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Posts Tagged ‘universalism’

Does Proverb 16:4 Prove Sublapsarianism?

Posted by Job on February 15, 2012

For several years, I have considered myself to be a so-called “5 point Calvinist” (though Particular Baptist is more accurate), yet one who rejects what I understood to be sublapsarianism (often called double predestination, or hyper-Calvinism). My reason for so is not because of any belief that adhering to double predestination makes God cruel or otherwise unrighteous – for my acceptance of limited (or more accurately, particular) atonement precludes this thinking – but rather 2 Peter 3:9, which reads “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” and also Matthew 25:41, which tells that the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels. (More on this later.)

Therefore, I rejected the claims of some, such as the estimable Gotquestions.org, who claims that belief in limited atonement requires a belief in sublapsarianism. Instead, I felt that both limited atonement and infralapsarianism were Biblical, that Theodore Beza and  fellow travelers exceeded the evidence of the Bible in articulating sublapsarianism. That is, until – when going to a fast food restaurant to get a bite to eat (bad decision; it made my belly bitter, so to speak!) – I happened to listen to a bit of the Janet Mefferd radio show. Ms. Mefferd’s show frustrates me, as I find it to be a curious mix of religious right politics (which I detest) and very bold, principled theologians! It happens that this particular day, a particular theologian that she was discoursing with (and neither she nor he saw fit to reveal his name!) was discussing the nature of God’s divine love (in contrast with carnal emotionalism that is now taken by the fallen world to mean love) and in the process mentioned Proverb 16:4 and Romans 9:21-23.

First Romans 9:21-23. “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”? But Paul was merely asking a rhetorical question, as he is known to do from time to time such is in 2 Corinthians 11:23, right? Except that Proverb 16:4 reads “The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” And that text appears in a passage that begins with “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, [is] from the LORD” in verse 1! My problem: I do not use the Proverbs as a source of theology I guess!

And Spurgeon.org gave 1 Peter 2:8 and Jude 4 for more information on the topic. (Note: Spurgeon.org, a 5 point site, corrects some of the faulty assumptions in Gotquestions.org, a 4 point site. Those texts read, respectively “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” and “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” There it is, explicitly laid out. Where perhaps I can get a “pass” for not allowing texts from Proverbs to influence my theology to any great degree (then again I guess I cannot, because I allow Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and Psalms to do so greatly), the meaning and application of the other texts simply flew past me. 1 Peter 2:8, I simply read the appointment of the wicked in that text apart from the appointment – the election! – of the righteous in 1 Peter 2:9-10.  “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” Jude 1:4 … I just flat out missed the meaning of “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation.” But in light of those, how can the case for sublapsarianism be denied?

That gets me back to my reason for doing so: 2 Peter 3:9 and Matthew 25:41. Here is my problem – which I have just now realized – for many years I believed that “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance for the hell was everlasting fire [was] prepared (as in only originally intended) for the devil and his angels” was a Bible text. Why? Because I have heard PLENTY of sermons where those two textual fragments were juxtaposed, so I erroneously believed them to form one text. It is only now that I for the first time know that they are portions of separate texts that are several books apart. And when evaluating these fragments individually, and in context, the problem is resolved. Matthew 25:41 reads “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”, and in it our Lord Jesus Christ is merely describing the final status of the wicked, with “prepared for the devil and his angels” as a descriptive clause. There is no way to assert from the context, either there or from the entirety of scripture, that the lake of fire was originally created only for demons, and that God adjusted His original plan to send men there too after the fall (and after an attempt at universal salvation failed?)! That exceeds even “predestined foreknowledge” Wesleyanism and fully into the camp of open theism, meaning that God was forced to react and adjust to circumstances that He had no knowledge of or control over. ‘Tis heresy that denies God’s omnipotence and omniscience!

2 Peter 3:9 is much simpler. Its context was people doubting the return of Jesus Christ because it had not happened yet: see “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation” of verses 3 and 4 of this same chapter. This text DOES NOT MEAN that God was attempting to save everybody, for being God and by definition omnipotent, God would not have TRIED to save everyone and FAILED. Had God TRIED to save everyone, THEN EVERYONE WOULD BE SAVED. Or had it been God’s WILL to save everyone, THEN EVERYONE WOULD BE SAVED. A fundamental, nonnegotiable fact of Biblical revelation is that God’s will shall come to pass! Otherwise, there is no point in even so much as saying the Lord’s Prayer! Faith would be pointless, because everything would be reduced to chance. Maybe God can come through for us this time, maybe He can’t! That would reduce religion to being a mere lottery, and it would confirm the false doctrines of the evolutionists and big bang theorists, who have created an entire religious, ideological, and pseudo-scientific system on the idea that chance, random uncaused events, is the creator and sustainer of all things!

Instead, Peter was informing the church that the reason why Jesus Christ had not yet returned was so that all of the elect, everyone predestined to salvation, would be saved! (Consider another problem with the alternative interpretation: if the return of Jesus Christ was delayed because God does not want anyone to go to the lake of fire, then why not begin human history with the atonement, instead of allowing many thousands of years to pass first? Also, no matter how long Jesus Christ’s return is coming, people are still going to the lake of fire, a fact that we know from the Bible! So, God would be delaying the return of Jesus Christ because of something that He already knows to be a failed hope! To put it another way, God is withholding the return of Jesus Christ to restore creation as a consequence of His own failure to save it! Again, a heretical, blasphemous thought that no Christian should have on his mind!) Peter is not an innovator in tying the return of Jesus Christ to the completion of God’s plan to convert sinners into saints. In the Olivet discourse, Jesus Christ stated that the end of time will not come until the gospel is preached to all nations (Mark 13:10, Matthew 24:24). Paul stated that the endtimes will not come until the Gentile mission is complete (Romans 11:25-26).

So, now that I know what the Bible actually says instead of what I believed it to say, I have no problems with accepting the doctrine of sublapsarianism. Further, allow me to say that knowing more about God and His plan to save His people should make you more willing to repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ instead of less, for you will know that your salvation and eternal fate is not your own doing or responsibility, but has been planned for you by an omniscient, omnipotent God who cannot fail! If you have not done so already, do so today!

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

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The Importance Of John 14:15 In Christianity

Posted by Job on January 2, 2012

Perhaps the most popular verse in all of modern Bible-based (i.e. evangelical, fundamental Protestant) Christianity is John 3:16. For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Small wonder … consider that this verse when lifted from the context of scripture implies not general atonement – as many claim – but rather universalism. So, this text – again when taken out of context – is perfect for the self centered, self indulgent libertine modern mindset where one insists upon receiving any and all benefits without any notion of responsibility or sacrifice. In a modern world where the most important word or concept is not “God” (meaning the true One of the Bible) but rather “rights” this should not surprise anyone.

But Romans 12:1-2 tells us to stand against and apart from this worldly thinking. 2 Corinthians 10:5 exhorts us to reject all false ideas, philosophies and theologies that magnify themselves against God’s revelation. The problem is not John 3:16, which is magnificent and beautiful as is all of God’s Word, but instead what hard hearted, stiff necked men have done with it. So, discerning Christians should seek to set themselves right by putting John 3:16 in its proper context.

A quick way to do it is with John 14:15. If ye love me, keep my commandments. Now why isn’t THAT verse more popular? We already know the reason. Taking John 3:16 out of context allows the person to retain the false idea: “It is all about ME! It is all about ME getting THE BENEFITS THAT ARE COMING TO ME! Why? BECAUSE I AM SPECIAL!” (The motto of the popular VeggieTales series: God made you special and He loves you very much.) But John 14:15 creates obligation. It creates responsibility. And the obligation and responsibility is not to LOVE YOURSELF. It is not to BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. It is not TO FOLLOW YOUR HEART. It is not to MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE. It is not to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Instead, that responsibility is to someone other than yourself. It removes YOU from being the center of the universe and puts it on someone else! It takes YOU from being the object of glory, wonder, service and worship and makes redirects that focus to the One who actually merits it!

Little wonder that men want to see themselves, see the world, see the Bible that way. Satan himself was no different. Isaiah 14:13-14 stated that this creation of God desired to stand in the place of God and receive the worship that was due to God. In Matthew 4:9, Satan even attempted to get Jesus Christ, the One by and for all things were made and the sustainer of all things, to give him this worship! And Paul also wrote in Romans 1:25 that man in his fallen condition redirects worship from the Creator to the creature, and this includes man himself, who is but a creature.

But with John 14:15, it is not so easy to do that. It is not so easily to take the words of John 14:15 out of context. If ye love me, keep my commandments tells us that while grace is free, it is not cheap, for we were bought with a price. John 14:15 tells us to be not deceived, we have a Creator, Lord, Ruler and Judge to who wholly owns us, and to whom alone we must answer. John 14:15 is what informs us the truth of James 2:20, which is that faith without works is dead. Yes, many of the more liberal persuasion attempt to abuse James 2:20 to mean acts of charity and political and government action on behalf of certain people, but interpreting James 2:20 in light of John 14:15 makes that impossible, because the commandments of Jesus Christ are not limited to the things that we want to do because of our politics or any other reason, but instead consist of the whole counsel of God!

Do not be deceived. Or let it be said that if you are deceived, it is your responsibility, for you are deceiving yourself concerning this matter. John 14:15 states clearly that if you love Jesus Christ, you must keep His commandments. This means that if you do not keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, then you do not love Jesus Christ. Is it possible to come to any other conclusion when John 14:15 is so direct and clear, consisting of 7 mere words?

So, because of John 14:15, the “world” spoken of in John 3:16 that God the Father sent God the Son to save can be divided into two types of people: those who love God and those who do not. The former are in that category because they keep His commandments. The latter are in their category because they do not. Counted among the latter category are the many goats who say that they believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who call upon the Name of Jesus Christ and do many great works in that Name, who claim that they are born again believers, but are liars. The reason is that these people testify of Jesus Christ with their lips, but their actions reveal that they are far from Jesus Christ. Their verbal testimony, no matter how eloquent and stirring, is vacuous because the testimony of their actions deny Jesus Christ. And as Jesus Christ said of these goats who honor Him with their words of false testimomy but whose hearts dishonor Him because of their disobedience (Matthew 15:8) in Matthew 25:31-46, their fate will be eternity in the lake of fire.

And why should it be any other way? If you do not love God, then why should you receive any good thing from Him? Why should God reward those who hate Him with good things? (Because if you do not love Him, do you not hate Him?) The self-absorbed, narcissist modern mindset will tell you that God must reward those based merely on their verbally pledging allegiance to God as if He is some perishable flag. They think that by claiming to be a Christian, they are doing God a favor. But actually altering their lifestyle, changing their mindset, becoming a new creation, being crucified with Christ, dying to self:  that is as far from them as is the east from the west. Since it is all about them, they are convinced that God should reward His ENEMIES with eternal life merely because they CLAIM to be His friends and no more! And that is why they abuse John 3:16, Romans 10:8-9 and a host of other Bible texts. Those of us who protest and object are called legalists, bigots, narrow-minded, anti-intellectual or some other name and dismissed.

But John 14:15 is still in the Bible. John 14:15 still has meaning. And on judgment day, this fact will be proven when only the John 14:15 Christians will enter New Jerusalem.

Do you wish to avoid the horrible eternal punishment that will be given to sinners and instead join Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem? If so, then please read and follow:

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Salvation By Works Is Cultural Legalism

Posted by Job on May 2, 2011

Though the theological reasons for why salvation by works is unattainable are numerous, there is one practical reason that is often overlooked both by religions that teach salvation by works (Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, liberal and “moderate” Christianity streams which promote pluralism and inclusivism) or various “faith plus works” salvation formulas (Roman Catholicism, some strands of Pentecostalism)  is that there is no single, universal standard for good works. Incidentally, this is also a problem for Christians who advocate works-based sanctification.

Consider as an example the conversion testimony of one John Bunyan. He records that he began the road to salvation when being convicted of guilt of a host of sins, including bell ringing. When I first read this, I was stunned and assumed that “bell ringing” must necessarily be some colloquialism for sinful or riotous behavior in the vernacular of his time. But upon further reading, it appears that Bunyan was in fact troubled with guilt over his love for ringing church bells for amusement!

Now granted, there may be some context here: perhaps Bunyan listed this as part of a pattern of behavior that he indulged in because of his tendency to live for his own amusement absent self-control or Godly purpose, and in that sense it went along with his love for drinking at bars, cursing and partying. Still, when one considers that a large portion of the contemporary Christian population is not averse to entertaining itself with R-rated movies (and similar music and books) filled with profanity, swearing and blasphemy, violence, nudity and sexuality, and subversive/rebellious themes, it makes the very idea that anything untoward would be associated with ringing church bells amazing!

And that is an oft-overlooked dilemma in “salvation by works.” The fact is that the definition of “good works” and also “evil works” is often defined by man (if only in part) and as a result changes according to place and time as man and his culture changes. But God does not change! Though God is full of patience, grace and mercy and may deal with different men in different ways according to His prerogative, the fact is that God’s attributes remains the same, and those attributes include His perfect holiness and righteousness. So, while being able to please some man-made religious system in one context or another will require different levels of righteousness, different acts of righteousness, and different amounts of tolerance for unrighteousness, man’s pleasing God will always have the same standard, which is faith in Him through His Son.

It simply can be no other way. Practices that are abhorrent, brutal and backwards according to some cultures and religions are embraced by others. Even in today’s world where intercontinental travel and mass communications has resulted in some form of “leveling” of cultural acceptance, such things as cannibalism, bestiality and incest still goes on in some cultures. Even in our own culture, some things that were considered very sinful or shameful a mere generation or two ago are now not only deemed as fine, but have been embraced by not a few churches! So, how is it possible to articulate a works-based salvation or sanctification in this reality?

The answer: one cannot and should not. Instead, salvation is of the Lord. Renounce salvation by works and instead put your faith in trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation today. Click on the link below to understand and begin this process.

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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How Can A Loving God Send People To Hell? Answering Requires Knowing What Love Is

Posted by Job on March 12, 2011

Many people reject the doctrine of eternal damnation, opting instead for universalism and annihilationism, using the logic: “how can a loving God act in an unloving manner?” To answer this question, we have to deal with love itself. To that end, notes from a sermon on love preached by Stanley Jordan are below.

Key verse: 1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Once we come to know Jesus Christ, He desires for us to live a live full of love.
Real love is promoting the good of someone or something for its own sake.
Love is not desire, because we can desire something without even wishing it well.
Desire is the essence of lust.
In our fallen world, love constantly falls prey to lust.
However, love is the deepest essence of God.
It is impossible for God not to love.
Pride is thinking all your desires should be met.
Lust and pride lead to a world of fear.
Jesus Christ came to show us the ultimate love and to take away fear so we can live lives full of love.
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the climax of love on earth.

Based on those sermon notes, we can plainly see that love is not a transaction. It is not conditional. It is not “give and take”, it is not “I’ll scratch your back, you’ll scratch mine. Legitimate Christianity is based on an unconditional love for God. See the book of Job. Much of modern Christianity, such as the prosperity/Word of Faith doctrines, is based on the transactional model, where love is where you do things that someone else want in order to get something that you want in return. For many Christians, that is what salvation is: a transaction. I “give Jesus Christ my heart” and obey to live according to certain religious, moral and ethical rules, and in return God gives me heaven! That is not salvation, and it is not love. Contrast that with Paul’s amazing statement in Romans 9:3, when he stated that his love for his Jewish people was so much that he wished that he could trade his own salvation in return for that of the Jewish people! Paul was willing to spend eternity in the lake of fire so that Israel could be saved! Needless to say, you haven’t heard very many sermons preached on Romans 9:3 have you? Let me give the pastor who preaches from Romans 9:3 some advice … pass the offering plate before the sermon! But let it be said that the person who wrote Romans 9:3 understood true love, because he received love and the revelation of the meaning of love from Jesus Christ and from the Holy Spirit.

So, what we understand as love today is actually a corrupt perversion of the concept. Now I am not a fan of the Buddhist Tina Turner, but she was absolutely 100% right in “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” The way that the fallen world portrays love, it is just a secondary emotion. Fallen, worldly carnal love is just a manifestation of human desire; a personal attraction towards the things that make you feel good. It is not noble or praiseworthy, because it often comes without any concept of sacrifice, commitment or responsibility.

A woman can fall in love with a man, pledge herself to marry him, and then leave him standing at the altar while she runs off with the best man because she loves him too! And that man ten years later can walk out on that woman and the four small children that they have had together for another woman – or in these wicked times, another man! – that he has allegedly fallen in love with. And that jilted woman can use her feelings of anger and rejection over this event as an excuse to abuse her children, and when the state comes to take her children away to save them from the abuse, she will protest by claiming that she wants and deserves to keep her children because they are hers and she loves them! This is the result of seeing love as giving and getting in order to meet your emotional needs and desires. It is precisely this fallen notion of love that causes so many parents to spoil, neglect, deprive, become co-dependent on, or otherwise abuse their children. In the church, we absolutely positively cannot continue to take the fallen, carnal love that is mostly based on temporal feelings and fleshly desires for the pure, eternal love that is part of God by way of His attribute and character.

Now this is hard to do because human culture exalts fallen, carnal love. Look at love songs, and it does not matter the genre of the music. Most of them are simply about pleasure, desire and emotion. And it is not just contemporary culture either. Take classic literature: look at Romeo and Juliet. It’s about two “lovers” committing suicide! Much of the so-called love literature throughout the ages has been about adultery and other illicit romances! (For those who bash Hollywood, contemporary movies and TV shows are actually more moral than classic literature.) Fairy tales? Most of it is desire and infatuation. A prince wants to marry a woman that he has never seen before merely because she is beautiful, and it was “a dream” for a woman merely because she got to be a princess and live in a castle.

The love depicted in entertainment and literature often more resembles the selfish, irrational passion-driven behavior of false gods of Greek, Roman, Norse or eastern mythology than the God of the Bible who sent His only begotten Son to save sinners. Despite what man-centered thinking and theology, this was not only a huge sacrifice, but a one way sacrifice. Tell me the way, shape or fashion that sending Jesus Christ to die on a cross was to the advantage or benefit to God the Father? How did God the Father gain from that transaction? Realize that where all false religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, modern Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, Scientology, the mythology systems, you name it – are transaction based (based on trading and transacting between the worshiper and the object of worship) legitimate Christianity is the only one based on what the sovereign God did with no expectation of any gain or advantage for or to Himself, and demands that its adherents follow after God’s example (see 1 Peter 1:16) by also acting righteously not because we expect to be rewarded, but because our love for God causes us to.

We need to stop mistaking love for desire, for where the former leads us to Godliness, the latter leads us to be more like Satan. Carnal desire leads to pride, and pride is what precipitated the fall of not only Satan, but of Adam. Adam’s fall was due to the lust of the eyes (desire for what one sees), lust of the flesh (desire to fill one’s wants or appetites) and the pride of life. Adam’s fall happened because he traded Godly love for carnal love. As a result, carnal love is primarily what those who are in Adam know for themselves and desire for themselves.

Where perfect love, Godly love, casts out all fear (1 John 4:18), carnal love can only result in fear. The reason is that where perfect love causes one to deny himself and seek that which is not to his own benefit, carnal love is obsessed with getting what you want, holding onto it, and getting still more. The fear comes from the dread of being denied what you want, losing what you have, and also even the thought that getting what you want may not even make you happy. One only need to peruse the despair of Solomon in Ecclesiastes, which was the result of his trading Godly love for carnal affections, to see this dread and fear.

So, when the issue is applied to eternal damnation in the lake of fire, we must remember 3 things.

1.God does love humans, but He does not only love humans! It is narcissist for us to believe that our considerations must come first, or that our treatment must outweigh all. This is not a surprise, because fallen, want and desire based “love”, the second hand emotion, is inherently narcissistic because it values meeting one’s own desires above all. The truth is that in addition to loving humans, God by His own character is also required to love holiness, justice, righteousness and order. These are God’s attributes – part of God – and yes God does love God (see John 3:35, which says God the Father loves God the Son). For God to put His love for humans first would make humanity into a god that Jehovah must serve! And further, as humanity is limited in power, knowledge and morality and therefore sinful, the love required to put humanity first would have to be an imperfect love, a love that is more akin to the fallen carnal love common to humanity that is clearly distinct from and inferior to perfect divine love. By possessing and acting according to such a love, God would be in contradiction with Himself, contain imperfection and unrighteousness – or sin – within Himself, and not be God at all. Therefore, God must balance His love for humanity with His love for such things as holiness, justice and righteousness, and with His love for God. This is done by mercifully saving some humans from the punishment that they deserve by grace through the actions of Jesus Christ, and giving the rest of humanity the punishment that sin requires.

2.Why must the punishment be eternal? This is because in order to be a just punishment, it must be in proportion to the offense. God is eternal, not temporal. Sin is an offense against an eternal Deity, and thus has eternal consequences. The eternal consequences of sin were such that it required the death of God’s eternal Son on the cross! So, in order for the punishment to fit the crime, the eternal consequences of sin require an eternal punishment. Annihilationism rejects the eternal consequences of sin, and in effects treats the consequences of sin to be temporal. Yet, annihilationism inconsistently accepts the payment of sin by Jesus Christ to be eternal and not temporal! For annihilationism to be consistent, there cannot be an eternal reward for those that Jesus Christ redeemed. Or at the very least, the death of Jesus Christ was a payment that vastly exceeded the nature of the crime! If sin were temporal and not eternal, why would not the sacrifice of a temporal being that is not charged with sin, such as a bull or goat, adequately deal with it?

3.Be not deceived: God does love those who are going to hell! Claiming otherwise is treating love as a transaction, where God’s love is determined merely by the treatment that He metes out, and in the context of how we perceive it – how we want to be treated and think that we should be treated – in particular. It is only fallen, carnal love based on fulfilling our desires and seeking our own interests for our own sakes that makes it difficult to fathom how God can love someone that He sends to the lake of fire. Instead, of viewing love as a transaction as the world does, Christians should strive to see love as an attribute inherent to God’s nature. Love is God, love is part of God, love is defined by God, and it does not and cannot exist in the absence of God. Love is not this independent attribute that is part of creation (a naturalist view), nor is it this impersonal energy or force (like the karma and similar in eastern religions). We would like to define love on these terms because it suits our own agendas. And this notion of love according to our own desires is what allows us to declare God unloving and unrighteous because He does not conform to it. We either do this out of hand (in the case of atheists) or we reject Biblical truths and doctrines that transgress our view of love while accepting only those that fit our self-styled and self-serving ethics and morality (far more common than atheism, but just as dangerous).

So, true perfect love is part of God. It is given to humanity in part as a gift of the Holy Spirit through common grace, and man due to his fallen nature misunderstands, corrupts and to a degree rejects even this part (see Romans 1:18-32). But it is given to Christians in a more full and perfect measure as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. However, a great many Christians, particularly those who are spiritually immature, do not reach their potential in fully understanding or comprehending this fruit, as this pure perfect love is acted against by our flesh (our fallen nature) and is even denied by some less than ideal Christian doctrines and practices. But the duty of the Christian is to better know God so that we may better know and understand His love. This can be achieved by A. loving God ourselves through the keeping of His commandments (see Titus 1:16) and seeking a better, fuller revelation of God through B. studying and meditating on the Bible, C. through legitimate worship and praise that is with reverence and Godly fear, and D. by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, which we are more open and receptive through by our faithfully and diligently pursuing A., B., and C. Where a human cannot understand how God can love those that He sends to hell (or more accurately the lake of fire), God’s ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). We cannot understand God’s ways in full, but our duty is to become closer to God and more like God, to submit ourselves to being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, so that our knowledge of God and His ways, though partial, is greater and more accurate.

Ultimately, these things are not for the world’s consumption. The fallen mind is going to go after fallen things. The duty of the Christian is not to get fallen man to accept Christian doctrines, or to declare them to be “acceptable” or “reasonable.” The Bible tells us that the fallen world is going to find these things foolishness and contemptible, and ill-treat Christians as a result. Indeed, this has happened ever since wicked Cain slew righteous Abel, and will happen until Jesus Christ returns to save His church from the same world that rejected and slew Him on a cross. (And yes, many of the same people who claim that a loving God would never send people to hell also claim that a loving God would never send His Son to die on the cross as payment for the sins of others … even some so-called Christians refer to this as “cosmic child abuse”, as they too see love as a transaction and not as a Divine attribute within the Divine and therefore defined by the Divine).

The idea that “love is defined by God” may seem to be nothing more than an invalid debate tactic on the part of a Christian caught in an unresolvable trap or conundrum created by his own doctrines and interpretation of scripture. But the fact that “love is defined by God” is one that is consistent with God’s own revelation of Himself through His Name in the Bible. The Name of Himself that God revealed to Moses: “I AM THAT I AM”. That Name reveals God’s self-existence, and self-existence inherently means self-definition. And being the only self-existing entity, God’s self-definition is the only valid definition. And by virtue of being Creator, God is free to impose His self-definition on His creation, to demand that His creation acknowledge and respond to it, and to judge and punish His creation for their refusal or otherwise failure to do so. Make no mistake, “I AM THAT I AM” means “love is a Divine attribute that is defined by God”, and this means that humans must accept, respect and honor God’s self-definition of His actions as loving and make the appropriate response. And the only acceptable response that a sinner is capable of making is submitting to the loving act of God as represented by Jesus Christ on the cross, and acknowledging its meaning.

If you have not yet done so, do not delay. Respond to the love of God today by:

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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Contra C.S. Lewis: Why 1 Timothy 4:10 Does Not Endorse Religious Pluralism Heresy

Posted by Job on January 1, 2011

Recently, due to a confluence of circumstances, the kids and I had a block of time that had to be spent at a movie theatre. Due to my, er, conservative tastes, the only viable options were Megamind (part of the Hollywood campaign to promote subversive ideas by attacking concepts of virtue and decency in the minds of our young, but that’s a whole other story), Tron Legacy, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The little ones – and not so little ones – wanted to see Tron Legacy, but I chose the Narnia installment (which will be the last to be made into a film) because of its Christian elements and themes.

Result: much better than expected. The script was far from perfect, but the action and effects were great, and the Christian elements were far more frequent and explicit than expected, which made for a  rousing good time for all. In my exuberance, I was ready to immediately abandon my mixed feelings about C.S. Lewis and his Narnia works and borrow my neighbor’s volume set and begin reading at the first opportunity.

Now as God’s blessings had it, the first opportunity would have been the next morning. As a result, I decided to spend the evening before doing a little research on the Narnia series on Wikipedia for a preview. I am not one of those who fears “spoiling the ending by knowing what will happen in advance”, preferring instead to know what I am getting into when I undertake reading a novel or watching a movie. And in this case, boy did knowing what I was getting into paid off.

The reason is that at the end of the very last of the series of 7 books, “The Last Battle”, C.S. Lewis, the famed Christian apologist and scholar cherished and beloved by millions of Christians worldwide, and whose works are referenced and quoted by many prominent Christian pastors and leaders and used in a great many of the seminaries and Bible colleges that train future such leaders, uses the devout pagan false god worshiping character Emeth to make an aggressive endorsement of the “many paths to heaven” religious pluralism heresy popularized by those ranging from John Hick, Billy Graham, and the Vatican Council II (now of course my position is that Roman Catholicism is a wholly other and false religion to begin with, but thanks to a long line of people from John Wesley to Billy Graham, Roman Catholics are now accepted as Christians by most evangelicals, which means that their doctrines increasingly influence Protestant thinking). Aslan, the allegorical Jesus Christ figure in Narnia, gives Emeth entrance into heaven because he accepted Emeth’s loyal – indeed fervent – devotion to the demon Tash as service to him. Lewis promoted the popular modern heretical abomination that “good people” who faithfully worship false deities are actually worshiping the one true God whether they know it or not … that those who worship YHWH in ignorance through false religions will receive the same reward as those who worship God openly. This was even inconsistent with the contents of the Narnia books themselves, as the religion dedicated to this demon had corrupted Emeth’s entire culture, people and nation.

But wait. There’s more. Aslan also allows entrance into heaven those who did not worship him, but merely obeyed the laws of Narnia (as Narnia’s laws were based on knowledge of Aslan). So, in addition to “you can get to heaven by being a good demon worshiper”, Lewis basically endorsed the “all good people go to heaven regardless of worship or personal faith” doctrine, which is essentially an endorsement of both Roman Catholic doctrine (salvation is conferred by being a member in good standing with the church) and  modern state-church doctrine. May I remind you that C.S. Lewis was on extremely good terms with the Roman Catholic Church, and a member of the Church of England.

Basically, C.S. Lewis held the position that Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross is applied to all good people regardless of religious practice. Lewis, typical of pluralists and universalists, interprets “I am the way and none can come to the Father except through me” to mean that Jesus Christ alone was the One who secured salvation regardless of faith in Him, and not that salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ.

Again, C.S. Lewis’ beliefs are not hidden in a corner. They are in the Narnia books, read by millions of Christians who profess conservative theological beliefs. And Narnia has defended his views as expressed in “The Last Battle” in a number of writings and media interviews. Naturally, these are not what the many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who love citing Lewis refer to, and it is not what the many evangelical and fundamentalist seminaries assign their students to read. That the folks who tread in these circles esteem C.S. Lewis merely because he is counted as a theological conservative on certain matters (i.e. inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible and the virgin birth, deity, atoning death, resurrection and literal return of Jesus Christ) and oppose theological liberals when they believe basically the same thing on the vital issue of who gets to go to heaven can be nothing other than an indictment of the scandalous condition of the church today … a church that many believe is on the precipice of the great falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3. What else can be said about a Christian climate that continues to revere  C.S. Lewis, Rick Warren and Billy Graham, sponsors such efforts as Evangelicals and Catholics Together, Mormon outreaches, and the Manhattan Declaration (signed by a number of prominent Christians including Al Mohler, which is no surprise as Mohler is on the board of James Dobson’s Focus On The Family).

The truth is that there isn’t that much difference between the beliefs of C.S. Lewis, who is treasured by so many conservative Christians, and the publicly stated beliefs of Barack HUSSEIN Obama. (Yes, Obama proclaims that he believes in the virgin birth, deity, atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.) Yet one they embrace and the other they despise? Then again, since so many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians continued to support George W. Bush even after he stated that the Bible is not literally true but was merely good moral instructions (the position of the deist Thomas Jefferson), that Muslims and Christians worship the same god, and that this god (whoever he is) told him to invade Iraq, and that Billy Graham told him that some people are “born Christian” … well I guess it would have take finding out that C.S. Lewis supported the Democratic Party and Billy Graham becoming a Democrat for prominent Christians to turn on them! One must look at the church, look at the Bible and shudder at the judgments in store for the church of this generation!

Now the verse that C. S. Lewis used in his writings to defend his pluralist position was 1 Timothy 4:10, which reads “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” Lewis and his band of gospel-denying heretics interpret that to mean that God saves “good people” whether they believe or not. The problem: even if you are willing to discard everything else said in Biblical revelation in order to make that single verse the head of all scripture, that isn’t what the verse means. If God is the “Saviour of all” according to Lewis, then His salvation isn’t pluralism (all faithful adherents of their religious traditions get saved because all religions contain enough of God’s revelation to save) or works righteousness (all good people go to heaven) but universalism (everyone goes to heaven regardless of belief  or works). So, in addition to Lewis being internally inconsistent in his Narnia universe by claiming that it was possible to be good, faithful and moral by following a religion dedicated to a demon, and which religion had made the nation given over to worshiping it corrupt and evil, he was inconsistent with his interpretation of 1 Timothy 4:10 by claiming that “Saviour of all” means “Saviour of all good/religious people” instead of “Saviour of all” which is what it plainly says! So, we have a fellow who goes on record stating that a Bible verse doesn’t mean what it plainly says (even according to his own fashion) and he still gets to be regarded as one of the greatest Christian minds of the 20th century? Ok … fine … so who’s the second greatest? If this is what it takes to be regarded as a great Christian mind, what’s the point? What is the benefit? Where is the profit! It would be far better to be regarded a rube, simpleton and dullard by the likes of these people!

So, as 1 Timothy 4:10 plainly cannot be used to support pluralism, we can reject Lewis out of hand and move on to what the verse seems to endorse, which is the universalism of a long line of heretics dating back to at least Origen. Now I must admit: I was stumped. (No great shock or issue there, for after all I am an amateur, not a professional pastor or theologian!) And when I did an Internet search on the matter, I didn’t find much. I guess all the professional pastors and theologians out there had better things to do than properly exegete/interpret/explain a verse that is very commonly abused by universalism heretics! What are some of those things? Oh, I don’t know, how about praising C. S. Lewis and telling their congregations to go watch the Narnia movies and buy the books without bothering to warn them what Lewis really believes and his books really teach … about how it really is no better than Harry Potter? Research shows that most evangelicals believe that “all good people are going to heaven.” Oh, gee, I wonder why?

Fortunately, the excellent The Highway ministry was up to the challenge. A link to their presentation of why 1 Timothy 4:10 does not teach universalism is below:

An Exegetical Study of 1 Timothy 4:10

The main excerpt:

A. This is the correct interpretation. It is found by making a thorough study of the term “Saviour” (in both its noun and verb forms1) in the context of the chapter, the epistle, the New Testament and the Old Testament.2 The final phrase “specially of those that believe” clearly Indicates that the term is here given a twofold application. Of all men God is the Saviour, but of some men, namely, believers, He is the Saviour in a deeper, more glorious sense than He is of others.
This clearly implies that when He Is called the Saviour of all men, this cannot mean that He imparts to all everlasting life, as He does to believers. The term “Saviour,” then, must have a meaning which we today generally do not immediately attach to it. And that is exactly the cause of the difficulty. Often In the Old Testament, the term meant “to deliver — (verbal form) or deliverer (nominal form)” — both with reference to men and God (cf. Judg. 3:9; II Kings 13:5; Neh. 9:27; Ps. 25:5; 106:21). Also, in the New Testament, reference is made to the Old Testament where God delivered Israel from the oppression of Pharaoh for He had been the Saviour of all, but specially those who believed. With the latter, and with them alone, He was “well pleased” (I Cor. 10:5). All leave Egypt; not all enter Canaan.” POINT: In both the Old and New Testaments the term “Saviour” is often used to speak of God’s providential preservation or deliverance which extends to all men without exception. (Cf. Ps. 36:6; 145:9; Matt. 5:45; Luke 6:35; Acts 17:25, 28.) Moreover, God also causes His gospel of salvation to be earnestly proclaimed to all men without distinction; that is, to men from every race and nation (Matt. 28:19). Truly the kindness (providence or common grace) of God extends to all. But even the circle of those to whom the message of salvation is proclaimed is wider than those who receive it by a true saving faith.

B. Conclusion. A paraphrase of what Paul is teaching in I Timothy 4:10 is this: “We have our hope set on the living God, and in this hope we shall not be disappointed, for not only is He a kind God, hence the Saviour (i.e., preserver or deliverer in a providential, non-soteriological sense) of all men, showering blessings upon them, but He is, in a very special sense, the Saviour (in a soteriological sense) of those who by faith embrace Him and His promise, for to them He imparts salvation, everlasting life in all its fulness.

A similar conclusion is reached by Pastor John Sampson.

A great deal more could be said to substantiate this idea of a savior, but I think the above would make the point. God provides food (Psalm 104:27, 28), sunlight and rainfall (Matt. 5:45), as well as life and breath and all things (Acts 17:25), for “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). God preserves, delivers and supplies the needs of all who live in this world, and it is in this sense that He extends grace to them, saving them from destruction every day they live.

God is also gracious in allowing many to hear the proclamation of the Gospel.

All of these mercies are refered to as “common grace.” It is common only in the sense that every living person gets it. This grace should actually amaze us because God is under no obligation whatsoever to give it to anyone. It can never be demanded. God sustains the lives of His sworn enemies, often for many decades! However, as wonderful as it is, it is only a temporal grace because all unregenerate people eventually die and will face the judgment (Heb. 9:27).

I believe then that 1 Timothy 4:10 teaches that we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior (Soter – preserver, sustainer, deliverer) of all people (showing mercy to all, each and every day they live), especially of those who believe (who receive full salvation from His wrath and everlasting life).

For an alternative explanation, Pastor James White proposes that this verse should have been translated to read “who is the Savior of all people, that is, of those who believe” because “malista” should have never been translated as “especially” but instead “that is”. So, a more smooth rendering “who is the Savior of all people who believe” with the “malista” being for the purpose of placing emphasis on “those who believe”, or highlighting those who have saving grace, in a peculiar language convention of the day.

Primarily, however, Dr. White also states that this verse means that Jesus Christ is the only Savior, but that since only those who believe in Jesus Christ actually get saved, Jesus Christ is even more so the Savior for those. In other words, it is a “from general to specific” literary convention. To employ a comparison example:

“A car is a method of transportation, especially for those who own one.” The fact that you do not have access to a car does not negate the fact that a car is a method of transportation. But for those who actually have access to a car, that car is THEIR method of transportation, making it a method of transportation even more so for them, or making it especially a method of transportation.

Taking that back to Jesus Christ, it means that Jesus Christ is Savior whether a person is actually saved or not! Jesus Christ is Savior, especially for people who get saved! And Dr. White’s interpretation actually does fit 1 Peter 1:13-25. That passage is concerned with Jesus Christ’s being appointed as Savior by God before the foundation of the world. This declares Jesus Christ to be Savior not by virtue of His act of saving people, but rather appointing Him to the office of Savior in an official or general way. To go back to the car example, a car does not become a method of transportation only when and because people are riding in it. Instead, provided that the car is capable of operating properly, it is a method of transportation merely by being a car whether it is ever actually driven or not. More to the point, it is a method of transportation even if it is driven by someone else and you personally never get to ride in it. Why? Because it is a car. Further, it is a method of transportation for all people – in the sense that every human being on the planet could hypothetically ride in it … even if they never get a chance to ride in it, they could hypothetically or potentially do so … even though not everyone actually gets to ride in it!

Another example: a surgeon is a surgeon even if he isn’t operating on anyone, and even if he isn’t operating on you. Why? Because even if he never operates on you, his job, title, duty, is still surgeon. And he is still surgeon for all people in the sense that hypothetically he is able to operate on any individual. Despite the fact that he will only perform a few hundred surgeries in his career, he is still qualified, trained, and able to operate on any person who needs a surgeon. So, he is a surgeon “for all” in a general sense, and the surgeon for people that he actually operates on in a specific sense. From general to specific.

Now both The Highway and Dr. James White are correct. God does save by being provider and sustainer of all in a common grace sense, and God also holds the title, role, office etc. of Savior. However, because Dr. James White’s primary explanation seems to best fit the context and also addresses the soteriology component (and does so without relying on either a minor translation for malista that results in a very odd literary construction), that is the one preferred.

The bottom line is that as there are several ways to interpret 1 Timothy 4:10 in a manner that precludes universalism, the only reason to use it to assert that heretical doctrine (or to use it to assert pluralism in spite of the direct text) is a rebellious heart. Which, of course, is no surprise … while there are certainly exceptions (i.e. ignorance) people generally adhere to heretical doctrines because they are heretics. So, those who use 1 Timothy 4:10 in some attempt to deny or reject what the Bible clearly reveals are without excuse, and will receive the heretic’s reward when they stand before the very Jesus Christ whose atonement they so marginalized, distorted and slandered on judgment day.

Do not be counted among their lot, of those who remain hard hearted to God’s revelation. Rather, let them be a lesson, byword, proverb or warning to you. Let their example be something that helps cause you to turn from your own sins – which are no greater than theirs – and submit yourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ who is Savior. Be one of those who believes, one of those that Jesus Christ is especially, specifically a Savior to. Do not delay. Do this immediately.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan Today!

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The Error That Led To COGIC Leader Charles Blake’s Joining Hands With Sodomites

Posted by Job on April 6, 2009

Major thanks and blessings to Pastor D. L. Foster for covering the issue of Church of God in Christ leader and head pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ Charles Blake for signing the universal declaration of human rights. Many supporters of Charles Blake have gone to his website and also to my Youtube site where I posted a video of Blake speaking on the topic. Many have responded to the effect that Blake only intended to support human rights, not homosexuality, and as a matter of fact he is a leader in opposing the sin of homosexuality; that his views concerning this area are doctrinally sound. Now I know little concerning Charles Blake’s views and ministry, so I will defer to the statements of his congregants and supporters, who quite naturally are far more qualified to speak to such issues.

Realize that the issue here is not so much Blake’s actual teachings and views on homosexuality, but the fact that Blake compromised himself by dealing with the human rights crowd in the first place. If you join with people who have anti – Biblical agendas, then you inevitably wind up being servants of that agenda. That is why the Bible makes it clear that Christians, especially pastors, are to be very careful about whom we walk with and join ourselves to. This is true of both the “Christian right” and the “Christian left.”

You see, no Christian should ever endorse the concept of “human rights” because according to the Bible, no such thing exists. Read the Bible, and you will never see anything stating or implying that people have human, civil, or individual rights. The Bible has nothing to do with rights, which constitutes treatment and benefits that individuals and groups deserve and that others – including ultimately God – are obligated to provide them. Rather than being a text that grants humans rights, it gives us responsibilities, all of which center around believing in, obeying, and serving God. Again, the Bible speak of rights given to man, but of man’s responsibility to God.

It is true, of course, that the Bible contains many instructions outlining ethical and moral treatment of human beings. But be not deceived: these things are in no way general, and are certainly not because humans deserve this, or have some “right” to this treatment. The idea that this is the case is the common fallacy of political and ideological liberals and conservatives. Liberals de – spiritualize the Bible, in the process removing everything about God and man’s obligation to him, and instead read it as a philosophical tract. So, for liberals the requirements for ethical behavior contained in the Bible is truthfully all the Bible is, and as a result they remove it from its intended context. Conservatives, for their part, use the Bible as a social contract for imposing laws and morality on society at large. While this does emphasize human obligation over rights, this obligation is to the state and society (the world) instead of to God, and as a result often rejects true justice and mercy (the weightier matters of the law).

Though they are opposite ends of the political and even theological scale, in truth liberals and conservatives both create this error for the same reason: that the Bible message is not meant to govern everyone, but rather only members of the faith community in a covenant relationship with God. In the Old Testament this was Israel, in the New Testament it is the church. The exhortations to ethical behavior and treatment of humanity was only revealed to God’s elect; how they were to treat believers and everyone else. Outside of instructing believers how they were to behave towards their fellow man, the instructions that we should love one another, treat one another well, and defend the powerless have no context and application. In short, it is not because of the inherent worth or value of human existence that gives people the right to be loved, well treated, and defended. It is solely because God commands us to do so.

And why does God tell us to do so? It is not because of the people, their value to God, and His love for them, though God certainly does value and love us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to take on sin and be slain on a cross. It is because God is a holy and righteous God, and He expects His covenant people, His elect, to reflect His holiness and righteousness in our behavior. If we are being cruel towards our fellow man, we are not reflecting God’s holy and righteous character. So again, our responsibility to treat other members of the human race with love, decency, and respect is our obligation to God and is an act of loving and serving God.

Evidence of this is the famous statement of 1 John 4:20 “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” Now the humanist perspective on this verse only focuses on how we are to love our brother. Of course, that is wrong. The verse is not about loving your brother at all. It is about loving God. The verse is contained within a passage of 1 John concerning our loving God, and speaks of how this is accomplished. It is not a passage on how we are to love humanity, it is a passage that tells us to love, honor, and obey GOD by loving humanity.

The same is true of Jesus Christ’s teachings about how Christians should treat widows, the poor, strangers, those in prison, orphans, etc. He did not teach that Christians should do this for the sake of people in need because they inherently deserved this behavior, had some human or civil right to this treatment. Instead, Jesus Christ stated “as you do to them, you do to me!” Again, Jesus Christ made ethical treatment of humanity an act of service to HIM, not to humanity. Again, please read Matthew 25:34-46 and you see the emphasis is on Jesus Christ, not on people. Goodness to people is presented as a way of loving Christ, not as an obligation to humanity for humanity’s sake. And again, we are to love humanity because God loves humanity, because as God’s people we are obligated to reflect God’s loving, holy, and righteous character in all that we do, including but not limited to how we treat other people.

Of course, the liberal Christian reads that passage, despiritualizes it, and humanizes it. That results in the emphasis being removed from God and placed on man, and a reading where man inherently deserves and is obligated to receive good treatment, and other humans are obligated to give it. This, of course, comes from liberal theology’s rejection of original sin. The idea that human, civil, or individual rights exist can only be countenanced if we reject the idea that we are nothing but sinners who deserve only wrath and can only be saved by God’s grace, and that any value that we have is not inherent, but rather because God graciously gives that value to us. 

So the question has to be asked: why is Charles Blake, the leader of a very theologically conservative denomination (it’s true, if the issue of women in ministry is removed, Pentecostal denominations are actually the most conservative) following after liberal theology to begin with? The answer: the civil rights movement. Charles Blake is black, and has bought into the belief that human rights is the logical extension, the next phase if you will, of the movement that Martin Luther King, Jr. led. To be honest, he is 100% correct. Martin Luther King, Jr. said so himself!

The problem is that the civil rights movement was not a Christian movement at all. It was not a movement designed to bring people to the Jesus Christ of the Bible and cause them to obey and serve that Jesus Christ. Instead, the civil rights movement was about securing better treatment for humanity, and the movement merely appropriated Bible texts that were convenient to their agenda while completely ignoring others. This should come as no surprise, for most of the civil rights movement’s leaders were explicitly not Christian, and even those who professed to be Christian – like King – rejected the doctrines that actually make a person Christian. Virtually every preacher, pastor, etc. in the upper ranks of the civil rights leadership rejected the inspiration and authority of scripture, and King himself rejected the deity of Jesus Christ, seeing Him as merely a human political leader.

Yet, because the civil rights movements gained black people in America so many temporal benefits, it is practically impossible for any black man to stand up and say that the civil rights movement was never Christian in any sense and retain the respect and support of the black community. So, black people desiring this respect and support must continue to carry water for the band of atheists, communists, homosexuals, theological liberals, Jews and other decidedly non – Christians that were the civil rights movements’ spokesmen and leaders and for their movement. This, of course, means black Christian pastors that choose to lead overwhelmingly black congregations. It is sad to say, but any pastor of a black congregation who shares with his congregation the hard truth concerning the civil rights movement will find himself no longer leading – or truth be known employed by – a black congregation in short order. So, as a pastor of a large, prominent, respected church containing many black members of some influence and reputation AND having a leadership post in a black denomination Bishop Charles Blake has to not only go along with it concerning the civil rights like everyone else, but embrace it. 

Not only that, but because of the status that he has attained in being a clergy in, of, and for the black community, Blake finds himself under a great deal of pressure. It is not enough to merely be a black preacher, but he is under pressure to be a black leader, to take up the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other civil rights leaders and carry it forward. The narrative has long been established that black ministers cannot simply ply their trade as white, Hispanic and Asian ministers do, but have to add a social justice/social activism/civil rights component. If you are the leader of a small humble storefront congregation that has 75 members, it is easy to resist the pressure, the temptation, to be “more than just a minister” but a civil rights leader. But the more influential, the more prominent that you become as a pastor in the black community, the greater the pressure and temptation to take up Martin Luther King Jr.’s work becomes. The problem is that the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. was not the work of Jesus Christ, not least because Martin Luther King, Jr. did not even believe in Jesus Christ, let alone serve Him. 

So it may yet be true that Charles Blake has the Biblical view towards homosexuality. What is equally true, however, is that Charles Blake has an unBiblical behavior towards the world, and exhibited it by going along with these unbelievers with the human rights declaration despite knowing full well that these unbelievers will – as unbelievers tend to do – use the human rights declaration to support and promote sin while opposing righteousness. There are two verses that apply here. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Well, Blake is walking with these people despite knowing full well what they are all about. Now while Pastor Foster is focusing on the homosexuality angle (which is a bit regrettable because it somewhat clouds the issue) the main problem with the universal declaration of human rights where I am concerned is that it is very much a religious universalistic – or at the very minimum religious pluralistic – effort, working to make the “many paths to heaven” lie the only acceptable language of religious discourse and bringing us closer to the day where saying that Jesus Christ is the only path to heaven is bigotry – a human rights violation! – because it offends Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, wiccans, etc.

Second, there is James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Look, Pastor Charles Blake is a very educated, intelligent and accomplished man. He knows what these human rights people are about. He knows what the civil rights crowd is and was about. He knows that “human rights” has no place in a Biblical worldview. Yet he does this because of his position in the world and his desire to keep it. 

So ultimately, this has nothing to do with homosexuality at all. It is all about worldiness, and what Bishop Charles Blake has allowed himself to get mixed up with is still more evidence why Christians, most of all pastors, should heed the Bible’s instructions to flee it. 

P.S. I don’t want any of you folks coming on here quoting what some famous preacher or theologian says about human, civil, or individual rights, and I ESPECIALLY do not want to read any nonsense about “natural law” or any other perversion of what scripture teaches about common grace. Those things are not the process of a literal, exegetical reading of scripture, but notions that came to us from systematic theology. Systematic theology is the convergence of Bible doctrines (which truthfully, is not exactly the Bible itself, but is honestly one step removed) and western philosophy, and western philosophy originated and is largely rooted in pagan Hellenism. Now while systematic theology has its uses (especially for westerners and we do live in a western culture … I should point out that for non – western people systematic theology is must less useful and more problematic, and non – western Christians have been trying to communicate this fact for centuries), it has to be directly wedded to the Bible to make sense. But once you depart from the Bible, well let us just say that I am convinced that a skilled enough systematic theologian could make a compelling case that 1+1=3. If you don’t believe me, go read about how some of the great systematic theologians justified such things as torturing and killing heretics. Yep, the same folks who went around prattling about human or individual rights derived from natural law thought nothing of tying someone to a stake and burning him to death, using green wood so that the death would be as slow and painful as possible. The truth is that if you read the Bible exegetically and refrain from eisegesis (infusing the text with ideas and meanings that aren’t present), you will not find the concept of human, individual, or civil rights and liberties in the Bible, only of man’s responsibility to respond to God in faith with service, obedience, and trembling. 

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The Goodness Of God: Is It Relative Or Absolute?

Posted by Job on January 4, 2009

I am going to reuse one of my favorite cliches from philosophy: “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear or see it, has it really fallen?”

Now I do not know much about philosophy but I will attempt to answer it from a philosophical angle. The modernist would reply “yes, because the tree’s falling is fact, a historical event that took place in the natural realm of space and time, a propositional, rational truth. The fact that it was not observed does not negate the fact that it was a real, observable, measurable event that left evidence behind of its occurrence.”

The postmodernist for his part would reply “no, because truth is relative, and is solely determined by the person who interprets and determines truth based on his experiences and biases. So, if there was no one there to hear or see the tree fall, then there was no one there to determine that this event happened or interpret its meaning. Even if you were to claim that the tree did fall, I have the right to declare that it did not, and my opinion would be every bit as valid as yours.”

The premodernist for his part would state “whether the tree fell or not or if there ever was a tree in the first place is up to my religious leader and my political leader to decide – especially if my religious leader and my political leader are the same person -and anyone who disagrees with them will be burned as a heretic so either way the truth really doesn’t matter does it!”

So for some issues, modernism, postmodernism, and premodernism are inadequate. Modernism can only deal with truths that can be observed or measured according to some rational system so that mind makes right. Postmodernism makes truth a moving target so that it can be the instrument of whoever is best able to use – or misuse – it so that feelings make right. And premodernism allows truth to be defined by human institutions and authority so that might makes right. So when it comes to the Bible, all of them come short.

Faith, that which is unseen, hoped for, and will ultimately be realized only in the world to come, cannot be observed or measured. No one has ever seen God at any time. Yet faith is based on direct and core truths that cannot be cast off with feelings, interpretations, or cultural constructs. God does definitely exist. However, true faith cannot be dictated or imposed by human might or effort. God alone provides humans with the ability to truly believe in and obey Him. 

So it is with the attributes of God, including His goodness. Is God’s goodness relative or absolute? The reason why I ask is related to my earlier post on the direction of modern Christian and popular music, and also of much contemporary Christian preaching. Many Christian songs and sermons declare the goodness of God based not only on what God has done, but specifically based on the good things that God has done for them. Now I do acknowledge and commend some among these people that exist in this environment and yet manage to deal with the many bad, cruel, horrible things that are the facts of life: sickness, death, family breakups, persecution etc. But even there, the response is usually “God is still good because He allowed these bad things to happen to me in order to teach me a lesson … to make me stronger.”

So what, then, is the message? The conclusion? The point? That God is good because He is good to us? That would mean that God’s goodness is not absolute but rather relational. It means that God’s goodness is defined according to how He behaves towards His creation, or even a subset thereof. So, God is allowed to be good towards sinful man because sinful man has been redeemed by Jesus Christ. God is allowed to punish those not redeemed by Jesus Christ because a truly good God cannot allow evil to go unpunished. Why the latter? Because a good God HAS to punish the bad people for the things that they have done to other people, especially the good people! (And who are the good people? Why me and people like me, including those that I know and care about!)

This line of thinking creates a problem. If God’s goodness is only relational with respect to His creation, then what about before creation? What about before Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1? As prior to creation God had no creation to be good in relationship to, then was God good before He created? Well, to get around that problem, many claim that God performed creation because of His goodness! That it was because of His goodness God created something to express His goodness with, or to create some expression or outlet for His goodness!

That is fine until you deal with the fact that creation was ultimately tainted by sin, which necessitates destroying practically all of it. So if God’s goodness is a function of how He behaves toward creation, how could He have given creation the possibility of being corrupted by sin? Would it not have been a better working of God’s goodness not to have allowed sin to corrupt creation, or never to have created at all? 

This actually gets to be a real problem when it comes to the eternal fates of human spirits. If God’s goodness is based on how He treats His creation, then how can a good God allow human spirits to burn in the lake of fire for eternity? It is precisely that question that leads people to embrace universalism (everyone will be saved), pluralism (all good people will be saved regardless of their accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), and annihilationism (those who are not saved will be consumed by Gehenna flames and cease to exist rather than burn eternally). And it does not stop there. Why should a truly good God require holy living, actual faith, and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ from Christians? A profession of faith, and certainly recitation of a prayer, participation in baptism, and regular church attendance and giving should be enough. 

It leads to “God is good because of how He treats mankind.” And that leads to “God is good because of how He treats ME.” As humans are by nature self – centered (and our postmodern culture makes us even more so!) this is inevitable. And that leads to a distorted view of God from which comes distorted doctrines, practice, and Christian living. If God is good because of how He treats me, then that allows me to judge God by determining what is good and what isn’t. If God does not treat me how I believe that I deserve to be treated, then God is not good. So, I will go follow a doctrine, a movement, a religion whose “god” treats me, accommodates me, in the manner that I feel is appropriate and that I deserve. If I love myself, I will choose a “god” who indulges me, if I hate myself, I will choose a “god” that punishes me. Also, if God is good because of how He treats me, why should I fear such a God? Why should I approach Him with trembling? (I know that Hebrews says to go boldly before the throne of grace in prayer, but the point is not the boldness but the grace. It is only God’s grace that makes such a bold approach possible.)

So Christians have to accept, teach, preach, and live the fact that God’s attributes – His goodness, greatness, love, righteousness, holiness, power, omnipotence etc. – are not relational, or defined in any sense by God’s position with man or man’s position with God. Instead, they are absolute. As God pre – exists, His attributes pre – exists. They define God, and God defines them. They are facts and are the same with or without creation. They are what creation has the responsibility of responding to. And they are what God’s ultimate creation, the church, has the responsibility of interpreting God’s Word, the Bible, in light of. 

So God is not good because of what He does for you. God is good regardless of what happens to you in this life or the next. God bestows goodness on His creation because of grace. But without that factor, or even without creation, God would still be good. So we should praise, worship, and glorify God because He is good, and not because His goodness means any particular positive outcome for His creation or any portion of it. 

Christians need to urgently recognize this fact, and to change their songs and sermons accordingly.

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Attention Religious Right Evangelicals: George W. Bush’s View Of The Bible Is No Different From Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s!

Posted by Job on December 11, 2008

George Bush does not believe that the Bible should be interpreted literally, but that “you can learn a lot from it.” Add this to his claim that Christians also pray to the ancient near moon god of the Muslims, whose name is LITERALLY sin (i.e. wilderness of sin and Mount Sinai in Exodus!) and his statement that belief in Jesus Christ is not required to go to heaven. Now how many religious right pastors and other people of influence (including, by the way, Billy Graham!) have personally attested to George Bush being a man of strong faith who believes in and lives by the Bible, is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and consults God in everything that he does?

I have to tell you … I heard about this on the a conservative talk show this morning while driving around. Of course, the host defended Bush, and a bunch of other professed Christians called up doing the same. See, for these people, Christianity is not about God or the Bible. It is about A) your own feelings, desires, goals, etc. and B) country and culture, you know, “values.” How many evangelicals knew this when they trudged to the polls? When they got into running debates and arguments over the godless liberals in defense of this man? When they supported the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, the bailout, his free trade policies, and basically everything else questionable that he has done? So, what do you say now?

 George W. Bush does not believe that the Bible should be interpreted literally. He does not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. He believes that all religions worship the same God. So what difference is there then, theologically, than Barack Hussein Obama’s Jeremiah Wright black liberation theology Christianity?

Now evangelical or fundamental Christian, you are welcome to believe that George W. Bush was a great president for this country by agreeing with his leadership and policies. It is not my purpose to take my position on that. However, if you believe that George W. Bush is an evangelical, fundamental, orthodox, traditional, or otherwise Bible – believing Christian, then your problem is with the truth. See the video below. The question is whether you would have given the same level of support to Bush and his policies had you known in advance that Bush was no different from Barack HUSSEIN Obama theologically.

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More Evidence That Barack HUSSEIN Obama Is Following After Martin Luther King: He Adheres To The Abominations Of The Religions Of India

Posted by Job on November 12, 2008

In case you did not know, Martin Luther King Jr. developed his philosophy of “nonviolent” subversive political tactics by merging SELECTIVE AND OUT OF CONTEXT doctrines of Christianity and the jainism religion of India. Well, the fellow who has often been identified as King’s successor, Barack HUSSEIN Obama, is going one step further. See, King’s aims in co – opting both jainism and a partial set of Christianity were entirely secular and political. It looks more and more like Barack HUSSEIN Obama, meanwhile, is either personally committed to or is at least heavily promoting a religious system of India out of some strong commitment to religious pluralism. When you consider his religious links to not only Jeremiah Wright but new age witch Oprah Winfrey, that is not surprising. Please consider the information below.

President Elect Barack Hussein Obama, Junior. Has Promised To Install A Pagan Idol In His Presidential Chamber.

by @ 10:29 pm. Filed under Nuts on Parade

You may recall in an earlier post, I noted how both of the leading Presidential candidates engage in idolatry. I noted how Obama keeps a pagan idol, Hanuman, Hinduism’s popular monkey god in his pocket. Well, some people felt it should not be considered a major issue. Some people felt it was noting that indicated a serious issue of idolatry in the life of the President elect. Well the folks who wanted to give Obama a 2-foot gold plated statue of Hanuman, that has been prayed over by 12 Hindu priests, have been seeking continually to get it to him. And Obama, instead of treating it as something he might keep in a garage, or better refuse, has made it known he will keep this false monkey god in his Presidential chamber.

Congressman Bhama says Hanuman helped Obama     

NEW DELHI: Barack Obama couldn’t have made the giant leap to the White House as the first Afro-American President in the US without the divine blessings of an Indian god. That is the firm belief of elected member of All India Congress Committee (AICC), Brij Mohan Bhama. “It was the magic of Pawanputra Hanuman that did it all,” asserts a convinced Bhama, a devoted Obama fan. “It is the truimph of Lord Hanuman on the soils of America,” he declares, and nothing can shake his belief-in Obama or Hanuman’s blessings.

Bhama claimed he had been flooded with grateful smses and emails since the results to the US polls were announced. He was thanked for his staunch support for Obama. “I sent out a congratulatory email to the president elect early in the morning,” he said, as he talked about the email id he had specially created to rally support for Obama. The id was called bhamaobama.

Some may have concerns about Obama’s India policies, but Bhama will hear none of it.’`He is a Democrat, yet he extended his full support to the nuclear deal. His ethnicity will automatically make him a friend of this country,” he said.

In July this year, Bhama created waves of excitement when he organised a special puja by 12 priests at the Sankat Mochan Dham on Pusa Road for Obama’s victory. At the time, Bhama gifted a two-foot high, gold-plated idol of Hanuman to Obama.

“I had a conversation with Obama in July and he promised to install the idol at his chamber once he was elected President,” smiles the elated Congressman. Now he plans to visit the White House after January 20, 2009, to present the Hanuman idol. “Along with a delegation, I will go to the US to gift him the idol. So far, American law forbade him from accepting any overseas gift that cost more than $10. But, now that he will be president, no such problem will arise,” said Bhama. The idol at present is lording over in a temple in New Jersey, he adds.

Bhama says Obama’s success run began soon after he accepted the gift and agreed to keep it in his office. “When we gifted him the idol, he was not even the Democrats’ presidential nominee. But, after that, he was not just elected as the Democrats’ candidate but also won,” he added.

According to media reports, among Obama’s good luck charms are “a bracelet belonging to a soldier deployed in Iraq, a gambler’s lucky chit and a tiny Madonna and child, and a tiny monkey god.”

And what do you know, he carries a Mary idol too!

Now from this point in this post, I could go and expound on how anyone claiming to be Christian is warned to flee from idolatry. I mean 1 Corinthians 10Acts 15Galatians 51 John 5 and so many other scriptures make it profoundly clear, that nobody claiming the Lord’s name is to EVER engage in idolatry. But there’s only one I’m going to focus on in this post, because it’s short and to the point. With Obama, we have a man who has openly denied that Jesus is the only means of salvation, which totally denies Jesus is the one true Christ and hope for salvation. It’s heresy, a secular humanistic form of Universalism, that he and those like him promote, that asserts someone’s good works can bring them salvation. He’s totally embraced idols, many idols. He has spewed all manner of heresies. He totally has the posture of a politician who claims Christianity because it goes over well in election polling. But he’s not showing the true fruit of a saint, I mean not at all. So the one passage of scripture I want to put focus on, is the one I really hope some pastor who knows the truth might be able to reach the President elect with.

Revelation 22:15 (New American Standard Bible)     

15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Now I know the President elect has denied the truth of the Word of God, in his clams that passages in the book of Romans are “obscure”. And trying to act as if red letters can be played against all other scripture; which defies all scripture is to be taken as equal weight and God breathed, 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20-21. But I’d still prefer someone share the truth with him.

So, Islam, Roman Catholicism, eastern religions, a liberation theology version of Protestantism, a willingness to make some of the more moderate evangelicals happy by making it clear that he “respects” them (which is a big thing for them, respect from the world), plus a healthy dose of Ivy League intellectual skepticism to mollify the atheist crowd that he is as good as they are going to get anytime soon. Looks like Hussein Obama has all the bases covered. It is not one world religion, but it is definitely a strong move towards that direction. And please remember that Martin Luther King, Jr. in getting world Christianity to respect syncretism with eastern religions using his “nonviolent civil rights movement” Trojan horse helped pave the way.

By the way, pagan idolatrous symbolism is apparently very important to this Obama character. Remember his Democratic national convention acceptance speech?

Well If You’re Going To Have Worship Of Man, An Ancient Greek Temple Replica Is Only Fitting!

by @ 10:50 am. Filed under Nuts on Parade

Check this out.

Obama Speech Stage Resembles Ancient Greek Temple  

DENVER (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple.

The stage, similar to structures used for rock concerts, has been set up at the 50-yard-line, the midpoint of Invesco Field, the stadium where the Denver Broncos’ National Football League team plays.

Some 80,000 supporters will see Obama appear from between plywood columns painted off-white, reminiscent of Washington’s Capitol building or even the White House, to accept the party’s nomination for president.

He will stride out to a raised platform to a podium that can be raised from beneath the floor.

The show should provide a striking image for the millions of Americans watching on television as Obama delivers a speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination.

Politicians in past elections have typically spoken from the convention site itself, but the Obama campaign liked the idea of having their man speak to a larger, stadium-sized crowd not far from where the Democratic National Convention is being held, at the Denver pro basketball arena.

Obama was taking a page from the campaign book of John Kennedy in 1960 when the future president delivered his acceptance speech to 80,000 people in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Once Obama speaks, confetti will rain down on him and fireworks will be fired off from locations around the stadium wall.

So in the tradition of man (idol) worship, with Obama being the (idol) cult focal point, Barack Hussein Obama, Junior will be in a Greek temple replica giving his speech. Then there will be celebration once Obama (the idol) is finished addressing the crowd. It’s bad enough that this nation’s Capitol building and White House resemble buildings constructed for idolatry, but now Team Obama is knowingly promoting the cult “temple” vision. I guess they didn’t want to do it like other candidates, when they can further promote idolatry with their own “temple”.

Sure I know some of you disagree, but there is a not very subtle promotion of an idol going on here. And now they’ve constructed him a temple. They hope he goes to the even larger temple. To spread the doctrine of Obama and they feel that will heal our land. It is why this man is being played up in ways beyond many presidential candidates before him, because for many he is a living idol. The Democratic convention opened to the theme of Universalism and will close around the central cult figure, Obama.


Related posts:

Now I have not paid much attention to the messianic cult that surrounds Obama in large part because other nations and cultures have traditionally revered their leaders in a similar manner. As a matter of fact, it was not uncommon even in the west in times past. You should see some of the songs, sonnets and artwork composed to honor monarchs, for instance. So I am going to chalk that up to America reverting back to historical norms or taking on the traits of other cultures before I make anything exceptional of it, especially when you consider some of the nonsense stories that used to be traded about George Washington, that he was “bulletproof” because of some special calling or standing that this FREEMASON allegedly had from God and other such rabble. (Amazing how we used to indoctrinate our kids. Political correctness and multiculturalism largely just replaced one form of indoctrination with another.)

Incidentally, there is a story, probably true, about Abraham Lincoln that is relevant here. It is said that an emancipated slave prostrated himself before Lincoln to express his gratitude to the president for his freedom and that of others. According to the story, Lincoln told the man to get up and to give thanks to God for his freedom. Again, if this tale is true, please contrast the refusal of a political leader to receive human praise to the vanity of this current one who seems to demand and require it. I still recall how Obama definitely was angered and lost his composure – and it took him awhile to regain it! – when John McCain dared to question his notions of being great and high and lifted up with that Britney Spears/Paris Hilton commercial. Well, Obama, there is only one that is truly Holy. There is only one that is truly High and Lifted Up. There is only one that is truly deserving of praise. You are not Him. Instead, you will stand before Him in judgment, bow, and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Are you ready for that day, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.? Your mother, father, grandmother and grandfather have gone on before you, and their fates are sealed. But what of your fate, Mr. Obama? What of you and your house?

Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. please remember Isaiah 14. Also, please recall Ezekiel 28:12-19. It is true that the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel were speaking to Satan. It is also true that they were speaking to the king of Tyre, in whom there was a form of Satan’s pride and vanity that caused his downfall. Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. it is God who raises up rulers to do His will, not false gods like Hanuman. It was not the skull that those Peruvian shamans had their seance ritual over that got you elected either! It was God who raised you up. And if you continue in the ways of pride and vanity like the king of Tyre, like the king of Tyre and of Satan as well, your downfall is coming.

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George W. Bush To Attend Religious Universalism Summit. Evangelicals Who Would Trash Bill Clinton or Barack Obama For Doing The Same Where Are You?

Posted by Job on November 1, 2008

Note: this is more evidence still that the “Christian values” movement is simply a universalist works religion. You have the Orthodox Jews, Roman Catholics, and evangelicals basically making up the religious right and you have the liberal pluralists and universalists (as well as those who basically deny a literal afterlife) making up the religious left, and all are united by a common ethical and cultural worldview, not a religious one. In other words, it is the social gospel left against the social gospel right, but it is still the social gospel. And at its root it is – you guessed it – freemasonry which has always A) denied the divinity and work of Jesus Christ and B) while not denying a supreme being or creator always nonetheless promoted an ethical system that will unite humanity (of course with certain humans, mainly freemason leaders, ultimately being in benevolent control). Of course, freemasonry is not nearly the only group that believes this, and they are also not the first. But again, it is mighty revealing that the same religious right leaders that sounded the alarm when Bill Clinton used to attend and promote religious pluralism at events like these won’t raise a peep about the first president to pray in a Muslim mosque George W. Bush. But let Barack HUSSEIN Obama win the White House and these same people will insist that Obama “is trying to destroy our Biblical Christian heritage” by attending meetings like these. And again, that is why a great part of me is convinced that John McCain will ultimately win. It will be far easier for the former Episcopalian who actually asked a leader of the Southern Baptist Convention if being rebaptized as a Southern Baptist would help him win the GOP primary (he was told no by the fellow who incidentally was also advising Mormon Mitt Romney!) to bring evangelical Christians closer to this than Barack Obama. Seriously, hearing religious right talk radio give unqualified endorsement to John and Sidney McCain’s background and character … well again it will be much easier for McCain to continue to lead the religious right further into the darkness of hypocrisy and willing blindness. If anything, an Obama win would probably mean that the job is finished already, and there is nothing left for McCain to do in that area. 

Bush to Attend U.N. Conference on Religions, Cultures

UNITED NATIONS — President Bush will join several other world leaders at a General Assembly meeting to promote a global dialogue about religions, cultures and common values, U.N. and U.S. officials said Friday.

The meeting is a follow-up to an interfaith conference in Madrid organized by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and King Juan Carlos of Spain in July which brought together Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and representatives of other religions and sparked hopes of a new relationship among religions.

General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann has sent invitations to all 192 U.N. member states to the high-level meeting on Nov. 12-13 and expects at least 20 or 30 world leaders to attend, his spokesman Enrique Yeves said. Bush will attend on Nov. 13, U.N. and U.S. officials said.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush “remains committed to fostering interfaith harmony among all religions, both at home and abroad.” She said Bush also plans to meet separately with Abdullah.

D’Escoto believes the initiative “should be broadened to talking not only about religions but about cultures, about all the common values we have,” Yeves said. “He would like that we talk not only about dialogue, but about joining forces in order to work together with all these common values to address the major issues that we are facing right now in the world,” Yeves said.

Abdullah, whose country bans non-Muslims from openly practicing their religion, has called for religious tolerance and said such dialogue is the duty of every human being.

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The Early Church Fathers: Amillennialism and Universalism

Posted by Job on October 15, 2008

According to William J. La Due, who can hardly be considered fundamentalist (he has been a professor at St. Francis Seminary and Catholic University of America) in The Trinity Guide To Eschatology (which I do not recommend) Irenaeus of Lyons, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Hippolytus were millennialists. It was those who came later, such as Origen, Jerome, and Augustine who rejected it, and Origen and Augustine in particular for amillennialism.

What happened? Simple: the influence of Greek paganism. From La Due’s writings, it is easy to connect the dots and come to the conclusion that 1) amillennialism was required for universalism and 2) universalism was needed to resolve the conflict between Christianity and Hellenism. Despite the claims of universalists that their interpretations are more consistent with the overall body of scripture, the truth is that Origen and the rest simply used a grotesquely out of context interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:28 (When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all) to justify their refusal to reject Greek pagan religion.

La Due further stated that the first prominent theologian to try to merge Christianity and Hellenism was Clementine of Alexandria, who died in the early 3rd century. This Clementine was the first Christian advocate of purgatory. By this Clementine imported the Greek mythological concept of purgatory into Christianity as a key component of universalism. (The Vatican II returned to Clementine’s doctrine by using purgatory to facilitate “all religions and good people who follow them lead to heaven” pluralism as opposed to “everyone whether religious or not and good or evil goes to heaven” universalism.)

Augustine incidentally rejected universalism. Further the Roman church did not get around to officially condemning Origenism in 543 and 553. (Augustine’s view of purgatory, by the way, were much closer to Jesus Christ’s parable of Lazarus and the rich man than they were to contemporary or historic Roman Catholic doctrine on the matter.) However, only Origen was so condemned, not Gregory of Nyssa, Clement of Alexandria, or the many others that played with this doctrine, including Ambrose of Milan. La Due suggests that the real reason why Origen was condemned while the many other universalists were not was Origen’s proto – Mormon doctrine of pre – existence, not universalism. Perhaps condemning universalism would have meant condemning purgatory as well?

In any event, it certainly looks like Origen and his fellow travelers rejected the endtimes views of the early church because millennialism (and ultimately eternal punishment) made doctrines that conformed to the worldviews of the Greeks unworkable. We see the same thing going on today, with not only so many leading evangelicals following the lead of Vatican II Roman Catholics and theological liberals in adopting pluralism to please the current philosophical mindset, but many also adopting annhiliationism (the belief that sinners will simply cease to exist based on the notion that the worth of man is so great that God cannot judge mankind as He sees fit without being considered cruel and tyrannical). By contrast, Augustine taught that the reason why sinners would be resurrected and receive new incorruptible bodies on judgment day would be so that the flames of the lake of fire would never consume them!

Alas, it is regrettable that so many Reformed evangelicals either believe in the pre – tribulation rapture (i.e. John MacArthur or Albert Pendarvis) or amillennialism (e.g. R.C. Sproul). It is even more regrettable that many Reformed amillennialists insist that amillennialism was the mainstream position of the early church. On the other hand, it does appear that my oft – proposed theory that the Constantism (the Roman imperial church and the Roman Catholic Church) adopted and promoted amillennialism to justify its goals of co – opting Christianity for political and military ambitions – dominionism or official theology – is problematic, as amillennialism has to go with the practice of worshiping saints and Mary and the doctrine of purgatory as yet another thing that cannot be blamed on Constantinism because it predated his takeover of Christianity by at least 100 years. Amillennialism is not evidence of how the Roman Empire took Christianity off its path, but rather how the Roman Empire adopted a faith that had already long veered from its apostolic foundations.

So instead, amillennialism, purgatory, saint and angel worship, and the heresies concerning Mary were simply attempts to make the faith acceptable, conformed with, and relevant with the world. Am I exaggerating, then, to say that Clement and Origen of those days are the emergent leaders like Rick Warren, Erwin McManus, Rob Bell, and Dan Kimball or political Christians like James Dobson, Barry Lynn and Bill Moyers today? Not a whole lot, and probably not at all. Whether it is Hellenism or enlightenment rationalism or postmodernist consumerism, James 4:4 and Romans 12:1-2 still applies.

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Leading Charismatic J. Lee Grady Claiming That Sarah Palin Is A Prophet Chosen By God To Lead Christians Into Holy War!

Posted by Job on September 10, 2008

I know, I know, yet another political article. I promise to do better, but how can I ignore things like this? Brother PJ Miller tipped me off to this fromJ. Lee Gray, editor of the influential Charisma Magazine. Now similar to Christianity Today and Roman Catholics with evangelical Christians, Charisma Magazine should have been rejected by Pentecostals and charismatics once they started accepting oneness pentecostal anti – Trinitarian heretics among their midst. Here it is in black and white from J. Lee Grady’s pen:

2. Trinitarians must embrace our Oneness brothers. I know people in the Assemblies of God who were taught all their lives that the Jesus worshiped by Oneness Pentecostals is “another Jesus.” The Lord told us to love one another, but we have avoided this by declaring that our brothers aren’t really in the family.

So what excuse is there for calling Charisma Magazine anything but what it is, which is apostate? Even better:

It all sounds like pointless doctrinal hair-splitting to us younger types. After all, who can explain the mystery of God’s triune nature? Instead of fussing about terms or reducing the gospel to a baptismal formula, why can’t we rally around our common belief that the Father sent His Son to save the world?

Excuse me, but what vital Christian doctrine CANNOT that be said about? Creationism? It is too hard to understand. Baptism? It is too hard to obey. The incarnation? Can’t believe it. The resurrection? Can’t accept it. Salvation only through the cross? Can’t put up with it. Eternal damnation in the lake of fire for sinners? Can’t conceive it. Adulterers, liars, thieves, necromancers, occultists, homosexuals, and apostates in the pulpit? Judge not, touch not mine anointed and do my prophet no harm! Look, A FALSE GOSPEL CANNOT SAVE!

But enough of that digression. J. Lee Grady claims that Sarah Palin has the Deborah anointing. Now my position is that all of these various spirits that Pentecostals and charismatics speak of do not exist, as there is one Lord who has one spirit, the Holy Spirit. Also, the word “anointing” means “choosing”, when one is “anointed by God”, it means that a person was given a calling by God to a specific calling or ministry in service to the Lord and His people. So I would discourage Christians from going around saying that someone has “a David anointing” or “a Hezekiah anointing” or “Paul’s spirit”, but I will go ahead and say that it is a crude and possibly incorrect but still understandable way of saying that someone has the same office, calling, or task as another Christian.

On J. Lee Grady’s part, this is very problematic for two reasons. First, the Bible commands us to “lay hands quickly on no man.” That is 1 Timothy 5:22. Now the best context for this verse was the practice of the church laying hands on people when they choose officers for the church. Please recall that when Stephen the martyr and Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas were appointed as deacons in Acts 6:1-6. Verse 6 states that after the church selected them, the apostles laid hands on them after praying for them. Though laying hands on people was part of the ritual or process of actually choosing and placing people in the position of service, it became a shorthanded reference for the act of choosing and installing a person into Christian service itself. But please note Acts 6:1-6 and interpret it with 1 Timothy 5:16-25. In both cases, it is obvious that a person should not be laid hands upon, or chosen, or anointed, unless the person had demonstrated their worthiness for the position by their fruits: excellent reputations, spiritual maturity, strong knowledge of and adherence to the Word of God in the eyes of the local congregation.

Now unless Grady has some extensive past history with Sarah Palin that he for some reason chooses not to reveal in his column, he has NO BASIS for claiming under New Testament church standards that God has called this woman to leadership or anything else. If he has been in longtime Christian fellowship with Palin, he should have let us know this. Otherwise, we can presume that like 99.9% of America, he was so ignorant of this woman’s existence that he could not have picked her out of a lineup until now.

So claiming that Palin was appointed by God to anything is irresponsible, reckless, and dangerous because it causes Christians to presume that she is generally acting and leading according to God’s desires and even non – Christians that respect our faith to presume that she is basically honest and moral. Such claims also damage how Christians view church doctrines and practice. Talk like this hinders people from knowing that being called by God or even elected to service by the church MEANS SOMETHING. That there are STANDARDS that these people must adhere to in order to be eligible for their appointment (in the case of a deacon) and AFTER their appointment (in the case of church appointed deacons and God – called everything else). That people keep throwing around  “I have an anointing, he has an anointing, I feel a great anointing and move of the Holy Spirit in this place” with the same level of care and discernment as they would use to say “boy that was a mighty fine and tasty bowl of oatmeal” is a great reason why we allow anyone – especially if he is a Christian – do whatever they want with no accountability whatsoever. 

So what is Grady’s basis for alleging that Palin has a call on her life? Her politics. Her values. Her culture. Her family. Her actions as mayor and governor. And keep in mind: he knows NONE of these first hand! He only knows them by their reports from people who have a motive to portray Palin in the best possible light for worldly reasons, and of course Grady is ignoring all of  the people with opposing views of this woman’s performance and character. They’re just liberals who reject the Bible, right? Now if they were “Jesus Christ was born again in hell” Word of Faith teachers, “Jesus Christ was rich” prosperity doctrine teachers, or “God the Father suffered and died on the cross” United (oneness) Pentecostals, they’d be good credible people, right? 

This is replacing true Christianity, which is of the spirit, with a works – based religion of the flesh. Of the circumcision. And you know what? It is a very shallow one at that. Islam, Judaism, Hinduism … do you know what those religions require before a person is declared worthy, a lifetime process of rigorous spiritual, religious, and personal demands? Muslims according in particular to their belief system have no assurance of their salvation when they die (unless they perish in a holy war) no matter their dedication to Islam during their lives. But Grady – and those like him – are willing to say that just because we like what we KNOW of her church (its denomination is similar to mine), her culture (small town self – reliant Alaska outdoorsmen are more holy and sanctified than those inner city welfare mothers?), her lifestyle (a married mother of five is more holy than, you know, a married mother of two or a single mother of any amount?) and her political beliefs?

The last one is key. Because she shares my values, her daughter being pregnant out of wedlock is fine. It is covered by, you know, grace. But since Jamie Lynn Spears and her family does not share my values, it is horrible. No grace for you! And as for Obama, we can dismiss him by saying that if it was his daughter he would have forced her to have an abortion, convicting him in advance for something that he hasn’t even done yet and we have no idea whether he would! The opposite of grace for you! Never mind the fact that pro – abortion people who have unwanted pregnancies choose to have the baby all the time. Never mind the fact that pro – life people who have unwanted pregnancies have abortions all the time. (Studies assert that evangelicals have the same abortion rate as the national average, some claim that it is even higher.)

Now, THIS is where the 30 years of James Dobson Focus on the Family religious right mindset of conferring righteousness on people based on their lifestyles, cultures, affiliations, and political beliefs has gotten us. And we really are entering a sort of danger zone here. Where J. Lee Grady has generally not been one given to trying to influence politics, he goes and calls this woman God’s prophet. And Albert Mohler, usually a no – nonsense figure who also avoids religious right politics and is no supporter of Pentecostalism, has basically endorsed Palin, something that I can find no evidence whatsoever that he did for Mike Huckabee, a leader of his own denomination. If this is not Phariseeism as expressed in the political and cultural context, what is?

As I said of Grady, if Mohler has some pre – existing relationship with this woman that causes him to regard her as being worthy of his endorsement based largely on her being a Christian (or should I again say a Christian with the “right” cultural markers … where in the Bible does it say that shooting bears, eating mooseburgers, living in the frontier, and having 5 kids places you closer to the kingdom of heaven or is evidence of the inner workings of the fruits of the Holy Spirit?), then he should let us know. Otherwise, it is AT BEST reckless and irresponsible. At worst, it is showing much more respect than he ever would to even another professed Christian that came in different packaging. Would Grady and Mohler be as effusive over a Methodist from Chicago or Episcopal from Baltimore, especially if they were Democrats, even if they were right on the doctrinal issues and the political ones directly related to them (i.e. abortion and homosexuality)?You know the answer to that question and so do they. 

And that is just the first part. The second concern is not nearly as lengthy but even more important. Go back to the book of Judges, chapter 4 in particular for this “Deborah anointing” issue. What was the situation? The children of Israel were at war with an enemy that, oh well, could be compared to the Muslims of today without being too far off. What did God choose Deborah to be? His prophetess through whom He spoke His Word. Again, why did God raise up prophets and judges in those days? TO USE THEM TO LEAD ISRAEL IN BATTLE AGAINST THE ENEMY. And what happened? Though Barak was the judge and the leader of the army, THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF, he would not go into battle against the ancestors of today’s MUSLIMS, in particular THE PALESTINIANS, without God’s prophetess Deborah on the battlefield leading him. Why? Because though Barak had been called by God to lead the army, because of his weak character and faith he was unwilling to do so without a woman of stronger character and faith at his side.

So here we are in America in a war against terror against a Muslim ideology. And – if their electoral hopes and dreams are fulfilled as I think they will be – the commander in chief will be another Barak, a man who professes Christian faith (raised Episcopal but now Southern Baptist evangelical) but does not wear it on his sleeve in the appropriate manner or keep company with the right and proper powerbrokers in the evangelical world (as a matter of fact Palin is his third try at short circuit people like Dobson and also the more Baptist – oriented evangelicals for lesser known Pentecostal figures like John Hagee and Rod Parsley) and is not sufficiently socially conservative in his beliefs.

So where Barak fell short in his true faith, McCain similarly falls short in this new universalist pluralist ecumenical dual covenant (or truthfully many covenant!) works based religion that serves the aims of the religious right. Again, never forget that the preferred candidate of most of this crowd was Mormon Mitt Romney, who fit their “culture and views” requirements precisely and the fellow’s actual religious doctrines (as well as his basic honesty and integrity or more accurately his complete lack thereof) was of no consequence. (Extending this a bit, this also explains J. Lee Grady’s embrace of oneness pentecostal heretics, whose beliefs are totally wrong, but who nonetheless have been a part of the Pentecostal religious scene since 1916, are growing in prominence and influence especially in music and with famous preachers/televangelists and their many theologians in Pentecostal seminaries and Bible colleges, so they must be accepted.)

So the morally flawed less than faithful Barak – McCain needs the pure and faithful prophetess Deborah – Palin at his side to fight the Lord’s battle and win against the Philistines – Muslims. (Please note: correlating Philistines and Muslims is not so coincidental when you consider that the term Palestine, or PALESTINIAN, is what the Roman Empire came up with to denote the Philistines, and they named Israel Palestine after their ancient enemies to spite and mock the Jews.)

I suppose that in this imagination, their first Muslim conquest will be on election day against Barack HUSSEIN “McCain has not made in issue of my Muslim faith/I still remember the Muslim call to prayer at my madrassa, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world” Obama. That is fine. What then? Will the prophetess Deborah – Palin tell Barak – McCain to put every Muslim in Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, Somalia, Chechnya, Turkey, Kosovo, Kenya, PALESTINE, etc. to death with the sword? Or more accurately WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS? I don’t know Mr. Grady, that sounds more like McCain anti – Christ Palin false prophet to me! (So you folks thinking that Obama is the anti – Christ may have the right time but the wrong candidate!) Maybe your interpretation of scripture is different. Then again, it would have to be for you to claim that we are brothers with people who blatantly deny scripture by rejecting Trinity, not to mention those who preach the false prosperity and Word of Faith doctrines.

You might say that Grady did not have a militaristic – eschatological intent in calling Palin “Deborah”, that he was only looking for a woman in a leadership position. First of all, even if that were the case, the guy is still wrong. Do you know why? Because words mean things. Especially words from the Bible. We can’t just go around throwing Bible terms and references around because they sound nice, make us feel good, and help us advance or win arguments (or elections). God raised up Deborah to a specific office to perform a specific task. Claiming that a woman that is being appointed to run a college or a bank or even a church ministry is bad enough because of the context. But saying the same of a woman who actually would be the advisor to a commander in chief to a nation that is at war is making a direct parallel between McCain and Palin and the actual Barak and Deborah of the Bible that cannot be ignored!

Also, this paragraph by J. Lee Grady proves that he is not merely applying a Biblical female leadership analogy, even in poor context:

When McCain announced that he had chosen Palin as his running mate, I was reminded of the biblical story of Deborah, the Old Testament prophet who rallied God’s people to victory at a time when ancient Israel was being terrorized by foreign invaders. Deborah’s gender didn’t stop her from amassing an army; she inspired the people in a way no man could. She and her defense minister, Barak, headed to the front lines and watched God do a miracle on the battlefield. In her song in Judges 5:7, Deborah declares: “The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel” (NASB). Sometimes it takes a true mother to rally the troops.

Seriously, what else am I supposed to think when I read something like that? So in less than 30 years Christians have gone from cheering when Ronald Reagan largely endorsed the claims of Mormon founder Joseph Smith in declaring America to be New Jerusalem in his “we are the shining city on a hill” speech (which basically gave salvation to all who earned it by agreeing with Reagan culturally and politically, and condemned all dissenters to the lake of fire … hey didn’t Palin’s pastor do largely the same in alluding that Bush critics and Kerry voters are going to the lake of fire?) to claiming that God will use Palin to raise up his army? 

This is where the religious right and the false doctrines surrounding it is taking Christanity, people. (The religious left is no better, so don’t even try it.) If you wish to make your calling and election in Jesus Christ sure, you had best repent yourself of it and love the next world and not this one.

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Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s Anti – Christ Universalism

Posted by Job on September 4, 2008

From True Discernment weblog.

from Berit kjos:

Believes Many Paths Lead to God

The Faith of Barack Obama written by New York Times best-selling author Stephen Mansfield was released in August by Thomas Nelson publishers. The book carries the endorsement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the front cover. Tutu, one of the global “Elders,” calls the book “perceptive and well-written.” The publisher’s description of the book reads: 

“…takes readers inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama–as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief.”

 

Mansfield, says: “If a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life.”

According to Mansfield, Obama is “raising the banner of what he hopes will be the faith-based politics of a new generation . . . and he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow.”

Recently, when Obama was interviewed by Rick Warren, Obama told Warren that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior. Yet this “banner” Obama raises is one that has an inter-spiritual foundation, representing a new kind of “Christianity,” one that looks more like Brian McLaren’s spirituality than traditional, biblical Christianity.

What emerges from this book is a glimpse of a man who has New Age philosophy, believing that other religions are legitimate paths to God, and all humanity is connected together (spiritually speaking – i.e., God is in all):

“Obama does clearly believe that the form of Christianity that he committed to at Trinity Church in 1985 is not the only path to God. ‘I am rooted in the Christian tradition,’ he has said. Nevertheless he asserts, ‘I believe there are many paths to the same place and that is a belief there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.’

 

“He first saw his broad embrace of faith modeled by his mother. ‘In our household,” he has explained, ‘The Bible, [t]he Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf … on Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to a church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.’” (p.55 of Mansfield’s book, quoting from Audacity of Hope, Obama, p. 203).

 

After his inter-spiritually-based upbringing, Obama later spent twenty years in a church, which promotes the panenthestic (God in all), inter-spiritual approach. In a 2006 article in United Church News, Obama stated that the teachings of the UCC (United Church of Christ), of which he was a member (Trinity United Church of Christ) until recently, are “foundation stones for his political work.” Just what are those “teachings” comprised of? On Trinity’s website, on the Yoga page, the following statement is highlighted:

 

“Within each [of] us is the seed of Divinity. Each Soul is divine. I bow to the divinity in us all!”

This is classic Hinduism that teaches that divinity resides in every human being. It is also the message of the New Age movement — man’s divinity!

In Obama’s own autobiography, Audacity of Hope, he calls himself a “progressive” (i.e., emerging or postmodern) and says: “We need to take faith seriously not simply to block the religious right but to engage all persons of faith in the larger project of American renewal” (p. 216). Echoing the sentiments of Rick Warren (a close friend of Obama, says Warren), he clarifies that partnerships between “religious and secular” will have to be built, and “each side will need to accept some ground rules for collaboration” (p. 216). He adds:

 

“Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.” (p. 218)

Obama insists that to base national “policy” on biblical truths “would be a dangerous thing” to do (p. 220).

There is one sentence in Audacity of Hope that sums up Barack Obama’s spirituality. He states:

“When I read the Bible, I do so with the belief that it is not a static (stable) text but the Living Word and that I must be continually open to new revelations.” (p. 224) In other words, just as Tony Jones said in his book The New Christians, and just as other emergents consistently say, the truths in the written Word of God, the Bible, are not unchanging and cannot be looked upon as stable or immoveable. “New revelations” can bring about new “truths” . . . truth is fluid.

To be interspiritual (all paths lead to God), to be panentheistic (divinity is in all), to reject God’s Word, and to embrace mysticism is to be what Alice Bailey called a rejuvenated Christian, who is one who follows “another gospel” and “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4).

 

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” (John 14:6)

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