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.
Archive for the ‘orthopraxy’ Category
Posted by Job on October 26, 2011
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: Baptist, elephant room, fundamentalism, God the Father, hermeneutics, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, holy trinity, monarchian modalism, Monarchianism, patripassianism, R. K. McGregor Wright, sabellianism, separation, trinity, Vern Sheridan Poythress | 4 Comments »
Posted by Job on May 27, 2011
Exodus 7:1-5 is a passage that I find fascinating.
And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, [and] my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.
As for “See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh”, I am not going to touch that text with a ten foot pole. It is not that this text is unimportant, for it is, and has a meaning in this context and in the larger narrative of the interactions between Moses and pharaoh and the Exodus from Egypt. Instead, it is that I simply do not know with a certainty what the text means, and will not pretend to. I will say that this statement is part of why I find this passage to be so engaging, but not the majority part.
Instead, this passage shows us the primary reason for evangelism. Despite what we often believe, indeed what we want to believe, the primary purpose of evangelism is not to convert poor sinners. Again, the primary purpose of sinners is not the conversion of the lost! And that, dear Christian, is precisely why we should not submit to the oft-cited justification for God-dishonoring (i.e. deceptive, abusive, or man-exalting) evangelism tactics, or for having people holding church offices that do not meet the Bible’s qualifications for them: “See how it wins people to Jesus Christ!” If we make winning converts the chief goal of evangelism, and evangelism the chief duty of the church, then so long as converts are being made, anything goes, the “greater good” is being served, and the ends justify the means, right? Well, this passage, this early Old Testament passage from the Torah, reveals the error in that thinking, and the excuse-making and dissembling based on it!
In this passage, God tells Moses to go preach to Pharaoh. The message preached to Pharaoh includes God’s identity – the God of Israel, the God of Israel, and yes Moses did use the Divine Name, YHWH or Jehovah, in the course of stating His identity – and God’s commands, which is to be believed, submitted to, and worshiped according to the manner that God instructs. Also, though this passage does not contain it, the message given to Pharaoh contained a warning of judgment that would come to him and his nation if he responded with disobedience out of faithlessness, or unbelief. Moses and Aaron told pharaoh that regardless of his belief and obedience or lack thereof, God’s purposes would still come to pass, and God’s people would be saved, and those who were not God’s people would be judged for their wickedness. Further, God told pharaoh through Moses and Aaron (maybe that is the meaning of … oh never mind!) that the word being preached to him would be verified with signs and wonders. So, make no mistake, the message that God told Moses (and Aaron) to reveal to pharaoh was a protoevangelism, a prototype or type of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Moses gave to pharaoh a message that was the forerunner of the gospel of the Prophet like Moses who was to come, the message that the church has carried and borne within itself through trials, temptations and tribulations ever since. From this, we can assert that evangelism that omits the identity of God (as not only Saviour but Lord and Judge), the deliverance from sin (which requires repentance), the horrible judgment on those who reject the message out of disbelief, and that this message is verified by the great miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, a fact attested to by above 500 eyewitnesses, is not legitimate evangelism. How could evangelism that actually contains less than the word of the Lord that Moses gave to pharaoh over 1000 years before the coming of Jesus Christ be legitimate, and what excuse is there for withholding any portion of the word that Moses did not other than our possessing a sinful shame and offense towards the word of God because of our love for this present world that Moses did not have, so much so that Moses rejected the pleasures of the Egypt in order to suffer many things in God’s service (Hebrews 11:24-27) ?
Now even the mere fact that Moses preached a type of the gospel to pharaoh is sufficient to fascinate the mind and stir the soul. But wait … there’s still yet more! What is really amazing is that God told Moses in advance that pharaoh would not listen! “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart … but Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you.” So, God told Moses to preach the gospel to one whose heart was hardened! God told Moses to preach the gospel to one that Moses already knew was not elect! God told Moses to preach the gospel to one that was reprobate, and would not be saved! One whose God’s heart had hardened, was irrevocably lost, and as a result had no more chance of believing the gospel than did the son of perdition, Judas Iscariot. Like Judas Iscariot, it would have been better for pharaoh had he never been born. Make no mistake, without faith it is impossible to please God, and faith comes not from man but from God, a gift of the sovereign Holy Spirit given to those that God the Father has elected unto salvation before the foundation of the world. Pharaoh’s heart, hardened by original sin, was going to remain that way despite the preaching of the gospel to him because it was not in the decree of God that pharaoh was one who would be saved.
So, the question must be asked: why preach to a man like this? Is that not a waste of time and effort? Now, the easy answer to this is “We are supposed to preach to all people because only God knows those that He has elected to salvation, and we are not to attempt to act in God’s place by presuming to judge and know who He has elected and who He has not.” While this is 100% factual in general, in this case it is not so, for God had already informed Moses of pharaoh’s state! Again, God informed Moses in advance that pharaoh would not listen, and sent Moses to preach the protoevangelium to pharaoh anyway! Despite the fact that he was going to “fail” (with respect to the attempt to get pharaoh to acknowledge the revelation of God, repent of his sins and obey the revelation), God sent Moses anyway!
And the question is why? Does God set people up for failure? And if God sent Moses to deliver His word, can the Word of God fail? Does not the Bible say that the Word of God does not return null and void, but instead will accomplish the thing that God purposes (Isaiah 55:11)? How can that be true in this case? The answer is simply this: God did not sent Moses to preach the gospel to pharaoh so that pharaoh could be converted. God’s purpose in having Moses preach was not man. It was not pharaoh. Instead, God’s purposes in having Moses preach was God. It was so that God would be glorified. This purpose is hinted at in this specific passage with “And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD” but is given more explicitly later, when God states that through judging Egypt and accomplishing Israel’s exodus, He would be glorified before pharaoh, before Egypt, and before the world!
Make no mistake, this passage establishes convincingly the truth that we preach the gospel primarily to glorify God, and that God is glorified whether converts result or not. Indeed, when converts do happen, God receives the double honor and glory, for God is glorified by the preaching, and God is glorified by the conversion, particularly since it is God who accomplishes conversion and not man. The notion that we evangelize chiefly to win converts is man-centered doctrine and practice and must be abandoned.
The notion that we evangelize primarily to glorify God is Biblical truth, which is God-centered doctrine and practice, and must be internalized by every Christian. And once we realize that the primary purpose of evangelism is to glorify God, then we can no longer suffer God-dishonoring methods and God-dishonoring people or institutions with our support and acceptance. We will also no longer compare the apparent, temporal “success” of the God-dishonoring tactics and people with the true spiritual fruit of those who labor according to God’s will and thereby glorify Him! Should we mock God in the service of exalting the cause of saving man, and then claim that God is served, glorified and pleased by the saving of man? God forbid!
Though man, being the work of God’s Hands, is very precious to God, God is more important than man. Though man has great value, and it is a terrible thing for a man’s soul to be lost to eternal torment, the value of God far exceeds the value of not only each individual man, but the collective value of all men that ever lived and ever shall live! God is more valuable than His creation, and it is the chief duty of God’s creation to obey and glorify its Creator! Suffering practice that dishonors God and leaders who disobey God rejects this truth of Biblical revelation in favor of the lie that man is more important than God, or equal in rank or value with God, and it is the duty of God, that God is somehow beholden, to conform Himself, to lower Himself, to humble Himself, and accept whatever man chooses to give Him. If this is the case, then why did God reject the offering of Cain, and what was His basis, rationale, or justification for it? How could God have been just in His rejection and judgment of Cain? How can God be just in His judgment of anybody? God forbid that this should be the truth!
Instead, the truth is that Jesus Christ the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Jesus Christ! The truth is that God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth. This means that our evangelism must not and cannot be to us-ward with the chief goal and end being man and his salvation but to God-ward with the chief goal and end being God and His glory. That was why God sent Moses and Aaron to preach a type of the gospel to pharaoh, and that is why God’s Son has sent His church to preach the fulfillment of the gospel to every creature. We must first reject the false teachers who claim that the gospel is for some and not all – which apparently is an aberrant unscriptural form of Calvinism that Charles Spurgeon and William Carey contended against in their day – and then reject the leaven who claims that winning converts justifies the corruption in the message, the evangelist and the institution! Please recall that Jesus Christ said that many who will perform evangelism and do many other great works in His Name will be counted as goats and cast into eternal flame (Matthew 25:31-46 with Matthew 7:21-23). The goats are those who do perform work, but as the man-pleasers do, and not in spirit and truth. They are double-minded, calling on God but seeking to please man. As a result, they are disobedient goats, not obedient sheep.
To glorify God, Christians, all Christians no matter their age, sex, race, class, status, church office, etc. must share the gospel oft, and do so in a manner that glorifies God by submitting to God through obedience. It is those who are the true laborers in the harvest of the Lord. So, fellow Christian, I urge that you would pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers into his harvest, and also that you would be counted among those labourers that He sends!
If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, I urge, entreat and implore you not to respond with unbelief and rejection as did pharaoh, for if you do, you will receive pharaoh’s reward, which is horrible judgment. Indeed, where pharaoh’s punishment as recorded in Exodus was bad enough, as it was a punishment in this life, it was only a type of the punishment to come, which is exceedingly grievous and eternal in its duration! Do not follow after the folly of pharaoh! Instead, repent of your sins, believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved. Follow the link below to find out how.
Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, evangelism, Jesus Christ, orthodoxy, orthopraxy, Reformed, religion | Tagged: god centered, man centered, Moses, pharaoh, preach, preaching, protoevangelion, protoevangelism, prototype, type, typology | 2 Comments »
Posted by Job on March 9, 2011
Revelation 6:1-2 reads “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”
The predominant view in modern western fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity is that the rider of the white horse is the anti-Christ. This was my view until very recently, when I read the John Bunyan allegory “Holy War“, which altered, or should I say enhanced, my view of Jesus Christ (more on that later), just as did reading “Pilgrim’s Progress Part 1” changed my view of Christian living and Part II changed my view of the pastorate and of the church.
Allow me to say that this article provides a good reason why the rider on the white horse cannot be the anti-Christ, which is that the four horsemen are released this eschatological figure is not released until the fifth trumpet. The trumpets do not occur until the seventh seal, and the white horse is released by the first seal. So, the white horse comes at or near the beginning of the events of Revelation (presuming a linear timeline with a literal interpretation) while the anti-Christ comes well into those events. Some interpretations deal with this by claiming that the reference in Revelation 6:2 is the anti-Christ’s laying the groundwork, placing everything in order, for his full unveiling to the earth that is described later.
Well, further arguments against the rider being the anti-Christ are given in this article. It deals with how those who propose that the rider is the anti-Christ deal with the fact that white is always used to represent Godly virtue by making the statement that the anti-Christ comes in this manner to deceive people into thinking that he is Jesus Christ. However, this interpretation requires starting with the idea that the rider on the white horse is the anti-Christ, and then making everything else fit, something often called thesis-driven analysis and also called eisegesis. If your starting point was neutral concerning the identity of this character, then his being on a white horse would immediately disqualify your associating him with the anti-Christ. But if your starting point was his being the anti-Christ, that is when you have to contrive an explanation for the horse being white, one that seems to violate all rules and standards for hermeneutics used for other passages. The question is: “Why is this done?”
It goes back to one’s view of Jesus Christ. The rider of the white horse is given a bow and he went forth to conquer, and conquer he did! Modern, humanistic, enlightenment thinking does not permit viewing Jesus Christ as the Conqueror. That is, at least not until the last day when Jesus Christ comes to judge the nations for their wickedness. That is the one time that the modern church with its man-centered mindset allows Jesus Christ, who as God is the Creator, Owner and Sustainer of the Universe, to be viewed as a conquering ruler. (And for those who believe in the rapture, this happens when the church is already off the scene, and is spared having to deal with Jesus Christ in this role.) In the modern mindset, Jesus Christ can be viewed as the sacrificial lamb, advisor, “co-pilot”, best friend, psychiatrist/psychologist, enabler, helper, moneychanger (prosperity doctrine), mystic/shaman, errand boy, and even romantic lover, but NOT as a conquerer. This stark, authoritarian, militaristic view runs counter to the modernistic Jeffersonian view that exalts such ideas as civil rights, human rights, democracy etc. above all, and needs a Jesus Christ that will bow and be conformed to it. Thus, Jesus Christ as conquerer cannot exist in the mind of the modernist/postmodernist Christian except for a single day when He is forced to execute that role with respect to the wicked. With the exception of that day, Jesus Christ remains in a construct that the modern mind finds acceptable. And according to that construct, where conquest to set up authoritarian rule is undemocratic is evil, this HAS to be the anti-Christ!
It cannot be Jesus Christ according to this mindset, because this mindset makes Jesus Christ a democrat. This Jesus Christ does not conquer. No, this Jesus Christ is standing outside the human heart like a lovesick teenage loverboy knocking on the door waiting, longing, begging for His sweetheart to come in. And it is only when the person that Jesus Christ’s target makes the free will decision to open the door to his or her heart and invite Jesus Christ in that salvation occurs.
For this to happen any other way, uninvited, unasked, and without consent, is tyranny. For Jesus Christ is not a sovereign king who rules by way of His undisputed dominion over the creation that is the work of His own hands for Him to do as He pleases. No, that is tyranny. Such rule is illegitimate, based on the threat of force rather than the consent of the governed! A true, enlightened philosopher king governs not by power or divine right, but by mutual consent! So, the one who stands at the door and knocks and will not come in without the consent of the “pilot” (for Jesus Christ is merely the co-pilot, not the actual pilot who is running the show and is the true master of eternal destiny, which is man’s free will) is Jesus Christ, the genuine article. The conquerer who does not ask permission, who does not gladly (though under submission) come when asked and does not meekly leave when rejected? Now that has to be the anti-Christ! So says the modern Christian mindset.
Thankfully, John Bunyan did not live in modern Enlightenment times! Therefore, Bunyan presents a different Jesus Christ, one that is actually present on the pages of the Bible before all the modern humanist filters and constructs are placed on it. Bunyan’s rather rough allegory presents a kingdom ruled by Shaddai (God the Father), whose most prominent and prized possession is the city Mansoul, which was built by the King Himself. While the modern mindset reared on democracy would revile the idea that a city is the possession of any king, A) this was in fact the custom of monarchs in times past – the kingdom and all in it were their possessions, and in the east the subjects of the “lord-kings” were considered slaves to the lord-king, and remember the Bible is an oriental book, not a western book and B) the Bible was fully written in the mindset of this custom. Mansoul rebelled against King Shaddai due to the provocation and trickery of Diabolus (Satan) and made Satan its king instead, under the false pretense that they could exchange status as slaves under King Shaddai’s rule to free men under his rule. Of course, Diabolus immediately made the residents of Mansoul his slaves, but so thoroughly corrupted and tricked them that they mistook the slavery of Diabolus and sin for liberation. Their delusion was so strong that when King Shaddai sent His captains (difficult to tell in the allegory, my guess is that they are angels) to liberate Mansoul from Diabolus, they resisted with all their might. The story was explicit: when Mansoul was given a multitude of opportunities to make a free will choice for King Shaddai, they rejected King Shaddai each time due to the depths of their depravity.
So, King Shaddai sent His Son, Prince Emmanuel, to recapture Mansoul. In this allegory, Emmanuel did not conquer Mansoul by standing at the door knocking and being invited in. Quite the contrary, He came with an army of soldiers and overcame the recalcitrant Mansoul, who resisted Him with all the force that it could muster – as it was still dedicated and devoted to Diabolus and its own sinful passions – with mighty force. Make no mistake, in this allegory, “and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” Mansoul! After the conquering of Mansoul was done, Prince Emmanuel had the entire town confess that He took the town for Himself as His prize by force; that when the town had the chance – indeed several chances – to yield itself up to the government of the Prince and His Father by choice, they refused each time. So, Mansoul chose the rule of Diabolus, and Prince Emmanuel gained the rule of Mansoul only by overtaking Diabolus, binding him, driving him out, and “spoiling the goods of the strongman” by declaring and setting up His own rule and domain – and through it re-establishing the same of King Shaddai – by force. Mansoul had no say in the matter, because Mansoul, by decree, election and will of God the Father its Owner and Creator – had declared it to be so. Mansoul did not choose Prince Emmanuel, but Emmanuel chose Mansoul (John 15:16).
Now, Jesus Christ as He is commonly depicted in most modern gospel music is not the rider on the white horse. But Jesus Christ as depicted in Holy War and in the Bible may well be. If nothing else, it is something to consider. Another thing to consider: why would the anti-Christ have to go about conquering the world to begin with? According to the words of Jesus Christ, Satan is already the prince of this world (John 14:30)! 2 Corinthians 4:4 declares Satan to be the god of this world, Ephesians 2:2 declares him to be the prince of the powers of the air. So, the anti-Christ does not need to conquer the world. All he needs is to have Satan’s authority transferred to him. Revelation 13:2 says exactly that: “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Further, Revelation 17 says that the rulers of the earth GIVE their power to the beast, NOT that he conquers them and takes it from them by force.
This may seem like idle speculation, or an excessive emphasis on “last things” when other issues concerning orthodoxy and orthopraxy are more pressing: “minoring in the majors.” However, one’s view of last things often casts a shadow on one’s belief. Many theological liberals and “moderates” de-emphasize predictive prophecy because of an anti-supernatural bias. Others use apocalyptic texts to promote the political and social causes that are near and dear to them. And many Christians are attracted to the rapture doctrines because of their desire not to suffer persecution and rejection by the world as Christ suffered the same.
In a similar fashion, the idea that the anti-Christ is the conquerer on the white horse reveals the mindset of a great many Christian theologians, preachers, and laymen concerning the doctrine of original sin. So many Christians SAY that they believe in original sin, or even total depravity, but by adhering to such interpretations as this, it really does imply otherwise. If original sin is true, if total depravity is true, then why is it that Jesus Christ comes only by willing invitation, and the anti-Christ only by force? Is that not backwards? If the anti-Christ, the beast is “the man of sin”, then the fallen, wicked world, if it is not his already, will freely, gladly accept him as one of their own, a kindred spirit! Again, why would a sinful world oppose and resist a man of sin? Why would they not accept him and instead need to be conquered by him? Only if there is some inherent virtue, inherent goodness in him that would cause him to resist the evil rather than accept it.
The idea that the anti-Christ would have to conquer is based on the notion that man is basically good; that the nations are basically good. And is that not what so many seem to adhere to because of their political, cultural and social beliefs? That the nations – especially the pro-western capitalist democracies – are good, and only the exceptions – the anti-democratic, anti-western, authoritarian regimes – are bad.
Isn’t it curious how most of the theories about where the anti-Christ will come is from the “bad” nations? First it was from the “bad” communist regimes. Then it was from the “bad” secular humanist socialist United Nations or European Union. Now speculation centers on the “bad” Islamic regimes. The idea that the anti-Christ could come from – gasp! – America, the shining city on a hill, the nation founded on Christianity and is a beacon of freedom and goodness? Well, MAYBE, but only if he is not really one of us like Obama!
Again, it is based on the idea that there is some inherent virtue in man, and some inherent virtue in what man builds. It is based on a rejection of original sin, a rejection of total depravity. Even the very idea that Satan takes over the earth and installs the anti-Christ only when the church departs after the rapture is based on the notion that Satan is not the god of this world at present! Ironically, people who adhere to this belief are de facto amillennalists believing that rather than being the god of this world in this present age, Satan is currently bound by the church’s presence.
So many Christians who profess to be evangelical or fundamentalist and profess a belief in original sin based on the actions of Adam only apply that doctrine to soteriology. They only apply mankind’s fallen nature to the individual human soul! But when it comes time to apply it to a larger scale, they shrink back! Why? Because of their love of this present world and the things in it! To those people, James 4:4’s “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” applies to liking MTV and the New York Times editorial page and not the entire fallen worldly system! The parts of the world they like, they consider it good, moral, even Christian. It is only the part that they are alienated from, usually because of political or cultural considerations, that they consider to be “worldly.”
But go back to the text and view it in context. Yes, Revelation concerns the last days. But the letter to the Hebrews – and elsewhere in the New Testament – declares that the last days began after the work of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of God’s plan and the high point of the history of creation. So, the last days – the time period that Revelation concerns itself with – is not merely the last seven years, the “great tribulation.” Instead, it concerns itself with the entire endtimes, which is now, and has been since Pentecost. That is why the letters to the churches are the first part of the Revelation. They are not introductory material to set the stage for the eschatology. Instead, they are part and parcel of the eschatology!
In that context, note that the white horse and its rider come first. It is the first seal! So, after the heavenly visions in Revelation 4-5, the white horse and its rider are the first thing that we encounter when the events shift back earthward in Revelation 6. So, why not strongly associate the white horse and rider with Jesus Christ speaking to and walking amongst the churches in Revelation 2-3? Were the material in Revelation to be arranged topically (i.e. with the things happening in heaven all together and the things happening on earth all together), that is exactly how it would appear … Revelation 6:1-2 would immediately follow the challenge to the Laodicean church!
So then, why not consider the possibility that the rider on the white horse given the bow and the crown and goes about conquering (and as this article states he does not obtain or use these things illegitimately in a manner that is against God’s will … such ideas are missing from the text) is going about to foreign lands conquering souls of sinners for God the Father? Did not Jesus Christ say in the Olivet discourse (i.e. Matthew 24:14) that the end will not come until His gospel is preached in all the world for a witness to all nations? Well, in Revelation 6, though it is certainly the last days, the end is not yet come! So, me must consider that the rider on the white horse is none other than Prince Emmanuel enlarging the domain of King Shaddai through the conquest of souls in every tribe and nation that are hardened with the total depravity of original sin.
Granted, this article does state that the rider is the Holy Spirit, not Jesus Christ. I disagree, but for my purposes the distinction is not a great one, as Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit in His Name to complete His Work through the church which is Jesus Christ’s Body, and the Holy Spirit is the One who performs regeneration. Instead, the main point is to consider the strong possibility that man-centered, humanistic thinking is the reason why the rider on the white horse was ever called the anti-Christ to begin with, especially when one has to be very inconsistent in one’s interpretation of Revelation and the Bible in general to arrive at that viewpoint.
Of course, the main point is that Jesus Christ is returning to judge the world and all its people for their wickedness. The only way to escape this judgment that is certainly to come at a time in the future that has been predetermined by God the Father is to be saved through Jesus Christ. If you have not been, I urge and entreat you that you would be so; that you too would be a conquest of Jesus Christ as was I.
Posted in abomination, anti - Christ, anti - Semitism, antichrist, apostasy, beast, Bible, christian right, Christian salvation, christian worldliness, Christianity, church hypocrisy, church scandal, church state, church worldliness, conservatism, conservative, endtimes, eschatology, globalism, government, great tribulation, harpagesometha, Holy Spirit, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Jesus Christ, Left Behind, liberal, liberal christian, liberalism, liberation theology, man of sin, mark of the beast, mid - tribulation rapture, Middle East peace process, Muslim, Muslim Brotherhood, Muslim media conspiracy, New York Times, orthodoxy, orthopraxy, political correctness, politics, post - tribulation rapture, postmillennialism, pretribulation, rapio, rapture, religious left, religious right, the anti-christ, the beast, the false prophet, warning given to churches in Revelation 2 and 3 | Tagged: abomination of desolation, allegory, apocalypse, great apostasy, great falling away, holy war, john bunyan, last things, new world order, one world government, one world religion, original sin, Revelation 6:2, rider on the white horse, total depravity | 10 Comments »
Posted by Job on November 24, 2009
Back when I used to support the ministry of televangelist Bill Keller – before I stopped because of his being a Billy Grahamesque and apologist of Roman Catholics – an anecdote from a media account of his ministry caused me some concern. It appears that a fellow who was suffering from depression and other issues saw Keller’s TV show, called in to ask for prayer and counseling, and agreed to say the salvation prayer with one of Keller’s several volunteer phone counselors (which includes a number of Roman Catholic priests, just as Billy Graham had Roman Catholic clergy available at his revivals). This fellow reported that not long after securing his confession of faith, his conversation with Keller’s prayer counselor ended, and he never heard from them again. Although he reports that his life made a marked turn for the better after his phone counseling and saying the salvation prayer (his depression and feeling of hopelessness left, and he proposed to marry his live-in girlfriend, who accepted) he was not sure if he was saved, was unsure if he should be considered a Christian, and had no idea on how to proceed on any sort of faith journey or Christian walk, including reading his Bible.
I considered this to be a simple oversight of one of Keller’s counselors – as Keller does promise to to have his counselors get the address of everyone who calls his prayer line and send them materials – but it still left me wondering about just how many people who made confessions of faith due to Keller’s ministry and were then left to their own devices. Even in the case of people who do receive materials from Keller’s ministry, Keller does not have or represent a church, and I have difficulty imagining that he would be in a position to personally recommend one to many of the geographically far-flung people that he evangelizes.
I have similar concerns about some of the popular gospel tract ministries. They are effective at winning confessions of faith, but what about discipleship afterwards, i.e. placing people under the authority of a pastor, a shepherd who can lead and model them to Christian maturity? How many people converted by these gospel tract ministries do not receive guidance concerning the importance of doing so, or which church to join? Of course, for those that God uses such evangelists to convert, we can and must have faith that He will guide and take care of His sheep. However, those of us who do support and participate in some of the popular tract ministries such as those by Jack Chick, American Tract Society and Way of the Master/Living Waters can add a simple step: including a handbill or addition to every tract that you distribute that contains the name, address, and phone number of your local church. That way, anyone who reads your tract and believes the gospel will be able to contact your pastor or attend your church.
I would imagine that many churches, even those who still emphasize door to door and street evangelism, do not have such things handy. However, there is a quick, easy and cheap way to make your own that I myself took advantage of. A person can go to a place that makes business cards, post cards, stationary or similar and create their own tract additions (or their own tracts period) that contain contact information for their local church. (I would suggest not giving out your pastor’s personal contact information unless you have his permission). Businesses providing such services are easy to find and use, and it is relatively cheap. I myself used Vista Print, an online firm that allows you to create such items using their pre-configured templates. I created 150 postcards (chosen because of they are bigger than business cards but still small enough to go inside or with most tracts) that contained the general contact information for my church on the front and a few verses related to evangelism (John 3:14-17, Romans 10:9, Philippians 2:9-11) on the back. Took about an hour, most of which was spent deciding to choose postcards over business cards and stationery, and picking out a template (though VistaPrint does have templates for church and religious purposes, I chose a basic one that was blank on the front and back that allowed me to add text and upload a picture).
Please DO NOT consider this an endorsement of Vista Print, whom I only chose because I had used them in the past and already had an account with them, so it was faster. There are many capable of providing this service, both online and traditional, further it can be done yourself via desktop publishing (something that I know absolutely nothing about other than this free open source desktop publishing software Scribus, which I will use myself when I have the time to learn how to do so). Instead, this is just a suggestion to those Christians with gospel tract ministries that I hope will prove useful. My own first batch of “gospel tract postcards” will arrive in about a week, right in time for me to start handing them out to Christmas shoppers.
Posted in Bible, christian living, Christianity, evangelical, evangelical christian, evangelism, Jesus Christ, orthodoxy, orthopraxy | Tagged: desktop publishing, gospel tracts, great commission, Scribus, witnessing | 37 Comments »