Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sympathy for the Doctrine of the Devil.

Origin of Satan
Day 4
Gen 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Beautiful Lucifer
Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
Eze 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Satan Sinned against God in the beginning
Eze 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee
1Jo 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
(Through Sin) Satan deceives man
Gen 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
Gen 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Satan deceived the angels
Rev 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Jud 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Gen 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
2Pe 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
Satan through them takes over the world
Gen 6:4 There were giants[nephilum/fallen ones] in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Many of the Nephilum are permanently lost
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Mat 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Mat 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
Mat 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
Mat 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
Mat 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
1Jo 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Through the sinful nature, Satan has fatherhood over the lost and the apostate
1Jo 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Joh 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
Joh 8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Satan’s demons started false religions
Gen 10:8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
Gen 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
Gen 10:10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
Nimrod meaning “rebel” is considered a “mighty one”. This connects him to the demon possessed Nephilum. His occupation of a mighty hunter is prophetic of the ability of the Babylonian empire to hunt down nations.
Gen 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
Nimrod first leads a rebellion to make the tower. This contradicts the covenant made with his great grandfather Noah (Gen. 9:1,7) to fill the earth, not settle a city.
He then has two desires too reach unto heaven and to make a name. By reaching the Heavens He is revealing the desire for Deity which is part of satanic philosophy.
Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
The philosophy which had it’s origin in Babylon. Many Scholars believe this was the start of Astrology and polytheism, which would later be official Babylonian religion. This is why God curses them as such.
Isa 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
Since Babel was dispersed by language their were many different variations of the this polytheism yet this celestial polytheism was and is the religion that demons used. (2Kings 17:16, 21:3, 23:5, Amos 5:26, Zephaniah1:5)
Deu 4:19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
Deu 32:17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

Satan tempts man to Sin apostasy and death
Joh 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Satan is not yet confined to hell
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Satan is defeated technically
Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Luk 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Joh 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Joh 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
Joh 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Joh 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Satan will be imprisoned at the Second Coming
.Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Satan will then be condemned
Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Rev 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Rev 20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
Rev 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

False teachings about Satan

1. Satan does not exist
This thought is based entirely on naturalism, yet it is popular. Many people have no place for Satan in their world-views. However this is because Satan design all non-Christian world views and prefers to act stealth.
2. Satan is not a person
Others identify Satan as simply the force of evil. This is a lie Satan made in order for people to take the intelligence of Satan for granted

3. Satan is God or sovereign over the earth
In the ancient days there was a religion called Zoarastrianism which bred the philosophy of Manicheanism. This group taught theistic dualism. The belief that God was omnipotent but so is the devil and that good and evil were equal and would battle eternally.

4. Satan requires our allegiance
Satan has no desire for mankind to obey, but to disobey. Not even Satanist give all their allegiance unto him. Yet Satanist and Satanic Warlocks agree, Loyalty to Satan is Loyalty to oneself.

5. Satan is imprisoned
Satan will not be imprisoned until the Second Coming of Christ. This is a dangerous teaching in the sense that it gives people an excuse to ignore the enemy.

6. Satan is an ugly vile creature
The Bible never mentions Satan’s appearance as anything but attractive bright and beautiful. This is in order to fool others into believing that He is God. Many times there are gruesome metaphors describing his character like snake, wolf, dragon/Leviathon, Lion etc. But make no mistake that a literal encounter with Lucifer is the presence of a highly attractive, highly seductive and highly deceptive entity
We must remember this, because many new age teachings are invading Christian worship. If we are presented with a false god or false christ we must not be lured away simply by their attraction. The Mormon religion is good example of an attractive Christ which is essentially false.

7. Satan is only evil
Satan does not desire only evil elsewise he would not be tempting. It only takes a small amount of sin to condemn one to Hell. Satan Leads some away raw evil, Yet he is just as happy to lead many away with self-righteousness and to lead the majority away with empty indifferent worldliness.

8. Saints can not be effected by demons
The Bible promises that demons cannot take our salvation away.
Rom 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nor could Satan remove the Holy Spirits control over our lives.
Yet there are many things Satan can do.
a. He can possess unbelievers
b. He can possess “churched” Christians who are not saved
c. He can keep the unsaved from the knowledge of the truth
d. He thwart the ministry of Christians (to a degree)
e. He can tempt Christians to fall into sin.
f. Christians still have an old nature, therefore Satan/demons can build strongholds in areas of a Christians life which he or she has not surrendered to God.
g. Satan can christians Death and curses through their sins.
This is why we have a warning from Peter
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
1Pe 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

9. Satan cannot be conquered
It is obvious that he can and will be conquered. This is why following Satan is foolish.

Satan’s religion
1. Jehovah is not to be exclusively revered
The name of Jehovah is the actual name of the God of the Hebrews. Most scholars have tried to replace it with Yahweh. But then they don’t even use that name, but instead just say LORD. They claim this is to honor Jewish tradition. The problem is that this is not Old Testament Jewish tradition. Instead it is apostate post-New Testament Judaism that rejected Christ and Jesus called them synagogues of Satan. God will bless and redeem these people in the future yet their religion has been warped into paganism like all other false religions.
Modern pagans uses this as a strategy to erase the God of the Bible from our minds. After all atheism isn’t the ultimate sin. It is simply rejecting the Holy Spirit of God. I will speak on this in a later essay.
Also demons tend to slightly manifest themselves when we see hatred of everything sacred. Whether we are talking about Christians churches Jews or the Bible itself, there is an unsatiable desire to attack the things of God.

2. Selfishness is the highest virtue
As Whitney Houston sang the greatest love of all is the love of one’s self. If this was gospel music, it was false gospel music! It’s not about you or “believing in yourself”. Yet this is the message of the entire secular world. We must remember that Satan is worshipped when people worship themselves.
3. Deification is the ultimate goal
Sometimes it is obvious and yet others it is simply wanting to rule one’s self in their own little universe. Either way we covet what God has and not what he is.
4. Hard work is not a virtue unless it glorifies you
It is good to work hard only if it is for your self in some way. If it is truly selfless then it is foolish in the eyes of worldly wisdom.
5. Every alternative to God’s Law should be respected
The world only respects what is not the truth in order to peer pressure people away from the one true living God.
6. Anything which stands for the Law of God is to be hated
Nominal Christianity is fine with the world system. Yet the pagan con not tolerate the sovereignty of God over their lives. It is offenses and domineering.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Avoid legalism and Speak no evil.

When you hold to a strict view of the Bible, like myself, you hear the words legalism come up often.
What is legalism?
The word legalism is not used in the scripture.
Many believe that it was Martin Luther who first came up with the term.

Therefore legalism has multiple uses. Many times people accuse Bible believing Christians of this to their shame.

However, many times non-believers bring up the word for vain reasons.
Legalism as an empty charge.
1. following the Bible. The idea of following the bible is something God wants us to do. Because the Bible is God's word. If follow it, we follow Him, and God wants us to follow Him. (1John 2:5, Matt. 5:17-20)
2. convicting others of sin
One of the purpose of missions is to help people know that they are in sin, otherwise they would need Jesus to save them. Also we must help beleivers to overocme sin by keeping them accountable. ( Gal. 3:24, Rom.7:7 2Tim. 3:16-17)

Unbiblical legalism
1. works based salvation. The Bible is extremely clear that we have no righteousness of our own. Even people who believe in Jesus can not work their way to heaven. It is only by the righteousness and sacrifice of Christ that we may be saved. (read galatians and Romans). In fact if we try to work our we to heaven Jesus will not save us.

2. Misuse of scripture) legalist either add or take away from the Bible in order to interpret the Bible in such a way that they exalt themsielves. Legalists are ultimately a very proud people.

3. Judging of souls)While as an experienced minister, I may tell you what way of understanding is or is not the gospel of Christ; I can never say who is or is not in sin or who will make it and who will not on the Day of Judegement

4. It is not our job to condemn others. We can rebuke others of sin. We can warn others of the consequences of sin. We can even point to the examples of others who are unrepentant and publicly in sin as examples. Yet it is not our duty to pronounce God's ultimate Judgement upon them. We are not the judge of others. We are going to be judged by God. I know this is a fine line, but it can not be crossed. There is a huge difference between determining the Will of God and setting yourself up as the will of God. Moses was a prophet but he could never ever act on his own. as such we must think before we speak to make sure that it is the Lord's will.

As a result of this we should speak no evil.

Titus 3:1-5 "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities an dpowers, to obey magistrates to be ready to every good work. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentile, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobediant,decieved, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man apeared Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the HOly Spirit."

In the Christian walk, one of Satans greatest snares is the temptation to condemn and speak evil of others. Many times many of us are hurt by someone and we want to lash out in anger and many times do. However we must remember that we are also sinners in the hands of God.

We must be able to frogive those who sin against and resist the temptation to speak evil of others.

How can we expect God's blessing and the Holy SPirits strength if we do not give the same forgiveness, kindness and grace that we have recieved?

1john 4 mentions that forgiveness is a necessary evidence of salvation.
We must humble ourselves and close our mouths.
It doesn't matter if they were wrong.
Their guilt is not your problem. Your guilt is your problem!

I am speaking from expereince. There was a church I was once part of. It was good. But soon the pastor and others made mistakes that would cost the ministry. I would eventually have to leave at first I denied the issue. The I realized that they indeed had been guilty. I eventually grew angry and would eventually voice my opinions. But i have come to realize that this was not helping me. Because as I grew bitter I would loose the blessings of God in my Life.
I have also had these issues with others. I have grown bitter, a little proud, angry and have found my self cursed on several occaisions with the feeling of intimacy with God.
I officially admit my sin and recant. Though I am still strict to God's Word. I am not going to ignore it's message to me. will work on having a forgiving spirit and speak evil of others, even if they do harm to me. I have nothing of my own. All is God's and so all my life matters will be attended to by him.
It is fine to rebuke , but we must never tear down.
In Christ,


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Point of clarification

I had the honor of recieving an e-mail by Abraham Piper of Desiring God Ministries.
I believer Araham is not only a member of this ministry, but if I recall correctly he is Jon Piper's Father.
Piper wanted it to be clear that his son was a "teetotaler" and pointed to a sermon from 1981 at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Basically his position is as such.
1. Jon Piper personally practices abstinence
2. Jon Piper argues that other Christians should practices abstinence
3. Jon Piper only argue that abstinence should not be a basis for church membership.

Now I was writing based on a different work of Dr. Piper's an article in the book "Brothers we are not professionals"
I still have disagreements with doctor Piper both in his sermon and article which I will delve into at a later date.

I wrote this out concern that I not misrepresent those whom I critique.
I respect Piper as a minister and want to be careful not to hinder his ministry.
I also want to say that Abraham Piper was very cordial in his reply to me and I respect that.

There are several issues of disagreement and concern I have Piper's theology which I feel at liberty to critique.

The reason is that no one most especially God's people and ministers are not free from the rebuke of God's Word. I try not judge people on a personal level yet if a individual represents a view, then I will use their name only to rebuke the practice.

So at a time later in the future I will readress the drinking issue as it is a great and rising evil in our current society.
In Christ,

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Case for the Rapture

The doctrine of pre-tribulational rapture has been under attack for many years and it seems the more successful the theory the harsher the attacks. I was warned very strictly against such doctrine at my Bible college. Yet as I worked out my doctrine I felt convicted to take the Bible more literally. Slowly but surely, my convictions for this truth grew. I do not feel that this is an issue that by itself demands separation since one could honestly believe the Bible and still be confused. Yet, this is the teaching of scripture and if there is any doubt then a student should consult the scriptures and do continual dialogue with both sides. But in the end if you really take the Bible literally this is the best if not only destination.

What is the rapture?
rap·ture (r²p“ch…r) n. 1. The state of being transported by a lofty emotion; ecstasy. 2. Often raptures. An expression of ecstatic feeling. 3. tr.v. rap·tured, The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven. --rap·ture rap·tur·ing, rap·tures. To enrapture.

Means literally to be “caught up” or snatched away. Based on the Greek word Harpozo.
Strong’s Lexicon
726 harpazo {har-pad'-zo}
from a derivative of 138; TDNT - 1:472,80; v
AV - catch up 4, take by force 3, catch away 2, pluck 2, catch 1, pull 1; 13
1) to seize, carry off by force 2) to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly 3) to snatch out or away

Is the rapture in the Bible?
A: Yes!
Rapture comes from the Latin word “Rapturo” which in English translates caught up
From the Latin Vulgate and old Itala Bible (the Latin translations of the Bible)
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Isn’t the rapture a historically new belief?
It has only been popular for the last 200 years. However, there have been others who held to this belief. Several in the 1700’s one in the 1600’s and a teacher in the 6oo’s named “pseudo Ephraem” in Syria.

Why hasn’t the rapture been popular most of church history?
The early church had to lay a lot of the groundwork to move towards a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine. (Most had teachings of Premillenialism, they taught Jesus imminent return, the epistle of Barnabus teaches the 7 Dispensations, and The Apostle’s Creed teaches that Jesus will come for the quick [living saints]). Yet early on many Christians began to believe in Platonism and Gnosticism. Teachers such as Origen and Clement disliked prophetic literature for having God show emotions. So they did what the pagan writers did and interpreted it as mythological allegory. Basically, removing any original doctrine from it. Augustine was Platonic professor before becoming a Christian and he liked this idea so he adopted Origen’s Amillenial system. Augustine’s authority as a theologian and Bishop and loyalty to the Pope helped get the system favor and soon it was enforced all over Christendom. Luther and Calvin perhaps could have revived the rapture but they were both still followers of Augustine and his philosophy. The Anabaptist spent too much time in constant persecution to really develop this specific of eschatology. Plus, their fierce independence was making them concentrate on establishing orthodoxy as some were given to heretical thought and ideas. Therefore, it was only natural for the idea to develop in the 1800’s. The fact that this idea has increased and dominated is a testimony to its truth. Not only does the idea easily become popular, but it is actually highly evangelistic. We look at the success of the first major pre-trib. Evangelist D.L. Moody. Then the dominance of the Scoffield Study Bible. The incredible rise to prominence of dispensational schools Moody, Dallas, Liberty etc. The astronomical sales and evangelistic reaction to books such as “The Late Great Planet Earth” and the “Left Behind” series. Years ago I had a non-Christian friend who testified that people would enter the secular book store he worked at and buy “Left Behind” and several weeks later buy a bible! Yet we do not find such evangelistic zeal from other eschatologies. When we look recent history the pre-trib. rapture has a powerful testimony.

Biblical passages describing the rapture

Mat 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Mat 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
Mat 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
Mat 25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Mat 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
Mat 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Mat 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
Mat 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Mat 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Mat 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Mat 25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
Mat 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Mat 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
This parable is obviously dealing with the Second Coming of Christ. The bridegroom is obviously Christ. The virgins are members of Christian churches. The oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit and regeneration. The five wise virgins represent church members who knowing the Second Coming. The five foolish virgins are those who were members of the church but never became born-again. Just as the foolish virgins look to the wise for new-birth, these nominal Christians may have look to sacraments and church membership for salvation. However the coming of the bride groom was too quick for them to be born-again, much like the pre-trib. rapture will be too fast in the second coming. If this was a post-trib scenario the foolish virgins would have 7 years to ask Christ into their hearts. Surely they could have done so if this were true. Also, unlike Tim Lahaye’s scenario the foolish virgins have no chance escaping their punishment.
Luk 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Luk 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
Luk 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Luk 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
Luk 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
Luk 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
Luk 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
Luk 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
Luk 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
In verse 32 we see the reference to the little flock which is normally interpreted as the universal Christian church. However, the Old Testament always refers to the flock as Israel. (Psalms 77:20, 78:52, 80:1, 107:41, Isaiah 63:11, Jeremiah 13:17, 23:2-3, 31:10, 34:6-31, 36:37-38, Micah 2:12, Zechariah 9:6) The reference to “Little” indicates that Jesus had Jewish Christians in mind. In our age messianic Jews have always been a small remnant. There is a promise that we will inherit the future kingdom. (millennial kingdom) This will be the restored Jewish kingdom where Jesus will reign and rule the world from Israel. (Psalm 2:6-12) They are instructed to give up earthly treasures for the Kingdom of Heaven. This would make no sense if they where to provide their own millennial kingdom like as in Post-millennialism. They are then told to wait for the coming of the Lord when he returns from the wedding. Remember that the ten virgins were waiting for the wedding, but now the wedding is over. The church is the bride of Christ and it has gone through the process of marriage. This is a different group. This is the group of Jewish Christians who will be gathered in Israel who are waiting not for Jesus in the rapture, otherwise they would have also been married but are instead waiting for after the marriage. The Lord then seductively moves the topic over in verse 37 to “those servants” who are waiting for the Second Coming. We are told to keep watching for an immanent return. Yet once again how could that be in a post-trib scenario.

Joh 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Joh 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Joh 14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Verse one indicates that this passage is directed toward believers. We are affirmed to have heavenly dwelling in verse 2. Verse 3, focuses on Jesus returning in the Second Coming. He says that will receive us unto himself. Two things must be noticed. If this were after the tribulation the angels would gather believers. Here, Jesus personally gathers believers. Secondly, He makes room for the believers in heaven. But after the Tribulation Jesus will reign upon the earth. One may argue that they will be in different places. The problem with this argument is that Jesus affirmed that he would do this so that we would be with Him! Therefore, this must be a reference to a pre-trib rapture.

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
1Co 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here we see Paul’s discussion of the resurrection moving towards the resurrection of the saints. In the Second Coming we must be resurrected, because mortals can not inherit an immortal kingdom. Therefore upon the resurrection we will receive immortal bodies at the Second Coming.
This begs the questing will there be mortals in the Millenial Kingdom?
According to Isaiah there shall be.
Isa 65:20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
The question is who will be the mortals in the millennial kingdom? It can not be unbelievers, since according to the scriptures, they are totally annihilated.
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Rev 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
Rev 19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
Rev 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
Rev 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Rev 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
It cannot be resurrected saints sense, they will never see corruption. (hence incorruptible) But if there is a pre-trib rapture and a revival of messianic Jews with tribulation saints then we have mortals to populate the millennial reign.

1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent[precede] them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1Th 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
1Th 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
1Th 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Here we see, description of the rapture. Those who are in Heaven will be physically resurrected to be with Christ just before the rapture. It is obvious that this means the body of Christ will be unified at the rapture. Which leads us back to the previous challenge over “who are the mortals to populate the Millennial kingdom?”
Verse 4:18 states that we are to comfort others with the doctrine of the rapture. What comfort would the rapture bring if we are going go through the great tribulation? Especially, if they wind up dead; the rapture would only matter to a small minority. Most would need warning of the great tribulation first.
It appears that in Chapter five there is discussion of the tribulation after the rapture. This implies that the tribulation is after the rapture. These times are supposed to come as a thief. The destruction will be unpredictable. (vrs.2) However, without the rapture could we not foresee the destruction? This time will be a special trap, which according to (vrs.3) is inescapable. Because Christians are not in darkness they are incapable of this punishment. We must watch ourselves and arm ourselves with faith and salvation. (vrs. 8) Yet, how can our spiritual state guard us from the physical curse of the Great Tribulation? If Jesus raptures all those who are saints, and by implication are armed with salvation, then this is possible. Finally Saints are granted immunity from the wrath of God. (vrs. 9) Jesus was our propitiation who took away God’s wrath. The tribulation is described to be a time of God’s wrath. (Revelation 6:16-17, 11:18. 14:10, 19, 15:1, 7, 16:1, 19:15)

2Th 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
2Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
2Th 1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
2Th 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
2Th 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2Th 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2Th 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
1:6 shows us that the tribulation is about God’s vengeance on unbelievers, not believers. The account of the Second Coming portrays Jesus accompanied by angels as opposed to coming privately in the rapture passages. At the time of this saints are in a process of glorification. This requires resurrection. In a post-tribulational scenario, the glorification would be after the tribulation and all saints would be punished all over the earth with the wrath of God. According to verse 2:3 the Anti-Christ must be revealed prior to the rapture. In a post-trib scenario not only is the Anti-Christ revealed but he exalts himself as Giving a clear time-line to the second coming of 3 ½ years.
Yet the bible clearly states that Christ will come unexpectedly.
Mat 24:36-42 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
In 2:7 we have a statement that the spirit of antichrist is active but someone is stopping him. Yet they will let him go. So who is this person? Not a nation for Satan has authority over all the world system. The spirit of antichrist enemy is the Holy Spirit.
1Jo 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jo 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
1Jo 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
If Holy Spirit lets him go then he will be abandoning the saints. Unless they are raptured away to be with Jesus. Therefore, he will not come back until the repentance of Israel.

Tit 2:13-14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Why would we focus on the appearing of Christ if the great tribulation and wrath of God is immediately next? It is unnaturally to think of the hell on earth that is the great tribulation and know that you must go through it and be entirely optomistic because eventually Jesus will come after it’s over. Yet Paul mentions this nonchalantly implying that this not the case.

Pretrib rapture pillars

The pre-millenial second coming)
literal tribulation
Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Jesus says that the Great tribulation will be a great catastrophe than any in history. Most a-& postmillenialists argue this happen at the destruction Jerusalem in AD 72. Yet there are many other catastrophes that are superior in damage even to the Jewish people.
Plus, the Old Testament Prophets have mutliple prophecies of the “Day of the Lord that matches the great tribulation. It is very obvious and sensible that the Lord will come back and take vengeance upon those of the earth.

Literal Millenium
Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
During the millennial reign there are two resurrections. Christian apologists will agree that the use of the word resurrection should be taken literally. Why? Because as soon as we are able to taken some references to the resurrection figuratively, then we can do the same with the doctrine of Christ. Therefore, since there is a resurrection of the saints prior to the millennial reign it is obvious that the millennium is a future event. After all, we do not see physically resurrected saints on earth today.

The imminent return
The fact that the second coming will be immanent and unexpected is commonly except in Christian biblical scholarship. Ironically most eschatology’s do not have this in their doctrine. Post-millennialist expect a millenial kingdom first. While mid, pre-wrath and post-tribbers at least half the tribulation. Some consist Preterist believe the second coming already happened. Yet, only Amillenialist and Pre-tribulationalists actual have an understand of imminent coming of Christ. However, that’s about the eschatological doctrine of second coming that the amillinialist really has.
The restoration of Israel
Traditionally only the Pre-trib position has room for the restoration of Israel. Though, lately some are trying to adapt it so. However, if you take the millennium seriously, then you must have pre-trib scenario to avoid a replacement theology interpretation.
Now some do have this theology but the Bible does not.

Psa 105:7 He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.
Psa 105:8 He hath remembered his covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.
Psa 105:9 Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;
Psa 105:10 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
Psa 105:11 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:
Rom 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Rom 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
Take an honest read through Zechariah 12-14 and you’ll find it obvious.

Believers free from wrath
Many a post-tribulationalist, including theologians will joke. “I think I’m right, but I hope your right.” There is something unsettling about the tribulation post tribulation scenario. It goes a lot farther than just the old ploy of all Christians having to suffer persecution. Because the tribulation is a period of high temptation and the unleashing of God’s wrath. Biblically God does not tempt the saints nor does he unleash His wrath upon those who are propitiated.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
1Th 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
We may endure the trials of this age, but how could face the wrath of God?

The Wedding Supper of the Lamb
In the Jewish Wedding it is the Bridegroom who comes to pick up the bride, as oppose to the bride coming to the groom. Therefore, the Bride waits for the groom to get “caught up” to the wedding feast. (Just as many women still dream of being swept away by handsome Prince to save them.)
Towards the end of the tribulation the Bible repeatedly refers to Christ coming after the wedding.
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Is Christ going to desert part of his bride that is living? This is not the scenario in 1 Thess. 4.
The nature of the Tribulation
The point to this period is not to save the lost, but condemn them.
2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Two Judgements) Rev 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
This point is chronologically before the Great White throne of Judgement. Yet the elders, who are representatives of the rest of the saints have thrones crowns and white raiment symbolizing that they have already went through the Judgement process.
Yet in a post-trib scenario along with the other systems, there is only one judgement.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
In a post trib. scenario the sinners are judged first. Yet Peter is clear.
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat[bema] of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
968 bema {bay'-ma}
from the base of 939;; n n
AV - judgment seat 10, throne 1, to set (one's) foot on + 4128 1; 12
1) a step, pace, the space which a foot covers, a foot-breath 2) a raised place mounted by steps 2a) a platform, tribune 2a1) of the official seat of a judge 2a2) of the judgment seat of Christ 2a3) Herod built a structure resembling a throne at Caesarea, from which he viewed the games and made speeches to the people
John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment[krises] unto the Son:
2920 krisis {kree'-sis}
perhaps a primitive word; TDNT - 3:941,469; n f
AV - judgment 41, damnation 3, accusation 2, condemnation 2; 48
a separating, sundering, separation 1a) a trial, contest 2) selection 3) judgment 3a) opinion or decision given concerning anything 3a1) esp. concerning justice and injustice, right or wrong 3b) sentence of condemnation, damnatory judgment, condemnation and punishment 4) the college of judges (a tribunal of seven men in the several cities of Palestine; as distinguished from the Sanhedrin, which had its seat at Jerusalem) 5) right, justice.
It is obvious that there are two judgements. If there is not 2 then does god judge works or not?

Anti-pre-tribulation passages
Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
A Preterist Amillenialist loves this verse. They say they take it literally. The problem is they take the rest of end-times scripture symbolic and way out of context! Look at the very next verse.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Why would Jesus assure us of the eternal nature of God’s word if he was concerned about one prophecy which would happen before the closing of the canon?
So was he falsely prophesying the end-of the world in that century? No.
Then what does that “generation” mean?
It the generation that would endure the Great tribulation!
Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
This never happened because it was prophesied for the end-times. We know this because he made an intermediate prophesy.
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Therefore they were talking about the end-times.
But was there a rapture?
A: Jesus was not concerned about spelling out the pre-trib rapture in this speech because he was focused on the destiny of the Israeli Jews. Remember Matthew wrote His gospel with the Jews in mind
Mat 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:)
Mat 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
But did not the passage speak of the rapture after the tribulation?
Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The rapture shall take place secretly like a thief in the night. It would be quick or secretive, if there was a great sign in the heavens. Nor does Christ use his angels. This is the end of the Second Coming
What about the last trump?
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Isn’t their several angelic trumpets at the end of the tribulation?
Paul is not concerned with independent uses of a trumpet. The subject is day of resurrection and the coming of Christ. He briefly uses the phrase “last trump” much like we use the phrase “end-times”. Christians don’t believe the end-times means “end of time”, it just means the end of our dispensation when Jesus comes back. Revelation was not even written at the period so the origenal audience wouldn’t know what Paul was referring to. However with Old Testament Backgrounds they would know what numbers has to say about the trump.
Num 10:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 10:2 Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.
Num 10:3 And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Num 10:4 And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.
Num 10:5 When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.
Num 10:6 When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.
Num 10:7 But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.
Num 10:8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.
Num 10:9 And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.
Num 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
It is obvious the use of the trumpet was to give directions. Most importantly the trumpet call was a time of assembly. Secondly this is the trumpet of God, not angels.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Therefore, the last trumpet is the final assembly of the church which obviously happens in the rapture. As the King of kings is announced by the shout of the archangel and the trumpet of God is blown to gather all saints.

Other issues:
Many have a softened version of the post-tribulational views. Some are mid-trib, believing the rapture to take place in the middle of the tribulation. While others are pre-wrath and argue a third quarter tribulation rapture.
However, the tribulation is a single instrument in which the first half is a period of temptation designed to trap the lost and prepare them for the punishment that awaits them.
While true believers are capable of overcoming temptation the biblical model is that God is not a tempter of his people.
I also find that there are several mid-trib, advocates who have legalism tendencies. Not all of course, I do know many orthodox evangelicals who believe the doctrine. Yet of major advocates I have found an emphases on what has been nicknamed “Protestant purgatory” where the church is so sinful that it must purge itself of sin in order for Jesus to come. This may be consistent with Judaizing cults. But it is not consistent with Bible believing protestant salvation by grace through faith.

Partial rapture (?) This view states only elite Christians will be a part of the rapture. While others are “Left Behind”. This view is seriously problematic in that it assumes a divided body of Christ.
Once you have multiple levels of the church then you evidently have multiple layers of salvation. This then begs the question of works based salvation.
Thankfully, no major Bible scholars have advocated this position.

Ecumenical rapture) Tim Lahaye is the most popular pre-trib. advocate in contemporary times. Sadly, he is theologically a poor example of the biblical pre-trib position. For a few reasons:
Heretics and people who do not repent of their sins will not take part in the rapture.
In Lahaye’s Worldview the Pope was raptured. However the Pope is naturally apostate. Since he believes in evolution, works based salvation, worships Mary, denies a literal virgin birth*, denies the innerrancy of scripture, believes he is infallible sets himself up as a false Messiah, determines non-Christians to be saved and prays with them, kisses the Koran etc.
The Bible declares non-born-again religious people will miss the rapture.
*Catholics believe that Mary did not have a natural childbirth and that Jesus floated through the womb. This takes away from the humanity of Christ.

Babies will not go in the rapture
While I believe that Christ will save babies at the Great While throne Judgement. The Bible says nothing of them having membership of the church. Therefore, we do not baptize babies. Not only that but they will not be a part of the rapture. This is why Jesus warns against having infants during the great tribulation.
Mat 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
If the Babies were Raptured that would be a good thing. But many infants will die during the tribulation period. Though, once again, they will be saved at the great white thrown of Judgement.
All those who reject the gospel will become Apostates and not get a second chance during the tribulation.
In the Left behind series a pastor can deny the gospel he preaches and have a second chance. Yet the scripture clearly teach that this is false. The tribulation is designed to punish those who reject the gospel therefore there is no second chance. Many in the tribulation who did not previously receive he gospel will be saved during the tribulation. However all those who heard and rejected the message will succumb to the delusion.
Many of the critics of the pre-tribulation rapture find there critiques, in Tim Lahaye. While the Bible does not pain this loose of a rapture. Lahaye indeed paints a pre-trib. philosophy of Escapism. His hermeneutic seems to keep watering down the Judgement of the Biblical eschatology. Though I agree with the rapture I would never, water down other doctrine in order to make it popular.

There you go.
Feel free to comment.
In Christ,

Brother Matt

Friday, May 4, 2007

A letter to John Piper about drinking

This is a letter, which I attempted to send to the famous preacher John Piper. I e-mailed it but am not sure if he received it. The subject is drinking, our culture is vastly becoming more pagan and alcoholic, as a results many church are running to compromise there ethics on the subject as quickly as possible. The former values of alcoholic abstinence are being rapidly replaced. Therefore, I wrote this letter responding to John Pipers scathing article against abstinence to alcohol, in which he equated abstinence to a Judaizing false gospel. Those of you who are against, or have not made up your mind on the subject need to search the scriptures.

Dear John Piper

Hello, my name is Matt Singleton. I am a Southern Baptist Minister from Louisville Kentucky. I would like to say that I have appreciated your work in the past. Specifically the book “Counted Righteous in Christ”.
Today however, I would like to write you in regards to an essay you wrote in your book “Brothers, We are not Professionals”. The article was entitled “Brothers, Don’t fight flesh tanks with pea-shooter regulations.”
In this book, you have taken what I believe is an extreme view of moderation on the issue of alcohol consumption. The reason I state this is not simply because you believe in moderate drinking but that you have made the position abstinence from alcohol morally equivalent to alcoholic abuse. Your reasoning for this charge seems to be that many abstinence believing churches have a pledge in their church covenants to stay away from alcohol and the alcoholic industry.
Your argument follows as such.

1. Drinking in moderation is not prohibited in scripture.
“The second meaning of legalism is this: the erecting of specific requirements of conduct beyond the teaching of scripture and making adherence to them the means by which a person is qualified for membership in a local church. This is where unbiblical exclusivism arises.”
2. You should not add rules to the scripture.
“The second meaning of legalism is this: the erecting of specific requirements of conduct beyond the teaching of scripture and making adherence to them the means by which a person is qualified for membership in a local church. This is where unbiblical exclusivism arises.”
Putting this rule in excludes moderate drinking Christians
“I am persuaded that such a regulation for church membership falls into the category of legalistic exclusion and stands under the judgement of the apostolic word in Scripture.”
3. Therefore it puts division in the Body of Christ.
“In principle, therefore, these churches exclude all persons except teetotalers from church membership.”
4. Therefore it is like the same as the legalism of the Gnostics and Judaizers in Scripture. And is a false gospel of salvation.
“In what follows I will try to show what legalism means and why the requirement of total abstinence for church membership falls into this category and is therefore wrong.”
“First, legalism means treating Biblical standards of conduct as regulations to be kept by our own power in order to earn God’s favor.”
“It seems beyond doubt that God hates legalism as much as he hates alcoholism.”
“And it is clear from the New Testament that both will result in the tragic loss of eternal life, if there is no repentance.”

At this point I must go on to refute you thesis.

Many in the Bible are prohibited from alcohol.
Prohibition on drinking is not a man-made doctrine, many in the Old and New Testament were prohibited from drinking. Specifically the Nazirites were to keep away from all alcoholic substances.
Num 6:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:
Num 6:3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
Num 6:4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
This effectively destroys you first thesis. Why? Because you have made the claim that abstinence is an entirely man-made rule, and that it is unbiblical. You then build the case from there. You may still have a case in regards to Interpretation but you can not claim that teetotalers are unbiblical any longer.
Certainly, you would argue that this was an Old Testament regulation, and no one in the New Covenant would hold himself or herself to this vow.
John the Baptist
Luk 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
Mat 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.
The Apostle Paul
Act 21:24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
Act 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
Both New Covenant Christian leaders had no problem with a nazirite vow. Not only this but that many Christians who were Jews were free to live under this vow. It was not to make one superior to the other it was to show their devotion to God.
This begs the question, why should groups of churches be penalized for making a church covenant with the inclusion of sobriety to God?

Your next claim is in regards to the regulative principal
This line of reasoning is that we should only follow what the Bible directly says. If the Bible does not directly say something then, it is against the scriptures to do this. While I do find the regulative scripture superior to the normative principle which teaches that we should only never contradict the scripture, because the Bible forbids adding to God’s revelation. However, there are serious flaws in the regulative principle as stated. In the since, that not only should the meaning of scripture be followed but also the implications of scriptures as well.
In the beatitudes, Jesus argued not only for the following of the commandments but their implications as well. For instance the idea that to look lust fully is adultery of the heart. He was not arguing this as the meaning of the text. Other wise women would divorce men every time their eye wandered. He was simply arguing that we should not even desire to break the commandment. And if an activity involves that desire then it is implicitly breaking that commandment.
Another problem with emphasis on silence is that it easy leaves out obvious issues. The Bible does not specifically address injecting heroin or snorting cocaine. So can a person be a crack-head and a Christian church member in good standing?
Therefore, it seems obvious that if the Bible implies that Christians should practice abstinence over casual drinking then we should follow the implication.
Another problem with this line of reasoning is where does the bible directly teach that moderate drinking is ok?

So how does the Bible imply that moderate drinking is wrong?

Drinking is unwise

Pro 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
The practice of drinking weaker wine(definitely weaker than our liqours) is a mocker, (this practice is not holy). The practice of stronger drinks which are common sold in America is raging which is almost criminal. Therefore drinking is unwise.

Drinking is fleshly
Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
This verse makes drinking anti-thetical to the practice of being filled with the spirit.

Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
We must put ourselves at war fleshly practices.
Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

We do not worry about the flesh when we are in the spirit. However if we are engaged in the practices of the spirit we’d better be concerned!

Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings b, and such likec: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Obviously, the lifestyle of drinking is a fleshly lifestyle.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance a: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
In order to live a spiritual lifestyle, we must have self-control. The practice of drinking weakens our self-control.
a temperance
Strongs Lexicon
1466 egkrateia {eng-krat'-i-ah}
from 1468; TDNT - 2:339,196; n f
AV - temperance 4; 4
1) self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites)
2970 komos {ko'-mos}
from 2749;; n m
AV - b revelling 2 , rioting 1; 3
1) a revel, carousal 1a) a nocturnal and riotous procession of half drunken and frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches and music in honour of Bacchus or some other deity, and sing and play before houses of male and female friends; hence used generally of feasts and drinking parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry
3664 homoios {hom'-oy-os}(such like) c
from the base of 3674; TDNT - 5:186,684; adj
AV - like 47; 47
1) like, similar, resembling 1a) like: i.e. resembling 1b) like: i.e. corresponding to a thing

We are not to be drinking with any desire for intoxication
Pro 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
Pro 23:30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Pro 23:32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

We are not encourage others to be intoxicated
Hab 2:15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
Hab 2:16 Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD's right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.

The Bible clearly teaches that we should avoid temptations and flee sin.
Moderate drinking is not avoiding sin but becoming dangerously close to sin in order to express freedom.
Avoid temptations
1Pe 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Mat 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

The concern of moderation advocates freedom in Christ. Yet a strict principle which they ignore is the principle of avoiding temptations. We are not to glide ever so close to sin. (especially since we have an inclination to it.) Instead we are to steer away from temptation.
When faced with the temptation of evil the Bible teaches that we are to separate ourselves from evil.
Pro 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
Pro 4:15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
2Co 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
Jam 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
But what about our freedom in Christ? Does not that have greater weight than avoiding sin?
Paul says…
1Co 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
1Co 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
1Co 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
Rom 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
We are to honor the convictions of the our godly ancestors like the rechabites.
Jer 35:5 And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine.
Jer 35:6 But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever:
Jer 35:13 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD.
Jer 35:14 The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.
Jer 35:16 Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me:
Jer 35:17 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.
Jer 35:18 And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you:
Jer 35:19 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me forever.

“The trial of the Rechabites' constancy was for a sign; it
made the disobedience of the Jews to God the more marked. The
Rechabites were obedient to one who was but a man like
themselves, and Jonadab never did for his seed what God has done
for his people. Mercy is promised to the Rechabites. We are not
told respecting the performance of this promise; but doubtless
it was performed, and travellers say the Rechabites may be found
a separate people to this day. Let us follow the counsels of our
pious forefathers, and we shall find good in so doing.”
Matthew Henry
The spirit behind moderate drinking is ultimately a spirit of rebellion. As a Baptist, as you claim you should have considered the wisdom of your spiritual forefathers.

Dealing with your passage in Colossians.
Col 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Col 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
Col 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
Col 2:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
Col 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
Col 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

From verses 18-19 it is obvious that Paul is dealing with Gnostic type teachers and . Who worshipped angels and downplay the deity of Christ. Yet the group of which you have aimed your critiques are usually fundamental Baptist and Anabaptist in heritage. These have historically had a good reputation of standing for orthodoxy and against idolatry. Yet you appear to be making the parallel anyhow.
From verses 11-14 we understand Paul to refer to judgements in regards to salvation. Baptist prohibitionist have historically held that our justification is not of works. Therefore, we may be saved regardless whether we have drunk alcohol yet. Yet the Apostle Paul teaches in 1 Cor. 6 that we are to give judgements over moral issues. Therefore this is not pharisaical judgement.
Verse 21 shows that this is a particular type of abstinence, which is ascetic. This view would say that we should not handle these substances. Abstinence does not have to be monastic in form and commonly isn’t. Alcohol may be used for medicinal purposes and if it is at microscopic levels that a person could not get drunk with then it is acceptable. So one could be a teetotaler without necessarily having ascetic ethics. ( like myself)
From verse 16-17 we see that Paul is referring not to the subject of alcohol, but Old Testament regulations like clean and unclean clean food. Now intoxicated drinks are unclean yet their danger goes beyond the regular consequences of unclean meat. And the New Testament is very clear about their results (drunkenness).
Finally, in verse 23, the goal of Paul’s passage at the end is not to satisfy the flesh. Yet moderate drinking is what satisfies the flesh.

The church has the duty and authority to be concerned over such matters.
Earlier in the letter I mentioned that New Covenant Christians were free to make this vow. But would a local church have the authority?
A. It should be knowledgeable enough to judge.
Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
1477 hedraioma {hed-rah'-yo-mah} ground
from a derivative of 1476; TDNT - 2:362,200; n n
AV - ground 1; 1
1) a stay, prop, support the truth
4769 stulos {stoo'-los} pillar
from stuo (to stiffen, properly akin to the base of 2476); TDNT - 7:732,1096; n m
AV - pillar 4; 4
1) a pillar 2) a column 2a) pillars of fire i.e. flames rising like pillars 3) a prop or support
In other words, it is the duty of the local church to protect the truth. Not Seminaries or TV preachers! (that’s why they stink so bad at it!) Therefore, through the scriptures, the church must identify for itself, God’s Will. You may argue that this is the “invisible” church. However why would Paul be away from the invisible church? Isn’t it supposed to be the body of all believers?
Was the church of Macedonia wrong for giving more than their regular giving? (2Cor. 8) Was it legalistic for the church to go beyond the Biblical expectations? To go beyond what other local churches were doing. To expect from each other giving that was not required? (After all, someone had to come up with the idea of giving extra.)
In discerning God’s will, it is obvious that God Wills his children to be set apart form sin.

B. It is a ministry goal to help in sanctification
Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
1Th 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

C. The minister is to concentrate on being an example
1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
1983 episkopeo {ep-ee-skop-eh'-o} (oversight)
from 1909 and 4648; TDNT - 2:599,244; v
AV - look diligently 1, take the oversight 1; 2
1) to look upon, inspect, oversee, look after, care for 1a) of the care of the church which rested upon the elders 1b) to look carefully, beware
5179 tupos {too'-pos}(ensample)
from 5180; TDNT - 8:246,1193; n m
AV - ensample 5, print 2, figure 2, example 2, pattern 2, fashion 1, manner 1, form 1; 16
1) the mark of a stroke or blow, print 2) a figure formed by a blow or impression 2a) of a figure or image 2b) of the image of the gods 3) form 3a) the teaching which embodies the sum and substance of religion and represents it to the mind, manner of writing, the contents and form of a letter 4) an example 4a) in the technical sense, the pattern in conformity to which a thing must be made 4b) in an ethical sense, a dissuasive example, a pattern of warning 4b1) of ruinous events which serve as admonitions or warnings to others 4c) an example to be imitated 4c1) of men worthy of imitation 4d) in a doctrinal sense 4d1) of a type i.e. a person or thing prefiguring a future (Messianic) person or thing
A church may not have to discipline, based on such a covenant, but simply require that they make the covenant, and follow it to their own ability. The idea of a church covenant was never to put requirements on to salvation they were simply there to encourage membership accountability and help a young believer. Besides there are many other churches to go to if one does not like this.

Philosophical problems
Where in the Bible is teetotaling against the gospel?
If you can not sight a passage you would be adding to God’s Word.
How moderate drinking can attack the gospel…
Essential to the gospel was Jesus is a sinless, spotless, lamb. OT Law states that one may not help others to get drunk. If the wine in the wedding of Cana was intoxicating wine like the wine we have today, then two rounds would have been enough to get the party drunk. For Jesus to encourage the drinking party into drunkenness would break Old Testament Law. (Hab.2:15)

Your proposal “we engage to abstain from all drugs, food and drink, and practices which bring unwarranted harm to the body or jeopardize our own or another’s faith.”
This puts the interpretation entirely in the hands of the members’ persuasion. What is harm to the body? Weed smokers will easily argue that they are therefore free to privately smoke since they don’t interpret their drug to be dangerous. The same goes across the board. What you say is freedom in Christ is actually freedom outside of Christ. When a member of the church becomes a raging alcoholic how can you hold them to accountability unless they admit that they’re an alcoholic? So what if it’s radical!?


Rom 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
I would like to give a personal illustration of this fact. When I first started college I remember an interesting conversation among my youth group. A boy named “E___” brought up his opinion about drinking. His Father was a deacon at the church and very well respected. They were a traditional Christian family with lots of children (6). They were very well respected at my church. He brought up the fact that his father was a moderate drinker and smoker. He testified how his father never in his memory ever abused these substances and that he was allowed to moderately drink at a certain point as long as he didn’t get drunk. His speech was very inspiring and convincing but it never swayed me. In fact this young man as far as I know has never practiced this. However there was the little brothers. As his younger brothers have grown up three out of four have been involved with alcoholism and drug abused. (only one or two are over twenty)
The second oldest boy not went to rehab but 3 years ago went to a party with a girl in the youth group. He was drunk and crashed into a tree. He ended up maimed and disfigured. He had to serve some time in Jail. She is dead. Luckily her parents who were members of the church did not press charges. However she will never receive a second chance. Because the father and oldest son were selfishly only concerned with there freedom in Christ they ignored the obvious weaknesses of the younger brother. How many younger brothers and sisters have been dying for the sake of freedom in Christ?

Covenants are to be honored
Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Wouldn’t you have had to been under the church covenant if you were pastor? How could you change the church covenant without breaking your own vow?
If you are to throw away the whole concept shouldn’t we throw away other covenants like marrige? Wouldn’t they be legalistic?

Aren’t you being legalistic by judging Christians with church covenants as legalistic heretics?
Rom 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

Dear John,
I hope you were intellectually honest when you wrote this article. I hope you are not reading with prideful eyes that assume pastoral infallibility. (Which all us minister can be guilty of.)

I hope you read this. I also hope consider this the next time you preach on the subject. Although I know your popular and this may be ignored a while or forever. But I wish you well.

May draw closer to the Lord and His Holy Will,

In Christ,
Bro. Matt Singleton