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Archive for the ‘false religion’ Category

T.D. Jakes Exposed For The Heretical Liar That He Is And What It Means For The Church

Posted by Job on January 26, 2012

All right folks. I said that I was going to give this online discernment ministry thing up. The first reason was that there were too many false teachers and doctrines to keep track of. The second reason was that based on my interactions with those following these false preachers even after their unBiblical scandalous doctrines and behavior had been exposed that folks were going to believe what they choose to believe anyway. The third was that I had felt that I had adequately addressed the issue with the 3 years of blogging that I did dedicate to the topic. The fourth was that I felt that the best way to combat error was with the truth, so I decided to take this site in a more exegetical direction. And the last of those was also chosen for practical reasons: I no longer have the time to answer comments and interact with people that I did back when I made exposing false teachers so writing about scripture’s meaning and application seemed to be a superior use of time (and yes I do need to get back to writing about the Bible).

But the T.D. Jakes issue is timely right now due to Jakes’ recent appearance at a respected evangelical event of some estimation where he was “interviewed” by Mark Driscoll, where the topic of Jakes’ rejection of the Holy Trinity was discussed. Now I don’t mean to attack anybody, but one Christian blogger quickly proclaimed Jakes’s statement satisfies me that he is a Trinitarian and that we should celebrate that Jakes has joined the Trinitarian camp. (Which, er, makes all his time as a false preaching modalist heretic and the people that he deceived during that time “ok” I guess. The truth is that at best he was an unregenerate false teacher when he was in the pulpit before, and even if he believes in the Holy Trinity NOW and is born again NOW, he has no business in the pulpit. His previous experience and service is worthless, and he needs to take his place in the pews learning from an actual Christian pastor. Otherwise, we can go get Jewish rabbis, Catholic priests, Buddhist monks, Muslim imams, and liberal “Christians” who perform homosexual “marriage” ceremonies and put them into the pulpit immediately after they say a salvation prayer.)

Another Christian blogger made a similar – though more guarded – statement: “By far, the session that was most anticipated was the one in which T. D. Jakes was asked to clarify his position on the Trinity. Thankfully, he did so – though perhaps not in a way that would satisfy all of his critics. I believe we should celebrate his affirmation of the truth that there is one God in three Persons.”

The problem with doing so: Jakes own words on the Holy Trinity in the past and present. Now, here is a link to the transcript of the Elephant Room session, judge Jakes for yourself. But what follows is MY evaluation.

Part 1: I used to follow T.D. Jakes. Now … not so much. Without calling him a liar (while actually, you know, calling him a liar) allow me to propose that just because Jakes says something does not make it so. So … just because Jakes says that he believes “One God three Persons” DOES NOT MEAN that we should take it at face value. Jakes has been “less than forthcoming” on many issues in the past, so he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Just because Jakes is in the pulpit and calls himself a Christian does not mean that we should believe what he says. So no, listening to what he says and being “satisfied” requires a presumption that he is telling the truth, a presumption that he does not merit. Does that sound harsh, the bitter words of someone who has “church hurt” as it is called? Well keep reading.

Now in one context I can be SYMPATHETIC to Jakes’ views because I don’t like the wording or terminology used by the Cappadocian fathers myself. But this unease with the Cappadocian formulation needs to be addressed by someone other than Jakes. Why? Because Jakes has been known to be less than honest with the truth, and not merely on this issue. Recall that when Jakes was first challenged on the Trinity doctrine by Christianity Today, he submitted a modalist doctrinal statement that he insisted be accepted as Trinitarian!

Do not take my word on this: another ministry came to the same conclusion, that Jakes was dishonestly trying to pass off modalist heresy for orthodoxy. When challenged on it, he dissembled, claiming that his views on the Trinity were adapting and growing, that he was studying and learning more about it, and how Christians need to stop all this infighting and arguing about such things as minor differences in phraseology and get to the weightier matters of the kingdom, and such excuses for retaining and defending heresy as “these things are too mysterious to be comprehended or explained.” Jakes even resorted to race-baiting, stating “Christians will never agree on every theological issue any more than the colors of our skin will all suddenly match.” So, if Jakes was a liar and a demagogue on this Trinity issue in the past,why should we presume that he is any different now? What has changed to make us presume that Jakes has changed? Especially since he is still preaching heresies in other areas, such as the prosperity doctrine and trying to pass off ecstatic babbling done by mystics in many false religions as “speaking in tongues”?

Part II: From the transcript, it really does appear as if Jakes is fine with “persons” in his Trinitarian statement so long as “persons” is synonymous with “manifestations.” Basically, he says, “well, so long as I can call a ‘person’ a ‘manifestation’ then I am Trinitarian.” He says “My doctrinal statement is no different from yours except the word” – and Driscoll finishes his thought – “manifestations.” What he says next is a amazing.

“Manifest instead of persons. Which you describe as modalist, but I describe it as Pauline. When I read…let me show you what I’m talking about…when I read I Timothy 3:16 – I didn’t create this, Paul did.” And then he goes onto the time-honored modalist lying techniques from the pit of hell: “I think it’s important that we realize that our God is beyond our intellect. And if you can define Him and completely describe Him and say you are the end-all definition of who God is, then He ceases to be God. Because the reason Paul says it is a mystery, is that we deify the fact that God does things that don’t fit our formulas. And because people’s formulas and understandings of a description of an unbiblical God did doesn’t make them demonic.”

Let us go to his abuse of I Timothy 3:16. Yes, the King James Version that many oneness pentecostal liars claim is the only translation – and I used to be KJV-Only myself, and still today am KJV-Preferred, but not because of the translation itself but the texts used to produce the translation, as I believe text criticism used to produce the new manuscripts is a false science – reads “manifest” as its rendering of the Greek word  phaneroō. But other versions translate phaneroō to be “appeared” and “revealed!”

Another thing: phaneroō’s definitions: “to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way.”  So, rather than being a “mode” or “state” or “relationship” after the doctrines of the oneness heretics (for example, as water has a liquid, solid and gas manifestation as water, ice and vapor) phaneroō’ in this context merely meant how God was shown to men! That is revelation, after the same manner that the Greek word apokalypsis was used in Revelation 1:1. Paul could have just as easily used apokalypsis instead of phaneroō!

Further, according to the definition, what can phaneroō “reveal” or “manifest”? A PERSON! It is right here in definition 1d in a common Bible lexicon placed online via BlueletterBible.com:

1) to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way

a) make actual and visible, realised

b) to make known by teaching

c) to become manifest, be made known

d) of a person

1) expose to view, make manifest, to show one’s self, appear

e) to become known, to be plainly recognised, thoroughly understood

1) who and what one is

Jakes is exposed as a liar by exegesis of the very text that he used to claim that he was telling the truth! In this Jakes fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 10:2, which reads “The wicked in [his] pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.”

Now the dictionary entry makes the Cappadocian utilization of “Person” more justifiable in my mind and it who knows, the Cappadocian fathers might have relied heavily on 1 Timothy 3:16 when they formulated their Trinity doctrine (which would make Jakes’ abuse of that text still more ironic) because that text refers to the revelation of the Person of Jesus Christ and not the mere exhibition of a mode of existence or relationship (and moreover this revelation refers to Christ’s existence being shown to the world; for phaneroō to have the meaning that Jakes claims that it does, THE TERM WOULD HAVE TO REFER TO HIS INCARNATION IN THE WOMB OF MARY, NOT HIS EXISTENCE AND WORKS BEING WITNESSED BY MEN, WHICH IS THE TRUE CONTEXT OF 1 Peter 3:16 AS WELL AS REVELATION 1:1, WHICH AGAIN IS WHY APOKALYPSIS COULD EASILY HAVE BEEN USED INSTEAD) but I confess to still uneasy with it. But the difference between me and Jakes is that JAKES IS LYING. That is the bottom line.

But you know what? This is not truly about Jakes anyway. The reason is that anyone who goes and clicks on the T.D. Jakes category on this blog will know why no legitimate Christian pastor should touch Jakes with a 10 foot pole, unless that pastor has been instructed by God to smite Jakes with it. Instead, it is about the people that are embracing him. It is one thing for the decadent TBN (who has their own tag) Pentecostal abomination to embrace Jakes, and please recall that it was TBN who made Jakes into an international figure. TBN is run by a man who paid off a TBN employee with whom he had a homosexual encounter with, and has since been sued by another man making the same charges. These charges and the many other scandals are commonly known by those who patronize that network anyway and … well now you see why I felt that there were better uses of my time than exposing people who have already been exposed because people simply do not care!

But now, TD Jakes is being embraced by the “more respectable” corners of evangelical Christianity as represented by (ironically named) The Gospel Coalition, which includes some of the most prominent pastors and theologians in evangelical Christianity today. Now of course, there was significant “debate” over inviting Jakes. The fears of those objecting were quite founded, as it resulted in Mark Driscoll, himself a very troubling personality, doing very much to rehabilitate Jakes, largely because of Driscoll’s own desire to push his false anti-cessationist doctrines into the Reformed/Calvinistic evangelical movement. Also, those who would have challenged Jakes rather than accommodate him were not allowed to participate.  But the fact that there was even a debate at all shows how far gone the evangelical landscape is! Having Jakes in the Elephant Room should have been as much a nonstarter as having Richard Dawkins or Pope Benedict!

And that brings us to the real issue: further evidence that the evangelical church in America is veering off the rails. (It is such times that even people who MILDLY stand against Jakes and his lies are the ones to be mocked, opposed and condemned.) Is the great apostasy, the great falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 upon us? This event is prophesied in scripture, and will come to pass. It is a very tragic development in and of itself, but 2 Thess 2:3 tells us that the great falling away is a precursor to – or more accurately a precondition for – the coming of the beast, the anti-Christ, the man of sin, which occurs during the great tribulation. It is my position that the church will experience this great tribulation, and not be raptured from or otherwise escape it, as many pastors and teachers propose. So as difficult as things are now for the church as evidenced by its willingness to not only suffer but endorse and promote such false teachers as Jakes, it is only paving the way for even tougher times to come. Christian, watch and discern the times. Pray. Be strengthened and encouraged in the Lord so that you will not be deceived, that you will resist temptation, and stay in the faith.

For those of you not in the faith, realize that the proliferation of false doctrines and those who gain wealth, fame and power by teaching them does not undermine Christianity, but rather is evidence that the Bible is true, for Jesus Christ Himself and His apostles predicted that such a time as this would come thousands of years ago; Christ referred to men such as Jakes as ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing. That many will follow such people is evidence that narrow is the gate that leads to salvation, and wide is that which leads to destruction!

Enter into the narrow gate. Be saved in the Name of Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ. Follow

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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John MacArthur: The Modern Blasphemy Of The Holy Spirit

Posted by Job on November 11, 2011

http://gty.org

Posted in abomination, Bible, blasphemy, blasphemy Holy Ghost, blasphemy Holy Spirit, Christianity, faith, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, religion, Ruach Hakadosh | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

The Necessity Of The Holy Trinity

Posted by Job on October 26, 2011

Motivated at least in part by the current controvery over oneness heretic T.D. Jakes, (also here and here) please read two very good pieces on the importance of the Holy Trinity. Hopefully, this will help Christians understand that we are to separate with heretics, not dialogue with them.

On The Trinity: Part One – Hermeneutics

On the Trinity: Part Two – The Trinity, Central to Apologetics and Evangelism

Posted in anti - Christ, Apologetics, apostasy, Bible, blasphemy, blasphemy Holy Ghost, blasphemy Holy Spirit, christian broadcasting, Christian hypocrisy, Christian salvation, christian television, christian worldliness, Christianity, church hypocrisy, church scandal, church worldliness, corrupt televangelism, discernment, evangelical, evangelical christian, evangelism, false doctrine, false preacher, false preachers, false prophet, false religion, false teachers, false teaching, grace, interfaith dialogue, irresistible grace, Jesus Christ, Jesus Only, modalism, oneness pentecostal, oneness pentecostalism, orthodoxy, orthopraxy, Ruach Hakadosh, syncretism, TBN, TD Jakes, televangelism, trinity broadcasting network, unitarian, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Regarding The Absolute Necessity Of Sound Doctrine

Posted by Job on October 26, 2011

An excellent article by R. K. McGregor Wright. Please read link below.

Absolute Necessity Of Sound Doctrine

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

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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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.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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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

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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!

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Spiritual Warfare In The Parable Of The Sower

Posted by Job on April 6, 2011

According to many popular spiritual warfare teachers, a major battlefield for spiritual warfare (binding and rebuking demons) and warfare prayer or directed prayer (praying against demons, their areas of influence and their activities) relates to evangelism and missions. These doctrines teach that there are powerful demons opposing the spread of the gospel by acting not just against comprehension and acceptance of this gospel of Jesus Christ in the minds of individuals, but that they keep entire regions, population groups, nations etc. in spiritual bondage. Sometimes it is through false religions and sinful practices, other times it may be government officials working to intimidate Christians, stop the building of churches, limit the distribution of Bibles, etc. There is a huge body of evangelism and missionary literature available that deals with this subject, and many large, respected Christian seminaries and Bible colleges deal with this issue in some fashion or another, including offering entire courses related to it, including how to stage and support successful evangelistic revivals. So it begs the question: how Biblical are the doctrines involved?

To answer, there does not seem to be a wealth of Bible texts that depicts the assumption of this scenario: that there is this huge swath of people that would receive the gospel and be converted if only demonic opposition were removed from the way. This is not to say, mind you, that these references are wholly nonexistent.

Revelation 2 and 3

Revelation 2 and 3 speaks of opposition to the churches in the way of false religious doctrines and persecution that may be influenced by demons. See the reference to the blasphemy of the “synagogue of Satan” as well as the “tribulation ten days” attacking Smyrna. Pergamos being located “even where Satan’s seat is” (a reference to the church’s proximity to a center of pagan emperor worship) and the martyrdom of Antipas, and accepted the false doctrines of Balaam and Balac (idolatry/sexual immorality) and the Nicolataines.

Thyatira adhered to the Jezebel doctrines (idolatry/sexual immorality) which is referred to as “the depths of Satan”. Philadelphia is being persecuted and withstood by another reference to “the synagogue of Satan.” However, no demonic persecution is apparent regarding Laodicea, Sardis or Ephesus. Instead, those churches – and presumably their evangelistic activities – were being hindered by love of the flesh and its works thereof, and this was particularly the case with Laodicea, who fell in love with money, prestige and power.

Also, even the churches that did have problems with demonic influences, it appears that in some cases those problems existed because what the evil influences offered appealed to the flesh – the fallen natures – of the church members, and the churches yielded to the temptation not so much of the evil spirits as of the flesh. This appears to particularly be a problem with Thyatira and Pergamos. By inviting demonic problems with their own carnality, those two churches were really no different from Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus, in that the root cause of their problems was the carnality, not the evil spirits.

That is why Jesus Christ gives Thyatira and Pergamos the same remedy that He gives Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus: repentance and return to true worship of Jesus Christ in holiness, sound doctrine and Godly fear. One should also note that regarding the two churches that did not provoke demonic persecution with their carnality or spiritual immaturity – Philadelphia and Smyrna – Jesus Christ does not tell them to respond to the demonic tormentors with spiritual warfare, but instead tells them to be faithful in the midst of trials by relying on Him and on His work, His promises and His faithfulness (see Revelation 3:8-10 and 2:10)!

So, regarding the demonic opposition that rises up against missionary work (and everything else), from what Jesus Christ told the churches concerning this opposition, we can take the position that His position is the same as that of the Holy Spirit speaking to and through Paul concerning his thorn in the flesh (a demon that tormented him) in 2 Corinthians 12:9’s “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Rather than going into spiritual warfare/deliverance over their oppression, the church was to heed the next verse’s admonition: “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak , then am I strong.” So, rather than attempting to overcome this opposition with our own warfare tactics, we are to put our trust in the sovereignty and power of God to overcome them on our behalf for His glory. Our duty, then, is to be faithful to God by keeping His commandments.

Simon Magus

Another reference is that of Simon Magus in Acts 8-9. Using false religion akin to witchcraft and the occult, Simon Magus opposed the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Samaria. How was this demonic stronghold defeated? Not by spiritual warfare to bind it, or by directed prayer against it. Instead, Philip the evangelist simply kept preaching, and the Holy Spirit used his preaching to break down that stronghold Himself, and the Samaritans were converted. Demon spirits cannot withstand the power of God! Indeed, even Simon Magus believed the gospel! Though this Magus was not regenerated and went on to become a notorious opponent of the gospel and advocate of a gnostic syncretist system, even his form of belief – that lacked the power of Godliness – was evidence of the triumph of the sovereignty of God over against the works of both man and evil spirits.

The Whole Armour of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 is probably the most vital text to spiritual warfare/deliverance/directed prayer teachings. It reads:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand . 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

This passage may well seem to contain a treasure trove of spiritual warfare teachings, exhortations and methodology, especially if it is interpreted more spiritually than literally. Verse 11-12’s meaning, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places“, is impossible to dispute. However, the problem is that this passage is not quoted in its entirety when spiritual warfare teaches use it. So, consider verses 19 and 20, which complete the section and the thought.

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Recall that Paul is in a Roman prison for preaching the gospel at the time that he wrote this epistle. Rather than being some text on spiritual warfare that fails to reveal any warfare methods or practices and is of a sort that exists nowhere else in the canon of scripture, Paul was merely exhorting the church to preach the gospel, to pray for the spread of the gospel, and to pray for him specifically that he would not succumb to his flesh by allowing the persecution that he was experiencing (in jail) to cause him to either stop preaching the gospel, or even worse, to start preaching it in a way or manner that would minimize offense and better his situation.

Paul did reveal the truth that evil spirits were ultimately behind the spread of the gospel and his imprisonment, and that these spirits were the ones motivating the religious and political leadership to oppose Christianity in general and him specifically. But Paul’s purpose of doing this was to prevent his followers from using secular or temporal methods (i.e. political maneuverings or intrigue) to get him out of jail (recall that from Acts that Festus would have released Paul to the Christians had he been bribed) or overcome opposition to the gospel, but to instead rely on God. And, through the use of a military metaphor to make his words memorable (just as Paul used athletic metaphors for the same reason), Paul stated that this reliance on God and His will, being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might in order to stand against this Babylon system, meant possessing or exhibiting truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, salvation, and the gospel of peace (or of Jesus Christ).

Now had Paul simply written “go and be truthful, righteous, faithful, exhibit evidence of your salvation, preach the gospel boldly, and pray for yourselves and me also”, it would not been nearly as memorable, or as effective in the ears of the original hearers. However, it also would not have been the subject of such curious interpretations and applications as it has been through the years. One problem is that so many spiritual warfare teachers take this text as justification for their binding/rebuking/casting out doctrines and practices while ignoring what the text actually commands, which is truth, righteousness, faith, exhibiting fruits of possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A particularly great irony: Paul wrote this text specifically so that the church would not have temporal aspirations or use secular (or spiritual) means to get them, but instead to keep their eyes fixed on God and eternity. However, spiritual warfare teachers, particularly those in dominion theology, use this verse to mean that Christians should use spiritual warfare against demons that control government and religions for the purposes of asserting political, social and economic control over nations and ultimately the globe. So where the Holy Spirit spoke that text through Paul commanding Christians to be patient, faithful and reliant on God, this verse is being misapplied by men who misuse Christ’s Name while pursuing their own thirst for power.

The spiritual wickedness in high places will be overcome by Jesus Christ, and not by man, and yes man does include Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will overthrow Babylon, not the church taking authority, recovering the dominion that was given to Adam (for the dominion given to Adam transferred not to the church but to Jesus Christ!), overthrowing Babylon, and setting up its own rule in its place. Revelation does not depict the church defeating and overthrowing Babylon, but Jesus Christ returning to defeat Babylon! Recall that it will be given to the beast to make war against the saints and to overcome them (Revelation 13:7) and that Babylon will be filled with the blood of Christian martyrs. Only the return of Jesus Christ will save us from this. Evidence of this is how Paul did not apply this very same text used by spiritual warriors in their quest to take towns and nations for Christ in asking for his fellow Christians to so much as pray to get him out of jail! Instead, Paul ultimately humbly glorified Jesus Christ by dying the death of a martyr.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

This text is explicit. “But if our gospel be hid , it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”  This reminds us of Revelation 12:9, which says that Satan deceives the whole world concerning the truth of Jesus Christ. But what does 2 Corinthians 4 tell us to do about this sad fact? Not spiritual warfare to take on dominions, powers and principalities. Instead, there is merely a brief exhortation to confront this fact by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is curious that in the prior chapter, there is an apparent reference to the blindness of the Jews reminiscent of Romans 11. Both Romans 11 and 2 Corinthians 3 state that the ending of this blindness, the “lifting of the vail upon their hearts” as it is called in 2 Corinthians 3:11-18, will happen when God commands it. The King James Version text states that this will happen when Israel turns to the Lord, and Zechariah 12 supports this. Israel’s turning to God will not occur as a result of Christians binding and rebuking dominions and directing prayer towards them, but after the times of the Gentiles – as mentioned in Romans 11 – ceases. Just as the return of Israel from Babylonian captivity happened when the prophesied 70 years were completed, the coming of Israel to Jesus Christ will occur when the times of the Gentiles end, and this is a predetermined time known only by God the Father. Warfare prayers cannot open the eyes of the blind. Only the Holy Spirit can. The Holy Spirit does this in concert with the preaching of the gospel by drawing sinners, convicting them and opening the eyes of those Satan has blinded.

Parable of the Sower

This brings us to the parable of the sower of Mark 4:3-20, Matthew 13:3-23, and Luke 8:5-15. This parable is probably the best theological treatment of evangelism and missions in the Bible, and all of the apostolic teachings in the epistles, including Paul’s, merely expands on it, or enhances the Christology of it. Jesus Christ is the seed, for His gospel is the seed, and the legitimate gospel presents Jesus Christ Himself: it is Jesus Christ Himself through the reality of His existence, His teachings, His work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that is being sowed into hearts. Also, Jesus Christ is the sower, for it is the church, Jesus Christ’s own body, that preaches the gospel. For brevity, Luke’s presentation will be given.

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed , some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down , and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up , it withered away , because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it , and choked it. 8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up , and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried , He that hath ears to hear , let him hear . 9 And his disciples asked him, saying , What might this parable be ? 10 And he said , Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see , and hearing they might not understand . 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear ; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved . 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear , receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe , and in time of temptation fall away . 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard , go forth , and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection . 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Please note first of all that the gospel is not only or merely to be preached where the way has first been paved by spiritual warfare and directed prayer. Instead, the seed is sowed everywhere. The gospel must be taken wherever the Christian goes, and it should be preached for and to the glory of God in addition to the goal of converting sinners. It is not to be preached in some strategic, planned manner desired to produce the most or best results after the manner of some corporate marketing scheme or government program.

Quite the contrary, the sowing of the seed seems almost heedless or arbitrary. The sower is only concerned about sowing the seeds, and the sower then leaves the seeds to their own fate. The reason is that the job of the sower begins and ends with sowing the seeds. (Please note that we are speaking of evangelism only, not discipleship or fellowship.) Just as a human farmer planting corn or watermelon, he simply puts the seed into the ground and allows “nature” (not really!) to take over.

Sure, he may water it, fertilize it, and take actions to remove weeds, but none of those will make the seed grow. Only God (not “nature”) can make the seed grow! And the same as it is with evangelism. Directed warfare prayer does not convert people, only the Holy Spirit does. The only caveat is that for the seed to grow, it must first be planted, so for converts to be made, the gospel should be preached. So, efforts in binding, rebuking demons and praying against them should be redirected towards evangelism, whether personal or public.

Another consideration: of the four groups listed by Jesus Christ, which were the seeds that landed 1. on the wayside, 2. on stony ground, 3. among thorns and 4. in good soil, the works of Satan were only explicitly mentioned in one of those, the ones that landed on the wayside! Now Luke 8:13 does say that Satan does this in order to prevent people from being saved. But Matthew 13:19 states that this is made possible only because of the failure of the person to understand or comprehend the gospel! While this certainly reminds one of Hosea 4:6’s “many people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge”, the truth is that only the Holy Spirit gives one knowledge or comprehension of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states that the natural man cannot perceive or understand spiritual things, and that includes the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, binding and rebuking the enemy and directed warfare prayer will not result in the effectual opening of the hearts of the gospel, because this will not happen in a heart where the Holy Spirit is not active to provide comprehension of that gospel!

Now what of the other two groups who are not saved, meaning those among the thorns and those on the stony ground? The failure of these groups are not attributable to evil spirits, but of human nature: the flesh. Those among the thorns do not persevere because they prefer the riches and cares of this world. They are akin to Demas and the aforementioned Simon Magus. While it is true that Satan is behind the Babylon system that tempts men with its illicit pleasures, but going into spiritual battle against that system is to no avail when the issue is not the Satanic availability of the system, but the failure of man to resist it. Again, without the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not so much that Satan that man cannot overcome, but rather his own flesh that Satan appeals to with his temptations: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It was these things that Satan appealed to in order to cause the fall of Adam, and it was also these things that Jesus Christ resisted during His time of temptation in the desert. So, it is not the presence of Satan but the absence of the Holy Spirit that is the key here, and that is something that warring against devils will not fix.

The same is true with the other group, the one that falls among thorns. Though Revelation and other areas of the Bible make it abundantly clear that Satan provokes and controls the persecution of those who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, the issue is those who yield to this persecution because of the weakness of the flesh. The parents of the man born blind refused to testify to the miracle of Jesus Christ worked on their own son because they feared being put out of the synagogues. The gospels refer to many others who believed in Jesus Christ but refused to testify of it because they feared the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Of those like unto them, Jesus Christ said that those who are ashamed of Him in this life will not be saved on judgment day!) The epistle to the Hebrews was written to warn Jewish Christians that they could not be saved if they abandoned the faith due to persecution, and Revelation 2-3 (indeed the entire epistle!) was written for the purposes of encouraging Christians to endure persecution to the very end.

Falling away due to the cares of the world and falling away due to persecution are two sides of the same coin. One is more concerned with pleasing the flesh than pleasing God, and the other is more concerned with preserving the flesh than preserving the relationship with God, and both are of Esau in that they mortgage their future inheritance for much lesser benefits in the present. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives Christians comprehension of the gospel so that Satan cannot deceive them with a lie (i.e. false Babylon religions including atheism), and the Holy Spirit is also the One who seals Christians so that they do not yield to the pressure on their flesh that the Babylon system exerts either through persecution or enticement. So, in all three cases, spiritual warfare and directed prayer will not overcome the lack of Holy Spirit involvement concerning an unbeliever. Doctrines otherwise are those which place the erstwhile spiritual warrior in the place of God.

More Workers In The Vineyard

Now Jesus Christ did tell us to pray on matters concerning evangelism and missions. However, just as Paul exhorted Christians to pray for the protection and the success of the missionaries and evangelists, Jesus Christ instructed us to pray for more missionaries. Matthew 9:36-28 reads “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted , and were scattered abroad , as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Similarly Luke 10:2 reads “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Now the prayer was not that the works and workers of Satan would be thwarted and overthrown so that people could be saved. Instead, the prayers were for more workers for the harvest! Why? The key term is “the Lord of the harvest.” YHWH is the Lord of the harvest, meaning that He is utterly sovereign over salvation of men.

The term translated “Lord” in this passage, kyrios, means (in the context that is most relevant here) “about which he has power of deciding.” Do not be deceived: the number of those who will be saved and the identity of those who will be saved is known by God, decreed by God, and is set forth by God from before the foundation of the world (Mat 25:34, Eph 1:4). Otherwise, in what sense could YHWH be the Lord of the harvest? In that case, YHWH could be manager of the harvest. Or CEO of the harvest. But YHWH could not truly be the Lord, the complete and total ruler, of it!

Consider an illustration. If you are selling a product, the manager or CEO can run the operation of manufacturing and marketing the product, but he does not have the power to choose who buys. Even if he breaks down and destroys opposition to the sale of his product by driving all competitors out of business and overcoming tariffs and regulations (the business equivalent of spiritual warfare evangelism) the consumer decides whether to buy or sell or not. Because the manager or CEO, despite all of his efforts and talents, still does not ultimately determine whether his product is bought or not (or by whom it is not) he is not the lord of the marketplace, only a manager or CEO in it. But God, in His sovereignty, is Lord of the harvest. He is Lord of evangelism. He is Lord of missions.

Thus, the number of those who will be saved, set forth from before the foundation of the world, will not be reduced by the plans of Satan, for God’s purposes shall come to pass. His Word shall not return null and void, but instead go forth and accomplish its purposes! Also, this number will not be enlarged by the prayers and warfare of the saints. We are but God’s servants, not little gods with dominion over salvation and those who hold the eternal fates of men in our limited, flawed sinful hands. So, our role is to pray that more Christians would obey God by taking on the duty of active evangelism and missions so that God will be glorified by more people, and so that there will be a further division of labor.

So, the Bible clearly teaches that spiritual warfare missions/evangelism is to no avail. Instead, we should do what the Bible actually tells us, which is to pray for the salvation of sinners, pray for more evangelists and to be evangelists ourselves. In this way we properly apply the Biblical evidence, obey God and glorify YHWH who is the Lord of His harvest.

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, how does this relate to you? It is simple: you must repent of your sins and believe in the deity, virgin birth, atoning death on the cross for sins, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, you will be one of the seeds that did not land on good soil, and therefore lost to an eternal punishment in the lake of fire. But be encouraged: Jesus Christ promised that none of those given to Him by God the Father would be lost. So, one must take on their responsibility of believing in and confessing the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be saved in order to make their calling and election in Jesus Christ sure. Do this now! In order to do so, please click on the link below and:

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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Regarding Japan: Where Is God When Disaster Strikes?

Posted by Job on March 25, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. There Are No Innocent People

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

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

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

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

3. There Is No Evidence That God Causes Most Calamities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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

VeggieTales Versus Rob Bell: Not That Much Difference!

Posted by Job on March 24, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in Bible, child evangelism, Christian hypocrisy, christian worldliness, Christianity, church hypocrisy, church worldliness, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ, religion, religious left, religious right, universalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Hollywood’s False Messiahs: Conditioning The People For The Anti-Christ?

Posted by Job on March 22, 2011

Not so long ago, I shared in the evangelical notion that “Christians need to be represented in Hollywood so that we can be part of the mainstream and use it as a vehicle to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and be salt and light in the culture.” But that was before discovering on websites like Vigilant Citizen, Secret Sun and others what a freak show that industry is. (Babylon? Mystery? The great harlot? It’s all there!) Do not be naive … the Christian powerbrokers that are always whining about not being part of “the in crowd” and want a piece of the entertainment industry action for themselves know this stuff already and have always known. Yet, they demand to be included in this great evil, and even claim that it discriminates against them! And of course, they withhold from their followers – Christian followers – the truth of what this industry is actually about. As a matter of fact, they denounce Christians who do their level best to separate from this stuff and minimize its negative effects as small-minded, anti-intellectual dangerous extremists incapable of effectively conducting ministry “in the real world.” Well, is this the real world? What about this? And yes, this does include a ton of prominent gospel/Christian music artists and prominent preachers, who work with and are intertwined with Hollywood and media, especially behind the scenes.

The fact that mainstream evangelical Christianity would rather join with Hollywood than oppose it notwithstanding, there is one theme in major Hollywood films that seems to be curious: the false messiah. Please recall John 5:43, where Jesus Christ says “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” This refers to Jesus Christ’s rejection by the world as its true Messiah and Saviour, and the same world’s willingness to embrace false messiahs in His place. In the immediate term, Jesus Christ was predicting that Israel would reject Him and follow after such false messiahs who promised political liberation and a human kingdom as Simeon bar Kochba. Those false messiahs, claiming to have been sent by God and having God on their side, provoked the Roman Empire into destroying the temple and much of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and then to burn the entire city to the ground some 65 years later. Long term, however, Jesus Christ was referencing a series of false messiahs to come, culminating in the beast, the man of sin, commonly called the anti-Christ. How fascinating it is that Hollywood is using movies to prepare the way for the man of sin by releasing “entertainment” that conditions its audience for following him. Consider some examples.

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader of the Star Wars films.

“Star Wars” is the product of George Lucas, who apparently is an adherent to the theosophy belief system (which is a combination of religious philosophy and mysticism). Anakin Skywalker was born to a virgin slave woman, was prophesied as “the one who would bring balance to ‘the force'” (a dualistic non-personal energy), and after a period of “temptation” by “the dark side of the force” experienced a sacrificial death to secure the triumph of good over evil, and had a sort of “spiritual resurrection.” He also had a forerunner, a John the Baptist sort of herald who preceded him in a death by martyrdom in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Neo from “The Matrix” films.

“The Matrix” is a product of a worldview that is a combination of postmodernism, Marxism, liberation theology, eastern religions and gnosticism given to us by what used to be “The Wachowski Brothers”, but now consists of one Wachowski brother and another who underwent a sex change operation. (It’s like a freak show in your neighborhood! Freak show baby!) Neo saves mankind from an oppressive world order of machines (which stands for white people, technology, western culture, Christianity and capitalism) to bring in a new bohemian order. The coming of this “Neo” was prophesied by “the oracle”, who is a “goddess” figure that created him as an “incarnation” of herself to help her overthrow the (ultimately secondary) antagonist, “the architect”, a malevolent “god” figure.  The “god”, the “goddess” and the “messiah” wind up having to join forces in order to defeat their common threat, “Agent Smith”, a creation of the “god” who has become rogue, turned on his creator and become “Satan”, who wishes to create his own self-styled world order. This “Neo” was specifically not the product of human conception, but instead his physical body was the work of the machine order (“god”), and his mind/spirit, or soul, was the work of “the goddess.” In other words, Neo was “the goddess made flesh.” Morpheus served as the “John the Baptist” figure who paves the way for Neo. Neo dies and rises again (in the first movie), goes to a sideways underworld/hell (the second movie) and makes a final sacrifice of his life that secures the defeat of Agent Smith and a truce between the god and goddess (the last movie).

Sully from Avatar.

This is the product of the atheist environmentalist James Cameron, who saw fit to produce a movie that claimed to prove that Jesus Christ never rose from the dead. It combines Viet Nam and Iraq War allegories with promoting a generic synthesis of eastern, New Age and tribal animistic beliefs. In Hinduism, an avatar is the descent of a deity from heaven to earth, although it is more like an appearance or manifestation than a true incarnation, more akin to the theophanies of the Old Testament than Jesus Christ. However, since the introduction of Christianity into India, many Hindus have concluded that Jesus Christ was an avatar from their religion who appeared in Israel to provide spiritual and moral instruction and enlightenment, essentially assimilating Jesus Christ into their own religion. (In a more modern, secular sense, an avatar is a physical representation of an idea or personality. Note that many websites call the personalized picture that accompanies a username/account an “avatar.”) In this movie, the “soul” (mind/spirit) of Marine Jake Sully is placed inside a soulless alien body (which was created using genetic engineering in a laboratory, making the messianic figure not the product of natural conception) which “dies” (in a sense) when the soul of Jake leaves it but “lives” (or “resurrects” so to speak) when the soul of Jake returns to inhabits it. Sent on this mission to convince the (noble and enlightened) tribal aliens to abandon a tree that grows on top of energy deposits that just happens to be vital to the tribe’s Gaia-like cult, Sully instead converts to the religion, joins the tribe, makes his temporary and laboratory controlled “incarnations” permanent, and leads the tribe in an overthrow of the military-industrial complex invaders (who similar to “The Matrix” represent western, capitalist interests, our existing world order).

Aang from The Last Airbender.

Unlike the director of the other movies,  M. Night Shyamalan has a more traditional worldview and is old-fashioned by Hollywood standards in that he actually respects Christianity on some level (see Signs), has a negative view of the occult (see Unbreakable) and rejects postmodernism as it relates to evil (see The Village). Still, Shyamalan jumped at the chance to write and direct a movie that not only presents a false messianic figure, but aims its worldview at impressionable children. Adapted from a very popular Nickelodeon cartoon (and Nickelodeon was created and is owned by MTV Networks) it is an amalgamation of various eastern religions and philosophies, and depicts a world inhabited by humans, animals very similar to creatures described in various mythologies and religions, and spirits. Aang, the messianic figure, is an incarnation of the planet’s spirit component (i.e. an incarnation of Gaia). This Aang discovers that he is the prophesied avatar, and – reminiscent of the prophet Jonah – flees his spiritual calling and as a result winds up in the ocean during a storm. Aang “dies” when he is frozen in ice, is “resurrected” 100 years later, and as the last (or unique) representative of the “air nation” (analogous to  heaven) then defeats a penultimate evil threat: the lord of the “fire nation” (analogous to Satan and hell). Aang’s role is to ensure peace, harmony and world order, and as a human incarnation of spirit, he is a link or bridge to both.

It is amazing that these four films (or series of films), despite being made over the course of 30+ years by such diverse personalities and representing rather diverse genres can have so many common threads. It is rather difficult to imagine this being a coincidence.

  • All the films embrace eastern religions and philosophies.
  • All the films reject monotheism and organized religion in favor of a type of spirituality.
  • All the films heavily emphasize martial arts (i.e. karate, kung fu, judo, tai chi) including but not limited to swordsmanship. Make no mistake, just as Albert Mohler (and this own site) says about yoga, eastern practices like martial arts are part of the religion. So, the use of martial arts – often combined with other forms of weaponry and warfare, whether lasers in Star Wars or guns in The Matrix – makes the violent aggression in these messianic films entirely religious in nature, religio-military propaganda after the manner used to justify the Crusades, or in a more recent era the same religious-military propaganda used by axis powers of World War II (which included not only the occult militaristic religion of Nazi Germany, but also the state shinto religion of Japan) and the religious fervor whipped up by the George W. Bush regime and his enablers (no, it’s not just the Muslims who do it, not by a long shot!) during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
  • All either reject – or fail to depict – capitalism in favor of socialism, communalism, bohemianism, tribalism etc. (Star Wars, The Matrix and Avatar are particularly vicious towards capitalism.)
  • All heavily rely on receiving enlightenment, or some form of “secret knowledge” as opposed to relying on authoritative revelation.
  • All on some level contain elements of there existing some common, shared or “connected” mind or spirit among humanity.
  • NONE of these films are anti-war or pacifist in any sense, but quite the contrary. More on that later.
  • Despite the lack of theism or organized religion, faith plays a huge role, especially among the protagonists.
  • The films go out of their way to depict racial and cultural diversity and “gender equality” (and this was rather striking in the 1970s when Star Wars was made) among the protagonists (who represent the new world order) while – with the exception of “The Last Airbender” generally depicting the antagonists as white males (representing the existing world order).
  • In each, the antagonist represents or at least bears a striking resemblance to our existing world order, and the protagonist represents a new world order (that again, shares the common points mentioned). This is the case whether the antagonist is the existing authority that gets overthrown (i.e. the empire in “Star Wars” and the machines in “The Matrix”) or is acting as a usurper (i.e. the fire nation in “Airbender” and the militarized energy company in “Avatar”).

Please note: I am not a Eurocentrist, capitalism/big business/war (Viet Nam or otherwise) apologist, or conservative of any sort. Instead, these are simply common threads that unite these movies. Is this the shape of the common, collectivist based (in religious, economic, social and political terms) society to come? If it is, then Christians might have to consider the possibility that reordering global society to fit this worldview would be a massive undertaking that may take quite awhile to pull off. Be that as it may, these films – and others like them – are most definitely laying the groundwork!

But back to the main point: consider a key difference between the false messiahs in these movies and the true Messiah, Jesus Christ: where the real Messiah is the Prince of Peace, the false messiahs are gods of war. Consider what Daniel 11:38 says of the anti-Christ: that he represents the god of forces. With false messiahs, this has to be the case. The reason is that the real Messiah came to provide spiritual salvation; to save people from their sins by dying on the cross. Jesus Christ didn’t have to pick up a sword and kill anybody to accomplish His mission, because His sinless life in fulfillment of the requirements of the law, His death on the cross to pay for sins, and His resurrection from the dead defeated death itself!

Unfortunately, the world rejects this successful mission on the part of Jesus Christ because the world rejects the idea that it is sinful; that it stands inherently guilty before a holy sovereign God that is Ruler and Judge. To it, the Biblical concept of sin does not exist (a la Buddhism and new age) or one can earn salvation from whatever idea that they do have of sin through works (Hinduism and some forms of shintoism). Either way, it does not recognize a need for a Saviour from sins, and therefore the Person and work of Jesus Christ is irrelevant to its concerns and a foolish offense to its desires.

So, the messiah, deliverer, or cosmic superhero must play another role, which is to save people from their earthly situation as opposed to their earthly condition, and this condition is generally that of oppression, poverty, war, etc. Of course, the root cause for the situation is the same as is the condition: sin. But the refusal to acknowledge that the root cause of political oppression, economic exploitation, discrimination, wars etc. is the sinful condition of humanity requires the one promising temporal deliverance to do so by picking up the sword, taking the fight to and overcoming “the other side”; the oppressors that are perceived to be responsible for all the evil. And make no mistake: Revelation tells us that the anti-Christ will identify the church (and possibly the Jews) as “the other side” that is at least partially responsible for all the world’s ills (just as the early church was blamed for political, economic and social problems in the Roman Empire) and it will be given to this anti-Christ to make war against the saints and to overcome them. Christians will be the evil empire in Star Wars, the machines in The Matrix, the energy company in Avatar, and the fire nation in The Last Airbender and as such will be the targets of the beast’s murderous military, economic, political and religious aggression. This will be to the delight of the citizens of the earth, who will be cheering the anti-Christ on just as did movie theatre attendants at the exploits of Luke Skywalker.

This will be because the church (and perhaps also the Jews) will represent the old world order. It will also be because of the church’s witness! During this time, the remnant will bear witness that the anti-Christ is no true deliverer but a fraud, and that the real solutions are not his program, but rather turning away from sins in true repentance and submission to the true Messiah who is Jesus Christ. Needless to say, it will not be a message that the world wants to hear. Similar to the early Christians who were persecuted often to death for refusing to worship the Roman emperor, such ideas will be considered “unpatriotic” (a fact which should strike contemporary Christians that are politically conservative with no small amount of irony) in the anti-Christ’s regime.

It honestly does appear that with these sorts of movies, Hollywood is providing a picture of the man of sin, and paving the way for his appearance in the process. The good news is that though the church will endure the great tribulation at his hands when he does appear, Jesus Christ will return to cut short the days of the tribulation, defeat the anti-Christ and those who support him, and rescue and vindicate His church, and an army of His saints will return with Him. If you are saved through Jesus Christ, you will be a partaker in this great victory. If you are not, then your only portion will be defeat and joining the anti-Christ in the lake of fire, the second death. Abandon all hope in false messiahs, repent of your sins, and join yourself to the only one true Messiah today!

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Posted in abomination, anti - Christ, antichrist, apostasy, atheism, beast, Bible, big business, blasphemy, capitalism, Christianity, false religion, gnosticism, great tribulation, Hinduism, Jesus Christ, liberalism, liberation theology, man of sin, mark of the beast, media conspiracy | 3 Comments »

Should Christians Practice Lent?

Posted by Job on March 15, 2011

This is in response to a question received in the comments area.

It appears that as the ecumenical tendencies of evangelical churches increase, they are adopting more practices associated with Catholicism. While that is a worrisome trend in general, with regards to Lent in particular I cannot find anything with this tradition that transgresses New Testament teaching. It is also true that some Protestant groups have long had this ritual in their backgrounds. Anglicans, for instance, have traditionally celebrated Lent, as have Methodists and Lutherans. Presbyterians, by contrast, generally did not until recently precisely because of its Catholic origins. Other groups and traditions (i.e. Baptists) haven’t, but more so because they aren’t liturgical than because of its origins.

The question is whether the practice of Lent can be separated from the Roman Catholic doctrine of Lent. That is the same question being asked about whether a Christian should practice yoga or other traditions that come from other religions. Apart from the Catholic doctrines, Lent is simply fasting, and moreover fasting in honor of the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Certainly, there can be no law against such a thing! I have practiced fasting myself in the past, and will start back in the future, sometime later this year

However, my issue is this: if you want to fast, just fast. (And fast the way that Jesus Christ instructed us to in the gospels!) And if it is to be a corporate fast initiated by the pastor of a local congregation, and the members of that congregation touch and agree on it, even better still. Or if a group of Christians from one congregation or several congregations decide that they want to come together and devote themselves to a time of fasting and prayer without being led to do so by their pastor, again, against such thing there is no law. Indeed, such good works are praiseworthy. And we certainly should not avoid fasting during this time of year just because the Catholics are fasting.

However, in addition to avoiding Catholic doctrines regarding this ritual of theirs, what is the purpose of calling it “Lent”? Why not just call it a fast? If the reason is merely to emulate or show some sort of solidarity with Catholicism, then in my opinion, that is extremely problematic. The Bible verse that I would use is this: 2 Corinthians 6:14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” Now that verse is often improperly applied to marriage (when the opposite is true; instead the Bible states that a believing spouse can often be used by God to convert an unbelieving one, see 1 Corinthians 7:10-16). Instead, this scripture and its context obviously refers to not being in religious communion or fellowship with non-Christians. That means that we cannot and should not emulate their beliefs, ways, traditions and rituals. Of course, in this age of ecumenism, pluralism, diversity, tolerance and other forms of ecclesiastical indulgence and compromise, it is no wonder that this 2 Corinthians 6:14 is applied to an area where it was never intended (ironically, consider the evangelical Christian dating site equallyyoked.com!) and neglected where it actually applies, which is to not keep church company with false religions, apostates, heretics, cultists, and anyone else who is operating beyond the bounds of New Testament Christianity, which most certainly includes Catholics, who do not even use our same canon of scripture.

Along with the National Association of Evangelical’s outreach to Mormons, it is a sign of the times. But make no mistake, it is a time that people serious about 2 Corinthians 6:14 and scripture in general should not join! Again, if your Protestant denomination has a legitimate longstanding Lent tradition of its own apart from Roman Catholicism, that is probably legitimate. But if it is some new thing, some fad that people are joining themselves to, it is perfectly appropriate to ask “why” and turn away!

Posted in Bible, catholic, Christianity, false religion, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 32 Comments »

 
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