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 ‘religion’

Let Him In By Winans Phase 2: Why It Is Not Gospel Music But Blasphemy

Posted by Job on March 4, 2012

As concerning Christian music and other things concerning worship, I am not a traditional fundamentalist. I disagree with the position of John Calvin and other leaders of the Protestant Reformation, which is that songs, music and dance were primarily related to the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament religion of the Hebrews, those things were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and therefore the only permissible form of worship is hymns sung a capella (without music). Yet, that position is actually superior to the common claim that the only permissible mode of worship is that which dominated western culture in the 18th and early 19th century, a cultural/ethnocentric position because it is an indisputable fact of history that the early church – the ancient predominantly middle/near eastern one recorded in the New Testament – did not worship after the manner of Europeans that came along over 1500 years later. So, Christian country, Christian classical and opera music, Christian rock, Christian rap, gospel music (both contemporary and traditional) and the many other varieties under the sun by members of Body of Christ that is indwelt by and serves as a tabernacle for the Spirit of Christ are permissible, so long as it – along with everything else in Christianity – is governed by God’s revelation as preserved in the Bible.

The mere fact that the music is being performed by Christians does not make it acceptable to God, and neither does the intent of the performers or the effect that playing the music has on the regenerate (i.e. causing vigorous worship) or the unregenerate (i.e. helping them understand the gospel and lead them to conversion). The music is also not sanctified by the message (i.e. the lyrics) or the venue (i.e. being performed at a church or in a Christian concert). Moreover, the purpose of the music is to worship God, not to entertain people. Again, merely because it was made to entertain, inspire or aid Christians does not make it Christian music. If it was made to evangelize the lost to cause them to become Christians, then it is not Christian music. If it was made for people, then it is “people music.” Only if it is made for Christ does it become Christian music. And as with everything else, Jesus Christ did leave us in His Bible guidelines for what are acceptable.

Without going into a “theology of worship” discussion, two scripture texts that can be used as guidelines for choosing which music to listen to, include in worship, or (if per chance you are one who creates Christian music) compose are Romans 12:1-2 and Hebrews 12:28-29. The former reads “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Now this does not mean that Christians are commanded to reject popular or other music forms created or embraced by the world as worldly, or to create a distinctively Christian music form.

Christianity is not a religion of rules and rituals, but a religion of the heart. Thus, if your heart is not right, then your music will not be right either. So, rather than being some rule that would enjoin worldly musicians from making worldly music and from worldly listeners from hearing it – which appears to be the position of some of my fundamentalist friends – the message of Romans 12:1-2 is to not be worldly. Worldly musicians will make worldly music. Worldly listeners will listen to worldly music. The reason is that those people are of the flesh and will live accordingly. But Godly people will make and listen to Godly music because they are of God’s Spirit and will live according to God’s Spirit. No rules, regulations, rituals, customs, traditions etc. will made a worldly person Holy Spirit-filled and Holy Spirit-led in worship or anything else. And of course, such vain external trappings of false religion (John 7:24) should not keep true believers in bondage. So, if you are worldly, the world is what an artist will be thinking about, striving to emulate and please, when he makes his music. Further, if you are a worldly listener, you will not want music that reminds you of God and His attributes, but rather music that reminds you of the world that is your first love. But if you are Godly, then your desire to know and please God – your first love – will be reflected in the music that you make and/or listen to.

Now for the second text, Hebrews 12:28-29, which is not only an explicit command to guide worship, but tells us why this command or rule exists. “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” Note that “we may serve”, as the King James Version translators rendered it, is the Greek word latreuō, which can means “to perform sacred services, to offer gifts, to worship God in the observance of the rites instituted for his worship.” This definition fits the context, which is why other good translations use “worship” or “praise”. The English Standard Version renders Hebrews 12:28 with this very issue in mind (arguably making it more of an interpretation/commentary than a mere translation!) with “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”

So make no mistake, this text commands us to worship God in an acceptable manner, and that the only acceptable manner is reverence. Again, reverence is not a rule, ritual or tradition, but a matter of the heart. The Old Testament bears this out. God gave Israel a specific, detailed collection of rules and rituals to follow concerning the manner in which He would be worshiped. What happened? They didn’t follow it. Why? Because their hearts were not right. They did not love God, they did not have a desire to know or serve God, so they did not consistently keep the religious forms that God gave them for any length of time. This was so as a general rule anyway. The remnant, the elect chosen and preserved by God, DID worship God to the best of their ability. So, even from the Old Testament we know that rules banning rock guitars, hip-hop drumbeats, or everything but hymns without musical accompaniment are vanities in a heart that is hardened. Just as a worldly heart will lust after the world, and irreverent heart will never know reverence in its cold, dead and depraved condition.

By contrast, a regenerate heart will revere God. Why? Again, Hebrews 12:28 tells us. Be not deceived: it is not mere mutable emotion that waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon, but something far more permanent. 1. Born again Christians are grateful to God for our permanent kingdom that cannot be shaken; that we will spend an eternity with Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem (commonly called heaven). This fact serves as a powerful hope, inspiration and driving force that remains constant no matter our circumstances or emotional state. 2. Our God is a consuming fire! Born again Christians do not erect false idols of nonexistent deities that will not punish the wicked. Instead, we love the truth – that God will punish and destroy the wicked – because this truth confirms God’s holiness and power, and we love God because He is holy and powerful! A safe god, a god that we can transgress and disrespect without consequence, or one who only punishes us for crimes committed against His creation (i.e. only sending murderers, thieves and rapists to hell for what they have done TO PEOPLE) and not for offenses done against God’s holiness is no God at all. Scripture makes it clear from beginning to end that God is One who demands and is holiness. God does have the whole world in His Hands after the manner of the children’s nursery rhyme, but make no mistake: God is no child’s toy, or anyone’s toy for that matter. The elect is indeed safe in the arms of Jesus Christ, as an old hymn asserts, but this same Jesus Christ – the same One who drove the thieves out of the temple with a whip and will one day return riding a white horse and carrying a two edged sword with which to horribly punish the wicked – isn’t safe! For those who reject this and deny that our God is a consuming fire, they should instead be confronted with the reality that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31, plus a rather well known sermon)!

It is not merely a “we must worship God in this manner or God will send fire down from heaven and consume us” sort of fear, though Christians should certainly remember Nadab and Abihu, Uzzah, and Ananias and Sapphira when that very sort of thing did happen if only for the typology. Instead, it is simply a truth that God has disclosed His Divine Nature to us in the Bible, and those that are regenerate and hence truly love God will respond to God’s self revelation by acting in accordance to that revelation, not against it. Again, this is something that will not happen by way of adherence to ritual, or creating rules based on human comprehension of the facts of scripture, but as the elect are carried along by God’s Holy Spirit. Similar to salvation (consider what Jesus Christ told His disciples when they were astonished after the rich young ruler incident) with man, it is impossible to achieve worship that is spiritual and reverent, for man is only capable of worldly irreverent worship that mocks, hates and rejects God. But with God, it is possible to attain reverent spiritual worship that is liberated from the rusted shackles of carnality, and it is indeed achieved. This is done because it is God’s will to receive reverent spiritual worship that is pleasing to Him, and God’s will is most certainly done.

In conclusion, I will provide the example – a negative one – which motivated this entry: Let Him In By Winans Phase 2. It is simply one of the most egregious ones that I have encountered. For those who are uninitiated as concerning the R&B music genre, this song is – not emulates but is – a “slow jam”, meaning a romantic song. The purpose of the “slow jam” is to create a mindset – or mental atmosphere – of emotional and physical intimacy, including – but not limited to – sexual intercourse. (Of course, not a few artists in this genre make such songs solely and entirely for the purpose of promoting sexual intercourse, and take it as a compliment when their fans inform them that their music was played on their prom nights, wedding nights, when their children were conceived, etc.) And keep in mind: when such intimacy is not available or attainable, the purpose of the music is to remind people of such intimacy, or cause them to desire for or aspire to it! Make no mistake, that is the primary reason why such music exists, it is the primary reason why it is so popular with the artists who make it – as many of the artists are lovers of sensuality – and it is also why the music is so commercially successful.

And “Let Him In” by Winans Phase 2 is a song after this genre and spirit. The musical accompaniment is entirely sensual. So is the way that the song is sung. But that is not the main problem.Consider this: the “Let Him In” title of the song – and it is also a refrain, repetitively sung in a soft, sensual manner! – is an evangelistic plea to convert to Christianity. (It is based on the very common misapplication of Revelation 3:20, but the issue here is not the free will salvation theology advocated by the song, but the song’s irreverent form.)  Again, based on the musical and lyrical style, the purpose of it was to emulate an R&B “love song” (when in truth most “love songs” should be renamed “amorous songs” as they are far more often concerned with physical attraction and emotional infatuation than actual, Biblical love). Further, “let him in” is a widely known euphemism that has the purpose of requesting sexual intercourse. Make no mistake, as a large number of R&B (and rap/hip-hop) songs have a very similar musical and vocal sound and use the same “let him in” phrase according to its common meaning, how is it possible for one very familiar with the genre to listen to that song without making that association? Of course, it is possible to suppress it, and undoubtedly the professed Christians who listen to this very popular song do so. But had this song been reverent in the first place, it would not have been necessary. It is not the duty of the listener to suppress what the song would have certainly meant were it in a different genre, the genre that this song was intended to sound like. Instead, it is the duty of the Christian performer not to make a song that sounds very much like an entreaty for the listener to consent to Jesus Christ performing a sex act on him (or her)!

That sounded strong to you? Well, consider the lyrics to this song. Now they deny that the song is carnal on one hand, but the song elsewhere says – concerns Jesus Christ – “He’s making love to my heart.” Which by the way … A REFERENCE TO APPEARS FOUR TIMES! (I want to point out: THIS SONG IS BEING SUNG BY MEN. It would still be blasphemy were it sung by women, but I just wanted to point that out.) Some other lyrics from this homosexual love ballad – excuse me, gospel song: “Sweet as can be”, “I love the way he talks to me”, “Oooh I’m so happy.” Also, one of the “He’s making love to my heart” references asks the listener to “let him make love to your heart.” Again (and I do not intend this to be Mark Driscoll vulgar here): “let him in” in is colloquial context is a request to allow a man to have intercourse with you made by some intermediary. A common application is when a man is dating a woman, wants to have intercourse with her, but she is reluctant. So, the man gets a mutual friend of theirs to go to this reluctant woman on his behalf and tell her “Come on. He’s your boyfriend. You know you like him. You know you want him. You have been dating how long? Three months? What are you waiting for? How much longer are you going to wait? Come on, let him in!” When you read the lyrics, it honestly appears as if the meaning of the “let him in” phrase was not something that they were unaware, or some horrible accidental coincidence, but instead something that they directly, purposefully incorporated into the song, as the entire song itself is concerned with sexuality! The song explicitly says, in multiple occasions – “Jesus Christ is making love with my heart, let Jesus Christ make love with your heart!” And then it makes use of Revelation 3:20 (which is directly referenced in with “I’m here to let you know he’s knocking at your door to let him in”!) to make the connotation of the euphemism direct and complete. The song purposefully, directly associates – indeed depicts – Christian conversion and Christian living with sexual encounters with Jesus Christ in the same way that Paul associated the Christian’s life with an athlete running  a race. Now John MacArthur spoke of the rape of the Song of Solomon by Mark Driscoll. Well “Let Him In” constitutes no less than a (homosexual!) rape of Revelation 3:20 by Winans Phase 2.

This is merely the most egregious example that I am aware of. As I no longer listen to Christian music radio of any genre and merely happened upon this song, there are probably many others as bad or worse. But it serves as a good example of a song that is not reverent and is very much worldly. Though this song purports to be evangelistic, the truth is that it represents an attempt by carnal-minded people to win converts by relying on the basest of means. It is the “sex sells” approach to evangelism and discipleship that is advocated in this age by many, including Rick Warren and Ed Young Jr.

Rest assured, one cannot be carnal and worldly and be saved. One must be made holy, and this holiness is only achieved through Jesus Christ. The Bible does not tell us to become converted by lustfully imagining a sexual encounter with Jesus Christ. Instead, it tells us to repent of our sins and believe that Jesus Christ died for sins in the place of the sinner, was worthy to do so because of His being the Son of God, and was resurrected from the dead. If you have not done so already, I urge and entreat you to do so immediately. Click on the link below to receive some information on how to do so.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Apostasy From The Faith: Is It For Real? By Graceworx

Posted by Job on January 27, 2012

http://www.graceworx.com/podcast/video

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The Greatness of Being a Slave – Pastor John MacArthur

Posted by Job on January 27, 2012

http://gty.org

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Theodicy Dialogue With Pastor Matt Wrickman

Posted by Job on January 26, 2012

Matthew Wrickman, a pastor and blogger with whom I have corresponded in the past, wished to discuss How The Penn State University Child Molestation Case Demonstrates The Existence Of God and did so in a comment, which he reproduced as a post on his site (which I encourage you to patronize). The objections – er dialogue points – that he raised are good ones as always, and my interaction with them is as follows. Pastor Wrickman’s words are in blocked quote format, and mine follow. Thank you.

“ Interesting response. Most commentators for the last 200 years at least have used evil in the reverse sense as the greatest problem for the existence of God. The line of logic would be that Sandusky is evil. If God was really good, really powerful, and really existed then He would have intervened and stopped the action. He didn’t so either He is not really good, really powerful, or does not really exist. As a line of logic it seems rather convincing. I, of course, would argue (as you hinted at) that God has intervened through the person of Son. That the cross of Christ represents Christ’s solidarity with the victims of Sandusky, as well as, his offer of healing to both victim and victimizer. Mix that with classical free will theory and I feel that the question has been answered; perhaps not superbly but answered nonetheless.”

Alas, you are of the Remonstrants, I am of the Synod of Dort! (Actually I am Particular Baptist after the manner of Charles Spurgeon, William Carey and Paul Bunyan and you are not classical Arminian or Wesleyan as you to not believe that one can lose his salvation, but otherwise you get the picture.)

“You once stated that you enjoyed boiling down arguments to the logical extreme”

Well, my love of reductio ad absurdum was in my angry, immature phase. (In what many might consider to be an irony, it was becoming a “5 point Calvinist” – or again more accurately a Particular Baptist – that helped me get past my anger, which I ultimately discovered was truthfully coming from within and was directed inwardly also.) I now rarely employ this debate tactic, though I hear that it is a very good tool for computer scientists and mathematicians.

“and that is where pointing from evil to God fails. At it’s extreme it allows for no differentiation between evil and God.””

I agree with you to a point, as a multitude of false religions (as I understand them) have deities that are dualistic, amoral or even malevolent. But that extreme is precluded by the holy scriptures. Though I do dabble in classical and evidential apologetics from time to time – to the extent that I am able – for the most part I adhere to the presuppositional apologetics school of Cornelius Van Til and similar, which takes the truth and authority of the Bible to be a non-negotiable starting point and proceeds from there. (I further build on that school by presuming a basic “rule of faith”, or a normative interpretation of the Bible, belief in its inerrancy/inspiration/authority, and application of its doctrines to the church).

So, inasmuch as the Bible differentiates between evil and God, I presume this to be true also. My purpose for authoring the above piece was intended not to much to be an exercise in philosophy, ethics or similar, but for evangelism and encouragement. Thus, it presumes some degree of faith – and please recall that faith is not produced by man but is given by God – and is not intended for the purposes of debating the likes of Sam Harris, Charles Dawkins or the late Christopher Hitchens.

“One might state that if evil has a positive outcome such as pointing to God; then committing evil cannot be entirely wrong (as it creates some good outcome). Therefore committing an evil act cannot be considered wrong and cannot then be evil.”

What you speak of is outcome-based religion. The problem with such religions is that man, lacking perfect knowledge and morality, is incapable of properly evaluating outcomes. Only God can do so. What we perceive to be a “good” outcome according to our perspective might actually be evil according to God, and the converse is also true. Consider an example: a small leak in a dam. A person might make an improper repair to the leak that for a time stops the water from running, but makes the dam weaker, or at minimum ignores the root cause of the leak. Now though the fix is flawed, it might last a long time – during the duration of that person’s life. And for that time, that person will be considered to have done a great good in fixing the leak, and will go to his grave with such estimation.

But suppose that the dam ultimately breaks and catastrophically floods the town! Was this a good deed? No, because in the most extreme case, where the leak would have been at most a minor annoyance but remained, the fix made the dam weaker and caused it to suddenly burst where it would not have had the fix not been applied. In even the most favorable possible case, the fix caused everyone to BELIEVE that the problem was solved, and hindered them from seeking a real solution, or from evacuating the town if no solution was possible or practical.

Such is the result of false religion: it creates self-righteousness and blinds the sinner from his need for God. And false doctrines in Christianity can similar impede the spiritual growth of a Christian. So, the measure of “good acts” are not by their outcomes (“the ends justify the means”) or their intentions (“he meant well/his heart was in the right place”) but rather the fidelity of these acts to the commandments of Jesus Christ as revealed by the Holy Scriptures regardless of their apparent outcomes. God and His Word are the standard, not the outcome or our perception of it, and by the definition of God as determined by His special revelation to us in the Bible, fidelity to God and His Word cannot be evil.

That is why the people who obeyed the commandments of God to commit genocide and fratricide in the Old Testament were not evil, and those who committed what might have been considered good in sparing, say, a Canaanite baby out of what seemed to be mercy upon the innocent who posed no threat when when God commanded to utterly destroy all the Canaanites would have been evil. Where of course we would say that killing a Canaanite baby is evil, and sparing the baby and raising it up according to the Jewish religion would have been good according to our own understanding, we have to accept by faith God’s statements when He says that His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and obey God according to that same faith.

If we do otherwise, and obey God when it conforms to our own sense of good and evil and abandon God’s commandments when they contradict them, we are following our own religion and morality and not God’s, and we have made ourselves into gods in the place of God.

“On another level it also implicates God in evil; because it seems to make God a participant in the evil action. Therefore one might question the goodness of God.”

Well, the psalmists and prophets seemed to regularly question the goodness of God, no? Yet they remained faithful. It is not blind faith, but faith in God’s self-revelation to us through His Son. The role of the Holy Spirit is not to answer all of our questions, but to reassure us, comfort us and keep us in the faith despite them. Or to save us from our faithless condition despite them. The Bible declares oft that we cannot understand God and His ways, and that we are not to even try to. We are to merely – as the old hymn says – trust and obey Him.

But let it be said that God does certainly use evil to accomplish His ends. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose, and this includes evil things. And God most certainly does use evil events. When a sinner commits evil, the Holy Spirit convicts him of this evil in order to drive him to repentance unto salvation. When a Christian commits evil, the Holy Spirit convicts him of this evil in order to drive him to repentance unto restoration. The Holy Spirit does not cause this evil, but He certainly uses it.

But as touching God and evil actions: consider when God sent a lying spirit to the false prophets in order to provoke wicked king Ahab into going into battle so that Ahab could be slain as a punishment for his (Ahab’s) wickedness. Consider also when God made pharaoh ruler of Egypt and hardened his heart so that pharaoh would oppress the children of Israel mightily, as God wanted an occasion to judge the Egyptians for their wickedness, to save Israel and make them a nation, and to display evidence of His existence and power to the world. Consider when God used the wicked pagan Assyrian and Babylonian empires to judge Israel and Judah for their infidelity to the Sinai covenant (and this required allowing Assyria and Babylon to conquer other nations and otherwise rise to power). And consider when Jesus Christ chose the non-elect Judas Iscariot as one of His apostles so that Judas Iscariot could betray Him and otherwise fulfill the prophecies.

It is very fair to say that God participated in these evil actions, if you rely on the common human definition of participation. In the Bible, God does asserts His right to do evil, at least according to man’s perspective of evil (when God did so, He was condescending to the limited understanding capacity of man in that He allowed them to regard His actions as evil).

Just because we see something as evil does not make it evil. God is the standard, the Self-existing Self-defined one who is goodness and righteousness within Himself. Evil, then, is by definition that which is contrary to God, and God by definition cannot be contrary to Himself. Any other definition of evil makes man a judge of not only himself, but of God. This is something than an unbeliever – especially an atheist or rationalist – will never accept but that Christians are called to accept, believe and submit ourselves to through faith.

The unwillingness to accept the fact that God Himself is the definition of good and that evil is defined by its being in opposition to God is the source of so many of these logical games, tricks and constructions on the behalf of many apologists. This fact also solves the apparent problem of God telling one person to do one thing at one time and another person to do something else (i.e. when God commanded Ezekiel and Hosea to break the Mosaic law by eating bread defiled with excrement and marrying a cult prostitute): we are simply to believe that God can do so without Himself being contradictory.

“I prefer the Biblical account which simply claims that God is the good God who overcomes evil. He is the one that thwarts evil, and instead works good in the life of the believer where the evil one had sought to sow destruction. Evil, then, remains evil; and God remains good. It is not the evil action that points to God; but rather His action in turning away the evil and establishing his redemption in its wake. The redemption points to God.”

The problem with that is that it relies on an incomplete portion of the Holy Scriptures, excluding bad facts. Consider, well, the book of Job (which has been as much a source of fascination and meditation for me as I certainly hope the Gospel of Matthew has been for you)! Let’s face it: God delivered Job into the hands of Satan for Satan to do whatever he wished with Job and all that he had save taking Job’s life. And please recall: the Bible is clear that the calamities that came upon Job were not due to any sin that Job had committed. Job’s CHILDREN died, not because of any sin of Job or the children, and despite Job’s daily sacrificing for his children in case they sinned. (Of course, their deaths would have occurred due to their original sin, as did Job’s death, but let us focus on their untimely deaths, which was considered to be an evil occurrence in OT times and still is to this day.)

We have to come up with a theodicy that is faithful to the entirety of the Bible. Not only must we do this in order to be faithful to God through His Word, but this is also the only way to construct a theodicy that encompasses the range of the facts of life that we have to confront, such things as wars, plagues, horrific crimes, miscarriages, birth defects etc. God does overcome evil by eliminating all that which is contrary to Himself. Keep in mind: this process will not be completely finished until the eschaton, when this creation is destroyed by fire, the wicked are cast into eternal flame, and a new heaven and a new earth is created.

As to why God did not make the original creation after the same manner of the new heaven and new earth, we just have to accept that God did all things according to a manner that pleased Him. The idea that God was obligated to prevent the existence of evil in order to not Himself be evil is man’s thinking, not our own. And it is thinking that is centered on man and his own interests, as we accuse God for not acting to avoid our own misery and suffering. We want to be able to say that God is not good if the result of His original creation was humans – most of whom never encountered with the gospel of Jesus Christ to either accept or reject – being punished in the lake of fire for an eternity. As mentioned earlier, our duty is to accept these facts because they are how God revealed Himself and His actions in the Bible, and not to generate contrivances to avoid the fulness of God’s self-revelation and its implications. Make no mistake: unbelievers are fully aware of these things! Have you ever perused skepticsannotatedbible.org and similar counter-apologetics efforts? It is far better to directly confront these things in scripture, meditate on them, accept them through faith, and work them into our systematic theologies than to simply pretend that they do not exist, or to come up with human-centered (if not necessarily humanistic) evasions.

One last point if evil has some positive function in our world then the ultimate destruction of it would in essence be destroying it, and with it destroying an important way of knowing God. Yet our God promises to end evil once and for all. That is our hope that on a day in the hopefully not-too-distant future He will return to bring into completion or fullness the reality of His Kingdom that he established in His previous visit. The cross is the seal of payment, and the spirit is his down payment asserting His intentions to return. Evil will be no more and His people will be entirely free to serve Him in eternity. We will then celebrate His victory, not His battle.

There is a difference between saying that evil has an absolute positive function in the world, and merely stating that God uses evil to accomplish His purposes. However, even if God did so as you speak, it would be well within His right to terminate it. Does God still feed His people with manna? Of course, God did a great thing by feeding His people with manna. Does the fact that you no longer eat manna destroy an important way of knowing God? Does the fact that you are not a Jew living in Jerusalem under the Mosaic law destroy an important way of knowing God? God forbid! So, if God can discontinue good things, then how much more so can He discontinue evil that He uses for good purposes? We know God only by God’s revelation.

Whether God’s revelation consists of His use of evil to accomplish His goals or not, the knowledge of God is the same. Why? Because God – the one providing the revelation – is the same. Even if you were to say that it is not “the same”, inasmuch as those in Old Testament times did not have the same knowledge as do we in light of the cross and the current ministrations of the Holy Spirit, their knowledge of God based on the revelation that they had was nonetheless sufficient to suit God’s purposes and that is what counts. God is only bound by Himself to reveal to us what He chooses for us to know of Him. He is not bound by us to reveal to us what we desire to know of him.

Further, God reveals Himself to us through the way that He chooses, not the way that we desire. Part of the error of some in the Pentecostal movement that I was once in is their demand that God reveal Himself to us in these ways in the same way that He revealed Himself to the early church, and also to Old Testament Israel. God’s actions and revelations are according to His will, not our desires. And the nature and character of God’s revelation are suitable to fulfill our needs. Not our wants, but our needs. Keep in mind in Romans 1 when Paul states that even the order and nature of creation should have been enough of God’s self-disclosure to live righteously and thereby be saved, and therefore those who do not – including those who never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ – are without excuse and therefore subject to condemnation on judgment day.

And of course we celebrate His battle. Are not the Psalms filled with the Jews’ praise of God’s battles on their behalf, physical and spiritual? Concerning Jesus Christ, do we not celebrate His trial in the desert, Gethsemane and the cross, and not merely the resurrection? Jesus Christ specifically instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper so that we would remember His passion. This knowledge of God that you speak of includes God’s battles for our behalf, because through these we know that God has both the power to save us and the love to forgive us. God’s destruction of Egypt and Israel’s other enemies is evidence of the former, and His restoration of the remnant after they broke His covenant is evidence of the latter. This is evidence of the very hope of which you speak!

Well, I am done! I thank this opportunity to dialogue with my old friend and brother in the faith. As always, I hope that I did not offend or mistreat you, and if I did, it was not my intent. Thank you, and I look forward to your response.

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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For Whom The World Was Not Worthy: A List Of Martyrs In The Bible

Posted by Job on September 8, 2010

Courtesy of The Seekers Of Unlimited Life Ministry.

Abel – Slain by his older brother Cain (Gen. 4:8).

Andrew (Peter’s brother) – was crucified, suspended on an olive tree, at Patrae, a town of Achaia [Greece];

Bartholomew (aka Nathanael) – was beaten then crucified with his head downward, and was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armenia (modern day southern Georgia).

Isaiah – tradition says he was encased in a tree and ‘sawed asunder’.

James (The Lesser), Son of Alphaeus – stoned to death in Jerusalem.

James (The Greater), Son of Zebedee – when preaching in Judea, was beheaded with the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there.

John (the disciple “that Jesus loved) brother of James and son of Zebedee – was banished by Domitian to the Isle of Patmos, and later died of “old age” in Ephesus.

Matthew/Levi – Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, and published it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Parthia, near modern day Tehran. OR speared to death!

Matthias replaced Judas (Acts 1:26).

Paul – was beheaded in Rome by Nero (Paul as a Roman citizen could not be crucified but got an “easier” death sentence).

Philip – preached in Phrygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there.

Simon Peter – crucified upside down under Nero in Rome, and was buried there.

Simon the Zealot – the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude, became bishop (or2nd Patriarch) of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and was buried there at the age of 120 years OR crucified.

Thaddaeus/Judas son of James, Jude, who is also called Lebbaeus – preached to the people of Edessa, and to all Mesopotamia, and fell asleep at Berytus; was stoned to death and buried there. He is somtimes identified as Thomas in eastern Syrian tradition.

Thomas – preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians, and was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spear at Calamene, the city of India, and was buried there.

Zechariah – Mat. 23:35.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

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The Strange Religious Direction That Quantum Physics Is Taking

Posted by Job on October 15, 2009

From the Huffington Post:

And in the modern world, with the strange and inexplicable discoveries of quantum physics, scientific treatises on the nature of reality sound remarkably like ancient mystical writings. The more we learn about the shocking contradictions and improbable mechanics of the subatomic world, the more it appears that the universe is less like Isaac Newton’s giant clock and more like one giant dream, imagined from within an implicate order that transcends human reason. Such a vision would be familiar to the Sufis of Islam, along with their counterparts among Buddhist masters, Kabbalists and Christian mystics like Meister Eckhart.

So, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, and “Christian” mystics all agree on this stuff. Fascinating. In addition, the “dreamtime” religious myths of Australian aborigines can be compared to this also. (Incidentally, Kabbalist means Jewish, as Kabbalism is part and parcel to the accepted Jewish religion. Kabbalism is in no way pseudo-Jewish cultism. Instead, esoteric knowledge and magic are all over Judaism, and is the acknowledged but seldom spoken of underpinnings of the Talmud and other rabbinic Jewish books. Kabbalah, which at best is a syncretism between some elements of the Hebrew religion and the Babylonian pagan mystery religions and is more likely the Babylonian mystery religion in Jewish guise, can be considered “higher Judaism.” Jews are encouraged to master the Talmud and the other books first, and the brightest and most devoted then go on to study Kabbalah. From a Jewish website: Kabbalah is also part of the Oral law. It is the traditional mystical understanding of the Torah. Kabbalah stresses the reasons and understanding of the commandments, and the cause of events described in the Torah. Kabbalah includes the understanding of the spiritual spheres in creation, and the rules and ways by which G-d administers the existence of the universe. More information that “Christian Zionist” preachers and leaders never tell the laymen, though they certainly know about it. So, we should not be surprised that Kabbalists and Muslims agree on this topic, because it is “knowledge” that not only spiritually but also quite literally has the same origin.)

This also seems to correlate to the religious worldview pushed by people such as Dan Brown and George Lucas (theosophy and New Age sorts), where knowledge (or more accurately consciousness), matter and energy themselves are worshiped as god. Reminds me of a couple of articles I read (see below). One world religion anybody? The interesting thing is that this religio-scientific worldview very much accommodates evolution, the big bang theory and similar. As a matter of fact, the article points out that believers in this worldview include Francis Collins, the current director of the National Institutes of Health (Barack Hussein Obama appointee). Despite his belief in and advocacy for evolution, Collins is considered to be an evangelical Christian (and is indeed embraced as one by evangelicals desperate to see one of their own ranks represented in mainstream culture, especially in the elite academic, scientific and government arenas, and Collins represents all three), and is working to get evangelical Christians to abandon their opposition to evolution. I should point out that in this Francis is far from alone, as not a few Anglican evangelical theologians, including Alister McGrath, have been trying to get evangelicals to submit to evolution for decades. And incidentally, you should know that the Roman Catholic Church, with its long history of mysticism, is slowly accommodating evolution as well. Again, one world religion maybe, perhaps?

crossroad.to/articles2/05/star-wars.htm

rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/newage.htm

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Nothing But The Blood

Posted by Job on September 7, 2009

Nothing but the blood.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement. Leviticus 17:11

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood. Revelation 1:5

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 5:9

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. Acts 20:28

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The Sin Of Uzzah: Disobedience

Posted by Job on August 24, 2009

There is an interesting tale in the Bible recounted in 2 Samuel 6: the case of Uzzah. The background: the ark of the covenant had been lost some time before in battle, and wound up in the house of this one Abinadab. King David sent his men to retrieve the ark from Abinadab and restore it back to its proper place in the tabernacle. Now as the ark represented the very presence of God and as such was holy, God gave Israel specific instructions for transporting the ark in order to prevent the holiness of God from coming into contact with sinful hands. The ark had been constructed with rings on each side so that staves – rods if you will – could be slid through them, and thus the ark could be carried without human hands being placed on them. Further, even the ones carrying the ark had to be priests that had been ritually purified. In case this seems a bit strange, please recall that these events took place before the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, before the tearing of the veil, and before sinful man could approach God directly. At this time, no payment, no atonement, no satisfaction for the wrath of God against sinful man had been made, so the punishment for approaching God in a manner not commanded by God was death. And this is what Uzzah found out.

For David did not have the priests go out and bear the ark on staves in the manner that God commanded. Instead, the ark was placed on a cart driven by oxen! I suppose the fact that it was a NEW cart was supposed to make this disobedience somehow better. Inevitably, as oxen driven carts carrying precious and holy cargo that was never supposed to be transported in such a manner tend to do, the rough ride caused the ark of the covenant to shake violently, as if it was going to overturn and fall off. Uzzah, thinking that he was acting out of respect and devotion to the ark of the covenant, reached out to steady it. When his sinful hand touched the ark of the covenant, he was slain on the spot.

It is easy for us in our human minds to sympathize with Uzzah. Wasn’t he trying to do the right thing? Wasn’t he trying to do his best? After all, it wasn’t his fault that the ark was being transported incorrectly. He was only following the commands of his king David. What was he supposed to do? Allow the ark to topple and fall over and its holy contents fall out and possibly break? What would have happened then? It is incidents like this that cause many to believe that the God of the Old Testament was different from the God of the New Testament, which was the heresy of Marcion. Or many believe that the God of the Old Testament dealt with mankind in a different manner than the God of the New Testament, which is the basis of dispensationalism theology. Or they simply feel that God was much angrier, demanding, harder to please, even arbitrary in the Old Testament, and those of us living in the age of grace have a better deal. Again, that is if you look at it from man’s perspective, sympathize with Uzzah, and place ourselves in his shoes.

While doing so is human and natural, it is not being fair to God. Instead of putting ourselves in Uzzah’s shoes, the duty of the Christian is to look at this from GOD’S perspective. David referred to this incident Perezuzzah, which means a breach was made upon Uzzah, but the true offense was made against the holy and righteous God. After all, it was Israel’s sin that caused the ark to be taken in the first place. It was still more sinful behavior that the rulers of Israel took their sweet time retrieving the ark of the covenant when they should have done so as quickly as possible. The method of transporting the ark was also in violation of God’s explicit commands, also sinful. And finally Uzzah’s grabbing the ark was sinful. How much sin, how much disobedience, how much defiance, how much evil was God supposed to endure before acting? Why do we, children of God, care more about the injury done to Uzzah, a creature, than we do to the holy character and nature of God? Why do we have this conviction that man can behave as he chooses and God has to just take it, as if He is our servant whose duty is to put up with our nonsense? Is this what we think that grace means?

The truth is that God gave a specific command: not to touch the ark of the covenant. Uzzah was aware of this command, and broke it. Why? Because of faithlessness which leads to presumption. Uzzah presumed that God would be more displeased by the ark’s falling over than He would be with Uzzah’s disobedience. In doing so, Uzzah completely misunderstood God’s nature. Uzzah either ignored or rejected what God was using the ark of the covenant to teach him. Taking care of the ark became more important than obeying the God whom the ark pointed to and represented, and by doing so Uzzah made the ark of the covenant into an idol that he worshiped in the place of God. Instead of serving the true God through faith by obeying the commandment of the Lord and not touching the ark whatever the consequences, Uzzah created his own self-styled observance, his own rules for religious worship, and thereby broke God’s commands.

What is the purpose of religion in the first place? It is to help us praise and serve God. If we pursue religion through the faith that leads to obedience, then religion is a good thing. But if the religion is practiced in the absence of obedience, then it is the religion that is being worshiped instead of God, and ultimately it is ourselves – our own values, notions, and desires – that are worshiped instead of God. Religion absent obedience to God is idolatry, because we are worshiping our own creation, the things of our own hands. That is exactly what Uzzah did when he decided that keeping the ark from falling over was more important than obeying God. It is reminiscient of the sin of Saul, who rather than waiting on Samuel to bring him the Lord’s instructions instead faithlessly and presumptuously offered a sacrifice, attempting to buy and bribe God into giving Him victory in battle, and in that way treating God as if He were one of the false pagan deities whose favors were bought with gifts, rituals and ceremonies.

Now do not be deceived: I am not saying that for Uzzah to have faith would have meant believing that the ark would not fall if he did not touch it; believing that God would have somehow supernaturally kept the ark from falling … that it would have fallen out of the cart but flew or floated on air without touching the ground, or that it would have never fallen out of the cart in the first place. That is false, outcome-based man-pleasing man-centered religious thinking. Why? Because our obedience to God is not based upon any particular outcome! That is double-dealing, working both sides, having a foot in two camps! That is not how man responds to a sovereign God! Instead, faithfulness on the part of Uzzah would have been to not touch the ark whether it would have fallen or not! Instead of trying to honor the ark by keeping it from falling, Uzzah would have honored the God whom the ark represented, the God that was greater than the ark, by doing what He says!

And what if the ark had fallen? Would it have been a terrible thing? Of course. But this is the rub: God has equipped us to deal with terrible things. God has promised to stand with us, to go out before us in battle, to never leave us or forsake us. Bad things are going to happen. Illnesses. Betrayals. Church splits. Persecution. False imprisonments. Deaths. Trials, turmoils and tribulations, wars and rumors of wars, plagues, heartaches and heartbreaks. Those things are going to happen, and God has never at any time promised us that they would not. Instead, what we are supposed to do is remain faithful. Remain obedient. We are to keep God’s commandments, see the bad things happen, and then see how God deals with it. Or more accurately, see how God uses the bad things that happen to deal with US. To mold US. To shape US. To train US. To prune, rebuke, and chastise US. To conform US into the image of His Son. Uzzah should have just let the ark of the covenant fall to the ground and then ask in prayer “What now Lord?” But he didn’t, and the reason was that he lacked the faith to come to the conclusion that no matter what happens, God can fix it. Or even better, even if God doesn’t fix it, GOD CAN STILL USE IT! Even in the most limited human thinking, Uzzah should have realized that had the ark of the covenant fallen off the cart, that would have been David’s responsibility for not ordering the priests to come carry the ark in the first place. But when he reached out and touched the ark, the responsibility went from David to himself, and he alone faced the consquences.

This is why we have to flee religious doctrines and movements that rationalize disobedience. We have to reject the excuses and the lies. We have to turn away from the compromise. We should only attach ourselves to and fellowship with Christians who are making their best efforts to obey. This is impossible you say? Of course it isn’t. After all, look at Uzzah. He wasn’t the only one near the cart. He wasn’t the only one who saw the ark shake. Yet he was the only one who touched the ark! Everyone else obeyed. Uzzah was the only one who didn’t. So, in acting out of disobedience because of his lack of faith, Uzzah presented the Lord an unacceptable sacrifice similar to that of Cain. He gave the Lord an unacceptable sacrifice that can be compared to those of Israel at the time of their apostasy when God warned through His prophets that they displeased Him and would not be accepted by Him. Why should God accept our religion done in disobedience when He has empowered us to do better? If He did not accept the disobedience of Uzzah and those like Him under the old covenant, why should He accept our religious disobedience today, where obligation and ritual and traditions matter more than loving faithful and obedient hearts?

And do not be deceived into thinking that Uzzah has no relevance to the age of grace. Evidence that it does: what Paul said concerning those who took communion unworthy. 1 Corinthians 11:28-30: “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” So even now in the times of the church, the times of the Gentiles, many Christians are suffering the same punishment as Uzzah the Jew for the same reason as Uzzah the Jew: disobedience. And to those who call us who unapologetically state that the God of the New Testament and the God of the Old Testament is the same God and as such is a holy God that requires obedience names like “legalist” and have adopted a “judge not” attitude towards Christianity, and in doing so lie upon and deceive people concerning the grace of God, please pay attention to the next verse: “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” The next verse still: “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

How many Uzzahs do we have in the church today? It would appear to be quite a few because of the culture of permissiveness that is rampant in these last and evil days. I am here today to warn you: those who partake in Uzzah’s behavior will receive Uzzah’s reward. This is not a warning to the unsaved, for the unsaved do not need to be told to obey. How can an unsaved person obey without the Holy Spirit? And if an unsaved person does somehow obey, what good will that unsaved person’s obedience be on judgment day, when he is cast into the lake of fire with all the other unsaved obedient or not? Instead, this is a warning to the born again believers. Do not use the grace of God as license to commit evil. Instead, reject the way of Uzzah and love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength by obeying Him and keeping His commandments. Examine yourselves, Christians, as to whether there is an area in your lives where you are disobedient. I am not speaking of sin, because the New Testament makes it clear that even Christians will sin. Instead, the question to you today is whether there is some area in your life where you are persistently disobedient. It may be some habit, or it may even be the result of some doctrine. Read the warnings to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 to see how false doctrines cause many in the church to live in disobedience. While you do so, pay attention to the context of Revelation 2:23, which reads “And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Do not believe that simply because you are a born again Christian that what happened to Uzzah cannot happen to you if you continue in disobedience.

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The Coming of the Kingdom of God

Posted by Job on August 3, 2009

The Coming of the Kingdom of God « Possessing the Treasure

The Coming of the Kingdom of God
August 2, 2009 — Mike Ratliff

by Mike Ratliff

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:3-14 ESV)

This part of our Lord’s discourse is about being prepared for His return. Our hearts need to be on His expectant return not the ways and means of this world. Goods are not the sum of the lives of those in Christ. Lot’s wife did not escape God’s judgment because her heart was still tied to Sodom. She looked back and was killed. In this age those in the “not yet” part of the manifestation of the kingdom, Christians should live in such away that that their lives belong totally to their Lord not themselves. They should be living sacrifices being daily transformed through the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1-2). They should be willing to obey the Lord even if that brings persecution. Notice also that the ones who belong to the Lord will be taken away and be saved while those right next them who are not in Christ will lose their lives. Just being close to a genuine Christian is not enough to save anyone. Think of those people who believe that their religiosity will save them.

And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” (Luke 17:37 ESV)

Our Lord ends this discourse in the use of a popular proverb to teach that just as dead bodies attract vultures, so the spiritually dead invite judgment. My brethren, in this age things will continue to become worse and worse until the cup of God’s wrath becomes full. The end of this age is known by God alone and when it comes the world will be shocked. Our part is to be prepared by walking in repentance and obeying the commands of our Lord to make disciples from all nations. Some of us teach, some of us go to the uttermost parts of the world to make disciples, some of us live and work in the midst of this lost and dying generation with friends and even family members who hate the truth and despise the gospel. Our part is to not be part of this world. We must live in it, but we must not be part of it. We must become separate from it as we work to become the disciples God wants us to be and to work to tell as many as we can about the hope that lives in us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Regarding Evangelical Evolutionary Atheist Hypocrites

Posted by Job on March 23, 2009

This one is courtesy of – and will be entirely lifted from – brother Laz.

 Evolutionary Evangelism

Caught this editorial on the January 10, 2008 issue of the journal Nature,

“Spread the Word: Evolution is a scientific fact, and every organization whose research depends on it should explain why.”

Here are some tidbits,

But die-hard creationists aren’t a sensible target for raising awareness. What matters are those citizens who aren’t sure about evolution–as much as 55% of the US population according to some surveys.

And because the general theory of evolution (and thus its implications) is only scientific in nature and allegedly does not have religious and/or philosophical underpinnings and thus, assertions in those veins,

Evolution is of profound importance to modern biology and medicine. Accordingly, anyone who has the ability to explain the evidence behind this fact to their students, their friends and relatives should be given ammunition to do so.

Seriously folks, how can evolutionists be taken seriously when they rail against certain meddling religious people when what this editorial shows is that they’re not “above” evangelistic efforts when it benefits their religion?

Since it’s been chic to use the word “Bible-thumper” are we going to see the word “Evo-thumper” enter public discourse?

Incidentally, people capable of explaining the science behind evolution do not exist, and that is why it is actually forbidden by law to challenge evolution in public school classrooms, and there is also a movement afoot at elite universities to keep born again Christians from enrolling in their biology Ph.D. programs. So, the battle for the hearts and minds of the lost is on between those of Jesus Christ and those who are given over to Satan. Make no mistake, this is 100% spiritual warfare. Satan is out there working hard to win hearts and minds. Are you, Christian, doing the same, and on a regular, tireless basis? If not, then are you truly in the faith?

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Joe Farah Calls On Christians To Reject Romans 13:1-4 With Regards To Barack HUSSEIN Obama

Posted by Job on January 20, 2009

In it, Farah claims that Romans 13:1-4 does not apply to evil rulers, claiming that people who do so fail to look at the entire context. Well, the context that I am aware of is that Romans was written by the very same Apostle Paul whom the fascist murderous Roman Empire executed! In this same Roman Empire, homosexuality, child molestation, abortion, etc. were freely practiced. There were no free markets or personal freedom (especially if you were a noncitizen, as the overwhelming majority of the population of the Roman Empire was) and tax rates were crushing. Oh yes, and at the time the Roman emperor was also worshiped as a god in the Roman state religion. So the difference between Caesar when Paul was writing Romans and Obama right now is what exactly?

So, Joe Farah’s application would have made Romans 13:1-4 useless and contradictory not only to the people that Paul wrote Romans to, but also to the first 300 years of Christianity. (And regarding those of us who regret and oppose Constantinism and believe that the evil of the Roman state continued long after its merger with Christianity, for hundreds of years thereafter. Of course, Farah will not take that position, for many of his writers and supporters are Roman Catholics).

Now I do agree that Christians are to reject obedience to rulers if said obedience causes us to sin. New Testament example and the behavior of the early church bears this out. However, what Farah is calling for is civil disobedience and rebellion of the very sort that he would call evil and demonic rebellion against God were it to take place under a president that he politically agrees with such as George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan.

Pray Obama fails

“That’s why I do not hesitate today in calling on godly Americans to pray that Barack Hussein Obama fail in his efforts to change our country from one anchored on self-governance and constitutional republicanism to one based on the raw and unlimited power of the central state. It would be folly to pray for his success in such an evil campaign.”

I do not disagree with that statement. But there is a huge difference between praying for the failure of policies, or even for the ultimate failure of the administration that seeks to enact these policies, and telling Christians that Romans 13:1-4 are situational. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, praying that Obama fails to enact his agenda and telling Christians to discard Romans 13:1-4 in the case of rulers that they do not like have nothing to do with each other. The former is resisting evil, as Christians are called to do. The latter is sedition, which the Bible calls sin, and makes clear that those who commit it are going to have their place in the lake of fire.

Christians have to realize that the Bible was not written for modern day Americans, but for all Christians in all situations and all times until Jesus Christ comes back. The vast majority of Christians who have walked the earth, indeed perhaps the majority of Christians living yet today do so in political situations where the very idea of nation-states “anchored on self-governance and constitutional republicanism” were complete folly. Again, that was the very situation where Christianity was born and existed for hundreds of years and (again) the situation that the epistle to the Romans was authored to begin with: in an evil pagan Roman Empire that had absolute control, and one that became only slightly less evil, slightly less pagan, but actually MORE POWERFUL once it assumed control over Christianity.

“I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God’s. Pretending it is not simply makes a mockery of God’s straightforward Commandments.”

Well Joe Farah, I say the same about you. The reason is that you are willfully creating confusion between using spiritual warfare, evangelism, foretelling and forthtelling, etc. to oppose evil rulers and their policies, and between being a sinful seditionist. Lots of Christians have spent YEARS opposing the wickedness of George W. Bush without resisting and defying to and lying on the Holy Spirit by misrepresenting Romans 13:1-4 and telling people to be seditionists. As a matter of fact, Farah, you have done the same in opposing much of what George W. Bush has done. But in doing that, Farah, you NEVER claimed that Romans 13:1-4 did not apply to people living under Bush. Why? Not because of scripture, but because of your own political preferences. Well what of Christians whose politics disagree with yours? Where in the Bible does it say that Christian unity and love extends to political policy agreements?

Farah is showing the dangers of loving the world and being invested in it. He is bearing witness that loving the world that God will judge (read Revelation, it speaks not merely of judging people, but of nations and political and economic systems, and nowhere does it say that the “good nations” will be spared, despite what all of those endtimes movies and books that you have read that depict America somehow being spared or taking on a leading role for righteousness against the anti – Christ and other notions that are Americanity and not Christianity because they cannot be supported by scripture) means emnity with God the judge.

Well, I will tell you someone else who Romans 13:1-4 applies to: slaves. Under Joe Farah’s logic, Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vesey, and the rest who took up arms and started killing whites (including women and children) were fully justified. For that matter, so were those who took up arms and molotov cocktails and rioted in the streets of our cities in the 1960s. Because if you were living as a slave, under Jim Crow, or for that matter as a Native American or a Japanese person stuck in a World War II internment camp, then wow, wouldn’t you have every right to “change this country” according to Farah? Or claim that the commandments of man were in conflict with the commandments of God? Because I have news for you: for slaves, people under Jim Crow etc. our principles of private property, capitalism, representative and limited government etc. did not apply.

Well, I say that Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, and the 1960s rioters were murderers like Barabbas, the scoundrel who was set free and the innocent Jesus Christ went to the cross in his place. Friendship with the world is emnity with God, and Joe Farah proves it. Because Farah knows full well that Christians aren’t going to simply start being pro – abortion and pro – homosexual and pro – state just because Obama is in office. If they didn’t under Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Lyndon Johnson, why should they under Obama? Truthfully, it is REPUBLICAN and CONSERVATIVE politicians like Reagan and especially George W. Bush that do a much better job of getting evangelical Christians to abandon the Bible, and Farah knows it. Farah knows full well that Bush was never criticized by leading or large numbers of Christians for claiming that Muslims, Christians, Jews (and ultimately everyone) prays to the same God. He was not criticized for saying that the Bible should not be interpreted literally. Bush was not even criticized for publicly saying that he opposed overturning Roe v. Wade, or for opposing a constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriage, or refusing to sign an executive order to ban federal money going to Planned Parenthood, or for being a committed New World Order globalist and Skulls and Bones occultist.

So Farah’s true aim is not to keep Christians from following Obama into apostasy, because if it was, he would not be going anywhere near the blasphemous idea that scripture  is not the final authority in all situations (of course, again, as Farah hangs out and receives much support from Roman Catholics, that was probably never his position anyway). Farah has another agenda, and for that matter he and people like him need to be watched as closely as Obama does.

So it is fine and well to pray that Obama’s evil agenda would be hindered, and in the course of doing so recognizing that Obama is himself evil, has surrounded himself with evil people, and should not be trusted by Christians.  To me, doing such a thing qualifies as spiritual warfare. But also engage in spiritual warfare against people who tell you that it is acceptable to disobey the Bible. Sedition is a sin. Promoting sedition is a sin. Glorifying sedition and taking pleasure in those who glorify or commit sedition is a sin. This is not the case because I say so, it is the case because the Bible says so.

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The Bible Requires Christians To Pray For Barack HUSSEIN Obama, Correct?

Posted by Job on November 5, 2008

For the record, I do not believe that Obama is the anti – Christ. A reason is that my belief is that the anti – Christ would have received more than 51% of the popular vote. I mean, think about it. Were Obama the anti – Christ, what basis would 48% of the population have for opposing him? The only person that should have any basis for opposing the anti – Christ should be Christians. As for everyone else, well let us face it, they rejected God as well (read Romans 1:18-32!) and the anti – Christ should be right up their alley, just what they are looking for. 

See, that is part of the great deception of political, cultural and state Christianity. Instead of making the issue things that are of and in Christ versus everything else, we make righteousness, good, evil etc. a function of supporting this political position or that cultural position. Just as the prosperity – Word of Faith people claim that gain is godliness, cultural Christianity claims that worldliness is godliness. Do you not know that the Bible pronounces woe on those people? We think that opposing free market capitalism, a strong defense, traditional and family values, an aggressive military, western culture and the mythology that we have built up surrounding American virtue makes one a possible anti – Christ. So, by virtue of listening to James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and everyone else who pushes these lies, we ignore the truth: that everyone who is not born again is just as much of a supporter of Satan and the great harlot Babylon worldly system as anyone else. Satan does not care what your worldly allegiances are. So long as you have worldly allegiances at all, then you are on his side. Take professional sports, like the National Football League. The NFL doesn’t care if you root for the Cowboys or the Redskins, either way they make money off you. The NFL even redistributes money from one team to another. So some of the money that you generate for the Cowboys by watching them on TV generating advertiser revenue, buying their tickets, buying their apparel, and visiting their websites and drafting their players in fantasy football (internet ad revenue) goes to your hated Redskins anyway, and it also goes to the Eagles, Giants, and even the Bengals. Satan’s system is the same way. So long as you love any part of the world you are invested in Satan, and that means that you are invested in the anti – Christ that is to come.

So failing convincing evidence that Barack Hussein Obama is the anti – Christ, I am reminded of the Bible’s admonition that we are to pray for our leaders while opposing any wickedness that they engage in and lead the nation into with the power of prophesy, which includes the gospel of Jesus Christ, our testimony, condemnation of their wickedness, and warnings of judgment on the great and terrible day of the Lord. As Obama is incontrovertibly evil and will do great wickedness in the world just as so many of our presidents before him, yes Christians should oppose him in all the avenues that the Bible suffers us to.

Now were Obama the anti – Christ, I do not believe that we should pray for him, because the Bible states that we are not to pray for people that have sinned the sin unto death, which would definitely apply to the anti – Christ and the false prophet, whom the Bible explicitly states will be cast into the lake of fire, and furthermore BEFORE judgment day at that! But failing his being the anti – Christ, believe that the Bible explicitly compels us to pray for this Obama. If I am wrong, please let me hear your Bible – based thoughts. Thank you.

(P.S. I would have written precisely the same post regarding McCain, minus the anti – Christ portion.)

Update: Was listening to Christian radio this morning and it stated that last night CNN rolled out this new holographic projection technology used to create stunningly lifelike IMAGES of people. The disc jockey called it “creepy” and stated that he did not know the reason why. So yes, though my belief is that Obama is not the anti – Christ, still be watchful and pray.

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Considering Church And State Again

Posted by Job on November 4, 2008

To be fair, the notion of division between church and state is a relatively recent one, basically coming out of the Enlightenment. Prior to that, it was inevitable that the two be joined and the magistrates serve as officers and enforcers of a particular official religion. However, we should realize that the reason for this was generally not religious doctrine per se, but rather that government was an extremely primitive entity until very recently in human history. So, perhaps the main reason that there was no separation between church and state is because without the church there would have been no state. The desire to worship a common religion was very likely the first impetus for advanced human organization, and the desire to worship the same religion of whoever a community desired to exalt as a king, a chief, a wise man or seer etc. even more so. So perhaps Biblical and historical events could be interpreted in that light.

Since political and military power (or aspirations to them) might have been seen as inherently coupled with religious power, then it was likely inevitable that the Sadducees, Sanhedrin regarded this great miracle working prophet who would not restrain HIs followers from referring to Him as King, Messiah and Son of God as one having designs on their positions. And Jesus Christ denounced the Jewish and Roman leaders as corrupt and illegitimate. In the eyes of the Jewish leaders, Jesus Christ’s followers would have first exterminated THEM and then would have organized a futile insurrection against Rome that would have resulted in the whole nation being destroyed. 

Keep in mind: Jesus Christ was innocent, blameless of the charges of wanting to overthrow either the Jewish religious (and secular) leaders or Roman rule. He repeatedly, specifically denied that it was His desire to do such and rebuffed offers to become a civil ruler or even a religious ruler, even to be make King by force. That is right, Jesus Christ rejected being a religious ruler. (Evidence of this: where religious bodies are always obsessed with increasing their numbers even to the point where initiates are brought in by infant baptism or conquest by the sword, Jesus Christ actually drove off false followers!) Which is appropriate, because, as I stated, being a religious ruler would have also meant being a state ruler or having significant state influence at the time. And had Jesus Christ accepted being the sort of Messiah that many Jews were expecting, He would have exerted considerable authority (or possibly entirely controlled) religious life as well as political life. So consider: religions and religious institutions are things of this world.

If you deny this, look at so many of the religious bodies today of the various different faiths, especially state religions. Or look at the words of Jesus Christ towards the religious leaders of His day. Or the words of His brother James on the difference between true religion and worldly false religion. True Christianity is about a relationship with a Person, and it is spiritual.  So Jesus Christ not only rejected both civil leadership, but leadership an official worldly religious capacity that would have basically made Him a regulator of men’s behavior rather than a ruler of men’s hearts. Jesus Christ came to set up a spiritual kingdom. So why was He delivered up by the Jews to the Romans and executed? Because they did not believe Him.

Despite His telling the Jews time and time again that He had no designs on political or religious office, that indeed doing so would run contrary to His mission from God (and please keep in mind that Satan tempted Him to take precisely such worldly authority in the desert!) they did not believe Him, either through ignorance or hard heartedness. Even His own apostles and closest disciples did not believe or understand Him AFTER He resurrected! Right at His ascending to heaven in the early verses of Acts 1, we see the disciples demanding that Jesus Christ become their earthly king – priest, and when those ideas (dreams) were finally shattered with His returning to heaven, they had no idea what was in store.

It was only after the Holy Spirit came that they understood Jesus Christ’s many statements that He was a spiritual ruler, not a political ruler or even the holder of an earthly religious office. He was not seeking to be Caiaphas, Herod, Pilate, Caesar or even David because He was already greater than they, and indeed they were all His servants performing His purposes … even the wicked Caiaphas and Herod and the spineless Pilate fulfilled prophecies that helped build the case for Jesus Christ being Messiah and the Son of God for His followers.

So why would Jesus Christ want to come down and try to seek equality with men that were LESSER than Him by taking one of their LESSER offices? Even better, why would Jesus Christ have defiled His HOLY spiritual office with a common, vulgar earthly one? That would have violated the very typology of “pure/impure holy/unholy” sacrificial system that God gave the Jews to point to and reveal the purpose and nature of Jesus Christ to begin with. Now it must be recognized: the church is the Body of Christ. So if Jesus Christ, being the head, did not aspire to any civil rule or power, then how can the church? Should not the Body follow the Head to which it is joined? Is not the Head the master of the Body?

Now it appears that the early church, the apostolic church, recognized this. Interpretations of the Bible throughout the ages from conservative, liberal, evangelical, fundamentalist, Marxist, feminist, liberation, etc. theologians have claimed otherwise, but in truth the New Testament according to its original context, the intended meaning of its original writers to the original hearers, had the purpose of governing, instructing and edifying the church (plus enlarging the church by winning new converts). It had no purposes for civil or even earthly religious guidance or instruction. (When I say earthly religious, I mean more or less for institutions beyond and apart from the local church and itinerant evangelist/missionaries.)

What of the Old Testament, which did give governing instructions to political, social, cultural, institutional religious, economic etc. Sinai Israel? Please recall that not only the Old Testament pointed to and was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, but Sinai Israel pointed to and was fulfilled in the mystery that is the church. In both instances, you had an earthly temporary reality that pointed to and was fulfilled in a spiritual eternal reality. So rather than try to use the Old Testament to govern a sinful world and unregenerate men, it should be viewed by the church, interpreted through the filter of the New Testament, to see what it means for us. (I realize that modern evangelical scholarship, as a result of their many interactions with Roman Catholics, non – Messianic Jews, and theological liberals, reject this view, and are as quick to denounce “reading New Testament doctrines into Old Testament texts” as are atheists and non – Messianic Jews, if not quicker. Small wonder, then that Messianic Jews, whose entire orthodoxy and orthopraxy are based on doing precisely that and are loathed by liberals and non – Messianic Jews, are held at arms length by “respectable” evangelical scholars.)

I should point out that from following the Old Testament, the great apostasy, scattering, AND PERIOD OF SEVERE PERSECUTION that Old Testament and intertestamental Israel went through would definitely seem to be a picture of the church’s future. It is rather amazing how one can compare the warnings of Revelation 2 and 3 to conditions and events in Israel during the time of the prophets. But sadly, after apostolic times, like so many other things, Christians quickly forgot that Jesus Christ rejected earthly leadership of religious bureaucracies and states in favor of a spiritual kingdom. They first began to work to make Christianity respectable to the very world that rejected and crucified Jesus Christ using apologetics and theological speculation. It began innocently enough, rebutting such lies that the Lord’s Supper consisted of human sacrifices followed by orgies (lies that existed, incidentally, only because of the absurd practice of not allowing curious onlookers – including potential converts – to view the Lord’s Supper observances, a prohibition that cannot be supported scripturally) but quickly it reached such nonsense as trying to convince the polytheists that Christianity was just as cultured and intellectual as their vile pagan abominations.

Even today, apologetics is wielded by many not so much for evangelistic and edifying purposes as it is for defending the continued existence and legitimacy of “a Christian worldview” or “a Christian culture” as a viable, respectable alternative to secularism. In other words, claiming that for sinners and their sinful societies Christian worldliness is superior to or at least as tolerable as worldliness without allegedly Christian pretensions. Which, of course, is a clear rejection of what Jesus Christ and the rest of biblical revelation clearly states as its divine spiritual purpose, which was to wholly extricate sinners from their sinful cultures. Just as the Levites were the firstborn of Israel and were given no inheritance, meaning that they had no stake in this world but were set aside by God, Christians are to be the same. 

So the merging of Christianity and the prevailing worldly attitudes that regarded church and state (or to be more accurate RELIGION and state) to be one and the same and rejecting the spirituality of Christianity in favor of myths, fables, supersitions, and strange practices continued largely unabated until when Constantine declared Christianity the state religion with himself as the pontifix maximus, most Christians saw absolutely no conflict. Quite the contrary, the decided minority who did the same as their true Master Jesus Christ and refused to mix spirit with state and religion soon found themselves branded as heretics. Just as Israel wanted to follow the practices of the heathen nations surrounding them by demanding civil leadership from a king, Christians wanted to follow the worldly practice of replacing a spiritual relationship with a person to the very same mixture of state and religious bureaucracies and rituals that practically every other idolatrous pagan abomination before it.

Rather than being called out, separate, distinct, and holy with no stake in this world, these Christians claimed that not only being like all the other religions in the world but being bigger, badder, better, richer, more learned, more cultured, and more powerful than everyone else and thus able to impose their will on everyone else with commerce and sword proved that it was God’s Will. Reading this back into the Old Testament, Israel never had to run the Baal, Molech, and Ashtoreth worshipers out of Canaan. Instead, all Israel had to do was become BETTER at worshiping Baal, Molech, and Ashtoreth than the Canaanites were, and in this way prove that Yahweh was more powerful than Baal, Molech, and Ashtoreth.

And incidentally, Israel did just this. Please recall the last of the kings of Israel and Judah … their wickedness was so great that it exceeded even the wickedness of the Canaanites that God told Israel to wipe and drive out. As Israel did before them, the Christians who insisted that Constantinism was God’s Will did also. It would be great to claim that the Protestant Reformation undid this. However, it is not so. The first generation of what is officially called the Reformation continued to hold onto what Jesus Christ rejected by erecting bureaucratic church bodies and either ruling or attempting to influence the state through them. It was only later waves that rejected the imperial religious model and state control.

Yet many of them remained convinced that it was a major job of the church to improve sinful society rather than to redeem men from it, what is often called by fundamentalists “polishing doorknobs and swabbing the decks on a sinking ship” when the effort should be to use the gospel as life rafts to save who they can (or from a double predestination perspective whom God will) before the ship and the hard hearted on it perish.  So what of the poor souls on the sinking ship and the ship itself? The Bible makes it clear: God provides for the ship and the people who will never get off it (as even free will Christians must acknowledge that many have died and will die without ever even hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ) through common grace.

And yes, Christians can, should, and do participate in common grace. But the ship and the people on it are this world and of it and will be destroyed. The church is on the ship, but not of it. Its job is not to seek to be the ship’s master, to claim the ship or even some of it for the church, or to claim some of the church or the church itself for the ship, but rather to prepare itself to be taken off the ship while seeking others that will be rescued with us. That is completely at odds with the notion of state church Christianity or cultural Christianity, because either (or both) will be primarily preoccupied with trying to steer, beautify, and even SAVE the sinking ship because it is invested in it.

A state church is at least partially invested in the culture. A cultural church is at least partially invested in the culture. And churches that are merely religious reflections of the prevailing politics and culture (and we can tell that so many are simply based on how so many governed … you have your church monarchies, church democracies, church republics with democratically elected representatives, and even communist, socialist, or anarchist churches) are literally run by the ship (being plugged into the worldly governance structures as they are  and hence having the same captain) and are careening towards its fate. 

Keep in mind: Jesus Christ told the faithless Jews of His time (and the Christians of all time, especially the tribulation church) that He was rejected because He came in the Name of God. Now as God is a spirit, Jesus Christ, coming in the Name of God, had to renounce the civil kingdom and religious rule that the people were demanding in favor of a spiritual kingdom. Jesus Christ stated that someone who comes in his own name, someone who would fulfill their expectations of being a civil and religious ruler, that is who they would accept. In that time, the Jews followed Simon bar Kochba and other false messiahs to claimed to be civil and religious rulers to disastrous results: the temple was destroyed, Jerusalem was totally laid waste, and the Jews were scattered and barred from entering.

But to the church, the warning was more dire. The man who comes in his own name that the church will accept in the place of Jesus Christ’s spiritual kingdom because they want a worldly civil, political, religous, economic etc. kingdom will most definitely be the man of sin, the anti – Christ. He will represent civil power, the false prophet will represent religious power, and they will demand and receive the allegiance of all Christians that have no use for spiritual things, people that possess a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. Whether the anti – Christ is revealed at around 11:45 PM tonight when the TV networks declare the winner of the presidential election or is revealed 300 years from now is to you of little consequence, because the truth is that if you are denying the true spiritual reign of Jesus Christ in favor of a political, cultural, or religious alternative, you are worshiping the spirit of anti – Christ already.

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