"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

HTML

BOOKMARK AND SHARE

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

DEAR CHRISTIAN, LET'S PRESS ON...

by A.M. Kisly

Dear Saints,


I read a devotion today written by Ken Silva that was so pertinent to the times we live in that I thought I'd it share with all of you. I hope it speaks to you as it did to me.


Philippians 3:13-16


"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing."


The Battle Begins To Intensify...........


You need to know that this age in which we live will be one of increased spiritual warfare, and that our time grows ever shorter before the return of our Lord. Now I make no prediction as to when Christ comes again—it may not be in our lifetime—but, I can tell you this: When Jesus returns, He will not be in a good mood. And further, because Christ Jesus is God, Paul is trying to remind us in our opening text, that we must put forth some kind of an effort, if we really want to know Him. Just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean that you immediately have a deep, intimate, personal relationship with God.


This is not to confuse Law and Gospel; there’s nothing we can add to what God in Christ has done, I’m speaking of the working out of our salvation (Phil. 2:12).

The truth is the life of the genuine Christian can be very hard at times, and especially so in an evil generation like this when men call what is good, evil and what is evil, good (Is. 5:20). More than ever we must really be a family in Christ—united around our Savior and Lord—Jesus of Nazareth, the King and Commander of the Army of the living God, which is a real good reason to come home into His Church and to worship your Lord with your fellow soldiers. The Good News is there’s repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name for all who will come.

Now, the United States Marine Corps is an organization with a very storied heritage, and this nation owes much to them. But what you may not know is that a recruit is not really considered a Marine, until he has finished their Basic Training Program. Then in the graduation ceremony, there is a very special moment when the top Marine Commander turns to these soldiers and calls them a Marine for the very first time. And as you might imagine, it is a special feeling creating an unbreakable bond to a proud organization with a gallant history.

Well I pray that we here in the Body of Christ may feel this way as the Lord addresses us—the Church—His own even more storied and gallant organization of fellow soldiers that God has stationed here in this foreign mission field of increasingly pagan America. As the song goes — “God bless America; land that I love; stand beside her, and guide her; through the night with the light from Above.” O how glorious that Jesus—Who is that Light—has called us His Christians. And remember, all of us have special tasks in this Army called the Church of God.

Take Up Your Weapon And Join The Battle

I invite you to end your Basic as a recruit and to join us—fellow Christian—as we go to war for the souls of the lost here in America. As one looks at all the lunacy in the Lord’s Name going on in The Ecumenical Church Of Deceit it becomes obvious that God needs more soldiers for the harvest, as we move out on the offensive to take back the aisles of our local churches for Jesus. We need “special forces” who can attack Satan’s doomed troops with the Sword of the Spirit. We need “nurses” to tend to the wounded; “engineers” to do maintenance and “drill instructors” to equip our soldiers for battle.

And most importantly we need “Prayer Warriors” to fire our most powerful Weapon—the Prayers of the true Saints of God:

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Let me ask you—fellow Christian—does that sound like we should cower before our enemy, and just let him pound us until we break? For Jesus’ sake—no! You must understand that not even Satan himself can stand when God’s people go to their knees and pray!

Read more!

Monday, July 26, 2010

LOOKING Into The SHACK– A Review of the book, UNSHACKLED by Pastor Larry DeBruyn

~~By James Fire

As we have seen in T.T.U.F.s first article on this novel, The Shack by Paul Young, there are many ideas presented in this fictitious work that are unbiblical. What we often hear from those who love this story is just that: “it’s just a story!”

However, story or not, books contain words, and words convey ideas and ideas, concepts and perspectives are either true or they are not. If concepts in a Christian novel (The Shack is not a Christian novel (By ‘Christian’ we mean a Christian world view based on the truth of the Bible), though it’s packaged to look like one) are not biblical, one must ask why the author (who is presumably a Christian) would promote such ideas.

It begs the question, why can’t a well told story also be biblically accurate? As Christians should we support such work by purchasing the books and related materials, to the financial benefit of its authors and publishers?

True, The Shack touches us emotionally, and speaks to the suffering and pain that is common among us in this world, but then many secular novels do as much as this! How is this novel different from any of its secular counterparts?

It purports to be a ‘Christian’ novel and presumes to teach us things about God, and life on Earth for the believer, and here those who love the Word of God supremely, must challenge its tenets.

As you know, Anne Kisly my co-writer for T.T.U.F. has already written an article Burning Down The Shack, based on the book (with the same title) by James B. De Young; and I now submit this second article on this novel for your consideration.
Larry DeBruyn starts out his first chapter CANON OR CHAOS with a foundational understanding that all religions differ from one another, and that Christianity stands apart because it’s not a religion. Christianity is a spiritual reality based upon a relationship with God as our heavenly Father, made possible by the blood atonement of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, to justify us in our Father’s sight, and deliver us from eternal death, and to eternal life through the indwelling Spirit.

“Christians find transcendent meaning for their lives in the Word of God – in the person of the historical Jesus and the Scriptures which bear authentic witness to Him (JOHN 5:39, 46-47; LUKE 24: 27). In other words, Christians do not look within or below, but they look without and above to find purpose for their lives. Their faith is not based upon subjective and existential feelings, but upon the objective truths God has spoken through and in His Word. Yet the adequacy of this way [of] believing is being attacked and threatened.” Pg. 6

2 TIM 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.


ENFEEBLED BY FAMINE

AMOS 8:11 states a day is coming where “a famine [shall be] in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” Likewise, there is coming a time of unprecedented prophecy, but of the false kind:

JER 23:16 “[they] speak a vision of their own heart, not out of the mouth of the LORD.”

Today, as DeBryun points out, there is a deplorable lack of Bible study in today’s churches, and where Bible reading is maintained, its often done in these paraphrases that butcher the Word of God, such versions as The Message Bible (I refer to it as the Message Babble) and the New Living Translation (more accurately, a paraphrase). Christians are no longer nourished by the Word of God, which is the Bread of Life; rather they subsist on the paraphrases of God’s Word, the ‘soda crackers’ of an anemic Bible, influenced by temporal philosophies of this life.

We have covered before in a previous article our observations on the lack of discernment in the churches (Where is the Discernment Gene?), and the only means by which such spiritual discernment can be restored. In a way, it’s a shame that so many discernment ministries are even necessary as this is a function that the entire body of Christ should be exercising. The fact that it isn’t functioning is a sort of indictment against us.

In today’s Post-modernist world where seeker friendly and Emergent philosophies are pandemic, the Word of God is perceived as being open to subjective views, and not a source of objective truth; the gospel and its great commission made by the LORD Jesus Christ is seen as irrelevant (??) or even misunderstood, and most Emergent leaders claim that they “don’t know if the church has ever gotten the Gospel right”. Such a questioning nature is comparable to the age old question posed by the serpent, indwelt with the spirit of Satan, “Yea, hath God said . . .?” back in Genesis chapter 3.

Holy living is being replaced by hedonistic living; sanctification by spiritual sloth and sinfulness; faith and humility unfeigned by pretension and pride.

On this basis the precepts as found in The Shack have been readily accepted, or at least ignored in favor of “a good story”; but those who love God’s Truth don’t have the luxury of either acceptance or ignorance of these lies!

We will now examine some of the statements and views of this work and compare them with scripture, and determine where any such deceptions lie (no pun intended).

TAKE NOTE –

The lead character in this fictitious story, Mackenzie, has suffered the loss of his daughter, who was believed to be brutally murdered in an old shack; later he receives a note signed with “-Papa”.

The author, Paul Young used to have an 80 minute commute to work every day, and it was during these times he would have imaginary conversations with God, that is, he would talk to God, and God would talk back. He would fill legal pads of paper with dictation and notes based on these conversations, all about subjects on ‘suffering, pain and evil’.

A friend of the author, who claims to know him well states that these conversations were in fact, real and not at all imaginary; if they were imaginary then they should be dismissed as any credible source of truth. If they weren’t, and they don’t agree with scripture, then one must question who these ‘conversations’ were with!

DeBruyn rightly states that the “imagination” of man as portrayed in scripture often has evil connotations; “imagination is the spawning ground of idolatry.” Unshackled, Pg. 9 (ROM 1:21; also see GEN. 6:5)

Mack, after receiving the note from ‘Papa’ ponders the peculiarity of such a thing, especially in contrast with what he was taught at seminary. Those of you who’ve read the book may well remember this passage; those of you who haven’t, take note of this:

“Try as he might, Mack could not escape the desperate possibility that the note just might be from God after all, even if the thought of God passing notes did not fit well with his theological training. In seminary he had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication with moderns, preferring to have them only listen to and follow sacred Scripture, properly interpreted, of course. God’s voice had been reduced to paper and even paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects. It seemed that direct communication with God was something exclusively for the ancients and uncivilized . . . Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was it guilt edges?” (The Shack, 65-66)

DeBruyn comments:

“[Young] too puts God in a book – his book! He too has put God’s voice on paper – his paper! The only question for seekers after truth is: whose paper are they going to believe, Young’s or God’s?” Unshackled, Pg. 10

God indeed prefers that we, His children, listen to and follow sacred Scripture, and that proper interpretation is found by those born of God’s Spirit, and comparing scripture with scripture to discern the meaning of God’s Word. Interpretation is not intended to reside within the power of the reader (No private interpretations allowed! see 2 PETER 1:20).

To suppose that “God’s Voice had been reduced to paper” suggests that the paper has somehow diminished the potency of that Voice and any inherent meaning of the Word spoken by that Voice. This in turn questions the authenticity and efficacy of the scripture and those who were inspired to write it.

Almighty God is fully capable of using the human mind and heart, and any human language, under the guidance of His Holy Spirit, to adequately and thoroughly convey the essential truth of His Word. If He were incapable, then He would not be Almighty. Thus the assertion made by Paul Young can only engender questions and doubts in the minds of the readers. God’s Word recorded on paper (or parchment for that matter) is alive and powerful and works effectively in our lives!

HEB 4:12
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

1THESS 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.


“. . . even paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects . . . direct communication with God was something exclusively for the ancients and uncivilized.”

These assertions are blatantly incorrect; while it’s true that Bible scholars and others are useful in determining the authenticity of artifacts and parchments, the Word of God itself does not require intellectuals or scholastic authorities to be understood. The common person on the street, if guided by the Spirit of Truth (JOHN 16:13) Who may be found if sought wholeheartedly (JER 29:13) can readily understand the meaning of God’s Word. The writers of the scriptures were hardly uncivilized, but supposing that they were, why then would intellectuals be required to properly interpret their writings?

GOD BY ANY OTHER NAME, IS STILL . . . GOD?

The image and portrayal of God as imagined by Paul Young in this work, conveys ideas and perceptions about God that are not biblical. His descriptions about his character of ‘God’ creates an image in the mind of the reader, and such images, be they constructed of words, or wood, stone or precious metals, regarding the representation of God Almighty are forbidden.

God can speak, and He alone should speak, for Himself through revelation of His nature, His character by way of His Word. For any other to do so, apart from that revelation given to us in the Bible, is not merely presumptuous, it’s blasphemous.

Obviously when we consider who God is, we heed what the scriptures tell us, and they declare that God is Spirit, and we know that a spirit is not male or female, because such designations require bodies, and involve gender.

However, throughout the Bible, God is portrayed as our “Father” not “Mother”. Dave Hunt validly points out that God couldn’t reveal Himself accurately as a mother, because a mother births her creation (children) out of her self; it’s the father that delivers the seed which separates from himself and combines with the mother’s egg, which then produces another life.

Yet in The Shack, God or ‘Papa’ is revealed as a woman, not a man; a female persona, rather than a male.

DeBryun discovered an article written by the New Age heretic, Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox entitled, The Return of the Black Madonna: A Sign of Our Times or How the Black Madonna is Shaking Us Up for the Twenty-First Century. The Black Madonna is also the Egyptian goddess known as Isis. She has the ability to guide distressed persons to find emotional healing within. Sound familiar?

Matthew Fox states in his book:

“The Black Madonna invites us into the dark and therefore into our depths. This is what the mystics call the “inside” of things, the essence of things. This is where Divinity lies. It is where the true self lies. It is where illusions are broken apart and the truth lies.”

Also: “The Black Madonna calls us to Grieve. The Black Madonna is the sorrowful mother, the mother who weeps tears for the suffering in the universe, the suffering in the world, the brokenness of our very vulnerable hearts.”

The “inside” of things: is this an endorsement of panentheism? That is, the mystical belief that God dwells IN all things of the Universe? That the Divine lies in darkness?
Scripture plainly declares that “God is light and in Him there dwells no darkness.” 1 JOHN 1:5.


The character known as ‘Papa”, this image of a black afro-American woman, does as much for Mack on page 226 of The Shack.

Further, Fox states that “The Black Madonna calls us to our Divinity which is also our Creativity . . . [and] expects nothing less from us than creativity. Hers is a call to create, a call to ignite the imagination. The Black Madonna calls us to Diversity. There is no imagination without diversity – imagination is about inviting disparate elements into soul and culture so that new combinations can make love together and new beings can be birthed.”

Thus the imagination figures prominently in the writings and endorsement by Fox in regards to the goddess, the Black Madonna, and likewise imagination figures prominently in the writings of Paul Young, as he puts his words into ‘God’s’ mouth, as well as Sophia’s mouth.

She calls upon Mack to role play as The Judge, to sit in judgment over all other persons, including God (??!) and she counsels a reluctant Mack by saying, “Your imagination is not serving you well at this moment.”

Fox’s Black Madonna and Young’s Elousia a.k.a. ‘Papa’ both express “their gender diversity, nurturing of human hearts, emphasis upon developing personal relationships, concern for the environment, and form archetypal metaphors around which the mystery of life and suffering can be probed and explained, and upon which transcendent values can be formulated and applied for the social welfare and unity of the world’s diverse and divided population. These ecumenical metaphors are increasingly becoming popular in the Emergent Church.” Pg. 27.

It’s worth noting that there is another goddess that is worshipped in the Polynesian pantheon is actually referred to as “Goddess PAPA”. From the magazine Friends of Creation Spirituality, Jan. 2006 – See Who Is This Black Madonna? you will see in this link how innumerable goddesses are worshipped, and each of these bear eerie similarity to the attributes, character and abilities of Elousia. Coincidence?

THE STORY IN THE SECOND AND THIRD PERSON –

The Shack describes Jesus to be a quite human, a relatively unattractive Middle Eastern Jewish man with a big nose who functioned as a repairman (Pg. 111 of The Shack).” Young incorrectly asserts that all, including the character of Jesus in his story, “originates or birthed from God” (Pg. 148, The Shack).

“The novel pictures Jesus’ desire ‘to join all humans in their transformation into the sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters into my Beloved.’ In this regard, never once in the novel is Jesus (His human name) ever referred to as “Christ” (His messianic and divine name)” Pg. 33, Unshackled.

This is absolutely false doctrine! Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father, not one who along with the sons and daughters of ‘Papa’ is “being transformed”. Jesus Christ is the only begotten of the Father, the Son of God, while we are adopted children of God.

The Gardener of the retreat center is another female who represents the Holy Spirit, and her name is . . . ?

Sarayu; and what is the significance of this name?

The Sarayu (also Sarju; saráyu- sarayū-) is a river that flows through what is now the modern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This river is of ancient significance finding mentions in Vedas and Ramayana. It is often considered to be synonymous with the modern Ghaghara river or as a tributary of it.

It is a river that holds great relevance to Hinduism, and their mythological lore concerning the various Hindu deities. See more information on this, here -
Sarayu - Hindu Mystical River

One must ask the question, of all the names Mr. Young could have selected, both for the Father, and for the Holy Spirit, why would he have chosen pagan names from different world religions and utilize them in what’s supposed to be a Christian novel? How does God our Father, and the Holy Spirit feel about having Themselves misrepresented by such names??

Yet in the story, Mack asks Jesus about this name for the Holy Spirit, and the Jesus of this novel merely says, “That is a simple name from one of our human languages. It means ‘wind [true], a common wind actually. She loves that name (Pg. 110, The Shack).”

Failing to mention that ‘Sarayu’ is the name of a river in India that portrays a significant role in the religion of Hinduism is misleading at best (one of the accompanying links at the end of this article goes into more detail about this river and its mystical elements in Hinduism).

Another character, not related to the Trinity of The Shack is ‘Sophia’ which also happens to be a goddess or spirit in the Greek pantheon of the gods.

DeBryun states in the conclusion of this chapter:

“Under the cover of biblical allusion, The Shack presents a god which may be compared to mythological deities. Readers ought to beware, lest by authorial sleight of hand, they embrace spiritual delusion for reason of The Shack’s biblical allusion . . . Presenting a potpourri of spiritualities that combine biblical allusion with mystical delusion, The Shack will surely resonate with an Emergent Christian mindset that possesses no scruples about flirting with New Age/Spirituality. The fact that the novel is fiction makes no difference – it projects verbal imaginings that induce idolatrous images of God.” Unshackled, Pg. 34, 35.

“Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.
Perverted notions about God soon rot the religion in which they appear. The long career of Israel demonstrates this clearly enough, and the history of the Church confirms it. So necessary to the Church is a lofty concept of God that when that concept in any measure declines, the Church with her worship and her moral standards decline along with it. The first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its high opinion of God.
Before the Church goes into eclipse anywhere there must first be a corrupting of her simple basic theology. She simply gets a wrong answer to the question, ‘What is God like?’ and goes on from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed, her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is, and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind.”


- A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (HarperCollins: San Francisco), 1961, p. 4

AS ABOVE, SO BELOW –

Unshackled gets into another area that is becoming more prevalent in Emergent and New Spirituality circles. They are beginning to explore something called quantum physics, and leaping from this rather mysterious field of science which deals with sub-atomic reality (muons, pions, quarks, neutrinos, and other particles that seem to defy definition, as well as reason and known laws of physics) to that study known as metaphysics, which explores the mystical, ephemeral, quasi-reality; this is the stuff that new agers and their beliefs are made of!

In the order of all things, we have something called the Cosmos, which itself according to ancient Greek philosophy is a merging of the Chaos and the Logos; chaos being the disorderly elements of all things, the Logos being the order, logic, mind of a Supreme Consciousness.

Thus the Cosmos is the collective elements of all that is in reality, and its given order by its Consciousness.

In various mystical and occult circles, the phrase “As above, so below” is very significant. It’s the motto of mystics, and basically it means that just as the orderly reality of the “above” or higher plane of existence is one, so too that lower plane of existence of “below” (in which we live in this world) should become and gradually is becoming orderly with that higher plane of order.

You might be shocked to know that Eugene Peterson’s bizarre paraphrase of The Message Bible has this occult phrase contained in it, incorporating it into the LORD’s Prayer!

Follow the link below to learn more:

Delivering the Message

The Shack talks about the “messiness” of life and yet also, through the character of Sarayu, addresses this issue concerning ‘fractals’; essentially pockets of pattern, and ‘openings’ of order from above, that penetrate the messiness of that which is below. They are patterns that can be recognized and if followed, will lead to ‘enlightenment’ which in turn will lead to ‘Oneness’.

As Above, So Below speaks of the ultimate ‘Oneness’ (Monism) of all things, that God and His/Her/Its Creation are really one and the same thing, and without any real distinctions (note that the word ‘creation’ is spelled with a capital ‘C’ and when you see it spelled this way (occurs 19x) in The Shack, it refers to the deification of the universe.

Yet, as DeBruyn aptly points out, in John, chapter Eight it clearly states:

JOHN 8:21, 23
Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.


Here is a perfect example to demonstrate the biblical truth that all is not ‘One’, although it was when God first created all things; at least ‘one’ in the sense that all was in harmony with the will of God; there were no disruptions, no disorderliness nor defiance. Still, God was ever transcendent and distinct FROM His creation.

It was when Satan, and later Adam and Eve, rebelled against the will of God that the creation was ‘broken’ into two spheres of reality. That realm of heaven in which God dwelled and was unspoiled by sin, where He and His Holy angels dwell is the first; the second realm was the fallen creation that housed the physical universe, mankind and all corporeal life on this planet.

Matthew Fox speaks of his idea about a “Cosmic Christ”:

“The Cosmic Christ is the “I am” in every creature. The divine mystery and miracle of existance is laid bare in the unique existence of each atom, each galaxy, each tree, bird, fish, dog, flower, star, rock and human.” The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance (San Fransisco: Harper Collins Pub. 1980) Pg. 154.

This ‘Cosmic Christ’ is no doubt the one who will be coming “in his own name [whom people] will receive”, just as the LORD Jesus said in JOHN 5:43.

Just as all is in perfect harmony and subjection to the LORD God in His realm of heaven, Satan is endeavoring to create a unity, and subjugate all under his authority in his realm of the world about us. This is the essence of the satanic order of global governance, both politically and spiritually. Eventually all will be ‘One’ on planet Earth, but unfortunately it will be in alignment with a crescendo of anti-Christ rebellion against the LORD God and His Christ (PSALM 2).

Not until Satan and all who follow him are judged and sentence is carried out, and evil is finally and ultimately banished from a restored creation, will all once again be in harmony and ‘one’ with the will of God!

THE SHACK and UNIVERSAL RECONCILIATION –

We here at T.T.U.F. have completed a series on Universalism, and so I won’t say a lot about it here, but suffice it to say that the author of The Shack, most certainly subscribes to this aberrant teaching.

If you would like to read the articles we did on Universalism, follow this link:

CHRIST's COURT-Soon in Session

COL 1:21-22
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:



In the above passage the doctrine of reconciliation is presented; the Greek word used in this verse for “reconciled” is apokatallasso and it means “to reconcile fully. Dr. Strong comments: “This word means to change from one condition to another so as to remove all enmity and leave no impediment to unity and peace and is used . . . in COL. 1:21 not the union of Jews and Gentiles (as it is in EPH. 2:16) but the change wrought in the individual believer from alienation and enmity on the account of evil works, to ‘reconciliation’ with God; in v. 20 the word is used of the divine purpose to ‘reconcile’ through Christ “all things unto Himself . . . whether things upon earth or things in the heavens’ the basis of the change being the peace effected ‘through the blood of His cross’.”

Reconciliation is therefore unilateral, that is, it moves in one direction, from God who in His grace, saved us, and reconciled us to Himself. We had need to be reconciled to a Holy God for we transgressed His Holy Law and were found to be sinners; God who is wholly pure and righteous did no wrong against us, therefore He was and is in no need to be reconciled to us.

Yet in The Shack, the character of ‘PAPA’ has clearly stated, “through his (Jesus’) death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world.” The Shack, Pg. 192.

No where does it state in scripture that God is reconciled to the world. Always, the Bible declares that it is we, sinners saved by grace that are reconciled to God. Along with the above passage we also have ROM 5:10 and 2 COR. 5:18-20 which clearly indicate who is reconciled to whom!

To suggest that God fully reconciled Himself to us, would mean that since this is so, all souls are automatically acceptable to Him, thus the dogma of Universal Reconciliation or Universalism.

‘PAPA’ further states: “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment devouring you from the inside. It is not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.” The Shack, Pg. 119-120.

It’s quite true that sin is the most destructive force in the world; it took no one less that God made flesh to ruin its devastating power over humanity. Likewise it is a joyous work that the Father does in leading lost souls to Christ Jesus where they can acquire salvation from sin. The LORD Jesus Himself, for “the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross” (HEB 12:2) and is pleased when a sinner repents and comes to Him. It’s Gods’ heart to bring His grace and forgiveness rather than justice and judgment upon a sinner, and yet if that sinner refuses reconciliation, there is nothing left but judgment.

To say that God doesn’t punish sin is entirely unbiblical. God is the Holy Judge and He will judge sin, and once judged, He will punish (We covered this quite thoroughly in the T.T.U.F. article on Universalism – Christ’s Court: Soon in Session).

2 THESS.1:9; HEB.10:29; 2 PET 2:9 are just three passages that clearly teach that the LORD will bring judgment and punishment to all who reject both Him and His Gospel. There is only one way to avoid the Judgment of God, and that is the LORD Jesus Christ, and salvation through Him!

However, according to The Shack, Jesus is not THE ONLY Way, but merely “the best way” . . . and this is the final and absolute blasphemy of this fictitious book, and its ultimate lie! This quote is taken from MY WORD LIKE FIRE blog:

“In one of most incredible statements in the book, the “christ” of The Shack fails to proclaim salvation is exclusively through him. The “christ” states, “I am the best way any human can relate” to God the Father or the Holy Spirit. (The Shack pg. 110) The author does not have his “jesus” say he is the only way, simply that he is the best way.”

See the site here:

Jesus: the Best Way to GOD?

These are but a handful of passages taken from the book, The Shack, and as we can see, it’s full of errors regarding biblical truth. While some may comfortably excuse these errors because they are found in a work of fiction, it should never be permissible to misrepresent God or His Word, either in spoken or written word.

It is the prayerful hope that those of you who’ve read this book may have learned something regarding the beliefs of the author, William Paul Young, who himself stated in his view that God the Father is perceived by many who “have had bad theology, as being aloof and distant, even angry”, and he “wanted to bridge this gap” through his book to show that “He is on our side of the table”.

In a world of pain and shame, he said that “some run to religion and others run to rebellion; where do we run?”

Answer: There is no need to bridge the gap between God the Father and humanity; its already been bridged through the atonement of Jesus Christ, who takes away the sin, the pain, and the shame of the world – it’s JESUS that we run to Mr. Williams, not The Shack!

See the interview he did on CBN here –

Paul Young Interview on CBN

For further information regarding the errors of this novel, please examine the following articles by Eric Barger from TAKE A STAND ministries as well as from other authors.

Please take time to read these, especially this first one:

The Death of Discernment-How The Shack Became a No. 1 Best Seller

The following is on PDF and is written by James De Young:

At The Back of the Shack-A Torrent of Universalism

These articles comes from LIGHTHOUSE Trails ministry, and is written by John Lanagan, Warren Smith, and others –

Assorted Revealing Articles Concerning The Shack

This article on The Shack is co-authored by Norman Geisler, biblical scholar and apologist and Bill Roach:

The Shack-Helpful or Heretical

And finally this article is from SOLA Sisters blog:

The Shack Revisited

May the LORD Jesus continue to grant us, His children, spiritual discernment and likewise grace to endure steadfastly unto the end, holding fast the Word of Truth! Please pray for Paul Young as well, that the LORD would steer this gentle, seemingly sincere man steadfastly into His Word, and His Word alone! Amen!
Read more!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Comment or Two on, BURNING DOWN THE SHACK by James De Young

by A.M. Kisly

I’ve been reading some new books as of late…..the most recent is a book entitled Burning Down The Shack. The book is written by James De Young, Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Western Seminary, Portland Oregon, and if you haven’t guessed already, he challenges the very core of the well known best selling book, The Shack.

With a subtitle like “How the Christian Bestseller is Deceiving Millions”….you can imagine how scores of “Shack” followers will view this rebuttal...perhaps as a horrible and negative attack on something they deem as so wonderful and fun.


Unfortunately, "The Shack" is anything but wonderful and fun, in fact, quite the opposite. Though fictional, the book brings darkness to an already dark world by teaching doctrine that is at times of a sub-biblical genre, and at other times just blatantly and completely un-biblical. Among its predominant themes are the Trinity, the character of God and the nature of good and evil—themes that strike to the very heart of the Christian faith...however in numerous ways it's writings are completely opposed to the teachings of the Bible.


With a huge community of devoted fans, “The Shack” has been a best seller for months. With everyone looking for answers to life’s tough questions, “Why do I suffer? Where is God in my suffering? How can God be good if he brings suffering in my life?" It’s easy to see why so many are drawn to the fictional work....not to mention the the fact that today's society...including the Church...has fallen prey to the unrealistic...Hollywood version of life.

So what is all of the hubbub about, anyway? Why would anyone write a book that casts a negative shadow on what a huge majority of the “Christian” community has embraced?

The book explains. After listing several quotes from "The Shack", James De Young writes, “But the quotes and statements above are just some of the many troubling claims found in "The Shack"….They go to the heart of many important doctrines, including the nature of God himself; the meaning of the incarnation and the crucifixion of Christ, sin and judgment, hell, the church; and many, more.” But even more than that, Paul Young, author of "The Shack", brings God down to us and redefines him in our image, where as the Scriptures lifts us up to God to help us become like him.

James De Young explains that he has written Burning Down The Shack for two reasons, “First to uncover the embedded errors in The Shack, those mostly belonging to universalism, and secondly to show from Scripture why they are so serious.”

But wait, there is so much more to this book…aside from having to point out what should be obvious to “Bible Believing Christians”, James De Young brings wonderful truths to light through the retelling of the stories in the Bible, and providing essential Scriptural instruction to life’s tough trials.

In the book, Burning Down The Shack, the author writes from a couple of interesting perspectives, one of which expounds through a personal knowledge and friendship once shared by the two authors. James De Young and Paul Young are former friends and neighbors whose kids went to school and graduated together. Together they co-founded a Christian think tank which held monthly meetings in their hometown of Portland, Oregon. They with a group of eight to twelve others discussed and probed Christian topics and doctrines. It was during that time that James De Young retells the accounts of what led to the doctrinal challenges that ultimately changed the course of Paul Young. It was there that the famous author of "The Shack" presented a 103 page paper which presented a defense of universal reconciliation…that at some point every person will come to a right relationship with God, that Satan and his fallen angels will be purged of sin, and that all of creation will be fully and finally restored. In other words, there is no judgment, no punishment, but rather a second chance after death which is the complete opposite of what the Bible clearly teaches. James De Young's inclusion of this paper in his book clearly explains why Paul Young's book, "The Shack" is laden with so many false doctrines.

In Burning Down The Shack, James De Young will ask and answer the many questions looming in our minds, such as “What is God like?”, “Why did Jesus Christ die?”, “Does God punish sin?” and “Does mercy triumph over judgment?”

James De Young writes so eloquently in what I believe the summary should be….

“The Story of Jesus…There is no one in the Bible and in all of history who has suffered as Jesus Christ did. He is a favorite, unique son. He was once beloved by everyone but came to experience rejection by almost everyone, including his own disciples. He died a horrible death, innocently. Yet there was total reversal – he came alive out of the grave and remains alive (as the Scriptures clearly show).

It is Jesus’ story that is the greatest story ever told. His selfless death was in place of everyone else's, opening the way for all to come into a relationship with God. He died not just as an example but also as a sacrifice for sin. On him God laid the sin of all humanity – for which he paid the eternal penalty for the brief time he hung between heaven and earth on the cross. His being raised from the dead is God’s confirmation that his work was perfect and finished...

It is up against Jesus’ story and his teachings that Mack’s story (The Shack), and all of our stories, must be compared. And it is precisely here that Young’s story about Mack falls significantly short.”

Burning Down The Shack
is a solid book! If you are looking for a resource that interacts with "The Shack" and are interested in searching out the truth for yourselves, this book does so in a way that is thorough and discerning and full of Scripture…..now how can you go wrong with that? It’s a great read and one that you will benefit from tremendously.

In addition to this book report, a series of articles on The Shack will be posted soon for your further study into the many false teachings that the Church is now embracing.

Remember…The Bible is absolutely the only authority by which a Christian can stand upon...it is the Word of God! If what you are reading does not line up with the Scriptures…..then you must conclude that those things which are contradictory are not the truth and are being delivered by those false teachers that Jesus Christ warned us about.

1 Peter 5:8 (King James Version)
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”
Read more!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Latest News: SEX EDUCATION FOR 5 AND 6 YEAR OLDS?

by A.M. Kisly

We alone are the salt of the earth; there is no other. That's it, just us. If we lose our saltiness, it's lost. We are the light; that's it, just us. Nobody else. If our light is under a bushel, there is no other alternative.

I read a news article yesterday about the newest assault on children and the family unit that just utterly sickened me. If it weren't so completely necessary to bring this to the attention of the public, I would try to erase it from my mind.

In an article by Matt Gouras of the Associated Press, the Helena, Montana School Board has proposed a sex education program that teaches fifth-graders the different ways people have intercourse and first-graders about gay love.

For obvious reasons, this has infuriated the parents of these very young children. Their public outcry has forced the school board to take a closer look at the issue.

While the proposed 62-page document covers a broad health and nutrition education program, included in this curriculum is a portion dealing with sexual education that has angered many in the community who feel it is BEING PUSHED FORWARD DESPITE THEIR OBJECTIONS and its obvious controversial nature. FRC's Peter Sprigg appeared on MSNBC to discuss sex education for kindergartners. Please Watch:




I originally posted this on my Facebook wall to inform others as well as to hear their response...after which I decided to post here on our website as well.

Listen Folks, because of the nature of this news, because of the times we live in, because Satan, sin and wickedness seem to be gaining ground in every aspect of life, because the Church is asleep, because the time is short, because JESUS is coming soon.........Jim and I are determined more than ever to bring you the TRUTH to the best of our ability, and to shoot straight from the hip with regards to the Church's response.

Christian or non-Christian...one would think that even the simplest buffoon would understand that sex education is completely inappropriate for this age group......

What pray tell is a 5 and 6 year old supposed to do with this information?

The State Run Education System knows exactly what they are doing and that is to conform society into a lifestyle away from God's absolute law and authority, to take parental control away, and to promote the sinful lifestyles they embrace.

Forget reading, writing and arithmetic...for some perverts it is more important that a young child be taught that promiscuity and sex outside of marriage is acceptable, that homosexuality is an alternate lifestyle that is both normal and acceptable behavior, that a baby is a fetus and that abortion is not murder............not to mention all the other filth that goes along with this.

Satan is succeeding in destroying this world because Christians stand on the sidelines and do nothing..................the question is Why?

It was John Wesley who said, “Give me 100 men that hate nothing but sin, and love Jesus Christ, and we'll shake England for God.”

I say give me 100 men and women that hate nothing but sin, and love Jesus Christ so truly and completely.... well, just think of the possibilities!


The sad truth of the matter is that the Church (and I mean all of us) is compromised, we love this world and the things of this world.....we have not separated ourselves but have joined WILLFULLY into its sinful pleasures. It is proven by our speech, our conduct, and our silence on the things that really matter. The world offers us more toys and more distractions and we.....well, we completely welcome almost all that it has to offer us...and then sit perplexed and horrified at the sinful decay of our society and are paralyzed in our ability to do anything about it.

We have fallen prey to the selfish mindset of the Hollywood Entertainment Industry. Our kids are falling by the wayside because they are filling their minds with the world through television, music, and other worldly influences.

Christian kids who have been raised in Christian homes, who go to church weekly and attend Christian teen groups, who perhaps have even been homeschooled are turning out more worldly minded than Godly minded. They talk more about the things of this world than about Jesus Christ. Their idols are fictitious Hollywood creations...their dreams are to become the next American Idol. Why?

Is our Christianity so compromised and diluted that we have become salt without flavor?

Jesus, the Savior of the World, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the One who is and is to come (just to put HIM in rightful perspective) taught us,

Matthew 5:13-16,

13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Evangelism is more than just spewing out words of the Bible and defining its message...its an example of a life in Christ that dispels the darkness around us.

Simply, these four verses is the picture that our Lord gives of the Christian in the world, it is the function of the believer in the world. If I could reduce it to one word, it would be the word 'INFLUENCE.'

JUST WHO IS INFLUENCING WHO?

Salt (the Christian), in order to be effective, has to be mingled with the substance (the world) that it is affecting, and yet salt (the Christian) is DISTINCT from that substance (the world).

Light (the Christian life), in order to dispel darkness (the worldly life), must shine upon the darkness, yet is DISTINCT from the darkness.

He is saying, You who are characterized by Beatitude-quality life, you who are the sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God are the salt and light of the world to influence the world for good and for God. Our Lord is calling on us to influence the world that we live in, just as He did with those disciples who followed him and the multitudes he preached to.

It was Jesus, the greatest hero of all time, who taught us not to love the world or the things of the world...and yet we have, and to the point where He is no longer the focus of or hearts and hero in our lives. No longer do we desire to talk about Him, or to emulate Him, but rather we have turned our hearts elsewhere. Our minds have been influenced by the philosophical views of this world rather than the WORD OF GOD.

Our kids idols are the characters depicted in various Hollywood films like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Twilight, and the like; and the music industry has had a great effect upon the minds and hearts of us all so much so that we have become immune, so to speak, of the horror of sin. How much murder or sex on television does one have to watch before it no longer makes them feel uncomfortable. How many horror flicks before we are immune to horror? I use television here because it is an easy example to present, but there are many, many other influences out there that are leading us away from the Lord.

The Bible clearly teaches us not to be unequally yoked together with an unbeliever, and yet there are some Christians (through perhaps some careless teaching) who have chosen unbelievers as their closest friends. I am not saying to isolate yourself from unbelievers or that one cannot befriend a non-believer, but they should never become your closest friend or ally. For what have you in common..for ultimately you will be influenced and compromised. I have watched as some have made this choice and are now struggling with their faith, and others who have turned away from God.

The question for us today is, if we are called to influence this world for God and His Kingdom, what message are we leaving the world? When we pass by, what are we saying and doing? What influence have we been on those around us?

We are taught in 1 Peter 2:9-10, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;"

May the Lord wake us up out of slumber and sleep and to the realization that we must "Come out from among them, and be separate."

We must all get to our prayer closets and get honest with the Lord and ourselves about the compromise in our lives. We must choose this day whom we will serve, the world or God's Son. It is no longer I...but Christ and He must be allowed to take His rightful place on the throne of our hearts.

Perhaps then, and only then will our lives influence our homes, our communities and the rest of society.
Read more!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WHAT HAS AMERICA BECOME?

Posted by A.M. Kisly

In a letter written to the editor of a local Michigan newspaper, Ken Huber writes the following thoughts...


Editor,
Has America become the land of the special interest and the home of the double standard?

Let's see: if we lie to the Congress, it's a felony and if the congress lies to us it's just plain politics; if we dislike a black person, we're racist and if a black dislikes whites, it's their 1st Amendment right; the government spends millions to rehabilitate criminals and they do almost nothing for the victims; in public schools you can teach that homosexuality is OK,bu you better not use the word God in the process; you can kill and unborn child, but it's wrong to execute a mass murderer; we don't burn books in America, we now rewrite them; we go rid of the communist and socialist threat by renaming them progressives; we are unable to close our border with Mexico, but have no problem protecting 38th parallel in Korea; if you protest against President Obama's policies you're a terrorist, but if you burned an American flag or George Bush in effigy it was your 1st Amendment right.


You can have pornography on TV or the internet, but you better not put a nativity scene in a public park during Christmas; we have eliminated all criminals in America, they are now called sick people; we can use a human fetus for medical research, but it's wrong to use an animal.


We take money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don't want to work; we all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology; we still have freedom of speech, but only if we are being politically correct; parenting has been replaced with Ritalin and video games; the land of opportunity is now the land of hand outs; the similarity between Hurricane Katrina and the gulf oil spill is that neither president did anything to help.


And how do we handle a major crisis today? The government appoints a committee to determine who's at fault, then threatens them, passes a law, raises our taxes; tells us the problem is solved so they can get back to their reelection campaign.


What has happened to the land of the free and home of the brave?

Thank you Mr. Huber for publicly stating what many of us are thinking.....
Read more!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

CHRIST's COURT: Soon In Session - Part 3


~~Co-authored by Anne Kisly and James J. Fire

This is the concluding segment (3 of 3) to this article on Universalism, the Judgment of God and the Eternal destinies of all souls. Previously we looked into some of the history behind Universalism, then we checked out the doctrine of Eternity and of heaven and hell.

We now look at the further ramifications of Universalism and of the distinctions between those who are born of God, and those who are not. Also the relevance of the spiritual rebirth is examined.

Let us conclude the matter:

BORN (AGAIN) FREE – FROM SIN

Any and all who would see and enter into the kingdom of God must do so in accordance with the procedure that the King Himself laid down; it’s HIS Kingdom (‘kingdom’ is a contraction of “the King’s Domain”), HE makes the rules and these can’t be explained, rationalized, analyzed or ‘dialogued’ away!
BORN (AGAIN) FREE – FROM SIN

Any and all who would see and enter into the kingdom of God must do so in accordance with the procedure that the King Himself laid down; it’s HIS Kingdom (‘kingdom’ is a contraction of “the King’s Domain”), HE makes the rules and these can’t be explained, rationalized, analyzed or ‘dialogued’ away!

John 3:3-10
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?


The spiritual rebirth was here stated as the only means of “seeing” and “entering into” the Kingdom of God; there are no other means or operations whereby that kingdom is arrived by; since these are the very words of the King Himself, we can rest assured that they are both valid and exclusive (that is to say, those who are not born again, will not “see” and “enter into” the Kingdom of God).

The LORD Jesus rebukes Nicodemus for not knowing these things, and one might wonder at this, since the spiritual rebirth was a thing taught and experienced only in the New Testament . . . or was it (experienced, no; taught? Yes!)?

Ezekiel 36:26-27
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Jer 31:31-33

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.


This would have been the lot of Israel had she accepted her King, Y’shua ha Meshiach, Jesus Christ, but since as a nation, she rejected (at that time) her King, God set forth into motion the other body of believers He had planned since eternity past, but kept these things secret (a mystery) until the establishment of the New Testament, and this mystery was revealed to Paul the Apostle, that being, the church (see Eph. Ch. 3).

I believe that the nation of Israel will enter into this ‘spiritual dynamic’ upon Christ’s Second Advent when as a nation, they will receive Him as their Messiah (Zech. 12:10 as well as the above mentioned passages).

The New Testament likewise mentions the spiritual rebirth in the same terms that our LORD expressed in 1 Peter 2:3; in other passages it speaks of being “saved” or being made a “new creature” –

Rom 10:9-13
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Mark 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

John 3:17
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Acts 2:47
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Act 4:12
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Other verses that declare this truth are: John 5:34; Acts 11:14, 15:11, 16:31; Romans 5:9-10, 10:1, 11:26; 1 Thess. 2:16; 2 Thess. 2:10; 1 Tim. 2:4; 1 Peter 4:18.
Scripture speaks of being a “new creature” in Christ –

2 Cor 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Gal 6:15
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.



FELLOWSHIP of the DEEPEST SORT: The INDWELLING


From the beginning it was God’s plan and desire in creating man, to have fellowship with a sentient being with whom He could express His love and grace and from whom He could receive love; it was for His good pleasure that He created us (Rev. 4:11). Even though the cataclysmic fall of mankind into sin broke this sacred fellowship with our Maker, this certainly didn’t take Him by surprise but was anticipated and provided for in a way that no human mind could have imagined – by the Creator Himself taking on humanity and dying for our sins!

Only an Eternal God could take on the sins of the world (but only as a representative of mankind, thus the need to be “born of the woman” Gal. 4:4) which were against that same Eternal God, and suffer on our behalf the eternal punishment that we justly deserve (for our sins are not against ‘a god’ but the Eternal God)!

This sacred truth of the atonement was embodied in the scriptures, through out the various prophecies as well as the symbolical significance of the Temple and its sacrifices. All of the Old Testament scriptures speak of Christ Jesus (John 5:39), and of the plan of redemption and with the sole purpose of eradicating sin, that deadly, corrupting influence that separates the Creator God from His creatures (Isaiah 59:2) and for which it took nothing less than God Himself to destroy.

Even among the myriad of sacrifices and offerings, drenching the altars with more blood than you’d see in a slaughter house, even then, and with precise ceremonies, rituals, specialized clothing and procedures of bathing along with incense and oils the high priest, and only him, only once a year in the Holy of holies, entered in to minister before the LORD and it was then that the LORD’s Spirit dwelled there, over the mercy seat.

The very Spirit of God dwelled there in that temple! This in itself was a symbol of that which would follow, under the New Covenant . . .

1 Cor 3:16-17
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.


1 Cor 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

2 Cor 6:16
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Eph 2:19-22
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.


Some disparage the idea of Christ Jesus indwelling the repentant sinner as a response to prayer, but the indwelling Christ, the LORD Jesus, as well as the indwelling Father, and the indwelling Holy Spirit is clearly taught in scripture.

John 1:12-13
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.


The word “received” in the Greek is lambano, which is a primary verb and means, to take, to get hold of, to accept; this word is suggestive of “a self-prompted taking”. In this verse, the one being received is the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a result of this are granted the power (right, privilege, ability) to become ‘the sons of God’ who are born of the will of God (a most relevant term, which denotes a direct creation of God; angels have been called “sons of God” as each of them was created directly by God; Adam, and not his sons, was called a son of God as he likewise was directly created by God: Abel, Cain, Seth and his other sons were never referred to by this term. We as Christians are likewise called sons or children of God because our hearts are created anew (not reformed or mutated) directly at God’s intervention (see Romans 8:14, 19; Phil. 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2; also Matt. 5:9; Luke 20: 36; John 11:52; Romans 8:16, 21; 9: 8; Gal. 3: 26; 1 John 3:10; 5:2).

The Father as well as the Son is promised to make an abode with those who love Jesus and keep His words; the word ‘abode’ is mone in the Greek and it means “a dwelling place or residence”

John 14:23
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Col 1:27
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Other verses that speak of the indwelling Christ are as follows:

John 14: 20; 17: 23; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17-19 (note, that we “might be filled with all the fullness of God” in vs. 19); and 1 John 3:24; also Rev. 3:20 which the LORD states as an admonition not to the church of Laodicea, but to individuals within that apostate church.

And of course the Spirit of God dwells in us as well:

Rom 8:9
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.


Take note here that this verse explains that we not only have the Spirit of God, but that any who do not have the Spirit of Christ, those are people that don’t belong to Him. Those who are not born of God’s Spirit, do not possess God’s Spirit, and they do not belong to Christ Jesus!

Other verses that express the indwelling Spirit are as follows: Ezek. 36:27; John 14: 17; Romans 8:11; 1 Cor. 2:12, 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:5; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:22; 3:16; 5:8.
TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES –

It is important that we further clarify the confusion of Hebrews 10:10.
Hebrews 10:10 “By which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
There are those who believe that the sacrifice on the cross in which Jesus Christ suffered once and for all was for everyone, the saved and the unregenerate alike and therefore does away with the consequences of sin, death and eternal punishment. It is true that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was indeed for everyone, the saved and the unregenerate, but one can only enjoy the benefit of redemption upon repentance and personal belief.

This scripture speaks of a specific work which was divinely committed to Christ alone to accomplish, which was completed upon His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. It is the work which constitutes the content behind Christ's words: "It is finished" (John 19:30).

Specifically, the work of REDEMPTION (ransom in full, i.e. (figuratively) riddance, or (especially) Christian salvation:--deliverance), RECONCILIATION (exchange (figuratively, adjustment), i.e. restoration to (the divine) favor:--atonement, reconciliation (-ing) and PROPITIATION (to conciliate, i.e. (transitively) to atone for (sin), or (intransitively) be propitious:--be merciful, make reconciliation for).

There are other doctrines relating to the value of Christ's death for believers, such as, forgiveness (of sins), regeneration, justification and sanctification, which also are divinely applied to the sinner at the time of PERSONAL BELIEF, but the above mentioned is unique because each extend benefits to both the saved and unsaved in that this finished work on the cross, was done with the whole "world" in mind (John. 1:29; ref. 1 John 2:2; 4:14).


However, it must be clearly understood that Christ's death is SUBSTITUTIONARY and the work He accomplished through His death is, in itself, PERFECT and COMPLETE. That said, the sinner freely benefits by and accesses this finished work, in full, at the time of personal belief (Rom. 5:2) and cannot add to it nor subtract from it in any way. It was Christ's work to accomplish and accomplish it He did, completely and perfectly.
Therefore, the sinner, AT THE TIME OF PERSONAL BELIEF, is completely and perfectly REDEEMED from sin; completely and perfectly RECONCILED to God; and God through Jesus Christ, is completely and perfectly PROPITIATED by His shed blood.


On this basis, the life bestowed upon a repentant sinner, at the time of personal belief, is vitally eternal, as is the punishment bestowed upon the unrepentant sinner.


Example: John 3:16 states, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
As we can see from this Scripture that everlasting life is reserved for those who believe.

The terrible cost of Calvary does not make provision for a sinner who refuses God’s plan of redemption, who continues in his folly, and whose father is the devil, for they will receive the full wrath and punishment that is to come at the judgment. Jesus did not die in vain! Since the only remission of sin is the shed blood of Jesus, and by no other means, those who do not have the bloodstain upon the door of their hearts, will perish in everlasting hell.

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that cheap grace "amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.... [Costly grace] is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.... When [Martin Luther] spoke of grace, [he] always implied as a corollary that it cost him his own life, the life which was now subjected to the absolute obedience of Christ.... Happy are they who, knowing that grace, can live in the world without being of it, who by following Jesus Christ, are so assured of their heavenly citizenship that they are truly free to live their lives in this world" (The Cost of Discipleship [N.Y.: Macmillian, 1959], pp. 47, 53, 60).

There is indeed one condition to salvation, and that is this: that it must be received. It is therefore the express responsibility of the sinner to accept God’s offer of atonement. To do that one must repent, believe and receive it. Man cannot reject the gift of salvation and reap the benefit of the saved.

Romans 6:1-14 teaches us that we are one with Christ because we have shared in His death, burial, and resurrection, and that we are to walk in newness of life.

Also in Romans 6:15-23 we learn we are no longer servants of sin, that we now have a new master. Salvation doesn't free you to sin: but rather frees us from sin. Salvation takes unholy men and makes them holy, unrighteous men and makes them righteous, we are no longer the children of wrath, but are the children of God. It is a call from sin to holiness. God is not looking for people who want to add Jesus to their sinful life-styles. Salvation is not an addition; it is a transformation. Jesus calls men to die to self and rise again to walk in newness of life. He is calling men who say “no” to their present master and yes to a new Master. God's grace covers any sin, but it never condones it. Being a Christian means that we are now free from sin and guilt and will inherit eternal life in place of eternal punishment.


Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”


What must be borne in mind is that GOD IS NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE (2 Pet. 3:9) and therefore, never sends sinners to hell.

The eternal punishment of the wicked is not arbitrarily imposed by God but is the inevitable outcome of sin itself – the confirmation of sinners in their own self-chosen course, being left by God to reap the full, dire consequences of sin. Having persistently separated themselves from God, sinners, dying in their sin, banish themselves from his presence and abandon themselves to reap the full harvest of their own evil character and of their rejection of Calvary’s provision for their sin.” ~Herbert Lockyer

The JUDGE GETS NAILED FOR THE GUILTY –

Why would a loving God, of Whom it is said that His love is unconditional, condemn any one to a place of burning torment forever, with no chance of reprieve? Where is the love in that sort of action?

What Universalists and others who believe either in universal salvation from our common Heavenly Father and 'the brotherhood of Man', or in annihilation fail to acknowledge is that God is not only a God of love, He is also a God of Holiness. As human beings, with a fallen sinful nature (and without a regenerated, resurrected spirit), we have no idea or conception of what this means beyond a theoretical basis. We under appreciate then why God can’t forgive sin by merely conceding to do so, because we fail to comprehend the awesomeness of His holiness.

The holiness of God in conjunction with the character of God’s sense of justice would compel Him to judge sin; if He merely ignored sin, or overlooked sin, or simply dismissed sin out of hand, He would be in violation of His nature, and this is something God cannot do! God cannot lie, He cannot be unjust, He cannot change. He cannot tolerate sin.

This then is the ‘dilemma’ that God faced: He must judge sin, and yet to do so would mean to condemn the very creatures that He loves so passionately. How could a Holy, Eternal God deal with sin and yet bring His creatures into a loving relationship with Himself?

Bear in mind that since God is eternal, any sin committed against Him by mortal creatures would face eternal consequences, since the issue is the One who is being sinned against, not on the deed of the perpetrator!


Suppose one was to commit the exact same crime in different nations; each nation will have their own sense of justice and various standards for punishment. Though it’s the same crime, committed by the same person, that person will not know the same level of punishment from each nation because the crime must answer to the courts of law as represented by each nation’s standards.

Yet God, in His Kingdom has the highest Standard by which He will judge and mete out punishment by, His Holy Law! Mortal, finite creatures will know the incontrovertible judgment and punishment of an Eternal God and His eternal Law.

We have already seen the scripture that stated that all judgment will be given to the Son by the Father to mete out; thus Jesus Christ is the Judge who will review each individual life and bring sentence upon them, based on the Holy Law of God (which has proven mankind to be sinful and incapable of obeying it).

The kinsmen goel is a term employed in both the book of Numbers and Ruth; the concept is utilized elsewhere in scripture as well (sometimes referred to as the “avenger of blood”). This is a person who is related to another that’s incurred a debt and as a result, lost their land, home, etc. The kinsman can if they are able and willing, redeem their relative by paying the debt and restoring anything lost (such as lands, houses, etc).

The kinsman is also a type of The Redeemer, the LORD Jesus Christ (Isaiah 41:14; 43:14; 44:6, 24; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7, 26; 54:5, 8; 59:20; 60:16; 63:16) who likewise possessed the ability and willingness to redeem the human race (Eph. 1:7, 14) which was indebted to God by our flagrant sin, in violation of the Law as well as depriving God of the pleasure for which He created us.

The glory of God would have been to experience uninterrupted, pure, loving fellowship with us, His creatures; yet “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
Humanity has gone its own way, and neglects, ignores, even blasphemes God in practically every breath we breathe!

Yet because “God so loved the world . . . He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus Christ, the One who dwelled together with the Father before creation ever took place, the Eternal I Am who inhabits eternity, allowed Himself to become our sin-bearer, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Being both sinless, eternal God, and also being a man in whom there dwelt no sin He was able to meet the debt that we incurred, take on that debt of sin upon Himself, and also was able to receive the full brunt of God Almighty’s wrath against the sea of sin that would have condemned us all. Being God, He was able to endure the eternal punishment of this judgment, for indeed God condemned in the flesh, in the Person of Christ, the sins of humanity:

Rom 8:3
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Also:

Hebrews 9:14
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Read the entire passage from Hebrews Ch. 9.
Jesus Christ suffered for our sins, and abolished forever the penalty for them, the power of them, and the presence of them on our behalf, when the redemption is finally completed upon His Second Coming. In this Person is encapsulated all the grace, all the goodness, all the tender mercies, the compassion, the kindness and love of God. All of humanity can know of these things from God, through the Person of Christ Jesus, and any who come to Him, He will in no wise cast out (John 6:37).

This is why, if one rejects the LORD Jesus Christ, the exclusive source of God’s redemption (Acts 4:12), there is nothing He has to spare to offer any soul who would seek such outside of the Person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, that which Christ Jesus took upon Himself and the sacrifice He made is invalid for those who reject Him, and they then have no other choice but to suffer that eternal torment themselves (John 3:18-21, 36).

The Judge is coming to this world one day, and any who are caught outside of the grace of God, made available through Jesus Christ our LORD, will have to face the Judge and His Law, and in that Court, there will be no hope for the guilty: none, whatsoever.

Rom 3:19
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Read more!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

CHRIST's COURT: Soon In Session - Part 2

Part One of this article concluded with “Lessons From Lockyer” in which we examined the three fold aspect of death – physical (or natural), spiritual, and eternal death. We then examined the “broad proofs” of such.

We now continue with more aspects of Universalism’s errant dogma in the following:

NO CONDEMNATION FOR . . . ANY ONE?
Examining Scriptures for Content on This Doctrine –

Universalists have various scriptures that they use to justify this belief that all will be saved, and some of these are listed below with appropriate refutations (many of these are quoted from Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics by Norman Geisler.

Universalists claim that the fires of hell will have a purgative effect on souls that are not yet suitably prepared for heaven; that their sins will be purged away during their limited* time in gehenna (the lake of fire; *also as mentioned earlier, there are those consigned to the lake of fire who will have previously been imprisoned in hades from which there is no escape, thus no liberation is possible and time there is not “limited”). There are no references to gehenna as a place where sins are purged, nor are there any scriptures that validate that once said sins are purged, the souls relinquished there are delivered. This is more akin to the Roman Catholic heresy of purgatory, than a biblical doctrine of eternal punishment.

There is only one thing that ever expiates sin and that is the blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7)! Nothing else can do this, for if there were an alternative for the obliteration of sin, then Christ’s death on the cross would have been unnecessary, and there would have been a prayer that Jesus prayed to the Father, that He neglected to answer:

Matthew 26:39
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
There are some that point to 1 Cor. 3:12-16, citing vs. 15 as evidence of this belief:
“If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”


Yet if taken in context this assertion is easily refuted, for this is speaking of those who are already saved, Christians whose works are being tested to determine if they are genuinely wrought of God or not (gold, silver, precious stones [these elements survive fire] which are good works produced by God’s Holy Spirit; or wood, hay and stubble [these elements are destroyed by fire] which are dead works produced by self-effort); it is the works committed by the saints (vs. 13), not the saints themselves that are tested in the fires. This judgment will be accomplished in heaven, not in hell (2 Cor. 5:10).

Then, another verse universalists use is found in Acts 3:21. Peter speaks of Jesus who “must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His prophets.” This reference to the “restoration of all things” is taken by universalists to mean restoration of all to God. However, the context does not support such a conclusion. Acts 3:20-21 does not even remotely hint that there will be a total salvation. Other passages totally refute such an idea. In fact, a few verses down, in vs. 23 it states: “And it shall come to pass that every soul, which will not hear that prophet (Jesus Christ) shall be destroyed from among the people.” This hardly bears any resemblance to all souls being saved, but rather elicits the truth that some will not hear or obey the LORD and be destroyed as a result.

Peter is speaking to the Jews and refers to the “restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began”. This is the covenant which God made with our (Jewish) fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed’ (vs. 25). This Abrahamic covenant was unconditional and included the promises of possessing the land (Canaan) “forever” (Gen. 13:15). Peter is referring to the future fulfillment of this covenant, the restoration of all things to Israel, as Paul also confirms in Romans 11:23-26, particularly vs. 26.



Romans 5:18
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Romans 5:19
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous
.

From these verses Universalists infer that Christ’s death for all guarantees salvation for all. This conclusion, however, is contrary to the context and certainly to the message of Romans as a whole. This is explicitly in the context of being justified by faith (5:1), not automatically. In the preceding verse he declares that salvation comes to those “who receive . . . the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17). The rest of Romans makes it unmistakably clear that not everyone will be saved. Romans Ch. 1 – 2 speaks of the heathen who are “without excuse (Romans 1:19). Upon them the wrath of God falls (1:18).

It declares that “as many as have sinned without the law will also perish without the law” (Romans 2:12). At the heart of his argument, Paul concludes that apart from justification by faith, the world is “guilty before God” (Romans 3:19). Speaking of the destiny of both saved and lost, Paul affirms that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Likewise, Paul recognized that, in spite of his prayers, not all of his kinsman would be saved (Romans 11) but would be “accursed” (Romans 9:3). The whole point of Romans is to show that only those who believe will be justified (Romans 1:17; 3:21-26). Romans Ch. 9 leaves no doubt that only the elect, not everyone will be saved. The rest are “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” (Romans 9:22). The word “destruction” in the Greek is apoleia, which means “ruin, loss (physical, or spiritual or eternal) – perdition, waste, damnable, to die; Apoleia means “loss of well being, not of being” … signifying their spiritual and eternal perdition (Matt. 7:13; John 17:12). In this passage of Romans 9:22, where “prepared (fitted)” is in the middle voice, indicating that the vessels of wrath fitted themselves for destruction (that is, they have willingly rejected God’s offer of salvation, thus incurring ‘self-motivated-destruction’); other passages that make reference to apoleia are: Phil. 1:28; 3:19; 1 Tim. 6:9; Heb. 10:39; 2 Peter 2:1,3; 3:7, 16 and Rev. 17:8, 11.

Note: Those that would use such passages as mentioned above as proof text for God’s sovereignty and absolute will overriding the will of the individual, i.e., “vessels of wrath fitted for destruction” we must remember that God possesses foreknowledge and so understands beforehand who will receive “the gift of righteousness” and who will not, and so is able to make “preparations” to accommodate those decisions in eternity past.

Another passage that would seem on the surface to support the idea of Universalism is found in

2 Cor 5:19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation
.

It’s argued that “the world” was reconciled to God by Christ’s work (true). Thus, all are [already] saved in the basis of Jesus’ work on the Cross (not true). However, this is a process (reconciliation) according to God’s purpose, not a universally established fact, since not everyone will be saved according to such passages as Matt. 7:13-14 (and the already quoted passage in Revelation Ch. 20). The emphasis in the above cited passage is on God’s part: that is, He has provided reconciliation, making it available to all who would receive it (yet there are passages that declare that not all will, even though God greatly desires that they would!).

Second the context reveals that the actual reconciliation is [manifested] for those “in Christ” (see vs. 17), those who are “new creatures (creations [– more about salvation and the spiritual birth of the believer and how these are distinct from the unsaved, that is, the lost, later])”. The individual must express faith in the finished work of Christ, and place belief, trust, reliance, dependence in and on Christ in matters of salvation (for that is what faith [pistis in the Greek] is!).


Without this explicit expression of faith from the individual towards Christ Jesus, the actualization of such salvation cannot be notably accomplished; otherwise what would be the point of the apostle Paul in exhorting and “pleading” as an “ambassador of Christ” to the lost to be “reconciled to God”? According to Universalists, they would say that all are already reconciled! Rather, all have, shall we say, access to salvation by the provision of this reconciliation, but unless the lost soul comes by faith to God through Jesus Christ, they won’t obtain it.

Other passages used by Universalists to substantiate their view are:

Eph. 1:10 – yet here the passage clearly speaks of those “in Christ” (as opposed to those who have not believed in Christ); note also that in this passage, those gathered in Christ are from heaven and in earth, but nothing is said of those in hades, that is, those who dwell in this abode of the dead. Christians who ‘sleep’ are present with the LORD (in heaven; see 2 Cor. 5:8), they are not in hades to be gathered from there by the LORD.

Philippians 2:10-11 states that one day “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father”. Note that this states the purpose: “to the glory of God the Father” not “to the saving of all souls”. Furthermore this passage in Philippians is a quote from Isaiah 45:22-24 which reads –


Isaiah 45:22
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
Isa 45:23
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Isa 45:24
Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
Isa 45:25
In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Hear what the LORD says: “Look unto Me and be ye saved” not: “Look unto Me for ye are saved”. The LORD is admonishing souls to come to Him and be saved. Will there be those who despise the salvation of the LORD? Yes, for in vs. 24 it states that “all that are incensed against Him (the LORD) shall be ashamed (buwsh in Hebrew- “to pale, to be ashamed, disappointed, confounded, shamed, overtones of being or having feelings of worthless [ness].”)

The same Hebrew word for “incensed” is used in Isaiah 41:11, and again it describes those who are opposed to the LORD. The word in Hebrew is charah and it means, among other definitions, “to blaze up, of anger, and is translated as “wroth, hot, angry, displeased, incensed, grieved”.

Taking the passage in Isaiah, along with its quote in Philippians, we can conclude: not all who will confess that Jesus is Lord will in fact, be saved; some will declare this out of compulsion even though they “are incensed against Him [and shall be shamed, being worthless]”. Thus shall God the Father be glorified when even the enemies of Christ will bow the knee and declare His Lordship, even the arch enemy of Christ Jesus, Satan himself, no doubt will be compelled to make this declaration!

It takes more than merely confessing that Jesus is Lord for salvation, for according to Romans 10:9, one must also “believe in your heart”.

ORIGINAL With ORIGEN?

Origen, was one of the leading authorities in the early church, but he was also one who held Gnostic beliefs. He may indeed have been a Gnostic himself, and was prolific in his writings, endorsing such dogma as commonly held among Gnostics. He also was among the first to state his belief in universalistic doctrine*.

(* Other proponents of Universalism in its various forms in the 20th century are Karl Barth, German theologian ([1886-1968); philosopher John Hick as well as evangelical theologians like Clark Pinnock and John Stott. Most liberal theologians and cults hold to some form of universalism or its cousin, annihilationism, the view that persons who cannot qualify for heaven merely go out of existence; both views hold that there is no eternal punishment.)

Both Origen and the system of doctrine known as Universalism were condemned as unorthodox in the Fifth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople (AD 553), but far more significant than a Council is the scriptures themselves. In such passages as 1 Cor. 15: 25-28 Origen had much to say:

1 Cor 15:27
For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
1 Cor 15:28
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

“But if even that unreserved declaration of the apostle do not sufficiently inform us what is meant by ‘enemies placed under his feet,’ listen to what he says in the following words, “For all things must be put under Him.” What, then, is this ‘putting under’ by which all things must be made subject to Christ? I am of the opinion that it is this very subjection by which we also wish to be subject to Him, by which the apostles also were subject and all the saints who have been followers of Christ” (Origen 1.6.1).

This interpretation ignores both the content and the context of this passage. Paul is not speaking of the salvation of the lost but, rather their condemnation. This is evident in such phrases as ‘destroy’, ‘put under his feet’, and ‘put an end to all rule’. This is the language of subjugation (vvs. 24-28). These are God’s enemies, not His friends and certainly not His children!

That God will be “all in all” (vs. 28) does not mean that all will be in God. He will reign supreme in the entire universe after ending the rebellion against Him. The phrase ‘all things’ must be understood in context. All things are made subject to Christ (vs. 28). But these “all things” are enemies (vs. 25). The phrase is used in parallel with enemies in successive verses (vs. 26-27). Heaven is not a place where God overpowers the will of His enemies and forces them into the fold. So, there is not a hint in such passages of salvation for all believers.

Universalism is contrary to the implications of being created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) which would also include personal volition, and a will (for God Himself possesses these traits) to do what we would. If it were a matter of God compelling us to salvation, then He would by necessity have to force us to love Him, but love by its very definition must be given of one’s own free will, otherwise it’s meaningless. If we were given no choice but to love God, we would be mindless automatons who would parrot what God would compel us to say, act and do in accord with His own will.

No marriage could be predicated upon such conditions; the groom and bride swear allegiance and love freely given without even a hint of compulsion or coercion. Would such a marriage between mere humans then, be superior to the ‘marriage relationship’ between Christ and His bride in that Christ must force His bride (Eph. 5:22-33) into salvation, thus relationship and love?

DIVISION MADE EASY –

On the most basic level, one could divide all people into three groups in the current biblical dispensation: there are Gentiles (all non-Jews), and there are Jews (a colloquial term that refers to general Hebrew [from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a.k.a. Israel – the man] ancestry, but also specifically ‘Jews’ refers to JU-DAH); and there is the church, a spiritual entity that is comprised of all born again believers, indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus spiritually regenerated to new, resurrected life (comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles) in what’s known as ‘the body of Christ’.


On an even more basic level, you could divide the world up into two categories: the saved and the unsaved.

To exposit this idea, I shall use two primary passages: Romans Ch. 9 and 1 Thessalonians Ch. 5 (and of course other supplemental scriptures throughout).

Afterwards we shall examine the legitimacy of the spiritual rebirth which is required in order to be saved for heaven, and from hell; to be saved for special relationship and work with God; to be saved from the penalty, power and presence of sin in the life of the believer. There are those groups, including Universalists that disparage the idea of a spiritual rebirth as this would create (in their minds) an unnecessary distinction, because all souls are “already saved” in their theology.

In Romans Ch. 9 Paul relates his sorrow for his countrymen, his fellow Jews who did not receive Jesus (Y’shua) as their Messiah, and he even went so far as to declare his willingness to be accursed (set apart from Christ) for their sakes!

He goes on, saying that these are Israelites to whom the covenants, the Law, service to God, adoption and glory all pertain to, and yet in the same breath he declares that “they are not all Israel who are of (“from”) Israel. Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”

John the Baptist had very much the same thing to say, particularly to the religious leaders of the day (his rendition was a bit terse and ‘hard core’ however):

“. . . think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”

See Matt. 3: 7-9 and Luke 3: 7-8. (Note: in both passages, in context with these verses, follows the declaration that any tree that does “not [produce] fruit will be hewn down and cast into the fire”, making a distinction between those who are saved and those who are lost – based on who bears fruit and who doesn’t; fruit bearing however is an indication and a result of salvation, not to be confused with a means by which salvation is obtained).

Now back to Paul in Romans Ch. 9

The seed propagated through Isaac are brought from this one who was “promised” to his father, Abraham, and that as a result of believing faith in God’s Word (Romans 4:3; 16-25; Hebrews 11: 17-19). Isaac therefore becomes an emblem of faith for those who would follow the same faith as Abraham, and obtain the same salvation as he did, by faith. There are those however who will not believe God (the Gentile nations) and those who will not approach God by faith but by their own works (the Jewish nation; see Romans 10: 2-4).

Romans 9: 8 plainly declares “. . . They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”
So there are the children according to the flesh and the children according to promise, quite the stark distinction! Being born as a descendent of Abraham is no more redeeming for one’s own soul than a person who is born to Christian parents! Each of us is required to come to God by faith, believing His Word and receiving His Word.

There is the distinction made between Jacob and Esau as well.

Another distinction later on in the chapter says that there are those vessels fitted for destruction and on the vessels of mercy which He had afore prepared for glory. Notice the difference even here between these two different types of vessels: those of destruction are “fitted” towards that end, and those of mercy have had pre-arranged preparations made for them.

Chapter Nine goes on to explain about how Isaiah cried out regarding the nation of Israel being as the sand of the sea, and yet for all of these vast numbers, only a “remnant shall be saved”. Here a distinction is made between believing and non-believing Jews.

Then this chapter speaks on the election of God towards those (Gentiles) who weren’t even “His people” but became His people because they exhibited faith towards God and in His righteousness (just like Abraham); yet Israel sought this righteousness through the Law rather than by faith (see vs. 25-33) and could not appropriate it.

Scripture pronounces that God sees a distinction among people in regards to their salvation or lack thereof. He receives the one, and rejects the other, respectively.

This is plainly seen in such passages as the drag net parable – Matt. 13:47 – 50; also the wheat and the tares as seen earlier in this same chapter – 13: 25-40.

The judgment of the sheep and the goats: In Matthew Ch. 25 there is yet another distinction made between those who ministered to the nation of Israel in her time of need, and those that did not. On the surface it would seem that the salvation of these depended on whether or not they blessed the persecuted nation of Israel or not; that would assume salvation is obtainable by works.

Rather, on the basis of giving aid to Israel, when all the world at that time will be turned against that nation as they heed the leadership of the Beast (Rev. Ch. 13), these would have given their allegiance to the Arch-nemesis of the Beast, that is the Lord Jesus Christ; note that is speaks of those who blessed the nation of Israel as “the righteous” and there is but one means to attain to the righteousness which God requires: by faith in Christ Jesus!

The other major text to be examined is found in 1 Thessalonians Ch. 5

In this passage Paul addresses the saints that are in Thessalonica, and speaks directly to them as “you”:

vs. 1-2 “But of the times and seasons brethren, you have no need that I write unto you, for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”

Then Paul addresses another group, that is, a group of, shall we say ‘non-saints’ as “they”:

Vs. 3 “For when they shall say peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
“Travail upon a woman with child” is a telling phrase, and often used in scripture to denote ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’. See Jeremiah 30: 6-7; also John 16:21.

The comparison then between “you” and “they” continues for the next few verses (vv. 3-9): the one being of the day, the other the night; the one being of light, the other of darkness; those who are awake and watching, and those that are asleep; those that are not appointed to the wrath of God, the other experiencing sudden destruction and wrath; those that escape the time of tribulation, and those who will not escape. The distinctions between these two groups are not only obvious, they are diametrically opposed.

DIVINELY APPOINTED DISTINCTIONS –

John 3:36
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him
.

1John 5:12
He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life
.

Matt 10:34
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword
.

The division of all mankind is based upon the LORD Jesus Christ, between those that receive Him, and those that reject Him, and they will be judged on that basis. The sword that the LORD Jesus spoke of, that will divide humanity, is the Word which He has spoken, and again, on the basis of whether or not His Word is believed or rejected, all the world will be divided into two distinct groups: the saved and the non-saved (Acts 28:24) .

As has been amply demonstrated in this article, the false doctrine of Universalism can not be supported by scripture and we rightly conclude, and with extreme sadness and regret, that not everyone will be saved. In fact, comparatively few will be saved as even our LORD Himself expressed (Matt. 7: 13-15):

Matt 7:14
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it
.

We will continue this series with one more article soon . . . and so is the coming of all of our hearings in CHRIST's Court . . . SOON IN SESSION!
Read more!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
ReferenceTagging.tag();