Thursday, May 9, 2013
By James Fire
And so we have traversed the length and breadth of this marvelous epistle by the apostle Paul; obviously we have not exhausted its full content, quite frankly because is the Word of God, and His knowledge and truth are unsearchable to the fullest extent of their depths.
Yet on a practical note, I believe what we have covered is somewhat competent and especially for new believers who are just beginning their journey through the Holy Bible.
In this last chapter there are a lot of salutations and administrative directives by Paul and one might think “what doctrinal truths can be gleaned by such a chapter as this?” That we shall soon see. Along with these twenty seven verses we shall also provide a summary outline of the entire book as a review for our readers and with no small encouragement from us at TTUF to dig into this book on their own time and seek the teaching from its Author (and I’m not referring to Paul, but the One who inspired him! See Eph. 4:21; Gal. 1:12).
With no further delay then, let’s get into this last chapter of Romans,
And here is the rest of it.
GOING FURTHER On The ROAD of RIGHTEOUSNESS! –
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
This sister saint, Phebe, whose name means “bright” was an example of the believer, serving the church – the body of Christ as a deaconess, ministering and administering to the needs of the church and its individual saints represented there in Rome; she came from the harbor city of Cenchrea, Corinth where she normally served, but she is found there in Rome, perhaps even at the request of Paul to serve the LORD and meet their needs there.
We must not become accustomed to our normal situation and believe this is the scope of service to the exclusion of other opportunities. Our servanthood extends beyond our usual habitations; we are at our LORD’s beck and call.
Phillip was evangelizing and ministering among the Samaritans (Acts Ch. 8) and there, along with Peter and John who came into the work among them, experienced great success in the ministry. In the midst of this spiritual prosperity, the LORD spoke to Phillip to leave that work behind and go out . . . into the desert (Acts 8:26). The LORD would have His servant leave such vibrant work as this, to go attend to whatever matters – if any – out in a barren wasteland?
As we know, Philip met with a eunuch of Ethiopia, a high ranking officer in the royal ministry of Queen Candace (Acts 8:27), a convert to Judaism as can be seen, for he had just returned from Jerusalem where he worshipped the LORD in such offerings as were represented in the treasuries he carried, along with his own entourage of soldiers and servants. Once Philip joined the eunuch in his chariot and expounded on the passage from Isaiah (Acts 8:28) which the Ethiopian read by preaching “unto him, Jesus”.
The eunuch was converted to the LORD, baptized and was sent on his way (Acts 8:36-39), no doubt an instant missionary to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his countrymen there in Africa.
Let us then be mindful that if the LORD beckons us to venture from our usual haunts and our typical ministries into ‘uncharted territory’ that we answer the call, and not miss incredible opportunity!
A SUCCOURING SISTER SAINT –
2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.This word “succourer” means a patron or protector; it intimates a person of great esteem and, or a person of significant wealth. It may be that Phoebe was a wealthy merchant, who by the success of her business was able to impart financial assistance to those in need, provide employment, and bring some level of protection for the saints who might otherwise be imperiled by the Romans or others. The term can refer to those who represent civil authority in protecting the rights of resident aliens.
This is a fitting office for are we not, as Christians – not of this world, even as our LORD Himself was not of this world (John 17:14); and like the Father that our LORD prayed to in that chapter, perhaps Phoebe was being used of the LORD to keep the saints there in Rome “from the evil” that might have befallen them, and perhaps of Paul as well. In that pagan culture, Christianity had become outlawed and any that refused to offer the customary offering to Caesar as ‘the god of Rome’ was in danger of martyrdom – and so, many of the saints were!
We are in fact, “pilgrims” and “strangers” (aliens) in this world and the admonition in Scripture is that though we are in the world we are not of the world, nor are we to be a part of those carnal, worldly pursuits; rather we are to pursue holiness and purity by the ability that the Holy Spirit gives us.
1 PETER 2:10-12
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
We don’t invest in this world nor pursue the wealth of this world; while permissible at the direction of the LORD, these are not our focus, our passion, our calling. We are about heavenly business and royal edicts and godly ministry, all conducted in the glorious light of the LORD that shines with promise from that heavenly country and holy city whose maker is God:
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
LISTING of the LORD’s MINISTERING FAMILY –
Paul continues in his salutations and recognition of the saints who were busy about such affairs of state in the kingdom of God, as he mentions Priscilla and Aquila . . .
ROMANS 16:3 - 5
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
Priscilla and Aquila are known to students of the Word as they have shown up in various places, ‘tent makers’ with Paul, laboring with their hands by day, and preaching the Gospel after work, tirelessly employed in the work of God. You can read about them in Acts. Ch 18 and mentioned elsewhere in 1 Cor. 16:19 and 2 Tim. 4:19.
Both here in Romans and in 1 Corinthians we learn that they had a church gathering in their house as was the custom for the early church.
Christians at this time did not have the resources to build their own buildings as distinctly Christian edifices; when the Gospel was preached and received by the Gentiles, they would resort to their own homes for gatherings; where the few Jewish converts that came to Christ in the latter period of the book of Acts met differed depending on their numbers. Occasionally they would be able to meet in synagogues, but more often than not in their homes or if they were persecuted (by their fellow Jews) heavily, they would be forced to meet in remote locations such as by a river side.
The first century church would eventually become heavily persecuted so that they would actually be forced to meet in the catacombs (underground cemeteries); one can imagine, being born of God’s Spirit, alive from the dead, and worshipping the LORD of LIFE – in the midst of such decay and corruption of rotting bodies as still as stone on slabs of the same. Perhaps many of them thought on how any day in the near future, they might join those statue-like ranks at their own martyrdom!
Paul salutes Epaenetus who was one of the first converts of Achaia; here Paul reveals the true shepherd’s heart: though he had seen countless scores of souls that have come to know the LORD in multiple cities and regions, he still remembers those first converts in cities he had visited before. The love of this apostle, the compassion, the keen mind, the humility is exemplified when he recounts the numbers of people that he brings salutations to in this passage.
Just as certainly as he remembered them by name for the intent of recognizing them in salutation, he likewise remembered them in his prayers; no doubt he found plenty of time to pray while imprisoned and in between the writing of his prison epistles.
KNOWING NO BOUNDS!! –
1 THESS. 1:2
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; see also Phil. 1:4; Col. 4:2, 12.
When he was imprisoned, incapacitated, seemingly of no avail for the Gospel, the apostle knew better (2 Tim. 2:9); the physical capture of any vessel of the LORD by enemy forces does not impede the LORD Himself in His work for He has many other vessels! Besides this, as just mentioned, Paul had time to pray for the saints during his incarceration, to intercede for the saints at the very throne of God; to wage a valiant warfare in the Spirit against the principalities and powers of Satan’s kingdom (Eph. 6:12). So even in this regard, such capture hardly slows the progress of the working Christian!
Perhaps there are those reading these studies who are incapacitated in some way; you’re not able to get out there and engage the world with the Gospel and work in the kingdom of God, and so you feel useless and inadequate. Brothers and Sisters, believe me, nothing could be further from the truth!
If you are a child of God, if you are born of God’s Spirit, if Jesus Christ is LORD of your surrendered life and your heart truly belongs to Him as a member of the Kingdom of God, then let me assure you – you have in your employment such Divine resources and ammunition that from that wheel chair, from that hospital bed or where ever you may find yourself right now – you can affect the world anywhere on the planet!
I have attended countless prayer meetings over the decades and they are seldom brimming over with attendants; this is not to say that prayer meetings are ineffective with fewer numbers, but to express the point that, in these days especially, prayer seems a forgotten ministry. Thus those few who will remain faithful and diligent and tenacious in this spiritual war are all the more PRECIOUS and VALUABLE!!
By your prayers fellow saints, you can have an affect on the missionaries in Islamic nations; you can by faith, move the hand of God (Who desires to have you yoke together with Him in such work) to touch the hearts of Chinese Communist officials and soften them in regards to Chinese Christians imprisoned and tortured and gain their release. By your intercessions you can pray for the healing of those sick all around you and see them raised up to health and vigor!
There are many excellent books that deal with prayer; here are a couple of my favorites:
Collective Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer
With Christ in the School of Prayer - Andrew Murray
There are also resources for you whereby you can pray for nations and missionaries and the work that goes on for the Gospel across the globe:
You can also access such information online here.
Let us continue in our study:
The APOSTLE’S HEART TOWARDS THE SAINTS –
6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.
11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
The list goes on and on as the apostle recites the names of people that are beloved to him; may we likewise remember those saints we have encountered and do all we can to touch their lives, to communicate with them, encourage them in the Word and prayer.
Andronicus and Junia were fellow prisoners, and who knows what sort of ‘prison ministry’ these were involved with, but I’m certain, it had to be quite dynamic if it was anything like Paul’s imprisonment with Silas (See Acts Ch. 16) – and that’s what I call the real ‘Jail House Rock’!
Andronicus and Junia apparently were in Christ before Paul and yet while they knew Christ longer, it would seem that they had no problem submitting themselves under the authority of Paul’s office of apostle; a lesson to be learned by us ‘older saints’ when we see those younger “in the LORD” ministering in their God ordained offices.
Here we notice another aspect of the humility of Paul; elsewhere he spoke (“as a fool”) of all his hardships and trials in the midst of his incessant and continual ministry (2 Cor 11:23-30) and he accomplished more than any of the other apostles, yet not himself but Christ he admits (1 Cor. 15:9-11) – still, he is careful to note and commend the works of others. It wasn’t ‘all about him’ and ‘The Paul of Tarsus Ministries’ as is sadly too often seen in today’s ministry. He recognizes time and again that we are all members of the body of Christ and all with vital ministries (whether big or small – still vital) to perform for the LORD.
It reminds me of a story that I believe comes from the Jewish Talmud -
“Two angels appeared before the throne of God to fulfill some appointments that the LORD gave to them. To the one angel, He commanded that he go to a certain city and there reign as its king. To the other, the LORD God commanded that he go to that same city and sweep the streets of the dust.
”Both angels went to their task rejoicing, not for the tasks themselves, but that they could do God service.”
There is mention of what I believe to be two sisters there, Tryphoena and Tryphosa; their names mean “luxurious” and “luxuriating” respectively. Their labor in the LORD refers to that sort of work that brings “fatigue, working hard, to weary with toil and burdens; to labor with wearisome effort, to toil”. I wonder if Paul smiled as these words were penned, thinking of these two ladies, perhaps used to a life of dainties and luxury, laboring ‘in the mud’ as it were for the sake of their LORD! Such class distinctions disappear where the true body of Christ is present, for we are all one in Him, and are brethren – on equal standing!
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
ARE YOU A LOVER OF THE WORD? –
There are yet more that the apostle sends greetings to:
13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
My eye gravitates towards one of these saints, and his name is one that I would love to have for my own! James Joseph Philologus Fire! It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? What does ‘Philologus’ mean, you might ask?
“One who is fond of words or of learning” (which I am!); and most especially being fond of the Word of God, and learning it is an appellation I would certainly be honored to have! In a very real sense, we should all have this as a ‘middle name’ for we are called to be able students of the Word of God!
2 TIM. 2:14-16
14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
The “rightly dividing” of the Word of Truth means to have a balanced perspective of the Holy Scriptures that in turn presents a balanced view of God, of ourselves, this world and that which is to come: everything with which we have to deal with. It’s when we divide the Word wrongly, that doctrinal errors creep in, even heresies and this is the stuff of cults! This is where people will divide themselves away from doctrinal purity and the full counsel of God! This is the stuff of apostasy!
This is the very reason why Paul determined to declare ALL the counsel of God (Acts 20:26-28) because in teaching line upon line, and precept upon precept (see Isaiah 28:10-13) throughout the Scripture, and gaining all the doctrine included in Holy Writ, we obtain the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth as God intends for us.
Thus it’s vital that we allow all Scriptural references to be interpreted not by our own wisdom, insights, opinions and perspectives, but by the leading of the Holy Spirit as He directs us into the entirety of Scripture to shed light and understanding on any of its verses. In other words, we let Scripture interpret Scripture. It’s when one begins to have at the least, a manageable grasp of the whole of the Bible that one becomes able, by the Spirit of grace to “rightly divide” the Word of Truth and this tends towards spiritual maturity, provided that one is a “doer of the Word and not a hearer (or learner) only” as stated in James 1:22-23.
DISCERNING THE DIVISIONS –
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
How many times have we heard it, saints? When we hear a teaching from the pulpit (or any other source of teaching) and we discern some kind of doctrinal error and mention it to others, only to be told that we are being “divisive” or “unloving” or “argumentative” or “contentious”, what have you?
In point of fact, our unity is expressed when we “hold fast the form of sound words” and if we do not hold fast to such pure, undefiled and without-error doctrine (this is the meaning of the word “sound”) that we are parting from the faith, that is, the body of doctrinal truth as represented in the Holy Scriptures and by such action cause division. We cause division when we believe and follow false doctrine.
What is Paul’s admonition for such that cause divisions and offences that are contrary to doctrine? He plainly says that we are to avoid them because they do not serve the LORD Jesus Christ, but their own appetites; these will use good sounding words and fair speeches to deceive who?
The simple hearted; this is why it’s vital that discipleship happens among the saints, pairing up the elder with the younger (preferably parents with their own children); it’s important that we as Christians know not only what we believe, but why we believe it. If a strong foundation in Christ is laid (1 Cor. 3:10-11), then doctrinal instruction in the Word will ensure (again, if one is a practitioner of the Word, not merely a philosopher) a stable walk, gifted with discernment and wisdom.
Such things are desperately needed in the days we live in, for the LORD Himself stated that deception would be everywhere to deceive if it were possible, even the elect (Matt. 24th chapter, particularly vs. 3-5; also 1 Tim. 4:1-3).
HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION –
I recall my own Christian experience when I first received Christ Jesus as my LORD and Savior; I was privileged to become acquainted with a Christian couple who were opening their house for biblical teaching which we heard via cassette tape (recorded from a radio program). I devoured such teaching and asked many questions afterwards to the delight of these two dear saints. When some certain questions arose, the wife told me she had just the teaching for me and I followed her to ‘the tape room’. When I entered, my jaw dropped because covering two of the four the walls were cassette tracks, each slot containing a cassette tape! I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Here was a treasure trove of good, solid teaching on the Word of God! There was also a filing cabinet that was stuffed with more teaching tapes!
I made it a practice, every week at Bible Study when I left that house to have with me anywhere from three to five tapes. I would listen to them two or sometimes three times, following along in my Bible, underlying key passages, jotting down notes in the margins or in my notebook and once done, I would return them for more!
This was my own personal seminary! The LORD educated me quite rapidly in the Word of Truth, and it wasn’t very long (about a year and a half I think) before I began to teach the Word to others. One thing I can say with absolute confidence: that the stability of my walk and the soundness of my foundation is because of the ministry of that Christian couple, in allowing me access to all of that good, clean and “sound” spiritual provender!
May I likewise encourage you dear saints, to be enthusiastic about your study of God’s Word! Find some reputable, sound teachers, and learn all that you can from them! Take notes, underline your Bible, and commit passages to memory. In your own quiet time of devotionals, prayerfully ask the LORD to grant you insight into His Holy Word. Also, share what you have learned with others that they also may be blessed!
If you can find another saint close by, someone who is mature in the LORD, seek to be discipled by them; since “you will know them by their fruit” look for those who have not mere head knowledge of the Word, but one in whom the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23) is in evidence!
Also note that there are excellent resources to be found here on TTUF; just have a look at the WELCOME page to get a good overview of what we offer.
GAINING GOD’S GRACE, DEMOLISHING THE DEVIL –
19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
21 Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Obedience is something frowned upon in our society as the spirit of rebellion is everywhere; questioning authority out of a sincere inquiry for truth is perfectly fine, but to repudiate truth for the sake of believing a deception that makes allowance for the pleasures of sin and self is always detrimental and destructive.
We along with Paul are “glad . . . on your behalf” who are obedient to the truth as found in the Word. It is a mark of spiritual maturity to be obedient in all things and as a result of this, have the deep wisdom of God revealed to the heart so that we are indeed wise concerning good and can recognize such God-given wisdom and goodness in others.
Being “simple concerning evil” means that we are not familiar with vile practices and conduct as we once were in the world; we possess an innocence, a purity, an absence of anything that would defile us. See Matt. 10:16; Phil. 2:15.
Paul declares this astounding statement almost in passing, as he acknowledges this truth as a foregone conclusion – which it is! That “the God of peace will bruise Satan under your feet shortly”!! This is coupled with “the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ be with you”. Certainly there can be no victory over Satan apart from God’s empowering grace, which alone enables us to acquire the help we need to overcome sin in our lives (Heb. 4:16). Since we are the body of Christ, and He has conquered over Satan in every way, we share in that victory; we who are “in Christ” stand fast upon this truth regardless of our circumstances or even our present condition – because if we are in fact, in Christ, then He who began this work in us, shall complete it (Phil. 1:6) and in that completion (when we see Him face to Face) we shall know utter victory over all things: sin, self and Satan!
STABLISHED, SECRETS, and SCRIPTURES –
25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
Here we have the closing benediction of Paul and He acknowledges the LORD Jesus Christ as the One Who wields the power to establish us in accord with the Gospel. This power (“dunamis”) is the very power of God, and with it our LORD is able to so secure us resolutely in a sure direction that He is able to carry us from here to heaven; that’s the kind of ‘staying power’ that no demon of hell, or vain philosophy of man can deter or corrupt!
This is something that must have a sure foundation (1 Cor. 3:11), and again, this is none other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel we believe must be wholly biblical and free of error; it must be the simple and unadulterated truth of God’s Word expressed and there cannot be any margin for error since this is foundational. Any errors or misrepresentations in such a foundation will sooner or later affect the structure of the entire Christian experience.
This “mystery” is something that is not discovered by human insight, but brought by revelation of God through the Scriptures of the prophets who were given progressive revelation of God’s plan for the ages – that He Himself would become a man, dwell among us, teach us personally of the Truth that is Himself and ultimately pay the price He didn’t owe for those who had nothing to pay!
This Gospel has been revealed to “all nations” and in this day and age, with some blessed exceptions in certain regions of the globe, is being rejected in very belligerent and blasphemous ways. The only ones adhering to the genuine Gospel are those that are ordained unto eternal life, those who out of a willing heart have received (or are receiving) Gospel truth.
As the apostasy increases, and truth is further disparaged, the time is drawing near when the LORD Jesus Christ will appear and bring judgment to this rebel planet for having summarily rejected His offer of grace and truth in the Gospel.
2 THESS. 1: 7-9
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
God calls us to obedience, but it is the obedience of faith, not works, Once genuine faith is genuinely placed in the Person of Christ and His finished work of the cross for the salvation of souls from sin, self and Satan as well as everlasting punishment and perdition, the outworking of such faith will produce good fruit and works, but its vital to understand that our salvation is by faith alone in God’s grace alone through Christ Jesus and His atonement alone.
So ends this chapter and this study of ROMANS: ON THE ROAD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS!!
SUMMARY OUTLINE OF The BOOK OF ROMANS (Using Thompson Chain Ref. as a Source):
KEY VERSES: Romans 1:16; 5:1
PART ONE: Doctrinal – Ch’s. 1 – 11
PART TWO: Practical – Ch’s. 12 – 16
PART ONE: The PLAN OF SALVATION; Justification by faith and Sanctification through the Holy Spirit.
PART TWO: MAINLY EXHORTATIONS; Concerning Christian Duties.
A MASTERLY ARGUMENT:
In Part One the apostle proceeds to prove that the entire human race is surrounded by three insurmountable walls:
1) The Wall of universal guilt (Ch’s. 1-3)
2) The Wall of sinful tendencies (Ch’s. 7:15-24)
3) The Wall of the supposed sovereign election of God of a certain portion of the race to salvation and the divine reprobation of all others (Ch’s. 9:7-18)
In the midst of his argument showing the awful situation of the natural man, he points out the doors of divine mercy provided for in the plan of salvation, by which all men can escape the impending judgments of God if they will.
To overcome the Wall of Guilt, there is the door of Justification by faith; Romans 5:1.
To overcome the Wall of Sinful Tendencies, there is the door of Regeneration: Romans 8:1-4.
To overcome the Wall of Sovereign Election, there is the door of Universal Opportunity: Romans 10:13.
KEY CHAIN Showing the current of thought:
ROMANS 1:16; 3:22-23,28; 4:3; 5:1,18; 9:31-32; 10:3-4,6-9.
PART ONE: The PLAN OF SALVATION.
1) The need of, grounded in universal guilt of mankind:
Of the Gentile world – Ch. 1:18-27
Of the Jews, under condemnation of the Law – Ch. 2:8 to 3:20.
All alike sinners – Ch. 3:23
2) The method of Justification or Righteousness by faith – Ch. 3:21-28.
Universal – Ch. 3:29-30
Honors the Law – Ch. 3:31.
3) Illustrated in the life of Abraham – Ch. 4
Apart from works – vs. 1-6
Apart from ordinances – vs. 9-12
Apart from the law – vs. 3:31
4) The blessings of, made effective through the love of God as manifested in the sacrificial death of Christ – Ch. 5:1-11.
5) The Scope of the free gift of salvation expounded – Ch. 5:12-21.
6) The Free Gift does not encourage the continuance in sin, but demands rather the crucifixion of man’s corrupt nature and a life of holy service to God – Ch. 6:1-23.
7) In Chapter Seven Paul is evidently speaking of the struggle with sinful tendencies and fleshly lusts. Whether he refers to his own experiences before or after conversion, is a question concerning which Bible students differ in opinion. All agree that he vividly portrays the strife going on in the human heart, Ch. 7:7-24.
8) The culmination of the divine plan of salvation is pictured in chapter Eight. It is a new spiritual life of liberty and righteousness through faith in Christ. This is one of the great spiritual chapters of the Bible; in it the Holy Spirit is referred to nineteen times.
9) Parenthesis – Paul’s solicitude for his own people – 9:1-5.
10) The Mystery of Divine Election and God’s dealings with Israel.
Special privileges of Israel – Ch. 9:4-5; See also 3:1-2.
The distinction between the natural and spiritual seed of Abraham – 9:6-13
The mystery of the divine sovereignty – Ch. 9:14-24
The prophets predicted the failure of the Jews to live up to their privileges: the calling of the Gentiles and their acceptance of the divine plan of righteousness by faith – Ch. 9:25-33.
11) The Misapprehension by the Jews of the divine plan, resulting in their self-righteousness by faith – Ch. 10:1-3.
12) The Plan of Salvation by Faith expounded and its universal application set forth – Ch. 10:4-18.
13) God’s dealings with Israel – Ch. 10:19 – 11:12.
14) The Gentiles warned not to boast because of their privileges but to take heed lest they call under condemnation – Ch. 11:13-22.
15) The Restoration of Israel predicted and the mysteries of God’s way declared to be unsearchable – Ch. 11:23-36.
PART TWO: PRACTICAL.
Chiefly Exhortations and Instructions concerning Christian duties – Ch. 12 -16.
Ch. 12. This chapter presents one of the finest summaries of Christian duties foind in the Scriptures.
Ch. 13. 1) Civic and social duties (vs. 1-10)
2) The duty of living as “children of the day” (vs. 11-14).
Ch. 14:1-15:7. Duties to the Weak.
1) Charitableness in judging – Ch. 14:1-13
2) Carefulness not to give offence to, Ch. 14:15-23
3) Bearing the infirmities of, and not pleasing self – Ch. 15:1-7
CLOSING THOUGHTS -
Mainly personal experiences and greetings.
Ch. 15 cont’d -
Reasons for thanksgiving on the part of the Gentiles and the apostle’s wide-spread ministry among them, vs. 8-21.
Paul’s desire to visit Rome and his greetings to the various Christian friends – Ch. 15:22-16:16.
Final words and benediction – 16:17-27. Read more!
Posted by James J. Fire at 3:13 PM
Saturday, April 27, 2013
We now pick up where we left off in part Three of this article; as we began to examine the first four ‘harbingers’ and their accompanying ‘seals’ we saw that Jonathan Cahn presented some aspects of truth and true accounts – but then learned the full story from David James on those facts that Cahn left out, which altered the entire picture and leads us to entirely different conclusions than where the author of The Harbinger would have us believe.
The same goes for the rest of these ‘harbingers’ as we will now see as David James offers more details regarding these so-called signs:
The FIFTH HARBINGER: The GAZIT STONE –
~ Fact concerning Israel: Israel would use the quarried and dressed stones to rebuild, rather than clay bricks, which had been used to build the original structures.
~ Claim concerning America: A quarried Adirondack stone would be the cornerstone of the new World Trade Center tower.
According to Mr. James, the Freedom Tower’s design never intended on using stone in its construction any more than the original towers were built of bricks. A cornerstone was quarried from the granite of the Adirondack mountains and set in place at Ground Zero (July 4, 2004), a few stories below street level for the foundation of the new WTC building but when the plans changed it was given back, sitting unused. Then in 2009 the Freedom Stone was rededicated and relocated to a memorial garden in Hauppauge, New York (about 50 miles from Ground Zero).
Thus the prophecy of using stone to rebuild the Tower was never even close to being fulfilled in any way, and this invalidates this ‘harbinger’.
Mr. Cahn is undeterred however; speaking through the characters of Kaplan and the Prophet, he claims that the laying down of the Freedom Stone was a fulfillment of a prophetic sign, and that it’s removal was a part of the judgment from God. That just as the stones of ancient Israel were demolished and destroyed as God’s hand moved against that nation in righteous Judgment, so likewise the Freedom Stone.
However, how are we to know this and verify this aside from Mr. Cahn telling us so?
David James also points out validly:
”Another problem is the idea of the Freedom Stone being a ‘Gazit Stone’. Except for its first mention, the ‘Gazit Stone’ is always capitalized in the book” (Mr. James quotes a paragraph in which this phrase is used five times) and because it is always so, the every day reader would assume that this is a special stone that was laid down when Israel began her rebellious building project.
There is no such thing as a “Gazit Stone” in any special sense; “gazit” is a generic Hebrew term that refers to “quarried” or “cut stone” (Strong’s Lexicon of Hebrew words for "gazit").
The Freedom stone on the other hand was a specific construction for the specific foundation of the Freedom Tower. Mr. Cahn attempts to use the general in reference for the specific, which in this case is fallacious.
David James states further: “They didn’t build with the Gazit Stone; they merely built with gazit – it was simply building material.” In all eleven instances in which the word “gazit” appears in the Old Testament it merely refers to cut stone, building material; except in perhaps a couple places, it deals with all of the building stones, collectively – never a single, ceremonial stone of any special significance.
“The supposed parallel” says James, “is a manufactured one. It is simply not a harbinger.”
The SIXTH SIGN: The SYCAMORE –
~ Fact Concerning Israel: Many or most of the fig-mullberry trees (sycamores) were cut down by the Assyrians as part of their assault on Israel.
~ Claim concerning America: A lone American sycamore stood in the courtyard of St. Paul’s Chapel in the shadow of the World Trade Center and was knocked down as a result of the collapse of the buildings and flying debree.
“This is yet another forced parallel that does not withstand closer examination.
First, the sycamore (fig-mullberry) of ancient Israel and the American sycamore are two completely different trees that are unrelated in any way. They are not the same species (Ficus syomorus versus Plantanus occidentalis). They are not the same genus (Ficus versus Plantanus) and not even in the same family (Moraceae versus Platanaceae.).
Mr. Cahn attempts to link an association between these two very different species of trees on a linguistic basis; but as the old expression goes “a rose is still a rose by any other name”. One cannot draw association between species, genus or family based on similar linguistic terms; any connection between relations of any life form (certainly including trees) must be according to their biological designation.
The word for ‘sycamore’ in English could be attributed to those trees growing in Israel as well as the United States (though the tree in Israel was fruit bearing, shaqam), but in the Hebrew language these trees had different names because they were different sorts of trees!
David James makes the following comparison:
"The following example from English to Hungarian illustrates the fundamental flaw in the author’s linguistic argument. In Hungarian, the word kocsi can mean either automobile or wagon (horse drawn), but they cannot be used interchangeably in English. Even if one were to install an engine to power a horse drawn wagon in order to make it auto-mobile, it would still not be an automobile.
"Yet this is precisely the type of mistake that Cahn makes in The Harbinger."
Another point that David James makes addresses the intentions of the Assyrians and the attackers of 9-11. In the former instance, the sycamore trees were intentionally cut down (perhaps to make siege engines) or destroyed as specific targets as a means of ruination of the land.
In the latter instance however, the single American sycamore at St. Paul’s church was destroyed but not intentionally so; it was an accident, incidental, collateral damage – and it had no impact on the nation.
The SEVENTH HARBINGER: The EREZ TREE –
~ Fact concerning Israel: Israel declared they would plant with cedars of Lebanon to replace sycamores in defiance of the Assyrians who cut them down and in defiance of God who had sent them to judge the nation.
~ Claim concerning America: A Norway spruce was planted at Ground Zero to replace the sycamore as an act of defiance just as did ancient Israel.
In expressing his conviction that the trees that were cut down in ancient Israel strikes a prophetic parallel to the tree that was downed at Ground Zero on 9-11 and utilizes scientific information to confirm that conviction. As David James says, “[His] scientific argument … appears to be straightforward on the surface. However, the complexity has been obscured by a few well placed ‘broad brush strokes’.”
Despite any comparisons and supposed connections between the sycamores of Israel (the fig-mulberry) and the American sycamore, there isn’t any. They aren’t even in the same botanical family, as Mr. James points out.
Even in his use of the Erez tree, his usage and the way that the Bible uses this word are different – and yet, he equates the one with the other, when in fact his evidence contradicts the biblical evidence.
Mr Cahn attempts to persuade the reader that the spruce that replaced the sycamore at Ground Zero exactly matched the cedars in Isaiah 9:10 (“A particular kind of cone-bearing evergreen” says the Prophet in the story), which according to The Harbinger, this match is due to the fact that cedar and spruce trees are both part of the same broad category. He appeals to the Hebrew erez as meaning ‘cedar’ in English versions of the Bible, which according to the commentaries he cites, “is most likely a generic word for pine family”.
His characters in the story relate the information regarding these two types of trees in the following exchange:
[The PROPHET] “The Erez tree would fall under the botanical classification of panacea.”
[KAPLAN] “Pinacea. And what does pinacea refer to specifically?”
[The PROPHET] “The cedars, the spruce, the pine and the fir.”
[KAPLAN] “So the most accurate identification of the Hebrew word erez would be pinacea tree.”
[The PROPHET] “Yes. The most botanically precise translation of the vow would be, ‘But we will plant panacea trees in their place.”
So one is left to wonder – is the spruce equitable to the erez because it’s a specific kind? Or only because it refers to a broad category of tree. The word erez is not used in the Bible in this manner:
The spruce tree at Ground Zero is not parallel to the cedars of ancient Israel:
David James summarizes his findings here:
1. In Isaiah 9:10 “cedars is the translation of the plural of the Hebrew word erez (erezim).
2. Erez is used in sixty nine verses of the Old Testament and is always translated as “cedar” in twenty different English translations and revisions. Consensus by Hebrew scholars states that erez is always “cedar”.
“That raises the next question: ‘What type of cedar tree did the biblical writers mean when they used erez?’ Were they just cedars in general or a specific type of cedar?”
1. Twenty three of the sixty nine verses identify erez as the cedar of Lebanon because the word Lebanon is either in the verse or the nearby context.
2. Twenty seven of the remaining forty six verses connect erez to construction and buildings, mostly the temple and royal palaces, where only cedars of Lebanon were used. Three of the uses are figurative but are still part of a building metaphor.
3. Seven of the remaining nineteen verses connect erez with religious activity; five with purification, one with sacrifice, and one with making an idol (Some have suggested that the juniper may be in view in Leviticus, but it is never translated that way).
4. In six of the remaining twelve verses, erez is used figuratively. But in each case, the cedar of Lebanon must be in view. It depicts the glory of Israel’s camp in the wilderness, describes the tail of the behemoth in Job, and refers to the majestic cedars. Only Psalm 148: 9 might refer to cedars in general, but the only cedar found in the region of ancient Israel is the cedar of Lebanon.
5. In the last six verses, the trees are planted erez trees. This includes Isaiah 9:10, where it seems clear that specifically cedars of Lebanon will be planted – but not pine trees in general.
6. The Bible does refer to other conifers but never as erez. Other words are translated as fir, cypress and pine, but never as cedar.
7. Erez occurs in some verses with other Pinacea trees, but each refers to a different type of tree, showing that erez cannot be a generic word for a broad category. For example:
19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:
Cedar = erez (a pinacea)
Cypress = berosh (perhaps better: fir – a pinacea)
Pine = tidhar (perhaps Aleppo pine – a pinacea)
Box tree = teashshur (evergreen, but perhaps not a panacea).
The tree mentioned by Mr. Cahn is a specific kind and this erez tree according to biblical evidence (both in linguistics and grammatical application) is exclusively the cedar of Lebanon.
David James comments:
“There is no amazing biblical coincidence between the cedar of Isaiah 9:10 and the Norway spruce at Ground Zero (as the author would have the reader believe). There is no match. There is no parallel. And there is no harbinger.”
The association that Cahn seeks to bring between the biblical sycamore and the Norway spruce is based on what’s known as taxonomic classification (the hierarch of classification based on seven levels of all life forms):
The kingdom > phyla > class > order > family > genus > species.
This system of classification however is based on evolutionary theory and any given specimen in at any of these seven levels can be re-classified over time; it is a highly subjective method of organization and scientists don’t always agree where life forms should and are categorized. David James illustrates this by the following quote –
“The taxonomic tree above tells us that humans and armadillos are related, but not closely. We share the same class, but belong to different orders.”
Yet the Bible states that each creature of God’s making is “after its own kind”. Thus humans are not related to armadillos in any way. See 1 Cor. 15:39; Gen. 1:11.
Therefore we can conclude on biblical grounds that Norway spruce trees produce after their own kind and that kind of tree that is a cedar of Lebanon produces after their own kind.
It is interesting to note however, that even if one adheres to the taxonomic classification system, the cedar of Lebanon belongs to the Pinacea family, in the Cedrus genus, of the Cedrus libani species.
The Norway spruce is of the Pinacea family also, but of the Picea genus and the species of Picea abies. Two totally different kinds of tree that are not at all related on the genus and species level.
“Since The Harbinger purports to convey biblical truth,” David James says, “it seems very misguided to rely on an unbiblical theory of origins and development of life on earth to establish fulfilled prophecy. This is not to suggest that Cahn supports or believes in evolution. And it’s unlikely that he realizes the full implications of his argument. Nonetheless, he should be held accountable for each of the arguments he uses to support his theories.”
Again, if one only examines the biblical text of Isaiah 9:10 and understands the history of the Assyrian attack on Israel, the parallel to the events of 9-11 is non-existent. There was one tree in front of a chapel that was destroyed via collateral damage, a merely incidental occurrence. The event that took place in ancient Israel was a decimation of vast forested areas in which these fig-mulberry trees (sycamores) that was both intentional and broad in its execution.
The replacing of these sycamores with cedars was an act of Israel in defiance to the Assyrian attack, but even more relevantly defiance against God and the judgment He had brought upon His people. However, the Tree of Hope that was planted at Ground Zero was not in defiance at all against God – there is no corroboration in any records any where that can suggest such a thing, other than on Mr. Cahn’s say so:
[KAPLAN] “They replaced the fallen Sycamore with the Erez Tree!”
[The PROPHET] “The sign of a nation’s false hope and defiance before God.”
[KAPLAN] “Who was behind the decision to do that?” I asked.
[The PROPHET] “No one,” he answered, “No one in the sense of any one person making it all happen or trying to fulfill prophecy.”
[KAPLAN] “No one had any idea what they were doing?”
[The PROPHET] “No one.”
Two years after 9-11 the dedication ceremony at St. Paul’s Chapel shared the same attitude at was the original ceremony at the planting of the Norway spruce. In 2002 National Geographic published an article by a minister at the church in which he described his experiences during that year:
“More than 5,000 people used their special gifts to transform St. Paul’s into a place of rest and refuge. Musicians, clergy, podiatrists, lawyers, soccer moms, and folks of every imaginable type poured coffee, swept floors, took out the trash, and served more than half a million meals. Emerging at St. Paul’s was a dynamic I think of as a reciprocity of gratitude, a circle of thanksgiving – in which volunteers and rescue and recovery workers tried to outdo each other with acts of kindness and love, leaving both the giver and receiver changed. This circle of gratitude was infectious and I hope it continues to spread. In fact, I hope it turns into an epidemic.”
While the theological beliefs and statements made at St. Paul’s on a regular basis or even such that were declared revolving around the event of 9-11 may certainly be called into question, the motives and intentions of both the Tree of Hope and prayers and statements made were in no way in defiance of God, but rather an expression of hope towards God.
Mr. Cahn attempts to link prophetic relevance between the Scripture of Isaiah 9:10 with the planting of the Tree of Hope, suggesting (via his characters in the story) that it would be reasonable to plant another sycamore in place of the original, but the fact that it was “replaced with a tree of an entirely different nature” was a required fulfillment of prophecy; there is no such match, nor a harbinger fulfilled.
The EIGHTH HARBINGER: The UTTERANCE –
~ Fact Concerning Israel: Words of defiant pride and arrogance were uttered by Israel after the Assyrian invasion as prophesied in Isaiah 9: 9-10.
~ Claim Concerning America: When America’s leaders in Washington, D.C. repeat the words of Isaiah 9:10, they are proclaiming a vow that officially pronounces God’s judgment against the United States.
“This does not appear to be simply part of the fictional storyline, but rather a connection that Cahn affirms time and again throughout the book. The evidence continues to mount that he believes that in some way Isaiah 9:10 was not only to Israel but was also to, about, and for the United States. Cahn uses the idea that ‘Somehow Isaiah 9:10 has to be connected to Washington, D.C. to set up his theory concerning the eighth harbinger.”
~ David James.
John Edwards (vice presidential candidate at the time) at the Congressional Black Caucus Prayer Breakfast said the following words, which according to Cahn, Mr. Edwards was expressing (unknowingly…?) defiant words that paralleled the defiance of Israel in their reaction to the Assyrian invasion (for a complete reading of this speech made by John Edwards, go here).
The following are excerpts from this speech:
“Good morning. Today, on this day of remembrance and mourning, we have the Lord’s word to get us through. ‘The bricks have fallen, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place’.”
“Today, a town gathers in front of their church. It is a town where so many—53—were taken before their time. For a week after that September day, the Lord's doors were open. The Lord's doors were open for that hour of loneliness just before dawn…”
“They will lay a wreath. They will pray onward soldier you answered your calling here but your work is not done in the Lord's house. And they will pray for those whose wounds have not healed—the burns that cause them great pain every time they reach out to hold their wife's hand until the stars rise and the night falls on this day in September.”
“At this hour and all day long, strangers will follow the Lord's wish. In memory and in the hope that goodwill and grace will always triumph out of tragedy, they will give…”
“At this breakfast, our prayers will be heard and answered for those who still need comfort…”
“Thank you and God bless you, the families and friends who mourn, and our great United States of America.”
There is no indication by these or any words spoken in this speech that even hints at defiance towards God for what was done; rather the reverse – it was a message of comfort, reassurance, and hope (even if it was a false hope proclaimed by unbelievers). Yet Jonathan Cahn through the character of Kaplan says this:
“It wasn’t about the motive or the intention of the one doing it, but the fact that it was done . . . that it happened. It happened because it had to happen. It was another replaying of the ancient mystery. What the speaker intended to say was irrelevant. The words came out because those were the words that had to be spoken. The vow had to be proclaimed; the word of the ancient leaders over the ancient calamity had to be proclaimed by an American leader over 9-11. And by doing so, the two nations, the ancient and the modern, were bound together. The utterance would join the Assyrian invasion to 9-11 and America’s post 9-11 defiance to Israel’s defiance in the face of God’s judgment.”
Cahn believes that Jonathan Edwards was openly defying God but at the same time . . . didn’t realize it (?). He makes such an assumption of Tom Daschle and his comments; that their words conveyed a meaning altogether different than the actual words that were spoken, even though the speakers themselves had no idea why they really were saying them (?).
“… in spite of Edward’s clear intentions, God caused [him] to unknowingly pronounce judgment on America,” observed David James of Cahn's assertion.
Not only did God cause these people who quoted Isaiah 9:10 in their speeches to say what they said, but Cahn even goes so far as to say that God caused Tom Daschle to prophesy judgment against America – something not even the leaders of ancient Israel did in their genuine defiance against the LORD.
Further, Cahn asserts that a biblical “vow” – Hebrew: neder [noun form], and nadar [verb form] (the word “vow” is used 100 times, according to David James in The Harbinger) was uttered by the leaders of ancient Israel, and that this same type of vow was likewise proclaimed by leaders here in America; neither happens to be the case because a biblical vow involves the declaration of a promise or an intent either directly to God (Gen. 28:20; 31:13), or to another person with God as a (indirect) witness (Psalm 119: 105-106).
All such “utterances” therefore are not by any means to be associated with what the leadership of ancient Israel said – neither were vows before God or indirectly to God as a witness to a vow made to another. David James comments:
“Just as before, Cahn reads his theories and conclusions into multiple events in order to connect dots that are not there and then presents them as undeniable facts. Consequently, just as is true of the previous harbingers, the eighth harbinger is only one of the author’s own making. It does not exist…”
The NINTH HARBINGER: The PROPHECY –
~ Fact Concerning Israel: Isaiah 9:10 as a whole was a prophecy; a word from God through the prophet Isaiah, concerning what would befall Israel.
~ Claim Concerning America: By quoting Isaiah’s prophecy against Israel, America’s leaders were likewise prophesying judgment against the United States in the wake of 9-11.
This prophecy of Isaiah is claimed by Mr. Cahn to have also been proclaimed by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in his speech made on 9-12-2001 (the day after the attack) as he ended the speech with a quote of Isaiah 9:10, but this is not the case. In the book and also in the dvd production of the book, some editing had been done that left off Tom Daschle’s last statements. By ending the speech with his paraphrase of the prophecy in Isaiah, it would seem more conclusive that his words match those spoken by Israel long ago.
Unlike Israel however, Mr. Daschle’s words were not spoken in defiance but as a means of comfort (as with Jonathan Edwards), because what he said was:
“The people of America will stand together because the people of America have always stood together, and those of us who are privileged to serve this great nation will stand with you. God bless the people of America.”
Mr. Cahn claims through the voice of his characters that Daschle made a vow, and that vow “[became] part of a prophetic revelation given to the nation as a whole, an indictment of its rebellion, a foretelling of its future, a warning of its judgment. The Ninth Harbinger: the Prophecy.”
Cahn asserts that Daschle unwittingly and blindly was pronouncing judgment, upon a nation under judgment – playing his part in a prophetic mystery’ claiming that the words of the ancient vow (Is. 9:10) were “now officially joined to America and 9-11. And just as Isaiah’s recording of the vow transformed it into a matter of national record and a prophetic word for all the people, so now the same words were officially recorded in the Annals of Congress as a matter of national record.”
Cahn claims that not just prophets can prophesy, but that others who were inspired of God to record the Word in Scripture also conveyed God’s message to people. “Others can speak under inspiration,” says Cahn; he cites as an example, the high priest in his discussion with some of the Sanhedrin (John 11:49-51). The one problem with this is that this was in fact the high priest (as corrupt as he was) of Israel, and Daschle is not – he doesn’t even represent his nation as a spiritual leader of any kind: he’s a politician.
Add to this, the proclamation of God’s Word with inspired and revelatory messages is done with; there are no more inspired words of God than what has already been recorded in Scripture and we could not find any even if we scoured the entire world, obviously not at the mouth of a United States Senator on Capital Hill! Daschle is not a prophet, he is not a priest, and he cannot claim to have had a revelation from God in any sense of inspiration as a declarative ‘word of God’.
Assuming for a moment that Daschle’s words were a revelatory message from God, how would Cahn know that they were unless it was revealed to him by God? We know that the words spoken by the high priest Caiaphas were, but only because the Word of God said so! We have no such assurance from the pages of Scripture the same is the case with this American politician – only Cahn’s word for it and that is not nearly enough.
David James lists these six reasons why Cahn’s assertions re: ‘revelatory statements under inspiration’ cannot be applied to any one in America (or anywhere else for that matter):
1) Israel was a theocracy, America is not; Israel was under a covenant relationship with the LORD and America is not.
2) As with any true theocracy, the political and religious realms were inseparably linked; such a linkage is precluded here in America due to the Constitution.
3) God used Caiaphas by virtue of his position as high priest, a representative of the people before God. America’s leaders are not spiritual leaders and represent the people before government, not God.
4) This situation with Caiaphas appears to be unique with no previous incidences or any following. This makes it impossible to be utilized to establish a pattern of the way that God works.
5) The true meaning of Caiaphas’s words did not contradict what he intended to, or actually did say. They simply carried more significance than he or those around him realized. Cahn asserts that Daschle’s words meant the exact opposite of what both he intended and what he actually did say.
6) Allegorical interpretation is a hermeneutical approach that disconnects the real meaning of a passage from what the words of the text actually say. The problem is that there is no objective measure by which we can weigh such words to ascertain how to interpret such words, nor to discern if such an interpretation is correct.
In Cahn’s book, there are two sections and we have completed a review of the first. In the second half of The Harbinger, after having laid a foundation (chapters 1 – 13) of interpretations and arguments to support his assertions involving these nine harbingers of coming judgment, Cahn speaks of something called, “The Second Shaking” – God’s final warning to America before judgment actually falls.
He also speaks of something called “The Isaiah 9:10 Effect” but neither of these are founded on credible exposition and hermeneutical treatment from the Holy Scriptures of truth. To learn about these other aspects, we here at TTUF would strongly urge you to get a copy of The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction by David James.
For a synopsis of each chapter, David James has written the following for The BEREAN CALL.
To order the book from TBC and to read a preview, please go here.
A TTUF CONCLUSION – FINAL WORDS.
We understand that the LORD GOD of ISRAEL is a HOLY and JUST GOD and because of His holy integrity as the JUDGE of the whole Earth, He cannot refrain from this obligation of judgment upon any and all sin.
As stated previously, a cursory view of the Psalms will reveal that our God is a God of justice (“judgment” in the KJV; see for examples, Psalm 7:8; 9:19; 96:10) and as I am fond of saying, particularly in light of increasing and offensive injustices in this world, “There is no such thing as eternal injustice.”
The LORD Jesus Christ Himself, though He is Savior and the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) has also been committed by the Father to be the Judge of the whole world; when He comes visibly to the world for every eye to see (Rev. 1:7) , He will mete out judgment upon all that have rejected His Gospel.
22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
2 THESSALONIANS 1:7-9
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
We believe that America, like the rest of the world is under judgment by a Holy God that will be measured out at the appointed time (which is in God’s hands alone) but not because we have broken covenant with the LORD (there is no such covenant which the LORD established with any other nation except Israel, a statement replete in this series!) but because we have sinned against the LORD and His Law and rejected His Gospel which He has graciously extended to all peoples everywhere for the salvation of their souls. I believe that to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48) and since America has been inundated with the Gospel and the Bible, we have been given much in the way of spiritual opportunity – and will receive the greater judgment therefore, having rejected (even mocked and derided!) such preciously Divine treasures!
This is why it is imperative that we bring the Gospel to the lost on an individual basis for the salvation of each and every soul that will place their faith in the LORD Jesus Christ; we are not about ‘the salvation of cultures’ – they have no souls nor were they intended to be redeemed by the Person of Christ; these are only sanctified when a number of people have come to salvation and function properly as salt and light in any such culture.
We may not be able to stay the hand of God in His righteous judgment, nor would we want to – but we can bring souls to the foot of the Cross and there proclaim their sins may be forgiven them by the shed blood of the Lamb, and at that Cross, they may see their own sin judged by God – and forgiven and washed away!
We must also be aware of the growing movements towards Christian Nationalism, a sort of spin-off of Dominion Theology, where the church supposedly is commanded to “take back” our nation and restore it to its biblical roots (i.e., our supposed covenant with God as established by our Founding Fathers or Pilgrims of Plymouth?). Any movement that suggests anything other than simply preaching the Gospel for the salvation of souls and discipleship of the saints, who are saved by the blood of the Lamb, in the Word of God, must be scrutinized for such unbiblical ideas as “restoring
NOTE to TTUF readers, we will soon be addressing The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement which has close ties with and adheres to Dominion style theology.
One last thought on the heart of God that I’ve always thought upon:
God drags His feet when it comes to judgment; but sprints to deliver His grace and mercy. Read more!
Posted by James J. Fire at 2:15 PM
Friday, April 5, 2013
Posted by The Berean Call
Friday, April 5, 2013, Dave Hunt drew his final breath and entered
into the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His beloved wife
Ruth was at his side.
Born in 1926, David Charles Haddon Hunt enjoyed the advantages of a godly upbringing and placed his trust in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord in his early teens.
As a young man, he served in the military toward the end of World War II. Afterward, he attended UCLA and received a degree in mathematics. It was during that time that he met the love of his life, Ruth Klassen. In 1950, they were married, and since both loved the outdoors, they enjoyed a beautiful honeymoon hiking in the High Sierras—perfect for two young people madly in love and with very little money to their name. Marriage was soon followed by the birth of two sons and two daughters. Ruth was a busy mother and also a gifted writer herself. She had a tremendous interest in and knowledge of history, a gift that would help Dave further down the road. Dave’s own career path led him into a position as a CPA/management consultant and later as the manager of several corporations.
Along with church-related activities, Dave initiated and became involved in numerous campus ministries and meetings in their home, with a special outreach to Jewish young people and foreign students. Many of these have stayed in touch with Dave and Ruth through the years, fondly recalling their times spent in Bible studies at the Hunts’ house.
Dave and Ruth also traveled abroad, spending time in various locations throughout Europe, meeting with believers there and ministering in many ways while raising their own family. Dave also brought Bibles and other materials into the Soviet Union during a time when it was very difficult to do so. Throughout his later years, he and Ruth traveled extensively as he was invited to speak in churches and fellowships, large and small, all over the world. Often they stayed in people’s homes, dining with them, learning their customs, and sharing God’s Word and God’s love.
Posted by A.M. Kisly / James Fire at 10:05 PM
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The following article is a critique on the chapter “The Existing Church/Emergent Church Matrix” written by Emergent Leader Tim Conder.
Tim Conder is the pastor of Emmaus Way, an emergent community in Durham, North Carolina and remains a standing elder and friend of the Chapel Hill Bible Church, a fellowship he co-pastored for fifteen years. Tim is a member of the coordinating team for Emergent Village, a member of the board of directors of Mars Hill Graduate School, and the author of The Journey of Existing Churches into Emerging Culture (Zondervan, 2006). He is married to Mimi and they have two children Keenan and Kendall.
As has been consistently demonstrated in all of the articles thus far presented, the Emergent philosophy is very ‘horizontal’ in its perspective. Think about the various ‘gospels’ that are promoted today: The Green Gospel, the Social/Social Justice Gospel, the Liberal Gospel, the New Age/Spirituality Gospel, the Dominionist/Kingdom Now/Latter Day Rain Gospel . . . one thing (among others) that they all have in common is that they are all very ‘horizontal’ that is, they deal to a very large degree in focusing on change among human beings rather than change in human beings. They emphasize relational alterations between people and people groups and desire to bring about change (especially where biblical Christianity and world view is concerned) via consensus, dialogue and finding ‘common ground’ through the production of ‘stories told’ that are in their mind inspired in much the same way as the ‘stories’ people told in biblical times (in case you didn’t catch that, this is how Emergent folk refer to the Bible, the Holy Word of God!).
Such gospels and perspectives have very little, nothing in fact, to do with the living God in accordance with Truth. We understand that any relationship with the LORD must be one of worship and we must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24). Yet there are many within the ranks of the Emergent Movement that have found a home in the midst of such a belief system, and are actually “blessed” to be a part of this!
Tim Conder comments: “I have been privileged – no, downright blessed – to be a leader in Emergent Village and its organizational forbears for now approaching a decade. Like many in this community, though, my passion and enthusiasm for its values had greatly predated some of the first national gatherings on ‘Generation X ministries’ and ‘the postmodern church’ that served as public unveilings for what would become the emerging church movement. I have watched this community experience so many metamorphoses – from being virtually unnoticed to struggling to manage the interest generated, from predominantly deconstructing traditional Christianity to have a seat at the table in many institutional expressions of Christianity, from being defined by its ideological differences and eccentricities to being identified by the creativity and impact of its communities. . .
“My dual citizenship (mainstream evangelical church and emergent church) has come with a few costs . . .”
EPHESIANS 2: 13 - 20
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
The citizenship that all true believers have obtained has been as a result of no cost of our own, but by “the blood of Christ” and it’s to the kingdom of God that we owe our allegiance, not to any ‘dual-citizenship’ between more traditional denominations, mainstream evangelistic and the more heretical body of the Emergent Church/Village that espouses an extremely liberal, humanistic bias of the Scriptures.
They are in fact “deconstructing traditional (read that, biblical) Christianity” and that is the point of the Emergent Church – they rightly perceive that the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ is highly offensive (and supposedly “not relevant” or ineffective) in this postmodern culture that has flourished in the seed bed of the American Public School system.
Secular humanism is the norm there, and evolution is taught as science fact, planted in the fertile minds of our youth (To understand the parameters of this evil environment that is our public school system and the goals of those who have developed it, visit TTUF’s series on this subject by using the search engine and type “EDUCRATS” – three articles will appear for your perusal); so that the Emergent Church has begun to reap this corrupt harvest and as well as this, has made a new set of clothes for such an anti-Bible society, tailoring it with treacherous heresy and an outright denial of the fundamentals of the faith (the Deity of Christ, the atonement of Christ on the cross, the creation account, etc.).
“The gulf of interest and trust between the emerging church and the landscape of existing churches of all traditions seemed immense and insurmountable” stated Mr. Conder, and for good reason: the two groups have entirely different foundations! One is founded upon the Rock, the LORD Jesus Christ and His Word (Matt. 16: 16-18; John 8:31; 14:6); the other is founded upon “philosophy and vain deceit of men” (Col. 2:8).
Mr. Conder states further: “. . . the existing churches and the emerging church has given me a vision for the future matrix of relationships between existing churches and the emergent community and the missional possibilities for this potential friendship.”
Behold, the Hegelian Dialectic in action! This phenomena is used prodigiously among political, religious, economic and civil authorities and bodies; one takes a thesis, say biblical creationism and then an anti-thesis as ‘scientific’ (more like scientism really) evolution and then merge the two in a synthesis: theistic evolution.The same can be said for another Hegelian Dialectic that is becoming more popular these days: thesis – Christianity; anti-thesis – Islam; synthesis: Chrislam.
So this matrix that Mr. Conder envisions is yet another merging of these two (somewhat) opposing views of traditional churches (more or less compromised, apostasized, homogenized with heresy) and the emergent church (same thing but more blatant and lauded by people of other religions and religious leaders like the Dalai Lama) and merging these into the sinister synthesis of what the Bible declares as the Whore of Babylon.
REVELATION 17: 5-6
5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
Something we have probably all realized by now is that the Emergent Church heavily endorses something that has been brought about by Roman Catholic (“desert fathers”) that is now called contemplative prayer (spiritual formation), an exercise in the occult that belongs to the “mystery” or “esoteric” schools of many different societies throughout the ages. Thus the appellation of this “Mother of Harlots” that includes “Mystery” and “Babylon” is most telling.
This Emergent Church Movement will eventually bring about the formerly biblical churches to Rome and find union with the Roman Catholic Institution, which in itself is Babylon and will incorporate the world’s religions into a singular whole or ‘Babylon’; ready for the false Prophet to take the lead in bringing adoration to the Beast (Revelation 13: 8, 11-18).
There are times when one finds clarification about objectionable views and beliefs directly from the mouth of opponents to the Word of Truth and this is the case here with Mr. Conder:
“These missional possibilities have not always been apparent. The early relationship of the existing church and the church emerging in postmodernity can be characterized by a series of dramatic collisions. Just a partial list of these ecclesiological struggles would include sharp collisions in ethics, epistemologies (the nature and understanding of truth), theology, [the] gospel, mission[s], biblical interpretation, leadership, spiritual formation, and the nature of the Christian community.”
These collisions are apparent in any Hegelian Dialectic and certainly no less in today’s churches that are gravitating towards emergent beliefs and practices; the thing is, in an ordinary automobile collision, there are still two vehicles with certain levels of damage; yet in these sort of ecclesial collisions the biblically viable church is the one damaged and the emergent counterpart is the one that absorbs it into itself, creating a whole apostate system.
The gospel of the church of Jesus Christ is not at all the gospel of the emergent church; their method of epistemology is wholly counteractive of what this system of study is for the true church, which believes that truth is real, propositional, clearly recognizable and understandable and immutable in all eternity. The emergent church believes none of these things, or at least not within the biblically defined parameters.
Here is a chart that Mr. Conder has constructed that demonstrates this even further.
Mr. Conder relates a story that involves a “gifted volunteer” who was working for him in the days when Mr. Conder was a youth pastor. He struggled with the amount of attention given in sermons at the church on certain issues (eternal salvation and the lifestyle of those who embraced this salvation), while others were not dealt with at all: social issues like “. . . the environment, racism, poverty and other systemic injustices. . .”
Where in the Scriptures does it speak on the duties of the church having to do with the environment? Certainly we are to be good stewards of all that God has given to us, and this would obviously include our planet, and each of us must be responsible with how we use resources, proper disposal of trash, etc. However, corporately as the church, we are to “be about [our] Father’s business” which is the salvation of souls, the discipleship of saints, being salt and light in a corrupt society; this applies on an individual level as well – and this is also the allocation for personal conscience regarding how involved we should be concerning the environment.
Other issues like poverty – the church has long been the source of charity throughout history and even at such recent times and tragedies like Hurricane Katrina, it was the churches that stepped up and helped those in need when our own Federal (FEMA) government botched their seemingly half-hearted efforts.
It was the same thing during 9-11, and other devastations. There are scores of Christian charities that send multiple millions of dollars to the poor and needy the world over (both Anne Kisly and I are sponsors to help deprived children overseas and bring them aid spiritually, intellectually and physically.
What about racism? This is really a non-issue once a person comes to Christ and is spiritually transformed from sinner to saint, from child of darkness to child of light. I have personally known people who were horribly bigoted and hateful towards others because of skin color and, or religion – but once these came to Christ, such hateful beliefs and motivations were stripped away and there was genuine, Christ-like love for people that were once hated! Such is the miraculous, transformational power of Jesus Christ and His glorious gospel!
Yet the emergent church sees these as issues that need to be dealt with; and how would they go about dealing with these issues, through such carnal methods as education and social action?
These social problems can’t be solved directly or with lasting results and even if they could be – such would be a short lived victory that would end at death and without saving grace would send all unrepentant participants in ‘social action’ to an eternity in hell.
Mr. Conder stated of a colleague of his, one that shared more ‘traditional’ beliefs (I might presume by this he means biblical of the orthodox kind) that [his] real issue “is defined by doctrinal boundaries and a shared confession of primary beliefs. In his mind, the study and affirmation of doctrine catalyzes spiritual formation. Theological systems guide our theological inquires and biblical interpretation. Our doctrinal foundation shapes personal ethics and absolute propositions about truth.”
Such a statement obfuscates and degrades what the Bible says of itself, that this is the very Word of God and should be received as such by all Christians (1 Thess. 2:13) who recognize that Jesus Christ is the Word Incarnate, and that this Word inspired the writers of Scripture by the Spirit of God; it places the wisdom of this Holy Book down to a level of “theological systems” which guide interpretation, when in fact we must recognize that the Inspired Scripture alone, which is the very Word of God guides our interpretation.
Christians no matter what level of authority they may (or may not) possess has no authority to interpret Scripture as they see fit (2 Pet. 1: 19-21); we let the context of the entirety of Scripture to interpret the individual passages, or put in another way, we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. I’ve often said when leading any Bible study, in encouraging the saints gathered there to engage in their own personal study, and when they do – they have the best set of commentaries possible when they examine any one book of the Bible; sixty five other books in fact to provide insight and commentary on the book they’ve decided to study, and those are the other (sixty five) books of the Bible!
This is not to say that “theological systems” are invalid, just the unbiblical ones are! We must never take any such system for granted, but as with any and all teachers who might provide such systems, we are duty bound to “search the Scriptures daily to see if these things be so” (Acts 17:11).
That is one of the trademarks of the Emergent Church; that while they may give lip service to the inspiration of Scripture and show some (usually) small level of respect for the Bible, their view of the Holy Word is almost always rather low; quite the opposite of God’s view of His own Word, which He exalts about even His most Holy Name (Psalm 138:2)!
“The existing church must find its way into the emerging culture to retain its missiological credibility or perhaps even to survive. The emerging church’s formation is delayed despite significant demand for its presence and passions, by the opposition of the established, existing church,” says Mr. Conder.
I can sense on a very subtle level a kind of threat (unintentional in all likelihood) thinly veiled in these words. There are many aspects of these statements that I take serious issue with:
1) The word “must” used for the existing church to find its way into emerging culture for starters; the church of Jesus Christ “must” not follow or obey or receive counsel from anyone or any “theological system” other than the LORD Jesus Christ and His written Word, for it is Christ Who is the Head of the church (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18) and her Redeemer (Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 1:18). He paid for us with His own blood (Acts 20: 28) and therefore no one has even the slightest authority to dictate terms to her, particularly those whose counsel runs counter to the Word.
2) The church has never found credibility in the eyes of the world; her words were never heard by those who belong to this world system under Satan, just as our LORD told us. Only those who are “of God” will hear our words, but those who are not, will never hear us, but hate us (John 15: 18 – 25; 8: 46 – 48).
3) Mr. Conder talks about the church “surviv[ing]” and expresses concern that she might not unless she changes her “missiological” position. Not to worry Mr. Conder, the church of Jesus Christ was founded upon Himself, the Rock (Matt, 16:18) – and she will most certainly survive without any emergent assistance (rather flourish more properly without its corrupting influences! 1 Cor. 5: 6 - 8), even though the gates of hell would seek to prevail against her. There is no need of emergent wisdom when we have that superior wisdom that if sent to us who ask for it, from the LORD Himself (James 1:5, 14-18; see also 1 Cor. 2: 12-14; 3:18-20; 2 Cor. 1: 11-13; Eph. 1: 8, 17; Col. 1:9; 2: 2-4).
4) Mr. Conder observes that “the emerging church’s formation is delayed . . . by the opposition . . . of the church” and to this might I respond with a hearty “PRAISE THE LORD!” because if this is the case, then we can at least find some comfort that the church hasn’t lost all of her ‘saltiness’ (Matt. 5:13) in staving off the corruption of doctrinal “leaven” (Matt. 16: 6) that is permeating too many church fellowships!! The interesting thing about “leaven” or yeast as we call it, is that when mixing it, one cannot use water that is too hot or cold; too hot and the yeast will be destroyed. Too cold and it won’t activate, and yet if the water is warm, “lukewarm” one could say, then it flourishes and grows with incredible speed (Interesting also that salt is a substance that helps to arrest the growth of leaven)! Consider the words of the LORD Jesus Christ to the church of Laodicea:
REVELATION 3: 14-17
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Needless to say that a compromised, lukewarm church that has left their first love is the fertile and quintessential breeding ground for apostasy!
5) Who is it that is demanding the “presence and passions” of the emerging church? For the most part, Postmodernists who disparage the idea of absolute truth, of the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, of the Divine claims of Jesus Christ and His virgin birth and glorious resurrection; those who are concerned with the here and now to the exclusion of eternity.
A couple of articles from TTUF that the reader might consider in dealing with the claims of Jesus Christ and some of the issues disparaged by the ECM are as follows:
JESUS IS GOD
CHRIST's COURT - SOON IN SESSION
Those who are making such demands care more about social action than salvation, about reformation of the wrong kind of spirituality rather than repentance from sin as defined by the Law of God (and not political correctness); they care more about cleaning up the environment than cleansing themselves from evil works.
These are the sort that are demanding such a “presence and passion” from the emergent church, they who “earthly things” (Phil. 3:18-20). For myself, I much more prefer the presence and passion of the Holy Spirit and of the precious Word of the LORD Jesus Christ!
6) And as for “opposition” there is much to say! The fact that Mr. Conder recognizes that there is an opposition between the Emergent Church Movement and the established evangelical church reveals the truth of the matter; simply that there is something substantial and significant to oppose!
Those who love the Word of God, the very Word of Truth, who understand that there is an objective and absolute Truth to know, believe and obey will never seek to compromise or mediate the Truth.
Jesus Christ said of Himself that He is the ROCK, the ROCK of the church; in passages in the Old Testament, such words as “the Rock of our salvation” recur with regularity (Deut. 32:15; 2 Sam. 22: 3, 47; Psalm 18: 2, 46; Psalm 62: 7; Isaiah 17: 10 and others).
The Scripture also states in the Old Testament that if an altar is to be built of rock, it must be unhewn rock (in other words used ‘as is’ without any embellishments) and if any would use a carving tool to shape it into something other than it already is, that rock is invalid for use in worship (Exodus 20:25).
Now in the New Testament, we worship as the altar of Christ, represented in the worship of the saints, but we cannot ‘alter this altar’ by seeking to change the image of Jesus Christ as given us in the Scriptures. Any who seek to bring “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11: 3-4) by altering Who Jesus is, what His Word means, what His mission was, is and will be – if we do this, we pollute who Jesus is and such a Jesus, an ‘altered’ rock is invalid!
And we the saints of God will always and ever oppose those who seek to change JESUS the ROCK of our SALVATION and HIS LIVING WORD sent to us His church!
On the one hand Mr. Conder finds the state of the church deplorable which seeks to increase membership by raffling off cars and motorcycles and creates competitive methods to stir up existing members to seek out prospective ones. On the heels of this protest he states:
”The notion of a pure gospel unaffected by culture blinds us to circumstances where consumerism or competition with other fellowships have driven ministry decisions, occasions when wealth or physical beauty have been unspoken criteria for leadership positions or even the tragic situations when institutional forms of prejudice or racism have gone undetected. We’re all guilty on some level!”
Certainly that is true to some extent, at least perhaps where church function is concerned; there are those who ask “Where is the position of a ‘senior pastor’ mentioned in Scripture? Or “Sunday School” or “Youth Group”? The simple answer is that there isn’t any to be found; that these are Western derivations found in the church. Does this mean that the LORD can’t use such functions and positions? No, I don’t believe that this is the case, however we must be careful in understanding what is explicitly found in Scripture for the direction the church is to follow and what is not found, and where it is not found, we must weigh soberly its ramifications.
As for a “pure gospel” unaffected by culture, it has been my personal experience having gone abroad and ministering the Gospel to Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and New Agers alike, that this message is universally applicable and needed no such alterations, nor was it in itself altered in order to accommodate these different cultures. The Gospel message is a ‘one size fits all’ as far as its presentation is concerned – and that would also include the ‘Generation X’ and Postmodern populace! As stated previously, the only reason why Emergents want to change the Gospel, and the very heart of the church of Jesus Christ is out of a misguided belief that in order to affect this generation we must reach them where they are at. The problem with that is that the present generation along with these groups just mentioned have been inundated with public school indoctrination and most especially evolution; along with this, a steady diet of humanism, values clarification and situational ethics, being taught that truth is relative and personally subjective according to the individual.
We cannot suit this generation by tailoring the Gospel in order to fit their views! What must change is NOT the GOSPEL and the collective Scripture of the WORD of GOD nor our view of it as the church! What must change is the heart of this generation in a spirit of meekness and repentance; we as the church must expose the LIES of evolution (I prefer the spelling ‘evilution’ myself), and relative truth, and the amoral ethics that have permeated our society.
NOTHING BUT THE PURE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST CAN AND WILL DO THIS! In order to bring this pure Gospel, unaffected by our culture, we must simply remain faithful to what the Word of God dictates in the parameters of the Good News of Jesus Christ!
We cannot afford to ‘dialogue’ away the Gospel by meeting and associating with other groups that are opposed to the Gospel, nor can we establish a consensus to compromise this Word of God.
“In a climate of theological openness, emergent passions would certainly have greater credibility because of the sheer volumes of persons who share them,” states Mr. Conder. So there can be credibility by popularity, even if those “sheer volumes of persons” are wrong as the Scriptures prove true? This is the very stuff of Laodicea, where the “rule of the people” dictates ecclesial policy instead of the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ and such can never have any credibility in the eyes of God – nor in ours who love Jesus Christ and His Truth.
So ends this final section of this treatment of this book An Emergent Manifesto of Hope; of course there is a lot more said in this book than what I have examined in these five parts, but the essential spirit of the ECM has been exposed sufficiently so that the biblical reader will understand the basic framework in which this movement operates.
I believe, as does Anne Kisly, co-writer of TTUF, that this Emergent Church Movement is a tool used by Satan to amalgamate and blend what was the faithful evangelical church into an apostate body that will itself merge with the Roman Catholic Church (which is absorbing Protestant denominations in increasing degrees - and form what we know the Scriptures refer to as a one world religion (See Revelation chapters 17 and 18).
Now that there is a Pope who is of the Jesuit discipline, we can only expect this process to be expedited in these last days before the return of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. He has already sought for a greater presence in Israel for Roman Catholicism.
It is the expressed and heartfelt prayer and hope of TTUF that those who are born of God’s Spirit, and who love and follow His Word will remain vigilant and prayerfully determined to stand against any and all emergent and apostate philosophies and directives. Faithful no matter what the cost; even if we must stand against the authorities in our churches (meekly, not arrogantly), even if we lose friends and allies, even if we are labeled as “unloving and divisive and judgmental”, even if it means our persecution or (perhaps eventually) the forfeiting of our lives!
Our lives are the LORD’s any way, to do with what He desires, so let us hold fast to the Word of Truth at any and all costs! AMEN! Read more!
Posted by James J. Fire at 11:51 PM