Feb 20, 2010

A New Kind of Christianity Review by Tim Challies

There is within Christiandom a man who has quite a following. The problem is that for years this man has been confusing, allusive, and divisive about all things theological, in this false guise of humility. His prey; those who either don't have the Biblical knowledge to discern truth from what sounds true but just isn't quite right, and those who are too polite to say somebody is wrong and follow the Biblical command to mark those who cause dissension and avoid them (Rom 16:17-19), and those who were just looking for someone to finally come from within the Church and call into question the authority of Scripture and yet be able to maintain a standing within the Church.

(I guess the latter wouldn't really be 'prey' but rather divisive themselves yet too cowardly to come out with their false beliefs until someone else did first)

Many of you probably know that I'm talking about Brian McLaren. Brian McLaren has always set himself apart from modern conservative Christians with little pokes and jabs at orthodox teachings of the Scriptures, yet never actually giving in to explain what he is really saying.

Until now.

I don't as of yet have his new book, "A New Kind of Christianity" but I will soon. I will then put up quotes from his book which will show that he is finally drawing a line and showing everybody where his heresy stands.

Until then, here is a link to a very well know reveiwer of all books Christian ans those which claim to be "Christian", such as The Shack.

I hope you will read the review and see that Brian McLaren is a heretic and should be cast from the Church. He is dangerous and his teachings are evil.

Tim Challies - A New Kind of Christianity

Feb 17, 2010

Essential Doctrines pt5 The Propitiation of Jesus Christ

So far we have examined 3 of 8 essential doctrines pertaining to the Christian faith. I hope that I have been clear in my explanations as to why these doctrines are so essential. If anyone claims to be of the faith they will not deny the truth as shown in the holy Scriptures. If they do then they are not of the faith as they have received "another Jesus" or "another gospel" (2Cor 11:3-4). The Scriptures speak of this with such severity that Paul says "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!"(Gal 1:7-10)

The essential doctrine that I want to present now is even more essential as it pertains to how one is saved in the first place. The doctrines I've spoke of so far, I've mentioned that they are not exactly necessary to believe in order to be born again. This doctrine now though, is. This is what our salvation hinges upon.

If you reject this then as the author of the letter of Hebrews says; "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.

Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "vengeance is mine, I will repay." And again, "the Lord will judge His people." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God".
(Hebrews 10:26-31)

The Propitiation of Jesus Christ. What does propitiation mean?

PROPITIATION, n. propisia'shon.

1. The act of appeasing wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person; the act of making propitious.
2. In theology, the atonement or atoning sacrifice offered to God to assuage his wrath and render him propitious to sinners. Christ is the propitiation for the sins of men. Rom.3. 1 John 2. (From Noah Webster Dictionary 1828)

This is what we must believe;
In the beginning when God created He gave man one command. Man disobeyed God and has done so ever since, in the form of lies, thefts, blasphemy, impure thoughts, and idolatry. It is appointed unto man once to die and then judgment (Heb 9:27).

"But now apart from the Law (meaning the 10 commandments, and trying to keep it's commands and to be a good person) the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:21-26)

This is the gospel. That great and glorious news that says that we have sinned and Jesus has paid our sin debt. There is no amount of good works that we can do to earn God's favour, because none of us are good, only God is good. We must understand this. In order to be saved we must come to the point where we admit that we are not good, but rather that we are evil before a holy God, and thus we deserve His wrath.

But thanks be to God for sending His Son to take our place, who became sin for us, and God in turn credits the righteous life that Jesus lived to us, so that we might be seen as holy in the eyes of God.

If you do not believe that Jesus Christ lived a holy pure life, or that He was crucified on our behalf, taking upon Himself the full wrath of God, for our sins, and if you do not repent of your sins and surrender your entire life, putting all your trust and faith in Jesus Christ, you will not be saved.

You must believe that Jesus paid our debt in full. Jesus said that you must deny yourself (Mat 16:24) if you want to follow Him. If you believe that you must do something to be saved, i.e. be baptized, confess your sins to a man in a box, attend church, take communion, perform some sort of ritual, or say a certain prayer, or be a good person (that isn't to say that we can go on sinning, but we've seen already that we cannot be good enough) you are sorely mistaken, because Jesus will get all the credit for your salvation.

Also, if you think that you must do something to add to Jesus' sacrifice then when God says that we are forgiven on the bases of what Jesus did for us, then that is a lie. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him (Jesus), and through Him (Jesus) to reconcile all things to Himself (the Father) , having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Co 1:19-20)

This verse should say something like "and through Him
and certain obligations on our part, to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross and our good deeds, through Him and us... But it doesn't because Jesus is going to get all the credit.

Please don't ever suppose that there may be anything that we can do that would compare to what Jesus did. Take the free gift of salvation and do not offend God by trying to offer Him something for it.

Repent and turn to the Lord for He is kind and merciful. Look at what a kind thing He did for you. No one has ever done a more kind and loving thing for you. Turn to Him and receive the salvation that is offered to you, for today is the day of salvation.


Feb 10, 2010

Essential Doctrines pt4 The Triune Nature of Yahweh & Deity of Jesus Christ

This post is going to be a combination of two of what are generally considered essential doctrines within the circle of orthodoxy. These are also the biggest, as they are directly about the nature of God Himself.

From my list on Essential Christian Doctrines pt 1 I listed as 2 - God exists eternally as three equal persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And for 3 - Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. I'm going to do these two essentials in one post for obvious reasons; if I'm going to talk about the triune nature of God, then the deity of our Saviour will come up.

** I want to, before I go further, mention again that according the Scriptures, to receive salvation from God He does not necessitate believing that He exists eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or even believe that Jesus is God, but rather that you repent of your sins, and put your faith in Jesus Christ as the one and only Saviour. The Holy Spirit will then guide you into true knowledge of God.**

The teaching that Yahweh is one and yet exists eternally as three personages is by far the most incomprehensible doctrine of God's nature. How do we understand this? We don't. Nor is it possible for us to really understand how it is that Jesus Christ can be fully man and fully God at the same time.

Throughout the history of the Church, these have been the most debated and attacked truths of the revelation of God. Scripture is so clear on these issues.

Let us first concern ourselves with the Tri-unity of God. When God spoke to Moses, God told Moses that His name is "I AM WHO I AM", or YAHWEH (Ex 3:14). God's name essentially means, "the self-existant one. God also declared to the Jews at Sinai; "Hear O Israel, Yahweh is God, Yahweh is one." (Duet 6:4) Also, the first commandment of Yahweh's law is; “You shall have no other gods before me." (Ex 20:3)

So it is that if we worship a plurality of gods, we are guilty of idolatry, or if we should worship a single god, but one of our own imaginations, we are guilty of idolatry. We are to worship the one and true God as He is.

We see though that in the Scriptures, God has revealed Himself as one God who exists in the form of three persons. (Gen 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; ... & Mat 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit...)

So if we deny this then we deny the full revelation of God and Jesus said that, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (Jn 4:24)

How could it be said then that you are worshiping God if you do not worship Him as He is. God's very name is I AM WHO I AM. Notice how His name is not I AM WHO YOU THINK I AM.

Now, I understand the complexity (that's an understatement) of the triune nature of God. Trust me I understand completely. How can God be one God and yet three persons? Well a simple yet totally insufficient analogy might be my family. We are one family yet 4 persons. This analogy doesn't begin to bring us any greater understanding, but should we really be able to understand God's nature? As I said before, it's not up to us to fully comprehend, but rather to obey the truth. Yahweh exists eternally as one God in three personages.

One of the greatest revelation that leads to the conclusion that God is three is that the Scriptures clearly reveal that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. Not only that but Jesus is fully God, yet fully man. Such is why it is even so important to believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit. If you deny this then you instantly wonder off into heresy land.

Jesus declared Himself as God and the Apostles did so as well.
So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." (emphasize added)
Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.
(John 8:57-59)

Here we see the Jews were trying to stone Jesus to death. For what? That he was alive before Abraham? Hardly legal for them to do so according to the Laws of Moses, but legal for them to do if Jesus were calling Himself God and wasn't thereby committing the sin of blasphemy (Lev 24:16).

It was also clear to the Jews that Jesus was calling Himself God when they said He was as is found in John 5:17-18 "But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God."

One more example of Jesus' divinty
is found in Heb 1:1-3 and His nature of being fully man in Luke 24:37-43

All of this is really important to believe. In 2 John 1:9
we read this; Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

If we are to be in a right relationship with God or the Son, we must know truly who it is we are putting our faith in. We must believe rightly.

I mentioned at the beginning that believing these things are not a pre-requisite to salvation (although Jesus did say in John 8:23-24 "And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." This is clearly another declaration of Jesus' divinty as Yahweh said this often of Himself (Deut 32:39, Is 41:4, Jer 29:23) So maybe it is true that we MUST believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh as God has always declared that He is the only Saviour.)

The importance of believing the true doctrines as taught in the Scriptures is so imperative.

The Apostle John says, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds." (2 John 1:10-11)

Doctrines contrary to Scripture are sin. What's more is that if you dig deep enough into the teachings of those who hold false doctrines contrary to these, you will inevitably find that these religions are a works righteous religion. Meaning that you have to earn your way to Heaven by performing certain requirements or by being a good enough person, because apparently Jesus' sacrifice was not enough to atone for our sins. This thinking even more so is great wickedness.

God has so graciously revealed Himself to us. I can understand someone having questions or confusion about the complexity of God's nature, and I think we can be assured that God is most gracious to those who are seeking to know the Truth, after all He did say that when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (Jn 16:13).

To those however, who deny what is clearly written in the very word of God, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
(Romans 1:18-25)

Let us cast away from us all forms of false teachings of who God is. Let us stand firm in the truth, for the glory of God.