Jesus Christ Is Lord

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

Posts Tagged ‘church history’

The REAL Santa Claus Was Nicholas, Pastor Of The Church At Myra!

Posted by Job on November 27, 2009

Teach your children the truth, not the lie!After reading this Christian parents, you have absolutely no excuse for lying to your children about the lie, which is an evil combination of pagan mythology and American capitalism (i.e. Coca-Cola and department stores) plus the obvious fact that this world much prefers to talk about Santa Claus and other works-based pagan “the spirit of giving” nonsense than about Jesus Christ. Well, the REAL Nicholas was a man who began preaching about Jesus Christ at a young age and suffered mightily for the gospel. Now even this recounting is not totally free of pagan Catholic myth (though not some of the worst pagan nonsense that was developed around this preacher is in here) but the truth of a man who lived and suffered for the gospel of Jesus Christ is still here. Folks, “Santa Claus” is the main reason why Christmas is much more significant in the west than is Easter, a holiday which is much harder to separate from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lots of people think St. Nicholas is just another name for Santa Claus.

After all, Santa also is called “Father Christmas” and “Kris Kringle” and other names. Actually, “Santa Claus” is itself a mispronunciation of the Dutch name “SinterKlass,” which was their way of saying St. Nicholas.

But behind all the names is a boy who actually lived in what was then Lycia in the fourth century A.D., about 1,700 years ago. His name was Nicholas. There are many legends about this boy and the man he became, and behind those legends is the story of St. Nicholas.

When Nicholas was a little boy, a plague struck Patara, the town where he lived. Both his parents got sick and died, so Nicholas went to live with his uncle who was a monk in a monastery. His uncle, the abbot, taught him all about God and Jesus from the Bible. Nicholas wanted to become a monk when he grew up.

Nicholas’ parents were wealthy when they died and monks are supposed to be poor. So Nicholas resolved to give away all his money to help those who were needy, especially other children in trouble. He determined to be sneaky, so they would not know from where the money came. For example, a man was selling rugs to pay his debts. His wife and children had no food. Nicholas bought some Turkish rugs from the man, paying him much more than they were worth. Then, making an excuse, he gave the rugs back to the man’s wife.

The most famous story about his generosity involves three girls who could not get married because their father had lost all of his money and could not pay their dowry. The only option for these girls was slavery or, worse, prostitution. Nicholas heard about that and came up with a plan.

When the first daughter was ready to marry, he tossed a stocking full of gold coins through her bedroom window late at night. Using that as her dowry, she was able to marry. Soon after that, Nicholas tossed a sock full of money through the second daughter’s window. She, too, married.

But when Nicholas crept up to the house with a third sock full of money for the youngest daughter, he found all of the windows shut. So he climbed up on the roof of the house and dropped it down the chimney.

It landed in a stocking that had been hung on the fireplace to dry, giving us the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings.

After helping many people, Nicholas started having a strange dream. Not just once but several times — and always the same. In his dream, Jesus gave him a book of Gospels covered with jewels, and the robes of a priest.

When Nicholas told his uncle about the dream, his uncle told him that Jesus must want him to become a priest. Soon he did just that, even though he was still in his teens. As a priest, Nicholas was zealous to tell people about Jesus, and always looking for ways to help people in need or children in trouble. People talked about the kind “boy priest.”

Nicholas lived in a time when the Roman Emperor forcefully ruled much of the world. Nicholas went on a trip to see the Holy Lands. He sailed on a ship to Egypt, famous for its monumental temples and the library and lighthouse at Alexandria. But Egypt was in ruins; the Romans had persecuted and killed many people. Many others were left hungry and poor.

Nicholas also traveled to Palestine to see the places where Jesus had walked — but Jerusalem was also in ruins, the temple torn down and burned. That, too, had been done by the Romans. Nicholas visited with Christians and churches along the way, and encouraged them to help the poor and needy. While there, he had a dream that Jesus was placing a bishop’s crown on his head.

On his way home, the ship he was on got caught in a terrible storm. The ship was tossed and the rigging torn. Some of the sailors were lost at sea, others abandoned the ship and the three left were terribly afraid the ship might crash on the rocks, praying to God for mercy.

Nicholas came up on deck and joined them in their prayer. Just then, the storm stopped and the waters became calm. Very early the next morning, the little ship limped into the nearest port, a city called Myra-in Lycia, a long way from Nicholas’ home.

The three sailors told everyone how their ship had been saved when the young priest, Nicholas, had prayed with them.

“It was like a miracle!” they said.

Nicholas hurried off to a church for morning prayers, to give thanks.

The city of Myra had no bishop at that time. The previous one had died, and the remaining priests could not agree on who to elect as the new bishop. There were three priests at the church that morning, maybe more. They had been praying all night and each had had the same dream, that they were to make the first worshipper who came for morning prayers the new bishop.

Nicholas, a stranger in Myra, and still a youth (but a priest), was the first to arrive. How surprised he was when the priests told him he was to become the bishop. At first he hesitated, but they insisted, telling him of their dreams. Then he remembered his own dream.

So young Nicholas became the bishop of Myra.

Myra was an important city. As its bishop. St. Nicholas was known for his piety and zeal for Jesus and his holy church. When Nicholas taught the gospel, people said it was like receiving precious gems. He was equally concerned about the poor and needy, and helping children and others in trouble. He set a constant example, often helping people in secret ways. Many pagans were converted and baptized through his loving ministry.

But soon Nicholas was imprisoned.

The new Roman emperor, Diocletian, hated Christians and was determined to hunt them all down and kill them, or make them deny their faith. That was someone between 303 and 311 A.D. It was one of the greatest persecutions of the church; many Christians were cruelly tortured and murdered.

The three jailers guarding Nicholas tried and tried to convince him to deny his faith in Jesus. They tortured him. He was hungry and cold and wearing chains, but he taught them about Jesus and his church. He was kind to them, despite their insults. His hair and beard grew long and shaggy. In his suffering, he entrusted Jesus to protect him, and prayed for the other Christians to stand firm.

Eventually, things changed. A new emperor, Constantine, took the throne. He made Christianity the official religion of the empire. Nicholas and other imprisoned Christians were set free. Bishop Nicholas went back to his people in Myra, with his beard white and his face wrinkled.

His eyes sparkled when he talked about Jesus and the church, and he always had something for the poor and needy. He loved children and they loved him, too. Although he still was secretive about helping people, many knew about his kind deeds. But Nicholas could be firm, too — especially when false teachers would try to influence his churches.

In 325 A.D., 300 bishops gathered in the city of Nicaea to discuss the teachings of a man named Arius. He questioned Jesus’ divinity and his teaching had infected many — but not in Myra, thanks to Nicholas’ constant vigilance. Arius claimed that Jesus, as the son of God, was not eternal but created by the father as an instrument for the salvation of the world. Therefore, he was not God by nature, but a changeable creature.

Though Nicholas was not a major figure in the council, it is said that in the midst of the discussions, Nicholas actually slapped Arius for his false teaching. Because of that, some bishops wanted Nicholas removed as bishop — until Jesus and his mother appeared in their dreams and told them differently.

Nicholas died on Dec. 6, 345 or 352 A.D. Hundreds of churches have been named after him.

So this is the real St. Nicholas — an orphaned boy who became a priest and then a bishop. Who gave away all his wealth to the poor and especially to children in trouble. Who stood firm for his lord Jesus and his holy church in the midst of terrible persecution, and opposed false teachers as well.

A movie about the pastor of Myra has been made, but it has had trouble finding a distributor.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1058094/

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Unheeded or Misinterpreted Signs – The Destruction of Jerusalem 70AD

Posted by Job on March 29, 2009

A must read from PJ Miller!

Unheeded or Misinterpreted Signs – The Destruction of Jerusalem 70AD

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Fellow Heresy Hunters Beware The Example Of Tertullian

Posted by Job on March 28, 2009

One of the requirements of being an adherent to the Christian faith is that you oft contend for it. Let scripture bear witness that if you are not contending for the faith, then you are not in the faith. Of course, there are many ways to contend for the faith. Deep, intensive and devoted prayer in which we intercede for the lost and ask God to guide and strengthen the found (especially pastors and other leaders). Evangelism. Christian service. Personal piety and obedience. And yes, combating heresies.

Regarding the heresy hunting portion, I cannot help but remember one of church history’s most famous: Tertullian. It was through this brilliant fellow’s writings that we learned of many of the false doctrines plaguing the early church, and one cannot help but be amazed at the intelligence and fearlessness of this person as he took apart the doctrines and the people promulgating them.

However, all was not well with this Tertullian. It appears that this man was something of a rigorist. Rigorism can perhaps be contrasted with legalism, which claims that a person needs to keep certain religious rules and observances in order to be saved. However, it can also be contrasted with pietism, which advocates outward holiness (along with other things mind you!) while never losing sight of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Experts who have studied Tertullian seem to agree that he simply could not abide the fact that people – including those professing to be Christian – were simply going to have flaws. Tertullian was seeking a sort of perfection that Romans 7, among other passages, states that will never exist in this life.

An example: Tertullian claimed that the “sin unto death”, the unforgivable sin, was adultery. Now when one considers the ideas from various competing – and often syncretizing – religious and philosophical groups circulating in that day, this position is not nearly so strange as it sounds; indeed it may have been a widely held position. But still, how convenient is it to take a sin that you haven’t committed and claim that God will not forgive the person who commits that sin? It is a lot easier to condemn the next guy to the lake of fire than yourself, isn’t it? So while this position was, when considering the context, understandable, it simply does not align with what the Bible says. 

Now of course, then as now, there were huge problems with the church and the refusal of people to abide sound doctrine and holy living, and it seems for people of Tertullian’s day, there were two options: withdraw to the desert and become a monk, or join the Montanists. Both movements were known for their centering their lives around rigor. Let it be known that the Bible clearly explicitly rejects both. Regarding monasticism, Christians are clearly to be in the world, performing good works, serving, fellowshiping, and evangelizing. As for the Montanists, more on them later. 

Tertullian chose the second option, divorcing his wife and choosing Montanism as an outlet for his refusal to acknowledge that “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” is part of the universal Christian experience, and that denying this fact using rigor has the potential to result in people that are twice the sons of hell that they were before. 

Now I have a lot of sympathy for the Montanists in some respects, especially when reading about how so many of them were brave in the face of martyrdom at the hands of the state. Still, one cannot get around that they were real pieces of work. The founder of their sect, this one Montanus, claimed to be the Paraclete that Jesus Christ stated would come after He ascended to heaven. Of course, the Paracle is God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity! The Montanists claimed to be heralds, prophets and apostles if you will, of a new dispensation, or age of grace. The wrath of God was going to fall upon the lukewarm church and wicked world, and a new people of God would be raised up to lead the world into greater spiritual heights. 

Speaking of grace, I am willing to extend a bit to the Montanist sect – or at least some of its members that were for a time sincerely deluded by it – as lest we forget these people were operating without such benefts that we have today as an authoritative canon,  nearly universal literacy (and inexpensive, freely available Bibles to take advantage of it), doctrines made standard by nearly 2000 years of systematic theology, and the unfolding of history. But what can be said of a brilliant learned man like Tertullian who claimed that adultery was the unpardonable sin divorcing his wife and joining a cult run by a man who claimed to be the personification of the Holy Spirit, thereby making him equal with Jesus Christ and God the Father?

Now it is true that Tertullian ultimately left the Montanists, and those who treasure his contributions to church history and doctrines use this fact to claim that he returned to orthodoxy. I myself wish and hope it to be so, but regrettably, the last reliable information that we have on Tertullian is that he left the Montanists not  because they were thoroughgoing purveyors of doctrines of devils, but rather because they were not rigorist enough, and that in response he founded his own sect, the even more rigorist Tertullianists! 

Of course, as one who believes in the doctrines of grace, which includes predestination, election, limited atonement, and perseverance of the saints, my stance is that if Tertullian never returned to the faith, then he was never truly in it to begin with. Still, for current and future heresy hunters, his example is instructive, as we must acknowledge what Tertullian refused to do, which is that Romans 7 applies to all members of the Body of Christ, and we should be ever mindful of this fact when we speak and act. Maranatha!

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Burning Incense To Caesar: Regarding Avigdor Lieberman’s Proposed Loyalty Oath In Israel

Posted by Job on February 27, 2009

Two things.

First, I am thoroughly shocked at the intense and pervasive anti – Israel and anti – Semitic feelings around the globe that has been growing exponentially since the September 11th terror attacks. Now I do have a theory on why SOME of this is taking place, specifically among certain corners of the left. First, there has always been a large anti – Semitic presence on the left, but it has been largely muzzled by an apparently pro – Jewish sentiment in that body. I said “apparently” because it was never legitimate, but rather many of these people’s using the Jews. First, Jews were a bold, intellectually vital, and financially necessary part of the radical left in its early days. Second, it was unbecoming to be an open anti – Semite while simultaneously agitating for equal or special rights for blacks, women, Hispanics, homosexuals, atheists etc. Third, and perhaps most important, Jews were very important as a strategic weapon against conservatives, which at the time was primarily led by anti – Semitic (or at least non – Zionist) paleoconservatives.

Now the situation has reversed itself. The radical left is now mainstream, fully in control of the government and further having made major inroads in our corporate and financial institutions. So, they no longer need the courageous leadership, brilliant ideas, or financial backing of Jewish socialists. Also, multiculturalism and relativism now make it entirely possible – indeed fashionable – to denounce Israel and Jewry as evil while glorifying suicide bombers who target Israeli schoolchildren as freedom fighter servants of “god” through the religion of peace. And most importantly, the left can no longer use the charge of anti-Semitism to attack the actions and motivations conservative opponents, because the paleoconservatism of the recent past has given way to a pro – Zionist neoconservatism, many of whose ideas and leaders come from the ranks of conservative Jews, and much of whose money, numbers, and organizing muscle comes from premillennial dispensational evangelical Christianity. So, where a conservative was often called “anti – Semite” as a political tactic in times past by leftist activists, modern leftist activists now bash Jews and Israel far more overtly, publicly, and viciously than the conservative WASP (or as it were Roman Catholic) bankers and politicians ever did in private, and now use “homophobe” as their weapon of choice against conservatives. The best example of this startling shift: where leftist Martin Luther King, Jr. was a fervent Zionist and employed communist Jews as his speechwriters, organizers, and strategists, Barack HUSSEIN Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright casts his lot with the Palestinian terrorists and counts Louis Farrakhan (and similar) among his support system. Not the Palestinians, mind you, for the overwhelming majority of Palestinians are not violent criminals, but people and groups who have blood on their hands and are thirsty for more of it. And where King was roundly criticized for his Zionist position, Obama and Wright were only challenged – and in an extremely muted fashion – by a few neoconservatives.  This is only explicable by a rapid and amazing rise in the climate of anti – Semitism (both that which exists and that which is tolerated in others) which can only be explained by the activity of evil spirits. 

So, it is in this context that Avigdor Lieberman is being called – amazingly – “Jewish Hitler” in some circles. I will not even bother to explain how such a moniker, such a comparison, is so grotesquely inaccurate and inappropriate that it can either only be made by someone who is unaware of Hitler’s ideology and behavior and is merely used to calling someone that you disagree with “a Nazi” (which does honestly seem to be increasingly the case … the media and the education system seem fine with willfully refusing to educate people about Hitler and the Nazi regime so that any view or ideology that they disagree with, including those in the New Testament, can be accused of either contributing to the Holocaust or leading us to a new one … a columnist for the Detroit Free Press actually claimed that George W. Bush’s proposals to cut taxes and create private Social Security accounts could lead to a state policy of exterminating low income people, and yes people like her often tend to be pro – abortion!).

And what makes Avigdor Lieberman so monstrous? Quite simply, his proposal for a loyalty oath, that all citizens be required to publicly express loyalty to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state. Those who refuse have to options: to leave Israel (and if I am correct, it is at Israel’s expense!) or to remain there as a sort of second – class citizen. Lieberman has even stated that a person does not need to declare loyalty to Zionism, which comes with a lot of political and religious implications that a lot of people (including haredi Orthodox Jews!) cannot abide. Such a person merely needs to be willing to declare an acceptance of the fact that Israel exists now and of its continued existence in largely its current makeup and form (a secular western democracy with a mostly Jewish population where Orthodox Judaism plays a huge role – indeed a larger role than Christianity ever has in America, as it is modeled more closely after 19th century Lutheran Germany or Anglican England than America) – in Jewish government and institutions.

Jewish supporters of Lieberman’s proposed oath point out that the United States requires the same of people beocoming  naturalized United States citizens. That is a willfully false comparison, as Lieberman’s oath would be required of everyone, both natural born citizens and already naturalized citizens, as a requirement of retaining their citizenship. In America, it is practically impossible for a natural born or naturalized citizen to be stripped of his status against his will. 

However, Israel is not America. Enumerating the many differences between their legal code and its underlying assumptions and our own would be rather unwieldly, but suffice to say that a Christian could spend a year in an Israeli prison for giving a “Gideon’s Bible” containing the New Testament (as they of course all do) to a Jewish 12 year old. Like all parliamentary democracies, Israel lacks freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other things that make America much more of a constitutional republic than a pure democracy. 

Also, what Israel chooses to do with its citizenry is ultimately a matter of state, not of the cross. And though I believe Lieberman’s proposal to be exceedingly unwise, as it would be the doings of a democratic state that is not only secular but “founded on and governed according to anti – Christian principles and values” (it is a Jewish state, after all, so cast aside your premillennial dispensational Christian Zionism long enough read the 1, 2, and 3rd John and take its contents seriously) as opposed to the doings of a church or other body of professed Bible believing Christians, my position must be neutral, one of the many things that has happened and will happen in this world until Jesus Christ comes back. 

Yet and still, I cannot restrain myself from considering this policy past and future. It reminds me of the persecution against Christians in the Roman Empire. Christians were required to swear loyalty to the Roman state – and its state religion – with Caesar as head of both the state and religion with the status of a minor god in the religion by signing a document and bowing before either Caesar or his effigy. People who did so received certification of having done so, and people found by authorities in a condition of not having this certification either had to burn incense to Caesar or his statue immediately, or be subject to arrest, torture, and death. This policy resulted in the deaths of Christians in numbers exceeding a million, and the imprisonment or torture of still more.

I think that it is fair to point out that some Christians interpret the “mark of the beast” portions of Revelation to refer to this time, while others – myself included – believe the Roman persecution to be a precursor to the much worse persecution still to come under the great tribulation.

With that in mind: consider this. Were Israel to actually implement Lieberman’s policy (which by the way would take major changes to Israel, including but not limited to a major redirection of public opinion, big changes of Israel’s laws, and a complete overhaul of the composition of their largely liberal courts, which are far more likely to sentence conservative Israelis to 6 months of community service for speech code violations for displaying shirts and bumper stickers with slogans offensive to Muslims – again, Israel has no freedom of speech – than approving a citizenship test), then in order to be viable and practical, the government would have to be able to differentiate between who has taken the loyalty oath and who hasn’t. (After all, Christians had various ways of evading detection and capture by the Romans.) This is not the case of apartheid South Africa, where it was very easy to use physical appearance to determine different treatment by government authorities. Israel is not even planning on automatically deporting those who reject the loyalty oath, but rather giving such people the option of remaining as second class citizens. 

So, how is this to be done except A) completing a national computerized database or registry of people who have  and haven’t declared a loyalty oath and B) requiring people to carry evidence of their loyalty and status with them on their person so that the government officials – and anyone else who decides to enact similar policies of their own, including banks, grocery stores, and other businesses – would be able to differentiate and treat people accordingly? Would it take the form of an identification card that a person would be forced to carry? Well, those can be forged. What about a government – issued microchip? 

But that is just Israel, you say? Wrong. Various interests in America have been promoting “national ID cards” and “national registries” for years to combat everything from legal immigration to voter fraud (not to mention databases of people allowed or not allowed to buy firearms, and also of sex crime offenders … are “hate crimes” offenders next?).  If Israel adopts a national registration and ID system to implement their loyalty oath policy, then other western style governments are very likely to emulate it for their own national ID systems to address their own (real and perceived) problems. As a matter of fact, dictatorships and other authoritarian regimes are even more likely to. 

So, for no other reason than that, Lieberman’s proposal is something to watch and think about, along with the many similar proposals in our own country, especially those who prefer national ID cards over simply building a border fence, or people who claim that there aren’t simple and local solutions to voter fraud.

Posted in Christian Persecution, Christian persecution America, Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments »

Amillennialist Admits Premillennialism Was The Position Of The Jews And Of The Early Church

Posted by Job on February 26, 2009

The History of Chiliasm

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PREMILLENNIALISM IN THE EARLIEST CHURCH

Posted by Job on February 26, 2009

Key early quote: “The apologists who looked forward to the thousand year reign of Christ not only were

godly men and scholars in their own rite, but also were contemporaries of those who studied

under the Apostle John. One would think that men like Polycarp and Papias had a fairly accurate

understanding of what their teacher was conveying in Revelation chapter 20!”

A SURVEY OF EARLY PREMILLENNIALISM by Eric Frank

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

Posted by Job on October 20, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why The Early Church Fathers Were Millennialists And Why The Gentile Church Quickly Rejected It For Sadduceeism

Posted by Job on October 16, 2008

This can be considered a supplement to The Early Church Fathers: Amillennialism and Universalism. Why were the church fathers millennialist? Simple: Christianity was never originally a new religion – nor was it intended to be by its founder Jesus Christ – but can accurately be described as a Jewish sect. Was it true Judaism, fulfilled Judaism, or what Sinai Judaism pointed to? Yes, but it was still Judaism, and it offered accommodations to Gentiles that were little different from, say, what the Pharisees of that time offered. (Whether other Jewish parties like the Sadducees, Essenes, etc. accommodated Gentiles who did not wish to become circumcised or otherwise fully convert to Judaism is of little consequence.) So rather than Christianity being a separate religion that has replaced or even exists alongside Judaism, it is helpful to consider that Biblical Christianity is Judaism, with Gentiles practicing what the Jerusalem Council and later the Pauline epistles gave to us, and Messianic Jews practicing what the Jewish Christians – including the same apostles who guided and instructed the Gentiles – did. Of course, in practice, Messianic Jews retain a lot of things related to Talmudism and eastern European Ashkenazism that have nothing to do with the practice of James and Peter, and we well know what westernism has done to Biblical Gentile Christianity. For a longer treatment of these topics, please consider A Better Replacement Theology For Christians And Jews.

So now that it is established that Christianity is in fact Jewish, it then becomes easier to understand why the early church, including the Gentile apostolic fathers who received the faith from the apostles, were millennialists. The reason is that millennialism doctrine was long established in Jewish thought prior to Christianity. It is very much reflected in the eschatological passages in the prophets and writings (especially Isaiah and the Psalms), the idea that the Messiah would rule the whole world. Jesus Christ’s refusal to set up an earthly kingdom was a major why the Pharisees rejected Him. Further, even Jesus Christ’s own followers, after His resurrection, still expected Him to set up a literal rule of the earth according to the early verses of Acts 1. So when Jesus Christ went to the right Hand of the Father promising to return, the Jews felt that upon His return Jesus Christ would fulfill the Messianic prophecies concerning His literal earthly rule that had been part of Judaism many centuries.

Please realize that these prophecies cannot be cast away. Not only does that damage the doctrines of infallibility of scripture and the rule of faith, but the all important doctrine of progressive revelation. God did not reveal mankind everything at once, but only rolled out revelation gradually, primarily through His prophets, with the ultimate and completed revelation being Jesus Christ. See the prologue to the epistle to the Hebrews for verification of this. (Incidentally, the concept of progressive revelation also explodes the lie common to liberal scholarship that Judaism lacked any real concept of a spirit world, an afterlife, or even mature doctrines of angels and demons before their interactions with Zoroastrianism during the Babylonian exile. Needless to say, the references to the dead children of Job, Jeroboam, and David as well as God taking Enoch and Elijah going to heaven on a chariot of fire make the claims that Judaism had no concept of righteous people having an eternal afterlife with God ridiculous.)

So, the millennial expectations of the Jews was not only a part of progressive revelation, but a huge part of it, and became even more pronounced during their captivity in Babylon and subsequent domination by the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. As a matter of fact, it remains a component of Orthodox and Conservative Judaism to this day, and is a major reason why the alliance between said Jews and dispensational pre – tribulation rapture evangelicals is so successful: both believe in the coming of Messiah, both believe that the Messiah will convert one side to the other, and both are willing to wait and see who is right (while each believing themselves to be).

So whether the Apocalypse of the Apostle John, better known as the Book of Revelation, was read by the other apostles or not (as some evangelical scholars assert that John wrote Revelation before he wrote his gospel) claiming that they did not teach that Jesus Christ would return to set up an earthly kingdom is rather difficult to sustain. It would require rejecting or either completely reinterpreting the Old Testament scriptures in a way that not a single teaching of Jesus Christ recorded in the gospels or the writings of the apostles who learned from Jesus Christ (the original ones including Matthias directly, Paul by revelation) supports. So then, while the scenario where Jesus Christ returns, rules with the saints of the first resurrection for 1000 years while Satan is bound (does amillennialism and preterism even allow for a first resurrection since neither suffers a literal interpretation of Revelation 20 and denies a linear timeline governing Revelation 19 and 20), and then there is the final battle followed by the great white throne judgment given in Revelation 19 – 20 may be an enlargement that contains new material, it is consistent with what Jews believed prior. Asserting amillennialism, then, is akin to saying that the Jews who lived in Jesus Christ’s day and time and prior were wrong, and the Gentile Christians who came along 200+ years later were right and did a better job of interpreting scripture than the Jews did. Of course, the post – apostolic fathers church, especially the Alexandrian allegorists, did have this belief. But when you recall that these were the people who gave Christendom the practice of praying to angels, pictures and statues, and a Mary that they claimed remained a virgin, we are not bound by their pretensions.

Now I mentioned earlier that the Pharisees believed in the millennium, which leaves out the Sadducees. Why did the Sadducees reject the millennium? Simple: because the Sadducees were Hellenists first, Jews second. The best example of this group was Herod, who obeyed the Jewish commandment not to eat pork while disobeying much more important commandments in murdering people, including members of his own family. Even the Roman Caesar noted that it was safer to be Herod’s pig than his son. The Jewish worldview is a spiritual, otherworldly one. By contrast, the Hellenistic worldview was, while not quite secular in the modern sense of the word, was definitely naturalist and this – worldly. Therefore, the Sadducees were only able to accept the Torah, and even there a despiritualized interpretation of it, as valid. (It was made easier for them by the fact that the Old Testament scriptures used at the time, the Greek Septuagint, already contained some concessions to the Hellenistic mindset.) The Sadducees rejected the writings (i.e. the Psalms) and the prophets. This meant that they not only denied the resurrection (as the gospels explicitly state) but the millennium, because they rejected all spiritual things. (Please recall that even the Greek “gods” were merely superhumans that lived in the natural plane, and that the Greek “underworld” where the dead went was literally underneath the physical surface of the earth, not spiritual at all.)

Now the Pharisees, on the other hand, believed in spiritual things, so that was not their error. Their error was A) failing to fully understand them and more importantly B) failing to understand the implications of spiritual things on earthly matters. That was why Jesus Christ criticized them for failing to use mercy in their interpretation and the administration of the law, for the law was not an earthly institution intended for regulating human affairs (the position of the Saduceees) but a spiritual thing that God gave mankind to teach man about His nature, so the Pharisees should have used the law to show the same mercy to the people that God had always shown Israel.

When you understand that the Sadducees rejected the resurrection, the millennium, the writings, the prophets, and even the more spiritual aspects of the Torah in order to create “Greek Judaism” that was more Greek than Jewish, (Hellenism with external Jewish customs and regulations that not only had no spiritual content but was also totally devoid of morality) then that also explains why the post – apostolic fathers church rejected millennialism for amillennialism. Now the precursor to this piece stated that millennialism had to go in order to accommodate such ideas as universalism and purgatory that made Christianity more acceptable to Greek pagans, not only for the purposes of mere popularity (Origen was regarded as a great intellect by the Greek pagans for telling them that they would ultimately be saved whether they converted and lived godly lives or not!) but because they made spiritual biblical Christianity more accommodating to naturalism and other pre – existing Greek constructs.

After all, did Greek paganism afford different fates to people in the afterlife based on how they lived and worshiped in this life? Nope. There was no basis for the different reward, because there was no single all powerful creator to mete out rewards and punishments. There were many gods, and serving one was as good as serving the other. So no matter who you worshiped or how you lived, everyone would receive the same fate: the underworld. The purgatory and universalism doctrines of Origen, Clementine, Gregory, etc. removed the idea that some would receive good and others evil in the next life. This was not because the Greco – Romans were so committed to egalitarianism, indeed quite the contrary. In that culture women and children had no rights, there were more slaves than citizens, and the rulers only cared about the poor literally starving to death inasmuch as its potential to cause mass revolts. And the Greco – Roman religion did not hold out equal status in the afterlife as the hope or aim of their religion. Quite the contrary, the purpose of their religion seems to have been to use drunken orgies to forget the difficulties of their daily existence, which was why the actual practice of their religions was most common and popular with people who had the lowest status: women, slaves, and the poor. So then, the reason why the idea that people will get different rewards in the afterlife based on which God they served in this one was so offensive to the Hellenistic mindset was because this concept is unworkable without a spiritual reality that opposes pagan naturalism. The Origenic Christianity, then, did require them to reject multiple gods for one God, but allowed them to worship according to a system that, while spiritual in theory, was practically and effectively little different from the prior pagan mythology. Again, there is a reason why cultured pagans who had no intention of converting came from far and wide to listen to Origen’s lectures and left praising his great intellect.

So this brings us back to the issue of millennialism. For the events of Revelation 19 – 20 to be fulfilled in a literal fashion, Jesus Christ ruling the nations with a rod of iron along with angels and resurrected martyrs … not only spiritual but on a fantastic and grand scale. Now please recall that the Sadduccees rejected the spirituality of the Torah, instead regarding it as only being useful for history and for governance. In a similar fashion, Jesus Christ literally ruling on earth could not coexist to the Hellenistic natural mind. So, the rule of Jesus Christ over the earth had to be accomplished naturally, through human institutions. Jesus Christ rules the church, but the church rules the earth by controlling political, economic, military, religious, and cultural life. In short, dominionism.

Of course, it was no small thing to separate it further and make it even less spiritual. Jesus Christ rules the earth through His rule of the church, but His rule over the church is not direct and personal, but rather through His VICARS on earth, or His appointed representatives. Except that Jesus Christ does not even need to directly appoint His representatives by way of a revelatory anointing or calling. Instead, said vicars are chosen by the church itself, either from among the church leadership or the emperor, as head of a church state, that has the ability to appoint them. (Please note that the church really never opposed the practice of Roman emperors taking the prerogative to name bishops until the doctrine of the primacy of the bishop of Rome was fully matured, and even then the right of monarchs to appoint at least some bishops was never denied. After all, so long as the monarch was a baptized Christian, he was part of Christ’s rule of the earth, especially those monarchs that the prelates themselves either crowned or used political manuevers to help get into office.)

So, though this sort of amillennialism alleged that Jesus Christ was ruling the earth during a symbolic millennium that inaugurated when Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father, the fact was that the His rule was limited to a church that moreover was free to govern its own affairs through Christ’s vicars and totally ignore Him. Jesus Christ’s actual Person was reserved for mystic experiences (which you had better believe that communion/transubstantiation is certainly one!) and even those are not for the purposes of exerting any authority over the church – let alone the world – but rather for the mystical experience of the believer. Thus, Jesus Christ’s actual return was an event believed only in theory with no practical doctrinal or theological implications, because the church was already allegedly accomplishing what the long history of Jewish Messianic progressive revelation was supposed to teach the church to expect. All that remained was final judgment, something not only intangible and far off, but a great deal less important than such things as, say, getting your deceased relatives out of purgatory and into heaven with your good works.

So, amillennialism does the same to millennial doctrine – and possibly to Christianity itself – what Sadduceeism did to Judaism. It removes the spirituality that Jesus Christ will literally fulfill in favor of a system for gaining, maintaining, and exerting earthly power through humans and institutions. That the Protestant reformers generally continued to be amillennial, then, is a great shame. It is not unfair to propose that the first generation Reformers went on to set up state churches that greatly involved themselves in civil affairs because of it. It is also fair to propose that the “free churches” that were not part of either the Catholic or Protestant state church system were generally open to other doctrines. We can guess that the reason for this is that if you are not a state church but instead are being persecuted by a state church, then it is rather difficult claim that Jesus Christ is ruling the world with a rod of iron through your influence in governmental, economic, and military institutions, and even more difficult to explain why, with Jesus Christ already in heaven and Satan bound, the dominion that amillennialism states and implies not taking place even in the church, let alone in the world. I can propose that the reason why the early reformers held on to amillennialism was because of they were so steeped in it from Roman Catholicism, and also because of the Augustine to which they were so deeply indebted. In other words, for the same reason why the reformers continued to support infant baptism.

What is even stranger still is how premillennial pre – tribulation rapture dispensational evangelicals (as opposed to fundamentalists with this same eschatological orientation) have practically adopted some things pertaining to amillennialism, and are the new dominionists as a result. On one side is the religious right, who believes that the duty of the church is to exert influence over the nation’s laws, culture, and morality (if not spirituality). On another side is the third wave charismatic movement, especially those influenced by the Word of Faith/prosperity doctrine teachings that the church must reclaim the dominion over the earth that God gave to Adam as a precondition for a worldwide revival that will evangelize the globe and fulfill the prophecy for the return of Jesus Christ. Now both these movements, the Southern Baptist dominated former and the Pentecostal dominated latter (generalizing just a tad, I know), come together in two ways. One is the notion that an undivided fully sovereign biblical Jewish state of Israel must continue to exist at all costs, and that the United States must not only ally with Israel, but use its economic, political, and military might – including aggression – to defend Israel, with the church’s exerting all the influence (pressure) that it can on our government to ensure that it does so. So, we have the notion that Jesus Christ is acting to accomplish His redemptive purposes not only through the SECULAR state of Israel, but through the United States as well. So, Jesus Christ’s rule on earth at this time is not only primarily manifested through Israel due to its singular importance in dispensationalism, but it is secondarily – but still vitally! – manifested through the United States whose military, political, religious, and economic dominance of the globe allows Israel to remain sovereign so Jesus Christ can rule through it, and through the church that makes sure that the United States accomplishes its divine purpose of protecting Israel so that God may continue to use it.

How does it come together the other way? In the person of none other than Sarah Palin, the woman who was born Roman Catholic but rebaptized into Pentecostalism, and has been fully steeped in third wave Pentecostal dominion theology preaching (see video below) and is herself perhaps the single leading figure in the religious right now that other figures have died or marginalized themselves.

And that little nugget is something to think about.

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The Early Church Fathers: Amillennialism and Universalism

Posted by Job on October 15, 2008

According to William J. La Due, who can hardly be considered fundamentalist (he has been a professor at St. Francis Seminary and Catholic University of America) in The Trinity Guide To Eschatology (which I do not recommend) Irenaeus of Lyons, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Hippolytus were millennialists. It was those who came later, such as Origen, Jerome, and Augustine who rejected it, and Origen and Augustine in particular for amillennialism.

What happened? Simple: the influence of Greek paganism. From La Due’s writings, it is easy to connect the dots and come to the conclusion that 1) amillennialism was required for universalism and 2) universalism was needed to resolve the conflict between Christianity and Hellenism. Despite the claims of universalists that their interpretations are more consistent with the overall body of scripture, the truth is that Origen and the rest simply used a grotesquely out of context interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:28 (When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all) to justify their refusal to reject Greek pagan religion.

La Due further stated that the first prominent theologian to try to merge Christianity and Hellenism was Clementine of Alexandria, who died in the early 3rd century. This Clementine was the first Christian advocate of purgatory. By this Clementine imported the Greek mythological concept of purgatory into Christianity as a key component of universalism. (The Vatican II returned to Clementine’s doctrine by using purgatory to facilitate “all religions and good people who follow them lead to heaven” pluralism as opposed to “everyone whether religious or not and good or evil goes to heaven” universalism.)

Augustine incidentally rejected universalism. Further the Roman church did not get around to officially condemning Origenism in 543 and 553. (Augustine’s view of purgatory, by the way, were much closer to Jesus Christ’s parable of Lazarus and the rich man than they were to contemporary or historic Roman Catholic doctrine on the matter.) However, only Origen was so condemned, not Gregory of Nyssa, Clement of Alexandria, or the many others that played with this doctrine, including Ambrose of Milan. La Due suggests that the real reason why Origen was condemned while the many other universalists were not was Origen’s proto – Mormon doctrine of pre – existence, not universalism. Perhaps condemning universalism would have meant condemning purgatory as well?

In any event, it certainly looks like Origen and his fellow travelers rejected the endtimes views of the early church because millennialism (and ultimately eternal punishment) made doctrines that conformed to the worldviews of the Greeks unworkable. We see the same thing going on today, with not only so many leading evangelicals following the lead of Vatican II Roman Catholics and theological liberals in adopting pluralism to please the current philosophical mindset, but many also adopting annhiliationism (the belief that sinners will simply cease to exist based on the notion that the worth of man is so great that God cannot judge mankind as He sees fit without being considered cruel and tyrannical). By contrast, Augustine taught that the reason why sinners would be resurrected and receive new incorruptible bodies on judgment day would be so that the flames of the lake of fire would never consume them!

Alas, it is regrettable that so many Reformed evangelicals either believe in the pre – tribulation rapture (i.e. John MacArthur or Albert Pendarvis) or amillennialism (e.g. R.C. Sproul). It is even more regrettable that many Reformed amillennialists insist that amillennialism was the mainstream position of the early church. On the other hand, it does appear that my oft – proposed theory that the Constantism (the Roman imperial church and the Roman Catholic Church) adopted and promoted amillennialism to justify its goals of co – opting Christianity for political and military ambitions – dominionism or official theology – is problematic, as amillennialism has to go with the practice of worshiping saints and Mary and the doctrine of purgatory as yet another thing that cannot be blamed on Constantinism because it predated his takeover of Christianity by at least 100 years. Amillennialism is not evidence of how the Roman Empire took Christianity off its path, but rather how the Roman Empire adopted a faith that had already long veered from its apostolic foundations.

So instead, amillennialism, purgatory, saint and angel worship, and the heresies concerning Mary were simply attempts to make the faith acceptable, conformed with, and relevant with the world. Am I exaggerating, then, to say that Clement and Origen of those days are the emergent leaders like Rick Warren, Erwin McManus, Rob Bell, and Dan Kimball or political Christians like James Dobson, Barry Lynn and Bill Moyers today? Not a whole lot, and probably not at all. Whether it is Hellenism or enlightenment rationalism or postmodernist consumerism, James 4:4 and Romans 12:1-2 still applies.

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Did William Carey Have The Charismatic Holy Spirit Gifts Of Unknown Tongues And Interpretations?

Posted by Job on September 19, 2008

Ever since the rise of the modern Pentecostal/charismatic movement, there has been debate on whether such sign gifts as speaking in and interpreting unknown tongues are for today, or whether they were given only in apostolic times for the purposes of founding the church and spreading the gospel. People who take the latter view in particular often advance the view that tongues and interpretations (along with other sign gifts) were primarily used to spread the gospel to new areas.

 Well let us consider the case of William Carey. In Carey’s day, the turn of the 19th century, it was commonly – and quite strongly – believed in Protestant Christianity that it was not the duty of Christians to spread the gospel outside of “Christendom”, or areas with a large Christian presence directly ruled by a Christian state. How this belief actually played out seemed inconsistent and unusual, as it appears that a large self – sustaining colonial presence in North America made it acceptable to proselytize the natives (the so – called Indians), but other areas where there was certainly a western presence was considered to be off – limits. It is fashionable to blame Calvinism for this mindset, but the truth is that Arminians generally followed this practice too: those such as the Wesleys were willing to preach to native Americans, but were no more motivated to offer people in areas lacking a strong western political and military presence or self – sustaining colonial populations a chance to make a decision for Jesus Christ than were the Calvinists in seeking God’s elect. In any case, the prevailing excuses appeared to be that Christians had more than sufficient work tending to the lost (and discipleship of the found) among their own countrymen to worry about seeking other sheep elsewhere, and that the great commission was a command given only to the apostles, not to the modern church. It also appears that at least some Protestants downplayed the importance of missionary work precisely because the Roman Catholics were so involved in it: anything that Rome was doing was to them by definition suspect!

Other Protestants, including the Moravians (Lutherans) had challenged those notions in the past, but Carey, a Baptist of Calvinistic extraction, is considered the father of modern missions because the missionary movement that he began, against vehement opposition of the religious establishment of his day, was one that has been sustained, imitated, and replicated until this day. As an odd curiosity, however, the man who started the movement that resulted in such a rapid spread of Christianity and countless saved souls around the world only himself successfully baptized and evangelized a few converts.

However, one area where Carey was far more successful at was in translating the Bible! It is said that Carey had an obvious talent, a rare proficiency and inclination, for learning languages and doing translation work. You can even call it A GIFT. (For an idea of the source of this gift according to my estimation, read passages related to Exodus 28:3Exodus 31:3Exodus 35:31Numbers 24:2Judges 3:10 and similar.)  It is said that he translated the Bible, either completely or in part, in 35 different languages! That does not even include his attempt to make a book of translation of Sanskrit literature and a polyglot dictionary of Sanskrit and related languages, which would have been a huge contribution to the field of linguistics that would have been a great help to scholars in translation work to this day had the irreplaceable manuscripts not been destroyed in a fire. (As a side note, it is also said that the day that Carey finally baptized his first convert on the mission field, Krishna Pal, his wife was confined to her room as a result of having lost her mind!. Spiritual warfare is real people!) 

So, this William Carey, a minister of the Particular Baptist movement of the Reformed Christian faith, in my estimation possessed a gift given by the Holy Spirit that was used to found the church in a place that it did exist by transferring the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God from a tongue (language) unknown to the people in this area to a tongue that was known to them. It was an apostolic gift given to a man who filled an apostolic task. Perhaps the best evidence of this was Carey’s commitment to justice for the poor by opposing the caste system, especially by way of his daring decision to have his converts not obey the caste system (part of the Hindu religion), in particular by allowing two Christian converts from separate castes, a Sudra and a Brahmin, marry. To this day Christianity is growing fastest among the greatly oppressed and impoverished untouchable caste of India, a group called the Christian Dalits. (It is also interesting that Carey made the decision to model his missionary community somewhat after the Bible’s description of the communal living of the early Jerusalem church in Acts.)

So did William Carey exhibit the Holy Spirit sign gift in the area of tongues, especially their interpretation? Feel free to come to your own conclusion about the matter. But when you look at the videos below, you might be able to guess the direction that I am leaning in and why this is so.  

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A Masonic History of America: Debunking The Myth That We Were Founded On Christianiy

Posted by Job on September 19, 2008

Please click on link below to read document:

A Masonic History of America by Albert James Dager

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Martin Luther’s 97 Theses (The Ones That Weren’t Nailed To The Door)

Posted by Job on August 23, 2008

Everyone is familiar with Martin Luther’s 95 theses nailed to the door that started the Protestant Reformation. What is probably not as widely known is that it was Luther’s SECOND document challenging Roman Catholicism, and furthermore was not intended to start any great controversy, but was rather meant only to provoke theological debate among Luther’s peers at the University of Wittenburg. It was Luther’s FIRST document, the 97 theses, that he originally intended to use to challenge the Roman Catholic Church. However, because his original challenge dealt primarily with doctrinal and practical issues, while it was accepted among Luther’s circle at Wittenburg (who had already been heavily influenced by Luther’s preaching for several years prior, meaning that the field had been plowed), it went no further. So, the 95 theses was meant as a followup to keep the internal debate going. Now realize that the 95 theses were not nearly as theological, but was instead much more practical, speaking directly to the religious, political, economic, and social conditions of the day, and in that manner actually more closely resembled the preaching of Jesus Christ, Peter, and John the Baptist than his prior theological manifesto which is listed below.

This truly demonstrates that God works in ways that man cannot understand, predict, or comprehend. Luther’s first document that he intended to provoke a wide debate based on his deep theological insights went nowhere, much to his disappointment, and he actually may have even given up on his reform agenda. But his second document, written after he regarded his original plan to be a failure with the intent of merely stimulating a debate among his adherents and made its challenge based on the way that people worshiped and lived rather than what they believed, was what God used to change the world!

From this we can perhaps draw the lesson that while God certainly cares about and uses to change and transform us what we believe (orthodoxy) it is how we worship and live (orthopraxy) that God uses to transform others. Orthodoxy is what God sees, orthopraxy is what the Holy Spirit causes other people, especially non – Christians that God has elected to salvation, respond to.

As a side note, certain people misappropriated Luther’s movement and used it to cause a great deal of trouble, including violent uprisings. (Among them were people who called themselves prophets and declared that they no longer needed scripture because they received direct revelation from God.) Naturally, this caused problems for Luther, as the Roman Catholics sought to blame him for the trouble. Prior to now, you had a lot of people attempting to reform Roman Catholicism from within, and their leader was regarded as Erasmus, whose primary goal above all else was to avoid dissension and conflict (a religious philosophy that owed more to Greek pagan philosophy than the teachings of Jesus Christ). Where Erasmus was originally sympathetic to Luther, he refused to commit to cast in his lot with Luther because it would have been the very sort of troublemaking that Erasmus’ religious beliefs held to be the root of all evils. In other words, Erasmus was the forerunner of modern Christians who demand that we should all strive for peace and unity no matter the differences doctrines and behavior! But when the uprisings that were blamed on Luther happened, it provoked Erasmus to take a stand against Luther, for Erasmus regarded Luther as having committed the biggest possible crime and injury against his belief system: disturbing the peace. So, Erasmus, leader of the humanist reformers of Roman Catholicism (in his day “humanism” meant “lovers of the humanities” i.e. arts, classic literature, etc.) decided that the best way to challenge Luther was to go after the doctrines of election and predestination, and in doing so wrote his own manifesto rejecting those doctrines and asserting his own belief in free will salvation. Luther’s response: Erasmus’ notion of free will had its origins in Greek pagan philosophy, the Aristotle, Plato, and Zeno that Erasmus so loved and was heavily influenced by, and not the Bible. (In defense of Erasmus, he acquired his love for Greek pagan philosophy because of his own dissatisfaction with Roman Catholic scholarship … he and the other humanists rejected many of the teachings of Rome and decided to go back to the Bible itself. Unfortunately, they decided to go back to the writings of many early western Christians also, and their writings were filled with the very influences of pagan philosophy that led to the development of Roman Catholicism to begin with. So Erasmus was willing to come part of the way out of Babylon, but not all of the way out, for he found certain parts of Babylon pleasing and useful to him. In addition to the earlier point on how God uses a Christian’s orthodoxy to transform the Christian himself but  a Christian’s orthopraxy to transform other people, the wages of being unwilling to fully abandon Babylon are also worth contemplating.)

Translated by Harold J. Grimm, taken from Luther’s 97 Theses: Disputation Against Scholastic Theology (Scholasticism) on the Contend Earnestly blog.

1. To say that Augustine exaggerates in speaking against heretics is to say that Augustine tells lies almost everywhere. This is contrary to common knowledge.
2. This is the same as permitting Pelagians1 and all heretics to triumph, indeed, the same as conceding victory to them.
3. It is the same as making sport of the authority of all doctors of theology.
4. It is therefore true that man, being a bad tree, can only will and do evil [Cf. Matt. 7:17–18].
5. It is false to state that man’s inclination is free to choose between either of two opposites. Indeed, the inclination is not free, but captive. Tiffs is said in opposition to common opinion.

6. It is false to state that the will can by nature conform to correct precept. This is said in opposition to Scotus2 and Gabriel.3
7. As a matter of fact, without the grace of God the will produces an act that is perverse and evil.
8. It does not, however, follow that the will is by nature evil, that is, essentially evil, as the Manichaeans4 maintain.
9. It is nevertheless innately and inevitably evil and corrupt.
10. One must concede that the will is not free to strive toward whatever is declared good. This in opposition to Scotus and Gabriel.
11. Nor is it able to will or not to will whatever is prescribed.
12. Nor does one contradict St. Augustine when one says that nothing is so much in the power of the will as the will itself.
13. It is absurd to conclude that erring man can love the creature above all things, therefore also God. This in opposition to Scotus and Gabriel.
14. Nor is it surprising that the will can conform to erroneous and not to correct precept.
15. Indeed, it is peculiar to it that it can only conform to erroneous and not to correct precept.
16. One ought rather to conclude: since erring man is able to love the creature it is impossible for him to love God.
17. Man is by nature unable to want God to be God. Indeed, he himself wants to be God, and does not want God to be God.
18. To love God above all things by nature is a fictitious term, a chimera, as it were. This is contrary to common teaching.
19. Nor can we apply the reasoning of Scotus concerning the brave citizen who loves his country more than himself.
20. An act of friendship is done, not according to nature, but according to prevenient grace. This in opposition to Gabriel.
21. No act is done according to nature that is not an act of concupiscence against God.
22. Every act of concupiscence against God is evil and a fornication of the spirit.
23. Nor is it true that an act of concupiscence can be set aright by the virtue of hope. This in opposition to Gabriel.
24. For hope is not contrary to charity, which seeks and desires only that which is of God.
25. Hope does not grow out of merits, but out of suffering which destroys merits. This in opposition to the opinion of many.
26. An act of friendship is not the most perfect means for accomplishing that which is in one.5 Nor is it the most perfect means for obtaining the grace of God or turning toward and approaching God.
27. But it is an act of conversion already perfected, following grace both in time and by nature.
28. If it is said of the Scripture passages, “Return to me,…and I will return to you” [Zech. 1:3.], “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” [Jas. 4:8], “Seek and you will find” [Matt. 7:7], “You will seek me and find me” [Jer. 29:13], and the like, that one is by nature, the other by grace, this is no different from asserting what the Pelagians have said.
29. The best and infallible preparation for grace and the sole disposition toward grace is the eternal election and predestination of God.
30. On the part of man, however, nothing precedes grace except indisposition and even rebellion against grace.
31. It is said with the idlest demonstrations that the predestined can be damned individually but not collectively. This in opposition to the scholastics.
32. Moreover, nothing is achieved by the following saying: Predestination is necessary by virtue of the consequence of God’s willing, but not of what actually followed, namely, that God had to elect a certain person.
33. And this is false, that doing all that one is able to do can remove the obstacles to grace. This in opposition to several authorities.
34. In brief, man by nature has neither correct precept nor good will.
35. It is not true that an invincible ignorance excuses one completely (all scholastics notwithstanding);
36. For ignorance of God and oneself and good work is always invincible to nature.
37. Nature, moreover, inwardly and necessarily glories and takes pride in every work which is apparently and outwardly good.
38. There is no moral virtue without either pride or sorrow, that is, without sin.
39. We are not masters of our actions, from beginning to end, but servants. This in opposition to the philosophers.
40. We do not become righteous by doing righteous deeds but, having been made righteous, we do righteous deeds. This in opposition to the philosophers.
41. Virtually the entire Ethics of Aristotle is the worst enemy of grace. This in opposition to the scholastics.
42. It is an error to maintain that Aristotle’s statement concerning happiness does not contradict Catholic doctrine. This in opposition to the doctrine on morals.
43. It is an error to say that no man can become a theologian without Aristotle. This in opposition to common opinion.
44. Indeed, no one can become a theologian unless he becomes one without Aristotle.
45. To state that a theologian who is not a logician is a monstrous heretic—this is a monstrous and heretical statement. This in opposition to common opinion.
46. In vain does one fashion a logic of faith, a substitution brought about without regard for limit and measure. This in opposition to the new dialecticians.
47. No syllogistic form is valid when applied to divine terms. This in opposition to the Cardinal.6
48. Nevertheless it does not for that reason follow that the truth of the doctrine of the Trinity contradicts syllogistic forms. This in opposition to the same new dialecticians and to the Cardinal.
49. If a syllogistic form of reasoning holds in divine matters, then the doctrine of the Trinity is demonstrable and not the object of faith.
50. Briefly, the whole Aristotle7 is to theology as darkness is to light. This in opposition to the scholastics.
51. It is very doubtful whether the Latins comprehended the correct meaning of Aristotle.
52. It would have been better for the church if Porphyry8 with his universals had not been born for the use of theologians.
53. Even the more useful definitions of Aristotle seem to beg the question.
54. For an act to be meritorious, either the presence of grace is sufficient, or its presence means nothing. This in opposition to Gabriel.
55. The grace of God is never present in such a way that it is inactive, but it is a living, active, and operative spirit; nor can it happen that through the absolute power of God an act of friendship may be present without the presence of the grace of God. This in opposition to Gabriel.
56. It is not true that God can accept man without his justifying grace. This in opposition to Ockham.9
57. It is dangerous to say that the law commands that an act of obeying the commandment be done in the grace of God. This in opposition to the Cardinal and Gabriel.
58. From this it would follow that “to have the grace of God” is actually a new demand going beyond the law.
59. It would also follow that fulfilling the law can take place without the grace of God.
60. Likewise it follows that the grace of God would be more hateful than the law itself.
61. It does not follow that the law should be complied with and fulfilled in the grace of God. This in opposition to Gabriel.
62. And that therefore he who is outside the grace of God sins incessantly, even when he does not kill, commit adultery, or become angry.
63. But it follows that he sins because he does not spiritually fulfill the law.
64. Spiritually that person does not kill, does not do evil, does not become enraged when he neither becomes angry nor lusts.
65. Outside the grace of God it is indeed impossible not to become angry or lust, so that not even in grace is it possible to fulfill the law perfectly.
66. It is the righteousness of the hypocrite actually and outwardly not to kill, do evil, etc.
67. It is by the grace of God that one does not lust or become enraged.
68. Therefore it is impossible to fulfill the law in any way without the grace of God.
69. As a matter of fact, it is more accurate to say that the law is destroyed by nature without the grace of God.
70. A good law will of necessity be bad for the natural will.
71. Law and will are two implacable foes without the grace of God.
72. What the law wants, the will never wants, unless it pretends to want it out of fear or love.
73. The law, as taskmaster of the will, will not be overcome except by the “child, who has been born to us” [Isa. 9:6].
74. The law makes sin abound because it irritates and repels the will [Rom. 7:13].
75. The grace of God, however, makes justice abound through Jesus Christ because it causes one to be pleased with the law.
76. Every deed of the law without the grace of God appears good outwardly, but inwardly it is sin. This in opposition to the scholastics.
77. The will is always averse to, and the hands inclined toward, the law of the Lord without the grace of God.
78. The will which is inclined toward the law without the grace of God is so inclined by reason of its own advantage.
79. Condemned are all those who do the works of the law.
80. Blessed are all those who do the works of the grace of God.
81. Chapter Falsas concerning penance, dist. 5, 10 confirms the fact that works outside the realm of grace are not good, if this is not understood falsely.
82. Not only are the religious ceremonials not the good law and the precepts in which one does not live (in opposition to many teachers);
83. But even the Decalogue itself and all that can be taught and prescribed inwardly and outwardly is not good law either.
84. The good law and that in which one lives is the love of God, spread abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
85. Anyone’s will would prefer, if it were possible, that there would be no law and to be entirely free.
86. Anyone’s will hates it that the law should be imposed upon it; if, however, the will desires imposition of the law it does so out of love of self.
87. Since the law is good, the will, which is hostile to it, cannot be good.
88. And from this it is clear that everyone’s natural will is iniquitous and bad.
89. Grace as a mediator is necessary to reconcile the law with the will.
90. The grace of God is given for the purpose of directing the will, lest it err even in loving God. In opposition to Gabriel.
91. It is not given so that good deeds might be induced more frequently and readily, but because without it no act of love is performed. In opposition to Gabriel.
92. It cannot be denied that love is superfluous if man is by nature able to do an act of friendship. In opposition to Gabriel.
93. There is a kind of subtle evil in the argument that an act is at the same time the fruit and the use of the fruit. In opposition to Ockham, the Cardinal, Gabriel.
94. This holds true also of the saying that the love of God may continue alongside an intense love of the creature.
95. To love God is at the same time to hate oneself and to know nothing but God.
96. We must make our will conform in every respect to the will of God (in opposition to the Cardinal);
97. So that we not only will what God wills, but also ought to will whatever God wills.
In these statements we wanted to say and believe we have said nothing that is not in agreement with the Catholic church and the teachers of the church.
1517

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Judaism And Early Christianity

Posted by Job on August 4, 2008

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