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Posts Tagged ‘Theodicy’

Human Free Will Versus God’s Decree? 2 Chronicles 10:15 Endorses The Latter

Posted by Job on February 15, 2012

Background: despite being given everything imaginable by God and then some – including God personally visiting him twice – Solomon ceased living by faith and trusting in God, and instead began to put his faith in things of this world, including idolatry. Solomon chose to marry pagan women, for instance, because it was the common political practice of the day for kings to form treaties. If a king wished to form an economic, military or political alliance with another kingdom or tribe, you would marry a female relative – usually the daughter – of the king that he was conducting the business of state with. So, instead of trusting God to provide peace and prosperity for his people, Solomon chose political maneuvering. Solomon added to that faithless behavior by worshiping the devils of his pagan wives. Why? It is simple enough to presume that his desire to please his wives was no different from that of Adam when he chose to eat the forbidden fruit given to him by his wife Eve. One can extend that with the political mess that Solomon had gotten himself into by marrying these women in the first place: as these women were dedicated to the false deities of their own land, Solomon had to worship their gods to keep them happy. Otherwise, word would have certainly gotten back to the fathers – rival kings! – of these women that Solomon was mistreating their daughters, and there goes the peace treaty! The resulting situation: it would have been better for Solomon to have never used marriage for the purpose of political alliances at all than to do so and anger the daughter of a rival king or warlord! Such a king would ask “Why marry my daughter at all if you are going to mistreat her by refusing to worship her god?” Realize that no good answer exists to that question! One must consider the polytheistic pagan mindset of the era – in contrast to Yahwist monotheism – where adding another god to the list that you were worshiping was easier than buying a new pair of shoelaces. So, if Solomon worshiped the god of some of his wives (i.e. his Hebrew wives) and not others, from the flawed perspective of the pagan women that he married, there was no reason for him to do so other than not only preferring some of his wives over the rest, but going out of his way to do so in order to humiliate and spitefully mistreat her! And the children of the ill-favored wife of the king have an uncertain future … just an impossible situation that Solomon got himself into. Which, of course, is the case with all sinful disobedience to God’s command!

In any case, God punished Solomon for his sin by decreeing that rule of 9 of the 11 tribes and their territory (remember, the Levites were a special case) would be stripped from his lineage, and the house of David would be left with rule over only a small portion of the kingdom, which turned out to be the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (Evidence that this was God’s doing: because of the enmity between the house of David of Judah and the house of Saul of Benjamin over the throne – a bloody conflict that continued until at least after the crowning of Solomon – the tribe of Benjamin SHOULD HAVE joined the rebellion, and used the opportunity to have one  of its members become king of the 9 tribes that broke away from the house of David based on a claim to the throne on Saul being the rightful, legitimate king, and the rebellion against Rehoboam being proof that David was a fraud and usurper. Instead, the tribe of Benjamin alone joined the tribe of Judah to form the southern kingdom despite the house of Saul having contested the house of David over the throne a mere few decades prior, and when casting their lot with the other 9 tribes and then going to war with the 1 remaining tribe seeming to be a rather good way of getting the monarchy – and rule over all 12 tribes – back to the tribe of Benjamin! How wonderful and amazing is God able to reveal His power and His mighty workings!)

The situation: early in the reign of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, a challenge to the reign of the young king – likely provoked by Jeroboam – arises. The twelve tribes have a choice: continue with the leadership anointed by God, or rebel. Nine tribes – Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben and Gad – make a free will decision to reject membership in the earthly, visible, typological manifestation of God’s kingdom (God’s covenant nation Israel as ruled by the house of David, with Jerusalem as its capital and worship taking place in the temple which held the ark of the covenant) in favor of apostasy. Make no mistake: in rejecting the kingdom of David, these tribes chose apostasy. Jeroboam, the leader of the breakaway group, set up a rival religious system in Bethel. (Consider that as the Jerusalem temple and its religion pointed to Jesus Christ, Jeroboam’s system – which involved an altar with two golden calves similar to the calves of Baal made by Aaron at the demand of the rebellious children of Israel at Sinai! – was similarly anti-Christ.) The northern kingdom continued in this false worship – as well as with a line of evil, pagan kings – up until their destruction and scattering by the Assyrians in 722 BC. Yes, the southern kingdom, Judah, was taken by Babylon, but God suffered a remnant to return to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. No such provision for restoration was made concerning the northern 10 tribes, who remained estranged from the true religion until the gospel of Jesus Christ came to the Samaritans from the Messianic Jewish evangelists as recorded in Acts 8 (a missionary enterprise prefigured by Jesus Christ Himself in His dialogue with the Samaritan woman in John 4:4-42).

Evidence that the northern kingdom committed apostasy came from their own lips. 2 Chronicles 10:16 reads “And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.” Now who does the Bible reveal as the Son of David (and David is the son of Jesse)? Jesus Christ. The people who took part in the Jeroboam rebellion removed themselves from the Davidic inheritance – from the blessings of Jesus Christ of whom David was a prefigure and a type – with their own words. How similar was this act to that of the Jews, who embraced the destruction of Jerusalem, temple, and nation and end of the Jewish age in 70 A.D. when they cried “His Blood be upon us and our children!” in Matthew 27:25 concerning Jesus Christ when Pontius Pilate attempted to release Christ? And note when the rebels stated: we will return to our tends, so David see to your own house. In essence, these were backsliders proclaiming that they were returning to the world and its ways – spiritually returning to Sodom and Egypt – and telling the believers to get on with their on church business of worshiping and serving God.

Now, it might have seemed that the Jews of the time of Jesus Christ made a free will decision to reject Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ Himself stated that their rejection of Him had to be done in order so that the scriptures could be fulfilled, and God’s decree as represented by the scriptures would come to pass. Well, the same is true of the forerunners of the Samaritans in the time of Rehoboam. It appeared that they made a free will decision to reject the Davidic monarchy – and again the Davidic monarchy was the earthly typological prefiguring of the rule of Jesus Christ – to instead follow the anti-Christological figure of Jeroboam. But the Bible itself tells us: things were not as they appear. When Rehoboam decided to go to war against the rebellious tribes to bring them back under the rule of the house of David, God spoke these words through Shemaiah the prophet in 2 Chronicles 11:2-4, which reads “But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of Me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.”

So make no mistake: the tribes that became the northern kingdom did not make a free will decision to reject Jesus Christ (through the proxy of rejecting the Davidic monarchy which in that time represented Christ … please make note that in our time there is no earthly institution that represents Jesus Christ, but rather the church is IN CHRIST and is the Body of Christ). Why? Because they had no power, no prerogative, no ability to make such a decision. In other words, they could not make a free will decision because their wills were not free. Instead, their apostasy only happened because God decreed it. This is what the Bible explicitly, specifically said. It was not a case – as the Arminians and similar claim – of predestined foreknowledge through which an omniscient omnipotent God “learns” of future events and reacts to them (the heresy of open theism embraced by the likes of Greg Boyd and Clark Pinnock as the result of taking Wesleyan free will soteriology to its logical conclusion). God did not “see” the rebellion of the northern tribes and adjust His salvation-historical plan accordingly. Instead, God DECREED the rebellion of the northern tribes because it was part of His salvation-historical plan that was set in place before the foundation of the world (Jhn 17:241Cr 2:7Eph 1:42Ti 1:91Pe 1:20).

Regarding this incident, the marginal notes for 2 Chronicles 10:5 the Geneva Bible state “God’s will imposeth such a necessity to the second causes, that nothing can be done but according to the same, and yet man’s will worketh as of itself, so that it cannot be excused in doing that it is God’s ordinance.” Now that marginal note refers to how the rash actions of King Rehoboam that provoked the northern tribes to rebel was caused by God (KJV translates nĕcibbah ‘elohiym more literally as “for the cause was of God” where the Geneva Bible makes the more interpretative “it was the ordinance of God”). Still: the action and the reaction were the result of God’s provident operation behind the scenes. It is impossible for the will of man to resist the will of God! Yet, as the Geneva Bible study notes tell us, as man’s will follows its own sinful nature unless God acts to withhold man from behaving according to his totally depraved original sin condition, God’s decree is no excuse for evil acts done by man. As Paul tells us in Romans 1:20, concerning our evil deeds, we are without excuse.

A natural impulse is to charge God with unfairness for decreeing such things, and then punishing man for his actions that are associated with the decree. But as God reminded Isaiah in verse 55:9, For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. In other words, God cannot be tried, judged and convicted as evil according to man’s limited – and fallen – notions of right and wrong. For example, God is not obligated to save all mankind, or even to try. (Though the “or even to try” is misleading: for as God is omnipotent, were He to attempt to save all mankind, He would most certainly to succeed. Otherwise, He would not be omnipotent, and therefore by definition He would not be God in accordance with how God is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.) Instead, it is only by God’s grace that ANY are saved. And it is God’s prerogative to grant grace to whomever He chooses, and to withhold that same grace from whoever He chooses. Romans 9:13-23 reads “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.”

Yes, this most certainly applies to salvation. Man certainly has his responsibility, to make an affirmative choice using his will to repent of his sins and believe in Jesus Christ upon being confronted with the fact of the gospel. But make no mistake: a man only fulfills this responsibility concerning his personal salvation through the exercise of his will in this fashion if it concurs with God’s eternal decree to save him! God only frees the will of those that He plans to save, and the sole purpose of this liberty is to choose Jesus Christ and thereby become born again and in Jesus Christ. Hence, the liberation of the will as provided by God to the elect is not to do whatever one pleases, but instead it is liberation from original sin, the grips of Satan that has deceived the whole world, and the spiritual deadness that results. Evidence of this: not everyone gets to make a choice. The vast majority of people to walk the face of this earth have never heard of God or His gospel, let alone had a chance to make a free will choice to accept or reject God. Instead, many – but not everyone – are called through the hearing of the gospel, but only the few that are chosen by God become saved from their sins and born again as a result.

Hence in truth there is no free will but only God’s decree except inasmuch as God uses man’s will to accomplish His decree. So then, is there any way to tell to whom the mystery of salvation has been divinely granted? The answer: we only know as a result of who truly responds to the gospel by faith. Faith is not an emotional reaction or an intellectual response, but instead is gift given by God the Holy Spirit to those that God intends to save. Though we are not saved by works, evidence of God-given faith is obedience to the commandments of God as recorded in the Holy Scriptures (John 14:15). This is what is meant by the text “make your calling and election sure) of 2 Peter 1:10. If you have not already, make your calling and election sure by:

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan

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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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How The Penn State University Child Molestation Case Demonstrates The Existence Of God

Posted by Job on November 11, 2011

Make no mistake friends, God exists. God is real. Should you countenance thoughts otherwise, this case involving Jerry Sandusky and his committing unspeakable crimes of violation against a number of young boys proves it. This case demonstrates the existence of God by demonstrating the existence of evil. Now of course, evil is not some deity that is the opposite of God who contests God, as dualistic religions and philosophies propose. Neither is evil some force (whether personal or impersonal) as again some religions or philosophies claim, i.e. the “karma” of eastern religions and the New Age ideas that influence them. Instead, Gotquestions.org (a Christian ministry) provides a very suitable Bible-based definition:

A dictionary definition of evil is “morally reprehensible, sinful, wicked.” The definition of evil in the Bible falls into two categories: evil against one another (murder, theft, adultery) and evil against God (unbelief, idolatry, blasphemy). From the prohibition against eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9), to the destruction of Babylon the Great, the embodiment of evil to come (Revelation 18:2), the Bible speaks of evil.

So allow it to be said, from a reverse-logic standpoint, that because evil exists – as the Bible clearly bears witness of – then God must necessarily exist also. Moreover, God must exist as the answer to evil, the one who defeats evil, which the Bible also bears witness of. Great, unspeakable, incomprehensible craven crimes against the innocent is evidence of the existence of evil, evidence of a great problem with our existence that must be overcome lest we be destroyed by it, and evidence of a solution to this pressing existential problem and threat that only God can provide. If there is nothing more powerful than evil save God, then God must exist. It is said that love is more powerful than evil. This is so, and the Bible bears witness that God is love and that God is loving.
‘Tis tempting to deny that the actions of Jerry Sandusky were in fact attributable to evil, which one might accuse of being some abstract idea. Instead, one can propose a more rational, reasonable scientific root cause: that Sandusky is simply disturbed, one possessing an abnormal brain biology or chemistry that causes him to both have abnormal urges and be unable to restrain himself from acting on them; that indeed he might have an inability to discern or respond to reality. Legitimate medical science has proven that such is the case with a number of people, indeed those that have committed monstrous crimes against individuals and humanity. And yes, the problem of evil must be explained in such a way that deals with cases as these, just as explanations are needed for such things as natural disasters, epidemics, and stillborn children that lack an identifiable human villain, antagonist or cause.

But in this case, one not need to consider (solely) Jerry Sandusky when it comes to evil. Instead, we have other figures with regards to this case such as Mike McQueary, Joe Paterno, and many other figures at Penn State University and the surrounding community who had knowledge of the crimes of Sandusky for many years and failed to act in a manner that would have punished the guilty and protected the innocent. These figures chose not to act because of the wealth, power and prestige associated with college athletics, in particular Pennsylvania State University football. 1 Titus 6:10 says “For the love of money is the root of all evil!” At other points in the Bible, the contrast between mammon – the desire for money, power and privilege – and the things of God are given, as are the people who seek the former verses the latter. Thus, even if we deny that Sandusky is evil, then the actions of those who chose not to act in the interests of those that Sandusky victimized and to protect him from committing further harm most certainly was! So the monstrous behavior associated with this case was clearly evil, and evil on this scale demonstrates the need for one with the power and desire to defeat it, and this need can be met only by God.

If God hates and can overcome evil, why does He suffer its existence in the first place? The reason is that the existence of evil was the cost of accomplishing creation. Only God is perfect, containing perfect power, knowledge and righteousness. Thus, anything and everything that is not God will inevitably come to a state of imperfection, and this imperfection is either evil itself, or allows for evil events to occur. So, though creation was not evil at the time that God finished it, creation did what was inevitable, which was lapse into an imperfect, evil state.

The Bible describes this occurring both with Satan in Ezekiel 28:13-19 and Isaiah 14:12-17, and with Adam in Genesis 2-3. The Bible states that both Adam and Satan were created perfect (see Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 1:31 concerning Adam and Ezekiel 28:15 concerning Satan) but that they both abandoned that perfect state of their own accord, through no fault or action of God and without being attributable to any flaw or defect in their making or original condition. God did not create evil, but instead evil was the inevitable result of creation. As God did not cause or force the actions of Adam or Satan, being responsible for creation does not make God responsible for the evil in creation.

That creates the question: if God knows all things, then He knew that His creation would lapse into imperfection and that evil would result. This means that God was willing to allow the existence of evil. Why, then, did God allow the existence of evil, even if He is not to be blamed for evil? The answer is this: God allowed the existence of evil in order to accomplish a greater good: for the glory of His Son. 1 Colossians 1:16 states that all creation was done according to the will of God the Father for God the Son. For God the Father to glorify, honor and please God the Son was the greater good that was accomplished by suffering the existence of evil. This can be put into better perspective when one realizes that though evil will only exist for a time, the exaltation of God’s Son that came as a result of creation will last forever!

It is easy to doubt and mock and say “God was willing to allow the existence of evil because it cost Him and His Son nothing; that His creation that He claims to love – including sentient human beings – had to bear all the negative costs and effects.” Now be not deceived: even were this so, it would be perfectly appropriate and within God’s rights, being that He is the sole Owner and Master of whatever He chooses to create for whatever purposes He chooses to create it. However, it should be said that this is not so! Again, it is not so that creation alone must bear the negative effects of evil; that God kept Himself unaffected and unscathed by such horrible events as what Mike McQueary saw being done to a juvenile boy by Jerry Sandusky yet refused to intervene to save the juvenile, though being a 27 year old former football player he certainly had the ability to. Instead, though He was by no means obligated or required to, God demonstrated the legitimacy and the extent of His love for creation by giving up the very Son for whose glory creation was accomplished in the first place to die on a cross!

You see, the existence of evil in creation was no mere set of bad facts. Instead, it was a situation that required a remedy. It created a debt that had to be paid. It was a crime for which something had to be punished. God could have remedied the situation by simply destroying creation, all of it, forever. But instead, God chose to have His Son, totally innocent and blameless of all imperfection and evil, provide the remedy by paying the debt, by taking on all the punishment upon Himself. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, did this by dying on a cross in place of creation. By paying this debt, this allowed creation – or some part of it anyway – to remain forever for the joy and happiness of God’s Son – who was resurrected from the dead – and as this same Son of God is forever the joy and happiness of His Father, this state of affairs is certainly appropriate. Thus, the logic of the greater good of allowing evil to exist for a time for the joy of God the Son and God the Father for an eternity becomes explicit, apparent and utterly reasonable. Suffering the existence of evil was a great price, but one that God was willing to pay with the blood of His own Son. Far from being the “cosmic child abuse” that some doubters propose, the truth is that God’s Son – also divine and one with His Father and with His Father’s Spirit – is a willing participant, is manifestly pleased with the arrangement, and benefit to Him (and His Father) far outlasts and exceeds (in value and duration) the very real and significant loss.

So whenever you learn of – or experience – any great evil, though you may and should mourn it, always remember: the occurrence of this evil does manage to powerfully demonstrate that God exists. So, remember that the God who does exists has already paid the price of evil – through His own Son on a cross – and will one day put an end to all evil forever. God’s creation will endure, but the evil will not. This does leave one final pressing issue: your fate. Will you be part of the creation that endures forever, providing joy and delight to God’s Son while receiving great benefits from this existence (and absent any and all negative effects or considerations) yourself? Or will you be included in the portion of creation that is destroyed when all evil is destroyed? The answer to this is simple: if you renounce and turn away from all of the evil that you have done and thereby represent and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died to pay the debt incurred by your evil and was resurrected from the dead, then you will be among the portion of creation that remains. Otherwise, you will be among the portion of creation that is destroyed. (As time will no longer exists – for time is part of creation – the process of your destruction will take place in eternity and last for an eternity.)

For make no mistake, even if you had no part in this incident, we have all committed evil, if not according to our own standards, according to God’s standards. Though the debt incurred by your evil actions has already been paid for by Jesus Christ, the Bible makes it clear that only those who renounce their evil actions and ways and believe in Jesus Christ will have their paid debt applied. It is the same as having won a contest, but having to go present yourself and your ticket to those running the contest to claim your prize. Though your debt has been paid, one has to renounce his evil actions and tendencies and believe in the Sonship, Lordship, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to have that paid debt “applied to their accounts.” In order to further explain and assist you in this process, please click on “The Three Step Salvation Plan” link below, which contains information presented in both written and video form. I entreat and implore you to do so – to heed and believe – immediately. Thank you.

The Three Step Salvation Plan

Posted in abomination, Apologetics, atheism, Bible, child abuse, child molestation, Christianity, education, homosexuality, humanism, idolatry, mammon, religion, sex crime, sex demon, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, skepticism, societal decline, sodomy, sports, Theodicy, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

On The Origin Of Sin And Evil

Posted by Job on August 24, 2009

It is a vexing question for Christians: the origin of evil. If God did not create evil, is not the author of evil, and does not tempt with evil, why does evil exist? Where did it come from? And why did God not prevent or destroy it? Why did man (and Satan) fall, and why did God not act to prevent it?

To begin to answer these questions, we must not start with evil and sin. Instead, we must start with holiness. Jesus Christ Himself stated that there is none holy but God in a statement recorded in each of the synoptic gospels: Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18, and Luke 18:19. Making this statement of Jesus Christ even more unusual is the context, in which He appeared to be deflecting the statement of the rich young ruler who was assigning this attribute to Him. Jesus Christ did so not to deny His own holiness or His deity, but rather because the rich young ruler did not recognize His deity. The rich young ruler did not approach Jesus Christ with the mind and heart that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but instead as if he were approaching just another rabbi. So, Jesus Christ told the rich young ruler not to credit any man with having a divine attribute, that is something belonging only to God. So clearly only God is holy.

What, then is holiness? Holiness for the purposes of this exercise is total separation from and lack of sin or evil. Sin and evil, therefore, is that which God is unconditionally separate from and as a result is hated and rejected by God … that which has no portion with God and God has no portion with it. Further, being sovereign, God has the sole right to determine what is sin and what isn’t, including but certainly not limited to defining by His command, including declaring sin to be the breaking of His command. Thus, it is necessary and sufficient to say that Adam fell simply by doing something that God told him not to do. God being Adam’s creator and sovereign had every right to give Adam commands and to punish Adam for not keeping them. Thus, there had to be nothing inherently wrong or evil about eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (i.e. nothing intrinsically wrong with the tree itself that made it sinful to eat) in order for God to convict Adam of sin and thereby condemn him for eating it. Adam’s doing something that God told him not to do was enough in and of itself. And by the mere act of disobeying God, Adam demonstrated that he did not live up to God’s standard of holiness.

This should not surprise anyone. Indeed, it is inevitable. No one can live up to God’s standard of holiness but God. In order to live up to God’s standard of holiness, one has to be eternal, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Any entity lacking those qualities will eventually inevitably fall into corruption. This has to happen, this will happen because of the limited nature of created things. For example, consider moral agents. Even in the absence of original sin, a created moral agent will fail to always behave perfectly because of the lack of perfect knowledge – that is omniscience – required to do so. Even if this moral agent were given perfect knowledge – or at the very least the sufficient knowledge required to function in a limited arena – the moral agent would lack the perfect will or desire to use this knowledge in the right way. Not knowing the consequences of one’s actions (and by this I mean the consequences that every single action will have for all time) alone is something that prevents a limited being from being eternally holy, because to be eternally holy by definition means being free of limitation. (I am not stating that the sole cause of the lack of holiness is a lack of knowledge – which teeters on gnosticism – but a lack of knowledge can certainly cause a lack of perfection. Adam possessed all of the knowledge required not to sin, but he still sinned because he was limited in otherwise.)

Again, this is holiness and the absence from evil according to God’s perspective, not according to man’s religious, theological, or philosophical standards. Man cannot even comprehend the holiness of God, and what limited knowledge that we have of these things is due to what God has graciously revealed to us for the purpose of making Himself known to us and drawing us to Him. Thus, the only conclusion is that to create moral agents – man and angels – was to create beings would inevitably sin due to their limited nature and their ability to act on that nature in a way that would fail to live up to God’s standards.

Does this make God the creator or author of evil? God forbid. Creation was perfect and sinless when God accomplished it … God declared it to be “very good” in Genesis 1:31. The Hebrew word translated “good”, which is “towb”, does not only mean physically and structurally sound or pleasant (though this is certainly the case) but also morally or ethically good, such as that which Jesus Christ bore witness of to the rich young ruler. So by God calling creation “good”, it meant that creation possessed an original holiness or righteousness. There was not an evil thing present in creation at this time. So what of Satan? Ezekiel 28:15 tells Satan: “Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Similar to “towb”, the Hebrew word “tamilyn”, translated perfect, has moral meanings i.e. sound, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity, what is complete or entirely in accord with truth and fact. The word “tamilyn” is also translated as “perfect” when describing the ways of God in such places as Deuteronomy 32:4 and Psalm 18:30. So, iniquity was not created as part of Satan, but rather Satan, by making use of his own moral agency, generated his own iniquity.

And why did Satan use his own moral agency to fall, as well as the other angels who joined him in rebellion? The answer is in 1 Timothy 5:21, which is that Satan and his demons were not elect. Being created in a state of original innocence but unable to attain eternal absolute holiness by virtue of being so limited as a created being, Satan and his demons used their free agency to fall. The angels who did not join Satan in his rebellion were prevented by doing so not by the purity of their own moral agency, for they were subject to the same limitations as Satan. Instead, they did not join Satan only because God prevented them, because God preserved and sustained them with His power. In short, the angels did not fall because they were elect, and they did not elect themselves but rather God elected them.

So is God responsible for the sins of Adam, Satan, and all who followed them by failing to elect them? God forbid. Claiming such a thing would deny the meaning of moral agency. To use a very imperfect illustration: consider parents and their children. Consider the case of parents who do all that they possibly can for their children, including providing loving stable homes, discipline, food and shelter, education, and religious training, yet for all their efforts their children turn out rotten anyway. Are the parents to blame? Of course not. What is more, even in the case of parents who are much less responsible and honorable in the treatment of their children, it is acknowledged by society (and more important it is ackonwledged in the Bible) that the adult children of parents make their own decisions and are responsible for them. So, if parents are not held accountable for the moral decisions of their children, how much less is God responsible for the moral agency of humans and angels? Charging the sin of humans and angels to God is claiming that God was the author of evil for accomplishing creation in the first place, and therefore God was not within His rights to perform creation. Of course, that denies God’s position as sovereign. This is the common human error of allowing God a degree of relative sovereignty. This is the type of sovereignty afforded to human kings or nations, and is necessary because A) human kings and nations have limitations and B) such entities have to coexist with other kings and nations. This is not the case with God, as He has no limitations to His knowledge or power, and He is the Unique God, there are no other gods beside Him, so He does not need to coexist or share His dominion or glory with anyone.

Thus, God had the absolute right to accomplish creation, and being holy the work of His hands (which He does not despise! Job 10:3) creation was sinless and innocent in its original state, with God being solely responsible for its original innocence. The fall of moral agents into sin due to their own actions was their own responsibility, and not in any way blamed on God or chargeable to God in a way that is similar (again in a very limited and imperfect fashion) to how the waywardness of children is not blamed on their righteous parents. (As an example, consider that the prophet Samuel’s children did not walk in his path, a fact that was never blamed on Samuel by scripture. Also, even the fact that the priest Eli’s sons were wicked were not blamed on Eli. Instead, God only charged Eli for failing to attempt to restrain – that is discipline – his evil sons!) So, the issue is God’s knowing that His moral agents – if left to their own devices – would fall. However, there is a great difference between knowing that something will happen and being responsible for it happening. People who claim that God’s knowing that created moral agents would fail is the same as causing moral agents to fail are simply looking for an excuse to accuse God so that they may justify their own sins. Amazingly, certain Christians – responding to an argument that is false and dishonest on its face – attempt to claim that God did not know that His moral agents would fail and simply reacted when they did. Not only does this notion deny God’s omniscience, but it goes further, implying that God would somehow be unaware of the effects of the limitations of man and angels until He saw these limitations in action. This is the (increasingly popular) heresy of open theism.

Some argue that God’s failure to universally prevent His limited creation from corruption as He does with elect angels (and as He will with His elect humans in heaven) makes Him responsible for evil. Again, that is denial of the true meaning of responsibility and moral agency, a position taken by sinful man to justify his own evil. Proof that this position is sinful is that it was the first excuse made by Adam after the fall! When God asked Adam the reason for his sin, Adam replied in Genesis 3:12 “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” In other words, Adam attempted to claim that God caused or at least tempted him to commit evil by giving him Eve, so therefore God was either responsible or shared in the responsibility by giving him Eve to begin with. God did not so much as dignify Adam’s accusation with a response, and neither should we dignify those who claim that God caused the fall of mankind and angels by not using a policy of universal election. Instead, it is well within the prerogative of a sovereign God to elect and predestine according to his own desires. Those who are not elected do not perish because of God’s being the cause of their evil state, for God made creation in a state of original innocency. Instead, those who are not elected perish because of their own sin. God does not predestine people to wrath. Quite the contrary, and against the error of double predestination advocated by Theodore Beza and similar, it is not God’s will that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Instead, what happens is that those whom God does not intervene on their behalf fall into sin of their own accord. As Romans 1:18-32 states, God gives such people up to their own evil, and they are without excuse. Were God to be blamed in any way for not practicing universal election, Romans 1:18-32 would be demonstrably false, and moreover God would have been compelled to respect Adam’s accusation against Him in the Garden of Eden with “You know, you are right. You will go unpunished.” God forbid that this should be so! Instead, rather than charging God with unfairness for not practicing universal election, it is totally, thoroughly the work of wholly unmerited grace from God that any part of creation is saved at all. (Please note: this is not some Pelagian denial of original sin which states that man is condemned not through Adam but instead is condemned upon the commission of the first sin. Incidentally, that is what some forms of hyper-Arminianism and hyper-Wesleyanism holds, but such positions deny the epistle to Romans and similar. Instead, this only explains why the sin of Adam was inevitable, and God’s placing Adam in a perfect environment and giving him only a single command for which he had no reason whatsoever to break is proof of this.)

An imperfect but still workable illustration of this is given by Will Metzger in his book on evangelism Tell The Truth. Suppose that a baker were to make a batch of cookies that for whatever reason were flawed: too much or too little sugar, overcooked, flawed ingredients, etc. Are you to blame for making the cookies in the first place? Of course not, it is your kitchen, you can make whatever you want in it. Are you obligated to save or use all of the cookies? Of course not, they’re your cookies. You made them with your own labor in your own kitchen with your own ingredients. The cookies have no case against you and no say concerning  their fate, and – being the only cook – no one else has any say either. You did nothing wrong in making the cookies, you do nothing wrong by discarding them on account of the cookies being flawed. But what if you decide to keep some of the cookies? If they aren’t sweet enough, you put icing on them. If they are burned, you scrape the bottom and the edges off. How many? Its your decision. Which? Again, your decision. Are you wrong or unfair for keeping only some and not sparing all? Says who? Again, you own these cookies and you get to decide that happens to them, and saving any of a batch of bad cookies shows your patience and willingness to overlook faults as a cook. (As well as being someone who REALLY likes cookies.) Again, claiming that the cook is unrighteous for baking in the first place or for saving some of the cookies but not all would be considered absurd. After all, the chef’s prerogative, right? So why do we deny this same prerogative to God? It is true, humans are more valuable than cookies. But it is equally true that God is more valuable than human chefs! Now of course this illustration is imperfect, for our sins are not due to such things as using flawed ingredients or leaving us in the oven too long; were any such thing the case it would be possible to state that God is the author of evil. Instead, this illustration only explains why God cannot be charged with evil because of performing creation and of not practicing universal election.

Thus, it was because of inherent limitations that sin was inevitable for man and angels. And it is only because of the loving grace of our Sovereign Creator God who lacks such limitations (and therefore is in a position and has the ability and prerogative to dispense such grace) that any humans and angels are spared eternal destruction. Praise and glory be to our righteous and loving God for He is worthy to be praised! Honor Him and give Him glory, for His rule is over all and shall last forever!

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Voddie Baucham’s Theodicy: If God Is So Powerful Why Does He Allow Bad Things To Happen?

Posted by Job on October 4, 2008

From Life Under the Blue Sky: The View From Below: Voddie Baucham on Theodicy

Friends,

Here is Voddie Baucham discussing theodicy. Here I am doing my part to help spread the word concerning the wrath of God. This is powerful stuff and it rightly reforms the question. Pay close attention to this re-framing of the question to reflect the real problem on this earth: the evil that men do. It’s tough to swallow, even tougher to digest. I don’t suppose too many will appreciate that he reminds us that we are the problem on earth, not God.

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John Hagee: God Sent Hitler To Help Jews Reach The Promised Land!

Posted by Job on May 22, 2008

Apparently this was too much for John McCain, who has now rejected the fellow. “The Arizona senator has said he sought Hagee’s support because the pastor, like himself, is a strong supporter of Israel.” Hmmm … seems as if the LaHaye – Lindsay – Scofield premillenial dispensationalism causes one to love ISRAEL more so than, you know, actual Jews. Why? Because ISRAEL is more important to that eschatological system than actual living breathing human beings are. (The same is true of America with this crowd by the way!) Proof of this is how so many premillenial dispensational leaders are advocating dual covenant theology and/or promises to refrain from evangelizing Jews. Why? So they can maintain the relationships that they need with the Israeli government and Jewish interfaith groups such as the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews that they need to pursue the goal of repatriating as many Jews as they can to Israel. Why? Not so that they can be saved, but so that Jesus Christ will come back and rapture THEM to heaven. The Jews that they will have chosen to repatriate to Israel rather than evangelize (and it is illegal to evangelize in Israel!) will be mostly slaughtered by the anti – Christ WITHOUT HAVING BEEN EVANGELIZED soon after the Christians are in heaven according to this doctrine. So … if this is how you love a Jew, how do you hate one? This doctrine basically causes Christians to focus on their own self interest – getting the rapture to happen as quickly as possible – with little regard for anyone else. Are attitudes like that loving towards Jews or anyone else, including Jesus Christ? 

This is yet another example of how false doctrine makes the heart hard, wicked, and perverse … twice the son of hell that the person was before according to Jesus Christ. Sound Biblical Christian doctrine, on the other hand, inculcates a true love for the Jewish people. 

Hagee said: “In his sermon, Hagee said, “Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun, and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. … How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said, ‘My top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.'” This is yet another problem with false doctrine. If you stick with sound doctrine based on what the Bible actually says, then you do not have to come up with these crackpot theories. So … God sent the Holocaust against the Jewish people so Jesus Christ can come back and Christians can be taken up in the rapture? Excuse me, but where does the Bible say that? It doesn’t. Since the Bible does not speak of the Holocaust, there is no justification for coming up with a doctrine based on it. But here, in order to justify his eschatological beliefs, Hagee comes up with something so appallingly dripping with self – interest. 

A Biblical perspective makes it clear: the Holocaust happened for the same reason why other great evils do … original sin. There is no reason to add to it, take away from it, or come up with vain speculations that tickle the ears of the hearer. 

But this line from Hagee was classic: “I am tired of these baseless attacks ...” Hagee, these attacks are based on your own comments. Things that you said. From your pulpit. Things that you broadcast on your own TV show. Things contained in your many books, CDs, DVDs, etc. that you have become an exceedingly wealthy man selling. Oh yeah, and isn’t telling people that in 2006 (or was it 2007?) America and Israel were going to attack Iran, leading to the rapture within 6 months to a year later a great way to make sure that they don’t fall behind on their tithes, prosperity preacher! Are you still having your congregation pay tithes now that gas is $4 a gallon and economic times are hard, Hagee? Well Hagee, if you are tired of these baseless attacks, I am tired of your sermons, your ministry, and your entire lifestyle (hey Hagee, how’s the first wife doing?) being baseless as far as the Bible is concerned. If you are tired of it Hagee, then you can either A) become a true Biblical preacher instead of one who deceives and fleeces the flock for money and power or B) get out of the pulpit altogether. The choice is yours. And I am not ashamed to say, Hagee, that if you are tired of a few weeks of criticism based on your false doctrines and lies – and if what you were preaching was TRUE and if you were a TRUE PREACHER you would be GLAD to suffer humiliation and persecution for the Name of Jesus Christ! – the lake of fire will be much more intolerable than people holding you accountable for the falsehoods that come out of your mouth. And oh yes, your stint in the lake of fire will last a lot longer than a presidential election …

www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24781872

Posted in Bible, Christianity, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, Jesus Christ, religious right | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Why Do The Wicked Prosper?

Posted by Job on March 4, 2007

“Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all of the faithless live at ease?” If Jeremiah had a computer back in his day, he may have sent Liveprayer an email with these questions that we read him asking in Jeremiah 12:1. Not a day goes by that we don’t get hundreds of emails from people asking these very questions. A woman who loves the Lord and honors Him with her life has a husband who cheats on her, leaves her and their children for another woman, and is now living a comfortable life while she and her children struggle just to live day to day.

A man who faithfully serves the Lord gives decades of his life working for a company that takes advantage of him, operates with little ethics or morals, and lets him go just before he is scheduled to retire to save money while those who run the company live extravagant lifestyles. A young man trying to follow the Lord and God’s Word struggles to buy a new pair of shoes while teenage thug rappers glorifying and living lifestyles
of sin wear hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewelry and drive new exotic cars.

There is an endless list of examples of those who love the Lord, live for Him, yet are currently struggling in their daily lives while those who deny Christ and live in complete rebellion to Him seem to prosper and live in great comfort and ease. So it becomes a legitimate question that the prophet Jeremiah asks. It is a legitimate question that men who love the Lord throughout the ages have asked. It is a proper question for those
who serve and follow the Lord today to ask. WHY DO THE WICKED SEEM TO
PROSPER?

The answer to this question, like the answers to ALL questions, is found in God’s Word. You need to take time to read the 37th Psalm, all 40 verses. The answer to this age-old question of why do the wicked seem to prosper is found in never losing sight of the big picture of what this life is all about. First, it is God who gives us life and we all have the
same general purpose of serving and glorifying Him with our lives.

Second, we are all going to die one day. As the Bible clearly tells us, tomorrow is promised to none of us, so that day is not as far away as many think it is. Third, when we die, our soul lives on for eternity. The only issue to be determined is do we spend that eternity WITH God who created us or APART from God who created us. Each person makes that
choice in either accepting or rejecting God’s ONLY plan of salvation through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

So what is important to understand is that we actually have a very limited number of days in this life here on earth. The most critical choice we have to make during our life is what we do with Jesus, since that choice will determine our eternal home. For those who have chosen to follow Christ, their days on this earth are to be focused on fulfilling our
God-given purpose of serving and glorifying the Lord with our lives in whatever way God calls each of us to do that.

If you haven’t noticed, I have not mentioned having money, possessions, or any of the things of this world. You see, those are simply the temporary things of THIS LIFE and are meaningless in light of eternity. What happens is the righteous, the followers of Christ get caught up in measuring prosperity and success the way the world does by the temporal things of this world. Real prosperity and success aren’t found in the temporary things of this world but in the eternal things of God. Things like peace and joy and living an abundant life that don’t come from this world, but from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

Let me ask you a very serious question. This is actually a question Jesus once asked. He said,” What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?” When Jesus was in the desert being tempted by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights, at one point satan showed Him all of the kingdoms of the world and told him to worship him and they would all be His. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ ” You see, Christ understood that the things of this world are but temporary. The REAL Kingdom is not in this world, but in Heaven. The REAL riches are not in this world, but in Heaven.

I love you and care about you so much. It is natural in our flesh to look at those who have chosen to reject Christ and live their lives in complete rebellion to God and His Word and wonder why they seem to prosper while we may be currently struggling. While they may be enjoying the prosperity this world offers, without Jesus they are SPIRITUALLY BANKRUPT. Actually, rather than envy these people, they are to be pitied since when their brief journey through life is over they will be spending eternity in a place created for satan and his fallen angels unless they come to know Jesus. Bill Gates may be the richest man on the planet, but the moment he dies, all of his wealth is MEANINGLESS. The ONLY THING that will matter when he stands before God is does he know Jesus as his personal Savior.

This is also the problem with the “prosperity gospel” so many today preach in error. There is NOTHING in the Bible that says just because you know Jesus you are guaranteed to have great wealth in this life. What the Bible DOES PROMISE is that if you know Christ as your Savior, you are assured of everlasting life and that during this life you will enjoy the blessings and provision of God. You see, God has promised to meet your
needs during this life, needs like food, shelter, and clothing. That is God’s promise to His children. The true prosperity gospel is not about dollars, it is about BLESSINGS!

God NEVER promised you would have a million dollar home, a new Rolls Royce in the driveway, $5,000 suits, a Rolex watch, or any of the many treasures this life can offer. God may allow some to be blessed to have those things during their life, but the wealth of a follower of Jesus is not measured in the temporary things of this world, but in the eternal things of God! God measures the heart of His children not by their bank account,
but by their obedience, their faithfulness, and their willingness to completely surrender all they have to follow Him.

I will be praying for you today. Praying that God will speak to you through these words about how you look on those who have chosen to live their lives in rebellion to God, yet seem to be prospering. The fact is, they may indeed be prosperous according to the standards of the world for a brief season. But whatever we have in this life will one day be gone, and at that point, the only thing that will matter is do we know Jesus. Pray for those who you may have been envious of for what they possess.
Pray that they will come to know Christ as their Savior since salvation cannot be bought, it is only available through faith in Jesus.

I have dealt over the years with thousands of people who had great wealth but when the real trials of life came, they realized that all of their wealth and possessions meant nothing. When your spouse or child or loved one has a serious illness and is laying in a hospital bed, when you find out your spouse wants a divorce, when you learn your child is on drugs, when the doctor tells you that you have a serious disease, when you face
many of the major battles in life we all face, at that moment your money and possessions mean nothing. Only a deep abiding faith in Christ can sustain you through those dark moments in life.

There is no amount of money that can buy God’s peace. There is no amount of money that can buy God’s strength. There is no amount of money that can buy God’s joy. All of those things come from your relationship with Christ and your faith in Him. The wicked may prosper for a season, but it is the righteous who have true prosperity for all eternity.

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller

If I can help you in any way you can contact me through my personal email at:
bkeller@liveprayer.com

Posted in Apologetics, Christianity, Germany, liberation theology, mohammed, prosperity doctrine, terrorism, Theodicy, thou shalt not murder | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

 
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