Archive for December, 2012

I found this article by Randy Pope very instructive. Many Christians compartmentalize their lives, and live like “practical atheists” Mon-Fri, and then put on their “Christianity” on the weekend. Either that, or they dichotomize their political views from their Biblical views. I love these lines from below: “If Jesus is Lord then everything is sacred. If, as Revelation 4:11 says, all things are created by Him and for His will’s sake, there is nothing outside the compass of His instructions. To state this simply, every area of life must align with the principles revealed in His holy word. When the Christian orders every area of life with the word of God that is a Christian worldview.” 
Amen, and amen. We need to establish a Biblical worldview that is all-encompassing. Please read, and comment.

“Some non-believers see the Bible as a collection of myths and fairy tales. Others view it as a collection of moral precepts to be held up with other great religious works. Many Christians look at the Bible as a blueprint for how to order the spiritual compartments of their life. The Christian who sees his faith as relevant to all of life and culture is in the process of developing a Christian worldview.

Marshall Foster says there is no dichotomy between the sacred and the secular. If Jesus is Lord then everything is sacred. If, as Revelation 4:11 says, all things are created by Him and for His will’s sake, there is nothing outside the compass of His instructions. To state this simply, every area of life must align with the principles revealed in His holy word. When the Christian orders every area of life with the word of God that is a Christian worldview.

The dirty little secret is that everyone in the city of Akron has a worldview, whether he realizes what his worldview is or not. A worldview is the system of thought one utilizes to make decisions in life. The worldview that one adheres to determines how he will act and react in his daily life. It is probably not an exaggeration to say that everyone has a blended worldview. To truly please God it is incumbent upon the Christian to be constantly adjusting his worldview to fit scripture. The thing that is often more difficult is the application of Biblical principles to each unique situation in life. This requires wisdom, and a multitude of counselors. In other words, Christian, do not try to go it alone. Lean on God and His word, and commune together with other Christians who are seeking to understand His word through His wisdom, peeling away all philosophies that are foreign to scripture.

There are grave consequences when alien philosophies are added to a Christian worldview, or when it is divorced from any realm. When business is not ordered by Biblical standards you can never be sure of the quality or integrity of a contract made. When a Christian worldview is excluded from recreation the result is a morally debauched fare for the choosing. The American Ohio, and Akron governments illustrate the problem with replacing Christ as King; legalized murder, theft, and an attempt to force false doctrines on the church. Replacing a distinctly Christian education with secular philosophy results in an illiterate culture and an exodus of the youth from the church. When Biblical principles do not reign in all areas of life men and women replace the one true living God with a false god, resulting in lost souls going to hell.

Religion is not merely an individual pursuit. When your worldview strays from Biblical principles the effect does not merely affect your life, but it affects all of culture. The Christian develops a Christian worldview by “…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” (II Cor. 10:5). Every Christian will admit that he is responsible to participate in the fulfilling of the great commission If the Christian does not have his mind renewed by the word of God he can not “teach all nations..to observe all things, whatsoever I [Jesus] have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:19 – 20).”

via A Christian Worldview; What is it and Why do I Need One? – Akron Religion & Politics | Examiner.com.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
Rossville, GA
godsguy12@comcast.net
jadams012@gmail.com
christianreasons@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/godsguy12
https://www.facebook.com/christianreasons?ref=hl
http://christianreasons.com/

The Incarnation

Gregory Koukl

IV.  The Kenosis, the Hypostatic Union, the Deity of Christ.

A.  God visits the earth
1.  In form:  theophany
a.  God reveals Himself in some outward, physical manifestation, either voice or apparition, sometimes
referred to as “the Angel of the Lord,” though not the very substance of God Himself.
(ISBE, Vol..4, p.829).
b.  Some examples are the Lord appearing to Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre (Gen 18:1), Moses and the
burning bush (Ex. 3:2), and Jacob wrestling with a “man” (Gen 32:24-30).
2.  In substance:  incarnation
a.  Micah 5:2 says He was to be born in Bethlehem (humanity), yet He was from everlasting to everlasting
to everlasting (deity).
b.  John 1:1,14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
[deity]….And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory [humanity]….”

B.  The kenosis:  the choice of the Son to empty Himself of His divine rights by becoming a man, and also emptying
Himself of His human rights by becoming a servant .[1]
1.  Phil 2:5-8
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of
God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a
bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He
humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”[2]
Like your landlord becoming your tenant;
Like Beethoven lining up for a ticket to his own concert;
Like a principal having to sit in the corner;
Like Picasso painting by numbers;
God lived among us.[3]
2.  Jesus never ceased being God.
            a.  Jesus laid aside only His privileges of deity, not His divine nature.  He had to learn like we do, to grow in
understanding and knowledge (Lk 2:52).  Some contend, as I do, that on earth Jesus did not make use of
His own powers of diety; others contend that He did.[4]
b.  Because of His humbling and obedience, God the Father highly exalted Jesus:  “…that at the name of
Jesus every knee shall bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that
every tongue should confess that Jesus the Messiah is Lord….” (Phil 2:9-11).
3.  As one of my students put it, “God, what a man!  Man, what a God!”

C.  The hypostatic union:
In the one person of Jesus the Messiah there were two natures:  undiminished deity and true humanity.[5]
Jesus was fully God and fully man.
1.  Isaiah 9:6 suggests the dual nature of Jesus:
a.  His humanity:  “A child is born.”
b.  His deity:  “A Son is given.”[6]
2.  Jesus, however, was a different person from the Father.
a.  Sometimes He spoke in reference to His deity:  “I and the Father are one [‘one essence,’ lit.].” (Jn 10:30)
b.  Sometimes He spoke in reference to His humanity:  “…the Father is greater than I”[7] (Jn 14:28).
c.  “In Jesus’ humanity, He is subject to the Father because the Father is greater than His humanity.  But in
His deity, He is co-equal with God the Father because He is of one essence with Him” (Lindsey, p.81).

D.  The Trinity
1.  St. Augustine’s definition is the classic one:  “So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is
God; and yet they are not three Gods but one God.”
2.  The term “Trinity” is a 2nd century term not found in the Bible, but is used to explain specific statements
made about God that are taught in the Scripture.[8]  The Trinity is not a problem; it’s a solution.
3.  Most illustrations fall short, sometimes implying a heretical understanding of the Trinity called modalism.[9]
Here’s the best illustration I know of to give a sense of what’s meant:
a.  Dimensions
1)  Length, width and height are distinct dimensions.
2)  Yet each completely subsumes the other.  They are co-terminus, beginning and ending at the same
point, though they are completely distinct from each other too.
b.  Remove any one of them and the other will disappear.
4.  In the final analysis, the Trinity is a mystery.
a.  Excessive attempts at making it rational and understandable almost always lead to error and imbalance.
b.  This is a case where reason bows to revelation.

(Adapted from “The Bible:  Fast Forward” by Greg Koukl)


[1]ISBE, vol. 3, p. 9.

[2]The Phillips translation I think better captures the sense of Jesus’ humiliation, rendering this verse, “…the death He died was the death of a common criminal.”

[3]Simon Jenkins, from his poem “Like…”

[4]One might well ask, “Then how did Jesus do all His miracles if He didn’t use His divine powers?”  Jesus worked His miracles and lived a holy life as a man filled with the Holy Spirit, just like us.  That’s why Jesus could say, “…he who believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father…and He will give you another Helper that will be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth….” (John 14:12,16,17).

[5]Lindsey, p. 80.

[6]Lindsey, p. 78.

[7] Meaning “comparative degree,” not “essence” (Vine, sec. 2, p. 280).  Due to Jesus’ kenosis, the Father was “greater” than He was–i.e. at a higher station–for a time.

[8]ISBE, vol. 4, p. 914.  More extensive treatments of this issue can be found in ISBE, vol. 4, pp. 914-921; and Archer, p. 357-361.

[9]Modalism is an early heresy in the church that came out of an attempt to make the Trinity understandable.  It taught that God was one person manifesting Himself in three different ways, or modes:  the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  This is a frequent misconception about the Trinity currently held by many Christians.

via http://www.str.org

I recently taught a class at church on Biblical Hermeneutics. Having come from the Word of Faith branch of the Charismatic movement, I had to learn the hard way the dangers of skewed Biblical interpretations. Eisegesis is the foundation of Word of Faith Theology, and clearing that clutter out of one’s brain is no easy task. I found this article very helpful. I am fearful of the Dominionism branch of Evangelicalism, for I am a student of history. Please read this excerpt carefully, and prayerfully. It may save your spiritual life, and your sanity. The older I get, the more important I find the Reformer’s principle of Sola Scriptura. Pay close attention to the section on Allegory. I see this abusive technique used frequently by folks who are solid Christians. Recognize it when you hear it, and note it accordingly.

 

GodDay 12.12.12 is a day of Divine Order and Apostolic Government. On GodDay 12.12.12 Apostolic decrees & Prophetic Proclamations will be made that Shift the atmosphere and release Awakening to America and the nations.GodDay 12.12.12 is a strategic model of Awakening that will activate you and many others to release Awakening in other cities around the world!

(“Are You Ready for a Global Awakening?” ElijahList, 11-11-12)

By Dr. Orrel Steinkamp

This title is purposefully alarming in order to get the attention of the reader. Perhaps a little less volatile word could be abuse. Rape or abuse is to take something by force that is not yours for the taking. It is abuse when Scripture is mislabeled and misapplied. Violence is done to the message and meaning of Scripture. Manfred Brauch decribes it in a similar way:

I very deliberately chose the term abuse to point to the serious nature of misreading the Bible. I am well aware that abuse conjures up terrible images…. My use of the word is an intentional decision to drive home the point that abuse – in the sense of “doing violence to” – is precisely what happens when Scripture is misinterpreted and misused: violence is done to its message and meaning….

I am particularly concerned about the abuse of Scripture within the tradition of the Christian faith that upholds the Bible as the unique Word of God and affirms its divine inspiration and authority. This tradition which is generally identified as evangelical and of which I consider myself a part… seeks to honor the text of Scripture, claiming it as the irreducible foundation of the faith “once delivered for all and entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). Nevertheless, when on a regular basis, in our interpretation and application of the Bible, we grievously abuse Scripture, and we do violence to its message and meaning.

(Manfred T. Brauch, Abusing Scripture, IVF Academic, 2009, p. 15).

James R. White in his book Pulpit Crimes highlights the transgression of mishandling the Scripture:

When the Bible is mishandled and sloppily proclaimed men’s ideas replace God’s truth. Reading into the text ideas and concepts that would have been foreign to the original writers and beyond their intention is called eisegesis rather than the appropriate activity of exegesis.

(White, Pulpit Crimes, The Criminal Mishandling of Scripture, Solid Ground, 2006, p.55)

These two Greek propositions tell the story, “ex”means “out of” and “eis” means “into.” Very simply eisegesis imports the readers personal meaning into the text and exegesis exports the author’s meaning from the text. Those who employ eisegesis must first import their ideas into the text and then suggest that these ideas actually come from the text. This is simply abusing the text. James White states the obvious: “If you desire to bring a certain viewpoint into the scriptures, find ways to isolate any text and create a plausible way around it. There truly is no limitation to the imagination of the heart of man….” (p. 101) Just as there is no end to human imagination to spin historical events for the will of the spinner, so also the desire to find false meaning in a biblical text is only limited by the imagination of the reader.

Hermeneutics

Typically only trained Bible scholars commonly use this term. Actually hermeneutics is a transliteration of a Greek verb hermeneu, which means simply to explain meaning. A form of the hermeneu is used in Luke 24:27 which reads: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He (Jesus ) explained (hermenue) to them what was said of Him in all the Scriptures.” Still, for many, explaining what the Bible means seems daunting and difficult. However, people have been explaining things that other people have written for thousands of years. Communication has been going on long before anyone ever took a course in biblical hermeneutics. Robert Stein was a professor of mine in seminary. He gave his life to the study of hermeneutics and how to authentically understand the meaning of Scriptures. Stein states:

Now in all communication there must be present three basic components. There has to be an author, a text and a reader. Various people have argued for each of these three components to determine the meaning. Some argue for the author being the determiner of meaning, others for the text itself, and still others the reader. (Robert Stein, A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible – Playing By The Rules, Baker Academic: 1994, 2011)

The Debate of Our Day

1. Traditional View (first half of the 20th century) – The approach to interpreting any literature , biblical or secular, was to assume that the author determines the meaning and the reader’s job is to find that meaning.

2. More Recent Trend (last half of the 20th century) – Critics now argue that the reader, not the author, is the one that determines the meaning.

Affects on Biblical Interpretation – Secular literary criticism has entered into the field of biblical interpretation. Biblical scholars wrestle with the question, What is the meaning? Some have concluded that meaning only applies as a reader interacts with the text – that it takes both the reader and the text to produce meaning. The author is no longer involved. The author has been removed from the equation. The reader now has the freedom to interpret the text any way they choose. The author has control of the meaning only to the extent the reader allows.

Authorial Intent – This position stresses that the author determines the meaning. It holds that the author intends to convey a specific message/meaning through his writing. The goal then is to discern, as a reader, what was the original intent of the author. An illustration of Authorial Intent is to receive a love letter from a spouse/boy/girlfriend. Your desire is to read each line and discern/search for the exact meaning he or she intended.

Conversely, a Reader Response position would be to find a love poem while walking in the woods and the author is not identified. You may not care what the author meant or intended, and you have freedom to interpret it however you want. Your interpretive question would change to what does this mean to me. Key interpretive principle here is that the reader creates the meaning. But this is not playing by the rules of communication. We must seek to discover the meaning that has been placed there by the author. The author is the inspired bible writer directed by the Holy Spirit. (Resourced from John Bohannon, weccva.com, “Authorial Intent Versus Reader Response: Who Controls the Meaning?”)

Dr. Robert Stein quoted above was my professor in seminary in my doctoral studies. Below I will paraphrase from his class notes regarding the Authors Intent. Dr. Stein, suggests that it is the author that ultimately determines the meaning of a text. I concur with Dr. Stein. He calls this “authorial intent.” Lets follow Dr. Stein’s reasoning.

The prevailing current view is that the text and the reader controls the meaning of a text. This suggests that the text alone is autonomous. It is as if there was never an author. It is as if a text comes to you dropped from heaven without any relationship in time and space to anything without any person being involved with it…. The text is an end in itself. It is as if the text magically appeared without an author, without circumstances, without any particular time and space in view. The text has its own meaning period. It is the text and the reader that gives it meaning totally apart from who actually wrote it and why he wrote it. Its just the text there in front of us…. If you are in a Bible study and you are studying the book of Galatians and you come to a passage and if by some miracle the Apostle Paul entered in the door and said to you “ What I meant by Galatians 3 here is…, this approach would say “That is very interesting Paul, but it is irrelevant. Long ago you Paul lost control of this text. It is now a work of art. It is isolated. It has nothing to do with what you said when you said it.” Now according to this view if people come up with different meanings that are different from what it means for you… well! no problem, because you the reader give the meaning to the text, and the text can apparently have multiple meanings. Therefore, there is no such thing as a single meaning of a text. It is like watching clouds and someone says that cloud looks to me like a dog and another looking at the same cloud says no! it looks like a cow. Well, actually you are both right. Each gives his own meaning according to how it is viewed. But if a biblical text has many different meanings it actually doesn’t mean any of them.

Unfortunately this is the the common approach today. Haven’t you been in a Bible class and each person is asked what the text means to them and after everyone has had his say the study just moves on. But If we are to attain to the meaning God intended we must seek to understand what the actual author intended to say. Thus the meaning of Romans is what what Paul meant when he wrote Romans. The Bible is not to be treated as some isolated form of art with each beholder able to have their own meaning. No it is a form of communication and we want to know what the author meant when he wrote it. Just as we are perturbed when someone reads into our words meaning we never intended, God I am sure is not impressed when we “edit his word.” God’s Word was never intended to treated as a work of modern art in which each viewer finds his own personal meaning in the painting.

The fatal flaw of any biblical explanation that ignores the author’s meaning is that it loses the original meaning and thus loses the authority of God’s inspired truth. If we simply read into the text our own meaning, the interpretation is severed from the divinely inspired Author. The meaning then is personally derived and depends on the imagination of the reader. “We must never apply a passage to ourselves before we have understood the original purpose of the original author. The Bible was never written to me – the Bible was written for me. When I read a passage in the Bible I must remember I am reading it over the shoulder of the person or group of people to whom the author originally wrote. (Sizer, Zion’s Christian Soldiers, p. 21). It is only then that we can understand, the inspired message and only then can we legitimately apply its principles to our own time.

Biblical Narrative

Biblical narrative is simply a historical record and its purpose is to give us a historical account. It simply does not follow that because God did something in the past (historical narrative) that He will do it again unless He so choses. For example, God parted the Red Sea when the children of Israel were leaving Egypt and drowned Pharaoh’s armies. Are we to draw from this story that every time God’s children face a sea of water that God will part it? Likewise, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples was that a command for us to do the same? Paul mentions in passing that the Corinthians entertained the idea of “baptizing the dead.”( 1 Cor. 15:29) Are we to baptize the dead – something the Mormons routinely practice? Because reluctantly Paul told of his journey to the third heaven, do we now have the same right and obligation as Paul? Does that simple historical reference of Paul’s trip to the the third heaven give proven false prophet Bob Jones the right to mystically take people on guided trips to the third heaven describing it in imaginary detail, and referring to the demonic forces he encountered passing through the second heaven, etc., and then tell people all about it – when Paul in his historical account says that he heard things that he was commanded not to be told to anyone?( 2 Cor 12:4).

Without doubt we must distinguish between historical narrative and teaching genres. Generally speaking, normative doctrine is sourced from didactic (teaching) portions of Scripture. Conversely, historical narratives serve only to show us what happened to others in those historical events. Rick Watson gives two examples: First, Moses and striking the rock twice (Ex. 17:6). Obviously, no one would suggest that Christians need to strike a rock twice to get water. Secondly, the apostle Peter apparently had a “shadow ministry” in that sick people were brought to the near proximity of Peter and his shadow healed them. Obviously we cannot institute a “water from rocks ministry,” or the a “shadow healing ministry.” (Rick Watson, sourced from Coffee Time on the Internet.)

Allegory

One of the must abusive methods of mishandling biblical narrative is to allegorize it. Allegory has unfortunately been imposed on Scripture for centuries. Philo, a Greek-trained Jewish writer, employed this tactic to help his Greek friends to gain some meaning from the Old Testament writings. In the early Christian centuries Origen used allegory extensively. In the early centuries after the New Testament, there developed a school of Christian allegorists in Damascus who used allegory almost exclusively. In the Middle Ages until the Reformation it was simply expected that any passage of Scripture not only have a literal meaning but three other meanings as well. It was called the “quadringa” named after the four horses that pulled the chariots in the Roman horse races.

But the Reformation dispensed with all this and restored the historical-grammatical approach to the biblical text. But in more recent times allegory has made a huge comeback. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We must first define what allegory is. Just what is allegorical (also called mystical) interpretation? Roy Zuck offers the following description of biblical allegory:

Allegorizing is searching for a hidden or secret meaning underlying butremote from and unrelated in reality to the more obvious meaning of a text. In other words the literal reading is a sort to code, which needs to be deciphered to determine the more significant and hidden meaning…. The allegory [the hidden meaning] becomes the true meaning. (Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, Colorado Springs, Cook , 1991. p. 29)

It is as if the the literal meaning of the text is an outer garment that must be removed to see the deeper and more glorious truth presented as an allegory. In this mystical quest the authority of Bible is compromised. In allegory the reader is relying on his ingenuity and imagination takes various parts of the narrative and assigned to them a meaning as a symbol.

Thankfully, the Reformation brought a return to the literal meaning of the text. Now, there are allegories in the Bible. Paul uses allegory in Galatians. BUT the Bible writers could use allegory because they were the biblically inspired authors. But we, the readers, are not the Bible authors. If we allegorize we are raping and abusing God message. Now, centuries later, allegory is commonly employed. This return of biblical abuse and rape goes without any challenge and the biblically illiterate wolf it down with glee.

Just Two Examples of Current Allegory Abuse of the Bible

Actually, most current employment of allegory today is normally preceded by new revelations beyond Scripture. First, there is a new revelation expressed, usually coming from one of the myriads of new “prophets” now traversing the globe. See The ElijahList on the Internet for thousands of these new “prophetic revelations.” These new revelations have nothing to do with Scripture, for the author is not God but false prophets. But the false prophets, in order to buttress their new imaginary extra-biblical revelations, fraudulently use allegory to give the new revelation the appearance of biblical support. Actually the new revelations stem from the fleshly imaginations of the false prophets, and then they follow up with suggested biblical mystical meanings, often from purely historical Bible passages. Consequently this wedding of false revelation and allegory finds its source in the boundless imaginations of those promoting these new revelations.

1. The Latter-Rain Restoration Eschatology

The simple phrase “Latter-Rain” was abducted from Joel 2:23. In the historical context this reference to a “latter-rain is simply the prophet Joel giving a historical reference to the “early” and “later-rains” that were common to the agricultural year in Palestine. Notice that Joel refers to the early and latter-rains as something that He (Jehovah) has already given to Israel. The passage states: “He has given the early rain for your vindication and He has poured down abundant rain, the early and latter rain as before.”(Joel 2:23). Verse 27 attests that this giving of the early and latter rains had already been given to Israel, and Joel is reminding the people of Israel of the goodness of the Lord already bestowed. But someone decided that this historical reference would make a nice allegory. In fact, it they figured it could be pressed into service as a wholly new view of “salvation history” –  a new eschatology for the end of the age. In fact the whole Latter-Rain allegory became very popular and widespread around the turn of the last century and now has had a long history into our present time.

It is still with us today even though the term “Latter Rain” is not commonly still used. The Latter-Rain advocates allegorically teach that Acts 2 corresponds to, or stands for, the early rain mentioned in Joel. The long period of little or no rain in the Palestine weather pattern stands for the Dark Ages of Medieval Christianity and the latter rain stands for an end time outpouring and revival producing a end time harvest, just prior to the return of Christ. It an ingenious picture conjured from a simple reference to the rainfall patterns and the agricultural year over two thousand years ago. But this allegory is totally unrelated to the intent of the biblical author, but rather stems from the imagination of a biblical reader over 2000 years removed.

Joel never conceived of creating a new view of the work of the Holy Spirit from Pentecost to the the return of Christ. Nevertheless, all current Dominion Eschatology is based finally on this fraudulent allegory of Latter Rain eschatology. Any reference to a great end time revival and the dominion of apostles and prophets finds its foundation untimely in a passing reference to the ancient growing season in Palestine. It is allegory pure and simple yet it has spawned and continues to support a false view of the last days. Any reference to restored apostles and prophets and dominion teaching is based finally on the thin thread of an abusive imaginary allegory referenced from Joel’s statement of the rainfall patterns of that day. This abuse of Scripture then becomes a false biblical justification of a supposed extra-biblical revelation. This is biblical abuse. We cannot just create our own meaning, rather we are limited to the meaning that was placed there by Joel the author to his readers of his day

2. The Bridal Paradigm and Bridal Canopy Dominionism

Mike Bickle is not the first to employ allegory to the Song of Solomon. The Medieval church early resorted to allegory in regard to the Song of Solomon. Bernard Clairvaux is representative. He read 1:13 “My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh that lies between my breasts.”Clairvaux could not understand that this verse might mean exactly what it says, and so he allegorized it. The bag of myrrh stands for Jesus Christ crucified and the two breasts in the text represent the two criminals on either side of Jesus. Allegory searches for a hidden meaning that transcends the literal. Actually, the Song of Songs is a Jewish love poem (probably the 10th century BC) that extols sexual love between a man and woman united in marriage. It is God’s endorsement of marital love as wholesome and pure. It was not Solomon’s intent to allegorize it.

Mike Bickle, a current Dominion Apostle, has intensified allegory from the Song of Solomon for his own Dominion purposes. Cindy Jacobs and Dutch Sheets of the new apostles and prophets of C. Peter Wagner’sNew Apostolic Reformation (NAR) have stretched even further The Song of Solomon allegory into Dominion territory, especially in relation to the USA. Once again it is an amalgam of imagination prophetic revelation and allegory. In her vision Jacobs saw a line drawn from Washington State to Florida, a connection from the northwest to the southeast. She also saw a line from California to NY. Connecting the southwest with the northeast. Those lines intersected in Kansas in the form of X over our nation. Cindy knew the enemy had a plan to X out our nation and its destiny in Christ.

But then enter Dutch Sheets, another leading apostle/prophet, who enlarged Cindy Jacobs vision. For Sheets the “X” somehow was transformed in a bridal canopy. The geographic center of the nation, where the lines intersected became the center post of the bridal tent and canopy. This visionary bridal canopy or hupah, stretched across our nation as God tabernacled with His people. The bridal canopy is a Jewish marriage tradition supposedly harkening back to the Song of Solomon. Cindy Jacob’s vision, and Sheet’s enlargement of that visioninto a prophetic bridal canopy over the USA, became a Dominion revelation regarding America. The Bridegroom was covering his bride a covenant nation and pouring out His glory over America. Other false prophetic wannabes were further inspired to fill in the blanks of this prophetic vision based on the Song of Solomon.

Jolene Hamil became one of those prophetic enhancers. She and her husband Jon along with John Benefiel and other prophets proceeded to prepare the USA for the promised canopy of God’s glory. Jon and Jolene of HAPN (Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network) apostolically are aligned with apostle/prophet Chuck Pierce and members of Wagner’s Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE). They further resorted to allegorizing Hosea 2, claiming to have facilitated the divorcement of Baal (in America) and the resetting of America’s covenant with Jesus across our nation. This effort culminated by presenting to the Lord a Declaration of Covenant on July 4, 2011, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in DC. Then on 11-11-11 as part of the DC40 initiative, they returned to the Lincoln Memorial as leaders assembled in state capitals across our nation. From coast to coast they were reminded of God’s covenant with America and they asked for His hand in marriage again…. The Lord responded with YES. On the eve of 11-11-11, they gathered for the DC40 prayer time, Apostle John Benefiel (HAPN) had a vision. A thick, weighty substance began to form and connect from region to region. John realized he was seeing God’s glory being restored [in our nation]…. Later, when praying into Cindy’s vision, the Holy Spirit supposedly ushered prophetess Jolene into a prophetic experience. She watched as prophetically tent pegs for this canopy were driven into the four corners of the nation. It is suggested that there is a correlation with the four corners and four winds of the Spirit, as portrayed in Ezekiel. Four winds, four corners. Jolene further allegorizes the Song of Solomon 3:6: “Who is this coming up from the wilderness, like columns of smoke. Behold it is traveling couch (throne) of Solomon , sixty might men around it, the mighty men of Israel.” The prophetess then gives us allegorical insight in to this passage:

“This picture from the Song of Songs portrays the romantic journey of the Bridegroom and his bride. They are moving together from the wilderness to the Promised Land…. But note that in Solomon’s procession, this traveling “bridal canopy” (also a couch) was also the Throne of governmental authority for all Israel…. But Solomon had the wisdom to surround this tent (couch) of intimacy with 80 valiant warriors. That’s where you and I come in. Much like these men of valor, you are being invited to literally surround David’s Tent DC in prayer…. Together we can guard against the terrors of the night. As recent events have clearly shown, your prayers can directly effect the course of this initiative. In this critical hour (the election) let us work together to see a throne of worship established at our nations seat of authority. Lets see God move to protect and defend our nation.” (HAPN Forward, Protect and Defend! prayer for David’s Tent!, Lamplighter Ministries on August 16, 2012).

An Oval alter (the ellipse on the White House lawn is elliptical) for an oval office. God wanted David’s Tent DC to brood over His promises for new life and build a a throne for His presence. Jon and Jolene further state:

“In Sept 2009 Seer Prophet Bob Jones was told an egg with new life would hatch in 2012. This was a move to the restoration of God’s glory which Bob saw as a glory train. It is interesting that in Sept 2012 Jolene and I moved to an apartment in DC exactly across from Union Station. Why? The train of His glory is coming in. The Ellipse the sight of Davids Tent DC near the White House is an oval-shaped park shaped like an egg.”(Lamplighter Ministries, link added)

As the election drew near Jolene said:

We are now in the final 24 hours of Davids Tent DC. The egg of promise has most definitely hatched. The glory of the Lord is NOW being restored as a bridal canopy across the land. He is tabernacling with us. Canopy vision with these words “God loves me and Cindy Jacobs has a plan for my life.” (Lamplighter Ministries).

The Bridal Canopy Appears to Have Fallen Down

The presidential election prophetically unfortunately went astray. An egg hatched alright and the tent pegs apparently didn’t hold and the glory of the Lord is now heading to China. Chuck Pierce and C. Peter Wagner now in the light of the Obama election are now calling for a new Antioch shift. Cindy Jacobs and other prophets had called 2012 as the tipping point, etc., etc. But, hastily it seems, a redirection of the tipping point is tipping toward China. In terms of Jacobs vision/prophecy the effect of this election is that America has been Xed out. C. Peter Wagner has now issued a new apostolic decree (Nov. 9, 2012) entitled “the America of Tomorrow: How Shall We Pray.” Chuck Pierce stood up and told C. Peter:

“Peter, I feel like I have to give you an assignment. I say this humbly to you, but I know you’re quite capable of doing this for us.   There was a word over you, and the Lord said to you, “Open your eyes for I will now reveal to you how the past has come to its closure and the new will begin to be expressed.” While you’re here, you are going to get a message. I know you are capable because you’re a historian and you’ve got the best commentary on Acts that has ever been written because it makes Acts real today.   You are going to know what is really opening over us here. You’re going to understand how one church era is ending and a new church era is being established. You’re going to break us out of our nationalism. You’re going to cause us to see a kingdom expression in the days ahead that we have not seen. This is the last major assignment that the Lord is giving you and you’re going to reinitiate the open door that came into an expression in Antioch, but has never come into fullness for this church age.”

And then: “Lord, I loose this assignment. I feel like angelically you are giving it from heaven to be imparted to him. I know that he might be aged in years, but he is fresh in revelation. We decree right now that the last great message and paradigm shift for this generation’s alignment will now be released into Peter in Jesus’ name.”

C. Peter Wagner later states:

The America of Tomorrow will not be the same as the America we have known….  I believe we should begin looking toward and praying into the America of Tomorrow…. What else did the election show us about the America of Tomorrow? It showed us that there will be no turning back. America’s demographics and American culture, for better or for worse, have changed forever…. Some of us have been basking in what has been called American exceptionalism… .But I can imagine some of my Chinese friends might be considering Chinese exceptionalism” as a slogan for tomorrow….

For C. Peter Wagner the Lord has spoken, the new Antioch shift is to China. Why? Because Chuck Pierce told him that he had a new prophetic assignment: “The Antioch door is now reopening over you” and “one church era is ending and a new church era is being established..”

Apparently the pegs weren’t driven securely to the four corners of America and just one election destroys the effectiveness of all the divorcement of Baal declarations of the prophets. Johns Benefiel’s vision is abrogated and Davids Tent DC at the White House lawn was just a waste of time and resources. David’s tent has fallen again. Wagner and Chuck Pierce think the canopy might now be forming over China, although Wagner sees it as far into the future. Jolene of USRPN and HAPN (affiliates of Wagner’s NAR) informed us that

as they were resetting covenant with the Lord on 11-11-11 at the Lincoln Memorial, Chuck pierce and Dutch Sheets were in Kansas at the very place where the “X” intersected in Cindy’s vision. At that time Chuck Pierce and Dutch felt a release to governmentally call for God’s glory to be restored as a biblical canopy over the land.

But at that time they weren’t thinking China. But now the prophets are calling it quits on their prophetic dominion allegory for the USA…. C. Peter Wagner wrote: “Chuck Pierce gave this further word from the Lord: ‘The Dragon and her children, other Asian nations, will arise to unprecedented control of the economic systems of the earth. . . China is creating a society to advance the kingdom of God.”

Doesn’t all this seem silly? How can Christians get tied into knots like this? It’s this sinking into the slough of continual contemporary imaginative revelations. And when it doesn’t work out they just that quickly change prophetic gears, reinterpret their imaginations to mean an Antioch shift and redirect the glory to China. ‘”

The whole NAR dominion thing is simply continual imagination prophecy that is then linked allegorically to Scripture. What does the historical biblical account of Antioch have to do with America and China today, especially when a few days ago it was linked the American forefathers and resetting a supposed covenant with America. Was Luke the author of Luke/Acts thinking China of the 21st century when he wrote in the first century? Isn’t this pure abuse of scripture? First false prophecy, and then lame attempts to link it to Antioch and the book of Acts. This is pure spiritual and biblical abuse and misconduct.

Conclusion

Indeed! Scripture can never mean what it never meant. (Thanks to Eric Douma for the title of this article.) James R. White asserts:

“The Christian doctrine of inspiration sets the scriptures apart from other claimed divine revelations in that Christians believe the Scriptures are God-breathed. This means the written word communicates to be infallibly the very speaking of God in a miraculously personal manner (Matt. 22:31. The authority of the Word is not based upon the interpreter but upon the inspired [author]. The message of the written Word is the same through the course of time. Without this affirmation, the Word becomes a purely subjective document, incapable of communicating divine truth with certainty.” (James White vs. Harold Camping On Iron Sharpens Iron! July 20, 2009).

For the Word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 
(Heb. 4:12)

via Herescope: Can the Bible Ever Mean What it Never Meant?.

It is interesting to note the similarities between the modern method of interpreting Scripture with the modern method of interpreting our Constitution. Ignoring authorial intent is the bedrock tenet of postmodern theologians, and postmodern Constitutional scholars. A ‘living document”, whether religious or secular, allows the reader absolute power over interpretation, and ignores the basic meaning of the document. It’s a very convenient way to “reinterpret” the text to mean whatever we want it to. To see this done to our Scriptures, or our Constitution is horrifying. May God grant wisdom and discernment to His people to see the lie of “reader intent”.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
Rossville, GA
godsguy12@comcast.net
jadams012@gmail.com
christianreasons@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/godsguy12
https://www.facebook.com/christianreasons?ref=hl
http://christianreasons.com/

 

 

 

Can Atheists Justify Being Good Without God ?

by Norman L. Geisler

There is a new atheist’s ad out with a picture of  Santa Claus and the words: “Why  believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake.”  This is clever, but is it possible?  Let’s analyze it more carefully.

First, if there is no Moral Law Giver (God), then how can there be a moral law that prescribes: “Be good.”  Every prescription has a prescriber, and this is a moral prescription.

Second, what does “good” mean?  How is good to be defined.? If it can mean anything for anyone, then it means nothing for anyone.  It is total relativism. Being “good” for some (like Nazis) can mean killing Jews.  But for Jews it is evil.  Hence, on this view there is no objective difference between good and evil.

Third,  what does “goodness” itself mean in the atheist slogan.  Being good “for goodness sake” implies that something is just plain good in itself.  That is, it is an ultimate goodness.  But this by definition is what Christians mean by God.  Everything else has goodness, but only God (the Ultimate) is goodness.  In this case, the atheist is using “goodness” as a surrogate or substitute for God.

This maneuver is not uncommon for atheists. Before the Big Bang evidence, atheists were fond of doing this with the word  “universe.”  It was supposed to be eternal and, hence, needed no Cause since only what begins needs a Beginner.  Carl Sagan employed the term “Cosmos” as a God-substitute.  He said, “the COSMOS is everything that ever was, is, or will be.”  It sounds a little like what Psalm 90 declares: “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”  Bertrand Russell attempted the same tactic in his famous BBC debate with Father Copleston.  When asked what caused the universe, he replied that nothing did.  It was just “there.”  But how does an eternal, uncaused universe from which everything else came to be differ from an Uncaused Cause (God)?

However, in the light of the Big Bang evidence that the universe had a beginning, these answers lack scientific support.  As agnostic Jastrow put it, “The scientist’s pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation.”  And  “This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but theologians.  They have always accepted the word of the Bible: `In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth'” (God and the Astronomers, 115).

Fourth, Dembski and Wells give another objection in recent book (How to be an Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist (or not), 115): “Atheism is a belief with scientific pretensions but no scientific backing.”  It has no scientific backing for believing in an eternal universe, The Second Law of Thermodynamics still holds.  The universe is running out of useable energy and, therefore, cannot be eternal.  And it has no scientific backing for the spontaneous origin of first life.  Again, as Dembski notes, “Until science can show that physical process operating under realistic prebiotic conditions can bring about full-fledged cells from nonliving material, intellectual fulfillment remains an atheistic pipedream” (ibid.).

Fifth, the truth is that many of the great atheists themselves understood well that without God there is no basis for being good for goodness sake.  The famous French atheist, Jean Paul Sartre said,  without God,  “I was like a man who’s lost his shadow.  And there was nothing left in heaven, not right or wrong, nor anyone to give me orders” (The Flies, Act III).  Nietzsche said that when God died (see the “Madman” in Gay Science), then all objective values died with Him.  And a subjective understanding of goodness to which everyone can assign their own relative meaning, is not goodness at all–let alone being goodness for goodness sake.

Sixth, atheists fail to make an important distinction.  One can be good (as many atheists are) without believing in God.  But one cannot be good without there being a God.  That is, they canbelieve in a moral law (and live accordingly) without believing in God.  But they cannot justify this belief without reference to a Moral Law Giver (God).  This leads to one last observation.

Seventh, the fact is, that you cannot have an objective moral law without a Moral Law Giver.  But atheist are the first to insist there must be a moral law–otherwise, how can they mount their argument against God from the injustices in this world.   C. S. Lewis sais this clearly when he wrote,  “[As an atheist] my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust.  But how had I got this idea of just and unjust?  A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line” (Mere Christianity, 15). Thus, he reasoned from this objective moral law to a Moral Law Giver (God).  The atheist must make his painful choice: Either he loses the basis for his argument against God from evil, or he must admit there is an objective moral law which leads to a Moral Law Giver.  One thing is certain: without God, the atheist cannot have objective goodness for goodness sake.  Indeed, since “for goodness sake” is a euphemistic phrase meaning “For God’s sake,” then the atheist ad, both literarily and logically, should be rendered, “Why believe in God? Just be good for God’s sake.”  In other words, it is precisely because there is a God that we can really be good.  Without an absolutely good God, there is no real objective basis for being good.

via Articles by Dr. Geisler.

KEVIN DEYOUNG|5:33 AM CT

What Is Hypocrisy?

Many Christians misunderstand the nature of hypocrisy. It’s common to think of hypocrisy as the gap between your actions and your feelings. So if I do something without having my “heart” in it then I’m a hypocrite. Evangelicals are especially sensitive to this charge because we believe (quite rightly) that Christianity is more than “just going through the motions.” We know that having a personal relationship with Christ is crucial. We believe faith must be sincere.

And yet, we can easily misappropriate our good instincts. Some Christians wonder if they should still go to church if they don’t feel like it. They wonder if it’s right to sing the praise songs if they aren’t feeling worshipful that morning. They hesitate to give generously because “God loves a cheerful giver” and, well, giving doesn’t make them very happy. They aren’t sure they should repent of their sins or work to forgive their offender unless they feel really sorry and feel like forgiving. Many Christians fear that doing the right thing without the right feelings makes them hypocrites.

But is this really hypocrisy? Another word to describe this behavior might be “maturity.” Children only do what they feel like doing. Adults learn to do things they are supposed to do though they may not always be excited about it. Of course, as Christians we want to grow so that we feel good about what is good. But the Christian life is full of instances where the doing and the feeling do not exactly match—sometimes with feelings ahead of obedience and sometimes with obedience ahead of our feelings.

Hypocrisy is not the gap between doing and feeling; it’s the gap between public persona and private character. Hypocrisy is the failure to practice what you preach (Matt. 23:3). Appearing outwardly righteous to others, while actually being full of uncleanness and self-indulgence—that’s the definition of hypocrisy (Matt. 23:25-28).

The hypocrite is not the Christian who struggles against sin, fights against temptation, and keeps doing what is right even on his worst feeling days. That’s a hero. The hypocrite is the Christian who uses the veneer of public virtue to cover the rot of private vice. He’s the man living a double life, the woman fooling her friends because she has church clothes, the student who proudly answers the questions in Sunday school and just as proudly romps through immorality the rest of the week.

The sin of hypocrisy is not that we are more messed up than we seem. That’s true for all of us. The sin is in using the appearance of goodness to cloak the deeds of evil. The sin is in thinking that who others think you are matters a great deal more than whom God knows you to be.

via What Is Hypocrisy? – Kevin DeYoung.

by Ray Nothstine

Every December cultural warriors mourn the incessant attacks on Christmas and secularism’s rise in society. News headlines carry stories of modern day Herods banning nativity scenes, religious performances, and even the word “Christmas.” Just as a majority of young people profess they will have less prosperity and opportunity than their parents, many people now expect less out of Christmas. Continual bickering over holiday messaging in corporate advertising itself points to a shrinking and limited Christmas.

Yet these problems are signs on the way to important truths, if we have the eyes to see. Record spending and debt, whether in Washington or the home, allude to a society trying to fill an emptiness of the heart. Even our disappointment in poor leadership in America reminds us that we crave a true King and are expectant of a greater day.

Part of the cause of the rise of secularism and a less meaningful Christmas is that we have lost this spirit of expectancy. Advent not only points to preparation for and celebration of the Nativity but also to the second coming of Christ. The New Testament ends with anticipation of Christ’s return: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev 22:20) In their lifetime, the apostles lived in anticipation and excitement for the return of Christ.

What Christmas actually announces to the world offends modern sensibilities. The mystery and depth of the incarnation seems unfathomable. Praising Christmas carols, G.K. Chesterton noted, “It is extraordinary to notice how completely this feeling of the paradox of the manger was lost by the brilliant and ingenious theologians, and how completely it was kept in the Christmas carols. They, at least, never forgot that the main business of the story they had to tell was that the absolute once ruled the universe from a cattle stall.”

Christmas has united much of the world and is responsible for the common identity of the West and its rise out of barbarism. “In adoring the birth of our Savior, we find ourselves celebrating our own nativity; for the birth of Christ is the birth of the Christian people,” declared Leo the Great.

Christmas reminds us of the shortcomings of man and what God has accomplished and done to intercede on our behalf. It’s a reminder of our sinful nature and it’s not simply a great holiday or time of joy for the unrepentant.

While our culture faces new hostilities to the Christmas message, the real culprit is indifference to its greater meaning and a lack of appreciation of its power on the part of believers.  It has always been the task of believers to transcend the secular culture.

Modern Herods, rising secularism, materialism, and a host of political problems may combine to rob Christmas of its meaning, but it’s a futile effort in the face of faithfulness. Unfortunately, many this Christmas will try to fulfill their desires through acquiring more and politicians will promise and spend more in hopes of attaining worldly recognition and building a better society through debt.

But the true gift and hope of the world can only be received and not acquired. That’s the Christmas message. In his beautiful hymn, “Come thou Long Expected Jesus,” Charles Wesley simply called Christ the “desire of every nation” and “joy of every longing heart.” It’s a timeless message and one that is not made less true or powerful by cultural secularism. A world devoured by political failings, materialism, and economic and moral bankruptcy only points to a desire and need for the real Savior. In the words of Isaiah:

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah 60:1-3)

via Christmas and Secularism’s Futility | Acton Institute.

This is a Washington Post piece by William Lane Craig I found interesting.

“The American Humanist Association is promoting a new Web site that is designed to furnish children with a naturalistic or atheistic perspective on science, sexuality, and other topics. The stated goal of the Web site is laudatory: “to encourage curiosity, critical thinking, and tolerance among young people, as well as to provide accurate information regarding a wide range of issues related to humanism, science, culture, and history.”

The problem is that those values have no inherent connection with naturalism, which is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that there is nothing beyond the physical contents of the universe. One doesn’t need to be a naturalist in order to endorse curiosity, critical thinking, tolerance, and the pursuit of accurate information on a wide range of topics.

Ironically, the AHA has been remarkably uncritical in thinking about the truth of naturalism and of humanism in particular.

For example, why think that naturalism is true? The last half century has witnessed a veritable renaissance of Christian philosophy. In a recent article, University of Western Michigan philosopher Quentin Smith laments “the desecularization of academia that evolved in philosophy departments since the late 1960s.” Complaining of naturalists’ passivity in the face of the wave of “intelligent and talented theists entering academia today,” Smith concludes, “God is not ‘dead’ in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.”

This renaissance of Christian philosophy has been accompanied by a resurgence of interest in arguments for God’s existence based on reason and evidence alone, apart from the resources of divine revelation like the Bible. All of the traditional arguments for God’s existence, such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, and ontological arguments, not to mention creative, new arguments, find intelligent and articulate defenders on the contemporary philosophical scene.

But what about the so-called “New Atheism” exemplified by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens? Doesn’t it signal a reversal of this trend? Not really. The New Atheism is, in fact, a pop cultural phenomenon lacking in intellectual muscle and blissfully ignorant of the revolution that has taken place in academic philosophy. In my debates with naturalistic philosophers and scientists I have been frankly stunned by their inability both to refute the various arguments for God and to provide any persuasive arguments for naturalism.

Moreover, naturalism faces severe problems of its own. The philosopherAlvin Plantinga has argued persuasively that naturalism cannot even be rationally affirmed. For if naturalism was true, the probability that our cognitive faculties would be reliable is pretty low. For those faculties have been shaped by a process of natural selection which does not select for truth but merely for survival. There are many ways in which an organism could survive without its beliefs’ being true. Hence, if naturalism were true, we could not have any confidence that our beliefs are true, including the belief in naturalism itself! Thus, naturalism seems to have a built-in defeater that renders it incapable of being rationally affirmed.

The problem for the humanist is even worse, however. For humanism is just one form of naturalism. It is a version of naturalism that affirms the objective value of human beings. But why think that if naturalism were true, human beings would have objective moral value? There are three options before us:

• The theist maintains that objective moral values are grounded in God.

• The humanist maintains that objective moral values are grounded in human beings.

• The nihilist maintains that moral values are ungrounded and therefore ultimately subjective and illusory.

The humanist is thus engaged in a struggle on two fronts: on the one side against the theists and on the other side against the nihilists. This is important because it underlines the fact that humanism is not a default position. That is to say, even if the theist were wrong, that would not mean that the humanist is right. For if God does not exist, maybe it is the nihilist who is right. The humanist needs to defeat both the theist and the nihilist. In particular, he must show that in the absence of God, nihilism would not be true.”

Please continue reading at  Humanism for children – Guest Voices – The Washington Post.

Humanists need to circle the wagons.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
Rossville, GA
godsguy12@comcast.net
jadams012@gmail.com
christianreasons@gmail.com
http://about.me/eric.adams
http://christianreasons.com/