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Thursday, December 14, 2017

When Baptism Doesn’t Count

Today’s blog is one of several that I’ve been intending to write over the last several weeks but now that my finals are behind me, I have time to get caught-up.

There’s an old tale about some folks dying and upon arriving in Heaven, they are given the introductory tour of their new home by none other than Saint Peter. They visit the Catholic section, the Methodist area, the Pentecostal borough and so forth until at last they get to this one neighborhood and St Peter begins whispering. Sensing this sudden change, one of the tourists softly asks, “Why are we whispering?” Peter responds, “We must be quiet because this is the Baptist section and they think they’re the only ones up here.”

Sadly, this is truer than many folks would like to admit.


My topic today is one that has been hitting close to home because the daughter unit has ventured out into the world to spread her wings and for some reason she has decided to worship at a Baptist church. A majority of Protestants in the United States are Baptists in their theology even if they call themselves something else. If your church teaches “The Sinner’s Prayer”, walking the aisle, “making a decision for Christ”, likes singing Just As I Am, or “every head bowed and eye closed” then you are Baptists or the theological offspring of Baptists. Typically these folks will only recognize baptism by immersion and use grape juice for Communion. A corollary is that these guys unchurch everyone else in the body of Christ because we practice infant Baptism.

Before proceeding, let me say a few words about my own experience with this topic in the hopes that I can be granted some credibility by my readers.

I was baptized as an infant in the Roman Catholic Church. I attended Catholic School K – 6. After seventh grade, I walked the aisle at a Baptist Church Camp and “gave my life to Jesus Christ”. A few months later I was baptized again in a local Baptist church. I spent many years in the Baptist world and then after wandering for a few more, I trekked thru Charismania until I came at last to a Reformed understanding of Christianity. I understand the arguments on both sides because I literally have been in each camp at some point or another in my life.


Believer’s Baptism
The Baptist argument is that the Bible says Belief and then Baptism. Hence the name, Believer’s Baptism.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Mark 16: 16

For someone coming from outside the Church, belief and then baptism is normal. Where we have a difference is when talking about children born into a Christian home.  The moral high ground that people think that Believer’s Baptism gives them dissolves quickly in this area.

Essentially, the paradigm that Baptists appear to embrace is that nobody is regarded as a believer until they make a profession of faith and then they can be baptized. This position would include their young children. Such a position would be consistent if somewhat harsh; especially in light of these verses:

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 
Acts 2: 38 & 39

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 
Acts 16: 31-33

How can God’s promise be “for you and your children” if children born to Christian parents are just young pagans?


Age of Accountability
Baptists are squeamish about this situation too but their answer is sentimentality not Scripture. You see, they say that they believe that the only way to the Father is faith in Christ but those not professing faith go to Hell. So what happens when a parent has a miscarriage or their child drowns in the neighbor’s pool or said child dies of cancer at three years of age? Surely such innocent children go to Heaven right?

It is at this point that Baptist folks introduce the doctrine of an “age of accountability.” They say that until a child can know the difference between right and wrong that they are in a state of innocence. Thus if a child dies in this state, they will go to Heaven if they die.

I once held this view until “the baby shower.” “The baby shower” was held at Gibson Ranch, here in the Sacramento area. It was in fact an event sponsored by Operation Rescue to crash a company picnic being held by a local abortion clinic. Like others at the event, I got toe-to-toe with some people on the other side. The lady that I got into a discussion with took this concept of an age of accountability and hit me right between the eyes with it. Her argument was simple and effective. “If an unborn child cannot know the difference between right and wrong, where does the child go when it dies?”

I instinctively replied, “To Heaven.”

She continued, “But if that child were born and was old enough to know right from wrong then they could go to Hell for rejecting Jesus, right?”

I answered, “Yes”  and knew that she had me painted into a corner that I couldn’t escape from.

Under this doctrine of an age of accountability, the only way to insure someone would go to Heaven was not by placing their faith in Jesus but being aborted!

Think about it, universal salvation is free to all that are murdered before knowing right and wrong. This principle also allows that the mentally handicapped can be literally put down for their own good and as a bonus we have assurance that we are sending them to Heaven. Could this apply to elderly with dementia too? Lastly, wasn’t this view all the rage in Europe about 80 years ago?

Even though Baptists reject infant baptism, they have a substitute that they practice; baby dedication. They bring an infant before the congregation and make a promise that is very similar to infant baptism to raise their children in the faith in hopes that they will one day believe and make the faith of their parents their own.

Unfortunately, these Baptists that think they are attending “Bible believing” churches are building parts of their faith on the sands of their own creation and not Biblical teaching. Biblically speaking, I could make a better case for Purgatory than for an age of accountability.

Again, what do Baptists do with their children? Are they little pagans or children of the promises of Christ?



Rebaptism
The other situation that you encounter in the Baptist Church (and from their fellow theological travelers) is the kneejerk reaction to unchurch everyone else by saying their baptism is invalid.

However, the Bible only knows one Christian Baptism and one formula for the baptism.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3: 26 – 29

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4: 4–6

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28: 19

Again, there is one baptism in the Church and one formula, baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Baptists try to argue two things, you must believe before being baptized and that the method must be immersion. Why is it that Baptists take the Greek word for baptism literally while the Greek word for wine is figurative?

Baptists are not alone in arguing about methodology as it relates to baptism, the Orthodox Church argues that only infant baptism that includes Chrismation is valid.

Since most don’t know what I’m referring to, here is Wikipedia version of Chrismation

Typically, one becomes a member of the Church by baptism and chrismation performed by a priest as a single service, or subsequent to baptism performed by a layman. While chrismation is often performed without baptism, baptism is never performed without chrismation; hence the term “baptism” is construed as referring to the administration of both sacraments (or mysteries), one after the other.
Wikipedia: Chrismation

Why can’t Christians talk about such things as our preference is better than yours instead of unchurching everyone with a different view?


Alternative Interpretation
There is a different paradigm that can be used to look at this question, one that includes a consistent theological view that treats children as Christian children and deals with the biblical teaching that there is one baptism in the Church. 

The Bible only knows one baptism. It does not attach an age or belief to performing it. Only the parents (or head of the household depending on how you read it) must believe in order for all to be baptized.

Look at Acts 16: 31-33 or other similar verses.

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.

The pattern is clear, parents believe and all –including children are baptized. Such verses don’t list exceptions or weasel words. For those that know the Ten Commandments, you might notice this principle is similar to Exodus 20: 8-11

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The Sabbath was for the entire household not just Jewish members.

The historic Christian position is not one of individualism and Arminianism, but Covenantalism. Baptism is the New Testament covenant symbol in the same way as circumcision was in the Old. Thus children are baptized as infants because God’s promise really extends to the next generation just as He promised in both the Old and New Testaments.

So what happens if a child grows up and rejects the faith? The same thing that happened in the Old Testament; the child is treated as a Covenant member until such time as they bear fruit that says otherwise. There is an expectation that as a child matures that he will make the faith of his fathers into his own. The Jews have bar mitzvah (or bat mitzvah) while Christians in many parts of the Church have Confirmation. Confirmation is a reaffirming of the vows made at the infant baptism of a child.  This is where the child makes the faith of their parents into their own.

Confirmation also serves another use which biblically solves the rebaptism dilemma. Let me illustrate.

Teddy Texan lives in Houston and is attending the local mega-church run by Joel Osteen. Joel baptizes Teddy in front of thousands of people. For purposes of this illustration, Joel uses the correct formula and baptizes Teddy in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Later, Teddy takes a job in Sweetwater Oklahoma and starts attending the Park Avenue Anglican Assembly. Park Avenue is in a very different theological place than Joel Osteen but Teddy wants to join their church. What should they do? Should they require Teddy to be baptized again? Park Avenue knows that Teddy was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but Joel’s theology is heretical so what should be done? Knowing church history, Park Avenue’s Pastor—because he did have formal biblical training unlike Osteen—knows that this very question was faced by the early church. The answer of the early church was Confirmation. Teddy attends classes to be sure that he believes the historic doctrines of the Creeds and then is welcomed into the church via a Confirmation ceremony.

This has been the historic answer to the rebaptism question, not another baptism but a confirmation of faith. Thus the New Testament position of one faith and one baptism is honored and the doctrine of the Church is defended.


Conclusion

The Bible says, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”   
Acts 2: 39

The truth is that the Baptists are the ones that are building their theological house on the sands of their own making. There no biblical warrant for children to wait until they can experience “Believer’s Baptism”. There is no such thing as an “age of accountability” in Scripture. There is no such concept as a “sinner’s prayer” or “Alter Call” in the Bible. The Bible does not know a baby dedication ceremony apart from receiving the sign of the Covenant. The only rebaptism you can find is when someone was baptized by John the Baptist and then again by receiving Christian baptism.

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples   and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.  Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 
Acts 18: 1-5

Christians being baptized again by another group of Christian believers is not found in the Bible and in fact is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6

I don’t unchurch my Baptist brothers just because they are wrong about one of the core tenants of their theology. I walked in their shoes for the better part of two decades before I was able to set aside their traditions of men and rely on the Bible. I just wish they would grant the rest of Christ’s Church the same grace that we are willing to extend to them.

As for the daughter unit, if she goes forward with joining the Baptists by being rebaptized, she is squandering her inheritance and simultaneously excommunicating her mother and brother. In fact, the practical ramification of rebaptism would be a declaration that she believes her mother and brother are damned and going to spend eternity in Hell. Child, ideas have consequences. I’d like to think you were raised better than that.

Posted by william on 12/14 at 11:15 AM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

A Prayer for the Election

Last Sunday, I was tasked with doing the congregational prayer. Below is a prayer that I wrote and used concerning the upcoming election. I think that Dave Ramsey would approve this message.  wink

Proverbs 21: 1
The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will.

A Prayer for the Election

Oh Lord who has foreordained all according to your will, we ask that as our country prepares to cast ballots that the outcome would be to move our nation to repentance and restoration to fellowship with you. Help voters to see through myriad of disinformation and empty promises made to them and not choose to burden future generations with debt and slavery in exchange for our leisure today.  Instead help us to choose the path of thrift and honest labor that we may have an inheritance to give to our children’s children. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Posted by william on 11/01 at 09:07 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

On Friday, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, had his opinion piece published in the religion column of the Elk Grove Citizen newspaper. This article was titled “Is abortion sin?”

In it, this alleged minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ wrote about a women that came to him in a crisis pregnancy situation. Here is a portion of the column.

She, too, had a good reputation or I wouldn’t have let her babysit my kids. She didn’t want the embarrassment of a child born out of wedlock.

“You don’t want to keep this child, do you?”

She shook her head. Not even for adoption.

She raised her head, knowing that my wife and I had an adopted sibling group of three.

“No,” she said, tears soaking her blouse.

“Is abortion a sin?” she asked.

Some would give a quick answer, but I couldn’t. This was the woman I trusted with my children. I knew her heart.

She continued her worry list. She wanted to go to school. She wanted to date without having a baby in tow. She couldn’t handle the perceived embarrassment to her family.

I could’ve spouted Bible verses, but so could she. Instead, we talked pros and cons. I told her that abortions are never easy on anyone, pro-life or pro-choice. I told her that the spirit of Christianity is on the side of life and redemption and that I’d known women to suffer from abortion trauma for years.

After an hour, Sandy stood to leave. As she did, I reminded her that God had room for both mom and baby on this earth. However, no matter what she decided, nothing would separate her from the love of God.

Sandy had her abortion the next week. While she eventually finished school, married and had children, her decision to still a beating heart still troubles mine. That’s because there’s no easy answer to Sandy’s sin question. There never is.
Link: EG Citizen: Is abortion sin?

This case of spiritual malpractice really makes me angry. Did you get that “I knew her heart” and “her decision to still a beating heart still troubles mine”? He also says that he could have “spouted Bible verses” I wonder which ones?

Romans chapter 6 immediately comes to mind. Paul writes,

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

The real situation was this. The woman in this article liked to practice fornication (sex outside of marriage) but after repeatedly practicing that behavior she became pregnant. Her pregnancy was the direct consequence of sin in her life. She was following the lust of her flesh not the biblical standards of righteous living. She knew what God’s standard is in this situation; namely, bear the responsibility of her actions, have the child and give the child up for adoption or raise the child.

Killing her baby is a second sin, not a corrective to her disobedient lifestyle.  Going to this pastor was her attempt at taking the weasel way out of this situation. She wanted absolution for killing her child. The pastor knows that he gave bad council or he wouldn’t be haunted by “her decision to still a beating heart”.

There is a reason that I used to carry the sign “Abortion: One dead, one wounded, one rich” in front of the local abortion clinic. Abortion is an evil and violent act that has lifelong consequences. The premise that justifies abortion is a lie.

This lady and her pastor have both refused to acknowledge their sin. They conspired to sin so that grace may abound. They have cheapened the blood of Christ and made it to no affect.


Suppose there were two brothers. One brother decided to kill the other because that brother seems more loved by his parents. Well he knows that God wouldn’t like him to commit murder. He needs an out, a loophole if you will, to justify the crime in his own mind. So the brother seeks the advice of Reverend Scratch. Rev. Scratch says,

I could’ve spouted Bible verses, but so could he. Instead, we talked pros and cons. I told him that murders are never easy on anyone, pro-life or pro-choice. I told him that the spirit of Christianity is on the side of life and redemption and that I’d known men to suffer from murder trauma for years.

After an hour, he stood to leave. As he did, I reminded him that God had room for both him and his brother on this earth. However, no matter what he decided, nothing would separate him from the love of God.

He murdered his brother the next week.

Oh, and God’s response to this exercise of “choice” can be found in Genesis 4:8-11

  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

The Christian counselor wrote, quote
“Who is the only humane choice ahead
If you can’t support it
Why don’t you abort it instead?”

You say you pray to the sky
Why? When you’re afraid to take a stand down here
‘Cause while the holy talk reads like a bad ad lib
Silence screams you were robbing the crib

Say it ain’t none of my business, huh?
A woman’s got a right to choose
Now a grave digger, next you pull the trigger what then?
Whatever happened to sin?

—Steve Taylor
Whatever happened to sin? 1983

Posted by william on 06/26 at 11:07 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Friday, June 24, 2016

Verity Baptist get booted

The Huffington Post and other outlets are reporting that Verity Baptist is getting booted by their property management company.

A Baptist preacher who made headlines last week after praising the June 12 mass shooting at the LGBT nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, might be out of a church soon.

The property owner of the Sacramento, California, business park where the Verity Baptist Church presides has opted not to renew the church’s lease, The Los Angeles Times reports. Although Verity’s lease doesn’t end until March 31, 2017, officials for Harsch Investment Properties have asked the church to leave without any penalty for breaking the contract.
Link: Huffington Post story

Looks like Mrs. Jimenez will be having services in her house again.

Posted by william on 06/24 at 01:52 AM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Jesus the Only Way to God Under Attack Yet Again

I have several articles in various stages of being written for the blog but this story just seems to be the most important in its own way.

Once again, it touches on Calvin’s Five Points which is really ironic considering it’s about a Baptist church. Just for context please remember that Portland Oregon is regarded as the most atheist city in America. The website—World Net Daily—where I found this article is also based in Oregon.

The sign below hinges on a key claim of Jesus.

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


image


This doctrine is under constant attack by our culture (and many so-called Christians). It is nice to see someone standing for the truth of Scripture instead of itching the ears of sinful men.

“I’m not politically correct. I’ve never been politically correct, but I think I’m biblically correct, and that’s what matters to me”— Rev. Michael Harrington
Tiny Church in Holy War with Islam

Posted by william on 06/08 at 11:55 AM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Monday, June 06, 2016

The Compassion of the Wicked is Cruelty

Did you marvel when you saw these news stories last week?

U.S. President Barack Obama has cited the biblical Golden Rule to defend the controversial “federal guidance” he issued instructing all public schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms of the opposite biological sex or risk losing federal funding.
Obama Cites Golden Rule to allow boys into girl’s bathrooms

Rescuers are scouring bear-infested woods in northern Japan for a little boy who was abandoned by his parents as punishment.
Japanese boy left in woods as punishment

• Ever wonder how Liberals can claim that abortion is a good moral choice?

• Ever wonder why Peter Singer can be hailed as a champion of ethics when he advocates animal rights, abortion, euthanasia, and the killing for children under the age of two that are deemed defective?

• In short, have you ever wondered about a world where wrong is right, up is down, perverted is normal, and criminals are virtuous?


We here at ReallyRight.com are here to help. The answer has probably been in your hands all along, it’s just that no one pointed this out to you. Let us introduce you to Proverbs 12:10.

I’m sure this verse has been one that had you read it, you would just sail bye it, but let’s take a closer look. In particular, the second part of Proverbs 12:10 has not been rendered correctly into English in many popular translations.

New King James
A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

King James Version
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

American Standard Version
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

The following versions are closer to the mark:

New American Standard Version
A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

God’s Word Translation
A righteous person cares [even] about the life of his animals, but the compassion of wicked people is [nothing but] cruelty.

In short, the second part of Proverbs 12:10 should be rendered, “The compassion of the wicked is cruelty.”

I have to give credit for this to David Chilton, although I don’t know if he ever put it in writing anywhere.

Here are some commentaries that I felt helped to understand the passage.

But the tender mercies ; literally, the bowels, regarded as the seat of feeling. The wicked cannot be supposed to have “tender mercies;” hence it is best to take the word in the sense of “feelings,” “affections.” What should be mercy and love are in an evil man only hard-heartedness and cruelty.
Pulpit Commentary on Proverbs 12

In 10b most interpreters find an oxymoron: the compassion of the godless is compassionless, the direct opposite of compassion; i.e., he possesses either altogether no compassion, or he shows such as in its principle, its expression, and in its effects is the opposite of what it ought to be (Fl.). Bertheau believes that in the sing. of the predicate אכזרי he is justified in translating: the compassion of the wicked is a tyranny. And as one may speak of a loveless love, i.e., of a love which in its principle is nothing else than selfishness, so also of a compassionless compassion, such as consists only in gesture and speech without truth of feeling and of active results. But how such a compassionless compassion toward the cattle, and one which is really cruel, is possible, it may be difficult to show. Hitzig’s conjecture, רחמי, sprang from this thought: the most merciful among sinners are cruel - the sinner is as such not רחוּם. The lxx is right in the rendering, τὰ δὲ σπλάγχνα τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἀνελεήμονα. The noun רחמים means here not compassion, but, as in Genesis 43:30 (lxx ἔντερα or ἔγκατα) and 1 Kings 3:26 (lxx μήτρα), has the meaning the bowels (properly tender parts, cf. Arab. rakhuma, to be soft, tender, with rḥm), and thus the interior of the body, in which deep emotions, and especially strong sympathy, are wont to be reflected (cf. Hosea 10:8). The singular of the predicate אכזרי arises here from the unity of the subject-conception: the inwards, as Jeremiah 50:12, from the reference of the expression to each individual of the many.  Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary on Proverbs 12

This rendering of Proverbs 12:10 also happens to fit into Calvinism’s idea of Total Depravity. (For a detailed discussion you can refer to site such as this: Five Points of Calvinism Chapter 1)

So next time you want to quote Romans chapter one to someone but they won’t sit still long enough to let you, just remember this passage.  Solomon distilled much into one succinct phrase, “The compassion of the wicked is cruelty”. Almost a thousand years later, Paul built upon this in his letter to the Romans.

So in our world of soundbites and bumper stickers, add this to your mental toolbox; then next time you see the wicked acting according to their nature, you’ll understand that the compassion of the wicked is cruelty.

Posted by william on 06/06 at 01:30 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Friday, February 12, 2016

Glen Beck Attacks Trump

Two very different articles today have appeared about discrimination and Christianity.

First, Glen Beck has launched a full-on attack of Donald Trump as a fraud who has never opened a Bible and is a fake Christian.

image

“too many people are looking at Trump and believing that man has ever opened a Bible…that’s the biggest crock of bullcrap I’ve ever heard”
– Glen Beck 02-11-2016

Glenn Beck On Trump’s Christian Faith: ‘Biggest Crock Of Bullcrap I’ve Ever Heard’

Glenn Beck floats Trump’s Christian faith as fake

Mr. Beck’s personal beliefs on religion are rather out of the mainstream so I find it interesting that this is the area that he has chosen to attack Trump. Beck is a Mormon that likes to borrow ideas from Evangelical Christianity. There is no clear record that Beck could rightly be called a Christian—as defined by the Historical Creeds.

Beck was campaigning for Ted Cruz when he made his comments. Cruz has lifted the banner of Christ as his rallying point. This is curious to me when Cruz is unwilling to model public policy after Biblical Law.

I have reluctantly come to agree with Gary North’s assertion that Christians are not ready to lead. I have been in, under, and around Christians in politics for over thirty years, and this is long enough to follow several movements from start to finish, everything that Christians touch in the political arena, they screw-up. The latter state is worse than the former.

In the 1990’s, Evangelicals took over the Republican Party in California and made a huge mess out of it. Look at the Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, Capital Resource Institute, and a host of similar groups. They all end-up not bringing their faith and applying it to the political landscape but copying the power politic tactics of their enemies—they know no other paradigm—and adopting them as their own. Baptizing Power Religion does not make it Christian.

I don’t know where Trump’s heart is; only God does. I am not aware of any “fruit” to which I could point that says, “There’s your proof” but so what? I think of him as a typical American Roman Catholic. He has some incomplete knowledge of God and likely lacks a personal relationship with him. Trump needs your prayers—whether or not he is elected.

For Beck, Cruz, and Trump, I think of verses like this:

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.  But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Philippians 1:15-18



The second story which I will only mention briefly is about a BBC news anchor (presenter) Dan Walker. Walker is under fire for believing that Genesis is true and refusing to work on Sundays. (Chariots of Fire anyone?)

The bulk of the article is an attack on Walker by London Telegraph columnist Rupert Myers. Myers’ real problem is with God. Myers appears to be a typical humanist who is openly hostile to Christianity.

The gist of the matter is that because Walker is a Christian, he cannot be trusted when interviewing people on issues of science, education or technology.

If it weren’t for Christianity and the belief that God is knowable and his Creation is orderly and not random, we would have no basis for science but why let history get in the way of prejudice? Education in the West was the product of a Christian worldview.

Clearly Myers sees his chance to become the next Christopher Hitchens.


New BBC anchor takes heat for Christian faith

Posted by william on 02/12 at 02:31 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Friday, January 15, 2016

ECUSA Gets a Timeout

The Anglican Communion has suspended the Episcopal Church of the United States. In a move that should have happened when the 1928 Prayer Book was dumped in favor of a watered-down, modern language one (i.e. the 1970’s), nevertheless, the worldwide group has finally acted.

For the first time, the global organizing body of Anglicans has punished the Episcopal Church, following years of heated debate with the American church over homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the role of women.

The Anglican Communion’s announcement Thursday that it would suspend its U.S. branch for three years from key voting positions was seen as a blow to the Episcopal Church, which allows its clergy to perform same-sex marriages and this summer voted to include the rite in its church laws.

It was also seen as a victory for conservative Anglicans, especially those in Africa,, who for years have been pressing the Anglican Communion to discipline the U.S. body.

“The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union,” the leaders of the Anglican Communion, which represents 44 national churches, said in a statement during a meeting in Canterbury. “The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/01/14/anglican-communion-suspends-the-episcopal-church-for-3-years-from-committees/

The article goes on to report that since 2003, ECUSA

“has lost more than 20 percent of its members since it consecrated Robinson, and new statistics suggest that membership continues to fall, dropping 2.7 percent from 2013 to about 1.8 million U.S. members in 2014.”

What is happening is that the faithful part of the church—which is showing exponential growth—has isolated the malignant tumor that is the American Church. Were it not for hundreds of millions in trust funds and endowments, ECUSA would be extinct. This large cache of money has insulated them from having to hold to biblical orthodoxy in order to survive.

It’s sad when wolves like Gene Robinson are the Shepherds of the flock. When lay people need to pray for the repentance and salvation of their church leaders, in my world it’s time to go elsewhere. No wonder today’s youth are so pagan. Many people are in hell today because of Robinson and his fellow liberals but they’re ok with that because they don’t believe in hell anyway.

Since believing the words of Jesus is not necessary to be a Christian as Robinson defines it, I’m not sure why he would even call himself a Christian. Gene, if you don’t believe in the Bible, be honest enough to get out of the church. Heretics, heathen, and hypocrites are leading ECUSA beyond apostasy. Scripture promises that leaders like you should be fitted with a millstone and put out to sea.

Instead of repenting, look for the ECUSA leadership to double-down on their rebellion.

 

Posted by william on 01/15 at 03:26 AM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Friday, January 08, 2016

Cartoon Network: Leaven in Your Living Room

It is the belief of some fringe protestant group—possible the Amish—that claim that “Satan travels true wires” so if you don’t have electricity, he can’t target you. I’m starting to think they might have a point.

Earlier this week I was reading articles on Blastr.com. I often visit this website to see what movies are in the works; one article caught my eye.
Cartoon Network UK censoring Steven Universe’s sexuality misses the entire point of the show

Until recently, I would not be interested in what is happening in the U.K. but since Obama took office, I have found England’s U.S. news coverage more comprehensive than I usually get from American journalists. The media here is so in love with our dictator-in-chief that they are rarely objective. Often they either praise his rule by Executive Order or just ignore what he is doing—whichever they think will further his administration more.

When a website dedicated to the genre of science fiction entertainment is talking about Cartoon Network, censorship in England, and sexuality; clearly something is amiss.

Before I get into this article I want you to understand who owns and operates this website. This website is run by the SyFy Channel. SyFy is owned by NBC-Universal which is owned by Comcast. This is not some fringe place on the internet. No, this website is part of one of the largest entertainment companies in the world.

The article is an opinion piece that defends a particular cartoon and castigates the censorship by English broadcasters. The edit being complained about is rather mild in my opinion. What shocked me most was the high praise of Steven Universe for being the most openly gay cartoon ever made. Steven is gay; not just the side-kick or some peripheral character.

Steven Universe is gaaaaaaaay. It is easily the gayest kids’ cartoon in the history of western animation. And we’re not just talking about subtext, either. While Steven Universe may be innocent and cutesy, there’s no denying certain facts:

- Garnet is a gem fusion that resulted from Sapphire and Ruby being in romantic love

- Pearl is in love with Rose Quartz (as confirmed by the show’s creators), often to the detriment of her own self worth

- Amethyst shape-shifts into all sorts of forms, many of them male-presenting

- Steven and Connie have fuzed to form a genderqueer person, Stevonnie, who is, let’s be real, attracted and attractive to both men and women

- Background characters often feature same-sex couples

In short, Steven Universe is a rainbow show, kids. And everyone loves it for that.

Well, almost everyone ...



image
Steven Universe


I’m like dang! I had no idea that there was such a thing. To me this cartoon is totally out of bounds. I know that most programming on Cartoon Network is not Thomas and Friends but really! This is propaganda and recruiting in its most blatant form.

The fact that this is shown on Cartoon Network means to me that it will fly under the radar of most parents. When I think Boomerang or Cartoon Network I think of children’s programming and I likely wouldn’t give much thought to the title Steven Universe. I thought it was Jimmie Neutron for the next generation.

It’s hard to have worse programming than the pre-teen crap on the Disney Channel but apparently NBC found a way. Too bad they can’t keep homosexuals confined to their Bravo channel.

This also means Steven Universe will eventually find its way to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Parents, it might be a simplification that Satan travels true wires but he certainly is trying really hard to get through your television to desensitized your children to evil.

This is another reason to “cut the cord”.

Posted by william on 01/08 at 07:07 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Monday, December 14, 2015

Islam or Christ

image
Pastor James McConnell

I saw this headline today, “Evangelical preacher on trial after branding Islam ‘satanic’”

LONDON (AP)—An evangelical preacher from Northern Ireland who branded Islam satanic has been charged with spreading a “grossly offensive” message.

In a May 2014 sermon, James McConnell told worshippers at the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast: “Islam is heathen. Islam is satanic.”

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_NIRELAND_PREACHER_CHARGED?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-12-14-10-21-20

Let’s look at the facts, Islam denies the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Here is a sample of Biblical quotes:

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22

Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 2 John 1:7

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1


OK so should I believe the testimony of 1,600 years of prophecy and its fulfillment with a promise of life or a cult of death stuck in the seventh century?

If the Bible is from God then Islam is from something not God and therefore has its origin in Satan. The followers of Islam are deceived and without intervention will end-up in hell. Sounds like the preacher is preaching the Gospel to me.

 

Posted by william on 12/14 at 05:36 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Friday, July 24, 2015

Carl Baugh and His Book

Last night I finished reading “Why Do Men Believe Evolution Against All Odds?” By Carl Baugh. We were given a copy by Mr. Baugh when we visited the Creation Evidence Museum in Glenrose Texas. I think when he heard that we were from California; he had mercy on us and figured that we needed the help.

The book was a quick read. It was well documented and logically organized. I have seen similar works in the past but this one seemed more “modern” since it incorporated a section on biochemistry and the function of cells; something that literally didn’t exist too many years ago. See Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe if you want the full explanation of why cellular function disproves evolutionary theory.

My one complaint is that there are several blatant typographical errors in the book. Baugh could use a proofreader before going to press again.


image

As I prepared to write this blog I took a look at the book on Amazon.com. While Baugh has much praise on the customer reviews of the book, he also has his detractors. The attacks by one reviewer were not on the contents of the book but on the academic credentials claimed by Baugh. On Amazon the author biography reads

Dr. Carl Edward Baugh is founder and director of Creation Evidence Museum, Glen Rose, Texas; scientific research director for world’s first hyperbaric biosphere; scientific research director for water reclamation and energized plant systems; and the discoverer and excavation director of two major dinosaurs: Acrocanthosaurus in Texas and Stegosaurus stenops in Colorado. He holds a degree in theology from Baptist Bible College, a Masters in archaeology, and a Ph.D. in education, both from Pacific College of Graduate Studies.

I tried “Pacific College of Graduate Studies” on both Bing and Google. Surprisingly, this school does not seem to exist. However, I did get a hit on Carl Baugh.

A Matter of Degree: An Examination of Carl Baugh’s Alleged Credentials http://paleo.cc/paluxy/degrees.htm

This article by Glen Kuban eviscerates Baugh’s claims of holding a doctorate from an accredited institution of higher learning. Interestingly, Baugh’s biography on the Creation Evidence Museum makes no claims that he is a doctor. Accreditation is not the be all and end all of higher learning but it does limit where and how the claim of a degree can be used.

I know from personal experience that Texas has an extremely high bar for any college to be accredited. The library requirement alone is ridiculous. (At least 70,000 volumes and fulltime librarian) A decade or so ago, my church moved their Seminary from Louisiana to Texas. To get accredited in Texas would have bankrupted the denomination. Instead they made an arrangement with a college in England to grant some type of degree for theological studies.

I can see that Baugh or any other creationist might have trouble getting a scientific degree from a typical college. Even Baylor—to their shame—will run you off if you believe in a literal six-day creation…at least from their faculty.

Kuban, however, accuses Baugh of granting himself his degree. It’s an interesting read. What caught my attention was the footnote #40. According to the footnote, Answers in Genesis has tried to put some distance between themselves and Baugh. The URL in Kuban’s article was no good but I went to Ken Ham’s website and found this:
AIG discounts the claims that human footprints were found with dinosaurs at Glenrose. They say that it might be true but …

Given the ambiguity of the evidence and the fact that much of what may have once been present is no longer available for study, we do not believe those claims of coexisting human and dinosaur prints are wholly supportable. Dr. John Morris in 1986 reported similar conclusions, deciding “it would now be improper for creationists to continue to use the Paluxy data as evidence against evolution” unless further research brings new facts to light.
paluxy-river-tracks-in-texas-spotlight

I know that these claims pre-date Carl Baugh by several decades. Morris and Whitcomb cite them in Genesis Flood (1961).

While not on AIG website, I did a search on the article mentioned in footnote #40 and found this:

CSF does not defend Carl Baugh or his claims in regard to his qualifications. We do not regard Baugh as representative in any way of the mainstream creation movement.
plimer-book-our-point-by-point-rebuttal p. 145

My conclusion is that Carl Baugh does seem to have overstated his resume. I don’t rely on him for validating my beliefs in creation.

The artifacts that he has at his museum are persuasive. However, I think the Torah display and model of Noah’s Ark are unnecessary. The movie on how The Flood occurred and what brought it about is speculative and I would like more information before I’m ready to support Baugh’s whole framework.

As for his book on “Why Do Men Believe Evolution Against All Odds?” I think he nailed it. All Baugh does is introduce quotes from evolutionists that point out flaws in their theory.

The only thing Baugh lacks is Ben Stein’s interview of Richard Dawkins in Expelled, where Dawkins says life on earth came from extraterrestrials that seeded the planet.

Evolution is not a science issue, it’s a spiritual one.

 

Posted by william on 07/24 at 02:21 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dave Bauscher Hero or Heretic

Recently, I ran across a website created by Rev. Dave Bauscher. The link was via an article or thinly veiled advertisement—it’s hard to tell which sometimes—on World Net Daily. Bauscher claims on http://aramaicnt.com/ that much of the New Testament was first written in Aramaic and then translated into Greek. He argues that this is especially true of the Gospels since it is unlikely that fishermen would know the intricacies of Greek when it would be a second language to them.

Some of his claims seem to be plausible; however, if true, they would throw out the conventional wisdom of most of Christendom.  Throughout Church history, Greek has always been understood to be the original language of all the New Testament. This belief can be traced to the second century and Greek manuscripts go back further than that. Bauscher believes his ideas so much that he has created an Aramaic/English translation of the New Testament and portions of the Old. 

Whether Bauscher is correct in his ideas concerning Aramaic, it is his theology that causes me to raise the red flag. On the website—which lacks a Home button—there is a tab titled Research. Two articles gave me pause “Beginning and The End” and “Trinity in the Tanak”.

In “Trinity in the Tanek”, Bauscher describes an incident when God appeared to Abraham in Genesis chapter 18. In discussing this “Theophany” in the Old Testament, Bauscher seems to depart from Orthodox Christianity.

Notice first the address of Abraham starts with The Name, “Jehovah”. Abraham recognizes that Jehovah has come to him in flesh and utters The Most Holy Name. Three plural words designate Jehovah in verse 2: “Three”, “Men” & “Them”. Abraham also uses two second person singular pronouns, which I have rendered in Elizabethan English: “thy”, found twice in verse three. The verb, … ‘avar’- “pass away” is singular. These three singular predicates of Jehovah declare the unity and uniqueness of Jehovah as One indivisible Godhead which acts and lives as One, nor is there another Elohim, our Creator and Salvation. Verse three reveals Jehovah as Three Men in One Godhead.
Page 7 (emphasis in original)

The phrase “Three Men in One Godhead” sounded familiar to me. My first thought was “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” Doctrines and Covenants 130:22.

Bauscher seems to have left the Christian reservation and is heading toward Mormonism or something embracing three gods.

Later in the article Bauscher writes:

The scripture is plain here and speaks for itself. God is Three Persons united in Name, nature, purpose, mind, word and action. Each of The Three Persons bears the same Name and is Divine and equally worthy of worship. It is clear that the Massoretes changed YHWH to Adonai four times in chapter 18 and once in chapter 19:18 & in over 100 other places, in an attempt to eradicate scriptural testimony to The Trinity in the Christian era. At least their commitment to preserving the integrity of scripture compelled them to keep records of every change they made to the text, in the margins of certain Hebrew Bible manuscripts.

He leaves me wondering, what is his view of the Trinity and God being Three Persons?

In his article, “Beginning and The End”, he again departs from classic Christianity. In one stroke of the pen, he overturns all the big theological ideas of the New Testament including Justification, Sanctification, and the purpose of the Crucifixion. Is he back to three gods, Modalism or something else?

It is as if all of God, eternity, heaven, earth, time and space were focused at once in one focal point on the Christ of the cross, where all fullness dwelt- and died! Every death deserves to be mourned, even the death of a sparrow; here is the death of all things living, yea, the death of the full Godhead and all Heaven-angels and saints, cherubim, seraphim, archangel and holy innocents. Here was the end of all things with the death of Him Who is the End of all things; the Life and Light of the world was going out, and of necessity, with Him Who was their LIFE and Heart, The Spirit of Holiness and The Father of our Lord also died!

Surely the scripture says Christ died. Surely it says He is God; therefore He Who is God died. “I and My Father are One”, said He. If the Son died, then The Oneness was destroyed (“Jehovah thy God, Jehovah is One” Deut. 6:4). Then was the Godhead ended in Christ’s death.

Another way of verifying this most radical truth is from the vantage of the love of God. According to Jesus, there is no greater love than this: That a man lay down His life for his friend.

If God The Father never gave His life, then every man who has done so has greater love than God The Father!

Can this doctrine of God standing and requiring the death of His only Son stand? I say, “Never!” John 3:16 gives one side of the picture of God’s love; 1 John 3:16 gives the other: “In this we see the love of God: He laid down His Life for us…”

You see, God went with Jesus. He said, “I am never alone; My Father is in Me, and I in Him.” We know God never left His Son. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto His Majesty.” And what is His majesty, if not this Love of God that surpasses knowledge? If He has all power, knowledge, dominion and Worship and has not love, He is nothing! (See 1 Cor. 13)

Our Lord cried out on the cross:”My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me”? Where was His Father? Where was the answer? What did the Father say?

There was no answer. How could a loving Father not answer His beloved Son? It cannot be so. “Forsaken me”- How could a loving Father Who is by nature and from eternity One and inseparable from His eternal Only Begotten and beloved Son, how could He forsake Him? It were impossible for Him to do so, by nature and by love. So what could possibly wrench such a cry from the lips of Him Who spoke Life and Light, Joy, Hope, Love and Glory into the cosmos? He Whose mighty word created and upholds all worlds- He roared from Jerusalem to the ends of time and space and into the infinite reaches of The eternal Heaven of heavens; it shook the pillars of existence; whatever existed heard that cry from Him Who said ,”If these should hold their peace, the very rocks would cry out.”

All who heard, if any could hear that and live, must have wondered as do I: How can this One pray so with such despair and not receive answer? Why and how could God forsake Him, of all persons? He could not. There is only one conclusion to draw. Draw it!

God was dead! The Son also was not. The Spirit had breathed His last breath. The prophecies of the end had all come upon us. Isaiah and Amos had written of this dark consummation and despair that would crawl over the whole world like black death; the earth would quake to its foundations; the sun would darken at noon; all joy would die; Jehovah would roar out of Jerusalem; the earth and Heaven would dissolve and fall apart.

All Death deserves mourning, yet is it nothing to you that pass by? Our God, The Triune Glory and Desire of all nations is dead! Bow down and mourn and weep, for the Light of all is gone out!
Pages 2 & 3 (emphasis added)

Walter Martin wrote, “The Doctrine of the Trinity teaches that within the unity of the one Godhead there are three separate persons who are coequal in power, nature, and eternity.”  Instead Bauscher seems to have a confused version of Modalism in mind.

Modalism, also called Sabellianism, is the unorthodox belief that God is one person who has revealed himself in three forms or modes in contrast to the Trinitarian doctrine where God is one being eternally existing in three persons. According to Modalism, during the incarnation, Jesus was simply God acting in one mode or role, and the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was God acting in a different mode. Thus, God does not exist as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the same time. Rather, He is one person and has merely manifested himself in these three modes at various times. Modalism thus denies the basic distinctiveness and coexistence of the three persons of the Trinity.
http://www.theopedia.com/Modalism

In Christian theology, Jesus was the God/Man and died in our place to satisfy the justice of God the Father. Bauscher has created some heretical alternate reality where this transaction never took place.

Below is an example of the Trinity in the Scriptures. Note that each Person of the Godhead is acting in the Resurrection of Christ. Also, nowhere is there any indication that God the Father or God the Holy Spirit died on the cross with Jesus. The writer of Hebrews clearly did not believe this when he described Jesus and both Sacrifice and High Priest. Paul called Jesus the propitiation for our sins. This is never stated of either the Father or Spirit.

The Resurrection of Christ. A final instance of Trinitarian emphasis is that of the resurrection of our Lord. In John 2 Christ declared to the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (v. 19). John hastens to tell us that Jesus was speaking of the resurrection of His earthly body (v. 21). Other Scriptures, however, state that Christ was raised by the agency of the Holy Spirit (e.g., Rom. 8:11). And Peter explicitly states that the Father raised the Son (Acts 3:26). So, again, God’s Word affirms the triune nature of God. We may not fully understand the great truth of the Trinity. However, we can see the rays of light which emanate from God’s Word and which teach us that, in a mysterious sense beyond the comprehension of man’s finite mind, God is one in nature but three in person.
Walter Martin http://www.waltermartin.com/articles.html#doctrine

Finally, Bauscher is described on his website as a retired minister but never gives us his denominational affiliation or any resume of theological instruction. In short, he does not admit that he is accountable to anyone for his statements or beliefs. Some threads on Google show that he is a former Baptist that struck out on his own.

My conclusion is that Dave Bauscher has left Christianity to pursue some theological tangents that lead away from the Cross of Christ. He has embraced another Jesus and another Gospel. Let the buyer of his Bible translation beware.

Posted by william on 07/10 at 03:12 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Monday, January 28, 2013

David Chilton on Our Political Failure

I have been reading through David Chilton’s commentary on the book of Revelations, Days of Vengeance. (It is available for download at this address http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/sidefrm2.htm ) This book was written during Reagan’s second term after the collapse of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and the backtracking of C. Everet Koop.

In light of the current state of the Republican Party and continuing decay of social issues in our country, the following really caught my eye. It is from pages 511-512.

It must be stressed, however, that the road to Christian dominion does not lie primarily through political action. While the political sphere, like every other aspect of life, is a valid and necessary area for Christian activity and eventual dominance, we must shun the perennial temptation to grasp for political power. Dominion in civil government cannot be obtained before we have attained maturity in wisdom-the result of generations of Christian self-government. As we learn to apply God’s Word to practical situations in our personal lives, our homes, our schools, and our businesses; as Christian churches exercise Biblical judgment over their own officers and members, respecting and enforcing the discipline of other churches; then Christians will be able to be trusted with greater responsibilities. Those who are faithful in a few things will be put in charge of many things (Matt. 25:21, 23), but “from everyone who has been given much shall much be required” (Luke 12:48; cf. Luke 16:10-12; 19:17). One of the distinguishing marks of heretical movements throughout Church history has been the attempt to grab the robe of political power before it has been bestowed.

This whole issue has been thoughtfully explored in an excellent essay by James Jordan, and the best service I can provide the interested reader at this point is simply to refer him to it. 25 Jordan concludes his study with these words: “When we are ready, God will give the robe to us. That He has not done so proves that we are not ready. Asserting our readiness will not fool Him. Let us pray that He does not crush us by giving us such authority before we are ready for it. Let us plan for our great-grandchildren to be ready for it. Let us go about our business, acquiring wisdom in family, church, state, and business, and avoiding confrontations with the powers that be…. For as sure as Christ is risen from the grave and is ascended to regal glory on high, so sure it is that His saints will inherit the kingdom and rule in His name, when the time is right.”26

Footnote 25:

25. James B. Jordan, “Rebellion, Tyranny, and Dominion in the Book of Genesis,” in Gary North, ed., Tactics of Christian Resistance, Christianity and Civilization No.3 (Tyler, TX: Geneva Ministries, 1983), pp. 38-80.

Footnote 26:

26. Ibid., p. 74. In this connection, Jordan’s remarks on the so-called “patriotic” tax-resistance movement are also worth repeating: “We must keep in mind that the pagan is primarily interested in power. This means that the maintenance of force (the draft) and the seizure of money (excessive taxation) are of absolute primary interest to him. If we think these are the most important things, then we will make them the point of resistance (becoming ‘tax patriots’ or some such thing). To think this way is to think like pagans. For the Christian, the primary things are righteousness (priestly guarding) and diligent work (kingly dominion). Generally speaking, the pagans don’t care how righteous we are, or how hard we work, so long as they get their tax money. This is why the Bible everywhere teaches to go along with oppressive taxation, and nowhere hints at the propriety of tax resistance” (p. 79).

Jordan’s essay is also available at the URL above. Look for Tactics of Christian Resistance by Gary North.

Posted by william on 01/28 at 04:27 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Friday, October 19, 2012

Billy Graham, Mormonism not a cult?

Rev. Billy Graham has reportedly agreed to stop calling Mormonism a cult following a recent meeting with Mitt Romney. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2219364/Evangelistic-Association-Reverend-Billy-Graham-stops-calling-Mormonism-cult-meeting-Romney.html According to the report, Graham’s website has issued a statement that reads in part.
‘We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.’

I am disappointed that Rev Graham is willing to subjugate his theology to avoid appearing political. Since the beginning, Christianity has been viewed as political. Christians were persecuted in Roman because they believed Jesus was Lord and rejected the claim that Caesar was lord. Rome viewed the Christian doctrine as treason. Instead of standing for the Truth of the claims of Christianity, Graham has slipped another plank of the faith under the proverbial bushel basket.

This is not the first time Graham has been weak-kneed about the claims of Christianity. When backed into a corner on Jesus’ claim that, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14: 6) Graham allowed that perhaps followers of Islam and others might be able to avoid Jesus and get to heaven anyway. Graham has stated this rejection of Jesus as “the way” on several occasions. Such a denial of Jesus by Graham is heresy.

Standing for the truth of Christianity does not mean that we as believers cannot support Mitt Romney. Romney wants to be President not pastor or pope. The upcoming election is a choice between two men. One of these two will be President for the next four years. We have been given the opportunity to pick between a man that wholly rejects any biblical ethics and is openly hostile to God and a man that—while unregenerate—can acknowledge the value of many beliefs that we derive from the Bible. Stated another way, Obama repudiates western civilization and Romney embraces it.

We should use the candidacy of Romney to lift high the cross and call all men from error to the true gospel. We are defending the faith that Joseph Smith repudiated and attacked as “corrupt” and “an abomination” when he started the LDS church. Graham’s actions in scrubbing his website are wrong. His actions seem to imply that we need Romney to make a profession of faith or walk an aisle before he should get the evangelical vote. This is silliness. To the degree that Romney supports our values we should support him. Clearly he is at least willing to listen to us while Obama thinks of us as “bitter clingers.”

Posted by william on 10/19 at 09:16 PM
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sermon on Acts 4

Last week I was able to deliver the sermon at my church. Here are the notes that were the basis of the message.

image

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19: 14

Intro
In today’s message we will be exploring some weighty issues in the New Testament. I am trying to distill a complex issue into a single sermon. My purpose is to help you understand the larger context of the verses in Acts chapter 4.

Throughout history, many have used these verses as the basis for various novel interpretations of ecclesiastical and social structures. In the past this was a formative text to various monastic movements and how they modeled communities of faith. This verse was important to the Pilgrims as the original basis of their social and economic structure. In more recent times both theological and political liberals have used the passage as a proof text for Marxism and Socialism. All have missed the larger context of the passage. Today, I will try to make the case for the larger context of the passage.


Text

Acts 4: 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 4: 32-37 introduces a unity of heart and soul within the Church of Jerusalem.  Additionally, the needs of each were met by the others. Many sold their property and gave to other believers. Joses who is also called Barnabas is cited as an example in his contribution to the Church. Later he becomes an ally and companion to the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. The generosity of Barnabas is contrasted with the selfishness of Ananias and Sapphira in the verses that follow.

Acts 5: 1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold , was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

• These events were at the church in Jerusalem; Ananias and Sapphira lied to Peter.
• There is no parallel account of property in common, only in Jerusalem
• The text of these passages makes plain that selling all and giving to the Apostles was not required but was a gift.

Why?
To understand, we need to look at other New Testament passages to build a case for a larger context.

Point 1 Why hold things in common? Monks, Pilgrims & Marxists

Marxists

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” Karl Marx 1875

Marxism is antithetical to Scripture; especially as taught in the Old Testament. It is directly contradictory to the Ten Commandments. If everything belongs to the State; your wife, children, house, oxen (job) and ass (transportation) do also. The State usurps both the family and the Church and becomes “god” to the masses.

President Gerald R. Ford, said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have,” August 12, 1974

Clearly the passage in Acts has no concord with Marxists.

Pilgrims
Limbaugh Quote See, I Told You So p 70 – 71 (reordered to make my point stronger.)

“The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well.”

“William Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives.”

Bradford wrote of the experiment, “For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense…that was thought injustice.”

Seeing the failure of collectivism, “He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the market place.”

Following Acts 4 didn’t work so well for the Puritan, a people that tried to base their whole society on the Bible and not the laws of men.

Monks—poverty and celibacy

Monks link poverty with celibacy. Since at least the fifth century, Christian orders have frequently encouraged communal living and vows of both celibacy and poverty. Proof texts for this lifestyle will often cite acts 4 and 1 Corinthians chapter 7 which reads in part:

25Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to befaithful.26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. 27 Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.28But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. 29But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

Paul’s words in Corinthians seem contradictory to his instruction in other epistles. Bishops should be the husband of one wife, etc. Families were created by God. Men and women were supposed to marry and within that context have children. Genesis taught this and Jesus reaffirmed it. His first miracle was at a wedding. Is there really an inconsistency or is there some provisional instruction being given for a specific reason?

I think the monks were right to link Acts 4 with this passage in Corinthian but they too missed the larger context. To understand the passage in Acts chapter 4, the context of the situation of the early church needs to be understood. We need to walk in the shoes of people living during that time.

Point 2 Coming Judgment—Prophecies of Jesus

Jesus—the heir to David—is prophet priest and king. Few talk about Jesus’ prophetic office because they think the prophecies speak of unknowable events for sometime in the future. What prophecies am I referring to?

A good starting point is by going back to Matthew chapter 24.
“1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down .”
Jesus then talks for two chapters about the coming of the day of the Lord.

I know many of you lived through Hal Lindsey and The Late Great Planet Earth so it may surprise you to know that the biblical phrase “the day of the Lord” has nothing to do with Lindsey’s description of the “end times”.

The phrase “the day of the Lord” speaks of the impending judgment of God. It appears 29 times in the King James Bible; mostly in the Old Testament. The warnings of judgment are in connection to the fall of Judah, Assyria and Israel which culminates in the Babylonian captivity, the first coming of Jesus and yes on a few occasions, the end of the age.

We could spend the next few weeks going through the proof texts for the fact that a judgment was coming upon Israel. Jesus told us that it would happen. Just to make his point, Jesus promised that this generation would not pass away until all these things were fulfilled. The promise that the current generation would see the judgment is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

It is indisputable that the New Testament teaches that judgment was coming upon Israel. The apostles were responsible to insure that the Church was to ready. In fact, the New Testament is full of instruction for preparation of the coming judgment.

If you look at many passages in the New Testament with this idea in mind then perhaps you will see their context in a different light. Verses concerning the coming judgment can be divided into preparation and action. Our passages in Acts and Corinthians are clearly about preparing for the judgment. Why should believers hold onto their real estate and personal property when judgment was imminent? They also knew the instruction to be ready to flee when they saw the warning sign. It is also the lesson of the parable of the ten virgins and other parables to be ready.

The instruction to flee is recorded in all three of the synaptic gospels.

Matthew 24: 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) 16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:

Luke 21: 20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh .21Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out ; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. 22For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

Mark 13: 14But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take anything out of his house: 16And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.

Look at 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 again.
26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
29But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
31And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

Paul warns three times in this passage that change is coming shortly.

Given the scriptures above as well as others that could be brought into this discussion I think a case can be made that provisional rules were in place because of the coming judgment. In a nutshell, believers should prepare for the judgment and flee when they saw the sign.


Point 3 Israel Destroyed
Many Christians were persecuted and martyred in the final decades of Israel but there is no record of any Christians dying in the siege and destruction of Israel in 70 AD.

Josephus, the Jewish historian, was an eye witness to the systematic destruction of Israel by the Roman armies. He documents the famine, pestilence, war, and death experienced by the Jews. Over one million people died in the siege of Jerusalem and one hundred thousand were sold as slaves.

Flavius Josephus War of the Jews Book 7 Chapter 1

1. NOW as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done,) Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.

Matthew 24: 2 ”And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down .” Forty years after he spoke the words, Jesus’ prophecy was literally fulfilled. His Church not only survived but thrived.

There are a good number of prophetic statements in Christ’s teaching regarding Jerusalem’s demise (e.g., Matt. 21:33-46; 22:1-14; 23:31-38; 24: 1-34). Somewhat later in Acts 2: 16ff. the Pentecostal tongues event in Jerusalem was pointed to as a harbinger of “the day of the Lord” that was coming. Tongues-speaking was a warning sign to Peter’s hearers of the necessity of their being “saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40) before the “great and glorious day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20).6 In Acts 2:43E. and Acts 4:32ff. a strong case can be made showing that there was a practical motive to the Jerusalem church’s selling of their property and sharing of the profits. 7 Such action was not commanded them, nor was it practiced elsewhere. This selling of property and distributing of the profits seems to have been related to the impending destruction of the city prophesied by Jesus. The Jerusalem holocaust was coming in that generation and would render the land valueless. 1 Thessalonians 2:16 speaks of the Jews who “always fill up the measure of their sins” and upon whom “the wrath has come . . . to the utmost. ” Hebrews 12:18-29 contrasts Judaism and its fulfillment, Christianity, and notes that there is an approaching “shaking” of the old order coming. There are many other Scriptural indications that point to something dramatic and earth-shaking that was coming upon the world and that would be felt in reverberations even beyond Judea.8

Thus, Revelation 7 is strongly indicative of a pre-fall Judea. After the Jewish War “Palestine was proclaimed a Roman province, and a great part of the land became the personal property of the emperor. But the country was in ruins, its once flourishing towns and villages almost without inhabitants, dogs and jackals prowling through the devastated streets and houses. In Jerusalem, a million people are reported to have perished, with a hundred thousand taken captive to glut the slave markets of the empire.

Kenneth L Gentry, Jr. Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation 1989.

Conclusion

Our lesson today affirms that Jesus is prophet, priest and king. Christ is ruling the kingdoms of men for his own purposes. Not only did he give his life for his bride the Church but he nourishes and protects his people. Our text today is not only an admonition to love each other but a reminder that Christ is at work to guide and nourish his folk, even thru the tumult of perilous times.

Posted by william on 04/22 at 04:25 AM
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