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Sunday, January 23, 2011

SPIRITUAL WARFARE: The Armor of God, Conduct in the Campaign & Implementing the Victory of Christ in our Lives - Part 3

~~By James Fire

The ARMOR of GOD – What It Is and Its Functions:

EPHESIANS 6:11
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Taking a Stand
Remember that rallying cry by Aragorn, Captain of the Armies of the West and what he commanded of his men? “. . . STAND, men of the West!”
What about Wallace’ declaration of “FREEDOM”?
We likewise receive our own CAPTAIN of Salvation’s command here via Paul the apostle, to STAND FAST and we acknowledge our FREEDOM or LIBERTY in Christ, being made free from the Law, from the works of the flesh, from the destructive power of sin:

GALATIANS 5:1

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Therefore, we must “put on” the armor of God; but first we must ask, what is this armor precisely? Are they actual spiritual pieces of armor that fit onto our spirits? Are they mere philosophical abstractions and allegories? Or are they representations of spiritual truths that we obtain and employ spiritually in our warfare against the enemy?

I find it interesting that the phrase “put on” in reference to the armor is likewise used elsewhere in this epistle (and in the scriptures) in the expression of putting on Christ, or putting on the new man (in conjunction with putting off the old man – thus there is a connection to the passage in Isaiah of ‘renewing’ or changing our strength, trading off the old man with his weaknesses and corruptions for the new man created in Christ Jesus (ISAIAH 40:31); being so empowered, we are able to conduct spiritual living, spiritual warfare and spiritual victory).

ROMANS 13:14
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
EPHESIANS 4:22,24
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

COLOSSIANS 3:9-10
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

If I were to stand in opposition to Satan in battle, he would devastate me thoroughly; so much so, there wouldn’t be enough left of me to fill a thimble! I have neither the strength nor the power, being a mere mortal of human frailty and sin, to withstand him at all.
I would be as vulnerable to his weapons of attack as a naked soldier would be to the lethally sharp blade of an enemy on the battle front! Yet, let that vulnerable soldier “put on” his armor, and he can indeed withstand the blows of his enemy’s sword, and engage him with a sword of his own, and thereby have the credible chance for victory.

Likewise in this spiritual war, we must put on this armor, which we can equate with putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, and putting on the new man (in Christ) created by God in righteousness and true holiness. Also to shun the old man with his human frailties and repent of all his deeds and deceitful lusts for sin and transgression he is wont to partake of.
No one can engage in this warfare relying on the strength of human ability, for such is cursed before God; only as we are relying upon and trusting in the life and strength that the LORD provides will we be blessed in our engagements against the enemy:


JEREMIAH 17:5-8
Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
(See also PSALM 1, particularly vs. 2-3)

IMPERIALLY IMPERVIOUS -

Thus if one considers that this armor is an allegory of the veritable and actual nature and attributes of Christ Jesus our LORD, “putting on the LORD Jesus Christ” and “put[ting] on the new man” makes perfect sense. Consider how each piece of this armor is named, and you have Jesus Christ and His spiritual integrity, nature and blessings classified in precise terms.

The helmet of SALVATION, the breast plate of RIGHTEOUSNESS; the loins gird about with TRUTH, the preparation of the Gospel of PEACE, the shield of FAITH, the Sword of the SPIRIT are all intertwined in the Person of the LORD Jesus Christ!


JOHN 14:30

Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

In both Matthew and Luke, in their fourth chapters we see Jesus led of the Spirit into the wilderness, and there He was tempted of the devil, yet He did not succumb to his temptations, but remained pure of heart, free of any spiritual defect or sin, and well pleasing to the Father. Later the writer of Hebrews (whom I believe was Paul) confirms in his own epistle this truth, and Peter as well in his:


HEBREWS 4:15

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
1 PETER 1:19
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Not for lack of trying, Satan could not find any weaknesses in Jesus Christ; there was nothing to entice Him with, nothing with which he could lure Him into sin and away from the Father’s will. Jesus declared that He always did the Father’s will (JOHN 8:29) and never varied from it; the Father likewise said of the Son, that He is well pleased with Him (see MATT 3:17;17:5).

In the reference to JOHN 14:30 the phrase “hath (nothing)” is scheo in the Greek, and can refer to “to hold, directly or remotely, possession, ability, relation or condition”, also its interesting to note that in some applications this word can imply “to reign”. This is in the negative sense, thus Satan has no possession of Jesus Christ, or any relation; he does not reign over Him as he does over sinful mankind as the “god of this world”.

It’s this brand of impregnable, spiritual integrity that Christ Jesus bequeaths to us in the form of this spiritual armor, the armor OF GOD, which alone avails in protecting us from the enemy, his attacks, and enables us to venture forth into his territory of the spiritual kingdom of darkness and rescue souls from that devilish domain.

Therefore we are well “able to stand against the wiles of the devil”. Three times the word “stand (against)” is used in this portion of scripture (“withstand” is of even greater emphasis in vs. 13; we’ll look at that later), and it’s the same Greek word each time: histemi which means, “stand, establish, stand still, abide, appoint, continue, covenant”.

The word “able” is also used three times in this passage: dunamai- “can, to be able, possible, be of power” and is related to the Greek word dunamis. By God’s empowering grace we are indeed ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THE DEVIL, and this reminds me of Caleb in Canaan when he spoke of conquering the land and defeating the enemy that resided there:


NUMBERS 13:30
And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

If one does a study of warfare campaigns in the conquest of Canaan as recorded in the Old Testament, particularly in the Pentateuch (first Five Books of Moses) and the book of Joshua, you have models (or examples, ROM 15:4) of spiritual warfare done in the physical domain. Some old hymns refer to crossing the Jordan as leaving this life and entering into heaven; I don’t believe that is the case, not quite. Its more like leaving the old life, and entering into the new: for the Christian this is especially relevant as the new life very much entails struggles and battles in spiritual warfare. We have our giants to slay, just as they had theirs!

Speaking of giants, this might be an opportune time to look at an article FROM the MIND of FIRE about such things:

HAVE YOU SLAIN YOUR GIANT TODAY?

Note that this armor in order to be effective must be entire and complete, that is “the whole armor” and not merely several parts! The LORD’s furnishings for us are entire, and not wanting in any regard. His provisions from His eternal storehouses are generous and ample in supply so that no soldier of the Cross can claim inadequacy in Christ or to say that “the enemy is too strong”. If we suffer defeat it is ourselves to blame, and not God. Yet even in defeat, we are not robbed of the opportunity to regain the victory by God’s grace! Our God isn’t a God of second chances, but rather multiple chances for those of a contrite, meek and repentant heart!

So, what is it that we must stand against? In this Divine appointment by God (and understand that all of us soldiers are appointed by orders from our Captain to so engage in war at the station of His choosing), all of us saints in this world, which dwell behind ‘enemy lines’ are certainly ‘marked targets.’ What covenant are we agreed to and must abide by? That we STAND, resolutely and aggressively against “the wiles of the devil” and ‘wiles’ is a very telling word!

Methodeia – “method, travesty, trickery, wile, to lie in wait. It denotes craft or deceit, a cunning device (plan)”. Note that in this verse, this word is in the plural form. Satan has not merely a single plan to destroy us, but many. If one or a dozen should fail, he has other tactics in his repertoire he may employ for our ruin. Remember that this creature is probably yet the most intelligent and powerful being, second only to God Himself, for this is the one that Ezekiel states was the highest ranking cherub (a super-class of angelic being) in heaven, and appointed (prior to his fall) as perhaps the overseer of all the hosts (armies) of heaven. See EZEK 28:14; for detailed history of Lucifer prior to and during his fall see ISAIAH 14 and EZEK 28.

This is the great enemy we must be protected from and upon whose kingdom we are ordered to assault; scripture is replete in illustrative examples of the saint being surrounded by God, or protected by God, and secured in Him; just a few examples are –

Job had his hedge of protection by God from the attacks of Satan (JOB 1:10)

Noah’s ark, which protected its eight passengers from vile humanity which no doubt would crave entrance (though there is no mention of this, its reasonable that faced with drowning, the victims of the Flood would desperately seek refuge there) once they realized judgment had finally come (GEN 7:13-17
). Obviously the ark protected its passengers from the judgment of God’s Flood as well.

Abraham had his shield, the LORD God Himself (GEN 15:1)

Moses had a cleft in the Rock which protected him from being destroyed by the glorious presence of God Himself (EXOD 33:18-23).

God is the Strong Tower for those who trust in Him and a refuge for those whose hearts belong to the LORD:


PSALM 9:9; 46:1-2,7,11; 59:16; 61:3; 62:7; 91:1-16; 142:5-7

There are a few different Hebrew words used for “refuge” particularly in the Psalms, and they are as follows: misgab, machaceh, manowc, and chacah.

Misgab – used in PSALM 9:9; 46:7,11; 48:3, and means, “a cliff, altitude, high tower, refuge, defense, high fort.”
Machaceh or machceh – used in PSALM 14:6; 46:1; 62:7 and means, “shelter, hope, (place of) refuge, trust.”
Manowc – used in PSALM 59:16; 142:4, and it means “a retreat, fleeing, apace, escape, flight, refuge.”

Chacah – used exclusively in the O.T. here as “refuge” and it means, “to flee for protection, to confide, to trust, to make a refuge, have hope; it is often used where God is compared to a rock or a shield or One with protective wings.”

And then we have the armor of God which the Christian warrior is to abide in; just as one inhabits a strong tower, a refuge, or dwells within a hedge, so also must we ‘inhabit’ this armor and the nature of its parts must be apprehended into the Christian’s life. We are about to get into all of this, starting  with verse 14, however there is still vs. 12 and 13 to ponder.

The INVISIBLE INFANTRIES of INIQUITY –

EPHESIANS 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Were we to wrestle with flesh and blood, physical enemies that could be seen with our natural eyes, we would be far more aware of them and on a more urgent alert whenever they came around. However, this is obviously not the case. Our enemies are spiritual in nature, thus
invisible to the natural eye, and when they attack, we are inclined to not acknowledge them as the source, but rather natural sources, usually in the form of other people (which could indeed be used as agencies of evil, inspired by these invisible enemies) or even natural causes, such as weather, or sicknesses of various kinds, or accidents, etc.

As Chuck Missler has stated: “This is not only a matter of contending against godless philosophers, crafty gurus, Christ-denying cultists and neo-pagan rulers, but a highly organized army of demonic forces and battalions of fallen angels:


"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood . . .” EPHESIANS 6:12

We cannot afford to become abnormally fixated on spiritual darkness, and attribute every misfortune or sorrow to them (some of these are orchestrated by God, for His own purposes), but we must also be keenly aware and discerning that these angelic agencies of the fallen sort are truly all around us, are working against us, and as long as our attention is focused upon the natural realm, they can find an advantage over us in such a vulnerable state of ignorance.

These evil forces of Satan’s kingdom are militant, and organized in rank and file as the above verse demonstrates: the first ones mentioned are of higher order than the last ones. You will note that the first in rank are “principalities”

The Greek word is “arche” meaning, “chief in rank, order, time or place. A variant of this word, archon refers specifically to a ruler, in this case a ‘chief ruler’ as well as ‘prince’ or ‘magistrate’

According to Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary:

“The archons in Greece were chief magistrates chosen, after the death of Codrus, from the most illustrious families, to superintend civil and religious concerns. They were nine in number; the first was properly the archon; the second was called king; the third, polemarch, or general of the forces. The other six were called thesmothetae, or legislators…”

I find it fascinating that these magistrates were nine in number, because since Paul used this word “arche” being the general term, or “archon” specifically referring to these rulers of Athens – in reference to these “principalities” found here in EPHESIANS 6:12, these likewise would then presumably be nine in number, that is nine chief angelic rulers in the kingdom of darkness.

In occult and New Age literature there is often mention of “the Nine” or “the Nine Unknowns [or Unknown Men]” and the Theosophical Society often makes mention of these “Ascended Masters”:


One definition of an ascended master is an individual who has undergone the process of ascension. Throughout history, there have been stories of these individuals who have reached a higher state of spiritual awareness and placed themselves in service to humanity. One concept of an ascended master derives from the teachings of Theosophy.
“In Theosophy, and various [derivatives] and offshoots of theosophy, ascended masters are a group of spiritually enlightened beings, once mere mortals, who have undergone a process of spiritual transformation. According to these teachings, they remain attentive to the spiritual needs of humanity, and act as superintendents of its spiritual growth. In this, they can be compared to the Great White Brotherhood or Secret Chiefs who are posited by various magical organizations; and more remotely, to the bodhisattvas of Buddhism, or the saints of Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.
“The term may actually have originated with Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who in his satirical book The Coming Race posited the existence of "Nine Unknown Men" who secretly run things in the world
.” (Taken from - RUMORS OF THE NINE and WHO THEY ARE).

On a peripheral note I conjecture that these Nine Angelic Overlords directly under Lucifer embody, probably temporarily, these nine ‘unknown’ men who are used as conduits to express the will of Lucifer, the god of this world, but that is only my opinion that perhaps warrants some merit.

These are the paramount of evil with which we contend (excluding Satan himself) and wrestle. The word, “wrestle” or pallo in the Greek, in vs. 12 refers to “wrestling, to sway, to vibrate” connected with “esti” which typically refers to a third person singular, present tense, most commonly used with the word “wrestle”. This is a great struggle that requires concerted effort; a contest not easily won, for our adversary is tenacious and proud, and shall refuse to relent willingly.

“. . . against principalities, against powers . . .”. Exousia in the Greek, means, “force, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, delegated authority, jurisdiction; the power of rule or government,” it’s the same word used in EPHESIANS 1:21 and EPHESIANS 2: 2 where there as well it refers to spiritual powers but in 2:2 specifies satanic power, that is, “the prince of the power of the air”.

As part of the definitive rendering of this word involves jurisdiction, there may be some justification that these powers have jurisdictional territories over which they preside (see DAN 10:13–20)*

However as is often the case with certain churches, extra-biblical beliefs are taught that these jurisdictional powers all have names and by knowing the names of these powers, the Christian can effectively ‘bind’ them, then lay claim to the souls in that jurisdiction for Christ.
In order to arrive at such conclusions one must take various scriptures out of context, misconstrue their meaning, and resort to other non-biblical texts in order to learn the supposed names of these powers (MATT 12:29 and MARK 3:27 are used, but no where are territories or names required in order to ‘bind’ and in no instance are cities, or areas taken back, but in this case, a single demoniac).

These practices are not taught by the LORD Jesus Christ (on one occasion only He demanded the name of the demon (Legion) as found in LUKE 8:30), nor are there any doctrinal teachings found anywhere in the epistles on this and must therefore be rejected as legitimate material for learning about spiritual warfare.

* See the following article by Dr. Chuck Missler –

OUR DESPERATE WARFARE

“. . . the rulers of the darkness of this world . . .”
“Rulers” is Kosmoskrator in the Greek and refers to “a world-ruler; an epithet of Satan. It is used in the plural form as well, and refers to non-physical rulers, spirit powers under the permissive will of God, and in consequence to human sin, exercise satanic and therefore antagonistic authority over the world in its present condition of spiritual darkness and alienation from God.”


“Darkness” in this passage of Ephesians has the same Greek word as used almost everywhere else in the New Testament, and other passages use similar, related Greek words, except in two places; once in 2 PET 2:4 and once in JUDE 1:6. In both instances it refers to the “[everlasting] chains of darkness” in which certain fallen angels are held captive for desperately wicked acts (many scholars believe those to be documented in GEN 6 in regards to fallen angels “the sons of God [or ‘bene ha Eloheim’] cohabitating with human females, resulting in a hybrid species known as ‘the fallen ones’ or nephilim.).

Here in EPH 6:12 the word ‘darkness’ is skotos, meaning, “obscurity, shadiness, and mostly, darkness; the exact opposite of light (phos); physical darkness, intellectual darkness, blindness, the place of punishment, moral and spiritual darkness, evil works, of evil powers that dominate the world”, and this last definition best suits the passage in question.

“. . . against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Pneumatikos is used for “spiritual” here (and in the vast majority of the NT, excluding the Gospels only); its predominant usage is found post-Pentecost. It’s the very opposite of physical or gross, and means “ethereal, a spirit, supernatural, and regenerate (in regards to man’s spiritual state once faith is placed in Christ). It connotes the ideas both of invisibility and power, and involves spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

Poneria is here employed for “wickedness” and it means, “the active exercise of a vicious disposition.” The Greek word, kakia is defined as having “a vicious disposition” only, but poneria has the added dimension of active exercise, that is, being involved in wickedness in a vicious manner.

In the book of Colossians the Word of God brings supplementation to our understanding of the spiritual realm of the angelic powers, all of which is created by Jesus Christ:


COLOSSIANS 1:16
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

“Thrones” or thronos refers to “a stately seat, power, authority, potentate” in connection with earthly thrones as well as heavenly; to the throne of grace, and those places of powers for angelic beings.”

“Dominions” or kuriotes meaning, “mastery, rulers, dominion, and prominently, government; lordship either human or angelic; both here in this passage as well as in EPH 1:21, it indicates a grade in the angelic orders, in which it stands second.”

“. . . against spiritual wickedness in high places . . .” The word for ‘high’ here is translated as “heavenly” elsewhere in the New Testament, and in the epistle to the Ephesians as well (EPH 1:2,20; 2:6;3:10) – epouranios, meaning “above the sky, celestial, spiritual as opposed to physical; heavenly opposed to earthly.”

There is the idea of a first, second and third heaven in scripture, as can be attested to by Paul’s vision/visitation of heaven as documented in scripture:

2 CORINTHIANS 12:2
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

The first heaven would be the atmospheric realm that encompasses our planet; the second would be the celestial realm of outer space, and the third heaven that region of spiritual reality in which angels both holy and evil traffic and its uppermost regions being that place of the abode of the Most High and Holy God (see ISAIAH 57:15; 63:15; PSALM 33:13-14; 61:4; 65:4)!

So we see that we have an invisible enemy, highly organized and dominating every area of this world, with abilities that go well beyond the physical dimensions we reside in, and have the intent of our total spiritual ruin or at the least, our spiritual nullification. By their sheer numbers they can incorporate a nearly flawless imitation of omniscience (all knowing) and omnipresence (all present; acting in concert with one another) and have such power and ability that would render any sinner entirely helpless and unable to resist.

For us who are the saints, should we rely upon our own understanding and senses, we would quickly and easily become despondent if we were ever exposed to the full brunt of Satan’s power utilizing all of his angelic agencies. However in the face of such adversarial opponents, we can remain steadfast in both courage and bravery, knowing that this battle is not ours, but rather, as David said to Goliath the Philistine:

1 SAMUEL 17:47
And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.

And remember the words of Elisha the Prophet to his servant that was dismayed at the sight of the enemies of Israel’s mighty military hosts:

2 KINGS 6:16
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

Note precisely what the prophet said to his servant; not: “they that be with us are more then they” but rather, “they that be with us (God’s mighty angelic hosts) are more than they that be with them (the Syrian army). So who are the “they” that were with the Syrian army? I believe it was the counterpart to God’s heavenly army, that is, the satanic forces behind the pagan powers of Syria.

Still, those that are with us are MORE than they that are with the worldly systems of evil!

On that gladsome note, this concludes the third segment of this article; may the LORD bless us as we seek His face and by holy endeavor lay hold of the Word of Truth, both in understanding and in obedience!

Read more!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

THE TRANSLATION OF THE TRUTH: An Examination of Bible Translations from the two Primary Sources –

~~by Anne Kisly and James Fire

At T.T.U.F. we have previously examined the textual issue regarding Textus Receptus and the Critical Text*, yet we decided that a closer and more thorough examination would have significant merit, especially in light of the fact that more and more churches seem to be compromised/compromising their convictions on remaining upon the Word of God as their sole source for authoritative truth and doctrine (case in point, Anne Kisly’s most recent article “Will the Old Book Stand?”

Will the Old Book Stand?).

*How Near Eastern Religion Invaded the West

To accomplish this, we are using some reference material in book form, as well as information gleaned from the Internet. Our desire is not to stir up controversy for controversy’s sake, but for the sake of the truth. Anne Kisly and I are alarmed and dismayed at the spiritually degenerating nature of the church, and of its leaders, many of which have previously been perceived as strong and valiant for the truth. Likewise the history of Israel has been blemished by such apathy towards the truth of God’s Word, and this brought heartache and sorrow to the heart of God, as represented by His spokesman, the prophet Jeremiah (Jere. 9:1-6); it also eventually, reluctantly brought God’s anger and judgment!

Jer 9:3
And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.
(Read the entire portion of scripture!)

It is the Truth of God’s Word that provides us with discernment, direction, protection and encouragement in the face of deception and spiritual seduction, both of which are rampant in today’s world (see Ps. 119:105; 91:4; Col. 2:7; Heb. 4:12; 5:14 [“meat” here meaning the deeper things as found in God’s Word])!

It is the heart’s desire of any believer who truly knows and loves the LORD Jesus Christ (and any who are truly known and loved by the LORD!) to learn God’s Word, and obey it in all things; obviously since the majority of us don’t understand Hebrew or Greek, we read the English (or other language) translations, but which are the most accurate? Or does it make a difference which English translation you read? Some are easier to understand than others; certainly many are turned off by the King James Version for its archaic words and phrases and they avoid it.

There are answers, and by God’s grace and the Spirit of Truth, we pray that we may provide some of them, and encourage the saints to examine this issue carefully (the purchasing of the books we are using for these articles would prove beneficial! We shall include links at the end of this series where you may purchase them), prayerfully for themselves and seek God to reveal the truth and to please God in making the best choices.

Two books that we were led to that treated this subject are written by a Dr. David H. Sorenson and this first series of articles will be based on his first book “Touch Not the Unclean Thing” (based on the verse found in 2 Cor. 6:17).

We will provide summaries of the chapters in this book, make our own comments, and supply further reference materials (Internet links in the main); I agreed to start the series and write articles based on the odd number chapters, while Anne Kisly will write articles based on the even number chapters.

The BACKGROUND of Dr. DAVID SORENSON –

Dr. Sorenson grew up as a third generation Fundamentalist (Fundamentalism being a “relatively modern derivation [that] came into being as a modern movement having its roots in the independent Bible conferences of the latter part of the nineteenth century.”)

Being a fundamentalist, Dr. Sorenson states, simply means “adhering to the fundamentals of the Christian faith” and that there are three characteristics involved in it: 1) Being orthodox (or ‘sound’) in doctrine: supporting the foundational, cardinal, essential truths of historic New Testament Christianity (as opposed to Liberalism or Modernism which questions or outright denies the fundamentals of the faith like the inerrancy of scripture, the deity of Christ and His bodily resurrection, etc.); 2) Separation from apostasy: Theological Liberalism slowly took over the main line denominations in America, those who considered themselves Fundamentalists separated themselves from the apostasy of these denominations; 3) Separation from the world: and its underlying societal system: its philosophies, its values, its entertainments. “. . . suffice it to say that all true Fundamentalists to one degree or another certainly advocated separation from the world on a personal level.”

Dr. Sorenson’s journey into examining the issue of translations of the Bible began when a pastor friend of his gave him a book by David Otis Fuller entitled Which Bible? While it went against everything he’d been taught in seminary on the issue, he discovered that there were two primary Greek texts of the New Testament: the Critical Text (of relatively modern construction) and the Textus Receptus (Received Text, which has been used since antiquity). His seminary training and practice of fifteen years taught him that,

“The critical text and its concomitant use of various modern translations of the Bible (NASB in particular) . . . were acceptable (in theory) as long as it was a ‘good’ translation. Hence by training, I was indoctrinated in the critical text position and taught to be extremely wary of anything which approached using only the King James Version of the Bible as one’s biblical basis. I think,” says Dr. Sorenson, “that I can honestly say that I have sat where many presently sit on this controversial issue.”

The PURPOSE of THIS BOOK –

“This book will attempt to document the historic lineage of the two primary textual bases. On the one hand, the history of the Received Text and particularly one strain thereof, will be found to be associated with our persecuted, martyred brethren in separatist churches across the face of history. On the other hand, the lineage of the Critical text will be shown to be linked to apostasy at virtually every step of its history.”

Dr. Sorenson affirms that through the history of ‘the Bible’ there have been two textual bases, two philosophies regarding the Bible, two types of criticism, and as a result: two different types of Bibles. Due to the fact that one of these is associated with apostasy, and the other with true believers, the doctrine of the Bible becomes of vital and central importance.

CORE ISSUES –

Bibliology is the study of doctrines of the Scriptures and is the core issue, according to Dr. Sorenson. All Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Orthodoxy states that the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures is the truth and upon the Truth of God’s inspired Word we place our faith.
“Verbal” in this sense means that the Holy Spirit of God inspired every word in the Bible. He also inspired it in its entirety as a whole, which is what “plenary” means.

Inspiration in this biblical sense means “God-breathed” as found in 2 Tim. 3:16.

Sorenson states: “God through His Holy Spirit breathed out His very words to the various scriptural penmen as they wrote the various books of the Bible. Verbal plenary inspiration of the Bible is truly one of the foundational tenets of historic Fundamentalism. In 2 Peter 1:21, the Apostle wrote, ‘For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.’
The word “moved” (phero) has the sense of being ‘led along’, ‘carried’ or ‘moved’. The thought is how the Holy Spirit so led or moved the minds of the inspired writers that what they wrote were in fact the very words of God.”

Often in conversation with non-saved people, they tell me that “the Bible was written by men” to which I reply, “Well you’re half right.” This usually prompts a questioning look, and I explain with an illustration. I ask them to get out a pen and paper, and to sign their name on the paper. Then I ask them, “Who wrote that name on that paper?”
”I did,” they respond.
“Are you sure?” I ask, and they nod in affirmation. “Now did you write your name or did the pen?”
“I wrote my name using the pen to do it.”
”God used holy men of God as His instruments to convey His thoughts, His Word, His Truth onto the parchment (or vellum); so while men physically did the writing, God did the directing and inspiring, and the Bible in itself by its internal proofs, demonstrates this!”

So, as Sorenson says, “Bibliology therefore is the foundation of all faith and practice. If the Bible ha flaws or is in error, the very foundation of faith is at risk.”

The very foundations of all that the Christian believes, and practices has as its sole basis the Holy Bible, and if this foundation were ever to be prove faulty, our faith would be undone (Psalm 11:3).

Dr. Sorenson contends that because “the critical text and its resultant translations have altered the Word of God which was received and used by Bible-believing churches throughout the ages”, while they have “not eliminated any major doctrines, they have in fact eroded them in numerous places. Ominously, the doctrine which is most eroded is that which pertains to the Person of our LORD. Bibliology is a core issue indeed. But is not Christology a crucial issue as well?”

Unnecessarily Divisive? –

There are those that oppose even the presentation of this issue as being unnecessarily divisive to the body of Christ and in their view is in fact “a non-issue”. Dr. Sorenson readily admits that this is of course divisive and that it ought to be!
“Crucial doctrinal issues are at stake and they go to the heart of all Bible doctrine”. Doctrine indeed is divisive as it “divides truth from error”.

Verbal vs. Thought Inspiration –

As believers in God’s Holy Word, we must adhere to what the scripture says, and where inspiration is concerned, it’s quite clear:

Matt 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God
.

Those adhering to the critical text, and its accompanying views believe in a thought for thought inspiration which means that the “concept of the very words being inspired seems to fade. The impression left is that only the thought is important, not the words.

Prov 30:5
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Luke 21:33
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
1Thess 4:18
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.



Its vital that we as followers of Christ JESUS and of His Word, we allow no deletions from the Scriptures, particularly where the Person of our LORD is concerned, yet, as we shall see, the critical text and its resultant modern translations make not a few deletions but thousands (be they only one word, an entire verse, or an entire section)!
“Contrary to the claims that the differences between these two texts of Textus Receptus and the Critical Text (and their resulting translations) are insignificant, there are vast differences between the two Greek texts (and translations). There are approximately 8,000 word differences between the Textus Receptus and the modern critical text. More than 2,800 of the words in the Textus Receptus are omitted in the modern critical text. This is approximately the number of words found in 1st and 2nd Peter; [that is, that] the critical text has deleted the verbal equivalent of [Peter’s two epistles]. How can this be considered an inconsequential issue? If we believe in verbal inspiration, we had best be concerned about the thousands of words missing from the text of the New Testament received and used by God’s people for 1,800 years.”

The NIV, the NASB and most other modern English translations make deletions or seriously question verses as compared to the King James Version. The NIV questioned 45 entire verses and there are 147 other verses with significant portions missing from this version.

“This is not a non-issue. If it is divisive, then so be it. The integrity of the Word of God is at stake,” says Dr. Sorenson, and to that may I add a hearty and heartfelt AMEN!

Because of the fact that the Critical Text has watered down, diluted and deleted the integrity of the very Truth as represented by the Bible, the resultant fruit has spawned in these modern times “an apostasy and major problems connected to the critical text” which is summarily ignored by most biblical scholars today.

Confusion –

In 1998 there were 293 English translations of the complete New Testament plus twenty three more abridged New Testaments. 135 English translations of the complete Bible with an additional ninety-nine abridged Bibles not included.
“There undoubtedly have been more translations added since then. Among the more popular versions like the King James Version, the New American Standard, the New International Version and New King James, not all of them are from the same Greek text. Modern Bible companies often gloss over the fact that there is more than one Greek text. Others use creative advertising to ‘market’ their Bibles . . . their particular version is based upon the ‘earliest and best’ Greek manuscripts’ or ‘scholar’s recommendation’”

Of the popular versions available (including the above mentioned) there are two texts only upon which these are based; the Textus Receptus and the Critical Text; there are no others. King James and New King James are based on Textus Receptus along with only a handful of other obscure versions; all the rest are based on the Critical Text!
Dr. Sorenson contends that “one [of these] reflects the providential preservation of God and the other a human effort. Moreover, as this volume will unfold, it will become evident that the men involved in the development of the Critical Text for the most part have been apostate.”

CONTROVERSY –

Dr. Sorenson readily admits that there is contention and controversy regarding this issue, and that good brethren disagree. Since he has seen both sides of this controversy he believes he has insight as to why there is such disagreement.
There are some who hold to the Critical Text, and this fact does not necessarily imply that these men are apostate or “connected with that apostasy”, neither are Fundamentalist institutions of higher learning necessarily apostate. Though, states Sorenson, their leadership ought to know better.
“Many on the side of the Critical Text position have never carefully studied the entire issue. When I was in seminary,” says Sorenson, “both sides . . . were never presented. Moreover, it seemed evident that my seminary professors had never studied the opposing view. With all due respect, in the mid-twentieth century, there had not been a great deal of material written . . .”

Today however there are ample supplies of books defending the Received Text position but those who hold to the Critical text for the most part ignore these sources. A case in point is one book entitled From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man is a compilation of articles written by eleven authors, reviewed by eight academicians from several Fundamentalist institutions of higher learning; it purports to be neutral and yet the position indicated in its pages is clearly supportive of the Critical Text (its bibliography contains scores of books supportive of the Critical Text, and virtually none that hold to the Received Text position, though these are readily available in large supply.

Dr. Sorenson concludes this introductory chapter by saying “. . . that the Word of God is inerrant in its original inspiration and that God has providentially preserved an infallible transmission of it to this very hour. Jesus said,

Matt 5:18
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Exd 20:1
And God spake all these words, saying,



“If we believe in verbal inspiration and the inerrancy of the Word of God, we must be concerned about every word in the Bible . . . God certainly can and will overcome human folly [but] it ought to be our duty to stand for the truth even if it is controversial or divisive. The issue at hand is the Word of God: its integrity, accuracy and trustworthiness.”


WEB SITES of INTEREST related to this Chapter:

MYTHS About The MODERN BIBLE VERSIONS, David Cloud

DEFENDING The KING JAMES BIBLE, D.A. Waite


Dr. DAVID OTIS FULLER’s books available here!

Here is an EXCELLENT SITE EXPLORING THE KING JAMES VERSION, ITS HISTORY and INTEGRITY

This concludes the introductory segment of this article; the next article based on chapter 2 of Dr. David Sorenson's book, Touch Not the Unclean Thing will be coming soon from Anne M. Kisly!
Read more!

Monday, January 10, 2011

SPIRITUAL WARFARE: The Armor of God, Conduct in the Campaign & Implementing the Victory of Christ in our Lives- Part 2

~~ By James Fire
In review from Part 1:
We are as the church positionally seated, where now? What does it say in vs. 6?

EPHESIANS 2:6
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Each of us who are in Christ Jesus, exist (positionally) in a very real spiritual sense, “seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. We have no right nor place to that seat in heaven but by the grace and empowering authority of God that brought us into the Kingdom in the first place as His children (See JOHN1:12).

I believe that we share in the authority of Christ Jesus and in His Name as His bride (REV 21:9, 22:17), as ambassadors who speak in the Name and authority of the LORD (2 COR 5:20) and as overcomers who will one day sit with Christ on His own Throne, rather than the Father’s Throne where He sits now (see this list in scripture referring to overcomers):

REVELATION 3:21
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

1 JOHN 4:4; 5:4-5; REV 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12 and REV 21:7.

It would seem that the portrayal of the overcomer is the lot of the regenerated believer, for we are born of God by faith, and shall partake of the Tree of Life, receive the hidden manna and a new name engraved in a white stone (is there any true believer that won’t?), nor shall we suffer harm from the second death, we shall be clothed upon in His righteousness and will not have our names blotted out of the Book of Life and shall witness our LORD confessing us before the Father and His angels (see also LUKE 12:8) and shall inherit all things.

Read more!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

SPIRITUAL WARFARE: The Armor of God, Conduct in the Campaign & Implementing the Victory of Christ in our Lives

~~ by James J. Fire

A PRELIMINARY WORD -
Having completed the study in the book of Ephesians on the blog FROM the MIND of FIRE, I thought it would be more profitable if I left out chapter 6, verses 10 through 18 and treated this portion of scripture in a more detailed study on our spiritual warfare, here on The TRUTH Under FIRE.

In today’s world, churches in error seem to be polarizing, to a large degree, between these two groups of fellowships: the one group hardly recognizes, or not at all, the existence of Satan, the kingdom of darkness, spiritual warfare and are involved in this world merely as social agencies, self-help institutions, and a platform from which to address entirely earthly, non-spiritual, political and social issues. Rick Warren is a prime example of this.

The other group seems fixated on nothing but spiritual warfare, the kingdom of darkness, and Satan; their battle strategies and objectives seem centered around “reclaiming this world/nation/city for God” which is something the LORD Jesus Christ never did, nor did any of His apostles.
The church received no such command to “reclaim” (A review of JOHN 17
 where the LORD Jesus Christ prays to the Father is most revealing in this regard). They get into unbiblical practises which in themselves can lead a Christian astray from the Truth just as effectively as the Emerging Church Movement and its proponents (like Rick Warren as mentioned above); included among these would be such teachers as C. Peter Wagner and the late Derek Prince (strangely enough Wagner has been a spiritual mentor of R. Warren’s for a long time).

Those are the extreme positions (of course not all churches can be accounted for in these two groups), and as usual the Truth resides somewhere in-between; precisely that is, in an accurate appraisal of the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.
An exhaustive treatment of this subject would be worthy of an entire book (and there are some, though not many that have been already published which prove useful; I have a list of such books at the end of this article)! 


Obviously this study will not be exhaustive, but I do pray that the LORD will enable me to construct at least, a very thorough, exact and balanced treatment of this very necessary and biblical subject!

Read more!

"WILL THE OLD BOOK STAND?"

by A.M. Kisly

BIBLE ADDITIVES, or "WILL THE OLD BOOK STAND?"


Will the Old Book stand, when the "higher critics" state

That grave errors are discovered on its page?
Will it save the sinful soul? Will it make the wounded whole?
Will its glorious truth abide from age to age?

Will its message still abide, when the scientists decide

That its record of Creation is untrue?
Tell us the ascent of man is by evolution's plan;
Will its principles the sinful heart renew?

When in language wondrous fair, "Christian Scientists" declare

That there is no evil, only mortal mind.
When mental treatment fails, and seeming death prevails,
May we in the Bible consolation find?

When infidels parade the mistakes which Moses made,

When the truth of Revelation they deny,
Will the Ten Commandments still the demands of justice fill?
Will its word support us when we come to die?

Yes, the Word of God shall stand, though assailed on every hand,

Its foundations are eternally secure;
It will bear the critic's test, and the idle scoffer's jest,
Its saving truth forever shall endure.

Is it me, or does it seem as though there are very few faithful stewards of God’s WORD today? The world’s scorn of the Bible, though unbearable, is not at all surprising. What is surprising is the scorn that’s coming from Christian leadership. Pastors and theologians, who have supposedly dedicated their lives to the study of the Bible, are now criticizing its complete authority in the spiritual lives of the Christian believer. Many of these leaders are embracing outside sources of knowledge and experience and placing them on equal ground with the authority that God alone has placed upon His word. I’ll just say this, when we disagree with the Bible, we are making God a liar!


Romans 3:4 says this:

“Let God be true, and every man a liar.” It does not say, let every man be true and God a liar. This is one scripture that every child of God should commit to memory. It will keep them safe from every deception, and every wile of the devil.

In an article published by Christianity Today, some stunning comments by J.P. Moreland were made at a meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. I realize that this is an old article dating back to 2007, but I have a good reason for bringing it to our attention. His comments are very telling of just what happens when we start building faulty truths upon the foundation that has already be laid. I will also add that these faulty truths have great impact upon a believer’s understanding of truth and a grave influence upon the Church.


1 Corinthians 3:10-11 warns us about this very thing. It says, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

In other words, no true church can be established without embracing the doctrinal truths as it is in Jesus Christ -- those which pertain to his incarnation, his Divine nature, his instructions, his example, his atonement, his resurrection, and his ascension. Why, because it was laid by Him. He has established it…it cannot be changed. The fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion must be embraced, or a church cannot exist; and where those doctrines are denied, the church can no longer be recognized as the Church of God. Nor can the foundation be modified or shaped to suit the wishes of men. It must be laid as it is in the Scriptures; and the superstructure must be reared on that alone.

This brings us to where we find ourselves today. We are drowning in a pool of “new spirituality” because they have denied, or modified the foundational truths of the Bible. The “new” paradigm is really a conglomerate of New Age thought, Kingdom Dominionism, Pagan and Eastern Religions and Catholicism all wrapped up in one big ugly and confusing package. This Spiritual Evolution; or Evolutionary Christianity is also known as the Emergent Church.

With regard to the Emergent Church, there seems to be a lot of confusion in defining exactly what this is. The simple definition is this, the Emergent Church is really a belief that goodness will emerge through people of understanding; or a higher spirituality; or “Christ Consciousness.” Many believe that this emerging goodness will allow for a “new creation” or “new society” in which we will become co-creators spiritually. It could be described as a “heaven on earth” scenario, one that doesn’t include the Gospel or really Jesus Christ (though they claim that it does). Its roots run deep into the New Age ideology and the combining of all the worlds religions “creating this heaven on earth”…as we all wait for the appearing of the “Christ”. Let me just note here and clarify that this “Christ” is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Too many “believers” are buying into this grand deception because pastors and leaders of the church are leading them there, and because they believe it means one thing, when in fact it does not. This “Christ” will be the false Christ, the Anti-Christ described in Revelation 13.

It reminds me of the New Age/satanic teachings of Alice Bailey. To this end, the Lucis Trust, under the leadership of Foster and Alice Bailey, started a group called 'World Goodwill' - an official non-governmental organization within the United Nations. The stated aim of this group is "to cooperate in the world of preparation for the reappearance of the Christ" [One Earth, the magazine of the Findhorn Foundation, October/November 1986, Vol. 6, Issue 6, p.24.] This Christ would indeed be the Anti-Christ, and his world religion.

Just how does one attain this higher spirituality? Methods of contemplative prayer and spiritual formation are the supposed path in which this “Christ consciousness” will come….and folks it is sweeping the church! Those who hold “high positions” in Evangelical circles, are not only responsible, but have put the Church and orthodox Christianity in GRAVE DANGER.

J.P. Moreland’s list of credentials is as long as my driveway…although very impressive, I must ask myself this one question, just whose word am I to place my faith and trust in? Highly esteemed individuals, such as J.P. Moreland would like us to believe that they have the word of authority over the Scriptures. Yet, if what they are saying is contrary to scripture, it is the listener’s responsibility to weigh it against the Word of Truth. For this is exactly what is in question today.

In this meeting, J.P. Moreland spoke about the Bible and the Christian. The title of his message, “How Evangelicals Became Over-Committed to the Bible and What Can Be Done About It.” My first thought was, “WHAT?” I was outraged and hope that you are too. You see, J.P. Moreland is a Professor of Theology and an Apologist…he is also a contributor to the Christian Worldview Curriculum which is being taught and distributed to Adults, Students and Homeschoolers…this is the very reason for my post.

In his address, Mr. Moreland stated the following:
“In the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ," he said. "And it has produced a mean-spiritedness among the over-committed that is a grotesque and often ignorant distortion of discipleship unto the Lord Jesus."

“The problem,” he said, is "the idea that the Bible is the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of related important items. Accordingly, the Bible is taken to be the sole authority for faith and practice."

In a “let’s suppose” scenario…Suppose an archaeologist discovered a portion of the ancient city of Jerusalem that was specifically described in the Old Testament, Moreland said:

"Could the archaeologist have discovered the site without the use of the Old Testament? Once discovered, could the archaeologist learn things about the site that went beyond what was in the Old Testament? Clearly the answer is yes to both questions. Why? Because the site actually exists in the real world. It does not exist in the Bible. It is only described in the Bible and the biblical description in partial."

Likewise, Moreland argued, "because the human soul/spirit and demons/angels are real, it is possible, and, in fact, actual that extra-biblical knowledge can be gained about these spiritual entities. Demons do not exist in the Bible. They exist in reality."

Moreland continued, "By not researching how demons work, how to fight them, and other such issues by, for example, working with exorcists, Christian scholars are harming the church."

Is there one place in the Bible that instructs the believer to research the way demons work so that we can learn how to fight them? Do we seek out Exorcists as the authority over such matters in order to gain a better understanding rather than what God has already instructed us in His Word? If Mr. Moreland placed his confidence in Scripture, he would know the schemes of the devil and the Lord’s instruction on how to resist.

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”


There is much more to this address but I wanted to focus on the key issue here, as well as give you a couple of examples of the mindset behind some of these false teachings.
At the end of his address, Mr. Moreland states two suggestions for correcting the problem, as follows:

“First, that in dispatching our pastoral and teaching duties, we must teach people how to avail themselves appropriately of the extra-biblical knowledge available in these areas.”

After claiming that great harm has been done to the cause of Jesus Christ by “over-commitment” to the Bible, Mr. Moreland’s suggestions are to instruct the believer with ideas found in places other than the Word of God.

He says, “To correct this problem, we must instruct those under our care about the availability of this knowledge and helpful ways to use it."

To what is he referring? Well, he wrote a book about it. J.P. Moreland authored a book titled, “Kingdom Triangle” published in 2007, in which he claims that there are three components or elements needed in Christianity, both collectively and individually. These three “essential ingredients” are for the “maturation of the Evangelical community” (p. 13).

It shouldn’t surprise you that one of the elements Mr. Moreland is referring to is “Spiritual Formation” which he accredits John Coe (the director for Biola’s Institute for Spiritual Formation) in guiding him.

[Mr. Coe has many publications which include: Intentional Spiritual Formation in the Classroom, Musings on the Dark Night of the Soul: Insights from St. John of the Cross on a Developmental Spirituality, Beyond Relationality to Union: A Pneumadynamic Approach to Personality and Psychopathology, and Redeeming Psychology: A Spiritual Formation Approach to Christianity and Psychology (IVP). He is also editor of the Institute's Journal for Spiritual Formation and Soul Care.]

For those who are not yet educated on the topic, a few definitions are in order.

Contemplative Spirituality: A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are "spiritual formation," "the silence," "the stillness," "ancient-wisdom," "spiritual disciplines," and many others.

Spiritual Formation: A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement.

------------

Lighthouse Trails Research Ministry
wrote the following book review of J. P. Moreland’s ‘Kingdom Triangle’ which is published on their website and viewed at the following link: Kingdom Triangle by J.P. Moreland

“In chapter 6 of 'Kingdom Triangle', Moreland plunges into discussion about the "true self" and the "false self." He echoes Thomas Merton and Martin Buber, both who had strong mystical propensities, and who believed we could attain to our true self (a perfect self) through mystical practices. Moreland encourages the writings (and practices) of St. Ignatius Loyola, (p. 156), saying such practices will help us to "cultivate the ability to discern the divine components" within us. This follows the course of thinking that Thomas Merton had - that divinity is already within, and mystical practices help us to realize what is already there. That is why Merton said,

"It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race… now I realize what we all are ... If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are. I suppose the big problem would be that we would bow down and worship each other.... At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth....This little point ... is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody." (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, pp. 157-158)

** I’ll interject here **
“At the center of our being is nothingness which is untouched by sin…a pure point of truth” WRONG! The Bible plainly does not say this at all. The Bible clearly teaches that we are all born of sin, and we are all given a conscience (guilt and condemnation). Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The glory of God in any of us would be the work of atonement through the blood of Jesus Christ…not some little point of sinless truth.

Romans 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

James (co-writer for T.T.U.F.) made the following observation with regards to this scripture:

[Hey Anne, what I find interesting is that “righteousness” is in the plural form “righteousnessES” which to me suggests that there are many forms of attainment to righteousness, but all of them prove false and unable to meet the Divine standard of holiness – whether one is talking about contemplative prayer, or karma, or the Five Pillars of Islam, or the Seven Sacraments, or the keeping of the Ten Commandments by one’s own effort, Transcendental Meditation, social justice, etc.]

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 331That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

Moreland tells the readers that a "treasure of deep, rich knowledge of the soul" can be found in the writings of the Desert Fathers, Henri Nouwen, and Richard Foster, (p. 153).

He is blatantly promoting the teaching of the New Age Movement. All three of these guys promote the meditation practices of the Hindus, Buddhists and the occult.

"The Desert Fathers believed as long as the desire for God was sincere--anything could be utilized to reach God. If a method worked for the Hindus to reach their gods, then Christian mantras could be used to reach Jesus." ATOD , p. 43, 2nd ed. [Sheer lunacy!]

Quote from Henri Nouwen: "Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God."
—From Sabbatical Journey, Henri Nouwen's last book page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition

Nouwen’s endorsement of a book by Hindu spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, teaching mantra meditation, further illustrates his universalistic sympathies. On the back cover, Nouwen stated, "This book has helped me a great deal."

A Richard Foster Bible called the Renovare Study Bible, to be released by Harper SF in 2004. The Renovare "Bible" will focus on Foster's six disciplines (from his book Streams of Living Waters), one of which is the contemplative practice. Thomas Kelly is quoted in that book as saying: "Deep within us all [all human beings] there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center"

Further, Moreland suggests to his readers that “Catholic retreat centers are usually ideal for solitude retreats."

-- Here is proof positive of a coming together of world religions to form this one religion…a “Christ Consciousness”. Again, this is not the Lord Jesus Christ, but those that exalts ‘self’, working together as they wait for the appearing of the false Christ, the Anti-Christ.

As we continue with the Lighthouse Trails book review, we have to wonder just what Mr. Moreland’s goal really is. We will see that here, found in his third element.

Moreland states that this is the time in history where evangelicals can "show our culture the way forward" and that prior to now, Christians were not ready to "lead our culture to higher ground" (p. 12). He continues: "Signs indicate we are gaining momentum and may well be ready to manifest our Lord's true character [through spiritual formation] in a way appropriate to the crisis of our age... Tools for spiritual formation are available as never before in my lifetime."

In my opinion, he is promoting the goals of the last day’s apostate church.

Moreland says that the Kingdom of God or "gospel of the Kingdom" (p. 172) can only come about on the earth through signs, wonders, and miracles - thus his title: "Restoration of the Kingdom's Miraculous Power."

Signs, wonders and miracles? Matthew 24:24 tells us, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

Is the power of Jesus Christ that brings us new birth something that is now old, dead or in need of restoration? Where does it say that? God's design in sending his Son into the world was that the world through him might be saved.


Sin must be pardoned, and the impurity of the heart washed away, before any soul can possibly enter into the kingdom of God. It is the new birth that Christ spoke to Nicodemus about. This new birth implies the renewing of the whole soul in righteousness and true holiness. God is a holy God and nothing can stand in His presence which is unclean.

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

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: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

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

Is he now implying that we are to somehow restore the Kingdom of God on earth? What about the coming judgment? God will restore His own Kingdom…when Satan and his minions, and those sinful souls who have rejected Him are judged and tossed into the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:9-14; 21).

Moreland wraps up his book by stating that many believers (whom he refers to as "sojourner[s] in the Way of Jesus]" are bored and do not sense God's presence in their lives. He says the answer to this is to have the 'Kingdom Triangle' "at the very heart of the new revolutionary movement gaining momentum day by day" (p. 196).

Moreland concludes: “As you enter more and more deeply into progress in the way of Jesus, the Kingdom Triangle must be at the core of your life and (your church's) strategy. The first leg provides a thoughtful sense of truth, knowledge, and direction to this approach to life; the second leg gives passion to the journey and allows one to lay aside baggage that gets in the way; the third leg provides the faith and confidence to risk more and more for God and expect him to actually be a coworker in the only sensible life plan available. This is what our culture needs... Don't waste your life being preoccupied with things that don't really matter. Join me in the revolution. This is your opportunity. Seize it and rejoice in it (p. 199).” The whole message can be found online in a pdf: How Evangelicals Became Over-committed to the Bible and What Can Be Done About It

-- The Kingdom Triangle must be the core of your life???? Your church’s strategy???? What about the BIBLE?! Folks, these are some of the doctrines of demons that Jesus warned us about before his second coming would take place.

Paul wrote, “I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For no other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor.3:10-11). The governing factor for the church has already been poured as the foundation and we have built on it for nearly 2,000 years.

John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

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I like what Dr. Ian Richard Kyle Paisley had to say about the Bible; he said, “THE BIBLE IS the Grand Charter of Christianity. To undermine, discredit and reject the Bible is to undermine, discredit and reject Christianity. Christianity is rooted and grounded upon the Bible and if the foundations be destroyed what will Christians do?”

He goes on to say, “The Bible claims to be the Word of God and by staking this claim the Bible simply but plainly declares its divine authority, complete infallibility and absolute sufficiency.

Its Divine Authority. Its authority is grounded upon God Himself. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-- "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."

The Bible's authority is not derived from reason. The Bible does not appeal to reason and demand obedience because our reason sanctions its teachings. Its authority is not rational in that sense, although we believe the Bible to be reasonable ultimately, because it is the Word of Him Who is the source of all reason. Our reason needs to be approved by the Bible and not the Bible by our reason.

The Bible's authority is not derived from the emotions. The Bible does not appeal to our feelings and demand obedience because our feelings acquiesce in its teachings. Its authority is not emotional, and our feelings need to be approved by the Bible and not the Bible by our feelings.

The Bible's authority is not derived from the Church. The Bible does not appeal to the Church and demand obedience because the Church decrees its teachings. Its authority is not ecclesiastical and the Church needs to be approved by the Bible, and not the Bible by the Church.

The Bible claims that its authority is derived from the God Who breathed it. Its authority is divine.”

Mr. Moreland should heed the warning in Revelation 22:18: "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book."

1 Timothy 4:1 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;"

There is one last observation that I wanted to point to in the Lighthouse Trails review of this book as I believe it to be profoundly important. They offer this point:

"Knowing that Moreland's 2nd leg in his three-legged triangle is encapsulated with contemplative spirituality, which would empower these signs and wonders, the Kingdom he describes is more than alarming. If indeed the realm that contemplative meditators enter is one filled with familiar (demonic) spirits, then signs and wonders that follow these excursions, would be on the same plane."

Mr. Moreland is indeed leading his readers to lying signs and wonders and to doctrines of demons for one reason alone, because he does not highly esteem God’s Word, nor His authority in the life of the believer. Mr. Moreland simply believes that at the core of every human is some purity, a point of real truth and a higher spirituality which can be obtained from the ability of men finding their own path through ‘Spiritual Formation’.

In closing, there is one scripture that every Christian should commit to memory and that is II Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

These verses tell us what is inspired, why it is inspired, and how inspiration impacts our lives. God did not reveal His Word to us just set it aside as some secondary source of knowledge of Him. The Scriptures are God's dynamic that transform lives. The Bible is the instruction manual to Christian living. What greater source can there possibly be into the heart of God?

Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

We know that God is the author of the Bible. We know that all scripture was given by His inspiration. Revelation is God’s disclosure of himself and His will. Inspiration is the means God used to communicate special revelation. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.

There is a wonderful article written by Dr. Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, called Seven Reasons Why I Believe THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD in which I have included the following excerpts:

WHAT INSPIRATION IS NOT
Inspiration is not a high level of human achievement by the genius of man. In fact, no man, especially a genius, would write a book that condemns himself.
Inspiration of God isn’t limited to the thoughts of the writer. The Bible is 100% inspired by God…in thought and in word…no errors!

1 Corinthians 2:13--Paul said, "We speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth." Paul claimed it was the words, not just the thoughts that are inspired.

John 17:8--Jesus said to the Father, "I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me." In the Old Testament phrases such as "thus saith the Lord," "the word of the Lord came," and "God said" are repeated over 3800 times. Clearly God communicates by words.

Galatians 1:11-12--Paul said, "I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Paul got the gospel from God, not men.

Exodus 4:12--God said to Moses, "I will be with thy mouth and teach thee what thou shalt say." Forty years later Moses said to Israel, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I commanded you, neither shall ye diminish anything from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you" (Deut. 4:2). Words spoken by God are not to be taken away from or added to.

1 Peter 1:10-11--Peter wrote that "the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify." This verse is a powerful argument against ‘thought inspiration’. The Holy Spirit gave the prophets a message about the Messiah, which they recorded. Then they sought to understand the meaning of their own proclamations. So there were times when the prophets received and recorded words that they did not fully understand. So it was words, not thoughts that they pondered on, which again is evidence that inspiration is verbal.

Matthew 24:35--Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." It is the words in the Bible that God has given. Pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions are important.

1 Corinthians 14:37--Paul said, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." A spiritual man will recognize that Paul's writings are the very words of God.

THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE FACT OF THE BIBLE

The greatest fact of all time is the Bible. How a book which has been so universally attacked could survive and attain to such a place of eminence is a miracle eloquently testifying to its supernatural origin.

Because the Bible forthrightly condemns sin, the hatred of sinners has been hurled against it. Because the Bible in plain and unmistakable language debases the pride of man, proud man has set himself the task to discredit it. Because the Bible uncovers the satanic underworld it is the object of the diabolical attacks of hell. Because the Bible declares that salvation is by grace alone all false religions have sought to extinguish it.

The Bible condemns every man and condones no man; it accuses every man and excuses no man; it abases human reason and exalts revelation; it repudiates the natural and rejoices in the spiritual, glorying not in flesh but in faith.

Attacked from all quarters and giving no quarter, the Bible has an Ishmaelite experience, its hand is against every man and every man's hand is against it, but wonder of wonders, it continues to dwell in the midst of the brethren.

Princes, philosophers, prelates, politicians and poets have all conspired against it. It has been insulted by the scorn of fools. It has become the jest of infidels and the joke of skeptics. It has been assailed consistently and persistently by professed scholars and has been made the butt of the critic. Assaulted by every known plan of hell, it has come forth unscathed from the inferno. Like the three Hebrew children it has been in the fire and like them it has been wonderfully preserved and there is not a smell of burning upon it.

The fire has yet to be lit that can destroy it. The steel has yet to be forged that can scar it. The weapon has yet to be devised that can overthrow it. The scholarship has yet to be developed that can discredit it. The science has yet to be created that can demolish it. The plan has yet to be devised that can annihilate it.

The cunning of hell and the craft of earth have combined against the Bible but it stands unmoved, for it is as W. E. Gladstone, one of England's greatest Premiers has described it, the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture.

As the Bible has stood the hottest broadsides of hell it will not be affected by the popguns of modernism.

In the past century Voltaire thought he had demolished it and boasted that in one hundred years Christianity would be a museum piece. As a result, infidelity ran riot in France. Voltaire, however, passed screaming into eternity, but the Bible has not passed away. Moreover, Voltaire's printing press was used to print the very Scriptures which he boasted he had demolished and his house became a depot for the Geneva Bible Society.
So I believe the Bible is the Word of God because it remains with the passing and injuries of time, a temple unprofaned by the foot of the enemy, a building of God, amidst the crumbling ruins of the centuries.

Let us then let the Bible rule our hearts and homes and refuse to support those who dare to trifle with it in the pulpit. Above all things, let us seize the unfailing promises of the Book and never rest night nor day from prayer until the God of the Bible visits us with a gracious revival.

"Go, search the Scriptures," saith our Lord,
"They testify of Me";
"Tis truth's eternal, great record,
From every error free.

There my eternal Godhead shines
With bright, refulgent rays;
There beam Jehovah"s great designs,
From everlasting days.

There the great gospel scheme behold,
Chief of the works of God,
Replete with grace and love untold,
And pardon, bought with blood.

There's armour for the trying day,
Both shield and helmet too;
And grace, the fainting soul to stay,
And always something new.

There's balm to heal the wounds of sin,
On life's fair tree it grows;
And blood to wash your garments in,
From Jesus' side it flows."

O may the Spirit's influence sweet
Shine on the glorious whole,
Its precepts guide my roving feet,
And promise feast my soul.

Let Revelation's glories shine,
And spread from sea to sea;
Till reason stoops to faith divine,
And owns her sovereign sway.
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