Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Archive for May, 2011

Remember The Saints This Memorial Day!

Posted by Job on May 30, 2011

Memorial Day is an observation set aside to remember those who have served our country, chiefly in military service. However, Memorial Day – and every day for that matter – Christians should remember those who have ran the race before us, ‘specially those who earned distinction in Holy Spirit co-authored scripture. A list of such distinguished believers is found in Hebrews 11. This list is a sampling of those who despite their failings and flaws lived and served by faith, and received the reward of the faithful. Let us not forget that without faith it is impossible to please God, and that God is pleased with and rewards the faithful. In addition, we should also remember Jesus Christ, who is the chief example of faith, that being One who was from God, the only begotten Son of God, and is God. Jesus Christ had faith that upon going to the cross to die for the sins of His bride, the church, He would not remain dead and in the grave, but rather would be resurrected, glorified, and receive the bride as His eternal reward. Because of this faith, God the Father not only raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, but gave Him a Name that is above every other Name. At this Name, every knee shall bow and tongue shall confess that He is Lord, and this will be to the glory of God the Father. One day, all things will be placed under God the Son, and God the Son will be given His bride, who will be perfected and conformed into His image. And at this time, the Son will be placed under the Father, so that through the Son, all things will be under the Father! Hallelujah! Praise and glory be to God, who alone is worthy!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Regarding the faithful, we desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Those who died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. The faithful choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. The faithful esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world: for we have respect unto the recompence of our reward. By faith the redeemed sinners perished not with them that believed not, but we receive God’s gospel with peace and reap the rewards with joy.

The bride of Christ through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection. Others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment. Yet today in diverse places many are being (or as if they are being) stoned, sawn asunder, tempted, slain with the sword (not least guns): they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented, tortured, raped, burned alive inside homes and churches, of whom the world was not worthy!!!

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

And the question that must be asked: can the same thing be said about you? Are you in the faith? Are you certain that you are? If you say that you are in the faith, are you faithful? If so, what is the evidence of your faith? What are your works? Faith without works is dead. But works will not save you. Instead, works in the absence of faith will convict you on judgment day all the more. If you have true faith, you will produce works. But works not done through faith in the Name of Jesus Christ and Him crucified will be rejected by a holy and righteous God, for be not deceived, the only way to God the Father is through God the Son, and it is only those who are born of God the Spirit that are with, in and of God the Son. The word of God, the Bible, bears witness of these truths. So, if you say that you are in the faith, Memorial Day could not be a better day to examine yourself to see if it is so.

If you are not in the faith, Memorial Day is your day, your time, to remedy that sad, sad situation. Yes, it is a sad thing if you are not in the faith. Those who are not in Jesus Christ are not experiencing abundant life, the so many great blessings, life everlasting, peace without understanding, forgiveness of sins, spiritual riches that will last for eternity. Who could despise so great a salvation? Furthermore, those who are not with Jesus Christ are against Him. Despite whatever religion or good morals, ethics or works you might possess, all men have sinned, and thus all men who are not with Jesus Christ are sinners. If your life ends without you being reconciled with Jesus Christ, on judgment day you will be counted as a sinner, at war with a God who is loving, but also holy and righteous and for these reasons is bound by His nature to combat all sin and overcome it. If you are a sinner, dear friend, this means you, and by the power, glory, majesty and awesome wonder of God that is continually displayed through His creation, it is self-evident that it is a fearful thing indeed to fall into the Hands of a God who is at war with you because of your sin condition!

So I entreat and implore you right now, end your state of enmity with God! Surrender now! And cast yourself on His Son, on the cross that His Son was sacrificed for sins! Turn away from your sins and beg, plead for forgiveness! Do not fear or fret, because Jesus Christ has promised that whoever comes to Him in sincerity, fear, humility, trembling and penitence, HE WILL NOT TURN AWAY! For it is not God’s will that ANY should perish, and Jesus Christ CAME NOT TO JUDGE BUT TO SAVE! Now be not deceived, when He comes again it will be to judge sin, but when He came the first time, it was to save men from the judgment of sin! So seek the safety, the shelter, the refuge of the only One who can give it to you. That One is Jesus Christ.

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Posted in Bible, Christian Persecution, Christianity, faith, Jesus Christ, persecution, religion | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Why We Should Preach The Gospel To All Men

Posted by Job on May 27, 2011

Exodus 7:1-5 is a passage that I find fascinating.

And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. 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. And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

As for “See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh”,  I am not going to touch that text with a ten foot pole. It is not that this text is unimportant, for it is, and has a meaning in this context and in the larger narrative of the interactions between Moses and pharaoh and the Exodus from Egypt. Instead, it is that I simply do not know with a certainty what the text means, and will not pretend to. I will say that this statement is part of why I find this passage to be so engaging, but not the majority part.

Instead, this passage shows us the primary reason for evangelism. Despite what we often believe, indeed what we want to believe, the primary purpose of evangelism is not to convert poor sinners. Again, the primary purpose of sinners is not the conversion of the lost! And that, dear Christian, is precisely why we should not submit to the oft-cited justification for God-dishonoring (i.e. deceptive, abusive, or man-exalting) evangelism tactics, or for having people holding church offices that do not meet the Bible’s qualifications for them: “See how it wins people to Jesus Christ!” If we make winning converts the chief goal of evangelism, and evangelism the chief duty of the church, then so long as converts are being made, anything goes, the “greater good” is being served, and the ends justify the means, right? Well, this passage, this early Old Testament passage from the Torah, reveals the error in that thinking, and the excuse-making and dissembling based on it!

In this passage, God tells Moses to go preach to Pharaoh. The message preached to Pharaoh includes God’s identity – the God of Israel, the God of Israel, and yes Moses did use the Divine Name, YHWH or Jehovah, in the course of stating His identity – and God’s commands, which is to be believed, submitted to, and worshiped according to the manner that God instructs. Also, though this passage does not contain it, the message given to Pharaoh contained a warning of judgment that would come to him and his nation if he responded with disobedience out of faithlessness, or unbelief. Moses and Aaron told pharaoh that regardless of his belief and obedience or lack thereof, God’s purposes would still come to pass, and God’s people would be saved, and those who were not God’s people would be judged for their wickedness. Further, God told pharaoh through Moses and Aaron (maybe that is the meaning of … oh never mind!) that the word being preached to him would be verified with signs and wonders. So, make no mistake, the message that God told Moses (and Aaron) to reveal to pharaoh was a protoevangelism, a prototype or type of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Moses gave to pharaoh a message that was the forerunner of the gospel of the Prophet like Moses who was to come, the message that the church has carried and borne within itself through trials, temptations and tribulations ever since. From this, we can assert that evangelism that omits the identity of God (as not only Saviour but Lord and Judge), the deliverance from sin (which requires repentance), the horrible judgment on those who reject the message out of disbelief, and that this message is verified by the great miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, a fact attested to by above 500 eyewitnesses, is not legitimate evangelism. How could evangelism that actually contains less than the word of the Lord that Moses gave to pharaoh over 1000 years before the coming of Jesus Christ be legitimate, and what excuse is there for withholding any portion of the word that Moses did not other than our possessing a sinful shame and offense towards the word of God because of our love for this present world that Moses did not have, so much so that Moses rejected the pleasures of the Egypt in order to suffer many things in God’s service (Hebrews 11:24-27) ?

Now even the mere fact that Moses preached a type of the gospel to pharaoh is sufficient to fascinate the mind and stir the soul. But wait … there’s still yet more! What is really amazing is that God told Moses in advance that pharaoh would not listen! “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart … but Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you.” So, God told Moses to preach the gospel to one whose heart was hardened! God told Moses to preach the gospel to one that Moses already knew was not elect! God told Moses to preach the gospel to one that was reprobate, and would not be saved! One whose God’s heart had hardened, was irrevocably lost, and as a result had no more chance of believing the gospel than did the son of perdition, Judas Iscariot. Like Judas Iscariot, it would have been better for pharaoh had he never been born. Make no mistake, without faith it is impossible to please God, and faith comes not from man but from God, a gift of the sovereign Holy Spirit given to those that God the Father has elected unto salvation before the foundation of the world. Pharaoh’s heart, hardened by original sin, was going to remain that way despite the preaching of the gospel to him because it was not in the decree of God that pharaoh was one who would be saved.

So, the question must be asked: why preach to a man like this? Is that not a waste of time and effort? Now, the easy answer to this is “We are supposed to preach to all people because only God knows those that He has elected to salvation, and we are not to attempt to act in God’s place by presuming to judge and know who He has elected and who He has not.” While this is 100% factual in general, in this case it is not so, for God had already informed Moses of pharaoh’s state! Again, God informed Moses in advance that pharaoh would not listen, and sent Moses to preach the protoevangelium to pharaoh anyway! Despite the fact that he was going to “fail” (with respect to the attempt to get pharaoh to acknowledge the revelation of God, repent of his sins and obey the revelation), God sent Moses anyway!

And the question is why? Does God set people up for failure? And if God sent Moses to deliver His word, can the Word of God fail? Does not the Bible say that the Word of God does not return null and void, but instead will accomplish the thing that God purposes (Isaiah 55:11)? How can that be true in this case? The answer is simply this: God did not sent Moses to preach the gospel to pharaoh so that pharaoh could be converted. God’s purpose in having Moses preach was not man. It was not pharaoh. Instead, God’s purposes in having Moses preach was God. It was so that God would be glorified. This purpose is hinted at in this specific passage with “And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD” but is given more explicitly later, when God states that through judging Egypt and accomplishing Israel’s exodus, He would be glorified before pharaoh, before Egypt, and before the world!

Make no mistake, this passage establishes convincingly the truth that we preach the gospel primarily to glorify God, and that God is glorified whether converts result or not. Indeed, when converts do happen, God receives the double honor and glory, for God is glorified by the preaching, and God is glorified by the conversion, particularly since it is God who accomplishes conversion and not man. The notion that we evangelize chiefly to win converts is man-centered doctrine and practice and must be abandoned.

The notion that we evangelize primarily to glorify God is Biblical truth, which is God-centered doctrine and practice, and must be internalized by every Christian. And once we realize that the primary purpose of evangelism is to glorify God, then we can no longer suffer God-dishonoring methods and God-dishonoring people or institutions with our support and acceptance. We will also no longer compare the apparent, temporal “success” of the God-dishonoring tactics and people with the true spiritual fruit of those who labor according to God’s will and thereby glorify Him! Should we mock God in the service of exalting the cause of saving man, and then claim that God is served, glorified and pleased by the saving of man? God forbid!

Though man, being the work of God’s Hands, is very precious to God, God is more important than man. Though man has great value, and it is a terrible thing for a man’s soul to be lost to eternal torment, the value of God far exceeds the value of not only each individual man, but the collective value of all men that ever lived and ever shall live! God is more valuable than His creation, and it is the chief duty of God’s creation to obey and glorify its Creator! Suffering practice that dishonors God and leaders who disobey God rejects this truth of Biblical revelation in favor of the lie that man is more important than God, or equal in rank or value with God, and it is the duty of God, that God is somehow beholden, to conform Himself, to lower Himself, to humble Himself, and accept whatever man chooses to give Him. If this is the case, then why did God reject the offering of Cain, and what was His basis, rationale, or justification for it? How could God have been just in His rejection and judgment of Cain? How can God be just in His judgment of anybody? God forbid that this should be the truth!

Instead, the truth is that Jesus Christ the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Jesus Christ! The truth is that God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth. This means that our evangelism must not and cannot be to us-ward with the chief goal and end being man and his salvation but to God-ward with the chief goal and end being God and His glory. That was why God sent Moses and Aaron to preach a type of the gospel to pharaoh, and that is why God’s Son has sent His church to preach the fulfillment of the gospel to every creature. We must first reject the false teachers who claim that the gospel is for some and not all – which apparently is an aberrant unscriptural form of Calvinism that Charles Spurgeon and William Carey contended against in their day – and then reject the leaven who claims that winning converts justifies the corruption in the message, the evangelist and the institution! Please recall that Jesus Christ said that many who will perform evangelism and do many other great works in His Name will be counted as goats and cast into eternal flame (Matthew 25:31-46 with Matthew 7:21-23). The goats are those who do perform work, but as the man-pleasers do, and not in spirit and truth. They are double-minded, calling on God but seeking to please man. As a result, they are disobedient goats, not obedient sheep.

To glorify God, Christians, all Christians no matter their age, sex, race, class, status, church office, etc. must share the gospel oft, and do so in a manner that glorifies God by submitting to God through obedience. It is those who are the true laborers in the harvest of the Lord. So, fellow Christian, I urge that you would pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers into his harvest, and also that you would be counted among those labourers that He sends!

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, I urge, entreat and implore you not to respond with unbelief and rejection as did pharaoh, for if you do, you will receive pharaoh’s reward, which is horrible judgment. Indeed, where pharaoh’s punishment as recorded in Exodus was bad enough, as it was a punishment in this life, it was only a type of the punishment to come, which is exceedingly grievous and eternal in its duration! Do not follow after the folly of pharaoh! Instead, repent of your sins, believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved. Follow the link below to find out how.

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Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, evangelism, Jesus Christ, orthodoxy, orthopraxy, Reformed, religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Does The Media Focus Only On Harold Camping?

Posted by Job on May 26, 2011

Yes, Harold Camping has been exposed as a false prophet, deceiving many as concerning the timing of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Again. Yes, his deception has caused lots of problems and unnecessary harm, especially for his followers. Again. The question is this: what is the big deal? Why has Camping been the subject of such media attention for months when there are so many pressing stories to cover i.e. wars, famines, diseases, natural disasters, economic failures, political intrigues etc. on a global scale? Clearly the media has an agenda, but what is it?

First off, for the sake of sound doctrine, let it be known that the return of Jesus Christ will not occur until A) the gospel has been taken to all nations and B) a great apostasy, a great falling away from the true faith, occurs. As the great commission is a primary duty of the church, it logical to conclude that the falling away will occur shortly after the great commission is fulfilled, or when the great commission’s fulfillment and with it the time of the Gentiles draws to a close. Anyone who extricates themselves from rapture watching and religious right (or religious left) politics long enough to pay attention to the global missions movements knows that barring a fantastic miracle we are at least 100 years from fulfilling the great commission (the 10/40 window alone is an amazing challenge) and – despite the claims of Camping otherwise – far from there being a great falling away, there are more Christians – or definitely appreciable numbers of Christians in more places – today than at any time in history. So, if we can learn anything from this Camping episode, it is that we should heed the words given by angels and recorded by the physician Luke at the direction of God the Holy Spirit “why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” That was an exhortation to cease waiting for eternity and to get on with the business of living for eternity by loving Jesus Christ and walking in His ways.

With that out of the way, let it further be said that the error of Camping does not undermine the authority of the Bible, Jesus Christ or His church but rather confirms it. How? Because the Bible repeatedly warns against false teachers, including those who would lead people into error concerning His second coming. Jesus Christ said that “false prophets shall deceive many” in Matthew 24:5, and that many will be offended by the true faith in Matthew 24:10. Such false teachings were present even while the New Testament was being written, as the apostle Peter referenced them in 2 Peter 3:4, the apostle John did the same in 1 John 2:18, and the apostle Paul did the same in 2 Thessalonians 2.  Further, Jesus Christ predicted such specifically in Matthew 24:4-5! The New Testament makes it clear that we identify false teachers when they teach things that are in contradiction to the Bible. This truth is what drove William Tyndale to martyrdom, when he stated “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!” in response to being told that common people didn’t need to be knowledgeable concerning the Bible’s contents, because it was better to obey the pope than the Bible anyway. So, in rejecting Jesus Christ when He stated that none knows the timing of His return save God the Father (Matthew 24:36), and in rejecting Jesus Christ when He stated that the great commission will be fulfilled before He returns (Matthew 24:14) and in rejecting the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of Paul concerning the falling away first in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, this Camping teaches against things concerning God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and by his doing so and attracting so many followers he verifies the pages of the New Testament when it said that such a thing would happen. So, Camping did not harm the authenticity or integrity of the Bible by being wrong, but rather verified the Bible’s truth! Instead, Camping’s being RIGHT would have been an occasion to challenge the veracity of the Bible, for were Jesus Christ to return before we reach the many tribes in the 10/40 window or while there are tens of millions of believers risking persecution to worship in Africa and Asia, what would be said of those Bible texts?

So, make no mistake, there is nothing special about Camping. Was not just over ten years ago when there were tons of false prophets claiming based on Bible codes and numerology that Jesus Christ was going to return in 2000? (Never mind that the Bible doesn’t follow our modern calendars, and that Bede almost certainly incorrectly calculated the date of the birth of Jesus Christ that we use for “B.C.” and “A.D.” anyway). Or about 25 years ago Jesus Christ was going to return because it was 40 years after of the establishment of the modern state of Israel? (Never mind that Jesus Christ spoke “this generation” to the Jews of His own time concerning the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., and if the Bible actually does speak of the restoration of the political nation of Israel, it does not link this event to any timetable concerning Christ’s return.) So why all the fuss and the furor? It has to serve some sort of media agenda.

Consider this: how come when the subject in view is Usama bin Laden or some other Muslim terrorist, the media is quick to say “he isn’t a real Muslim” or “he doesn’t represent mainstream Islam that is practiced by hundreds of millions of peaceful followers”, but the media is quick to depict Camping as being in or near the mainstream of evangelical and fundamental Christians? In truth, as Camping rejects the Holy Trinity, he shouldn’t be classified as Christian at all. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Jews all reject the Holy Trinity, a core foundational doctrine of Christianity that sets it apart from other religions that are either polytheistic or present a false teaching on God’s Unity. But while the media does its best to present Islam and increasingly Mormonism as moderate and mainstream, it uses Camping to create a wild eyed, dangerous fanatical face for Bible-believing Christianity.

Another thing: it isn’t as if Camping is the only false prophet or source of wrong information. Far from it. It is just that when so many others get things wrong and are exposed for their false, anti-Biblical thinking, nothing is ever said about it. Instead, the media, the academy, the elites simply move on. (Or they carry on as if the error was never made.) Consider liberal Christianity, such as the critical “scholars.” Barely a year goes by when an archaeological find of a Biblical site or a scientific breakthrough that confirms Biblical truth or discovery of early manuscripts verifying the existence of historical persons, places and the integrity of Biblical texts that the critical scholars challenged, yet the critical scholars are still accepted as scholars, and their methods – which would never be used in any other field because of their ascientific nature – accepted as reliable.

But that is just the Bible, right? Wrong. Take psychology. The theories of giants in that field like Sigmund Freud and Alfred Kinsey have long been discredited. Yet they are still revered as having made great contributions to science, modern thought and human progress, and furthermore their discredited theories are still being taught as fact in our schools and universities. But psychology, save when it is based on experimentation and observation and does not deal with brain’s biology and chemistry, is a “soft science”, right? Sure, except that the theories in the hard sciences like physics and biology turn up erroneous also. Our schools still teach the long-discredited false leads in evolution theory, i.e. the “evolutionary timeline tree chart” that has long been abandoned as unworkable, and fossils allegedly showing primates evolving into humans that were actually either diseased humans or other animals as fact. You would be surprised to know how many of the things that were taught in science class has been quietly abandoned, how much more needs to be pushed from the classroom, and would be if the media held that community to the same scrutiny that it does evangelical and fundamental Christianity.

But that is just arcane science that has little relevance to our daily lives, so what harm does it do? Fine, except that the realm of false prophets also exists in government and policy. Many fantastic, dire predictions have been made and influenced the direction of governments and leaders to who knows what ends. Example? Global warming. Except that they couldn’t call it “global warming” anymore when many places in the world started experiencing prolonged unseasonably cold weather! So, the cause of the cold weather was attributed to greenhouse gas emissions also and “global warming” became “climate change.” I remember a specific prediction from the global warming prophets that had a lot of people frightened: after Hurricane Katrina and other large, powerful destructive hurricanes in 2005, the global warming community (the “climate change” moniker had not yet been instituted) claimed that the increase in the power and severity of the storms were caused by global warming, and that we could expect worse storms – and more of them – thereafter. They predicted that the hurricane season of 2006 was going to be one of the worst in history! All their models said so! What happened? We haven’t had anything approaching Katrina since.

Another example: peak oil. The experts a few decades back claimed that we had maxed out our oil production, that we had exploited the main reserves, that oil production was heading for an inevitable decline, and that we needed to alter our lifestyles and change our way of life to conserve what oil was left or face a global energy crisis. A few years after those dire predictions, some of the largest oil reserves in history were discovered, as well as technological breakthroughs for accessing oil, and possible new sources of oil, such as from shale and sand. (Do not mistake me for an oil company and fossil fuels advocate, quite the contrary I am fully supportive of alternative energy, and believe that a lot of great technology in that area is not being exploited.) And there was also the “overpopulation crisis.” It was promoted by folks who believed that if the world’s population reached 4 billion, it would become unsustainable, and the result would be mass famines and starvation, diseases, wars and environmental degradation. The only solution was immediate global population control programs! Well, now the world population is 6.75 billion and counting.

There is more. Remember when mad cow disease was going to ravage our food supply? Oprah Winfrey said “I’ll never eat a hamburger again!” (Of course, these folks OPPOSE abstinence from fornication as a defense against sexually transmitted disease as the Bible commands, but constantly promotes abstinence from eating the animals that God gave us dominion over and called lawful to eat.) Remember when bird flu was going to kill thousands, or tens of thousands? What about swine flu? Brought to you by the same false prophets who told you to run out and buy cellophane and masking tape to protect yourself from a nuclear terrorist attack after September 11th.

The prophets told us in the 1980s that AIDS was going to wipe out a significant portion of the U.S. population with little or no regard for lifestyle, and needless to say they were wrong, as AIDS rates only increased among homosexuals, the promiscuous and drug users while declining for everyone else. The lead false prophet was surgeon general C. Everett Koop, who used this false information to promote sex education and condom giveaways in schools starting in 3rd grade. Speaking of sex education, the false prophets told us that it would drastically reduce the venereal disease and teen/out of wedlock pregnancy rates, and it did neither. Instead, both shot through the roof, and further there are now new venereal diseases that even condom manufacturers acknowledge their products are useless against (not that you will ever hear that in any public school sex education program).

But wait, there’s more. The prophets told us that abandoning classical education for new education reforms (often based on Freudian or Marxist theories) would lead to markedly improved results and a transformation of society. They were totally wrong, American academic achievement has fallen off the map, and no one talks about it. The prophets told us that divorce and illegitimacy were GOOD for women, children and even most men, but education, poverty, drug use and incarceration rates say otherwise. The prophets claimed that we could eliminate racism through education. How is that working out? They claimed that we could eliminate poverty through government action, and now not only is poverty still a reality (as Jesus Christ said it would in Mark 14:7, not a favorite text among liberal theologians!) but unprecedented numbers of people in America and worldwide are reliant on government assistance of some kind. The false prophets also claimed that the triumph of Soviet communism was inevitable, and the best course of action was resignation, acceptance and learning from and becoming more like them, only to have the Soviet Union collapse and many remaining Marxist regimes like China and Viet Nam adopt more capitalistic economies. Those who predicted that the war on drugs and the war on terror (especially Afghanistan and Iraq) could be effectively and quickly won? Whatever happened to them?

The sociologists who said that eliminating censorship laws and allowing the free trafficking of pornography would make us more progressive and improve relations between the sexes? They have been nowhere to be found as rapists, child molesters and other sex criminals have proliferated, multiplying like rats. The social theorists who claimed that putting criminals in jail wouldn’t lower crime rates because the root causes were economic? Wrong, and verified when crime rates still remained lower despite two severe recessions and deep cuts in social services. (Well, street crime is lower anyway. White collar crime, the rich in their vain attempt to sate their lust for greed, remains through the roof. But the Bible said that this would happen concerning the wealthy also … see the book of James, which is not a favorite among political conservatives or those who teach the false prosperity gospel.) And another example: remember Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s claim that we had to immediately adopt a stimulus package to keep unemployment from hitting 8%? Unemployment has been at or near 10% for over two years! Anti-Christ? Probably not. False prophet? Definitely.

So, on one hand you have ONE Harold Camping, who again due to his rejection of the Holy Trinity and of many Bible texts (he forbids his followers from fellowshipping in local churches in violation of Hebrews 10:25) should not be considered a Christian is a false prophet. On the other hand, you have MANY worldly prophets who due to their embrace of ungodly, anti-Biblical ideas, doctrines, philosophies and imaginations that exalt themselves against God (2 Corinthians 10:5) that are utterly, totally and completely wrong all the time. Now both groups of false prophets are wrong for the same reason: their rejection of Biblical revelation as true, infallible, inerrant, and the final authority in all matters, and not merely things necessary for salvation. But the media and the elites shine the light on Camping to defame and discredit Christians who actually do adhere to the Bible while doing their best to cover up the fact that they so wrong so often on so many issues to the great harm of so many is appalling. It is hypocrisy at best, and a conspiratorial cover-up at worst. If anything, talking about Camping gives them an excuse to keep from having to address the huge mess that these folks have made of the economies, governments and societies of the world. Further, it allows them to transfer the blame from their failed policies – and the rejection of Jesus Christ and the Bible which reveals Him ideology that motivate them – to Christians, as if Christians are undermining their efforts.

Christians, for instance, are blamed for illegitimacy by opposing sex education. Christians are blamed for AIDS by opposing homosexuality. Christians are blamed for poor educational performance for opposing evolution. Christians are blamed for global warming for opposing climate change legislation. Christians are blamed for the wars and tension in the Middle East for supporting Israel and not a Palestinian state (by the way, I reject Zionism, and “Christian” Zionism is especially repugnant to what the Bible actually says, and John Hagee and not a few other false prophets follow this flawed school of interpretation). Christians are called misogynist for adhering to what the Bible says about the roles concerning men and women in the church, in marriages and homes and in society, and for opposing the murder of abortion. Christians are blamed for “Islamophobia” and “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Mormonism” for refusing to deny that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and accused of undermining cultures with our missionary work. And the list goes on and on.

And it is only going to increase. As more and more ideas based on a rejection of the Bible and even of general revelation (see Romans 1:18-32) causes still more decline and failure, anger will increase against Christians. As the world continues to reap the fruit of the sin and wickedness that it sows, it will increasingly see Christians as scapegoats. Instead of repenting of their sins and acknowledging those as the true source of the misery and calamity, the blame will be on Christians for failing to get with the program.

This will climax in first sporadic but then general and organized attempts to silence Christians and remove us from their midst, in the hopes of keeping us from hindering their “progress.” This is far-fetched, you say? Not in the least, because it has already happened. An example is not merely the brutal repression and murder of Christians on a massive scale in the Soviet Union, China, Germany, Sudan and other totalitarian (whether Marxist, Muslim or fascist) regimes in the last century, but the experience of the church in the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire’s wealth, power and culture were declining due to the decadence and incompetence of its ruling classes, and from Nero to Decius, they saw Christians as a scapegoat.

The legitimate Christians refused to join in their state religion (an odd mix of paganism and patriotism not dissimilar from what goes on in our country today, including in not a few churches) so the Roman “gods” were angry. The Christians refused to join in their public activities (regrettably this is not a mark of contemporary Christianity!) so they were called “divisive” and were accused of undermining the common culture (in addition to not being patriotic!) that was allegedly needed to have a cohesive, strong empire. And Christians preached and taught against the immorality, wickedness and depravity of the people, the rulers and the times. They preached against the rampant adultery, homosexuality, violence and child molestation. They preached against the wanton excesses of the upper classes (again, not a mark of contemporary evangelical Christianity, unless the upper classes in view are Hollywood, government bureaucrats and other liberal elites). And they preached against paganism, not only by the people but the official state religion (again, the evangelical Christian preacher who even speaks of the freemasonry and occult that was vital to this nation’s founding and has been influential in it ever since is rare).

Then, the persecution began as sporadic and localized, but climaxed in a brutal, sustained attempt to completely rid the Roman Empire of Christianity. And despite the estimated ten million Christians that were killed by the Roman Empire (something that you will never see mentioned in history books or depicted in movies, as they are more wont to depict Christians as murderous crusaders and the like) and the carnage of the past hundred years, that is only a shadow of the real bloodbath to come. You see, unlike Harold Camping, I do not adhere to a rapture belief. Instead, I believe the Bible when it says that when the anti-Christ comes, it will be given to him to make war against the saints, and to overcome them. I believe the Bible when it says that the time of tribulation, of great sorrows, will be of such severity that it will be cut short so that the saints, the elect, will survive it. And I believe that the saints that were mentioned in Revelation and Matthew 24 that will see that horrible time are not Jews, or those converted by Jews during the great tribulation, but Christians.

And that is what it is all about. That is why turning an obscure preacher with questionable doctrine into an international news story lasting several cycles was done. It is why Westboro Baptist Church, a cult that has existed for decades, is only now becoming international news. It is why Terry Jones, an obscure leader of a small congregation, became an international pariah for burning a Koran when not only Muslims but the United States military routinely burns Bibles!

It is why terrorists attacks committed by atheists like Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph are attributed to Christians. It is why violence against abortion clinics and doctors is an issue oft raised against Christians despite the fact that less than 5 such incidents have occurred in over 20 years, and only 1 in the past 10. The Hutaree militia drew headlines and a massive sting operation from the federal government as a Christian terrorism threat to rival that posed by Al Qaeda, and it turned out to be just a bunch of guys spinning yarns over the Internet.  Yet, the Marxist “liberation theology” types, not a few of whom were trained Soviet infiltrators, fanned the flames for any number of bloody murderous third world Marxist coups with their organizing and “preaching”, and the truth about their activities – and the level of support that they received from their ideological and religious fellow travelers in the U.S. – has never been documented by the media, Hollywood or our schools. Neither has the true history of our own “civil rights movement” – how it duped the black church and many well meaning white Americans into supporting Marxist subversive tactics, and how that movement was also organized by and rife with Soviet agents and sympathizers – been told, and nor can you expect them to spill the beans on their own false prophets.

The agitation propaganda against Christians will continue in the future just as it did in the Roman Empire. Christians should be heedful of the times, which means that we must be aware of what is going on, aware of where it is headed, and aware of whose agenda it is serving. That is why Christians should end these “battles” over “being represented in Hollywood” and the “culture wars” and “religious right politics” (and religious left politics) in favor of opening our eyes to the true state of affairs. Instead, we should study our Bibles, study about the early church during its time of persecution before Christianity was co-opted by the Roman Empire so that by learning about the church’s past, we can learn about the future – our future. Of course, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ will win in the end and vindicate and save His church. But make no mistake: just as Jesus Christ suffered Gethsemane and His passion before His resurrection and glorification, the church, being less than its Master Jesus Christ, must also suffer many things. Christians must be prepared so that we might stand during the time to come, and endure to the end. This is a battle that will be won not by guns, money or governments but by faith in the God who is fighting on our side and prevail.

It must be asked: which side are you on? The side of God, or of the wicked? Though Camping was wrong, his error only proved the Bible to be correct. The Bible makes it clear that the wicked perish and that Jesus Christ and those who believe in Him will triumph. If you do not believe in Jesus Christ, make no mistake, you will be counted among the wicked, because no matter how good you perceive yourself to be, before a holy and perfect God you are a sinner. I urge you, repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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Limited Atonement Or Universalism? Romans 4:25 Means That You Must Choose!

Posted by Job on May 26, 2011

Most Christians believe that the atonement of Jesus Christ was universal, for all. Some believe that the atonement of Jesus Christ was for those given to Him by God the Father via divine election. The Christians who adhere to the majority view, then, must deal with Romans 4:25. This verse speaks concerning our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Now “delivered for our offences” means the atonement of Jesus Christ. Again, if you reject limited atonement (or the form of this doctrine that is more palatable to contemporary human sensitivities, “particular atonement”) in favor of universal atonement or unlimited atonement, then you believe that Jesus Christ was “delivered for the offences” of all mankind.

But there are two problems with this. First, Romans 4:25 does not say that Jesus Christ died for the offenses of all! Instead, it says that Jesus Christ died for “our offences!” Who is in view with “our”? Romans 4:24 makes it crystal clear: “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.” Further, the several preceding verses speak of righteousness imputed to Abraham, and that this righteousness is likewise only imputed to those who believe in Jesus Christ. Thus, the by context the “our” in Romans 4:25 is the believers only, and the text makes it clear that it is the sins of the believers only that Jesus Christ died for.

While that is a considerable hurdle – the plain explicit statement and meaning of the Bible text that precludes other interpretations unless one changes the meanings of the words or opts for some symbolic, allegorical or spiritual interpretation – it actually may not be the biggest issue with universal atonement doctrines that Romans 4:25 presents. Instead, this is posed by “and was raised again for our justification.” Now the “and” that appears in this translation is not a conjunction that was absent in the original language but added to the translation for clarity and readability, as is often done. Instead, the “and” is explicitly there in the Greek by way of the word “kai.” And “kai” is not merely “and” in the sense of a trivial, coincidental or weak relationship, but it is also often translated to be “both”, “likewise” or “indeed” indicating to things that must be taken together, such as one being dependent upon another, or one being a logical consequence or conclusion of the other. So make no mistake: the “our” of the atonement in Romans 4:25 is the “our” of the justification, with the atoning act in the former being the death on the cross, and the justifying act of the latter being Christ’s resurrection of the dead.

Now those of us who believe in limited atonement interpret this text consistently, meaning the “our” in “Who was delivered for our offences” and the “our” in “was raised again for our justification” refers to the same group of people. We hold that the same people for whom Jesus Christ died for, the faithful and elect, were the same ones for whom Jesus Christ was raised for and justified. However, universal atonement or unlimited atonement interprets this text inconsistently. For them, the “our” of the atonement is everyone, and the “our” of the justification is only those who believe by faith. Moreover, where limited atonement makes the death and resurrection, the atonement and justification work, as a unity as the text of Romans 4:25 states (remember the explicit “kai”) AND the gospel narratives clearly bear witness of (Jesus Christ NEVER separated His death from His resurrection) universal atonement separates them. Where unlimited atonement views the cross as making salvation possible for all and the resurrection as justifying only some, limited atonement views the cross and the resurrection as saving AND justifying some. Limited atonement makes atonement and justification the result of the same act in eternity – the decree by God the Father to send God the Son to effect salvation – where universal atonement makes atonement and justification the result of separate acts in creation, where the death of God’s Son was one act for one group and the resurrection of God’s son was another act for another group (or more accurately a subset of the larger group which benefited from the first act).

This dichotomy, this separation of the atonement and justification, of death and resurrection, cannot be supported by the text of Romans 4:25. It cannot be supported by the gospel accounts, especially the teachings of Jesus Christ. And it also cannot be supported by the epistles. With that being the case, Romans 4:25 is not an issue of universal atonement versus limited or particular atonement among those who believe that not all will be saved (as the Bible plainly declares, with Judas Iscariot being the most explicit example, the one whom Jesus Christ said that it would have been better for him had he never been born and called the son of perdition who was lost). Instead, the issue is whether the universal atonement described by the first phrase results in a universal justification given in the second phrase. The Greek text of Romans 4:25 leaves no other option, and neither does the context. If the “our” in view is all people, then “all people” are children of Abraham, which means that “all people” believe, which means that “all people” will be justified.

Please do not view this as seizing upon a single verse for the purposes of advancing a doctrine, for as mentioned earlier, the joining together of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection is done in many times in the Bible, both prophesied in the Old Testament and borne witness of in the New Testament. So what is it going to be? Limited atonement or universalism? Romans 4:25 permits no other option. And as the Bible clearly declares universalism to be false (again, as Judas Iscariot is the prime example among humanity) you must repent of your sins and have faith in Jesus Christ to benefit from His death and resurrection. If you have not, I urge you to do so now!

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Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, Jesus Christ, limited atonement, Reformed, universalism | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Which Is Easier To Say?

Posted by Job on May 26, 2011

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This [man] blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. Matthew 9:2-7

I have three observations from this passage.

1. Jesus Christ saw that this man had faith and then acted. Thus, faith was prior. This contradicts the curious doctrine held by many Reformed or Calvinistic believers that regeneration precedes faith. Now this doctrine has some merit, but only from an eternal viewpoint, from the perspective of the transcendent God who exists outside of time. This transcendent God chose His people, the ones who would be saved, from before the foundation of the world, and when He did so, it was done. Those people were considered saved, spared the wrath to come, and nothing could be done to nullify or revoke this fact. However, the eternal viewpoint is not the only viewpoint. God is not only transcendent, apart from time and creation (denying this, making God a part of creation, is the bedrock of so many false religions) but immanent with respect to creation, meaning that God does maintain a presence in time-space – indeed this presence is omnipresent – and sustains it (denying this is deism, among many other false systems), and then there was immanence par excellence by way of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. So while the salvation of the elect was an accomplished matter as soon as God decreed it before the foundation of the world, the regeneration of human beings happens at a specific time and place that God has also decreed. Compare this with the death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the elect on the cross. That Jesus Christ would do this thing was decreed by God the Father in eternity before creation was accomplished. However, God also declared that accomplishing atonement would happen by way of His Son’s entering space-time, dying on the cross at a specified time and place in a manner that fulfilled prophecies from earlier times and diverse places, and being likewise raised from the dead. Though this act accomplished salvation for all the elect regardless of time, the cross nonetheless happened at a particular time. It would be therefore be improper to say “the atonement preceded Jesus Christ going to the cross” if for no other reason than the Bible’s specifically stating otherwise. In like manner, this example shows that one cannot say that regeneration precedes faith. In this text, Jesus Christ saw that faith already present in the man, and forgave his sins. Though faith is not of man but of God, a gift of the Holy Spirit sovereignly bestowed upon the elect according to the decree before the foundation of the world of the Ancient of Days, who is God the Father, this example shows that the Godhead is glorified by the Holy Spirit’s first giving a person faith and then accomplishing the work of regeneration that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross made possible. (I am aware that people were regenerated by the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament prior to Jesus Christ’s atonement, with the deathless ascensions of Enoch and Elijah being the chief examples, but this was based on looking forward to the atoning act that Jesus Christ would accomplish at a particular place in time. Even in these cases, regeneration did not precede faith, and as the epistle to the Hebrews conclusively lays out, atonement did not precede the cross.)

2. Though “regeneration precedes faith” is a doctrinal aberration adhered to by some Calvinists, Reformed soteriology is also confirmed by this text. For at what point did the paralytic man exercise his free will? At what point did this paralytic man ask for his sins to be forgiven and to be saved? This paralytic man did have faith, mind you, and this faith was in whatever relevation of the Person of Jesus Christ that he had access to (for the Lord was not yet lifted up on the cross for sins, nor had He yet risen from the dead). But make no mistake: he came to Jesus Christ expecting to be healed! Even if he presumed that his paralysis was due to sin on his part (and the Bible makes it clear in the book of Job and when Jesus Christ healed the man born blind in the gospel of John that such is a false assumption!) the text and the context of this episode does not reveal that this paralytic had the priestly role of Jesus Christ in mind when he sought the Christ’s aid. It should also be noted that even the unbelievers in this episode did not challenge Jesus Christ’s ability to heal this man, but to forgive his sins! So, this man went to Jesus Christ expecting to be physically healed and thereby fulfilled his human responsibility of exercising his God-given faith (though this faith existed in the context of limited human knowledge) and when Jesus Christ being sovereign God saw that the faith given by the sovereign God the Holy Spirit was present in this man, Jesus Christ acted sovereignly, of His own initiative, unasked and uninvited (this man did not “ask Jesus Christ into his heart” or “say a sinner’s prayer”!) to save this man from his sins! And when the sovereign God acted in this manner, the paralytic had no say in the manner. He could not reject, refuse or undo it, nor could he truly even consent to it! This text, this example clearly demonstrates unconditional election and irresistible grace.

3. Point 1, that regeneration does not precede faith, and point 2, that unconditional election and irresistible grace are true doctrines, should inform our evangelism. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God says God the Holy Spirit in Romans 10:17. Regeneration happens when – in accordance with the time and place chosen by the Ancient of Days – one who has been elected unto salvation and given to Jesus Christ in eternity but from the temporal perspective is unregenerate encounters Jesus Christ through the preaching of the gospel, receives the gift of faith from the Holy Spirit, and is saved by the work of the Holy Spirit. Romans 10:14 asks us rhetorically “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” The Holy Spirit does not give faith apart from the preaching of the gospel, and the Holy Spirit does not regenerate in the absence of this faith.

Yet, the gospel is oft not being preached! A form of the gospel, perhaps, but not the gospel. The gospel of good works is often substituted where we try to draw people to Jesus Christ by being good, loving moral people so that we won’t have to use words. The Roman Catholic Francis of Assisi did say “preach the gospel, and use words if necessary”, but that is not Romans 10:14 or Romans 10:17. Also, a gospel of politics and social action is offered up to draw people to Jesus Christ, whether it is the conservative one of opposing abortion and homosexuality or the liberal one of relieving poverty and opposing political oppression. Yes, the Bible speaks of morality and justice on a personal and societal level, but those are in the interests of revealing God’s attributes and nature to mankind, and accepting only some of God’s attributes and not God Himself is but idolatry. Yet, these and other such flawed, distorted gospel presentations, which amounts to either Christless evangelism or evangelism that presents a false Christ, are common, even dominant.

Why? Well the answer is given in the text. When Jesus Christ presented the gospel – presented Himself in His priestly role and His divine prerogatives that bore witness to His identity as God in the flesh – what happened? He was opposed. He was hated. He was rejected. He experienced trials and persecution. “And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This [man] blasphemeth.” And the same thing happens to us when we present Jesus Christ as God who is not only Savior but Lord and Judge! That is what happens when we tell people that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and unless we repent of our sins, believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation and love Him by keeping His commandments! We experience opposition! We face persecution!

Now instead of accepting what the Bible says when it tells us that we will receive opposition just as Jesus Christ did, that we will be scorned and rejected just as Jesus Christ was, because He is our Master and the servant is not greater than his master, we decide that the problem is either us or the message. We decide that if we are experiencing opposition, it is because something is wrong with us and we need to change. We decide that if we are experiencing rejection, it is because something is wrong with the message and the message needs to change. So, in order to gain carnal acceptance, we take Christ out of the message. When we deny that Jesus Christ is the only way, we deny Christ. When we deny that true repentance means turning away from sins and living in obedience to Jesus Christ, we deny Jesus Christ. When we deny that God alone saves us, and not works or membership in a church, we deny Jesus Christ. And when we deny or omit the reality of eternal judgment and damnation for sinners, we deny Jesus Christ.

And why do we do this? Go back to the text. “For whether is easier, to say, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?” We do it because it is easier! Again, the scribes who persecuted Jesus Christ with their blasphemy in this episode were willing to accept Jesus Christ the teacher, because there were many teachers. They were willing to accept Jesus Christ the prophet, for there had been several prophets. They were willing to accept Jesus Christ the priest, for there were many priests. They were willing to accept Jesus Christ the king, for there had been several kings. They were willing to accept Jesus Christ the miracle-worker, for there had been miracle workers. What they were not willing to accept was Jesus Christ as God, as the one God, as their God! Had Jesus Christ merely been willing to be accepted, He could have just healed the man’s paralysis and ignored that man’s sin. For what? So that man would have been well and whole and therefore able to walk into the lake of fire for eternity instead of being carried there? Is that what would have been in that man’s interests? How? Or had Jesus Christ merely been willing to avoid rejection by His own people and persecution, even the death on the cross, He could have just overthrown the Romans and been made emperor of the world with Jerusalem as the capital and Israel the chief people. After all, didn’t Satan offer Jesus Christ the very same deal during His temptation in the desert? But the people would have enjoyed the earthly benefits of Jesus Christ’s imperial rule during their lives only to be cast into the lake of fire after they died, because no atonement would have been made for their sins!

So, Jesus Christ didn’t just take the easy way in merely presenting Himself to this man as his Healer, a role that He knew that the faithless unelect would accept Him. Instead, He presented Himself to this man as his God, a role that He knew would be rejected by the faithless and the reprobate! Jesus Christ took the hard way! He asked “Which is it easier to do, forgive his sins or heal him” and did the hard part, which was promise this man’s salvation at that time, and then be the personal guarantor, the personal surety of that salvation when He went to the cross later! But now, so many of us who presume to speak and teach in Jesus Christ’s Name despise the hard road that Jesus Christ took for the easy road. Which is easier to say? Repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ lest you perish for eternity? Or “I am pro-life?” Or “I support family values?” Or “America is a Christian nation founded on Biblical principles?” Or “marriage was created by God to be between one man and one woman?” Or “I stand with Israel?” Or “no justice, no peace!” Or “help the poor, the orphans and the widows”? Or “judge not”? Or “let he who is without sin cast the first stone!” Or “we must be good stewards of the environment and of our bodies?” Or “God is love”? While Biblical support can be found for all of those notions (provided that they are given in context) the point is that they fall short of the message of Jesus Christ, and fall particularly fall short of the message of Jesus Christ crucified for our sins and resurrected for our justification! The message of eternal life and worship of God to those who believe, and of woe and sorrow exceeding for those who do not!

And why do we avoid persecution by saying the easy things instead of the hard ones? Because though we profess to love God first with all our heart, soul and strength as the chief commandment requires us, the truth is that we love ourselves more. Because we love ourselves more, we love the world and the things in it more. That is being double-minded, and the epistle of James reminds us that such a person will never receive a thing from God, and that includes the free gift of salvation. So, Christian evangelist, I urge you to make your calling and election sure. Get off the easy way and take the hard way. Bear witness of the true Jesus Christ with the true gospel today, and do not withhold Jesus Christ and the gift of faith from your fellow man because you value yourself so much than you value your fellow man. If you are unwilling to experience persecution to liberate your fellow man from sin and death by preaching him the gospel, how can you say that you love him? And if you do not love your fellow man, whom you see every day, how can you say that you love God whom you do not see? The Bible asks the same question and you know the answer. Do not blaspheme Christ by saying that which is easy! Glorify Jesus Christ by telling the world the truth of Him.

If you have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, I urge you to do so right now.

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Posted in abortion, abortion rights, Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, evangelism, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ, Reformed, religion | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Salvation By Works Manifesto

Posted by Job on May 3, 2011

I, a person who wishes to be justified by works always, desires to A) receive credit for the good that I do while B) exempt responsibility for the evil that I do. The “good” that I do? That is all me, done within myself out of the goodness of mine own heart, or at least the good sense to choose heaven over eternal damnation. At the very most, God provided a good example, or a means, for me to express my inherent goodness.

But the evil that I do? Well, first of all, mys evil works are VERY exaggerated. And who are you to speak of my evil works in the first place. That is JUDGING. That is self-righteous phariseeism. Judge not lest ye be judged! Take the log out of your own eye before worrying about the speck in mine! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

Besides, it isn’t as if I have HURT anybody. Or even if I did … there were extenuating circumstances! And she had it coming! What about what SHE did to me! Who cares about what I have been through? About MY feelings? About MY pain? In light of those things, who are YOU or anyone else to tell ME to go and sin no more? Or to stop sinning or else an even worse thing will happen to me? I know that I am a good person!

How do I know this? Well, I evaluated myself on my own scale that I built for myself that fits only me. If I put YOU on that scale, then YOU will be found wanting, because I am all to aware of YOUR sin. But when I am on it, my faults are minimized and my faults are glorified! Right?

And I am no innovator, here. Instead, the instructions for building this scale has been transmitted down through the generations. It came to me from Eve herself. When Satan told Eve that if she were to eat from the forbidden tree, then she would be as God, knowing good from evil. Well, it was based on my own personal knowledge of good and evil obtained through my own self-will that I constructed this scale.

After all, it is not as if I am a partaker in this “original sin” business. You see, I am basically, intrinsically good. That is why I am justified by my works. All of my good works are mine, and Jesus Christ came to shine the light on my good works, so that all the world would know that my ways are good. That was why Jesus Christ did not die in my place. No, Jesus Christ died as my moral example, as my role model! I am in Christ and identified with Christ, but only in purpose and example. I do not need to die to self daily, or to be crucified with Christ, buried with Christ and resurrected with Christ because I have no indwelling sin identity or nature. I have no old man. I have no “flesh.” Those things that Paul and the New Testament writers spoke of were mere literary metaphors and figures of speech of that day. After all, haven’t you been acquainted with “the new perspective on Paul”?

So, my sins are not truly “sins” at all. They are just mistakes, errors, lapses in judgment, that result in not any lack of sanctification, but instead a lack of good moral and religious training and application. In this sense, I suppose, it can be said that when I sin, “the devil made me do it.”

And my sins are only against myself and against other people. I am perfectly capable of forgiving myself, atoning for myself, and the people that I have hurt are simply whining, complaining, and need to learn how to forgive lest they go about in their own personal hells, torments of their own creation. The idea that my sins are against a holy, perfect God? I am not acquainted with such things. Aren’t you aware that the leading theologians and homileticians of the day have convincingly defined sin as a societal problem, a social ill? Leading figures in psychology, psychiatry, medicine, economics, government, physics etc. all agree, and how can this faith that you claim to have received from the saints stand against this overwhelming body of evidence? You say that it is the faith of the apostles, but the apostles were mere men, and the Bible was written by sinful men whose hope is in their works as was I. This thing about how the Bible is inerrant because it was co-written by the Holy Spirit, and can be uniformly, consistently interpreted and understood? Well, if that is true, then why are there so many Christian denominations?

And you have failed to grasp the greatest thing, the great genius and beauty of salvation by works. Who gets to define good works? I do. Who gets to define bad works? I do also! Sure, I do have guidance. I have the Bible, a treasure of moral instruction. I have my church, a stately institution that has endured for many an age. And I have my pastor and many exhorters, upright men and women all. All of those provide me with much insight as concerning good and evil. But from these sources, I can pick and choose as I please.

So, over the balance of my life, I can declare myself to be righteous. Because I have rejected the Bible’s claim that God is constantly watching me, evaluating my actions for good and evil, I am able to declare most of my deeds to be amoral, neither good or evil. You see, because I have rejected the Bible’s statements that God is evaluating my heart, and that my actions are the result of my heart, I am able to say that most things that I do, say and think are to no effect for good or evil. Most of them are merely passing time, chance occurrences and daily living, with no effect on anyone for good or ill. This is so because I declare it to be.

This is not to say that I never do good works. I do many such good works and deeds. What is it that makes these works good? Why my own evaluation of them as good. If I say that my works are good, then God is obliged to accept them. Do I not have the right to make this determination based on my knowledge of God from being made in the image of God? Does not the Bible say “ye are gods”?

I say the same regarding my evil works. I decide which of my works are evil according to my own value system. I also decide the severity of my evil works. I generally decide that positive number and positive value of my good works outweigh the negative number and value of my evil works. As a simple illustration, I do 5 good works a day and assign them 5 good points each, and I do 3 evil works a day and assign them 3 evil points each. This means that I daily come out ahead. This is how I examine myself to see whether I be in the faith. On the rare occurrences when my evil points outweigh my good ones, that is when I seek out a religious service of some sort, a pastor of some kind, who is capable of being my mediator before God and asking redress for my sin. I go before the altar and pray, I sing spiritual songs, I am extra generous at the offering plate, and I volunteer for some religious work of spiritual benefit, especially among the poor, the sick or children. That eases my guilty conscience and brings me back to a positive balance. Is that not the message of the epistle of James … faith without works is dead?

Do not be mistaken, I do have faith. I have faith that Jesus Christ makes my salvation by works possible. Jesus Christ made it possible for me to believe in myself! Is that not true religion, that which causes one to be true to oneself, to find oneself? Did not Jesus Christ come in order to teach and show me the true revelation of myself? Is not believing, serving and fearing one’s self, keeping one’s own commands, the whole duty of man? And is this not true righteousness, for does God not dwell with man, inside man, and man’s institutions? Did not God have respect for Abel’s offering because Abel had knowledge of himself, and rejected Cain’s offering because Cain lacked this enlightenment, this knowledge of self, this self-fulfillment that comes through salvation by works? Cain murdered his own brother! Clearly the mark on Cain was the mark of one lacking self-esteem! So, you see, if you could just learn to interpret the Bible correctly, you would see the message of justification and sanctification by good works everywhere! And it the same message attested and shared by the common witness of a great many world religions, great enlightened moral teachers (is that not what a prophet is, but someone who speaks in his own name of himself bearing witness of his own self-worth and enlightenment) like Muhammed, Buddha, Maimonides, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi, Joseph Smith, the Dalai Lama and so many popes and saints. It has influenced so many movements, from the social gospel to the family values religious right. No matter your race, religion, ethnicity, nationality or creed, you have the power and authority to define your good works and be saved by them. Is that not “binding and loosing”?

I am not known by my works. I am known by my definition of my works. Through my own definition of my self by my own evaluation of my works, I learn to know myself according to my own system of knowledge. That is self-discovery, and that is the means and the end of salvation.

So, this is my manifesto.

Authored by ME
Signed by ME
Witnessed by ME
Attested by ME
Approved by ME
By the power and authority invested in ME
To the pleasure of ME
To the glory of ME

Posted in abomination, Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ, salvation, soteriology | Leave a Comment »

Salvation By Works Is Cultural Legalism

Posted by Job on May 2, 2011

Though the theological reasons for why salvation by works is unattainable are numerous, there is one practical reason that is often overlooked both by religions that teach salvation by works (Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, liberal and “moderate” Christianity streams which promote pluralism and inclusivism) or various “faith plus works” salvation formulas (Roman Catholicism, some strands of Pentecostalism)  is that there is no single, universal standard for good works. Incidentally, this is also a problem for Christians who advocate works-based sanctification.

Consider as an example the conversion testimony of one John Bunyan. He records that he began the road to salvation when being convicted of guilt of a host of sins, including bell ringing. When I first read this, I was stunned and assumed that “bell ringing” must necessarily be some colloquialism for sinful or riotous behavior in the vernacular of his time. But upon further reading, it appears that Bunyan was in fact troubled with guilt over his love for ringing church bells for amusement!

Now granted, there may be some context here: perhaps Bunyan listed this as part of a pattern of behavior that he indulged in because of his tendency to live for his own amusement absent self-control or Godly purpose, and in that sense it went along with his love for drinking at bars, cursing and partying. Still, when one considers that a large portion of the contemporary Christian population is not averse to entertaining itself with R-rated movies (and similar music and books) filled with profanity, swearing and blasphemy, violence, nudity and sexuality, and subversive/rebellious themes, it makes the very idea that anything untoward would be associated with ringing church bells amazing!

And that is an oft-overlooked dilemma in “salvation by works.” The fact is that the definition of “good works” and also “evil works” is often defined by man (if only in part) and as a result changes according to place and time as man and his culture changes. But God does not change! Though God is full of patience, grace and mercy and may deal with different men in different ways according to His prerogative, the fact is that God’s attributes remains the same, and those attributes include His perfect holiness and righteousness. So, while being able to please some man-made religious system in one context or another will require different levels of righteousness, different acts of righteousness, and different amounts of tolerance for unrighteousness, man’s pleasing God will always have the same standard, which is faith in Him through His Son.

It simply can be no other way. Practices that are abhorrent, brutal and backwards according to some cultures and religions are embraced by others. Even in today’s world where intercontinental travel and mass communications has resulted in some form of “leveling” of cultural acceptance, such things as cannibalism, bestiality and incest still goes on in some cultures. Even in our own culture, some things that were considered very sinful or shameful a mere generation or two ago are now not only deemed as fine, but have been embraced by not a few churches! So, how is it possible to articulate a works-based salvation or sanctification in this reality?

The answer: one cannot and should not. Instead, salvation is of the Lord. Renounce salvation by works and instead put your faith in trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation today. Click on the link below to understand and begin this process.

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Redemptive History (Rap) – Good Shepherd Band Christmas Sing-A-Long 2010

Posted by Job on May 2, 2011

ClearNote Church From http://www.baylyblog.com/2010/12/christmas-rapping-redemptive-historical-style.html
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in Jesus Christ | Leave a Comment »

 
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