Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Prosperity Gospel EXPOSED Part 2 of 2

Friday, November 27, 2009

What is Justification?

Understanding the difference between justification and sanctification can be as important as understanding the difference between salvation and damnation. Rightly dividing between the two is of crucial importance. When you understand what they are, you can then draw a line in the sand and say, "This is what saves. This is not what saves."

Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is reckoned to the sinner so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous under the Law (Rom. 4:3; 5:1,9; Gal. 2:16; 3:11). This righteousness is not earned or retained by any effort of the saved. Justification is an instantaneous occurrence with the result being eternal life. It is based completely and solely upon Jesus' sacrifice on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and is received by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9). No works are necessary whatsoever to obtain justification. Otherwise, it is not a gift (Rom. 6:23). Therefore, we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).

Sanctification, on the other hand, involves the work of the person. But it is still God working in the believer to produce more of a godly character and life in the person who has already been justified (Phil. 2:13). Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone. The justified person is actively involved in submitting to God's will, resisting sin, seeking holiness, and working to be more godly (Gal. 5:22-23). Significantly, sanctification has no bearing on justification. That is, even if we don't live a perfect life, we are still justified.

Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process. Where justification comes from outside of us, from God, sanctification comes from God within us by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible. In other words, we contribute to sanctification through our efforts. In contrast, we do not contribute to our justification through our efforts.

Does this mean that those justified by grace can sin as much as they want?
Romans 6:1-2 says, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer in it?"

1 Thess. 4:7 says, "God has called us not for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification."

The Scriptures teach us that we are to live holy lives and avoid sin (Col. 1:5-11). Just because we are saved and eternally justified before God (John 10:28), that is no excuse to continue in the sin from which we were saved. Of course, we all sin (Rom. 3:23). But the war between the saved and sin is continuous (Rom. 7:14-20) and it won't be until the return of Jesus that we will be delivered from this body of death (Rom. 7:24). To seek sin continually and use God's grace to excuse it later is to trample the blood of Christ underfoot (Heb. 10:29) and to reveal the person's true sinful, unsaved nature (1 John 2:4; 2:19). (Other verses worth checking out are: Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; and 1 Pet. 2:21-22.)

What the cults do with justification and sanctification
The cults consistently blur the meanings of the two terms and misapply the truths taught in God's word. The result is a theology of works righteousness, of earning their salvation which only leads to damnation. This is because by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified (Gal. 2:16). Man cannot contribute to his salvation (Gal. 5:1-8). Man is sinful and even his best deeds are stained and filthy before God (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, making a person right before God can only be God's work (Gal. 2:20).

Typically, in cult theologies, a person is not justified (declared righteous in God's eyes) until the final day of judgment when his works are weighed and a reward is given or he is found worthy of his place with God. Thus, a person with this errant theology can not claim 1 John 5:13 as his own which says, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God."

Contextually, "These things" refers to loving God, being obedient to Him, belief in Christ, and eternal life in Jesus. Therefore, 1 John 5:13 can be considered a test. If you are believing and doing the right things, then you will know if you have eternal life. Can a cultist know he has eternal life? No. He cannot. But a Christian can.

People in cults don't understand the difference between justification and sanctification. Therefore, they must depend upon a cooperative effort with God to have their sins forgiven which is, essentially, combining the filthy works of man (Isaiah 64:6) with the holy work of God. They don't mix. They can't. Hence, salvation is by grace through faith, alone. To believe anything else is to miss salvation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can You Lose Your Salvation?

Through the centuries of the Christian era, there has been a huge debate about whether Christians can lose (forfeit) their salvation. In this article, we hope to show that once a person is born again of God’s holy spirit, his salvation is guaranteed, that is, he is not in danger of the “Second Death,” which is when everyone who is not allowed into God’s Eternal Kingdom will be thrown into the Lake of Fire and burned up (Rev. 20:12-15).

Before we can meaningfully examine verses that refer to our guaranteed salvation, it is imperative to understand that Scripture makes it clear that only in the Church Age, the Administration of Grace, is salvation guaranteed. One of the greatest truths of Scripture is that God has dealt with people differently at various times through history. For the accomplishment of His purposes and the benefit of His people, God has periodically changed the “rules” by which He wants people to live. Theologians call the time period governed by a specific set of rules an “administration” or “dispensation.” The systematic theology that recognizes these different administrations or dispensations is referred to as “Dispensationalism.”

Examples of God changing the rules from administration to administration are plentiful. In the Garden of Eden, He told Adam and Eve to eat plants only (Gen. 1:29), but after the Flood, God changed the rules and allowed man to eat meat also (Gen. 9:3), and He still allows us to eat meat today. Another example concerns the Sabbath. Before the Mosaic Law, there was no specific law concerning the Sabbath. When God gave the Law to Moses, He changed the rules, and commanded that anyone who worked on the Sabbath should be put to death (Ex. 31:14), and Moses did execute a man who was caught working on the Sabbath (Num. 15:32-36). Today, in the Administration of Grace, God has changed the rules again, and it is not a sin to work on the Sabbath (Rom. 14:5; Col. 2:16, 17), and thus anyone who arrested and executed someone working on the Sabbath would be a murderer. When Christians do not recognize or understand the administrations in the Bible, the Bible abounds with apparent contradictions.

We of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International recognize eight different administrations in the history of mankind: four of them are in the past; we live in the fifth Administration (the Administration of Grace, also referred to as the Administration of the Sacred Secret), and three of them are foretold in the Bible and will be fulfilled in the future.

Knowing the different administrations, when they begin and end, and the rules distinctly associated with each one, is indispensable if one is to explain many of the apparent contradictions in the Bible. It is also indispensable in understanding how we Christians must live in order to obey God. A person who does not understand the Administrations can become very confused if he thinks that all of God’s commands should be followed, because they are different in different administrations, and can even contradict one another. Almost 100 years ago, Bible scholar Martin Anstey wrote: “…the golden rule is, ‘Distinguish the dispensations and the difficulties will disappear.’” [1] Never is that more true than in regard to the permanence of our salvation. If one does not understand what parts of Scripture are written to whom, he will never grasp the truth of God’s Word about salvation, its most vital subject.

Throughout the years, the majority of scholars and commentators have believed that salvation is not guaranteed for Christians. Perhaps the most common reason for that is that they read the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, and the book of Revelation, see that salvation is not guaranteed during those administrations, and therefore think that salvation is not guaranteed for Christians.

We agree that salvation is not guaranteed during the Old Testament, Four Gospels, and the Tribulation period (which comes after Christians are taken to heaven at the Rapture). However, we disagree with them when it comes to Christian salvation. We assert that on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) God started a new administration, one so dominated by an outpouring of God’s grace that He refers to it as “the administration of God’s grace” (Eph. 3:2).

If we are correct that only in this new, and for us, current, administration is salvation guaranteed for the Christian, we can expect to find verses in the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, and Revelation, stating that one’s salvation was not guaranteed, and none stating that it was. That is exactly what we find, because those sections of Scripture are written to and about Israel (and Gentiles), not the Church of the Body of Christ. Furthermore, in the Epistles to the Christian Church, we can expect to find verses indicating that salvation is guaranteed, and we do.

Our study of guaranteed salvation will take us into a cascade of logic that in large part presents the process of salvation in the Age of Grace as akin to giving birth. This brings up a very important point: God expects us to believe what He says and use the reasoning He gave us to arrive at accurate conclusions. That is certainly the case in the study of guaranteed salvation.

When a person acts on Romans 10:9, and confesses that Jesus is Lord and believes that God raised him from the dead, God our Father puts a spiritual seed into that individual. That “seed,” like any seed contributed by a father, grows into a baby, which is then birthed. The epistle of 1 Peter tells us about both the seed and the birth.

1 Peter 1:23
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

God’s use of “birth” to communicate what happens in Christian salvation is amazingly clear. Of course, there are some differences between human birth and birth from God. For example, the seed from a human father takes nine months to develop in the mother before the birth, while divine birth is instantaneous. The very second God puts His imperishable, spiritual seed in a person, he is born again.

Now what is unique about this New Birth? First, there is no mention of God’s spiritual seed outside the Epistles to the Christian Church. Spiritual “seed” cannot be found in the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, or Revelation. Only Christians have spiritual seed. This should immediately alert us that God is doing something for Christians that He never did before.

Second, God calls the seed He puts inside Christians “imperishable,” because it does not die or go away. It stays in us forever, so its effect, our salvation, is “imperishable” too. Third, there is no New Birth outside the Administration of Grace. It began on the Day of Pentecost, and will end with the Rapture of the Church. It is only for the Age of Grace. [2] Because the New Birth is the hallmark of this Administration of Grace and was previously known only to God, it makes sense that He would clearly tell us about it. He does exactly that by using three different words that refer to our new birth, and each of them appears only in epistles to the Church, and nowhere else in the Bible.

Anagennao (Strong’s number 313) from the Greek prefix ana, “again” or “up,” and gennao, “to give birth.” It means to be given birth to again, or to be born again, and it occurs in 1 Peter 1:3, 23, “in his great mercy he has given us new birth…” (1 Pet. 1:3).
Paliggenesia (pronounced pa-lin-ge-ne-sia; the gg is pronounced as an “n g;” Strong’s number 3824) from palin, “again” and genesis, “genesis” or “origin.” It means to have an origin again, a new genesis, and it occurs in Titus 3:5, “He saved us through the washing of rebirth….”
apokueo (Strong’s number 616) from the Greek prefix apo, “away from,” and kueo, “to be pregnant.” It means “to give birth to,” and it occurs in James 1:18, “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth….”
As every parent knows, the predominant truth about a birth is the presence of a baby, who is “permanent.” The birth cannot be undone. Surely God would not use three different words for “birth” if there were not an actual birth, or if we could not apply the concepts of birth, such as permanence, to what happens when a Christian is “born again.” “Birth” is permanent, both in the flesh and in the spirit. [3]

In birth, the nature of the parent is passed down to the offspring, and so in the new birth the nature of God is passed to believers. The “seed” of God is His nature. God is “holy” and God is “spirit,” so we should expect to see something in the Church Epistles about His nature, also called “holy spirit,” being in, or part of, the Christian, and we do.

Ephesians 1:13
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

This verse contains a number of significant truths. First, we received holy spirit at the time we believed. Second, each believer is “sealed” with holy spirit. [4] This is new! No one in the Old Testament, Gospels, or Revelation is said to be “sealed.” Quite the opposite! God took His holy spirit from King Saul when he sinned (1 Sam. 16:14). Psalm 51:11 records that after committing adultery with Bathsheba and having Uriah killed, King David asked God not to take holy spirit from him.

Third, the word “sealed” indicates that we are permanently sealed with holy spirit. Someone might say, “Well, if you sin, God breaks the seal and takes holy spirit away.” If that were the case, why say we are “sealed” at all? Why not just continue the terminology of the Old Testament and Gospels and say that holy spirit is “upon” us? Logic demands that if God uses a totally different vocabulary that is unique to the Administration of Grace, He must be letting us know that something is new and different. Fourth, the holy spirit we receive is the “promised” holy spirit. It was promised in the Old Testament for the Millennial Kingdom, the 1000-year reign of Christ, but given to us now as a surprise by God’s grace. [5] The very fact that it was promised in the Old Testament and Gospels means that the people of those times did not yet have it.

If we have spiritual seed, holy spirit, are born again, and have been sealed by God, then our salvation is guaranteed. Scripture says exactly that.

2 Corinthians 1:22
[God via Christ] set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit [spirit] in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:5
Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit [spirit] as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Ephesians 1:14
who [the holy spirit, which] is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Those three verses say that our future is guaranteed. There are none like them in the Old Testament, none in the Four Gospels, none in the book of Revelation. God has done something new and different for the Church. There are versions of the Bible that do not translate the Greek word arrhabon as “guarantee,” but instead use “earnest,” “pledge,” “deposit,” or something similar. The Greek word arrhabon means a deposit in advance that guarantees the full payment to come. For Christians, that means we are guaranteed being Raptured into heaven and given new, immortal, bodies.

Because the Christian is uniquely born again of God’s imperishable spiritual seed, sealed with holy spirit, and therefore guaranteed salvation, the very presence of holy spirit permanently born in us gives us a divine nature, as Scripture verifies:

2 Peter 1:4 (KJV) [6]
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,…”

At the risk of seeming repetitious, no one in the Old Testament, Gospels, or Revelation is ever said to receive, or “partake of,” a divine nature, not even the prophets, who had God’s gift of holy spirit upon them. By the way, because Christians have both a new, divine nature and an old, sin nature, these antithetical natures struggle against each other within us. Only in Scripture addressed to the Church does the Bible say that the sin nature (or “flesh”) and the divine nature (or “spirit”) “are in conflict with each other,” (Gal. 5:17).

Because we have a divine nature, the Bible refers to all Christians as “saints,” although a better translation would be “holy ones” (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1). A quick study of the Greek and Hebrew words translated “saints” will show that “holy ones,” God’s holy people, are all through the Bible (cp. Ps. 16:3; Dan. 7:18; Rev. 13:7). However, from what God says about what makes one “holy,” believers in the Old Testament, Gospels, and Revelation were holy only if they obeyed God. In contrast, the Church Epistles make it clear that anyone who is a Christian is holy because of the divine nature within him.

God created His nature in us, so we are new creations in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

The phrase “new creations” is literal, and is 100% accurate because the new nature, our holy spirit, was created in us by God. Although some translations say “new creatures,” the Greek word is “creations.” Our first birth was not a creation, but our new birth is, because when we believed, God “created” new life within us. People in the Old Testament and Gospels believed God, but they were never “created” anew. When Abraham believed, God considered him righteous, but he was never “created” anew and given a divine nature, nor was anyone else before the Church began on the Day of Pentecost. Other verses, such as Colossians 3:10, also indicate we are new creations. [For further study read Righteousness - Every Christian’s Gift from God.]

Christians not only become new creations individually, but also collectively, as part of a spiritual body called, “the Body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12:27; cp. Rom. 12:4,5; 1 Cor. 10:16; 12:12-20; Eph. 1:23; 3:6; 4:4; Col. 1:18; 3:15). Like our physical body, this spiritual body is comprised of many members, and Jesus Christ is its head (Eph. 5:23).

There are some important things to consider about the Body of Christ. First, it is unique to the Grace Administration, not mentioned before or after it. Second, it is made up of all those who believe, no matter what their gender or nationality. Galatians 3:28 makes it clear that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female in Christ. This is a shift from the Old Testament, Gospels, and Revelation in which the people of God are distinctly counted as being either a Jew or a Gentile. Even after the Church is taken from the earth at the Rapture, God again separates the Jewish believer from the Gentile believer (Rev. 7:1-17).

The truth about the “Body of Christ” is important to the study of our guaranteed salvation because to lose our guarantee of salvation would be tantamount to being dismembered from the Body of Christ, and there is simply no evidence in Scripture that can happen.

Before we were born again and given a new, divine nature, we had only our old sin nature and were destined to the Second Death, so God referred to us as “dead in your transgressions and sins” (Eph. 2:1). When we got born again, we were given spiritual life, but along with that God also promised that He would raise us from physical death.

Our being raised from the dead (or changed from mortal to immortal at the Rapture) is so certain, so secure, that God refers to it with the idiom that linguists refer to as the “prophetic perfect.” The prophetic perfect is used to emphasize the certainty of a future event by speaking of it as if it has already happened. [To read an article on the Prophetic Perfect, click here. To watch a video teaching on it, click here.] Thus, even though dead Christians are still physically dead, God says they have already been raised to life (Eph. 2:6). This promise of resurrection to everlasting life is worded without the idiom in Romans 6:5 by using the future tense, will: “…we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”

If we are new people, newly born again and created, and partakers of the divine nature, we should have a new language, a language unique to the Administration of Grace. We do have such a language, and the Bible refers to it as “speaking in tongues.” Speaking in tongues first happened on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), and it will cease to exist after the Rapture of the Church (1 Cor. 13:8). In the meantime, speaking in tongues is prayer and praise, it edifies the one speaking, and what God says about it is very clear: “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues….” (1 Cor. 14:5).

If a person could lose his guarantee of salvation, he would therefore lose his holy spirit, like King Saul did in the Old Testament. That would mean he could no longer speak in tongues, because holy spirit is what enables him to do so. A good test, then, to see if salvation really is guaranteed, is to ask people who have greatly sinned if they can still speak in tongues. What do we find in Christendom? Some of the most flagrant sinners speak in tongues fluently. Fallen TV evangelists and former Christian “big shots,” Christians in prisons around the globe, Christian homosexuals, fornicators, and adulterers, and Christians who are idolaters, sharing the worship of God with superstition or the recognition of other gods, are known to speak in tongues. In fact, many Christians hide their sin very effectively, going to churches and speaking in tongues in the service, while secretly sinning flagrantly. The fact that these sinners, and the rest of us Christians who also sin, can speak in tongues is exactly what we would expect if, as Scripture declares, the holy spirit is sealed in us and the new birth is permanent.

As new creations, we now belong, not to the earthly realm where our physical body resides, but to God’s heavenly kingdom, and Scripture makes this clear.

Philippians 3:20
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Once again we see the uniqueness of the Christian Church. Many people in the Old Testament and Gospels believed, but none were referred to as citizens of heaven. In contrast, because our salvation is guaranteed, we can legitimately be called citizens of heaven.

When we got saved, we were guaranteed to be in heaven with Christ from the time of the Rapture to the time of our return to earth with Christ, when he fights the Battle of Armageddon. That guarantee is so sure that God says we are seated in heaven.

Ephesians 2:6
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

We are not literally in heaven now. However, our place in heaven is so secure that God uses the idiom of the prophetic perfect to refer to it. As we have already seen, the prophetic perfect is speaking of something that will occur in the future as if it had already happened in order to give the strongest assurance that it will happen.

The bond that exists between parents and their birth children is universal. Parents usually love and support their own seed, no matter what. No matter how a child behaves, somehow the parent loves him. If each Christian is born of God, we should see a shift in how God expresses His love relationship with Christians, as opposed to what he said about Israel in the Old Testament. That shift is clearly recorded in Romans 8:35-39. Those verses express two facts: first, that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39), and second, that this is a change from the Old Testament (Rom. 8:36, 37).

Quite a few Old Testament verses refer to God’s having had enough of “His people,” even to the point of saying, “I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them” (Hos. 1:6), and “…you are not my people, and I am not your God” (Hos. 1:9). Isaiah 50:1 and Jeremiah 3:8 speak of God divorcing Israel and sending her away. There is no such threat to the Church. We are God’s birth children, and even when we behave despicably, He tells us He will always love us. Believers before Pentecost had no such promise, so if they rebelled against God and died in that condition, they were lost. In stark contrast, the Christian is guaranteed everlasting life.

The Grace Administration, with its guarantee of salvation, is glorious in the extreme. The Law was glorious in that it gave light and justice where there had been confusion and darkness, but consider the following verse from the Church Epistles regarding the glory of the Administration of Grace:

2 Corinthians 3:10
For what was glorious [the Law] has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.

What God has given the Church is so new and so glorious that in comparison to it, the Law of Moses had “no glory.” The Law of Moses was indescribably valuable—it was the very words and laws of God, so for God to say that the Law had “no glory” in comparison to what we now have, we Christians must have something incredibly valuable indeed. We do. After all, what is the worth of a soul? The fact that everyone who gets saved during the Grace Administration is guaranteed everlasting life makes our administration have “surpassing glory.”

Ever notice that Romans 10:9 is in one of the epistles to the Christian Church? It contains simple and straightforward instructions on how to be saved.

Romans 10:9
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

This verse agrees with the others in the Church Epistles, such as Romans 3:22, Galatians 2:15 and 16, and Ephesians 2:8, which specifically states that salvation is by grace through faith, “not by works.”Faith has always been the way to salvation, but before the Administration of Grace there was no guarantee of salvation, so a person’s works were important to demonstrate his faith, which had to continue throughout his life (Ezek. 33:11-20). That is why Moses said that righteousness came by being careful to obey the Law (Deut. 6:25).

Jesus and the Apostle Paul both taught the way of salvation, and both were asked the basic question, “What must I do to be saved? Jesus answered: “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). During the Law of Moses, when Jesus answered the question, there was no guarantee of salvation available, so a person had to maintain his faith and righteousness throughout his life. Thus, Jesus told the man to obey the commandments.

In contrast, Paul answered: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31). Why such a difference? When Paul answered the question, which was after the Administration of Grace had begun, the moment a person believes, he is born again and has a guarantee of everlasting life.

The Administration of Grace began on the Day of Pentecost when Christ poured out the new gift of holy spirit (Acts 2:33) and people were born again. It will end with the Rapture, when dead Christians are raised, living Christians are changed, and both groups are taken to heaven in new bodies that are like Christ’s glorious body (Phil. 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-54). The Rapture is a new concept, occurring only in the Church Epistles. [7] In fact, because the Rapture occurs only in the Church Epistles, many scholars deny that it ever occurs, feeling certain that if it did, it would be spoken of in more than just Corinthians and Thessalonians. That, however, is exactly our point: only Christians are in the Rapture. It is unique to God’s children by birth.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What About Demon Possession?

Question: "What does the Bible say about demon possession / demonic possession?"

Answer: The Bible gives some examples of people being possessed or influenced by demons. From these we can find some symptoms of demonic influence as well as gain insights as to how a demon possesses someone. Here are some of biblical passages: Matthew 9:32-33; 12:22; 17:18; Mark 5:1-20; 7:26-30; Luke 4:33-36; Luke 22:3; Acts 16:16-18. In some of these passages, the demon possession causes physical ailments, such as inability to speak, epileptic symptoms, blindness, etc. In other cases, it causes the individual to do evil, Judas being the main example. In Acts 16:16-18 the spirit apparently gives a slave girl some ability to know things beyond her own learning. In the case of the demoniac of the Gadarenes who was possessed by a multitude of demons, he had superhuman strength, went around naked, and lived among the tombstones. King Saul, after rebelling against the LORD, was allowed to be troubled by an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16:14-15; 18:10-11; 19:9-10) with the apparent effect of a depressed mood and an increased desire and readiness to kill David.

Thus, there is a wide variety of possible symptoms of demon possession, such as a physical impairment that cannot be attributed to an actual physiological problem, personality changes such as major depression or uncharacteristic aggression, supernatural strength, a disregard for modesty or “normal” social interaction, and perhaps the ability to share information that one has no natural way of knowing. It is important to note that nearly all, if not all, of these characteristics may have other explanations, so it is important not to label every depressed person or epileptic individual as demon possessed. On the other hand, I think that in our western culture, we probably don’t take Satanic involvement in people’s lives seriously enough.

In addition to these physical or emotional distinctions, one can also look at spiritual attributes as showing demonic influence. These may include a refusal to forgive (2 Corinthians 2:10-11) and the belief in and spread of false doctrine, especially concerning Jesus Christ and His atoning work (2 Corinthians 11:3-4,13-15; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 1 John 4:1-3).

Concerning the involvement of demons in the lives of Christians, the apostle Peter is an illustration of the fact that a believer can be INFLUENCED by the devil (Matthew 16:23). Some refer to Christians who are under a STRONG demonic influence as being “demonized,” but never is there an example in Scripture of a believer in Christ being POSSESSED by a demon, and most theologians believe that a Christian CANNOT be possessed because he has the Holy Spirit abiding within (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; 1 Corinthians 6:19).

We are not told exactly how one opens himself up for possession. If Judas’ case is representative, he opened his heart to evil (in his case by his greed - John 12:6). So it may be possible that if one allows his heart to be ruled by some habitual becomes an invitation for a demon to enter in. From missionary experiences, demon possession also seems to be related to the worship of heathen idols and the possession of occult materials. Scripture repeatedly relates idol worship with the actual worship of demons (Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalm 106:37; 1 Corinthians 10:20), so it should not be surprising that involvement with those religions and practices associated with those religions could lead to demon possession.

Thus, it is my belief based on the above Scriptural passages as well as some of the experiences of missionaries that many people open their lives up to demon involvement through the embracing of some sin or through cultic involvement (both knowingly and unknowingly). Examples may include immorality; drug/alcohol these alter one’s state of consciousness; rebellion; bitterness; transcendental meditation. In our western culture, we see an increase of eastern religious teachings under the guise of the new age movement.

There is something that must not be forgotten. Satan and his evil host cannot do anything the Lord does not allow them to do (Job 1,2). And this being the case, Satan, thinking he is accomplishing his own purposes, is actually accomplishing God’s good purposes...even as in the case of Judas’ betrayal. Some people develop an unhealthy fascination with the occult and demonic activity. This is unwise and unbiblical. If we pursue God with our lives and are clothing ourselves with His armor and relying upon His strength (not our own) (Ephesians 6:10-18), we have nothing to fear from the evil ones, for God rules over all!

Is It OK to Wear a Cross with Jesus on It?

Idols in the form of images such as the crucifix is a very appreciated item in Roman Catholicism as well as in numerous Protestant denominations. What does the Bible say about the matter of images such as the crucifix and other forms of idols? According to Exodus 20:4; and Duet. 4:15,16, images such as the crucifix are strictly forbidden. Why? Primarily, they are always a flawed mis-representation and/or a deception of the true and living God. They have no spiritual benefit. Images are often born from the imagination of the human heart (that's dangerous).

Images and idols such as, the crucifix are not exact about the historical and theological role of the cross of Christ and God's will with our lifes. Christians are not to live by sight... we live by faith... not in the visible, but the invisible God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Idols are more than just an image within the mentality of religious circles. it is an instrument used by Satan to breed prejudice against the exclusiveness of the Bible. Quite frankly, God commands separation from images that act as an influence in place of His Word. As Christians, we don't need an image or idol to remind us of what Christ did for us on the cross... we have the Bible and the Holy Spirit for that.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Should We Examine Ourselves?

Besides the "fake it till you make it" popular practice in the church (that God will sanction us if we just pretend long enough; detailed in a previous posting) there is another modern application of hypocrisy among us that is much more serious. It is the idea that mere words can suffice for salvation when reality is not present. For instance, I can claim that I am saved, say a prayer, and then I am, you see, whether God agrees or not. The idea here is that it is what comes out of human lips that matters. Thus, we can claim salvation and live like the devil, etc. and have a "ticket to heaven".

To haul this practice into the light is to touch a sacred shibboleth of modern evangelical Christianity. Yet the Scripture is clear that salvation is not merely a matter of words or self-claims. In fact, this is specifically warned against.

2 Cor 13:5 (KJV) Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves...
1 Cor 11:31 (KJV) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

2 Cor 13:5 (Wey) Test yourselves to discover whether you are true believers: put your own selves under examination.

2 Cor 13:5 (NRS) Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!

Consider what would happen if people took the Holy Spirit seriously and started truly testing themselves, to see if they were in the faith. Why, we would put them into a "new members class" to teach them that human words and thoughts are more important than fruit in keeping with repentance (Mat 3:8), wouldn't we? We would have the deacons visit them and cajole them into the group-think hypocrisy: "Sure you are saved--you said a prayer, didn't you?" "Don't test yourself... that is doubt, brother!" "That is the devil talking! Just kid yourself that you are saved no matter what! Delude yourself into the kingdom. Yeah, God will really like that. It is 'faith'..."

Eph 5:6 (NIV) Let no one deceive you with empty words...
Mat 15:7-8 (NIV) "You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"

1 Tim 1:6 (NIV) Some people have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk...

Luke 6:43-44 (NIV) "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit... Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

"Why? Because I was told by the church that this was the way to be 'saved'! They did not guide me to the reality of 'Christ in me', but rather to mere words and playacting. I was coached into hypocrisy as the way to Christian faith!"

1 Tim 1:6 (Wey) Some have drifted away, and have wandered into empty words.
2 Tim 3:5 (GLT) ... having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; turn away from these.

Mat 18:6-7 (NIV) "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!"

Which are we more inclined to be zealous for, the "form of things", or the reality?
If a brother or sister comes to us--having "tested themselves" as the Holy Spirit encourages (commands?), will we coat things over? Will we lead them to appropriate lamentation, weeping, and repentance, or will we encourage them into further hypocritical delusion? For let us be honest here: it will be easier to just give them a little homily and set them back to their faking, will it not? If we attempt to help them towards true repentance and true salvation, we risk spitting right into the devil's eye. We might even be kicked out of our church by "those claiming to be serving God" for breaking the collusion of hypocrisy that has become the status quo among us. Really, now, what would you do tomorrow if someone came to you who doubts his or her salvation? Will it be "mere words" or real spiritual birth we are most interested in?

The answer to this question has a lot to do with our own spiritual reality. For if we are serving ourselves, we will surely coat the thing over... But if we are serving God, then we will not try to please men--even ourselves.

And real birth--spiritual or physical--can be a messy affair... It is much easier to play with dolls.

Gal 1:10 (GLT) Am I now seeking human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
2 Cor 10:7 (NIV) You are looking only on the surface of things...

Do we care, do we weep, over the countless souls being led to hell by the church via the "new gospel" of playacting as a means to salvation?
A prophet once made this pithy comment...

Mat 3:7 (NIV) ..."Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"

In this case--salvation by self-claim and "mere words" and human encouragement against all Scripture and reality and common sense--the one who warned us was Jesus Himself:

Mat 7:21 (NRS) "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."

Is there any ambiguity in this? Yet we think we can make "professions" that impress God and then go off and live our lives as if Jesus--the perfect expression of the Father--was kidding or wrong.

Titus 1:16 (NRS) They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

If our deeds do not match our words, then woe unto us. Better for us to say the wrong thing and later change our minds and do the right thing... than to be flippant in our religious "commitment" with words--and then NOT do what we said we would...

Mat 21:28-31 (NIV) "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you."

If we are truly born of God, then we will produce real fruit. Not fake fruit. The trouble with fake fruit is that while it can look just like the real thing on the outside--it cannot reproduce itself. It cannot "bear after its own kind". It is artificial and hollow and lifeless. Regardless of how much energy a church puts into this sort of playacting and "claims" of making converts of the same sort, it is all a sham. Underneath are "dead men's bones" and "every sort of impurity" (Mat 23:27).
Of course, all this is academic, yes? The hypocrites died off as a breed in Jesus' time, right? What, us, hypocrites?

Mat 23:13 (NRS) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them."
Mat 23:15 (NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are."

We need to take Jesus' warning seriously: "Beware of the yeast..." Just what are we encouraging in others? He requires "truth in the inner parts" and worshippers who will "worship in spirit and in truth". He hates faking and phoniness and guile--apparently worse than any other sin!

Luke 16:15 (NIV) [Jesus] said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight."

Let us not trifle with this, for many among us are positively encouraging the sin of superficial hypocrisy among the brethren.
Let us examine ourselves--our teachings, our example, our emphasis--lest we come under the most severe of judgments.

Gal 6:7 (NRS) Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.
Luke 3:9 (NIV) "The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

2 Pet 1:10a (NAS) Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Is Seed Faith Giving Scriptural?"

2 Peter 2:1,”… but there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

What do you think it means to deny the Lord? Many would say that any person or group that doesn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God would be denying the Lord and that would be true enough. False religions like Islam and Hinduism would fall into this category. Most orthodox Christians would include the pseudo Christian cults like Jehovah’s Witness’, Mormons, and others of that ilk. And they would be correct but are these false teachers Peter is referring to here?

If you look closely you will see that Peter says these false teachers will be “among you”. Since he was writing to a group of born again, Spirit filled believers, we must conclude that he is not talking about the obvious false religions or even pseudo Christian cults. The false teachers he is speaking of will be found within the Body of Christ.

Now how do you suppose that false teachers will get away with denying the Lord among a group of believers?

The word denying as it is used here is the Greek word arneomai {ar-neh'-om-ahee}. It is the same word used in Titus 1:16, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him….” Used in these contexts, the word means to contradict.

So a teacher that contradicts the Lord is in fact denying Him. He may say that Jesus is Lord. He may speak right sounding words claiming to be born again and he may have the biggest Bible you’ve ever seen but if his works or teaching contradicts the words of Jesus he is denying Him.

For example, when Benny Hinn claimed in 1999 that Jesus would physically appear at one of his upcoming crusades, he was contradicting the specific words of the Lord Jesus.

Math 24:23 -26
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 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. Behold, I have told you before Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

By making the claim that Jesus would physically appear at one of his crusades Hinn contradicted (denied) the words of the Lord and proved himself to be a false prophet and false teacher according to 2 Peter 2:1.

The so called principle of seed faith giving was first popularized by Oral Roberts almost 50 years ago. It proved to be so profitable to him that he essentially based his entire ministry on it. As with any other profitable venture others soon followed. Today it is used by virtually every “Faith” preacher, the majority of Christian television networks, and almost all TV preachers in general. It has even found its way into many mainstream and denominational churches.

How does seed faith giving work. It is loosely based (very loosely as we will see) on the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Using the illustration of sowing seed, people are instructed that if they will give money to the church, the ministry, the TV network, the man of God, etc, God will multiply it back to them 30, 60, or 100 times more than they gave. In fact now days, about all you ever hear about is the 100 fold return. The 30 and 60 fold returns have pretty much been dropped altogether.

That’s a pretty good deal wouldn’t you say? Give God $1 and get back $100. Give God $100 and get back $10,000. Give God $10,000 and get back a cool million. And not only that, but you can also sow money and get back other things. Things like salvation for relatives, healing for incurable diseases, and deliverance from various demonic influences! That’s right; all you have to do is send your seed (meaning money) to the man of God!

Is this really what the parable of the sower is all about? What do you think? Let’s examine this important parable.

Luke 8:4-8 NASB
When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Jesus explains the parable

Luke 8:11 NASB
Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.

Now right here anybody with even a minimal level of reading comprehension should be able to see that this parable has nothing to do with money. The seed is the word of God. Even a brand new baby Christian should be able to look at this and say “I don’t think these fellows are teaching this correctly”

Let’s continue with Jesus’ explanation

Luke 8:12-15 NASB
Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

This parable is about what happens when the word of God is sown or revealed in the heart of a person. It may be the most important parable Jesus taught. Why do I say that? Because Jesus said this:

Mark 4:13
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Jesus is saying that if you don’t understand this parable you won’t understand any of the parables he taught. This is a foundational teaching!

By misapplying the parable of the sower, these false teachers do great damage to God’s people. First, by falsely claiming that God works like some kind of cosmic slot machine, but the real damage is in the fact that believers are robbed of the true meaning of this teaching.

The parable of the sower is at work every time God’s Word is revealed to you. In fact it is at work right now in many of you who are reading this.

I know that many of you will read this and say “I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that my favorite preacher would preach a false message” You’ll reject what I’m saying. You’ll actually be rejecting the words of Jesus.

The devil has come already to steal this word from you.

Some of you will hear what I say and receive it gladly. “Glory to God” you’ll say, “preach it brother…. Hallelujah” But you won’t take the time to really meditate on this word. You won’t really apply it.

And then a testing will come, a test to see if you really believe, trust in, rely on, and adhere to what you claim to believe. Testing is because of the word sown in your heart. You’ll be challenged. God Himself will allow that challenge, that test.

Will you pass the test? Or will you revert back to your traditional thinking?

And of course some of you will hear and believe but you won’t give this word the proper place in your life. You’ll think about it for a while. You’ll decide that it’s right but then you’ll get on with your life. You’ll get busy with your job, your family, your daily responsibilities and it will recede further and further into the recesses of your heart until it has no real value to you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"What is the Doctrine of Salvation?"

The Hebrew and Greek words for salvation imply the ideas of deliverance, safety, preservation, healing, and soundness. Salvation is the great inclusive word of the Gospel gathering into itself all the redemptive acts and processes:

1. Justification - Declaration of righteousness.
2. Redemption - To buy back by paying a price.
3. Grace - God's favor to mankind without merit.
4. Propitiation - To actually care for sin and appease God's wrath
against sin.
5. Imputation - To reckon or put to the account of. Given or
imparted to.
6. Forgiveness - To absolve from sin and forget.
7. Sanctification - To set apart positionally and progressively in
8. Glorification - To perfectly conform the believer to God's moral
attributes in the future.

Salvation is in three tenses:

1. The believer has been saved from the guilt and the penalty of sin. Luke 7:50; I Cor. 1:18; II Cor. 2:15; Eph. 2:5,8; II Tim. 1:9.

2. The believer is being saved from the habit and domination of sin. Rom. 6:14; Phil. 1:19; 2:12,13; II Thess. 2:13; Rom. 8:2;
Gal. 2:19,20; II Cor. 3:18.

3. The believer will be saved in the sense of entire conformity to
Christ. Rom. 13:11; Heb. 10:36; I Peter 1:5; I John 3:2.

Salvation is by grace through faith, a free gift, and wholly without works. Rom. 3:27,28; 4:1-8; 6:23; Eph. 2:8. The divine order is first salvation then works. Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:5-8.

This is what the scriptures teach. Those who remain in sin, like Paul once said, were never part of us anyway. THEY WERE NEVER REALLY SAVED. If you aren't bearing at least some fruit you probably didn't really put your faith in Christ. Some people simply have an emotional high, whereby they make no real decision!

An illustration by Billy Graham has been adapted on the most important thing we need this new millennium. We have been saved by grace through faith. The apostle Paul emphatically states, "a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16).

Justification is a legal standing with God based upon Christ's death and resurrection and our faith in Him. The Greek word Paul uses, Daikyo, comes from Roman legal courts meaning to declare to be righteous or to pronounce righteous. Therefore, justification is the legal and formal acquittal from guilt by God who is the judge. It is the pronouncement of the sinner, who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, as righteous.

For example, let's imagine for a moment that a person, called “Mr. Goner” died tonight and stood before the Lord God, who is the Supreme Judge of the Universe. No doubt God would ask Mr. Goner, why should I let you into my heaven? You are a guilty sinner. How do you plead?"
Mr. Goner’s response would be, "I plead guilty, Your Honor." Then his advocate, Jesus Christ, who is standing there besides him, speaks up for him. He says, "Your Honor, it is true that Mr. Goner is a grievous sinner. He is guilty. However, Father, I died for him on the cross and rose from the dead. Mr. Goner has put his faith and trust in Me and all that I have done for Him on the Cross. He is a believer. I died for him, and he has accepted me as his substitute."
The Lord God turns to Mr. Goner and says, "Is that true?" Mr. Goner
will respond "Yes sir! That’s the truth. I am claiming the shed blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse me of all my sins. I have put my faith in Jesus to save me for all eternity. This is what you have promised in your Word. Jesus said, 'For God so loved the world (and this includes Mr. Goner), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'” The Lord God
responds, "Acquitted! By order of this court I demand that you, Mr. Goner, be set free. The price has been paid by My Son." Conclusively, Mr. Goner gets to go home and live with the Judge!

Justification means that at the moment of salvation God sovereignly declares the believing sinner righteous in His sight. The believing sinner is declared to be righteous in His standing before God. From that moment on throughout life and through death, that sinner who has believed is now and forever right before God. God accepts him and the sinner stands acquitted of his sins.

A man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified (Galatians 2:16)

What Shoud a Pastors Priorities Be?

Pastoral Priorities for Pastors/Elders

(1) Prayer, in-depth Bible study, and spiritual preparation for teaching and communicating the Word. Teaching then becomes an overflow of a life bathed in the Word (Ezra 7:6-10; John 15:7; Eph. 5:18; Col. 3:1-3, 16; 1 Tim. 4:14-16; 2 Tim. 2:15).
(2) Preaching and teaching the Word (1 Tim. 4:6, 11-13; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; 1 Cor. 9:16). Some Goals:
• Teach the people to love the Word of God (Isa. 66:2; Ps. 1:1-3).
• Lead people to submit to the authority of the Word and to see obedience as a major goal of their lives (Josh. 1:8).
• Demonstrate that the proclamation of the Word is critical to worship (John 4:24).
• Motivate people to look for and live in view of the coming of the Lord (Tit. 2:1, 11-15).
• Motivate people to good deeds or ministry (Tit. 2:14; 3:1, 8, 14)
(3) Discipling leaders and future leaders (Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:2)

(1) Calling, visiting, counseling (Rom. 15:1-4; 1 Thess. 5:11-12; Jam. 1:27; 5:14).
(2) Administrative functions: thinking, planning and organizing, letters, etc.

The Principle of Plurality and Equality
In keeping with maintaining the priorities, the limited capacity of one man, and the giftedness of the body of Christ under His headship, authority, and preeminence, New Testament leadership appears to have been plural and equal with no system of hierarchy. Certain men will naturally function as leaders among the leaders because of their training, giftedness, wisdom, knowledge, and experience, but all are equal and accountable to each other. (Compare Acts 15 and the leadership demonstrated by James among the leaders of the church at Jerusalem. Also compare Acts 14:23; 20:17; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 5:17.) See Appendix B for elaboration.

The Principle of Selectivity and Quality
The most important element in selecting leaders is their spiritual qualification. Selection is the process of applying biblical standards to the selection of leaders, but these are to be leaders chosen by the Holy Spirit. It means the greatest need is not leaders, but spiritual men. It also necessitates the intentional training and preparation of men to take a leadership role (Acts 6:3; 1 Tim. 3:1f; 2 Tim. 2:2; Tit. 1:6f).
In his classic on leadership, Oswald Sanders writes,
The Holy Spirit does not take control of any man or body of men against their will. When He sees elected to positions of leadership men who lack spiritual fitness to cooperate with Him, He quietly withdraws and leaves them to implement their own policy according to their own standards, but without His aid. The inevitable issue is an unspiritual administration.4
Choosing men according to biblical standards means we must seek to select only those who have modeled commitment and obedience as an emergent leadership. This creates standards and establishes training examples who model the message (1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Pet. 5:3).

The Principle of Purity of Philosophy
(1) Definition: Philosophical purity simply refers to an agreement, especially among the leaders, but extending to a broad base in the congregation, concerning (1) the purposes, goals, and product of the church, (2) the priority of certain ministries over others (exposition, training, evangelism, etc., versus some of the typical expectations that people have regarding the church), and (3) the methods used to reach those objectives.
(2) Description: Philosophical purity means unity or oneness of mind, harmonious agreement, but not necessarily unanimity, the complete agreement on all issues (cf. Phil. 1:27; 1 Cor. 1:10). Unity means coming to a working agreement based on a common objective.
(3) Necessity: Philosophical purity is vital to the kind of ministry that is able to multiply itself in growing, mature people who become engaged in the work of ministry in evangelism and edification.
(4) Key Scriptures: John 17:11-23; Eph. 4:3-16; Phil. 1:27; 2:2.

The Principle of Servant-Like Ministry
The church must be led by those who have the heart and life of a servant whose motives are pure (John 13:1f; Luke 22:26; 1 Thess. 2:3-8).

The Principle of Autonomy
Each local church is a separate entity in and of itself with its own God-given leaders and is answerable directly and only to Christ (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:3).
Principles of Administration and Organization for the Church

Salvation: What Does it Mean to Be a Christian?

Theologically speaking, a Christian is someone who has received the Lord Jesus as Savior (John 1:12), trusts Him alone for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 4:12), has put not trust in His own efforts (Isaiah 64:6) to please God, and repented from his/her sins (Mark 1:15).
Experientially speaking, the life of a Christian does not consist only of theological knowledge. It is theology that defines who Jesus is and what He has done, but it is not the end of all things. We are Christians who believe the above points, yes, but we have a living and open relationship with the Lord Jesus. We experience Him through His indwelling Spirit. As Christians, we seek to do the will of the Lord, to follow in His footsteps, and to honor and glorify God in all he does.
It is not necessary as a Christian to perform good works IN ORDER to please God because, first of all, our good deeds are but filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6) and, most important, we are made righteous in the eyes of God by the finished work of Jesus on the cross (Rom. 5). This is one of the areas where the cults error. They confuse good works with the forgiveness of sins. They combine the two and teach that God will not accept us if we are not trying to be good. Because they have a wrong view of who Jesus is, they have a wrong view of salvation.
A common objection to this doctrine of justification by faith is that if a Christian believes in God the way I say, then he does not need to do anything good, that he could then go out and sin all he wanted. First of all, this objection is answered in Romans 6. We are not saved for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification (1 Thess. 4:7). We do not use the grace of God to sin. Second, a Christian is called to be Holy (1 Pet. 1:16). Third, a Christian is called to do good works (Eph. 2:10). It is just that these works are not combined with our faith to merit the forgiveness of our sins, they are, instead, a natural result of our saved condition. We do good works because we are Christians, not to become Christians.
Additionally, being a Christian means that you are serving the true Jesus, not a false one. In order for a person to follow Jesus, he must first accurately understand who He is. If someone called their pet iguana Jesus, even though he had great faith in Jesus the iguana, his faith is useless. Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed.
The Mormon Jesus is the brother of the devil begotten through sexual intercourse from a god and goddess who used to be people on another planet (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 321). The Jehovah's Witness Jesus is Michael the archangel who became a man, died on a torture stake, did not rise from the dead in the same body he died in, and then went back to being an angel (Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 1152; New Heavens and a New Earth, p. 30). The New Age Jesus is a man in tune with the divine consciousness. In opposition to this, the Jesus of Christianity is both God and Man. See the two natures of Jesus for more information on this.
Being a Christian Means Fellowship with Jesus
Why did God create? Was their some lack in God that moved Him to create the universe and man in it? Was God lonely? We can't fully answer these questions, but we can look into the Bible for clues to their answer.
1 John 4:8 says that God is love. John 3:16 says that "...God so loved the world He gave..." The nature of love is to give. It is "other" centered. It focuses on another. Read 1 Cor. 13 for confirmation of this. That is why God gave His Son. That is why, I believe, that God created us: to love us, to give to us Himself which is the very best thing in the universe. But sin entered the picture and God, in His loving mercy, sent His Son into the world to save the world.
Love is not a doctrine, it is an experience, an action. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve walked with God. They actually walked with the creator of the universe. They had fellowship with Him. Fellowship is an intimate communion between two or more persons. Adam and Eve had this intimate communion with the Lord. But when they sinned that fellowship was broken. God then shed blood, by killing an animal to get the skins, and covered Adam and Eve. Incidentally, Jesus said in John 6:46 that no one has ever seen the Father. If Adam and Eve were walking with God in the Garden of Eden, but it wasn't the Father, then who was it. It must have been Jesus.
So God sought Adam and Eve, remember they hid themselves from Him. In Exodus 25:8, God told the Israelites to build a sanctuary so that He might dwell among His people. In John 1:14, Jesus, God in flesh, dwelt again among His people. In 1 Cor. 1:9 we are called by God to be in fellowship with Jesus. In these statements are profound clues. We are called to have a personal relationship, the way it was in the Garden of Eden, with Jesus. This can only be done through Jesus.
Additionally, the word for ‘fellowship' in the Greek is the same word used for ‘communion.' When we partake of communion, we are partaking in fellowship with the Lord. Communion is a covenantal sign of the promise of God to give us eternal life and it is representative in that sense of God's promises to be with His people. But the real communion, the real fellowship with the Lord, is through the indwelling Holy Spirit who always bears witness of Jesus (John 15:26). Therefore, the Christian, the true Christian, will have an intimate and real personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.
The cultist cannot have this intimate and personal relationship with Jesus. First, because their Jesus is false (Matt. 24:24). Second, because their Jesus is not prayed to the way the Jesus of the Bible is (Zech. 13:9 with 1 Cor. 1:1-2; Acts 7:55-60); third, because their Jesus is not worshiped equally with the Father (John 5:22-23; Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6); and fourth, because their Jesus is not their Lord and God (John 20:28; Heb. 1:8).
The Jesus of the cultist is not God (he might be one god among many, or he might be a lesser god). Therefore, he is not to be sought in a personal and intimate way.
The Christian, on the other hand, has a real relationship with the real Lord Jesus. This is accomplished only through the real Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible.
To be a Christian is to experience the Lord, to have a sweet and real fellowship with Jesus, to be able to pray to Him, and seek Him.

"God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:9).

Why Do We Need Apologetics?

There are several reasons why we need apologetics.
The first and most obvious is because we are commanded to defend the faith: 1 Peter 3:15 says, "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."
Second, we need apologetics because it helps Christians know their faith. This is something that is sadly lacking among believers. Most don't know much about their faith, let alone be able to describe the Trinity, the two natures of Christ, His physical resurrection, or even to tell the difference between justification and sanctification. Apologetics helps to define and defend what the truth of the gospel is.
Third, apologetics is an attempt to keep people out of hell. God takes sin very seriously, and He will punish those who have rebelled against Him and are not covered in the blood of Christ. As Christians, we should be motivated to present the truth of salvation in Jesus. We should not sit idly by and ignore the dilemma of the unbeliever. We need to tell them that sin is real because God is real, and that breaking God's law has a consequence. Since we have all sinned, we cannot keep God's law perfectly. Also, we cannot undo the offense to an infinitely holy God because we are not infinite or holy; the only thing left for us is to fall under the judgment of God. But God has provided a way for us to escape that judgment. That is why God became man in Jesus. He claimed to be God, (John 8:24,58; compare with Exodus 3:14). Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross, (1 Pet. 2:24). By trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, we will be spared from the rightful judgment of God upon the sinner. Salvation is not found in Buddhism, Islam, relativism, or in one's self: It is only found in Jesus. We need to not only defend God's word and truth, but also present the gospel to all people so they can escape the judgment to come.
Fourth, we need apologetics to counter the bad image that Christianity has received in the media and in culture. Televangelists and their scandals--both sexually and monetarily--are a disgrace to Christianity. The Catholic church hasn't helped with its scandals involving priests. On top of that, the media is very biased against Christianity, and you will see negative opinions of Christianity promoted everywhere.
Fifth, we need apologetics because there is a constant threat of apostasy in the visible Christian church. Such is the case with the Metropolitan Community Church denomination, which openly advocates the support of homosexuality in violation of scripture (Rom. 1:18-32). Also, as of 2002, the Evangelical Lutheran Church is in risk of apostasy by entertaining the idea of accepting homosexual relationships into church. "The United Church of Christ set up a $500,000 scholarship fund for gay and lesbian seminarians Friday and urged wider acceptance of homosexuals by other denominations." (United Church Makes Gay Scholarship, CLEVELAND, June 16, 2000, AP Online via COMTEX). Or "The supreme court of the United Methodist Church was asked Thursday to reconsider the denomination's ban on gay clergy." (Church court of United Methodists asked to decide on gay clergy ban, NASHVILLE, Tennessee, Oct. 25, 2001, AP WorldStream via COMTEX). Such examples are demonstrations of the incredible need for defending biblical truth within those churches that claim to be Christian.
Sixth, another reason we need apologetics is because of the many false teachings out there. Mormonism teaches that God used to be a man on another world, that he brought one of his goddess wives with him to this world, that they produce spirit offspring that are born into human babies, and that you have the potential of becoming a god of your own world. The Jehovah's Witnesses teach that there is no Trinity, that Jesus is Michael the Archangel, that there is no hell, and that only 144,000 people will go to heaven. Atheism denies God's existence, openly attacks Christianity and is gaining ground in public life and schools. Islam teaches that Jesus was not God in flesh, that Jesus did not rise from the dead, and that He did not atone for our sins. It teaches that salvation is partly based on one's works and partly based on Allah's grace. It teaches that the Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel (Surah 2:97; 16:102); that Jinn are unseen beings created (51:56) from fire (15:27; 55:15); and that Muhammed was greater than Jesus. Even within the Christian church there are false teachings. We can see that from both within the Christian church and outside of it, false teachings are bombarding believers (and nonbelievers) all over the world.
Seventh, the rise of immorality in America is a threat not only to society but also to Christianity. This is a serious issue because an immoral society cannot last long. The Barna Research group statistics show that 64% of adults and 83% of teenagers said moral truth depends on the situation that you are in. 19% of the adult population believes that "the whole idea of sin is outdated." 51% believe that "if a person is generally good, or does enough good, he will earn a place in Heaven."
When a society's morals fail, the society fails. Just look at history and think of Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece or present day Enron, Watergate, and White House interns. Immorality seeps down into all areas of our culture. Consider this: In the New York Times, online, of May 12, 2002, in the article "With Games of Havoc, Men Will Be Boys," the author, Warren St. John, interviews some players of what he says is a very popular video game. One young man says, "What I like to do is get in the car and drive around and do drive-by shootings. You can haul someone out of their car and beat on them and steal their money and their car. It's kind of amusing that you have that ability." .... A publicist from Long Island says the game's allure comes down to "just going on killing sprees." Not all video games are violent, but the fact that it is so popular and that the youth are being trained up by them is very disturbing.
I am not advocating a theocratic socio-political rule administered by stern Christians wearing black-and-white outfits and tall hats. But these kinds of social trends are disturbing, and they reflect a moral decline in America, where what is good is called evil and what is evil is called good. God tells us in Phil. 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. We cannot ignore God's word without a consequence.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Is Tithing for Today?

"Will a man ROB God?" How many untold tens of thousands of men will give account one day for teaching this verse in Malachi 3:8 totally out of context for their own sordid gain. I couldn’t count the times I have heard self-appointed ministers of the gospel berate their congregations and listeners for "robbing God" in tithes and offerings. This verse in Malachi certainly means what it says. Someone was defrauding God of tithes and offerings, but wait until you find out who it is that God blames for this act.
On any given Sunday morning there will be numerous men-of-the-cloth who will be bellowing out over the air waves that people are being "cursed with a curse" because they have failed to pay God ten percent of their paychecks. And should such a gullible listener decide to repent and give God ten percent of his salary, just how would he do that? Just keep reading. These men of the cloth who often have unquenchable worldly desires of the flesh, will be sure to give you an address where you can send them (or, ah, rather God) your tithe. And do they have a right to quote these Scriptures in this manner? No they do not, and furthermore they themselves know better.
1. Abraham never tithed on his own personal property or livestock.

2. Jacob wouldn’t tithe until God blessed him first.

3. Only Levite priests could collect tithes, and there are no Levite priests today.

4. Only food products from the land were tithable.

5. Money was never a tithable commodity.

6. Christian converts were never asked to tithe anything to the Church.

7. Tithing in the Church first appears centuries after completion of the Bible.
We will now go through all the Scriptural references in the Bible on tithe, tithes, and tithing:
[1] Gen. 14:20, "And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him [Melchizedek king of Salem, the priest of the most high God, Ver. 18] TITHES of all [all the goods of war, Ver. 16]."
We read again of this same event in the book of Hebrews:
[2] Heb. 7:1-10, "For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who meets with Abraham returning from the combat with the kings and blesses him, to whom Abraham parts a TITHE also, from all... Now, behold how eminent this one is to whom the patriarch Abraham gives a TITHE also of the best of the booty. And, indeed, those of the sons of Levi who obtain the priestly office have a direction to take TITHES from the people according to the law... And here, indeed, dying men are obtaining TITHES... And so, to say, through Abraham, Levi also, who is obtaining the TITHES, has been TITHED, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek meets with him."
There are a number of things we can learn concerning tithing from this section of Scriptures. In this, the first mention of tithing in the Bible, Abram gives to Melchizedek (a priest of God who was also the king of the city of Salem) a tithe of the best of the booty taken in war. Notice that this was not wheat, corn, wine, oil, or cattle from Abram’s personal possessions, but rather booty taken from conquered nations.
There is nothing stated here that would cause us to conclude that Abram (later changed to Abraham) ever tithed on a regular basis on his own person possessions. Although Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe of the booty of war, he told the king of Sodom that he would take none of it for himself.
In this same account recorded in the seventh chapter of Hebrews, we learn that the priests of Levi, from the family of Aaron (although far inferior to the priestly order of Melchizedek) also receive tithes from the people according to the law. This tells us little more about the actual tithes other than they received tithes.
Christian scholars claim that Abraham’s tithing of the spoils of war predated the Law of Moses, and therefore even if the Law of Moses is done away with, tithing is still binding on Christians because Abraham predated the Law of Moses. Is this true?
And Christendom teaches that this Scripture is the first proof from the Word of God that Christians are to tithe ten percent of their salaries to the church. But what have we really learned from these Scriptures?:
Abraham went to war on behalf of Sodom (SODOM, mind you), to rescue his nephew, Lot. He then gave 10% of these spoils of war to Melchizedek, and allowed Sodom to keep 90%, while he himself kept NOTHING!
Now then, is there a Scholar alive anywhere on earth that can explain to us how this one single unparalleled and never-again-to-be-duplicated event, is Scriptural proof that Christians should give 10% of their annual salaries (not the spoils of war, but their money, their salaries), not once, but year after year after year, not to Melchizedek, but to Clergymen who claim to be ministers of Jesus Christ? If anyone can see a similarity here, I will show him the similarity between an elephant and a fruit fly.
Next we will observe a Scripture that you will probably never hear a sermon on. No tithe-preaching clergyman would use the example of how Jacob tithed. Remember, Jacob is the grandson of Abraham, the father of the faithful, whom God also blessed tremendously. Not only did God approve of Jacob’s tithing proposal, but, He made it the foundational principle upon which all future tithing would be based. Here it is.
[3] Gen. 28:20-22, "And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, IF God will be with me, and [if God] will keep me in this way that I go, and [if God] will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; THEN shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shall GIVE ME I will surely give the TENTH unto thee."
Wow! This one Scripture pretty much contradicts 99% of all sermons I have ever heard on the subject of tithing! This is the very first Scripture in the Bible that gives an account of someone giving a tenth or tithe of his personal possessions back to God. But, oh how different it is from the teachings of most Christian Churches.
First Jacob truly recognizes God as God. He then begins to proposition God. He states that "IF" God will do this and "IF’ God will do the other things, "THEN" Jacob says, "shall the Lord be my God." Jacob concludes his proposition to God, should God meet all of his requirements, by saying that of all the things that God will first give to Jacob, Jacob will give God back a tenth. Now don’t laugh. God honored Jacob’s proposition, and furthermore, God continued to honor this same principle of tithing all through Israel’s history. As Paul said, "Now what have you which you did not obtain?" (I Cor. 4:7) All that we possess comes from God.
And so, once more, we learn that Israel was not to tithe on what they did not first possess, unlike those today who teach that it is required to tithe on that which one does not already possess.
God is not partial and God is not a hypocrite. This example of Jacob proves that God doesn’t expect a tithe until He blessed the tithe payer first. Everyone should put down this paper, call his minister, and tell him you want to hear a sermon Sunday morning on how Jacob paid tithes to God. Now hold your breath.
Let’s ask ourselves a reasonable question: Just how did Jacob actually give a tithe to God? Did he personally hand it to God? No, no one has ever even seen God. Did Jacob tithe to an angel? No, angels do not need and can’t use tithes. Did Jacob send his tithe to Heaven by Celestial Express? No. Did he take it to the local church? No, there was no local church. Did he take it to the Temple? No, there was no temple. Did he give it directly to one of the Levitic priests? No, there were no Levites as yet. Well how then did Jacob tithe to God? Was it even possible? Yes, there were actually two different ways that Jacob could tithe to God:
1. "And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your TITHES, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: And there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, YE and YOUR HOUSEHOLDS, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee" (Deut. 12:6-7).
2. "And even though there were no Levites in Jacob’s day, nonetheless, there were "...the STRANGER, and the FATHERLESS, and the WIDOW, which are within thy gates, shall come, and SHALL EAT AND BE SATISFIED; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thin hand which thou doest" (Deut. 14:29).
That’s how God acknowledged a tithe from Jacob: By partaking of a portion himself and his family in communion and thanksgiving to God, and by sharing his fortune with those who were unfortunate, poor, strangers, etc.
[4] Leviticus 27:30-33, "And all the TITHE of the LAND, whether of the SEED of the land, or of the FRUIT, of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the TITHE of the HERD, or of the FLOCK, even of whatsoever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it..."
We learn a great deal about tithing in this section of Scripture:
1. The tithe comes from the "land," not the air or the sea. Fishermen were not required to tithe fish.
2. It was the "seed" or agricultural products from the fields that was holy to God and tithable.
3. Products from "trees" were to be tithed. This not only included the fruit, but oils, etc.
4. Of "herds or flocks" it was the "tenth" that passed under the rod that was holy and dedicated to God.
Here is exposed another lie of modern clergymen. It was not the first tenth, but rather the tenth tenth that belonged to God, contrary to every minister I have ever heard, who insists that the first tenth always belongs to God. Unscriptural. Untrue. Read your bible--it’s the tenth one of a herd that belongs to God.
Another interesting point is this. If a herdsman had but nine cattle, he didn’t tithe his cattle at all! Also notice that God did not even require the best of the cattle, just the tenth one to pass under the rod even if it was the runtiest of them all. Remember, we are talking about tithing and not sacrificing (animals for sacrifice always had to be without blemish).
Did you notice that this summary at the very end of the book of Leviticus does not mention the tithing of money? Interesting. But just maybe we will find the tithing of money in some other Scripture?
[5] Numbers 18:24-28, "But the TITHES of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the TITHES which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a TENTH part of the TITHE. And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress. Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your TITHES, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lord’s heave offering to Aaron the priest."
According to the above Scriptures, could just anyone claim to be a representative of God and therefore have Israel pay tithes to him? Let’s read it again, "But the TITHES of the children of Israel ... I have given to the Levites to inherit." Now in order to be a priest one not only had to be of the tribe of Levi, but he also had to be of the family of Aaron. In fact, if one could not trace his genealogy back to the family of Aaron, he could not be a priest of God. This is the whole point of Hebrews seven. Jesus Christ is a priest for the eons of the rank of Melchizedek because Melchizedek predated the law which stated that only sons of Aaron could be priests. Therefore Melchizedek’s genealogy is not given in the Scriptures, and Christ, who according to the flesh is of the line of Judah, can and will be God’s High Priest in the Kingdom of God.
A warning to all charlatans and would-be tithe extractors and collectors: There is NO temple of God being officiated in Jerusalem today. There is NO Levitic priesthood to officiate at such a temple. There is NO NEED for such a temple or priesthood at this time. Only Levites could collect tithes at the temple. Therefore, EVERYONE collecting tithes today is a charlatan and a fake. If one cannot historically trace back his genealogy generation by generation with no lapses to the family of Aaron, he IS NOT and CANNOT be a priest authorized of God at this time to collect tithes for the temple services and sacrifices. (Of course Jesus IS our Sacrifice, and therefore that whole system funded by the tithes of the law is no longer applicable).
Yet today we have tithe collecting preachers like James Kennedy and John Hagee, with whom I am a little familiar, collecting tithe monies by the millions and millions of dollars annually. Yet by years end I heard them begging for more multiple millions of dollars to get them out of all the financial debt they had accumulated during the year. And then, (so help me, if I’m lying, I’m dying), John Hagee has the unmitigated gall to offer his followers (excuse me, sell to his followers--three video tapes, $60 US/$87 CAN) entitled The POWER to get WEALTH, by which Mr. Hagee assures us that we can learn to "STAY OUT OF DEBT"! Can you believe it? Would the word "hypocrite" be too strong or out of place here?
The whole system changed under the New Covenant. Notice what happened:
1. Jesus said the temple would be utterly destroyed

"And, coming out, Jesus sent from the sanctuary. And His disciples approached to exhibit to Him the buildings of the sanctuary. Yet He, answering, said to them, 'Are you not observing all these? Verily, I am saying to you, Under no circumstances may a stone here be left on a stone, which shall not be DEMOLISHED.’" (Matt. 24:1-2).

2. Under the New Covenant, God does not dwell in temples made with hands,

"The God Who makes the world and all that is in it, He, the Lord inherent of heaven and earth, is NOT dwelling in temples made by hands..." (Acts 17:24).

3. The true believers under the New Covenant are now God’s temple,

"For YOU ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD, according as God said, that I will be making My home and will be walking in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (II Cor. 6:16).

See also, (I Cor. 3:15 and I Cor. 1:19).

4. All theologians know that when the temple ceased, the priesthood officiating at the temple CEASED!

5. Each individual believer under the New Covenant forms a NEW priesthood,

"Yet you are a chosen race, a ‘ROYAL PRIESTHOOD’..." (I Peter 2:9).
How then, under the New Covenant, does a believer give a tenth, when he is supposed to give his all (Rom. 12:1), to a priesthood that does not exist, but now he himself is part of a priesthood (I Peter 2:9), at a temple that does not exist (Mat. 24:1-2), but rather he himself is the temple wherein God dwells. No longer do we have priests with spiritual infirmities interceding for us, but rather we have Christ Jesus as our perfect intercessor and High Priest seated at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens (Heb. 7:28-8:1).
At this time in history, Israel owes no tithe to anyone. And, of course, we Gentiles (who are a new creation and the true Israel of God--Gal. 6:16) were never instructed to tithe in the first place. Read all thirteen books of the apostle Paul to the gentiles and find one verse where he instructed Gentiles to pay one cent of tithe money to anyone.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Biblical Counseling 101

Biblical Counseling 101

NJ Institute of Theological Studies is conducting a 3 week study of Biblical Counseling from Sept. 11th through Sept. 25th 2009

Friday Sept. 11th 2009 – The Root of All Problems

Friday Sept. 18th - 2009 – Biblical Application

Friday Sept. 25th - 2009 – Depression and PTSD

About The Instructor

Mark Stevens graduated from the Institute of Jewish Studies, a school of the Philadelphia Bible University . He is an ETA (Evangelical Training Association) certified Bible Teacher. He holds a BA in Theology and an MA in Ministry from Freedom Bible College and Seminary, and is the final stages of receiving his Doctorate in Ministry from Freedom. He has completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Cooper Trauma Center . He is a Staff Chaplain at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital and at Cooper Trauma Center .

The Place: 3 Cooper Plaza

Cooper Trauma Hospital

Camden, NJ 08013

Pastoral Care Conference Rm - Room 506

The Time: 6PM

The Cost for course FREE (Books $15.00)

For more info….

Phone Number – 609-346-8343

E-mail –

NJITS Correspondence Bible School
The Cost $50.00 (Books Included)
Send Check or Money Order to:
Suite 160
440A White Horse Pike
Atco, NJ 08004
For more info….
Phone Number – 609-346-8343
E-mail –
Web Page
Website for Amazon to purchase my books: