Points to Ponder: History and Religion and Their Dual Impact on Community Relations

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Live and Become American trailer

Monday, January 10, 2011

Unconditional Love Leads To Salvation Only

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy. 2 Timothy 3:2

I love Etymology unconditionally. Of course I am being  facetious. I cannot write this enough: The Romans and Greeks did more harm to The Word of God than any single weapon the enemy devised.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 2 Timothy 4:3

And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:4

Another word for fable is myth. The  Greeks are most noted for their myths. More than any other culture aside from the Romans the Greeks made myths out of everything.  They took the triune personality and spiritual manifestation of God The Father Son Holy Spirit  mixed it with ancient Egyptian history and came up with the fables of the gods that they exported to the world.

Gods' Unconditional Love is one of their myths.  The Word of God warned us about philosophy :  See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.  Colossians 2:8

The  philosophy through which the unbiblical teaching of unconditional love snaked its way into church doctrine  was Humanism (human tradition) .  Most "Christians" are unaware that "Agape", the love Christians are taught is the absolute (unconditional)  love that God has for mankind was never used in any religious context by the Greeks. This agape love that was grafted into the early church is embraced and taught by modern church leaders like James Dobson of Focus On The Family.  Critics of unconditional love point to fact that unconditional love places the focus of God's Love on man rather than God.  Paul Brownbeck the author of The Danger Of Self Love said this:  "...by unconditional love  we are speaking of love on the basis of being rather than doing. One implication of this teaching is the place of grandeur that it gives to the human being. I am loveable just because I am human; therefore being human, in and of itself, regardless of what I do with my humanness, must have some sort of independent value or worth. It is by itself a sufficient claim to respect and esteem" (p.66). The problem with this type rationale is that there aren't any consequences to our actions that Grace cannot cover because with God all things are possible. It matters little that the wrath of God against sin is a direct consequence of sin based on the choices we make. The notion that God Loves us just the way we are can be misleading. God loves us enough in our sin to extend an invitation to escape eternal damnation. This invitation is called Salvation.

This leads to the question. What is Salvation and what is its order? Salvation simply stated is the total Trust and Belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour from sin and eternal damnation as a life long process.
Theologically speaking it involves :
  • repentance
  • atonement and redemption
  • deliverance and justification
  • confession and
  • santification
Unconditional Love is not a cure all for unrepentant sin. Redemption has to take place. You have to accept the offer of redemption and follow the rule book The Bible. Stay Blessed.

In His Service

Friday, January 7, 2011

Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22

Sacrifice is good but obedience is better. Always. In this story King Saul is commanded to utterly destroy the Amalekites but instead of obeying God Saul chose to obey those closest to him. Saul kept the best of the flock and other choice items. Oftentimes when confronted with obedience to God we choose what is easiest for us to accomplish in His name. We choose sacrifice over obedience and wonder why we never experience breakthrough. I'm not talking finances here. When we hear breakthrough stuff pops into our heads that have nothing to do with Fruits Of The Spirit. Breakthrough is spiritual.  Saul thought that partially obeying God was good enough to establish his breakthrough (financially) and was generous enough in his error to offer Samuel some of his holdings to sacrifice to his God. Notice Saul doesn't claim God as his own but acknowledges God as the God of Samuel. That is what sacrifice does to a person who chooses it over obedience. It clouds the intellect to the point you fail to Trust God and acknowledge Him personally  in your life. You see God is God over all whether you acknowledge Him or not. Saul had to learn this the hard way.

When meditating on obedience versus sacrifice I am reminded of another Bible Story. The story of Mary and Martha.  Martha busied herself preparing a meal while Mary sat at Jesus feet to learn and worship Him. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen that one thing that was needed and Mary's choice was best.

Burnt offerings and sacrifice was never commanded by God. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifice: Jeremiah 7:22.  Jeremiah 7:23 says:

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17:
Paul in his letter to the Romans says: beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. Romans 12:1.
 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.  To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Why is it that whenever Jesus commands not to do something Paul has a way to persuade his readers otherwise.  Godly sacrifices are broken spirits and contrite hearts not your body as a living sacrifice.  Paul makes another mockingly strange statement: That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:16. The only "offering up" ever needed was Jesus Christ on Calvary. Sacrifices are offered up. So, who is Paul offering up the sacrifice of the Gentiles to and why? As always Paul tells us why but only those free from eye scales can see.

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation. Romans 15:20. The foundation is Jesus Christ. If the integrity of The Foundation Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ is not maintained we run the risk of falling to deception.

As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:9 Paul included.

Jesus despised traditions. Traditions are mentioned 14 times in The New Testament and is never mentioned in The Old Testament. Jesus spoke against traditions 8 times. Sacrifice is a tradition.

In Matthew 9:14-17   Jesus is confronted about ritual fasting. Ritual fasting like ritual of any sort is supposed to take place at certain times throughout the year. Any other sacrifice even fasting is not wrong just unneccessary.Then the disciples of John came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16“But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. 17“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”  Jesus here is simply saying that He is the new tradition. That through Him everything is preserved the old (traditions) and the new freedom under Grace. In Hebrews 13:5.  Jesus says if we remain obedient to Him He would never leave or forsake us.  We are only commanded to observe  Holy Communion as a tradition in remembrance of Him.  But when and if you must fast remember Isaiah 58 and don't do it believing God will notice you but do it while feeding the hungry, visiting the shut-ins, the sick, those in jail, caring for widows and fatherless children. Fasting this way has a promise attached based on obedience to His Word.  Stay Blessed...

In His Service

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pastors and Shepherds: A Contrast of Positions

Jesus often taught about the traditions of men and how these traditions voided the Word Of God and literally made Gods' Word of non-effect. Jesus also taught about deception in several passages;  1 John 4:1-6 and Matthew 24:4-5 are examples.

 Jesus never identified himself as being a pastor. He is The Shepherd of His Church. In most cases, the position of pastor is a paid position.  The position of modern pastor fulfills the position of "hireling" John 10:13. In other words, he/she is paid to do a job. Even that is all wrong. Serving God should not be a job but "work". There is a fundamental difference between a job in the modern sense and Biblical work. What has happened is that the traditions of men have  co-opted the New Testament  Church to serve as "law" in order  to legitimize  positions.  1 Timothy 5:18 which states : "do not muzzle the ox...  used by the modern church to teach New Testament Tithing  is an axiom that Moses used to teach about the proper relationship between employer and employee.  I believe  Paul was not comfortable with accepting "wages" and worked as a tent maker because he understood the danger of accepting a "wage" for service to The Kingdom Of God.  Even Jesus was a carpenter. But, strangely Paul supported those who chose to receive money for their service.

Clearly, our modern pastors are not (with a few exceptions) Biblical elders. They are something else. Something we don't see anywhere in the Bible.

But what about Ephesians 4 verses 11 - 13, you're asking. This is the passage that reads:

"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

8"But (A)do not be called (B)Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

9"Do not call anyone on earth your father; for (C)One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
10"Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.  Matthew 23:8-10 (cross-reference with 1 Corinthians 1:12, Acts 18:24). Here Paul clearly oversteps Jesus teachings concerning leadership in His (Jesus) Church. How and why did Paul do this?
              But be that as it may, I did not burden you myself; nevertheless, crafty fellow that I am, I took you in by deceit. 2 Corinthians 12:16. Here Paul refers to himself as "crafty" and  a man of "deceit". Maybe Paul called his urge to overstep his Apostolic Office at times a "messenger from Satan. 2 Corinthians 12:7.

But doesn't Ephesians 4 based on Psalm 68  establish the position of "pastor" one might ask.  No. It's a mistranslation and deception.  The original Greek word which is here translated as "pastor" is every other place in the New Testament translated as "shepherd," and used to refer to Biblical elders or Jesus himself. In other words, the passage should read "shepherds and elders" not  "pastors and teachers." But even the corrected translation does not explain the deception that pastors as modern shepherds should be paid could be Biblical.   Jesus never authorized a new class of church leader. Jesus actually taught the opposite. A pastor might be where a shepherd works but in no way is a pastor a shepherd.

In order to understand what has happened here you have to understand the historical context of this Psalm or song of David and  how Paul's words  morphed (were  twisted)  to fit "spiritual gifts". These spiritual gifts were left  to the New Testament church but not as a five-fold ministry but as fruit (gifts) of The Spirit.

There is then, no Biblical basis for having seminary-trained professional Christian pastors in churches. (Kahle)

http://www.davekahle.com/myths.html       From The Kahle Way . A study of  Dave Kahle on how myths enter into the church helps to place this article in perspective and is my main  reference outside the Bible.

  Mistranslations not withstanding,  if the "position of pastor" is not Biblical, how and when did the idea of pastor as shepherd enter into The Word of God.  Let's go back to Ephesians 4:8 . The passage begins with the cryptic  Therefore he says (NKJV) , This is why it says (NIV), This is why the scriptures say (NLT), Therefore it says (ESV) and wherefore  he saith (KJV).  Surely God is not speaking of Himself in the second person "he".  The Lamsa Aramaic Peshitta  says: wherefore it is said , which the KJV translates better. He, it and the scriptures cannot all represent the same thought. He (a proper noun) represents  God in the person Jesus Christ. He with a small "h" is the  common noun used in the above popular translations. It and scriptures represent things. Moses is the  "he" written about  in Ephesians 4 not Jesus Christ God.

The comparative study of Ephesians 4 and Psalm 68 that lead to the confusion of Spiritual Gifts and the unBiblical modern Five Fold Ministry is an Exegesiscal problem. The Targumic translation which is the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) must be consulted in order to understand the problem.

However, in the Targumic translation of this same verse, we find an interesting reading:
You ascended to the firmament, O prophet Moses; you captured captives, you taught the
words of Torah, you gave gifts to the sons of men, and even the stubborn who are
converted turn in repentance, [and] the glorious presence of the LORD God abides upon

This is about Moses leading the captive Israelites out of Egypt into Mt. Sinai where he received The Ten Commandments as gifts for the Israelites from God. Paul had to know this. So, how did a scripture concerning Moses get to be the basis  for what has become known as The Five Fold Ministry gifts to the church? This part of Ephesians is further complicated by the teaching that Jesus went to hell, where it lives on in the legendary Apostles' Creed. Jesus never taught his disciples concerning His death and Resurrection that He would go to hell and set captives souls free and Pauls' letter to The Corinthians supports this:

"I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once...." 1 Corinthians 15:1-10. Nowhere does this say Jesus went to hell.

Paul often used the Old Testament as did Jesus and His Prophets to teach contemporaries how to live The Word. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16.  But we are admonished to not change or manipulate the scriptures to fit our agendas.

  "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." Galatians 1:6-10

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: Revelation 22:18.

We have to be Holy Spirit led when studying The Scriptures. Approaching The Bible any other way is not only unacceptable it's dangerous. Make this year 2011 the year you begin studying to show yourself approved. Be Blessed...