Archive for August, 2009
Posted by Job on August 31, 2009
Posted by Job on August 31, 2009
Posted by Job on August 30, 2009
See link below.
Traditionalist Catholics Beat, Persecute And Expel Evangelical Christians In Hidalgo And Oaxaca Mexico
Posted by Job on August 30, 2009
Please see link below.
Posted by Job on August 29, 2009
Please pray for this little girl. Here is a quote: “an officer grabbed the child and whisked her away from the site where police say Richard Ringold, 44, shot five people, killing four, including the girl’s mother and sister.”
This is yet another in a string of horrific crimes that has been plaguing the metropolitan area that I live in for the past several months. The area that I call home and am raising my family is rapidly spiraling out of control. Amazingly, the local media is trying their best to talk about it as little as possible. They report the individual crimes, which are increasing in both number and gruesome nature, but do not dare try to put the facts together, because the facts lead to a society descending into chaos, rebellion, pride, selfishness and arrogance. They refuse to do this because doing so would lead to people asking questions of whether what is being taught in schools, shown on television and books, what is broadcast over the radio, the content on the Internet etc. is responsible for this. Studies have proven that the proliferation of pornography and occult content in particular greatly increase violence in a culture, yet not only are these studies ignored, but the people who produce them are vilified in a most demonic nature. Christians spent decades warning and predicting that these cultural trends would lead to increased violence, and when their predictions – indeed prophecies based on the truth of the Word of God – came true, the prophets and their message are ignored. There isn’t a single person in the media who will admit that the Christians who warned against these trends decades ago were proven right, and that is why no effort is being made by the media to correlate or analyze these horrific crimes and the complete disdain for the value of innocent human life.
People have rejected even the sense of law, order, self-respect and mutual benefit that God graciously gave to the world through general revelation, the sort which resulted in such things like the code of Hammurabi and pax Romana that were attempts to restrain base human wickedness. And yes, this is what once called itself a Christian nation, and though we came far short of what Jesus Christ actually taught (as evidenced by slavery, genocidal treatment of Native Americans, segregation, exploitation of the poor and immigrants etc.) now the primary problem is that people who call themselves Christians are not sharing the gospel in places that badly need it. I am not talking about this “engaging the culture” or “taking back the culture” campaigns, which are really just attempts to impose a form of godliness onto people. Instead, I am talking about going door to door, inviting people to church, and sharing the gospel with them. However, this is no surprise as fewer churches, even evangelical churches, regularly share the gospel of Jesus Christ from their pulpits. And while I am not a social gospel person, I am convinced that true preaching leads to true conduct. True preaching would convict and inspire born again Christians to do things like help the poor and homeless, become foster parents and child mentors, and other things that are regrettably often more associated with “bleeding heart liberals” than Bible – believing Christians who take the “faith without works is dead” exhortations of James 2 just as seriously as they do the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality and abortion.
What are we going to do? Are we going to just watch these things spiral out of control, saying “this is the type of judgment that this wicked nation that elected Barack Obama deserves” (or if your politics are more liberal saying “this is the type of judgment that comes on a nation that invaded Iraq and killed all those innocent people for no reason”) and sit back waiting for the rapture? Or are we going to meet the challenges created by this disintegrating culture with prayer and evangelism? By visiting prisons, helping widows and orphans, volunteering at soup kitchens, opening up our wallets and hearts even in these bad economic times (or especially in these bad economic times) and giving up our two mites (Mark 12:41-44) or our little handful of meal and cruse of oil (1 Kings 17:11-14)?
I am a person who believes in spiritual warfare and deliverance, and it is time to put on the whole armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-20. Do not limit that passage and concept to casting out devils, prayer warfare and other topics, though those are certainly valid. Instead, in order to rise up to the challenge of these evil times so that not we but or Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be glorified, we have to consciously, willingly, joyfully combat this evil with the whole counsel of God, “from Genesis to maps” as the old time fundamentalists used to say. Right preaching, right worship, right living, and right service are mandated by every believer in this wicked time. We have to live the gospel, we have to proclaim the gospel to all men. Now is not the time to worry about people laughing at us. How can we worry about people laughing at us, turning their backs on us, and rejecting us when we have an entire family – save one grievously wounded little girl – killed by a sinner with a shotgun? Don’t talk to me about gun control, about how the easy access to firearms caused this tragedy and how we need to limit their proliferation and access. Instead, the problem here is GOSPEL CONTROL, where Christians have limited the proliferation and access to the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST by neglecting to preach it to all men and neglecting to live it. Problems like these are due to our putting our light under a bushel so that no one can see it. They are due to our salt losing its savor, so it is now useless, fit for nothing other than being cast out and trod upon. One day, we are all going to stand before Jesus Christ in judgment. When Jesus Christ asks “where were you when all this evil was happening around you”, what will your response be, Christian?
Posted in Christianity | Tagged: Atania Butler, Clairidge Lane, crime, family breakdown, Gwinnett County, Lakeisha Parker, Lawrenceville, murder, Richard Ringold, Rico Zimmerman, Samantha Manchester, societal breakdown, societal collapse | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Job on August 29, 2009
Popular with Reformed and Calvinist churches. Jesus Christ is presented primarily as ruling sovereign king. Transcendence of Jesus Christ is emphasized. A main view of the effects of His incarnation was to sanctify creation with His presence, and the emphasis of His work on the cross is that of being the giver and head of the new covenant and to transfer dominion from Israel to the church. This emphasis on Jesus Christ – as Lord and King and head of the covenant – correlates to the aim of such bodies to view themselves as extensions and agents – the Body – of Jesus Christ’s kingship and rule on earth. Because Jesus Christ sanctified the earth with His presence, that increases the prominence of natural theology and general revelation as ways of knowing, understanding and having a relationship with God. Further, it makes it fitting and appropriate for Christians to seek to subdue and rule the earth by political, economic, cultural and military means as a way of worshiping and glorifying God. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is mediated through western culture and institutions which God through His providence used and created to improve worldly conditions, spread the gospel, and prepare the world for His coming. Jesus Christ’s Lordship, kingdom and influence are spread primarily through cultural, political and military means, and such things largely take the role of personal evangelism and missionary work in infant baptism cultures. Thus, attacks on western culture and institutions are seen as direct attacks on God’s kingdom, God’s plan to redeem the world, and ultimately on Jesus Christ Himself. Due to Jesus Christ’s being depicted as Lord and King and thus viewed in the context of European and other Gentile kings (remote, detached, very difficult or impossible to directly or personally know or relate to) worship is liturgical, sacramental, even mystical with preaching de-emphasized to the point where often reading the pastor’s sermon notes is a more productive activity than being present for the sermon’s oral delivery. Very little practical attention is given to God the Father or the Holy Spirit or Jesus Christ’s humanity. Eschatology: often amillennial or postmillennial.
Popular in free will evangelical and fundamentalist churches. Jesus Christ is presented primarily as Savior. Heavy emphasis on Jesus Christ’s humanity, particularly the very safe approachable nonthreatening imagery of a baby in a manger and other views emphasizing Jesus Christ’s immanence. Primary role of incarnation is to make Jesus Christ human in order to facilitate a personal relationship with Him: Jesus Christ as friend, buddy, confidante, parent (particularly as it relates to parents’ giving their children gifts, reassurance, and nurturing), “sounding board/venting object”, or even lover. Please note: the ability to accept or reject friendship and personal relationship with another human is always by personal discretion, and both humans have equal rights to set the relationship’s terms, including the depth and intensity of the relationship. Jesus Christ’s deity is depicted in context of His ability to work miracles and teach during His earthly ministry and His being an effective in His role in dying for sins, and His ability to live a sinless life. Jesus Christ’s role as Lord and King is practically limited to His headship of the Body of Christ and is only stated factually or doctrinally as the justification for congregational church polity. In practice, Jesus Christ’s actual rule or dominion is deferred until judgment day, the millennium, and in heaven. The role of the Holy Spirit is to comfort Christians, give Christians friendly but non-coercive and not truly binding moral advice, and to help Christians deepen their friendship and bond with Jesus Christ; to make a relationship that is in many respects little different from a one-sided self-serving relationship with another natural human into a spiritual relationship. Ultimately, friendship with Jesus Christ meets the need of the Christian, first to escape eternal damnation, and second to meet or fulfill personal or emotional needs during challenging, difficult and uncertain lives. Note: a high percentage of people adhering to this form of Christianity are children of divorced parents, people who were abused or neglected as children, low income people, and women. God the Father is depicted in terms of an ideal human father and His relationship with Jesus Christ depicted as the ideal relationship between a parent and son, which is a source of reassurance and comfort (and also a goal) of people whose lives have been affected by family dysfunction and failure to live up to the western middle class ideal family image, with the Body of Christ offering the promise of a true, real stable family that meets true and idealized emotional needs that will finally be fulfilled in heaven. Result is an outsized emphasis on good families as the solution to personal and spiritual needs, with some going so far as to claim that the family is a type of the Holy Trinity or that the Holy Trinity is the model for the family (see Wayne Grudem and James Dobson). Thus, a major goal is the creation and preservation of not only a church system but also a worldly culture (i.e. government, politics, economics, values) that is “family-friendly.” The role of worship is to meet human emotional needs, often meaning entertainment and cathartic release for lower income people and intellectual stimulation for higher income and more educated people. The goal is to relate to Jesus Christ on a personal or human level, often using the relationship with Jesus Christ as a substitute for flawed human relationships with spouses, parents, children, friends etc. Heavy emphasis on personal evangelism and missionary work, but the driving force is often eschatological beliefs or a desire to “grow the Christian family” (meaning creating more people to enjoy relationships with) and generally rely on human initiative and methodology. Growing integration of psychology and psychiatry with Christianity to meet the emotional needs of church members. Also increasing emphasis on “personal spirituality”, to “worship God my own way” and an increasing conviction that God’s grace accommodates the desire to satisfy or fulfill personal and emotional needs, including giving license to engage in conduct forbidden by scripture. This trend includes – but is not limited to – the emergent church. Preaching is often exhortary, entertaining or emotionally charged, with an emphasis on narratives that relate to the personal experiences and needs of the listeners that causes them to recognize their own traits – or the traits of loved ones – in the sermons. Eschatology: often dispensational.
Lord and Savior view:
Begins with the Trinity, as God the Father, God the Holy Spirit and God the Son work together to create, redeem and sustain a community of believers as the ultimate goal of accomplishing creation, and such things are done for the pleasure and glory of the Godhead as opposed to the benefit of believers, though believers do certainly benefit and are exceedingly grateful. Jesus Christ is Lord of all for times past, future and present and graciously took upon the role of Savior. Jesus Christ’s present dominion is not extended to the political, economic, military or cultural systems of the world, but instead is limited to the church over which He is Head and whose dominion all members of the church must continually submit to. The goal of worship and praise is to glorify and honor Jesus Christ, and Christ rewards those who glorify and honor Him by using the Holy Spirit to give them joy and other gifts and fruits. Evangelism is a worship activity done to glorify Jesus Christ, to fulfill the mandates of scripture, to provide Jesus Christ with more servants, to act as God’s servants in carrying out His plan of salvation, and to give more people the benefits of salvation. Christians can appreciate general revelation and natural theology as part of their praise and worship of God, but can only know God through special revelation, which includes the Holy Scriptures and Holy Spirit illumination which reveals the Son who in turn reveals God the Father. A very personal relationship with Jesus Christ is possible, but only on Jesus Christ’s terms which cause the believer to respect Jesus Christ’s holiness and sovereignty. Thus the rules of engagement between Jesus Christ and the believer are not as equals with the focus on Jesus Christ’s meeting the believer’s needs as the believer asks (which is the believer taking the initiative) but rather a relationship where Jesus Christ takes the initiative and it is the responsibility of the believer to obediently respond. In this way, Jesus Christ is Lord and King, but not after the detached manner of human kings, but a King that one can truly know and relate with, a King who allows us to continually eat bread at His table not because He is deficient in any way and needs our company but because it is to His pleasure and glory that we accompany Him. Attacks on culture, governments and institutions are regrettable for such things are servants of God and act to restrain evil, but ultimately are not attacks on Jesus Christ Himself, whose current dominion is now spiritual over the church and whose realized dominion over the earth – one that He will exert with a rod of iron – is yet to come. Presently only attacks against believers are attacks against Jesus Christ. Relationships with other believers are based on shared beliefs, common membership in Jesus Christ’s Body, and exercise of spiritual gifts as opposed to values, family or culture. Emphasis of preaching is to inform people about God’s nature; to reveal God to hearers so that the hearers will respond to the revelation of God. Churches and pastors with this view of God are present within virtually any legitimate Protestant Christian denomination or movement, however such churches and pastors always represent a decided minority in whatever denomination or movement they are in. Eschatology: can be amillennial, postmillennial, dispensational or chiliast. Practically, eschatology is de-emphasized in favor of an emphasis on God’s eternal plan and nature.
Posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: Amillennialism, Calvinist, chiliasm, Dispensationalism, eschatology, evangelical, fundamentalist, lordship, postmillennialism, reformed, savior | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Job on August 29, 2009
Well, prominent rapture advocate Jack Van Impe claims that our pets will be with us in heaven, but this is still strange nonetheless. From Sermon Audio:
Gospel Artist J. Moss Admits That Performing Carnal Sexually Suggestive Gospel Music Led To His Fall Into Adultery
Posted by Job on August 29, 2009
J. Moss is one of the many contemporary gospel artists that also includes Tonex, Deitrick and Damita Haddon, Yolanda Adams, Virtue, Trinitee-5:7 and Mary Mary that uses glamour, glitz, celebrity, their looks etc. to increase their record sales. I suppose their equivalent on the Christian/CCM arena would be Stacie Orrico, Jaci Velasquez, Kathie Lee Gifford and Amy Grant. Make no mistake: this does include promoting sensuality and sexuality. Where secular music once revitalized itself by emulating gospel music, contemporary gospel and Christian artists now do their level best to imitate secular music. Now as modern R&B music has now degenerated to the point where it is only and constantly preoccupied with casual sex and provoking puerile emotions, emulating that means not only copying the dense syrupy musical style, but even inserting the heavy breathing, moaning and groaning, oohing and aaahing, purring, seductive singing and talking, and even the known sexual catch phrases common to this musical genre. The modern trend of gospel musicians emulating R&B music by sampling (taking portions of other songs to create your own songs) only increased this, as it is now common to take R&B, rap, and disco songs that 1. are all about sex and 2. everybody is very familiar with, so it is impossible for the person listening to the gospel lyrics being sung over the original music to not associate what the original song was about, especially since – as stated earlier – the gospel song also contains the heavy breathing and other stuff like that, only amplifies what is going on. And in addition to the way the music itself SOUNDS there is often the LOOK. If the gospel or Christian artist is physically attractive, they flaunt it. Look at the album covers, videos, concert performances and it is skin tight clothes, heavy makeup, thighs, cleavage, unbuttoned shirts etc. It is no surprise that younger Christians raised in this environment or who have recently converted to it like Heidi Montag and Carrie Prejean see nothing wrong with being lingerie models and Playboy bunnies.
So, J. Moss openly acknowledges in his interview with Gospel Pundit that his falling into sexual sin was the direct result of his cultivating his sexy image to sell records.
This was simply coming off of “We Must Praise,” being a big dawg, V2 over 100,000 [units]… this was just J being “the man.” Being told he was fine every day, being told he was sexy every single day, being told that people wanted him to be their baby’s daddy… you know? EVERY DAY. You think the R&B people have it hard? The gospel people do too.
What he leaves out is that the REASON why gospel music types endure this – or at least why it is so prominent – is because they promote themselves as celebrities and flaunt their appearances. If you play with fire, don’t be surprised when you get burnt.
He goes on:
So, I began to move further and further away from Christ, and got further and further involved with those temptations. And it led to that situation. And I have to tell you– when I get up now to talk about it, a lot of people say “J, you’re talking too much, we’ve moved on, we’re good.” And I say “nah, man. There are people out here DYING from this stuff.”
Look, I have seen J. Moss on concert. The ladies like him because of the way that he sings, the way that he and his dancers dance, and the way that he plays to them, courts them, in the audience, no different from how an R&B crooner would do. Who knows how many lonely, poorly-adjusted, or immature teenage girls are affected by it. He complains about the temptation that came as the direct result of his tempting others? He is surprised that there are all these women (plus not a few homosexual men, let’s get real about it!) who are more than willing to buy what he is selling?
The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, but I gotta get up and tell people that the wages of sin almost KILLED me, in terms of suicidal thoughts. I was plotting it out, thinking it out… all kinds of depression. I was going through the scrutiny in the media, the blogosphere, everywhere… that stuff was rough!
And when we sin, we chip away at salvation. Every time, we KILL something– we kill faith, we kill credibility, we kill relationships, we kill families… every time, we kill a piece of something.”
I am not going to deal with J. Moss’ Pentecostal “lose your salvation” doctrines except to point out that I strongly believe that the Bible teaches the doctrines of the preservation and perseverance of the saints; that one cannot lose or throw away his salvation and thereby undo the work of Jesus Christ and thereby defeat God. However, those who did believe in the “lose your salvation” doctrines, the old Wesleyan Methodists and the Pentecostal Holiness group, felt that the way to lose your salvation was personal and corporate holiness, by adhering to a strict moral and religious code and by encouraging others to do the same. But Moss is part of a generation of gospel artists that have tossed that aside in favor of causing people to fall (and according to their own doctrines “lose their salvation”) by being a source of temptation. Instead of their music, their appearance and their example being something positive that strengthens and encourages Christians, it is a snare to them: both a false image of happiness that comes through fame and wealth, and also the sensual nature of the singing, music, wardrobes and dancing.
This really is the key quote:
I realized that people who are not going to Bible class, or to church on Sunday morning, will listen to me at a concert because they love me or they love my voice. So, NOW is my chance to say “you know what? Now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you what’s really real. Let me stop making you feel good all the time, and let me tell you what’s real.
We are not supposed to draw people with how we look or sound. We are supposed to draw people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul the apostle by his own account was not a handsome man, was not a gifted orator, and did not have a pleasant speaking voice. But he preached Jesus Christ and you saw the result. Jesus Christ Himself, despite how He is commonly depicted in movies and artwork, was a very unassuming Man by appearance: a common laborer from the despised Nazareth (“the ghetto”) surrounded by “low class” people, acting as a religious instructor despite not having attended rabbinical school, riding on a donkey etc. Many opposed and rejected Paul on account of his hard words, and many opposed and rejected Jesus Christ because of His hard sayings, associations, and human origins, including Jesus Christ’s own brothers and sisters! Even after all that he has been through, J. Moss is still planning on using the “bait and switch” technique with carnality and human pleasure, “making people feel good” as the bait. The only difference is that he is going to put more emphasis into the “switch.”
But this is what I don’t understand: Moss was already very strong with that. You go to his concerts, you watch him on TV, watch his videos, listen to his music, and the CONTENT was already very strong … a legitimate Pentecostal message that can save. (My goal here was never to attack Pentecostalism.) And Moss is not one of the many people in his genre who affects speaking in tongues or promotes prosperity/Word of Faith. Cut away from what he is doing to enhance his personal fame and album sales that dishonors Jesus Christ, and there is a very clear, discernible and strong gospel message that promotes and glorifies Jesus Christ.
And that is what J. Moss needs to stick to. He doesn’t need the “bait and switch.” He just needs to stick to a message that he fully knows and believes: Jesus Christ and Him crucified with no bells, whistles, switches, or R&B moaning and heavy breathing. Let us all pray in the Name of Jesus Christ that J. Moss does follow that direction with his music and ministry.
Posted in Christianity | Tagged: abortion, adultery, Amy Grant, bait and switch, CCM, christian music, church scandal, Damita Haddon, Deitrick Haddon, gospel industry, gospel music, J. Moss, Jaci Velasquez, Kathie Lee Gifford, Mary Mary, sexual sin, Stacie Orrico, Tonex, Trinitee-5:7, Virtue, Yolanda Adams | 29 Comments »
Posted by Job on August 28, 2009
Apparently the Jesus-Is-Savior people disdain all the talk about true Biblical repentance. Looks like another Calvinist/Reformed versus fundamentalist Arminianism debate. The latter is true because in their article denouncing Washer, they endorse Harry Ironside. About this Ironside:
Ironside was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to John and Sophia (Stafford) Ironside, who were both active in the Plymouth Brethren. From a very early age, Ironside showed a strong interest in evangelical Christianity and was active in the Salvation Army as a teenager before later joining the “Grant” section of the Plymouth Brethren. in 1924, Ironside began preaching under the direction of the Moody Bible Institute. In 1926, he was invited to a full-time faculty position at the Dallas Theological Seminary, which he turned down, although he was frequently a visiting lecturer there from 1925 to 1943. After a series of sermons presented at the The Moody Church, in Chicago, he was invited to a one-year trial as head pastor there in 1929. Almost every Sunday that he preached there, the 4,000 seat church was filled to capacity. While there, he continued traveling to other US cities during the week for preaching engagements. In 1932, he expanded his travels internationally. Ironside preached at the 1935 funeral of Billy Sunday, at Moody Church. In 1930, Wheaton College presented Ironside with an honorary Doctorate of Letters degree, and in 1942-06-03 Bob Jones University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. Along with others such as Cyrus Scofield, he was influential in popularizing dispensationalism among Protestants in North America.
This is just an American version of the age old Baptist-Wesleyan (Methodist) dispute of post-Reformation England. In America, the Methodists basically won the debate, with Baptists co-opting many of their doctrines, and premillennial dispensationalism apparently playing a large role in that. It has reached the point where prominent fundamentalists openly denounce historic Protestant doctrines as heretical, while Wesleyan doctrines on soteriology and sanctification are now called the “Biblicist” position, as if Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, John Bunyan, and Augustus Strong were ignorant of scripture or something.
The dispensationals refer to the doctrines of Washer to be “Lordship salvation.” Another site directly compares the teachings of John MacArthur to dispensational pioneer and giant Charles Ryrie. On Lordship salvation: “Its basic premise, that Jesus cannot be one’s Savior without also being his Lord, has been taken by some to mean that salvation is attained by works rather than by God’s grace.” The “some” who take this position are falsely distorting Reformed Baptist soteriology, building a straw man and knowingly making a false accusation. “Those who reject lordship salvation (e.g., Ryrie), believe that someone may have genuine faith in Christ, but the fact that he continues in his sin demonstrates that he has not made Jesus his Lord, only his Savior. According to Ryrie, just because someone sins or acts in disobedience (even habitually) doesn’t mean he doesn’t have saving faith.” So, it is the dispensational Ryrie who rejects “faith without works is dead.”
Check out what Ryrie claims. “Second, there is a repentance that is unto eternal salvation. What kind of repentance saves? Not a sorrow for sins or even a sorrow that results in a cleaning up of one’s life. People who reform have repented; that is, they have changed their minds about their past lives, but that kind of repentance, albeit genuine, does not of itself save them. The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. People can weep; people can resolve to turn from their past sins; but those things in themselves cannot save. The only kind of repentance that saves anyone, anywhere, anytime is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. The sense of sin and sorrow because of sin may stir up a person’s mind or conscience so that he or she realizes the need for a Savior, but if there is not change of mind about Jesus Christ there will be no salvation” (p. 94, SGS).
“The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ.” Intellectual regeneration, confessional regeneration, decisional regeneration. Not only that, but a truly radical form of this doctrine that combines both conversion and repentance, which the Bible and historic Protestant doctrine hold refer to two related but separate things, into the single act of decison. Their position – what can be called the modern Wesleyan one that is the basic position of American evangelical Christianity (whether Baptist, Pentecostal, or nondenominational) is that the free will decision for Jesus Christ is the primary and controlling factor where salvation is concerned. Now in theory – i.e. for systematic doctrinal purposes – the free will decision is not the sole factor. But IN PRACTICE, the decisional regenerationists do not wish to countenance anything that would challenge the idea that the person who has made a decision for Jesus Christ has to be considered born again.
Now this is the rub. Their objection to those like Washer and MacArthur is not in a SPIRITUAL or DOCTRINAL sense. Objecting in a spiritual sense, where humans can claim to profess with 100% certainty that someone is born again when the Bible says that God knows the heart, is not the sort of Roman Catholic thing that these people are after. And they are also not creating or defending any doctrine to the effect of “if a person accepts Jesus Christ AND REALLY MEANS IT then he is saved.” Instead, their objection is in a practical and ecclesiastical sense. As far as practice is concerned, well listen to enough sermons by Paul Washer, John MacArthur and their fellow travelers long enough and it will be difficult to continue relying on the sinner’s prayer and similar evangelism methods (even if Ray Comfort, who largely shares their beliefs, still does). And in an ecclesiastical sense, their doctrines make it extremely difficult to put someone on a church roll after a decision for Jesus Christ. Washer and MacArthur (if not necessarily Comfort) demand a little more effort, a little extra step out of their evangelism methods and before people are allowed as members of their church in good standing. And even after requiring a little more, Washer and MacArthur regularly and frequently acknowledge that many members of their own churches are not born again.
That is offensive to someone who really, truly believes in decisional regeneration, which quite honestly does teach that a person is regenerated by the Holy Spirit upon their heartfelt decision for Jesus Christ. People who make a decision for Jesus Christ and remain unsaved; their only recourse is to claim that the decision was false, insincere, made without adequate understanding, etc. Further, one cannot spend too much time thinking about just how often these “flawed decisions” (decisions for Jesus Christ that did not result in true conversion) because having to consider a large number of flawed decisions means working out how decisional regeneration works in practice (i.e. methods of producing decisions for Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit will always – or at least almost always – honor) and incorporating that practice into evangelism and ecclesiology.
Now in times past, meaning the earlier Wesleyan and fundamentalist movements who A) taught that one could lose his salvation and B) had a strong moral/ethical/works component, this was not a problem. In those cases, you were dealing with a person who had lost his salvation and needed to confess and apologize for his sins and make a new confession of faith, and further the emphasis on morals and ethics (called “legalism” by some) acted as a control on church culture that reduced the need to have to deal with this unpleasant situation. However, as the modern movements have adopted more Biblical positions concerning the preservation of the saints and on grace, they cannot simply deal with this tough issue by saying “Well he made a valid decision for Jesus Christ, lost his salvation, and needs to be saved anew.” Instead, the position has to either be “he was never saved in the first place because his decision for Jesus Christ was flawed or ineffective” or “he is saved based on his decision for Jesus Christ, but he still has problems with sin.” Now as stated earlier, choose the former and the “decision for Christ” doctrine and the church systems based on it have real problems. So, they have no choice but to choose the latter, even if it means explicitly embracing the idea that a decision for Jesus Christ results in Holy Spirit regeneration in even the absence of Biblical repentance (what the Bible means when it says being “pricked in the heart” in Acts 2:37 and similar) and/or rejecting the Lordship of Jesus Christ (despite the fact that it is plainly impossible to make a decision for Jesus Christ when you do not know the identity or nature of the Jesus Christ that you are making a decision for or what Jesus Christ requires of you; anything less is making a decision to a false Jesus Christ, which is a false god or idol that does not exist and is no god at all).
By making decisional regeneration – or more accurately decisional conversion – the agent that results in the Holy Spirit’s justifying and regenerating a sinner, it makes the human free will decision of Jesus Christ a sacrament, a human ritual or action that imparts God’s grace (or results in God’s deciding to impart grace by honoring the initiative and actions of man). This can be compared to the sacramentalism of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church claims that by being the body of Christ indwelt by the Holy Spirit (yes, the Roman Catholic Church does teach that the very institution is the body of Jesus Christ and contains within it the power and sovereignty of Jesus Christ) it has vested within it the power and authority to perform rituals that confer grace through its appointed representatives. So, the Roman Catholics believe that rituals performed by their priests save people, because through the ritual the priest is dispensing the saving grace using the Holy Spirit that the indwells the church. In other words, the ritual performed by the Catholic church saves you because the Catholic church is the body of Christ, contains the Holy Spirit, and as a result has the authority and the ability to dispense saving grace through its sacraments just as Jesus Christ had the ability to tell the paralytic man “thy sins are forgiven” and tell the penitent thief on the cross “this day you shall be with me in paradise.” (Consider in the last case, Ryrie’s position is that the thief in question never had to repent of his sins – which he plainly did when he confessed them and stated that he deserved the punishment of death for them – or call Jesus Christ Lord and submit to Him on that basis, but rather that the thief only had to ask Jesus Christ to save Him.)
However, the decisional conversion-regeneration position states that a person acting on his own power and authority can make a decision that the Holy Spirit (indeed the Holy Trinity) is unconditionally bound to honor, and further that the Godhead must accept that person’s decision even if that person rejects repentance and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. So where the Roman Catholic position is that as the Body of Christ being indwelt by the Holy Spirit it has the sovereign prerogative and ability to confer grace and the regenerative workings of the Holy Spirit on a sinner (Catholic sacramentalism), decisional conversion-regeneration holds that a person outside fellowship with Jesus Christ (and indeed is at emnity with Jesus Christ, spiritually dead, no interest in spiritual things, and all the other things that the Bible says about his condition of original sin and totally depraved state – doctrines which again the original Wesleyans and Arminians somewhat denied but modern dispensationals have mostly adopted) can perform a sacrament that dispenses grace upon himself.
While I do not take the position that Wesleyan dispensationals are in a false and heretical apostate movement and hence cannot be considered Christians – which incidentally is the position that I take with Roman Catholics – allow me to say that at least Roman Catholicism have an explanation for how it is possible for their priests to perform sacraments that dispense grace to sinners: that the priests are acting as representatives of the body of Christ that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and therefore have the necessary access to the Holy Spirit and its grace to give to sinners. (Please note: the Roman Catholic Church actually holds in theory that it institutionally has the right to deny salvation to sinners, but it is exceedingly rarely done in practice, especially in modern times. However, in times past there was this pope who excommunicated the king of Britain until the king caved to the pope’s political demands. The pope kept this king waiting outside begging in the snow for days before the pope decided to allow this king back into heaven. Again, do not mistake this for an endorsement of Roman Catholicism in any way.) However, decisional conversion-regeneration holds that a sinner unreconciled with God and thus not part of the Body of Christ (note that I capitalized “Body” with respect to Protestants and not Catholics, and yes it was by design) and hence is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit is able to impart saving grace upon himself – or to be more accurately compel the Holy Spirit that does not indwell him to impart its saving grace – through the “decision for Christ” sacrament. Now I am not going to say that the Catholic position is more Biblical or that it even makes more sense (especially when you consider that Catholic sacramentalism cannot be taken in isolation, but must be considered in the context of their other mystical, pagan doctrines) but at least the Catholics have an explanation for how a priest can save someone by sprinkling him or giving him a communion wafer. The modern Wesleyan evangelical has no explanation for how the decision of an unpenitent sinner who rejects the Lordship of Jesus Christ places the Holy Spirit under unconditional compulsion to save the sinner. The reason for this was stated earlier: deep consideration of the issue of salvation resulting entirely from human initiative, from human intellectual decision, can only result in serious problems for the entire doctrinal system. So, in order to prevent such examination from taking place, their only recourse is to call Paul Washer a heretic for insisting that Biblical repentance is a requirement for salvation, and that salvation results in a person becoming a new creation whose evidence is a changed moral character that reflects and communicates God’s holiness.
When boiled down to its core, the system of Ryrie, Ironside, and Jesus-Is-Savior.com holds that becoming a new creature simply means switching allegiances, changing minds. Then again, as this doctrine rejects Biblical repentance and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, becoming a new creation simply means deciding to allow Jesus Christ to save you. And since it is the sinner who decides to allow Jesus Christ to save him, then it is the sinner who performs the new birth, the new creation through the exercise of his free will, or the changing of his free will. Now of course, the people holding the doctrines similar to Ryrie and the folks at Jesus-Is-Savior.com are not in the business of admitting this fact to people. As a matter of fact, they haven’t even admitted this fact to themselves. (I am serious … they really, truly have not taken this doctrine to its logical conclusion, of thinking about what salvation based on the free will decision of a sinner who rejects repentance and the Lordship of Jesus Christ really means as opposed to what they desperately want it to mean.) So rather than come to grips with the horrible conclusion that their doctrines teach that the sinner accomplishes his own rebirth through the exercise of his intellect, they must accuse those whose preaching challenges their doctrines like Washer and MacArthur of teaching “works plus faith justification” and “legalism.”
The good news: in practice the free will evangelicals do preach that Biblical repentance and the Lordship of Jesus Christ are necessary for salvation. Lots of Reformed/Calvinistic types claim that they do not, but I have listened to far too many evangelical free will Baptist, Pentecostal, and nondenominational sermons. Also, the link which evaluates the statements of Ryrie acknowledges that Ryrie actually ultimately endorses the very positions of MacArthur that he wrote “So Great Salvation” to attack in the first place (and questioned the integrity of Ryrie for failing to admit it). The problem only occurs when people such as Washer and MacArthur repeatedly and directly challenge the “decision for Jesus Christ” doctrine. It is only when that happens that such people as Ryrie and the folks at Jesus-Is-Savior.com are forced to manifest a sort of double-mindedness (I will not use the humanistic psychological term “schizophrenia”) about what they actually believe concerning soteriology.
It is interesting that the “Lordship salvation” opponents use Ananias and Sapphira as well as the Corinthian man living in fornication as examples to demonstrate that the doctrines of Washer, Comfort, and MacArthur – where they demand Biblical repentance and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ – are false. First, scripture never states that Ananias, Sapphira, and the Corinthian fornicator did not repent and submit to Christ’s Lordship at the time that they were saved. It merely states that these people fell into sin after salvation. It is an argument from silence, true, but it is still completely consistent with what the apostle John writes about Christians who fall into sin in at least 3 of his epistles (1 John, 2 John, Revelation). Also, the people who reject “Lordship salvation” do not ACCURATELY deal with the issues raised by Simon Magus, Simon the magician! Why? Because Simon Magus made a decision for Jesus Christ without repenting of his sinful desire for power and wealth, and without submitting to the Lordship and sovereignty of God! Simon Magus was using sorcery to control people and make money before he made his decision for Jesus Christ, and not only did he want to continue doing those things after he made his decision for Jesus Christ, but he wanted to force the sovereign Holy Spirit to do his bidding! Correlating Ananias and Sapphira and the Corinthian in the sexual relationship with his father’s wife with the Johannine epistles – interpreting scripture with scripture – confirms what they call “Lordship salvation” rather than denying it. And further, the case of Simon Magus makes it explicitly clear that there is no other salvation but “Lordship salvation!” Otherwise, wow, it would be possible to go to heaven without your knee bowing and your tongue confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11), and not only your Lord but Lord of all!
So, we must pray in the Name of Jesus Christ that the people who have adhered to and are disseminating false doctrines on this matter would open their hearts to the truth and begin teaching the truth instead of a lie. Jesus-Is-Savior.com, this means you, and you are by no means alone.
Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: ananias, Calvinism, Charles Ryrie, decisional conversion, decisional regeneration, Dispensationalism, free will, fundamentalism, John MacArthur, lordship salvation, paul washer, predestined foreknowledge, sacrament, sapphira, Simon Magus, Simon the magician, simon the sorcerer, soteriology | 59 Comments »
Posted by Job on August 28, 2009
Posted by Job on August 28, 2009
At this rate I am going to have to throw all my gospel CDs away. Courtesy of Gay Christian Movement Watch.
How Does Premillennial Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology Interpret The Parable of the Tenants In The Vineyard Matthew 21:33-44?
Posted by Job on August 26, 2009
The parable of the tenants of the vineyard of Jesus Christ is as follows.
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
The Word of God for the people of God, praise be to God.
Now, this is a parable that should cause trouble to both covenant theology and premillennial dispensationalism. First, regarding covenant theology “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” has to point to a clear distinction, a clear demarcation between Israel and the church. Further, the fact that there were 12 apostles does so as well. The 12 apostles clearly supplant the original 12 tribes of Israel. It is the apostles and prophets that are called the foundation of the church, not the patriarchs of the 12 tribes, and even Moses is only included in the church’s foundation inasmuch as he is a prophet. Further, when Jesus Christ stated that he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist, whom Jesus Christ called the greatest of prophets (meaning greater than Moses) then the church age prophets would have been greater than the Old Testament prophets. Now, it is true that there is one people of God; one elect people, and further that everyone in this elect group was justified by the work of Jesus Christ. However, this group does not only include Israel and the church. It also includes Seth, Enoch, Noah, Job, Melchizedek, Jethro/Reuel, the Queen of Sheba, and many others that cannot be called “Israel” in any sense. Just as Job and the Queen of Sheba were most certainly not Israelites, having no part in the Sinai covenant or Abraham’s lineage, the Israelites are certainly not part of the church. Also: the Bible makes it clear that everyone who is in the universal, invisible church, the actual body of Christ, is born again and thus heaven bound. It is self-evident from scripture that every Israelite was not and is not heaven bound. Yet, covenant theology maintains that “Israel was the church of the Old Testament” because covenant theology was created to support the concept of the state-church where everyone in a given jurisdiction was initiated into by paedobaptism (infant baptism) as opposed to a confession of faith and subsequent believer’s baptism (which is the method that the Bible actually commands and gives examples of whereas there is not a single instance of paedobaptism recorded or commanded in scripture despite the best attempts of paedobaptists to claim that the command “believe and be baptized and you will be saved, you and your house” to the Philippian jailer justifies this doctrine, ignoring the critical “believe” portion of the formula which precludes sprinkling babies) and state church advocates openly acknowledged that not everyone in these churches was born again, that only the ecclesiola within the ecclesia (the hidden invisible smaller subset within the larger church) was going to heaven. Keep in mind: there was never any denial that the state church was one where people were joined to by compulsion (with death or banishment to those who refused) and was maintained not for political purposes but because of the belief that a single religion was necessary for political and cultural unity and stability, not for religious reasons. So, with the need to maintain such political-religious institutions, the notion that baptizing unregenerate and non-elect infants into the church was the same as circumcising non-elect Jews under the old covenant was a natural progression. However, once one actually obeys James 4, Romans 12:1-2, John 14-17 and learns from the typology of the sacrificial system (where it wasn’t even lawful to use tools to cut the stones for the altar or else the altar would be rendered ritually impure by the tools and the hands that used them … the seed of the “by the gracious work of God and not the works of men” doctrine) and removes the holy sanctified church from the unholy and defiled state and larger society, the whole “Israel is the church of the Old Testament” idea falls apart, and the concept of the theocracized government and culture with it.
Now for premillennial dispensationalism. The first servant rejected by the tenants was Moses, which happened when Israel refused to enter Canaan, choosing to believe the evil report over the good report of Joshua and Caleb. The second servant rejected by the tenants was Samuel when Israel asked for a king. Then Israel – or at least the northern kingdom – rejected the line of David. The subsequent servants rejected were the prophets who warned Israel of their apostasy and called them to repent, but ultimately were not heeded. And finally, Israel rejected the Son Jesus Christ. Now a key here is this portion: “When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” Please note that while Jesus Christ did not emphasize their interpretation, He did not deny it either. Rather, He assented to it, and moved on to the main point that He was trying to make. Yet the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to recall and include this answer – which was in no way wrong – for a reason. The destruction of the wicked men who rejected the Son of God was a reference to the destruction of the Jewish temple and the nation in 70 A.D., a topic that Jesus Christ gave more detailed attention to in the Olivet discourse. (While I am not a preterist – whether partial or full – this is the portion of “this generation” of Matthew 24:34 and similar that was fulfilled in 70 A.D. Of the range of meanings of “genea”, it cannot mean “nation or race” for the Jewish nation will never be destroyed, and whether it means “age” or “generation” is of no consequence, as the Jewish age did come to an end at 70 A.D., and it happened within that generation, the people living in that time.)
And this brings us back to “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” What of the premillennial dispensationalists calling “replacement theology” an evil, anti-Semitic heresy? Who was the kingdom of God taken from but the Jews? Who was it given to but the church? In particular, this is a problem for the premillennial dispensational “Jewish millennium” doctrines, which states that after the church age ends, a newer, better Jewish age will begin with Jesus Christ ruling from the Jewish temple, the sacrificial system and priesthood reinstituted (which completely rejects or ignores virtually everything in the book of Hebrews), and all nations and people serving Israel. If the kingdom of God was taken from Israel, then the millennium will not be Jewish but Christian, and Jews will participate only inasmuch as they become Christians and join the church.
Premillennial dispensationalism, however, rejects this and states that the millennium will be one of Messianic Judaism (or what Messianic Judaism is fast becoming, see exhibit 1 and exhibit A, exhibit B and exhibit C and exhibit D and many more!) and not Christianity hence the true Messianic age. In that case, what does that make the church age? A type or foreshadowing of the Messianic dispensation? If that is true, what does that make Old Testament Israel? Premillennial dispensationalism makes Israel the center of God’s salvation-historic plan, and the church goes from the mystery planned but kept secret from the foundation of the world that the prophets spoke of whose true nature will not be revealed until the seventh trump sounds in Revelation to being a “make-work keep busy project” between the two Israel ages, and Christianity becomes an inferior and temporary – though suitable for Gentile purposes – form of the true eternal revelation and religion, which is Judaism. This rejects even the Suffering Servant songs of Isaiah, which states that rather than Israel being the center of God’s salvation-historic plan, the purpose and role of Israel in redemption was transferred to the Son of Israel Jesus Christ, which in these days is accomplished by the Body of Jesus Christ, which is the church.
Now of course, Paul the Benjamite did say that God has not cast aside His people and that all Israel will be saved after the times of the Gentiles are done. However, a contextual reading of Romans (and everything else that Paul wrote, not to mention everything else that Peter, James, John, Luke, Jude, the writer of Hebrews etc. wrote) makes it clear that all Israel will be saved by virtue of hearing the gospel, which means that all Israel joins the Gentiles in the church to form one new man. Premillennial dispensationalism does give a plausible explanation for why the millennium will be a Jewish one: the church will have been raptured. This allows premillennial dispensationalism to interpret the Kingdom of Heaven parables to refer to the Jewish nation during the millennium as opposed to the church age. (Seriously, that is what this system teaches. So, “the pearl of great price” under this system does not refer to either a man giving up everything – his old nature – to become saved or Jesus Christ’s lowering Himself and going to the cross to redeem the church, but rather the Jewish remnant during the great tribulation.) So, while it is possible that Paul’s prophecy “all Israel will be saved” will occur during the millennium, the idea that it will happen with the restoration of the Jewish kingdom directly conflicts with Jesus Christ’s statement that the kingdom was taken from the Jews and given to another nation (the church) and its fruits. Indeed, “all Israel shall be saved” will be counted as the fruits of the church.
The bottom line: Jesus Christ specifically stated that the kingdom was transferred from the Jews to the church, and this message was modeled by His choosing 12 apostles to replace the original 12 patriarchs of Israel, and it was repeated by the writers of the New Testament. Though the Bible does say “all Israel will be saved”, at no point does it say that the kingdom (meaning the focus of God’s economy, the people of God, the people that give God prayer, worship and praise that He accepts, and the people that God works through to carry out His purposes) would be transferred back to Israel. No scripture text that can be interpreted as claiming that the kingdom would revert from the church back to Israel can be found in either the Old or the New Testament, and no doctrine based on scripture can be formed to even explain why this will have to take place. Now the kingdom was taken from Israel first for their breaking the Sinai covenant terms in Deuteronomy (read first where Deuteronomy predicts that this will happen, and second where Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets state that the old covenant was broken and will be replaced) and second for their rejecting Jesus Christ. The new covenant will not be broken and the church will not and cannot reject Jesus Christ because of A) the promises of the new covenant and B) the church is Jesus Christ’s own Body and as such is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and God the Father, and no part of the Godhead can reject or be divided against Himself. So, the only way that the kingdom of God can revert back from the church to the Jews is the rapture of the church. With the church out of the picture (meaning out of the way) things can simply revert back to how they were in the Old Testament, right? Pardon me, but that would mean rejecting the cosmic effects of the incarnation, the cross of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection. Like time itself, salvation history only goes forward, it cannot go back. Moreover, the book of Hebrews describes the ultimate relevation of God to be through Jesus Christ by way of His incarnation, cross work, resurrection, and return. Premillennial dispensationalism makes the salvation of Israel during a second age of grace the ultimate revelation of God, and removes Jesus Christ’s own Body in order to facilitate it!
It really is no surprise that premillennial dispensationalism is so attractive to Messianic Jews who want to retain the essentials of their old system. It treats the church age as just an interstitial intermediary between the first Jewish age and the second Jewish age, and further one that happened not because it was God’s plan and the climax of His salvation plan all along, but only as punishment for the Jews for first failing to keep the Torah and second for failing to accept Jesus Christ. Once these errors are atoned for, things go right back to where they should have been all along! Further, premillennial dispensationalism re-instates the wrongheaded ideas about the millennium/Messianic age that Jesus Christ corrected! This is probably the one good point that the amillennialists do make: that the Jews in the time of Jesus Christ were expecting a political liberator and ruler who would usher in the Messianic age and institute a global Jewish theocracy and a time primarily for the benefit of Jews, not the God-man Saviour who would usher in an age of grace for the benefit of all nations. The Jewish religion still teaches the error of the Pharisees and Sadducees to this day, and premillennial dispensationalism – which includes most strands of Messianic Judaism – tells them that they are right about everything save the timing.
The core of premillennial dispensationalism is that God ceases dealing with His temporary vehicle the church and begins dealing with the Jews anew. However, unless premillennial dispensationalists can identify a part two of the parable of the tenants that describes when this will happen (and more importantly, how and why such a thing will happen in a manner that makes it consistent with New Testament doctrines and promises) this area of their doctrine is Biblically unjustified. Premillennial dispensationalism teaches that their doctrines concerning the millennium allows for the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham, David and Israel under the old covenant. However, in order to accomplish this, their doctrines require breaking the promises made to the church under the new covenant!
So, just as the parable of the tenants is very problematic for covenant theology by declaring an explicit distinction between the church and Israel, it is even more so for premillennial dispensationalism by explicitly proclaiming that with regards to their place in God’s economy, just as the the second temple could not match the glory of the first (for it did not include the ark of the covenant with the rod that budded or the tablets of the law), for the Jews the former things are no more, and their only place in the latter things (which are greater than the former because the latter is founded on better promises, bought with the Blood of Jesus Christ and hence incorruptible) will be inasmuch as their place is found alongside the redeemed and grafted in Gentiles in the church.
Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: Amillennialism, covenant theology, Dispensationalism, endtimes, eschatology, Israel, Judaism, Matthew 21:33-43, Matthew 21:33-44, Matthew 21:33-46, Messianic Judaism, Millennium, Parable of the Tenants, Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard, Premillennial Dispensationalism, prophecy, rapture, replacement theology, Revelation | 1 Comment »
Posted by Job on August 24, 2009
Who are we? Humans. Curious: the name Adam, given to the one who originated our race, literally means “man”, “humanity” or “mankind.” Who created us? God. What does this mean? As our creator, God is our sole owner and master and has all rights implied and assumed. Has God given up or transferred His rights to and over us to anyone, including man himself? According to the authoritative and infallible revelation of God to mankind, the Bible, the answer is no. According to this same Bible, why did God create mankind? The answer: for His pleasure. So what is the duty, the purpose of man? To give God pleasure. How do we give God’s pleasure? By loving Him. How do we love God? Through our worship, service, and obedience. Are there other ways to love God other than through the worship, service and obedience in the manner commanded in the Bible? No. Is serving God’s pleasure an option? No, it is mandatory. So, who tends to our pleasure and why? God does graciously through His love, and our pleasure should be a function of and come as a direct result of our pleasing God.
So, what of the person who for whatever reason – i.e. deciding to live for our own pleasure or the pleasure of someone other than God – fails to fulfill his purpose? To answer that with a question: if we exist for the sole purpose of pleasing God, and we fail to please God, then why should we exist? If we fail to love God and give Him the glory, our existence becomes purposeless, useless, vanity, a colossal waste. Even more so, it becomes an offense, a stench, and a crime because by refusing to serve God we serve another, preferring one who did not create us to the One who did. So, the person who was created for God’s pleasure not only fails to provide God this pleasure, but actually causes God grief, pain and offense instead.
So, what will God do with things that are both completely useless and exceptionally offensive, even odious? Why, the same thing that you would do to soiled diapers. So when God rids Himself from the useless, stinking pile of refuse by casting it into eternal flame, can He really be blamed for doing so? Of course not. Those who fail to fulfill the purpose for which they are created receive no less than what they deserve and are without excuse. If you have not already, follow The Three Step Salvation Plan.