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 ‘dominionism’

Spiritual Warfare In The Parable Of The Sower

Posted by Job on April 6, 2011

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

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

Revelation 2 and 3

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

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

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

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

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

Simon Magus

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

The Whole Armour of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

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

Parable of the Sower

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Workers In The Vineyard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Advertisements

Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, evangelism, false doctrine, false religion, gnosticism, Jesus Christ, limited atonement, missionary, Reformed, religion, spiritual deliverance, spiritual warfare, syncretism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Terry Jones Quran (Koran) Burning Is Just One System Of Idolatry Versus Another

Posted by Job on September 9, 2010

Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, is planning to commemorate the 9th anniversary of September 11th by burning copies of the Qu’ran (Koran), which is regarded as the holy book for those who practice Islam. These intentions have horrified a great number of people. Many of them, including of course Muslims and also Bible-believing Christians, are no doubt sincere in their intense opposition to this event. Many others, however, are of course grandstanding hypocrites who passionately defend and take pleasure in similar attacks against Christianity and those who practice it. However, there is another group of hypocrites that figure prominently in this controversy, as they were the ones who laid the very groundwork for such a thing as this to happen with their words, doctrines and deeds. Many Christians involved in “religious right” politics are falling over themselves to denounce Jones and his actions as un-Christian, taking full advantage of the opportunity to publicly exhibit their opposition to bigotry. These religious right Christians have spent decades preaching the false gospel of what can be called “Americhristianity“, a syncretism of (false) Christianity and America worship. Realize this: Terry Jones is being consistent here. He is only practicing what his religion preaches, and so is the “Ameri-Christian” who commits a “hate crime” against a Muslim, illegal immigrant, abortion doctor, homosexual or what have you. For the religious right sorts to disseminate their idolatrous doctrines and then disavow the consequences is no different from the imam who preaches jihad and then distances himself from the suicide bomber. Now do not get me wrong, only a tiny percentage of Muslims commit violence based on their religious beliefs. But make no mistake: the same is true of Ameri-Christians.

This should not surprise anyone, as violence is a logical consequence of idolatry. A look at Romans 1:18-32 shows us the evil that following dead idols causes: being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful, etc. Muslims get angry over a Florida pastor burning a Qu’ran? Well, a Florida pastor received death threats from the Ameri-Christians in his own congregation over his removing the American flag from the pulpit! His motivation? Wanting the church to focus on Jesus Christ!

Time to rewind a bit. A lot of people have made false equivalence between burning Bibles and burning the Qu’ran. This is apples and oranges because where Christians merely respect and cherish Bibles, Muslims actually regard copies of the Qu’ran as holy. Essentially, to the Muslim, the Qu’ran is an idol. Christians have no such view of the Bible, because Christianity holds that only God is holy. Thus, the only way to be holy is through a connection to or relationship with God. Born-again Christians are hence holy because God grants us this status through Jesus Christ, and also because God’s Holy Spirit indwells the Christian. So, in Christianity, one commits no sin against anything holy by burning a Bible. Instead, the Christian commits a sin against that which is holy when he sins against his body by breaking God’s commandments to us (see 1 Corinthians 6:18). (Among those commandments? Not to be an idolater!)

So why the difference between the Christian view of the Bible and the Muslim view of the Qu’ran? Return to Romans 1:18-32. It tells us that early in the history of the human race, beginning with Adam and for a time thereafter, man knew God. Now this may give pause to Christians who are conditioned to see God’s being known to man, particularly in a special or religious sense, through Old Testament Judaism and Christianity. Please recall that the Bible is not a comprehensive history, but concentrates on that which is necessary for salvation. Also, the Bible does speak of those who had a relationship with him prior to the calling of Abraham, a group which includes Abel, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek and Job. The Bible says that men began to call upon the Name of Yahweh in Genesis 4:26. “Call upon the Name” means to worship. Now God had been worshiped prior to that, for remember Abel’s sacrifice, an act of worship that God accepted. Also, the divine Name Yahweh was already known to humanity at that time, as Eve used it in Genesis 4:1 on the occasion of Cain’s birth. So, whatever development that Genesis 4:26 is supposed to refer to exactly, it is clear that at that stage, humanity had knowledge of God by worshiping Him using God’s personal Name.

However, by Genesis 6, things had changed. The population of the earth increased, and man became extremely wicked. Mankind had perverted himself, and as a result the earth was filled with violence. The cause of this? Again, Romans 1:18-32 says that wicked imaginations, perverse natures and violence comes from idolatry, and it also strongly suggests that at this time mankind completely gave himself over to this practice. Verses 21-25 read:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Mankind ceased to worship God, the unseen Spirit, and instead worshiped creatures, meaning things that are created. This included the use of tangible, physical objects that represent entities or ideas – idols – in worship. And to the idolater, the creature, or its symbolic representative stand-in, is itself regarded as “holy”, and even may be considered to have magical or supernatural powers. If nothing else, the idol is a very valuable, cherished and beloved possession because of what it represents to its owner. So, mankind totally gave himself over to rejecting the holiness of the Creator in order to embrace the idea that things created – whether by God or man – were worthy of this reverent status instead.

Because this mindset was embedded in fallen humanity, God condescended to mankind’s status and incorporated some elements of it in the Sinai religion given by Moses to the Jews. Because of this, in Old Testament Judaism, certain days, holidays (or “holy days”), observances, places, objects and rituals were declared holy. However, we must realize that these things were so because God declared them to be as such. Also, God had His purposes. For instance, things that came into contact with God’s presence or were used in giving offerings to God had to be set apart and purified in order to teach Israel about God’s sinless nature and man’s sinfulness. Further, other things were declared holy because of Christological typology.

So what must be emphasized is that things like the temple, the altar, the ark of the covenant, the burnt offering tools etc. were not holy in and of themselves, but were only so because of their identification with God, their proximity to His presence and their use in His plan. It was never an endorsement of the idea that objects, places, rituals or even ideologies were to be considered holy, contained some spiritual or magical powers, imparted grace, and treated that such. So, when Jesus Christ fulfilled all things concerning the Sinai religion that was used as a schoolmaster to bring us to Him (Galatians 3:24-25) the idea of “holy things” ended. Evidence of this was the ripping of the veil of the temple.

However, the desire of people call things other than God holy did not end. As a consequence, Islam reveres not only its books, but its (alleged) prophet, buildings, cities (Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem), and even nations that are fully under Muslim control as holy. But the issue here is that it is not unique to Islam, but is also present in false versions of Christianity. Consider Catholicism (Roman and Orthodox) with its sacraments that according to their teachings impart grace, and its seemingly endless assortment of “saints”, icons, relics etc. that are targets of “veneration” because of some spiritual or mystical reason or other.

What does this have to do with Terry Jones? Well, his Ameri-Christianity is more of the same. His Qu’ran burning is not being done for theological reasons. If it were, he would also burn the Book of Mormon, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower Magazine, and articles from other false faiths. Instead, Jones is singling out the Qu’ran because he has bought into the right wing dogma that Islam constitutes some sort of threat to the American way of life. And since Ameri-Christianity is this blend of certain – but not all – Christian doctrines and some – but again not all – American ideas and traditions, in the eyes of the Ameri-Christian like Jones, an attack on one is an attack on the other.

Make no mistake, whether they support this Qu’ran burning of Jones or not, religious right Ameri-Christians worship the creature besides the Creator. This great nation of ours is but a creature. Further, as Old Testament Israel was the only nation to be created by God, it is a creation of men. And God did not create our institutions or system of laws as He did with Old Testament Israel. Instead, men created democracy (where the Bible only deals with monarchy and theocracy), men created capitalism (which did not even exist until the groundwork for it was accidentally laid by John Calvin), and men created the concept of individual and human rights (the result of Enlightenment philosophers’ taking portions of the Roman Catholic concept of natural law that they found useful and applying it to the secular arena). Ameri-Christians have taken these works of human hands to be the result of divine providence, and quite possibly even divine revelation, and therefore in their eyes to oppose them is to oppose God, and supporting them is part and parcel of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can turn on conservative talk radio – or even Christian radio – at any time and hear so many Christians profess “I believe in and support the Bible and the Constitution 100%” when the truth is that not only does one not have anything to do with the other, but that the worldviews of the Bible (divine revelation) and the Constitution (humanism and deism) are opposed. The Bible is the Word of God, the Constitution is the word of Caesar. Render under Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but give to God that which is God, and never shall the twain be intermixed!

Now again, let us go back to the Biblically established truth that idolatry leads to violence and apply it to Ameri-Christianity. How many Christians accept without question the idea that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were justified in order to protect the American way of life because it includes the ability to practice Christianity freely? How many of us even justify this concept with thinking like “America needs to remain free and prosperous so that American Christians will have the financial resources to sponsor missions and help the poor in third world countries.” Well dear Christians, the early church of Acts was neither free OR wealthy, yet they managed to evangelize the Roman Empire AND meet the needs of the poor!

Consider another example. How many Christians advocate – or would refuse to criticize – the killing of a robber that is only taking money or property and not physically endangering anyone? Truthfully, very few, because we have the conviction that “we have the right/responsibility to protect our private property.” Now do not err by bringing up the law given to Old Testament Israel concerning executing thieves. A person operating under New Testament doctrine knows that human life is more valuable than property, and that it is better to spare a thief in the hopes that he might hear the gospel down the line than to blow him away after the manner of some Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson movie. This is further evidence that mammon (possessions, “rights”, and the pleasures and passions that we obtain from them) is the true god of the Ameri-Christian.

Consider that such people live in fear of losing their freedoms, their rights and way of life. Well, what freedom, what rights does a slave have? What way of life does a slave enjoy except that which his master dictates? Now the legitimate Christian is a slave to Jesus Christ. The slave of Jesus Christ is able to find joy, peace, fulfillment and all else that he needs whether he is free prince in America or an oppressed pauper in Indonesia. Ameri-Christians reject slavery to Christ in favor of the idea of being their own masters. Being Christian is merely another lifestyle decision that they choose for themselves, and quite frankly they would find practicing Christianity under adverse or oppressive conditions to be more burdensome than liberating.

Thus, it would not surprise me the least if an Ameri-Christian is far more likely to suffer the experience of enduring living in a poor, oppressive overseas regime as a member of the military and therefore willing and ready to kill if ordered to do so by the creature than as a missionary sharing the gift of eternal life if ordered to do so by the Creator. To such a person, making such a lifestyle sacrifice in order to mete out death in defense of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is more agreeable than doing so in order to share the message of life and life more abundantly. And we can only imagine what such a person would think of the one who is a conscientious objector because of the teachings of Jesus Christ on the Sermon of the Mount! For the Ameri-Christian, “the American way of life” is morally and theologically prior to the New Testament.

This ideology is guilty of recognizing one of the main themes of the Sinai religion of the Old Testament. Consider the offering altar. It could only be made of earth, or of a single stone. It could not be made of hewn stone or constructed in any way, because the tools used to make the altar were unholy, and that which was holy was not allowed to mix or come in contact with that which was holy. That was a principle that held for everything and everyone that came into contact with God’s presence, or was used in making an offering to God. If anything common or regular came into contact with anything or anyone that was supposed to make an offering to God or be in God’s presence, then the thing that was supposed to be holy had to go through a purification process.

This was supposed to teach Christians that God is unique, separate and holy and cannot be mixed with or attached to anything worldly, common or unclean. That is what Ameri-Christianity does. It takes the worldly, common things (culture, economics, politics, ideology) and attempts to fuse it with the holiness of God’s Holy Spirit and presence. The result is something that is no longer clean, holy or spiritual, and hence no longer legitimately Christian. Think about that the next time that you hear someone declare that America is “a Christian nation.” Such a thing cannot exist, because it is a mixture of a common creature (America) with a Holy Creator. The very tools that were used to construct America defile it, making it an unworthy altar, and we cannot make an acceptable offering to God on an unclean altar that God rejects. Thus, the person who in any sense joins being American with being Christian is only capable of making an offering to God after the manner of Cain. And let us recall that this same Cain slew Abel, who made the acceptable offering.

And this is why the actions of one Terry Jones, and also of the many other religious right Ameri-Christians doing their best to distance themselves from him because being associated with them hurts their economy in the American political mainstream that they desire and need to remain relevant and powerful in, should be taken notice of. Again, Ameri-Christianity is idolatry. Idolatry leads to violence. And the primary target of idolatrous violence is going to be any non-idolaters that are available. As Galatians 4:29 tells us, those who are of the flesh persecute those who are of the spirit, just as Cain slew righteous Abel and Ishmael persecuted Isaac.

And remember the prediction of Jesus Christ in John 16:2! Can it be that Ameri-Christians may believe that by persecuting us for being “un-American” that they are doing God service? Consider the Glenn Beck rally, where not a few evangelical Ameri-Christians joined this dominionist crusader in his Mormonism worship rally. If the economic problems continue, illegal immigration persists and the American way is threatened by enemies like Iran and North Korea abroad and liberals at home, will the refusal to join ecumenical/interfaith Americanism movements be seen as a betrayal of God? Judging from Ameri-Christian David Barton, who states that we should “judge Beck by his fruits” (meaning his effective support of the religious right agenda), you can guess the answer. So, Christian, what are you going to do when the Ameri-Christian comes for you bearing chains and staves to deliver you to the authorities? Will you stand? Or will you wilt and refuse to profess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all?

That, of course, presumes that you are indeed a Christian and not an Ameri-Christian. Which are you? Today you must make your stand. If you worship God, worship Him only. If you worship Baal, worship Baal only. How long will you halt between two opinions? If you are on the Lord’s side, then flee the syncretism! Come out of Babylon and the abomination of her idols immediately! Otherwise, when Babylon falls – and she will fall – you will with her.

If you are unsaved and are not under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I urge you now

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

If you are saved, then here is a prayer. Father God in the Name of Jesus Christ, please lead and guide me so that I can discern that which is holy and that which is not so that I may follow the former, spurn the latter, and worship you only in spirit and in truth as you desire and require. Amen.

Posted in Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ, religious right | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

An Important Distinction Between Israel And The Church

Posted by Job on July 18, 2010

God created Israel separate from the nations with the duty to be a light to the other nations. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit led Israel and were present with Israel, but did not indwell national Israel. Thus, Israel failed. Not only did they not become a light to the other nations, but fell into an apostate state whose abominations and wickedness actually EXCEEDED the evils of the other nations. Thus, only a righteous remnant preserved by God remained.

By contrast, when God created the church, it was not as a set apart nation to be a light to the other nations. Instead, God created the church as a people called out from ALL nations, Israel included, to be a light to the world. Where Israel was God’s national project with global implications, the church is God’s global project with eternal ramifications. And unlike national Israel, the church did not and will not fail. Unlike national Israel, the church was bought and created with God’s own divine Blood, that being sinless Jesus Christ shed on the cross. And unlike national Israel, the church is Jesus Christ’s Body with Jesus Christ Himself as the Head, and the Holy Spirit is not only present with the church, but indwells the church.

So where the failure of Israel was a failure of man – the human leaders and followers of national Israel – the church cannot and will not fail because God Himself indwells it. The old covenant was temporal, conditional and limited to one people (Israel) in one time (prior to that of Jesus Christ) and one place (the land of Canaan). The new covenant is unconditional (cannot be broken), eternal (will last forever) and universal (given to those coming from all nations, tribes and tongues).

Thus, contra covenant theology, Israel was not the church of the Old Testament. Instead, national Israel was a type, seed or foreshadowing of what was to be fulfilled by the church, New Testament spiritual Israel that both includes those natural descendants of Israel who are elect and thus believe, but it also transcends them. Calling Israel the church of the Old Testament distorts the purpose and method of its creation, and it also rejects the fact that the presence of God (the Holy Spirit) was in the tabernacle/temple behind the veil and not indwelling Israel in a corporate sense as it does the church in a corporate sense. At best, the Holy Spirit may have indwelled individual Old Testament saints such as the prophets and King David, and even in that sense the Old Testament saints were not limited to national Israel (consider Jethro/Reuel, Melchizedek, Seth, Abel, Noah, Job, the Queen of Sheba, Nebuchadnezzar etc.)

And also against dispensationalism, the church age is not a parenthetical period between two Israel ages (the Old Testament and the Jewish millennium), with memorial animal sacrifices in a third temple to Jesus Christ to occur in the second Jewish age, and Israel again taking her place as a light to the nations during the millennium. Instead, the purpose of Israel’s lesser light (and in creation, the lesser light rules THE NIGHT, which according to the parables of Jesus Christ is the time of sorrow because the bridegroom is not present) was to point to Jesus Christ, who is the true light to the nations, including Israel, and is the greater light which rules THE DAY. So, what of the Old Testament prophecies of the nations’ bringing gifts to Zion and serving Zion that were to be fulfilled in the millennium, the alleged “unfulfilled promises to Israel that have to be fulfilled in the millennium”? Read “servant songs” of Isaiah. Jesus Christ is the Son of Israel, who took upon Himself the role that Israel rejected, succeeded where Israel failed, obeyed and fulfilled the law of Moses that Israel broke (and dispensationalists claim that Israel should have never accepted to begin with when the truth is that Israel had no free will in the matter to accept or reject; they had no choice for they were chosen unconditionally by God and could not resist or reject His will) and thereby became Israel or Zion within Himself.

Jesus Christ is able to fulfill the prophecies given to both national Israel because He IS both national and spiritual Israel. Jesus Christ is national Israel because He was born a Jew to Mary and Joseph as a natural son of David of the tribe of Judah, and spiritual Israel because one is part of spiritual Israel only through faith in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is the object, author and finisher of that same faith. So, the “Zion songs” that speak of a restored Israel receiving the worship and gifts of the nations and ruling the nations are actually fulfilled in Jesus Christ who – as Israel’s personification, representative and fulfillment – rules the nations with a rod of iron and receives the worship and praise of all who have faith in, abide in and obediently serve Him in heaven and on earth while ruling the nations with a rod of iron.

Suggesting that national Israel will rule and receive gifts in the place of the only One who is worthy of such rule and praise is to take the position that Jesus Christ was never incarnated, crucified and resurrected. Incidentally, the amillennial beliefs held by many covenant theologians and is being adopted by dominionists, which holds that the church is to subdue and rule the earth just as Israel was to do with Canaan (and in the case of the dominionists, as Adam was subdue and rule the earth), possesses a similar error, giving to man and his institutions the rule – and praise – that belongs only to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will not rule the earth through the church, but instead will rule the earth including the church. And there will be no memorial sacrifices to Jesus Christ, for why do things in memory (as is done to those who are dead and sleep) to that who is alive and present forevermore? Instead of memorial animal sacrifices in a temple, Jesus Christ will receive active worship and praise in spirit and in truth from the hearts of those who believe, those whom the Holy Spirit indwells!

Therefore, knowing the difference between the church and Israel is vital to understanding the past, future and the present for the Christian. By contrast, failing to know these differences leaves one vulnerable to error and deception. So, do not be destroyed for the lack of knowledge! Instead, study to show yourselves approved!

Posted in Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Prayer: The Most Effective Spiritual Warfare And Deliverance Weapon And Tactic

Posted by Job on July 3, 2010

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a [certain] man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:14-21

Much has been written in the area of spiritual warfare and deliverance. Some of it is based on scripture, some on experience, some on things taught and handed down, some on what purports to be revelation, some on conjecture, and usually the final product is some combination of these things. I do not deny that these techniques cannot yield results, because that would be denying what I have seen with my own eyes and borne witness to with my own testimony. However, “whatever works” cannot be the basis of sound Christian belief and practice. A good reason for this is simple: “results may vary!” In the scientific community, one of the major tests used to establish and verify a theory using experiments or observation is repeatable results. Since the results of the various spiritual warfare techniques, strategies and methods do in fact vary – a fact that the teachers and proponents of these methods freely admit – we cannot rely on unreliable experientialism for our Christian doctrine and practice. Instead, we must rely on the Bible. The Bible is God’s unique, Holy Spirit inspired revelation that is inerrant, infallible and the final authority in all things. So, even though the varying results is enough to justify being suspect of a lot of the spiritual warfare and deliverance teachings, the truth is that the doctrine of scripture means that Christians should not rely on practices and beliefs not supported in scripture even if they did work every time. So even if it does work, then what profit is it if the “work” is not of God and does not glorify God? The purpose of Christian living is to serve and glorify God, not to do the things that we want to do and believe that should be done ourselves. As the Bible is the final authority and is 100% infallible, then the Bible gives us perfect instructions on how to live to serve and glorify God in all areas. The Bible is what teaches us, and the Bible is what we must use to teach others.

So, based on the revelation of Jesus Christ as given to us in the Bible – and the purpose of the entirety of scripture is to reveal Jesus Christ – the best, surest way and the starting point for all spiritual warfare and deliverance is prayer. Prayer is the first and best weapon against the evil one and his forces. Consider, for instance, the Lord’s prayer.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13 and also Luke 11:2-4

How many of you knew that this was a spiritual warfare and deliverance prayer? It is. For one thing, it deals with forgiveness of sin, as it asks that our own sins be forgiven by God AND that we forgive the sins of others. Failure to forgive the sins of others, especially against us, leads to anger and resentment that Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us “gives a place to the devil.” For another, it asks that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and it is certainly God’s will for evil spirits and their influence to be bound, hindered, cast out and defeated (Matthew 12:28, Luke 11:20). But there is also a more direct reference. “Deliver us from evil” in the Lord’s prayer not only means “keep us from sin” (with all the spiritual warfare things that go along with sinning) but many expert theologians and Bible scholars follow Martin Luther in asserting that “deliver us from evil” should read “deliver us from the evil one”, which is Satan.

Now Martin Luther was not one to deny that Christians in our time need to directly confront unclean spirits. Quite the contrary, Luther claimed to have seen Satan and thrown a bottle of ink at him! (Small wonder that a current popular trend – or evil spirit – of deception moving through modern Christianity is to attack Martin Luther and claim that the Reformation, the exodus from the darkness of Roman Catholicism, was a mistake!) So, the Lord’s Prayer is quite literally and unquestionably a direct, powerful spiritual warfare and deliverance prayer. It petitions that God would overcome the presence and effects of sin and evil spirits in our lives. It even addresses the area most often neglected by spiritual warfare teachers, which is the flesh or the old man which still exerts a negative influence on born again Christians as described in Romans 5-7 when asking God to help us to forgive others, and in particular not to view the transgressions of others against us personally more prominently than we view our own transgressions against God. What stronger impulses of the flesh are there than hypocrisy and self-centeredness? And this prayer also explicitly directly asks for protection from all evil spirits through a reference to their leader, Satan. And as Jesus Christ explained in Matthew 12:24-30, being protected from Satan means being protected from all evil spirits.

However, the importance and primacy of prayer in spiritual warfare is often overlooked. Instead, the commonly advised and emulated strategy is to imitate the actions of Jesus Christ and His apostles during their spectacular encounters with evil spirits, and also to mix in things learned from other teachings and our own experiences. In doing so, we ignore that the most repeated and striking thing concerning the ministry of Jesus Christ was His prayer life. His ministry began with 40 days of fasting and prayer in the wilderness, and the gospels make it clear that seeking the will of God the Father in prayer was far more prominent in the ministry of Jesus Christ than all the sermons, exorcisms and miracles put together. To put it better, Jesus Christ came not so much to preach and perform miracles and exorcisms as He did to do the will of God the Father, and so Jesus Christ only preached, performed miracles and did exorcisms when it was the will of God the Father that He do so. When it was not the will of God the Father for Him to do so, Jesus Christ did no sermons, miracles or exorcisms, because even being God in the flesh with power and being deserving of praise and glory Himself, had Jesus Christ done those things of His own accord or on His own initiative, God the Father would not have been glorified, and Jesus Christ would have thereby sinned. (Of course, we know that Jesus Christ, being God, cannot sin.) And this was how Satan tempted Jesus Christ during His time of fast … by attempting to get Jesus Christ to take an action apart from the will and direction of God. It was the same temptation that Satan gave to Adam. Where Adam failed, Jesus Christ succeeded. And Christians are to follow Jesus Christ’s success and not Adam’s failure. Follow Adam, and man is glorified. Follow Jesus Christ and God is glorified. To God alone be the glory!

That is why spiritual warfare and deliverance must begin with and be dominated by prayer. We cannot take initiative or authority upon ourselves. We cannot presume to know, for instance, if the issue that we are addressing is motivated by evil spirits in the first place. We also cannot presume the manner and time in which God desires the evil spirit to be cast out. Further, we cannot even presume that God wants the evil spirit to be driven off in the first place! A powerful example of this is the thorn in the flesh described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Now there has been a lot of needless conjecture as to what exactly the “thorn in the flesh” was, but this is only because people have such difficulty believing what the text plainly says, often for doctrinal reasons. But it is clear: “the messenger of Satan” is clearly in the Greek “the angel of Satan”, and we all know that angels of Satan are evil, unclean spirits, or demons. Now for some people, the idea that a born again Christian, an apostle no less, would be tormented by a demon is doctrinally troublesome. For others, the wording of the passage makes it appear as “there was given to me” means that God gave the demon to Paul, which would seem to charge God with being responsible for temptation or evil where scripture tells us that God cannot be the author of evil. However, this stunning passage does recall how God allowed and used Satan in His dealings with Job in the Old Testament. Just as God allowed Satan to attack Job in the Old Testament for purposes that glorified God and ultimately were a blessing to Job, God allowed one of Satan’s demons to do the same regarding the apostle of Jesus Christ Paul. So then, it would not have been to the will of God or glory of God to drive this evil spirit from oppressing or tormenting Paul. Please recall: the evil spirit could not possess Paul because Christians are possessed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. So, the demon could only afflict Paul.

And please note that Paul first sought the Lord in prayer concerning the evil spirit. Scripture does not record failed attempts at spiritual warfare and deliverance by Paul concerning the demon, and we cannot presume that these failed attempts existed because the Bible does not record them. Instead, it records Paul’s asking God three times for permission to drive the demon away, and God denying this permission for His own sovereign, God-glorifying purposes which were in service to God’s plan to conform Paul into the image of Jesus Christ! So let us not be deceived. These are not matters to be trifled with. Christians in the spiritual warfare and deliverance ministries must not act according to presumption, self-will and self-initiative. Instead, we must be guided and directed by God’s Holy Spirit. Being Holy Spirit-led and Holy Spirit-filled requires much preparation in ways that include prayer, Bible study, fellowship and good works which are conducive to spiritual maturity in advance (Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting) and also seeking God’s will during the necessary time. Note that I did not say during the time of spiritual confrontation with the forces of evil, for God must permit and instruct us when and whether He wants us to participate in such spiritual confrontations to begin with. Again, it is God’s will that is being done, not ours. It is God that is being glorified, not us. And we are acting in accordance to God’s sovereign will and not our own desires or feelings. This is why we must rely on prayer. We must humble ourselves and submit ourselves to God’s design, God’s plan, and God’s actions through prayer. Otherwise, we take rash actions of self-interest and self-will as did King Saul, who failed to wait on the Lord and found his kingdom and life – and those of his sons – taken from him.

Returning to apostle Paul, spiritual warfare and deliverance ministers have centered on the Ephesians 6:10-17 as one of their favorites for study and practice.

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

Regrettably, one of the reasons for this is that this passage, when taken incautiously, can invite the flesh to imagine oneself in the manner of this strong, mighty righteous and powerful HUMAN warrior image against the forces of evil, an image that we have seen reinforced time and time again in secular Hollywood movies and TV shows. Incautious and out of contexts readings and applications of this passage may cause us to think that in the Name of Jesus Christ WE have the power, WE have the authority, WE have the dominion, WE can challenge and take over strongholds and defeat the enemy, and that in doing so God’s will shall be done and He shall be glorified. This is indeed the doctrines of many popular spiritual warfare and deliverance teachers. However, such self-seeking presumption is not coming in the Name of Jesus Christ at all, but instead coming in our own name. It is so tempting to reject the counsel of those who actually do come in the Name of Jesus Christ and instead come in their own names (see John 5:43), but reject it we must. For Jesus Christ said that all who call on His Name, even all who cast out devils and do great works using His Name are not truly His. People who use the Name of Jesus Christ in accordance with self-seeking are not Jesus Christ’s sheep, because though they call on the Name of God, like Adam they are following after their own hearts. Instead, Jesus Christ’s sheep will be people who are after God’s heart, so they will seek direction from God and patiently wait on God before they act. The identifying fruit of the spiritual warfare and deliverance minister who is God’s sheep is one who exhibits patience, humility and submission in seeking the will of God lest he sin and lead others into sin, and not one who rushes in according to his own human desires and limited knowledge and misuses and misappropriates the Name of Jesus Christ carelessly, recklessly, proudly and selfishly. Instead of seeking to take authority and power after the manner of human rulers, we should be seeking to submit ourselves to, rely upon and glorify God after the manner of God’s humble servants, including the one Jesus Christ who emptied Himself, came to earth as a man, suffered humiliation and rejection, and was slain for our sins in our place on the cross, and was raised for our justification. It is the manner of the humble Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead and is blessed forever that we should emulate and identify with, and not the manner of proud, presumptive, arrogant and self-willed humanity, or for that manner of the tempter and deceiver of humanity Satan, who in his presumption decided that he would be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). Make no mistake, but in doing anything, including spiritual warfare, without first making certain that we are doing God’s will and not man’s, we are emulating not Jesus Christ in His submission and sacrifice  to the glory of God, but Satan in his mad and failed attempt at being a usurper of God’s glory. From such, spiritual warfare and deliverance minister, turn away!

Instead, turn your attention to the oft-neglected end of the “put on the whole armor of God” passage, which is verse 18, which reads “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” It clearly shows that the primary and main ingredient to spiritual warfare, to putting on the whole armor of God for confrontations against the enemy, is “praying always in asking to the Holy Spirit.” We are to always pray so that we can ask of the Holy Spirit that indwells all Christians concerning the Will of God. Without receiving and submitting to the will of God in spiritual warfare (or anything else) we aren’t performing spiritual warfare at all, but instead proud, self-seeking and harmful bombast that resists the Holy Spirit, misuses the Name of Jesus Christ, dishonors His sacrifice on the cross and refuses to glorify God the Father.  Thus, so-called spiritual warfare that rejects prayer in supplication to the Holy Spirit before, during and after is nothing more than an abomination against the Holy Trinity in clear, explicit ways.

One should note that the primacy of prayer in spiritual warfare is given at the end of both Matthew 17:14-21 and of Ephesians 6:10-18. One also notes that no explicit references to prayer seem to be made in many of the New Testament exorcism narrative accounts and references. That is indeed curious, as one would think that in Matthew 17:14-21 and Ephesians 6:10-18 that the most important thing would come first as a lead instead of coming last, and also that there would be a stronger correlation depicted between prayer and spiritual warfare. This is still more evidence of how spiritual things often do not conform to our human expectations. It is a test of our faith, of our faithfulness, of our humility and submission to see if we will study the whole counsel of God as revealed in scripture. To see if we will seek God in spirit and in truth as He commanded us to so. To answer the door of our hearts when He stands and knocks so that He will come in, sup with us, and teach us the truth. Those of us truly interested in knowing and serving God will search, notice and find these things so that we can go about performing spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry – and please recall that ministry means service, and that it is service to God first and then to man – God’s way. Those who are not will cut corners, interpret passages out of context and selectively, and do whatever we can in order to claim to be serving God in God’s way when they will really be serving themselves in their own way.

So I ask and challenge you spiritual deliverance and warfare minister. In what way have you been serving in your ministry before now? And in what way will you serve in your ministry in the future?

Posted in Bible, Christianity, discernment, Jesus Christ, prayer, spiritual deliverance, spiritual deliverance techniques, spiritual warfare | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments »

A Question For Premillennial Dispensational Rapture Believers: Explain The Fifth Seal In Revelation!

Posted by Job on September 25, 2009

Revelation 6:9-11 reads

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

The Word of God for the elect people of God. Glory be to God.

For my premillennial dispensational brethren who believe in a pretribulation (or prewrath) rapture that spares the church from the time of sorrow, please explain this text. Who are those slain for the Word of God? Are they Christians? And when will these Christians be slain for their testimony? Does it refer to those believers slain in times past, whether in the Old Testament or at the time that Revelation was written? Or does it refer to believers slain during the great tribulation? (If so, how can any Christian stand under persecution, even martyrdom, without being emboldened by the Holy Spirit, which according to premillennial dispensational doctrine has to be taken from the earth along with the church? Please recall the difference between Peter and the apostles before the Comforter – cowering and fearful and running from their lives – and afterwards – bold and brave witnesses even unto death. As a matter of fact Peter himself went from being the worst – the one who denied Christ three times – to being the boldest. And how can anyone even be saved during the great tribulation without the work of the Holy Spirit? Recall: the Holy Spirit was indeed present during the time of the Old Testament saints. Indeed, the Bible states that the earth’s very existence cannot so much as even be sustained without the Spirit of God.) Or does it refer to believers slain during all ages, from the first (Abel) until the last before the return of Jesus Christ?

To interpret this passage with scripture, let us go to another one in Revelation that touches the martyrdom of the saints, which is Revelation 18:24. Please recall that this chapter refers to the fall of Babylon,  which since the Tower of Babel incident and particularly since the destruction of the temple in 586 has been used to symbolize people and systems that rebel against and oppose God and persecute His elect covenant people, and that Revelation extends this symbolism with personification, describing all that opposes God as a harlot (prostitute), which in this verse is called “her”:  And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Now as much as I love my King James Version, allow me to quibble with their translation of “kai” to “and” in the phrase “and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Many times, “kai” is just used for emphasis, as an amplifier of degree or a focus of attention. This text should probably read:

“And in her [Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints, indeed all [prophets and saints] that were slain upon the earth.”

However, if you go with the King James Version, which granted carries much more weight and authority than my own, and all which follow its tradition on that text, then “and of all that were slain upon the earth” simply means that in Babylon was the blood of every person that has been murdered, all innocent blood that has been shed. This means that the prior clause “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints” means that “the prophets and saints” (a  New Testament idiom which refers to old covenant and new covenant believers) which means that the blood of Stephen and all other Christian martyrs ever since is contained in Babylon. So with reference to the elect the meaning is the same: the blood of everyone killed because of their faith in God is in Babylon.

So, if we interpret Revelation 6:9-11 with Revelation 18:24, when the fifth seal was opened the martyred souls viewed under the altar should very likely be interpreted to include every Christian martyr since Stephen. This would support the idea of a church that has always been under continuous tribulation. Such an interpretation would be consistent with, indeed fulfill the words of Jesus Christ in John 15:18-20.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.

Now one can hardly claim that those words were only aimed at the apostles. Those words are for all Christians for all time. So what basis is there for believing that there will be a rapture to save the church from a persecution that A) Jesus Christ said that we would face and B) Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to withstand? Now this is not an endorsement of the historicist, preterist or amillennial position that there will be no seven year literal great tribulation. Instead, it is to say that if there will be such a seven year literal great tribulation, the church will be present for it just as it has been present for all other tribulations, the “lesser” tribulations.

Now the prewrath (and mid-wrath) rapture adherent does have Revelation 3:10, which reads “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth”, in his favor. However, that could be fulfilled in a number of ways, including 1) a place of refuge (which ironically rapture believers commonly propose will exist for those who will saved during the great tribulation … again these people will have to be saved despite the absence of a church to preach the gospel or a Holy Spirit to perform regeneration) or 2) death. Do not let the “death” option astonish you, but instead study the scriptures, especially the Old Testament but also in the New Testament. It is a consistent theme that death is a way of being preserved, saved, spared from times of great evil … to be absent from the troubles of this world and present with God! Perhaps the best example of this is the death of Abijah, son of the wicked king Jeroboam, who died according to God’s will so that he would not be corrupted by Jeroboam and also not share in their judgment in 1 Kings 14. A New Testament example: at the time that he wrote Philippians 1:20-26, Paul viewed death as being removed from the extremely trying circumstances that he was living and exchanging it for a better fate. In that passage Paul stated “to die is gain”, but it appears that the rapture adherents have transformed it into “to be raptured is gain.”

So, the idea that there must be a rapture in order for Christians to be spared martyrdom seems to be inconsistent with Biblical revelation. It is also an idea that only makes sense for Christians living in the west. Practically everywhere else in the world, Christians face persecution: marginalization, poverty, disease, imprisonment, death. There are two doctrinal systems that have the effect of promoting the idea western Christians should have no part in what Christians in Indonesia, China, Iran, Palestine (and Israel!), India and Mexico (where Roman Catholic/pagan syncretists are persecuting Protestants) by simple right of geography of birth: pretribulation rapture and covenant theology. Pretribulation rapture teaches that Christians not currently under persecution now will never have to face it, because persecution will only come to “the good parts of the world” (i.e. “Christian nations” or “western nations” or “non-socialist nations” … you know, what Glenn Beck was referring to) when the anti-Christ (which 8% of New Jersey residents regard Obama to be) takes over it.

Now ask yourselves … why is it that Christians can be persecuted in some places (including Israel … and read this too!) now without the anti-Christ, but it requires the anti-Christ to happen in others (especially America)? Or that the saints in other places (and times, including in the west … remember the 30 Years War and the Anabaptists?) are not spared persecution, but only the modern American saints are? Only the idea that contemporary western (especially American and possibly British!) Christians are somehow better than Christians living in other times and places, and this fact would be due to America having some special status before God as a unique elect covenant nation, giving us special status within the Body of Christ. Of course, the Bible makes it clear in the Roman and Corinthian epistles that there is no special group or people with a special status, special favor, or special standing before God in the Body of Christ, but instead that we are one Body. Further, the Bible makes it clear that those who are accounted greater according to rank or authority (not standing or value) demonstrate this through being servant roles that cause us to A) serve those who are of lesser rank and authority and B) endure even greater persecution than those who are of lesser rank and authority. So, even if America did have some special standing before God, instead of our being wealthy decadent privileged Laodiceans, we would be poor, oppressed and serving everybody else! If you deny this, read the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ!

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Keep in mind, the version in Luke reads “Blessed are the POOR!”)
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.

Now earlier I mentioned the covenant theologians, from whom the modern concept of the “Christian nation” originated. Covenant theologians believe – or at least believed – that people in “Christian nations” would or should be spared persecution only because in a church-state Christians would control the government, economy, military, police, and religion in a theocracy after the manner of Old Testament Israel. That is why such extreme theonomists and reconstructionists as Gary North and Rousas John (R. J.) Rushdoony deny that the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount apply to Christians, instead stating that it only applied to Jews living in that time. (Curiously, hyperdispensationalists believe the same.) While I believe the covenant theology position to be in error, this statement is aimed primarily at premillennnial dispensationalists.

So if America were this special, Christian nation, it would be marked by our poverty and service, not by our decadent delusions of religious nobility which makes us believe that we are somehow exempt from the sufferings of Christians living in Belarus or Namibia, or for that matter the Christians of the early church. After all, when Paul wrote his statement insisting that those in the Body of Christ were equals, the statements were direct AGAINST two groups of people: the Jewish Christians in the Roman church and the wealthy Christians in the Corinthian church. The Jewish Christians regarded themselves to be superior to the Gentile Christians because of nationality, and the wealthy Corinthian Christians regarded themselves as superior to the poorer believers because of their riches. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to tell both groups that they were wrong. So, then, how can we justify believing that a rapture will come and rescue us from the type of persecutions and deaths at the hands of Muslims that are going on all over the Middle East, Asia and Africa right now, such as the two million Christians that were killed in Sudan, many of whom were tortured, raped, doused with gasoline and set on fire, had their limbs chopped off, or were sold as slaves because they refused to renounce Christianity?

Ironically, the world, including the media, the activists, and the government of our own “Christian nation”, did their level best to ignore this genocide, choosing instead to focus on Muslims murdering other Muslims in Darfur. And let us not forget that the term for which the word genocide was originally invented and applied to, that of the Armenians by the Turks, is still not recognized as such by the U.N. or by the government of our “Christian nation.” It is still more ironic when you consider that the Armenian genocide happened in the same general area that the letters in Revelation were sent, in the Turkey region. That persecution kicked off what was the bloodiest period of Christian persecution in history, the 20th century, that saw 45.5 million Christians killed!

So if there were any geographical or political entity within the Body of Christ that had special status, it would be those Christians because of their poverty and persecution who would come first, not us . It is those to whom the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ were addressed, and premillennial dispensationalism completely rejects that truth for the belief that the rapture will save Christians not yet under persecution from ever having to experience it because the saints who have it easier are the ones who fulfill Revelation 3:10! Never mind that the rich church that was not facing persecution was Laodicea, and the church that Revelation 3:10 was addressed to was Philadelphia. Why was the promise of Revelation 3:10 given to the Philadelphians? It is in Revelation 3:8, which reads “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” The Philadelphia Christians were being persecuted, and similar to the Sudanese Christians, they refused to yield to the persecution by denying Jesus Christ. In other words, they refused to do the same as the apostle Peter did THREE TIMES before he was empowered by the Holy Spirit, yet dispensationalism teaches that this Holy Spirit will be taken away, and those converted during the great tribulation will have to face the greatest time of sorrows ever without it, and will yet somehow stand? How? Why? Because of their free will? Or because of their inherently good human nature untainted by original sin? Followers of Reformed/Calvinist believers in the rapture like John MacArthur and Albert Pendarvis (the latter’s bookstore sells the Scofield Reference Bible) have to answer these questions! In any event, those who claim that Revelation 3:10 refers to Christians being raptured to escape persecution have to deal with the fact that the text was in reference to a Philadelphia church that was enduring it!

Make no mistake. I believe in a bodily literal return of Jesus Christ which I believe will occur after a literal great tribulation which will include a literal and personal anti-Christ. However, I also believe that the church will endure this tribulation, and that we need to be preparing ourselves and those who will follow us in the faith for it in a manner that is consistent with scripture as opposed to believing that we – or our WESTERN descendants – will have an experience of escaping it that will be unique to Christians living in other times and places. At the very least, someone must explain why western Christians alone should enjoy this pleasure!

The Three Step Salvation Plan

Posted in Christian Persecution, Christian persecution America, Christian Zionism, Christianity, Christians United For Israel, church hypocrisy, church state, church worldliness, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Dominionism And The Rise Of Christian Imperialism

Posted by Job on May 24, 2009

http://www.discernment-ministries.org./misc/Dominionism.pdf

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

    What A Surprise Billy Graham Roman Catholic Embracing Christianity Today Endorses Dominionism

    Posted by Job on October 21, 2008

    Key quote: “Thus, Carson concludes that “the only human organization that continues into eternity is the church.”” Excuse me, but not even the Roman Catholic Church claims that the church is a human organization. Evangelicalism at its finest indeed … oh and by the way, this quote came in the review of the D.A. Carson book “Christ and Culture Revisited.” Please note my “Christ Is Not Your Culture” and be forewarned that Origenism lives on in evangelicalism and consider its endtimes implications. It is so much easier to tickle the ears and bewitch people with messages and doctrines of values, culture, politics, works, etc. than to stick the gospel message of Jesus Christ born of a virgin, crucified for our sins, raised for the dead, and is coming to bring wrath and judgment upon all who fail to believe or heed His Lordship of all.

    That is precisely what modern evangelicalism is about. Evangelicalism is a form of Christianity that tries to coexist with the culture rather than separating from it. It is based on the fiction that it is easier to spread the gospel and transform the culture working from the outside rather than the inside. That is classic Christian liberalism – which has pagan roots and not Jewish ones by the way – which teaches that man is basically good and can be transformed through culture, education and government. As a matter of fact, evangelicalism openly admits that their ideas came from theological liberals like H. Richard Niebuhr. And yes, this does include the religious right. The “What Would Jesus Do” culture warriors? Well the religious left invented that slogan. Reading their social gospel manifesto from the 1800s, it reads like a religious right one from the late 1900s and today.

    We are duped into believing, for instance, that America is basically good because “it is a Christian nation.” Then those who speak of the truth that at no point in American history has America been good for most of its citizens are called “anti – American.” These people denounce relativism, but they practice it all the time themselves by defending the alleged inherent goodness of America and the west by saying that everywhere else is worse!

    Well, man is not inherently good. Creation is not inherently good. Those things are fallen and wicked. So, the church cannot redeem those things by their contact with them. Instead, the world corrupts the church that will not separate from it! These people twist the “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” teachings of the Bible out of context by saying that the church can be a leaven whose influence grows throughout society. Well if that does not just take the Passover typology and turn it on its head. Why is there UNLEAVENED bread for Passover, as a matter of fact Jews were told not to have any leaven in their homes! Why? Well take a science or cooking class. You know what leaven is? GERMS! AN INFECTION! Leaven is IMPURITY. The reason why only unleavened bread was to be used and leaven was not even supposed to be present in the house for Passover was because the bread represents the broken SINLESS body of Jesus Christ, and no leaven was supposed to be in the house because it represents the purity of the church that Jesus Christ heads, the house which the book of Hebrews says Jesus Christ built.

    When Israel, which typologically represents the church no matter how dual covenant dispensational pluralists or the pluralist theological liberals deny it for fear of offending the Jewish groups that they maintain their precious ecumenical interfaith ties with to show how so non – fundamentalist they are, went into the promised land, God did not tell them to intermingle with the pagan tribes living there, to transform their culture, to be the leaven of positive thinking, unity, influence, and family values. No, God said to drive them out lest you be like them! When God gave Israel instructions for sacrifices, He did not say place the sanctified objects consecrated for tabernacle service next to the common objects so some of their holiness would rub off and all who brought their dishes, censers, bowls, flesh hooks, IDOLS etc. to the temple could have objects made holy by their contact with the tabernacle items that they could take home. No, God said keep the sanctified objects SEPARATE from the common objects, and even the priests had to be ritually purified before they could come into contact with them.

    Now we are often taught “that is just the old Testament where God was so angry and full of wrath and anger at sin but now in the new covenant God is much nicer and loving.” So is that it? Are you evangelicals are or you Marcionites? Or has your ecumenical exchanges with Roman Catholics convinced you of the efficacy of evangelical holy water where you can make something righteous (or at least better than it was before and acceptable kinda sorta) by sprinkling your Veggie Tales family values (or your James Dobson Fuller Theological Seminary Dr. Phil psychobabble – and yes Dr. Phil professes to be Christian for he is aligned with T.D. Jakes and Robert Schuller) around the culture? Well the same God that told the children of Israel to put the Canaanites to the world told the church that friendship with the world is emnity with Him! The God of the New Testament has not changed, He is the same as the Old. The sinful creation of the Old Testament has not changed, it is the same as the Old. Yes, we do have the work of the cross and the indwelling Holy Spirit, but we are not to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness with the lie that it can be used to redeem fallen creation and its sinful nations and cultures. The purpose of common grace was so that all creation could know some of the love of God and to keep creation from descending into chaos. That is why governments which restrain evil are called servants of God. But the church does not deal with common grace. That is solely God’s province, the providence which He uses to rule creation and work out His place in history.

    No, the church is the mystery of God that will be accomplished when the seventh trumpet sounds as it was announced to the prophets. We deal with special grace, saving grace, and our duty is to be used by God in His special mission. Are good works part of that mission? Of course! The gospels and the book of James state explicitly so. But where in the Bible, in the Old Testament or the New Testament, does it say that the purpose of good works is to give heathen cultures a form of godliness while denying the power thereof? Not only is such a notion easier than preaching the cross itself – making it easier for those who do not truly believe it while desiring for some reason to claim to be Christians – but it is clearly teaching the commandments of men as if they are the doctrines of God, the product of philosophic speculation rather than true exegetical theology, and based on the structure of Constantinism where the church state overtly desired to rule over a large number of people that they knew were unconverted just as they ruled over a tiny number of men that were, of a church state that took the throne and sword of Constantine and claimed that they were of “Saint Peter.”

    The truth is that whether you admit that it is of Constantine or lie and claim that it is of Peter (secular power which MAY represent common grace IF it is wielded appropriately as in King Darius and not in an evil and illegitimate manner as in the wicked rulers Assyria and Egypt or even of Israel’s northern kingdom), either way you are denying the throne of special grace, and that is so whether you are Catholic, state church Protestant, or dominionist “family values Constitution God capitalism military and country” evangelicals.

    This is not a call to fundamentalism per se. I could care less whether you are evangelical, fundamentalist or liberal. After all, the liberal Karl Barth rejected the World Council of Churches because he stated that according to scriptures its spiritual goals could not be accomplished by human organization! Instead, it is a call to return to the pure religion of the Bible and the cross. We turn the world upside down with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the good works that proceed from it, not by the lie that by engaging the world we can (partly) purify it rather than becoming (COMPLETELY) corrupted and altogether filthy from it. Because if you ever wanted any more proof that it is evangelicals following the world rather than the other way around, you merely need to compare evangelicalism of the 1920s to today and see what a change a mere generation or three makes.

    Posted in Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    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.

    Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    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.

    Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

    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.

    Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

    The Religious Right: Pulpit Pimps Just Like Everybody Else

    Posted by Job on October 12, 2008

    This morning while getting ready for church, I listened to a sermon from a religious right pastor of some esteem; I will not give his name although I will say that he has passed away. The pastor’s subject was one of the favored bogeymen of the religious right: public schools. His sermon included such typical things as blaming public schools for the downfall of some Christian culture or Christian values or Christian nation that every one of these fellows claims existed at one point or another while sweeping inconvenient historical details under the rug. Yes, I said “historical”, which does not even mention doctrinal or theological problems.

    Meaning that even if a person subscribed to some form of Pelagian hyper – Arminianism that would grant salvation to virtually everyone that minimally adhered to some form of superficial Christian affiliation, any honest reading of the Bible would still preclude the “Christian nation” claims. Bottom line: the whole idea of “Christian nation” only works if one believes that salvation is almost entirely based on baptism – which can happen as an infant or on a deathbed – and membership in some nationally recognized church (which again a person can be initiated into as an infant or on their deathbed).

    Otherwise, what is the use for declaring a place to be “a Christian nation” unless very nearly everyone in the nation is born again and going to heaven? As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ’s preaching actually made the idea of “Christian households” very problematic, where even the idea that everyone in the same FAMILY would be saved.

    Matthew 10:34-36 reads “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 

    So we are supposed to believe in the existence of Christian nations when God in the flesh told us that Christian homes would be rare? Now I am certain that this pastor, again who has passed on, was aware of this verse and its implications. So why didn’t he preach it? One can only wonder if such a question will be asked of him on judgment day. We know what the Bible requires of pastors. 

    Then this particular pastor in a sermon delivered before his passing solemnly  and ominously intoned this bit of information: “they don’t want you to know what they teach in public schools.” Which, of course, is ridiculous. Any parent that wants to know what his child is learning in public schools can A) contact the school board, B) contact the principal or any other administrator, C) go to PTA meetings, D) talk to their child’s teachers, E) go through their child’s textbook and assigments or F) TALK TO THEIR CHILD. Translation: if you don’t know what is going on in your child’s school, it is your own fault, a consequence of your own neglect. But religious right pastors and leaders don’t apply their “personal responsibility” ideology to their own people. No, all the bad parents are either black single mothers on welfare living in the inner cities, or yuppies raising their kids to be liberals.

    Well, the truth is that most of the “real Americans with traditional heartland values that made this country strong” have no idea what goes on in their public schools because they are too busy pursuing their own pleasures through careers, consumerism, and leisure. And even if they do make the choice that most religious right types would applaud, which is to take their kids out of public schools and put them into private ones, well they are no more personally involved than they were when their kids were in public schools. They simply switch from letting the government schools be primarily responsible for educating, enculturating, and disciplining their kids to letting the private or religious schools do so.

    A bunch of wiccans could infiltrate religious schools and most parents would be none the wiser, especially since it is so easy to mask wiccan, pagan, new age, etc. beliefs into the “Christian values and culture” nonsense that evangelicalism promotes these days in order to keep from having to talk about the cross or the cost of discipleship, which is to reject the world and be rejected by it. If wiccans haven’t done so already, it is only because they don’t want to. 

    Also, this talk of “they don’t want you to know what is going on in public schools” is based on the fiction that your typical public school board member, administrator, or teacher is a Marxist subversive gay rights activist. (Of course, these people exist, but again they could work in your local Christian academy and most of you wouldn’t notice.) We found out how off base this type of thinking is a few years ago when a homeschooling advocate at the Southern Baptist Convention a few years ago tried to pass a resolution that would have called for – but not required – members of the convention to pull their kids out of public schools. Initially, it had a great deal of support. But when it became known that public education is the largest employer of members of the Southern Baptist Convention, even a significantly watered down version of the original nonbinding resolution failed

    The truth is that most public school teachers are working class people with 4 year degrees from your local college who drive used cars and do most of their shopping at discount stores, and most administrators are people who started out there and worked their way up. In some areas of the country, many of them have two hour commutes (assuming that traffic is accommodating) because they can’t even afford housing in the communities that they have to teach. So the idea that these folks are ACORN, ACLU, People for the American Way, etc. radicals so bent on trying to pervert your children that they wouldn’t freely share with you what is going on in their classrooms if you were to simply take the time to go ask them … well again let us just say that I have a real problem with this now deceased preacher’s claiming that the problem is the failure of the public school system that is part of the world that has rejected Jesus Christ’s failure to teach children the gospel, or allowing the people in his church and whoever else heard his sermon to believe that there ever was a time when government schools taught children the gospel, and that if we keep praying, voting, sending these people money, etc. we can somehow go back to a time when a fallen institution that is part of a lost and dying world will teach Christian kids to respect the very same Jesus Christ that the state wrongly condemned as a criminal and hung to die on the cross despite knowing that He was innocent, and not only that but when He rose from the dead created a conspiracy to cover it up! 

    It was never the job of public schools to teach children the gospel. As a matter of fact, we Christians shouldn’t want them to try, because any gospel preached by any institution that is of this world will be false. Instead, it was the job of people like this pastor to teach children to love Jesus Christ and to expect the world, including public schools, to hate, reject, and persecute them for Jesus Christ’s sake. Not only was this religious right pulpit pimp not doing this, but the truth is that he was doing precisely the opposite. Instead of spreading truth from the pulpit that challenged the people, he was teaching lies that tickled their ears and made them feel comfortable and self – righteous. Honestly, he may have even been fattening them up nice and plump for any anti – Christ that comes along and promises that his false prophet will set up a public school system that will honor and respect “Christian values” and “our culture and traditions.” We know this already because Adolph Hitler promised precisely the same thing. And yes, despite the fact that conservatives, including not a few members of the religious right, love their “Hitler was a socialist liberal!” slogans, the truth was that Hitler initially was enthusiastically embraced by German Christians because he offered them a Christ of culture, patriotism, values, and prosperity, and not of the cross. In other words, a false Christ. 

    Public schools have NEVER been godly institutions. This nation has NEVER been a godly nation. The only thing on this earth that is godly is THE CHURCH. Not any individual denomination or congregation mind you, but the universal church consisting of all believers. And why is it alone godly? Because the only entity that is godly is GOD HIMSELF, and the church is part of God! The church is the Body of Christ, the church is IN CHRIST. Any notion that any other is godly, holy, righteous, etc. or even is useful or edifying or imparting truth or goodness in any way other than that which God gives to all mankind through general revelation and common grace IS A LIE. Put it this way: any idea that our institutions in the Christian west are any more Christlike than the institutions in Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, or communist nations IS A LIE, and the people who preach them are LIARS. They cannot possibly be deceived, for the Bible plainly declares it. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” That is really just one of many that speaks of how the world is ruled by Satan and how it rejects Jesus Christ. 

    The only way that a person could believe otherwise is if they are an amillennialist who believes that Jesus Christ rules the world through the church. But even amillennialists believe that first Christians must take control over a worldly institution before it ceases being part of fallen Satanic order and starts to reflect the holiness and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Well, that causes real trouble for the religious right person. They are claiming that at one point Christians were running this nation, public schools and all, but that Satan took them over. Excuse me, but how is that possible? How can Satan defeat Jesus Christ? This is not like a worldly military battle, where enemy armies and nations will take and lose, lose and recover cities and territories over and over again. No, something that Jesus Christ conquers (whether Himself or through the church) stays conquered. Claiming that a Christian nation or institution can lapse (or truthfully relapse) into the state that our nation and our schools are in right now is akin to claiming that an individual Christian can lose his salvation! If souls owned by Jesus Christ can persevere, how can nations and institutions ruled by Jesus Christ from heaven with a rod of iron fall away, especially if Satan is bound?

    Of course, it is true that things that were wicked can become even more wicked. And things that are more wicked can become less wicked. We know this from the Bible. Take Egypt. It became less wicked under the leadership of the pharoah that appointed Joseph. It became less wicked under the leadership of the pharoah that threw all the baby boys in the river. That is why we are to pray for our leaders: so they will be more like the former pharoah and less like the latter. But we Christians are to never forget that we are being ruled by pharoahs and not Jesus Christ, and that we are living in Egypt (or in booths in the wilderness), not New Jerusalem. Christians are to be ever aware of this and be prepared and equipped to operate in environment. The soul that preaches otherwise lies and unless it repents will receive the liar’s reward clearly spelled out in the book of Revelation.

    I suppose that the most irksome (to me) thing about this pastor’s presentation – and that of the religious right in general – is the pretense that these liberal changes happened secretly or against our will against the popular will of the American people. A good example of the lie that this is: the TV sitcom Three’s Company. Make no mistake, it was a show absolutely dedicated to sexual perversion. All of the single characters were serial fornicators with never the slightest hint of shame or suggestion that there should be. The lead character was willing to pretend to be homosexual simply to get an affordable apartment in a good side of town

    And yes, the “Jack Tripper” character was part of the longtime media attempt to soften views towards homosexuals that made the world safe for people like Ellen, Rosie, and Clay … and incidentally for professed evangelicals like Miley Cyrus able to make light of it to no ill effect whatsoever. And what was probably the most subversive part of the whole show was the idea that three fornicators could cohabitate all those years while fornicating with everyone but each other? Possible? Yes. Natural? No. 

    And guess what … the show was a huge hit. For seven years. No one was outraged at the militant flagrant promotion of not only fornication but decadent promiscuity. No one was outraged at the subversive gay agenda Trojan horse. No, this “Christian nation” watched Three’s Company and every other movie and TV show that promoted violence, sexual immorality, profanities that include blasphemy, etc. usually without a peep of protest apart from some values coalition watchdog group starting a rarely successful boycott or letter writing campaign. Why? Because it was what this country wanted to see. There was no protest, no resistance, only acceptance. And you know what? That was the case with things ranging from evolution in our public schools to the Roe v. Wade decision.

    Sure, some opposed it, and a few took their opposition to extreme, even criminal lengths. But our cities didn’t exactly start burning, did they? A civil war didn’t break out, did it? The states asserted their right to secede in order to continue owning human beings as property and preserve their economic system based on free labor. But if there was ever a serious movement that attempted to amend the Constitution to allow a state to secede because of the 50 million people that have been sacrificed to Molech through abortion, it is not only long dead, but moreover I missed any historical reference to it.

    And that more than anything else is why the agenda of the religious right regarding public schools and everythin else is so deceptive: the idea that anything is happening other than the people getting what they want. It is based on the lie that we are a nation of good decent moral people who will ultimately earn their salvation through good works and values. If the truth were told and preached, that we are a nation of people who DESPITE their good works and values are still sinners if they do not repent they are headed for an eternity in the lake of fire. And if you are a sinner, guess what, you are going to like and want sin. You might object to SOME SINS because of your self – righteousness or self – interest, but there will be plenty of other sinful behaviors and cultural trends that you will support or not oppose. 

    Again, were the truth be told, the religious right would collapse and blow away overnight. (The religious left, which operates on a totally different set of assumptions and lest we forget long predated the religious right in this nation, especially if you include the Unitarians and Quakers, and as such is a different matter.) And that is why we Christians who are after the truth must continue to speak this truth. People will still continue to believe a lie because the truth is not in them. While that is regrettable, the truth we still must promote and pursue.

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

    Sarah Palin’s Thomas Muthee Is A Word Of Faith Dominionist!

    Posted by Job on October 1, 2008

    I put up a post defending this fellow a few days ago. Fortunately IndependentConservative informed me of my insanity, and I removed it. Good thing too. First of all, Muthee is a Word of Faither. Second, the guy is a dominionist. This article talks about the “Christians should rule the world” mentality of third wave charismatics and Pentecostals that people like Muthee exhibit … even though the spawn of Azusa Street is almost uniformly Cyrus Scofield pre – tribulation rapturist, their attitudes towards politics, government, and secular activity come straight from the Origenist amillennialism that the Roman Catholic Church used to justify their goal to take over the world.

    So we know what Muthee believes. The question is whether Palin believes it also. Because if McCain wins in 2008 as I fully expect him to, Palin is your president in 2012. Further proof that no matter who wins, Christians need to pray, serve the Lord, and resist evil in all that we do. We have to be careful and discerning. I fell into supporting Muthee out of my opposition to witchcraft, but it looks like this fellow supports something far worse: a false version of Christianity that wants to dominate the globe.

    Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments »

     
    %d bloggers like this: