Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity – part 4

Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianitypart 4

This is our fourth and final installment in this series: Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity.  In order to understand this episode in this series, you will need to have read and digested the first three.  Here the links to the previous 3 parts to this series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

During the first three installments of this series, there is a group of highly devoted religious folks that have been cheering me on in exposing the pagan-rooted, Roman Catholic traditions and practices so many, so-called Protestant Evangelical Bible-Believing churches have embraced and upheld for the last 80 years or so (but prior to that, they were ardent protesters of such things).  There is a group that has been saying – “Way to Go, Andy, you tell them … !” … but, like the commercial on TV says: but, wait, there is more.

God doesn’t want us to forget that He worked, in Christ (in the Messiah), via the Holy Spirit, through the Apostles to expose another fallacyThe Judaizers.  During the time of Paul, the apostle, there was a group of Jewish believers in Yeshua, of the background of the Pharisees, that followed Paul’s church planting routes, and attempting to corrupt those new, mostly Gentile, churches that were recently planted by Paul and/or Paul’s team, etc.  Those Judaizers attempted to intimidate, with highly persuasive speech, those Gentiles to convert to Judaism in all facets of their lives – either in order to be saved – or – after they were saved by Jesus (born again).  They wanted those Gentiles to “follow the Law of Moses” along with “following Jesus” (or Yeshua).  They would say that these Gentiles “must OBEY the LAW of Moses” in order to be saved – and/or – “they must OBEY all of the Law of Moses” in order to follow Jesus Christ (Yeshua h’Mashiach), etc. And, in some cases, as with many of the Gentile churches of the region of Galatia – they were successful, in some degree. And that is why Paul wrote the Book of Galatians, to combat that false teaching that corrupted the Gospel (read the book of Galatians).

Thankfully, we have the record of this in Acts 15:1-35.  The Council of Elders, Apostles and church leaders met in Jerusalem to examine these claims – that Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus Christ – “must be circumcised and OBEY all the LAW of Moses” in order to be saved or to maintain their salvational relationship with God in Christ Jesus, etc.  Please, read Acts 15:1-35 in its entirety, and notice the verbiage of the Letter that was sent to the Gentile churches in Acts 15:23-39 – you’ll see there is nothing laid upon the new Gentile believers that would seem, in any way, force Gentiles to observe anything within the Law of Moses, at all.  You must understand, that those Gentile churches in Galatia (region – see the book of Galatians) and in region around Antioch, only had that Letter to read – the text of the letter is in Acts 15:23-39. You would be hard-pressed to find anything in the text of that Letter that would even give a hint that Gentiles, in Christ, needed to follow any of the Law of Moses – observe the Sabbath, Tithe, Circumcision, etc.  They were free to follow Jesus Christ, within the context of the New Covenant, while being sensitive to the Jews still living around them (the restrictions regarding “things strangled, eating things with blood”, etc.). While it is clear, beyond any shadow of any doubt, the new Gentile believers in Jesus Christ were to avoid, reject, and renounce all idolatry and paganism, they were also NOT being forced to become Jews (e.g.: observe the Sabbath, pay tithes, give offerings or sacrifices in the Temple, and if you are male – get circumcised, etc. – or to observe any of the other 613 Laws of Moses to Israel, by God in that specific Covenant), etc.  That Letter put the nail in the coffin of the Judaizers’ False Doctrine that corrupted the Gospel of Christ (again, please, read the book of Galatians).

In today’s world – The Judaizers are ALIVE and WELL – repackaged in the various Hebrew Roots Movements and/or Messianic Judaism Movements, and the like, that you can find on the internet, today.  Again, as I’ve said from the pulpit many times, we, as Biblical Christians must and should know our Hebrew Rootsthere would be no Biblical Christianity without the Old TestamentBut to go head-long into any of these Movements and then become a legalist – is no different than the heresy and false doctrines that the apostle Paul (Rabbi Shaul) faced in his day with the Judaizers (again, read the book of Galatians).  It is the same set of false doctrines repackaged for “today’s world” with no difference in essential essence, etc.

Today, the scenario plays out like this – a born again Christian, finds out that many of the non-Biblical, post-Biblical, so-called Christian traditions, celebrations, practices, rituals, and yearly “holidays”, etc. are Roman Catholic. And, then, he or she finds out that all those traditions, celebrations, practices, rituals, and yearly “holidays” all have pagan roots. They were all fully idolatrous and pagan in their origin and the Roman Catholic church “Christianized” those pagan things, etc.  Then, that born again Christian stops participating in those things – or at least attempts to.  In the process he or she finds out  or “stumbles upon” some new Hebrew Roots ministry and, “coincidentally” that ministry is also exposing those pagan things of Roman Catholicism.  With very slick, highly persuasive speech he or she is convinced to follow this Hebrew Roots Messianic Judaism as a Replacement of those things he or she used to participate in.  Then, as time goes by, he or she is convinced that other born again Christians MUST or SHOULD follow all the Law of Moses, as he or she is doing, now … thus, he or she has become a Judaizer, a Hebrew Roots Movement Legalist – just exactly as those that Paul faced during his day.  Thus, the full Pendulum Swing of Extremes occurs and seems to be the normal tendency and pattern of folks realizing the pagan-roots of the many Roman Catholic traditions, etc. They go from one extreme to the other – from Roman Catholicism or Roman Catholic-Lite – to Hebrew Roots Legalism / Messianic Judaism Legalism.  And they think they are correct in their new-found religious logic.  This was also similar to what happened within the few churches in the region of Galatia during Paul’s time (read the book of Galatians).  Those churches in Galatia – for a different reason and motivation came to the same conclusion after listening to some slick, highly persuasive speech about their need to OBEY the Law of Moses in order to become good Christians or good Followers of Yeshua, etc.

Thus, God wants us to understand His Word, which is based upon what Covenant of God is in force, and the 3 P’s.  Each Covenant is a Framework of how we are to follow God and how God will both respond and bless or curse, etc. as the case may be.  The Covenant of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacobpreceded the Mosaic Covenant of God to the nation of Israel. It is very important to understand that The Abrahamic Covenant (i.e.: The Covenant of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) is eternal and unconditional. It was partially individualistic and partially generational. It was partially related to Land and partially related to Blessing all Nations through Israel.  The Blessing part – is what we are a part ofin Christ, in the Gospel of Christ.  We see this revealed well in Romans 2 thru 4 and in Galatians 1 thru 5.  That part of the Abrahamic Covenant – has an Extension attached to it -> The New Covenant in the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the World – Jesus Christ (Yeshua h’Mashiach).  In the New Covenant – we find in the book of Hebrews chapters 5 thru 10 and in Jeremiah 31:31-33 – it is NOT LIKE the Mosaic Covenant – it is a New Covenant – which will include Israelis and Gentiles, alike, in a New Body (see Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:11-22; Romans 11:1-36).  And this is where the Hebrew Roots Movement Legalists get things wrong – we, Gentiles are NOT Grafted in along side or within Israel – be we are GRAFTED IN at the point of Isaac. We are grafted in as sons or children of Abraham – not great, great, great grandchildren.  Galatians 3 is very precise in its choice of words used.  We are grafted in BEFORE the Mosaic Covenant – at the point of living in the Tents with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – in a Personal Relationship with God – in Covenant Relationship.  We must understand, now, that we are in the New Covenant in Christ.   Over and over again, we find that this New Covenant in Christ is NOT LIKE the Mosaic Covenant – at all.  It is Brand New – in the Messiah of Israel.  It is NOT a Modified Mosaic Covenant in which we must do certain rituals, fulfill certain obligations, pay tithes and offerings, keep the sabbath, be circumcised, go to the Temple, etc.  That was the way it was under the Law of Moses. But we are NO LONGER under the Law of Moses (again, read the book of Galatians).  Galatians 5:18 is very clear regarding this: “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are NOT under the Law.” Thus, if you are NOT led by the Spirit – you ARE under the Law. Which is it going to be?

Folks balk at this and say that we MUST KEEP the SABBATH – didn’t Jesus Keep the Sabbath?
Well, of course He did. He was a Jew, living during the time of the Old Covenant of the Law of Moses in the Land of Israel. He said that He came to fulfill the LawBUT did Jesus ever say that all His new Disciples in the New Covenant were supposed to fulfill the Law of Moses? Of course not. He said things that relate to the Law of Moses during the time it was in force in the land of Israel, before the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) – such as when He healed folks and told them to go to the Temple and tell the priests certain things and to offer certain sacrifices.  Remember, the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Levitical Priests were disbanded, as well.  Thus, there really is NO Way to fulfill the Law of Moses, since, there is NO Temple/Tabernacle  –  AND – there are NO Levitical Priests – thus all of Leviticus 23 / Numbers 28 & 29 cannot be fulfilled.  That is according to God’s Word, and should not be ignored Jesus is our sacrifice, New High Priest, and we, the Body of Christ are the New Growing, Living Temple (ref. Hebrews chapters 3 thru 10; Ephesians 2:11-22). For more on this – please, go to: The Mosaic Covenant, the Israeli “Sabbath Laws”, and the New Covenant in Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus Christ)

What should we have learned?

  1. We should have learned that God wants us to stick to His Word, alone, as we follow Christ, together, as the Body of Christ, and as local church families. SOLA SCRIPTURA – or Scripture ONLY – was the Loud Cry of the Protestant Reformation.
  2. Along with Embracing God’s Holy Word, alone – it also means that we must REJECT that which is false and Pretends to be “Christian”. We’ve seen that the Roman Catholic Church “Christianized” many idolatrous / pagan practices, beliefs, traditions, and celebrations and they are still embraced, supported, and propagated, today, as if they are really “Christian”.  But the tragedy is, that many of those “churches” that have their origins in the Protestant Reformation are now more than ever, embracing more and more of these Roman Catholic, post-biblical inventions as if they are, indeed, truly, Christian.  Thus, we must Continue to Protest and Reject such pagan-rooted and man-made religious things that pretend to be Christian, but are plainly not.
  3. We are NOT obligated, forced to, nor do we have to follow various rituals, celebrations, feast days, etc. of the Law of Moses in order to follow Jesus or to be saved by Jesus. The Judaizer Heresy of Paul’s day has been repackaged, today, as the Hebrew Roots Movement, the Messianic Judaism Movement, and other names like that. They are still pushing: that unless you are circumcised, keep the sabbath, and follow all the Law of Moses you cannot be saved or you cannot truly be living the Life our Messiah Yeshua wants you to. Anything short of that is sin, to them. We cannot avoid Acts 15, the book of Galatians and the book of Hebrews regarding what those related passage teach about this modern-day Judaizer Heresy. They all warn us about this heresy and tell us this – that we are No Longer under the Law of Moses (or under the Covenant of the Mosaic Law of Israel).  Hebrews 8:13 says, “In that He says, “A New Covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” -> You can’t get any clearer than that, no can you?

In Conclusion:
We must follow God’s Word, following God in a Simply Biblical way
– but it is NOT simpleton. We are to Simply Follow Jesus according to the Word of God, alone – and we cannot avoid some passages, such as those in in Acts 15, Galatians, and Hebrews to justify our modern-day Judaizer heresies we may hold. Neither should we embrace Roman Catholicism nor any pagan, worldly beliefs, traditions, celebrations and/or practices.  Just because some Christian, or so-called Christian Pope “ordained” something, or Christianized some Pagan thing – doesn’t make it a “Christian thing”.   We must, follow Jesus Christ, in the New Covenant, according to the Bible, alone – and not according to some Pope or the Law of MosesWe must be in the Simply Biblical, Sound Doctrinal Middle Ground of Biblical Christianity.

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Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity – part 3

Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianitypart 3

This is our third installment in this series, Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity.  If you, somehow, happened upon this installment and you have not read the first two installments, please, read those first.  Click Here, to go to the beginning of this series.

In this third installment we will look at the First of the two major reactions or responses to what was presented in the first two installments. These reactions do follow a predictive model of how folks would naturally react or respond.  One reaction is to JUSTIFY their post-biblical, non-biblical, so-called “Christian” religious traditions. which are really Roman Catholic, pagan-rooted, syncretistic blending, etc. The other reaction is to Join one of the many factions of Hebrew Roots Legalism Movements. These are the two major reactions and/or responses. So, let’s explore the first one – Justification – a little bit and see how it measure up to what Jesus Christ and His Holy Apostles have to say about them.

Justification:
It has been amazing the kinds of reactions I’ve experienced while preaching, teaching and writing on this subject. Folks who are very logical, very concise in their apologetic wisdom regarding defending the Christian faith, seem to throw out all semblance of sanity in their radical defense and justification of these “traditions” that stem directly from the Roman Catholic church’s attempt to compromise with and to seek to “Christianize” and/or “redeem” fully pagan and worldly traditions, annual celebrations, beliefs, practices, and rituals.  One very popular Christian Apologetics Ministry that is almost always very logical, Biblical, consistent and very articulate in the defense of Biblical Christianity, Biblical Creation (6 – 24 days, Young Earth, Young Universe) – they explained to me that I was wrong.  And they said that a certain Roman Catholic tradition that I was exposing as pagan (its historically verified pagan roots), they said that it was fully Christian and Biblical.  So, I challenged them, and asked if they could find, in the New Testament, Jesus and/or any of Christ’s Apostles celebrating this “tradition”, etc.  Their retort, was the following (summarized), “We have electric lighting. We use modern music and electronic presentation, like PowerPoint, computers, electronic musical instruments, and air conditioning. Paul and the apostles didn’t have those things. So, in the same way, they didn’t have these newer, post-biblical Christian traditions.” I think you can see through that horrible “logic” if that is what anyone could call it.  For a person from a very popular Christian Apologetics Ministry – of which I love and support – for them to use that kind of so-called “logic” to distract from the truth, is just unbelievable. If they would use their normal consistent approach to find the truth about anything else, they do that very well and should come to the same conclusion as I did, if they’d apply it in this situation. But, when confronted with this, it turns out that they love their Roman Catholic, pagan-rooted, post-biblical, non-biblical traditions more than the Word of God or God Himself (ref. 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4).

In another instance, I watched a video from a very popular, Southern Baptist Seminary, seeking to defend a very popular, common, Roman Catholic winter festival (a Mass – the word ends with “mas” – hint, hint).  The Biblical Scholar starts the video admitting that these traditions and celebrations are Roman Catholic, that they are pagan-rooted . . . BUT . . . he switched gears and said it is OK, now, to celebrate them, since, we, now are not bowing down to those old idols, and worshiping false gods in our newer traditions, etc.  I say – wow – ridiculous. He would never use that same Biblical Hermaneautic (i.e.: approach and framework of interpreting the Bible) with any other kind of subject.  It seems that folks will do anything to promote, defend, and support these pagan-rooted, post-biblical, non-biblical traditions – even within the Southern Baptist churches.

To add to this, when I was looking through LIFEWAY Books online (the Southern Baptist Bookstore, online) they had a whole section regarding “Discovering our Liturgical Past”my brain exploded. This was about 2 years ago.  They must’ve received a ton of complaints, because, I cannot find that section or those books in any Topic Section like that anymore.  Then I noticed, more and more, books on LENT, and other Roman Catholic Traditions creeping into the lists of new books.  Again, these are the very things the Protestant Reformation PROTESTED against the Roman Catholic church about.  The Reformers cried out – SOLA SCRIPTURA! – Scripture ONLY.  The Reformers wanted the church to go back to the Bible – and the Bible, only – as the basis for everything the church believes, supports, promotes, defends, and does (mission, etc.).  I thought, the last place on the planet that I would find Roman Catholic Traditions infiltration would be the Southern Baptists – but it is happening, little by little – like the, proverbial, Frog in the Kettle.

 

 

God has something to say about this – in Deuteronomy 12:29-31 – God specifically warns Israel to NOT go and find out how the pagans worshiped their false gods – and then come back and worship Him in that way.
An example of this is seen in 2 Chronicles 33King Manasseh repented of his sins and started to put in reforms to get rid of all the idolatry in the Kingdom of the House of Judah (the southern kingdom).  Then we read in verse 17:

Nevertheless the people sacrificed still in the high places, but only to Yahweh their God.
2 Chronicles 33:17

If you are a student of the Bible, you would have read, many times, God’s Hatred of His People sacrificing on the High Places – since, they were used exclusively, in the past, by pagan idolaters.  God’s people used to follow other gods, the hosts of the heavens and sacrifice to other gods on those High Places or worship.  Thus, if you read Exodus through Deuteronomy, God warns His people to NOT worship Him or other gods on those High Places. That practice and form of worship traces its roots, exclusively to the worship of false gods and goddesses, which includes human and child sacrifice, etc.  It was considered an abomination, in the highest degree to Yahweh God of Israel.  So, in 2 Chronicles 33:17, this practice is highlighted, in the sense, that, at that time, even though some folks were still using the High Places, they were only being used to Worship Yahweh God of Israel from that point forward.  That is the equivalent of saying, “We’ve redeemed that pagan practice and have incorporated it into our regime of ways to worship God.”  Doesn’t that “logic” sound familiar?  Again, nowhere in Scripture are God’s People commanded to “redeem” anything pagan or idolatrous. Never, NADA. In all cases, God’s People were commanded to destroy, knock down, burn, flee from and avoid. Of course, in the New Covenant, we are just to avoid.  But, you get the drift, here. God wants us to stay as far away from idolatry as possible.

Someone might say, “well, that was just the Old Testament…”  Well, read 1 Corinthians chapters 8 & 10. Pay attention to 1 Corinthians 10:14Flee idolatry! Is that plain enough for you? You see, idolatry isn’t just the bowing down to an idol, praying to it (praying to that false god – demonic entity behind it, etc.) It is all the trappings of idolatry, the worship and obeying of the pagan gods and goddesses, etc.  It is all their traditions, annual celebrations, rituals, practices, beliefs, etc.  If a person doesn’t worship, bow down to, pray to, and follow that “god” symbolized by that statue (idol) or image (icon / picture) – but fully involves himself / herself in the traditions, annual celebrations, beliefs, and/or practices – that person IS INVOLVED in IDOLATRY – from God’s Biblical Perspective.  The Apostle John warns about this in the last verse of 1st John:

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
1 John 5:21

Why would the Apostle John warn born-again disciples of Jesus Christ about Idols?  Because, Idolatry is deceptive, subtle, sticky, and addictive. If many people are “doing it” it is easier for you to go along with the crowd. You might even feel left out if you don’t participate in it.  You don’t want to feel like an outcast, do you?  You, also, might even think that this is the way we follow Christ together as Christians – even though it is NOT even in the Bible. There are no examples of anyone in the Bible following Christ in that way, etc.  But, because of the power of social-relational peer pressure, even within “churches” – folks go along with it, regardless of any misgivings.  When folks are screaming loudly, that we have to PUT CHRIST BACK INTO [Fill in the Blank] – but you find out that Christ was never in it, Jesus never did it or celebrated it, the Holy Apostles of Christ never did it or celebrated it … but you keep on doing “it” because everyone else is doing it.  You say to yourself that it is “fun” or what will we do with the kids?they will miss out on “it”, etc.  Those are all horrible reasons, non-biblical, worldly reasons. They are definitely NOT God Pleasing Reasons, for sure, based upon the Bible, alone.

Jesus told the churches of Ephesus, Pergamum, Thytira, Sardis, and Laodicea to REPENT.  That is what the church needs to do, today.  The body of Christ has compromised with, placated, supported and defended the world and paganism and she continues to promote things that God in Christ through His apostles would reject immediately.  You can’t continue in something that Christ is not pleased with and expect God to bless you, as well.  Seek to please God first and live accordingly, in Christ, according to His Holy Word, alone.

In our next installment, we will address the other response to our first two installments: going fully, headlong into the Hebrews Roots Legalism Movement … to go to the 4th Installment, please, CLICK HERE.

 

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Biblical vs. Traditional Christianity – part 2

In this second part of this investigation, we will look at Traditional Christianity compared to Biblical Christianity. In our first part of this investigation we laid the foundations, briefly and generally, of what Biblical Christianity is.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the first part, here’s the link to it – CLICK HERE.

In the first part, we established that Biblical Christianity sticks, only, to the text of Holy Scripture, the Holy Bible, alone, as the basis and foundation of all that a Christian should believe and practice. Nothing from outside philosophies, traditions, beliefs, or customs, ancient or new, are to be injected into it. All 66 books, Genesis thru Revelation, all that relates to New Covenant follower-disciples of Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the world as LORD, KING, God, and Savior obeying, knowing, loving, trusting, surrendering to, and following Jesus Christ. That which is, only, based upon the Holy Bible, and that which, only, applies to us, as Christians, as follower-disciples of Jesus Christ (Yeshua h’Mashiach), according to the New Covenant is to be obeyed and followed, in Christ’s Name for His sake (ref.: 2 Cor. 1:20; Jude 1:3) . A Biblical Christian, only, follows the Bible, based upon the Apostles’ Teachings (ref. Acts 2:42). Those Teachings were written down and, today, they are found in New Testament books of Romans thru Jude. Those teachings are the basis from which to view the rest of Scripture through that New Covenant lens.  Thus, a local church family, that claims to be a part of Biblical Christianity, will only believe and do that which is found within the pages of the Bible, that which relates to BiblicalNew Testament, New Covenant Christianity.

So, what, then is Traditional Christianity?  Well, simply put, it is like a Novel turned Movie in Hollywood. You know what I mean: that Movie that is “based upon” the latest Novel written by some famous author.  If you’ve read the book and then go and see the movie, they don’t match. The screenwriter sure added a lot of “artistic license” to the flavor of the movie, and it is NOT exactly the way the book reads.  In the same way, that is Traditional Christianity in a nutshell. It kind of looks like Biblical Christianity, until you “READ the BOOK” and find out that Jesus, nor the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ did any of those things, believed any of those things, held to any of those traditions, celebrated any of those celebrations, etc.  Traditional Christianity looks, kind of like, Biblical Christianity, until you dig deeper.

This relates to AUTHORITY.  Yes, authority, that is what I said.  It is like this question, “Who gave you Authority to do ‘that’ / believe ‘that’ / spread ‘that’ in the Name of Christ?”  Thus, we should look to the Bible as our ultimate authority, and specifically, the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, as commissioned by Him to be the Foundation of the Church, Christ being the Cornerstone (ref. Acts 2:42; Ephesians 2:19-22). But, with Traditional Christianity, if certain “holy” leaders of a certain “powerful” church commands thus and so, or ordains thus and so, or Christianizes a pagan festival, belief, and/or practice … then it is OK – and is somehow folded into and added into the layers of post-Biblical, man-made, religious, so-called “Christian” traditions.

Traditional Christianity can be compared to an ONION.  If you’ve ever peeled an onion, layer by layer, you will understand what I mean by illustrating Traditional Christianity with an onion.  As it is with an onion, as you keep peeling, layer upon layer, when you get to the core, it is either not found or is very small.  Under the pressure of the layers upon multiple layers, added year upon year, century upon century, it gets harder to peel away the layers to find TRUE CHRISTIANITY at its Core at the center of the layers of Traditional Christianity. It becomes very difficult to determine where one layer begins and ends and another layer begins.  The layers are so intertwined, in essence, it is NOT really a “Christianity” that Jesus, nor His Apostles, would recognize if they were transported through time to our day and age. They would be hard pressed to find the Biblical Christianity that they planted on earth and in the hearts of men and women of faith in Christ.

The largest and longest purveyor of Traditional Christianity, yep, you guessed it, Roman Catholicism, the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). But, they are not the only ones.  Many, so-called “branches” of Christianity have multiple layers of traditions piled high, so that there own church members cannot see the difference between what the Bible actually teaches, plainly, and what their own “church traditions” teach, nor do they care.  You see, on the high average, most nice, church-going folk, love their own traditions much more than they love God and His Word (ref. 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4).

Based upon principle and concept, the man-made, religious, so-called “Christian Traditions” that I am focussed on here in this second installment are those that were added later, some many hundreds of years later, by supposedly “holy” leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church (Church of England, Episcopal Church, etc), the Lutheran Church(es), the Methodist Church(es), Baptists, and so on.  What I mean by later, I mean after the last living Apostle of Jesus Christ, died. That would be John, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, the son of Zebedee. He is the John who wrote: the Gospel according to John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and the book of Revelation.  According to Jude 1:3, we are to “…  Earnestly Contend for THE FAITH, which was ONCE, and FOR ALL Delivered unto the saints.” As in the first installment, it was emphasized that THE FAITH – is the entire body of beliefs and practices of the church, the body of Christ and that is was fully given and provided to the church, through the Apostles of Jesus Christ, ONCE, and FOR ALL TIME.  Thus, there will be NO more new revelation, no more new beliefs, no more new customs, no more new practices, no more new traditions, etc. after the last Apostle of Jesus Christ died.  If there are some NEW “whatever”under who’s authority did it originate? Again, the question comes up:  “Who gave you Authority to do ‘that’ / believe ‘that’ / spread ‘that’ in the Name of Christ?”

If we examine ALL of the many traditions, yearly celebrations, rituals, practices (things we do as Christians when we do things together), etc. do we find that their ROOTS are NOT found in the Bible, BUT from somewhere else or from something elseIf that is so, we are commanded by a few Scriptural Passages to Test, Examine, Expose, and Rebuke anything that “PRETENDS to be ‘Christian'” but really does NOT come from God, through Jesus Christ via the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ (i.e. New Testament, Biblical Christianity – see Romans thru Jude).
Here is a brief list of some of those passages:
1 John 4:1-6; Ephesians 5:11-12; 2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Timothy 4:1-3 . . .

To be more specific, we know from History, that the Roman Catholic church, around the 400’s A.D. and onward sought to increase their influence among the pagan / idolatrous people groups within the Roman Empire, the church sought to “Christianize” certain pagan/idolatrous practices, traditions, beliefs, rituals, etc. so that they could fold more people into the new Roman State Church. This is well documented in a letter of Pope Gregory I (the first) to the archbishop of Canterbury, around 600 A.D.  (CLICK HERE to Read The Letter, Online).  This compromise was well documented in that letter.  Pope Gregory mentions to the archbishop, that those things which were blatantly idolatrous, the pagans had to stop that. BUT, he mentioned that other pagan traditions were allowed to continue and were to be “Christianized” in the name of the Roman Church. This was NOT an isolated incident or just a one-time policy, BUT it became THE POLICY.  This letter is just one example of how many of the post-Biblical, man-made, religious, so-called “Christian” traditions came into the “church” via compromise.  As time went on, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, many other traditions, beliefs, practices, and yearly celebrations were added in the same way of compromise and this POLICY of “Christianization” of pagan-rooted traditions, beliefs, practices, and yearly celebrations continued for centuries, thereafter. Prophetically, Jesus saw and revealed to us this compromise in the three phases of the Roman Catholic church in Revelation 2:12-3:6typified in the churches of PergamumThyatira, and Sardis. They prophetically represent the three historical phases of the Roman Catholic church. Sardis is today’s Roman Catholic church.  The prophetic view of allowing paganism and idolatry into the church, as seen in the churches of Pergamum (i.e.: Balaam) and Thyatira (i.e.: Jezebel) was definitely seen during the years of the 400’s through the 1600’s. For more on this, please, get my book, The RISE of LAODICEA  (CLICK HERE)- you get it at Amazon, Barns&Noble, and other fine book stores.

 

 

Jesus had much to say on this subject of adding to God’s Holy Word. This “adding to” were, supposedly, well-intentioned “traditions” of many Jewish elders, over many many years, since the Maccabean revolt (around 165 B.C.) unto the time Jesus walked on planet earth. Over those many years, many Jewish traditions were added to help to guard the people from breaking the Law. After the Jewish people returned from Babylonian Captivity (ref. the books Ezra and Nehemiah) and for many years after that, Jewish leaders wanted to help the people of God to NOT break His Laws, anymore, which resulted in the Babylonian Captivity. They did NOT want that to happen to them, again. So, many Jewish leaders over the centuries continued to add new “laws”, that would, supposedly, help folks stay as far away from the edges of the boundaries of the Law of God, given through Moses (i.e.: the Old Testament Mosaic Law for Israel).  By the time Jesus came on the scene, multitudes of scrolls and books were compiled of the Jewish elders writings and relied upon. They were Additions to God’s Holy Law for Israel, as seen in Exodus through Deuteronomy. The additions of traditions, were considered to be “on par” with God’s Word. And that was the problem that Jesus sought to expose.
Let’s look at Matthew 15:1-9

Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:

This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from MeBut in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

Let’s look at the last verse: Matthew 15:9Jesus’ summary: “But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.”  That was the issue that Jesus was focused on, in this passage.  The People of God were being led to believe that those “traditions / teachings” of the Jewish elders (i.e. “the precepts of men”) were really from God – as if it really was “God’s Holy Word.” But, in reality, it was just the “opinions of men”, man-made traditions, masquerading as if they were from God, Himself.  That is deception, the highest version of deception. And that was what Jesus was seeking to help folks see, helping the Blind to see … and yes, they were blind.  In essence, to “obey” the “traditions” of the Jewish elders, the person seeking to obey those traditions would, in effect, disobey God’s clear commandments, written in the Word of God, from God’s mouth, through Moses to parchment or papyrus/paper, etc. Their human, man-man, religious traditions, were in effect – “making VOID, the Word of God” (ref. Matthew 15:6). This is the problem of making things up as you go, and then calling them “Christian.”  This is pretend, make-believe religion. And Jesus hates it., even, still today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  In fact, the command, principle, and/or concept of NOT Adding To, nor Taking Away from God’s Holy Word is an oft repeated command, principle, and/or concept seen throughout the Holy Bible. It seems that God wants us to just follow Him according to the Word of God, alone, doesn’t it?  Here are just a couple of those Biblical references:

Deuteronomy 12:32 – Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

Revelation 22:18-19 – I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

Thus, it seems very clear, and definite, that God does NOT want us to ADD to our Biblical Faith in Christ, NOR Take Away From it, anything.  Does this seem clear to you? If not, why not? If it does not, then, it might actually be, what I stated at the beginning of this second installment, that most folks LOVE their TRADITIONS much more than they love God in Christ Jesus or than they love His Holy Word, the Bible. Folks today, in churches all over the world are becoming “itching ear” Christians of the church of Laodicea, sadly (ref. 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; Revelation 3:14-22).  Actions speak louder than words, year after year, as to the exponential rise in compromise that is running rampant in churches.  Many churches today, that used to be called “Protestant” (stemming from the Protestant Reformation) are really, today, within a wide and varied spectrum of “Roman Catholic-Lite” (a LITE version of Roman Catholicism) and would call the Roman Catholic Church just another normal “denomination” within Christianity.  While still others are forging ahead to line up with the Biblical Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). Somehow, they thought a memo went out that said, “Hey Protestants, the Protest is over” … but that memo never actually came to anyone of us. Why, because the Bible says so (ref. Jude 1:3).

In our third installment, we will address the implications of what we addressed in the first two installments of this investigation.  Please, tune in next time for more of this investigation and the implications and impact of which we follow – do we follow Biblical Christianity or Traditional Christianity? CLICK HERE to go to the third installment in this series.

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Biblical vs. Traditional Christianity – part 1

Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity – part 1

In this first installment in this series, we will look at Biblical Christianity. In the second we will look at Traditional Christianity.

A Question to set the tone for this investigation: If the apostles Paul, Peter, and John were to, somehow, be transported (miraculously) through time – from their time to our time, today, would they find the True, Biblical, Christian Faith that they planted and sacrificed their lives to spread – OR – would they find some other “version” of it that they might not recognize?  If they were to visit all the churches in our area in which we live, yes, even your area, reader … would they find “The Faith” that they spread, wrote about, defended, upheld, and died for? Would the Gospel of Jesus Christ that they planted be found, today, thriving in our countries, states, counties, cities, villages, towns, and communities? As Jesus said, in Luke 18:8“… when the Son of Man comes [i.e. returns], will He really find the Faith on the earth?”  Will “The Faith” (the Biblical Beliefs, Practices, Mission, etc. of the Body of Christ, based upon the Bible, alone, being lived out, just like the early church as seen in the book of Acts) be found here on earth when Christ comes back? It is a rhetorical question … which would lead the reader to the answer of NO. There may not be much Faith in Christ when Christ returns, is the suggestion of that text of Luke 18:1-8, sadly.

Does this question even matter? Yes, this does matter. Just read Revelation 2 & 3. Notice how Jesus Christ evaluated those 7 churches5 did not get a good grade, a few not even a passing grade. Only 2 out of the 7 made it without any complaints from Jesus, but got commendations and glowing praise. Jesus, Himself, from the Gospels through the book of Revelation – from His own lips and through His chosen, holy, apostles, gave us the New Testament documents, as Holy Scripture. As Hebrews 2:1-4 states:

Therefore we must give the more earnest HEED to the things we have HEARD, lest we DRIFT away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape IF we NEGLECT so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the LORD, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him [i.e.: the apostles] ,God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

Thus, we should not take this question lightly -> Should we follow Christ, based upon the Word of God (i.e. the Bible), alone
Biblical Christianity
– OR –
Should we follow Christ according to the Bible, along with human, man-made religious traditions that came later, after the last apostle died –
Traditional Christianity?

When we read  Jude 1:3  we notice that we are to “Earnestly Contend for the Faith, once for all delivered unto the saints … ”

Does Jude 1:3 help us to answer the question: Are we are to follow Jesus Christ according to the Bible, alone, – OR – Are we to follow Jesus Christ according the Bible – plus – man-made, religious traditions?  Jude 1:3 helps us to focus on “the FAITH” … that body of Beliefs and Practices of which Christians hold to as their own. Is it still evolving? Is it still changing and adapting? Or is it a settled set of beliefs and practices? In Jude 1:3 – the phrase “once for all delivered unto the saints (holy ones) seems to answer this question well.  The implications are clear. Once, the last living apostle dies, that’s it. It is finished, delivered unto the church. Once, the apostle John died, around 110 A.D., that was it. His last book that he wrote was the book of Revelation. He had just finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and years prior, he finished the Gospel according to John. Once, that last living apostle died, there was not going to be any more new Christian Revelation from God to the church. Jesus commissioned the apostles, in John 14 thru 16 to be those who would write the New Testament, and under their direction, it was written. It is the Word of God.  Thus, the “body of beliefs and practices” was complete for the New Covenant in Christ, the church of Jesus Christ. It was delivered, once, and for all – once, and for all time, and once, and for all Christians.

Holy Scripture, the Holy Bible, is ENOUGH – as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be COMPLETE, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Based on these and other passages, the Bible is enough for the basis of our Faith in Christ, to live for Him, to obey Him, and to spread our Faith to the lost.

The very passage of Holy Scripture that most Christians use to explain the Gospel of Christ, is very telling indeed.
As we see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, notice the phrase “according to the Scriptures”:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you RECEIVED, in which also you stand, by which also you are SAVED, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also RECEIVED, that Christ died for our sins ACCORDING to the SCRIPTURES, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day ACCORDING to the SCRIPTURES, and that He appeared to Cephas (i.e.: Peter), then to the twelve.

If the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the message of salvation for the lost – is to, ONLY, be ACCORDING to the SCRIPTURES, shouldn’t everything else that relates to LIVING for Christ, after the lost are saved, be, ONLY, ACCORDING to the SCRIPTURES?  That which the church teaches, preaches, promotes, supports, defends, and spreads … shouldn’t it ALL be, ONLYACCORDING to the SCRIPTURES?

Biblical Christianity is APOSTOLIC:

The apostolicearly church, from the Day of Pentecost, onward (Acts 2 and following), was learning from, continually devoted to, following, and obeying  the Apostles’ Teaching: Acts 2:42

They were CONTINUALLY DEVOTING themselves to the APOSTLES’ TEACHING and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

The apostolic, early church, while the apostles were still alive, all the way into 110 A.D., only, lived according to the Holy Scriptures. The church was spreading all over the Roman Empire, all over the Middle East, and Eastward toward China and Eastern Asia, etc.  During that apostolic age, while the apostles were still living, the disciples of the apostles, such as Polycarp, Clement, Ignatius, and others, were known as the Apostolic Fathers. We have many of their writings. These are very highly valuable for clarification of Biblical texts, just as archaeological and historical considerations are. But, these are by, no means used as Primary texts. These are only used for clarifications and confirmations regarding unclear passages in the Bible. What these writings prove is that the Biblical text, is enough, and was the basis, the only basis, for Christianity, their Faith, that they were spreading. Their writing, the Apostolic Fathers’ writings, explain that they understood what the Apostles were teaching them, while those same Apostles were still living. These Apostolic Fathers’s writings help to confirm, that SOLA SCRIPTURA was what they lived by, even then.

APPROACH:

How should we live for Christ? Answer: Only, according to the Bible. How should we approach the reading, the studying and the application of Holy Scripture, so that we are obedient to Christ?

We need to follow Christ according to the Holy Word of God, that relates to us.  “Relates to us”? Yes, that which relates to us, who are in Christ, in the New Covenant. We are not to follow God, according to Moses, according to the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant of God of Israel.
We see this illustrated in 2 Corinthians 1:20:

For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ, they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

Thus, not everything in Holy Scripture applies to us. We are to read, study, and know all of God’s Word, from cover to cover, recognizing, that not everything in the Bible applies to us, directly, as follower-disciples of Jesus Christ, in the New Covenant. But, there are Promises, Precepts, Principles, and Patterns that actually do apply to us, in Christ. For more on this, please, go to: The 3 P’s article. If we approach the Bible, in this way, we will have great joy in loving, following and obeying our Precious Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Next time, we will look at Traditional Christianity, in contrast to Biblical Christianity. You might be surprised to find out which one you are a part of. CLICK HERE to go to Part 2, in this series.

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Three “Ps” and the Central Importance of God’s Word

 

 

Three “Ps” and the Central Importance of God’s Word

How do the 3P’s help us obey God’s Holy Word? How should we approach our reading, studying, interpretation, and application of God’s Holy Word?

( this is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of my book: The Rise of Laodicea )

We need to understand the three “Ps” that are inextricably tied to God’s Holy Word, the Bible:

  • PRECEPTS
  • PRINCIPLES
  • PATTERNS (or PRECEDENCE)

PRECEPTS are specific and clear commands in the Bible, from God’s mouth or hand or through His prophets or messengers. Again, these are clear commands from God, to be obeyed by the followers of God. This needs to be qualified and clarified a bit before proceeding.

During the various ages and stages of humanity, God gave various commands and “frameworks” or “covenants” that related to either individuals, tribes, nations, and/or all of humanity, as recorded in God’s Holy Word, the Bible. If one reads through the books of Genesis and Exodus, this becomes abundantly clear. God starts with a command to Adam and Eve. Next, we find a covenant with Noah and then covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then, in Exodus, God seals a covenant that is loaded with commands through Moses to the descendants of Jacob, the nation of Israel. In each case, differing sets of commands, agreements, and relational obligations for each covenant with God exist. As an example, there are no commands, principles, or patterns that can be derived from the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that indicate that they kept the Sabbath, ate only “clean” foods, gave a set of “tithes” on a regular, consistent, and on-going basis, or ever went to temple/tabernacle, etc. Those kinds of commands, principles, and patterns of behavior came later under the Mosaic Law or covenant given by God through Moses on Mount Sinai to the descendants of Jacob, the nation of Israel. Thus, the commands, or precepts, always relate to the covenant that is in force at the time. So, in our case, as follower-disciples of Jesus Christ, we are under the New Covenant, inaugurated in the blood of Christ. And, as Hebrews 7:12 states, “For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well” (ESV). Although this might be confusing, God’s Word is very clear regarding what Jesus Christ’s disciples are to obey and to follow in His New Covenant.

So, regarding the specific precepts we are supposed to obey within the New Covenant, in Jesus Christ, it is our obligation to follow and obey those, specifically, as we trust in our Savior in deep intimacy, with a heart full of gratitude.

 

 

PRINCIPLES – A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be, followed or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed. The principles of such a system are understood by its users as the essential characteristics of the system, or reflecting the system’s designed purpose, and the effective operation or use of the system would be impossible if any one of the principles was to be ignored.

Examples of principles:

  • a descriptive, comprehensive, and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption
  • a normative rule or code of conduct

Principles within God’s Word are those kinds of concepts, ideas, and truths that are typically thematic, repetitive, and normative, that is, those overall teachings within God’s Word that are common themes and are seen repeatedly. These are thematic truths regarding concepts and/or ideas God wants us to understand and live by. In many cases, these Biblical principles that we discover in God’s Word help us to live for Christ in fruitful and effective ways that are pleasing to Him.

One example of a Biblical principle regards Israel, herself.  Specifically, God will not abandon her, but in the future, He will fully re-engage the whole nation as His holy people and involve them centrally in His Kingdom’s purposes. This is a well-established principle from Old Testament prophecies to New Testament doctrinal teachings, such as those found within the New Testament book of Romans, within chapters 9 through 11. In these passages, a principle can be seen and understood that although Israel has not fully accepted Jesus Christ as her Messiah, one day in the future she will. Israel will, eventually, no longer be the “tail” but the “head” of all the nations—one day in the future. These principles then lead to implications and applications. As stated in the previous sentences, these summaries of the “truth” are understandable principles.

Although these principles do not specifically lead us to “obey” anything directly, they do lead us to some implications, such as the recognition and tenderness we should have toward God’s holy and chosen People, Israel. We are to respect God’s people and pray for them, etc. We are not to persecute them, nor seek to kill them, nor seek to discriminate against them.

There are many other principles that are clearly written in the Holy Bible. Here is one: “By the witness of two or three a ‘fact’ is confirmed.” This principle is found in Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15, Numbers 35:30, Matthew 18:16, and 2 Corinthians 13:1. If you read the contexts of Deuteronomy 17:2-7 and 19:15-21, it should be clear that God wants us to make sure that knee-jerk reactions and emotions do not control any type of search for the truth. This applies to all areas in life, but especially in legal cases of criminal acts, such as murder. Thus, we see a principle clearly written by God and repeated within His Holy Word, along with “commentary” for clarification. There are “principles” like this throughout God’s Holy Word, the Bible, that God wants us to know and understand.  In most cases, these principles still apply to us today.

 

PATTERNS (or PRECEDENCE) – The focus with this topic or concept relates to patterns of attitudes, thinking, beliefs, practices (“religious practices” or “rites”), celebrations, behaviors, ways of doing things, etc. that stem from and flow out from the precepts and principles within the pages of the Holy Bible. These patterns can relate to God’s people in their responses and/or reactions of “living faith” in trusting and obeying God’s Word. What we want to do is find “patterns” in the Bible that help us better trust and obey Jesus Christ. Of course, this does not mean that everything we see the Early Church do in the Book of Acts, for example, is “prescribed” or “dictated” to us today, in that we must do things exactly as they did.  However, we can study the Book of Acts and discover principles of “church life” that can help us in the church, today, to become more effective and fruitful in living for Christ.

In the order of priority, patterns are last, and precepts are first. It makes sense to understand these concepts in this way. When we study and look at “patterns” in the Bible, we must first find out if God’s people are trusting in God and seeking to obey Him based solely upon the precepts and/or principles found in the Bible. Then, we seek to find out if God is pleased with and/or blessing those patterns. If this is so, then we can, most likely, try to see how those patterns can be something we should follow or do in our day and age. And, if that is so, then we would need to prayerfully seek to find out how to put those things into practice based upon God’s precepts and principles, in a way that is relevant and meaningful in today’s world, so that “it” conveys the original message and/or concepts that it did in Scripture. Let us look at an example.

PRECEPT: “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 [NASB]).

The words used to convey assembling of yourselves relate to the Old Testament public, large-group “holy convocations” during certain feast days.  They do not relate to any “in-home,” private, cozy gathering. I know that there are many who may not like that interpretation, but these are the facts regarding this passage. The apostle Paul, whom the early church believed wrote the book to the Hebrews, wrote this to Jewish-Israeli Hebrews, and so he is conveying this concept and/or principle based upon revealed Scripture.  If one reads Hebrews 10:23-25, in context, it is clear that verse 23 relates directly to one’s own personal and private relationship with God. Verse 24 relates to an interactive, smaller group setting in a “one another” context, which reflected upon the “Sabbath” and “Passover” settings, which were in the home with a smaller grouping of people. Verse 25 relates to the larger, public group settings, as seen in Feast Day of Pentecost (Shavuot), Feast Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). Those four celebrations had certain “holy convocations” or public, set-apart assemblies or gatherings during their respective “Feasts.” This is what verse 25 of Hebrews 10 relates to. It is both a command and a principle. It is a command in that it does not come across as optional. “Do not” is an imperative command, not a passive “maybe” when it is convenient or “if you want to.” So, in verses 23-25, we have a progression from a personal, private setting to a smaller “in-home” setting, and then finally to a larger, more public gathering or assembly. Do we see this “pattern” that “reflects” Hebrews 10:24-25 in the Book of Acts?

To answer that question, we just need to see how God’s people organized themselves in the second chapter of Acts after Peter’s evangelistic call to salvation — Acts 2:42-47.  We find that they met, assembled, and gathered together “from house to house” and met publicly in the temple almost every day. To see if this is a consistent “pattern” of meeting publicly and “in-homes” as a “both/and” pattern, a couple more passages seem to confirm this: Acts 5:42 and Acts 20:20. Thus, throughout most of the time that the book of Acts records the church’s growth and multiplication, the “pattern” of meeting publicly and “from house to house” seems to be very consistent and continuous. This would lead the student of the Bible to conclude that this “pattern” of faithful obedience to God’s precepts and principles regarding “gathering” patterns would be for each church family, or local church or local church families, to gather publicly (in some way) in some sort of larger, more public way and from house to house in smaller group gatherings. Of course, this is not a prescription that tells us as followers of Christ which specific days and times to meet, either. The Acts passages give us a pattern of how the Early Church lived out obedience to the precepts found in Hebrews 10:23-25. It conveys a pattern that God approved of, was pleased with, and blessed. It was and still is healthy for the church to gather together in these ways. It conveys flexibility and the ability to be relevant to particular contexts. Thus, we see this over the various stages within church history and in various places that the church, even under massive persecution, met in homesas well as, in larger group gatherings, even in underground catacombs. It is a healthy cycle of gathering on a consistent basis that has Biblical precedent based upon precepts and principles.

Thus, we can read about the “patterns” of God’s people and even see the consistent pattern of God’s “patterns” of response and reactions to His people. This helps us understand the “ways of God” and not just commands and principles in a vacuum. Understanding God’s Word, the Bible, in this way (precepts, principles, and patterns) and realizing that all of God’s Word is conveyed in this way helps us understand what God is teaching us in the various passages and books of the Bible.

(to read more – please, get my book: The Rise of Laodicea)

 

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The Mind and Heart of the non-Christian

The Person who is not saved, not born again in Christ …
… regardless of their upbringing or how they think of themselves, the following can be said of that person:
  …
Romans 8:7-8 (paraphrased)
(7)…the mind (the thinking) of the sinful person is hostile (at war, in enmity toward, is arguing) with God (and His Word).  that kind of mind is NOT subject to God’s law, neither can it be. (nor does it want to be…)  (8) Those who are in the flesh (those who are not saved) cannot please God.
  …
Romans 8:5-8 (NKJV)
(5) For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the Spirit, on the things of the Spirit.
(6) For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
(7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  (8) So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
  …
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit (such as God’s Holy Word, the Bible), because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.
  …
QUESTION to those not in Christ:
Do you find yourself being the EVALUATOR of  God’s Word, the Holy Bible?
Do you say, “maybe I like this part of the Bible, but not that… maybe that part or that biblical author I call into question”?
Do you argue with God and His Word about what is written in His Word?
Then you have put yourself in the place of God and you are the Judge of God and His Word.
You are telling God that you are in charge, and that you are ENTITLED  and that you are God’s Judge.
 –> Romans 3:4 – “… let God be True but every human being a liar. …”
  …
When you are in that place of not submitting, not surrendering to God and His Holy Word as your full ultimate authority of your life, you are in a very dangerous place.  Your Creator Created you, then He “potentially” redeemed you … by sending Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for your sins (past, present and future).  He rose from the dead, proving that He is both God and Man, the perfect man, the Redeemer and Savior of all mankind, etc.  Only by fully surrendering to Him, trusting in Him AND His Word, the Holy Bible, are you Genuinely Born Again.
  …
God’s Word is Genesis thru Revelation, all of it. Yet the non-Christian will NOT believe this. Why?
  …
Here are some verses from the book of Proverbs that address persons who have their own ideas about life, but those ideas are not grounded in or rooted in God’s Holy Word.  The Bible calls that person a “fool” and that person does not want to be subject to God nor His Holy Word, nor His Wisdom and Understanding, etc. (also see Psalm 14:1 and 53:1)
  …
Proverbs 18:2
–> A fool has no delight in understanding, but only in revealing his (or her) own opinion. (WEB)
–> Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. (NLT)
–> A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his (or her) own heart. (NKJV)
–> A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his (or her) own mind. (NASB)
  …
Proverbs 12:1
Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but the one who hates correction is stupid.
  …
Proverbs 12:15
The way of a fool is right in his/her own eyes, but the one who heeds counsel is wise.
  …
Proverbs 13:1
A wise child heeds his/her father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke/instruction.
  …
Proverbs 13:10
By pride comes nothing but strife
  …
Proverbs 14:3
In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride…
  …
Proverbs 14:9
Fools mock at sin (i.e.: mock at the concept that they are sinners)
  …
Proverbs 14:14
The backslider in heart will be filled with his/her own ways
  …
Proverbs 15:5
A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he (or she) who receives correction is prudent.
  …
Proverbs 15:12
A scoffer [or “mocker”] does not love one who corrects him (or her), nor will he (or she) go to the wise.
  …
Proverbs 16:2
All the ways of a human are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits.
  …
Proverbs 17:21
He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy.
  …
Proverbs 17:25
A foolish child is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.
 …
  …
Thus, we see the root of this Rebellion against God is sinful pride, boastful pride and arrogance … that kind of person is Judge, Jury, and Executioner against God.  That person is entitled and thinks he/she deserves certain things, benefits, resources, etc.  That person doesn’t realize that he or she deserves ONLY the Wrath of God (see John 3:16-21; 36; Romans 3:23; 5:12; 6:23, etc.) when a person is outside of a redemptive relationship with Christ.
  …
How Do you want the LEGACY of YOUR LIFE to Be?
One that is fully Selfish, Self-Centered, Far From God, Rebellious to God and His Word? Following all the philosphies of sinful, fallen mankind, with mixtures of whatever hodgepodge fits the whim of society at the moment? (Colossians 2:8)
  – OR
One who is Fully Assured of Her Eternal Salvation and Relationship with God in Christ Jesus, Forever,  AND is Pleasing to God, Living For God, in which Jesus Christ is the REASON for Your Living  Jesus Christ is your Lord, King, God, and Savior ? All of which is based upon God’s Holy Word, the Bible, alone.  Jesus said, “I AM the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, no one comes to the FATHER, but through ME.” (John 14:6)
  …
The Choice is yours.
There aren’t really any other choices that are viable these days.
Be careful, the Consequences of your Choice are Eternal in impact.

Ask yourself which WAY actually brings the real Peace and Joy that we are all really looking for?

Sincerely,

Pastor Andy Thomas
https://NLFJI.org
luvjcnow@yahoo.com

The Sinful Depravity of Man and Salvation in Christ

This topic can be controversial and can bring much debate within church circles, to be sure.  And, may I add, it is good for healthy, vigorous, level headed, respectful debate on such issues as these which are core Christian beliefs. The aim should be to dig deeper into God’s Word and find out the answers and to love one another in the process.

The controversy is not “we are sinners”. We know, that since Genesis 3, all of mankind has been plunged into sin.  Once Adam and Eve sinned, it affected the whole human race. We are their descendants, therefore we inherited their sinful natureRomans 5:12 makes this abundantly clear.  Adam sinned, therefore all have sinned, in Adam, and we all inherited the sentence of death, as well.  But what about those who have never heard?  What about those who are so far away from hearing about God, the Bible, Jesus, the Gospel, etc.?  Shouldn’t they be exempt from the Wrath of God that is coming upon the world?  What about babies and young children, etc.?  This is where the controversy exists.  How do we address these things?

Regarding babies and young children, Paul the apostle addresses this in Romans 7, in his own personal story of his life growing up as a devout law-keeping Jew.  He states that there was a time in his life when the Law of God did not affect him, while he was young. But there was a day or time in his life in which the Law of God became effective and engaged into his life and because of sin, it killed him (see Romans 7:9 – read the context of Romans 7:7-12). Thus, there is a time of innocence, clearly, in which God’s judgment is NOT engaged. Yet, there is a time in all of our lives that the LAW engages, and we are judged.  This illustrates that pre-born, infants, and young children are exempt from God’s Holy Wrath and Judgment. Unless a child only lives that long, we all tend to grow up into adulthood.  That is the focus of the rest of the passage: When sin takes hold. Our sinful nature is inherited from Adam, and we did not choose this, we inherited it.

The fact that the whole Human Race is under God’s Wrath is clearly stated in a couple of passages – 1. John 3:36 – on those outside of Christ, “the wrath of God abides on [them]” … 2. Ephesians 2:1-3 – Christians used to be, and the lost are –> sons of disobedience and children of [God’s] wrath.  So, combined with Romans 5:12 and the above verses, the human race is under the sentence of God’s Wrath and Judgment because of sin (Adam’s and their own, each individual’s sin).  One more verse seals the deal, so to speak, John 3:18 – those who are NOT believers in Christ are “condemned already”.  So, when did that condemning occur?  Did it occur when they heard the Gospel of Christ and rejected it?  The passage does not say that.  If a person is in the state of non-belief in Christ, they are condemned already.  That is what it says, that is the best rendering of that passage.  In verse 17, Christ states that He did not come to condemn, but to save. Then He reveals the condition of humans in John chapter 3, verses 18-21: 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:18-20 – NKJV)

So, here is the test.  If you go to some far away country and talk to someone who has never heard about Jesus Christ, His Life, His Ministry, His Crucifixion, Death, Burial, and Resurrection … and point blank ask that person if he or she believes in Jesus Christ, we know what the answer will be: NO.  That person does NOT believe in Jesus Christ.  So, even before the message of the Gospel is even presented, we can predict that the person you are talking to is an “unbeliever” … thus  that person is “condemned already”  …
test completed.

We know, clearly from Jesus Christ and the rest of the New Testament documents that God, now, ONLY Saves the Lost through the preaching, teaching, sharing of the Gospel of Christ (see Acts 17:30-31).  That is the Only way He saves lost sinners, now, during the Gospel Age / the Church Age.
1 Corinthians 1:1717 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. (NKJV)
…  ….
1 Corinthians 1:2121 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message [i.e. the Gospel] preached to SAVE those who believe. (NKJV ; emphasis added)
…  ….
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

Therefore, it is abundantly clear, from all the scriptures we seen above that lost sinners are already condemned.  They are not choosing to go to hell or to their final destination, the Lake of Fire of Eternal Judgment and Wrath of God.  They are not choosing to go there. If they do nothing, choose nothing, choose a new pair of socks … they are still going there. We all inherited this fate of eternal judgment the second that Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The whole human race was “condemned already” at that point

It is also abundantly clear that God ONLY Saves Lost Sinners through the Gospel.  The only “CHOICE” that RESCUES them from this fate is choosing to Repent and Trust in Christ’s Finished Work of Redemption (i.e.: His Crucifixion, Death, Burial and Resurrection – per  1 Cor. 15:1-4)  When a person chooses Christ they are Rescued and Condemned No Longer (2 Cor. 5:17; Romans 8:1) . They are no longer under God’s Just, Right, Correct, and Holy Wrath and Judgment but are placed in Christ in which dwells God’s Love, Righteousness, Mercy, Grace, Forever Forgiveness of sins, and Relationship with God, forever.  Repent and Trust in Christ and His Finished Work of Redemption and a lost sinner is saved, born again, receives Eternal Life, etc.  RESCUED!!!

God Demonstrates His own Love toward us, in that while we were still SINNERS, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)  This verse echoes the Truth that we are all CONDEMNED SINNERS under the Wrath of a Holy God, YET God providedWAY OUTthrough the One Who is the Only Way, the Only Truth, and the Only LIFE – Jesus Christ (John 1:14).

This is Truth, bedrock Sound and Pure Doctrine regarding the sinful depravity of mankind. There are some schools of thought and doctrinal camps that will take these solid Biblical Truths further in various directions. I did not want to go into those camps, but stay in the Simply Biblical middle ground of Doctrinal Sanity.

This Truth should URGE us onward with tremendous URGENCY to Spread the Gospel at break-neck speed, since the time is short, and shorter every second.  Once the Rapture occurs, the church’s job of sowing seeds of the Gospel, Plowing, Cultivating, and Bringing in a Harvest of Souls for Christ will be complete.  Until then, we need to be vigilant and diligent – seeking the Lord of the Harvest for more laborers and for us, personally to be the best laborers we can be, in Christ, for His Glory … so that the lost are saved … before the Wrath of God comes in full force.  We must warn them of the coming judgement before it is too late.

Pastor Andy Thomas
PastorAndy@NLFJI.org
https://NLFJI.org

 

LIFE in Christ – LIFE in the Spirit – Romans 8:1-17

LIFE in Christ – LIFE in the Spirit
Romans 8:1-17

You can LISTEN Online to this teaching by Pastor Andy Thomas of New LIFE Fellowship – Johns Island, SC

You can listen to the message Online at: https://NLFJI.org/msgs/?DID=199
You can also download the PowerPoint Presentation along with the Bible Study Notes.

 

God Bless y’all 🙂
Pastor Andy Thomas
http://www.NewLifeFellowship.us
luvjcnow@yahoo.com

Why I am Convinced that the Bible is the Only True Word of God and that the God of the Bible is the Only Real God and Creator of the Universe – Part 2

Why I am Convinced that the Bible is the Only True Word of God and that the God of the Bible is the Only Real God and Creator of the Universe Part 2

ring-galaxy

As a former atheist, Bible-rejecter, and God-rejecter … I am now convinced of the truth of the Bible and the God of the Bible. If you have not read the first installment in this series Part 1 … please do so now by clicking here. Then, please come back and continue with this Second Installment … of why I am Fully Convinced.

In this installment, we are going to test the “truth claims” and the multiple premises of “atheism.” I put that word in quotes, as I will need to qualify what I mean by “atheism.” We will look at the general and/or common understanding of atheism as what most people understand it to be: there is no god, no personal creator being (or beings), the universe came into being by random chance with no purpose, nothing exists except for matter, energy, the laws of the universe and the universe and that is all there is, etc.

Atheism’s “truth” claims:

  1. no gods, no goddesses, no deities, no creator(s) exist … never have, do not now, and never will.
  2. materialism: all that exists is the physical universe, subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, chemicals, energy and the laws of nature
  3. the universe came about randomly, with no purpose via some sort of evolution (i.e.: various theories of origins and evolution of the universe, stars, galaxies, planets, life, etc.)
  4. when people die, that is all there is, we just cease to exist … there is no survival of the “soul” or consciousness after physical death.

This sums up the basics of common atheism held by most atheists, world-wide. Of course, there are variations, but this sums up what would commonly be accepted by a super-majority of atheists, world-wide, etc. These “truth claims” of atheism creates a Predictive Model or a set of Predictive Models from which to test. A Predictive Model brings us to this place –> if it is true, what would we expect to see in reality around us? Testing the truth claim of “no gods exist.” At first, on the surface, this supposed truth claim may seem to be something which we would not able to be tested. Well, this is a truth claim of fact. Since, this is a conclusion of proving a negative, one cannot possibly prove that something does not exist. To “prove” that no god, no gods, no goddesses exist, as an absolute claim would mean that a “tester” (a person) would have to investigate every nook and cranny of every part of the universe, just in case he/she missed something. This “truth claim” implies that some human being has gone throughout the whole universe and has fully investigated every part of the universe and found that there is no evidence of any creator god. Again, how can one prove a negative, especially something of this magnitude and import?

 

NoDesign_RichardDawkins

On the converse of this, all that a Theist has to do is prove some sort of evidence of the existence of any type of creator deity, even if it so very slight and the “truth claim” there is “no god” flies out the window.

FrancisCrickPanSpermia

 

So, if there is no god, no creator, no personal deity then we would expect never to see any hint of “engineering design” in anything we see. And, any time there is any hint of any recognizable DESIGN in Biology, Chemistry, Physics … it must be denied as having any sort of intelligent source (the atheist must defend his/her world-view at all cost). BUT, when we, as humans, see design in anything else that was created by humans, even a small child automatically recognizes and detects such design. In fact, if there is “no god”, the question comes to mind, why do we find recognizable design in nature? Why do we see Design in nature, literally and physically, everywhere we look? This is especially seen within living cells and within the DNA/RNA system. Yes, even using the word / concept “system” implies design and one more concept: Prescriptive Information.

DNA_InfoStorageSystem

Prescriptive Information ONLY comes from an intelligent source. In our normal, every day experience, all prescriptive information comes from an intelligent agent. The task order you filled the other day, that recipe you used to bake a cake, that Red Light and your turn signal. These are all examples of some sort of prescriptive information per their respective contexts. No one would ever think that any of those “examples” happened by accident, with no purpose. They imply that intelligence was behind all of those examples of Prescriptive Information. With this in mind, when we look inside living cells and within the DNA/RNA genetic systems, design and prescriptive information abounds. This is not denied, but it is dismissed as any evidence of any Creator God. Something that is more complex than anything any human has ever made, is denied that it has an intelligent source in any way. Unbelievable. Yet, I used to believe this way. I had to find some way to excuse this obvious sense of intelligent design in nature.

dawkins_genetics_became_information_science

DNA_StupidAtoms_PaulDaviesQuote

All there is, is just the Physical Universe, matter, energy and the Laws of Nature. It all happened by accident, of course. It all had some sort of origin, but the atheist cannot give the answer of where or how the universe came about from nothing. Can this premise be tested? This can easily be disproved. All I have to do is find anything that is not just materialistic, such as any metaphysical reality, and this premise goes away. Here are some non-material realities (meta-physical realities):

  1. consciousness
  2. thought
  3. ideas
  4. truth

Some may argue that these things really do not exist. Again, how can a human, that according to “atheism” is just an organized set of biochemical molecules, argue about anything? How can a randomly existing, purposeless, bag of molecules argue, have rational thought, have a sense of morality, have a sense of justice and of any sense of right and wrong about anything? If all we are is an assemblage of molecules without rhyme or reason, why does any of this matter?

Brain-waves

If consciousness is just something that is a byproduct of the biochemical processes of the physical brain (and that is all it is), then we can cut open the brain and find it, right? If all there is, is just materialistic reality, then everything, I mean everything, can be reduced down to chemical reactions, etc. We should be able to cut open anyone’s brain and find the “mind”, his/her thoughts, and ideas. They should be measurable, detectable, and quantifiable via some sort of scientific instrument, correct? But, we cannot find those things. Those real things by cutting open the physical brain, cannot be found. What is an idea? What is consciousness? What is ‘self-awareness’? These things are real. We know they are real, because we use them, encounter them in other people, react to them, etc. We take them for granted in our everyday routines without a “thought”, pun intended.

TRUTH. If all that exists are gazillions of atoms, sub-atomic particles, molecules, chemicals, etc… then how can there be a way of determining Truth? How can a randomly, purposeless, accidental set of chemicals determine or discern if something is true or not? How can a materialistic, random set of chemicals know if something is a lie? Remember, in the beginning Nothing accidentally, randomly, with no purpose at all, became the universe as we have it today (if atheism is true). Then, some sort of evolution occurred and somehow chemicals got together for no reason or purpose and became the first living system, randomly (if atheism is true). Would we expect to be able to know what truth is, if atheism is true? No Purpose, Random, Accidental . . . does this seem to suggest a basis for Truth or determining Truth, a sense of justice, morality, etc.? Of course it doesn’t. So, when the atheist says that something is not true, or that is not moral, or that is not just or right … that atheist has no basis, according to his or her worldview. No basis . . . for judging any other belief system. We are just bags of chemicals . . .

AtheismHasNoMoralityNativeToIt
HuxleyAldousAgainstGodQuote1
DawkinsAtheismHasNoMoralityButRichardDoes
AtheistViewOfLife
Evolution: it is the only game in town left to the atheist. Some sort of materialistic form of evolution had to have happened, if atheism is true. Origins … how did the Universe come to be, out of nothing, from nothing, without purpose or meaning? This is entirely untestable via the scientific method. No human can go back in time and document how everything happened. So, this untestable framework has developed. It is filled with mystery and magic. It is outside of real scientific testing. If it did happen, it happened so long ago and cannot be repeated or observed. Therefore, it is outside the realm of the scientific method. It is beyond the bounds of theory and thus, it is mere speculation. This is the most expensive speculation in all of history, as most of the federal tax dollars used by NASA is to explore the universe to answer the question if there is life “out there”. That search only makes sense if one believes in evolution of life all over the universe. If evolution of life happened on earth, therefore life must have evolved on other planets, as well. Yet, no solid, scientific proof of any type of mechanism or sets of laws that would even cause the first life to have sprung forth from non-living matter have ever been discovered here on earth. Why would they think that it might be discovered on some other planet in the universe? It is NOT testable, not repeatable, not observable, therefore it is NOT scientific. It is just a fantasy, a story.

 

LAWS: Once a creator is removed from the equation, all that is left is matter and energy. So, where did the Physical Laws of nature come from? Where did the Biochemical and Genetic Laws of livings systems come from? Where did any of the laws of the universe come from? Laws? Yes, Highly Structured, Highly Mathematical Laws. They exist and are NOT the product of the universe. They are NOT a product of the matter of the universe. They exist and govern the various aspects of the physical universe. All of these laws can be explained via mathematical equations. Why? How did that happen? Why are these laws mathematical? How can they be so delicately interwoven with other related laws so that the universe exists and works? How did all of that just happen by random, no purpose, an accident? With everything else we relate to in everyday life, laws always implies law giver. With everything else we are used to, information, design and laws all point to intelligence, all the time we normally draw the conclusion of “someone did this” … NOT – wow this happened by accident.

MaxwellLawsOfNature
When I was an atheist, it was the following question that got me thinking that “maybe there is something out there but maybe it just created everything and went away or something” ==> “Where did the highly structured mathematical laws of the physical universe come from?” Questions like these have no answers from the atheistic worldview. Why do we find order, laws, consistency, and the ability to send space probes to the edge of our solar system? We could NOT send astronauts to the Moon, probes to Mars, put up “stationary” orbiting satellites, and fly faster than that speed of sound unless we could rely upon the consistency and the universal stability of the laws of physics here on earth and throughout the entire universe. The same highly structured, interwoven, highly mathematical laws of physics exist and are experienced here on earth, just like they are on the moon, on Mars, and wherever we may go within the entire physical universe. This would NOT be expected if atheism is true and if the universe started from nothing randomly with no purpose, and then randomly expanded with no purpose guiding its expansion or creation.

No purpose implies no laws, which implies only random chaos. Why do we have Laws at all? How is it that humans can discover them, quantify them, and articulate them via Mathematical Formulas and Equations? How is that even possible in a randomly evolved universe. Why do we have stars? Why do we have galaxies? Why do planets and their associated satellites have predictable, mathematical orbits like clockwork? What we actually see, test, evaluate, use, etc… all of it points to delicately interwoven, highly structured, and highly mathematical universal physical laws that govern all aspects of the physical universe. This is real reality. This is ONLY expected in a Theistic Model of Reality (and in particular a Biblical Worldview). The atheistic worldview just says, “well, somehow, it all came to be … it exists, doesn’t it?” There is no answer as to how these Laws came to exist in the first place. And, these physical, universal laws had to exist prior to the first physical atom – so, that the atoms, molecules, chemicals would all behave correctly according to those laws … NOT the other way around. The laws come first, then the universe. That is real science. What is the atheist’s answer? –> I know what mine was, “well, maybe there was ‘something’ out there, but I don’t know …” Once, I ruled out that there might even be a personal, creator God who created everything for a purpose, I was left with vain speculations that could not be tested and a worldview that did not line up with reality.

As to “After we DIE, we cease to exist”: if atheism is true, even in this aspect, and all atheists know that they are going to die, then what’s the use of living, even for one second longer? Those are thoughts I wanted to avoid at all costs when I was an atheist. I wanted to be free of those thoughts, because those types of ideas would make me think about ultimate reality. I wanted to avoid such things. For the atheist, there is NO HOPE. Atheism is a very SAD belief system:

AtheistViewOfLife
The leaders within the realm of atheism actually sing a consistent chorus that is consistent. Some are “evangelistic” about it, especially regarding the amoral and immoral aspects of their so-called “freedom”.  Since, there is no god to answer to, they think that they have Freedom (see Psalm 2) … then we might as well just live the way we want to. But, as to ultimate reality, death is looming and then I cease to exist, no more thoughts, no more dreams, no more living, no more (fill in the blank). Morality, is absent regarding individual behavior, but when judging the God of the Bible, it seems that atheists are the most moral.

How does Hope relate to Morality? Both imply something greater than just mere existence as an assemblage of chemicals (matter and energy, etc.). As a former atheist, I was able to defend my atheism quite well, until I was confronted with these questions of reality, especially ultimate reality … where did the physical laws of the universe come from? and what happens to me after I die? Those types of questions caused me to ponder and think deeply, since my worldview had no answers. Atheism provided me with No Hope! I was Hopeless and Purposeless. Critiquing the world-view and subsequent “expectations” regarding atheism does matter. With this kind of worldview invading every aspect of our society, from education to entertainment to government . . . it does affect all of us.

AtheismHasNoMoralityNativeToIt

 

MORALITY and Atheism’s History? We know what happened when atheism came to its full power in the USSR, in Maoist Communist China (the Cultural Revolution), with the killing fields of Cambodia under Pol Pot, North Korea, etc. multiplied millions upon millions were slaughtered by those regimes that were atheistic in nature. Atheistic Humanism and Atheistic Socialism have the same ideological roots as those of the regimes mentioned. If the root is about an ideal utopia of atheistic beliefs, then anything that opposes it must be eliminated. We’ve seen this movie before. Atheism whenever it is allowed to have full power it is the most destructive evil force in all human history. Because of Atheism, over 250 million people were slaughtered. No other ideology has slaughtered so many people in all of history. Just think about the implications. Today, a nicer version of “atheism” is being put forward, but it borrows its social “ideals” of “equality”, “goodness”, “live and let live”, etc… somewhat from the Judeo-Christian worldview (or least partially). Since, atheism has no basis for morality, no basis for any sense of justice it must pull from some other set of ideologies, such as Christianity. For an atheist to have moral outrage about anything is contrary to his/her worldview.

dictators

socialism-red-flags-socialists1c

 

Atheism is ultimately hopeless, purposeless, moral-less (amoral), and unable to provide any real answers to most of the questions that most humans have about life. It is, ultimately, fully selfish, careless (without any care of others), and self-centered … and may I add, dishonest. It pushes a worldview that is dishonest. It purports to be the answer or the conclusion because no “religion in the world” has the answers … especially the Bible and the God of the Bible. In fact, of all the “religions” of the world, atheists are the most militant against the Bible and the God of the Bible. It amazes me that, even in my own life, as with many other atheists today, most do not care about Buddhism, Shintoism, Daoism, Hinduism, even Islam. Their main “enemy” is the Bible and the God of the Bible. I think this is very interesting indeed.

atheism-hopeless

The Worldview that Matches Reality is NOT Atheism, but Biblical Theism . . . and we will continue this discussion in our next installment

If this is helpful, please spread the word … … so that more folks can benefit and be in encouraged in the LORD … and have more confidence in His Holy Word, the Bible.

 

🙂 May God Richly Bless you and yours

 

Pastor Andy Thomas
(843) 814-1110
http://www.NewLifeFellowship.us
luvjcnow@yahoo.com

The Law and a Young Pharisee Romans 7:1-25 06/07/2015

The Law and a Young Pharisee

Pastor Andy’s most recent msg at New LIFE Fellowship – 06/07/2015 –
Paul the Apostle’s testimony of coming to the End of himself because of the Law of God exposing his depraved sinful nature. He was a failure in trying to keep God’s Law perfectly… and found out that ONLY through Jesus Christ could he be rescued from God’s coming Judgment because of his sin.

Romans 7:1-25 
… for more – go to :  http://goo.gl/2NQtKe

 

neh_8_2_ezra_the_priest_brought_the_law      NavBridge