A lot of people have questions in the realm of religion and theology. There are a lot of barriers to faith either in terms of questions to Christianity or particular sects. I am here delving in the realm of religion and systematic theology for answers. However, I want to be careful to emphasize that I am not approaching this so much to present a complete religious or systematic theological system. Instead, I am using the skills of these disciplines to answer the questions of nonchristians in an apologetic.
Also it is important to note that while the gospel to demands the exclusive salvation of believers, this is not a justification to be anything other than the light to the world. New Testament Christians are to submit to their governments help out their neighbors in love, charity and justice either independently or co-operating in common causes. (Matthew 5:13-16,44, Mark 9:37-41, Luke 10:25-37, romans 13, 1 timothy 2:1-4). This love extends to believers and unbelievers and anyone n the middle.
A. New Testament religion
B. Secular Values
C. Other religions
D. Man and the afterlife
E. Other salvation questions
My religion is properly "New Testament Christianity". Most people would call it "baptist" as a prejoritive. However, Some who claim to be Baptist are not New Testament Christians while many New Testament Christians do not call themselves Baptist. Some simple tenets of New Testament Christianity go as follows.
A. Personal faith and relationship to God through our Lord Jesus Christ as dictated in the New Testament.
Romans 10: 9 that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Ephesians 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,"
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
We do not need any other mediator to have a relationship with God other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Our faith can not be reduced to a tradition with which we have no investment. It is in the heart of our being. It is the indwelling of God born within us.
B. Believing in all 66 books of the Bible for our worldview.
matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
2 peter 3: 2 that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
Revelation 22: 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
1 Peter 1:23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Our understanding comes from the whole of scripture. It is our source of knowledge and wisdom. Even more it is our source of holiness. It is our foundation upon which we have authority and receive the promises of God. We are to fear it's teachings because we fear the authority of our all mighty God. The Gospels is in cased in the bible, that the love of God has been perfectly preserved to reach forth and save us in any generation.
C. A reformed or Evangelical view of salvation by grace through faith alone.
Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast."
Galatians 2:16 knowing 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."
1 peter 1: 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
As opposed to the multitude of religions try to obtain salvation from God through our own efforts, our own wills our flesh. Our God saves us through the work of his Son Jesus Christ and we receive it by faith alone. This humbles us because we cannot have pride in our own efforts. We have to give all the glory to Christ alone.
D. A fundamental doctrine of God and gospel (trinity, virgin birth, incarnation, resurrection, second coming)
1 John 5: 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son."
Now while the vs 5:7 has been strongly debated over the centuries, I have come to believe this is an authentic scripture and published it's defense in my book "A New Look at an Old Word". And in short it fits the context of the passage better, it is correct Greek grammar while the removal is grammatically incorrect and there is a western latin traditional use of the text going back to the 2nd century.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: "1 timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
John 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men."14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake."John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.1 Timothy 3: 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
In summary, there is one God. God has one divinity/essence/Godhead/substance. But operates in 3 persons. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The person of the Son/Logos not only has the divine nature but a human nature in the form of Jesus Christ. Jesus is fully human and yet only knows God as his Father.
Jesus is the mediator between man and God. In order to mediate between two parties the mediator must be represented by both parties. Christ being man and God fulfills this need. Because he is full in his humanity as well as his divinity. In order for the messiah in the world, he must be represented of the people that have represented God, and that is the Jews. Jesus was the son of Mary and adopted by Joseph. Therefore, he had the physical right to be the seed of Abraham and the king from David's throne. Yet He also is virgin born, and therefore, the second Adam being a mediator for all humanity.
E. Free churches(autonomous, democratic congregations, separate from the government)
Mark 1: 15 and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. 16 Now 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. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. 19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. 20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
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. 18 Verily 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."
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.
41For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
1 Corinthians 13:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
Matthew 22: 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. 22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
F. Believers baptism and regenerate church membership.
Mark 16: 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Acts 10: 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Acts 19 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
My conscience starts from my personal relationship with God, and I understand God by the authority of scripture. I interpret the Word in light of it's literal rendering unhindered by the opinions of other theologians. So I give answers according to scripture as I see it. Though millions may agree and millions may disagree, this is what I understand the truth to be.
Secular verses biblical ethical values In recent years, more commonly than the past Secular forces have approached God with secular ethics. They use this as an authority by which to judge God morally unworthy to judge them. I will demonstrate how this logic works, and fails.Is man autonomous?
Does man truly have a free will? Naturalist originally and consistently argued, No.
existence precedes essence
The proposition that existence precedes essence (French: l'existence précède l'essence) is a central claim of existentialism, which reverses the traditional philosophical view that the essence (the nature) of a thing is more fundamental and immutable than its existence (the mere fact of its being). To existentialists, human beings—through their consciousness—create their own values and determine a meaning for their life because the human being does not possess any inherent identity or value. That identity or value must be created by the individual. By posing the acts that constitute them, they make their existence more significant."https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence_precedes_essence
So basically naturalistic atheism argued that man had no free will, since evolution is accidental then man is also an accident with no point or purpose. But this is a disastrous idea on a personal level. So the existential idea existence precedes essence is supposed to rescue the worldview by claiming that we give definition to our identity. "You can be whomever you want to be":.
However, what you want is only what you are presented with. The environment must supply you with the body and the environment in a naturalistic worldview. In fact, many with the "materialist" worldview understand that since there is nothing supernatural then there is only a brain without the mind. that essentially all of our thoughts are indeed chemical reactions based in chaos. Thus, we do not truly have the existential free-will without God to introduce the concept. Nor can we evolve out of this predicament because naturalism provides us with a "closed system" that never overcomes nature.
How should humans be treated?
Socialism, and many of the various versions of it, perceive man's rights in relation to the government of the community.
Without God as the ultimate authority, where does man go for his values? Ultimately, whether we read Rousseau the french revolutionary or Marx and the like, it is the government that gives us values. However, if the government is the source of our values then how can the government be subject to them?
Thus, we see this played out in history dealing with the Nazis at the nuremburg trials.
"The defendants were allowed to choose their own lawyers, and the most common defense strategy was that the crimes defined in the London Charter were examples of ex post facto law; that is, they were laws that criminalized actions committed before the laws were drafted. Another defense was that the trial was a form of victor’s justice–the Allies were applying a harsh standard to crimes committed by Germans and leniency to crimes committed by their own soldiers."https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/nuremberg-trials
Now while I agree that the guilt of the nazis was obvious and it was right to condemn their crimes against humanity. The reasoning behind condemning them was propeled by the judeo christian presuppositions of society. Germany was not under any contract to a global, government. The soldiers were following the laws of their people. A survival of the fittist philosophy is at peace with the holocaust. The only moral standard that you can apply to them is from a transcendent God. We have value in human life which is transcendent and without it, all evil is justifiable. After all if this secular system of justice worked, why didn't we see the same trials over the soviets or the chinese? They did murder more people. But the secular world does not operate by godly morality and therefore, the greater rule of "might makes right" prevailed and international communities have maintained a more passive approach to evil.
Humans are to be treated as animals; according to the humanist worldview Humans are animals. Now some remedy this with giving animals a higher status, animal rights. However, this does not translate to human rights. Ways of killing people have become sanitized. Abortion of infants are common, as is also the mercy killing of the elderly. Suicide and murder are not penalized as they were in the past. The death penalty has become quite rare. Now that may seem consistent at first with society not killing. However, the death penalty prevents murderers from further murder, as well as deters others from the crime of murder. The government conducting proper capital punishment is much like plowing the field to greater a greater crop. The one thing that is not worthy fo life are those who freely take it. Socialism makes murder a free ride. The Norway Killer proved this point a few years ago. In Europe a rich man Anders Behring Breivik has successfully made a mockery of the Justice system. Through the use of a bomb, flame throwers and guns he managed to murder 77 muslim teens at a youth camp. The stiffest penalty Norway had to offer was a 22 year prison sentence. Not even 4 months per youth! And He is even suing the country and appealing to the European union during his stay! He will be free to start a facist/Nazi group in 2043.
How should we think of ourselves?
"The importance of self-esteem gained endorsement from some government and non-government groups starting around the 1970s, such that one can speak of a self-esteem movement. This movement can be used[by whom?] as an example of promising evidence that psychological research can have an effect on forming public policy. The underlying idea of the movement was that low self-esteem was the root of the problem for individuals, making it the root of societal problems and dysfunctions. A leading figure of the movement, psychologist Nathaniel Branden, stated: "[I] cannot think of a single psychological problem – from anxiety and depression, to fear of intimacy or of success, to spouse battery or child molestation – that is not traced back to the problem of low self-esteem".:3" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-esteem#cite_note-BaumeisterCampbell2003-5
Baumeister, R. F.; Campbell, J. D.; Krueger, J. I.; Vohs, K. D. (2003). "Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?". Psychological Science in the Public Interest. 4 (1): 1–44. doi:10.1111/1529-1006.01431. ISSN 1529-1006. PMID 26151640.
self-es·teem(sĕlf′ĭ-stēm′) n. in
Thinking of ourselves as Good and being prideful are now what the secular psychology community teaches people should do as a virtue.
This is the opposite of Christianity and it is now promoted in the public school systems.
What are our values?
"The closest Nietzsche comes to organizing his value claims systematically is his insistence on the importance of power, especially if this is taken together with related ideas about strength, health, and “life”. A well-known passage appears near the opening of the late work, The Antichrist:
What is good? Everything that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself.In the literature, claims of this sort are associated with a “will to power doctrine”, commonly viewed as one of Nietzsche’s central ideas (see section 6.1). That doctrine seems to include the proposal that creatures like us (or more broadly: all life, or even all things period) aim at the enhancement of their power—and then further, that this fact entails that enhanced power is good for us (or for everything)."https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/
What is bad? Everything that is born of weakness.
What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome.
Not contentedness but more power; not peace but war; not virtue but fitness (Renaissance virtue, virtù, virtue that is moraline-free). (A 2)
Nietizche is an inspiration to atheists and secularists all over the world. Even if there are some who reject his ideas or claim them to be false interpretations they are powerless to overcome the simplicity and force of this ideology. The old saying "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is a pure opposition to the neitzche doctrine. Is power the highest value or does it corrupt man morally?
The Bible has a simple answer
Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s."
Are races different types of humans or is there one race?
Evolution has long been linked with racism.
"At some future period,not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly be exterminate and replace, the savage races throughout the world." Charles Darwin, The descent of man. chapter 3 and world book encyclopedia 1952, pg 336
The evolutionary paradigm encourages racism. Because man is not according to this, ontologically unified. Originally Evolution was synonymous with the philosophy "survival of the fittest". Thus competition is inevitable.
In America, it was assumed that the introduction to the first partially African American president would epitomize racial unity. Instead, secular forces have simply managed to push racial hatred from the "white supremacy" paradigm over to the "multicultural/anti-white" paradigm. Why could they not stick to neutrality? They argue that they need "social justice" and avenge the wrongs of the past. As if they objectively even know the past. This is irrational as mankind would then need to avenge itself of its ancestors endlessly, and thus secular society still embraces racism.
Mankind needs unity and this will lead to love.
An abolitionist ex-slave African American woman self-named "Sojournor Truth" testified how in times of her abuse that her mother taught her to seek Christ for her protection. She found her identity and liberty in her relationship with Christ. She was a slave in the yankee state of New York before the northern states had abolished slavery. Her opposition was typically preachers and lawyers. The lawyers specifically argue that she was not full in her humanity. Specifically, that her and all the slaves were part ape .Obviously the educated members of society were already putting forth tenets of the evolutionary theory and assumed that black people were lesser evolved. Sojourner Truth would appeal to the conscious of the Christians and that is what got her states to peaceably and eventually give her freedom. Martin Luther King a Baptist Preacher would also later appeal to God as a remedy for the racial divide.
"I have a dream today ... I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked Places will be made straight. ,.And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will he able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the clay when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning. "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim 's pride, from every mountain side, let. freedom ring.'' Rev. Martin Luther King https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf
How do we understand sexual identity and the modern family?
Alfred Kinsey and modern sexuality
The father of modern sexology and inspiration for the homosexual ideology was Alfred Kinsey. Much is forgotten about this figure. Here are some quotes from Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences by Dr. Judith Reisman
1. evolutionary base) "The Kinsey team understood and presented human sexual behavior as a closed darwinian system of simple mammalian behavior: a stimulus provides b) a genital response which produces c) an orgasmic 'outlet.' Indeed, Kinsey applied Pavlovian conditioning to sex, saying all sex is conditioned by environment and that love, jealousy, fear, shame and similar emotions have no operational meaning.. This worldview drove Kinsey's work from the start, as the zoologist denied explanations for human behavior contrary to evolutionary assumptions." pg. 51
So the modern understanding of sexuality is based upon the evolutionary theory. Which of course goes back to chaos. Ironicly, it has been suggested the sexual morals encouraged the popularity of the evolutionary theory.
"I suppose the reason we leaped at The Origin of Species was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual moras" Jullian Huxley(descendent of Darwinian forefather Thomas Huxley) speaking on a talk show.
Now this quote is not as heinous as it appears in context, as it portrays celibacy as abusive. However, the link between worldview and social conventions is inherently linked. The evolutionary worldview is accepted to follow through with man's desires, and establishes morality which will submit to it.
"3. Repeal all state laws prohibiting solicitation for private voluntary sexual liaisons; and laws prohibiting prostitution, both male and female.
4. Enactment of legislation prohibiting insurance companies and any other state-regulated enterprises from discriminating because of sexual orientation, in insurance and in bonding or any other prerequisite to employment or control of one's personal demesne.
5. Enactment of legislation so that child custody, adoption, visitation rights, foster parenting, and the like shall not be denied because of sexual orientation or marital status.
6. Repeal of all state laws prohibiting transvestism and cross-dressing.
7. Repeal of all laws governing the age of sexual consent.
8. Repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit; and the extension of legal benefits to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex or numbers.
"1972 Gay Rights Platform," Freedom of Information Act, 1992. http://foia.fbi.gov/gayalli.htm
When we look at points 5 and 7 the platform is saying that one could adopt a child and have sex with them, thus allowing child molestation and sodomy. Point 3 allows for prostitution which historically would promote adultery and sexually transmitted diseases.
Now I am sure there are many people who struggle with various sexual desires or identity issues which are not extreme or effect others. However, they still fall within a rubric that is immoral and undesirable. So why would we accept a morality that challenges our way of life? Because morality holds us to a higher accountability, if it had no authority it frankly would not be moral.
Homosexuality has problems. It leads easily to various sexually transmitted diseases and various mental disorders leading to violence often. But the bridge to darker criminal actions is what keeps it categorically immoral. The agenda of the secular worldview is to destroy all sexual morals and this leads only to a need of government assistance as opposed to healthy families.
The equality of sex sounds noble. After all, we believe in an equality of race. But races are not truly different in terms of their humanity. Sexes are truly different though the they are the same creatures. Men and women are physically different and mentally different. When we understand that mankind was brilliantly designed we understand that the differences we have us do not humiliate us but they glorify the purpose of our beings.
We have fallen into a world where Islamic extremist have practiced genital mutilation of children and now they have found colleagues in the fringes of LGBT practicing genital mutilation of boys and girls in the name of gender identity. Equality in this context is war on manhood, womanhood and human nature.
How do we understand the government?
Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Nazism and Anarchism are all secular systems and they all do not recognize the values of property rights. The Bible is very clear about "thall shalt not steal". Mankind has the rights of property and whatever property they acquire is theirs personally
However, since according to secularism, authority starts at that government, all property to a degree belongs to the state. Therefore human rights are determined by the government and they are indeed alienable as opposed to "unalienable". When leftist lawyers speak of the constitution being a "living breathing document" They mean the constitution is up for reinterpretation. However, the constitution, specifically the Bill of rights, is what our rights in America are. Therefore, if our rights are reinterpreted then they can be alienated from us. Thus what is traditionally American is antithetical for all forms of socialism. It is identified as "limited government".
Without these limitations, then the government enslaves the population which is the opposite secularism promised.
How do we understand creation?
Environmentalism, political and ethical movement that seeks to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment through changes to environmentally harmful human activities; through the adoption of forms of political, economic, and social organization that are thought to be necessary for, or at least conducive to, the benign treatment of the environment by humans; and through a reassessment of humanity’s relationship with nature. In various ways, environmentalism claims that living things other than humans, and the natural environment as a whole, are deserving of consideration in reasoning about the morality of political, economic, and social policies."https://www.britannica.com/topic/environmentalism"
Environmental law, principles, policies, directives, and regulations enacted and enforced by local, national, or international entities to regulate human treatment of the nonhuman world"
Environmentalism echos the sentiment of ancient native Americans who claimed that they were the property of the earth as opposed to man having dominion of the earth. The Judeo-Christian concept is that man has dominion over the earth and therefore property is his right. The conflict between the US and Native Americans was birthed from the worldview misunderstanding of the concept of property. Like Esau these natives sold their inheritance for the American commodities. Sometimes the price was right and generous sometimes it was a con and the natives ended up cheated. This would lead to a never ending competition among the societies. But the native society was inferior to the US and the US would eventually dominate.
Let's consider an anecdote. A pagan starts a farm and a Christian farmer are doing their jobs. Each is confronted by a giant mutated tree. The pagan assumes the tree to be therefore sacred and divine and will not intrude upon the tree. The Christian thinks he has been blessed by God with extra firewood and lumber so he cuts it down and plows the field. Thus proving a more successful society.
Now environmentalism starts with atheistic assumptions. That nature is just an accident so life and survival is not guaranteed, therefore Man has to become God and keep the earth and universe working.
Now let's be clear if the secular world can not create an impeccable system of ethics, then how can it objectively judge a being whom they do not even universally acknowledge?
Why not other religions?
Islam:Islam is a bit of a double edged sword. On a positive note Islam gives credibility to the early monotheist Abrahamic religions. That Abraham is the father of the Arabic people.
On the other hand it has been a symbol of an alternative god to fight Christianity.
“The more significance of the cult declined, the greater became the value of a genral religious temper associated with Allah. Among the Meccans he was already coming to take the place of the old moon-god Hubal as the Lord of the Ka’bah… Allah was actually the guardian of contracts, though at first these were still settled at a special ritual locality and so subordinate to the supervision of an idol. In particular he was regarded as the guardian of the Alien guest, though consideration for him still lagged behind duty to one’s Kinsmen,” (History of the Islamic Peoples Carl Brockelmann, p 8-10)
Here we see a passing of the torch from the god hubal to the god allah.
“The god Il or llah was originally a phase of the moon god, but early in Arabian history the name became a general term for god, and it was this name that the Hebrews used prominently in their personal names such as Emmanuel, Israel, etc., rather than the Bapal of the Northern of the northern Semites proper which was the Sun. Similarly under Muhammad’s tutelage, the relatively anonymous llah became Al-llah, The God, or Allah, the Supreme Being.”(Southern Arabia, Carleton S. Coon, Washington D.C. Smithsonian, 1944, p.399)
Now tell me about Al-lat, Aluzza and Manat, The third one, another goddess. What! For you the males and for him the females! That indeed is an unfair division.” Sura an-Najm (star) 53:19-22
These are famously known as the Satanic verses. Muhammad’s famous biography (The Life of Muhammad) has an interesting excuse.
“Then God sent down ‘By the star when it sets your comrade errs not and is not decieved, he speaks not from his own desire,’ and when he reached His words ‘Have you thought of al-lat and al-‘Uzza and Manat the third, the other, Satan, when he was meditating upon it, and desiring to bring it. (sc. Reconciliation) to his people, put upon his tongue ‘these are the exalted Gharaniq whose intercession is approved.’ When Quraysh heard that, they were delighted and greatly pleased at the way in which he spoke of their gods and they listened to him; while the believers were holding that what their prophet brought them from their Lord was true, not suspecting a mistake or a vain desire or a slip, and when he reached the prostration and the end of the Sura in which he prostrated himself the Muslims prostrated themselves when their prophet prostrated confirming what he brought and obeying his command, and the polytheist of Qurash and others who were in the mosque prostrated when they heard the mention of their gods, so that everyone in the mosque believer and unbeliever prostrated…
“Then Gabriel came to the apostle and said “What have you done Muhammad? You have read these people something I did not bring you from God and you have said what he did not say to you. The apostle was bitterly grieved and was greatly in fear of God. So God sent down (a revelation), for He was merciful to him, comforting him and making light of the affair and telling him that every prophet and apostle before him desired as he desired and wanted what he wanted and Satan interjected something into his desires as he had on his tongue.”
The Life of Muhammad pg.165-166
Islam contradicts the Old and New Testaments while giving authority to them, but while it's greatest strength is monotheism it still fails in the case of purity for it's own monotheism as it isbased upon a pagan idol.
What about Roman Catholicism?
Roman Catholicism has generally the same concept of God.(trinity incarnation etc.) as biblical Christianity. However it is a different altogether religion with a separate gospel.
Gospel and Gospels - The word Gospel usually designates a written record of Christ's words and deeds"http://newadvent.org/cathen/g.htm Catholic Encyclopedia
"1982 The Old Law is a preparation for the Gospel.
1983 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit received by faith in Christ, operating through charity. It finds expression above all in the Lord's Sermon on the Mount and uses the sacraments to communicate grace to us.
1984 The Law of the Gospel fulfills and surpasses the Old Law and brings it to perfection: its promises, through the Beatitudes of the Kingdom of heaven; its commandments, by reforming the heart, the root of human acts.
1985 The New Law is a law of love, a law of grace, a law of freedom.
1986 Besides its precepts the New Law includes the evangelical counsels. "The Church's holiness is fostered in a special way by the manifold counsels which the Lord proposes to his disciples in the Gospel" (LG 42 # 2)."http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6X.HTMCatechism of the catholic church
From here Catholicism innovates a system of salvation receiving the grace of God through the use of rituals called sacraments. The 7 sacraments are Baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance, holy orders, marriage, and holy unction. While many of these rituals are originally based upon biblical practice. The theology of using them to channel God's grace is not.
The Roman Catholic church has taken on a pagan structure.
A. Worship of Mary
Jer 44:18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
Jer 44:19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
Jer 44:20 Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying,
Jer 44:21 The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind?
Jer 44:22 So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.
“Ave ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria! In heaven, the blessed thy glory proclaim, On earth, we thy children invoke thy fair name.”Immaculate Mary #37
“Hail holy Queen, enthroned above, O Maria!… Turn then most gracious Advocate, O Maria!” Hail Holy Queen enthroned Above #38
“Hail Queen of Heav’n the ocean Star, Guide of the wand’rer here below!
Tossed on life’s sea, I claim thy care, save me from peril and woe. Mother of Christ, Star of the Sea, pray for wand’rer, pray for me.” hymn 72vrs.1 Hail Queen of Heaven Parish Mass book and Hymnal In accordance with New Revised Liturgy Catholic Publishing Company NY(1967)
B. Openness to classic idols
"The most accepted explanation for the word Trevi is that it derives for the Latin word Trivium that indicates a crossing of three streets.
The Roman Goddes Trivia, epithet of Diana, the greek Hecate, was protecting the streets and often her statue featuring three heads was standind at the crossings.
The three streets of Trevi are Via De' Crocicchi, Via Poli and Via Delle Muratte.
The main statue of the fountain does not represent Neptune, but Ocean. In fact, Neptune has often a triton in his hands and a dolphin following him. Instead, as its designer Nicola Salvi wrote, the statue is an image of Ocean, the personification of a immense river that flows around the earth and from which all strams of water derive.
Ocean was the son of Sky and Vesta. From his union with Thetis rivers and sources of water were born.
The beard of Ocean is symbol of wisdom and power. The wand is short and thick, similar to the ones held by Roman emperors portraited in many ancient coins. The restless horse represents the violent strenght of the sea. The clam horse is instead symbol of tranquillity of the sea.
The statue of Abundance holds the symbol of plenty, a horn filled with fruits and produce.
Health is crowned with wreath of laurel, Apollo's plant. Apollo was the the father of Aesculapius, god of Medicine. Health (Salus in Latin, Hygieia in greek) was the daughter of Aesculapius.
She was the goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation. Her name is the source of the word "hygiene". Statues of Hygieia were created by Scopas, Bryaxis and Timotheus, among others, but there is no clear description of what they looked like.
Hygieia was often depicted as a young woman feeding a large snake that was wrapped around her body or drinking from a jar that she carried.
The two statues of Fames flanking the Papal Crest on the Attic are symbol of future recognition of the Pope that restored the fountain for the people utility.
In Roman mythology fame is personification of public acclaim and usually was portraited with a trumpet in her hand. When she has two trumpets, one served to announce fabrications, the other one truths.
Triton is a Greek god, the messenger of the sea. He is the son of Neptune, god of the sea, and Amphitrite, whose herald he is. He is usually represented as a merman, having the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish. Like his father, he carried a trident.
However, Triton's special attribute was a twisted conch shell, on which he blew like a trumpet to calm or raise the waves. Its sound was so terrible, that when loudly blown, it put the giants to flight, who imagined it to be the roar of a mighty wild beast."https://www.trevifountain.net/iconography.htm
Eastern mysticismThe Eastern pagan religions differ little from the Western occult religions with the biggest exception being the doctrine of reincarnation. Though there are western occults that teach this as well. Paganism. Originally paganism was the out product of the rebellion at the tower of Babel.
"The source of all contrasts between paganism and Christianity is the difference in their concepts of God... Sometimes it is said that whereas Greek Philosophy had known only immanent principles, the Hebrew-Christian religion introduced the idea of transcendence. ... However, with certain clarifications, the first or divine principles of the Greek philosophers may be called immanent in the stricter sense so that all notion of the transcendence is precluded, and thus the pagan systems are throughout radically different from Christianity." Gordon Clark, Thales to Dewey ch.5 pg. 183The Eastern concept of the universe is that it is an illusion while at the same time the universe is infinite. I wrote out a fictional dialogue to demonstrate the problems with this.....
B: You know as a Buddhist I believe in god too.
C: Oh really?
B: Why yes! However I believe instead of contending with god we ought to realize our oneness with god and our oneness with the universe.
C: So if the universe and God are one, then the universe is God, right?
C: Then actually you are not talking about God at all.
B: Sure I am?
C: Well we look at the definition of God. God is infinite. The universe however, is not. As one could observe from the big bang theory.
B: But I believe that matter is infinite. However I do not believe in Science, you see matter is an “illusion” we must over come.
C: Well if matter is an illusion, then God is an illusion too right?
C: This is outside of God’s definition because God is all-powerful.
B: So our definition’s differ what is the point?
C: If we have two different definition’s then what are we talking about?
B: The illusion of reality
C: So everything is an illusion?
C: Then is this conversation even real?
B: It is an illusion.
C: Do you even exist?
C: Then why are you discussing these things with me?
B: ….. I (sigh)"
Why do we have to believe fundamentals? In general cults are those who claim the Christian faith but reject these fundamental orthodox doctrines. Now anyone from any religion can be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, that is not the issue. But false religions will antagonize their followers and at times forbid their followers from receiving salvation. From an intellectual perspective, the fundamental doctrines are important for a coherent theology and gospel.
So to be a Christian we must follow Christ and not false religions.
Matthew 27: 1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians 11:
Oh what is man?
If we are to understand God's judgement we must understand whom He is judging.
What is man?
A. According to the ancient pagans, man magically came from various elements and at times various animals. Man was not unified in creaturely status and there was no fidelity to all mankind having rights. Man's unity was in the universe, but the universe was chaos, the closest hope was unity in the race of forefathers. But everyone would die and find themselves in various levels of Hell. Hell was the home of all the dead and even a half-god like Gilgamesh could obtain heavenly immortality.
B.According to Eastern pagans the universe is completely unified. There are billions of spirits or gods but there is nothing like a monotheistic God. human life is not different from animal life because all things are reincarnated. There is no hope of escaping the horrors of the earth with the occasional except of a nearly perfect life entering nirvana. Morality is dealt out with various scales of reincrnation going up or down a creaturely scale according to our behavior in past lives. But Nirvana is not heaven! Nirvana is oblivion! Nothingness. Basically the atheist version of death.Man is basically nothing and morality is tied to recognizing your insignificance. But if life is insignificant why would you suppose that Humanity deserves any form of special treatment. If not then there are no inherent rights.
C. According to Evolutionists man is a mammal a descendant of the apes and ultimately a life-form which came from the earth. If there is a god, it is completely removed from creation. Everything observable is material. There is no spiritual realm. As such there is no spirit. Death has no resolution. Morality is relative. Many operate from a will to truth which is religious and on one hand considered a crutch for the weak. The more evolved find there morality from a will to truth. By which only power ultimately matters.
D According to most Jewish anthropology Man is one nature. He was created. His spirit is only active in terms of his flesh. There is no heavenly dwelling, there will be a dwelling in a future physical new earth with resurrection for saints and instant annihilation for sinners. His nature is corrupted morally. It is the divine law which must lead him to righteousness. (It is important to note that some Jews do believe in an ethereal heaven and some christians hold to this view also called annihilation-ism & soul sleep.)
Forced utopian universalism
Typically people feel that the judgement of God is negative and makes God a bully of a God. So what would an all loving God do?
Well God could save all lost souls simultaneously, everyone can make it to heaven!
Thus God would God would bring us all to paradise. Of course to do this God would have to destroy the will of man. In order that we stop sinning, we will all become perfect clones.
Some would not be satisfied in this form of heaven since without a will, how can they genuinely experience paradise?
So then our next option is to have a heaven where we have free will. However, that wold leave evil people in heaven. Perhaps Satan and his demons would have a right to enter as well. But if they are in Heaven and have free will would they not continue in heaven? Would not that force evil into heaven? murderers rapist thieves and demons all allowed to attack you in paradise.... Why would that be paradise?
One problem with pluralistic works is that not all agree as to what is good works?
People like "As long as you do not harm others around you?" as there base.
But while this is the most popular moral we can not be certain of it.
Even good governments kill people all the time in war or by death penalty or law enforcement etc. But these are usually not bad.
We could try to go with anarchy, where there is no government, But then that gives the privilege to kill to anybody who wants it.
What is harming others? Is abortion harming others? We have people every week protesting abortions as murder and being confronted by people claim to protect the freedom of a womans right to choose.
Are Buddhist good people when they condone brutal suicides protesting in flames?
Are pacifists good when they allow they refuse to fight brutal dictators?
Are warmongers Good when they take away the rights to life of people they think deserves it?
Are jihadis good when they allow people to kill themselves in the task of killing their enemies?
Should we condone the abuse of women if it comes from another culture?
Are we being sexist when we treat men more harshly than women on issues of violence?
If we don't know for a fact what is good, then how do we know how to please God enough to earn our way to heaven?
The problem with the mosaic law system is that it is not actually designed for the salvation of the soul. Which is why so many adherence doubt as to the souls existence. This leads to annihilationism, a doctrine where only the resurrection is real and there is no domain outside physical life.This is an attempt by theologians to soften the blow of eternal damnation. In this worldview there is no immaterial self and thus no ethereal Heaven or fiery Hell. Thus humanity is not offended by the wrath of God.
This is an innovation whereby ordinances and dictates of the New Testament are interpreted as a New Law System replacing the Old. Thus baptism and perhaps other ordinances become a means of salvation by works and or sacraments. The catholic traditions will also have a realm known as Purgatory to incarcerate followers prior to sainthood. However purgatory may last millions of years! However this is simply a theological calculation with next to 0 scriptural support and a minimal amount of aprocryphal texts in support.
Jesus rejected universalism.
Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
Jesus could have had a universal salvation without use of the cross. And use of the cross was made pointless as he was offered the same universalism without it. Because the issue at stake was the sovereignty of Christ. If he were not sovereign this would be a true temptation but since he sovereign then he already decided to have a world with the fall.
Exclusive salvationJohn 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
Our spirits are still born. We must be born again. If we do not believe in Jesus then we do not love Him, so we love the darkness and will go there to Hell. But if we believe the Lord we will be saved.
Is God not evil for making Evil? (theodicy)
God being transcendent does not perform evil
The charges of God being responsible for evil, place God in a position He is not in. God is Sovereign So all creation is His property. So Life and death is His right to judge over. Responsibility means that we must answer for deeds. But God does not answer to anyone. Yet God does not step into creation to perform evil acts. He is allowing other forces to perform such deeds.
God created the world without evil.
Creation was very Good when God had made it. In fact Satan was once a perfect angel named lucifer. Also Adam and Eve were created without a sinful nature.The earth was a paradise without much of the pollution and natural disasters that we see today and man lived with out the curses and diseases that plague us today. So God started the world on a path of paradise on Earth. Had Adam and Eve and Satan not acted in such opposition to God's moral will it would have remained
Evil is a shadow and lack as oppose to a concrete substance.
Ancient belief in the past-Manichean-ism taught that good and evil were two equivalent and substantial forces. While these concepts can be classified as forces that are not identical or parallel forces. Goodness is often symbolized as Light, while evil is symbolized by evil. Light is positive and always casts out evil. Evil is negative and always flees from the light.
Good is a positive and to do good is a productive work. Evil is a negative and to do evil is to destroy or negate good work. If you steal money you take away the value of labor. If you commit adultery you take away the fidelity of marriage, if you murder then you destroy the value of life. When compared externally on paper we understand that good is superior to evil. We side with the victim of evil over the perpetraitor. We reward the hard worker over the lazy bum.
God created a World without evil. But evil was an effect of rejecting and negating the goodness of God.
God allows evil to allow freedom.
So the reason that evil and death have become part of reality are the actions of Lucifer, Adam and Eve along with creation as opposed to God. But why is God allowing evil to happen? The obvious answer is human freedom.
God intends for man to have a free will or responsibility. But we have to be careful in how we define free will. The choice that was brought to Eve and then Adam was that they could follow God's Word as their final authority or they could listen to the serpent and determine their own authority.
The intention of the secular world is to determine the truth in the sense that man gives value to what truth is. The religious world however intends to find the truth assuming that truth has authority over man and not vice-versa.
God has knowledge of things which not only do happen, but possibilities of things which could have happened (counterfactuals).
God knows what would have or would not have led people to freely accept Christ as well forced people to become Christians. God's Patience imply's that He has given reality to a world that saves the most graciously while Glorifying His name above all other counterfactual worlds. That our freedom in other worlds would have been more catastrophic against the Great Commission. So God has chosen a world that is the best possible world in light of the evils of freedom.
God immanently punishes evil
The Work of God is not a singularity causing a mechanical fatalitic world.
God teaches good
God is Holy and has consistently pointed man to good and against evil.
God works in 3 persons
Having three persons: Father, Son, Holy Ghost God operates on 3 levels. Many times even trinitarians think of God in a unitarian sense and this creates limitations and eventually weaknesses that God does not have.
God the Father mostly operates outside of space and time dealing with the greatest issues of reality. God the Holy Spirit is always observed immanently inside space and timeworking out God's Will inside of our world The Son Jesus Christ can operate in both realms. However his identity as the logos/Word implies that operates in the realm of the mind or mental realm. God can work directly in our world and yet control the world by transcending it as well.
Other Salvation Questions (soteriology)Why are all men and women sinners?
First we must understand that mankind is setup in three parts or dimensions called a tricotomy. These parts are Spirit Soul and flesh.(1 thess. 523, heb. 4:12) God created Adam's body first, then breathed the spirit into Him and his soul was the bi-product of the two.
Genesis 2:7 And the God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
1 Corinthians 15:
It comes through the line of the fathers.
It is in us before birth
What faith is saving?
Is faith rational?"Faith is a sure confidence of things which are hoped for, and a certainty of things which are not seen." Hebrews 11:1 Tyndale Bible
The nature of faith has been redfined by the mysticism community.
"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
A.Is faith true or imaginary?
Faith is not based upon us, 2Corinthians 5:7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
Faith is not imaginary.
colossians2:18 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"
True New Testament Christianity is a faith that is rational true and real.
B. Is faith propositional or emotional?
Those given the power to become sns of God believe in his name. This is not based upon their wills bu the power of God. So Faith is not a product of the will of man.
The gospel is that very power of God that power is conducted through faith as opposed to being produced by faith.
C. Is Faith personal or traditional?
As shown earlier (romans 10:9, ephesians 3:17) Faith is in the heart. The very core of our being. While faith is rational and not an emotion. Faith is intensely personal and naturally creates emotions. But the emotions are not essential to the salvation, so you can be saved even if you are not an emotional person. But Faith is not simply a tradition either. many people can memorize the gospel and repeat it verbatim. Faith is not only a fact. Faith is trust. And it is trusting your personhood for life and indeed the eternity. Faith is serious.
Free will vs predestination)
Calvinist extremes:hyper calvinism
Many people have been troubled over the philosophical questions of predestination and free will as they relate to salvation. Now I believe that Christians are free to interpret the bible to their convictions on these issues and am not trying to delve too deep in that direction.
Reformed theology has performed a great disservice to evangelicalism. As they have not separated the calvinistic sheep from the hypercalvinistic goats. There are definitly distinctions to be made between famous Calvinist ministers and extreme calvinist false teachers. We can see this in the contentions between William Carrey and calvinists of the time trying to stop his missionary journeys. As well we see this in the exchange between Charles spurgeon and the hyercalvinists.
But what is a hypercalivinist? It's just a prejorative and no calvinist would personally accept this lable whether they fit the bill or not. So Christianity becomes polarized into judgeing calvinism as either the highest orthodoxy or the vilest of heresies.
R.C. Sproul made the distinction between infra and supra lapsarianism, placing the blame on supra lapsarianism. But this is a bit unfair as their are supra lapsarians who are not as antagonistic in their approach to church life and the great commission. Norman Geisler would make the division between moderate and extreme calavinists. This was a different rubric focusing levels of emphases and further complicated things as he identified himself by redefining the TULIP.
I will identify hypercalvinism as a combination of both a supralapsarian doctrine mixed with radical emphasis being antagonistic to missions and evangelism. We could also add an unbiblical overemphasis on philosophical determinism.
Some false doctrines that come from hypercalvinism
A. God forces many if not most people into unbelief in the gospel and forces them to punishment in Hell.
Matthew 25: 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
Hell is made for the devil and fallen angels, while heaven was prepared for saints from the beginning.(.34)
james 1: 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"
Ezekiel 18:2 What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? 3 As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. 4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Clearly God does not tempt people to sin
B. That election is salvation and as a result our assurance of salvation is based upon good works not the work of christ.
Isaiah 42:42 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth;
I have put my spirit upon him:he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles."
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Jesus being the Messiah is the chosen or elect Servant. If Jesus was elect, then did not God choose to save him from his sins? The traditional understanding of elect refers to God's choice of mercy and salvation. But the Jews understood election to refer to God's use of a person or thing in terms of the work of the Kingdom. So when it says
2 Peter 1: 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
Then it is talking about fulfilling our calling in our work for the kingdom as opposed to figuring out if God love us and has saved us.
C. That dead infants may be predestined to hell, perhaps the unbaptized infants.
Hypercalvinist have often espoused views of salvation being so fixed that one is born saved. This view has been called "eternal justification". The elect are saved based on election and they were born elect and therefore always saved. Primitive Baptist who are hypercalvinistic use the term "Two seeds of the spirit". If you are elect then you are a good seed and if you are reprobate then you are a bad seed. How do you know that you are elect? By your works. Many Dutch Calvinists overcome this delimma through their view of infant baptism. That by the parents faith the chud us nearly guaranteed to one day be born-again and convert later in life.
D. Soul winning is a shallow/if not demonic practice.
In the early 1800's there was an "anti-missions movement". They railed against missionaries and missionary societies. Often making attempts to defame them as taking too much money for missions etc. Today the scapegoat is modern evangelism, any type of mass evangelism is demonized and defamed as well.
Now the key here is exaggeration. By finding abuses in evangelistic circles we can magnify both the prominence and significance of the extremes. Over time every evangelist appears to be heretical, self indulgent, money grubbing, manipuative etc etc. Recently there has been a movement among hypercalvinists to claim that asking Jesus in your heart was not only unbiblical but in fact recieving possession of a false demonic antichrist spirit!
Often arminian/Semi-pelagians and Pelagians have reacted in extremes against the doctrine of predestination. Both argue for free-will of humanity. Pelagians deny the doctrine of original sin. Semi-pelagians Accept some form of original sin, and some are o with works based salvation. Arminians believe in original sin and deny works based salvation but believe in free-will as opposed to works based salvation through prevenial grace.
Pelagianism perfectionism) This idea rest in confidence that either naturally or due to a second work of grace, man can overcome all sin, to become perfect. Now perfection is inevitable but not in this lifetime. Perfection comes when we are glorified in heaven. However, it is not for this life.
Philippians 3: 11 if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,"
Also if man does not have a sinful nature then why does he not fulfill the law? Plus, if we could fulfill the law, what would be the point of Christ sacrifice on the cross?
Open theism) This is the idea most famously proposed by Clark Pinnock That God's foreknowledge is not absolute, because time is transcendent. There is no such thing beyond time so that the future can never be fixed. Thus while God can guess the future, He can not make the future because the future is not a real thing until it is present.
Placing God in terms of limitations does not only contradict orthodox religion but it is at odds with the monotheistic worldview.
Another major issue is if God were not omniscient then his word would not be inerrant nor infallible.
Manipulative evangelism) Many people were influenced by the preaching of Charles Finney. Finney was semi-pelagian and at times pelagian in his preaching and theology. He was a presbyterian whom was active at a period dominated by hyper-calvinism. So his extremes were ctually dealing with the opposite extreme embedded in the church culture. being a presbyterrian Finney had rejected the idea of believers baptism as the primary method of conversion. So he developed the now famous altar call technique. Finney was a lawyer prior to conversion and the case for christ resurrection so impresed him that he converted.
Finney had two advantages in his ministry. First the hyperdispensational environment had led to a churched educated culture that simply needed a message of conversion. Second unlike today's decision based revivlism, there was a great deal of time spent on the mourners bench and continued counseling for converts. Finney's success at soul winning gave him some arrogant boastings, which are understandable given the massive success of the day. But many extremist in modernist reveivalism have magnified these errors.
1. While decisions can happen fairly quickly, dicipleship is essential and that takes time.
2. Coercive techniques can not create a genuine change in the spirit.
Why did God make people who would reject him?
Matthew 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: 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also."..... 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 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; 39 the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. "
But if God knows all things, why would He allow the devil?
1 John 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. But if God knows all things why did he let the people who forever reject salvation exist?
Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory
Now though the devil was created good. God knew He would be evil. The purpose for the evil angel is manifest as the nemesis for which the Son of God Jesus Christ will conquer.
Is salvation free?
It is not free in the sense that there was a price to be paid. This price or ransom was paid by Christ Jesus. But for the believer it is absolutely free.
Romans 3:24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
It is very clear that we are justified before GodHebrews 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 6 but he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
Zechariah 3:3 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments"
But what about bizarre laws in the OT?
Why is Hell Forever?
Many have argued that the punishment does not fit the crime. If we sin for only a short period of time, then why are we punished forever?
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
2 Peter 2:
So first we see that Hell was intended and designed to punish angels. Of course angels are eternal spirit beings and they require an eternal place of holding. We also see how mankind prodces a greater evil than the angels in the sense that they rail or bring accusations against God. The angels would be to afraid to attempt such behavior. The human condition is regularly in sin and while they will bow down one day to the Lord Jesus Christ there is no reason to believe that the damned are any less sinful in their hearts in the afterlife.
What about people before the gospel?
Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:" Luke 16:
The Law given to us is about this life.
Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; " The OT is not concerned much at all about the afterlife. We see in Luke 16 from the parable of the rich man and lazurus a picture of OT eschatology.
The OT Saints were contained in the bosom of Abraham. Which implies that the Abrahamic Faith was justification.
What about foreigners without the gospel?
Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
Acts 17:26 and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:"
Romans 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world."
By the end of the 1st century we know the gospel went as far as India, Russia and Africa and Britain. From their we find Christians traveling all over the world. The Nestorians brought the name of Christ to china in 600 AD Leif Erickson brought the name of Christ to North America by 1000AD. Of course the name of Christ was in every known country during the world wide missions movement of the 1800's We have translated the gospel into thousands of languages. Thousands of missionaries have died on the missions field. Around 2007 my cousin Katie died as a missionary in Haiti and my aunt, uncle, cousin and her husband and 4 children are currently missionaries in Zambia, also my brother has spread the gospel in over 4 countries, I myself have been out of the country to Ireland on mission. So I can tell you that Christians in history and this generation are working hard to spread the gospel across the world. While there are many affluent Christians the gospel has still gone to the ends of the earth even though it has been stopped and oppressed on every turn. In fact, if one is to blame God for the Gospel not being available enough they simply have to blame their ancestors for suppressing the truth over the centuries!
But what about the man on an Island somewhere who never Hears the gospel?
2 Peter 3:
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
1 peter 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
a. So the man on the island is part of the "not willing that any" clause.
b. The mission of Christ includes the man on the island
c. If he is chosen it is based upon the foreknowledge of God.
d. If God knows this man He is elected and be born again and saved through the hearing of the gospel. So let's say a bottle lands on that ocean giving him the gospel.
E. Also if He is a believer then he will be predestined all the way through to glorification.
But what of the man who is on the island but refuses to believe?
What about infants and people mentally unable to understand the gospel?
Jonah 4:11 and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"
God is merciful to the ignorant. He is not condemning those who are incapable of understanding the truth.
This is true of infants. The gospel is sent to grown men.
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.By the implications of scripture, infants will be spared.
1. Jesus has propitiated the unwillful sins of the world because he is a guilt offering
Isaiah 52:15-53:6, Isaiah 53:10
2. Babies don’t know right from wrong, which is where the curse came from.
Gen. 3:22, Deuteronomy 1:39, Isaiah 7:15
3. Infants have yet to sin willfully
4. They are considered alive prior to the knowledge of the Law
5. A. They are fear fully and wonderfully made.
B. Infants have been created in the image of God and blessed
Gen 5:1, James 3:9
C. Infants know God through natural revelation
D. Have not sinned and therefore not been blinded by sin.
E. Considered holy
1Corinthians 14:20, Psalms 8:2
6. The child’s faith is a qualification for all who are saved.
What about confess Christ? Rom. 10:9
Children and infants praise God naturally.
Psalms 8:1-2, Matthew 21:16
What about sinful nature?
Christians still have a sinful nature but they are redeemed.
Are we not cursed from birth? (Psalm 51:5)
Yes, however God desires everyone to come to a saving knowledge of grace
Specifically children Matthew 18:14
Earlier we established how Christ atonement Propitiates for the sins committed unwillfully which is the only sins that infants commit.
But my loved one is in hell!
There is no doubt at all how painful it is to know that a loved one did not make it to Heaven, but instead will be damned to hell. Sometimes we can find solace in a deathbed confession or a state of ignorance, but with some individuals, you know for a fact that were on there way to condemnation with no desire to reach out for salvation.
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
The major point I want to remind you in this passage is it was not the will of the rich man that his relatives join him in Hades. Hell is not a club people want to join nor is it a place of peace or fellowship.
At the end of the day, you have a weapon to destroy any plea to have faith in Christ. That is your disbelief. It is like a gun that will vaporize the enemy. Unfortunately you have to realize that this weapon. This gun will vaporize you. Because you are the enemy!!
Our greatest nemesis is looking us in the mirror our death is within. The love and Warnings of God in Christ may be a strain upon you But only because you are the enemy and most importantly you are the enemy of yourself.