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!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Does the author of the book of Hebrews, equate sin and unbelief and are they synonymous?

As we have shown before in many articles on this blog. Jesus and his first century followers redefined the phrase word of God, and used a solely redemptive hermeneutic that saw Jesus as the fulfillment, and purpose of all the scripture. This makes progressive revelation very important. Progressive revelation means that the Spirit gave more and more specific details about prophecy as prophetic events unfolded and that the revelation that came later must temper our view of previous revelation. Along with this, it likewise makes sense that the Spirit would speak with in the cultural development of people. This makes looking at what the New Testament writers wrote very important in determining what the exact meaning of passages, phrases and words was. One cannot take the previous revelation at face value.

It is obvious when one reads Hebrews 3 & 4 that the writer equates sin and unbelief. In fact, I think that it is safe to say that when one looks at the term sin, missing the mark, that the first definition one should use is unbelief. The original sin in Genesis was a sin of unbelief. Adam and Eve believed Satan who had contradicted God instead of believing God, so the sin, that entered into the world (Romans 5:12) was unbelief. So let's look at a different and perhaps more correct way to write Romans 5:12...
"Rom 5:12-14 Therefore, just as unbelief entered the world through one man, and death through unbelief, in this way death spread to all men, because all did not believe. (13) In fact, unbelief was in the world before the law, but unbelief is not charged to a person's account when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not disbelieve in the likeness of Adam's transgression. He is a prototype of the Coming One."
This is precisely why Romans 6:17 mentions obeying from the heart. Obeying from the heart is believing the gospel message plain and simply, and it is what puts one in right standing with God. The actions that current evangelical dogma calls sin is merely a symptom of unbelief. Here is where an entire fellowship, believing the gospel, and that grace is the driving force will reinforce an atmosphere of rest that will promote love, and supernaturally transform individuals. Getting this concept right... that in the New Covenant sin and unbelief are synonymous... is very important in setting that proper atmosphere.

So let's get back to Hebrews and the use of sin, disobedience, and unbelief. When you read Hebrews 3:17 - 19 it becomes glaringly obvious that the writer interchanges sin, unbelief and disobedience. This is a concept that one needs to bring back to the entire scripture. The proof in the pudding so to speak is Hebrews 10:26-27....
Heb 10:26-27 For if we deliberately (disbelieve, sin, disobey) after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (27) but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.
The above passage receives the clarity that the writer of Hebrews intended. There has been so much made of this verse, but the reality is simple. If we willfully disbelieve after hearing the truth. There is not other sacrifice for sin.  The preponderance of the evidence mounts for a drastic paradigm shift from evangelical dogma.

 



 

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