About Denny

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Denny has created 1006 blog entries.

Collisions in Thinking

2019-07-18T12:19:04-04:00 July 23rd, 2019|

So much of our thinking excludes God and His Son, Jesus Christ. For example, after a much needed shower we often exclaim, “Hurrah! It finally rained.” Who is this “it” to which we ascribe the rain. “Oh,” we say, “Mother Nature has been good to us.” But the Bible tells us God is the ultimate force in and over the universe. Job 5:10 says, “He gives rain on the earth.”

The clash is between world and life views. The apostle Paul puts it this way. “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This statement is very strong language. But it is no more confrontational than those who are outspokenly opposed to Biblical Christianity. When we deal with ultimates, there are bound to be clashes in thinking.

You see, we cannot have it both ways. Either God and His Son, Jesus Christ, actually control the rain and everything else, or Mother Nature is in control. Does God bring the rain and is prayer therefore a legitimate enterprise? Or are we left in the grip of the impersonal, Mother Nature, who is incapable of caring? The latter way of thinking leads to despair. Being in the hands of God can be very hopeful.

Click here for direction in “Following Jesus Christ.”

Contradiction and Non-Contradiction

2019-07-20T10:27:49-04:00 July 22nd, 2019|

We often assume divine sovereignty and human freedom are irreconcilable. We presume they are contradictory. However, we do find them side by side in the Bible. The doctrines, therefore, cannot contradict each other.

A common article of proper thinking is the so-called law of non-contradiction. This principle comes out of God. It says, “A” cannot be “A” and “non-A” at the same time and in the same relationship. Take the Trinity for example. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: How many persons are there in the Godhead? Answer: There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. God is not three persons and one person at the same time. This would be a contradiction. God is not one substance and three substances at the same time. This would also be a contradiction. When we look at God in relation to the persons of the Godhead there are three persons. When we look at God with regard to the essence of His being, there is one God. The Trinity is not a contradiction.

The same thing applies to divine sovereignty and human freedom. Human beings cannot be free and not free at the same time and in the same relationship. This principle stands. With regard to the essence of our beings as creatures of God, we are not free. We are not autonomous. We are not our own rule-makers. There is a higher power over us, the sovereign God. Suddenly we introduce a new element. It is the element of rules or laws, the moral element. We are moral creatures. We are not computerized robots or programmed androids. We think; we make choices; we take actions hundreds of thousands of times each day. All of our choices are ultimately good or bad. It is good for us to get up in the morning, get dressed, eat breakfast and go to work. It is bad for us to get up and fail to dress before going to work.

We are free in the sense we make myriads of choices each day which affect our lives and the lives of others. At the same time, every decision we make is within the confines of the indisputable fact we are finite beings. We are moral beings and we are finite beings. These are two very different things. God is a moral being and an infinite being. We are like God in that we are moral beings. We are distinct from God in that we are finite beings. When we look at ourselves as moral beings and as finite beings we see ourselves and God from two quite different perspectives. We should also see divine sovereignty and human freedom are not contradictory.

All of this is a great comfort to me as a Christian. The Bible distinguishes between the law of God’s decrees and the law of God’s precepts. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). The former relates to God’s infinite being. The latter relates to God’s moral being. We cannot violate, walk outside of, God’s plan, His decrees. We can and often do violate, walk outside of, God’s moral requirements, the Ten Commandments. When I sin, I seek God’s forgiveness for my moral failings. I can do so because I remain in the grip of God’s omnipotent hands. Divine sovereignty and human freedom kiss (Psalm 85:10).

Denny Prutow

In Praise of God

2019-07-17T16:22:19-04:00 July 22nd, 2019|

Psalm 103:1 exhorts, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” Can we really bless God?

To bless means to praise or to speak well of someone. When we eulogize a friend at a funeral, we speak well of that person. This is the root meaning of the term. It should be easy for us to bless and praise God. Psalm 103:2 goes on to say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.”

There are everyday tangible blessings. “To the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’” (Job 37:6). “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth” (Psalm 104:14).

There are spiritual blessings. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Ephesians 1:3 adds, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

Our praise stems from blessings God bestows daily. “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

Click here for more direction by listening to a lesson called, “Blessing God.”

Who Is the King of Glory?

2019-07-17T16:21:01-04:00 July 21st, 2019|

Nebuchadnezzar ruled the world from Babylon. The Greeks became predominant under Alexander the Great. The Roman Empire held sway in the First Century. Cults grew around emperor worship. Citizens gladly made the confession, “Caesar is Lord.”

All of this was contrary to the ancient Jewish faith and to Christianity. Three Jewish boys, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, refused to bow down to the golden image erected by Nebuchadnezzar. The king had them thrown into a fiery furnace (Daniel 3:8-26).

Christians faced a similar fate if they refused to worship Caesar. To confess the emperor as Lord was contrary to their faith. Romans 10:9 makes this abundantly clear. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” To place someone above Christ as an object of worship was blaspheme.

Psalm 24:8 asks a question and immediately gives the answer. “Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” Once again, this Lord is Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9). And the Bible maintains, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13, Joel 2:32).

The words of Christ are therefore far better than the sayings of earthly kings that pass away. “The word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25).

Click here and listen to a message called, “The Majesty of Christ.”

The Security of Love

2019-07-17T16:19:19-04:00 July 20th, 2019|

Kids look for love. They seek the security of knowing mom and dad are there and care. Husbands and wives mourn the loss of security and love. The security of love is important to personal wellbeing.

The Bible is full of expressions of love. Take Jude 1-2 as an example. “Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.”

Jude, a brother of the apostle James and half-brother of Jesus, writes to those having the love of God poured out in their hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). He writes to those having a reservation in heaven and kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:4-5). These people know the mercy of God’s forgiveness. Because of this mercy and forgiveness, they have peace with God. They have peace of conscience. They have peace of heart. They know the love of God. This is ultimate security.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

To help you find the security in God’s love, click here and accept the invitation to, “Come to Christ.”

Marked Out For . . . ?

2019-07-17T16:17:29-04:00 July 19th, 2019|

Tattoos are popular. People want to have marks on their bodies identifying them with mom or dad, some other person, organization, or cause. There are also earrings, nose rings, ornaments piercing other body parts. The Old Testament forbids tattoos. “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:28). Hmm …

The Bible also speaks of the mark of the beast (Revelation 16:2). The beast is the image of the dragon or the devil (Revelation 13:1). Those bearing the mark of the beast have the unholy spirit. Their lives are characterized by the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Tattoos are a physical mark. The mark of the beast is spiritual. It relates to all we do and all we think (Revelation 20:4).

Some tattoos are attractive. We may also enjoy living like the devil. God marks us in another way. The apostle Paul exclaims it is God “who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge” (2 Corinthians 1:22). A seal authenticates. God places the Holy Spirit on His people as a seal of authentication. Paul speaks of “the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed” (Ephesians 4:30). The fruit of the Spirit makes the seal or mark of God quite visible (Galatians 5:22-23).

To help you understand this better, click here and listen to a sermon that asks the question, “Marked Out For…?”

I Will Be With You

2019-07-16T15:19:20-04:00 July 18th, 2019|

Local churches should be groups of people with whom men and women may gather to draw near to God and meet with Him. God promised ancient Israel, “I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (Leviticus 26:11-12).

God fulfilled this promise when He sent His only Son into the world. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, God with us” (Matthew 1:23). When Jesus Christ walked the dusty trails of Galilee, he was God with us.

Since Christ is no longer physically present with us, His church is the temple where God dwells. The apostle Paul teaches that God fulfills the ancient promise in the church, the gathering of God’s people. Paul says of the church, “We are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6:16).

When we worship with God’s people, where God is constructing a living temple, we have the unique opportunity to draw near to God, worship Him, learn from Him, and get a taste of the age to come.

Click here to listen to the audio lesson, “I Will Be With You.”

The Love-Hate Complex

2019-07-16T15:15:36-04:00 July 17th, 2019|

Love and hate, they seem to go together. Why? For some reason we love to hate. And this is a real problem. If we really do get pleasure from hating other people, it is an evidence that we are not on the road to heaven. That’s right. Hatred is an evidence of our spiritual condition. Listen to what the Bible says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him (1 John 3:16).

This seems awfully hard. But it is true. The Bible is saying that when we bear a grudge and harbor hatred in our hearts, it is the same as murder. Jesus puts it this way, “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court” (Matthew 5:21-22). In other words, brooding anger without a cause, which amounts to hatred, is the same as murder. In fact, in many cases it leads to actual murder. And as we have already said, “No murderer has eternal life in him.” In this day of drive by shootings and indiscriminate rape, these words of the Bible should come home to us.

But the opposite is also true. “We know we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:14). Love which is worthy of the name is selfless. It means placing others first. It means we give of our time and energy and material wealth to others who are in need. Such love also becomes an indication of our spiritual condition. Listen to 1 John 3:14 once again, “We know we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.” Here is a test you can perform on yourself.

To help you understand this test, please click here and listen to “The Love-Hate Complex.”

God is There

2019-07-13T13:29:35-04:00 July 16th, 2019|

Cosmos indicates order. Chaos is the opposite. The cosmos is the universe. A universe denotes unity. Does something or someone hold the created order together? Hmm, are we dealing with a created order? Is there a Creator who brings order to the cosmos?

The earth and the other planets in our solar system maintain regular orbits around the sun. The earth rotates on its axis with impeccable regularity. The stars within our galaxy, the Milky Way, maintain their anticipated locations. The electromagnetic and gravity fields within the solar system are predictable. We easily launch communication satellites. We send rockets to distant planets to take pictures and record data.

Why all this order? Does it indicate the presence of an all wise Creator? When we see a pastel painting we may recognize it immediately as a Monet. When we see a rugged, realistic painting reproduced on a calendar, we recognize the work of Norman Rockwell. The artist and his work are inextricably connected. They cannot be untied or disunited.

Look around. So it is with the universe and the Creator. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). “The heavens are telling of the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).

To help you “see” God, click here and listen to a message called, “The Majesty of God.”

Divine Sovereignty, Human Freedom

2019-07-13T10:20:01-04:00 July 15th, 2019|

When we discuss divine sovereignty and human freedom, we must properly define both and not compromise on either. One of the favorite texts relating both sides of the issue is Acts 2: 23. It speaks of the crucifixion of Christ and gives the ultimate and final cause along with the proximate and immediate cause. “This Man delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” This Scripture speaks of both divine sovereignty and human freedom.

Once again, let’s be careful how we define human freedom. Most people think of freedom as autonomy. Literally, autonomy means I make all the rules. We know this is not true. We all live by many rules we have not made. Examples are the rules of nature, the rules in our homes, the rules operative at school, at work and in government. We all operate with certain confinements. I live within the framework of my seventy-nine-year-old male body. I cannot do otherwise. Freedom is not autonomy. There are things I cannot decide to do. I cannot turn back the clock. A paraplegic cannot decide to walk.

On the other hand, suppose a fellow put a gun to my head and said, “Renounce your faith in Jesus Christ or I will pull the trigger.” I have a choice. To save my skin, I can renounce Christ. However, I have the prospect that Christ will reject me on the other side of the grave. I can say, “Pull the trigger.” I am not forced to renounce Christ. The gunman cannot “make me” renounce Christ. I am free. I am not making the rules of this little game. I am not autonomous; I am free. Hopefully, you see the difference.

Beyond doubt, God is sovereign. Acts 2:23, along with many other verses in the Bible, teaches this. At the same time, the Bible and experience teach us about human freedom. I freely make hundreds and even thousands of decisions each day from the moment I get up in the morning to the time I lay my head on the pillow at night. God is sovereign; human beings are free.

We also know nothing can take place outside the sovereign plans and purposes of God. Every event, every action, every thought, every word spoken comes within the scope of God’s sovereign will. This includes evil. Take the example of the most heinous and evil act ever committed, the crucifixion of the innocent Son of God. With regard to this evil act we rightly say, along with Scripture, hateful human beings freely carried it out. They sinned, not God. Not only so, God had a very good purpose for this evil act. God caused ultimate good to come from this evil, salvation. I, therefore, affirm God has good reasons for the presence of evil in His universe. Nothing, including evil, is outside the purview of God’s sovereign will.

Finally, this means divine sovereignty encompasses and includes human freedom. We can therefore rightly define predestination as God’s decreeing the free acts of men. The Westminster Confession of Faith puts it this way. “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.” One of the proof texts is Acts 2:23.

Denny Prutow