Archive for the ‘Jesus Christ’ Category
Posted by Job on October 12, 2014
Posted by Job on May 23, 2014
Cartoon Christian music video based on Ecclesiastes 12:13-4
Posted by Job on March 22, 2013
In the past, I have vehemently criticized the doctrine that regeneration precedes faith. The reason for this was my ignorance. I took regeneration to be another word for conversion in that it had the exact same meaning.
However, regeneration only refers to passing from death to life. It is what happened in the natural sense when Lazarus and a number of unnamed characters were raised from the dead by those such as Jesus Christ, Elijah and Elisha. Those natural regenerations were types, or prefigurements, of the spiritual regeneration that happens when a sinner becomes a believer. We can include the resurrection of Jesus Christ as this sort of natural regeneration, as Jesus Christ’s physical existence went from being dead to alive. Obviously, being the sinless perfect and pre-existing God and Son of God, Jesus Christ needed no spiritual regeneration of any sort. This is in contrast with Lazarus, who not only experienced natural regeneration after being dead four days, but being one born into original sin and having sinned – as the soul that sinneth shall die as Lazarus did – he needed to receive spiritual regeneration also.
The subject of confusion: being regenerated, being born again, is only part of the salvation process. The actual conversion process happens after regeneration. Further, the effectual calling occurs before regeneration.
1. Effectual call: this is when God (the Holy Spirit) calls the sinner to salvation. It takes place when the sinner hears the gospel. (Note: the providence of God must place the sinner in position to hear the gospel first.)
2. Regeneration: this is when the Holy Spirit raises the sinner from the dead.
3. Conversion: this is when the sinner receives faith from the Holy Spirit, believes the gospel of Jesus Christ and hence fulfills John 3:16, Romans 10:8-9 etc.
The effectual calling cannot and will not happen unless one has first been chosen (elected by God the Father unto salvation from before the foundation of the world). The regeneration will not occur until one has been called. And salvation occurs after regeneration.
Why must regeneration precede faith? I am certain that you have heard that “dead men tell no tales.” Similarly, dead men cannot have faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). How can a dead man have assurance or conviction? A secular dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” How can a dead man have trust or confidence of any sort in anything, let alone a complete and total one in the unseen God? A dead man cannot even have wishy washy confidence in the casket that he is lying in. Why? Because he is dead. He doesn’t even know that he is in a casket. He has no feelings, thoughts or emotions.
This is not a contrivance of philosophy or idle speculation, but a truth clearly taught in scripture. Consider 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.” Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” But that is Paul’s doctrine, right? Well from the words of Jesus Christ in John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Now John 3:3 is key. Seeing the kingdom of God or entering the kingdom of God is always used by Jesus Christ to refer to salvation. Always. So, Jesus Christ explicitly states that one must be born again before that person can be saved. Again, when Jesus Christ said “except”, He was making a condition. So, the condition of being saved was being born again. Regeneration precedes conversion or salvation. And take a look at Ephesians 2:8, which says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God.” Regeneration precedes salvation. Salvation comes by faith. Thus, regeneration precedes faith. It is clearly, explicitly taught in scripture.
The doctrine of regeneration precedes faith is considered to be a Calvinist distinctive. However, many non-Calvinists believe so also without acknowledging or admitting it. Many non-Calvinists believe that God makes a change in the sinner that allows the sinner to make a choice to accept or reject him. Of course, the acceptance is a decision made through faith, and the rejection is a decision made through a lack of faith according to this doctrine. The non-Calvinist does not refer to this as regeneration, of course, because he recognizes that regeneration must necessarily result in salvation. So the non-Calvinist regards this as God’s merely opening the sinner’s eyes and hearts for the purposes of allowing him a free choice.
Problems with this doctrine are many. The Bible makes it clear that unsaved people are spiritually dead. So the person goes from spiritually dead to “sort of dead”, akin to the woman who says that she is “sort of pregnant”? Just as you are either pregnant or not, you are either dead or not … there is no in-between! Second, how can the “sort of dead/alive” person choose to believe and accept God on this basis in the absence of faith? Simple: he cannot. He cannot accept the gospel and believe without faith. And if God gives him faith, he will inevitably believe. There is no such thing as conditional, decision-based faith that is only activated on choice. So, for the sinner to choose God once God makes this choice possible requires the sinner to already have faith present within himself. And if this faith is present, he never was a sinner to begin with, and he was never spiritually dead to begin with. The Bible states that without faith it is impossible to please God. The converse would mean that those who have faith are already acceptable to God, meaning that they were righteous, justified, regenerate and converted already. Instead of being in a condition of original sin, this person would have had to have been inherently righteous already without having heard the gospel and without need of Jesus Christ. Moreover, if such a righteous person were to confess and repent of his sinful condition and state his need for Christ to be his savior, that person would be a liar!
The doctrine of regeneration coming after faith – or truthfully that regeneration and conversion are the same – is due to people being determined to believe that God must offer a man a free choice to accept or reject Him in order to be just and righteous. However, accepting God cannot be made in the absence of faith! The Bible is clear on this. Thus, denying that regeneration precedes faith is nothing more than an absolute determination to believe a lie.
This also solves the problem of those who fall away and confirms the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, or “once saved always saved.” Be not deceived: faith is not mere belief. Faith only comes by the Holy Spirit after the Holy Spirit regenerates you. And after conversion, the Holy Spirit seals you and keeps you in the faith. The Bible is clear on this. The Bible is also clear with the parable of the sower that it is possible to believe the gospel at one point but later renounce that belief. The Bible further states clearly that it is possible to believe the gospel, retain this belief but not bear fruit. The Bible further still states that it is possible to believe the gospel, do good works and bear fruit but not be obedient. These are the teachings of Jesus Christ, and Christ makes it clear that those people (the ones who renounce the gospel after believing at one point, those who believe but do not bear fruit, and those who believe and bear fruit but are disobedient) will be cast into the lake of fire! Why is this so? Because these people believed without receiving faith, and they did not receive faith because they are still unregenerate. You cannot have faith and be spiritually dead, but you can certainly believe and be spiritually dead. Hence, rejecting the truth that regeneration precedes faith is one of the reasons why many Christian denominations (Methodists and many Pentecostals for example) believe that it is possible to lose your salvation. The regeneration precedes faith doctrine provides both absolute proof that those who fall away were never saved to begin with, and provides absolute assurance that those who are truly saved will bear fruit, attain obedience and endure trials and tribulations until the end, even unto death!
So God will accept anyone who comes to Him through His Son, because those who come to God are those that God has called to do so. Is God calling you today? If so, repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. If you wish for more information on how to do so:
Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: ancient of days, conversion, election, faith, God the Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, lose your salvation, once saved always saved, perseverance of the saints, Pneumatology, regeneration, salvation, soteriology, total depravity, typology | 4 Comments »
Posted by Job on March 19, 2013
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Some use passages like these to assert that those who believe in limited atonement (or particular redemption) instead of universal atonement deny that God loves everyone. The argument goes that if God loves everyone, then it means that Jesus Christ died for everyone and that those texts “prove” it and accuse men of twisting scripture in order to claim otherwise.. Well C.S. Lewis and other believers of religious pluralism and universalism use 1 Timothy 4:10 –“For to this end we labour and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe “ – and many other scriptures to justify it. Is it similarly twisting scripture to say that they are wrong also?
Of course not. Why? Because we know that 1 Timothy 4:10 is not the only thing that the Bible says about salvation. So, it is because that we put 1 Timothy 4:10 in the context of all the other things that the Bible says about how God saves – including John 14:6’s “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” – in order to deny that this text teaches that men above the age of accountability can be saved outside of personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Thus, the same is true of John 3:16. While that text is extremely popular, very well known and much beloved, that is no reason to make it the primary text on the issue of salvation through which all other texts must be judged, held subject to and viewed in light of. That is interpreting scripture according to human opinion and emotion – our tendency to grab hold upon and emphasize the things that please and comfort us while putting less emphasis on the things that disturb and challenge us – instead of letting scripture speak for itself.
It is all well and good to love John 3:16. But we cannot use John 3:16 to pretend that Proverb 16:4 “The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil ” isn’t in the Bible, especially since Romans 9:13-23 clearly uses Proverb 16:4 in order to explain the nature and purpose of God’s election as it applies to the Jews and the Gentiles? Now that is what requires the twisting of the Bible scriptures. Accepting those texts and putting them into the proper contexts is why the so-called 5 point Calvinists exist. The only alternative is to deny the meaning and application of those texts, which is what most theologians and other Bible students do … precisely what they accuse the believers of limited atonement of. Perhaps the best example of this is the common explanation of deniers of limited atonement that predestinate in Romans 8:29-30 doesn’t mean, well, predestinate, or the many others who claim that it really means “foreknowledge.” Similar explaining away is done with and who do the same with Ephesians 1:3-12 and also with the many “Calvinistic” texts that appear in the Gospel of John just as does John 3:16.
So, for example, using John 6:65’s “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” and John 10:26-29’s “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.” to interpret John 3:16 is not imposing an artificial human framework on the Bible. Instead, claiming that John 6:37 is based on God’s foreknowledge – and doing so in the complete absence of textual evidence to support it and when so many texts like Romans 9:13-23 contradict it – is when the denying the plain meaning of scripture from its literal, contextual interpretation is being done.
Does this mean that God does not love the world — all people and not just the elect — with an unconditional love? That begs the question of whether unconditional love as our modern humanistic Enlightenment-driven society defines it is a Biblical concept to begin with. If it were, then that would necessarily mean universalism. You may ask whether “world” really mean world or does it mean only the elect and whether world can be both, meaning all people in general, but only or especially the elect in particular?
Many do precisely those types of interpretative gymnastics, but they are not necessary. The “world” of John 3:16 does mean the world. But understand this: God is perfectly capable of loving the world and saving only the elect. Again, making the case that God’s loving everyone obligates Him to save everyone can only lead to universalism. The non-Calvinist viewpoint deals with this problem by saying that God TRIED to save everyone but failed. Now if you limit this “failure” to those who made a free will decision to reject Jesus Christ then that “solves” the failure issue after a fashion. The problem is that “God tried to save everyone but His efforts were thwarted by the free will that He gave us to accept or reject Him” theology simply cannot be a sufficient answer for the fact that the overwhelming supermajority of humanity has never heard the name Jesus Christ, and moreover before His advent had never encountered Judaism or the pre-Judaic Yahwism.
Truthfully, the pluralism of types like C.S. Lewis and the Roman Catholics (purgatory) and contemporary religious moderates do a much better job of explaining this problem, which is so real and vast that it has been a source of great heartache for missionaries like Hudson Taylor, who knew that he could not possibly reach every person in the vastness of China with the gospel of Jesus Christ and fell victim to the slough of despond and the giant despair (see Pilgrim’s Progress) as a result. God rescued him from that fate with the instructions for Taylor to be satisfied with going to the people that that God sent Taylor to. (And incidentally Taylor was not a Calvinist).
And here is the real irony for those who reject the Biblical doctrine of limited atonement. Even if you do not believe in limited atonement, the requirement of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation serves as a practical limitation anyway. Again, the only way to avoid that practical limitation is to be a universalist or pluralist. How “general” is the atonement to the person who lives his entire life as a sincere, upstanding, devoted, honest moral adherent to the Hindu religion because he spent his entire life in India in the 1500s and Hinduism is all he ever knew? The only relevance of general atonement to that person is that even though that person had absolutely no possibility of ever being saved, Jesus Christ still died for him so that “proves” that God loved him. Christ’s death on the cross made this person’s salvation hypothetically, theoretically possible in the spiritual realm even though it was still impossible in the natural one. Which means that the true purpose of general atonement that it provides a comfortable, reassuring view of God to the people who hold it. The doctrine is of no use to the sinner whatsoever. Whether you hear the gospel and do not respond with faith and repentance or never hear the gospel at all, from the sinner’s perspective the extent of the atonement doesn’t matter because the fate of the sinner is still the same. The issue is all about whether serving a God who limits the atonement or serving a God who doesn’t IN THEORY but does IN PRACTICE “feels better.”
Still can’t look at John 3:16 and “see” limited atonement? Well, you may not see religious pluralism in 1 Timothy 4:10 either. But that is what C. S. Lewis saw when he looked at it … justification for the religious pluralism doctrines taught by the Roman Catholic Church – and Lewis fellowshipped with a lot of Catholics, including his friend J.R.R. Tolkien – and embraced by virtually all moderate (meaning neither evangelical or liberal) Christians and an increasing number of evangelicals like Rob Bell. So often we see what we want to see instead of what the Bible says, and that has to change.
Does limited atonement mean that God takes pleasure in the destruction of the wicked? Ezekiel 18:23 would tend to say otherwise with “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: [and] not that he should return from his ways, and live?.” But just as we being in the image of God often have to do things that give us no pleasure but are necessary, God’s justice requires that His wrath must be poured out on the wicked. The key to remember that merely because destroying the wicked does not give God pleasure does not require God to act in order to avoid displeasure. Claiming that it does is judging God by arbitrary standards created by our own emotionalism; our refusal to accept things that appear to us to be unjust. But why do they appear to be unjust to us? Because we feel that God owes us something. The truth of what the Bible says, which is that we are the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3) to do with as He pleases is denied because of our unwilling to countenance the idea that God is the measure of all things and not man; that the universe is God-centered and not man-centered.
It is curious: no Bible-based Christian (as opposed to the idolatrous animal rights activist) takes offense at the notion that man, a mere creature made in God’s image, has the right to breed sheep for the purpose of eating them even while they are juveniles (lamb chops, leg of lamb, rack of lamb etc.) Yet we are offended at the idea that God, who is worth more than the entirety of creation (meaning that the distance between man’s worth and a lamb’s worth is much smaller than the distance between man’s worth and God’s worth) has the right to do with us as He pleases or else be judged as unloving and unrighteous, so we stumble at Yes, the Bible does not say that God takes pleasure in the destruction of the wicked, but texts like “The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil” and “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” as a result.To do this we must make God out to be worth less than He is or we make ourselves out to be worth more than we are at God’s expense. Either way it is man-centered heresy.
So if you are struggling with the question “how can I say that God loves you without knowing whether you are elect or not”, I emphasize again that this goes back to the fundamental question of whether God can love someone without electing them to salvation. This answer – yes – is most clearly given in Matthew 5:45 … “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Also, an excellent teaching on this topic can be found here: http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/a294/the-love-of-god-and-the-nonelect
This brings about the inevitable question: how will this affect my evangelism? Well you can certainly everyone that God loves them, and use this truth clearly taught in the Bible as the basis for your evangelism. The Bible does not say to use the fact that God did not elect everyone to hinder evangelism, because quite the contrary God said that many are called (in that they hear the gospel … note that it does not say that ALL are called because all do not hear the gospel) but few are chosen (meaning that of those who hear the gospel, few will be saved). And this truth was illustrated by several of Christ’s parables, such as the parable of the sower of Matthew 13:1-23 and the wedding parable of Matthew 22:1-14.
So John 3:16 does not have to be abandoned by the Christian who believes in limited atonement. It means that when sharing the gospel we can tell sinners that everyone who believes – whosoever believeth – will be saved.The key is to stop right there and not add anything to it. Don’t say “Jesus Christ died for all of you so that means all of you can be saved if all of you believe.” Why not? Because the Bible doesn’t say so. General atonement is nowhere in the Bible. If it were, I would believe it and so would you. So whether in mixed company, hostile company (all unbelievers like Paul at Mars Hill) or all believers like Jesus Christ at His high priestly prayer or the disciples in the upper room awaiting Pentecost, limiting yourself to what the Bible actually says is all that is necessary, sufficient and justifiable.
So evangelist, just say “Christ died so that all who believe will be saved” and you will be true to the Bible. And that is the true meaning of the John 3:16. Before it was written, there was no promise, assurance or guarantee that everyone who believed would be saved. Now we contemporary Christians presuppose that and take it for granted because we have always known it. But keep in mind that the apostle John was originally writing that gospel not to people with 2000 years of Christian tradition behind them like us. Rather, the first audience who received his gospel was made up of pagans with a very different view of salvation than we have, and also to Jews who believed in justification by the works of the law in addition to faith.
So for both the Gentile pagans and even the Jews, it was very possible to believe in God (or the gods for polytheistic pagans) and still not be saved. For the Jew, one could believe and still be condemned if you did not keep the law. As for the pagans, their gods were arbitrary, unpredictable, conferring – and withdrawing – their favor on whims. So the true purpose of John 3:16 is not to talk about the extent of the atonement, but to teach the doctrine of justification by faith alone, sola fide, to the Jews first and then the pagan Gentiles.
This is evident if you stop taking John 3:16 in isolation and instead look at the entire chapter of John 3. This chapter begins with the rabbi going to Jesus Christ to seek instruction on spiritual things because He recognized that as God was obviously with Christ due to Christ’s miracles, Christ would know such things to teach. Christ in response taught the rabbi about the need for, meaning and nature of regeneration, being born again. The context of Christ’s discussion with the rabbi was never who could be saved, but how people are saved.
John 3:3 – by being born again. John 3:5-8 – by a work of the Holy Spirit, not of man. John 3:11-17 – Christ stating that it is by and through Him that this salvation will be achieved because of His divine sonship. And John 3:18-21 – the fate of those who do not believe, with 3:18 being the inverse of 3:16. In that context, the true context and meaning – it is crystal clear that the text never intends to claim that God gave Christ so that all can theoretically be saved! Instead, it states that God gave Christ so that all who believed would be saved, and that all who did not believe would not be saved! This fact that we today take for granted today was in complete opposition to the religious mindset of Jews and pagans of the time and place of John’s gospel. It was a truly radical, revolutionary groundbreaking idea that was foolishness to the Gentiles and an offense to the Jews.
So as this is all the scripture ever meant and was intended for, why claim that it says or was intended to proclaim more? Anything more is adding to scripture, which should not be done, chiefly because it is a sin, but also because there is no reason to. The sinner needs no more information than that, and the only reason to add more information than that is for the benefit of the evangelist sharing the message. It reassures the evangelist and makes his job superficially (by that I mean according to the flesh) easier, but the Bible makes it clear that our jobs in service to the God of the Bible are not going to be easy or flesh-driven to begin with.
John 3:16 is 100% true and very powerful. But the Christian should not and cannot impose meanings on it that do not exist because it makes us feel better. We Christians should cast aside such works of the flesh and acknowledge to ourselves that the Bible says what it means. God gives the evangelist the responsibility to share the gospel with all. God gives the sinner the responsibility to respond to the gospel with repentance. But the only ones who will be saved are those that God supplies with faith. Everyone who receives faith from God will be saved. No one who does not receive faith from God will be. It is this way because with our salvation as with everything else, God alone shall be glorified. That is the point of John 3:16, the point of the entire canon of scripture, and the point of all of creation in the first place. And when viewed next to the glory of the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent perfect God, such notions that God only wants to be worshiped by those who choose to do so out of their free will – as if it is illegitimate for God to compel the sheep of His pasture to worship Him, and to train and condition us into doing so by conforming us into the image of His Son and providing His Spirit to live in us – must be rejected for the plain betrayals of the Bible and the picture of God that is revealed to us through His creation that they are.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36
“I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:6-7
If you are saved, walk in this truth. If you are unsaved, you are without excuse. Repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ today.
Posted in Bible, Christianity, evangelism, Jesus Christ | Tagged: ancient of days, atonement, Calvinism, extent of the atonement, general atonement, God the Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Limited Atonement, reformed, salvation, soteriology | 4 Comments »
Posted by Job on April 30, 2012
Yesterday I was struggling with various spiritual issues. I was being tempted to commit various sins. I was feeling guilty over sins that I had committed in the past, which were some of the same ones I was presently being tempted with. I was also struggling with fear and doubt, mostly about whether I would ever be able to overcome these particular sin issues, and also whether I would ever get to the point of being a spiritually mature, fruit-bearing Christian who lives a life that glorifies God and pleases God. I was also wondering whether even that desire was to glorify myself – so that I could be this great, accomplished Christian in my own eyes and in the eyes of men – or to glorify God. Now this might seem to be a lot, but it really wasn’t, as these thoughts, temptations and fears are common to me. I experience them quite often.
It is a weakness, a failing of mine that I seldom resort to the Bible during times like this. Instead, I usually pray and meditate on the Lord. However, this time God moved me to open my Bible and read. My Bible reading practice is from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation and then back again, and it so happened that my place was Nehemiah. I must admit: Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther do not constitute my favorite sections of scripture, for reasons having to do with certain spiritual weaknesses of mine. But today, I received a great and wonderful spiritual blessing in spite of – or because of – my weakness!
I came upon Nehemiah 9:16-19. “But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments. And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage; but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness and forsookest them not. Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.”
I realized: this passage is talking about me. It applies to me personally. It is 100% directly applicable to what I am going through right now at this very second! Despite my struggles, sins and temptations, God is ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness and will not forsake me! Despite my sins, the pillar of cloud (God’s presence) and the pillar of fire (God’s presence) will not leave me! God will stay with me, show me light, and the way that I should go! And upon reading this, and applying it to myself, I had a powerful, cathartic emotional experience. I went from feeling tense, anxious, possibly sad and depressed to being happy and joyful!
The amazing thing: this is the first time that I have had an experience like this from reading the Bible. Normally I connect with the Bible on an intellectual level. This was quite honestly the first time that I had ever connected with the Bible on a personal emotional level. The first time that the Bible had ever spoken to me in such a personal, direct and powerful level. Now do not mistake me, I have been emotionally moved by the Bible before. But never like this. Never before have I felt it so deep inside me. Deep in my inward parts, in my bones, in my nature, in my being, in my heart! And it was quite unlike the charismatic experiences that I used to have when I was Pentecostal. I didn’t jump up and down. I didn’t shout. I didn’t dance. I didn’t run around screaming. I just sat there and felt happy. I felt ALIVE. I didn’t just KNOW INTELLECTUALLY that because of what Jesus Christ did for me on the cross that my sins are forgiven. I came to intellectual comprehension of this fact in about 2004. But the emotional feeling, my heart coming to grips to this reality and what it personally means to me came for the first time today. As I was reading Nehemiah. Which before today was one of my least favored portions of the Bible.
And immediately another thought came into my mind. I want to say out of nowhere, at least in a natural sense. “This is what receiving assurance of your salvation from the Holy Spirit means.” When that thought came into my head, that is when I really became happy; when a smile came to my face! I just started thinking: the scriptures that refer to God’s wrath being poured out on sinners apply to the non-elect. But Nehemiah 9:16-19 applies to me because I am saved! Why didn’t God destroy Israel over the golden calf? He should have. He had every right to. His not doing so made no logical, rational sense. But God spared them because they were His elect. They were His chosen people! And that is why I am not going to be destroyed for MY golden calves! Because I am saved. It is not a possibility. It is a promise. It is not a maybe. It is a reality. It is not something that might happen if I keep working, trying, striving but something that will happen, something that has already happened, and it happened not because of anything that I did or will ever do, but because God chose me before the foundation of the world, and sent His Son to die for me and those like me!
Again, these were things that I knew before. But let me tell you. It is one thing to know it and another thing to FEEL it. Once I felt these things in my heart, I experienced a joy that was unlike any joy that I have ever experienced before. That was my blessing, and that was my testimony for today. I shared it with you in the hopes that you might be blessed by it, and that the Holy Spirit might give you joy too! It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit does, right now and today!
Posted by Job on March 4, 2012
ABC – that’s right – the same company as “family-friendly Disney” that has been marketing sexualized images of teen girls for going on 20 years, and oh yeah has been promoting occult/witchcraft/magic to mainstream audiences from the very beginning – has a (yawn) “controversial” new show called “Good Christian Belles” or GCB (not the original more controversial title from the book on which it was based). As the “talent” behind this production have also worked on such products as “Steel Magnolias”, “Glee”, “Desperate Housewives” etc. (what, no “Sex And The City” veterans available?) and depicts Texas Southern Baptists, one can guess the tone and subject matter. And, as one can also guess, various “watchdog groups” purporting to represent evangelical Christians have professed themselves to be shocked and outraged. However, the truth is that this reveals more about the lobbying groups and the Christians that they represent than it does the TV show and those responsible for its existence.
Why? Because “Good Christian Belles” and those responsible for it – quite simply – are the world, and the world hates Christians and Christianity. Always has, always will. There is no way to sugarcoat it or tapdance around it: it is a fact plainly revealed in the Bible. Search the scriptures. As recorded very early in Genesis, history of those declared righteous on earth begins with elect Abel being murdered by the non-elect Cain. What was Abel’s crime that provoked Abel’s wrath? Being righteous. Cain killed Abel because Abel was righteous; because Abel had the faith that Cain lacked, acted according to that faith, and was rewarded by God because of his faith in action. Now Genesis is the first book in the Bible. In Revelation, the last book in the Bible, we see of persecution afflicting several churches in Revelation 2 and 3, and future times of persecution for the church throughout history are prophesied, including a severe global one at the time of the anti-Christ. In between, we see the Gentile nations’ persecuting the nation of Israel and God having to come to their aid time and time again (though God finally used those nations to destroy Israel because of their sins) towards the end of the Old Testament, the New Testament begins with the backdrop of the persecution of Israel by the Roman Empire. And of course, the climax of the story of the persecution of the righteous is the murder of Jesus Christ at the hands of His own Israelite nation and people (along with the Roman accomplices).
In addition to this context and background, Jesus Christ specifically told us that we would be hated and rejected by the world, told us the reason for it – because of our identification with Him, the true object of their hatred – and told us not to be surprised by it. Moreover, we knew that the early church did not see this rejection and hatred by the world for the sake of Jesus Christ as an occasion for grief and concern requiring “fighting back”, but rather an occasion for joy resulting in praising Jesus Christ. So, with these facts clearly laid out in scripture, why do (American) Christians react so churlishly in response to the world hating and rejecting us the way that the Bible says that it would? The answer: unbelief. We do not believe the Bible.
Now we do believe the Bible when it tells us that we are righteous, holy, and children of God. That is not the issue. What we do not believe is that the world will reject us because of it. The reason, the real problem: we do not believe that the world is sinful, unholy. Why? Because we do not believe that God is holy. Or more to the point: we do not believe that God is holy when compared to us! We do not see God as being truly holy. Instead, we see God as being “a better us.” We see God as being like us, only better. So becoming more like God does not require a miraculous conversion; for God to transform us into being like Him; for God to perfect us and glorify us in His image. No, instead we only need to improve through things like religious observance, good works, adherence to some moral code, plus some mystical mysterious religious experiences where we “feel God’s presence” and “encounter God”, not to mention the emotive experience of “having a personal relationship with God.”
Why do we not do this? Because coming to grips with God’s holiness means acknowledging the world’s unholiness. And as we are most certainly part of this current kosmos – this worldly system and its ways – it means coming to grips with our own unholiness. By this, I do not mean in an individual sense per se, especially as it applies to legitimately born again Christians whose sins have been forgiven and who are made holy through our identification with Jesus Christ. Rather, when I say “our”, I mean what we are a part of. Our communities. Our institutions. Our values. Our very friends and neighbors! We do not want to acknowledge that all of that is Babylon, and as such is going to come under the terrible judgment of an angry God on the day of the Lord.
And it is not merely that acknowledging that we and all that we know and love are part and parcel of a wicked worldly system is an affront to our human self-esteem, though it is most certainly the case. It also means accepting how truly isolated we are in a natural sense. It means accepting that we are not of this world, but merely pilgrims in it. It means accepting that we are indeed set apart from all else; that we are, well, peculiar. It means accepting being a Jesus freak, a holy roller, a religious fanatic, a fundamentalist, a cult member, a close-minded bigot, and all of those other perjoratives that you have heard directed towards Christians and probably used yourself. It means having to interpret and apply Luke 14:26 (“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple“) to your own life literally instead of making it into a metaphor or symbolism (or just ignoring and dismissing it and pretending that it isn’t there; that it is just pious Bible religion talk that HAS no REAL concrete meaning other than some general “ok you go love and follow Jesus now!” like that “cutting off your hand and poking out your eye if it offends you” stuff).
So, we don’t want to believe that God is holy because it means that accepting that the world that we love is unholy. So, instead of using “Good Christian Belles” as an impetus to sanctify ourselves, we feign outrage in an attempt to sanctify the world. Shock! Anger! Dismay! Why can’t we get positive depictions of Christians in the media? Liberalism! Political correctness! They wouldn’t dare depict Muslims in this way! How do we know this? Why? Because the orchestrated, well-funded religious right political machine tells us so. You know, the ones to tell us how to shoehorn Christianity into the world, so we won’t feel like such an outsider. The ones who tell us that Christianity is “family-oriented” and “family-friendly.” Everyone likes families, right? And when you are with your family, your spouse and kids and grandparents and relatives, you don’t feel isolated or alone right? Well, Christians who have no family … well hey life’s tough kid, but I have mine! And Christians who had to leave everything behind – including their family – for the faith … well that is a mighty fine testimony that I will read in Christianity Today or World Magazine or listen to on my Christian/gospel etc. radio station, but it has nothing to do with my life! And the fact that most of my family doesn’t go to church … who cares … my fellowship and companionship is based on my family and my values, not identification with Jesus Christ, and that is a good thing! Or so they tell us.
They also tell us about “values.” We can accept intellectually that most people may not be born again Christians in our beloved nation because of those inconvenient words of Jesus Christ about the “narrow road” and things like that. But you don’t have to be a born-again Christians to have “Christian values”, “family values”, “moral values” etc. Those shared moral values, based on a Judeo-Christian foundation (never mind that Judaism and Christianity are completely at odds with each other because the former hates Christ and the latter worships Him exclusively) can be embraced by “whosoever will” regardless of belief – or unbelief – and it makes us a good, moral nation … sanctified in a secular sense, right? And the reason why things like “Good Christian Belles” are being made today is because we have gotten away from our traditional moral values! Back in the day, when this country still respected moral values, Hollywood produced decent entertainment that respected Christianity!
Excellent theory. Except that it isn’t true. The Christian movie “The Timechanger” does an excellent job of debunking this myth by pointing out that from the very beginning, Hollywood was not only secular but subversively so … seeking to exchange Christianity with secular ethics and values. The best example of this are “Christmas movies” which make fleeting references to Jesus Christ, none of actual Christianity, and instead promote secular humanist – and situational – morality. How does the idea that Hollywood ever respected and embraced Christianity coexist with the reality that Hollywood took the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and transformed it into a vehicle to promote anti-Christ humanistic religion? Simple: by watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “Miracle On 34th Street” or the innumerable “Santa Claus” movies (and it was Hollywood – and big business – that turned Santa Claus from being a little known figure to being the most recognized figure in the world, known of by more people than Jesus Christ!) and being entertained by them.
The same with other “classic” films and TV shows. Sure, some of them might have depicted a few characters as pious, moral and religious, but even that is a long way from Biblical Christianity. Christians who saw those characters often projected their own beliefs – or more likely themselves – onto them and identified with them. But the idea that Hollywood regularly depicted characters who attested to such doctrines as sola scriptura, sola fide, substitutionary atonement is simply false. The problem is that Christians were willing to accept so little from the “Christian” characters that Hollywood presented that these characters were readily taken for Christians despite the lack of it.
And those were just the characters that were overtly taken to be practicing Christians. Make no mistake: the overwhelming majority of the characters in movies and TV shows even in Hollywood’s so-called “golden”, “classic” or “moral” era were not. And though censorship boards and cultural sensitivies (i.e. market pressure) kept them from making the equivalent of R-rated movies today, the characters not only led amoral and immoral lives, but glamorized it. It was often in a subversive fashion: the movie would depict someone given to swearing, adultery/fornication (even if it was not allowed to be consummated), drug use, lying/deception, violence etc. as the hero or sympathetic character. Realize that Hollywood movies were promoting infidelity and divorce as early as the 1930s, such as in this Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie! (The Family Values Coalition and similar would have you believe that the culture wars began with the likes of Barbra Streisand and Cher, not Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!)
Bottom line: Hollywood has never liked Christianity. It has never supported Christianity. It has never respected or feared Christianity. Instead, it has been a force acting against Christianity from the beginning. That fact causes us to stumble because we want to believe that Hollywood was once moral and good but lost its way when it was perverted by the socially liberal movements, i.e. the 60s and 70s. Why? Because Hollywood has always been extremely popular and influential in America. Accepting that Hollywood has always opposed legitimate Christianity would mean accepting the “America was once good and virtuous because its mainstream respected Christian values before its institutions were hi-jacked” notion. We are told that demonic “Avatar” became the top box office grossing film in history because the culture no longer respects God. But the box office champion for most of Hollywood’s history (when adjusted for inflation and number of tickets sold): Gone With The Wind! With Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett Butler and many other clearly immoral characters! (For example: when Scarlett declares “As God as my witness I will never go hungry again”, it was not a prayer or even a vow, but a blasphemous oath of the sort made by wicked people in the Old Testament!) That movie came out in 1939. During the Great Depression and World War II: “the greatest generation.”
This is not to say that things have not gotten worse. Clearly they have. But merely because things were better back then does not mean that they were good. To put it another way: just because Hollywood – and the mainstream American culture that it represents (the idea that Hollywood are these “cultural elites” that are disconnected from and do not reflect “the real America” is a right wing political device no different from the plot devices that screenwriter hacks contrive to keep stories moving along) – was less overtly antagonistic towards Christianity in the past doesn’t mean that they ever supported or respected Christianity. Today, “Good Christian Belles” depicts western Christians as liars, cheats, adulterers and schemers. 50 years ago, movies set in the “old west” commonly depicted preachers as being particularly fond of whiskey, gambling, swearing, violence or other vices. The difference is only a matter of degree.
The solution to the problem posed by such things as “Good Christian Belles”, then, is not to manufacture offense or outrage. It is certainly not to choose to believe a lie by pretending as if “the good ole days” actually were good. (Note that the Bible never instructs us to indulge in nostalgia, but instead to seek the holy God who never changes instead of preserving in memory the fallen culture that does change, and usually so for the worse.) Instead, it is to believe what the Bible says, and to embrace it. God is holy. God’s people are holy because God makes them holy. The world is wicked. Because of this, God, His people and the world are going to be at emnity (God and His people on one side, the world and the other) until the last day, when time shall be no more. Instead of pretending as if the world was never evil, or America was not originally part of the evil world because of its “values”, of its being a “Christian nation” or “founded on Christian principles”, or mourning over the time when America was “less evil”, we should look forward to the day of the Lord when all evil, all that opposes Jesus Christ and His church, are destroyed forever.
Remember the warning of Luke 9:62: “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Join that with Luke 17:32’s “Remember Lot’s wife.” Instead of being deceived by false teachers into loving this worldly system, we should endeavor to separate from it, be holy and embrace the world to come, which is New Jerusalem where we will be with Jesus Christ – and separated from those who hate Him and us because we are in Him – forever.
If you have not separated from the world and its wickedness, I urge you to do so immediately. Repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe that He died for sins, that He was worthy to do so in the place of sinners because of His being the Son of God, and that He rose again from the dead. If you need more information on how to accomplish this, please click on the link below.
Posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: annie potts, entertainment, evangelicalism, gcb, glee, good christian belles, kristin chenoweth, media, religious right, steel magnolias, television | 7 Comments »
Posted by Job on March 4, 2012
As concerning Christian music and other things concerning worship, I am not a traditional fundamentalist. I disagree with the position of John Calvin and other leaders of the Protestant Reformation, which is that songs, music and dance were primarily related to the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament religion of the Hebrews, those things were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and therefore the only permissible form of worship is hymns sung a capella (without music). Yet, that position is actually superior to the common claim that the only permissible mode of worship is that which dominated western culture in the 18th and early 19th century, a cultural/ethnocentric position because it is an indisputable fact of history that the early church – the ancient predominantly middle/near eastern one recorded in the New Testament – did not worship after the manner of Europeans that came along over 1500 years later. So, Christian country, Christian classical and opera music, Christian rock, Christian rap, gospel music (both contemporary and traditional) and the many other varieties under the sun by members of Body of Christ that is indwelt by and serves as a tabernacle for the Spirit of Christ are permissible, so long as it – along with everything else in Christianity – is governed by God’s revelation as preserved in the Bible.
The mere fact that the music is being performed by Christians does not make it acceptable to God, and neither does the intent of the performers or the effect that playing the music has on the regenerate (i.e. causing vigorous worship) or the unregenerate (i.e. helping them understand the gospel and lead them to conversion). The music is also not sanctified by the message (i.e. the lyrics) or the venue (i.e. being performed at a church or in a Christian concert). Moreover, the purpose of the music is to worship God, not to entertain people. Again, merely because it was made to entertain, inspire or aid Christians does not make it Christian music. If it was made to evangelize the lost to cause them to become Christians, then it is not Christian music. If it was made for people, then it is “people music.” Only if it is made for Christ does it become Christian music. And as with everything else, Jesus Christ did leave us in His Bible guidelines for what are acceptable.
Without going into a “theology of worship” discussion, two scripture texts that can be used as guidelines for choosing which music to listen to, include in worship, or (if per chance you are one who creates Christian music) compose are Romans 12:1-2 and Hebrews 12:28-29. The former reads “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Now this does not mean that Christians are commanded to reject popular or other music forms created or embraced by the world as worldly, or to create a distinctively Christian music form.
Christianity is not a religion of rules and rituals, but a religion of the heart. Thus, if your heart is not right, then your music will not be right either. So, rather than being some rule that would enjoin worldly musicians from making worldly music and from worldly listeners from hearing it – which appears to be the position of some of my fundamentalist friends – the message of Romans 12:1-2 is to not be worldly. Worldly musicians will make worldly music. Worldly listeners will listen to worldly music. The reason is that those people are of the flesh and will live accordingly. But Godly people will make and listen to Godly music because they are of God’s Spirit and will live according to God’s Spirit. No rules, regulations, rituals, customs, traditions etc. will made a worldly person Holy Spirit-filled and Holy Spirit-led in worship or anything else. And of course, such vain external trappings of false religion (John 7:24) should not keep true believers in bondage. So, if you are worldly, the world is what an artist will be thinking about, striving to emulate and please, when he makes his music. Further, if you are a worldly listener, you will not want music that reminds you of God and His attributes, but rather music that reminds you of the world that is your first love. But if you are Godly, then your desire to know and please God – your first love – will be reflected in the music that you make and/or listen to.
Now for the second text, Hebrews 12:28-29, which is not only an explicit command to guide worship, but tells us why this command or rule exists. “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” Note that “we may serve”, as the King James Version translators rendered it, is the Greek word latreuō, which can means “to perform sacred services, to offer gifts, to worship God in the observance of the rites instituted for his worship.” This definition fits the context, which is why other good translations use “worship” or “praise”. The English Standard Version renders Hebrews 12:28 with this very issue in mind (arguably making it more of an interpretation/commentary than a mere translation!) with “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”
So make no mistake, this text commands us to worship God in an acceptable manner, and that the only acceptable manner is reverence. Again, reverence is not a rule, ritual or tradition, but a matter of the heart. The Old Testament bears this out. God gave Israel a specific, detailed collection of rules and rituals to follow concerning the manner in which He would be worshiped. What happened? They didn’t follow it. Why? Because their hearts were not right. They did not love God, they did not have a desire to know or serve God, so they did not consistently keep the religious forms that God gave them for any length of time. This was so as a general rule anyway. The remnant, the elect chosen and preserved by God, DID worship God to the best of their ability. So, even from the Old Testament we know that rules banning rock guitars, hip-hop drumbeats, or everything but hymns without musical accompaniment are vanities in a heart that is hardened. Just as a worldly heart will lust after the world, and irreverent heart will never know reverence in its cold, dead and depraved condition.
By contrast, a regenerate heart will revere God. Why? Again, Hebrews 12:28 tells us. Be not deceived: it is not mere mutable emotion that waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon, but something far more permanent. 1. Born again Christians are grateful to God for our permanent kingdom that cannot be shaken; that we will spend an eternity with Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem (commonly called heaven). This fact serves as a powerful hope, inspiration and driving force that remains constant no matter our circumstances or emotional state. 2. Our God is a consuming fire! Born again Christians do not erect false idols of nonexistent deities that will not punish the wicked. Instead, we love the truth – that God will punish and destroy the wicked – because this truth confirms God’s holiness and power, and we love God because He is holy and powerful! A safe god, a god that we can transgress and disrespect without consequence, or one who only punishes us for crimes committed against His creation (i.e. only sending murderers, thieves and rapists to hell for what they have done TO PEOPLE) and not for offenses done against God’s holiness is no God at all. Scripture makes it clear from beginning to end that God is One who demands and is holiness. God does have the whole world in His Hands after the manner of the children’s nursery rhyme, but make no mistake: God is no child’s toy, or anyone’s toy for that matter. The elect is indeed safe in the arms of Jesus Christ, as an old hymn asserts, but this same Jesus Christ – the same One who drove the thieves out of the temple with a whip and will one day return riding a white horse and carrying a two edged sword with which to horribly punish the wicked – isn’t safe! For those who reject this and deny that our God is a consuming fire, they should instead be confronted with the reality that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31, plus a rather well known sermon)!
It is not merely a “we must worship God in this manner or God will send fire down from heaven and consume us” sort of fear, though Christians should certainly remember Nadab and Abihu, Uzzah, and Ananias and Sapphira when that very sort of thing did happen if only for the typology. Instead, it is simply a truth that God has disclosed His Divine Nature to us in the Bible, and those that are regenerate and hence truly love God will respond to God’s self revelation by acting in accordance to that revelation, not against it. Again, this is something that will not happen by way of adherence to ritual, or creating rules based on human comprehension of the facts of scripture, but as the elect are carried along by God’s Holy Spirit. Similar to salvation (consider what Jesus Christ told His disciples when they were astonished after the rich young ruler incident) with man, it is impossible to achieve worship that is spiritual and reverent, for man is only capable of worldly irreverent worship that mocks, hates and rejects God. But with God, it is possible to attain reverent spiritual worship that is liberated from the rusted shackles of carnality, and it is indeed achieved. This is done because it is God’s will to receive reverent spiritual worship that is pleasing to Him, and God’s will is most certainly done.
In conclusion, I will provide the example – a negative one – which motivated this entry: Let Him In By Winans Phase 2. It is simply one of the most egregious ones that I have encountered. For those who are uninitiated as concerning the R&B music genre, this song is – not emulates but is – a “slow jam”, meaning a romantic song. The purpose of the “slow jam” is to create a mindset – or mental atmosphere – of emotional and physical intimacy, including – but not limited to – sexual intercourse. (Of course, not a few artists in this genre make such songs solely and entirely for the purpose of promoting sexual intercourse, and take it as a compliment when their fans inform them that their music was played on their prom nights, wedding nights, when their children were conceived, etc.) And keep in mind: when such intimacy is not available or attainable, the purpose of the music is to remind people of such intimacy, or cause them to desire for or aspire to it! Make no mistake, that is the primary reason why such music exists, it is the primary reason why it is so popular with the artists who make it – as many of the artists are lovers of sensuality – and it is also why the music is so commercially successful.
And “Let Him In” by Winans Phase 2 is a song after this genre and spirit. The musical accompaniment is entirely sensual. So is the way that the song is sung. But that is not the main problem.Consider this: the “Let Him In” title of the song – and it is also a refrain, repetitively sung in a soft, sensual manner! – is an evangelistic plea to convert to Christianity. (It is based on the very common misapplication of Revelation 3:20, but the issue here is not the free will salvation theology advocated by the song, but the song’s irreverent form.) Again, based on the musical and lyrical style, the purpose of it was to emulate an R&B “love song” (when in truth most “love songs” should be renamed “amorous songs” as they are far more often concerned with physical attraction and emotional infatuation than actual, Biblical love). Further, “let him in” is a widely known euphemism that has the purpose of requesting sexual intercourse. Make no mistake, as a large number of R&B (and rap/hip-hop) songs have a very similar musical and vocal sound and use the same “let him in” phrase according to its common meaning, how is it possible for one very familiar with the genre to listen to that song without making that association? Of course, it is possible to suppress it, and undoubtedly the professed Christians who listen to this very popular song do so. But had this song been reverent in the first place, it would not have been necessary. It is not the duty of the listener to suppress what the song would have certainly meant were it in a different genre, the genre that this song was intended to sound like. Instead, it is the duty of the Christian performer not to make a song that sounds very much like an entreaty for the listener to consent to Jesus Christ performing a sex act on him (or her)!
That sounded strong to you? Well, consider the lyrics to this song. Now they deny that the song is carnal on one hand, but the song elsewhere says – concerns Jesus Christ – “He’s making love to my heart.” Which by the way … A REFERENCE TO APPEARS FOUR TIMES! (I want to point out: THIS SONG IS BEING SUNG BY MEN. It would still be blasphemy were it sung by women, but I just wanted to point that out.) Some other lyrics from this homosexual love ballad – excuse me, gospel song: “Sweet as can be”, “I love the way he talks to me”, “Oooh I’m so happy.” Also, one of the “He’s making love to my heart” references asks the listener to “let him make love to your heart.” Again (and I do not intend this to be Mark Driscoll vulgar here): “let him in” in is colloquial context is a request to allow a man to have intercourse with you made by some intermediary. A common application is when a man is dating a woman, wants to have intercourse with her, but she is reluctant. So, the man gets a mutual friend of theirs to go to this reluctant woman on his behalf and tell her “Come on. He’s your boyfriend. You know you like him. You know you want him. You have been dating how long? Three months? What are you waiting for? How much longer are you going to wait? Come on, let him in!” When you read the lyrics, it honestly appears as if the meaning of the “let him in” phrase was not something that they were unaware, or some horrible accidental coincidence, but instead something that they directly, purposefully incorporated into the song, as the entire song itself is concerned with sexuality! The song explicitly says, in multiple occasions – “Jesus Christ is making love with my heart, let Jesus Christ make love with your heart!” And then it makes use of Revelation 3:20 (which is directly referenced in with “I’m here to let you know he’s knocking at your door to let him in”!) to make the connotation of the euphemism direct and complete. The song purposefully, directly associates – indeed depicts – Christian conversion and Christian living with sexual encounters with Jesus Christ in the same way that Paul associated the Christian’s life with an athlete running a race. Now John MacArthur spoke of the rape of the Song of Solomon by Mark Driscoll. Well “Let Him In” constitutes no less than a (homosexual!) rape of Revelation 3:20 by Winans Phase 2.
This is merely the most egregious example that I am aware of. As I no longer listen to Christian music radio of any genre and merely happened upon this song, there are probably many others as bad or worse. But it serves as a good example of a song that is not reverent and is very much worldly. Though this song purports to be evangelistic, the truth is that it represents an attempt by carnal-minded people to win converts by relying on the basest of means. It is the “sex sells” approach to evangelism and discipleship that is advocated in this age by many, including Rick Warren and Ed Young Jr.
Rest assured, one cannot be carnal and worldly and be saved. One must be made holy, and this holiness is only achieved through Jesus Christ. The Bible does not tell us to become converted by lustfully imagining a sexual encounter with Jesus Christ. Instead, it tells us to repent of our sins and believe that Jesus Christ died for sins in the place of the sinner, was worthy to do so because of His being the Son of God, and was resurrected from the dead. If you have not done so already, I urge and entreat you to do so immediately. Click on the link below to receive some information on how to do so.
Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: abomination, carnal, Christianity, conformed, consuming fire, culture, holy, homosexuality, lewdness, lust, mind, music, pornea, religion, renewing, reverent, sex sells especially in the church, Sin, transformed, vulgarity, wickedness, worldly, worship wars | 5 Comments »
Posted by Job on February 1, 2012
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Posted by Job on February 1, 2012
Posted in Jesus Christ | Tagged: Calvinism, Charles Sermon, Christianity, doctrine, election, free will, human responsibility, Particular Baptist, preaching, predestination, Reformed Baptist, Romans 10, Romans 10:20-21, salvation, sermon, sovereign grace, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Job on February 1, 2012
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Posted by Job on February 1, 2012
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Posted by Job on February 1, 2012
Posted in Jesus Christ | Tagged: Calvinism, charles spurgeon, Christianity, divinity of Jesus Christ, firstfruits, holy trinity, Jesus Christ, Particular Baptist, preaching, Reformed Baptist, resurrection, salvation, sermon, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Job on February 1, 2012
Posted in Jesus Christ | Tagged: assurance of salvation, Baptist, Calvinist, Christianity, endtimes, eschatology, eternal, eternal salvation, eternity, forever, once saved always saved, perseverance of the saints, preaching, reformed, salvation, sermon, video | Leave a Comment »