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Posts Tagged ‘Dispensationalism’

Addressing The False Dispensational Interpretation Of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8

Posted by Job on March 19, 2013

First off, allow me to be fair and state that not every dispensationalist adheres to this error. However, the wishful interpretation of this text is common among premillennial dispensationalists who believe in the pretribulation rapture. Now this is not intended to be a denial of the rapture doctrine. I was raised to believe in the rapture, and I am perfectly willing to adhere to this doctrine again the very instant that someone shows me justification for it in the Bible. Now to the text:

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”

Now for some following verses, because, well, I like them.

[Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Many rapture teachers frequently use this text as evidence for the rapture of the church. The teaching is that the “until he be taken out of the way” refers to the Holy Spirit’s presence being removed from the earth when the church that is indwelled by the Holy Spirit is raptured away. And – as the teaching goes – without the salt and light that is the church on the earth that acts as a restrainer against evil, the world will slip into evil chaos and great tribulation.

Now two problems with this “Holy Spirit being absent from the world during the great tribulation doctrine” are as follows:
#1. The “tribulation saints” that will be converted during this time (according to the rapture teachers) will somehow experience new birth without the Holy Spirit to accomplish it, and will also brave the vicious persecution of the anti-Christ without the ministry of the Holy Spirit to give them courage and comfort.
#2. A somewhat bigger problem than #1 … as the Bible makes it clear that God’s Spirit is what sustains creation and holds it together, were the Holy Spirit to be removed from the earth at any time, it would disintegrate into nothing quicker than an instant.

So while demonstrating how that doctrine is unworkable when measured against clear Biblical teachings is one thing, I was always unable to arrive at what the text actually meant until now, upon listening to this sermon by R. A. Hargrave, when he preached on the issue of the total depravity of man. Pastor Hargrave shared that it was God’s common grace that withheld man in his fallen condition from becoming as evil as he should, and this evil being reflected in the works of man’s hands, meaning the conditions of the cultures and societies of the nations. He went on to state that in the last days, during the great tribulation, God would remove this restraining influence and mankind would indeed reveal his true wicked nature. And lest there was any doubt, Pastor Hargrave specifically referenced that text.

This also should make one remember Jesus Christ’s prophecy concerning the timing of His second coming: “But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” of Matthew 24:36-39 and a similar passage in Luke 17:26-30, except that text to the Noah reference adds: “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed [them] all.”

Now I have heard it asserted many a time that these texts do not refer to the societal conditions, but rather the fact that Jesus Christ’s coming will catch people completely by surprise. Of course, those who believe in doctrines that deny the literal millennial reign of Christ and instead teach that human conditions will improve as a result of the church’s increasing its influence on the world – postmillennialism especially – have an interest in downplaying the implications of Matthew 24:36-39 and Luke 17:26-30. However, of all the ways to illustrate the point “my return will catch you by surprise”, Jesus Christ chose the days of Noah, where the Bible says that “the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually” and “the earth is filled with violence through them.” And to the wickedness of the days of Noah, the Luke text adds Sodom and Gomorrah, which the Bible frequently uses as a metaphor for the depths of the human sin condition.

So, the fact that the Noah reference is repeated twice and the Sodom and Gomorrah is added to it makes it very difficult to claim that Jesus Christ was only referring to the suddenness of His appearance and not the condition of mankind when He comes again. The reason is a core rule of hermeneutics: we have to consider what the words meant to when the original audience heard them. Jesus Christ was speaking to Jews for whom “the days of Noah” and “as it was in Sodom and Gomorrah” were most definitely references to the human condition. So for Jesus Christ to use both of those (in the Luke version) very strong references to the wicked state of humanity without meaning anything by it would have only resulted in confusion and unintended meanings by the hearer, and it also makes very real the charge that Jesus Christ was trying to confuse and mislead the hearers on purpose (totally different from His parables, whose interpretations were simply hidden from people, not trying to trick or confuse them).

But 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 makes the references to Sodom and Gomorrah and the days of Noah clear. That passage most clearly refers to the last days, the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ, as such is what the entire chapter was about, and it states that the common grace of God that is restraining evil will be removed, which will allow the mystery of wickedness to work its iniquity until it results in the personification of human evil in the form of the anti-Christ (actually the beast). This will result in the last days being a time akin to the days of Noah (wickedness on a global scale) and Sodom and Gomorrah (wickedness on a local scale), so the Luke text in particular reveals the comprehensive encompassing scope and penetration of evil. In this way, it forms a curious parallel with how Luke spoke of the spread of the gospel in Acts 1:8 from Jerusalem (evangelism on a local scale) to the uttermost parts of the earth (the global reach of the great commission).

Now one may ask how this pervasive evil will be possible when the church is present sharing its witness to the world. To answer:
1. We must be humble. It isn’t our witness or example to the world that restrains evil, but rather it is God.
2. Go back to the 2 Thessalonians 2 passage to verse 3: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” And incidentally, yet another parallel to Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2 that makes the postmillennialism doctrines even more untenable is Matthew 24:10-12’s “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” The more modern translations render verse 10 to be “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another” and “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other”, and the reference to false prophets in verse 11 is obvious. Because of the great falling away, there simply won’t be very many of us left.
3. Please recall that the original Reformers referred to the righteous in the Old Testament, chiefly Israel, as the church of the Old Testament. So in the days of Noah, Noah and his family were the church of that period. Yet the presence of Noah and his being a preacher of righteousness did not stop the globe from descending into evil. And while Lot was most certainly no Noah, even in his “Laodicean” state of worldly compromise he was nonetheless the church of Sodom and Gomorrah, and his presence did not result in ten righteous people being in that city. So though God commands His church to be salt and light into the world, the reason for this is to glorify God, not to influence the world for the better. The world will remain wicked and in rebellion against God and His Son Jesus Christ, and this will be demonstrated when God removes His restraining Hand and allows the world to be exposed for what it is right before His Son returns so that it will be judged.

Now my suspicion is that the real reason why this text is interpreted erroneously by many is the desire for the church to escape persecution. However, this ignores that when the church endures persecution until the very end, God is glorified. We know this from the example of Job, the oldest book in the Bible. God told Satan that Job would remain in the faith no matter what torments Satan aimed at him, and when Job did so God was glorified. So we saints should be after doctrines that result in God’s glory and not our own comfort. We should also avoid doctrines that exaggerate our own power and importance, such as the claim that our presence on the earth is what keeps it from falling into chaos. Or that the Holy Spirit is on the earth only because we are here (clearly contradicted by Genesis 1:2, which states that the Holy Spirit was on the earth long before humankind even existed to make up a church in the first place).

Also, Revelation 13:7 states that the anti-Christ will make war against the saints and overcome them. Matthew 24:22 states that it will only be for the sake of the church that the days of the great tribulation will be cut short. Is our desire to avoid glorifying God by suffering persecution so great that we ignore what the Bible clearly teaches? One of the ways that dispensationalists who have this aberrant and false teaching concerning 2 Thessalonians 2 deals with those texts is claiming that they refer to Israel and not the church, and to the 144,000 Jews and those converted by them. As evidence of this, they correctly note that Jeremiah 30:7 refers to the great tribulation as the time of Jacob’s trouble. However, such teachings ignore that the church is grafted into Israel, and moreover that the combination of born-again Gentiles and believing Jews constitutes spiritual Israel, true Israel, or Israel of God according to Galatians 6 and Romans 9-11. (Yes, some dispensationalists deny this, and even go to the point of claiming that the new covenant is not the one that currently exists with Christ and the church, but is one that Christ will make during the millennium with natural Israel, showing that many dispensationalists are more rabbinic Jews than Christians or even Messianic Jews). This means that Jacob’s trouble is our trouble!

Again, this is not intended to be a broadside against dispensationalism and rapture teachings entirely, especially the partial rapture teachings for which Revelation 3:10 and the typology of Enoch and Elijah can be used to support, as well as perhaps the mid-tribulation rapture teachings. (Note that neither the mid-tribulation rapture or partial rapture doctrines make the totally heretical claim that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth.) However, it is incumbent upon the adherents to the rapture and other premillennial dispensational teachings to avoid false teachings that tickle the ears, provide false comfort, and glorify man in the place of God.

Ultimately, however, these debates are intramural in nature between Christians. Regardless of one’s eschatological beliefs, being born again means ultimately going to heaven, whether the route is being raptured before the tribulation or being beheaded by the anti-Christ during it. When the redeemed are in heaven, no one will care one bit about who was wrong and who was right concerning eschatological doctrines. And even more so, it will be totally irrelevant to those who are unsaved. Rapture, no rapture, if you have not repented of your sins and believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, your eternal fate is the same as that of those of Sodom and Gomorrah and the days of Noah who did not escape the wrath of God but perished. And the horrible ends of their earthly lives was nothing compared to the eternal torment of the lake of fire that is in store for these wicked sinners.

So now is the time to make sure that you do not share their fate if you have not already. Repent of your sins and believe upon the risen Lord Jesus Christ today! You can do so by:

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan

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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 »

An Issue For Rapture Believers: Will The World Know That You Are Gone?

Posted by Job on January 2, 2011

It is the Christmas – New Year season, which means time for certain Christian broadcasters to air their cache of rapture/endtimes movies. Though I turned away from advocating a belief in the rapture a few years ago, I have never declared the doctrine to be clearly false and stated that its supporters are knowingly adhering to a false doctrine. (Now I should point out that some doctrines by some rapture/premillennial dispensational advocates are abominable heresies, but it appears that few pastors who teach the rapture and even fewer Christians who believe in it consent to them, and many of them are not not aware that these strange, outlandish doctrines exist.)

However, for those who do believe in the rapture, consider the “Left Behind” movies (and similar ones that were made before and since, not to mention a large number of novels) that depict this mass panic that grips the world upon the disappearance of a significant percentage of the world’s population, and that this panic is exploited by the one world government and the anti-Christ. First off, the “global hysteria” doctrine appears nowhere in the Bible, but appears to be based entirely on assumptions. Of course, it is very logical, but God’s works – and not just miracles – often exist outside of the boundaries of human logic. Second, the idea that the global hysteria will cause the one world government, one world religion and the rise of the anti-Christ is problematic, because – according to a literal reading of Revelation that assumes a literal timeline  (the preferred hermeneutic of rapture adherents) the beast does not truly take power until halfway through the seven years. This contradicts popular rapture movies, which show the beast taking over – and in many depictions taking over a pre-existing political/military/economic/religious apparatus – almost immediately after the rapture as a direct response to the global emotional trauma and economic, political, etc. upheaval that it causes.

However, Christians who adhere to this doctrine should consider the opposite perspective: after the rapture, will the world even know that you are gone? Will they miss you? Consider three angles to this question.

1. According to every single survey on religious attitudes and beliefs, the vast majority of Bible believing Christians, whether evangelical, fundamentalist or traditional, do not lead lives that distinguish them from non-Christian people. Every ounce of data exists shows that these Christians exhibit no outward evidence of their faith other than showing up to church on Sunday. Almost none of the fruit-bearing that the New Testament speaks of is present in the lives of such Christians, many of whom do not even so much as invite their neighbors or co-workers to church on Sunday or into their homes for Bible study. So, were the rapture to occur, what is it that would make people notice that it is a rapture of Christians, as opposed to just a bunch of random people going missing? More to the point, if you personally were to be raptured, would most/half/any of the people who know you consider that it might be because you are a Christian?

2. Related to 1, minority of Christians that adhere to the rapture belief only believe in a partial rapture, stating that not all born again believers who will eventually enter heaven will be raptured, but only those who are counted most faithful and fruitful. This view has its advantages, as it does deal with the various Bible references to believers who will be alive and suffer during the great tribulation. (The “complete rapture” believers who espouse such doctrines as the persecuted believers are those who will be converted after the rapture – such as by the 144,000 Jews – do so despite a ton of logical consistencies in this belief, such as the Bible evidence in places such as Romans 10 that it takes an believer’s preaching the gospel to convert an unbeliever, and also that conversion cannot take place without the Holy Spirit, which many/most “complete rapture” adherents believe will leave the earth with the church at the time of the rapture.) It also appears to be the view among the rapture adherents that makes the best use of scripture, including Jesus Christ’s promise to the church in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

But if this doctrine is true, then only a small percentage of the members of Christian churches and megachurches will be raptured. Instead of the practically empty churches that you see depicted in many of these rapture movies, instead, most or nearly all of these churches will be mostly filled with believers that are lukewarm (i.e. the Laodicea church) or possess varying degrees of the ills identified by Jesus Christ in the other 6 churches. If Revelation 2 and 3 are a guide and should be interpreted literally and mathematically, only 1 out of every 7 Christians will be raptured, and (again using the Laodicea example) virtually none of those will be in the churches that show outward signs of piety (i.e. large size, huge amenities, middle/upper class congregants taught by eloquent erudite pastors with huge support staffs, etc). Again, now this is not to say that these people won’t be saved and ultimately wind up in heaven, but rather that they won’t be raptured. And since the vast majority of people who regularly, faithfully attend Bible-believing churches and even perform good works won’t be raptured because Jesus Christ will “have something against thee” (His common rebuke to 5 of the 7 churches, to all but Philadelphia and Smyrna, and it is pointed out that Jesus Christ didn’t promise to keep Smyrna from great tribulation but rather to strengthen them as they endure it!), how will this be recognized as “a Christian rapture”? Especially since many of the left behind will in fact be Christians who adhere to the complete rapture doctrine, and may likely be ones who deny before the media and the world that a “Christian rapture” occurred because they will (truthfully I might add!) state that if there was a rapture of the entire church, they would have been included! Again, if it is only a partial, seemingly random number of Christians raptured, other explanations for their disappearance may abound, and the continuing presence of born-again Christians will be the main enabler of those alternate explanations.

3. This is somewhat related to the prior point. Consider the great falling away that the Bible states will happen before the return of Jesus Christ. If this is applied to the larger rapture doctrine framework, it fits the teachings of a lot of dispensationalists that the information to the seven churches in Revelation were of 7 church ages, which the last age being the Laodicea one. If the church falls into widespread apostasy similar to that of Old Testament Israel (which was a type that pointed to the church in many respects) just before the northern and southern kingdoms fell to Assyria and Babylon, then whether the issue is a full rapture or a partial one, there will be very few Christians to be taken up in the rapture indeed.

4. Consider that the Bible speaks of a strong delusion being sent by God in the endtimes that will cause people to believe a lie. If this can be interpreted with respect and applied to the rapture, it can either be in terms of 3.) the great apostasy resulting in a very tiny legitimate church when the rapture occurs or the fact that when the rapture occurs, people will delude themselves, lie to themselves about these missing persons in the first place. Many have interpreted this to believe that the strong delusion will cause people to deny the rapture and contrive other reasons for the disappearances (including alien abductions according to one such movie), but it is very plausible that the delusion will be of the nature that denying that the raptured souls ever existed in the first place, something that many in the mental health profession would describe as a trauma-induced dissociation as a coping mechanism.

Add it all up and Christians who believe in the rapture must challenge and question the idea popularized by so many rapture teachers that we are so precious, beloved and important to the world that our presence will cause a worldwide turmoil of the people of this world. Of course, it strokes our own egos and vanity to regard ourselves as being so important … how once we are gone, the world will literally go down the tubes because we will no longer be around to be police officers, bankers, teachers, spouses, parents, community leaders etc., and that people of the world will be so frightened, grief-stricken and left leaderless and impoverished by our loss that they will obviously turn to the anti-Christ and his system!

Wow. Think how that sounds. Think of how that sounds to Jesus Christ, the One who came not bragging about Himself, but who emptied Himself, made Himself of no reputation, humbly submitted Himself to the Will of the Father, and suffered the humiliation and torment of public rejection and public execution. When Jesus Christ died and returned to heaven, the world continued. But we are so important than when we depart this earth, the world spins out of control?

Also, it rejects a key thing about what Jesus Christ teaches about the church: we are not loved, cherished, exalted, embraced, even liked by the world. Instead, we are despised, hated and rejected by it. The world hates, persecutes and rejects us just as it does to our Head and Master, Jesus Christ. If we are Christ’s own body, how can the world love us while hating Christ? If the world hates Jesus Christ because His light exposes that the world’s deeds are wicked, then how on earth can the earth love our light?

Again, we are beloved, treasured and adored by God. We were important enough to God that He sent His only Son for us, and we were important enough to Jesus Christ that He obeyed and died for us. But the world views us as precisely the opposite. The world’s father is not God but Satan, the prince of the power of the air, the same who was a murderer from the beginning and the truth is not in him, the same dragon who persecutes and afflicts the church.

So have no prideful delusions of our own importance, or of anyone loving and treasuring us but God. If the rapture doctrine is true and the event does occur, when it happens, rather than being driven to anguish and grief over our no longer being present, the world will rejoice and say “Good riddance … now we can REALLY get on with what we need and want to do!”

Any false notions otherwise are the product not of honest Bible study and interpretation but of human pride. Well please recall that pride comes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. This includes the fall of Satan, and the fall of Adam as well. Do not walk in their ways, but instead in the ways of Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself, lowered Himself, gracefully accepted His hard task, and never at any point deluded Himself about how hated and despised He was, not only by His own people, but even by one of His very own twelve that betrayed Him!

As Jesus Christ is our Master, those who adhere to the rapture doctrine must take a step back from what is commonly being taught and instead seek interpretations and applications of this doctrine that is consistent with the teachings of our Master and honors our Master.

If Jesus Christ is not your Master, then Satan is your master. If that is the case, when judgment day arrives, you will receive from Jesus Christ, who is Lord, the same punishment that Satan receives, which is eternal destruction in a lake of fire with no hope whatsoever of reprieve. Please turn away from your sins and submit to Jesus Christ as your Master. Do not delay, but do it quickly, for why would you wish to delay such a blessed thing as entering into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? What is it that the world offers to make any delay worthwhile?

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Posted in Bible, Christianity, evangelism, false doctrine, false teaching, Russia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

An Important Distinction Between Israel And The Church

Posted by Job on July 18, 2010

God created Israel separate from the nations with the duty to be a light to the other nations. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit led Israel and were present with Israel, but did not indwell national Israel. Thus, Israel failed. Not only did they not become a light to the other nations, but fell into an apostate state whose abominations and wickedness actually EXCEEDED the evils of the other nations. Thus, only a righteous remnant preserved by God remained.

By contrast, when God created the church, it was not as a set apart nation to be a light to the other nations. Instead, God created the church as a people called out from ALL nations, Israel included, to be a light to the world. Where Israel was God’s national project with global implications, the church is God’s global project with eternal ramifications. And unlike national Israel, the church did not and will not fail. Unlike national Israel, the church was bought and created with God’s own divine Blood, that being sinless Jesus Christ shed on the cross. And unlike national Israel, the church is Jesus Christ’s Body with Jesus Christ Himself as the Head, and the Holy Spirit is not only present with the church, but indwells the church.

So where the failure of Israel was a failure of man – the human leaders and followers of national Israel – the church cannot and will not fail because God Himself indwells it. The old covenant was temporal, conditional and limited to one people (Israel) in one time (prior to that of Jesus Christ) and one place (the land of Canaan). The new covenant is unconditional (cannot be broken), eternal (will last forever) and universal (given to those coming from all nations, tribes and tongues).

Thus, contra covenant theology, Israel was not the church of the Old Testament. Instead, national Israel was a type, seed or foreshadowing of what was to be fulfilled by the church, New Testament spiritual Israel that both includes those natural descendants of Israel who are elect and thus believe, but it also transcends them. Calling Israel the church of the Old Testament distorts the purpose and method of its creation, and it also rejects the fact that the presence of God (the Holy Spirit) was in the tabernacle/temple behind the veil and not indwelling Israel in a corporate sense as it does the church in a corporate sense. At best, the Holy Spirit may have indwelled individual Old Testament saints such as the prophets and King David, and even in that sense the Old Testament saints were not limited to national Israel (consider Jethro/Reuel, Melchizedek, Seth, Abel, Noah, Job, the Queen of Sheba, Nebuchadnezzar etc.)

And also against dispensationalism, the church age is not a parenthetical period between two Israel ages (the Old Testament and the Jewish millennium), with memorial animal sacrifices in a third temple to Jesus Christ to occur in the second Jewish age, and Israel again taking her place as a light to the nations during the millennium. Instead, the purpose of Israel’s lesser light (and in creation, the lesser light rules THE NIGHT, which according to the parables of Jesus Christ is the time of sorrow because the bridegroom is not present) was to point to Jesus Christ, who is the true light to the nations, including Israel, and is the greater light which rules THE DAY. So, what of the Old Testament prophecies of the nations’ bringing gifts to Zion and serving Zion that were to be fulfilled in the millennium, the alleged “unfulfilled promises to Israel that have to be fulfilled in the millennium”? Read “servant songs” of Isaiah. Jesus Christ is the Son of Israel, who took upon Himself the role that Israel rejected, succeeded where Israel failed, obeyed and fulfilled the law of Moses that Israel broke (and dispensationalists claim that Israel should have never accepted to begin with when the truth is that Israel had no free will in the matter to accept or reject; they had no choice for they were chosen unconditionally by God and could not resist or reject His will) and thereby became Israel or Zion within Himself.

Jesus Christ is able to fulfill the prophecies given to both national Israel because He IS both national and spiritual Israel. Jesus Christ is national Israel because He was born a Jew to Mary and Joseph as a natural son of David of the tribe of Judah, and spiritual Israel because one is part of spiritual Israel only through faith in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is the object, author and finisher of that same faith. So, the “Zion songs” that speak of a restored Israel receiving the worship and gifts of the nations and ruling the nations are actually fulfilled in Jesus Christ who – as Israel’s personification, representative and fulfillment – rules the nations with a rod of iron and receives the worship and praise of all who have faith in, abide in and obediently serve Him in heaven and on earth while ruling the nations with a rod of iron.

Suggesting that national Israel will rule and receive gifts in the place of the only One who is worthy of such rule and praise is to take the position that Jesus Christ was never incarnated, crucified and resurrected. Incidentally, the amillennial beliefs held by many covenant theologians and is being adopted by dominionists, which holds that the church is to subdue and rule the earth just as Israel was to do with Canaan (and in the case of the dominionists, as Adam was subdue and rule the earth), possesses a similar error, giving to man and his institutions the rule – and praise – that belongs only to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will not rule the earth through the church, but instead will rule the earth including the church. And there will be no memorial sacrifices to Jesus Christ, for why do things in memory (as is done to those who are dead and sleep) to that who is alive and present forevermore? Instead of memorial animal sacrifices in a temple, Jesus Christ will receive active worship and praise in spirit and in truth from the hearts of those who believe, those whom the Holy Spirit indwells!

Therefore, knowing the difference between the church and Israel is vital to understanding the past, future and the present for the Christian. By contrast, failing to know these differences leaves one vulnerable to error and deception. So, do not be destroyed for the lack of knowledge! Instead, study to show yourselves approved!

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Revelation 12 In Brief: My Proposed Interpretation And Commentary

Posted by Job on July 4, 2010

Upon reading chapter 12 of the Gospel of John, I encountered John 12:31, which reads “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” As “the prince of this world” is a reference to Satan, immediately, I had the notion to cross reference that text in Revelation because it sounded familiar. Thinking that I may have found scriptural support for amillennialism in the words of Jesus Christ, I checked Revelation 20:1-3, which speaks of Satan being bound for 1000 years. However, the two passages did not appear to have anything to do with each other. Then I recalled that the reference to Satan being thrust from heaven was in the “there was a war in heaven” passage, which is contained within Revelation 12.

1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried , travailing in birth , and pained to be delivered.

The identity of this woman has been a subject of some debate. Roman Catholics assert that this is “Mary, queen of heaven.” Some assert that the woman is the church. However, this woman obviously represents national or Old Testament Israel. The 12 stars are the twelve tribes of Israel. Please recall that in Joseph’s dream of Genesis 37:9, his brothers were represented by stars. And the child that Israel was carrying was Jesus Christ. God’s purpose was to create Israel as an elect people, give Israel the law, and have Jesus Christ born to Israel as a human and member of their nation and people under the law so that Jesus Christ would fulfill the law perfectly and then surrender His life as payment for the sins of others. And Israel suffered many things (i.e. bondage in Egypt, destruction and captivity by Babylon, brutal subjugation by the Greeks) before Jesus Christ was born to the Jew Miriam (Mary).

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

The dragon is Satan. The significance of the 7 heads, 7 crowns and 10 horns I do not know at this time. It is interesting that Revelation 13:1, which some manuscripts assert as being the final verse of Revelation 12, describes the beast as having 7 heads, 7 crowns and 10 horns. However, Revelation 13 identifies the beast (popularly referred to as the anti-Christ) and the dragon (Satan) separately. The reference to the 1/3 of the stars of heaven that were thrown to the earth is that to the angels who were not elect (see 1 Timothy 5:21) and therefore joined Satan in His rebellion against God, becoming demons or evil spirits.

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

This man child is obviously Jesus Christ. The references to Satan’s attempting to devour the man child can refer to the various attempts of Satan to tempt, kill or otherwise thwart Jesus Christ, with an example being Herod’s genocide after the visit from the wise men. It can also refer to Satan’s many attempts to destroy national Israel – either by killing them or seducing them into idolatry – prior to Jesus Christ’s advent. The child’s being caught up to God’s throne refers to Jesus Christ’s ascension to heaven after His passion and resurrection.

6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

This is a reference to the dispersion of national Israel and the end of the Jewish age after the destruction of the temple and nation by the Roman Empire in 70 AD. The times of the Gentiles, or the last days, began. The phrase “where she hath a place prepared of God” seems to refer to national Israel still being under God’s protection though the eyes of the Jews are blinded during the church age. This confirms Romans 11. As far as the time period of 3.5 years, to me that remains a mystery.

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out , that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down , which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

This would be the portion that correlates with John 12:31. “That old serpent” is better rendered “that serpent of old”, which identifies the Satan that deceived the whole world as being the same that deceived Eve and successfully caused the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Not only was the entire world deceived and sent into a fallen state of original sin as a result of Satan’s dealings with Adam, but Satan has been deceiving the world – those not reconciled to God – ever since. Also, we know from the book of Job that Satan had access to heaven and accused the righteous of sin before God. After Jesus Christ atoned for sin with His death and obtained justification for believers at His resurrection, Satan’s access to heaven and his accusations against believers could no longer continue. Because of the work and victory of Jesus Christ through His death on the cross and His being resurrected from the dead, Satan was defeated. Glory be to Jesus Christ, who reigns and is blessed forever!

12 Therefore rejoice , ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time , and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

After being cast from heaven, this Satan who in his madness thought that he could somehow exalt himself over the One who created him and sustains his existence was forced to give up any delusions that he might have harbored concerning his battle with God. Knowing his fate – and that time is rapidly ticking towards it – Satan turns his full malicious destructive intentions to humans living on the earth, and especially national (or ethnic) Israel, who despite her current apostasy is still God’s chosen and beloved, and was used by God in the incarnation of the Jesus Christ who defeated Satan through His death and resurrection. From this, one may conjecture that the many calamities that have befallen Israel since her dispersion (including but not limited to the Holocaust) is not – or is not solely – due to her rejection of Jesus Christ; that it is the result of some national sin or curse that Israel bears. Indeed, Jesus Christ prayed and interceded for the forgiveness of Israel as He died on the cross (Luke 23:34). Instead, Israel’s misfortunes are the result of Satan’s concentrated and determined efforts against her. (Please note that while Satan has taken special efforts of cruel malice against Israel, he has not neglected his steal, kill and destroy mission against everyone else either.) Yet despite Satan’s best efforts, Israel endures as a people because of God’s protection. This protection – as well as the 3.5 year time period – is a repeat of what was given in verse 6. God is a faithful God. Though national Israel suffers many things, God has not cast her aside, and one day Israel will be saved.

15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

This could be a reference to the nations and peoples of the earth whom God has raised up and used to protect and defend ethnic Israel. From the nations that accepted Jews when they were expelled from Spain to the people who shielded Jews from Hitler’s holocaust, God has used various people and nations to preserve a remnant of the natural descendants of Abraham.

17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Now the woman is national Israel. (By this I mean ethnic Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, not the current nation of Israel, or necessarily the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.) Descendants of Abraham who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ excepted, national Israel does not keep the commandments of God or have the testimony of Jesus Christ. So, the “remnants of Israel’s seed” referred to in verse 17 is the church, spiritual Israel, the true descendants of Abraham because of the faith of Abraham. Abraham had faith in the revelation of Jesus Christ just as does the church. It is the church that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and is carrying out the mission of God. And just as Satan is at war with national/ethnic Israel, he is at war with spiritual Israel, the church. Note that this passage does not refer to the church having the protection of God during this time, only the woman (Israel). In this, we are reminded that the servant is not greater than his Master, therefore the church must suffer many things just as Jesus Christ did.

This interpretation would appear to be at odds with some points of both dispensationalism and covenant theology. Regarding covenant theology, a clear distinction between Israel and the church is made and maintained, and Israel is still under God’s protection, in blindness until the day that it joins the church (though the church was grafted in) in salvation through Jesus Christ. So, the attempts by John Calvin and others to assert that “all Israel will be saved” and other points in Romans 11 actually refers to the church cannot be supported in Revelation 12. As far as dispensationalism goes in general and the rapture doctrine specifically, you have often heard the allegation that no reference to the church appears in Revelation after chapter 3. Not only does Revelation 7:9-17 refer to martyred Christians “who have come out of great tribulation” (and hence the 144,000 also refers to the church), but Revelation 12:17 can only refer to the church, and Satan’s wrath against it.

And as noted earlier, the reference to Satan’s wrath against the church in Revelation 12:17 leads directly to the passages concerning the beast, popularly referred to as the anti-Christ, in Revelation 13. The agent of Satan’s wrath against the church mentioned in Revelation 12:17 will be this beast, and it will be given to this beast to make war against the saints and overcome them (Revelation 13:7). And recall what was stated earlier: Revelation 12 does not mention the church as having the same protection as does national Israel. So, do not be deceived into thinking that these saints will be Jews, or people somehow converted during the great tribulation. (How can these conversions be possible if – according to dispensational doctrines – the indwelling Holy Spirit is gone?)

So during the end of the last days, the great tribulation, both Israel and the church will be present and figure prominently in it. The church during this time will glorify God through its suffering after the manner of Jesus Christ. Israel will glorify God through her continuing to exist despite all efforts to destroy her and the ultimate joining of national Israel with spiritual Israel in salvation through Jesus Christ.

Posted in Bible, Christianity, endtimes, eschatology, great tribulation, harpagesometha, prophecy, rapio, rapture, replacement theology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

On The FBI Arresting The Hutaree “Christian” Militia Because They Made Threats Against Muslims

Posted by Job on March 29, 2010

First, allow me to say that nothing in the Bible justifies having a “Christian” militia. Quite the contrary, when Peter assaulted the Jewish temple guardsman who came to arrest Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ rebuked Peter, healed the man whose ear Peter cut off, and told Peter “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” The early church faced severe persecution, with the Roman Empire killing millions of Christians over 300 years, yet never at any time was there an armed resistance against the persecution. Those people took the words of Jesus Christ literally when He said that those who would be persecuted for His sake would be considered blessed, and followed the example of Peter and John who considered it a blessing and honor to be counted worthy to suffer mistreatment for Jesus Christ’s Name.

And it goes without saying that threatening violence against a Muslim or anyone else is – as this Hutaree “Christian” militia allegedly did –  clearly incontrovertibly a sin. People like this have to realize that Jesus Christ began His ministry during the time of armed uprisings by Jews against a very evil, tyrannical Roman government. (However, it should be noted that had the Jews not taken up arms against the Romans, the Romans would have generally left them alone.) The Jews were looking for a political messiah to defeat the Romans and re-establish a sovereign, Davidic kingdom. Many false messiahs promising just that came, and many followed Jesus Christ hoping that He was a messiah of that sort. They even mistook the miracles that Jesus Christ performed as evidence that He would use power from God to defeat the Romans.

However, when Jesus Christ made it known that His mission was not to establish an earthly kingdom, many lost interest and followed others, the ones who Jesus Christ referred to as “thieves and robbers”, which in the vernacular of the day referred to the seditious false messiahs leading rebellions. Jesus Christ repeatedly and consistently told His followers that it was wrong to rebel against Rome (especially violently) and that was what the significance of issues like paying taxes to Rome were all about. Later, Paul wrote Romans 13 about submitting to Rome as opposed to rebelling against them, and Peter wrote that Christians should pray for their leaders rather than rebel against them. And in the Olivet discourse, Jesus Christ told His followers not to defend Jerusalem from the attacking Romans, but instead to flee.

Needless to say, Jesus Christ’s words were rejected. He who came in the Name of God they did not follow, but those who came in their own name, including the false messiahs, they followed. This pattern of rejection of the true Messiah and His spiritual message and their embrace of false messiahs who offered a message of this world (i.e. political liberation, which included many economic benefits as well) was best symbolized when the Jews demanded that Pontius Pilate release the seditious murderer Barabbas – one of those involved in the violent liberation movements – in the place of Jesus Christ. By continuing to reject Jesus Christ and follow such people in their violent uprisings against Rome (they failed to listen to not only Jesus Christ but to even secular and Jewish leaders like Josephus and Yochanan ben Zakkai), the Jews brought the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD upon their nation, which resulted in the death of over 1 million Jews and the destruction of the temple (which fulfilled the near term “this generation” prophecies of the Olivet discourse). And in 132 AD, still following false messiahs like Simeon bar Kochba who promised that God would use them to defeat the Roman Empire, the Jewish liberation movement suffered their final defeat by the Romans, who burned what was left of Jerusalem to the ground, renamed it, and made it a capital crime for any Jew to re-enter the city. So, no Jewish liberation projects would exist for over 1700 years until 1897 when Theodor Herzl formally created the Zionist movement (although pre-Zionist movements had existed since at least the French Revolution).

So, by forming “militias” and certainly by threatening Muslims, these people do nothing but reject anything resembling the true literally interpreted teachings of the New Testament. By doing so, they reject Jesus Christ for Barabbas, and for that matter Jesus Christ for the Jews who delivered Christ to the Romans to be killed, and had Barabbas released in His stead. So let it be clear … the teachings of the New Testament and the unfolding of history (not only Jewish history, but the violent, failed “revolutions” of certain Anabaptist and Donatist Christian groups, as well as the violent death of the very vicious Ulrich Zwingli) supports nothing of the kind.

Still, we must wonder why it took mere threats against Muslims to bring the FBI down against these people. Unless, of course, they had evidence that these groups were going to act on their threats. So far, the FBI has everything sealed. Right now, a lot of LEGITIMATE Christians and a lot of conservatives are wondering about the double standards … why were these “Christians” arrested when other groups – including Muslims – who make similar threats all the time go free? I do not deny that there is not some element of this going on, or that the Obama administration does not have a propaganda motive to do this shortly after the passage of health care legislation and during the rise of the Tea Party movement and things of that nature. So, this is as good a time to go after conservative anti-government groups as any, and this provides fodder for anti-Christians who have long wanted the government to start ramping up their activities against Christians, starting with illegitimate Christian movements but only until going after their real targets – legitimate Christians – can be justified.

However, we must have the ability to acknowledge that in general, if armed groups make threats, the government shouldn’t just sit around and wait for them to act on their threats. (For instance, “making terroristic threats” is indeed a crime.) So, the issue should be whether the threats against Muslims made by these groups were legitimate. If the government doesn’t reveal the nature of these threats the way that they did with the many Muslim terror suspects that they have arrested, then that is indeed a cause for concern. Especially since “making terroristic threats” is a common offense, so common that a lot of people don’t even know that it is illegal.

Now as a Christian, my position is always going to be not to make terroristic threats. It is not only a sin in and of itself, and it is also against a legal code that does not cause Christians to violate scripture, which makes it also a sin by violating Romans 13. However, Paul according to the Acts narrative asserted not only his Christianity, but also asserted his Roman citizenship when it was in the interests of the gospel of Jesus Christ to do so. Now again, though this Hutaree group is not a legitimate Christian outfit, as a law abiding citizen of this country I am curious as to precisely what it was that made the FBI go after this group of people making terroristic threats while ignoring the many others. We do have a right to know precisely such a thing, and it is in our interests to pursue these rights to their fullest extent. The reason is that Jesus Christ commanded us to discern the times, and if these charges against the non-Christian Hutaree militia are spurious or are evidence of clear double standards, legitimate Christians can use it to take note of the times that we are entering.

Christian militia group arrested, allegedly threatened Muslims, Hamas-linked CAIR plays victim card

P.S. I purposefully resisted making an issue of the Hutaree militia’s premillennial dispensational beliefs. The reason is that I am 100% certain that there are very many legitimate Christians who are dispensationalists. The Hutaree group is not a legitimate Christian group. So, associating legitimate Christian dispensationalists with people like the Hutaree militia that have rejected the true teachings of Jesus Christ while adopting some themes or ideas … how is that different from associating Christians with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or, say, Muslims who affirm the virgin birth? Now though I am no longer a dispensationalist, I am not going to use this as an excuse to go after Christians who are.

Now so-called Christians who use their dispensationalist beliefs in a manner like John Hagee (who demanded that George W. Bush attack Iran to “defend Israel”, and gave one of his many failed prophecies that the attack would happen before the end of Bush’s presidency with the rapture to occur soon after) and to whip up a fearful frenzy and hatred against Muslims that may lead to threats and violence … THOSE associations (between one false Christian who rejects the Bible but finds dispensationalism useful like Hagee and another) I can countenance, though I will not pursue them myself at this time. The issue is not differing views on eschatology, but those who accept the teachings of the New Testament versus those who reject it. Using premillennial dispensationalism to have your feet in both camps (meaning the church and the world) is what leads to stuff like this. However, this is by no means limited to premillennial dispensationalism. After all, Ulrich Zwingli, who massacred members of his own Bible study because they refused to join his church-state, was an amillennialist.

Update: Confederate Yankee says that the FBI claims that the militia was plotting to kill police officers. That angle is repeated here. Confederate Yankee is skeptical, but his reasoning for being skeptical – that police officers represent the local and not federal government – is wanting.

Posted in Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments »

A Question For Premillennial Dispensational Christians: Didn’t Daniel’s 70 Weeks End In 70 AD?

Posted by Job on November 21, 2009

Consider this link and give a response please.

http://www.biblewheel.com/History/Daniel_70_Weeks.asp

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A Question For Premillennial Dispensational Rapture Believers Focused On Israel: How Long Is A Generation?

Posted by Job on September 25, 2009

For those who believe in the rapture and also believe that the modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and a sign that the end of the church age is at hand and the great tribulation draws nigh, I must ask you: how long is a generation? This is relevant because premillennial dispensationalists have seized upon the “this generation shall not pass until all these things are fulfilled” statements of the Olivet discourse endtimes prophecy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30, Luke 21:32) to assert that the the great tribulation will start within a generation of 1948 when Israel became a nation again.

Now first, this poses a problem. Finding a Bible prophecy that would support the idea that Israel would re-established as a nation in the year 1948 is difficult to support. I will say categorically that no such prophecy exists in the New Testament, and it takes very creative interpretations to support the existence of such prophecies in the Old Testament. Further, the fact of Israel’s being established as a nation in 1948 is not something that was declared or revealed by God through a Christian prophet or by an angel delivering a message to a Christian. So, the basis of Israel’s existence as a nation does not come from any divine authority, not the Bible or any prophetic utterance!

Now this has nothing to do with the debate on whether Israel has the right to exist. Instead, it has everything to do with the beginning of the prophetic calendar with respect to this nation. If the great tribulation must happen within a generation of Israel’s being established as a nation, on whose authority did this event happen in 1948? Why, not God’s authority, BUT BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE UNITED NATIONS! Indeed, by man’s authority. Where it was AN ACT OF GOD that declared Israel’s status as a nation at the time of the Exodus, it was AN ACT OF MAN THAT AS FAR AS WE KNOW HAS NEVER BEEN CONFIRMED BY GOD TO THE CHURCH that declared Israel to be a nation in 1948. And it is the height of irony that many of the very same people who consider the United Nations to be a tool of the coming anti-Christ (but not America, even though America is a charter member, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, and the U.N. headquarters is in America, and America is the #1 source of funds for this body, no America is “a Christian nation” with Christian – actually most freemason, deist, unitarian, and enlightenment rationalist – founding fathers!) accept the UN’s testimony that Israel is again a nation rather than God’s, and start their prophetic clock based on Israel’s the date of recognition by the same anti-Christ UN!

But alas, that is another issue altogether. But let us take for granted that the U.N. was acting on God’s behalf and doing God’s will, and that their recognition of Israel in 1948 happened according to God’s providence. (I readily admit that there is much precedent for such a thing happening all over the Bible. The key difference: those things were declared as such by prophets and were able to be verified as fulfilled prophecies. For instance, the prophets gave the exact time that the Jews would remain in Babylon AND the name of the king who would free them. It is because of the precise and literal nature of these fulfillments that God-hating atheists claim that said prophecies were written after the fact.) If that is so, when does the generation time clock expire? How long is a generation?

Now this issue has gotten some premillennial dispenationals into trouble. First premillennial dispensationals went by the modern western idea of a generation – 20 years – and stated that the great tribulation would begin by 1968. After it did not, it was revised to the older and better – but still worldly and western – idea of a generation, which was 40 years. So, it was stated that the great tribulation would start in 1988.  An example of this trouble:

“Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong, and I say that unequivocally.  There is no way Biblically that I can be wrong; and I say that to every preacher in town. ( Edgar Whisenant, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988).”

But even calling a generation 40 years is wrong, because it is not the Biblical definition. So the question must be asked: what is the Biblical definition of a generation? The answer: there isn’t one. At least, not one that can be described in a hard fast set number of years. Example: consider the time that Israel spent in Egypt, a period of about 400-440 years. According to Genesis 15:15-17, that was four generations! Genesis 15:16 in particular: “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” So in this instance, a generation would have had to have been at least 100 years, possibly longer.

So does that settle it? Well, no. The Bible also speaks of the time spent by Israel wandering in the desert as a generation See Numbers 32:13 and more specifically see Psalm 95:8-11 “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

So obviously a Biblical generation does not refer to any fixed period of time. Some Bible scholars have tried to resolve this by claiming that a generation refers to everyone living during a period of time. When the last person who was alive during that period dies, then the generation ends! Well, Bible examples make that problematic. For one, when the Israeli exodus generation passed, Joshua and Caleb were still alive. Further, to use the preterist/amillennialist view, there were most certainly still Christians alive after the generation or age of which Jesus Christ was addressing in the Olivet Discourse ended in 70 A.D., as they included none other than the apostle John! In addition to John, it is well known that the many Jewish Christians did not die during the Roman siege of Jerusalem, but remembered the warnings of Matthew 24-25 and similar, obeyed Jesus Christ and fled, many of them taking the gospel with them. We know this because the refusal of Jewish Christians to die defending Jerusalem (and yes, the fact that the Jewish Christians were told to leave Jerusalem and obeyed doing so should give modern dispensationals who put so much modern emphasis on that city some pause!) was one of the primary reasons why Jewish Christians were made the scapegoat for the destruction of the nation, expelled from the synagogues, and ostracized by the Jewish people a few decades later.

Now there are some who refer to a generation as an age, specifically an age in salvation-redemptive history. That is consistent with the idea that the sojourn in the desert constituted a spiritual age, as did the end of the Jewish age with the destruction of the second temple in 70 A.D. Regarding the latter, the church age had not yet started when Jesus Christ spoke for He had not yet gone to the cross, resurrected, ascended, and sent the Holy Spirit. However, that still leaves the problem of the four generations in Egypt! Had it been referred to by scripture as a single generation, it would have been easy to harmonize that reference with the generation in the desert and the generation of the time of Jesus Christ’s first advent as major periods in salvation history. However, it does not, so we cannot.

Thus, the conclusion must be reached is that there is no way to know how long a true generation is, that is one that fits Biblical and prophetic purposes. For that reason, we should respect Matthew 24:36, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:32, and perhaps best Acts 1:7, which reads “And he [Jesus Christ] said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Thus, even if the creation of Israel in 1948 was the beginning of the generation that will include the great tribulation, none of us has any idea how long that generation shall be. Instead, only the Ancient of Days, God the Father Himself, knows! So, it is best for Christians to be content with the duty of comfort ourselves with and sharing with others the gospel of Jesus Christ! Repent sinners for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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A Question For Premillennial Dispensational Rapture Believers: Explain The Fifth Seal In Revelation!

Posted by Job on September 25, 2009

Revelation 6:9-11 reads

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

The Word of God for the elect people of God. Glory be to God.

For my premillennial dispensational brethren who believe in a pretribulation (or prewrath) rapture that spares the church from the time of sorrow, please explain this text. Who are those slain for the Word of God? Are they Christians? And when will these Christians be slain for their testimony? Does it refer to those believers slain in times past, whether in the Old Testament or at the time that Revelation was written? Or does it refer to believers slain during the great tribulation? (If so, how can any Christian stand under persecution, even martyrdom, without being emboldened by the Holy Spirit, which according to premillennial dispensational doctrine has to be taken from the earth along with the church? Please recall the difference between Peter and the apostles before the Comforter – cowering and fearful and running from their lives – and afterwards – bold and brave witnesses even unto death. As a matter of fact Peter himself went from being the worst – the one who denied Christ three times – to being the boldest. And how can anyone even be saved during the great tribulation without the work of the Holy Spirit? Recall: the Holy Spirit was indeed present during the time of the Old Testament saints. Indeed, the Bible states that the earth’s very existence cannot so much as even be sustained without the Spirit of God.) Or does it refer to believers slain during all ages, from the first (Abel) until the last before the return of Jesus Christ?

To interpret this passage with scripture, let us go to another one in Revelation that touches the martyrdom of the saints, which is Revelation 18:24. Please recall that this chapter refers to the fall of Babylon,  which since the Tower of Babel incident and particularly since the destruction of the temple in 586 has been used to symbolize people and systems that rebel against and oppose God and persecute His elect covenant people, and that Revelation extends this symbolism with personification, describing all that opposes God as a harlot (prostitute), which in this verse is called “her”:  And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Now as much as I love my King James Version, allow me to quibble with their translation of “kai” to “and” in the phrase “and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Many times, “kai” is just used for emphasis, as an amplifier of degree or a focus of attention. This text should probably read:

“And in her [Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints, indeed all [prophets and saints] that were slain upon the earth.”

However, if you go with the King James Version, which granted carries much more weight and authority than my own, and all which follow its tradition on that text, then “and of all that were slain upon the earth” simply means that in Babylon was the blood of every person that has been murdered, all innocent blood that has been shed. This means that the prior clause “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints” means that “the prophets and saints” (a  New Testament idiom which refers to old covenant and new covenant believers) which means that the blood of Stephen and all other Christian martyrs ever since is contained in Babylon. So with reference to the elect the meaning is the same: the blood of everyone killed because of their faith in God is in Babylon.

So, if we interpret Revelation 6:9-11 with Revelation 18:24, when the fifth seal was opened the martyred souls viewed under the altar should very likely be interpreted to include every Christian martyr since Stephen. This would support the idea of a church that has always been under continuous tribulation. Such an interpretation would be consistent with, indeed fulfill the words of Jesus Christ in John 15:18-20.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.

Now one can hardly claim that those words were only aimed at the apostles. Those words are for all Christians for all time. So what basis is there for believing that there will be a rapture to save the church from a persecution that A) Jesus Christ said that we would face and B) Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to withstand? Now this is not an endorsement of the historicist, preterist or amillennial position that there will be no seven year literal great tribulation. Instead, it is to say that if there will be such a seven year literal great tribulation, the church will be present for it just as it has been present for all other tribulations, the “lesser” tribulations.

Now the prewrath (and mid-wrath) rapture adherent does have Revelation 3:10, which reads “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth”, in his favor. However, that could be fulfilled in a number of ways, including 1) a place of refuge (which ironically rapture believers commonly propose will exist for those who will saved during the great tribulation … again these people will have to be saved despite the absence of a church to preach the gospel or a Holy Spirit to perform regeneration) or 2) death. Do not let the “death” option astonish you, but instead study the scriptures, especially the Old Testament but also in the New Testament. It is a consistent theme that death is a way of being preserved, saved, spared from times of great evil … to be absent from the troubles of this world and present with God! Perhaps the best example of this is the death of Abijah, son of the wicked king Jeroboam, who died according to God’s will so that he would not be corrupted by Jeroboam and also not share in their judgment in 1 Kings 14. A New Testament example: at the time that he wrote Philippians 1:20-26, Paul viewed death as being removed from the extremely trying circumstances that he was living and exchanging it for a better fate. In that passage Paul stated “to die is gain”, but it appears that the rapture adherents have transformed it into “to be raptured is gain.”

So, the idea that there must be a rapture in order for Christians to be spared martyrdom seems to be inconsistent with Biblical revelation. It is also an idea that only makes sense for Christians living in the west. Practically everywhere else in the world, Christians face persecution: marginalization, poverty, disease, imprisonment, death. There are two doctrinal systems that have the effect of promoting the idea western Christians should have no part in what Christians in Indonesia, China, Iran, Palestine (and Israel!), India and Mexico (where Roman Catholic/pagan syncretists are persecuting Protestants) by simple right of geography of birth: pretribulation rapture and covenant theology. Pretribulation rapture teaches that Christians not currently under persecution now will never have to face it, because persecution will only come to “the good parts of the world” (i.e. “Christian nations” or “western nations” or “non-socialist nations” … you know, what Glenn Beck was referring to) when the anti-Christ (which 8% of New Jersey residents regard Obama to be) takes over it.

Now ask yourselves … why is it that Christians can be persecuted in some places (including Israel … and read this too!) now without the anti-Christ, but it requires the anti-Christ to happen in others (especially America)? Or that the saints in other places (and times, including in the west … remember the 30 Years War and the Anabaptists?) are not spared persecution, but only the modern American saints are? Only the idea that contemporary western (especially American and possibly British!) Christians are somehow better than Christians living in other times and places, and this fact would be due to America having some special status before God as a unique elect covenant nation, giving us special status within the Body of Christ. Of course, the Bible makes it clear in the Roman and Corinthian epistles that there is no special group or people with a special status, special favor, or special standing before God in the Body of Christ, but instead that we are one Body. Further, the Bible makes it clear that those who are accounted greater according to rank or authority (not standing or value) demonstrate this through being servant roles that cause us to A) serve those who are of lesser rank and authority and B) endure even greater persecution than those who are of lesser rank and authority. So, even if America did have some special standing before God, instead of our being wealthy decadent privileged Laodiceans, we would be poor, oppressed and serving everybody else! If you deny this, read the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ!

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Keep in mind, the version in Luke reads “Blessed are the POOR!”)
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.

Now earlier I mentioned the covenant theologians, from whom the modern concept of the “Christian nation” originated. Covenant theologians believe – or at least believed – that people in “Christian nations” would or should be spared persecution only because in a church-state Christians would control the government, economy, military, police, and religion in a theocracy after the manner of Old Testament Israel. That is why such extreme theonomists and reconstructionists as Gary North and Rousas John (R. J.) Rushdoony deny that the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount apply to Christians, instead stating that it only applied to Jews living in that time. (Curiously, hyperdispensationalists believe the same.) While I believe the covenant theology position to be in error, this statement is aimed primarily at premillennnial dispensationalists.

So if America were this special, Christian nation, it would be marked by our poverty and service, not by our decadent delusions of religious nobility which makes us believe that we are somehow exempt from the sufferings of Christians living in Belarus or Namibia, or for that matter the Christians of the early church. After all, when Paul wrote his statement insisting that those in the Body of Christ were equals, the statements were direct AGAINST two groups of people: the Jewish Christians in the Roman church and the wealthy Christians in the Corinthian church. The Jewish Christians regarded themselves to be superior to the Gentile Christians because of nationality, and the wealthy Corinthian Christians regarded themselves as superior to the poorer believers because of their riches. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to tell both groups that they were wrong. So, then, how can we justify believing that a rapture will come and rescue us from the type of persecutions and deaths at the hands of Muslims that are going on all over the Middle East, Asia and Africa right now, such as the two million Christians that were killed in Sudan, many of whom were tortured, raped, doused with gasoline and set on fire, had their limbs chopped off, or were sold as slaves because they refused to renounce Christianity?

Ironically, the world, including the media, the activists, and the government of our own “Christian nation”, did their level best to ignore this genocide, choosing instead to focus on Muslims murdering other Muslims in Darfur. And let us not forget that the term for which the word genocide was originally invented and applied to, that of the Armenians by the Turks, is still not recognized as such by the U.N. or by the government of our “Christian nation.” It is still more ironic when you consider that the Armenian genocide happened in the same general area that the letters in Revelation were sent, in the Turkey region. That persecution kicked off what was the bloodiest period of Christian persecution in history, the 20th century, that saw 45.5 million Christians killed!

So if there were any geographical or political entity within the Body of Christ that had special status, it would be those Christians because of their poverty and persecution who would come first, not us . It is those to whom the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ were addressed, and premillennial dispensationalism completely rejects that truth for the belief that the rapture will save Christians not yet under persecution from ever having to experience it because the saints who have it easier are the ones who fulfill Revelation 3:10! Never mind that the rich church that was not facing persecution was Laodicea, and the church that Revelation 3:10 was addressed to was Philadelphia. Why was the promise of Revelation 3:10 given to the Philadelphians? It is in Revelation 3:8, which reads “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” The Philadelphia Christians were being persecuted, and similar to the Sudanese Christians, they refused to yield to the persecution by denying Jesus Christ. In other words, they refused to do the same as the apostle Peter did THREE TIMES before he was empowered by the Holy Spirit, yet dispensationalism teaches that this Holy Spirit will be taken away, and those converted during the great tribulation will have to face the greatest time of sorrows ever without it, and will yet somehow stand? How? Why? Because of their free will? Or because of their inherently good human nature untainted by original sin? Followers of Reformed/Calvinist believers in the rapture like John MacArthur and Albert Pendarvis (the latter’s bookstore sells the Scofield Reference Bible) have to answer these questions! In any event, those who claim that Revelation 3:10 refers to Christians being raptured to escape persecution have to deal with the fact that the text was in reference to a Philadelphia church that was enduring it!

Make no mistake. I believe in a bodily literal return of Jesus Christ which I believe will occur after a literal great tribulation which will include a literal and personal anti-Christ. However, I also believe that the church will endure this tribulation, and that we need to be preparing ourselves and those who will follow us in the faith for it in a manner that is consistent with scripture as opposed to believing that we – or our WESTERN descendants – will have an experience of escaping it that will be unique to Christians living in other times and places. At the very least, someone must explain why western Christians alone should enjoy this pleasure!

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Practical Theology: I Am Too Fat To Survive The Great Tribulation!

Posted by Job on September 17, 2009

Recently I abandoned my belief in the secret rapture, instead taking the view that the church will be present for the seven years of great tribulation. My belief is that such will be a very difficult time of the church similar to that of Israel (or more specifically Judah) during the time of Jeremiah. Christians will be in constant physical danger, often having to relocate or flee, and providing for even the bare necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter) will be difficult. We will have to rely totally on God to supply all our needs instead of any country, government, economic system etc. Instead, the nations, governments, militaries, political and economic systems etc. will be united against us. It will be completely the opposite of the easy, decadent living that western Christians have known and enjoyed for hundreds of years … the very same which many Christians are apparently willing to torture and kill other people in order to preserve.

And I regret to say that if these horrible difficult times for the church were to occur any time soon, I have no idea how I would stand a chance! I would be one of the very first to be captured trying to run away! Why? Because like a heavily disproportionate number of evangelical or fundamentalist Christians from the deep south, my health is in terrible shape. Now a few short years ago God miraculously preserved my health by instantly healing my worsening asthma as well as damage to my kidneys caused by my longtime overuse of over the counter asthma medicine. But this is the thing: the need to manage my asthma was my primary motivation for at least trying to keep my weight down. With that sole restraint out of the way, I have now ballooned to about 75 pounds more than I was when I was unloading trucks for a living!

For the longest, I have been deluding myself as to the true seriousness of my physical condition, brought on by the sins of gluttony and sloth (as well as my love for red meat, eggs, cheese, and soft drinks!) but now my eyes are opened. It happened just recently, as my frustration with the messages in my children’s television shows reached the tipping point (specifically the homosexual pagan lemur character in “Penguins of Madagascar” … the person who originally did the voice for this character in the movie versions was Jesus Christ hating Sacha Baron Cohen of the movie “Bruno” … need I say more?) and I decided that the entertainment for my children was going to (as much as possible) be “the great outdoors” as opposed to Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney. Hiking, fishing, exploring … I was even considering challenging my long-held aversion to (fear of!) camping and swimming. And no, I am not ashamed to acknowledge that the idea that Christians JUST MAY NEED SURVIVAL SKILLS motivated me just a little.

Then I was confronted with cold, hard reality. My very first trip to a local park with this nice little mountain trail, made very easy and accessible for THE ELDERLY left me huffing, puffing and sweating (but thank God no wheezing or any other asthma symptoms whatsoever … again the asthma is gone praise be to Jesus Christ, and no I didn’t “grow out of it” but it was the worst that it had ever been right up to the home prayer session that me and my family had!) after 20 minutes. My kids and I had gone MAYBE a quarter of a mile. They were having a great time looking at birds, trees, and the mountain (which is actually a hill, but don’t tell the locals that!) but they had to leave because their old man couldn’t keep up with them! Now I continued lying to myself, thinking “this is nothing that a few trips on the treadmill won’t fix” while driving myself to yet another fast food restaurant. But the very next trip, to a park with a small waterfall, their excellent time was cut short by my physical limitations. So, three thoughts popped into my head.

A) I was actually in much better shape when I had asthma. Even if I did have to take a few puffs of my inhaler from time to time, I was actually capable of walking all day. Now, I can barely walk for 30 minutes! For my to practically reject God’s gracious and merciful healing of my body by allowing myself to get in such poor physical condition that I cannot realize the benefits of the blessing is a terrible commentary on my spiritual (not physical but spiritual!) condition. I recall the man that Jesus Christ healed to whom Christ said “stop sinning or else something worse will come upon you.” Well, anyone needing evidence that gluttony (both eating too much and eating the wrong things) and sloth are sins only need to look at my person, for again I am actually in worse condition than I was when I had asthma. Paul Washer regularly mentions how so many Christians are killing themselves with our eating and exercise habits, and it appears that he was talking directly to me!
B) I was thinking “wow, if U.N. secretary general/global leader were to give the ’round up all Bible believing Christians’ order, I wouldn’t even be able to grab my kids and make it to the car, let alone run up the side of some mountain!” Begging the indulgence of all amillennialists and preterists, remember Matthew 24 when Jesus Christ said “escape to the mountains!” when the time of sorrows comes? I am too fat and out of shape to comply with that commandment!
C) Also, without even needing some endtimes scenario, I realized that it would have merely taken our being pursued by some desperate criminal or some rabid raccoon (or any emergency which would have required my grabbing my children and carrying them while outrunning something or someone somewhere) to expose how reckless and irresponsible I have been with my health and in this way would not be able to fulfill the physical requirements of being the steward, the head of my family as the Bible requires.

And yes, I also recall having read this book on evangelism whose author stated that overweight evangelists, missionaries, pastors etc. are often not taken seriously, especially in areas of the country and world where physical fitness, by the people that they are attempting to minister to. So, I am immediately going to start incorporating diet and exercise as part of my personal approach to Christian living. If nothing else, it would exhibit wisdom and self-control, and against such things there is no law!

P.S. No, this is not an endorsement of the “health” portion of the prosperity doctrine. Nor do I endorse the increasingly common practice of churches calling themselves “family life” or “whole person” centers and building fitness centers and doing things like offering dance aerobics (to gospel music of course!). Just as 1 Corinthians 11:34 says “if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation” then it follows that we should do our EXERCISING at home (or at least at someplace other than church!) also. After all, if going to go to church to lose weight, who is going to evangelize the overweight people that go to the gyms?

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Three Views On Jesus Christ

Posted by Job on August 29, 2009

Lordship view:

Popular with Reformed and Calvinist churches. Jesus Christ is presented primarily as ruling sovereign king. Transcendence of Jesus Christ is emphasized. A main view of the effects of His incarnation was to sanctify creation with His presence, and the emphasis of His work on the cross is that of being the giver and head of the new covenant and to transfer dominion from Israel to the church. This emphasis on Jesus Christ – as Lord and King and head of the covenant – correlates to the aim of such bodies to view themselves as extensions and agents – the Body – of Jesus Christ’s kingship and rule on earth. Because Jesus Christ sanctified the earth with His presence, that increases the prominence of natural theology and general revelation as ways of knowing, understanding and having a relationship with God. Further, it makes it fitting and appropriate for Christians to seek to subdue and rule the earth by political, economic, cultural and military means as a way of worshiping and glorifying God. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is mediated through western culture and institutions which God through His providence used and created to improve worldly conditions, spread the gospel, and prepare the world for His coming. Jesus Christ’s Lordship, kingdom and influence are spread primarily through cultural, political and military means, and such things largely take the role of personal evangelism and missionary work in infant baptism cultures. Thus, attacks on western culture and institutions are seen as direct attacks on God’s kingdom, God’s plan to redeem the world, and ultimately on Jesus Christ Himself. Due to Jesus Christ’s being depicted as Lord and King and thus viewed in the context of European and other Gentile kings (remote, detached, very difficult or impossible to directly or personally know or relate to) worship is liturgical, sacramental, even mystical with preaching de-emphasized to the point where often reading the pastor’s sermon notes is a more productive activity than being present for the sermon’s oral delivery. Very little practical attention is given to God the Father or the Holy Spirit or Jesus Christ’s humanity. Eschatology: often amillennial or postmillennial.

Savior view:

Popular in free will evangelical and fundamentalist churches. Jesus Christ is presented primarily as Savior. Heavy emphasis on Jesus Christ’s humanity, particularly the very safe approachable nonthreatening imagery of a baby in a manger and other views emphasizing Jesus Christ’s immanence. Primary role of incarnation is to make Jesus Christ human in order to facilitate a personal relationship with Him: Jesus Christ as friend, buddy, confidante, parent (particularly as it relates to parents’ giving their children gifts, reassurance, and nurturing), “sounding board/venting object”, or even lover. Please note: the ability to accept or reject friendship and personal relationship with another human is always by personal discretion, and both humans have equal rights to set the relationship’s terms, including the depth and intensity of the relationship. Jesus Christ’s deity is depicted in context of His ability to work miracles and teach during His earthly ministry and His being an effective in His role in dying for sins, and His ability to live a sinless life. Jesus Christ’s role as Lord and King is practically limited to His headship of the Body of Christ and is only stated factually or doctrinally as the justification for congregational church polity. In practice, Jesus Christ’s actual rule or dominion is deferred until judgment day, the millennium, and in heaven. The role of the Holy Spirit is to comfort Christians, give Christians friendly but non-coercive and not truly binding moral advice, and to help Christians deepen their friendship and bond with Jesus Christ; to make a relationship that is in many respects little different from a one-sided self-serving relationship with another natural human into a spiritual relationship. Ultimately, friendship with Jesus Christ meets the need of the Christian, first to escape eternal damnation, and second to meet or fulfill personal or emotional needs during challenging, difficult and uncertain lives. Note: a high percentage of people adhering to this form of Christianity are children of divorced parents, people who were abused or neglected as children, low income people, and women. God the Father is depicted in terms of an ideal human father and His relationship with Jesus Christ depicted as the ideal relationship between a parent and son, which is a source of reassurance and comfort (and also a goal) of people whose lives have been affected by family dysfunction and failure to live up to the western middle class ideal family image, with the Body of Christ offering the promise of a true, real stable family that meets true and idealized emotional needs that will finally be fulfilled in heaven. Result is an outsized emphasis on good families as the solution to personal and spiritual needs, with some going so far as to claim that the family is a type of the Holy Trinity or that the Holy Trinity is the model for the family (see Wayne Grudem and James Dobson). Thus, a major goal is the creation and preservation of not only a church system but also a worldly culture (i.e. government, politics, economics, values) that is “family-friendly.” The role of worship is to meet human emotional needs, often meaning entertainment and cathartic release for lower income people and intellectual stimulation for higher income and more educated people. The goal is to relate to Jesus Christ on a personal or human level, often using the relationship with Jesus Christ  as a substitute for flawed human relationships with spouses, parents, children, friends etc. Heavy emphasis on personal evangelism and missionary work, but the driving force is often eschatological beliefs or a desire to “grow the Christian family” (meaning creating more people to enjoy relationships with) and generally rely on human initiative and methodology. Growing integration of psychology and psychiatry with Christianity to meet the emotional needs of church members. Also increasing emphasis on “personal spirituality”, to “worship God my own way” and an increasing conviction that God’s grace accommodates the desire to satisfy or fulfill personal and emotional needs, including giving license to engage in conduct forbidden by scripture. This trend includes – but is not limited to – the emergent church. Preaching  is often exhortary, entertaining or emotionally charged, with an emphasis on narratives that relate to the personal experiences and needs of the listeners that causes them to recognize their own traits – or the traits of loved ones – in the sermons. Eschatology: often dispensational.

Lord and Savior view:

Begins with the Trinity, as God the Father, God the Holy Spirit and God the Son work together to create, redeem and sustain a community of believers as the ultimate goal of accomplishing creation, and such things are done for the pleasure and glory of the Godhead as opposed to the benefit of believers, though believers do certainly benefit and are exceedingly grateful. Jesus Christ is Lord of all for times past, future and present and graciously took upon the role of Savior.  Jesus Christ’s present dominion is not extended to the political, economic, military or cultural systems of the world, but instead is limited to the church over which He is Head and whose dominion all members of the church must continually submit to. The goal of worship and praise is to glorify and honor Jesus Christ, and Christ rewards those who glorify and honor Him by using the Holy Spirit to give them joy and other gifts and fruits. Evangelism is a worship activity done to glorify Jesus Christ, to fulfill the mandates of scripture, to provide Jesus Christ with more servants, to act as God’s servants in carrying out His plan of salvation, and to give more people the benefits of salvation. Christians can appreciate general revelation and natural theology as part of their praise and worship of God, but can only know God through special revelation, which includes the Holy Scriptures and Holy Spirit illumination which reveals the Son who in turn reveals God the Father. A very personal relationship with Jesus Christ is possible, but only on Jesus Christ’s terms which cause the believer to respect Jesus Christ’s holiness and sovereignty. Thus the rules of engagement between Jesus Christ and the believer are not as equals with the focus on Jesus Christ’s meeting the believer’s needs as the believer asks (which is the believer taking the initiative) but rather a relationship where Jesus Christ takes the initiative and it is the responsibility of the believer to obediently respond. In this way, Jesus Christ is Lord and King, but not after the detached manner of human kings, but a King that one can truly know and relate with, a King who allows us to continually eat bread at His table not because He is deficient in any way and needs our company but because it is to His pleasure and glory that we accompany Him. Attacks on culture, governments and institutions are regrettable for such things are servants of God and act to restrain evil, but ultimately are not attacks on Jesus Christ Himself, whose current dominion is now spiritual over the church and whose realized dominion over the earth – one that He will exert with a rod of iron – is yet to come. Presently only attacks against believers are attacks against Jesus Christ. Relationships with other believers are based on shared beliefs, common membership in Jesus Christ’s Body, and exercise of spiritual gifts as opposed to values, family or culture. Emphasis of preaching is to inform people about God’s nature; to reveal God to hearers so that the hearers will respond to the revelation of God. Churches and pastors with this view of God are present within virtually any legitimate Protestant Christian denomination or movement, however such churches and pastors always represent a decided minority in whatever denomination or movement they are in. Eschatology: can be amillennial, postmillennial, dispensational or chiliast. Practically, eschatology is de-emphasized in favor of an emphasis on God’s eternal plan and nature.

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Atheists offer to care for Christians’ pets after the Rapture

Posted by Job on August 29, 2009

Well, prominent rapture advocate Jack Van Impe claims that our pets will be with us in heaven, but this is still strange nonetheless. From Sermon Audio:

Atheists offer to care for Christians’ pets after the Rapture

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Jesus-Is-Savior.com Calls Paul Washer, Ray Comfort And John MacArthur False Preacher Heretics!

Posted by Job on August 28, 2009

Beware of Paul Washer

Paul Washer’s Washed-up Gospel

Paul Washer’s FALSE GOSPEL!

Apparently the Jesus-Is-Savior people disdain all the talk about true Biblical repentance. Looks like another Calvinist/Reformed versus fundamentalist Arminianism debate. The latter is true because in their article denouncing Washer, they endorse Harry Ironside. About this Ironside:

Ironside was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to John and Sophia (Stafford) Ironside, who were both active in the Plymouth Brethren. From a very early age, Ironside showed a strong interest in evangelical Christianity and was active in the Salvation Army as a teenager before later joining the “Grant” section of the Plymouth Brethren. in 1924, Ironside began preaching under the direction of the Moody Bible Institute. In 1926, he was invited to a full-time faculty position at the Dallas Theological Seminary, which he turned down, although he was frequently a visiting lecturer there from 1925 to 1943. After a series of sermons presented at the The Moody Church, in Chicago, he was invited to a one-year trial as head pastor there in 1929. Almost every Sunday that he preached there, the 4,000 seat church was filled to capacity. While there, he continued traveling to other US cities during the week for preaching engagements. In 1932, he expanded his travels internationally. Ironside preached at the 1935 funeral of Billy Sunday, at Moody Church. In 1930, Wheaton College presented Ironside with an honorary Doctorate of Letters degree, and in 1942-06-03 Bob Jones University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. Along with others such as Cyrus Scofield, he was influential in popularizing dispensationalism among Protestants in North America.

This is just an American version of the age old Baptist-Wesleyan (Methodist) dispute of post-Reformation England. In America, the Methodists basically won the debate, with Baptists co-opting many of their doctrines, and premillennial dispensationalism apparently playing a large role in that. It has reached the point where prominent fundamentalists openly denounce historic Protestant doctrines as heretical, while Wesleyan doctrines on soteriology and sanctification are now called the “Biblicist” position, as if Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, John Bunyan, and Augustus Strong were ignorant of scripture or something.

The dispensationals refer to the doctrines of Washer to be “Lordship salvation.” Another site directly compares the teachings of John MacArthur to dispensational pioneer and giant Charles Ryrie. On Lordship salvation: “Its basic premise, that Jesus cannot be one’s Savior without also being his Lord, has been taken by some to mean that salvation is attained by works rather than by God’s grace.” The “some” who take this position are falsely distorting Reformed Baptist soteriology, building a straw man and knowingly making a false accusation. “Those who reject lordship salvation (e.g., Ryrie), believe that someone may have genuine faith in Christ, but the fact that he continues in his sin demonstrates that he has not made Jesus his Lord, only his Savior. According to Ryrie, just because someone sins or acts in disobedience (even habitually) doesn’t mean he doesn’t have saving faith.” So, it is the dispensational Ryrie who rejects “faith without works is dead.”

Check out what Ryrie claims. “Second, there is a repentance that is unto eternal salvation. What kind of repentance saves? Not a sorrow for sins or even a sorrow that results in a cleaning up of one’s life. People who reform have repented; that is, they have changed their minds about their past lives, but that kind of repentance, albeit genuine, does not of itself save them. The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. People can weep; people can resolve to turn from their past sins; but those things in themselves cannot save. The only kind of repentance that saves anyone, anywhere, anytime is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. The sense of sin and sorrow because of sin may stir up a person’s mind or conscience so that he or she realizes the need for a Savior, but if there is not change of mind about Jesus Christ there will be no salvation” (p. 94, SGS).

“The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ.” Intellectual regeneration, confessional regeneration, decisional regeneration. Not only that, but a truly radical form of this doctrine that combines both conversion and repentance, which the Bible and historic Protestant doctrine hold refer to two related but separate things, into the single act of decison. Their position – what can be called the modern Wesleyan one that is the basic position of American evangelical Christianity (whether Baptist, Pentecostal, or nondenominational)  is that the free will decision for Jesus Christ is the primary and controlling factor where salvation is concerned. Now in theory – i.e. for systematic doctrinal purposes – the free will decision is not the sole factor. But IN PRACTICE, the decisional regenerationists do not wish to countenance anything that would challenge the  idea that the person who has made a decision for Jesus Christ has to be considered born again.

Now this is the rub. Their objection to those like Washer and MacArthur is not in a SPIRITUAL or DOCTRINAL sense. Objecting in a spiritual sense, where humans can claim to profess with 100% certainty that someone is born again when the Bible says that God knows the heart, is not the sort of Roman Catholic thing that these people are after. And they are also not creating or defending any doctrine to the effect of “if a person accepts Jesus Christ AND REALLY MEANS IT then he is saved.” Instead, their objection is in a practical and ecclesiastical sense. As far as practice is concerned, well listen to enough sermons by Paul Washer, John MacArthur and their fellow travelers long enough and it will be difficult to continue relying on the sinner’s prayer and similar evangelism methods (even if Ray Comfort, who largely shares their beliefs, still does). And in an ecclesiastical sense, their doctrines make it extremely difficult to put someone on a church roll after a decision for Jesus Christ. Washer and MacArthur (if not necessarily Comfort) demand a little more effort, a little extra step out of their evangelism methods and before people are allowed as members of their church in good standing. And even after requiring a little more, Washer and MacArthur regularly and frequently acknowledge that many members of their own churches are not born again.

That is offensive to someone who really, truly believes in decisional regeneration, which quite honestly does teach that a person is regenerated by the Holy Spirit upon their heartfelt decision for Jesus Christ. People who make a decision for Jesus Christ and remain unsaved; their only recourse is to claim that the decision was false, insincere, made without adequate understanding, etc. Further, one cannot spend too much time thinking about just how often these “flawed decisions” (decisions for Jesus Christ that did not result in true conversion) because having to consider a large number of flawed decisions means working out how decisional regeneration works in practice (i.e. methods of producing decisions for Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit will always – or at least almost always – honor) and incorporating that practice into evangelism and ecclesiology.

Now in times past, meaning the earlier Wesleyan and fundamentalist movements who A) taught that one could lose his salvation and B) had a strong moral/ethical/works component, this was not a problem. In those cases, you were dealing with a person who had lost his salvation and needed to confess and apologize for his sins and make a new confession of faith, and further the emphasis on morals and ethics (called “legalism” by some) acted as a control on church culture that reduced the need to have to deal with this unpleasant situation. However, as the modern movements have adopted more Biblical positions concerning the preservation of the saints and on grace, they cannot simply deal with this tough issue by saying “Well he made a valid decision for Jesus Christ, lost his salvation, and needs to be saved anew.” Instead, the position has to either be “he was never saved in the first place because his decision for Jesus Christ was flawed or ineffective” or “he is saved based on his decision for Jesus Christ, but he still has problems with sin.” Now as stated earlier, choose the former and the “decision for Christ” doctrine and the church systems based on it have real problems. So, they have no choice but to choose the latter, even if it means explicitly embracing the idea that a decision for Jesus Christ results in Holy Spirit regeneration in even the absence of Biblical repentance (what the Bible means when it says being “pricked in the heart” in Acts 2:37 and similar) and/or rejecting the Lordship of Jesus Christ (despite the fact that it is plainly impossible to make a decision for Jesus Christ when you do not know the identity or nature of the Jesus Christ that you are making a decision for or what Jesus Christ requires of you; anything less is making a decision to a false Jesus Christ, which is a false god or idol that does not exist and is no god at all).

By making decisional regeneration – or more accurately decisional conversion – the agent that results in the Holy Spirit’s justifying and regenerating a sinner, it makes the human free will decision of Jesus Christ a sacrament, a human ritual or action that imparts God’s grace (or results in God’s deciding to impart grace by honoring the initiative and actions of man). This can be compared to the sacramentalism of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church claims that by being the body of Christ indwelt by the Holy Spirit (yes, the Roman Catholic Church does teach that the very institution is the body of Jesus Christ and contains within it the power and sovereignty of Jesus Christ) it has vested within it the power and authority to perform rituals that confer grace through its appointed representatives. So, the Roman Catholics believe that rituals performed by their priests save people, because through the ritual the priest is dispensing the saving grace using the Holy Spirit that the indwells the church. In other words, the ritual performed by the Catholic church saves you because the Catholic church is the body of Christ, contains the Holy Spirit, and as a result has the authority and the ability to dispense saving grace through its sacraments just as Jesus Christ had the ability to tell the paralytic man “thy sins are forgiven” and tell the penitent thief on the cross “this day you shall be with me in paradise.” (Consider in the last case, Ryrie’s position is that the thief in question never had to repent of his sins – which he plainly did when he confessed them and stated that he deserved the punishment of death for them – or call Jesus Christ Lord and submit to Him on that basis, but rather that the thief only had to ask Jesus Christ to save Him.)

However, the decisional conversion-regeneration position states that a person acting on his own power and authority can make a decision that the Holy Spirit (indeed the Holy Trinity) is unconditionally bound to honor, and further that the Godhead must accept that person’s decision even if that person rejects repentance and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. So where the Roman Catholic position is that as the Body of Christ being indwelt by the Holy Spirit it has the sovereign prerogative and ability to confer grace and the regenerative workings of the Holy Spirit on a sinner (Catholic sacramentalism), decisional conversion-regeneration holds that a person outside fellowship with Jesus Christ (and indeed is at emnity with Jesus Christ, spiritually dead, no interest in spiritual things, and all the other things that the Bible says about his condition of original sin and totally depraved state – doctrines which again the original Wesleyans and Arminians somewhat denied but modern dispensationals have mostly adopted) can perform a sacrament that dispenses grace upon himself.

While I do not take the position that Wesleyan dispensationals are in a false and heretical apostate movement and hence cannot be considered Christians – which incidentally is the position that I take with Roman Catholics – allow me to say that at least Roman Catholicism have an explanation for how it is possible for their priests to perform sacraments that dispense grace to sinners: that the priests are acting as representatives of the body of Christ that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and therefore have the necessary access to the Holy Spirit and its grace to give to sinners. (Please note: the Roman Catholic Church actually holds in theory that it institutionally has the right to deny salvation to sinners, but it is exceedingly rarely done in practice, especially in modern times. However, in times past there was this pope who excommunicated the king of Britain until the king caved to the pope’s political demands. The pope kept this king waiting outside begging in the snow for days before the pope decided to allow this king back into heaven. Again, do not mistake this for an endorsement of Roman Catholicism in any way.) However, decisional conversion-regeneration holds that a sinner unreconciled with God and thus not part of the Body of Christ (note that I capitalized “Body” with respect to Protestants and not Catholics, and yes it was by design) and hence is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit is able to impart saving grace upon himself – or to be more accurately compel the Holy Spirit that does not indwell him to impart its saving grace – through the “decision for Christ” sacrament. Now I am not going to say that the Catholic position is more Biblical or that it even makes more sense (especially when you consider that Catholic sacramentalism cannot be taken in isolation, but must be considered in the context of their other mystical, pagan doctrines) but at least the Catholics have an explanation for how a priest can save someone by sprinkling him or giving him a communion wafer. The modern Wesleyan evangelical has no explanation for how the decision of an unpenitent sinner who rejects the Lordship of Jesus Christ places the Holy Spirit under unconditional compulsion to save the sinner. The reason for this was stated earlier: deep consideration of the issue of salvation resulting entirely from human initiative, from human intellectual decision, can only result in serious problems for the entire doctrinal system. So, in order to prevent such examination from taking place, their only recourse is to call Paul Washer a heretic for insisting that Biblical repentance is a requirement for salvation, and that salvation results in a person becoming a new creation whose evidence is a changed moral character that reflects and communicates God’s holiness.

When boiled down to its core, the system of Ryrie, Ironside, and Jesus-Is-Savior.com holds that becoming a new creature simply means switching allegiances, changing minds. Then again, as this doctrine rejects Biblical repentance and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, becoming a new creation simply means deciding to allow Jesus Christ to save you. And since it is the sinner who decides to allow Jesus Christ to save him, then it is the sinner who performs the new birth, the new creation through the exercise of his free will, or the changing of his free will. Now of course, the people holding the doctrines similar to Ryrie and the folks at Jesus-Is-Savior.com are not in the business of admitting this fact to people. As a matter of fact, they haven’t even admitted this fact to themselves. (I am serious … they really, truly have not taken this doctrine to its logical conclusion, of thinking about what salvation based on the free will decision of a sinner who rejects repentance and the Lordship of Jesus Christ really means as opposed to what they desperately want it to mean.) So rather than come to grips with the horrible conclusion that their doctrines teach that the sinner accomplishes his own rebirth through the exercise of his intellect, they must accuse those whose preaching challenges their doctrines like Washer and MacArthur of teaching “works plus faith justification” and “legalism.”

The good news: in practice the free will evangelicals do preach that Biblical repentance and the Lordship of Jesus Christ are necessary for salvation. Lots of Reformed/Calvinistic types claim that they do not, but I have listened to far too many evangelical free will Baptist, Pentecostal, and nondenominational sermons. Also, the link which evaluates the statements of Ryrie acknowledges that Ryrie actually ultimately endorses the very positions of MacArthur that he wrote “So Great Salvation” to attack in the first place (and questioned the integrity of Ryrie for failing to admit it). The problem only occurs when people such as Washer and MacArthur repeatedly and directly challenge the “decision for Jesus Christ” doctrine. It is only when that happens that such people as Ryrie and the folks at Jesus-Is-Savior.com are forced to manifest a sort of double-mindedness (I will not use the humanistic psychological term “schizophrenia”) about what they actually believe concerning soteriology.

It is interesting that the “Lordship salvation” opponents use Ananias and Sapphira as well as the Corinthian man living in fornication as examples to demonstrate that the doctrines of Washer, Comfort, and MacArthur – where they demand Biblical repentance and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ – are false. First, scripture never states that Ananias, Sapphira, and the Corinthian fornicator did not repent and submit to Christ’s Lordship at the time that they were saved. It merely states that these people fell into sin after salvation. It is an argument from silence, true, but it is still completely consistent with what the apostle John writes about Christians who fall into sin in at least 3 of his epistles (1 John, 2 John, Revelation). Also, the people who reject “Lordship salvation” do not ACCURATELY deal with the issues raised by Simon Magus, Simon the magician! Why? Because Simon Magus made a decision for Jesus Christ without repenting of his sinful desire for power and wealth, and without submitting to the Lordship and sovereignty of God! Simon Magus was using sorcery to control people and make money before he made his decision for Jesus Christ, and not only did he want to continue doing those things after he made his decision for Jesus Christ, but he wanted to force the sovereign Holy Spirit to do his bidding! Correlating Ananias and Sapphira and the Corinthian in the sexual relationship with his father’s wife with the Johannine epistles – interpreting scripture with scripture – confirms what they call “Lordship salvation” rather than denying it. And further, the case of Simon Magus makes it explicitly clear that there is no other salvation but “Lordship salvation!” Otherwise, wow, it would be possible to go to heaven without your knee bowing and your tongue confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11), and not only your Lord but Lord of all!

So, we must pray in the Name of Jesus Christ that the people who have adhered to and are disseminating false doctrines on this matter would open their hearts to the truth and begin teaching the truth instead of a lie. Jesus-Is-Savior.com, this means you, and you are by no means alone.

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