Monday, December 19, 2011

The holocaust code: decoding the unbiblical antisemitism of hank hannegraff in "the apocalypse code"

After several years of promotion "the Bible Answer man" Hank hannengraff finally unveiled His book on Eschatology. In it we see Hannegraff build his case against dispensationalism. it should be noted that hannengraff does not spend a great deal of time attacking other eschatologies. Basically, there is a general dispensationalism verses everything else feeling that pervades this literature and others.

The Tim Lahaye scarecrow argument
Tim lahaye is not the inventer of the dispensational worldview. Nor is he the most scholarly authority on the subject. In Fact Lahaye was a christian counselor before his career with the left behind took off.
So Lahaye is a scarecrow argument in the sense that He, though capable of defending His views, is not the most savy of bible scholars for this task. also there are doctrines that Tim Lahaye would hold to that are not representative to all premillenialists or dispensationalists.
a. Lahaye holds to an ecumenical rapture. La haye holds that a great mass of people regardless of doctrine will be caught up in the rapture. He includes the Pope.
Now one could argue that we do not know a person's heart. But heading a religion which denies the gospel which is by grace through faith alone.
Galatians 1:7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 2:16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

b. Lahaye teaches a 2nd chance rapture
What is the purpose of the rapture? Is it for the christians to escape the wrath of God?
If the rapture was only an escape by the first crop of christians why would their be a second crop?
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12
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:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
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.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The whole point of the tribulation is to punish unbelievers. If they were new covenant saints then they wouldn't be in the tribulation. Why have the rapture at all if there is a way out?

hanks accusations against the rapture:
"Take for example our Lord's wordsin ohn 14:1-3: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back, and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." According to the Tim Lahaye Prophecy Study Bible, this is 'the first teaching on the Rapture in Scripture."
Despite the fact that the majority of christians past and present, do not believe that the plain sense of this passage points to a pretribulational Rapture,"
John 14:3
14 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
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.
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.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

First thing is nottice the open deception in Hank's wording. La haye says this speeks to the rapture. Hank denies this speaks to a pre-trib rapture. But does it speak to the rapture?
"father's house" is an obvious reference to heaven. "come again, and recieve" indicates that this is after the second coming and that recieve means that christ will take believers with him to heaven in the endtimes.
It is obvious that this is talking about the rapture. Now even though it does not refer to it; it does imply this is before the great tribulation. Because in the second coming Christ is coming to rule upon the earth.That is the whole point of the second coming! He is already in heaven. It is time for Him to rule the earth!

Let's see where Hank claims to use literal interpretation.
Matthew 24:34
34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Now Hank argues very dogmatically that pre-millenialist do not take the Bible literally since they do not share his interpretation of this verse. He believes this generation is referring to the generation that jesus was talking to.

Now in order to take hannengraffs interpretation we have to do what pretorists have done for a while and that is to not take the rest of scripture very literaly on the endtimes. Because Jesus did not come back in 72 ad. The world did not end nor was there judgement. So most evangelical pretorist inconsistently stop short and say they believe in the second coming. However you can take this verse literally alongside the rest of scripture if you will obey the context.
first of all jesus was speaking not only about the temples destruction but also the end of the world.
1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

So the subject matter includes the end of the world. It does in include the destruction of the temple as well but by the fact that it is a second question there is an implication that the 2 subjects are not necessarily linked

24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
This is very obvious showing us a break in the conversation where the gospel of the kingdom needs to be spread world-wide.(which did not happen byt 72 ad!)Also "shall be saved" puts an end to the previous subject.
So everything after this is during the endtimes.
Another clue that this is a different generation from the apostles is the fact that the apostles would be killed.
matthew 24:9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

So the generation in discussion is the generation that suffers during the great tribulation.
matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
After all the apostles were supposed to be killed off. and what generation suffered more? The worldwar 2 generation experienced a holocaust of 6 millian jews 3 times as the destruction of 72 ad. Not to mention the fact that WWII witnessed 50 million deaths.
29Immediately 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:
Once again Hank is not going to take this language literally. Yet when we see joshua's long day, or the plagues upon egypt suddenly we do take it literally. But honestly those who interpret the great tribulation as non-existent do not believe God capable of a miracle of this magnitude.
In fact hannengraaf ranks this verse as hyperbole. If predictive prophecy contains hyperbole then virtually anything can be considered predictive prophecy. Perhaps the final judgement is a hyperbole. Perhaps hell is not really that bad. Perhaps God won't judge all mankind. Once again Hank swings the door wide open for heresy.

The platonic/catholic roots of amillenialismWith the influence of Neo-Platonism and dualism, Clement of Alexandria and Origen denied premillennialism.[6] Likewise, Dionysius of Alexandria argued that Revelation was not written by John and could not be interpreted literally; he was amillennial.[7]
Amillennialism gained ground after Christianity became a legal religion. It was systematized by St. Augustine in the 4th century, and this systematization carried amillennialism over as the dominant eschatology of the Medieval and Reformation periods. Augustine was originally a premillennialist, but he retracted that view, claiming the doctrine was carnal.[11]

ancient preterism"One of the earliest references to preterism comes from Eusebius of Caesarea (c. AD 263 – 339). In his 'Theophania' he states: “All authorities concur in the declaration that “when all these things should have been done” “The End” should come : that “the mystery of God should be finished as he had declared to His servants the prophets” : it should be completed : time should now be no more : the End of all things (so foretold) should be at hand, and be fully brought to pass : in these days should be fulfilled all that had been spoken of Christ (and of His church) by the prophets : or, in other words, when the gospel should have been preached in all the world for a testimony to all nations, and the power of the Holy People be scattered (abroad), then should the End come, then should all these things be finished. I need now only say, all these things have been done : the old and elementary system passed away with a great noise; all these predicted empires have actually fallen, and the new kingdom, the new heaven and earth, the new Jerusalem–all of which were to descend from God, to be formed by His power, have been realised on earth ; all these things have been done in the sight of all the nations ; God’s holy arm has been made bare in their sight: His judgments have prevailed, and they remain for an everlasting testimony to the whole world. His kingdom has come, as it was foretold it should, and His will has, so far, been done; His purposes have been finished; and, from that day to the extreme end of time, it will be the duty, as indeed it will be the great privilege of the Church, to gather into its bosom the Jew, the Greek, the Scythian, the Barbarian, bond and free; and to do this as the Apostles did in their days–in obedience, faith and hope.’ “ (Eusebius, Theophania)(wikipedia)
One thing we ought to remember is that Eusebius argued that the book of revelation should not be included in the canon of scripture. Now it is important to note that Eusibius is not arguing an amillenial interpretation, He is arguing that the New Heavens and earth have been realized in the Roman Catholic Empire.

"There has historically been general agreement with non-preterists that the first systematic preterist exposition of prophecy was written by the Jesuit Luis de Alcasar during the Counter Reformation.[8][9] Moses Stuart noted that Alcasar's preterist interpretation was of considerable benefit to the Roman Catholic Church during its arguments with Protestants,[10] and preterism has been described in modern eschatological commentary as a Catholic defense against the Protestant Historicist view which identified the Roman Catholic Church as a persecuting apostasy.[11]" (wikipedia)

This is also an important point. The whole gist of preterism was and is to get people away from the idea of the catholic church as fulfilling the prophecy about the great whore of Babyon. So this method of interpretation has deep political motivations.

"Due to resistance by Protestant Historicists, the preterist view was slow to gain acceptance outside the Roman Catholic Church.[12] Among Protestants it was first accepted by Hugo Grotius,[13][14] a Dutch Protestant eager to establish common ground between Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church.[15] His first attempt to do this was entitled ‘Commentary on Certain Texts Which Deal with Antichrist’ (1640), in which he attempted to argue that the texts relating to Antichrist had their fulfillment in the 1st century AD. This was not well received by Protestants,[16] but Grotius was undeterred and in his next work ‘Commentaries On The New Testament' (1641-1650), he expanded his preterist views to include the Olivet prophecy and Revelation." (wikipedia)

Hugo grotius is a theological minority in a reformed country. He is under threat of persecution, so he seeks to moderate doctrine between the catholics and protestants perhaps to gain favor with the catholics and even protection. This is not the only doctrine the gotius does this as can be seen by his governmental theory of the atonenment.

Historical?Hank defies the majority of scholars caliming an early date for revelation around 66 AD.
He then states that premillenialist are not taking history very seriously since they do not have jesus coming in the clouds as His return in 72 AD.
What are we supposed to do with the soon happening of end-times prophecy?
Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Now honestly I have two explanations for this passage which seems to work well with this issue besides ignoring the real message of revelation. First, The things which are taking place shortly may only be referring to the letters to the churches. Secondly, when we see the eschatological reality of Jesus "Coming in the clouds" we understand that the afterlife is frequently likened to sleep.
1 Thessalonians 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.
Sleep is a state which ignores the passage of time. For those in Heaven the second coming could experienced as immediate or soon. This will be an active existence. just not one combered by time.

Anti-semitism verses false antisemitism Hannengraaf claims that Dispensationalist are anti-semitic predicting a future Holocaust. But actually Dispensationalist believe this is part of the prophecy of the Great Tribulation. All peoples will be massacred. Not that any Christian is ever hinted to make this happen. But it will be done by enemies. To claim this as anti-semitic is to claim that Noah was genocidal for predicting the Flood.
In preterism the Great Whore of Babylon is interpretted as Jerusalem. So the jewish capital is the considered one of the greatest evils in the world!
But is this really the subject which John is most concentrated on?
More importantly if Jerusalem was the great whore of Babylon it should never be allowed to Resurrect ever again.
Revelation 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
Not only would this be an amazing historic hatred but the text promises an eternal end to Babylon. Therefore every movement for jews to restore jerusalem should be surpressed to fulfill this prophecy. We have seen this work it's way out historically with the oppression from the Catholics and muslims through the centuries to this day. So this is truly an antisemitic hermeneutic.
Babylon being a future judgement means this will be a future power that will be tyrannical over all the earth. Besides would jesus really want his followers to rejoice over jerusalem's demise?

matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
jesus loves jerusalem and will restore her. Which is evidence by not only His loving effection but the promise that they will say "blessed is he"

True History
"The concept of a temporary earthly messianic kingdom at the Messiah's coming was not an invention of Christianity. Instead it was a theological interpretation developed within the apocalyptic literature of early Judaism"
"For the larger part, Christian eschatology through the 2nd and 3rd centuries was chiliastic.[9] Many early Christian interpreters applied the earlier Jewish apocalyptic idea of a temporary Messianic kingdom to their interpretation of chapter 20 of John's apocalypse.[10] Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian all made explicit references to the concept of a thousand year earthly kingdom at Christ’s coming.[11]"
"Irenaeus and Justin represent two of the most outspoken premillennialists of the pre-Nicean church. Other early premillennialists included Pseudo-Barnabas,[18] Papias,[19] Methodius, Lactantius,[20] Commodianus[21] Theophilus, Tertullian,[22] Melito,[23] Hippolytus of Rome, Victorinus of Pettau [24][25] and various Gnostics groups and the Montanists"
It should be noted by the way, that Irenaeus was the disciple of Polycarp, the disciple of John the Apostle. The Author of Revelation!

pre-millenialism was the dominant opinion of the early church. So who was the first to break with tradition?
"The first clear opponent of premillennialism associated with Christianity was Marcion. Marcion opposed the use of the Old Testament and most books of the New Testament that were not written by the apostle Paul. Regarding the Marcion and premillennialism, Harvard scholar H. Brown noted,
The first great heretic broke drastically with the faith of the early church in abandoning the doctrine of the imminent, personal return of Christ…Marcion did not believe in a real incarnation, and consequently there was no logical place in his system for a real Second Coming…Marcion expected the majority of mankind to be lost…he denied the validity of the Old Testament and its Law…As the first great heretic, Marcion developed and perfected his heterodox system before orthodoxy had fully defined itself…Marcion represents a movement that so radically transformed the Christian doctrine of God and Christ that it can hardly be said to be Christian.[26]"
Wikipedia "premillenialism"

Many of the early church leaders held to an ancient form of dispensationalism.
"Barnabas 15:3
Of the Sabbath He speaketh in the beginning of the creation; And
God made the works of His hands in six days, and He ended on the
seventh day, and rested on it, and He hallowed it.
Barnabas 15:4
Give heed, children, what this meaneth; He ended in six days. He
meaneth this, that in six thousand years the Lord shall bring all
things to an end; for the day with Him signifyeth a thousand years;
and this He himself beareth me witness, saying; Behold, the day of
the Lord shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, children, in six
days, that is in six thousand years, everything shall come to an end.
Barnabas 15:5
And He rested on the seventh day. this He meaneth; when His Son
shall come, and shall abolish the time of the Lawless One, and shall
judge the ungodly, and shall change the sun and the moon and the
stars, then shall he truly rest on the seventh day."
J.B. Lightfoot translation

earlier rapture"There exists at least one 18th century and two 19th century pre-tribulation references: in an essay published in 1788 in Philadelphia by the Baptist Morgan Edwards which articulated the concept of a pre-tribulation rapture,"
"The rise in belief in the pre-tribulation rapture is often wrongly attributed to a 15-year old Scottish-Irish girl named Margaret McDonald (a follower of Edward Irving), who in 1830 had a vision of the end times which describes a post-tribulation view of the rapture that was first published in 1840. It was published again in 1861, but two important passages demonstrating a post-tribulation view were removed to encourage confusion concerning the timing of the rapture. The two removed segments were, "This is the fiery trial which is to try us. - It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus" and "The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept".[40]"

jewish millenialism) Early on church fathers such as irenaeus and justin Martyr envisioned a jewish millenial kingdom in Israel. This contradicted the nature of the Roman empire. Not only because it denied Rome's temporal authority, But also due to the fact that placed Rome in a light of corruption.
By adopting a post-millenial perspective, the pope decided to war with the muslims and seize Israel. Also Israel has a great centralized location for the ancient world to have superior economic trade and government. Rome's failure to do this during the millenium was a curse upon it's spiritual claims of temporal authority and apostolic succession. it is not surprising that after this failure there was a genecide of bible believing christians know as the albigenses crusade.

literary liberalismHannengraff does not believe the Bible is to be taken literally. If you listen to His show he constantly complains about people who take the Bible in a "wooden literal fashion." look at his critique of Lahaye.
"'When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, but take every word at it's primary, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context clearly indicate otherwise.' Not only is there nothing distinctive about this definition, but it is so vagueas to be utterly useless. Plain sense to a first century Jew is clearly not plain sense to Tim Lahaye, And common sense to Tim Lahaye is clearly not common sense to those he dismisses as 'false Teachers.'" pg. 16 Apocalypse Code
This is sheer relativism. The idea that A jew can write a word in greek or hebrew and that though Tim Lahaye knows the meaning of the words he is still incapable of understanding the basic message of the author. It would be one thing if lahaye simply was ignorant of the meaning or that he had false motives to warp the meaning. But the idea that we are incapable of achieving communication or common sense is essntially post modern. It begs the question of whether the Bible could be understood at all, which is the path to liberalism.
Hanks views are very obviously leaning towards a mystic view of scripture.
"in fact we might well say that figurative language is the principle means by which God communicates spiritual realities to his children." pg.24
"Such language differs from literal language, in which words mean exactly what they say. Figurative language requires readers to use their imagination to comprehend what the author is driving at. Such imaginative leaps are the rule rather than the exception in that virtually every genre of literature contains metaphorical language." pg.23.
"This identification creates a meaning that lies beyond a wooden literal interpretation and thus requires an imaginative leap to grasp what is meant," pg.25
As oppose to understanding revelation as rational language we are to make the leap of faith in search of deeper meaning. Especially whenever we see the scriptures discuss anything resembling the end-times.
Quoting Gordon Fee "But most of the images of the apocalyptic belong to fantasy..."pg.33
"Finally, in apocalyptic passages, it is crucial to interpret fantasy imagery," pg.32
"Thus while fantasy images are unreal, they provide a realistic means to ponder reality." pg.33
fan·ta·sy   /ˈfæntəsi, -zi/ Show Spelled [fan-tuh-see, -zee] Show IPA noun, plural fan·ta·sies, verb, fan·ta·sied, fan·ta·sy·ing.
1. imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained.
2. the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.
3. a mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic; vision: a nightmare fantasy.
4. Psychology . an imagined or conjured up sequence fulfilling a psychological need; daydream.
5. a hallucination.
This calssification of "apocalyptic literature insinuates that the Authors were producing fiction with their imaginations. This is not inspiration.
2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Inspiration by nature can not be mythology.
The Bible being the truth is not fiction. If God inspired the Bible with His Words he can not speak the truth in fiction. yes fiction may carry some truth. However many lies carry "some truth". For the Bible to be the true message of God it can not be a lie. Especially not the lie of a man. Because The Bible does not originate with man. it originates in the heavens with god.

Against hank's neo-nazi propaganda "the secret War against the Jews" by John Loftus and Mark Aarons.

1. There was no organized palestinian people before Israel.
Jack philby and lawrence of Arabia: this was a time were the arabs were a nomad tribal people. There was not any structured civilization with these people. Property was very relative as well.
Philby and Lawrence were special agents who organized saudi arabia So that they could take advantage of it's huge oil reserves.
They didn't want the jews giving any competition seeing that they were a literate people who would not be tricked as easily as the arabs.
"Jack Philby has become an obscure footnote to the history of the cold-war. But his legacy was far from minor. He is one of the lesser-known but most influential persons in modern history of the Middle East, the renegade British intelligence agent who plucked an obscure terrorist out of the desert and helped to make him king of Saudi Arabia. Ibn Saud was very much his creation." pg. 21
"Jack Philby later was paid by Western Oil companies to write pro-Arab propaganda disguised as history. Ibn Saud is remembered as a glorious Arab leader who unified Saudi Arabia and led the richest oil region in the world into partnership with the West." pg. 21

2. The Jews had owned the land and there was always a remnant of Jewish people residing in Israel.
"There have always been Jews living in Palestine. During Roman times they numbered in the millions, before they were dispersed by force around the Mediterranean basin. By the nineteenth century there were perhaps 50,000 left, principally in the holy city of Jerusalem, where they formed a slight majority from about 1800 onward. The Arabs called them 'the dead ones' and treated the execrably. Jews who wished to pray at they wailing wall were forced to enter through the dung gate of the old city, used for dumping human waste."Pg. 32
Hannengraf joins hands with the vatican, the nazis, and the muslims in refuse to recognize Israel as having rights to their own land.
The balfour declaration of 1917 which was made prior to the second World War was the only nation which would give in and allow the jewish people entrance. Britain owned the property and officially gave the jews permission to enter it.
3. the Jews militant behavior was excessive but understandable in the context of their new and hostile environment.
"In 1943 the Holocaust was in full operation, but in April of that year in Bermuda, a conference of British and American officials formally decided that nothing should be done about it. They "ruled out all plans for mass rescue." The British Foreign Office and the U.S. State department were both afraid that the Third Reich would be quite willing, indeed eager, to stop the gas chambers, empty the concentration camps, and let hundreds of thousands, if not millions. of Jewish survivors emigrate to freedom in the West. The Foreign Office "revealed in confidence" to the State department it's fear that Hitler might permit a mass exodus. If approaches to Germany to release jews were "pressed too much that is exactly what might happen.'"
"The bigoted reality behind the Secret Report of the Easter 1943 Bermuda conference was that not a single Allied Nation wanted to let the Jews settle in it's country. The unspoken consensus was that it was better to let Hitler handle them than to arrange a mass evacuation to the United States, England, or Canada. In short the Jews were expendato the war effort. Only after the war was it confirmed that a rescue operation to the Nazi concentration camps could have been succesful."
pg. 49

The Jews were being annihilated off the face of the earth even after the Holocaust the persecution was contiinuous. There were many attacks on boats bringing the jews to palestine. Other countries were attacking jews at the same time. extreme situations during war time call for martial law. That is what was going on. these neighbors didn't mind the jews being attacked constantly so they shouldn't mind the jews going to extremes to protect themselves. many times nations will go extremes to protect themselves. Look at america's treatment of native americans.
4. Hanks appeal to christians affected by Israel is an appeal to bigotry.
What I mean is this. You should treat people equally because God is no respector of persons.
Hannengraff wants people to see Israel as anti-Christian and therefore jewish people as antichristian. Christians do not want to be seen as anti semitic. Yet the nazis claimed christianity as they persecuted Jews and the KKK and christian ID movement claimed Christianity as they bombed synagogues in the american south. Obviously Christians are not by nature anti semitic and neither is America. So in the same respect neither is Israel anti christian.
5. Israel has been steadily loosing and giving away their hard fought property since the 1970's why does hannengraff push for the jews to not have support and be defenseless to a world of antisemites? While Hank claims that dispensationalists for some odd reason waiting for another jewish holocaust Hank is pushing politically for that holocaust to becoming a reality. Recently Israel already gave up Jerusalem.
Archaeology has already proven that this was the land of the Jewish people. the jewish people needed a home land. After the 1967 six-day war Israel took over the land since the Arabs tried to destroy them. So why are they giving away land? Why should christians try to stop Israel? Hannengraaf is fixated with involvement helping the jews obtain their territory. But what about involvement trying to stop the jews?

Hank hannengraff has been obsessed with destroying the wooden literal meanining the apocalypse in search of some mystical nugget.
But his apocalypse code has spelled out doom for the Jewish people through out history. And for them this has proven no
Less to be the holocaust code.

A new testament paradigm. The baptist philosophy as represented by E.Y. Mullins

Many people claim a baptist faith. Yet few understand any concept of baptist theology. How do baptist stick out among religious denominations? How does this way of religion Claim to be the New testament faith? Baptist theologian Edgar Young Mullins set out to do this nearly a century ago in his monumental work "The axioms of religion". Mullins finds axioms which are consistent with the 5 solas of the reformation as well as the baptist faith. These help to develop a uniquely New Testament/Baptist worldview.

The theological axiom: The holy and loving God has a right to be sovereign.
The religious axiom: All souls have an equal right to direct access to God.
The ecclesiastical axiom: All believers have a right to equal privileges in the church.
The moral axiom: To be responsible, man must be free.
The religio-civic axiom: A free church in a free state.
The social axiom: Love your neighbor as yourself.

The theological axiom: The God of the Bible has a right to be Sovereign

doctrinal application: If God truly is all loving, holy, Righteous and perfect. Then he deserves more than temporal lordship of the universe. He deserves our hearts and souls as well.
Secular philosophy starts off with God as impersonal. He is not the God of the Bible. It is a concept and not a creater. This diminishes God and leaves a void of unanswered questions. leaving issues open like the problem of evil.
Understanding the nature and character of God eliminates a lot of liberal and cultic conceptions of God in Christ.

scriptural support:
Psalm 46
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Exodus 15:2The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
psalm 9:7But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
8And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
9The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
10And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Psalm 117
1O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
2For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

The religious axiom: All men have an equal right to access God
God is far above man. And yet He creates us all in His image.

doctrinal application
This starts us off with a universal great Commission. Which baptist are known for. However this also destroys the idea of sacramentalism where an organized religion determins who will and will not be saved. This is also an extension of sola scriptura

scriptural support
john4:21Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
The true God desires a relationship with all peoples everywhere.

Acts 10:28And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
If God has this level of respect for humanity and does not predjudice one group over another. Then How should we dignify others?

Ecclesiastical axiom: All believers have a right to equal priveledges within the church

doctrinal application
autonomy of the local congregation, church democracy. Now some have argued that this should validate women as pastors and homosexuality. But if a church is autonomous it can have standards. Also there is nothing unbiblical with relegating offices according to gifting. A pastor has to have a fatherly role, which is not the gifiting of a sister in christ. That being said a chruch democracy can weed out these issues of conviction. If the congregation is in opposition to scripture so be it, but it is no longer a New Testament Church.

scriptural support
Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
18Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

God's authority is in the congregation "where two or three are gathered". If the local.

acts 6:3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
Here we see that a church has autonomy if it congregates.

Acts 14:23
Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
23and having appointed to them by vote elders in every assembly, having prayed with fastings, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
1 Corinthians 14:32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
We also see that the church elects it's leadership showing that united, a church has authority over it's leader's which eliminates the top down structure. Even the gift of prophesy is subject to congregational authority.

The moral axiom:To be responsible the soul must be free

doctrinal application
Religion must accept the free will of the individual. This strikes against the doctrine of the state church. One example is the process of infant baptism. Believer's baptism respects the will of the individual christian. We have to come to christ willingly and not out of compulsion.

scriptural support
matt 3:8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
9And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Acts 2:40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Revelation 22:17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The religio-civic axiom:A free church in a free state

doctrinal application
This is truly a forgotten doctrine it was the Baptist minister Harold leland who used his political capital to convince rival james madison to included this doctrine in the Bill of rights.

scriptural support
mark 9:38And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
39But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
40For he that is not against us is on our part.
romans 13:2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

The social axiom:Love your neighbor as yourself
doctrinal application
This fits into the baptist emphasis on personaly evangelism and soul winning.
Philosophically speaking many mainline protestant churches as well as catholics put an emphasis on charity and social causes. Baptists historically have put greater emphasis upon personal evangelism/soul winning. The reason is because society needs the power of the Holy Spirit alongside regeneration more than it needs material goods.
scriptural support
Mark 1:16Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
17And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
Romas 8:18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

It was this formula that gave power to the Southern Baptist Convention which became the largest protestant denomination in the world and rivaled the assemblies of God as the most evangelistic.
Looking back on it I have three thoughts.
A. In terms of criticism. The Only issue at hand is every thing in this formula is biblical, only it is missing one axiom. And that it is the issue of separation.
By which we find church disiplne clearly taught in the scripture
matthew 18:14Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Also, we see that the congregation is to be separate and pure from from unbelief.
2Corinthians 6:14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16And 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.
17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
I believe this was a problem which made the Southern baptist Convention polluted with liberalism, even though they recovered as a result of their independence.

B. Nottice How these axioms are in a liberating and positive format. God's people are to be empowered and not enslaved. In most of the protestant denominations we see a mimicry of the catholic model in the sense of a top down government. God's people function best as free people. because jesus is the truth and the truth will set you free!
Romans 8:15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

C. Finally it is sad and downright pathetic that baptist today are not only ignorant of these principles. Yet in fact, our pastors are resorting not to the New Testament church but to mainline protestant ecclesiology. the same churches that have lost the power of the gospel in their church life. We are truly levening the lump.
But liberalism commonly leaves libertarianism in favor of top down government and tyranny. If baptist forget their old landmark, that might still be calling themselves baptist But they will never be calling themselves in honesty the New Testament Church.

faith of a father. examining the faith of Bart Ehrman

My father John Singleton
As I read Ehrman's biography I could not help notticing that He had attended Moody Bible Institute. My father attended school there as did my grandfather and a few other relatives. In fact ehrman, had attended moody at the exact same time period. looking at Ehrman biography he is the father of two. As my father is as well.
John Singleton went to Moody to pursue ministry. Unfortunately while away at school his wife at the time divorced him. Which in those days was unacceptable. He would do some time as a youth minister. He went on to Campbellsville university and met my mother. he considered going to Boyce college but instead married my mother and focused on getting employment. I was born a year later. My father would raise me and later my brother. My mother became a school teacher and they are together to this day. my father got active at church and helps lead in several ministries. Including ministry to the elderly, youth and foreign exchange students. Me and my brother have dedicated our lives to ministry.

What is true saving faith?
One issue that must be addressed here above all is the scriptures teaching concerning the perseverence of the saints. WHile I may deal with Ehrman's liberalism. The largest issue is surroundingthe doctrine of perseverance of the saints. Ehrman claimed he was a believer, yet he left the faith. Did Ehrman truly believe?
If one believes then they will be born again. leading to the fruits of the spirit.
Titus 3:5Not 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 Ghost;
Romans 8:9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
So after one is born again faith is a product of the Holy Spirit. So if his faith were the product of God one may assume Ehrman would not lose either faith or salvation.
John 10:28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

This would also lead to spiritual discernment
1Corinthians 2:14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

"I prayed (lots) about it. I wrestled (strenuously) with it. I resisted it with all my might. But at the same time I thought that if I was truly committed to God, I also had to be committed to the truth. And it became clear to me over a long period of time that my former views of the bible as the innerrant revelation from God were flat out wrong. My choice was to either hold on to views that I had come to realizewere in error or to follow where I believed the truth was leading me. in the end it was no choice. If something was true, it was true; if not, not." preface xi
Now my basic instincts when I read this is "bologna". But I do not read minds. So I must assess his philosophy. Here Ehrman concludes the scriptures to be "flat out wrong". Could this be a sign that he did not possess illumination of the Holy Spirit?

If you hold to sola scriptura then why do you reject the Bible?
If Ehrman was truly a conservative Bible believing Christian. He would hold that the only way to know God was through the scriptures. If this is the case then to reject the Bible is the equivalent to rejecting God altogether. Ehrman eventually does denounce Christ and God. So ehrman never truly understands christ as lord.
If he did, he would know the Bibles teaching on truth and not be decieved.

8:32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
14:6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
matt 5:18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Here we see in order to have a basic understanding of truth we must understand that god is the truth and this truth is understood through the mediation of jesus Christ. Once He sets up the parameters that the bible is infallible in it's authority, then that is the truth and it is never a lie.

19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
So If ehrman was a believer he would know that Christ was the truth. That he taught the scriptures to be true and that man's wisdom is inferior to God's Wisdom. So whenever science or philosophy contradict the scriptures science and philosophy are at fault.
But this is not the faith of ehrman. In fact the power of so-called "science" and "rationalism" seem to have a tyrannical rule over his heart. Yet how can man truly have superior information than God? Does man have authority that is infallible, and indeed authoritative than God?

The questioning of God lead to ehrman's apostasy
2 samuel 13:8And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
9And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
10And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
11And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
12Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
13And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
14But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
Now what does this passage have to do with Ehrman?
Like Saul, Ehrman had good intentions to question the scriptures in search of truth. Just as Saul performed a good deed of making a sacrifice to the Lord. However, He questioned the authority of the very God He worshipped. Much like Erhman who decided that he would find the truth which would be contrary to God. In the end Saul was really betraying his kingdom and his worship was nothing more than sin. In the end Erhman betrayed his God and his biblical scholarship was nothing more than sin. So while Ehrman partnered with the Holy spirit and likely made a covenant with God in Baptism. He did not have the personal relationship with Christ because he had not recieved the Holy Ghost and would as a result not keep the faith and will not recieve the inheretance of the kingdom that he signed up for.

Now Ehrman does not want his method of skepticism to be seen as an upfront assault on the faith he tries to claim that His apostasy was for different reasons.
"And so I did not leave the christian faith because of the inherent problems of the faith per se, or because I came to realize that the Bible was a human book, or that Christianity was a human religion. All of which are true-but it was not what dismantled my acceptance of the christian myth. I left the faith for what I took to be (and still take to be) an unrelated reason: the problem of suffering in the world."pg.277
The problem with this is he had no christian faith at all. Instead he was an existentialist who became an agnostic. Existentialism has a weakness when it comes to the problem of evil. Not christianity.
Christianity teaches that God is a good God and he created a good world. That sin was an invention collaborated between satan and mankind. that evil is the original cause for all death and suffering That evil will all be dealt with in the end. Not to mention that you could join the cause of christ and make a positive difference in the world. Agnosticism is defeated by the problem of suffering because their is no meaning to it. It must assume that it is only a biological mechanism. The result is the massive amount of wrecked lives that we see as a result of drug abuse. So secularism can not answer the problem of evil, nor does it help it.

The crack started by thomism
What we see early in philosophy is a misunderstanding of biblical belief. Thomas Aquinas divides up two categories upon which to understand belief: reason and faith. This would lead philosophy to become devoid of biblical faith and Faith to become devoid of reason. As an existentialist, Ehrman would agree with a faithless skepticism accompanied by an irrational faith. And so We see Ehrman eventually rejects his irrational faith.

The faith of skepticism
Skepticism ultimately leaves itself in the worldview of nihilism. Most skeptics try not go this far down the road and stay simply evolutionist liberals. But if consistent there is no form of assurance in anything. not even in common sense morals or logic. It desolves into insanity.
Because skepticism is an incomplete mental process. It is the act of denial until there is nothing left to deny. There is no such thing as postitively affirming or believing anything! Only temporarily not denying until doubt is once again obtained.

So we are left again with barth slowly losing ground from fundamentalism all the way to agnosticism. Barth's education is in dealing with the Bible so on a professional level his studies have to stop there. Yet if he were a philosopher he leap into the bottumless pit that we call nihilism.

The flaws of empiricism
ehrman's studies are broadly based on an empiricist epistemology. This theory assumes that we are able to obtain all the assurance and knowledge we need based upon evidence in the world.
Now historically both Rene descarte(father of rationalism) and John locke (the father of empiricism) rested their epistemological theories upon theism. An All knowing God who would allow man to obtain knowledge. But without theism and revelation the assurance of either system simply falls apart.
We see ehrman's worldview fall apart in just this way. after he denies revelation he eventually becomes an agnostic.
Empiricism falls apart because we can not verify reality as ultimately true. How do we know with absolute certainty that what we sense is truth and not illusion?
All we know is what we obtain which is not exhaustive of all the facts that are out there.
You can find doctors in every world view. So you could be well educated or a genius and still incapable of coming to a consensus on the truth.
The data of life is so massive that it is easy to pick and choose what evidence you want to rely on.
Not to mention the fact the are never certain if the data you collect is necessarily accurate. People are misled all the time. maybe you had poor perception, missed a key point. Or mayber their is a conspiracy against you being fully every aware.

The inability to interpret due to skepticism
Because skepticism has an inability to make positive affirmations bart finds descrepencies too easily. Never ceasing to treat the author as a rational human being with a rational theme to deliver. Much less the all-knowing God and Lord breathing out the text. Here is his illustration.
"One of my favorite apparent discrepencies-I read john for years without realizing how strange this one is_comes in Jesus' "Farewell Discourse," the last address that Jesus delivers to his disciples, at his last meal with them, which takes up all of chapters 13 to 17 in the Gospel according to John. In john 13:36, Peter says to Jesus, Lord where are you going" (14:5). And then, a few minutes later, at the same meal Jesus upbraids his disciples. saying "Now I am going to the one who sent me, yet none of you asks me, "Where are you going?" (john 16:5) Either Jesus had a very short attention span or there is something strange going on with the sources for these chapters, creating an odd kind of disconnect." pg. 9
John 13:36-16:6
john 13:36

36Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
37Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
38Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
Peter wants to follow Christ in death. Yet Christ knows Peter will not be faithful and denouces him.

14:1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2In 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.
3And 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.
4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Knowing that Christ is the Son of God it is obvious that jesus is speaking about heaven.

John 16
1These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
5But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?
6But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
Obviously if you have your Bible open, time has elapsed and more importantly Jesus is speaking ironicly. In otherwords jesus notticed that they stopped asking him. indicating their fear of death. So there is no real contradiction in the discreppancy.
What is amazing is how little effort was requird to explain his favorite apparent discrepency. Ehrman obviously wants to assume the Bible to be irreconcileable. As if the authors were not simply fallible, but incoherent.

How do we stop making more ehrlman's
On one level there will always be those who join the christian faith, yet leave. But church should strive to be more proficient in determining if a new disciple has truly believed. We need to be careful of whom we in the local church baptize. In the early church disciples had to wait at least 3 yrs to join by baptism. Also churches need to reinstate church discipline for those who obviously have not been born again.
As far as schools, schools which teach liberalism as truth should be black listed. Those who are to train in ministry should not go there. If a minister is already well accomplished then he can study under liberals. I took classes in higher criticism and my theology moved to the right. i have a minister freind who did the same. But those who are initialy starting their training need to be brought up in the faith with men with answers. If you should not go to a liberal church why would you go to a liberal school?
Finally schools need to be more consistant. moody though "fundamentalist" taught criticism on a light level denying the preservation of scripture. Once it was agreed that we do not have the original manuscrits then it took ehrman on his down hill slope.
If barth was inculcated with the scriptures concerning preservation. Then shown the agreement of the byzantine manuscripts alongs the 3,000 contradictions among alexandrine manuscripts, could things have been different?

The fruit of my father
My father never desired to be a scholar and never recieved a bachelorette.
My father never acquired Ehrman's fame nor his money. My father has treasure in heaven. And although he probably wishes sometimes that he could borrow some of that treasure to pay off the mortgage, through it all he is a happy man.
Theologically my dad said His views have not fundamentally changed. He said over the years secular systems like evolution have basically fallen apart.
Meanwhile He was exposed to source criticism at campbellsville university. He found that all of the supposed contradictions did not really make the Bible contradict. The variants in the gospels appeared to simply be differences in the style of the authors.

Ultimately Faith though it does not consist of works will produce them. The works of source criticism have led to secularism. It is not a coincidence that Germany"s higher criticism preceded the rise of hitler and his nazis. Indeed

Thursday, December 1, 2011

mysticism: The alternative to the evangelical gospel

Mysticism, the word is one of those words that has a taboo sound. Like mystery. It doesn't sound common. And yet the ideas of mysticims are all too common in religion philosophy and theology. It is not exclusive to pagan or christian circles, it is not well known and yet has pervaded our world system. Let's us understand what is not to be understood.

colossians 2:8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
In many ways Mysticism is a philosophy of religion which works itself out in religion as well as philosophy. This article is focused upon it's outworking in Christian living But we must first explore it's pagan origins to truly understand it's nature.

"... the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words. and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept" Thomas Merton (The asian journal of Thomas Merton, 1975edit. p. 308)Isaiah 1:18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

mysticism is a form of spirituality That pervades the majority of religion.
It is typically irrational or skeptical of logic. It emphasizes emotional experiences.
"Underlying it is a philosophy exemplified by the neo-Platonists and especially Plotinus. God is pure being, one,indivisible, unchangeable, and is utterly opposite to this finite and changing world. There is in man a divine spark, a bit of reason, an "apex" or "fund" or center of the soul opposed to this world in which it is immersed and belonging to God. The mystical experience is "the flight of the alone to the Alone." the soul leaving the world of sense, of time and change, of thought and effort, of human relations, to lose its individual being inunity with God." Harris Franklin Rall Christianity:chapter 9:The way of mysticism pg.167-168
colossians 2:18Let 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,

1 corinthians 14:29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Now mysticism is not just a doorway from paganism to christianity but it opens the opposite way as well.
Thomas merton
"Merton had encountered Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism and vendanta many years prior to his asian journey. Merton was able to uncover the stream where wisdom of East and west merge and flow together beyond Dogma, in the depths of inner experience.... Merton embraced the spiritual philosophies of the East and integrated this wisdom into (hi) own life through direct practice." (Yoga Journal, Jan-Feb. 199. quoted from Lighthouse Trails web site)

gnosticism was basically a form of neo-platonism that infected the religions of the first centuries of christianity.

1 Corinthians 9:16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 18Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
In other words we are not mix other peoples faiths with our own. An elder at my former church Doug Pope put it this way "Jesus plus anything, just doesn't add up!"

"The appellation "Father of Monasticism" might be considered misleading, as Christian monasticism was already being practiced in the deserts of Egypt. Ascetics commonly retired to isolated locations on the outskirts of cities. By the 2nd century there were also famous Christian ascetics, such as Saint Thecla.
Also note that the Therapeutae, pagan ascetic hermits and loosely organized cenobitic communities described by the Hellenized Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria in the first century, were long established in the harsh environments by the Lake Mareotis close to Alexandria, and in other less-accessible regions. Philo noted that "this class of persons may be met with in many places, for both Greece and barbarian countries want to enjoy whatever is perfectly good."[9]" Anthony the great Wikipedia

Colossians 2:21(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
2:23Which 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.
Man's worship is very seductive in that it appears moral but is fleeting and artificial.

"Before the emergence of the Western monastic communities, a key contribution to the foundation of Lectio divina came from Origen in the 3rd century, with his view of "Scripture as a sacrament".[6] In a letter to Gregory of Neocaesarea Origen wrote: "when you devote yourself to the divine reading ... seek the meaning of divine words which is hidden from most people".[6]
Origen believed that The Word (i.e. Logos) was incarnate in Scripture and could therefore touch and teach readers and hearers. Origen taught that the reading of Scripture could help move beyond elementary thoughts and discover the higher wisdom hidden in the "Word of God".[6]
In Origen's approach the major interpretive element of Scripture is Christ. In his view all Scriptural texts are secondary to Christ and are only revelations in as much as they refer to Christ as The Word of God.[6] In this view, using Christ as the "interpretive key" unlocks the message in Scriptural texts.[6]
The "primordial role" of Origen in interpreting Scripture was acknowledged by Pope Benedict XVI.[7][8] Origen's methods were then learned by Ambrose of Milan, who towards the end of the 4th century taught them to Saint Augustine, thereby introducing them into the monastic traditions of the Western Church thereafter.[7][8]
Early models of Christian monastic life also emerged in the 4th century, as the Desert Fathers began to seek God in the deserts of Palestine and Egypt.[9][10] These early communities gave rise to the tradition of a Christian life of "constant prayer" in a monastic setting.[10]" Wikipedia lectio Divina

Here we see Origen, instituting a mystical prayer and worship and hermeneutic. Origen is well known as a neo-platonist. This idea of not expositing the meaning of the text but instead finding a spiritual meaning is irrational. This a clear example of a philosophy that supports isogesis.(isogesis: basically to isolate a passage and get the meaning from outside of the context.)
Isaiah 28:9-10
9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
The Bible teaches in a logical straightforward pattern and must be interpreted literally.

Monasticism borrows from the practices of the gnostics. Who blended platnism with Christianity. The dicotomy between flesh/matter and spirit is emphasized and so the monks will punish there bodies with deprivation of food, and sleep speech shelter etc. Other gnostic practices were incoporated as well with mystic philosophy.
"A "mystikos" was an initiate of a mystery religion. The Eleusinian Mysteries, (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were annual initiation ceremonies in the cults of the goddesses Demeter and Persephone, held in secret at Eleusis (near Athens) in ancient Greece.[1] The mysteries began in about 1600 B.C. in the Mycenean period and continued for two thousand years, becoming a major festival during the Hellenic era, and later spreading to Rome.[2]" Wikipedia mysticism

matthew 6:7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

monasticism would dominate the medieval church. The monks and nuns were not only tolerated but a force for the roman catholic empire. All clergy would eventually be forced into monastc vows.
" 1599 In the latin church the sacrament of Holy Orders for the presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates who are ready to embrace celebacy freely and who publicly manifest there intention of staying celibate for the love of God's Kingdom and the service of men." 1996 Catechism of the catholic church
The theology of the church under the monks would enforce a strict sacramentalism.
monasticsm would eventually become one of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. also recognized in eastern orthodoxy.

epistemology) mysticism sees a direct yet irrational contact with God
This is a claim of inspiration on the same level of scripture. yet with out logic. purely chaotic. This effectively ruins the whole concept of inspiration and revelation. Now to be clear this is a more intense doctrine than the gifts of the spirit as taught by charasmatics.

"Neither is mysticism to be confounded with the doctrine of spiritual guidance. Evangelical Christians admit that the children of God are led by the Spirit of God, that their convictions as to the truth and duty, their inward character and outward conduct, are moulded by His influence. They are children unable to guide themselves, who are led by an ever present Father of infinite wisdom of love. This guidance is partially providential, ordering their external circumstances; partly through the Word which is a lamp to their feet; and partly by the inward influence of the Holy Spirit on the mind. This last, however is also through the Word, making it intelligible and effectual, bringing it suitably to remembrance. God leads his people by the cords of a man i.e., in accordance with the laws of nature. this is very different from the doctrine that the soul, by yielding itself passively to God, is filled with all truth and goodness, or that in special emergencies it is controlled by blind, irrational impulses." Charles Hodge systematic theology abridged edition.pg66
It is important to nottice that this was written prior to the modern pentecostal and charasmatic movements. Which is good as it shows us evangelical understand verses mystical understanding of experiencing God. Now many charasmatics are by nature mystics. But this is not necesarily universal. I am one who holds that the gifts of the spirit even "prophecy" have not ceased. Yet I do not believe in mysticism. This would take place as Hodge defined "the inward influence of the Holy Spirit on the mind". I have no problem accepting the Holy Spirit placing information in our minds as longs it is consistent with the famous solas of the reformation. sola fide and sola scriptura. I will not recieve a doctrine contrary or even alien to the scripture. Also I will not recieve any information if I am not first justified by Faith alone and indwelt by the Holy spirit through regeneration. Also in accordance with Sola Gloria deo I can never acquire any information by any other means than God alone.

The key divide over the gospel in the catholic protestant debate intellectually sola scriptura. But spiritually it is Sola fide.
The Catholic advocates of justification argue for an infusion of Christ's righteousness. While Protestantism and New Testament christianity argues for imputation of Christ righteousness. In other words I am not righteous in and of my self. Nor am I going to become like god in any esoteric sense. I am sinner from my birth to my death. The Holy Spirit is sealed to my spirit and will work with me to live a more holy life. But never the less I am still just a man. In Catholic Justification the sinner still has to become self righteous. Only they have an infusion of Christ's righteousnes To help the process be attainable. Yet ultimately, with the exception of a few saints, this does not work and they are left to burn for possible millions of years in purgatory until they are ready for heaven.

Sacramental worship
In essence sacramental worship argues that grace is aquired through works. Whenever one is worshipping in this pattern they are attempting a form of self-righteousness. Because when they try to be Holy they are doing so to justified as well as sanctified. In evangelical theology we are justified by faith alone. and so we seek sanctification through our gratidude for Christ obtained salvation of our own free will.
This also becomes a form of pantheism. Christ is God. The alexandirne churches who introduced sacramentalism introduced apollinarian christologies which unified the divinity and the humanity so that in a mystical way a person could be deified in the ritual. In Eastern Orthodox Theology we still see this understanding of deification within sacramentalism. The followers are supposedly becoming more godlike in their worship. Thus paganizing their nominal christian faith. Even in the RCC though they stay away from calling their followers gods. Sainthood becomes confused with deification. The follower becomes a statue people would pray to. and they are still deeply connected by means of sacramentalism.

memorial view)
Essential to the memorial view is the idea of a forensic symbol. The scriptures are rational. Jesus was completely human. Therefore his blood never needed his body at this time.
Now the issue of transubstantiation has been dealt with in other articles. And more importantly is not essential to the doctrine of mysticism.
But what if Christ is only spiritually present in the taking of the lords supper?
"But what of the idea that Christ is spiritually present? This view arose from two historical sources. One was the desire of certain theologians to retain something of the traditional belief in Christ presence even as they sought to change it. Their approach to the reformation of the faith leaned more toward retaining whatever is not explicitly rejected by Scripture than toward starting from scratch, preserving only those tenets of the faith that are explicitly taught in scripture. Instead of totally rejecting tradition and constructing a completely new understanding, they chose to modify the old belief. The other source of the view that christ is spiritually present was a disposition towards mysticism. Some believers , having had a profound experience of encounter with Christ as they observed the Lord's Supper concluded that Christ must have been spiritually present. The doctrine served as an explanation of the experience." Christian Theology Millard Erickson Pg. 30

Christ is already spiritual present through faith alone.
17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
So what would be the purpose or use of elements? This view of sacramentalism is still mysticism.
If Christ is not in the elements then we must come to him through faith alone. If He is in the elements then he must be acquired through faith plus works. So in mysticism and sacramentalism, we may access the divine through rituals and good works. So the memorial view of the lord's supper is consistent with justification by grace through faith alone.

sancitifcation and worship

We must be justified by grace through faith alone If we are to move forward in sanctification. If our sins are not atoned for there is no way that we can truly please God.
So mystical worship is typically emotional and yet legalistic. This is not the proper way to approach God.
Luke 18:10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Now obviously both these men were emotional and emotions are healthy. But nottice How the pharisee had faith in his works. And also nottice how he was not justified.
New evangelicalism is falling in love with it's worship. It is pursuing God in mystical formats. As a result it is not being sanctified. Because it is not justified.

We use projectors and electric guitars using lyrics with less and less meaning. Sometimes not even giving proper titles to God. Yet even though the doctrinal content is growing less and less. We feel we are closer to God because we are more emotional. Our worship is less focused upon how we are relating to God and more focused upon how God makes us feel. Do we even focus on music that is discussing how we minister? Typically no. Our worship is self centered.
Even when the claim is made to be God centered. One may notice how self returns the subject. Revelation is not considered as much since scripture is less the topic of the worship. Scripture is ultimately rational and mysticism ultimately is not.
Jesus is ultimately the Logos/Word. logos means among other things, logic.
Mysticism is in opposition to logic and ultimately in opposition to Christ.
In Christ,