Monday, November 16, 2015

The importance of the gospel in Spirit Filled expressions of Christianity

Why was Paul’s focus on the gospel so strong? Why did he insist on knowing nothing amongst the Corinthians save Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Again, the gospel was the reason. I believe this answer might shock you but I know it is right. The gospel is important for the believer to use as a plumb line, as a level, and as transient to keep the lines straight. Otherwise, it is easy to get unbalanced. That’s right, the gospel keeps the believer balanced in the Spirit.

Most, if not all expressions of Christianity is unbalanced because the gospel is not made the top priority, is not kept in focus, and is not the overriding force in Spiritual experience. For the purposes of this article you have essentially two factions. One I will call Spirit-Filled and the other I will call cessationists. Both of these groups have lost proper focus because of not putting the gospel first and foremost. Yes, it must always be first, and yes it must always be foremost. If one does not have the gospel first and foremost it is easy to fall into either spiritualism which leads to witchcraft, or dead letter Christianity whereby the accuser of the brethren himself creates a dead religion. Don’t get me wrong, the so called Spirit-Filled group works for the accuser as well. Both groups perpetuate accusation and bondage.

If you attend a spirit filled group, you will undoubtedly encounter spiritualism that is not in and of the Holy Spirit, and if you attend a cessationist group you will undoubtedly encounter judgmentalism that is not in and of the Holy Spirit. The only thing that will combat this is having the gospel of Jesus Christ be put first and foremost. When the gospel is first and foremost then you will automatically have Spirit-filled saints that are balanced, level and straight forward. So what is the gospel then?

The gospel is summed up in the following: God has reconciled humanity to himself and is not imputing sin. God is our Father and loves us as a perfect Father would love Children. God has adjudicated humanity just and right by the sacrifice of Jesus. God wants us to embrace this truth, and put complete trust and faith in Him. The believer IS the righteousness of God in Christ. Nothing else will help us gain right standing with God, any obedience we ever have results from believing the gospel and resting in God’s grace. If you want chapter and verse get a hold of me by email or comments. If you read your bible a lot you will know that what I have written is right and the Spirit of God will bear witness with your spirit that it is..

Without the gospel being always in the forefront, FIRST and FOREMOST. You end up with spiritualism where prophets and prophetsesses become accuser’s of the brethren or dead assemblies where the book is worshipped as an idol and used to accuse the brethren night and day. By brethren, I mean both brothers and sisters. I use the word because it is the most familiar to those who hold the KJV bible in hightest esteem… let me repeat this, if you want chapter and verse contact me, and if you read much at all you know this is right!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

I am not ashamed of the gospel, but exactly what is it? Part 4

Paul's famous words from Romans chapter one are widely known and quite often quoted. However, this begs the question that if we are truly not ashamed of the gospel why is it so neglected on Sundays from the pulpits across the country? Why is it that so seldom one hears the gospel message? Is it the assumption that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is well known by all, and the saved saints in our churches need to hear more law so they can become better kingdom dwellers? Why is it that Paul claimed to know nothing among the Corinthian believers save Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Why was the proclamation of the resurrection so important to them back in the first century, and so apparently unimportant to us here in twenty-first century? Does it seem the least bit odd that 20 centuries later one hears so little about the resurrection and resurrection life? I dare say that in most churches the resurrection is relegated to a couple of weeks out of the year. I have to laugh that some churches today are so against what they call tradition that they don't even speak of the resurrection on the day it is celebrated.

You want to know what I think? I think that they are not exactly sure what the gospel is. I think that they believe that the gospel is merely a step in salvation that makes it necessary to explain all the rules and regulations that will allow the saint to grow stronger as a Christ follower, and that the focus needs to be on improvement in the accepted regulations. Forget about the fact that Jesus paid it all. Forget about the fact that it is already done, not only so, but already done from before the world was created. Forget that because of the death, burial and resurrection that those who believe the gospel message are adjudicated the righteousness of God, possessing the righteousness of God, and all the blessings of Abraham. I know, the gospel is really hard to believe. It can't be that simple can it? Certainly I must do something to show how worthy I am of blessings and salvation, that only makes sense right?

Stop right there!!! Read this carefully!!! (I'm shouting).... YOU WILL NEVER BE WORTHY OF SALVATION OR THE BLESSINGS!  Awh now, let me repeat myself.... You will NEVER be worthy of the blessings and salvation! That is the gospel. That is the good news. God was in Christ Jesus; reconciling the world to Himself; not counting sin against us because of Jesus Christ, and He made Jesus who did not even understand the concept of sin, become sin for us that in Him we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD in Him. That's the gospel! That is all there is.

This brings peace with God and causes real, true, love for God. This is the gospel. Our real, true love for God will then begin to help us transform into beings of love, that is precisely what the scripture means by the phrase "faith working through love." It is Jesus faith in the Father that demonstrated the love of God by the cross. Apprehending Jesus faith by the measure of faith given to us by the Holy Ghost upon hearing the gospel message is what transforms us into disciples of Jesus.

If you don't hear this clear concise explanation of the gospel every time you meet then something is amiss. If you are hearing how you can be better, have more faith, be more obedient, be more like King David or the Prophet Daniel, then you are NOT hearing the word of God which is the gospel. Your faith comes from hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ Romans 10:17. Study that chapter in a few versions of the bible and do not stop until you know for sure that the word of God for new covenant saints is the gospel of Christ. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I am not ashamed of the gospel, but what exactly is it? Part 3

Rom 1:15-17 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. (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. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

This begins the third installment of this series about the gospel. I believe that it is necessary for two reasons; 1) it is difficult to identify what the content of the gospel is when asking people to define it, even church leaders are somewhat unsure; 2) It is not shared as regularly as the first century apostles insisted, especially Paul. For example, Paul claimed that he had determined to know nothing amongst the Corinthians except Jesus Christ and Him crucified, (1 Cor 2:2.) In that statement, one can see how important the gospel was to Paul. It is also important, to note that according to Paul, the full message of the gospel was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 15;1-4.) I will develop this more in further posts, but for now, it will suffice it to say that the gospel in Paul's mind was very simple.

Let's look at the clause, for therein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. Last time I wrote about the righteousness of God, being two fold, first being a quality of God for providing the gospel, and second it was a state of righteousness that was provided to humanity because of faith in Jesus' faith. Jesus' mission to earth was to have faith. Let me repeat this for effect... *Jesus main mission to earth was to have perfect faith.* How can I be sure you ask? Well it is really quite simple. The first Adam did not believe God and brought about death. The *Last Adam,* (Jesus Christ,) believed God. That was his important obedience. It was the obedience of faith. That is what Jesus did for humanity as the incarnation. He believed against all odds, and it is obvious that he was tempted far beyond anything most people experience, and still believed that God was his Father.... I want this to really sink in.... He was born to Mary, Joseph claimed him as a son, think about that. He grew up with everyone thinking that he was born as normally as the next person. Still at the age of 30 he believed against all odds that he was the Son of God.

It does not stop there however, look at another example... In Luke's gospel we are provided a scene where Jesus has alienated many people with his claims. This was to the extent that his mother, his brothers and sisters were outside trying to take him home to rest. They thought he had lost his mind, think about it... this was his entire family. Still, he believed. He went so far as to say that the ones who believed in Him were is real mother, brothers and sisters. He still believed against all odds that He was the unique Son of God. I want to repeat for effect that Jesus faith was perfect, and yet He still was tempted to doubt. In the garden prior to his arrest, He had seen a glimpse of what He was to face and yet He had to hold on to the faith knowledge that He was the unique Son of God. Think about Jesus faith for a minute. It was indeed perfect faith. I say it was the only thing that would right the wrong of Adam's lack of faith... again I hate to sound like a broken record but, pick this up... if you got it right away, forgive me my folly. Jesus perfect obedience was His perfect faith. I want to repeat this one more time to make sure that I have gotten this point across; *Jesus perfect obedience was His perfect faith.* This is how by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and how obedience entered by one man and by that came life eternal.... Now, our faith, apprehends Jesus perfect faith by believing this gospel message. This is what is meant from faith to faith, it was from Jesus perfect faith to our faith... more to come.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I am not ashamed of the gospel, but what is it exactly? Part 2

Rom 1:16-17 NASB  "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (17) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

Here is the second in this series, I am not ashamed of the gospel, but what is it exactly. You can read the first one here, but I would suggest you do so after reading this. I am going to use a different version in each one of these for the sake of allowing you to see the subtle differences in translation. The first was the HCSB, and now I have used the NASB. These are a couple of my favorite translations, but most are good.

In this particular post, I want to focus our attention on the phrase from verse 17, "for in it the righteousness of God is revealed." I think the "righteousness of God" has at least two meanings in this passage. The first meaning that I will look at is God's justice or the justness of God, and the second meaning is a quality that allows one to stand righteous before God, guiltless and righteous. Paul uses the term in both ways off and on through-out the epistle to the Romans, and I believe that he uses it that way in all of this epistles. The context determines which use is appropriate and I would like to further suggest, to broaden our understanding that both meanings are inextricably linked.

First off, God is completely just in his dealings with mankind. The gospel proves it, and is the vehicle with which God meets out his justice to humanity. Secondly, and equally as important, being just, He has through Christ Jesus, that is, through the resurrection from the dead, reinstated his first claim about humanity after creating male and female (Gen 1:31.) Through the gospel he has declared that humanity is very good. That is why, when one apprehends the gospel by faith they are adjudicated righteous. I believe that the truth of the matter is that in Christ, the whole world was declared very good, righteous, but we only apprehend it during our days here on planet earth by faith.

This is why it is from faith to faith. Yes, in some translations it states from faith for faith but I guess both are correct. Here is what I believe Paul meant by the phrase from faith to faith. I will expand on this in the third post which is to come, but I must mention it here to help increase understanding of what the gospel actually is. Jesus alone had perfect faith. His faith, that God was His Father; that He was from God; that God was willing to forgive and save; that he could bring peace with God to all; that He was setting to rights what had been lost in the fall... He had faith in all of the above and more I have not mentioned or thought of for that matter.

If the first Adam brought death through unbelief, then it only follows that the *LAST ADAM* would reinstate life from belief. So then, two things are accomplished by this gospel. (1) God is justified and shows his justice by providing a way of escaping the fall, and (2) through the resurrection from the dead, God has proven that Jesus is righteous for his faith. Everyone can then apprehend His faith by faith. It is really quite simple. The gospel is simple. We will see this more and more as this series progresses, stay tuned!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I am not ashamed of the gospel, but what is it exactly? Part 1

Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. (17) For in it God's righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

I want to begin a series that addresses the question; what exactly is the gospel? I hope it will be informative, and cause us to examine what we mean when we use the word gospel in our writing or in our speech. We must look into what Paul meant by the gospel. Why you ask? The answer is simple. His mission was to the Gentiles. Therefore, all Gentile believers especially, must of necessity, be interested in the gospel according to Paul. Paul lays it out in Romans like no other epistle.

Rom 1:1-7 " Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God's good news-- (2) which He promised long ago through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures-- (3) concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh (4) and who has been declared to be the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness. First of all Paul was singled out for the gospel. It was promised by the prophets in the sacred writings, but it was a story about God's Son Jesus Christ, who is Lord, descended from David, but was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection.

(5) We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations, on behalf of His name, (6) including yourselves who also belong to Jesus Christ by calling: (7) To all who are in Rome, loved by God, called as saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was made an apostle to bring about the obedience of faith to the Gentiles. The Greek word, translated as nations is ethnos and it is the word that is used when you see the word Gentiles translated. Take notice that Paul calls it the obedience OF faith. The King James Version erroneously translates it as obedience to the faith in Romans 1:5, but then, takes the exact same phrase and translates it the obedience of faith in Romans 16:26. That in and of itself is interesting and I have written blog posts on that alone, but that is not for this one at this time.

Rom 1:13-17 " Now I want you to know, brothers, that I often planned to come to you (but was prevented until now) in order that I might have a fruitful ministry among you, just as among the rest of the Gentiles. (14) I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. (15) So I am eager to preach the good news to you also who are in Rome. (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. (17) For in it God's righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith." Here is verse 13 it is spelled out that Paul's ministry was to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. This makes Paul's explanation, definition, and description of the gospel most important to us here in the 21st century who make up a mostly Gentile Church.

In looking at Paul's claim here in this passage, I think it becomes important and instructive to understand a little bit about the Emperor Cult, the religion of Rome. Caesar was known as the Savior of the world, who had brought salvation to the world, and he was also believed to be the son of God, and they called him Lord. The reason for this is that he had brought peace to the world Pax Romana but it was done by military force. It is interesting to me that Jesus, his followers, and finally Paul, use this same language about Jesus. In Paul's gospel Jesus is Savior; Jesus is the Son of God; Jesus is Lord, and Jesus saves the world by bringing peace to it.

However, Jesus does not do this by military force. He does it by resurrection from the dead, something that can not be said about anyone else including Caesar. Since Jesus followers lived in Rome occupied Israel, they were very familiar with the claims of Rome, and so it is not strange that they too would believe that Jesus meant to do it by military force. There are those today that still believe that ultimately Jesus will establish peace and his kingdom by military force. But, that was not what Paul or any of the writers of the New Testament were saying.

Paul was saying that what Caesar had accomplished in an imperfect way by imperfect means for the natural world, Jesus had accomplished on a cosmic, supernatural, spiritual level, that set to rights the world, and brought ultimate peace with God. It was a spiritual reality that transcends the natural. There is a lot more to be explored but this will do as a jumping off point with more to come in the next post.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Distorting the message and meaning of the scripture: Part I

Over the last six years, I have written many posts about the way that Jesus and His followers viewed scripture. They saw it as the redemptive narrative that pointed to Jesus the Messiah and His kingdom. Furthermore, they were removing the legal constitutional aspect of scripture that attended the old covenant and were installing a new and better way of achieving obedience. They were rejecting the read and do in favor of the believe and become. But even more importantly, they described a new and better catalyst for creating obedience. Paul called it the obedience of faith, and obedience of the heart.

You can find the operation and catalyst for the real transformation described in this among many blog articles found on this blog.  There are a lot more than just this one article so, if you find it interesting, and want more clarification, you can put "the transformation process" in the search box on the blog, and find several additional posts on this subject. It is my belief that understanding this process as it was explained by the first century apostles is the key to transforming the world around us, and bringing forth the manifestation of the sons and daughters of God.

However, current evangelical and orthodox doctrine ends up distorting the message and meaning of so many passages of scripture. The main reason for this is that current evangelical doctrine, and to a degree orthodox doctrine, focuses on a legal constitutional view of scripture. This makes it a law book and an instruction manual for all faith and practice. Doing this, actually voids the teaching of Jesus about the use of scripture, and leads away from the plan that will bring about supernatural transformation. As a result, we have many distortions of the scripture enshrined in evangelical doctrine.

This is the first blog post, in a series of the same name, that will serve as a guide and index for those to follow. I will briefly enumerate the distortions in this first post. Here is a list some of the verses that are distorted:

1. Hebrews 10:25 "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

2. Hebrews 13:17 " Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

3. 1Co 14:40 " Let all things be done decently and in order."

4. 1Co 14:33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."

The above verses are used to distort the use of authority within assemblies, and bring about a kind of cultic obedience, elevating leadership way above anything that God intended. This is always the case with the legal constitutional view of scripture. It is problematic because it is used to control people in fairly abusive ways to allow the leaders to achieve their goals and keep people in subjection, in many cases, to their every whim. It brings about a kind of devotion that elevates men and women to the position that should only be held by God.

The truth of the matter is that all of the scripture was written to specific situations, and various different occasions. It is impossible to completely know the circumstances of the occasions, and therefore, it is impossible to know exactly what was intended in more than the way in which the literary and historical context allow. Yet, in the above passages of scripture, I hear pastors and leaders quoting them as though they are a hard fast principle that can be applied to every situation and that is just not so.

In fact, the common use of these scriptures in current evangelical doctrine brings about an unhealthy, authoritarian system that keeps individuals in bondage to their various assemblies, and prevents the atmosphere and teaching that leads to the transformation that I mention above in this post. It relegates the transformation process to a self reformation process that continually heightens guilt and fear.

Jesus said to the first century believers that "they would know the truth (Jesus), and the truth would set them free." Why are so many assemblies today putting people into religious and psychological servitude? Only the gospel, properly understood and proclaimed, will begin to overturn this sorry situation. I can no longer in good conscience remain silent. I am exposing the demon of religion in one of its worst manifestations. Stay tuned as this series will look at each of the scripture passages above, and show how they should be used.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Another King James Only Encounter

Well I just wrote about bumper sticker Christianity a while back and well it happened again. My wife and I were at Captain D's fish restaurant. While we were ordering a man and his wife were just ahead of us and he smiled at us and gave us a tract, and asked us if we knew Jesus as our personal savior. I politely answered yes, and took the tract. They had ordered before us so they were leaving before we did and walked over to our table, told us about their church, and then he said, "we only teach from the King James bible. It is the only version that is inerrant and infallible."

Well, I replied that it was a good version and I liked it but it was not inerrant and infallible. Why did I say that? I really prefer not to have these conversation's, but I also am opposed to people stretching the truth. I then confessed that I was somewhat of a theologian, and that I had taught New Testament at a seminary, and could read Greek a little, and that, while very good and quite accurate, the King James version was not inerrant. He became angry, told me that he had to leave and would not discuss it further. He then (smile) went on telling me about textus receptus, and all the other codeces, and how the King James Version was the only one authorized by God. His reasoning was that God would not give us a bible that had errors.

I once again began to try to point out some of the errors that I think are especially troublesome and he got angrier and said, no, I am not going to discuss this any farther. When I became silent, he began again to try to convince me that the King James Version was the only version that was correct. He said that I could read other versions if I wanted to but they would not be sufficient and that I needed to only consult the King James as the final authority.

By this time, I wanted to laugh out loud but I chose not to be rude. Finally he left. I have to wonder to myself, why are their so many ignorant believers? He seemed to think that we got the King James Version, similar to how people in Star Trek got their food. It must have been instantly put out of a replicator in King James English. Now, I am not trying to put down the King James Version. I like it and I use it a lot. What I would like to have happen is for the saints of God to be a little more open minded, have a little bit more historical knowledge, understand that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and that the New Testament was written in Greek. It had to be translated into English, and no matter how hard one tries something gets lost in translation. Yes, they are sufficient to make us wise for salvation; yes they tell us the redemptive story of God's love for us, but they are not inerrant, and they are not meant to be a legal, constitutional document, nor are they meant to be a science book, or a complete history book.

They should read John 5:39-40 and realize that they are there to point us to Jesus of Nazareth.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bumper Sticker Christianity

As I visited a local Walmart today, I saw a bumper sticker that had been placed on the door as if it were a sign. The bumper sticker read as follows: "THE KING JAMES BIBLE IS THE PERFECT WORD OF GOD." This bumper sticker turned sign shows the epitome of ignorance that is within the ranks of evangelical, fundamental, charismatic, and Pentecostal Christianity. No true theologian would make that claim. Even the most strict bibliolaters would consider this bumper sticker false. Yet, this graphically explains what is most wrong with evangelical Christianity.

I have proven over and again on this blog that the "perfect word of God" is Jesus and the gospel. The fact is that there are many errors in the King James Bible. There are errors in all bibles and the only thing that a theologian would assert is that the original autographs of the biblical books are perfect. The strictest Biblicist would not assert what the bumper sticker asserted. The King James Version is certainly a good version, better than some of the more modern in some ways but most definitely it is not perfect.

So, let's look at biblio-idolatry, known as bibliolatry. It is rampant in the ranks of evangelical Christianity in all of its forms. By all of its forms I mean, but do not limit it to fundamentalists, evangelicals, charismatics, Pentecostals and any form of Christianity has holds to a high view of the scripture. Holding to a high view of scripture in and of itself is not a problem. I hold a high view of scripture, however it is limited to the redemptive purpose of scripture. And most distinctively, I do not hold to the view of scripture that sees it as a legal constitutional document. While the Jews, before the cross were taught a legal constitutional view of scripture, Jesus and his first century followers began teaching a solely redemptive view of scripture, and redefined the phrase word of God to mean Jesus or the gospel.

I am totally convinced that if you were to be able to speak with Paul, or Peter, or James, or any writers of the gospels, and you referred to the bible as the "word of God" they would look at you strangely, and correct you. They would tell you that the scribes and Pharisees saw the scripture (Old Testament/Tanakh) that way, but they were correcting that view by showing that it only points to Jesus, and His redemptive purpose. They would go on to tell you that as a legal constitutional document it will only show you how much you fall short of God's standards. When read as a legal constitutional document, it will only act as an instrument to bring charges against you, and will only show you how much you need forgiveness and grace. Viewed as a legal constitutional document it only works as an instrument of the accuser of the brethren.

You may ask, how can this be the case? If the bible is the story of redemption, and not a legal constitutional document why hasn't the Holy Spirit told this to others? Why are there not more people who believe and teach this? This is a valid question and the answer is that the Holy Spirit has told many people, but some of them are so entrenched in the current evangelical doctrine, in religion when it comes to the scripture, that they are fearful of varying from it. People fear that if they do not see the scripture as a legal constitutional document, and if they don't see it as the word of God that it will somehow be diminished, to that I say hogwash. The fact is this, when one looks at the scripture exactly as Jesus and His first century followers did, it becomes less contradictory, and has much more solidity of message.

The fact is simple, the person that had the bumper sticker on their door as a sign, is actually tearing down the validity of the bible by making erroneous claims that have no basis in fact. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The way which seems right III

Pro 16:25  "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

This is the third post in this series. The other two can be found here and here. It would be best to read the other two first, but I will briefly recap where the other two have been, and provide a road map where this is going. It is my contention that the way which seems right... which is the way of death... is current evangelical doctrine. That is what this paradigm shift is all about. In order for the church to embrace real life, that is the life that Christ promised, it needs to reject the way that seems right in favor of the way that is right. The way that is right is the pristine gospel... that is, the gospel as it was understood by the first century church; the gospel that Paul et. al. taught.

It amazes me as I read the pages of the New Testament, how much evangelical Christianity and evangelical Christian doctrine resembles much of what the first century Christians wrote against. To begin with, the way that seems right, involves religious performance and moral excellence. There is no problem with moral excellence, except when it is demanded for, and used to judge worthiness in the sight of God. The problem is not moral excellence but religious performance. I am especially cognizant of the warnings in Matthew chapter 23. Jesus addresses the futility and hypocrisy religious performance. The reason is that religious performance inevitably produces pride and self-righteousness.

(Mat 23:15) " Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves."

Pastors, teachers, and preachers know better than to be self righteous but because they are unwilling to show any signs of weakness and humanity in the eyes of their followers they end up fulfilling this passage all over again. Jesus was speaking to the scribes and Pharisees of his day in Judaism, but this is in reality a direct result of and problem caused by emphasis on religious performance and moral excellence. Ultimately, the focus of most church leadership is religious performance and moral excellence. That seems so right doesn't it? Ah, but remember, there is a way which seems right.... uhuh.

On the other hand, the pristine gospel, focusing only on the gospel, grace, and redemption promotes within a person, a peace, and rest with God, that translates to joy, and ultimately love for God which in turn begins to bring about moral excellence and genuine love for others. This is the mechanism of the gospel. Unfortunately, there are not many groups that have embraced the truth. Therefore, there is no real transformation because for the gospel to really change lives it has to be corporate, but it WILL NOT work under the current evangelical doctrine. The ultimate demand for religious performance and moral excellence will kill the spiritual transformation and force the individual to try to reform themselves. This is precisely what is wrong with Christianity, and why I am writing this series.

Pastors, teachers, and preachers are afraid to set their people free, and watch the gospel really work. They instead hold on to the doctrine for dear life, and by that kill the spiritual life of their congregation. They insist on keeping a legal constitutional view of scripture and that is a shame.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Way Which Seems Right II

Pro 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death"... This is the second post in a series that is looking at the meaning and interpretation of the above verse from Proverbs. It is found in two places in the Proverbs. The first is Proverbs 14:12 and the second one is Proverbs 16:25. This makes it an important concept since it was repeated. I would suggest that you take the time to read the first post if you haven't had the chance, and then read this one. In summary however, I posited that the way that seems right unto a man is any form of religion including evangelical doctrine and dogma. The death that results from the way which seems right is spiritual. While I am not suggesting in any way that it disqualifies one from eternal salvation, it practically brings death into the persons life. In other words, it works to kill the spiritual life that comes with the assurance of believing the gospel.

Over the last few years, I have found that so many of the doctrines that evangelical Christianity teaches are in error. I am challenging us to rethink some of our positions, and allow life to be the driving force of our day to day walk. It will only come to pass as we allow the Holy Spirit to correct some of the many errors we have been taught, teach and believe. In fact, church doctrine is so far off the mark that I wonder if it does much more harm than good? I rather think it does. It puts people into bondage when it should set them free. If the root is good, the branches are good, but if the root has error then the branches cannot help but be erroneous. Here is a list of the errors and problems that I have written about in this blog over time. These have all been proven to a point that goes way beyond the preponderance of evidence. They are hard to accept because they fly in the face of conventional doctrine. They challenge and sometime contradict what we have been taught and accept as fact.

List of errors that separates church teaching from the teaching of the first century apostles that wrote the New Testament:
  1. Viewing the entire scripture as the word of God; The first century followers of Christ limited the definition to the gospel and Jesus the gospel made flesh. This gave it a redemptive focus rather than a legal constitutional focus.
  2. Viewing the scripture as a legal constitutional document; Jesus and his followers taught a solely redemptive focus to the scripture.
  3. Misinterpreting Romans 10:17; The New Testament teaches that faith comes by hearing the gospel, and not necessarily the scripture as a whole. Faith only comes by hearing the gospel so the scripture is only the word of God as it defines and describes God's redemptive work in the world through Jesus Christ.
  4. Not recognizing the transition that takes place within the pages of the scripture, especially the New Testament; The New Testament is a book about a transition. It is a transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant and it does not come abruptly... not even in the New Testament writings.  It begins with a story about the Jews, under the Old Covenant. It moves from John the Baptist (Last Old Testament Jewish Prophet) to Jesus (New Covenant Prophet, Priest and Messiah) to the cross event, to Pentecost and a strictly Jewish Church, to the story of Cornelius and the inclusion of the Gentiles into the church without the necessity of circumcision, to the New Creation that Paul wrote to made up of Jews and Gentiles who believe the gospel.
  5. Not recognizing the audience relevance of the New Testament writing; The gospels are almost exclusively about and to the Jews prior to the cross event. This makes the messages of John the Baptist, and Jesus specifically and primarily to Old Covenant Jews facing the advent of the covenant transition. We make a grave mistake when we extrapolate those messages as if they were written to us on the other side of the cross event. This is especially true if we are Gentiles. There is an obvious Jew/Gentile distinction within the pages of the New Testament.
  6. Not recognizing the specific intended audience of the epistle of James and Hebrews; Both Hebrews and James was written to the believing Jews. James early on to an exclusively Jewish Jerusalem church and Hebrews, just prior to the destruction of the temple, again to Jews who were about to renounce Christ to stop persecution. The book of James is turned into a reason for emphasizing the legal constitutional aspect of scripture by church teachers, which is far from the truth. Hebrews on the other hand is a manual that acts as the rosetta stone for understanding the New Covenant.
This is not an exhaustive list but because this post is beginning to run long, it will need a follow-up post. but you can begin to see just how far off the mark Christian doctrine is and why God would be awakening people to a new and better understanding of the scripture. One that will put the proper focus on Christ and begin to reduce the worship and fear that it gives to men, especially those in leadership. This is why I am bold enough to suggest that the current church state of affairs is probably more damaging than beneficial. All of this is backed up nicely by a careful reading of scripture.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Way Which Seems Right I

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:12‬ ‭KJV‬‬

The way which seems right to a man; what is that? Well, let's analyze that statement. Most people believe that this means any old way of the world that seems right to a person, such as, drinking, clubbing, fornicating, and any other behavior or action that is prohibited by evangelical dogma. I don't believe that is so. 

What seems right to most people is some kind of religious observance, or something that is agreed as moral and right by society. The way that seems right to most people is the way that will make the person seem good and acceptable. The way that seems right to an individual is the way in which the knowledge of good and evil (the wisdom of the world) judges good actions from evil actions and right actions from wrong actions. Yet, Proverbs states plainly in two different passages the same fact. The end of the way that seems right, always ends in death. 

The reason for this in my view is that the act of acquiring the knowledge of good and evil resulted in death. It only makes sense that exercising the knowledge of good and evil would bring the same result. To explain it further, Paul called the Law the ministry of death in 2Cor 3:7. He explained that the letter kills but that the Spirit gives life. The reason is that with the knowledge of good and evil, the Law will merely always show us that we fall short. It will kill our spiritual hope in our ability to be righteous before God. One cannot use the knowledge of good and evil to know that they are right with God. They can only know that by faith.

It is here that it must be seen that the way that seems right to a man is only possible as the result of the knowledge of good and evil. Without the knowledge of good and evil, one could not possibly know the way that seems right. Right or wrong would not exist to the person who does not have the knowledge of good and evil at his or her disposal. Therefore, merely exercising our inherited condition from the garden fall results in death.

This is why the legal constitutional use of scripture as it was designated under the Old Covenant is the ministry of death. Jesus overcame death and proved that God will stop at nothing to have a relationship with humanity. His resurrection shows that God will always cause triumph for humans. So then, when one looks at it correctly, the way that Jesus came to show us, when one by faith accepts the act of redemption, the way that seems right to humanity is overthrown. It does not seem right to a woman or a man that God would simply declare us righteous, based upon the faith and actions of another, but that is exactly what He has done through Jesus Christ.

This should not surprise us at all because God clearly declared mankind righteous before the fall. In Genesis 1:31 it is stated. This information of God's plan and actions predates the garden experience. It is only with this understanding that the chronology of Genesis truly makes sense. It is written that;
Gen 1:31 " God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day." Notice, God's creation including male and female was not just good, before he included mankind he said that his creation was good, but after the creation of humanity, he said it was VERY GOOD!

Stay tuned for part two coming in a few days, but let me give you a preview. In view of this, why are so many striving so hard to please him with works, meetings, etc?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reformation, Transition, Transformation

The single most profound effect the church has experienced over the last five hundred years is the Reformation. After all, all the denominations of the protestant world are the result of the Reformation. It is interesting that during that time, that is the beginning of, and formation of the reformation was a time of upheaval. Families and friends were divided over what they believed to be true. People were labeled heretics, and sometimes killed. The Reformation was not a smooth transition. No, the people involved in it paid a real price for change.

I believe that we are in the beginning of another change in Christianity. This change will be even more profound than the last one. It is definitely a transition period, and that is obvious wherever one looks these days within the ranks of Christianity. For some reason, people do not readily welcome change. It is disquieting to say the least. Institutions provide a stability of sorts, and they do not relinquish power and control without a fight. The fact remains that Christianity, the church is in transition, and the very heart and soul of the kingdom is at stake. Transition is an action and for every action there is a counter reaction. Evangelical Christianity has a large reactionary element these days and for a time, it will grow even more intense.

This is obvious as you look at the various battle grounds with lines drawn in the proverbial sand. Marriage, gender, social justice are the areas where the battle rages. These are the areas of action and reaction. However, the real change is happening at a more basic theological place. This is the only area where the change that comes from transition will find its ultimate fulfillment in transformation. What must and will take place is a change in how one views the scripture and the gospel. The root of the current transition is doctrinal. So many want to avoid this but, alas it cannot be done.

As a blogger, I have a modest but larger than average amount of Facebook friends. I am asked to add a few weekly. What I see as I look at my news-feed is a fundamental divide that seems to be widening and growing more and more toxic. Of my Facebook friends, I dare say that 80 to 90% are there because of Christianity and my blogging about it. Because I have a definite belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord, I realize that my writing, at times, attracts both sides of this divide. Yes, I have the outspoken action oriented people, and I also have the outspoken reactionary  individuals. I am confident that many, probably most of both sides, are very sincere and have sincere faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, they are in every way polar opposites, and if I were to get them together in a room, no doubt a fight would break out that would not bring surprise if it turned violent. 

So what is the key for this period of transition? Is it still more reformation or is it something quite new, is it transformation? I think it may be beneficial to define the three terms in the title, Reformation, Transition, and Transformation. They are defined as follows:
Reformation; the action or process of reforming an institution or practice.

Transition; the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

Transformation; a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance; a metamorphosis; the induced or spontaneous change of one element into another by a nuclear process.
Reformation does not work because it does not change the underlying structure. It merely reforms it. The change that we face, and the necessary characteristics of that change is transformation. It has to change at the most elemental level. It is nuclear. The main premise of this blog is that Christian doctrine as we know it today is fundamentally, elementally flawed. It is flawed in the following ways:
  1. The view of scripture is flawed. It is viewed as a legal constitutional document when it should be viewed as the story of redemption.
  2. The doctrine of Christ is flawed as it does not see Christ as the all in all.
  3. The doctrine of atonement is flawed as it is viewed in a penal substitution way and not as Christ being victorious.
  4. The doctrine of last things is flawed as it does not see that all things have already been made new and that the new heaven and earth, the New Jerusalem, is a current reality to be apprehended by faith.
  5. And most of all, the doctrine of the actual transformation is flawed because it does not acknowledge that grace and justification are the sole ingredients to the ultimate change. 
If one were to take the time to read in depth the articles on this blog it would be easy to find out that the above points are correct and that Christian doctrine is so flawed that nothing outside of transformation will correct it. I challenge you to thoughtfully read this blog from beginning to end and allow the scripture itself to speak to this. There is more than enough scripture cited in this blog to make up for the lack of it in this post.

As for me, I will settle for nothing short of total transformation!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

God became the *ALL IN ALL* through Jesus Christ, Do we believe it?

Let's take a look at Paul's prayer for all disciples and see what we find out about Jesus actually being "God all in all (1Cor 15:28.) You find the words of this prayer in Ephesians chapter one.
"Eph 1:17-23 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: (18) The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
We know that in the risen Jesus the fullness of the godhead dwells in bodily form Col 2:9. Why is it that so many churches are putting the emphasis on Yahweh and not Jesus? If you listen to most sermons, most Sundays, you will find that God generically is worshipped and proclaimed, and that Jesus is relegated to a subservient place. He may get two or three minutes at the end of the sermon in the altar call but for the most part that is it.

In 70AD, at the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, the fact is, that Jesus enemies were put under his feet. God had manifested who his sons and daughters really were and they were all, both Jew and Gentile that believed in Jesus. The kingdom was turned over to God except that the fullness of the godhead dwells in Jesus. Jesus is God. In Revelation 19 we are told that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Therefore, our preaching should solely be about Jesus, and our worship should go to Jesus solely. This is the gospel message. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and when it was reconciled, God chose for the fullness of the Godhead to dwell bodily in Jesus Christ.

Look at the Prophet Isaiah's words: (Isa 9:6-7 NLT) " For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven's Armies will make this happen!" It is as plain as day, I used the NLT to make certain that we did not misunderstand the message... The Son that was given, the child that was born is EVERLASTING FATHER. Let's get our priorities straight and begin to worship Jesus with the worship he is due!

The two overriding messages of the scripture

While this blog is dedicated to my paradigm shift it is also about the way in which evangelical Christianity is off the mark in doctrine and...