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Archive for October, 2008

The Simplest Reason Why Pastors Should Not Be Political

Posted by Job on October 30, 2008

Hopefully I can articulate the simplest reason why pastors should not be involved in electioneering from the pulpit. It is, quite simply 🙂 that people can get their politics from anywhere. From Sean Hannity to Jon Stewart and a panopaly of voices in between or more extreme, the person seeking instruction on politics or other worldly matters has an abundance of sources to get it from, and as far as spiritual things are concerned, one source will be as good as another.

But on spiritual things, there should only be one authoritative voice: the pastor. Do not get me wrong, a Christian can and should spiritually benefit from the works of people like John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, John MacArthur, John Piper, Paul Washer etc. However edifying their preaching and teaching may be to you, though, such people are not your pastors. As  you are not in their congregation (presuming such to be the case with Piper, Washer, and MacArthur and as it is obviously the case with Bunyan and Spurgeon) while they can expound to you spiritual truth, it will not be authoritative because such people lack the spiritual accountability from their God – appointed role as shepherd over your congregation (and over you) without which spiritual authority cannot exist.

You can listen to a John Piper or Voddie Baucham sermon, and unless you are a member of their congregation you can take that information and do whatever you want because they have no authority over you. However, if you are in a particular congregation hearing the word given by a pastor, then said pastor not only has the responsibility and authority to teach you the word of God, that pastor also has the authority and responsibility to see that you live by it. Any pastor that refuses is abdicating his authority, derelict in his responsibility and as such is not a true pastor or shepherd. But moreover, any pastor that is not the leader of a local congregation to which you are a member by baptism and confession lacks such authority to you, and you lack accountability to him. For that reason, though what he says may be true, for you it is neither authoritative or binding.

Incidentally, this is I, being the liberal feminist that I am, have no problem with women pursuing teaching ministries through television, websites, tract publishing etc. Such women – presuming that they are doctrinally sound – may disseminate truth that benefits a lot of people, but in ordained local congregation roles where they are not in authority over men. From my perspective, watching videos created by a spirit filled Christian woman on her Youtube site is no different from listening to the podcast of a male pastor whose congregation you are not a member of. That male pastor has no more Biblical right to discipline you than does the woman on Youtube!

So, if you are the pastor (or assistant pastor or youth pastor etc.) of a local congregation, you are providing a service to your flock, whether it be 5 people or 50,000 people, that no one else on the planet has the Biblical standing to do: serve as an accountable authoritative voice on the word of God. (Yes, I believe in the universal priesthood of believers, but the same Bible that speaks of the universal priesthood of believers also speaks of the Body of Christ with its many members, the offices in the Body of Christ, and the authority and accountability contained therein.) So if you are the only person that can fulfill this duty for your congregation in spiritual things, why on earth would you allow earthly things that can distract you from your unique position or dilute or undermine your authority and standing in order to parrot Bill Maher or Rush Limbaugh?

If your flock wants to participate in worldly political activities, then let them get their information to do so from the world where there are plenty of authoritative, qualified accountable voices. You don’t tell the doctors in your congregation how to perform neurosurgery do you? You don’t tell the engineers in your congregation how to design bridges, do you? You don’t tell the schoolteachers in your congregation which pedagogical theory to adopt do you? Or a plumber, carpenter, welder, janitor etc. how to do their jobs? So why do you do the same regarding politics? If you are not an authority over people’s trades and occupations, what makes you an authority over their politics? If anything, people’s occupations are more spiritual than their political activism. The Bible says “the man that does not WORK should not eat”, not “the man that does not vote should not eat.” It certainly doesn’t say “if you don’t vote then you don’t have the right to complain about anything” which incidentally is unscriptural because 1) Christians should never complain to begin with and 2) Christians have not only the right but the responsibility to publicly verbally denounce and oppose evil, including from their civil magistrates.

But what if the voters in your church choose wrong? Well consider it this way. If the people on your church rolls are born again as a result of your preaching (or have been forced to move on if they are not because of it), and if by rightly dividing the word of truth in giving your congregation strong spiritual meat and provoking them to good works, then they ought to have the spiritual maturity and wisdom to make a Biblical decision for themselves – inspired and led by the Holy Spirit of course – which of course does include refraining from voting in a particular race if God will not suffer them to. But if you have a congregation filled with people that are unable to make a simple decision with virtually no impact on their daily lives such as who to vote for every 4 years because they are ignorant of the word of God and insensitive to the Holy Spirit … then my goodness are these people regularly reading their Bible and praying? If so, do they understand what they are reading and know how to pray? Are they regularly worshiping and praising God, or even know how and why? Are they regularly evangelizing the lost, or know how to do so Biblically? Are they showing compassion to the poor, oppressed and dispossessed? Are they supporting the church and missions financially and personally? Do they have strong Bible based relationships with their spouses and children? Are they good employees? Honest and prudent in their financial dealings?

If they are not – or if they are unsaved – then it is your duty as shepherd of the congregation to make sure that they are with your teaching and preaching the word of God and by your appointing able deacons to administer your church. And if that is not your goal when you not only get up in the pulpit every Sunday to preach your sermon, but also during the week when you are researching and writing your sermons, as well as when you are counseling, visiting, encouraging etc. your congregants, then what is your goal? What are you doing?

Are all these religious movements (religious right, religious left, religious center, religious libertarian?!?!) based on getting unsaved or spiritually immature people to the polls to do what you tell them to do? That isn’t a pastor, that is a dictator, someone who is pushing people around and telling them what to do in areas where they have no standing, no authority, no right to do so.

What example do we have of this? Jesus Christ! Recall when the man came to Jesus Christ asking him to tell his brother asking the brother to divide his inheritance with him. Jesus Christ replied “Who appointed me as a judge or ruler over your affairs?” Now please know that even if the Torah did cover this situation, of family inheritance disputes, it would have sided with the other brother! Therefore, that was a worldly matter, not a spiritual one. Jesus Christ did not come to rule a secular kingdom concerned with earthly matters, but a spiritual one, a kingdom in this world but not of it, and a kingdom that will reign forever long after such issues as inherited land or pro – abortion pro – homosexual marriage presidents have passed away. Were anything else the case, then Jesus Christ would have been what the Jews were expecting: a political Messiah come to lead a rebellion against Rome and take David’s throne.

Now of course the true Jewish mindset – and please recall that Christianity is nothing but fulfilled Judaism – is that there is no division between holy and secular. There are no truly secular activities, but every thought and action must be held in captivity to Jesus Christ as an act of service, worship, and praise to Jesus Christ as guided by the Holy Spirit that ultimately glorifies God the Father. So should the brother have divided his inheritance? Maybe. Is there a specific candidate that a Christian should vote for? Maybe. But that is not the point.

The point is that pastors cannot and should not direct their flocks in matters of routine and daily life. Moses tried to do so and almost ran himself crazy until his father in law Jethro, the Yahwist priest of Midian, instructed him wisely and told him to divide the labor. That was before, of course, the indwelling Holy Spirit, so now we have the Holy Spirit to be an even better guide and judge in our daily lives than the wisest ruler over 10s, 50s, 100s etc. that Moses appointed. So, the job of the pastor in his teaching and preaching should be to get Christians to the point where their daily decisions are governed by their own personal knowledge of the word of God that comes from regular Bible study and knowledge and sensitivity to spiritual things that comes from regular prayer, fasting, praise, worship, and good works. And yes, it is the goal of the pastor to exhort his flock to obey the Bible and the Holy Spirit!

If the pastor does this faithfully, effectively, and effectually then he should simply have faith in God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) in knowing that as he has done his job, God will do His job. After all, they are ultimately God’s sheep and not the pastor’s anyway! Any pastor unable or unwilling to do this and is given to frittering away what God has made him master of should really either straighten himself out or get out of the pulpit.

Instead of trying to micromanage the affairs of their congregants, pastors should get their congregations to the point where the Holy Spirit rules them. After all, unlike the Holy Spirit, pastors are sometimes wrong! If a person errs by not adhering to the Holy Spirit, then that is between him and God and the pastor is out of it. But if a pastor errs by misdirecting the flock, then it is between the pastor and God and the congregation is out of it. So pastor, in which position would you rather be? That is what you should consider before you try to preach politics from your pulpit.

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A Particular Commentary On Matthew 22:14 – For Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

Posted by Job on October 29, 2008

Please click on link below!

Matthew 22:14 For many are called but few are chosen

It contains a link to this good teaching as well:

Romans 11:5 The Election of Grace

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John MacArthur Laying The Smack Down On Political Christianity

Posted by Job on October 28, 2008

Another excellent one from PJ Miller!

John MacArthur: Politics, Activism, and the Gospel

This is an excellent and timely message by John MacArthur. I came across it tonight posted by Greg at SermonIndex, and also at Pulpit Magazine:

 With the nation focused on the November elections, we thought a post on politics might be appropriate. The point of this article is not that we should abstain from any participation in the political process, but rather that we must keep our priorities straight as Christians. After all, the gospel, not politics, is the only true solution to our nation’s moral crisis.

We can’t protect or expand the cause of Christ by human political and social activism, no matter how great or sincere the efforts. Ours is a spiritual battle waged against worldly ideologies and dogmas arrayed against God, and we achieve victory over them only with the weapon of Scripture.

The apostle Paul writes: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

We must reject all that is ungodly and false and never compromise God’s standards of righteousness. We can do that in part by desiring the improvement of society’s moral standards and by approving of measures that would conform government more toward righteousness. We do grieve over the rampant indecency, vulgarity, lack of courtesy and respect for others, deceitfulness, self-indulgent materialism, and violence that is corroding society.

But in our efforts to support what is good and wholesome, reject what is evil and corrupt, and make a profoundly positive impact on our culture, we must use God’s methods and maintain scriptural priorities.

God is not calling us to wage a culture war that would seek to transform our countries into “Christian nations.” To devote all, or even most, of our time, energy, money, and strategy to putting a façade of morality on the world or over our governmental and political institutions is to badly misunderstand our roles as Christians in a spiritually lost world.

God has above all else called the church to bring sinful people to salvation through Jesus Christ. Even as the apostle Paul described his mission to unbelievers, so it is the primary task of all Christians to reach out to the lost “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me [Christ]” (Acts 26:18; cf. Ex. 19:6; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9).

If we do not evangelize the lost and make disciples of new converts, nothing else we do for people—no matter how beneficial it seems—is of any eternal consequence. Whether a person is an atheist or a theist, a criminal or a model citizen, sexually promiscuous and perverse or strictly moral and virtuous, a greedy materialist or a gracious philanthropist—if he does not have a saving relationship to Christ, he is going to hell. It makes no difference if an unsaved person is for or against abortion, a political liberal or a conservative, a prostitute or a police officer, he will spend eternity apart from God unless he repents and believes the gospel.

When the church takes a stance that emphasizes political activism and social moralizing, it always diverts energy and resources away from evangelization.

Such an antagonistic position toward the established secular culture invariably leads believers to feel hostile not only to unsaved government leaders with whom they disagree, but also antagonistic toward the unsaved residents of that culture—neighbors and fellow citizens they ought to love, pray for, and share the gospel with.

To me it is unthinkable that we become enemies of the very people we seek to win to Christ, our potential brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Author John Seel pens words that apply in principle to Christians everywhere and summarize well the believer’s perspective on political involvement:

A politicized faith not only blurs our priorities, but weakens our loyalties. Our primary citizenship is not on earth but in heaven. … Though few evangelicals would deny this truth in theory, the language of our spiritual citizenship frequently gets wrapped in the red, white and blue. Rather than acting as resident aliens of a heavenly kingdom, too often we sound [and act] like resident apologists for a Christian America. … Unless we reject the false reliance on the illusion of Christian America, evangelicalism will continue to distort the gospel and thwart a genuine biblical identity…..

American evangelicalism is now covered by layers and layers of historically shaped attitudes that obscure our original biblical core. (The Evangelical Pulpit [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993], 106-7)

By means of faithful preaching and godly living, believers are to be the conscience of whatever nation they reside in. You can confront the culture not with the political and social activism of man’s wisdom, but with the spiritual power of God’s Word.

Using temporal methods to promote legislative and judicial change, and resorting to external efforts of lobbying and intimidation to achieve some sort of “Christian morality” in society is not our calling—and has no eternal value. Only the gospel rescues sinners from sin, death, and hell.

****

“Ironically, we turn to the state to enforce the values we can’t seem to advance in our own churches. We’re rightly concerned about our collapsing families, internet pornography, decadent movies and music, and the weakening of sexual morality. But we often can’t seem to prevent the encroachment of these problems in our own Christian families and congregations. As if in response, we keep trying to change our nation’s laws” – Christianity Today, Union University professor David P. Gushee excoriates politicking by Christian conservatives

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The Religious Right: Not God’s Servant!

Posted by Job on October 28, 2008

I read media reports about this story of the fearmongering that religious right activists are engaging in to get John McCain and Sarah Palin in the White House, but was hindered from immediately addressing it. It is just as well, because PJ Miller did a better job discussing it than I could have. So, let me just add to her post with another angle … actually a political one.

Bible readers have been shocked by the great praise that the book of Isaiah heaps on King Darius of the Medo – Persians, calling him God’s servant. Why? Because this Darius was a pagan who never seems to have converted! This should not surprise especially in light of Romans 13. In that passage, the Bible refers to civil government as a gift from God used to do good and restrain evil. In short, civil government is God’s servant through common grace, not special grace, and therefore wise honest effective rulers serve God despite their lack of covenant relationship with Him. So the Bible has record of people in addition to Darius like Egypt’s pharoah, Nebuchadnezzar and Xerxes who whether they ultimately converted or not were God’s servants because they ruled wisely, often by virtue of appointing people like Joseph, Daniel and Mordecai as their chief advisors and administrators.

But make no mistake, to be God’s servant in a civil magistrate position, you have to be a wise, competent, effective and honest ruler. Otherwise, even if you are a Christian, you are not God’s servant in this role. You may be legitimately born again and going to heaven, but if you take on a leadership role that you were not meant for and lack the skills and gifts for, or if you are less than hardworking or principled in this capacity, though you may be God’s servant in the church, you are not in the state. Martin Luther for his part recognized this when he made the statement that he would rather be ruled by a wise Muslim than a foolish Christian. The context of this statement is even more amazing when you consider what Muslims had done to so many Christians in Luther’s time and in times recently prior, a history that Luther was well aware of.

So in this utterly Biblical and very practical context, the Christian right is not acting as God’s servant. First of all, by trying to frighten people into voting for John McCain, they are spreading fear, discord, confusion, and yes bigotry into the country. That means that even if they succeed, McCain will have a much tougher time actually governing this place. And if they fail, then wow these folks have all but stated that they have license to completely reject Obama’s authority and spend the next four years as political (and religious) subversives.

Second, who are their efforts in support of? John McCain. Is there any evidence at all that McCain will be an effective, honest, fair, just and wise ruler? If so, present it. The truth is that nothing in this fellow’s background indicates it, and everything indicates otherwise. We know that in 1998 John McCain basically rejected the political philosophies and alliances that he had spent his first 16 years in Congress cultivating. We know that in 2008, John McCain then repudiated the what he had spent from 1998 to 2008 advocating. And we also know that the John McCain of October is advocating things completely different from the John McCain of February, and that is different still from the John McCain of July. Translation: John McCain either has no philosophical and ideological convictions or he is willing to discard or lie about them in order to gain power. Also, again, John McCain has been in Congress since 1982. In all that time, he has only passed one major piece of legislation: campaign finance reform. The guy is a back bencher, relegated to the minor Commerce Committee (not to be confused with the actually important banking and finance) and even there did nothing that anyone can recognize but gain a network of cronies that he would later exploit for fundraising purposes. He has not only never been a leader in the Senate, he has never even been a team player. That is why his claim to fame was his being a “maverick”, or in other words undermining his colleagues for the past 10 years.

So basically, Christians are resorting to these tactics to elect a man that they know has nothing to show for his long political career, has no loyalties to anyone other than himself, no convictions other than his own personal advancement, has no leadership skills, and no cooperative or collaborative skills. Again, this is something that McCain has repeatedly demonstrated over the past 26 years. So this is the guy that they are willing to spread fear, hate, and division to get into office? The proper Biblical stance towards this election should be to support NEITHER McCain NOR Obama and pray for EITHER should they be elected. Yet the next religious right leader that you hear say such a thing would be the first. (Ironically the pastor of Sarah Palin’s former church put out a statement saying that he planned to do precisely that.)

It is no surprise if they are. After all, these are the guys that got George W. Bush elected and re – elected, and before him did the same for George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan twice. And never forget that the first candidate of the religious right, though not organized as it is today, was none other than Jimmy Carter. And this is not even considering all of the incompetent corrupt immoral people that these folks have fought to get elected to Congress and in our governorships. Take a look at what has gone on since the rise of the religious right in 1980 and especially since their uprisings in 1994, 2000 and 2004. Has Roe versus Wade been overturned? Not a chance and not even close. Has gay rights including gay marriage been successfully opposed? Please. Have our public schools started challenging evolution and environmentalism? No. Are our government policies more pro – family? Not unless homosexuals cohabitating and adopting children counts. This country is more socially and culturally liberal in almost every single area since the rise of the religious right, and what is more the religious right and the churches that are part of it have conformed itself to that liberalism rather than separating itself from it and opposing it.

And that is just things that are superficially related to religion. Have any of the religious right candidates delivered peace either abroad or on our streets? No. Have they brought us economic prosperity? Forget it! Despite conservative rhetoric otherwise, the terms of Reagan, Bush, and Bush II were marked by increased street crime, failed wars and military operations, and disastrous economic policies that include a grotesque national debt, two major banking collapses (one for each Bush) and an obscene level of fraud, corruption and waste from the $400 dollar hammers and toilet seats that government contractors billed us for under Reagan to the outright brazen theft in Iraq and New Orleans.

It is not just the performance, it is also the philosophy. Neoconservatism is not biblical, plain and simple. It exalts the powerful, justifies the unjust, and demonizes the poor, the oppressed, and the innocent victims. Even apart from the Bible, it is just plain bad government policy. Using a Bible example that does not directly relate to doctrine or practice, I recall the wisdom of King Hezekiah who built cisterns and aqueducts so that Jerusalem would have a water supply during the inevitable Assyrian siege. Can you imagine the neoconservatives – again which includes the religious right – doing such a thing? Nope, they would have just cut taxes and given corporate welfare to the olive oil companies and spear manufacturers. (By the way, speaking of which, please note the religious right worship of our military industrial complex and contrast it with God’s command to biblical Israel not to own chariots. Religious right types that claim that America or “the west” is somehow now God’s covenant people need to explain their insistence that America continue its buildup of conventional, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and use said arsenal to compel the rest of the world to do what we want.)

Neoconservatives would never admit it, but things like our railroads, interstate highway system, our public school system and state universities, Hoover Dam, the REA which brought electricity to rural America and other programs which brought power to the western interior, the Manhattan Project, the national laboratories that gave us modern electronics, fabrics, the Internet etc. were all the direct result of government. Private industry developed some of those things, but their primary function was to market and use what the government did, what the taxpayers paid for. Now can you honestly imagine this current crop of neoconservatives supporting sending power lines into Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta or building Hoover Dam, or building the Panama Canal? Please. Those fellows would claim that if the private sector had no interest in it, then it isn’t worth doing. Of course, that seems to be their same attitude towards our crumbling infrastructure like New Orleans’ levees and the collapsing bridges also.

Do not get me wrong. I do not worship the state, nor do I demonize commerce. I take the Biblical view of recognizing that each has its proper role in society according to common grace. Neoconservatism rejects the Biblical view in favor of worshiping private enterprise as the source and standard by which all good things flow and are measured and by demonizing even the possibility of effective civil leadership. Their only program is to cut taxes and then to make up the revenue shortfall by doing things like selling off control of our interstate highways or our ports (again both built with taxpayer money!) to foreign companies and governments!

Again, do not take me for an Obama supporter or adherent to his flavor of Marxism. (Although opponents of Marxism who still support John McCain despite his not only voting for the bailout but being one of the people who led the fight to pass it through the U.S. Senate should explain themselves, again starting with the religious right.) So no, the religious left is not God’s servant either! It is merely particularly galling that the very people who claim to base their political activism to fidelity to sound doctrine and practice based on a literal interpretation of the Bible could be so fundamentally off. Were these fellows running Old Testament Israel in the time of David and Solomon, they would have never built the temple because it would have meant raising taxes. (For that matter, they would have never built the tabernacle either.) Were these fellows running Egypt in Joseph’s time, they would have never consented to setting aside the grain, because it would have represented government seizing private property, and the whole nation would have died. (Please note: this is very similar to how neoconservatives actually defend deficit spending and never even talk about the national debt … again not that the left cares about the national debt either but why should we expect them to since they make no pretense of heeding Biblical inerrancy?)

The religious right shows its departure from scripture by backing not only leaders that they well know will never be wise civil magistrates (foolish whether they be Christians or Turks, and please recall that universalist Skulls and Bones occultist George H. W. Bush and necromancer Ronald Reagan cannot be referred to as Christians in any sense) but a political ideology that is in itself a rejection of the knowledge of God and a high thing that exalts itself against God! All you have to do is listen to these people rant on their talk shows or from their pulpits. You will come away hating impoverished children and widows and being convinced that the life of an Iraqi is so not worth giving 5 seconds of attention to that nearly a million civilian casualties are worth our going to war to give them a political and economic system that they didn’t ask for and that everyone knows will never work (yes, the puppet regime that we are installing in Iraq is destined to fail and everyone knows it)!

And what is the justification for casting in your lot with this apostate movement? It isn’t abortion. The religious right should have known not to trust the GOP the second that Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor. Reagan had never cared one whit about women’s rights in his long political career, but he puts a woman whose views on abortion are no different from Barack Obama’s because it was SOOO important to have a female Supreme Court judge? Also, it isn’t as if there weren’t TONS of female pro – life judges, legal activists, and legal scholars. Reagan could have nominated a Phyllis Schafly and not skipped a beat! Why didn’t he? Because Reagan was pro – abortion just like George H. W. Bush is pro – abortion and George W. Bush is pro – abortion. The only difference is that where the Bushes have repeatedly publicly stated that they support Roe v. Wade, Reagan lied about it. But check his record going back to California; it speaks otherwise.

So if it isn’t abortion or any of those other social issues (again, please note how our nation and culture have moved so far to the left legally on those social issues despite – or maybe because of? – our courts stacked with Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Bush appointees including the Reagan and Nixon judges that give the radical social left victory after victory in California!) then what is it about? Again, it is obviously not about honest, wise, fair leadership, and it is certainly not about preserving a nation founded on Christian principles. No, it is about power, and so long as they get their people running this nation, they could care less what their people do to it and to its people (or for that matter to other nations and people). This is precisely the opposite of what the Bible calls for, and the best evidence that the religious right is not God’s servant and therefore no different from the religious left at all. Both are two sides of the same anti – Christ coin.

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What Is The Most Holy Place Part 2

Posted by Job on October 28, 2008

This is a second part to A Challenge To Pastors, Teachers, Preachers, Prophets, And Exegetes: What Is The Most Holy Place That The Anti – Christ Will Defile?

A lot of very good responses were to the effect that the most holy place is the new temple, the believer. That would conform to the teachings of the book of Hebrews. However, are we speaking of individual believers or of a collection of believers as a whole? Some Christian scholars have created works such as Robinson’s “Corporate Personality in Ancient Israel”, Klein’s “The New Chosen People: A Corporate View of Election”, Best’s “One Body in Christ”, Shedd’s “Main in Community” and Malina’s “The New Testament World” (among others) which assert that the temple that God’s spirit now dwells in is the corporate body of Christ. That we are one body of Christ that together constitutes one temple, not little individual temples. (From that viewpoint, which is very spiritual, as opposed to the naturalist concept that the Holy Spirit dwells in a manmade institution i.e. the the Roman Catholic Church, makes the doctrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit easier to grasp. Or at least it does for me.)

Now if this is the case, then does the abomination of desolation refer to the apostasia, the falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? “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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

If so, then this is a very difficult thing for me to get my mind around indeed. It is actually easier for me to conceive of the anti-Christ entering a rebuilt Jewish temple! But the best that I can come up with at this time is A) the great apostasy occurs, resulting in a false church of people who are only Christian externally and B) then the anti – Christ comes onto the scene “entering” or taking advantage of such a church i.e. that described in Laodicea in the warnings of Revelation 2 and 3? The ending of the sacrifices then would refer to Christian worship stopping, again even if this worship was only superficial. Is it replaced by the worship of the anti – Christ, or the false religion that the anti – Christ and the false prophet will set up?

Also, it is fair to presume that even during this time a tiny number of believers will yet remain on the earth to represent the church during the great tribulation. The 144,000 perhaps? Now it is interesting, the Philadelphia church Jesus Christ states will be spared the hour of temptation. Rapture adherents seize upon that verse, Revelation 3:10. But they ignore that no such promise is given to the other churches! Quite the contrary, Jesus Christ explicitly stated that the Smyrna church WOULD suffer, and note that the Smyrna and Philadelphia churches were the only ones that Jesus Christ did not criticize. (By contrast, the Laodicea church was the only one that Jesus Christ did not praise!)

However, where Jesus Christ states that the Smyrna church was strong due at least in great part to their POVERTY, the Philadelphia church had only “a little strength” left, only that required to not deny the Name of Jesus Christ. “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” So, how will the Philadelphia church escape tribulation? Rather than rapture (or going to some earthly place of refuge) the answer will likely be martyrdom, death. The Smyrna church will be left to endure the final purging, trying etc. as representatives of the body of Jesus Christ before the mystery is completed, Jesus Christ returns, and the perfection takes place.

Please keep in mind that both the martyred Philadelphia church and the Smyrna church will have to endure their portion during that awful time as part of their duty as representatives of the entire church. It is interesting to note, also, that of all the apostles John was the only one to see a natural death. 1 out of 12, how do you like that ratio, and what does that mean for the church in terms of how many are Smyrnans versus how many are Philadelphians? And as for the number of Laodiceans that will be in the false church that Jesus Christ spits out of His mouth – apostasia or falling away – right before the beast waltzes in … well again I will leave that to speculation.

Please remember: the depiction of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3 is indeed one where its members are preoccupied with gaining wealth and political power and perceiving those things to be godliness in and of itself or evidence thereof. The Laodicean church is worldly, but not in the usual contemporary sense. It is not just a description of Christians that have forsaken sound doctrine and personal holiness. If anything, those less than perfect but not apostate Christians are described by at least 4 of the other 6 churches (and remember with the Philadelphians their sole attribute or for that matter sole characteristic seems to be their lack of flaws, a not insignificant thing to ponder … it is better to humbly merely lack flaws than to be great in this area while having flaws in another area). No, the Laodicean church is one that has intermingled itself with the harlot mystery Babylon the great, and has woven into its doctrines and practices a regard for and love of the power and wealth of the world. These aren’t Christians who simply like money and power (or other things of the flesh) but instead rather Christians that have made the love and pursuit of money and power part of their theology; given it an exalted position in their sanctuaries and pulpits.

Make no mistake, this power does include civil power. Military, economics and culture if you are on the right. Government, social welfare and civil rights if you are on the left. Either way, it is Babylon, and if you bring it into your church then your church is either Laodicean or well on its way there. If that is the case, then the place where the anti – Christ will enter in, declare himself as God and commit the abomination of desolation will not be in any Jewish temple, but rather in your own heart.

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On Achan, Canaan, Hardened Hearts And Salvation

Posted by Job on October 28, 2008

Decided to start reading the book of Joshua recently to revisit an Old Testament theophany, more specifically the appearance of the pre – incarnate Jesus Christ (Christophany) to Joshua before the battle of Jericho as mentioned in Joshua 5:13 – 6:5. Of course, the fascinating narrative of Joshua is hard to put down once you have begun it, and before long I was well into stories of battlefield conquest. Two things made no sense to me.

1. Achan. First off, this fellow tries to make off with 200 pieces of silver (ten times the amount that Joseph was sold for … further Judas Iscariot was paid 30 pieces of silver and the price of the land in Zechariah 11 was 30 pieces, so we are talking about a substantial sum of money) and enough gold to make 50 pieces (where silver is now trading at $15 per ounce, gold is now $750 per ounce, so his 50 pieces of gold was actually worth 250 pieces of silver)? As if Israel had some sort of underground black market economy or some way of laundering money so everyone wouldn’t have known where he got all that gold and silver from. And what was this fellow going to do with a BABYLONIAN suit? Like he would have been able to prance around ISRAEL wearing a suit from BABYLON as if he was Joseph wearing the coat of many colors made by Jacob? By the way, I am certain that the writers of Joshua did not include the fact that the clothing was Babylonian or that Achan called it “goodly” as mere detail. Instead, I believe the fact that Achan even wanted something from the place that represents not only sin and wickedness but creation’s brazen willful defiance against the authority and rule of God was recorded to demonstrate Achan’s spiritual condition, which was so bad that Achan not only saw and desired things that he was not to have (lust of the eyes), but committed a high handed sin against God by taking something that he had no practical way of benefitting from (unless he was going to prance around in his Babylonian clothes in his tent or spend maybe one or two gold and silver coins a year to keep from being found out). Achan reminds me of James 1:14-15 which reads “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” So again, I am certain that Achan saw and desired something from Babylon, the place where all men came together to build a tower as a symbol of human pride and power that rejects and sets itself against God, because that was where his sinful heart always was.

2. The issue of hearts brings us to the Canaanites. The Bible makes it clear that everyone had heard the path of genocidal destruction that Israel was making, and that they knew that the reason was not Israel’s military might (please recall God’s refusing allow Israel to own chariots, which should be a lesson to politically conservative Christians who all but worship the military industrial complex and would rather see tax revenue go to yet another aircraft carrier or nuclear submarine than to roads, bridges, levees etc.) but rather YHWH fighting on their behalf, making them unbeatable. So … why didn’t they petition the Israelites for peace as the Gibeonites did? Or better yet … WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST LEAVE? Being a war refugee beats being dead. Now maybe if you are a king, noble, or someone else of great power, wealth and esteem the perhaps you would prefer death to living as a landless powerless wanderer. (Then again, the elites could have taken their riches with them and used it to buy a life of relative comfort somewhere else maybe?) But what of the poor, who already had nothing and hence had nothing to lose? Why did they consent to certain death as being grist for Israel’s war machine?

Well the answer is given in Joshua 11:20 – “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.” You might recognize that term as being applied to pharaoh in Exodus 7:2-4 “Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.” So it would seem that the problem of the Canaanites was the same as that of Achan the covetor of Babylonian clothes that he could never wear in public: a desperately wicked heart.

So it was God’s will that these people be destroyed. Why? Read Romans 1:18-32. They were wicked people who rejected the righteousness of God to instead practice idolatry and all the evil that goes with it. As a result, God’s judgment was against the people of Canaan. As Romans 1:18-32 states, the Canaanites had been given over to reprobate minds to do things that are not convenient. As a matter of fact, the idolatrous practices of the Canaanites were probably the very thing that caused the corruption of not only individual minds but entire cultures to the point where they were unable or unwilling to act out of regard for their own safety or that of their family. It is not unlike how in our modern world a man, knowing full well the scourge of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, will regularly indulge in homosexual acts and intravenous drug abuse in his one life and then take those life and health destroying viruses and pathogens to his wife and family in another. Indeed, there does exist a huge Achan subculture in the here and now.

Now there is a point of contact between Achan’s family and the Canaanites. It seems unusual, as where the Canaanites were idolators, Achan was not only a child of Israel that came out of the wilderness (meaning that all of the Israelis that had been conditioned by not only Egyptian slavery but their exposure to their system of false gods) but of the very same tribe of Judah that Jesus Christ was born of (yes both Mary and Joseph were of Judah, please note that Mary’s geneaology is given in Luke 3). This is not a coincidence but serves as a warning lesson to the church.

So just as Achan’s genetic, tribal, national, physical etc. membership in Israel did not prevent him from having a Babylonian heart, being raised in a Christian nation, culture, or family or even a member of a church does not make one born again in Christ Jesus and truly a member of Israel. Achan despite his heritage, upbringing, and affiliation was no better off than the Canaanites. The Canaanites, for their part, was no worse off than Achan despite their idolatry and being born outside of God’s covenant people. Achan and the Canaanites had the same issue – a hardened heart – and hence received the same reward.

Another point of contact: those who were to some degree innocent. Consider first Achan’s family … his wife, children, servants, etc. and stoned and burned them to death. Those people did not participate in Achan’s crime. They may not have even known of it! Yet they perished as well with the patriarch of their family. Why? The modern western mindset with its individualism and feminism hates this notion, but the man is the covenant representative of his household before his nation and his God just as a king is the covenant represenative between a nation and God. If the covenant representative does well before God (be it the father or the king), then those under the covenant (be they nations or households) are blessed. If the covenant representative does ill, then those under it are punished. The same with Achan was true of the Canaanites. You had many women and children, including newborn infants, that had no role in the decision to defy God by remaining in the land to face the armies of His covenant people. They were not the kings who chose not to beg for peace or the fathers who chose not to take their families and flee. So how is this fair?

Well let us consider what constitutes a “hardened” heart. From what the Bible teaches us, it is no great mystery. All of humanity save Adam, Eve, and Jesus Christ were born with them as a consequence of the fall. (Adam and Eve for their part received such hearts afterwards). Now it is true that the Canaanites and pharoah had a specific hardening that related to a course of action that they took or refused to take. That is why it is fair to say, in a manner of speaking, that God hardened their hearts as scripture does. But let it be known that all mankind is born with a hardened heart in ultimate terms with reference to our relationship with God. So just as the ultimate inevitable result of the unusually hardened hearts of pharoah and Canaan were death, the result of all other hardened hearts is the lake of fire.

The similarity between the unusual hardening and the normal hardening is again in the case of Achan. God did not harden the heart of this child of Judah for the purposes of judging Achan and his family. No, Achan instead acted out of the consequences of his own sinful heart and fallen nature. Also, consider Saul. God did not harden the heart of Saul to judge the man that He had raised over Israel, let alone Saul’s sons including righteous Jonathan. First, the sins that caused Saul to lose his kingdom were done before God allowed the evil spirit to trouble Saul. Second, the sins that caused the death of Saul and his remaining sons – his consulting the necromancer witch of Endor and his persecuting the Gibeonites who had entered into a treaty with Israel – were completely unrelated to the vexation of the evil spirit but instead were caused by Saul’s own desire for power and popularity.

Please recall that when God chose Saul’s replacement, David, He said of David that this David was a man after God’s own heart. It is very accurate to argue from silence that Saul was not, and Saul’s own works verify this matter. In short, Saul was Achan, and he received Achan’s reward, which was the same as the reward of the people whose hearts God DID NOT particularly harden. In other words, sinners have a hardened heart already, and it is God’s prerogative to harden their hearts more still in order to use such reprobates to accomplish His will. So why did God choose a man that was not after His own heart not only to rule Israel, but according to the words of Samuel would have established His kingdom through Saul’s line? Well, Israel asked God for a king, not a preacher. As a matter of fact, they rejected the religious leadership of Samuel and judges. So perhaps God was attempting to see if a secular ruler would be His servant in civil matters, a wise conscientious basically obedient covenant ruler. Please recall that even pagan kings like Egypt’s pharoah and Medo – Persia’s King Darius fit this description. There is evidence that even Nebuchadnezzar and Artaxerxes did so when they elevated Daniel and Mordecai to be their second in command as did Egypt with Joseph.

So God did not pick Saul to be king because of Saul’s righteousness. It may be that God picked Saul because He felt that the rebellious children of Israel would respect him because of his stature and physical prowess. Perhaps the way Saul looked, his coming the way they expected a king to and his winning victories on the battlefield, would have spurred Israel to obedience. (After all, Israel later rejected King Jesus Christ because He came poor and humble riding on a donkey and rejected conquest with the sword.) But that required Saul himself to be obedient, and Saul failed in this task even with God’s hand behind him and Samuel to be his human advisor. So God demonstrated that even with all of those advantages given to Saul, someone with a hardened heart would not do in terms of playing a major role in the redemption of His elect.

God’s righteousness required someone that lacked a hardened heart to accomplish His purposes, including to start the royal line that Jesus Christ would be born into. It appears that when God uses hardened hearts, it is without the hard hearted person having any idea of what he is doing. As a matter of fact, the hard hearted person often seems to consider himself to be trying to accomplish the very opposite of what God intends! Examples run from the pharoah who was unknowingly participating in the judgment of his own nation to the Jewish religious leaders who thought that they were being rid of Jesus Christ and His movement by delivering Him to the Romans. Of them Jesus Christ said “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do!” But in order to be a willing knowing servant and participant in God’s purposes and plans, a heart hardened with original sin will not do. Not an Achan heart. Not a Saul heart. Certainly not a pharoah or Canaanite heart. Instead, one’s heart of stone must be removed and be replaced with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 36:26, Ezekiel 44:7, 2 Corinthians 3:3). Common grace will not do. Saving grace is absolutely required.

But how does a heart of stone become a heart of flesh? The answer: only if God changes it. God Himself must do it. Man cannot do it. Because of his sinful state, man is utterly unable to help his condition. Only God can change hardened hearts into flesh. Consider the case of Judas Iscariot. This Judas Iscariot was an apostle who personally knew and served with Jesus Christ. He was called by Jesus Christ and did many great works in His Name. Yet what was said about Judas Iscariot by Jesus Christ? It would have been better for him had he never been born! So God who foreknew us elected some of us and predestined some of us to salvation. In the case of this Judas Iscariot, the die was cast. Being an Israelite did not help him. Being not only a follower but an apostle of Jesus Christ did not save him. Even repenting of his sin of betraying Jesus Christ, declaring His innocence before the sinful Pharisees did not save him. This Judas Iscariot was simply not among the elect, so it was never in his fate for his heart to be transformed from one of stone to one of flesh, from an Achan heart to a Peter heart. Indeed, the Bible records that Satan himself entered Judas Iscariot when it was time for him to perform the most vile abomination. So yes, like pharoah and the Canaanites, Judas Iscariot was especially hardened. Judas Iscariot was chosen by God, yes. But as he was not among the truly elect, his calling was to do the greatest act of evil, to betray the Son of God, which God used to work the greatest good. God’s providence in using the placement of a specific sinner? Yes. Special saving grace? By all means no.

And further there was this Pontius Pilate. Pilate was able to fairly judge Jesus Christ and bear witness before His accusers and the world that Jesus Christ was innocent. In this matter, common grace by installing a leader willing and able to declare the innocence of Jesus Christ was sufficient to do God’s Will in the matter. A hardened heart sufficed. But to actually prevent Jesus Christ from going to the cross, an act of true righteousness in the dark spiritual climate that he was immersed in, to heed the warnings of his own wife? No, that would have taken a man with a heart of flesh given by special saving grace empowered by the Holy Spirit. But it was not God’s will that Jesus Christ be spared the cross, so a fellow with a sufficient measure of common grace was placed in civil magistrate authority over Jesus Christ to perform some righteousness but ultimately do evil, as Jesus Christ Himself stated “you would have no power over me were it not given to you from above.” Did Pilate regard “given to you from above” as meaning his being appointed by Caesar or raised up by God? 

Again, go back to Judas Iscariot. Jesus Christ said that this person’s fate would have been better had he never been born. So how then could such a person have had a free will decision to accept Jesus Christ as His Savior and Lord, as Simon Peter did even upon denying Jesus Christ three times? The hardened heart cannot save itself. No, the hardened heart needs God to intervene to save it. And once God intervenes to save the hardened heart, God cannot be mocked. He cannot be opposed. He cannot be turned down. After all, if the hardened heart that becomes softened rejects the gospel of Jesus Christ, was it ever softened? No! Only hardened hearts are able to reject the righteousness of God. Only softened hearts are able to accept the righteousness of God. A heart that God has not softened cannot accept His righteousness, a heart that God has softened cannot reject it. It is not so much that God compels the person whose heart has been softened to accept Him. Why? Because why would God have to? What possible reason that a person with a softened heart have for rejecting God? Claiming otherwise is the very same as claiming that a person with a hardened heart does not REALLY have one. If both a person with a hardened heart and a softened heart can choose to reject God, then what difference is there between a hardened one and a softened one? Claiming that a person with a softened heart can reject God rejects the doctrine of original sin. 

A heart that God has softened cannot behave after the same manner that a heart that God has not softened. Hearts hardened by sin and hearts softened by grace cannot react the same way towards God. Otherwise, the grace of God, which is the power of God, the will of God, the purpose of God etc. would have no effect. If man could overpower God by rejecting His grace with a mere decision, then it makes God no God at all; a God incapable of calling creation into being out of nothing (ex nihilo) with the spoken word, and certainly incapable of ruling and governing creation. And naturally, such a God would be unable to destroy, preserve, reward, punish, etc. His creation as He sees fit. 

This brings us back to the difficult issue mentioned earlier of infants. What about the little children, newborn babes, that God had Israel to put to the sword. Jebusite, Hivite, Hittite, Amorite, Edomite, Ammonite etc. babies that were ripped from their mother’s arm and made their last anguished cry after having their tiny hearts split in half by a sword or spear. You might say that only an evil God would command His elect people to do such a thing. Well that is looking at things at how they exist in the natural and not in the spiritual. You, looking at temporal physical things, see a human baby. God, for the purposes of eternity, only sees a spirit of man. God knows whether the spirit of man associated with the human baby has been elected and predestined to salvation or not. So whether the human life of this spirit of man ends at 100 hours or 100 years, its eternal fate has been predetermined by God, who knows whether this child has the heart of Judas Iscariot or the heart of Peter. The heart of Saul or the heart of David. The heart of Achan or the heart of Joshua. The heart of Cain or the heart of Abel. 

Again, we know this from scripture: Abijah the child of Jeroboam in 1 Kings 14. Verse 13: “And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.” (Despite the wickedness of Jeroboam, he did obviously love and care about his son. Again, common grace, not saving grace.) Abijah was given by God at a tender age a heart of flesh, and though he died at a tender age he was given the good reward of those chosen by God. Now if Abijah had a heart of stone, what profit would there have been in living 930 years as did Adam? As he possessed a heart of flesh, what did he lose by dying at a tender age when he will reign for an eternity with Jesus Christ? 

So the only issue is that whether you have a hardened heart, or whether God has chosen to give you a heart of flesh. If God calls the hard hearted person, his only duty, his inevitable duty, is to respond. I encourage the reader to respond right now if he has not already. Please follow The Three Step Salvation Plan.

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A Challenge To Pastors, Teachers, Preachers, Prophets, And Exegetes: What Is The Most Holy Place That The Anti – Christ Will Defile

Posted by Job on October 21, 2008

Now the relevant scriptures are, among others, Matthew 24:15,  Daniel 9:27, and Revelation 13:14.

The issue is that we presume that the holy place will be a rebuilt Jewish temple. But how can this be if Judaism is a dead religion because it denies Jesus Christ? How can that which denies Jesus Christ be holy? This fact explains why pretribulation rapture premillennial dispensationalism has to be dual covenant. In order for the Jewish temple to be holy, Judaism has to be holy. (In order for it to be most holy, does it have to be holier than Christianity?) At the very least, Christians have to participate and support in it in order to lend some Jesus Christ to it by politically supporting Israel, raising money, breeding red heifers, etc.

My position is that no Jewish temple, even if Christians are intimately involved in constructing, dedicating, and serving in it, can be holy. So then, what is the holy place that the anti – Christ will enter into, declare himself as god, and defile? More to the point, what does the new covenant declare to be holy? Consider the book of Hebrews to begin the answer. I must say that I myself am stumped on this issue (having been raised in pretribulation rapture premillennial dispensationalism) and have no alternatives at this time. That is, unless said holy place will be the throne of Saint Peter in the Roman Catholic Vatican, which of course to me is unthinkable.

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What A Surprise Billy Graham Roman Catholic Embracing Christianity Today Endorses Dominionism

Posted by Job on October 21, 2008

Key quote: “Thus, Carson concludes that “the only human organization that continues into eternity is the church.”” Excuse me, but not even the Roman Catholic Church claims that the church is a human organization. Evangelicalism at its finest indeed … oh and by the way, this quote came in the review of the D.A. Carson book “Christ and Culture Revisited.” Please note my “Christ Is Not Your Culture” and be forewarned that Origenism lives on in evangelicalism and consider its endtimes implications. It is so much easier to tickle the ears and bewitch people with messages and doctrines of values, culture, politics, works, etc. than to stick the gospel message of Jesus Christ born of a virgin, crucified for our sins, raised for the dead, and is coming to bring wrath and judgment upon all who fail to believe or heed His Lordship of all.

That is precisely what modern evangelicalism is about. Evangelicalism is a form of Christianity that tries to coexist with the culture rather than separating from it. It is based on the fiction that it is easier to spread the gospel and transform the culture working from the outside rather than the inside. That is classic Christian liberalism – which has pagan roots and not Jewish ones by the way – which teaches that man is basically good and can be transformed through culture, education and government. As a matter of fact, evangelicalism openly admits that their ideas came from theological liberals like H. Richard Niebuhr. And yes, this does include the religious right. The “What Would Jesus Do” culture warriors? Well the religious left invented that slogan. Reading their social gospel manifesto from the 1800s, it reads like a religious right one from the late 1900s and today.

We are duped into believing, for instance, that America is basically good because “it is a Christian nation.” Then those who speak of the truth that at no point in American history has America been good for most of its citizens are called “anti – American.” These people denounce relativism, but they practice it all the time themselves by defending the alleged inherent goodness of America and the west by saying that everywhere else is worse!

Well, man is not inherently good. Creation is not inherently good. Those things are fallen and wicked. So, the church cannot redeem those things by their contact with them. Instead, the world corrupts the church that will not separate from it! These people twist the “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” teachings of the Bible out of context by saying that the church can be a leaven whose influence grows throughout society. Well if that does not just take the Passover typology and turn it on its head. Why is there UNLEAVENED bread for Passover, as a matter of fact Jews were told not to have any leaven in their homes! Why? Well take a science or cooking class. You know what leaven is? GERMS! AN INFECTION! Leaven is IMPURITY. The reason why only unleavened bread was to be used and leaven was not even supposed to be present in the house for Passover was because the bread represents the broken SINLESS body of Jesus Christ, and no leaven was supposed to be in the house because it represents the purity of the church that Jesus Christ heads, the house which the book of Hebrews says Jesus Christ built.

When Israel, which typologically represents the church no matter how dual covenant dispensational pluralists or the pluralist theological liberals deny it for fear of offending the Jewish groups that they maintain their precious ecumenical interfaith ties with to show how so non – fundamentalist they are, went into the promised land, God did not tell them to intermingle with the pagan tribes living there, to transform their culture, to be the leaven of positive thinking, unity, influence, and family values. No, God said to drive them out lest you be like them! When God gave Israel instructions for sacrifices, He did not say place the sanctified objects consecrated for tabernacle service next to the common objects so some of their holiness would rub off and all who brought their dishes, censers, bowls, flesh hooks, IDOLS etc. to the temple could have objects made holy by their contact with the tabernacle items that they could take home. No, God said keep the sanctified objects SEPARATE from the common objects, and even the priests had to be ritually purified before they could come into contact with them.

Now we are often taught “that is just the old Testament where God was so angry and full of wrath and anger at sin but now in the new covenant God is much nicer and loving.” So is that it? Are you evangelicals are or you Marcionites? Or has your ecumenical exchanges with Roman Catholics convinced you of the efficacy of evangelical holy water where you can make something righteous (or at least better than it was before and acceptable kinda sorta) by sprinkling your Veggie Tales family values (or your James Dobson Fuller Theological Seminary Dr. Phil psychobabble – and yes Dr. Phil professes to be Christian for he is aligned with T.D. Jakes and Robert Schuller) around the culture? Well the same God that told the children of Israel to put the Canaanites to the world told the church that friendship with the world is emnity with Him! The God of the New Testament has not changed, He is the same as the Old. The sinful creation of the Old Testament has not changed, it is the same as the Old. Yes, we do have the work of the cross and the indwelling Holy Spirit, but we are not to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness with the lie that it can be used to redeem fallen creation and its sinful nations and cultures. The purpose of common grace was so that all creation could know some of the love of God and to keep creation from descending into chaos. That is why governments which restrain evil are called servants of God. But the church does not deal with common grace. That is solely God’s province, the providence which He uses to rule creation and work out His place in history.

No, the church is the mystery of God that will be accomplished when the seventh trumpet sounds as it was announced to the prophets. We deal with special grace, saving grace, and our duty is to be used by God in His special mission. Are good works part of that mission? Of course! The gospels and the book of James state explicitly so. But where in the Bible, in the Old Testament or the New Testament, does it say that the purpose of good works is to give heathen cultures a form of godliness while denying the power thereof? Not only is such a notion easier than preaching the cross itself – making it easier for those who do not truly believe it while desiring for some reason to claim to be Christians – but it is clearly teaching the commandments of men as if they are the doctrines of God, the product of philosophic speculation rather than true exegetical theology, and based on the structure of Constantinism where the church state overtly desired to rule over a large number of people that they knew were unconverted just as they ruled over a tiny number of men that were, of a church state that took the throne and sword of Constantine and claimed that they were of “Saint Peter.”

The truth is that whether you admit that it is of Constantine or lie and claim that it is of Peter (secular power which MAY represent common grace IF it is wielded appropriately as in King Darius and not in an evil and illegitimate manner as in the wicked rulers Assyria and Egypt or even of Israel’s northern kingdom), either way you are denying the throne of special grace, and that is so whether you are Catholic, state church Protestant, or dominionist “family values Constitution God capitalism military and country” evangelicals.

This is not a call to fundamentalism per se. I could care less whether you are evangelical, fundamentalist or liberal. After all, the liberal Karl Barth rejected the World Council of Churches because he stated that according to scriptures its spiritual goals could not be accomplished by human organization! Instead, it is a call to return to the pure religion of the Bible and the cross. We turn the world upside down with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the good works that proceed from it, not by the lie that by engaging the world we can (partly) purify it rather than becoming (COMPLETELY) corrupted and altogether filthy from it. Because if you ever wanted any more proof that it is evangelicals following the world rather than the other way around, you merely need to compare evangelicalism of the 1920s to today and see what a change a mere generation or three makes.

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Taliban Muslims Murder Christian Aid Worker Gayle Williams On Proselytization Charges!

Posted by Job on October 21, 2008

Kabul, Afghanistan —- Taliban assailants on a motorbike gunned down a Christian aid worker in Kabul on Monday, saying she was killed for spreading her religion —- a rare targeted killing of a Westerner in the capital.

Gayle Williams, a 34-year-old dual British-South African national who helped handicapped Afghans, was shot as she was walking to work, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary.

A spokesman said the Taliban ordered her killed because she was accused of proselytizing.

“This woman came to Afghanistan to teach Christianity to the people of Afghanistan,” Zabiullah Mujahid said. “Our [leaders] issued a decree to kill this woman.”

Britain’s secretary of state for international development, Douglas Alexander, called the killing a “callous and cowardly act” and said Williams was in Afghanistan to help ease poverty.

“To present her killing as a religious act is as despicable as it is absurd —- it was cold-blooded murder,” Alexander said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the aid group, SERVE —- Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises —- said it is a Christian organization but denied it was proselytizing.

“It’s not the case that they preach, not at all,” said the spokeswoman, Rina van der Ende. “They are here to do [aid] work.”

Afghanistan is a conservative Islamic nation. Proselytizing is prohibited by law.

(Please note the last sentence. Even if this woman was guilty of breaking Afghani law, that does not change the fact that this woman was murdered without a trial in an act of terror. Typical media bias. In any event, Christians, persecution is increasing. However, we are going to have to continue to stand for the faith. This woman gave her life for the gospel and for good works that Jesus Christ, the book of James, and the book of Hebrews specifically tells us to commit. Who have you shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with today?)

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Another Reason To Question Whether The Roman Catholic Church Is The Anti – Christ

Posted by Job on October 20, 2008

The fact that the reformers (and those who rejected Catholicism in times prior) frequently called the Roman Catholic Church the anti-Christ is often used to give theological and historical weight to people holding onto that view. While you will not find a bigger opponent of those that have cast aside the Bible for manmade tradition in order to facilitate their idolatry of images, the host of heaven, and humans (including “saints”, the pope, and “Virgin” Mary), I still have found the idea to be quite suspect. My prior reason for believing so is because the anti – Christ will deceive and lead the whole world. While thanks in large part to the new world order forces doing their best to promote religious pluralism, mysticism, syncretism and secular systems masquerading as religion (including liberation theologies of Barack Hussein Obama and Martin Luther King, Jr.) there is nowhere near the opposition to Roman Catholicism as there once was, chiefly among Protestants but also among other religions, we are nowhere near the day when the whole world will be deceived by and follow the so – called bishop of Rome, who has the same title, pontifus maximus, that Roman emperors such as Constantine held in their pagan state religion. (Constantine merely moved from being pontifus maximus in the prior pagan state religion to being pontifus maximus when the empire adopted “Christianity”, a fact which people who defend the decision of the church to acquiesce to Constantinism rarely mention. My suspicion is that Protestants tiptoe around this fact because Constantine called the Nicea ecumenical council that defended the truth of the divinity if Jesus Christ from Arianism. In doing so, they ignore the fact that even if any human had the spiritual standing to convene an ecumenical council Constantine certainly was not that human, a fact later borne out when Constantine called ANOTHER ecumenical council to adopt Arianism and immediately began persecuting people who believed in Jesus Christ’s deity. Constantine’s motives were political and military,  not religious. Even if Constantine did actually see a cross in the sky with the famous “in this conquer” slogan, it was a demonic deception in a pagan society that was utterly demonized. Protestants should be truthful enough to declare that nothing good came out of Constantinism and have enough faith to state that the true apostolic faith over issues like the deity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity would have won out without needing a pagan state to call ecumenical councils whose edicts were imposed with the sword.)

Yet how far are we from the day that the whole world will follow the so – called bishop of Rome? It would require 1) a major theological move on the part of the Roman Catholic Church and 2) for the nations of the world who have suffered at the hands of Rome or who themselves have major religious objections to forget or abandon them. While both (or either) are certainly possible when God sends the spirit of strong delusion, the truth is that said delusion can cause the whole world to follow any institution or leader. So while that does not preclude the Roman Catholic Church, there is no reason to definitely say that it will be them when it could just as easily be some secular political leader or entity, or the leader of some now obscure eastern religious movement such as the Tibetan ones that are oh so popular among the left (keep in mind that jainism was equally obscure until first Ghandi and then Martin Luther King, Jr. popularized its tenets). 

So what of the position of the reformers and those similar? Well keep in mind that the reformers were adherents to amillennialism, whose first major exponent was Origen and which was cemented in the Constantine church (and ultimately a great many churches that splintered out of her, including not only the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches but also many Protestant churches, especially the state and liberal churches) thanks to the work of Augustine. Though its modern adherents deny the extent to which it is true, amillennialism relies on allegorical interpretations of the covenant, prophetic, eschatological and apocalyptic passages of the Bible. (Otherwise, Origen’s theories that everyone, including possibly Satan and demons, would be saved and that there could be an endless number of falls of mankind and creation into sin requiring an endless number of redemptions throughout eternity; in other words there was no permanency to Jesus Christ’s work because as Origen was working from a naturalist pagan structure as opposed to a Jewish spiritual one – please read Why The Early Church Fathers Were Millennialists And Why The Gentile Church Quickly Rejected It For Sadduceeism and he Early Church Fathers: Amillennialism and Universalism, would have been impossible.)

Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that the amillennial reformers, who to one degree or another accepted an allegorical or nonliteral interpretation of not only the millennium but a great many other prophetic and eschatological concepts to give them a temporal meaning and fulfillment, believed in a literal beast, man of sin, anti-Christ, etc.

When you consider the dominionism aspect of amillennialism, this becomes even more so the case. Dominionist amillennials (and this incontrovertibly included Roman Catholics but Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, the Church of England, and all others who basically rejected a separation between church and state, advocated the right of the state to use violence and other measures to enforce church doctrines and accepted infant baptism as a method of initiation into the church – state system) believe that we are in an allegorized nonliteral millennium now where Jesus Christ is ruling the earth from heaven through the church, which happens through the transforming moral and cultural effect that the church has on societies as well as any influence that the church exerts on civil magistrates. 

With that view in place, “anti – Christ”, then, becomes anything that opposes the church’s dominion over the earth. In particular, it results in a false Christianity or a false church that takes dominion of the earth over the true church instead. Thus, when the reformers and like minded amillennialists spoke of Roman Catholicism being the anti – Christ, it was only in a nonliteral allegorical sense. Further, it was based on the Roman Church having the same position that the reformers wanted for their own churches. Make no mistake, the churches set up by the reformers were not merely spiritual and religious competitors, but also political, military, and economic rivals. The result was not only well over one hundred years of warfare between Roman Catholic church – states and Protestant church – states both calling each other anti – Christ for opposing each other’s desires for amillennial dominion of state and culture that was allegedly in the Name and to the glory of Jesus Christ in heaven but in reality was a violation of James 4:4 and a host of related scriptures that say that there is no marriage between sacred and secular, Christian and worldly. Now recall, this was something that God used the hard line of demarcation between holy and defiled in the Jewish law to teach the church … if the Jews could not even use tools to cut stones to build an altar for sacrifices because the tools were unholy and their touching the holy altar would defile it and make it unholy, what made them think that the church could come into such intimate contact with pagan cultures and adulterous rulers?!

And as a direct result of this worldview, both Roman Catholic AND reformation church – states persecuted Anabaptists and others who rejected infant baptism and the lack of separation between church and state. Consider this: the amillennial dominionists in the Roman Catholic and early reformation churches grotesquely misinterpreted such Bible events as Hagar’s being subjected to Sarah, the lord of the estate compelling people in the hedges and highways to come to the wedding feast, and Peter picking up two swords to coerce people into membership of “Christendom”, or the church – state in which membership was usually initiated by infant baptism. (Which is why it was called “Christendom”, or kingdom of the christened or infant baptized, as opposed to Christiandom, or kingdom of confessing Christians.) These abominations were institutionalized by Augustine at the very latest but almost certainly existed before then. The worst was the “two swords” when Peter (as always until his indwelling by the Holy Spirit) misunderstood the teachings of Jesus Christ and responded “here are two swords” in response to the words of Jesus Christ to which Christ, frustrated by their inability to understand and having His mind occupied with other things at the time (His very soon trip to the cross) replied resignedly “it is enough.” The dominionist allegorists claimed that Peter’s erroneous notion of believing that Jesus Christ was somehow speaking of a violent overthrow of the Roman Empire (and likely also the Pharisees and Saduccees if they resisted!) was correct in the sense that one sword of Peter referred to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the second sword of Peter referred to the power of the state to compel people to (externally of course) submit to the former!

So, you had Catholics and reformers calling each other anti-Christ because they were both claiming that the other were wielding a false gospel sword and a false state compulsion sword. But please realize that both Catholic and Reformed states persecuted certain Anabaptists and other groups who A) rejected the notion of church states, B) rejected the coerced initiation into said states including but certainly limited to infants baptized by their parents and C) especially rejected the church’s getting the state to heavily fine, imprison, or even execute those who rejected their religious AND civil authority. This was why Reformers often persecuted and killed Anabaptists who agreed with them on every doctrinal point save those regarding the church using the coercive power of the state (or possessing such power and authority itself by having its own police and army), and particularly why many Reformed states followed the policy of Roman Catholics by making the rejection of infant baptism by getting rebaptized as adults (which is the origin of the term Anabaptist) which in addition to being an act of sincere religious dedication to the gospel was also public rejection of state church authority or dominionism a capital crime! 

This is, after all, why some scholars claim that Michael Servetus was burned (the Roman Catholic AND Reformed church states twisted yet another set of scriptures to justify the practice of burning heretics, and furthermore the typical method was to use green wood so that the victim would die very slowly, often over the course of hours!) was primarily initiated by the civil magistrates of Geneva for his opposition to infant baptism (making him a subversive to civil authority) rather than by Calvin over his rejection of Trinity. But make no mistake, Calvin fully believed in the right of the state to execute Servetus based on Calvin’s dominionist convictions (even if Calvin’s true motives were Trinity he nonetheless testified against Servetus in a proceeding where a city state considered him a political subversive based on his opposition to infant baptism, the primary method which people were initiated into Genevan citizenship, please realize that Calvin himself was never a Genevan citizen as he was never born or baptized there) and therefore fully participated. And keep in mind: where Servetus was the only heretic killed during Calvin’s tenure, many dominionism rejecters were imprisoned, expelled, or executed by other Reformed states. 

Note that while the Reformers did call Anabaptists heretics and frequently sought their suppression and persecution to the pain of death, they seldom if ever called them “anti – Christ.” Why? Because Anabaptists and similar had no designs on civil power, indeed they rejected it. (Please note that I am aware that certain Anabaptists did have designs on civil power and were willing to use subversion and violence to get it; Anabaptist was a wide, poorly defined category, and it was helpful to the cause of the rulers of Reformed states to associate all of their opponents with the subversive radicals who would violently take control over an area and then forcibly redistribute wealth and property.) So because certain Anabaptists rejected any claim on the second sword of Peter, the one which Augustine and those who came after (indeed including the reformers) claimed belonged to the true church – state, they were not a competing religious – civil power system, and hence were not a false or anti – Christ system competing for power. Instead, they were merely “heretics”, a religious system competing for souls, because of their rejection of “Christendom.” If they were “anti – Christ”, it was only due to their promulgation of doctrines that opposed not only the right but the theological imperative of the Reformation to set up church states, and also because their movements were drawing the Roman Catholic expatriates that the Reformation church states badly needed in their rival system with Rome. After all, if you are competing with earthly systems, it is all about having enough citizens to A) create capital for your economies – please note that Calvinism is credited with spurring the development of modern capitalism – and B) produce soldiers to fight in your armies. 

So, the next time you encounter someone that asserts that the Roman Catholic Church is the anti – Christ, see if that person is rejecting a literal interpretation of Daniel, 2 Thessalonians, Revelation, etc. in favor of an allegorical one and merely resents the Roman Catholic Church for having the huge numbers and political, cultural, economic, etc. influence, the second sword of Peter, that he wants for his own church, and by the way you had better believe which Islam also wants and which communists and Hugo Chavez socialists want as well. (Incidentally, Hitler and Mussolini wanted it also. With Hitler in particular, please consider the rumors of his “the spear of destiny” occultism but do so with a grain of salt.) In other words, someone who wants to exchange the Roman Catholic anti – Christ system for his own. 

Or it may simply be someone who is unaware of this history. If so, that person needs to be reminded of the awful history of both Catholic and Protestant dominionism. And that person also needs to be reminded that in these last days, Catholic and Protestant dominionists are now marching hand in hand, with the American and western religious – political movements (the religious right and the religious left, and by the way these movements even include people from other religions such as Mormons in the religious right and Muslims like Keith Ellison in the religious left, and Jews in both, and we have already mentioned the incorporation of doctrines of jainism – similar to Buddhism – in the religious left) leading the way. How ironic that so many of the politically affiliated evangelicals and fundamentalists who do interpret the prophetic, eschatological, and apocalyptic passages literally (with the appropriate hermeneutics of course!) and believe in a literal anti – Christ are at present supporting movements that are setting the world stage for the coming of the man of sin just as the amillennialists are. The two sides that are supposed to represent different doctrinal systems and in many cases believe themselves to be opposing each other (especially in the case of the religious right versus the religious left) are in fact being manipulated by those behind the scenes to work together! Well, when you consider that scripture prophesies that the anti – Christ will deceive the whole world, it is not a surprise, but instead may yet be a manifestation of it.

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Putting God In A Box By Placing Him Under Man’s Obligation

Posted by Job on October 20, 2008

Is free will salvation, or Arminianism (truthfully Coornhertism for Jacobus Arminius rejected the soteriology of the reformers in favor of the viewpoint of a Roman Catholic, and the doctrine is associated with Arminius rather than its true originator and exponent for it is not convenient for Protestant free will Christians to broadcast and advertise that the one who came up with this doctrine also defended praying to the host of heaven and bowing to dumb idols) a works theology? 

On its face, it is not. However, we must consider what was ironically a debate that took place not between adherents to the Reformation and those who like Coornhert remained in semi – Pelagian Roman Catholicism, but rather within the Reformation (to use a broad term) itself, such as between Lutherans and Anabaptists. The former reached “salvation by faith alone” and, being satisfied, pretty much stopped. Please recall, for instance, Martin Luther’s claim that the book of James “was made of pure straw” (but accepted its canonicity nonetheless) because of its statement “faith without works is dead.” Anabaptists and others who came out of Roman Babylon went on to appropriately apply James’ doctrines to justification and the need to produce an external witness (please recall that James was only repeating what he heard from His teacher Jesus Christ on this matter, please remember for example Jesus Christ’s statements on the sheep versus goats, and the difference between those who called Him “Lord Lord” that would be accepted versus those that would be rejected?). 

What this argument centered on, truthfully, was the sovereignty of God. Is God completely sovereign, free to act entirely according to His own will, desire, and volition in every aspect concerning His creation that He produced out of nothing merely by speaking? Or is God in some way beholden to and in a sense in arrears, in bondage, imprisoned to His creation in any matter? Both groups held the belief that works doctrines were to be rejected because they denied God’s sovereignty. The idea that if man does something then God is obligated to respond is troubling enough. What is more troubling still is the idea that if man does something then God is obligated to do something that He does not want to do, making it possible for man to not only defy God but actually overpower and overcome God by doing works. This is precisely what the Roman Catholic Pelagian system taught, and what the Reformers appropriately rejected. The dispute between the Lutherans and Anabaptists (and also the Reformed i.e. Calvinists and Zwinglians I might add) were simply over the details. 

Now those who justify works based doctrines claim that they are due to God’s willingly ceding His sovereignty to man in certain areas to accomplish whatever purposes He willed. An example of this: God’s giving up dominion of the earth to Adam, and the Word of Faith purports to seek to reclaim it. Leaving aside the fact that the Bible clearly states that Adam’s dominion will be restored to Jesus Christ upon His return and not the church that awaits Him (claiming that dominion belongs to the church in this time is Origen amillennialism adopted by Roman Catholics), God gave Adam dominion over creation alone, not Himself. Prosperity doctrine advocates claim that the old covenant obligates God to bless those who keep the portions of it pertaining to blessings, some going as far as saying that even the unsaved will receive health, wealth, family, etc. benefits from tithing. Not only did Paula White explicitly say so to Larry King, but new age witch and occult spiritist Oprah Winfrey, who reportedly tithes, is often listed as an example. While this is based on a rather corrupted understanding of the true purpose and nature of a covenant that only applied to national Israel and moreover doesn’t even exist anymore, even if true it has no bearing on salvation. After all, the old covenant was never given for salvation, for even in old covenant times salvation was by grace (but Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord) and furthermore the book of Hebrews makes it clear that even Old Testament saints were redeemed by Christ’s blood, and without the cross there would have been no salvation for those such as Enoch, Elijah, Samuel, Deborah, Huldah, Moses, etc.

But going back to the “works promises” that allegedly existed in the old covenant, please recall that all of those were irrevocably tied to the land of Israel itself, the land flowing with milk and honey. No land meant no blessings, works or not, and the land was freely given to the children of Abraham as part of the promise given to Abraham by grace. So no Israelite ever received a new thing by doing works of the law, but rather was benefitting from what was given to him by grace already. The old covenant was a conditional covenant, true, but the condition was entirely based on forfeiting what one had already been given by refusing to do the works rather than doing works and receiving what had not been given. An analogy can be tied to a wealthy man (or woman) who has a son (or daughter) and composes a will leaving the heir a portion of the estate. If the heir basically behaves, he or she will receive the inheritance that he or she never worked for or merited in any sense. If the heir grievously offends the benefactor with disloyal or immoral behavior, the wealthy person has the sole prerogative to “write him or her out of his will.” Even if the benefactor writes some conditional clause such as “in order to receive the inheritance he must get married” (the plot of not a few bad movies) if the fellow acquires a wife for the purposes of receiving the wealth he would not have earned the money in any sense but instead would have received something that he never worked for and his benefactor had the sole right to give or deny, including the right to alter the will shortly before expiring based on a dislike of who his heir chose as a spouse! So please explain this to any prosperity Word of Faith teacher or adherent you come across. 
 

So then, there is not a shred of Biblical evidence that speaks of God having an obligation to His creation in any area, including salvation. While God certainly gives dominion of some portions of creation over others, there is no evidence that God surrenders His own sovereignty or prerogative to creation in any sense. After all, how could an eternal spiritual God be limited by what is natural and temporal? Even though Jesus Christ was lowered and thus limited while existing in the natural plane upon His incarnation, He was still fully God in the spiritual realm, a fact which evil spirits were forced to recognize when they asked Him if He had come to destroy them!

So instead, the entirety of Biblical revelation consists of creation having an obligation to God. Creation cannot compel God one way or another, and in spiritual matters involving eternity it is all the more important that this truth be recognized and operated within. So then, as free will salvation doctrine places God in a box by compelling Him to honor human decision, it must be rejected.

But wait, you say, it is not forcing God’s Hand when a person accepts eternal salvation because it is God’s Will that all men be saved, you reply. Even were I to concede that part for argument’s sake, what about the other way around? Does not exercising this free will to reject Jesus Christ compel God to send a person to the lake of fire that He does not wish to? Under this doctrine, no matter how God may desire it, no matter how God may strive and work for it, no matter how God may beg, plead, or even try, His best efforts, His very will and volition, can all be undone by a mere creature’s standing athwart grace and saying NO. Anathema that such a thing should be allowed to happen, because even in this one very limited sphere, man is God and God is man. Let it be stated that for any man to have the right to damn himself removes the right of God to damn anyone at all, making Him no God at all, and that is true even when one does not factor in God’s sending His Son to the cross. Please know that a man’s ability to make a decision to reject God the Father sending Jesus Christ to become human, die on a cross, and be resurrected from the dead is no trivial cosmic matter! Believing that it is a matter of such triviality makes God a mere triviality. Again, anathema!

So then, the doctrine that does not place God in a box of being under obligation to creation is one that recognizes that God alone decides who will be saved by His personal decision and command – the same decision and command that brought man into existence along with the rest of creation in the first place – and places man under obligation to obey God. That is something that none other than the tale of Jonah and the whale should teach us. It is more than a fantastic Bible story perfect for aweing children and proving the truth of the Bible to skeptics using apologetics (as in the fact that men have been swallowed whole by sperm whales and later rescued). Instead, this event illustrates God’s sovereignty. God told Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, and Jonah had no choice in the matter but submit to the will of the sovereign God and respond. 

There is an interesting cross reference here. Remember the Pharisees. They came to Jesus Christ demanding that He show them a sign upon which they would believe that He is the Messiah and then they would follow Him. Again, creation trying to place the Creator in a box by making His actions dependent on human desires. (Later, this same bunch tried to compromise and bargain with God by lifting the miracle requirement and saying “Just tell us whether you are the Christ!) Jesus Christ never placed Himself under their obligation. Instead, He stated that the only sign that they would receive … was that of Noah.

God is not obligated to even give man a decision – why should He regarding His solely entirely owned property that He created and whose destiny He controls! – let alone honor said decision. The Bible declares this to be true, and we are obliged to acknowledge it and to consider its implications.

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Will John McCain Finish George W. Bush’s Job In Implementing The Financial New World Order?

Posted by Job on October 20, 2008

A financial new world order?
Bush says reforms must improve, not fetter, the free market; Europeans hint at more robust intervention.

When President Bush hosts a world financial summit in the coming weeks, one of the least multilateral American presidents in decades will set in motion what could result in a full reordering of the global financial system.

The series of summits that Mr. Bush announced over the weekend at Camp David with European leaders at his side suggests a broad understanding among them: that the current crisis requires the kind of global regulatory reforms that have eluded major powers in the past.

Europeans especially are speaking of a “Bretton Woods II” that could do for financial markets what the 1944 summit at a resort in New Hampshire did for monetary policy.

But the call for a summit also underscores the degree to which a once go-it-alone presidency has shifted to embrace not only the necessity of international cooperation, but also a role of global leadership.

“Talk of a Bretton Woods II has been around to different degrees for 30 years. But the fact it is getting started with an outgoing administration and especially one that was at the center of a significant crisis between America and Europe, between America and the rest of the world, suggests the recognition that there is urgency in the air,” says Simon Serfaty, an expert in US-Europe relations at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. “It also adds legitimacy to the coming process.”

That process, which is expected to stretch into next year and a new American administration, will get under way with a summit that Bush will host sometime after Nov. 4, the date of US elections, according to a statement issued Saturday by Bush, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and European Union Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

The initial summit is expected to be a kind of expanded Group of Eight meeting, assembling the leaders of the most industrialized nations and those of major developing economies like China, India, Brazil, and South Korea. (Please know that inviting developing nations is a major step to a truly global system, as the following step would be to invite the third world nations.) It would aim to assess the current global crisis and to come up with a set of principles of reform.

Actual agreements on reforms could come at subsequent summits, but the initial meeting would allow Bush to place his stamp on the process before leaving office, while also facilitating a continuity of American leadership.

Saturday’s meeting offered a picture of transatlantic unity, but that hardly means the road ahead will be discord-free. Bush says future reforms and new international regulations must improve but not fetter the free market, while European leaders hint at much more robust state intervention with tighter regulations. (Bush has to keep this pretense in order to retain conservative support, especially among evangelicals, for policies that they would never accept from an overt liberal like, say, Clinton or OBAMA. A reason why McCain would be useful. Then again, Obama would be useful in bringing America in line with Europe and getting the nonwhite, er, developing nations to go along too.)

Bush recognized the need for “regulatory institutional changes” but added, “It is essential that we preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism – commitment to free markets, free enterprise, and free trade.” (Speaking with a forked tongue. In an essentially global economy, there will be no more statutory or regulatory barriers between markets, enterprise, and trade between America and Brazil than there are between Alabama and Texas. Ironically, the very ENLIGHTENMENT principles that our oh so wise freemason and deist founding fathers came up with to govern interstate commerce within this own nation, which lest we forget was originally intended as a federalist contract between loosely affiliated largely independent and sovereign states … please recall that “state” actually refers to an individual sovereign political entity and subdivisions between a state are actually called “provinces” or similar … will work quite nicely for global commerce among member nation states – and city – states like THE VATICAN. Please recall that Rome before it became an empire was a city state. For the record, John Calvin’s Geneva, which is credited with inventing modern capitalism, was a city state as well. So despite the endtimes theories of many conservative evangelicals, the economic new world order need not be socialist or communist. It can be capitalist, or merely a union between capitalist and socialist economies just as our own nation has long been a union of more laissez faire economic states and states with heavy government subsidies, wealth distribution, and regulation.)

In response, President Sarkozy said, “The president of the United States is right in saying that protectionism and closing one’s borders is a catastrophe…. But we cannot continue along the same lines,” he added, “because the same problems will trigger the same disasters.”

Mr. Barroso was more succinct: “We need a new global financial order.”

Those words could send shivers through a White House that is suspicious of the current chorus of world leaders – European, Russian, and others less friendly to the US – who are hailing the current economic crisis as a moment to usher in a multipolar world. Bush indicated he seeks to maintain some degree of American stewardship over the financial reform effort when he politely declined the offer of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to host the expanded G-8 summit at the UN in New York. (Again, can’t tip off the religious right. Please keep in mind that neither McCain or Obama will be beholden to the opinions of this group in any way.)

Among the issues the White House has indicated it would endorse for a reform agenda are rules for the international flow of investment funds, improved oversight of increasingly global financial institutions, and means of boosting the transparency of international financial transactions and markets. 

But European leaders have called for what sound like much deeper reforms. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, for example, has proposed a reorganization of the International Monetary Fund – a Bretton Woods institution.

Behind the European proposals is a sense that the financial crisis and America’s darkening economic prospects make this an opportunity for the European Union to play a bigger international role. Last week at the close of a two-day EU summit on the financial crisis, Sarkozy predicted that an international summit would take place before the end of the year because “Europe wants it, Europe demands it. Europe will get it.”

More than a show of unity with a declaration for a series of summits will be needed if the world is truly to come together to address the crisis, some observers note. “Unity of purpose is not found in a meeting or series of meetings. It’s found in purpose,” says Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. (Ah, the Rick Warren Purpose Driven Life language. How convenient. And how disconcerting that a generation of evangelicals is being brainwashed with the New Age doctrines of the new world order globalist Council on Foreign Relations member and pastor to the world’s biggest pornographer Rupert Murdoch in Rick Warren. Also, the “unity” thing is just recreating the tower of Babel so that the second Nimrod, the man of sin or the anti – Christ, can come on the scene.) “Whether that’s something the major players in this crisis can come together on remains to be seen.”

But Mr. Serfaty points out that the Europeans chose to engage the Bush administration, when just a few years ago the deep divisions over the Iraq war were disrupting such cooperation. (A key component to spotting people who are sold out to and working for Satan is their ability to manipulate you into thinking that you are in control when they are secretly calling the shots all along, as that is precisely how Satan works. By the way, who is the better manipulator in this race … McCain or Obama? I give it to Obama, but only by a nose.)

“Rather than seeing any kind of disconnect,” he says, “I think we should emphasize the fact the Europeans are doing what [the Americans] want them to do, in that they are coming together and taking a proactive approach to this crisis.”

So you see, no matter who gets elected, the anti – Christ globalist system is going to be implemented. Do not put your trust in Obama, McCain, or any other thing or person of this world! Instead, put your trust in Jesus Christ!

Follow the three step salvation plan today!

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Once Saved Always Saved Thanks To Jesus Christ

Posted by Job on October 20, 2008

An excellent example of the incontrovertible Biblical truth of the doctrine “perseverance of the saints”, or rather “once saved always saved” is the verse John 17:11 contained within the high priestly prayer of Jesus Christ:

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 

Now please recall that a role of the priest is to stand before God as the people’s appointed intercessor and representative. So in this prayer, Jesus Christ stood before God the Father in the role that God the Father gave Him, as the elect lady’s (the church’s) vicar, and made a request of this same God the Father on our behalf.

What did He request? “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me!” Now keep us with respect to what? From poverty? No, for many Christians have been poor. As a matter of fact, many early Christians were known for their poverty and admired for their dignity and holiness in enduring it. Oppression? No, for the Bible says that our trials and tribulations are part of the process of God’s refining, reproving, purifying, and teaching us. Death? No, for a mere few years after this sermon was prayer was given we saw martyrdom beginning with Stephen.

Does it refer to schism? Why yes, it does! Jesus Christ was in fact praying that none should leave the church. However, let us not think of this in an earthly sense, or else the Protestant Reformation (or more accurately the separation of groups like the Particular Baptists from the state Reformed churches) would have violated this prayer. As a matter of fact, even Paul and Barnabas going their separate ways over John Mark in Acts can be interpreted as something of an apostolic schism by earthly standards.

But that is by earthly standards. The true church, the Body of Jesus Christ, which the Bible in various places calls a mystery, is a spiritual reality, not an earthly body or institution. So when God the Son prayed to God the Father (I will propose that without Trinity my argument does not work because Jesus Christ would have been praying to Himself or to some nonexistent entity), He was not asking that we be prohibited from leaving first Baptist church for second Presbyterian church. And by “that they be one” Jesus Christ did not mean to restrain us from criticizing any and every “judge not touch not mine (never) anointed and do my (false) prophet no harm” crackpot pulpit pimp sorcerer and heretic that defames the term Christian by calling himself one. 

Instead, when Jesus Christ was praying “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one” He was petitioning the Father that every born again Christian would remain in the true church, the spiritual universal church that He is the Head, Lord, Redeemer and Guarantor. Claiming that a person could lose his salvation would mean that either God the Father refused the prayer of Jesus Christ or He could not deliver on the request of Jesus Christ. Either way, it makes God fallible, which makes Him no God at all and our faith a lie. After all, if God cannot or will not honor the prayers of Jesus Christ, what makes God the Father honor His sacrifice on the cross? Further, since Jesus Christ is God, for God the Son to ask of God the Father only to have the latter refuse, then God is divided against Himself and again is not God at all.

But what of the exhortations that Christians should continue in the faith and endure till the end? They were just that: exhortations to holy and righteous Godly living, to not use the grace of God as a justification for lasciviousness. It is one of those apparent tensions or contradictions along the lines of “saved by faith alone and not works” and “faith without works is dead.” In other words, stumblingblocks that exist in the mind of those who choose not to believe, usually because of their insistence on making a thing of the spirit into a thing of this world. For how can a newly saved Christian know of the imperative not to abandon the faith and live holy unless he is told? How is he to learn true doctrine and practice and become spiritually mature unless he is taught by someone who knows these things? It is true that God seals the Christian and keeps Him in the faith. But why cannot or should not this same God use His preachers – and His Word – to tell Christians “stay in the faith” as part of the persevering process? 

To put it another way, salvation is not accomplished by men, but rather the work that Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. It is not the result of some individual human decision, but those that God predestines and elects. Yet, the fact that God requires humans to preach the gospel to other humans as part of this process – and the Bible specifically states that salvation will not happen unless this God ordained component is fulfilled – does not negate that salvation was started and finished by Jesus Christ. Such a thing as spontaneous combustion may exist, but there is no such thing as spontaneous regeneration. Another way of speaking, just as birth cannot happen unless a seed is provided (the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit in the case of Jesus Christ, human seed in all other cases), rebirth cannot happen unless a human plants the seed of the gospel. 

So if there is a mandated God ordained human role starting the race (a sinner hearing the gospel and becoming born again), what prevents there from being a God ordained human role in staying in the race until the end? Again, the evangelist’s telling the not yet born again member of the elect “repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ or perish in eternal flame” as the gospel message requires does not undo the fact that God has elected this person. In a similar fashion, the teacher’s telling the born again “you must stay in the race or perish” does not undo eternal security. Telling the truth in one area does not invalidate truth in another, and as a result the words of Jesus Christ and many other New Testament writers that promise eternal security are not contradicted by words of the same Jesus Christ and writers that speak of the need to persevere.

The best example: the parable of the sower. Jesus Christ spoke of the seeds that fell by the wayside, that fell in stony soil, that fell among the thorns, and that fell in good soil. According to those who preach that it is possible to lose one’s salvation, Jesus Christ’s own high priestly prayer contradicted what He stated mere months earlier regarding the people who would receive the gospel initially but then turn aside because of persecution or worldiness. The only way to harmonize that parable with Jesus Christ’s prayer is to conclude that rather than being born again Christians who failed to persevere, the plants that grew in the thorns and stony soil represent people who may have put their trust in religion, values, tradition, apostate Christianity, or some other form of godliness without the power thereof (or those who sought out the faith for the wrong reason, or those who were deceived, manipulated, or coerced into conversions) and as such were never born again. In that, the contrast is between both those two groups (the stony soil and the thorns) and those who fell by the wayside (meaning that they rejected the gospel out of hand) and those who received the gospel in good soil. Now please note that by implication both the first group (the wayside people who reject the gospel out of hand) and the last group (the good soil people who persevere in the faith) are the smallest. It appears that the bulk of the people are going to be in the middle two groups, people who hold onto some external form of Christianity for a time or even for all their lives. Indeed the road is narrow and the gate is strait! 

But never forget that what separates the seeds that produce plants that persevere and the seeds that do not is their landing in good soil, and what makes them good soil is their measure of faith given by the sovereign God. And the same faith given by the sovereign God that creates the good soil that results in true lasting salvation is the same one that will over time (rapidly in some, less rapidly in others) produce spiritual maturity and submission that leads to obedience and good works. The same faith that caused conversion in the first place will cause good soil Christians to heed the exhortation of preachers – as well as the exhortation in the Bible – to persevere. The same Holy Spirit that works the regeneration of Christians upon their hearing the gospel will work the perseverance and eternal security of those same Christians. Why? Because it is the same Holy Spirit which is working on the same ingredient: faith. And what is the object of this faith? What the resurrected Jesus Christ did on the cross. And to whose will and glory does this take place? God the Father, the same who sent the Son and on whose behalf the Holy Spirit speaks and bears witness. (Again, eternal security requires Trinity, which is no surprise because the Bible requires the same.)

So Christian, God the Son prayed to God the Father for your eternal security in John 11:17 and it was done. Believe it, receive it, and live it for doing any other including denying it is akin to claiming that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is in fact no God at all, for this would be a God in conflict with Himself and incapable of internal consistency of will, word and action or of keeping His promises.

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