I’ll share one example to illustrate this. One of the ladies who lost her home is a mature saint who’s been instrumental in the lives...

Introduction In Part 1 we took a look at Meticulous or Hard Determinism and the way it casts God as a moral monster. In Part 2 we will consider a couple more troubling doctrines of Calvinism, then turn to consider a more Biblically consistent view of God’s sovereignty. Double-Predestination We ended Part 1 with this from John Calvin . . . . . . how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice afforded by the suggestion that evils come to be, not by His will but by His permission. . . . It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing, but the author of them. . . . Who does not tremble at these judgments with which God works in the hearts of even the wicked whatever He will, rewarding them nonetheless according to desert? Again it is quite clear...

Introduction This is an appeal to those attracted to a movement going by several titles, predominantly The Resurgence and Neo-Calvinism. The more traditional title is Reformed Theology. Its popular contemporary proponents are voices like RC Sproul, John Piper and James White. These and others have inspired a growing number of popular bloggers and podcasters spreading the Reformed brand. The movement’s well-known advocates are intelligent and well-spoken advocates whose influence is persuasive. The following appeal is a cautious attempt to ask those being drawn into The Resurgence to make sure they realize what they are buying into when they embrace Reformed Theology. Are you ready to intellectually embrace what Calvinism really says about God? A word of caution is needed in regard to what follows. While attempting to avoid inflammatory words and contentious phrases, there is going to be some strong challenges to the basic tenets of Calvinism. They are strong only because...

[What follows is an edited transcript of today’s (August 24, 2017) “the Briefing” with Al Mohler. Not much commentary is needed. Be aware of how far Statism has progressed in the United States.] CBS News //  Sacramento, California // “The Rocklin Academy school board is facing tough questions from parents concerned over a controversial incident involving transgender discussions inside a kindergarten class.” The story can be summarized in this: A transgender reveal of a student in a kindergarten class in a charter school in Sacramento. There are two issues. 1) A school sponsored lessons for kindergartners including a gender reveal having to do with five-year-olds. 2) Parents were not told this was going to happen. They were intentionally not told, and furthermore, they are not going to be told, according to those who are making the policies. A parent said, “My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy.” The...

What goes around, comes around. What’s coming round now is a resurgent liberalism that aims to accommodate Christianity to contemporary society and the moral revolution that’s virtually swept Western Civilization into its camp. That moral revolution has its ideological roots in the Enlightenment but surged out of its hothouse of the academic elite, where it gained a hegemony until it emerged in the 60’s to become a pervasive social movement. Moving co-tangent with the radicals of the moral and sexual revolution of the 60’s was a resurgent interest in Christianity that breathed new life into a moribund church. The Jesus People Movement was a genuine revival that renewed thousands of churches and birthed new fellowships that stripped the Church of empty rituals in favor of a deeply held faith in Jesus as personal Savior. One of the marks of this resurgent Evangelicalism was a return to the Reformation belief of Sola...

Once again controversy rages over a film. This time, a beloved children’s classic, Beauty & the Beast. Disney Studios live action film “updates” the tale with some, what they consider, socially-conscious editing by including a nod to a same-sex attraction for one of the characters. And many parents are now second-guessing taking their kids to see it. The call for protests and boycotts has been renewed. Before we fall into step with James and John asking Jesus if He wanted them to call down fire, let’s take a breath and think this through. Of course Disney is going to make movie expressing a secular worldview. What else are we to expect from them? It’s not governed by a Biblical worldview. Why then do we show shock and outrage when they fail to produce films reflecting their, rather than our, moral philosophy? What’s true of Disney, is true of most other media outlets,...

44 years ago, on Jan. 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court rendered the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand in all 50 States. The companion case to Roe was Doe v. Bolton, which made abortion legal through all 3 trimesters; meaning a mother could drive to an abortion clinic on the day she was scheduled to deliver to "terminate her pregnancy", instead of to a hospital to deliver her child. We decry those Germans who turned a blind eye to the Holocaust. Should the Lord tarry, some future generation will likely hold a similar opinion of those who ignore the holocaust taking place in our time and place. Over 59 million unborn children have now been killed by abortion in the US since Roe, dwarfing the Nazi Holocaust. I need to state this unequivocally so those who disagree, understand the ground I stand on in this issue: Abortion on demand...

What follows is an excerpt from Newell's commentary on Romans. Enjoy . . . The Nature of Grace Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature as Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfill; and acting of course, righteously ~ in view of the cross. Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the GIVER, in GOD. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on man's part to wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst deservers in the highest favors. Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability: Grace does not help ~ it is absolute, it does all. There being no cause in the creature why Grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for...

Organizations are notorious for producing Vision / Mission statements, then ignoring them. Many hours and much effort is expended producing them. But once the project is complete, they are printed up, encased behind glass in a nice frame, hung on a wall, and forgotten. We believe the Vision for CCO is a Spirit-inspired portrait of a better future; THE future He ordains us to move with purpose toward. Therefore, each year, we emphasize a specific part of our vision to intentionally pursue it. Over time, as we focus on the vision’s various components, we’ll move toward the reality that vision holds forth. As we approach the end of each calendar year, I seek God for fresh direction on what He wants us to focus on in the upcoming year. Most years, the Spirit directs us to some new component of the vision. Occasionally, we’re called to stay attuned to what the previous...