Archive for January, 2012
Posted by Job on January 27, 2012
Posted by Job on January 27, 2012
Posted by Job on January 26, 2012
All right folks. I said that I was going to give this online discernment ministry thing up. The first reason was that there were too many false teachers and doctrines to keep track of. The second reason was that based on my interactions with those following these false preachers even after their unBiblical scandalous doctrines and behavior had been exposed that folks were going to believe what they choose to believe anyway. The third was that I had felt that I had adequately addressed the issue with the 3 years of blogging that I did dedicate to the topic. The fourth was that I felt that the best way to combat error was with the truth, so I decided to take this site in a more exegetical direction. And the last of those was also chosen for practical reasons: I no longer have the time to answer comments and interact with people that I did back when I made exposing false teachers so writing about scripture’s meaning and application seemed to be a superior use of time (and yes I do need to get back to writing about the Bible).
But the T.D. Jakes issue is timely right now due to Jakes’ recent appearance at a respected evangelical event of some estimation where he was “interviewed” by Mark Driscoll, where the topic of Jakes’ rejection of the Holy Trinity was discussed. Now I don’t mean to attack anybody, but one Christian blogger quickly proclaimed Jakes’s statement satisfies me that he is a Trinitarian and that we should celebrate that Jakes has joined the Trinitarian camp. (Which, er, makes all his time as a false preaching modalist heretic and the people that he deceived during that time “ok” I guess. The truth is that at best he was an unregenerate false teacher when he was in the pulpit before, and even if he believes in the Holy Trinity NOW and is born again NOW, he has no business in the pulpit. His previous experience and service is worthless, and he needs to take his place in the pews learning from an actual Christian pastor. Otherwise, we can go get Jewish rabbis, Catholic priests, Buddhist monks, Muslim imams, and liberal “Christians” who perform homosexual “marriage” ceremonies and put them into the pulpit immediately after they say a salvation prayer.)
Another Christian blogger made a similar – though more guarded – statement: “By far, the session that was most anticipated was the one in which T. D. Jakes was asked to clarify his position on the Trinity. Thankfully, he did so – though perhaps not in a way that would satisfy all of his critics. I believe we should celebrate his affirmation of the truth that there is one God in three Persons.”
The problem with doing so: Jakes own words on the Holy Trinity in the past and present. Now, here is a link to the transcript of the Elephant Room session, judge Jakes for yourself. But what follows is MY evaluation.
Part 1: I used to follow T.D. Jakes. Now … not so much. Without calling him a liar (while actually, you know, calling him a liar) allow me to propose that just because Jakes says something does not make it so. So … just because Jakes says that he believes “One God three Persons” DOES NOT MEAN that we should take it at face value. Jakes has been “less than forthcoming” on many issues in the past, so he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Just because Jakes is in the pulpit and calls himself a Christian does not mean that we should believe what he says. So no, listening to what he says and being “satisfied” requires a presumption that he is telling the truth, a presumption that he does not merit. Does that sound harsh, the bitter words of someone who has “church hurt” as it is called? Well keep reading.
Now in one context I can be SYMPATHETIC to Jakes’ views because I don’t like the wording or terminology used by the Cappadocian fathers myself. But this unease with the Cappadocian formulation needs to be addressed by someone other than Jakes. Why? Because Jakes has been known to be less than honest with the truth, and not merely on this issue. Recall that when Jakes was first challenged on the Trinity doctrine by Christianity Today, he submitted a modalist doctrinal statement that he insisted be accepted as Trinitarian!
Do not take my word on this: another ministry came to the same conclusion, that Jakes was dishonestly trying to pass off modalist heresy for orthodoxy. When challenged on it, he dissembled, claiming that his views on the Trinity were adapting and growing, that he was studying and learning more about it, and how Christians need to stop all this infighting and arguing about such things as minor differences in phraseology and get to the weightier matters of the kingdom, and such excuses for retaining and defending heresy as “these things are too mysterious to be comprehended or explained.” Jakes even resorted to race-baiting, stating “Christians will never agree on every theological issue any more than the colors of our skin will all suddenly match.” So, if Jakes was a liar and a demagogue on this Trinity issue in the past,why should we presume that he is any different now? What has changed to make us presume that Jakes has changed? Especially since he is still preaching heresies in other areas, such as the prosperity doctrine and trying to pass off ecstatic babbling done by mystics in many false religions as “speaking in tongues”?
Part II: From the transcript, it really does appear as if Jakes is fine with “persons” in his Trinitarian statement so long as “persons” is synonymous with “manifestations.” Basically, he says, “well, so long as I can call a ‘person’ a ‘manifestation’ then I am Trinitarian.” He says “My doctrinal statement is no different from yours except the word” – and Driscoll finishes his thought – “manifestations.” What he says next is a amazing.
“Manifest instead of persons. Which you describe as modalist, but I describe it as Pauline. When I read…let me show you what I’m talking about…when I read I Timothy 3:16 – I didn’t create this, Paul did.” And then he goes onto the time-honored modalist lying techniques from the pit of hell: “I think it’s important that we realize that our God is beyond our intellect. And if you can define Him and completely describe Him and say you are the end-all definition of who God is, then He ceases to be God. Because the reason Paul says it is a mystery, is that we deify the fact that God does things that don’t fit our formulas. And because people’s formulas and understandings of a description of an unbiblical God did doesn’t make them demonic.”
Let us go to his abuse of I Timothy 3:16. Yes, the King James Version that many oneness pentecostal liars claim is the only translation – and I used to be KJV-Only myself, and still today am KJV-Preferred, but not because of the translation itself but the texts used to produce the translation, as I believe text criticism used to produce the new manuscripts is a false science – reads “manifest” as its rendering of the Greek word phaneroō. But other versions translate phaneroō to be “appeared” and “revealed!”
Another thing: phaneroō’s definitions: “to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way.” So, rather than being a “mode” or “state” or “relationship” after the doctrines of the oneness heretics (for example, as water has a liquid, solid and gas manifestation as water, ice and vapor) phaneroō’ in this context merely meant how God was shown to men! That is revelation, after the same manner that the Greek word apokalypsis was used in Revelation 1:1. Paul could have just as easily used apokalypsis instead of phaneroō!
Further, according to the definition, what can phaneroō “reveal” or “manifest”? A PERSON! It is right here in definition 1d in a common Bible lexicon placed online via BlueletterBible.com:
1) to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way
a) make actual and visible, realised
b) to make known by teaching
c) to become manifest, be made known
d) of a person
1) expose to view, make manifest, to show one’s self, appear
e) to become known, to be plainly recognised, thoroughly understood
1) who and what one is
Jakes is exposed as a liar by exegesis of the very text that he used to claim that he was telling the truth! In this Jakes fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 10:2, which reads “The wicked in [his] pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.”
Now the dictionary entry makes the Cappadocian utilization of “Person” more justifiable in my mind and it who knows, the Cappadocian fathers might have relied heavily on 1 Timothy 3:16 when they formulated their Trinity doctrine (which would make Jakes’ abuse of that text still more ironic) because that text refers to the revelation of the Person of Jesus Christ and not the mere exhibition of a mode of existence or relationship (and moreover this revelation refers to Christ’s existence being shown to the world; for phaneroō to have the meaning that Jakes claims that it does, THE TERM WOULD HAVE TO REFER TO HIS INCARNATION IN THE WOMB OF MARY, NOT HIS EXISTENCE AND WORKS BEING WITNESSED BY MEN, WHICH IS THE TRUE CONTEXT OF 1 Peter 3:16 AS WELL AS REVELATION 1:1, WHICH AGAIN IS WHY APOKALYPSIS COULD EASILY HAVE BEEN USED INSTEAD) but I confess to still uneasy with it. But the difference between me and Jakes is that JAKES IS LYING. That is the bottom line.
But you know what? This is not truly about Jakes anyway. The reason is that anyone who goes and clicks on the T.D. Jakes category on this blog will know why no legitimate Christian pastor should touch Jakes with a 10 foot pole, unless that pastor has been instructed by God to smite Jakes with it. Instead, it is about the people that are embracing him. It is one thing for the decadent TBN (who has their own tag) Pentecostal abomination to embrace Jakes, and please recall that it was TBN who made Jakes into an international figure. TBN is run by a man who paid off a TBN employee with whom he had a homosexual encounter with, and has since been sued by another man making the same charges. These charges and the many other scandals are commonly known by those who patronize that network anyway and … well now you see why I felt that there were better uses of my time than exposing people who have already been exposed because people simply do not care!
But now, TD Jakes is being embraced by the “more respectable” corners of evangelical Christianity as represented by (ironically named) The Gospel Coalition, which includes some of the most prominent pastors and theologians in evangelical Christianity today. Now of course, there was significant “debate” over inviting Jakes. The fears of those objecting were quite founded, as it resulted in Mark Driscoll, himself a very troubling personality, doing very much to rehabilitate Jakes, largely because of Driscoll’s own desire to push his false anti-cessationist doctrines into the Reformed/Calvinistic evangelical movement. Also, those who would have challenged Jakes rather than accommodate him were not allowed to participate. But the fact that there was even a debate at all shows how far gone the evangelical landscape is! Having Jakes in the Elephant Room should have been as much a nonstarter as having Richard Dawkins or Pope Benedict!
And that brings us to the real issue: further evidence that the evangelical church in America is veering off the rails. (It is such times that even people who MILDLY stand against Jakes and his lies are the ones to be mocked, opposed and condemned.) Is the great apostasy, the great falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 upon us? This event is prophesied in scripture, and will come to pass. It is a very tragic development in and of itself, but 2 Thess 2:3 tells us that the great falling away is a precursor to – or more accurately a precondition for – the coming of the beast, the anti-Christ, the man of sin, which occurs during the great tribulation. It is my position that the church will experience this great tribulation, and not be raptured from or otherwise escape it, as many pastors and teachers propose. So as difficult as things are now for the church as evidenced by its willingness to not only suffer but endorse and promote such false teachers as Jakes, it is only paving the way for even tougher times to come. Christian, watch and discern the times. Pray. Be strengthened and encouraged in the Lord so that you will not be deceived, that you will resist temptation, and stay in the faith.
For those of you not in the faith, realize that the proliferation of false doctrines and those who gain wealth, fame and power by teaching them does not undermine Christianity, but rather is evidence that the Bible is true, for Jesus Christ Himself and His apostles predicted that such a time as this would come thousands of years ago; Christ referred to men such as Jakes as ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing. That many will follow such people is evidence that narrow is the gate that leads to salvation, and wide is that which leads to destruction!
Enter into the narrow gate. Be saved in the Name of Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ. Follow
Posted in Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ | Tagged: anti - Christ, apokalypsis, apostasy, beast, discernment, elephant room, endtimes, eschatology, evangelical, evangelicalism, faith, fulfilled prophecy, great apostasy, great falling away, heresy, holy trinity, homosexuality, man of sin, Mark Driscoll, modalism, oneness pentecostalism, online discernment ministries, online discernment ministry, phaneroō, prophecy, prosperity doctrine, Prosperity Gospel, sound doctrine, T.D. Jakes, TD Jakes, trinity | 3 Comments »
Posted by Job on January 26, 2012
Matthew Wrickman, a pastor and blogger with whom I have corresponded in the past, wished to discuss How The Penn State University Child Molestation Case Demonstrates The Existence Of God and did so in a comment, which he reproduced as a post on his site (which I encourage you to patronize). The objections – er dialogue points – that he raised are good ones as always, and my interaction with them is as follows. Pastor Wrickman’s words are in blocked quote format, and mine follow. Thank you.
“ Interesting response. Most commentators for the last 200 years at least have used evil in the reverse sense as the greatest problem for the existence of God. The line of logic would be that Sandusky is evil. If God was really good, really powerful, and really existed then He would have intervened and stopped the action. He didn’t so either He is not really good, really powerful, or does not really exist. As a line of logic it seems rather convincing. I, of course, would argue (as you hinted at) that God has intervened through the person of Son. That the cross of Christ represents Christ’s solidarity with the victims of Sandusky, as well as, his offer of healing to both victim and victimizer. Mix that with classical free will theory and I feel that the question has been answered; perhaps not superbly but answered nonetheless.”
Alas, you are of the Remonstrants, I am of the Synod of Dort! (Actually I am Particular Baptist after the manner of Charles Spurgeon, William Carey and Paul Bunyan and you are not classical Arminian or Wesleyan as you to not believe that one can lose his salvation, but otherwise you get the picture.)
“You once stated that you enjoyed boiling down arguments to the logical extreme”
Well, my love of reductio ad absurdum was in my angry, immature phase. (In what many might consider to be an irony, it was becoming a “5 point Calvinist” – or again more accurately a Particular Baptist – that helped me get past my anger, which I ultimately discovered was truthfully coming from within and was directed inwardly also.) I now rarely employ this debate tactic, though I hear that it is a very good tool for computer scientists and mathematicians.
“and that is where pointing from evil to God fails. At it’s extreme it allows for no differentiation between evil and God.””
I agree with you to a point, as a multitude of false religions (as I understand them) have deities that are dualistic, amoral or even malevolent. But that extreme is precluded by the holy scriptures. Though I do dabble in classical and evidential apologetics from time to time – to the extent that I am able – for the most part I adhere to the presuppositional apologetics school of Cornelius Van Til and similar, which takes the truth and authority of the Bible to be a non-negotiable starting point and proceeds from there. (I further build on that school by presuming a basic “rule of faith”, or a normative interpretation of the Bible, belief in its inerrancy/inspiration/authority, and application of its doctrines to the church).
So, inasmuch as the Bible differentiates between evil and God, I presume this to be true also. My purpose for authoring the above piece was intended not to much to be an exercise in philosophy, ethics or similar, but for evangelism and encouragement. Thus, it presumes some degree of faith – and please recall that faith is not produced by man but is given by God – and is not intended for the purposes of debating the likes of Sam Harris, Charles Dawkins or the late Christopher Hitchens.
“One might state that if evil has a positive outcome such as pointing to God; then committing evil cannot be entirely wrong (as it creates some good outcome). Therefore committing an evil act cannot be considered wrong and cannot then be evil.”
What you speak of is outcome-based religion. The problem with such religions is that man, lacking perfect knowledge and morality, is incapable of properly evaluating outcomes. Only God can do so. What we perceive to be a “good” outcome according to our perspective might actually be evil according to God, and the converse is also true. Consider an example: a small leak in a dam. A person might make an improper repair to the leak that for a time stops the water from running, but makes the dam weaker, or at minimum ignores the root cause of the leak. Now though the fix is flawed, it might last a long time – during the duration of that person’s life. And for that time, that person will be considered to have done a great good in fixing the leak, and will go to his grave with such estimation.
But suppose that the dam ultimately breaks and catastrophically floods the town! Was this a good deed? No, because in the most extreme case, where the leak would have been at most a minor annoyance but remained, the fix made the dam weaker and caused it to suddenly burst where it would not have had the fix not been applied. In even the most favorable possible case, the fix caused everyone to BELIEVE that the problem was solved, and hindered them from seeking a real solution, or from evacuating the town if no solution was possible or practical.
Such is the result of false religion: it creates self-righteousness and blinds the sinner from his need for God. And false doctrines in Christianity can similar impede the spiritual growth of a Christian. So, the measure of “good acts” are not by their outcomes (“the ends justify the means”) or their intentions (“he meant well/his heart was in the right place”) but rather the fidelity of these acts to the commandments of Jesus Christ as revealed by the Holy Scriptures regardless of their apparent outcomes. God and His Word are the standard, not the outcome or our perception of it, and by the definition of God as determined by His special revelation to us in the Bible, fidelity to God and His Word cannot be evil.
That is why the people who obeyed the commandments of God to commit genocide and fratricide in the Old Testament were not evil, and those who committed what might have been considered good in sparing, say, a Canaanite baby out of what seemed to be mercy upon the innocent who posed no threat when when God commanded to utterly destroy all the Canaanites would have been evil. Where of course we would say that killing a Canaanite baby is evil, and sparing the baby and raising it up according to the Jewish religion would have been good according to our own understanding, we have to accept by faith God’s statements when He says that His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and obey God according to that same faith.
If we do otherwise, and obey God when it conforms to our own sense of good and evil and abandon God’s commandments when they contradict them, we are following our own religion and morality and not God’s, and we have made ourselves into gods in the place of God.
“On another level it also implicates God in evil; because it seems to make God a participant in the evil action. Therefore one might question the goodness of God.”
Well, the psalmists and prophets seemed to regularly question the goodness of God, no? Yet they remained faithful. It is not blind faith, but faith in God’s self-revelation to us through His Son. The role of the Holy Spirit is not to answer all of our questions, but to reassure us, comfort us and keep us in the faith despite them. Or to save us from our faithless condition despite them. The Bible declares oft that we cannot understand God and His ways, and that we are not to even try to. We are to merely – as the old hymn says – trust and obey Him.
But let it be said that God does certainly use evil to accomplish His ends. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose, and this includes evil things. And God most certainly does use evil events. When a sinner commits evil, the Holy Spirit convicts him of this evil in order to drive him to repentance unto salvation. When a Christian commits evil, the Holy Spirit convicts him of this evil in order to drive him to repentance unto restoration. The Holy Spirit does not cause this evil, but He certainly uses it.
But as touching God and evil actions: consider when God sent a lying spirit to the false prophets in order to provoke wicked king Ahab into going into battle so that Ahab could be slain as a punishment for his (Ahab’s) wickedness. Consider also when God made pharaoh ruler of Egypt and hardened his heart so that pharaoh would oppress the children of Israel mightily, as God wanted an occasion to judge the Egyptians for their wickedness, to save Israel and make them a nation, and to display evidence of His existence and power to the world. Consider when God used the wicked pagan Assyrian and Babylonian empires to judge Israel and Judah for their infidelity to the Sinai covenant (and this required allowing Assyria and Babylon to conquer other nations and otherwise rise to power). And consider when Jesus Christ chose the non-elect Judas Iscariot as one of His apostles so that Judas Iscariot could betray Him and otherwise fulfill the prophecies.
It is very fair to say that God participated in these evil actions, if you rely on the common human definition of participation. In the Bible, God does asserts His right to do evil, at least according to man’s perspective of evil (when God did so, He was condescending to the limited understanding capacity of man in that He allowed them to regard His actions as evil).
Just because we see something as evil does not make it evil. God is the standard, the Self-existing Self-defined one who is goodness and righteousness within Himself. Evil, then, is by definition that which is contrary to God, and God by definition cannot be contrary to Himself. Any other definition of evil makes man a judge of not only himself, but of God. This is something than an unbeliever – especially an atheist or rationalist – will never accept but that Christians are called to accept, believe and submit ourselves to through faith.
The unwillingness to accept the fact that God Himself is the definition of good and that evil is defined by its being in opposition to God is the source of so many of these logical games, tricks and constructions on the behalf of many apologists. This fact also solves the apparent problem of God telling one person to do one thing at one time and another person to do something else (i.e. when God commanded Ezekiel and Hosea to break the Mosaic law by eating bread defiled with excrement and marrying a cult prostitute): we are simply to believe that God can do so without Himself being contradictory.
“I prefer the Biblical account which simply claims that God is the good God who overcomes evil. He is the one that thwarts evil, and instead works good in the life of the believer where the evil one had sought to sow destruction. Evil, then, remains evil; and God remains good. It is not the evil action that points to God; but rather His action in turning away the evil and establishing his redemption in its wake. The redemption points to God.”
The problem with that is that it relies on an incomplete portion of the Holy Scriptures, excluding bad facts. Consider, well, the book of Job (which has been as much a source of fascination and meditation for me as I certainly hope the Gospel of Matthew has been for you)! Let’s face it: God delivered Job into the hands of Satan for Satan to do whatever he wished with Job and all that he had save taking Job’s life. And please recall: the Bible is clear that the calamities that came upon Job were not due to any sin that Job had committed. Job’s CHILDREN died, not because of any sin of Job or the children, and despite Job’s daily sacrificing for his children in case they sinned. (Of course, their deaths would have occurred due to their original sin, as did Job’s death, but let us focus on their untimely deaths, which was considered to be an evil occurrence in OT times and still is to this day.)
We have to come up with a theodicy that is faithful to the entirety of the Bible. Not only must we do this in order to be faithful to God through His Word, but this is also the only way to construct a theodicy that encompasses the range of the facts of life that we have to confront, such things as wars, plagues, horrific crimes, miscarriages, birth defects etc. God does overcome evil by eliminating all that which is contrary to Himself. Keep in mind: this process will not be completely finished until the eschaton, when this creation is destroyed by fire, the wicked are cast into eternal flame, and a new heaven and a new earth is created.
As to why God did not make the original creation after the same manner of the new heaven and new earth, we just have to accept that God did all things according to a manner that pleased Him. The idea that God was obligated to prevent the existence of evil in order to not Himself be evil is man’s thinking, not our own. And it is thinking that is centered on man and his own interests, as we accuse God for not acting to avoid our own misery and suffering. We want to be able to say that God is not good if the result of His original creation was humans – most of whom never encountered with the gospel of Jesus Christ to either accept or reject – being punished in the lake of fire for an eternity. As mentioned earlier, our duty is to accept these facts because they are how God revealed Himself and His actions in the Bible, and not to generate contrivances to avoid the fulness of God’s self-revelation and its implications. Make no mistake: unbelievers are fully aware of these things! Have you ever perused skepticsannotatedbible.org and similar counter-apologetics efforts? It is far better to directly confront these things in scripture, meditate on them, accept them through faith, and work them into our systematic theologies than to simply pretend that they do not exist, or to come up with human-centered (if not necessarily humanistic) evasions.
One last point if evil has some positive function in our world then the ultimate destruction of it would in essence be destroying it, and with it destroying an important way of knowing God. Yet our God promises to end evil once and for all. That is our hope that on a day in the hopefully not-too-distant future He will return to bring into completion or fullness the reality of His Kingdom that he established in His previous visit. The cross is the seal of payment, and the spirit is his down payment asserting His intentions to return. Evil will be no more and His people will be entirely free to serve Him in eternity. We will then celebrate His victory, not His battle.
There is a difference between saying that evil has an absolute positive function in the world, and merely stating that God uses evil to accomplish His purposes. However, even if God did so as you speak, it would be well within His right to terminate it. Does God still feed His people with manna? Of course, God did a great thing by feeding His people with manna. Does the fact that you no longer eat manna destroy an important way of knowing God? Does the fact that you are not a Jew living in Jerusalem under the Mosaic law destroy an important way of knowing God? God forbid! So, if God can discontinue good things, then how much more so can He discontinue evil that He uses for good purposes? We know God only by God’s revelation.
Whether God’s revelation consists of His use of evil to accomplish His goals or not, the knowledge of God is the same. Why? Because God – the one providing the revelation – is the same. Even if you were to say that it is not “the same”, inasmuch as those in Old Testament times did not have the same knowledge as do we in light of the cross and the current ministrations of the Holy Spirit, their knowledge of God based on the revelation that they had was nonetheless sufficient to suit God’s purposes and that is what counts. God is only bound by Himself to reveal to us what He chooses for us to know of Him. He is not bound by us to reveal to us what we desire to know of him.
Further, God reveals Himself to us through the way that He chooses, not the way that we desire. Part of the error of some in the Pentecostal movement that I was once in is their demand that God reveal Himself to us in these ways in the same way that He revealed Himself to the early church, and also to Old Testament Israel. God’s actions and revelations are according to His will, not our desires. And the nature and character of God’s revelation are suitable to fulfill our needs. Not our wants, but our needs. Keep in mind in Romans 1 when Paul states that even the order and nature of creation should have been enough of God’s self-disclosure to live righteously and thereby be saved, and therefore those who do not – including those who never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ – are without excuse and therefore subject to condemnation on judgment day.
And of course we celebrate His battle. Are not the Psalms filled with the Jews’ praise of God’s battles on their behalf, physical and spiritual? Concerning Jesus Christ, do we not celebrate His trial in the desert, Gethsemane and the cross, and not merely the resurrection? Jesus Christ specifically instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper so that we would remember His passion. This knowledge of God that you speak of includes God’s battles for our behalf, because through these we know that God has both the power to save us and the love to forgive us. God’s destruction of Egypt and Israel’s other enemies is evidence of the former, and His restoration of the remnant after they broke His covenant is evidence of the latter. This is evidence of the very hope of which you speak!
Well, I am done! I thank this opportunity to dialogue with my old friend and brother in the faith. As always, I hope that I did not offend or mistreat you, and if I did, it was not my intent. Thank you, and I look forward to your response.
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Posted by Job on January 4, 2012
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, [a city] of Sidon, unto a woman [that was] a widow.
In Luke 4:26-27, our Lord and God Jesus Christ tells us that God sent Elijah to a Gentile widow woman as opposed to a member of His elect nation. When His fellow Jews were reminded of this fact, they became enraged at Jesus Christ and attempted to murder Him. The reason – or the context – was that Jesus Christ challenged their presumptuous attitude towards God and their standing with Him; an attitude that was due to their faithlessness. Israel had placed their trust in the intellectual knowledge that they were the children of Abraham, as opposed to spiritual revelation concerning God’s nature. Hence is the difference between mere belief – which followers of Jesus Christ in in Name only possess (see the goats of Matthew 25:31-46) – and saving faith. The former is artificial, is the product of human reason and emotion, and does not endure until the end. A great example of this is the case of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:9-24, who made a human response to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the miracles worked in His Name – the Bible text says that he believed and was baptized – but never experienced new birth, as the apostle Peter testified that his heart was not right and he needed to experience true repentance. (Opponents of the so-called Lordship Salvation doctrine need to take note of Simon Magus). The latter is given only by God, and it always produces true repentance and legitimate salvation from which none can fall away.
Hence we should not be surprised that God sent Elijah to this widow woman. For though Israel was God’s elect nation, not all of Israel was elected unto eternal salvation. An example of this is Judas Iscariot, a Jew whom the Bible explicitly states is eternally damned to hell fire. Further, it is also clearly plain from the Bible that those elected by God unto salvation are not limited to national Israel. This is true of both New Testament times and Old Testament times. The signs are there that God sent Elijah to this widow woman because she was an elect Gentile, and hence a true daughter of Abraham and part of spiritual Israel, Israel of God as described by Paul in Galatians 6:16.
First, consider that this woman knew of God’s nature. In 1 Kings 17:12, this woman swore by God using Yĕhovah ‘elohiym chay, meaning as YHWH lives. By giving an oath upon this divine attribute, she recognized the God of Israel as the living God. Now contrast this with Darius, the pagan king of Medo-Persia during the time of Daniel. He referred to the God of Israel as the living God in Daniel 6, but he did not use the divine name (instead he used a more generic term for deity), further Darius was a polytheist, meaning that he believed in other gods (as evident by Daniel 6:7). Note that the decree of Darius in Daniel 6:25-28 commanded that everyone worship the God of Daniel, but (despite the claims of VeggieTales) did not command that YHWH be worshiped exclusively. Worship of other deities was still allowed, and in a polytheistic nation like Medo-Persia, it was obviously going to happen. Yet this widow woman made no reference to other gods, including the false deities of her own country and people. Thus, the knowledge of God of this widow woman exceeded that of King Darius.
Second, this woman obeyed the commandments of God. She knew that Elijah was an Israelite, and suspected him to be a prophet. When Elijah told her to feed him first with her last portion of food, and then feed herself and her son, against all reason and human nature, she obeyed God’s prophet, and through that action obeyed God Himself. She did this obedience through faith, even though it was yet in a seed form. And again, contrast the faithful obedience of this Gentile woman to the faithless rebellion of national Israel (save for the faithful remnant reserved for God by God’s divine decree) and also of those who claim to be Christians but are not like the goats of Matthew 25:31-46.
Third, this woman was aware of her sin condition before God, and it vexed her to a condition of penitence. This is in contrast with the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and Essenes in the time of Jesus Christ, and of Christians who believe in Jesus Christ only through the power of their own flesh (again i.e. Simon Magus). We know this because when her son died, the first thing that she attributes this great calamity to was her own sin (1 Kings 17:18)! She did not blame God directly by accusing Him, or blame Him indirectly by attributing this tragedy to the unfairness of life, but she asked if God sent His prophet to her to bring about the death of her son as punishment for her sins! And in this, she did not deny being sinful, nor did she deny the propriety of God’s punishing her for her sins!
In all of Israel, was there anyone who had this type of knowledge of the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and how sin has its wages, which is death? And how could anyone, whether Jew or Gentile, have this awareness except by divine revelation? And be not deceived, the knowledge of one’s sinful condition that causes true repentance comes only by Holy Spirit conviction! The Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of his sin, gives the sinner the faith to believe the gospel, and then regenerates the sinner. We see in this narrative that this woman already knew of God and His nature, already knew of her sinfulness (and hence God’s holiness) and already knew of the dire consequences. Now we are beginning to see why God’s prophet was sent to this Gentile woman!
Finally, this woman sees the power of God, the revelation of God, through a miracle: the resurrection of her son. Now keep in mind: national Israel had seen the mighty works of God before and rebelled anyway, including virtually everyone who came out of Egypt. That generation perished in the desert because they lacked true God-given faith, and as a result fell away and tried to stone Moses and go back to Egypt! And in Elijah’s time, Israel SAW God miraculously expose and defeat the prophets of Baal, yet they (again save a remnant that God reserved to Himself, see Romans 11:4 and 1 Kings 19:18) soon began serving Baal again anyway! So where the non-elect have God revealed to them to no lasting positive effect (i.e. those who do not respond to the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ) because of their faithless condition, this woman responded by saying that Elijah is a prophet of God and that the word of the Lord in his mouth was true.
Please do not walk away believing that this woman merely attested that Elijah was a reliable fortune-teller and wonder-worker after the fashion of not a few pagans. This woman spoke “dabar Yĕhovah peh ‘emeth.” Ignore peh which only refers to Elijah being God’s vessel. Instead, focus on dabar Yĕhovah ‘emeth. This means “the word of God is truth.” Again, she explicitly stated YHWH, the divine Name, which refers to the Holy Trinity and not merely God the Father (as some, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult and the equally false modern Judaism religion, mistakenly believe). “Dabar” means “word.” As we know from John 1 – and the apostle directly translated “dabar” into “logos”, and we know this from his citation of Old Testament texts – “dabar Yĕhovah” means “the Word of God.” The Word of God is none other than Jesus Christ. Emeth means “truth.” Hence when this woman exclaimed dabar Yĕhovah ‘emeth she stated “the Word of God is truth”, or “Jesus Christ is truth.” Thus, this woman bore witness of Jesus Christ, a true personal witness that could have only come by the Holy Spirit, and this is so both the Old Testament and New Testament dispensations (for lack of a better term).
Do you doubt? Well, emeth does not only mean “truth” or “true.” It can also mean “faithful.” So, who is referred to in the Bible as “faithful and true”? Why Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:14 and19:11. This Gentile woman in essence referred to two of the Names of Jesus Christ given in the Holy Spirit-inspired scriptures: the Word of God and Faithful and True!
So, she knew of God and His attributes. She obeyed God because of this belief. She knew of God’s holiness and her sin, of the consequences of this sin, and was truly repentant because of it. And she believed in – and publicly testified of – Jesus Christ. The only thing that this woman lacked from the salvation process given in the New Testament was those things that had not yet come to pass (the incarnation and passion of Jesus Christ) and yet her words lacked even less than many conversion techniques and pitches common in evangelical Christianity today! Hence, this widow woman was an Old Testament saint. And it was to this Old Testament saint, whose status as such was by the election and predestination of God the Father from the foundation of the world, that God’s prophet was sent despite her not being a member of national Israel. And therefore this widow woman was an Old Testament example of the New Testament doctrine given in Romans 10:12-13, Galatians 3:28-29, and Colossians 3:11.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.
Be not deceived: though Elijah was not sent to a member of national Israel, he was definitely sent to a member of spiritual Israel. Whether Jew or Gentile, it is imperative that one must be a member of spiritual Israel so that one can reign forever with Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem and avoid the wrath certain to come to those who are not members of this spiritual nation. If you wish to join Israel of God but do not know how, please read:
Posted in Bible, Calvinism, discernment, election, evangelical, evangelical christian, faith, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Judaism, predestination, Reformed, salvation, soteriology, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: 1 Kings 17, Baptist, calvinism and the old testament, dabar, Elias, elijah, Emeth, endure till the end, Essenes, goats, Israel of God, logos, lordship salvation, Luke 4:26, Luke 4:27, new birth, Old Testament, perseverance of the saints, Pharisees, regeneration, sheep, Simon Magus, simon the sorcerer, widow | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Job on January 2, 2012
Perhaps the most popular verse in all of modern Bible-based (i.e. evangelical, fundamental Protestant) Christianity is John 3:16. For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Small wonder … consider that this verse when lifted from the context of scripture implies not general atonement – as many claim – but rather universalism. So, this text – again when taken out of context – is perfect for the self centered, self indulgent libertine modern mindset where one insists upon receiving any and all benefits without any notion of responsibility or sacrifice. In a modern world where the most important word or concept is not “God” (meaning the true One of the Bible) but rather “rights” this should not surprise anyone.
But Romans 12:1-2 tells us to stand against and apart from this worldly thinking. 2 Corinthians 10:5 exhorts us to reject all false ideas, philosophies and theologies that magnify themselves against God’s revelation. The problem is not John 3:16, which is magnificent and beautiful as is all of God’s Word, but instead what hard hearted, stiff necked men have done with it. So, discerning Christians should seek to set themselves right by putting John 3:16 in its proper context.
A quick way to do it is with John 14:15. If ye love me, keep my commandments. Now why isn’t THAT verse more popular? We already know the reason. Taking John 3:16 out of context allows the person to retain the false idea: “It is all about ME! It is all about ME getting THE BENEFITS THAT ARE COMING TO ME! Why? BECAUSE I AM SPECIAL!” (The motto of the popular VeggieTales series: God made you special and He loves you very much.) But John 14:15 creates obligation. It creates responsibility. And the obligation and responsibility is not to LOVE YOURSELF. It is not to BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. It is not TO FOLLOW YOUR HEART. It is not to MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE. It is not to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Instead, that responsibility is to someone other than yourself. It removes YOU from being the center of the universe and puts it on someone else! It takes YOU from being the object of glory, wonder, service and worship and makes redirects that focus to the One who actually merits it!
Little wonder that men want to see themselves, see the world, see the Bible that way. Satan himself was no different. Isaiah 14:13-14 stated that this creation of God desired to stand in the place of God and receive the worship that was due to God. In Matthew 4:9, Satan even attempted to get Jesus Christ, the One by and for all things were made and the sustainer of all things, to give him this worship! And Paul also wrote in Romans 1:25 that man in his fallen condition redirects worship from the Creator to the creature, and this includes man himself, who is but a creature.
But with John 14:15, it is not so easy to do that. It is not so easily to take the words of John 14:15 out of context. If ye love me, keep my commandments tells us that while grace is free, it is not cheap, for we were bought with a price. John 14:15 tells us to be not deceived, we have a Creator, Lord, Ruler and Judge to who wholly owns us, and to whom alone we must answer. John 14:15 is what informs us the truth of James 2:20, which is that faith without works is dead. Yes, many of the more liberal persuasion attempt to abuse James 2:20 to mean acts of charity and political and government action on behalf of certain people, but interpreting James 2:20 in light of John 14:15 makes that impossible, because the commandments of Jesus Christ are not limited to the things that we want to do because of our politics or any other reason, but instead consist of the whole counsel of God!
Do not be deceived. Or let it be said that if you are deceived, it is your responsibility, for you are deceiving yourself concerning this matter. John 14:15 states clearly that if you love Jesus Christ, you must keep His commandments. This means that if you do not keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, then you do not love Jesus Christ. Is it possible to come to any other conclusion when John 14:15 is so direct and clear, consisting of 7 mere words?
So, because of John 14:15, the “world” spoken of in John 3:16 that God the Father sent God the Son to save can be divided into two types of people: those who love God and those who do not. The former are in that category because they keep His commandments. The latter are in their category because they do not. Counted among the latter category are the many goats who say that they believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who call upon the Name of Jesus Christ and do many great works in that Name, who claim that they are born again believers, but are liars. The reason is that these people testify of Jesus Christ with their lips, but their actions reveal that they are far from Jesus Christ. Their verbal testimony, no matter how eloquent and stirring, is vacuous because the testimony of their actions deny Jesus Christ. And as Jesus Christ said of these goats who honor Him with their words of false testimomy but whose hearts dishonor Him because of their disobedience (Matthew 15:8) in Matthew 25:31-46, their fate will be eternity in the lake of fire.
And why should it be any other way? If you do not love God, then why should you receive any good thing from Him? Why should God reward those who hate Him with good things? (Because if you do not love Him, do you not hate Him?) The self-absorbed, narcissist modern mindset will tell you that God must reward those based merely on their verbally pledging allegiance to God as if He is some perishable flag. They think that by claiming to be a Christian, they are doing God a favor. But actually altering their lifestyle, changing their mindset, becoming a new creation, being crucified with Christ, dying to self: that is as far from them as is the east from the west. Since it is all about them, they are convinced that God should reward His ENEMIES with eternal life merely because they CLAIM to be His friends and no more! And that is why they abuse John 3:16, Romans 10:8-9 and a host of other Bible texts. Those of us who protest and object are called legalists, bigots, narrow-minded, anti-intellectual or some other name and dismissed.
But John 14:15 is still in the Bible. John 14:15 still has meaning. And on judgment day, this fact will be proven when only the John 14:15 Christians will enter New Jerusalem.
Do you wish to avoid the horrible eternal punishment that will be given to sinners and instead join Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem? If so, then please read and follow:
Posted in Bible, Christianity, devotional, Jesus Christ, liberal, liberal christian, liberalism, liberation theology, Russia | Tagged: general atonement, John 3:16, Romans 12:1-2, universal atonement, universalism | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Job on January 1, 2012
I have the opinion that the case of Abijah in 1 Kings 14:1-18 can be used as an example to explain the doctrines of grace. My example does not deal directly with the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Old Testament saints; yet the principles of the doctrines of grace are still present. The text from Biblegateway appears below.
At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people. And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child. And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age. And the LORD said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman. And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings. Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back: Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone. Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it. Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die. And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam. Moreover the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now. For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger. And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin. And Jeroboam’s wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died; And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the prophet.
The TULIP acronymn is often used to simplify and summarize the presentation of the doctrines of grace, often referred to as Reformed theology or Calvinism. Consider this to be TULIP as it pertains to this Abijah.
Total Depravity: 1 Corinthians 15:22 tells us “in Adam all die”, a reference to original sin condition of all mankind that is the result of the disobedience of Adam, the originator and thus federal head of the entire human race. As Abijah is a descendant of Adam, he was considered a sinner, an enemy of God, separated from God, and dead to spiritual things. Romans 5:10-14 makes these facts, i.e. the state of our enmity with God, that this state and with it death was passed on to Adam’s descendants, clear. Note that it is because of this total depravity due to original sin that God can declare a death sentence on an entire family based on the actions of one person – as God did to the line of Jeroboam, father of Abijah, because of Jeroboam’s wicknedness and idolatry – and not be called unjust.
Unconditional election: God declared that of all the house of Jeroboam, only Abijah would receive an honorable burial. The reason for this was not because of the righteousness of Abijah, for Abijah was a child (so described by Hebrew word na’ar in verse 3 and yeled in verses 12 and 17). And God did not make a special case for Abijah because of his age, as God ordered the destruction of juveniles in many other cases, including the firstborn in Egypt. Instead, the reason why Abijah alone of the line of Jeroboam was given honor by God before all Israel was “because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel.” This good thing was grace; of God’s choosing Abijah and Abijah alone “in the house of Jeroboam”, the wicked king who turned Israel to idols. The election of the child Abijah was an act of a sovereign God alone, which Abijah having no ability to either consent to or reject the decree of El Shaddai.
Limited Atonement (though I prefer the Baptistic term particular atonement instead): in a dream the angel of the Lord revealed to Joseph concerning Jesus Christ that He would save His people from their sins (Mat 1:21). “His people” does not refer to national Israel, but the church, those called righteous and redeemed in both Old Testament and New Testament times. Jesus Christ stated that His death was not intended for all, but only for His friends in John 15:13-14. Note that Jesus Christ spoke those words not in public, but only to the apostles at the last supper, and moreover after Judas Iscariot, the son of perdition, had been dismissed from the room – and from the scope of Jesus Christ’s words as pertaining to whom Jesus Christ called His friends and for whom He was going to die – in John 13:27. God gave Abijah an honorable physical death because Abijah was considered by the calling and election of God – and God so chose Abijah and not Abijah God in accordance to the words of Jesus Christ in John 15:16 – and as such Abijah was God’s friend. Jeroboam and the rest of Abijah’s house, however, was not.
Irresistible grace: Revelation 13:8 reveals that Abijah’s name was written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4 reveals that Abijah was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Abijah was called to God as a juvenile, and died as a juvenile. As such, Abijah had no opportunity to resist, defy or undo God’s plan to save him. As a result, the standing of Abijah before God declared in 1 Kings 14:13, “in him there is found some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel”, was going to be retained; this decree of God was going to come to pass.
Perseverance of the saints: Abijah was a child in a household that was totally given over to idolatry. Jeroboam, his father, chose idolatry to retain his political power. Further, his mother was the daughter of the Egyptian pharaoh Shishak. Had Abijah lived to adulthood, he would have been reared and molded in this revolting spiritual environment. A study of the Kings and Chronicles books of the Bible reveals that pagan queens (of Judah and Israel) generally resulted in their sons’ being pagan kings. This Abijah should be considered an Old Testament “type” of the “once saved always saved” doctrine where Jesus Christ stated “no one will snatch them out of my hand” (concerning those given to God the Son by God the Father) in John 10:29.
So, the case of young Abijah, a child redeemed from the wickedness of the house of Jeroboam, was honored in death (though premature death was considered regrettable in Israel, the manner of his death was still preferable in that culture to that of the rest of his family) and had this honorable state and status before God preserved in the the Bible by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, can hence be used to understand the doctrines of grace. This is not some mere exercise, but rather our understanding of the doctrines of grace should give us ever more reason to worship, praise and glorify the God who grants this grace, for it is only by this grace that we are able to receive so great a salvation.
Have you experienced the grace of God? If you have not, I urge you to follow
Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, Jesus Christ, predestination, Reformed, religion, Theodicy | Tagged: Abijah, doctrines of grace, free will, na'ar, original sin, Shishak, Theology, total depravity, TULIP, yeled | Leave a Comment »