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 ‘Constantine’

My Questions On Many Contemporary Practices Of Spiritual Warfare And Deliverance

Posted by Job on May 15, 2009

When I first began this site – as well as its now defunct predecessor – it was primarily one devoted to spiritual warfare and deliverance based on what I had learned from reading works by such people as Frank Hammond, John Eckhart, and to a lesser degree Rebecca Brown, Frank Peretti and Derek Prince. (Now where this field is considered to be dominated by Pentecostals and charismatics, please know that Frank Hammond, considered to be one of the most influential teachers in this area, had a Baptist background, having been trained at Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.)

Now when doing research – inasmuch as web searches can be considered research! – for teachings and material to include, quite naturally I would encounter many statements by Christians opposed to spiritual warfare and deliverance ministries and ignored them, chalking it up to faithlessness and false doctrines. However, one of them did capture my attention. It did not dismiss the possibility of Christians conducting legitimate deliverance ministries out of hand, which forced me to pay attention to it.

However, this article stated that the methods  to cast out demons popularized by Hammond and fellow travelers not New Testament doctrine and did not conform to the example by which Jesus Christ and Paul cast out demons. Instead, the “Pigs In The Parlor” and “He Came To Set The Captives Free” spiritual deliverance techniques far more closely resembled accounts of how rabbis used to cast out demons as recorded in the Talmud and other rabbinical writings. This document further stated that there was a line of Messianic prophecies among the rabbis that when the Messiah came, He would not have to rely on the laborious techniques of the old covenant rabbis, but instead would be able to cast out demons with power and authority, the spoken command. See, for example, Luke 4:33-37. Also note that Paul’s example of casting out a demon was much more after the manner of Jesus Christ in Acts 16:18. And the clincher, as far as I was concerned, was the assertion that the Frank Hammond method was also very similar to Roman Catholic exorcisms! (How ironic that J.P. Moreland, upset over a friend of his having to leave a prominent evangelical post upon this friend of his converting to Roman Catholicism, stated that evangelical Christians should abandon sola scriptura, calling it “Bible idolatry“, and suggested that among other things Roman Catholic traditions on exorcisms was an area where evangelicals should learn from Catholics!)

Now having rejected all of the other arguments against contemporary spiritual warfare and deliverance ministries, this one – that it did  not conform to the example of scripture and that it was an imitation of practices of intertestamental Judaism and of Roman Catholicism – I did not have an adequate answer for. So, I decided that while I would leave the existing spiritual warfare material on the site – reasoning that they are, at the very least, better than nothing and certainly preferable to the modern evangelical trend of relying more and more on psychology and psychotherapy, fields that were largely invented by New Agers, occultists, atheists, and sexual perverts (do a little research, it’s true!) – while refraining from adding new ones until I came across more Bible based doctrines of conducting spiritual warfare and deliverance.

Sadly, I have not encountered such doctrines as of yet, and in the past year or so have focused less on this area and more on “Christianity 101”, things having to do with the basics of the Christian faith and Christian living. Perhaps when I am done with grounding myself in the basics of the faith – matters of which I was very presumptuous and prideful while being wholly ignorant and immature – it will be a good time to investigate the doctrines of casting devils out of people anew.

Still, I have continued to discover more things about the teachings of Frank Hammond in particular that trouble me. First, Hammond takes a vast array of sinful habits and behaviors and attributes them to demons. (I actually had the goal of reproducing Hammond’s “demon groupings” chart on this site and never completed it because it was so large, now I am rather glad that I failed in that undertaking.) But the more that I ponder his teachings in this area, I perceive this as not considering Romans 7. This is not to say that Frank Hammond rejects Romans 7, but I have not seen him incorporate Romans 7 in his doctrines or applications in any careful way. This is very serious, because a study of Romans 7 is vital in discerning whether activity is demonic or simply due to what Romans 7 calls “the body of sin.” Instead, Frank Hammond advocates relying on a Holy Spirit gift for discerning demons. Now how does the Holy Spirit gift for discerning demons operate, and how are we to use it in a church or ministry context? The Bible does not say, so we have to rely on the teachings of Frank Hammond to tell us. Also, where Romans 7 makes it clear that there are some battles with our old natures that Christians are going to have to deal with until we get to heaven, Hammond’s teachings claim that such merely represents failed or incomplete spiritual deliverances, so we have to return to the deliverance ministers to do still more confessions of past sins in counseling sessions and then have still more nested interlocking demon groups buried and hiding deep inside of us, demons and demon groupings that the Holy Spirit gift of discernment failed to identify in previous sessions, out. That does appear to contradict this passage of Romans 7.

Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Claiming that this passage does not refer to the striving of Christians against the flesh and the need of grace to overcome ignores scriptures that can be used to interpret this scripture such as Galatians 5:24-25 and 1 Peter 2:11. This doctrine makes it appear that Christian living should, save an intermittent battle or three with a demon or temptation, basically be strife and trouble free, and that any Christian who is not experiencing Hammond’s definition of “life more abundantly” is either demonized or still engaged in sin habits that need to be broken, is living under some “generational curse”, has some “demon of inheritance” or that needs to be discerned and broken, and so on.

These doctrines deny the fact that Christian life is supposed to be inherently trying and difficult … one of persecution, chastening and affliction, dying to self daily, carrying the cross or cross-life. It makes me wonder if Hammond or any of the others in his school has ever read Pilgrim’s Progress or anything similar. It also, in a style that anticipated the current Oprahesque style of modern Christianity, which allows a person to reject accountability. Where today a professed Christian who follows the New Agey Dr. Phil psychobabbleanalytical doctrines can simply blame parents, teachers, classmates, spouses, pastors, or any number of emotional or mental problems for their unBiblical behavior, the Hammond school allows a person to simply say “the devil made me do it” and profess a need for spiritual deliverance. Either way, you get to blame someone else rather than yourself, and in this way you deny your need for a Savior and for grace, because you avoid coming to grips with your true nature. Rather than seeing yourself as a wretched sinner badly in need of grace and the work of the cross to impute righteousness to you that you do not deserve and never will, you see yourself as this basically good and decent person against whom there is this grand conspiracy of evil spirits and rotten circumstances to keep the real you, an inherently good and virtuous person, from coming out.  

Either way, it encourages you to hold onto an unBiblically inflated image of yourself and blame other entities – whether human, spiritual or institutional (as Hammond does speak of “prince demons” that control institutions, and claim that Christians should go into directed warfare against them to reclaim these institutions … there goes dominionism gospel of Eusebius and Constantine again!) – for your inability to live up to your own self image, which is an unBiblical delusion to begin with. Legitimate spiritual warfare and deliverance, indeed legitimate Christianity, is concerned with casting off this self – image delusion, which is part and parcel of the old man that needs to be cast off so that we may put on the new man (Colossians 3:10Ephesians 4:24). These doctrines make it appear that the difficult process of discipleship and Christian growth and maturity, as well as coming to grips with the nature of sin and meaning of grace, are unnecessary and unproductive, as it is far better to simply declare yourself and everyone else to be demonized. 

Most seriously, the Hammond doctrines seem to reject or distort the doctrines of original sin, the effects of the fall. They seem to create a picture where man is basically good, and all he needs to do to recover his inherent goodness and virtue is choose Jesus Christ as his Savior. Having done that, any problems or defects are not due to the exceedingly true and vile cosmic and metaphysical nature of the fall and original sin, but instead an evil spirit that is soiling what should by nature be perfect. At the very least, it in effect claims that the result of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross should have been to make us practically sinless with no need to battle and struggle in this life. Either way, Hammond’s doctrines distort or misunderstand either what the Bible says about original sin or the workings of the grace. Thus, Frank Hammond would claim that Paul was a liar when he stated in scripture that God told Paul that His grace was sufficient for Paul to deal with his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:6-9). Instead, Hammond’s doctrine would have us believe that Paul was simply demonized and that confessing his sins and being rid of the root of bitterness due to issues from his childhood that left all these doors open was the solution, nothing about this “for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” doctrine that does not fit into Hammond’s view of victorious abundant Christian living!

Another thing: it is amazing how legalistic and guilt inducing the Hammond method is. It would have you believing that your mind, spiritual makeup, etc. contains this innumerable vortex of labyrinths and doors. The labyrinths are these hidden chambers that can contain a demon or three that must be entered into – with the guide of the Holy Spirit gift of discernment and aided by detailed confessions in counseling sessions – to draw the demons out. The doors are sinful thoughts and actions by which a born again Blood of Jesus Christ washed Holy Spirit indwelt believer can allow a demon or demons in at any time. So, the pruning and chastening process, the battles and temptations with sin, and the need to overcome that the Bible states that all Christians must endure are attributed to some sin (often in the past) that a Christian failed to confess, someone that the Christian failed to forgive, some “spiritual door” that is allowing demons in that needs to be closed, etc.

And this is probably the worst practical part of it. The most powerful weapon that Christians have in overcoming temptation and battling the flesh is prayer. Well, Hammond explicitly tells us not to use it, and does so in the very opening pages of Pigs In The Parlor. Hammond states that spiritual warfare and deliverance is not prayer, that praying for God to help us and to overcome in our lives issues that Hammond alleges is due to demons is at best redundant and possibly ineffective. Hammond counsels us that when we pray for things, it is our asking God to grant us something that we do not have already. But, according to Hammond, as authority over evil spirits is something that we have already through Jesus Christ, why pray regarding these matters? Praying when confronted with these issues is a way of ignoring, rejecting, even DENYING the power and authority that Jesus Christ has given you! So … when dealing with what Hammond asserts is demonic activity – which again is either discerned with the appropriate Holy Spirit gifts, or discerned through other means by those lacking this gift using methods that Hammond provides – BY ALL MEANS DO NOT PRAY! (Unless, that is, a prayer for forgiveness of sin,  a prayer to forgive someone that you are holding a grudge against, a prayer to close a spiritual door that allowed the demon in, etc.) Instead, immediately go into spiritual warfare, start binding, loosing, rebuking, and casting out! (By the way, the actual meaning of “binding and loosing” given in the Matthew 16:19 and  Matthew 18:18 that spiritual deliverance ministers often refer to should be investigated … a great many Bible interpreters state that when looking at the context of the passages in which those verses appear, they refer to doctrines, particularly the authority of apostles to establish doctrines for the church, spiritual warfare and deliverance techniques.) 

This I recall, for I was personally practicing it myself for several years. I related in  My Thorn In The Flesh how my mind is frequently assaulted by many manners of evil thoughts. I presumed this to be the work of evil spirits within and without myself, and for years applied the Hammond doctrines. I now realize that these are merely things that I have allowed to enter into my MIND as a result of all of the “entertainment” (movies, TV, music, novels etc.) in my life. Also, for years I refused to do precisely what I needed to about the problem – take it before throne of grace and cast it there in prayer – because these teachings told me not to! After all, praying, according to these doctrines, was weak, defeated Christian living … stuff for babies. (Well, maybe it is according to Matthew 18:3!) If I was to be a bold, strong, powerful spiritual warrior, a world changer on the front lines making a difference for Jesus Christ, I needed to just step out on faith and take dominion and authority over these evil spirits!

And so I did. It reached the point where it was practically automatic. Evil thought enters mind. Say “demon in the Name and by the power and Blood of Jesus Christ I bind and rebuke you and command me to leave and never return.” And so on, so on, so on … if you want to talk about “vain repetitions” then boy I was doing it. Also, so long as I was “binding, rebuking, and casting out” I had no need to humble myself, feel contrition or repentance, and beg God for help. Why? I was a spirit warrior world changer taking dominion, a spiritual He – man!

Now upon trying to discover and build “Christianity 101” these past months, I decided that just maybe I wasn’t as spiritually strong or powerful as I thought. So, I would leave the taking authority warfare to the stronger brothers and sisters, and I would resort to the milk of the weak babes, which was to PRAY. So, I battled and stopped the very many months – years in fact – of automatic “I rebuke and bind you in the …” conditioning … I really had gotten to the point where I did it on autopilot without thinking! … I would refrain myself from the “self – spiritual warfare and deliverance” and simply began to tell God that I was sorry for having or entertaining those evil thoughts and asked Him to forgive me and to shield me from those thoughts in the future. Now even before I received the response that I detailed in My Thorn In The Flesh, the results were much better … cleansing, strengthening, love, joy and PEACE where the “warfare” left me with guilt and conflict.

Now is this to say that I have never benefitted from spiritual warfare and deliverance? No. That is the main reason why I have not removed the materials from the site … my testimony is my testimony and it stands. However, though my testimony is part of my faith, it is the substance or entirety of my faith. My faith is Biblical, not experiental, and it is based on God, not on what happens to me. Had I never existed, God would still exist and His Word would still be true. So, when the time is right, I pray that God will lead me to doctrines on spiritual warfare and deliverance that are faithful to His Word and thereby honor and glorify Him

Sola Scriptura. Soli Deo Gloria. Solo Christo. Sola Gratia. Sola Fide. Any spiritual warfare and deliverance that does not conform to those is but doctrines of devils! Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Advertisements

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 100 Comments »

Regarding Carrie Prejean, Evangelicalism And The Culture War

Posted by Job on May 12, 2009

I recall a very recent incident where I purchased my first
Christian rap CD, certain that it would provide edifying entertainment for my
very young son during our frequent automobile trips. However, when the music
began to play, my son put his hands over his ears, and began yelling for me to
turn it off, the reason being “it sounds like the devil’s music.” Now
as I was very much enjoying the CD in question, I tried to explain to the child
that it was in fact Christian music. The child replied that he would much
rather listen to one of HIS CDs. So, the Christian rap went out, and one of his
several CDs of classic hymns, Negro spirituals and similar took its place,
which included “Standing On The Promises of God.” I confess to not having
learned the lyrics to this song, but I do remember something about “standing on
the promises that cannot fail.”

And now I find myself reading Pilgrim’s Progress by John
Bunyan for the first time. I not long ago passed the section where Christian
succumbed to the temptation of one Worldly Wiseman to depart from the hard path
given to him to the Celestial City by Evangelist and instead set out for what
was promised to be the easier path over Mount Sinai to Mr. Legality and his
handsome son civility in the nice village Morality. And this reminds me of the
Carrie Prejean tempest: this where beauty pageant contestant lost the Miss
America pageant (which is owned by Donald Trump, who considers twice divorced
prosperity preacher Paula White his friend and pastor) for speaking out against
homosexual marriage.

As a result, this Miss Prejean has found herself many
supporters in the evangelical Christian community for fighting the good fight
in the culture war, having had the privilege of such experiences as being
interviewed by James Dobson, speaking at a prominent evangelical Christian
university, and being a presenter for the Dove Awards. Miss Prejean’s Christian
advocates have presented her as an example of a bold Christian woman who has
risked and suffered in warfare.

While this is certainly true, as Prejean clearly lost the
Miss America title, was very nearly stripped of the Miss California title, and
has had explicit pictures (some that she acknowledges to be real, others that
she alleges are fake) released by those seeking to force the Miss California pageant
to strip her of her crown for violating her contract, I have to ask: what battle
is it that she is fighting anyway, and is it a worthwhile one?

Again, go back to “Standing On The Promises Of God.” God’s
promises cannot fail, which means that God’s battles cannot be lost, because in
God’s battles, it is not us that are fighting, but rather God Himself that
fights for us. So as long as remain obedient and faithful to scripture and
adhere to the things that Jesus Christ commanded of us, we cannot lose. Our
success is guaranteed, predetermined, predestined.

However, when we depart from the path, leave behind the
commandments of Jesus Christ, and start seeking our own agendas, failure is
inevitable. Oh, we may win a victory or two here and there, but it is only a
temporary fleeting battle won at a huge cost – not the least a great diversion
of prayers and works by well meaning Christians – in a war that will ultimately
be lost. The person who bears witness of this best is none other than James
Dobson, the very same who interviewed Prejean. Upon retiring from his leadership
of Focus On The Family, Dobson acknowledged that he, his organization and its
fellow travelers had lost every single battle, including that against
homosexual marriage, which will become legal in many parts of the country
within a few years. And let us never forget that the great legal victory that
made homosexual marriage possible was a court decision, Lawrence versus Texas,
given to us by a Supreme Court stacked with appointees of the very conservative
Republican presidents that Dobson and his peers spent a generation getting
Christians to not only vote but contribute, volunteer, fast and pray to get
elected in the first place. What do we know from this? As Jesus Christ promised
us that so long as remain faithful to Him and do His Will that we shall not
fail, the very failure of Dobson’s efforts, shows that Dobson and those like
him were never fighting the Lord’s battle to begin with.

And consider further the supreme irony: the biggest defeats
have come from the very people aligned with Dobson! Recall that Ronald Reagan,
when given the opportunity to appoint justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade,
instead put not one but two pro – abortion judges on the court, and George H.
W. Bush, who became president due to being the vice president of Reagan thanks
in no small part to people like Dobson, appointed a third pro – abortion judge,
and yes all three of those judges cast their votes in the Lawrence versus Texas
decision to pave the way for homosexual marriage as well.

So gentle Christians, what we should learn from this is that
Jesus Christ, God’s own Word and thereby God Himself, did not come to earth as
a human to be slain on a cross to pay the debt of original sin, in order to
redeem the culture. He did not do so in order to lend political support to any specific
nation, whether the United States or Israel, or any cause. The reason is that
cultures, nations, and causes are worldly things, and the result of the death
of Jesus Christ was to create the church, which is ekklesia in Greek, and
ekklesia means “called out.” What is the church called out of? The world and
worldly things. Instead of trying to change the world in some vain, idolatrous,
blasphemous quest to transform its sin and wickedness into the image of the
holiness and righteousness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, instead of
trying to give that which is destined to die the image of that which through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ will have eternal life, the only duty that I
have seen given through Jesus Christ and His apostles and prophets to the New
Testament church is that of saving and discipling sinners. Even the good deeds
and charitable works that Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to love our
neighbors and by this way to also love Him was towards that end; acts by which
the unsaved are reached and the saved are to learn to grow in the grace and
knowledge of our only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now let it be known that evangelical Christians are supposed
to be sola scriptura Protestants. After all, the term “evangelical” was taken
up as a self – descriptive one by the Protestant Reformers. So, I challenge any
sola scriptural Protestant to identify me the Bible verse that commands
Christians to put aside the work of evangelizing the world and discipling those
who by and according to the grace and prerogative of God the Father (those that
the Father gave to the Son) respond to the gospel and start working to give the
unregenerate masses the appearance of righteousness, a form of godliness that
denies the power thereof, show it to me and I will repent of this missive. If
no such verse exists – and I have never encountered it in the New Testament –
then those who continue with this behavior should cease to call themselves sola
scriptura, which means they should cease to call themselves Protestants, which
means that they should cease to call themselves evangelical, which means that
they should cease to call themselves Christians.

This is no mere doctrinal dispute. Again, Jesus Christ gave us in His Holy Spirit – inspired word promises that work done in His Name would
never fail. The end result of not only decades of the religious right but many
centuries of church – states and church – cultures has been nothing but massive
thoroughgoing failure. If you refuse to consider me to be one qualified to
speak to this matter, then heed Søren Kierkegaard; read his Attack Upon Christendom (that is if you can abide theistic existentialism long enough to). So by committing all of these
efforts to works, by fighting all of these battles, that we claim to be in the
Name of Jesus Christ, what witness does the church bear to the promises, the
veracity, the power, the faithfulness, the very Name of Jesus Christ by which
we are saved and are to overcome death, be resurrected from the dead, and
inherit the Celestial City when these things fail? When WE fail?

Because like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, we have abandoned
the path to the Celestial City and Mount Zion to the Morality Village, the
abode of Mr. Legality and Civility by way of Mount Sinai, that same is the way
of death. We have abandoned the counsel of the apostles, prophets and Jesus
Christ Himself for that of Worldly Wisemen politicians and hucksters, in
addition to not a few very sincere but ultimately misguided and sincere pastors
and theologians, which unfortunately included not a few of the very same
Reformers themselves, who were not long removed from the murderous yoke of the
Roman church – states themselves began drowning Anabaptists and burning
heretics. Indeed, John Bunyan himself spent twelve years in the dark prison of
a Christian nation, separated from his church and family, for the crime of preaching
the gospel.

Morality, legality and civility. Sound like “Christian
values”, “family values”, “American values”, “Judeo – Christian values”, “Judeo
– Christian heritage” and all the other buzzwords to you? It certainly sounds like
that to me. Well, those are legalism, an external righteousness of the
Pharisees, devoid of the religion of the heart that Jesus Christ gave us. It is
darkness devoid of the Light that came to this world that the darkness does not
comprehend. Of course, a person, a group, a movement, a nation can impose
morality, legality and civility for a period of time by expending no small
amount of energy or cost. Keep in mind however: such moral societies do not
have to be Christian … homosexuality, abortion, crime, divorce etc. are very
much kept under control in not a few Muslim societies, and such was also the
case in fascist regimes like those run by Pinochet and Franco. Also, a
democracy cannot maintain “moral societies” anywhere nearly as long as a
monarchy, totalitarian regime or dictatorship.

But it is only for a time. Remember Lot’s wife. Or better
yet remember the Holy Roman Empire! When Constantine allegedly converted (but in
truth began to exploit the faith for state power – including appropriating the
symbol of the Prince of Peace for warfare, a fact that we should think of when
so many evangelicals unconditionally support the war in Iraq as well as torture)
Eusebius and many other pastors and theologians of the time insisted that the
whole thing was the work of God, that Constantine’s making Christianity the
religion of the empire was part of God’s redemptive-historic plan for mankind,
and that through the Roman Empire the whole world would be subdued for Jesus
Christ. What happened? It failed. The Holy Roman Empire broke apart, falling to
the Muslims.

The reason why is that Jesus Christ did not come to earth,
conduct His ministry, die from the cross, and rise from the dead in order to
bring such things into existence. Those things are not wrapped up within the

promises of God, so they will fail. They are works of the flesh, not of the spirit, so they are vanity. You can fight it, you can delay it, but ultimately, as a dog returns to his vomit (Proverb 26:11) that which is sinful will return to sin. A system of laws and rituals can control an unregenerate person for a time, but that sinner will ultimately go back to sin just as
Pliable, Simple, Sloth, Presumption, Formalist, Hypocrisy, Mistrust, Timorous
and all the rest abandoned the true pilgrim Christian on the straight and
narrow path to the Celestial City. And as societies are by definition going to
contain large majorities of unsaved and in many instances shall be ruled by
them, they will go the same way.

This was the failure of the doctrine of the ecclesiola within
the ecclesia, the actual church within the political and cultural church-state
that was advanced in some form by Augustine (representing as he did Catholicism),
Calvin (representing church – state Protestantism) and various others, and it
is the same failure of the various modern dominionism movements -including but
certainly not limited to the religious right and some of the more robust forms
of premillennial dispensationalism and Christian Zionism – whose adherents
proclaim themselves to be taking (or taking back) cultures, nations and
ultimately the globe for Christ.

I am reminded of the words of the pastor character in Frank
Peretti’s novel The Visitation (not exactly Pilgrim’s Progress granted,
but a good read nonetheless!) who upon hearing an inexperienced and zealous
pastor state “we are taking this town for Christ” replied “not even Christ took
a town for Christ.” As Jesus Christ’s own nation, the Jews, rejected Him, what
more evidence is there that Jesus Christ did not die for a nation, a culture, a
political agenda, or any other worldly thing, but rather to redeem the church?
Now Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection did, against all odds, succeed. The
church was born, has existed for going on 2,000 years, and will live forever.
However, the failure of all of these movements proves that no matter the
sincerity, fervency, and honorable motives of many of the people who inspire
and are caught up in them, are sadly due to fail because they have no part in
Jesus Christ’s promises and thus will have no part in His resurrection.

I keep hearing Christians speak of how this can be changed
with a revival, and have taken it upon themselves to try to initiate one. They
recall how society was transformed in America and Britain through the Great
Awakenings, and long for another to happen. I remember the claims that great
outpouring of national unity and people returning to churches after September
11th 2001 may spark just such a revival, a return of this nation to
its “Christian values and heritage.” It was easy to suffer such fantasies when
George W. Bush was in office. Well, not only did George W. Bush prove to be
someone who does not believe that the Bible is literally true and the final
authority and also that Muslims and Christians (and presumably other religions
as well) all pray to the same god, but this nation is now saddled with a
president about whom no one can entertain such delusions. Alas, it was just
another failure by people who were never seeking the true Will of Jesus Christ
to begin with.

While Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield and the other
revivalists of these awakenings may have had some state – church or state –
culture sympathies, the reason why their revivals as well as the missionary
revival started by William Carey and Adoniram Judson and before them Zinzendorf,
Spener and the Moravians succeeded was because their aim was to preach the
gospel and save souls! Their goals were not social or political but spiritual.
That was why they could not fail. They accomplished the results that they were
seeking because the results were the Lord adding to the church such as should
be saved (Acts 2:47). And yes, that verse does say THE LORD adding to the
church, not man through his own efforts doing so. Why? Because as stated
earlier … it was the Lord’s doing, the Lord’s work, the Lord’s battle to begin
with. Do the Lord’s will, and the Lord fights for you. Do your own will, and the
Lord fights against you. Do you deny this? Well then ask King Saul. His
kingdom, his portion was taken from him and given to another because he stopped
fighting the Lord’s battle the Lord’s way and started fighting his battles his
way. Instead of establishing God’s kingdom, it became about Saul’s kingdom.
When Saul’s son asked him for what cause did he seek the life of David, who had
never done any harm to Saul, King Saul cursed his son, calling him the son of a
dog, and asked “don’t you realize that as long as David lives you will never
have MY KINGDOM?” But it was never Saul’s kingdom to give. Saul and his sons
died, God’s kingdom went to David, and through the One Jesus Christ who
descended from David, it will last forever.

So, Christian, are you laboring for Mr. Legality with
Civility in the village Morality for things that, like the Holy Roman Empire,
the Reformed church – states, and Saul’s kingdom, will not last because they
are of this world and are things that Revelation 20 and 21 states will be
destroyed with fire and replaced with a new heaven and a new earth? Or are you
going to love Jesus Christ by keeping His commandments, and thereby laboring
for things that will last forever, in the Celestial City where the rust and
moth cannot destroy?

Gentle Christian, I sincerely entreat and implore you to
turn aside from all that which is pertaining to Mr. Legality, Civility, and the
village Morality … things of Sinai that will fail. Instead, join Pilgrim on the
narrow path to the Celestial City so that your works will last forever. In
closing, let me give you some words by Russell K. Carter, circa 1886.

  1. Standing on the promises of Christ
    my King,
    Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
    Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
    Standing on the promises of God.
  • Refrain:
    Standing, standing,
    Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
    Standing, standing,
    I’m standing on the promises of God.
  • Standing on the promises that
    cannot fail,
    When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
    By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
    Standing on the promises of God.
  • Standing on the promises I now can
    see
    Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
    Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
    Standing on the promises of God.
  • Standing on the promises of Christ
    the Lord,
    Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
    Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
    Standing on the promises of God.
  • Standing on the promises I cannot
    fall,
    List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call,
    Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
    Standing on the promises of God.
  • Posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

    Interesting That Athanasius Is Not Studied During Black History Month

    Posted by Job on December 1, 2007

    Athanasius, called “the black dwarf” by his heretic opponents, is considered by some the one who saved Christianity when Constantine converted to the Arianism heresy (very similar to what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe) and began persecuting Trinitarian Christians. In contrast to the much better known Augustine, Athanasius was never considered a great intellect. He also was not regarded as a great orator, writer, or politician. So how, then, did he prevail against the might of the Roman Empire? By remaining obedient to the example of Jesus Christ and being a humble, pious man of the people who always sacrificed (to the point of having to hide as a fugitive in the desert among the monks, with whom he was very popular and trusted and as such helped hide him from the Roman authorities), never compromised, and never sought the favor of the wealthy or powerful elites in the church or government. It is fitting that Athanasius, whose entire career was one of battle, striving, and struggle, did not live to see the victory that he strove for: the final rejection of the many various heresies and formal adoption of the Trinity formula in its present form. Instead, that battle was won by three members of his beloved monk community: Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, and Basil shortly after his death. I believe that it is because it was not the Will of God for the man who spent his life battling an institutional imperial state church to receive validation from that same entity. Rather, Athanasius lived and died according to Acts 5:29b: We ought to obey God rather than men.

    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/152.html

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athanasius_of_Alexandria

    ancienthistory.about.com/b/2006/05/10/athanasius.htm

    Posted in Christianity, jehovah's witness, Jehovah's witnesses, watchtower tract | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 42 Comments »

     
    %d bloggers like this: