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Archive for the ‘religious right’ Category

The Homosexuality Double Standard

Posted by Job on June 17, 2011

A common tactic of the so-called “gay rights movement” is to claim that Christians who oppose the sin of homosexuality are motivated by hate and bias (or at best antiquated cultural/traditional norms) as opposed to a desire to love God by adhering to the Bible is the idea that the Bible teaches that all sins are equal. So, if all sins are equal, then why the disproportionate emphasis on homosexuality? The thinking goes: you don’t see Christians condemning gossips, the covetous, or the gluttons, so since “all sins are equal”, the only reason for emphasizing homosexuality is homophobia!

First, this missive is not intended to minimize or mitigate any sin. For example, anyone who would take the position that I am soft on gossips can simply read Proverb 18:21 – Death And Life Are In The Power Of The Tongue! (A perusal of my archives would also reveal my attitudes towards corporate greed, war, patriotism, hatred of the poor, and other frequent stumblingblocks of modern political conservatives, many of whom are also religious conservatives.) Second, this is also not intended to defend or support those who actually do hate homosexuals and use the Bible to justify it, or those who have flawed, un-Biblical doctrines on this matter. But let it be known: the popular idea that “all sins are equal” is wrong. That such an erroneous belief has wedded itself into conservative (i.e. evangelical and fundamental) Christianity, even amongst experienced pastors and learned theologians is shocking. The truth is that one only needs to be familiar with the Westminster Larger Catechism! (These specific questions and answers appear in part 2.)

Question 150: Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?

Answer: All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Now two things. First, this historic Christian document does not deny that all sin, whether small or great, merits the same reward, which is an eternity in the lake of fire.

Question 152: What does every sin deserve at the hands of God?

Answer: Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserves his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.

Second, and more important, the Westminster Catechism’s position that all sins are not equal is not the doctrines of man, but is the doctrine of Jesus Christ! The chief proof text used for this catechism point: John 19:11. “Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” Now this does not merely mean “has committed” the greater sin, but the Greek word translated “hath”, echo, means “own”, or “possess” or “be closely joined to” or in a sense “to be.” So, not only is it possible to commit a greater sin, but to own it, possess it, to be joined to it, or to be defined by it, to be called by its name! And lest we be accused of taking this verse out of context, other proof texts are supplied, see Ezekiel 8:6, 13, 15; 1 John 5:16 (the sin unto death), and Psalm 78:17, 32, 56. To this Confession’s list can be added Matthew 12:31 and Mark 3:29, again the words of Jesus Christ that refer to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. So, obviously, the crimes of betraying Jesus Christ (Judas Iscariot) and of attributing His miracles to the power of Satan (certain of His accusers) and of sending Him to be killed (the Sanhedrin) were worse than shoplifting. Rest assured, the fact that so many Christians adhere to this false belief shows how frightening indeed it is that more people are getting their theology from VeggieTales than catechisms! (Not singling out VeggieTales – at least not right now despite their advocacy of religious pluralism in their Jonah movie, and allegorically depicting Satan as Jesus Christ’s brother in their other movie – or being slavish to catechisms as using it to illustrate the point that so many Christians now rely on “pop Christianity” rather than a serious examination of the faith.)

So, since the idea that it is Christians with the double standard since “all sins are equal” is the one that is demonstrably false because clearly all sins are not equal, there is the REAL double standard, which is how gay rights advocates elevate their esteem of homosexuals above other sinners! An excellent example of this is the column by Southern Baptist pastor (?!?!) Jonathan Merritt in USA Today called Love the Sinner. Now while some Christians – though not nearly so many as claimed – are indeed guilty of a Biblically unbalanced treatment of the homosexuality issue, that does not compare to the far greater percentage of gay rights advocates who extol, glorify and exalt homosexuals as Merritt does in that article! Now again, if “all sins are equal” then where are the people commanding us to love adulterers? After all, it is the same general area – sexual immorality – right? Why all the love for homosexuals and none for the heterosexual adulterers?

But let’s not stop there. Since we are loving homosexuals, what about similar demands that we show love to those into bestiality? All sins are equal, right, so why not? Or what about statutory rapists (presuming that the underage party is consensual)? Why withhold the love from them? And to get away from the sexual sin issue, how about love for the robber barons, the greedy corporate profiteers who run oil companies, tobacco companies, and make weapons for the military? The unethical bankers that destroyed the economy in the 1920s, the 1980s and caused this current recession, or the chemical companies that are destroying the environment? Any sacrificial love for them?

Further still, if the rationale is “all sins are equal”, what about child molesters? Rapists? Thieves? Murderers? Terrorists? White supremacists? War criminals? And so on. No lovers for people like that? Why not? This is why: it is because they don’t believe that homosexuality is sin. In this I am not merely speaking of Merritt, who in his column rejects the idea that homosexual behavior is a choice, and also makes the “as sin is missing the mark, we are all sinners, so instead of rejecting those who choose not to obey Jesus Christ, let us show love to all sinners as Jesus Christ did” bad theology (incidentally, the Jesus Christ that Jonathan Merritt presents IS NOT the one who frequently rebuked and castigated people, including at one point telling an entire crowd that they were the children of Satan!) but a widespread attitude that it is only really a sin if “it hurts somebody” (i.e. theft, rape or murder) or if “society” says that it is wrong (i.e. bestiality). If it is a crime against a person it is horrible. If it is a crime against society, it is terrible. But if it is a crime against God, well then “we are all sinners!”

In this view – and how increasingly common is this view in even evangelical and fundamental Christianity! – what matters is the harm or offense done to man, not a holy righteous God. Man-centered theology! And if the center, the emphasis, is on the creature instead of the Creator, what is the justification for withholding something from man, so long as that “something” doesn’t hurt anybody else and does not vex contemporary mores, whatever they might be? In that context, it is a greater sin to begrudging a homosexual’s desire to experience pleasure than it is for the homosexual to indulge in said pleasure because the former is against man, and the latter is “only” against God. Moreover, it is all about our “feelings.” We “feel” more love for the homosexual than we do for the military-industrial complex CEO or for the neo-Nazi skinhead (or even for the Christian who actually takes the Bible seriously!) so that is what counts!

It is entirely consistent with the worldview that man is the measure of all things. All one has to do to reconcile the humanist worldview with a superficial (and false) reading of the Bible is to come to the conclusion that “all sins are equal before God”, which allows you to define the sins that are “really bad” based on your feelings. It makes you the judge of men (for these folks have no problem judging Christians who have a Biblical view of homosexuality as hateful bigots!) as opposed to God and the Bible that God inspired. But though it is inconsistent, it is still a double-standard.

Please realize that God knows no double standard in His judgment, but relies on a consistent standard, see Acts 10:34. It is equally true that no man was ever able to meet God standard but Jesus Christ, who met it by virtue of being fully God in addition to fully man. Therefore, only those who believe in Jesus Christ and have faith in what He did to them will be considered to have met God’s standard, and this will be by the righteousness of Jesus Christ being freely given to those who believe in Him. However, faith in Jesus Christ is not on our terms, for that is not true faith. Instead, God is God, the sovereign King and ruler, so we must meet His terms! So, no superficial declarations of faith with agendas or strings attached will do. Instead, God only accepts those who truly repent of – meaning turn from our renounce – their sins and believe that His Son paid for and defeated those sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection. So, do not live according to a double standard, no matter the sin or the issue. Instead, have Jesus Christ meet God’s standard on your behalf, and so so immediately!

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in abomination, Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false teaching, hate speech, heresy, homophobia, homosexuality, Jesus Christ, religious right | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Regarding Japan: Where Is God When Disaster Strikes?

Posted by Job on March 25, 2011

The recent disaster in Japan is provoking a lot of the usual questions when such calamities happen that revolve around the same general theme: what is the role of God in this? This theme can manifest in such questions as “Did God cause this to happen, and if so why?” “If God did not cause this to happen, why did not He prevent it? Is it because He could not, or did not choose to?” These questions and its answers are for the purpose of attempting to discern the nature of God and our response to Him based on it. Of course, the answers to such questions are contained in the only authoritative record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind, the canon of scripture, the Bible. Of course, if one rejects the Bible as the final source of truth and authority, or if one does not take the time to study and understand the Bible, or to seek out a qualified source who has (i.e. a pastor with a high view of scripture) then a variety of answers to these and other questions will abound, almost all of them having a varying degree of untruth or some other deficiency. Let us be faithful – and thankful – that the Bible does provide the answers. What follows is a Bible-based attempt to provide some of them.

1. God Can And Does Act According To Creation As He Pleases

This is the first and most important presupposition. Tragically, even among most Christians, including evangelical and other theologically conservative/traditional/orthodox Christians, this fact that is not only clearly, repeatedly set forth in the Bible but is also obvious due to logic and common sense is oft rejected. The issue is not that most people who acknowledge the existence of God in some sense deny His sovereignty. Instead, the real problem is that most people who claim to believe in the sovereignty of God really do not. As a result, they fail to accurately convey the meaning and implications of God’s total, utter sovereignty over creation to the larger culture.

Make no mistake: there is only one God. God has no equal and no rival. God fears no one, answers to no one, and judges no one. There  is no other entity – or group of entities – capable of judging God with unrighteousness. Even if they attempted, it would be utter madness of the highest degree, because there is no way to enforce the verdict. God not only created all things that exist, but all things that exist are sustained by God’s power! These facts give God not only the might but also the right to behave towards His creation however He chooses. Now God does choose to behave towards His creation in a fair, just and loving way. He does so in order to be consistent with His own nature. Indeed, God is incapable of acting any other way … He is incapable of acting in an unjust, cruel, irrational or arbitrary manner. But being the self-existing deity who solely created and solely owns all else that ever was, is or shall be, fairness, justice, love, order, rationality etc. are all defined by God Himself. There is a proverb popularized by William Shakespeare: “to thine own self be true.” Well, God is the only entity for whom this proverb can possibly apply, for everything else that exists has a Maker, Ruler and Judge. God is in debt to no one. He exists in fear of no one. God is only responsible for answering to Himself. Man’s only option is to accept this fact. The refusal or inability to do so can only at best be called a self-delusion of the highest order. One certainly has the prerogative to claim all he pleases that because he does not like the facts of life that he rejects either the existence of God or of a final judgment by God, but it is sheer madness for this person to actually believe that his mere opinion actually has some bearing – some influence – over whether there actually is a God, there will actually be a judgment day, and the Bible is actually true or not. Since we are but creatures, we have no more say in or power over these matters than we did in our own creation!

So even if God did strike Japan and cause all of the carnage, destruction and loss of life, it was well within His prerogative to do so, because God created Japan, God sustains Japan, God owns Japan, and therefore Japan and all the people therein are the exclusive domain of God to do with as He pleases whenever He pleases. Even according to human logic with the things that we “create” or “buy” (it is mine; I can do with it whatever I want!) this is truth, and our failure to acknowledge this is merely evidence of just how narcissistic we are. It is reminiscent of how Satan demanded that Jesus Christ, the very One who not only created Satan but sustains Satan’s existence, demanded that Jesus Christ bow down and worship HIM! Obviously, Satan was no threat to Jesus Christ in any way, because all Jesus Christ has to do to remove even a theoretical threat is to stop sustaining the existence of said threat!

Satan’s lack of reason and rationality due to the madness caused by his fallen condition caused him to be so presumptuous as to ask a thing of the one responsible for his own original and continued existence, and it is the same madness that causes humans to deny that God has no less than the same absolute dominion over us than we have over some plastic toy that we buy from a discount store. This exists only because we believe that our own relative worth in comparison to God’s worth is so much greater than the relative worth of that cheap plastic toy as compared to us. This is total folly and an utter offense, and is so because we both greatly diminish God’s importance while inflating our own. This is nothing but the sin of pride, the sin of vanity, the very same which caused Satan’s fall from his own exalted position to begin with.

2. There Are No Innocent People

You might make a mental assent to the first point and say “OK, God is great, but that does not make Him good, and as a moral agent I am well within my rights to dispute God’s goodness if He is responsible for the deaths of so many good and innocent people, including babies.” Now while from a cosmic level this argument is still useless (you can call God unjust all you want and you still can’t make Him listen), it must be acknowledged that this argument can be used to challenge the authority of the Bible. For instance, if the Bible declares God to be just, and it can be shown that God is not just, then rather than necessarily being an indictment on God, it is instead an indictment on the Bible that Christians claim is God’s authoritative and inerrant self-revelation to man. So, convicting God as unrighteous is more useful as an argument for, say, deism, than for actually putting God on trial.

The problem is that the Bible definitively removes this argument with its doctrines of original sin and federal headship. When Adam sinned, the effects were not limited to Adam himself. No, God made Adam the representative of the human race and the steward of creation. So, the result of Adam’s misdeed was the fall of the entire human race and all of creation. God did not create evil. When God finished creation, it was, according to the declaration of a just, holy and righteous God, “very good”, which means that there was no evil in it (for God cannot and will not declare anything that has evil present in it “very good”). When Adam sinned, not just Adam but all of creation was no longer “very good.” This means that all of creation was no longer acceptable in God’s sight. All of creation no longer met God’s standard, which is total holiness; complete sinlessness; absolute perfection; peerless harmony with God and His nature. “In Adam all die” indeed!

Now with creation no longer meeting God’s standard, God was well within His right to destroy it all. Not just destroy Adam. Not just destroy the human race. Not just destroy planet Earth. God had the perfect right and a very good reason and motivation to destroy the entire creation, because thanks to Adam, the entire creation was now sinful! Like a little drop of ink on a huge white piece of paper or cloth, that one little blot means that it is no longer totally, completely perfectly white anymore! Instead, it is only “mostly white”, and by God’s standard, “mostly white” isn’t good enough.

But God didn’t destroy creation. Why? Because He loves His creation. It is the work of His hands and it is precious to Him. So even though He had no obligation to and had every reason not to, God so loved His creation that He sent His only begotten Son to preserve some of it for eternity. (That is the true meaning of John 3:16). So, it is only by God’s grace, God’s love, that ANY of creation continued to exist for even an instant after Adam sinned. Because all of creation is sinful, all things and all people, God is not under obligation to save any thing or any one. Instead of charging God with cruelty, incompetence, aloofness or injustice for not intervening to save everyone, the opposite is true: it is only because of God’s grace and love that He saves anyone. All deserve God’s wrath; all deserve death and destruction. It is only because of God’s great love, because of God’s willingness to suffer the continued existence of a creation that is an abomination in His sight because of its fallen condition, that ANY person is able to experience the great privilege of living, existing, and getting to know the benefits of God’s love and grace even for a single second, because even that single second is more of God’s love and grace than any of us deserve. (For more on this topic, see How Can A Loving God Send People To Hell? Answering Requires Knowing What Love Is).

3. There Is No Evidence That God Causes Most Calamities

Now allow me to preface this with the caveat that the doctrine of providence means that God ultimately controls and is responsible for everything and uses all events to accomplish His purposes. This is indeed true, for denying it in any part results in establishing deism in an equal part. Still – and continuing to tread very carefully (and please realize that I am not a trained or professional theologian, so suffer my limitations) – please strongly consider the notion that God does not have to act to cause a calamity or a “bad thing” because they would happen anyway. Remember: creation in its original state was perfect, in complete harmony, so much so that the Bible even declared it self-sustaining after a manner of speaking (i.e. the plants and animals reproduced themselves). Adam’s fall introduced sin, or imperfection, which disrupted this disharmony. With Adam’s sin, death entered the world. So, because of Adam’s sin, things like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions (not to mention disease, wars and famines) are going to naturally happen simply due to the marred, flawed corrupted state of creation itself.

God does not have to act in order to cause a “bad thing” to happen, and it certainly does not have to be the result of a specific punishment for a specific sin. Quite the contrary, the bad things that happen are just the result of flawed machinery (with the flaw being due to sin) exhibiting its lack of perfection. It is analogous to how a poorly tuned automobile will still sputter, make bad noises and get poor fuel economy even if the driver commits no error in operating it.

Now it is true that the Bible does record various instances of God’s unleashing natural disasters and other widespread calamities to punish sin and wickedness. Examples include Sodom and Gomorrah, the flood of Noah, the woes against peoples and nations given by the Old Testament prophets, and the things spoken of in Revelation. They also include the famines, plagues, lost wars etc. experienced by Israel during her times of infidelity to her heavenly King. It is based on this that whenever there is a natural disaster, invariably certain Christians will suggest that it was a punishment meted out by God for wickedness, such as the infamous statements of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blaming abortion, homosexuality and other right wing culture war hot button issues for one calamity or another. Curious that these folks never seem to blame such things on injustice to the poor or minorities, a failure to take care of orphans and widows, corporate greed, or waging unjust wars despite God’s prophets in the Old Testament – and Jesus Christ in the New Testament! – also listing those as reasons for God’s judgments.

With the former, while these events certainly do seem to occur with some degree of frequency in the Bible, realize that they occurred over the course of thousands of years (yes, I am a young earth creationist) of Biblical history, and that their inclusion in the Biblical text is precisely because they were so rare. (It stretches credulity, for instance, to claim that the total destruction of the entire population of a large city in a natural disaster, as happened with Sodom and Gomorrah, is anything approaching a routine occurrence.) And in the case of Israel, please realize that they were a unique case: the nation created and called out by God among all the nations to serve His unique purposes. As part of Israel’s election, God gave them the Sinai covenant, which contained blessings if Israel was faithful and curses if they were not. When Israel failed to keep the covenant, then God did act to punish them for their sinfulness. But it is theologically wrong – and dangerous – to claim that God does the same with other nations with whom He did not establish a blessings and cursings covenant. Sadly, not a few religious leaders do exactly that because of either covenant theology, or even more cynically, religious right politics, which causes them to assert the existence of “Christian nations” that are products of God’s providence and therefore subject to God’s blessings if the populace is faithful to Him, and God’s curses if it is not. These claims simply cannot be supported by scripture and should be rejected, along with the notion that any contemporary nation, including America, is “a Christian nation created by God as part of His special plan.”

As for Revelation (and similar prophecies elsewhere such as the Olivet discourse) there is the belief that widespread disasters are increasing in frequency and severity because we are in the last days before the return of Jesus Christ. That is more legitimate theologically, but even there we have to be careful: people have used calamities and misfortunes in their time to claim that Jesus Christ’s return is nigh upon us for centuries. Also, while certain things – especially wars – have gotten particularly severe in the past 100 years, let us not forget that Black Death nearly wiped out Europe, and in the 6th and 7th centuries Islam nearly succeeded in conquering the known world.

Further, it may not even necessarily take specific judgments of God to result in the increasing frequency and severity of disasters, but instead it might simply be fallen creation exhibiting more and worse dysfunction as time goes on, similar to the problems that a house built on a warped, cracked foundation would have as the years go by. And for those with premillennial eschatology in particular, there is little evidence to support natural disasters oft or usually occurring as the result of specific judgments from God until the seven years of the great tribulation. Of course, those with different endtimes views, especially the historicist viewpoint that holds that the various judgments of Revelation have been occurring throughout the history of the church, see things differently.

Even so, it is far more likely that God has worked to graciously and mercifully prevent more natural disasters – and has limited the severity of and the loss of life from the disasters that do occur – than He has caused to happen because of judgments. So, just as it is with popular misconceptions of God’s sovereignty, a lot of the “God caused this to happen to punish those people for their sins!” talk is actually backwards. The Biblical evidence suggests that ever since the flood of Noah, God has sought to act mercifully and graciously to limit having to mete out such punishments. An example was the Tower of Babel, where God intervened to prevent mankind from accomplishing a great evil, which would have provoked God’s wrath in response.

Conclusion

Understanding great tragedies such as Japan and the even more devastating tsunami of 2004 (killing 230,000 people in 14 countries) requires beginning with an appropriate view of God, then a correct measure of man (and the rest of creation) in relationship to God, and next an attempt to grasp the true, severe, devastating cosmic consequences of the fall of Adam. Often, we only view Adam’s fall in soteriological terms: because of his actions men are doomed to an eternity in the lake of fire unless they are saved through Jesus Christ. While that is certainly true, it is unhelpful to limit Adam’s actions only to that sense, as if the eternal fate of humanity is all that truly matters. Such is man-centered thinking. Instead, we must realize that all of God’s creation is very special to and loved by Him, and that it was all of God’s creation that was made unacceptable to God as a result of Adam’s actions. As much as it pains us to see the death and misery due to these natural disasters, we must realize that it hurts God even more. Not only does God love each and every person that perished in that earthquake and tsunami, God also loves the planet itself that cracked and moaned that tragic day. (For example, imagine your own distress were a favorite and valuable piece of china passed down to you from a beloved family member were to badly chip or crack, and multiply that by a great many times.) This is why environmentalists who tell us to “love the earth” are so misguided … far better to love the God who loves the earth more than we ever could! God loves His creation, and it pains God to see the condition of disrepair that His beloved treasure that He created and sustains has come to because of Adam’s actions.

But there is good news: this marred, groaning crumbling creation will not exist forever. Quite the contrary: its time is limited. At the time appointed by God the Father, this current creation will pass away – be destroyed by fire – and replaced with a new creation, a new heaven and a new earth. A mere man will not be the head of the kosmos to come as Adam was of this kosmos! Instead, the head of the kosmos to come is Jesus Christ, who being God will not fall and plunge it into sin (ignore the doctrines of the heretic Origen who claims otherwise). Also, the people united with Jesus Christ? Well, they are the part of the prior kosmos that God will preserve for an eternity in the new kosmos, as a “keepsake” of the old kosmos. Why will God preserve some of the old kosmos when it is sinful and unacceptable? Because He so loved it! John 3:16! (Kosmos means “world”.) And by uniting the remnant of the former kosmos with Jesus Christ, the keepsake from the former kosmos will have its sinful status expunged, purged, extinguished, never to be remembered, spoken of or thought of before. So, God will have a reminder of His original work AND a new work that will be preserved forever by His Son: the best of both worlds! Does the God of the universe deserve anything less? Soli Deo Gloria!

But in order for this to be good news for you, you must be part of the kosmos that is united with Jesus Christ and thereby preserved. Otherwise, you will be in the portion of the marrred, unsuitable kosmos that will be rejected by the holy, perfect God and destroyed by fire … or more accurately the lake of fire. And against the doctrine of annihilationism, as time does not exist in eternity, the old creation’s being cast into the lake of fire will be just as eternal as the joy of the saints in heaven (cf Revelation 14:11). So in order to be the part of this world that is preserved forever instead of destroyed forever, you must obey Acts 2:38, which reads (in part) “Repent , and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” For more detail on how this is done, I urge you to immediately read and heed:

The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in abomination, abortion, Bible, Christianity, false religion, false teachers, false teaching, global warming, Jesus Christ, religion, religious right, Theodicy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

VeggieTales Versus Rob Bell: Not That Much Difference!

Posted by Job on March 24, 2011

First, let me say that I haven’t read Rob Bell’s book and I do not plan to ever to. The reason is that my bookshelf is so stacked with great items from legitimate Christian writers that it will take me years to go through them all, and I am yet in the process of trying to acquire more (I want a good commentary on the book of Daniel and on the gospel of Luke; I am accepting recommendations towards that end). So I don’t have the time – or the inclination – to read prattle from a known false teacher. Further, the doctrines that Bell are spreading are not new, but instead are the same abominable heresies that the church has been contending against since nearly the beginning, and then just as now are  the result of reading humanistic and pagan ideas into the Bible text. So, if you want a review of Bell’s “Love Wins”, I suggest Albert Mohler, Ken Silva (from whom I first learned of Bell and the movement that he represents), Phil Johnson, Tim Challies, The Gospel Coalition, and a host of Christian thinkers far more capable of that sort of thing than I. Meanwhile, I will continue to spend my free time reading books that actually contain truth from the likes of Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, George Whitefield and John Eadie.

Still, it is curious to note a curiosity or two. First, the postmodern hermeneutics employed by Bell, Brian McLaren, and similar are by no means new. Quite the contrary, it is reminiscent of allegorical and other techniques that have used to either ignore or alter the meaning of “inconvenient” Bible texts for hundreds of years. I won’t go into the various doctrines that these methods have been used to support or reject, but it goes without saying that using his interpretative method when it suits your own purposes makes it a lot harder to stand in the face of a blasphemer that is using it for his.

Second, it is even more difficult to hold figures like C.S. Lewis in high esteem (and for that matter Billy Graham) when Lewis, Graham, and many other giants of evangelical Christianity hold the same basic views as does Bell! Any number of evangelical Christian leaders encourage us to run out and take our children to see the “Narnia” movies because “it is oh so important to support Christian efforts in Hollywood and the mainstream culture.” As for Billy Graham, well, their “Gideon: The Tuba Warrior” episode saw fit to depict Graham (of all the preachers in history) as one raised up by God despite Graham’s publicly stating beliefs similar to those of Bell.

Speaking of VeggieTales, I recall reading the line “The evangelical “Veggie Tales” cartoons—animated Bible stories featuring talking cucumbers and tomatoes—probably shape more children in their view of scripture than any … catechism does” in the Wall Street Journal. (Note: here is a good catechism for children.) They are not alone. Quite the contrary, you are more likely to encounter an actual Biblical theme in VeggieTales than you will in any “Christian” children’s programming in your local Christian video store, or on Christian broadcasting. But evangelical and many fundamentalist parents buy things like Veggie Tales, The Horned Avenger, On The Farm, Hermie The Caterpillar, Adventures In Odyssey etc. despite the clear fact that A) most of them offer a “Christless” Christianity focused more on ethics, morals, virtues, so-called family values, than the gospel. Phil Vischer specifically stated that this is done to increase sales and make more money from Christians, and has the motto “the more you preach, the fewer you reach.” So, all of that Jesus Christ talk will mean not selling videos because Christians won’t buy it! And they know of what they speak … consider that Good Times Entertainment, whose products were often about Jesus Christ (consider the Bible series featuring Charlton Heston), went bankrupt in 2005. An example of what leaving Jesus Christ out results in? Their “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” movie allegorically depicting Satan as the brother of Jesus Christ. Another example? Teaching works-righteousness in “Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah’s Umbrella“, when the lead female character tells the lead male character (who in true feminist fashion – yes feminism has made real inroads in evangelical Christianity – in an incompetent idiot) that “Do you know what those who do the right thing are called? Righteous.” Actually, the New Testament says that righteousness comes by being imputed through Jesus Christ, and that it is impossible to be considered righteous apart from Jesus Christ. So the need to omit Jesus Christ in order to sell more DVDs results in teaching the exact opposite of what Jesus Christ taught and denying the reason for Jesus Christ’s ministry and work! As no one raised a peep about VeggieTales’ essentially endorsing Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism, modern Judaism, and every other false works-based religion, how can we be surprised when Rob Bell has such a huge audience? Bell is only reaping the fruit that that was planted and watered by others in fields that were plowed by others.

Now granted, VeggieTales does get around to mentioning Jesus Christ and even His atonement occasionally (see their Easter episodes, though typical of modern Christianity, they give Christmas much more attention than Easter, including promoting the very destructive Santa Claus works religion in two of them … telling kids that there’s no Santa Claus means not selling any DVDs though!), they and the other “Christian” entertainment rarely – if ever – mentions the other side. They will tell you “accept Jesus Christ and go to heaven.” They will not say “if you do not, you will go to hell.” Indeed, even mentions of hell are rare, and this is the case in Christian children’s entertainment, contemporary Christian and gospel music, Christian movies, Christian books, and most Christian evangelism and preaching. So, since we are in a Christian culture that leaves out this important detail, what is the basis, the justification, for getting angry when Rob Bell comes in and fills in the blanks for us?

A lot of Christians are angry at Bell for not believing orthodoxy, but the real problem is that those who believe orthodoxy will not preach orthodoxy.  Challies mentions a new book that discusses “issues pertinent to the church today” which a lot of popular contemporary writers contributed to. According to Challies, there is no chapter on hell, and there are only two references to it in the index! That is no surprise. Clark Pinnock, the Rob Bell of his day, related that when a major Christian publishing company solicited prominent evangelicals to represent the traditional, Protestant view in Four Views On Hell (which is a theological debate in published form) they found no one wanting to take the job! (Ultimately, dispensational pastor and theologian John Walvoord took the challenge.) Pinnock – and again this is nearly 20 years ago – defended his position at the time, annihilationism (this was before Pinnock discarded any remaining pretense of adhering to inerrancy and adopted views similar to Bell’s) by stating that due to the increasing unwillingness of evangelicals to preach about and defend the doctrine of hell, the result would be a widespread embrace of universalism. (Pinnock was not well versed on pluralism at the time, but after learning more about purgatory from the Roman Catholic contributor to the project, Zachary Hayes, he ultimately adopted it as his own position.)

So, Veggie Tales and its effects on children is merely symbolic for the larger Christian scene itself, whether an unwillingness to oft preach and share the whole gospel because it is not acceptable in modern humanist culture – we Christians have to keep our place in the mainstream! – or an unwillingness to confront, condemn and separate from those who preach false doctrines. Quite the contrary, Christianity Today, long the evangelical standard, published a missive aimed at Christians appropriately denouncing Bell, claiming among other things that they lacked the necessary qualifications and standing to do so, and that their actions reflected a lack of various Christian virtues. The writer calls (indirectly but very intentionally) those attacking Bell “meain-spirited”, directly accuses them of “lacking self-restraint”, and pines for the days when such debates were the exclusive domains of people like Plato and “Saint” Thomas Aquinas – in addition to Moses and Augustine – “who gained respect through a lifetime of scholarship.”

Well the respect of the world earned by “Saint” Aquinas for advancing popery and of the pagan Plato is not what we should be after in the first place. Instead, we should seek the grace given through Jesus Christ. That so many of us want the respect of those in whom the truth is not present is precisely why this great vacuum on teachings about hell exists. The problem is not that Rob Bell stepped up to fill it, for there have always been and will always be until Jesus Christ returns false teachers. No, the problem is the carnality caused by the love of this present world in the church that allows this void to exist to begin with.

The result of this void caused by the worldliness is that as many as 59% of evangelical Christians believe that salvation can be obtained outside of Jesus Christ. Not surprisingly, 59% of evangelicals also have “dealing with moral breakdown” as a forefront issue; apparently the great commission can wait for another day. Again, and this should surprise who? Did you think that it was secular humanists being raised on VeggieTales, Hermie The Caterpillar, Focus On The Family etc. and buying them for their kids? Or that atheists are the ones buying Christian and gospel music that does a great job of emulating secular music (or maybe not) but oft neglects the gospel? That theological liberals are the ones heading to Christian bookstores and loading up on “devotionals” that are increasingly just Christianized pop psychology and motivational writings?

The issue is not Rob Bell. The issue is the church and its dereliction of its duty while chasing after worldly pleasures. And let Revelation 2 and 3 remind you: the church is where judgment begins. To more that is given, more is required, and the parables of Jesus Christ tell us that to those to whom more is given, more is required, and further if we are not faithful with what we have been given, then what we have will be taken from us and given to those who have been faithful. We Christians have been given the gospel, and we must avoid allowing the love of this world to prevent us from proclaiming it in its entirety.

In closing, it must be said that if you are a not a Christian, do not take comfort in the lies of the pluralists and others who claim that there is salvation outside of Jesus Christ. Yes, the Bible does declare that love wins, but it will be love of holiness, justice, righteousness, and the only way to have those attributes is by imputation through identification with One who has those attributes, which is Jesus Christ. Unless you live in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ lives in you, there is no life and victory, but only eternal torment. So, I urge you to repent of your sins and join with Jesus Christ immediately.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in Bible, child evangelism, Christian hypocrisy, christian worldliness, Christianity, church hypocrisy, church worldliness, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ, religion, religious left, religious right, universalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Is Your Eschatology Political Or Biblical?

Posted by Job on March 12, 2011

Sorry for the disproportionate emphasis on the endtimes lately. Rest assured, I am not reverting back to my “Heal The Land With Spiritual Warfare” angry Pentecostal days when I was given to much speculation concerning anti-Christ new world order conspiracies. It is merely that I have finally gotten around to reading an excellent book recommended by the Irish Anglican, which is “Interpreting Revelation: A Reasonable Guide to Understanding the Last Book in the Bible” by the late Merrill Tenney, an evangelical theologian who at one point was under the employ of Wheaton College. Now this Tenney was not nearly objective; rather it was quite easy from reading the book to discern that his beliefs tended towards premillennial dispensationalism/pre-tribulation rapture. Fortunately (for me anyways) Tenney pays little attention to his rapture beliefs beyond “gently” mentioning it as a possibility now and then, and instead deals with other issues using my own preferred methodology, which is literal-historical-redemptive interpretation of Bible texts (a hermeneutic that relies mostly on literal interpretation but allows for symbolic and figurative interpretation where appropriate) supported by responsible prooftexting (interpreting scripture with scripture without using verses out of context in order to support some agenda or bias) and appeals to church history. This makes it possible for me to (mostly) agree with Tenney’s scholarship in “Interpreting Revelation” in spite of my disagreement with his belief in (and in this book advocacy of, however mildly) a pretribulation rapture.
Of particular interest are chapters 8 and 9 of his text, which are “The Chronological Approach” and “The Eschatological Method.” In those, Tenney makes the case – though oddly enough this case was not his intention to make – that premillennialism was the eschatological view adopted based on the Biblical (and extrabiblical) text, and that other systems, particularly preterism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism, were developed for political reasons. (Regrettably, Tenney fails to distinguish between his own modern premillennialism – which includes dispensationalism – and historic premillennialism, or chiliasm. His case would have been much stronger, and dare I say more honest, had he done so. That, and his shocking failure to deal with the objections to premillennialism – his own view – as thoroughly as he did with the systems with which he disagrees actually constitute a greater shortcoming than his occasional stumping for the pretribulation rapture.)
First, preterism. Tenney convincingly credits its development with Alcazar, a Roman Catholic Jesuit friar. This Alcazar was a counter-Reformer, which was a duty of The Society of Jesus in general. He developed preterism in order to refute Protestant attacks on the legitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church, as the Reformers polemically used Revelation to refer to this church and its pope as “Babylon” and “anti-Christ.” His method: claiming that Revelation was written in reference to the early church’s struggle with the Jews (chapters 1-12) and paganism (13-19) and had no contemporary or future application whatsoever. Thus, Alcazar followed after a long line that began at the very latest with Eusebius in marginalizing Revelation for political purposes. What is amazing is that Protestant theologians soon began to adopt for themselves a Roman Catholic system created for the very purpose of opposing – and attempting to destroy – the Protestant Reformation, and many have used it ever since despite knowing its original origin and purpose! Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
Next, Tenney deals with the political origins of postmillennialism: Augustine’s need to defend the declining Roman Empire (and the ecclesiastical arm of the church-state) along with it. The idea at the time – first proposed by Eusebius in his “official theology” created to support the political aims of Constantine, to whom Eusebius served as an “advisor” – was essentially that the Roman Empire through its making Christianity the state religion, was the earthly fulfilment of the kingdom of God, and that the empire and its church would grow (whether by conversion or coercion) to fill the earth and thereby fulfil the prophecies concerning the global reign of Jesus Christ. Of course, this doctrine JUST HAPPENED to provide a religious justification for the need/desire of the Roman Empire to wage war, conquer territory and subdue/repress people. When the Roman Empire began to crumble, Augustine had to rework his doctrines somewhat in order to arrive at the position that even though the present political order – the Roman Empire – might collapse, the visible church destined to gain global dominion (and domination) would continue by attaching itself to whatever political, social and economic order that existed (whether the Roman Empire of Constantine’s time, the feudalism of the Dark and Middle Ages, or our current political hegemony) and adapting to fit it.
To pull this off, Augustine had to use an allegorical/spiritual method of interpreting Revelation (and other texts) that allowed him to strip the text of its intended meaning and assign the meaning that suited his purposes, which of course were the purposes of the empire and its state church. In that regards, we can consider Augustine to be a postmodern reader-response deconstructionist sort whom the Marxist scholar Jacques Derrida merely followed after 1500 years later! One of the things that Augustine had to do was deny a literal first resurrection, that of the martyrs spoken of in Revelation 20:4-6, by making the amazing claim that this passage referred to Christian regeneration! Now while Augustine was technically not Roman Catholic (but rather “proto-Catholic”) it is still amazing that so many Protestants followed his eschatological groundwork when it so blatantly involved willfully denying the meaning of scripture in order to contrive an interpretation that suited his political needs. Now, the Reformers were motivated to remain basically loyal to Augustine’s eschatology because of their commitment to his soteriology. The problem is that where Augustine’s soteriology is easily confirmed by a plain reading of the Bible, one has to reject that plain reading in order to adopt his eschatology. The Reformers erred in not being consistent in their hermeneutics, and with regard to the magisterial Reformers in general, were not free of their own political needs in maintaining their own church-states.
Amillennialism, at least according to Tenney, is little more than an improved or more sophisticated and “realistic” postmillennialism. Thus, it follows the same Eusebius-Augustine theological lineage, and ultimately comes to the same conclusions, even if – again according to Tenney – it makes better use of scripture in arriving at them. For instance, amillennialism also generally denies a literal first resurrection. Which is understandable: if the church and the political/economic/military/religious/cultural systems (the world) are one and the same, then who is martyring the Christians that will be resurrected? However, it should be pointed out that amillennialists do generally acknowledge that evil will increase before the return of Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ does return to overthrow and judge a wicked worldly system, a wicked ungodly antiChrist system (as opposed to a personal antiChrist). At best, this system is an attempt to reconcile political eschatology with what the Bible actually says. As stated earlier, this was likely done because these doctrines came as part of a larger packaged doctrinal system (i.e. covenant theology).
Then, there is premillennialism. Tenney does acknowledge that premillennialism was not the consensus view of the early church, though he does regretfully understate this fact. However, Tenney does effectively make the case that premillennialism was a doctrine of many Christians from the earliest times in recorded church history, and naming such people as Papias and Justin Martyr (who wrote mere decades after the canon was completed, as early as 115 AD) as well as Irenaeus. Tenney uses the uncanny similarity between the millenarian teachings in Revelation and those in such apocryphal books as Baruch and Esdras IV as evidence of the existence of chiliast beliefs in the first century church. Of course, many throughout church history have used this fact against premillennialism, claiming that it is Jewish propaganda and misinterpretations of prophecy, but that principle is not used against apocryphal and extrabiblical references that appear in other Bible books (i.e. the book of Jasher and the book of the wars of the Lord in the Old Testament; the book of Enoch and the Assumption of Moses in Jude).
Of course, embrace of premillennialism was far from universal in the early church. However, some of that can be attributed to anti-Jewish bias among Gentile Christians (which scripture tells us was developing as far back as when Paul composed the epistle to the Romans), and more still to a lack of a normative canon, and in particular the fact that Revelation appears to have been among the last books to gain widespread circulation and acceptance. However, it is known that vigorous opposition to chiliasm – and in many cases to Revelation itself, including many who wanted to either explain away its meaning and application or keep it out of the canon altogether – did not arise until Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire, and that this opposition was motivated by the need to depict the Roman Empire as the fulfilment of God’s kingdom. Tenney’s assertion of this point is by no means unique, but is repeated in any number of books on church history, and in particular those that deal with the debate over Revelation’s inclusion in the canon.
A final positive contribution by Tenney is his debunking the common claim that premillennialism received its modern revival thanks to the works of such spurious characters as Cyrus Scofield. The effects of this contribution is somewhat diminished by Tenney’s failure to acknowledge that at least some of the Christians who began investigating premillennialism had social and political motivations. This was true of certain radical Anabaptists in their violent upheavals in the 16th and 17th centuries, and also of Christians operating in the political, economic and social upheavals in the United States and England in the 19th century. Still, Tenney does identify a list of more reputable scholars who contributed to the revival of premillennialism (including historic premillennialism, which again Tenney regrettably does not distinguish) including Johann Albrecht Bengel, Hermann Olshausen, Heny Alford (definitely a chiliast), Johann Peter Lange (somewhat questionable because of his tendencies towards neo-orthodoxy), Andrew Fausset (another chiliast), Joseph Seiss, Franz Delitzsch and Charles Ellicott. Unfortunately, Tenney does the credibility of his effort in compiling that list great harm by including Plymouth Brethren hyperdispensationalist (a position that challenges the unity of the New Testament by setting Paul’s teachings over against those of the gospels and Acts) John Nelson Darby on his list of “reputable scholars”! (Why Darby and not Scofield, who in some respects is actually LESS problematic?)
So, Tenney’s book, despite its problems, helps one arrive at the conclusion is that premillennialism is the eschatological position that, despite is shortcomings, reflects the Biblical text according to a consistent hermeneutic and early church doctrines, and not the political need to assert that a church-state serves as the kingdom of heaven until the return of Jesus Christ. The former view integrates Revelation into a consistent schema of Old and New Testament thought – and not merely thought related to the apocalyptic/eschatological/prophetic – while the latter makes one wonder why Revelation is in the canon in the first place, and especially its application to contemporary Christians.

Posted in anti - Christ, anti - Semitism, antichrist, beast, Bible, catholic, Christianity, church state, church worldliness, covenant theology, endtimes, eschatology, evangelism, false doctrine, false teaching, Israel, Jesus Christ, man of sin, mark of the beast, postmillennialism, prophecy, religion, religious right, replacement theology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Is The Rider On The White Horse Of Revelation 6:2 Christ Or Anti-Christ?

Posted by Job on March 9, 2011

Revelation 6:1-2 reads “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”

The predominant view in modern western fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity is that the rider of the white horse is the anti-Christ. This was my view until very recently, when I read the John Bunyan allegory “Holy War“, which altered, or should I say enhanced, my view of Jesus Christ (more on that later), just as did reading “Pilgrim’s Progress Part 1” changed my view of Christian living and Part II changed my view of the pastorate and of the church.

Allow me to say that this article provides a good reason why the rider on the white horse cannot be the anti-Christ, which is that the four horsemen are released this eschatological figure is not released until the fifth trumpet. The trumpets do not occur until the seventh seal, and the white horse is released by the first seal. So, the white horse comes at or near the beginning of the events of Revelation (presuming a linear timeline with a literal interpretation) while the anti-Christ comes well into those events. Some interpretations deal with this by claiming that the reference in Revelation 6:2 is the anti-Christ’s laying the groundwork, placing everything in order, for his full unveiling to the earth that is described later.

Well, further arguments against the rider being the anti-Christ are given in this article. It deals with how those who propose that the rider is the anti-Christ deal with the fact that white is always used to represent Godly virtue by making the statement that the anti-Christ comes in this manner to deceive people into thinking that he is Jesus Christ. However, this interpretation requires starting with the idea that the rider on the white horse is the anti-Christ, and then making everything else fit, something often called thesis-driven analysis and also called eisegesis. If your starting point was neutral concerning the identity of this character, then his being on a white horse would immediately disqualify your  associating him with the anti-Christ. But if your starting point was his being the anti-Christ, that is when you have to contrive an explanation for the horse being white, one that seems to violate all rules and standards for hermeneutics used for other passages. The question is: “Why is this done?”

It goes back to one’s view of Jesus Christ. The rider of the white horse is given a bow and he went forth to conquer, and conquer he did! Modern, humanistic, enlightenment thinking does not permit viewing Jesus Christ as the Conqueror. That is, at least not until the last day when Jesus Christ comes to judge the nations for their wickedness. That is the one time that the modern church with its man-centered mindset allows Jesus Christ, who as God is the Creator, Owner and Sustainer of the Universe, to be viewed as a conquering ruler. (And for those who believe in the rapture, this happens when the church is already off the scene, and is spared having to deal with Jesus Christ in this role.) In the modern mindset, Jesus Christ can be viewed as the sacrificial lamb, advisor, “co-pilot”, best friend, psychiatrist/psychologist, enabler, helper, moneychanger (prosperity doctrine), mystic/shaman, errand boy, and even romantic lover, but NOT as a conquerer. This stark, authoritarian, militaristic view runs counter to the modernistic Jeffersonian view that exalts such ideas as civil rights, human rights, democracy etc. above all, and needs a Jesus Christ that will bow and be conformed to it. Thus, Jesus Christ as conquerer cannot exist in the mind of the modernist/postmodernist Christian except for a single day when He is forced to execute that role with respect to the wicked. With the exception of that day, Jesus Christ remains in a construct that the modern mind finds acceptable. And according to that construct, where conquest to set up authoritarian rule is undemocratic is evil, this HAS to be the anti-Christ!

It cannot be Jesus Christ according to this mindset, because this mindset makes Jesus Christ a democrat. This Jesus Christ does not conquer. No, this Jesus Christ is standing outside the human heart like a lovesick teenage loverboy knocking on the door waiting, longing, begging for His sweetheart to come in. And it is only when the person that Jesus Christ’s target makes the free will decision to open the door to his or her heart and invite Jesus Christ in that salvation occurs.

For this to happen any other way, uninvited, unasked, and without consent, is tyranny. For Jesus Christ is not a sovereign king who rules by way of His undisputed dominion over the creation that is the work of His own hands for Him to do as He pleases. No, that is tyranny. Such rule is illegitimate, based on the threat of force rather than the consent of the governed! A true, enlightened philosopher king governs not by power or divine right, but by mutual consent! So, the one who stands at the door and knocks and will not come in without the consent of the “pilot” (for Jesus Christ is merely the co-pilot, not the actual pilot who is running the show and is the true master of eternal destiny, which is man’s free will) is Jesus Christ, the genuine article. The conquerer who does not ask permission, who does not gladly (though under submission) come when asked and does not meekly leave when rejected? Now that has to be the anti-Christ! So says the modern Christian mindset.

Thankfully, John Bunyan did not live in modern Enlightenment times! Therefore, Bunyan presents a different Jesus Christ, one that is actually present on the pages of the Bible before all the modern humanist filters and constructs are placed on it. Bunyan’s rather rough allegory presents a kingdom ruled by Shaddai (God the Father), whose most prominent and prized possession is the city Mansoul, which was built by the King Himself. While the modern mindset reared on democracy would revile the idea that a city is the possession of any king, A) this was in fact the custom of monarchs in times past – the kingdom and all in it were their possessions, and in the east the subjects of the “lord-kings” were considered slaves to the lord-king, and remember the Bible is an oriental book, not a western book and B) the Bible was fully written in the mindset of this custom. Mansoul rebelled against King Shaddai due to the provocation and trickery of Diabolus (Satan) and made Satan its king instead, under the false pretense that they could exchange status as slaves under King Shaddai’s rule to free men under his rule. Of course, Diabolus immediately made the residents of Mansoul his slaves, but so thoroughly corrupted and tricked them that they mistook the slavery of Diabolus and sin for liberation. Their delusion was so strong that when King Shaddai sent His captains (difficult to tell in the allegory, my guess is that they are angels) to liberate Mansoul from Diabolus, they resisted with all their might. The story was explicit: when Mansoul was given a multitude of opportunities to make a free will choice for King Shaddai, they rejected King Shaddai each time due to the depths of their depravity.

So, King Shaddai sent His Son, Prince Emmanuel, to recapture Mansoul. In this allegory, Emmanuel did not conquer Mansoul by standing at the door knocking and being invited in. Quite the contrary, He came with an army of soldiers and overcame the recalcitrant Mansoul, who resisted Him with all the force that it could muster – as it was still dedicated and devoted to Diabolus and its own sinful passions – with mighty force. Make no mistake, in this allegory, “and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” Mansoul! After the conquering of Mansoul was done, Prince Emmanuel had the entire town confess that He took the town for Himself as His prize by force; that when the town had the chance – indeed several chances – to yield itself up to the government of the Prince and His Father by choice, they refused each time. So, Mansoul chose the rule of Diabolus, and Prince Emmanuel gained the rule of Mansoul only by overtaking Diabolus, binding him, driving him out, and “spoiling the goods of the strongman” by declaring and setting up His own rule and domain – and through it re-establishing the same of King Shaddai – by force. Mansoul had no say in the matter, because Mansoul, by decree, election and will of God the Father its Owner and Creator – had declared it to be so. Mansoul did not choose Prince Emmanuel, but Emmanuel chose Mansoul (John 15:16).

Now, Jesus Christ as He is commonly depicted in most modern gospel music is not the rider on the white horse. But Jesus Christ as depicted in Holy War and in the Bible may well be. If nothing else, it is something to consider. Another thing to consider: why would the anti-Christ have to go about conquering the world to begin with? According to the words of Jesus Christ, Satan is already the prince of this world (John 14:30)! 2 Corinthians 4:4 declares Satan to be the god of this world, Ephesians 2:2 declares him to be the prince of the powers of the air. So, the anti-Christ does not need to conquer the world. All he needs is to have Satan’s authority transferred to him. Revelation 13:2 says exactly that: “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Further, Revelation 17 says that the rulers of the earth GIVE their power to the beast, NOT that he conquers them and takes it from them by force.

This may seem like idle speculation, or an excessive emphasis on “last things” when other issues concerning orthodoxy and orthopraxy are more pressing: “minoring in the majors.” However, one’s view of last things often casts a shadow on one’s belief. Many theological liberals and “moderates” de-emphasize predictive prophecy because of an anti-supernatural bias. Others use apocalyptic texts to promote the political and social causes that are near and dear to them. And many Christians are attracted to the rapture doctrines because of their desire not to suffer persecution and rejection by the world as Christ suffered the same.

In a similar fashion, the idea that the anti-Christ is the conquerer on the white horse reveals the mindset of a great many Christian theologians, preachers, and laymen concerning the doctrine of original sin. So many Christians SAY that they believe in original sin, or even total depravity, but by adhering to such interpretations as this, it really does imply otherwise. If original sin is true, if total depravity is true, then why is it that Jesus Christ comes only by willing invitation, and the anti-Christ only by force? Is that not backwards? If the anti-Christ, the beast is “the man of sin”, then the fallen, wicked world, if it is not his already, will freely, gladly accept him as one of their own, a kindred spirit! Again, why would a sinful world oppose and resist a man of sin? Why would they not accept him and instead need to be conquered by him? Only if there is some inherent virtue, inherent goodness in him that would cause him to resist the evil rather than accept it.

The idea that the anti-Christ would have to conquer is based on the notion that man is basically good; that the nations are basically good. And is that not what so many seem to adhere to because of their political, cultural and social beliefs? That the nations – especially the pro-western capitalist democracies – are good, and only the exceptions – the anti-democratic, anti-western, authoritarian regimes – are bad.

Isn’t it curious how most of the theories about where the anti-Christ will come is from the “bad” nations? First it was from the “bad” communist regimes. Then it was from the “bad” secular humanist socialist United Nations or European Union. Now speculation centers on the “bad” Islamic regimes. The idea that the anti-Christ could come from – gasp! – America, the shining city on a hill, the nation founded on Christianity and is a beacon of freedom and goodness? Well, MAYBE, but only if he is not really one of us like Obama!

Again, it is based on the idea that there is some inherent virtue in man, and some inherent virtue in what man builds. It is based on a rejection of original sin, a rejection of total depravity. Even the very idea that Satan takes over the earth and installs the anti-Christ only when the church departs after the rapture is based on the notion that Satan is not the god of this world at present! Ironically, people who adhere to this belief are de facto amillennalists believing that rather than being the god of this world in this present age, Satan is currently bound by the church’s presence.

So many Christians who profess to be evangelical or fundamentalist and profess a belief in original sin based on the actions of Adam only apply that doctrine to soteriology. They only apply mankind’s fallen nature to the individual human soul! But when it comes time to apply it to a larger scale, they shrink back! Why? Because of their love of this present world and the things in it! To those people, James 4:4’s “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” applies to liking MTV and the New York Times editorial page and not the entire fallen worldly system! The parts of the world they like, they consider it good, moral, even Christian. It is only the part that they are alienated from, usually because of political or cultural considerations, that they consider to be “worldly.”

But go back to the text and view it in context. Yes, Revelation concerns the last days. But the letter to the Hebrews – and elsewhere in the New Testament – declares that the last days began after the work of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of God’s plan and the high point of the history of creation. So, the last days – the time period that Revelation concerns itself with – is not merely the last seven years, the “great tribulation.” Instead, it concerns itself with the entire endtimes, which is now, and has been since Pentecost. That is why the letters to the churches are the first part of the Revelation. They are not introductory material to set the stage for the eschatology. Instead, they are part and parcel of the eschatology!

In that context, note that the white horse and its rider come first. It is the first seal! So, after the heavenly visions in Revelation 4-5, the white horse and its rider are the first thing that we encounter when the events shift back earthward in Revelation 6. So, why not strongly associate the white horse and rider with Jesus Christ speaking to and walking amongst the churches in Revelation 2-3? Were the material in Revelation to be arranged topically (i.e. with the things happening in heaven all together and the things happening on earth all together), that is exactly how it would appear … Revelation 6:1-2 would immediately follow the challenge to the Laodicean church!

So then, why not consider the possibility that the rider on the white horse given the bow and the crown and goes about conquering (and as this article states he does not obtain or use these things illegitimately in a manner that is against God’s will … such ideas are missing from the text) is going about to foreign lands conquering souls of sinners for God the Father? Did not Jesus Christ say in the Olivet discourse (i.e. Matthew 24:14) that the end will not come until His gospel is preached in all the world for a witness to all nations? Well, in Revelation 6, though it is certainly the last days, the end is not yet come! So, me must consider that the rider on the white horse is none other than Prince Emmanuel enlarging the domain of King Shaddai through the conquest of souls in every tribe and nation that are hardened with the total depravity of original sin.

Granted, this article does state that the rider is the Holy Spirit, not Jesus Christ. I disagree, but for my purposes the distinction is not a great one, as Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit in His Name to complete His Work through the church which is Jesus Christ’s Body, and the Holy Spirit is the One who performs regeneration. Instead, the main point is to consider the strong possibility that man-centered, humanistic thinking is the reason why the rider on the white horse was ever called the anti-Christ to begin with, especially when one has to be very inconsistent in one’s interpretation of Revelation and the Bible in general to arrive at that viewpoint.

Of course, the main point is that Jesus Christ is returning to judge the world and all its people for their wickedness. The only way to escape this judgment that is certainly to come at a time in the future that has been predetermined by God the Father is to be saved through Jesus Christ. If you have not been, I urge and entreat you that you would be so; that you too would be a conquest of Jesus Christ as was I.

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Posted in abomination, anti - Christ, anti - Semitism, antichrist, apostasy, beast, Bible, christian right, Christian salvation, christian worldliness, Christianity, church hypocrisy, church scandal, church state, church worldliness, conservatism, conservative, endtimes, eschatology, globalism, government, great tribulation, harpagesometha, Holy Spirit, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Jesus Christ, Left Behind, liberal, liberal christian, liberalism, liberation theology, man of sin, mark of the beast, mid - tribulation rapture, Middle East peace process, Muslim, Muslim Brotherhood, Muslim media conspiracy, New York Times, orthodoxy, orthopraxy, political correctness, politics, post - tribulation rapture, postmillennialism, pretribulation, rapio, rapture, religious left, religious right, the anti-christ, the beast, the false prophet, warning given to churches in Revelation 2 and 3 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Terry Jones Quran (Koran) Burning Is Just One System Of Idolatry Versus Another

Posted by Job on September 9, 2010

Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, is planning to commemorate the 9th anniversary of September 11th by burning copies of the Qu’ran (Koran), which is regarded as the holy book for those who practice Islam. These intentions have horrified a great number of people. Many of them, including of course Muslims and also Bible-believing Christians, are no doubt sincere in their intense opposition to this event. Many others, however, are of course grandstanding hypocrites who passionately defend and take pleasure in similar attacks against Christianity and those who practice it. However, there is another group of hypocrites that figure prominently in this controversy, as they were the ones who laid the very groundwork for such a thing as this to happen with their words, doctrines and deeds. Many Christians involved in “religious right” politics are falling over themselves to denounce Jones and his actions as un-Christian, taking full advantage of the opportunity to publicly exhibit their opposition to bigotry. These religious right Christians have spent decades preaching the false gospel of what can be called “Americhristianity“, a syncretism of (false) Christianity and America worship. Realize this: Terry Jones is being consistent here. He is only practicing what his religion preaches, and so is the “Ameri-Christian” who commits a “hate crime” against a Muslim, illegal immigrant, abortion doctor, homosexual or what have you. For the religious right sorts to disseminate their idolatrous doctrines and then disavow the consequences is no different from the imam who preaches jihad and then distances himself from the suicide bomber. Now do not get me wrong, only a tiny percentage of Muslims commit violence based on their religious beliefs. But make no mistake: the same is true of Ameri-Christians.

This should not surprise anyone, as violence is a logical consequence of idolatry. A look at Romans 1:18-32 shows us the evil that following dead idols causes: being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful, etc. Muslims get angry over a Florida pastor burning a Qu’ran? Well, a Florida pastor received death threats from the Ameri-Christians in his own congregation over his removing the American flag from the pulpit! His motivation? Wanting the church to focus on Jesus Christ!

Time to rewind a bit. A lot of people have made false equivalence between burning Bibles and burning the Qu’ran. This is apples and oranges because where Christians merely respect and cherish Bibles, Muslims actually regard copies of the Qu’ran as holy. Essentially, to the Muslim, the Qu’ran is an idol. Christians have no such view of the Bible, because Christianity holds that only God is holy. Thus, the only way to be holy is through a connection to or relationship with God. Born-again Christians are hence holy because God grants us this status through Jesus Christ, and also because God’s Holy Spirit indwells the Christian. So, in Christianity, one commits no sin against anything holy by burning a Bible. Instead, the Christian commits a sin against that which is holy when he sins against his body by breaking God’s commandments to us (see 1 Corinthians 6:18). (Among those commandments? Not to be an idolater!)

So why the difference between the Christian view of the Bible and the Muslim view of the Qu’ran? Return to Romans 1:18-32. It tells us that early in the history of the human race, beginning with Adam and for a time thereafter, man knew God. Now this may give pause to Christians who are conditioned to see God’s being known to man, particularly in a special or religious sense, through Old Testament Judaism and Christianity. Please recall that the Bible is not a comprehensive history, but concentrates on that which is necessary for salvation. Also, the Bible does speak of those who had a relationship with him prior to the calling of Abraham, a group which includes Abel, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek and Job. The Bible says that men began to call upon the Name of Yahweh in Genesis 4:26. “Call upon the Name” means to worship. Now God had been worshiped prior to that, for remember Abel’s sacrifice, an act of worship that God accepted. Also, the divine Name Yahweh was already known to humanity at that time, as Eve used it in Genesis 4:1 on the occasion of Cain’s birth. So, whatever development that Genesis 4:26 is supposed to refer to exactly, it is clear that at that stage, humanity had knowledge of God by worshiping Him using God’s personal Name.

However, by Genesis 6, things had changed. The population of the earth increased, and man became extremely wicked. Mankind had perverted himself, and as a result the earth was filled with violence. The cause of this? Again, Romans 1:18-32 says that wicked imaginations, perverse natures and violence comes from idolatry, and it also strongly suggests that at this time mankind completely gave himself over to this practice. Verses 21-25 read:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Mankind ceased to worship God, the unseen Spirit, and instead worshiped creatures, meaning things that are created. This included the use of tangible, physical objects that represent entities or ideas – idols – in worship. And to the idolater, the creature, or its symbolic representative stand-in, is itself regarded as “holy”, and even may be considered to have magical or supernatural powers. If nothing else, the idol is a very valuable, cherished and beloved possession because of what it represents to its owner. So, mankind totally gave himself over to rejecting the holiness of the Creator in order to embrace the idea that things created – whether by God or man – were worthy of this reverent status instead.

Because this mindset was embedded in fallen humanity, God condescended to mankind’s status and incorporated some elements of it in the Sinai religion given by Moses to the Jews. Because of this, in Old Testament Judaism, certain days, holidays (or “holy days”), observances, places, objects and rituals were declared holy. However, we must realize that these things were so because God declared them to be as such. Also, God had His purposes. For instance, things that came into contact with God’s presence or were used in giving offerings to God had to be set apart and purified in order to teach Israel about God’s sinless nature and man’s sinfulness. Further, other things were declared holy because of Christological typology.

So what must be emphasized is that things like the temple, the altar, the ark of the covenant, the burnt offering tools etc. were not holy in and of themselves, but were only so because of their identification with God, their proximity to His presence and their use in His plan. It was never an endorsement of the idea that objects, places, rituals or even ideologies were to be considered holy, contained some spiritual or magical powers, imparted grace, and treated that such. So, when Jesus Christ fulfilled all things concerning the Sinai religion that was used as a schoolmaster to bring us to Him (Galatians 3:24-25) the idea of “holy things” ended. Evidence of this was the ripping of the veil of the temple.

However, the desire of people call things other than God holy did not end. As a consequence, Islam reveres not only its books, but its (alleged) prophet, buildings, cities (Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem), and even nations that are fully under Muslim control as holy. But the issue here is that it is not unique to Islam, but is also present in false versions of Christianity. Consider Catholicism (Roman and Orthodox) with its sacraments that according to their teachings impart grace, and its seemingly endless assortment of “saints”, icons, relics etc. that are targets of “veneration” because of some spiritual or mystical reason or other.

What does this have to do with Terry Jones? Well, his Ameri-Christianity is more of the same. His Qu’ran burning is not being done for theological reasons. If it were, he would also burn the Book of Mormon, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower Magazine, and articles from other false faiths. Instead, Jones is singling out the Qu’ran because he has bought into the right wing dogma that Islam constitutes some sort of threat to the American way of life. And since Ameri-Christianity is this blend of certain – but not all – Christian doctrines and some – but again not all – American ideas and traditions, in the eyes of the Ameri-Christian like Jones, an attack on one is an attack on the other.

Make no mistake, whether they support this Qu’ran burning of Jones or not, religious right Ameri-Christians worship the creature besides the Creator. This great nation of ours is but a creature. Further, as Old Testament Israel was the only nation to be created by God, it is a creation of men. And God did not create our institutions or system of laws as He did with Old Testament Israel. Instead, men created democracy (where the Bible only deals with monarchy and theocracy), men created capitalism (which did not even exist until the groundwork for it was accidentally laid by John Calvin), and men created the concept of individual and human rights (the result of Enlightenment philosophers’ taking portions of the Roman Catholic concept of natural law that they found useful and applying it to the secular arena). Ameri-Christians have taken these works of human hands to be the result of divine providence, and quite possibly even divine revelation, and therefore in their eyes to oppose them is to oppose God, and supporting them is part and parcel of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can turn on conservative talk radio – or even Christian radio – at any time and hear so many Christians profess “I believe in and support the Bible and the Constitution 100%” when the truth is that not only does one not have anything to do with the other, but that the worldviews of the Bible (divine revelation) and the Constitution (humanism and deism) are opposed. The Bible is the Word of God, the Constitution is the word of Caesar. Render under Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but give to God that which is God, and never shall the twain be intermixed!

Now again, let us go back to the Biblically established truth that idolatry leads to violence and apply it to Ameri-Christianity. How many Christians accept without question the idea that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were justified in order to protect the American way of life because it includes the ability to practice Christianity freely? How many of us even justify this concept with thinking like “America needs to remain free and prosperous so that American Christians will have the financial resources to sponsor missions and help the poor in third world countries.” Well dear Christians, the early church of Acts was neither free OR wealthy, yet they managed to evangelize the Roman Empire AND meet the needs of the poor!

Consider another example. How many Christians advocate – or would refuse to criticize – the killing of a robber that is only taking money or property and not physically endangering anyone? Truthfully, very few, because we have the conviction that “we have the right/responsibility to protect our private property.” Now do not err by bringing up the law given to Old Testament Israel concerning executing thieves. A person operating under New Testament doctrine knows that human life is more valuable than property, and that it is better to spare a thief in the hopes that he might hear the gospel down the line than to blow him away after the manner of some Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson movie. This is further evidence that mammon (possessions, “rights”, and the pleasures and passions that we obtain from them) is the true god of the Ameri-Christian.

Consider that such people live in fear of losing their freedoms, their rights and way of life. Well, what freedom, what rights does a slave have? What way of life does a slave enjoy except that which his master dictates? Now the legitimate Christian is a slave to Jesus Christ. The slave of Jesus Christ is able to find joy, peace, fulfillment and all else that he needs whether he is free prince in America or an oppressed pauper in Indonesia. Ameri-Christians reject slavery to Christ in favor of the idea of being their own masters. Being Christian is merely another lifestyle decision that they choose for themselves, and quite frankly they would find practicing Christianity under adverse or oppressive conditions to be more burdensome than liberating.

Thus, it would not surprise me the least if an Ameri-Christian is far more likely to suffer the experience of enduring living in a poor, oppressive overseas regime as a member of the military and therefore willing and ready to kill if ordered to do so by the creature than as a missionary sharing the gift of eternal life if ordered to do so by the Creator. To such a person, making such a lifestyle sacrifice in order to mete out death in defense of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is more agreeable than doing so in order to share the message of life and life more abundantly. And we can only imagine what such a person would think of the one who is a conscientious objector because of the teachings of Jesus Christ on the Sermon of the Mount! For the Ameri-Christian, “the American way of life” is morally and theologically prior to the New Testament.

This ideology is guilty of recognizing one of the main themes of the Sinai religion of the Old Testament. Consider the offering altar. It could only be made of earth, or of a single stone. It could not be made of hewn stone or constructed in any way, because the tools used to make the altar were unholy, and that which was holy was not allowed to mix or come in contact with that which was holy. That was a principle that held for everything and everyone that came into contact with God’s presence, or was used in making an offering to God. If anything common or regular came into contact with anything or anyone that was supposed to make an offering to God or be in God’s presence, then the thing that was supposed to be holy had to go through a purification process.

This was supposed to teach Christians that God is unique, separate and holy and cannot be mixed with or attached to anything worldly, common or unclean. That is what Ameri-Christianity does. It takes the worldly, common things (culture, economics, politics, ideology) and attempts to fuse it with the holiness of God’s Holy Spirit and presence. The result is something that is no longer clean, holy or spiritual, and hence no longer legitimately Christian. Think about that the next time that you hear someone declare that America is “a Christian nation.” Such a thing cannot exist, because it is a mixture of a common creature (America) with a Holy Creator. The very tools that were used to construct America defile it, making it an unworthy altar, and we cannot make an acceptable offering to God on an unclean altar that God rejects. Thus, the person who in any sense joins being American with being Christian is only capable of making an offering to God after the manner of Cain. And let us recall that this same Cain slew Abel, who made the acceptable offering.

And this is why the actions of one Terry Jones, and also of the many other religious right Ameri-Christians doing their best to distance themselves from him because being associated with them hurts their economy in the American political mainstream that they desire and need to remain relevant and powerful in, should be taken notice of. Again, Ameri-Christianity is idolatry. Idolatry leads to violence. And the primary target of idolatrous violence is going to be any non-idolaters that are available. As Galatians 4:29 tells us, those who are of the flesh persecute those who are of the spirit, just as Cain slew righteous Abel and Ishmael persecuted Isaac.

And remember the prediction of Jesus Christ in John 16:2! Can it be that Ameri-Christians may believe that by persecuting us for being “un-American” that they are doing God service? Consider the Glenn Beck rally, where not a few evangelical Ameri-Christians joined this dominionist crusader in his Mormonism worship rally. If the economic problems continue, illegal immigration persists and the American way is threatened by enemies like Iran and North Korea abroad and liberals at home, will the refusal to join ecumenical/interfaith Americanism movements be seen as a betrayal of God? Judging from Ameri-Christian David Barton, who states that we should “judge Beck by his fruits” (meaning his effective support of the religious right agenda), you can guess the answer. So, Christian, what are you going to do when the Ameri-Christian comes for you bearing chains and staves to deliver you to the authorities? Will you stand? Or will you wilt and refuse to profess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all?

That, of course, presumes that you are indeed a Christian and not an Ameri-Christian. Which are you? Today you must make your stand. If you worship God, worship Him only. If you worship Baal, worship Baal only. How long will you halt between two opinions? If you are on the Lord’s side, then flee the syncretism! Come out of Babylon and the abomination of her idols immediately! Otherwise, when Babylon falls – and she will fall – you will with her.

If you are unsaved and are not under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I urge you now

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If you are saved, then here is a prayer. Father God in the Name of Jesus Christ, please lead and guide me so that I can discern that which is holy and that which is not so that I may follow the former, spurn the latter, and worship you only in spirit and in truth as you desire and require. Amen.

Posted in Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ, religious right | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

What If It Were A Ground Zero Church Instead Of A Ground Zero Mosque?

Posted by Job on August 17, 2010

When you consider the Ground Zero mosque controversy, I cannot help but think of the Orthodox Idolatry post at Judah’s Lion (courtesy of PJ Miller) of concerning the lengths that Christians will go to in order to defend the American system because they perceive the American system to be some Christian ideal and the result of God’s providence and part of His special plan for the redemption of mankind with a unique role in salvation history, and as a result defending America is tantamount to defending the gospel of Jesus Christ itself. From Calvinistic covenant theologians like D. James Kennedy who proclaim America to be the crowning achievement of that system to free will Christians who want the power of man to choose or resist God’s grace to be constitutionally protected by the most powerful nation on earth, there is a lot at stake in claiming that there is Godly virtue in America’s secular freedoms, secular freedoms that are truthfully – according to Judah’s Lion – are actually morally neutral. Nothing of real spiritual value is morally neutral – meaning that it can be used for either evil or good – because God cannot be the origin of evil (James 1:12). Instead, it should be stated that things that are morally neutral can be used to perform God’s purposes. And that is no evidence of the virtues of morally neutral – or amoral – things because even things that are incontrovertibly evil have been used to fulfill God’s purposes too (as in the slaughter of the innocent Jewish children by Herod, which fulfilled a Messianic prophecy).

Now a lot of things have been written by Christians on this mosque topic. So, I will focus on two issues: the need of Christians to submit to the government (Romans 13) and the need of Christians not to be hypocrites. On the first, the Bible makes it clear that failing to obey or respect the law when the law does not force Christians to violate scripture is a sin. To put it another way, attempting to defy or subvert legitimate government is a sin, because legitimate government is a servant of God because of its serving to restrain evil. This means that not only are we to adhere to the law ourselves, but we are to desire that others do so also, and further we are to desire that the law is applied justly, which means fairly and evenly.

With that in mind, make no mistake: the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the applicable state and local laws give Muslims the right to build this mosque. For Christians to go about looking for ways to hinder or intimidate Muslims from exercising and enjoying their legal rights is to attempt to subvert and reject our system of laws. It would make the Muslims the lawmakers and Christians the subversives, the rebels, the seditionists. It would be Christians attempting to subvert the rule of law and undermining a just application of them. Other nations, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, do not have any pretense of equal treatment under the law. They do not have an equivalent to the Bill of Rights or the equal protection clause. So those nations can have different sets of rules for religious minorities and be justified in their own eyes. But it is America who has those things, and there is no justification for a Christian to attempt to prevent a nation from living up to and enforcing its own laws. Indeed, the Christian who does such a thing is guilty of promoting injustice and lawlessness.

Now a lot of people have taken the stance “it is legal but it isn’t right” under the grounds that it is offensive. The problem is that the First Amendment and other applicable laws are designed specifically to protect things that are offensive. To pretend otherwise is ridiculous. Now of course, most people are willing to respect the wishes and feelings of the majority. That’s not the point. The point is that they have no legal obligation to. Instead, the law is designed to protect people who have no regard for the majority, and indeed are opposed to the majority.

I don’t believe that a lot of Christians, especially those of a conservative political persuasion, have come to grips with the true nature of the founding of our country. This country’s founding was an act of rebellion, sedition, treason or what have you against England, who (notwithstanding the Native Americans) were the rightful rulers of this nation. Rebelling against a colonial power was a radical act, and it was justified not with the Bible, but with the radical Enlightenment thought that produced – among other things – the murderous French Revolution and ultimately spawned socialism, fascism and communism. So why are we surprised that a bunch of radical seditionists would produce a Constitution that protects the right of radical people to express themselves and organize? So, back then, it was the deists, humanists, rationalists, atheists, unitarians, freemasons (Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and similar) plus Jews and Roman Catholics who demanded these protections from our overwhelmingly Protestant nation, and thanks to a revolutionary (seditious) mindset that overthrew the previous experiences of nations from the Roman Empire to Calvin’s Geneva to Bunyan’s England which taught that the long-term survival of a nation (we have only been in existence 300 years!) requires limiting religious freedom, they got it.

Now if it is time to state that the founders were wrong on unfettered religious freedom, fine. But should this reckoning be led by the very Christian leaders who supported the war in Iraq to “defend our religious freedoms and to give the Iraqis religious freedom too!”? If there is a fight to keep Muslims from imposing sharia law on Christians at home, the Christians who supported imposing western style democracies on sharia law on Muslims abroad should not be the ones to lead it. The reason is because such Christians do not support true justice or the rule of law, but instead only want to use these institutions to benefit Christians (and increasingly Jews, Mormons and Roman Catholics, who now all get to be called “Judeo-Christians”). We cannot continue to ignore that our system of laws was created in order to give a bunch of rebellious people that included in their ranks not a few deists and unitarians the “freedom” to reject legitimate Godly authority, which means that we also cannot persist in acting surprised that everyone from the Muslims to the feminists to the Marxists to the homosexual activists to the atheists have used this same system to pursue their agendas also.

Please note that I did not say “co-opt” or “hi-jack” because that would be dishonest. Instead, it can and must be said that these groups are properly utilizing our system according to the manner that it was intended. Our system was created by rebels for rebels. People who are appalled at the rebels of today (i.e. Muslims, homosexuals and other liberals) have forgotten how appalling the American Revolution was to the British! That’s right, the current tea party folks who oppose this mosque on the basis that it will become a breeding ground for terrorists (which it will be, trust me I have no illusion about Islam) conveniently forget how the British very properly viewed the original Tea Party and those who followed after them. Do you believe that the British had any higher regard for George Washington than many Americans have for Feisal Abdul Rauf? Why do you believe that they should have for the man that led a rebellion against their nation that killed many British soldiers? You don’t believe that the British cared any less for their soldiers fighting in America back then than we care about our soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan today? (And when you consider that unlike our troops occupying sovereign nations, the British troops were fighting to defend territory that was lawfully and properly theirs from traitors and seditionists?)

So, Christians who believe that by opposing the mosque they are defending America have simply deluded themselves as to what they are defending. It should be clear based on the Bible and our history (by this I mean actual scripture and history and not what we wish the Bible and our history to be for our own political or patriotic purposes) that seeking to either break the law or to intimidate Muslims to abandon their legal rights in order to oppose this mosque is not a legitimate expression of Christianity, which renders under Caesar that which is Caesar’s and submits to higher powers. As building this mosque will not stop a single Christian sermon from being preached or evangelist from being sent, contriving excuses to refuse to respect the law and the decisions of legitimately elected leaders (i.e. Bloomberg and Obama) makes the Christian guilty in this matter. And please, no speaking of how that site is “sacred ground.” Sacred in what sense? Not in a Christian sense, because the New Testament speaks only of the church’s identification with Jesus Christ – and through Jesus Christ God the Father – and it’s being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament no longer even affords much special significance to Jerusalem or the temple. Biblical Christianity respects no concept of “sacred ground”, only an elect people, and stating otherwise is political idolatry.

Now the second issue is even easier: hypocrisy. Suppose this former Burlington Coat Factory site had been purchased by a Christian pastor for the purposes of building a church, seminary or similar. And suppose that the state and city governments were to deny the building of it. Suppose that the logic was that it would be inappropriate, insensitive, and a provocation. Suppose Mike Bloomberg and Barack Obama were to say “building a large church so close to Ground Zero would be an act of declaring that site a Christian site and this nation a Christian nation, and that would dishonor the memories of the Jews, atheists, Hindus, Wiccans and Muslims who died on September 11th, and it would also dishonor the non-Christian soldiers who are fighting for our freedoms.” What if devices or tricks such as declaring this Burlington Coat Factory to be some sort of historical landmark site or changes to zoning laws were done to prevent this “Ground Zero Church” from being built, and demands were made to respect it as “sacred ground.” Suppose that someone were to even propose that building a church on a site that Muslims regard as triumphialist – one where they believe themselves to have obtained a great victory over the west – would be considered a religious and ideological “counterstrike” that would incite and inflame “moderate Muslims” and provoke attacks from Islamists. What would be the response?

We know the answer. Many of these very same Christians would invoke the First Amendment and every other law in the books to support the church being built. The same laws that we are demanding that Muslims either abandon or be denied in this case, most of these same Christians would want to be enforced to the fullest extent possible were the roles reversed. The Alliance Defense Fund, the American Center For Law and Justice, and other similar organizations would be working overtime, as would so many Christian leaders and opinion-makers. They would reject the “this isn’t about the First Amendment … you can build a church anywhere, just not here!” excuse. And you know what, they’d be 100% correct in that hypothetical situation just as they are 100% wrong now.  Do not mistake me, I am a Bible-believing Christian who fully knows the difference between Islam and Christianity. The issue is that our laws respect no such difference because they were written by people who wanted a legal code that recognizes no distinctions between Martin Luther and Thomas Jefferson. Our laws can show no favor on Christians or disfavor on Muslims because in going with Enlightenment humanism, our founding fathers chose darkness over light. So then, what is the justification for Christians to completely cast aside the golden rule – let alone the rule of law – with regards to this matter? Simple: there is none. Instead, you have so many professing Christians that are standing up defending the right to treat Muslims in a manner that is not only illegal, but is not the treatment that they would want to receive themselves. (Again, no claims that “I would respect sharia law if I were living in Saudi Arabia” because this isn’t Saudi Arabia. This is America, and the Bible demands that American Christians be subject to American laws and rulers, not that we try to seek ways to justify violating our laws and defying our leaders.)

Now does this means that Christians should support and defend this mosque? Of course not. Christians should never willingly play a role in the promotion of another religion. (Ecumenical Christians who do so with Roman Catholics and Mormons as well as dispensationalists who do so with Jews, please take note.) The idea that we have to defend the freedom of other religions in order to defend our own freedoms is not supported by the Bible. It is akin to claiming that we have to defend homosexual marriage in order to protect state recognition of heterosexual marriage, or defend abortion in order to make sure that those who wish to have children will be allowed to. Also, it takes the position that the protection and advancement of the church comes from the state and not God. Some Christians, especially those of the liberal bent, would claim that the Bible commands us to speak up for the marginalized and dispossessed and make sure that they receive justice. It is my position that such people would be employing questionable hermeneutics and a faulty application based on them in a case like this. Allow me to say that it would be the duty of a Christian who holds a post in civil government to do his job and follow the law with respect to Muslims in this case. Beyond that, it is the duty of our civil government to protect the First Amendment rights of Muslims. Christians should simply allow our civil government to do its job with respect to Muslims seeking to practice their religion and not interfere.

Ultimately, this Ground Zero mosque is a great example of the dangerous deceptions of political Christianity, both right and left. Political Christianity causes us to error in our thought, speech and actions, and divert those things from what God in His New Testament actually told us to do, which is to go and make converts and disciples and to live under submission to Jesus Christ ourselves.

Update: Following Judah’s Lion has the best commentary on this topic to date.

Thousands of Jesus followers around the world are being persecuted and even martyred for their faith. And just like the Amish who forgave the man who murdered their little girls, these believers endure hardships and persecution with the grace that should remind us of the Savior upon that cruel tree.

But in America a mosque is proposed to be built and millions of people who profess Christ get all up in arms and sound the alarm. The “alarm” they sound is not a call to sacrificial prayer for the souls of the Muslims who will frequent this mosque, but it is a caterwauling about America and the indignity of such a building. And these are people who doctrinally say they believe the Bible.

Evidently they do not.

What more can be said?

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

Posted in Bible, Christianity, evangelism, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ, religious right | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Regarding Abortion, Jesus Christ, Joseph And Mary: What If Mary Had Chosen Abortion?

Posted by Job on February 23, 2009

This powerful post on the topic of abortion from brother Laz caused me to ponder on the whole anti – abortion political movement and its influence on evangelical Christianity, particularly the fact that a great deal of tolerance is bestowed by evangelical political leaders upon those who profess to be Christian so long as they are sufficiently pro – life no matter what other flaws these “Christian pro – lifers” have in their doctrinal systems and lifestyles. Truthfully, other than perhaps the work of Billy Graham (and before him John Wesley), nothing has been more effective at uniting evangelical Protestants with Roman Catholics and (lately) Mormons and not to mention the wealthy, powerful decadent “Christian in name only” personalities active in politics and politiically driven media than the pro – life movement, which itself is but a part of the “family values theology” which again is part of the “Christian culture/Christian nation theology.”  

So, I recounted during Election 2008 that presidential candidate John Edwards (who despite his support for abortion and homosexuality and – more important – his personally being an adulterer, making him no different from plenty of abortion and gay rights opponents who are also adulterers and fornicators, claims to be a devout Christian of Southern Baptist leanings) hired viciously anti – Christian atheist Amanda Marcotte to publicize his campaign. Among many of the “witty gems” that Marcotte produced was something to the effect of: what if Mary was on Plan B (the abortion pill) when Jesus Christ was conceived. (Actually, Marcotte’s words were much more mocking of God and vulgar.) Yet, this evil woman’s point was a good one: that the agenda of the “religious right” was not religious at all, but a cultural and political agenda. Now it is true that many of these people have indeed integrated culture and politics into their theological worldview, but the result is something that teeters on being a false religion that rejects the reason why Jesus Christ came (to die on the cross for our sins) and before then why Israel and Judaism were formed (so that Jesus Christ could come to die on the cross for our sins) in the first place. 

After all, Marcotte was somewhat correct in her mocking: abortion pills and other modern forms of contraception were not available to Mary at the time that Jesus Christ was conceived and in the nation and culture that Jesus Christ was born into. Now from the perspective of a political (worldly and carnal by definition) Christian, the response would be to imagine if it had been and gasp with horror at what might have been were our abortion pill culture had been in existence in Mary’s Roman Empire, and had Mary availed herself of it. And you know what? That is not only a perspective that rejects faith, but also history.

For the Roman Empire that Jesus Christ was born into was not a “Christian nation” and it was also not a “moral family values” one. Instead, there were multitudes of religions and bizarre abominable practices. For instance, homosexuality was commonly practiced, and if a man did not want his family, not only could he easily receive a divorce, but if he did not want to bother with divorce proceedings provided that he was a Roman citizen he could simply have the entire family –  his wife and children and everyone living in his house – killed. So, the world, the western culture that Jesus Christ was born into was not a family values culture. Furthermore, it was still not a family values culture when He finished His work and ascended into heaven. It was wicked before Jesus Christ came, was wicked when He departed, and will be wicked when He returns. Jesus Christ stated that this world and its cultures would always reject Him and those who truly know and represent Him. The “family values/Christian culture” theologians get around this by claiming “oh, Jesus Christ wasn’t talking about OUR culture and nation when He said that … He was only talking about the Pharisees, Sadduccees, and the rest of those wicked Jews.”

And so, in the decidedly “anti – family” that was the Roman Empire, do you know what else was available? A primitive form of abortion, along with infanticide and primitive contraception. So what if Mary had decided to avail herself of what was available and commonly practiced in the culture and gotten an abortion? After all, though betrothed, she was still technically single. She was also impoverished, belonged to a marginal class even among Jews, and her being pregnant would ruin practically any chance of getting married, which was her only practical hope of financial security and/or social mobility. Oh yes, there was also the fact that under Jewish law, she could have been killed by stoning. So, Mary had every reason to furtively seek out the Romans to receive an abortion, a decision which of our last several presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama have stated that they would have fully supported. (Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush made no such statements, but Bush was on record as opposing the overturn of Roe v. Wade and Reagan for his part signed America’s most liberal abortion bill into law as governor of California, and, as he himself was a divorcee, signed a no – fault divorce bill into law as well.) But Mary did not.

Joseph for his part had his options as well. He could have handed Mary over to be stoned. Or he could have divorced and abandoned her and the child. And keep in mind: there is no scriptural evidence that Joseph had the full benefit of knowledge that Mary did. The Bible does not relate Joseph being told that Mary’s child was the Son of God and the Messiah. The Bible only records Joseph being told that the child was of the Holy Spirit. (And keep in mind this context: Judaism taught that ALL conceptions were the work of the Holy Spirit.) Also, Joseph was not given this information in an awesome angelic visitation as was Mary. It came to him in a dream that would have been very easy to later deny and reject as part of justifying his decision to rid himself of responsibility for a child that was not his, and of the woman who became impregnated with such a child while she was engaged to him. After all, consider this fellow’s plight. The fact that Mary was pregnant before they were officially married with a child that was not his … how do you keep something like that secret, and prevent being the subject of gossip, scorn, ridicule and rejection, especially from your own family? But like Mary, Joseph did the right thing. 

And why did Mary and Joseph both do the right thing concerning Jesus Christ, ensuring not only His birth, but that His birth that would fulfill prophecies that would demonstrate to the Jews and to the world His identity? Simple: they were righteous people that obeyed God. Their righteousness was not the product of growing up in a “Christ honoring culture in a Christian nation with Christian values encoded in their system of laws.” In other words, it was not due to abortion being unavailable to Mary, not an option for her legally or practically. Mary had every opportunity to do wrong, but chose to do right.

For Joseph, the opposite was actually true. For him, the right thing to do according to the Torah would have been to take Mary to the priests and other religious and legal authorities to be stoned to death. Even though many who have studied Jewish history during the period state that stonings for adultery and other violations of the Sinai code had become exceedingly rare during that time, by taking Mary to the priests, Joseph would have fulfilled his own responsibility under the law. And further, it can be argued that Joseph’s plans to divorce Mary secretly without exposing her to public shame – or threat of death – qualified as his understanding Jesus Christ’s teachings of the weightier matters of the law, which are judgment, mercy, and faith.

But instead, Joseph and Mary did the right thing, which was to trust and obey God. Mary did not need a “Judeo – Christian set of laws” or a  “values based society” in order to keep her from sinning by abortion or anything else. She merely needed to be righteous, to love God by keeping His commandments. And Joseph would have actually been conforming to his Jewish legal and cultural context, righteous according to the externals of the law, by turning Mary over the authorities. The fact that he was pondering how to exceed the external righteousness of his religious and cultural systems in the first place, that he was trying to do more than what was required of him to be counted as righteous and just in the eyes of man, was evidence of his love for God, and the fact that he heeded the dream and made Mary and the child his responsibility was evidence of his faith. 

Mary and Joseph did not obtain their righteousness and faith from being born into a nation that loved and honored Yahweh and had a system of laws that reflected His nature. This would not have been possible, as the nation and culture that was the Roman Empire was as bad as our own of today, if not worse. Instead, they obtained their righteousness and faith from God. Consider the plight of Elijah, who was running from Jezebel and Ahab, the latter two of whom had led Israel into pagan idolatrous apostasy and killed the prophets. God’s statement to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:18: Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

In the midst of the wickedness of the nation and culture, God preserved for Himself a people for His Name. These people were not righteous because of the world, because they were called out of the world, just as Israel was chosen from among the nations. They were called by God, predestined and elected to righteousness by God, and placed in that particular place and time by God for the purposes of serving Him and bringing glory to His Name.

The same is true of this Mary and Joseph. No matter what sort of culture or nation that they were born in, they would have still fulfilled their duties that came with bringing Jesus Christ into the world. Regardless of whether their external environment was good or evil according to its laws, culture and religion, Mary and Joseph were inevitably going to do the right thing because they were righteous. The reason is that their righteousness was not due to governments and cultures – which are the works of men – because if they were, then men should be able to boast about contributing to their own justification. Instead, their righteousness was due to God’s making them so, and predestining that they would be so. And where man’s nations and systems will inevitably fail, God’s divine sovereign decrees cannot and will not fail. This is with respect to man’s salvation and everything else. That is the meaning of the doctrines of grace.

Make no mistake. Abortion is a great abomination, a great evil, that should be outlawed in any society that considers itself civilized. The same is true of homosexual marriage. However, it was not the absence of legal abortion that prevented Mary from aborting Jesus Christ. (And as stated earlier, Joseph actually opposed the religious and cultural views of the day to obey his dream from God to make Mary his wife and to adopt Jesus Christ as his son.) Instead, it was the fact that Mary – and Joseph – was righteous. Mary and Joseph were not righteous because they were born in a Christian nation. They were not righteous because they were born to a church going family. They were not righteous because they were baptized as infants. They were not righteous because they raised their hands or came forward in response to an altar call (not that I in any way oppose invitations; I support them 100%!), said a prayer, or had their names added to a church roll. Instead, they were righteous because God made them so by virtue of His divine predestination and election. They were righteous because God called them out of this world to be part of His ekklesia. And their righteousness was not demonstrated or proven by their nationality, religious or political affiliation, cultural norms, or even their stated beliefs, but by their behavior, which was unyielding obedience to God and His Word in the face of all obstacles and in spite of all opposition. 

So, despite the evil that goes on in the world (or perhaps because of it) our goal is not to transform the world, to change the culture. In “The Visitation”, the Frank Peretti novel, the protagonist informed a young naive pastor that the job of the church was not to “take the town for Christ” because not even Christ Himself “took a town for Christ!” No, not only did Jerusalem reject Jesus Christ, but the place where Jesus Christ had the least honor, the fewest followers and believers, was His own country, and even His own brothers born in His house did not believe in Him! Instead, our job is to evangelize. To spread the gospel. To preach, teach, minister, disciple, and to baptize. Our job is to be the vessels for the sovereign God to use to call others out of this wicked world just as He called us out of it. And anything that distracts or hinders or redirects us from that task is just that: a barrier erected that opposes the will and righteousness of God. It must, by definition then, be considered sinful, evil, a work of Satan, the adversary, and not of God. 

Christians are not called to transform the world into Christ’s image. Christians are called to reject the world so that we might be fully effective in being used by Jesus Christ to go after His lost sheep. The sad fact that this world is sinful, that people are born in sin, and that people are going to sin. However, the joyful fact that opposes this is that if we would just obey God, He will use us to bring people out of sin and into salvation so that He will transform them, transform His people, transform His church, into righteousness. The issue is not to transform a sinful world, but rather to go after the people that God will conform into the image of His Son. If you profess yourself to be a Christian, please, go about the business of that issue today and every day. Maranantha!

Posted in abomination, abortion, abortion rights, Christianity, Jesus Christ, politics, pro choice, pro life, religious right, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , | 37 Comments »

What Genesis 1 Tells Christians About Evangelism

Posted by Job on November 19, 2008

Please direct your attention to the account of creation in Genesis 1. After you have done so, please notice what it says about God’s creations of living things: plants, animals and humans. Five times, in Genesis 1:11, Genesis 1:12, Genesis 1:21, Genesis 1:24, Genesis 1:25 and it is mentioned that after God created living things, He gave living things the ability to reproduce after their kind (using the King James Version manner of speaking). That means that every living thing that God made has the ability to bear fruit, to produce offspring that is similar to its parents, to replicate itself. This applies not only to the plant and animal kingdoms or to human beings in natural terms. There is a spiritual principle here too. After all, who can deny that the church is a living thing? The church is the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ is alive, not dead. Upon His resurrection, the angels at His tomb bore witness of this. They stated “why do you seek the living among the dead?” Jesus Christ before He went to the cross told this to the Saduccees who challenged Him about the resurrection: that God and the Kingdom of heaven have rule and dominion over the living, not the dead. Those in the Body of Christ will never truly die, but will have life everlasting. Meanwhile, those outside the Body of Christ will suffer not only a physical natural death, but the second death in the lake of fire. Just as the Body of Christ is most certainly alive, then its members, individual Christians, are alive too. Not only are we alive, but we are new creatures! So yes, Genesis 1:11, Genesis 1:12, Genesis 1:21, Genesis 1:24, Genesis 1:25 speaks to us. As living beings that are new creations of God in Our Lord Jesus Christ, we will also reproduce after our kind. That is, we will heed the command of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and bear good fruit by fulfilling the Great Commission, testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ and His great salvation to any and all that will hear, and produce disciples that will enter the Body of Christ just as we did. After all, how did you enter the Body of Christ. Perhaps your parents took you to church and you heard a sermon. Perhaps a family member or a coworker shared the gospel with you. Maybe you heard the gospel on radio or television. Or perhaps it was a stranger who took a minute of your time that changed you for an eternity, and maybe he or she even gave you a tract. No matter the method, these people were fulfilling the mandate – not option but mandate – that Jesus Christ gave His true followers to spread the gospel to any and all. And this mandate was not some new thing, but rather a restatement and application to the church what was already given in a place like Genesis 1:26-28, which told all living creation including humankind to multiply, reproduce and fill the earth. To the church in particular, Genesis 1:26-28 is tied to Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission! As living things, as living men, we are able to fulfill this mandate through evangelism. Even those of us who are not able to bear natural children due to God’s not willing us to bear them for one reason or another will produce much fruit for the Holy and righteous God in evangelism, and in this way fulfill the prophesy given in Isaiah 54:1. (By the way, amillennial, dominion, and official theologists please take note of Matthew 28:17-18, which states that the dominion of the earth, all things, has been given to CHRIST JESUS. So the great commission does not refer to politics, economics and culture, only evangelism.) So this is yet another way that the new covenant is a greater spiritual fulfillment of the lesser natural covenants that preceded it, and how the old covenant prophets bore witness that just such a thing would happen. So Christian, set aside all of your worldly distractions that Satan and his workers have erected before you to hinder you from accomplishing good works that glorify the Father in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and with the empowering of the Holy Spirit, and concentrate on the task at hand, which is spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ among our family, neighbors, cities, nations, and to the ends of the earth. Heed the command of your Savior and your Lord Jesus Christ. Go and reproduce living things after your kind which God the Father will then conform into the image of His Son.

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Ravi Zacharias and Jack Hayford Joined Noted Pulpit Pimps John Hagee, TD Jakes And Joyce Meyer To Pull Off Pray For Peace Of Jerusalem Event!

Posted by Job on October 6, 2008

Two cannot walk together unless they be agreed.

Major Global Prayer Initiative for Jerusalem Peace Begins

Millions of Christians from around the world are expected to take part in the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem on Sunday. The annual event, observed each year on the first Sunday of October, boasts support from many prominent Christian leaders including T.D. Jakes, Jack Hayford, John Hagee, Sunday Adeleja, Ravi Zacharias, Michael W. Smith, and Joyce Meyer.

These leaders and thousands of others have signed a document calling for global prayer for Jerusalem and all its inhabitants. “As Christians and believers in the Word of God, we have a responsibility to pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” wrote Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries. (As Christians, you are also supposed to discern who you pray WITH.)

“America and Israel have been friends and allies for many years now and today we must continue to stand in support of Israel,” she added. “As the body of Christ we must ask God to bring them not only peace in the natural, but also peace spiritually through relationship with Jesus Christ.” (So Joyce Meyer is now among those claiming that our temporal political alliances are spiritual aims of the eternal kingdom of heaven. In other words, typical religious right ideas that are quite frankly not much different from the left wing flavor of amillennialism, the social gospel.)

The prayer initiative takes its calling from Psalm 122:6. which states: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you.’” (So are we to fulfil that scripture by praying with occultists, Satanists, Hindus, and Buddhists? Or only with other Christians? And are we to make a big political and media spectacle of obeying scripture? Or did not Jesus Christ say that such smacked of Phariseeism?)

Besides the event in Jerusalem and in local churches worldwide, the DPPJ will also feature a 24-hour global prayer conference on Sunday. Last year, more than 700 people dialed-in from 14 nations to the prayer line to unite in intercession for Israel.

“To pray for the peace of Jerusalem is to pray, ‘Lord, let your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth, not only in the ultimate revelation of His King coming from Heaven, but in the present revelation of God’s peace as it comes into our hearts in a troubled world, to bring to the heartbeat center of the world, something of a peace that alleviates the tensions, the hatred, the bombings, the torments,” wrote Dr. Jack Hayford, co-chairman of the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem.

This year, more than 200,000 churches in 175 nations will participate in the largest Israel-focused prayer event in history, according to the DPPJ Web site. The Jerusalem Celebration will be broadcasted live across 192 nations through GOD TV. (Please note: GOD TV was the Todd Bentley promotion central channel)

Posted in Bible, Christianity, devotional, evangelism, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ, religious right, Russia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Did The Pentecostal Prosperity Doctrine And TBN Cause The Financial Crisis?

Posted by Job on October 3, 2008

Foreward: please note that the Bible DOES NOT PROMOTE reckless financial behavior, but quite the contrary promotes hard work, frugality, and conscientiousness. Contrast the ostentatious wealth of King Solomon – who left God for syncretism – with Jesus Christ, who was born in a manger and lived the life of a pauper. And as for you prosperity preacher adherents, well, you wanted to be world changers, right? To take authority and dominion? Well, it looks like you did it. Your doctrines helped cause the international banking crisis that just may set the stage for the anti – Christ to come to power. By the way, sorry for picking on Palin, because TONS of black prosperity doctrine preachers have gotten behind Obama as well. You know, it makes for the perfect conspiracy theory.

All of these Council on Foreign Relations – backed preachers get on TV – especially if they own networks like TBN – or dominate the book publishing market (Left Behind) or even get mainstream publicity (like TD Jakes on the cover of Time Magazine – which ironically published this article ) which exploit the poor with false promises of wealth. Then have the same Council on Foreign Relations – connected politicians (Bush Sr., Bush Jr., Clinton, Gingrich at minimum) change the banking laws, requiring/forcing banks to lend to these people. And when the inevitable economic collapse occurs (which by the way was just the result of terrible economic policy dating back to at least Reagan … remember how the Democrats AND Republicans exhorted you to go buy an SUV and invest your retirement accounts in Pets.com in the 1990s … and that speaks nothing of deficit spending and free trade deals with third world countries where people will gladly work for $5 a day) then use it as an excuse to practically nationalize the banking sector and promote economic globalism. If this WASN’T a conspiracy, it certainly played out like one. In any event, now you see how massively evil false doctrines are, and the prosperity doctrine is both false and evil.

Foreclosures: Did God Want You to Get That Mortgage? 

or “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” 

Has the so-called Prosperity Gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God would “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, toxic expression during sub-prime boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”
Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York state, “The pastor’s not gonna say ‘go down to Wachovia and get a loan’ but I have heard, ‘even if you have a poor credit rating God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house, or that car or that apartment.'” Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma, “It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, ‘if you give this offering, God will give you a house. And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy.” If so, the situation offers a look at how an native-born faith built partially on American econoic optimism entered into a toxic symbiosis with a pathological market.

Although a type of Pentecostalism, Prosperity theology adds a distinctive layer of supernatural positive thinking. Adherents will reap rewards if they prove their faith to God by contributing heavily to their churches, remaining mentally and verbally upbeat, and concentrating on divine promises of worldly bounty supposedly strewn throughout the bible. Critics call it a thinly disguised pastor-enrichment scam. Other experts, like Walton, note that for all its faults, it can empower people who have been taught to see themselves as financially or even culturally useless to feel they are “worthy of having more and doing more and being more.” (Sure, if you forget about the Bible says that the Holy Spirit, God the Father,and Jesus Christ are supposed to comfort and reassure us. Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.) In some cases the philosophy has matured with its practitioners, encouraging good financial habits and entrepreneurship.

But Walton suggests that a decade’s worth of ever-easier credit acted like drug in Prosperity’s bloodstream. “The economic boom 90’s and financial over-extensions of the new millennium contributed to the success of the prosperity message,” he wrote recently. And not positively. “Narratives of how ‘God blessed me with my first house despite my credit’ were common. Sermons declaring ‘it’s your season to overflow’ supplanted messages of economic sobriety,” and “little attention was paid to.. the dangers of using one’s home equity as an ATM to subsidize cars, clothes and vacations.”

With the bubble burst, Walton and Butler assume that prosperity congregants have taken a disproportionate hit, and are curious as to how their churches will respond. Butler thinks that some of the flashier ministries will shrink along with their congregants’ fortunes. Says Walton, “You would think that the current economic conditions would undercut their theology.” But he predicts they will perservere, since God’s earthly largesse is just as attractive when one is behind the economic eight ball.

A recently posted testimony by a congregant at the Brownsville Assembly of God near Pensacola, Fla., seems to confirm his intuition. Brownsville is not even a classic Prosperity congregation — it relies more on the anointing of its pastors than on scriptural promises of God. But the believer’s note to his minister illustrates how magical thinking can prevail even after the mortgage blade has dropped. “Last Sunday,” it read, “You said if anyone needed a miracle to come up. So I did. I was receiving foreclosure papers, so I asked you to anoint a picture of my home and you did and your wife joined with you in prayer as I cried. I went home feeling something good was going to happen. On Friday the 5th of September I got a phone call from my mortgage company and they came up with a new payment for the next 3 months of only $200. My mortgage is usually $1020. Praise God for his Mercy & Grace.”

And pray that the credit market doesn’t tighten any further.

Some videos that speak of the error of these doctrines.

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Latino Pentecostals Onto The Dual Covenant Theology Plantation In A Major Way

Posted by Job on October 1, 2008

Pro-Israel Sentiments Help Jews Dispel Stereotypes Among Latino Pentecostals

LOS ANGELES (AP) – When Randy Brown visited Hispanic Pentecostal congregations in Southern California, he was stunned by displays of Star-of-David flags, fervent prayers for peace in Israel and Hebrew words in their church names.

Brown, an executive with the American Jewish Committee, saw an opportunity to build Jewish-Latino relations and combat anti-Semitism among the immigrants, who generally have little exposure to Jews in their predominantly Roman Catholic native countries.

“I was amazed at the affinity these congregations have for Israel,” recalled Brown, director of interreligious affairs for the Los Angeles chapter of the Jewish advocacy group. “I wanted to take this to the next level.” (The next level, of course, is to deny the need to evangelize Jews. The level after that will be dual covenant theology. The level after that will be to deny Jesus Christ Himself.)

The Los Angeles office has since worked to forge new bonds: They recently took a group of Pentecostal Hispanic pastors to Israel, offered a course called “The Essence of Judaism” at a Southern California Pentecostal seminary, and invited Hispanic pastors and their families to Passover seders and Sukkot harvest celebrations. (A real course on “The Essence of Judaism” would teach how the current Judaism bears no resemblance to the Sinai religion of the Bible that pointed to Jesus Christ and was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and it would also deal with the fact that Jews have resisted the gospel from the time that Jesus Christ began His ministry until today, and that this will continue until the day of the Lord.)

“We have many things in common,” said pastor Ramiro Lopez of the Iglesia Vida Abundante in San Bernardino. (No we don’t. You have no more in common with a Jew than you do a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon.) “Now I can understand Israel from more than a biblical perspective and I have more of a commitment to Israel.” (If you actually had a biblical perspective, you would know that Judaism is a false religion and to treat it as such.)

While Latino immigrants in the U.S. are mostly Catholic, evangelicals comprise a notable 15 percent of the population, according to a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Project and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Many are Pentecostal, one of the fastest-growing streams of world Christianity, known for spirit-filled worship and speaking in tongues.

A 2007 survey by the Anti-Defamation League found a higher-rate of anti-Semitic views among foreign-born Latinos than among U.S.-born Hispanics. Twenty-nine percent of Latinos born elsewhere harbor anti-Jewish views, while the rate for Hispanics born in the country — and for the U.S. population in general — was 15 percent, the study found.

The 2007 numbers are slightly lower than those in a 2005 survey, but Jewish leaders are worried all the same, especially as Latin Americans are expected to become 29 percent of the national population by 2050.

“Clearly, it was disturbing,” said Michael Salberg, director of international affairs for the New York-based Jewish civil rights group.

Latin American countries are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic and are steeped in a five-century-old tradition of a church that wields much influence. With the exception of Argentina, Jewish communities in Latin America are tiny and tend to keep a low profile.

By contrast, U.S. Jewish and Catholic leaders have held high-level interfaith talks for years. Several Catholic colleges in the country have centers for Jewish-Catholic understanding, and U.S. bishops heavily emphasize the Second Vatican Council teaching that Jews are not collectively responsible for the Crucifixion. That outlook influences not just Catholics, but also other Christians in the U.S. (What a lie. The Bible itself teaches that Jews are not collectively responsible for the crucifixion. It was Roman Catholic tradition that taught that lie, and the only ones who believed it were Roman Catholics who reject the Bible for the lies of the papacy. It is amazing how these ecumenical “Christian” newspapers are so willing to repeat the lies of Rome.)

Pastor Tony Solorzano, who heads the Iglesia Llamada Final, a 5,000-member congregation in Downey and Inglewood, said some Latinos simply need more education about Judaism to dispel stereotypes. Some consider Jews “Christ-killers.” (So you guys are going to replace one lie with another? Like that will help the Jews, or yourselves for that matter.)

“Not many think that way, but some have heard this,” Lopez said. “We tell them there’s a plan according to God’s will. We have to be grateful to the Jewish people because Jesus was Jewish.” (Jesus Christ wanted the Jews to accept them, and rejected and pronounced woe upon those who would not. Do you tell them that? Of course you don’t. If you will tell a Muslim or Hindu that he will go to the lake of fire without Jesus Christ but won’t tell a Jew the same, then the love of God is not in you because you disobey God’s commandments.)

Pentecostals, who interpret the Bible literally (literally but out of context), believe God promised the Jewish people the historic land of Israel. Many consider the modern state of Israel a fulfillment of biblical prophecy — and a precondition of the second coming of Jesus Christ. (If by setting the stage for the great tribulation, then yes.)

They often cite (out of context!) a passage from Genesis where God makes a covenant with Abraham that those who bless Abraham’s people will be blessed, those who curse his people will be cursed.

“I really believe that promise,” Lopez said. (If you understood what you believed, you would know that this promise was fulfilled already by the coming with the new covenant. The new covenant blesses you with salvation, forgiveness of sin, a clean conscience, and eternal life. But you want health, wealth, prosperity, fame, etc. under the old covenant. I bet that the book that Word of Faith prosperity Pentecostals hate the most is the Book of Hebrews.) “Every day we pray for Jerusalem with our hands to the east.” (Why not pray for Mecca and Medina in the same fashion? Seriously, what is the difference? Or why not try to convert the Muslims? Or for that matter the Jews?)

Jewish leaders are building on Pentecostal pro-Israel sentiment to dispel stereotypes between both groups. Many Jewish groups in recent years have accepted such support without questioning the theology behind it, which says that all people, including Jews, will ultimately accept Christ. (They didn’t challenge Christian teaching with the mainline denominationals either, at least not at first. It is only after the social, religious, and political relationships are felt that the attacks on Christianity start, and usually beginning with speaking of how wise the Jewish teachers were and their similarity in matters of ethics and values to Christianity.)

“It’s a new and emerging connection that didn’t exist with the Catholic Church,” said Salberg of the Anti-Defamation League.

Pentecostal congregations, often housed in storefronts filled with rows of folding chairs, have become fixtures in Latino neighborhoods across the United States, as well as Latin America. Pastors tend to be influential opinion-makers in their congregations and some, like Lopez, have radio programs or stations, expanding their reach.

At the Latin University of Theology in Torrance, which trains Pentecostal pastors, many of the students in Brown’s Spanish-language “Essence of Judaism” course hail from Latin American countries. He hopes they’ll return home with new knowledge about Jews and Judaism to change negative images and misperceptions. (Of course, the truth, that Judaism is a false religion just like Islam or Hinduism and that Jews are actively working to get Christians to deny the deity and Messiahship of Jesus Christ and the exclusivity of the gospel is almost certainly not taught there.)

Nationally, the American Jewish Committee has formed a Latino and Latin American Institute, and in 2001 convened the first Latino-Jewish Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., to discuss common policy concerns such as immigration. Along with the Los Angeles office, several local chapters of the nonprofit are reaching out to Latinos, according to Ken Bandler, the group’s national spokesman. (An article in the Jerusalem Post not long ago promoted the notion that the black – Jewish alliance is past its time, is now against the interests of both communities, and that Jews should seek to work with Hispanics instead.)

Pastor Richard Escobedo holds two sessions weekly to pray for Israel at his 500-member Centro Palabra de Fe church in Compton, where he has an Israeli flag on display, has held Passover seders and preaches that “love thy neighbor” includes Jews and others. Many Pentecostals wear Star of David pendants and other paraphernalia, he said. (The star of David is not a legitimate Jewish religious symbol, but a mystic symbol that may have origins in freemasonry and the Kabbalah that Jewish socialist and mostly atheist Zionists adopted for their POLITICAL movement in the 1800s … when it was adopted as the Jewish political symbol most Jews initially were opposed, but eventually acquiesced to it over time. That “One Night With The King”, that TBN oneness pentecostal movie, depicted the star of David as a Jewish symbol in Old Testament times was one of the biggest lies in a movie obviously designed to promote Zionism and not Jesus Christ, as a person coming from that movie would learn nothing about Jesus Christ but fully convinced that we should use nuclear weapons to wipe Iran off the map.)

Engaging with Jews, he said, “is opening our eyes to how Jesus himself was taught.”

Copyright 2008 Associated Press.

Posted in Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, religious right | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jeremiah Wright’s Adultery With A White Woman Is An Example Of 1 Timothy 6 False Doctrine Leads To Sexual Immorality!

Posted by Job on September 11, 2008

My position is that 1 Timothy 6:1-10 can be interpreted as stating that false doctrines lead to sexual immorality in those that preach the doctrines and those that hear them. In my opinion, false doctrines are one of the main reasons why there are all these sex scandals in the church, and evidence of correlation between devil’s doctrines and sexual immorality is present in the New Testament, in the church at Corinth in particular

So here is the text of 1 Timothy 6:1-10:

All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved Teach and preach these principles. If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 

Now I first made the correlation between sexual immorality and the prosperity doctrine after reading this passage after radio minister/teacher Bob George referenced 1 Timothy 6 in response to a question whether it was acceptable to listen to Kenneth Copeland, Fred Price, and other prosperity doctrine teachers (of course George’s answer was an emphatic no) on his nationwide call in radio show. How does this relate to Jeremiah Wright? Well first of all, Wright’s liberation theology teachings are really no different from the prosperity doctrine. Both center around getting Christians to de – emphasize the promise of spiritual blessings and eternal life in favor of an emphasis of earthly things, whether wealth and health in the prosperity doctrine or seeking political changes that will result in favorable economic conditions for minorities and workers via liberation theology. Just as the extreme version of the prosperity doctrine, the Word of Faith, teaches that God has abdicated His throne with respect to the rule of creation to man, first to Adam and then to the church, the true version of liberation theology denies the actual existence of heaven and the lake of fire, claiming that they are metaphors for political, economic, and social conditions on earth. It is no small coincidence then that liberation theology thought that is so prominent among the religious left that is so influential in the Democratic Party (please remember that Bill Clinton hosted Jeremiah Wright at the White House!) in both the white left as represented by mainline Protestant denominations and liberal Roman Catholics and the black left as represented by the civil rights movement (please recall that Martin Luther King, Jr. rejectd the virgin birth, deity, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and hence cannot be considered as having been a Christian in any sense) has as its correlation the prosperity/Word of Faith doctrines in the form of figures like John Hagee, Rod Parsley, and Pat Robertson that are so influential in the Republican Party (and please recall Mike Huckabee’s attempts to bring Kenneth Copeland into the fold as well). If you want more evidence that the two parties merely represent faces on the same wicked coin that may look different but in truth are part of the same entity and joined in the middle, there you go! 

Continuing, when reading that passage more, I formed the opinion that all false doctrines, not just the prosperity doctrine, lead to immorality in general with sexual immorality being just one. As a matter of fact, associating that godliness is gain and predatory destructive unnatural sexual behavior are just symptoms of the larger spiritual, mental, and character issues that go with one having a reprobate mind.

And this brings us back to this Jeremiah Wright fellow. The fellow was already “married” to another man’s wife that he exploited and abused his position of marriage counselor to get a woman in a troubled marriage to leave her husband so that he could marry her shortly after: Jeremiah Wright’s Adulterous Marriage. This uses as source material in part BARACK’S REV. ‘STOLE A WIFE’ – EX-HUBBY: HE COUNSELED US, THEN WED HER. (Did his congregation care? Of course not.) Well now this: Jeremiah Wright committed adultery with the wife of a pastor, resulting in the dissolution of the marriage. REPORT: REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT HAS AFFAIR WITH ANOTHER MAN’S WIFE. (It would appear that this pastor was another teacher of false doctrine, and also one who uses the same trick of claiming to have degrees that he does not have. By the way, Jamal – Harrison Bryant also claimed the same phony degree from the same place, which only offers certificates from some summer training program and not doctorates, and Bryant, who is leading the charge to bring the prosperity doctrine into the same African Methodist Episcopal denomination that James Cone was a member of when he created black liberation theology – small world isn’t it – is also documented and proven to be sexually immoral. ) And guess what: Wright used the time dishonored “I will leave my wife for you” trick on his prey.

Now make no mistake, Fox News and the New York Post have an agenda. These operations are owned by the world’s biggest pornographer Rupert Murdoch whose pastor is Rick Warren (who asserts that Murdoch is a born again Christian!), who tells his church members to use sexual titillation in order to win converts (see here and here) and is not above using teen girls performing sexually suggestive dances to please his audience like Herod’s daughter did before demanding the head of John the Baptist for her mother (read Matthew 14) during “praise and worship service.” Of course, Warren’s false New Age “God wants to make you feel all good and happy” doctrines are not at all distinct from Joel Osteen’s brand of prosperity teaching. Back to Fox News and the New York Post, their agenda is to influence the upcoming presidential election. 

Me, I do not share that agenda. I could care less who you vote for. As a matter of fact, my position is that Christians should vote for NEITHER. The video in this link from Pastor Slattery illustrates why I have this position. Instead, my agenda is to tell Christians to flee these false doctrines, for they do in fact destroy people’s lives. As far as this Obama person goes in general, it really does appear that he has been recruiting as many degenerate pastors as McCain has, if not more. Here is one good site on that issue. The strait gate is not through the Democratic or Republican Party (or Green or Socialist or Communist or Constitution or Libertarian or Labour or Tory or Christian Democrats or Kadima or Likud) but through belief in and obedience to the Jesus Christ of the Bible through right belief (orthodoxy) and right behavior (orthopraxy). The sad case of Jeremiah Wright’s adultery is just one evidence among many of what happens when pastors and their followers that reject right belief in their teaching … right behavior inevitably exits as well.

Posted in Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, religious right | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
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