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Posts Tagged ‘Simon Magus’

Elijah The Widow And Divine Election 1 Kings 17

Posted by Job on January 4, 2012

But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, [a city] of Sidon, unto a woman [that was] a widow.

In Luke 4:26-27, our Lord and God Jesus Christ tells us that God sent Elijah to a Gentile widow woman as opposed to a member of His elect nation. When His fellow Jews were reminded of this fact, they became enraged at Jesus Christ and attempted to murder Him. The reason – or the context – was that Jesus Christ challenged their presumptuous attitude towards God and their standing with Him; an attitude that was due to their faithlessness. Israel had placed their trust in the intellectual knowledge that they were the children of Abraham, as opposed to spiritual revelation concerning God’s nature. Hence is the difference between mere belief – which followers of Jesus Christ in in Name only possess (see the goats of Matthew 25:31-46) – and saving faith. The former is artificial, is the product of human reason and emotion, and does not endure until the end. A great example of this is the case of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:9-24, who made a human response to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the miracles worked in His Name – the Bible text says that he believed and was baptized – but never experienced new birth, as the apostle Peter testified that his heart was not right and he needed to experience true repentance. (Opponents of the so-called Lordship Salvation doctrine need to take note of Simon Magus). The latter is given only by God, and it always produces true repentance and legitimate salvation from which none can fall away.

Hence we should not be surprised that God sent Elijah to this widow woman. For though Israel was God’s elect nation, not all of Israel was elected unto eternal salvation. An example of this is Judas Iscariot, a Jew whom the Bible explicitly states is eternally damned to hell fire. Further, it is also clearly plain from the Bible that those elected by God unto salvation are not limited to national Israel. This is true of both New Testament times and Old Testament times. The signs are there that God sent Elijah to this widow woman because she was an elect Gentile, and hence a true daughter of Abraham and part of spiritual Israel, Israel of God as described by Paul in Galatians 6:16.

First, consider that this woman knew of God’s nature. In 1 Kings 17:12, this woman swore by God using Yĕhovah ‘elohiym chay, meaning as YHWH lives. By giving an oath upon this divine attribute, she recognized the God of Israel as the living God. Now contrast this with Darius, the pagan king of Medo-Persia during the time of Daniel. He referred to the God of Israel as the living God in Daniel 6, but he did not use the divine name (instead he used a more generic term for deity), further Darius was a polytheist, meaning that he believed in other gods (as evident by Daniel 6:7). Note that the decree of Darius in Daniel 6:25-28 commanded that everyone worship the God of Daniel, but (despite the claims of VeggieTales) did not command that YHWH be worshiped exclusively. Worship of other deities was still allowed, and in a polytheistic nation like Medo-Persia, it was obviously going to happen. Yet this widow woman made no reference to other gods, including the false deities of her own country and people. Thus, the knowledge of God of this widow woman exceeded that of King Darius.

Second, this woman obeyed the commandments of God. She knew that Elijah was an Israelite, and suspected him to be a prophet. When Elijah told her to feed him first with her last portion of food, and then feed herself and her son, against all reason and human nature, she obeyed God’s prophet, and through that action obeyed God Himself. She did this obedience through faith, even though it was yet in a seed form. And again, contrast the faithful obedience of this Gentile woman to the faithless rebellion of national Israel (save for the faithful remnant reserved for God by God’s divine decree) and also of those who claim to be Christians but are not like the goats of Matthew 25:31-46.

Third, this woman was aware of her sin condition before God, and it vexed her to a condition of penitence. This is in contrast with the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and Essenes in the time of Jesus Christ, and of Christians who believe in Jesus Christ only through the power of their own flesh (again i.e. Simon Magus). We know this because when her son died, the first thing that she attributes this great calamity to was her own sin (1 Kings 17:18)! She did not blame God directly by accusing Him, or blame Him indirectly by attributing this tragedy to the unfairness of life, but she asked if God sent His prophet to her to bring about the death of her son as punishment for her sins! And in this, she did not deny being sinful, nor did she deny the propriety of God’s punishing her for her sins!

In all of Israel, was there anyone who had this type of knowledge of the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and how sin has its wages, which is death? And how could anyone, whether Jew or Gentile, have this awareness except by divine revelation? And be not deceived, the knowledge of one’s sinful condition that causes true repentance comes only by Holy Spirit conviction! The Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of his sin, gives the sinner the faith to believe the gospel, and then regenerates the sinner. We see in this narrative that this woman already knew of God and His nature, already knew of her sinfulness (and hence God’s holiness) and already knew of the dire consequences. Now we are beginning to see why God’s prophet was sent to this Gentile woman!

Finally, this woman sees the power of God, the revelation of God, through a miracle: the resurrection of her son. Now keep in mind: national Israel had seen the mighty works of God before and rebelled anyway, including virtually everyone who came out of Egypt. That generation perished in the desert because they lacked true God-given faith, and as a result fell away and tried to stone Moses and go back to Egypt! And in Elijah’s time, Israel SAW God miraculously expose and defeat the prophets of Baal, yet they (again save a remnant that God reserved to Himself, see Romans 11:4 and 1 Kings 19:18) soon began serving Baal again anyway! So where the non-elect have God revealed to them to no lasting positive effect (i.e. those who do not respond to the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ) because of their faithless condition, this woman responded by saying that Elijah is a prophet of God and that the word of the Lord in his mouth was true.

Please do not walk away believing that this woman merely attested that Elijah was a reliable fortune-teller and wonder-worker after the fashion of not a few pagans. This woman spoke “dabar Yĕhovah peh ’emeth.” Ignore peh which only refers to Elijah being God’s vessel. Instead, focus on dabar Yĕhovah ’emeth. This means “the word of God is truth.” Again, she explicitly stated YHWH, the divine Name, which refers to the Holy Trinity and not merely God the Father (as some, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult and the equally false modern Judaism religion, mistakenly believe). “Dabar” means “word.” As we know from John 1 – and the apostle directly translated “dabar” into “logos”, and we know this from his citation of Old Testament texts – “dabar Yĕhovah” means “the Word of God.” The Word of God is none other than Jesus Christ. Emeth means “truth.” Hence when this woman exclaimed  dabar Yĕhovah ’emeth she stated “the Word of God is truth”, or “Jesus Christ is truth.” Thus, this woman bore witness of Jesus Christ, a true personal witness that could have only come by the Holy Spirit, and this is so both the Old Testament and New Testament dispensations (for lack of a better term).

Do you doubt? Well, emeth does not only mean “truth” or “true.” It can also mean “faithful.” So, who is referred to in the Bible as “faithful and true”? Why Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:14 and19:11. This Gentile woman in essence referred to two of the Names of Jesus Christ given in the Holy Spirit-inspired scriptures: the Word of God and Faithful and True!

So, she knew of God and His attributes. She obeyed God because of this belief. She knew of God’s holiness and her sin, of the consequences of this sin, and was truly repentant because of it. And she believed in – and publicly testified of – Jesus Christ. The only thing that this woman lacked from the salvation process given in the New Testament was those things that had not yet come to pass (the incarnation and passion of Jesus Christ) and yet her words lacked even less than many conversion techniques and pitches common in evangelical Christianity today! Hence, this widow woman was an Old Testament saint. And it was to this Old Testament saint, whose status as such was by the election and predestination of God the Father from the foundation of the world, that God’s prophet was sent despite her not being a member of national Israel. And therefore this widow woman was an Old Testament example of the New Testament doctrine given in Romans 10:12-13, Galatians 3:28-29, and Colossians 3:11.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.

Be not deceived: though Elijah was not sent to a member of national Israel, he was definitely sent to a member of spiritual Israel. Whether Jew or Gentile, it is imperative that one must be a member of spiritual Israel so that one can reign forever with Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem and avoid the wrath certain to come to those who are not members of this spiritual nation. If you wish to join Israel of God but do not know how, please read:

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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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!

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 »

Jesus-Is-Savior.com Calls Paul Washer, Ray Comfort And John MacArthur False Preacher Heretics!

Posted by Job on August 28, 2009

Beware of Paul Washer

Paul Washer’s Washed-up Gospel

Paul Washer’s FALSE GOSPEL!

Apparently the Jesus-Is-Savior people disdain all the talk about true Biblical repentance. Looks like another Calvinist/Reformed versus fundamentalist Arminianism debate. The latter is true because in their article denouncing Washer, they endorse Harry Ironside. About this Ironside:

Ironside was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to John and Sophia (Stafford) Ironside, who were both active in the Plymouth Brethren. From a very early age, Ironside showed a strong interest in evangelical Christianity and was active in the Salvation Army as a teenager before later joining the “Grant” section of the Plymouth Brethren. in 1924, Ironside began preaching under the direction of the Moody Bible Institute. In 1926, he was invited to a full-time faculty position at the Dallas Theological Seminary, which he turned down, although he was frequently a visiting lecturer there from 1925 to 1943. After a series of sermons presented at the The Moody Church, in Chicago, he was invited to a one-year trial as head pastor there in 1929. Almost every Sunday that he preached there, the 4,000 seat church was filled to capacity. While there, he continued traveling to other US cities during the week for preaching engagements. In 1932, he expanded his travels internationally. Ironside preached at the 1935 funeral of Billy Sunday, at Moody Church. In 1930, Wheaton College presented Ironside with an honorary Doctorate of Letters degree, and in 1942-06-03 Bob Jones University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. Along with others such as Cyrus Scofield, he was influential in popularizing dispensationalism among Protestants in North America.

This is just an American version of the age old Baptist-Wesleyan (Methodist) dispute of post-Reformation England. In America, the Methodists basically won the debate, with Baptists co-opting many of their doctrines, and premillennial dispensationalism apparently playing a large role in that. It has reached the point where prominent fundamentalists openly denounce historic Protestant doctrines as heretical, while Wesleyan doctrines on soteriology and sanctification are now called the “Biblicist” position, as if Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, John Bunyan, and Augustus Strong were ignorant of scripture or something.

The dispensationals refer to the doctrines of Washer to be “Lordship salvation.” Another site directly compares the teachings of John MacArthur to dispensational pioneer and giant Charles Ryrie. On Lordship salvation: “Its basic premise, that Jesus cannot be one’s Savior without also being his Lord, has been taken by some to mean that salvation is attained by works rather than by God’s grace.” The “some” who take this position are falsely distorting Reformed Baptist soteriology, building a straw man and knowingly making a false accusation. “Those who reject lordship salvation (e.g., Ryrie), believe that someone may have genuine faith in Christ, but the fact that he continues in his sin demonstrates that he has not made Jesus his Lord, only his Savior. According to Ryrie, just because someone sins or acts in disobedience (even habitually) doesn’t mean he doesn’t have saving faith.” So, it is the dispensational Ryrie who rejects “faith without works is dead.”

Check out what Ryrie claims. “Second, there is a repentance that is unto eternal salvation. What kind of repentance saves? Not a sorrow for sins or even a sorrow that results in a cleaning up of one’s life. People who reform have repented; that is, they have changed their minds about their past lives, but that kind of repentance, albeit genuine, does not of itself save them. The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. People can weep; people can resolve to turn from their past sins; but those things in themselves cannot save. The only kind of repentance that saves anyone, anywhere, anytime is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. The sense of sin and sorrow because of sin may stir up a person’s mind or conscience so that he or she realizes the need for a Savior, but if there is not change of mind about Jesus Christ there will be no salvation” (p. 94, SGS).

“The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ.” Intellectual regeneration, confessional regeneration, decisional regeneration. Not only that, but a truly radical form of this doctrine that combines both conversion and repentance, which the Bible and historic Protestant doctrine hold refer to two related but separate things, into the single act of decison. Their position – what can be called the modern Wesleyan one that is the basic position of American evangelical Christianity (whether Baptist, Pentecostal, or nondenominational)  is that the free will decision for Jesus Christ is the primary and controlling factor where salvation is concerned. Now in theory – i.e. for systematic doctrinal purposes – the free will decision is not the sole factor. But IN PRACTICE, the decisional regenerationists do not wish to countenance anything that would challenge the  idea that the person who has made a decision for Jesus Christ has to be considered born again.

Now this is the rub. Their objection to those like Washer and MacArthur is not in a SPIRITUAL or DOCTRINAL sense. Objecting in a spiritual sense, where humans can claim to profess with 100% certainty that someone is born again when the Bible says that God knows the heart, is not the sort of Roman Catholic thing that these people are after. And they are also not creating or defending any doctrine to the effect of “if a person accepts Jesus Christ AND REALLY MEANS IT then he is saved.” Instead, their objection is in a practical and ecclesiastical sense. As far as practice is concerned, well listen to enough sermons by Paul Washer, John MacArthur and their fellow travelers long enough and it will be difficult to continue relying on the sinner’s prayer and similar evangelism methods (even if Ray Comfort, who largely shares their beliefs, still does). And in an ecclesiastical sense, their doctrines make it extremely difficult to put someone on a church roll after a decision for Jesus Christ. Washer and MacArthur (if not necessarily Comfort) demand a little more effort, a little extra step out of their evangelism methods and before people are allowed as members of their church in good standing. And even after requiring a little more, Washer and MacArthur regularly and frequently acknowledge that many members of their own churches are not born again.

That is offensive to someone who really, truly believes in decisional regeneration, which quite honestly does teach that a person is regenerated by the Holy Spirit upon their heartfelt decision for Jesus Christ. People who make a decision for Jesus Christ and remain unsaved; their only recourse is to claim that the decision was false, insincere, made without adequate understanding, etc. Further, one cannot spend too much time thinking about just how often these “flawed decisions” (decisions for Jesus Christ that did not result in true conversion) because having to consider a large number of flawed decisions means working out how decisional regeneration works in practice (i.e. methods of producing decisions for Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit will always – or at least almost always – honor) and incorporating that practice into evangelism and ecclesiology.

Now in times past, meaning the earlier Wesleyan and fundamentalist movements who A) taught that one could lose his salvation and B) had a strong moral/ethical/works component, this was not a problem. In those cases, you were dealing with a person who had lost his salvation and needed to confess and apologize for his sins and make a new confession of faith, and further the emphasis on morals and ethics (called “legalism” by some) acted as a control on church culture that reduced the need to have to deal with this unpleasant situation. However, as the modern movements have adopted more Biblical positions concerning the preservation of the saints and on grace, they cannot simply deal with this tough issue by saying “Well he made a valid decision for Jesus Christ, lost his salvation, and needs to be saved anew.” Instead, the position has to either be “he was never saved in the first place because his decision for Jesus Christ was flawed or ineffective” or “he is saved based on his decision for Jesus Christ, but he still has problems with sin.” Now as stated earlier, choose the former and the “decision for Christ” doctrine and the church systems based on it have real problems. So, they have no choice but to choose the latter, even if it means explicitly embracing the idea that a decision for Jesus Christ results in Holy Spirit regeneration in even the absence of Biblical repentance (what the Bible means when it says being “pricked in the heart” in Acts 2:37 and similar) and/or rejecting the Lordship of Jesus Christ (despite the fact that it is plainly impossible to make a decision for Jesus Christ when you do not know the identity or nature of the Jesus Christ that you are making a decision for or what Jesus Christ requires of you; anything less is making a decision to a false Jesus Christ, which is a false god or idol that does not exist and is no god at all).

By making decisional regeneration – or more accurately decisional conversion – the agent that results in the Holy Spirit’s justifying and regenerating a sinner, it makes the human free will decision of Jesus Christ a sacrament, a human ritual or action that imparts God’s grace (or results in God’s deciding to impart grace by honoring the initiative and actions of man). This can be compared to the sacramentalism of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church claims that by being the body of Christ indwelt by the Holy Spirit (yes, the Roman Catholic Church does teach that the very institution is the body of Jesus Christ and contains within it the power and sovereignty of Jesus Christ) it has vested within it the power and authority to perform rituals that confer grace through its appointed representatives. So, the Roman Catholics believe that rituals performed by their priests save people, because through the ritual the priest is dispensing the saving grace using the Holy Spirit that the indwells the church. In other words, the ritual performed by the Catholic church saves you because the Catholic church is the body of Christ, contains the Holy Spirit, and as a result has the authority and the ability to dispense saving grace through its sacraments just as Jesus Christ had the ability to tell the paralytic man “thy sins are forgiven” and tell the penitent thief on the cross “this day you shall be with me in paradise.” (Consider in the last case, Ryrie’s position is that the thief in question never had to repent of his sins – which he plainly did when he confessed them and stated that he deserved the punishment of death for them – or call Jesus Christ Lord and submit to Him on that basis, but rather that the thief only had to ask Jesus Christ to save Him.)

However, the decisional conversion-regeneration position states that a person acting on his own power and authority can make a decision that the Holy Spirit (indeed the Holy Trinity) is unconditionally bound to honor, and further that the Godhead must accept that person’s decision even if that person rejects repentance and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. So where the Roman Catholic position is that as the Body of Christ being indwelt by the Holy Spirit it has the sovereign prerogative and ability to confer grace and the regenerative workings of the Holy Spirit on a sinner (Catholic sacramentalism), decisional conversion-regeneration holds that a person outside fellowship with Jesus Christ (and indeed is at emnity with Jesus Christ, spiritually dead, no interest in spiritual things, and all the other things that the Bible says about his condition of original sin and totally depraved state – doctrines which again the original Wesleyans and Arminians somewhat denied but modern dispensationals have mostly adopted) can perform a sacrament that dispenses grace upon himself.

While I do not take the position that Wesleyan dispensationals are in a false and heretical apostate movement and hence cannot be considered Christians – which incidentally is the position that I take with Roman Catholics – allow me to say that at least Roman Catholicism have an explanation for how it is possible for their priests to perform sacraments that dispense grace to sinners: that the priests are acting as representatives of the body of Christ that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and therefore have the necessary access to the Holy Spirit and its grace to give to sinners. (Please note: the Roman Catholic Church actually holds in theory that it institutionally has the right to deny salvation to sinners, but it is exceedingly rarely done in practice, especially in modern times. However, in times past there was this pope who excommunicated the king of Britain until the king caved to the pope’s political demands. The pope kept this king waiting outside begging in the snow for days before the pope decided to allow this king back into heaven. Again, do not mistake this for an endorsement of Roman Catholicism in any way.) However, decisional conversion-regeneration holds that a sinner unreconciled with God and thus not part of the Body of Christ (note that I capitalized “Body” with respect to Protestants and not Catholics, and yes it was by design) and hence is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit is able to impart saving grace upon himself – or to be more accurately compel the Holy Spirit that does not indwell him to impart its saving grace – through the “decision for Christ” sacrament. Now I am not going to say that the Catholic position is more Biblical or that it even makes more sense (especially when you consider that Catholic sacramentalism cannot be taken in isolation, but must be considered in the context of their other mystical, pagan doctrines) but at least the Catholics have an explanation for how a priest can save someone by sprinkling him or giving him a communion wafer. The modern Wesleyan evangelical has no explanation for how the decision of an unpenitent sinner who rejects the Lordship of Jesus Christ places the Holy Spirit under unconditional compulsion to save the sinner. The reason for this was stated earlier: deep consideration of the issue of salvation resulting entirely from human initiative, from human intellectual decision, can only result in serious problems for the entire doctrinal system. So, in order to prevent such examination from taking place, their only recourse is to call Paul Washer a heretic for insisting that Biblical repentance is a requirement for salvation, and that salvation results in a person becoming a new creation whose evidence is a changed moral character that reflects and communicates God’s holiness.

When boiled down to its core, the system of Ryrie, Ironside, and Jesus-Is-Savior.com holds that becoming a new creature simply means switching allegiances, changing minds. Then again, as this doctrine rejects Biblical repentance and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, becoming a new creation simply means deciding to allow Jesus Christ to save you. And since it is the sinner who decides to allow Jesus Christ to save him, then it is the sinner who performs the new birth, the new creation through the exercise of his free will, or the changing of his free will. Now of course, the people holding the doctrines similar to Ryrie and the folks at Jesus-Is-Savior.com are not in the business of admitting this fact to people. As a matter of fact, they haven’t even admitted this fact to themselves. (I am serious … they really, truly have not taken this doctrine to its logical conclusion, of thinking about what salvation based on the free will decision of a sinner who rejects repentance and the Lordship of Jesus Christ really means as opposed to what they desperately want it to mean.) So rather than come to grips with the horrible conclusion that their doctrines teach that the sinner accomplishes his own rebirth through the exercise of his intellect, they must accuse those whose preaching challenges their doctrines like Washer and MacArthur of teaching “works plus faith justification” and “legalism.”

The good news: in practice the free will evangelicals do preach that Biblical repentance and the Lordship of Jesus Christ are necessary for salvation. Lots of Reformed/Calvinistic types claim that they do not, but I have listened to far too many evangelical free will Baptist, Pentecostal, and nondenominational sermons. Also, the link which evaluates the statements of Ryrie acknowledges that Ryrie actually ultimately endorses the very positions of MacArthur that he wrote “So Great Salvation” to attack in the first place (and questioned the integrity of Ryrie for failing to admit it). The problem only occurs when people such as Washer and MacArthur repeatedly and directly challenge the “decision for Jesus Christ” doctrine. It is only when that happens that such people as Ryrie and the folks at Jesus-Is-Savior.com are forced to manifest a sort of double-mindedness (I will not use the humanistic psychological term “schizophrenia”) about what they actually believe concerning soteriology.

It is interesting that the “Lordship salvation” opponents use Ananias and Sapphira as well as the Corinthian man living in fornication as examples to demonstrate that the doctrines of Washer, Comfort, and MacArthur – where they demand Biblical repentance and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ – are false. First, scripture never states that Ananias, Sapphira, and the Corinthian fornicator did not repent and submit to Christ’s Lordship at the time that they were saved. It merely states that these people fell into sin after salvation. It is an argument from silence, true, but it is still completely consistent with what the apostle John writes about Christians who fall into sin in at least 3 of his epistles (1 John, 2 John, Revelation). Also, the people who reject “Lordship salvation” do not ACCURATELY deal with the issues raised by Simon Magus, Simon the magician! Why? Because Simon Magus made a decision for Jesus Christ without repenting of his sinful desire for power and wealth, and without submitting to the Lordship and sovereignty of God! Simon Magus was using sorcery to control people and make money before he made his decision for Jesus Christ, and not only did he want to continue doing those things after he made his decision for Jesus Christ, but he wanted to force the sovereign Holy Spirit to do his bidding! Correlating Ananias and Sapphira and the Corinthian in the sexual relationship with his father’s wife with the Johannine epistles – interpreting scripture with scripture – confirms what they call “Lordship salvation” rather than denying it. And further, the case of Simon Magus makes it explicitly clear that there is no other salvation but “Lordship salvation!” Otherwise, wow, it would be possible to go to heaven without your knee bowing and your tongue confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11), and not only your Lord but Lord of all!

So, we must pray in the Name of Jesus Christ that the people who have adhered to and are disseminating false doctrines on this matter would open their hearts to the truth and begin teaching the truth instead of a lie. Jesus-Is-Savior.com, this means you, and you are by no means alone.

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